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The Diary of a Doubting Daughter

Inadequate

I spend most of my days feeling inadequate. I feel like God wasted His time on making me. I can’t seem to do a lot right. I sometimes lack the qualities of a good daughter or friend. I constantly fail at little things and mess up at opportunities that could help me. I recently reread the Parable of the Lost Son and it moved me to tears because of how much the lost son resembled me.

A father had two sons who were going to inherit everything of his when he died. However, the younger son wanted his share of the estate right away. The father gave it to him and the son went his own way. He used his part of the money for worldly goods. He bought fancy items, over drank, and gambled with it. He was living lavish, until one day he realized that he had no money left. During that same time, the whole country experienced a severe famine and the son had to get a job to feed himself. He got a job feeding a farmer’s pigs. He became so hungry, that he started to eat some of the pig’s food.

At some point the son realized that he was in a bad place and that he needed to go back home. He was ashamed however, because he had squandered all his money and was ranked lower then his father’s servants. He figured that he would go back to his father’s house and say,

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. -Luke 15:18-19

He grabbed whatever he had (which wasn’t a lot) and set off back home. He was very far away from his house, but

his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.-Luke 15:

The father got him the fanciest robe and placed expensive rings on his hands. He ordered the servants to kill the fattest cow they had so that they could have a feast and celebrate

for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.- Luke 15:24

I think that a lot of us are exactly like the son. I know I am. I tell myself that I don’t need my Father. I take everything He gives me and I go off to do things by myself in a selfish and inconsiderate manner. However, y’all, I recently learned that I cannot do it alone. I am too weak to fight by myself. But just like the son, it took me eating with pigs (not literally), to realize that I needed him. I was hands and knees in the dirt crying, before I realized that the only one I needed to call on was Him.

I am so stubborn, so that realization shook me up. Two weeks ago one of my roommates invited me to her church and I told her I didn’t deserve to be a room with those people because I am too much of a sinner. She responded to me and said,

Sarah, I’m not sure what ya meant last night but I just felt like you should know you are worthy of love and forgiveness! Always!

and I am, but for so long I didn’t believe it and like the son, I believed lies that made me say,

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your [daughter]; make me like one of your hired servants

I have been living in darkness and that darkness has enveloped my heart. It has made me bitter and isolated. It has made me live in fear of disappointing my parents, others, and myself. And it has made me close off any human relationship that could actually help me. Guys, to live in fear is scary, but to live in fear without God is even worse. But I’m changing, I’m growing and I’m ready to celebrate because this doubting daughter was dead and is alive again; was lost and is found.’

The beauty of this story though is that we can come empty handed and broken to our Father and He will meet us on this journey back to Him.  He will not remind us that we were once eating with pigs, but He will clothe us in the best materials and encourage us to learn from our mistakes. If that doesn’t give you hope and make your heart jump for joy, then I don’t know what will. I’m glad to be back on my journey and I’m so freaking excited to learn more about my beautiful and oh sooo compassionate and loving Father of mine.

 

-much love

“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”-John 12:46

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Sinking

I recently just got the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Santiago, Chile. It was AMAZING. No, actually it was magical. I fell in love with the food, the language, and the people. It was crazy seeing how two different people from two different backgrounds could somehow understand each other. I’m not going to lie to y’all though; the first month was actually hell. I was frustrated with the people who couldn’t speak/understand my language and I was closing off everyone who actually could understand. I pushed away anyone that I got close to and I was angry that I was with an all Christian group. I was in such a bad place going to Chile. I stayed in my room and hid instead of trying to fix it. And I blamed God. I blamed Him for my unhappiness. I blamed Him, because He wasn’t helping me. I prayed and He wasn’t listening. No one listened. I was alone (or so I thought). So, my loneliness turned into bitterness and depression. However, I quickly realized I was being a brat. I started going out more. I met new people and befriended the people in my group. I got involved with the people around me. I started talking to Vincent at El Teller (the coffee shop). I asked Lucas about his life. I became best friends with Francisco (my Spanish teacher). I had dance parties with Larissa, Geni, and Dani from Brazil. And I  finally grew. I was able to see God as something more than a scary, all powerful being.

My group and I were very sad to come home (sorry parents). We wanted to stay there forever. It was kind of like our safe place. It didn’t feel real and we were afraid that the United States would be a little too real. And it was/still is. We let that fear eat us and distract us from the truth. That truth is and will always be that God is the same God that He is in Chile and will continue being the same God in the United States.

However, another person was distracted as well. His name was Peter the Disciple. Now Peter has had multiple doubting moments in the Bible (which gives me hope). But this doubting moment intrigued me the most.

