Monday, April 24, 2017

Postmates- delivered right to ya

Ever heard of Postmates? It's a 24/7, on demand delivery that will bring anything to your door. I've used it 3 or 4 times, this morning was one of those. I put in a Postmates order for an Americano from Jubala. I watched the website process and this wheel labeled, "searching for drivers", spin and spin and nothing connected. I assumed the Postmates drivers were probably sleeping in, or just might not be out braving the rain. With an, "ugh" I exited out of the website and shut my laptop screen. "I guess I'll take the time to make a French Press instead." Disclosure: Jubala is 3 minutes from my was RAINING ok?! Lazy...first world...entitled...extra...diva...I know throw all the labels at me. I'll take the hits.

To be honest (real honest), it's always a hit or miss with me and this dang French Press. I either execute an incredibly great cup or an incredibly weak-spit-it-out-of-your-mouth cup. I've come to the conclusion that when the latter happens..I am usually overthinking it. Not enough water...too much water...ground are too coarse..ground are too fine...did it bloom long enough? I worked (in the kitchen) of hands down the best, one of the most "prestigious" coffee shops in the area...with some of the best baristas. And yet STILL I fail to create a good cup of coffee. I know all the terms, all the techniques, have watched countless how-to videos, and even had a lesson or two from some of my barista friends.

Needless to say this morning was a MISS, a big fat L for my French Press and I. When I lock eyes with that sucker it's like I know I'm going to come out humbled on the other side. So I sat in my chair and sipped (choked) (kidding it wasn't that horrible just not up to par after drinking Jub coffee the past 5 months) the subpar coffee as I read.

AND THEN THE LIGHT APPEARED and Carley opens my door holding the yellow cup, "uh your Postmates guy has been BANGING on the door." My jaw drops and I explain how I didn't think the order went through. I looked to the right at my French Press and then to the left at the mediocre big ol cup of humble. I drop (placed, I placed) my mug down and reached my hand for the yellow cup of liquid gold--I mean espresso. Still with the bitter, slightly watery french press coffee taste in my mouth, I take a sip of my Americano made by the very talented barista friends of mine and I LOL. Because I mean I know by default, anything in the yellow cup is GOOD, but it's even better when up against my horrid taste of, "I'll try next time" french press coffee.

You's not impossible. I COULD make a cup each morning that's as good as what's in the yellow cup. I've got all the tools, all the how-to notes, and correct ratios. I overthink it. I assume the default position of: this isn't going to taste good..why try. And I always rely on somebody else to make it for me.

Sometimes I think I do the same thing when walking with Jesus. I overthink everything. I'm an internal processor and sometimes that internal processor in me becomes a breeding place for lies to run rampant and lies to trample over the truth that I know to my core.

I've read the blogs, I've gotten the books, my eyes read the truth every single morning, I have some of the most Christ like people around me to watch and to learn from, I know the techniques, the best practices, the podcasts, the sermons.....and yet still sometimes when my day ends I feel like I chose to drink from a mug of incorrectly made coffee when the yellow cup was right in front of me all along. I chose my flesh over the Spirit, the lies over the truth, the slavery of my mind over the freedom.

But, then there are days that come to an end that feel like I've been drinking from the yellow cup all day long. Days where I kept my eyes and mind fixed on the truth, where I chose to live by the Spirit and not my failing flesh, where I didn't reach to put on the mask, where I lived as I was created to be, where I received the freedom that was right in front of me, and where I didn't overthink or believe the lies.

I want more of the yellow cup days. The days where I am being who I was created to be, drinking deeply of the grace and goodness of Jesus. Days with the mask off, where I am fully seen and fully heard. Days where I don't worry so much about the techniques, ratios, how others do it...and days where I simply receive the gift that's been delivered and placed right in front of me.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My flesh & my heart may fail

This summer has shaped who I am, my walk with the Lord and the rest of my life. I want to exit this. I want to stop typing. I don't even know where to begin, I'm just going to ramble, no one cares, it's too hard, I'll process later. I can't think about it long enough to type this--all thoughts running through my head.

