I had a few of my friends and their families from church over to my home. My friend Cara and I were having a conversation both with our elbows on the bartop. You see, Cara has 4 kids and her own story, her own storm. I wouldn't share as I don't have her permission to do so. However, we have two different situations, but the walk is the same. She said, "Sarah, how do you do it?"
I replied with wisdom (only in the power of the Holy Spirit), "Cara, you guys get the best of me."
She reciprocated, "You get the best of me too."
(Just so I'm clear, I'm not talking about being fake or nontransparent.)
"The Best of Me"
These words have resonated with me since. I wanted to write, but it wasn't time. God has allowed me to ponder over this phrase since then. You see, when I write, it doesn't come from me, rather from the Holy Spirit. I would have only given you gibberish. Going ahead of God wouldn't be wise.
The first and most important thing I have learned over the last month or so is how real and crucial it is for me to depend on God. And I'm talking about every minute of the day, from making it to church, to cleaning my house, all the way down to being able to breathe and for my heart to beat. If I want the best of me to show up, meticulous planning is unavoidable, prayer is wisest and sleep is a necessity, medication is crucial.
I love this story, because it makes me laugh every time I tell it. One of my girls were having a play date here (I can't remember which one.) I was walking around doing my house duties and checking in on the girls often. I kept saying over and over... and over, "In Jesus Name I can do this. In Jesus Name I can do this." The friend of my girls, looked at one of them and said, "Why does your mom keep saying Jesus?" I laughed so hard. I realized the importance of prayer so the mom would get the "best of me" when she came to pick up her child. The funny thing is, I naturally claim this so much that I don't even realize it's coming out of my mouth at times.
When I am going away to see family, packing medicines for me and the girls is daunting. Over the last few years, I have been so leary of this task that I didn't go home much. You see, if you forget something, you can just go to the store and purchase a new one. Not us, we cannot miss a beat. And my brain is sure to be against me. When we were at the beach this past summer I had forgotten a very important part of my protocol. My dad had to drive me all the way to Wilmington (45 minute drive) just to get it (luckily it was a supplement that COULD be purchased). It would not be the same with my heart medicine. However, God has faithfully gotten us through these times of planning.
As I am getting better at a snails pace, 2 steps forward one step back, I laugh, smile, and am joyful only by the power of the Holy Spirit. I can honestly tell you, that's the best of me. This verse has been a focal point for me, consistently reminding myself of the outcome.
James 1:2-4 says,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Sleep and medication are just as important. The Lord has led me to the right doctors who have a handle on our Lyme Complex disease. I MUST listen to them and take my medicine on time.
The best of me.
You help bring out the best of me. Distraction is helpful.
My days are ups and downs within minutes, but you don't see that. If I'm out with friends or even at church and I crash, I leave, but always finishing my duties first. I don't cry in front of you. I would have told you that I couldn't feel my heart beat last night and that I was so weak and shaky, but you wouldn't want to listen or possibly believe me. I prayed and waited for it to come back. I can't tell you that. It's a catch 22, because you help bring out the best of me, but you don't want to see the worst of me. The worst of me is clinging onto God for dear life.
That day when I couldn't get a heart beat, it was close to the time I was supposed to meet Reese and Lilli at the bus. Reese is in kindergarten and they would have kept her on the bus to go back to school. I was desperate, and I texted 4 people I had phone numbers of other moms. None of them got the message in time. Believe me when I say, I hardly ever ask for help, but this was impossible for me to get out of my bed. I had briefly met a mom on the field trip a month ago; it was less than 30 seconds. She texted me a few days prior to this to set up a play date. I asked her to get Reese! I had to trust God. She was amazing and brougt her home; she said she was happy to help. Wow. Talk about depending on God. A few people including myself were praying that my circulation would come back at full force. And... it... did. Again, the Lord Almighty, Creator of all things was my hope.
"You look great Sarah!"
"You look like you are getting better!"
"Wow your makeup looks great!"
"You've gained weight! That's wonderful."
--Trying to convince themselves--
I've heard these comments at the best of times and at the worst of times.
This disease takes my full attention and mindfullness and the progression is slow, but there IS progression. Again, praise God.
It's bitter sweet to hear those words. I want to share the whole picture, but the whole picture is too hard for people. No one wants to know my reality. I'm certain of this because every time I try to share my trials, the feedback is almost always
S I L E N C E
Noone can even get one single word out, not even a sympathetic, "I'm sorry."
Recently I was told that all I talk about is lyme and our trials. I have been told that I need to just focus on Christ, not lyme. Many times in a roundabout way, I've been told that I don't have enough faith for God to heal me. The darts fly by my head again and again...
I have compared responses from others to the 3 friends of Job in the Bible. They came to comfort him, but actually pointed fingers at him. God had allowed Satan to take everything from him except his life, and he was very sick and in great anguish. The first 7 days they sat with him in S I L E N C E. This was out of love as the Bible states, and I know my speechless friends and family love me as well. After 7 days, each friend shared their thoughts and solutions; they reminded me of my friends and family.