Peter and the disciples were all waiting on boat for Jesus to come back from praying. It was around dawn and Jesus appeared in the distance walking on water (casual). The disciples were terrified (naturally). I mean it was a man on water!  They all started freaking out thinking that it was a ghost, but Jesus reassured them and said,

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” -matthew 14:28

They still didn’t believe that it was Jesus, so, Peter said,

“Lord, if it’s you… tell me to come to you on the water.” and Jesus said,

 “Come,” 

So, Peter, walked out onto the water to meet Jesus. But he felt the harsh winds and the darkness envelop him and our good man Peter

“was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter. However He said,

“You of little faith…why did you doubt?”

That question gets me every time. “Why did you doubt?” And it makes me ask, why did Peter doubt?

A few days ago I got a call from one of my good friends that had been on the Chilean study abroad trip with me. We talked about our lives and school. I told her that I was conflicted in many ways because I felt like there needed to be something more. I told her that I felt like my life was missing something and I was searching for that thing but couldn’t find it. And before she could say something I said (verbatim),

Karlie, it’s not God that I’m missing. So, please don’t say it.

But guys, it was 100% God that I was missing. In Chile I got close to Him, because I had all my friends to help me. I heard the Word and saw the Word working through everyone. But I quickly changed back to my old habits when I got back to the states. You see; we were not afraid of the United States. We were afraid of losing that magical, safe feeling that we had experienced in the mountains of Patagonia or the sand dunes of the Atacama. It was our fear of the unknown that left us not wanting to leave.

It was the doubt that was sinking Peter and it was the doubt that was and still continues to sink me. I see God. He is there. And like Peter, I really want to walk to Him, but y’all I’m taking my first steps onto that water and I’m sinking. But the beauty of all of this guys is that even through our doubts our Father, our God, our savior STILL continues to pursue us. He STILL continues to love us. And He WILL continue to reach out His hands for us and save us from

SINKING

este es tu lugar (this is your place)

-much love

 

And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.

—  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Unintentional

A few days ago someone pointed out that I was “unintentional.” This person pointed out that I usually tend to hide my emotions or brush off the things that actually mean something to me. I say things such as: “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter,” when it really does. I’ve always been known to keep my emotions to myself. I usually try to stop thinking about the situation or trick myself into believing that it really truly does not matter. I’m a runner when anything remotely serious happens to me, which is crazy, because I am usually very blunt in everything else. I tend to live a lot in my head which is a good and bad thing. It’s good, because I get to spend a lot of time with myself and have some alone time. It’s bad, because my friends and family don’t know how to help me because they don’t know the problem.

Anyway, that problem of mine has been pointed out a lot by my best friends. one of my best friends said last month, “why do you say that? Why do you pretend like you don’t care? It’s okay to care.” So, when one of my acquintances pointed out me being unintentional I quickly wanted to change it. I realized that I didn’t want to be the girl who ran.

Jonah in the Bible was also very unintentional and sadly he didn’t have any friends to tell him that. He got a special message from God to go to the city of Nineveh and preach against it because there was so much wickedness happening. But Jonah was afraid of this, because he had heard so many terrible things about the people and what they did. So, instead of going to Nineveh where God had commanded him to go and instead of talking to God about his fear, Jonah

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He ran all the way to a ship and boarded it to sail to Tarshish where he thought he would be fleeing from the Lord.  This really set God off, and God sent a great wind and violent storm on the ship that was causing it to break. The crew members were terrified. They had no clue what was causing this storm, so, they started praying to their gods. However, Jonah was taking the whole “you should sleep on it” literally and he was passed out below deck. Out of fear and confusion the sailors asked him,

“How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god!”-Jonah 1:6

They started questioning him about everything.

“Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”-Jonah 1:8

and Jonah said,

“I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”-Jonah 1:9

The sailors started fearing even more, because they knew that this man was running away from the Lord, so they asked him,

“What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”-Jonah 6:11

They ended up taking Jonah and throwing him overboard and the storm calmed down.

A few days from now I will be going to study abroad in Chile for 3 months. I am terrified y’all. Terrified of the different language, tedious hours studying, foreign food, hiking (lol) and so much more, but I know that this is the plan that God has called me to do. I want to run like Jonah. I want to stay in the comforts of my own bed and fall into a deep sleep or board a cruise to Italy or something, but I can’t.

I am a runner, but I don’t want to run this time. This time it will be different. I will be different. Instead of running from God, I will ask,

Lord, what “should [I] do to make the sea calm down?”