I'm exhausted, worn out, refreshed, and renewed all at one time. I'm longing to be back, content to be here, and excited for this season of life all at one time. I can hear the Lord more clearly than ever but at the same time am having a hard time putting my finger on what exactly He's whispering to me right now.

This summer I heard the Lord audibly challenging me to bring light to dark things of my past. I heard the Lord tell me He was proud of me. I heard the Lord call me by name. I heard the Lord swoon me out of bed every single morning to sit and be with Him in the silence of that living room. I felt the Lord scoop His arm around me, cup me in His arms and nudge me really close to Him. I felt the Lord give me new lenses. Lenses that see people like He does.

I felt the Lord wrap His arms around me tighter this summer than I have ever felt before.

First session, my best friend and Young Life leader spent an entire month with me in the place I love most. We got to love on high school girls together and we got to look back six years ago to when I was one of those high school girls. I got to watch the Gospel play out full circle.

Second session, I got to leave one holy ground and enter into another. I spent the week with girls who I cherish at the very place where I fell in love with Jesus. I got to watch each one of them stand up and claim their new identity in Christ.

Third session, I got to soak in every single second of the community the Lord placed me in. I got to process the entirety of the summer & I left Crooked Creek being more in love with Jesus than when I came.

And then I came back to Raleigh and was greeted by people who I love so deeply. It was so good and so overwhelming. 24 hours later I left Raleigh to go to Asheville with my family. The following weekend I left and spent the weekend at the beach with Greater Raleigh Young Life for leader’s weekend. The weekend after that I went to Seattle & Portland with two of my very best friends. The weekend after that I took YL girls to Windy Gap for work crew. And this weekend I’m HOME! And it rocks. Don’t get me wrong- I loved the last four weeks. They were centered around really great people but, it was running me dry.

This morning was the first morning in a really long time that I had no agenda and that I was simply able to just be. And man did I Friday night I went to sleep giddy, knowing that Saturday morning would be full of a lot of goodness. I slept in, nailed the perfect French Press ratio, and made Kellza and I each a bowl of granola.

Let me just say-there have been countless times when I sit back in awe that I get to live with my twin sister & best friend. She is easily the biggest picture of redemption in my life. A few times a week we wake up and are eager to share things that we’re learning with one another. I can’t tell you how many times I jump up from my chair in the middle of what I’m reading and run across the hall to tell her something the Lord is teaching me. I learn so incredibly much from her.

I spent two and a half hours this morning in silence, just processing with the Lord.

The past week I’ve felt just plain frustrated. My eczema is FLARING for the first time in the past 6 months (don’t get me started, people), my schedule is all kinds of jumping around, and my time with the Lord just doesn’t feel intimate. I feel off from my summer rhythm.

I feel defeated and I’m confident it’s rubbed off on people around me. Including my YL girls. They know me as, “the busiest girl in Raleigh” and I HATE that. I feel spread too thin which floods into my time with them. I’m showing up. I’m checking after school, lunches, texts replied to, coffee plans, campaigners, club, and invites off the list.

From the outside I’m holding it all together, I’m keeping a steady sprint. I’m going through the motions really dang well. But, on the inside I’m not being present with them--I’m far from it. I’m thinking about the next things that are on my Google Calendar or my to-do list. Sounds similar to how I’ve been spending my mornings with the Lord.

And then I got caught. I got a text from one of my girls a few nights ago that read: "Are you okay?" and saying I had seemed distant ever since I'd been back. And then my flesh enters in and tells me to get defensive:

“Are you kidding me?! Does she know how many times I’ve been at Athens these past two weeks?! Does she even know that I plan my entire schedule around them?! Did she not just sit and see the campaigners I lead with 25 girls around me?! How dare she question if I’m, “ok”. Me?! Of course I’m ok. I’m Sarah McGlynn. The team leader, the girl who knows Young Life, the role model to these girls, the “she’s got it all together”.

No, I’m not okay. I’m exhausted. Quite frankly it’d be more fair to you if I didn’t show up at all these past 4 weeks then show up distracted, show up faking it, show up in the midst of juggling when I told that girl I’d hang out and when I told that girl I’d get coffee.