Bildad says to Job, "But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home." Job 8:5-6
Focus on Christ, not on the Lyme
Zophar says to Job, "Shouldn't someone answer this torrent of words? Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? Should I remain silent while you bable on?" Job 11:2-3
stop talking Sarah
Eliphaz's response, "If I were you, I would go to God and present my case to him. He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles." Job 5:8-9
you need to have more faith so He will heal you
Job complains a lot about his circumstance, and believes he has that right to complain. I was taking Lilli and Reese to get their blood checked during treatment. In the past it's always been a nightmare. Lilli is a champ at it, but she threw up in the car, so now it was just Reese. When she asked what we were doing, I felt terrible to lie to her, so I told her. She threw the biggest fit as epxected. But I did not expect her words.
Sobbing she says, "Mommy I wish I was never born. I never wanted to be like this!" Now I'm sobbing. She broke my heart, because I never wanted this for her either, but to say she didn't want to be born was devastating. Needless to say I just couldn't take her in. So now Matt is responsible for it. Hehe.
Again, Reese's words being similar to Jobs:
“Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb? Job 3:11-12
After all of this accusation and complaining, God patiently waits to speak. This is my favorite part of Job, because it's one of the most humbling parts of the Bible. I urge you to read the entire Scripture at Job 38-42.
I want to share a few of my favorite parts:
Job 38:4-7 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angelsa shouted for joy?
Job 38:17 Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created,
and you are so very experienced!
Job 39:19-25 “Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying! It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle. It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword. The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash. It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows. It snorts at the sound of the horn.
It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.
The best and worst of me
Must... Depend... On... God.
My acceptance has to come from Him or I'm a mess. Matt has seen me a mess a few times.
Still. The best of me.
The Best of me.
The Best of me = Christ in Me.
The Worst of me = Strength in Christ
Death is very real. People are fearful of the subject of death. I had a conversation with my mom and I said, "Mom, I don't want you guys to be hurt or surprised if I do die." She nearly cut me off and said, "Sarah I choose to think positive. Being positive is great when it's the truth. But when positive is not facing reality, it becomes a feel good lie.
Why is death such a terrible thing in the minds of people? Death in Christ is healing. Death in Christ is becoming truly alive and whole. The ultimate healing. Healing ABSOLUTELY will come, but it will come on God's terms, according to His will, not my own.
I don't think you realize how many times I've asked God to heal me or take me home with Him. That's kind of sad for me. Paul asked 3 times, and God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Cor 12:9) I stopped asking a long time ago, but this does not resonate well with others. Would you believe me if I told you that Jesus asked? He only asked once. At Gethsemane, able to see the future (He was also God), He cried blood. He was distraught and asked God if there is any other way? But ultimately He said but not my will be done, but yours Father. So that's where I am.
My place is, "Not my will be done, but yours Father."
So you get the best of me, because I rely on Christ's strength in my weaknesses.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
The Best of me = Christ in Me.
The Worst of me = Strength in Christ
Who am I to question God's will for my life? To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
This is too good not to share the entire Scripture: Job 38-42
I hope you will take the time to read it.
The LORD Challenges Job
Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom
with such ignorant words?
Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
4“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
5Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
6What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
7as the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8“Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
9and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
10For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
11I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’
12“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
13Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
14As the light approaches,
the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
it is robed in brilliant colors.
15The light disturbs the wicked
and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
16“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
Have you explored their depths?
17Do you know where the gates of death are located?
Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
18Do you realize the extent of the earth?
Tell me about it if you know!
19“Where does light come from,
and where does darkness go?
20Can you take each to its home?
Do you know how to get there?
21But of course you know all this!
For you were born before it was all created,
and you are so very experienced!
22“Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of hail?
23(I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war.)
24Where is the path to the source of light?
Where is the home of the east wind?
25“Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
Who laid out the path for the lightning?
26Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
in a desert where no one lives?
27Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
and make the tender grass spring up?
28“Does the rain have a father?
Who gives birth to the dew?
29Who is the mother of the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
30For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
and the surface of the water freezes.
31“Can you direct the movement of the stars--
binding the cluster of the Pleiades
or loosening the cords of Orion?
32Can you direct the sequence of the seasons
or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
33Do you know the laws of the universe?
Can you use them to regulate the earth?
34“Can you shout to the clouds
and make it rain?
35Can you make lightning appear
and cause it to strike as you direct?
36Who gives intuition to the heart
and instinct to the mind?
37Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
38when the parched ground is dry
and the soil has hardened into clods?
39“Can you stalk prey for a lioness
and satisfy the young lions’ appetites
40as they lie in their dens
or crouch in the thicket?
41Who provides food for the ravens
when their young cry out to God
and wander about in hunger?
The LORD’s Challenge Continues
1“Do you know when the wild goats give birth?
Have you watched as deer are born in the wild?
2Do you know how many months they carry their young?
Are you aware of the time of their delivery?
3They crouch down to give birth to their young
and deliver their offspring.
4Their young grow up in the open fields,
then leave home and never return.
5“Who gives the wild donkey its freedom?
Who untied its ropes?
6I have placed it in the wilderness;
its home is the wasteland.