-much love

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart”.-Jeremiah 29:11-13

Doubting Thomas

One of my biggest fears (like BIGGEST) is not being in control. I absolutely hate the feeling of not having a full grasp of my life. I strive to find my purpose and meaning of everything. I constantly tear my self apart and put myself together, just so I can get the feeling of accomplishment. I want to be a puzzle that only I can put together/that only I know how to solve. I am a planner, I am confident, and I am independent. At least that’s how I was in highschool.

At the beginning of college, some things happened that were just completely out of my grasp. There was nothing I could have done to change them and I realized that I was no longer in control. That feeling of being utterly powerless made me lose sight of everything I had known. I dove into depression, I lost my independence, and I put on a facade of being confident; but really I was lonely and lost. I felt like no one could possibly understand the hurt and pain I was going through. This caused me to push even more people away. I was too stubborn to realize that I needed to let go of all this with my thirst for control.

During this time, I really started to doubt God and who he was. I doubted God all the time because I didn’t know if I could ever trust someone enough to let them fully take control of my life. I’m slowly letting go and trusting other people, but I don’t know if I could give myself away completely. It scares me to know that there is someone who is more powerful than I could ever imagine. I have trouble fully letting go of myself, because I can’t see Him. I always fear that we are all spending countless hours/years praising a God that does not exist. That’s really scary. I doubt Him, because I have never seen Him.

One of the biggest doubters in the Bible was Thomas of Didymus (aka Doubting Thomas). Thomas was a lot like me. He really doubted that there was a God. In the Bible, he says to the other disciples,

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”- John 20:25

Unlike the rest of the disciples, Thomas had never seen Jesus. He was a “newbie,” to the crew and he hadn’t been there the first time the others saw him. I’m sure we all have those days where we question God. What if we are praying to no one? What if we die and there is no Heaven? Those questions are questions that have gone through my head multiple times,but God is always there to answer them.

When Thomas was doubting, Jesus appeared to Him and said,

“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Immediately Thomas knew it was him and said,

“My Lord and my God!”-John 20:28

I love that verse. It is so small, yet so beautiful. My heart overflows when I read it. Thomas had doubted and had pained over not knowing if God was real, but he quickly realized the truth.  Although the verse is beautiful, it is also sad. It is sad, because Thomas didn’t believe until he had seen God with his own eyes. This is why Jesus tells him,

“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”-John 20:29 

I want to see Jesus ( I really do). I want to touch His hands and His sides and I want to know that I’m not crazy for believing in something that I can’t see. However, I crave to love Him and to praise Him without seeing Him and with the knowledge of knowing that one day I will really get to see him. I want to continue worshipping Him until one day I can be as enthusiastic as Thomas when I say,

“My Lord and my God!”

 

-much love

 

“The day I understood everything, was the day I stopped trying to figure everything out. The day I knew peace was the day I let everything go.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

 

Love Anything

I know that this is a doubt blog, so I just want to talk about one of the things I doubted the most; Love. I’ve always struggled with the idea of Love. What is it? Why do we have it?

As a hopeless romantic for most of my life, I not only wanted to figure out what love was, but I also longed to feel this thing and find it for myself. To me, love was defined by the excessive amount of Hallmark movies taking up 90% of my recordings. In Hallmark movies, love came unexpectedly; usually tall, handsome, and mysterious. He came when the girl needed him the most, and even when everything looked like it might end bad; it didn’t. People always laughed at me and rolled their eyes when they saw me watching those movies. My mom would occasionally sit down and watch them with me, but my dad usually never did, and now I understand why. However, back then I didn’t care if I knew what was going to happen, or even if they had the cheesiest lines and actors. This is because Hallmark made me believe that love would come and love would stay.

There came a time when I stopped watching Hallmark movies and I moved on into the big leagues. I started watching movies that society said were,  “the best representation of love,” and while watching them I realized that I wanted this love. In those movies love was passionate. He came in the pouring rain. He came yelling and throwing dishes. He came with a deep voice, calloused hands, and scars from his past.  His love was hesitant, confusing, and harsh, but somehow in the end… beautiful. Those movies made me believe that love would come cold and distant. It made me believe that love was supposed to have lots of passionate screaming and fights.

Eventually, I started to observe the relationships around me. My parents have the greatest love for each other. They were my first and greatest example of what I want in a relationship. Honestly, films should be making movies about them. They were and are always so joyous and just partners in everything. They encouraged me to find that same thing. My friends on the other hand made me afraid of love. I would watch them crying and yelling and I  would get confused as to why they would want to be in a relationship that made them do that. One day I told my two best friends that I was scared of love, and they both replied,

“Sarah, it’s all worth it.”