It’s not fair to them. I’m thankful she saw right through my mask. I’m thankful that she was bold enough to ask her YL leader if she was ok.

I’m thankful for a breakdown in the dermatologist parking lot the day after when my mom asks me the same question, “are you okay?”. And I respond through a cracked voice and tears streaming down my face, “No, I’m not okay.”

I’m done having it all together. I’m going to let Athens girls, my team, my friends, and my parents down a lot. And that’s okay. But how dare I show up to that school, look straight through those girls and wonder what time it is and where do I need to be next. I’m done with that. I’m going to be present. I’m going to look whoever’s right in front of me straight into the eyes and I’m going to hear the Lord whisper to me, “Hey, that one-she’s my favorite. I died on the Cross for her.” I’m going to listen and love their heart.

I’m thankful for time to sit and process and to be the real Sarah. The Sarah who lets people down, the Sarah who fails her YL girls at times, and the Sarah who doesn’t always have it all together.

But-the Sarah who knows to her core the deep love and grace her Jesus has for her. The Sarah who knows to her core her identity in being a cherished, delighted in, favorite one of the King of Kings.

What a sigh of relief that I don’t have to do this alone. Thank you, Jamie for asking me if I was okay. And thank you, Jesus for the freedom to say, “No, I’m not.”

PSALM 73:22-28 (voice + esv jammed together)
But I didn’t know the truth; I was ignorant
But look at this; You are still holding my right hand; You have been all along
Even though I was angry & hard hearted,
You will receive me to glory
For all my wanting, I don’t have anyone but You in heaven.
There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You.
I admit how broken I am in body & spirirt.
My flesh and my heart are going to fail,
But God is my strength and He will be mine forever.
But the closer I am to you, my God, the better because
life with You is good.
O Lord, You keep my safe--I will tell everyone what You have done.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Letter to my New Teamie

2 years ago was the start of the best years of my life. I remember the anticipation of wondering which Young Life team and which high school I would be placed at. Athens freaking Drive. Being a YL leader has grown me, pruned me, and taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I am giddy with excitement because TONIGHT we get two new teammates. Two new people to run alongside of us as we run alongside of Jesus in the work He's doing.

 A letter to my new teamie:

I’ve been freaking waiting for you. WE, as a team have been praying for YOU! Get ready. The Lord just hand picked YOU for what I believe (maybe I’m biased) is the greatest school in Greater Raleigh. This team of people are a people rooted in Jesus whose hearts LONG for these Athens kids to know full life. So, WELCOME!

Our focus is not to try to be the coolest YL leaders or the greatest YL leaders in the area. Or to have the most kids at our club or campaigners. Our focus is the Athen’s kids hearts. It’s to recognize that we, ourselves are broken and messed up. That we are simply along for the ride with the King of Kings. That we don’t have the power of bringing these kids from death to life but we follow the One who does. It’s to simply be WITH these kids, to show up in their lives, to care for them, to love them in hopes that Jesus would move in their hearts. Our focus is to be a team who seeks first the Kingdom. To be a team who holds one another accountable, a team who is vulnerable with each other, a team who extends grace to one another, a team who reminds each other that we cannot do this without spending time with Jesus, a team who knows that we are simply seed planters and that it’s not going to be us who changes these kids hearts. Our focus is not to put on club or a bunch of events in the name of Young Life. It is to do absolutely every single thing, from switching on the lights in between songs at club to praying with a kid at summer camp in THE NAME OF JESUS and for HIS Glory and HIS Glory alone. Not for our Glory, or our ego, our our reputation.

That is who Athens Young Life is. And we are PUMPED that YOU are joining us for the ride. I once heard it put that it’s like ‘Bring your kid to work day’. That’s us. That’s ministry. Jesus brings us to work with Him.The Lord is doing the work, the Lord makes the calls. He doesn’t need us at all, but he chooses us to come along with him. He chooses YOU to sit down with a girl over coffee and to listen to the utter brokenness in her life. He chooses YOU to step foot in that Athens parking lot & to watch as kids pour out of the front doors. He chooses YOU to have a front row seat of redemption in your girls’ lives.  He chooses YOU to be rejected time and time again. He chooses YOU to live life these girls. We just simply have to show up. What a privilege.