7It hates the noise of the city
and has no driver to shout at it.
8The mountains are its pastureland,
where it searches for every blade of grass.
9“Will the wild ox consent to being tamed?
Will it spend the night in your stall?
10Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow?
Will it plow a field for you?
11Given its strength, can you trust it?
Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work?
12Can you rely on it to bring home your grain
and deliver it to your threshing floor?
13“The ostrich flaps her wings grandly,
but they are no match for the feathers of the stork.
14She lays her eggs on top of the earth,
letting them be warmed in the dust.
15She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them
or a wild animal might destroy them.
16She is harsh toward her young,
as if they were not her own.
She doesn’t care if they die.
17For God has deprived her of wisdom.
He has given her no understanding.
18But whenever she jumps up to run,
she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.
19“Have you given the horse its strength
or clothed its neck with a flowing mane?
20Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust?
Its majestic snorting is terrifying!
21It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength
when it charges out to battle.
22It laughs at fear and is unafraid.
It does not run from the sword.
23The arrows rattle against it,
and the spear and javelin flash.
24It paws the ground fiercely
and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows.
25It snorts at the sound of the horn.
It senses the battle in the distance.
It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.
26“Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar
and spread its wings toward the south?
27Is it at your command that the eagle rises
to the heights to make its nest?
28It lives on the cliffs,
making its home on a distant, rocky crag.
29From there it hunts its prey,
keeping watch with piercing eyes.
30Its young gulp down blood.
Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”
1Then the LORD said to Job,
2“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Job Responds to the LORD
3Then Job replied to the LORD,
4“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
I will cover my mouth with my hand.
5I have said too much already.
I have nothing more to say.”
The LORD Challenges Job Again
6Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind:
7“Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.
8“Will you discredit my justice
and condemn me just to prove you are right?
9Are you as strong as God?
Can you thunder with a voice like his?
10All right, put on your glory and splendor,
your honor and majesty.
11Give vent to your anger.
Let it overflow against the proud.
12Humiliate the proud with a glance;
walk on the wicked where they stand.
13Bury them in the dust.
Imprison them in the world of the dead.
14Then even I would praise you,
for your own strength would save you.
15“Take a look at Behemoth,a
which I made, just as I made you.
It eats grass like an ox.
16See its powerful loins
and the muscles of its belly.
17Its tail is as strong as a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
18Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs are bars of iron.
19It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
and only its Creator can threaten it.
20The mountains offer it their best food,
where all the wild animals play.
21It lies under the lotus plants,b
hidden by the reeds in the marsh.
22The lotus plants give it shade
among the willows beside the stream.
23It is not disturbed by the raging river,
not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it.
24No one can catch it off guard
or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.
The LORD’s Challenge Continues
1a“Can you catch Leviathanb with a hook
or put a noose around its jaw?
2Can you tie it with a rope through the nose
or pierce its jaw with a spike?
3Will it beg you for mercy
or implore you for pity?
4Will it agree to work for you,
to be your slave for life?
5Can you make it a pet like a bird,
or give it to your little girls to play with?
6Will merchants try to buy it
to sell it in their shops?
7Will its hide be hurt by spears
or its head by a harpoon?
8If you lay a hand on it,
you will certainly remember the battle that follows.
You won’t try that again!
9cNo, it is useless to try to capture it.
The hunter who attempts it will be knocked down.
10And since no one dares to disturb it,
who then can stand up to me?
11Who has given me anything that I need to pay back?
Everything under heaven is mine.
12“I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs
and its enormous strength and graceful form.
13Who can strip off its hide,
and who can penetrate its double layer of armor?d
14Who could pry open its jaws?
For its teeth are terrible!
15Its scales are like rows of shields
tightly sealed together.
16They are so close together
that no air can get between them.
17Each scale sticks tight to the next.
They interlock and cannot be penetrated.
18“When it sneezes, it flashes light!
Its eyes are like the red of dawn.
19Lightning leaps from its mouth;
flames of fire flash out.
20Smoke streams from its nostrils
like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes.
21Its breath would kindle coals,
for flames shoot from its mouth.
22“The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck
strikes terror wherever it goes.
23Its flesh is hard and firm
and cannot be penetrated.
24Its heart is hard as rock,
hard as a millstone.
25When it rises, the mighty are afraid,
gripped by terror.
26No sword can stop it,
no spear, dart, or javelin.
27Iron is nothing but straw to that creature,
and bronze is like rotten wood.
28Arrows cannot make it flee.
Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass.
29Clubs are like a blade of grass,
and it laughs at the swish of javelins.
30Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass.
It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud.
31“Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.
It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.
32The water glistens in its wake,
making the sea look white.
33Nothing on earth is its equal,
no other creature so fearless.
34Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.
It is the king of beasts.”
Job Responds to the LORD
1Then Job replied to the LORD:
2“I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
3You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
4You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
5I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
Conclusion: The LORD Blesses Job
7After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. 8So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” 9So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the LORD commanded them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.
10When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!11Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the LORD had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of moneya and a gold ring.
12So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters.14He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.
16Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. 17Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.