I let them believe that it was worth it, but I was very set on never loving anyone. However, that quickly changed. Junior year, love finally came to me. He came unexpectedly, just like those Hallmark movies, but he was nothing like the movies. He caught me off guard, because I expected him to be like the guys in the movies I saw. I expected him to be distant and harsh. But he wasn’t. He came sweet and gentle. He came smart and funny  and I wasn’t mature enough to realize that. As a hopeless romantic, I longed and maybe even got too infatuated with having the perfect love. That made me ignore the real love I had in front of me and it made me have unrealistic expectations for him and our love. And so, when love finally left, I realized what I had lost. But by then it was too late.

I wish I could say that the breakup made me realize that I needed self love and made me an amazing human being, but it didn’t. For a while I was just filled with such anger and bitterness; not only towards myself, but towards others as well. I became distant and spent my time sleeping. I started getting onto myself for everything I did. I stopped wanting to go out and I started thinking of guys as dogs. I started telling myself that I wasn’t enough, because if one person didn’t want me, why would anyone else? I eventually realized that I needed to snap out of it. So, I started to write more in my journal. I got painting supplies and started painting. I became obsessed with nature and being happy. But in the end I realized that I wasn’t doing this for me, I was doing it for everyone else. I wanted everyone else to see me and think that I was alright. I wanted them to know that Sarah Taylor was still doing okay, but I wasn’t.

The problem was that I kept telling myself that love left, but y’all love never left. I thought that love had to come in the form of a man. I thought that love had to be romantic and I completely forgot about all the different kinds of love. I was obsessed with my pain and feeling bad for myself, that I completely ignored everyone else around me that loved me. But slowly I started to see them. Love finally came in the form of my beautiful parents. It came in them continuously loving me through thick and thin. It came in their “thinking about you,” or “praying for you” texts. It came in  dinner and watching my favorite shows with my mom on Wednesday.

I saw love in the form of my best friends. It came in their encouraging messages to me. It came in the “you go girl,” “you got this,” pep talks. It came in late night phone calls when they would calm my aching heart. And finally, love came in my college friends. It came in late night dance sessions, screaming songs at the top of our lungs, dying hair mistakes, road trips, unexpected ear piercings, and multiple trips to Walmart.

In his book, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis says,

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Love anything: friends, family, animals and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. That’s scary that loving anything is a risk, but it’s so beautiful and so worth it.

So, as silly as it might be, Hallmark taught me that love would stay and it took me a while before I realized that love did stay.

-much love

Sarai Smile

We have all heard the story of Abraham and have probably all memorized his song. Abraham was promised by God to become “the Father of many nations.” It’s a big promise/covenant that God made with him, but God was true to His word and it happened. However, people tend to overlook Sarah (Sarai). Sarah was Abraham’s wife and she could not give Abraham a son. So, Abraham had a son with his slave, Hagar.   At the age of ninety, Sarah had given up and had no hope for a child. Until one day, Sarah overheard the three men visitors tell Abraham that she was to bear him a son. At this news, Sarah, not only smiled, but laughed to herself. She said,

“After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”-Genesis 18:12

Sarah was basically saying, “screw you, God. There is no way in hell that I could have a child at this age.” She didn’t necessarily say those words, but Sarah doubted the Lord because of her old age and it came out like that. God knew that Sarah was doubting and He said,

“Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?”-Genesis 18:13-14

I am very much like Sarah, because I am a big doubter. I might hear something and say, “oh no, I can’t do that,” or I come up with ideas of people who could do it better, because to me I am just, me. And me is just a simple girl who is inadequate for the works and plans that God has in store for me.  I am a little, loud, black girl who occasionally cracks a joke. So, when God pushes me on a new path that I’m scared of, I laugh. I’ve found that laughter is the best coverup for the fear/hurt we are afraid to show. That’s why people joke up being overweight or death or rape or just things that shouldn’t be joked up.

I could sit here behind my screen and tell you guys that I would’ve believed God right away if he had told ninety, wrinkly, old me that I was going to have a son. I could pretend that I would’ve leaped for joy at the idea and given God a big high five, but then I would be lying. If God had told me that, I wouldn’t have laughed to myself like Sarah did, no, I would’ve done my worst laugh ever and walked away.

However, the beauty in all of this, is that the Lord didn’t rebuke her or hurt her for doubting. No. He simply asked the question,  “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And at the end of the day, that’s the only  question that should matter. Nothing is impossible for the Lord, absolutely nothing. 

In the end God did as he had promised and Sarah bore a son. She named him Isaac because she said,

“God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”-Genesis 21:6

I am a doubting daughter, but I realize that God always fulfills his promises and Sarah did as well. So, to all Sarahs out there (literally and not literally), you can smile, and you can laugh, but never doubt the love and covenants of the Lord.

-much love

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