Here’s just a couple of practical things I’ll throw at ya, that I would have really wanted to know when becoming a Young Life leader:

  1. Wake up an hour early and spend time with Jesus. I”m telling you. This is a must. You will become dry, worn out and run down if you don’t. You have to go to His feet each morning and be filled with him. Find a routine. Don’t make it a checklist thing. Pray that He would wake you up in the morning refreshed and hungry to spend time in His Word. Maybe it’s praying a Psalm, maybe it’s journaling a prayer, maybe it’s reading aloud a chapter in Ephesians. Maybe it’s getting on your knees. Like actually getting on your knees and being silent to HEAR His voice.
  2. Contact work is scary. Stepping foot in that Athens parking lot is scary. BUT, it’s worth it. PRAY. Pray before you go to the school, pray before you get coffee with a girl, pray the day of club, pray before campaigners, pray for your girls. Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do.
  3. Don’t compare. Oh, how EASY it will be to compare yourself to your friends who are leaders. The moment they post that instagram or come home raving about how many girls came to this or that. Celebrate with them! Girls are seeing Jesus and that is awesome. But don’t compare. Don’t be discouraged if more girls are coming to their stuff than yours or if they have more phone numbers than you. Trust that the Lord is working through you. Whether you have one girl coming to things or 100 girls. He’s planting seeds and your work is not in vain.
  4. Plan your weeks on Sunday’s. Discipline is going to be key in being a YL leader. You have to manage your time. Sit down on Sunday’s and pre plan when you are going to go to after school, which games you will go to, when you will do contact work. You have to sacrifice things. There will come a day when you are in bed or have had a long day and the last thing you want to do is go to after school. Well, GO. Trust me. Get up and show up. And remind yourself that we’ve got a gift because the Athens parking lot is a total of 10 minutes from your front door. That rocks.
  5. Be who God made you to be. Girls are attracted to you and your personality is magnetic because JESUS is inside of you. Throw away the mask and live in the realm of knowing God made you to be specifically you, with your own unique likes/dislikes and gifts. High school girls are around enough people who put on fronts. Don’t be one of those. You are refreshing to them, they see something different in you. Never get so caught up in YL and going through the motions that you’re numb to the very truth you tell your YL girls. YOU are beloved, God is for YOU, He is jealous for YOU. His promises aren’t just for your girls, but also for you. Let your identity be rooted in Jesus.

I don’t have it all figured out, trust me. But I’m growing and I’m learning every day what it looks like to follow Jesus in this world. And I’m excited to do ministry with you and to be your teammate. Your heart will soon grow to cherish Athens Drive High School more than your very own high school, your heart will soon break for the high school girls you begin to live life with and your heart will begin to be changed simply by choosing to run after these girls like Jesus runs after you.
Welcome aboard and get ready for the ride of your life. Go Jags.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Where to begin

Hello my old friend. It's been since February?! Wow. The thought of even trying to post my thoughts and what's been going on since is overwhelming. I think I've clicked the "X" on this browser three times, and then reopened it...because I really do love spending time right here. I'm always struck with the question of: why am I writing on this dang thing? There's a fine balance between doing something I love--writing... and writing to be seen, for other to think highly of me. Maybe that's why I took a break for a while, my heart wasn't in the right place. Who knows, well I'm back.

I'll tell you this...these past six months have been just a whole lot of emotions colliding...head on. Coming home from spending three months at a Young Life camp and from spending three months with the some of the greatest people I've ever lived life with was hard. It was overwhelming and confusing. It was exhausting trying to process the summer while being slapped quite hard in the face with detail after detail after thing after thing that needed to be done. The "how was your summer?" question quickly started to become my least favorite question. I didn't know how in the heck to answer that. "Well uh it was good, it was hard, I'm not really sure, how was yours?". I was transitioning from withdrawing from NCSU, to heading into seminary courses at Southeastern Theological, to trying to find a job, to moving into a house, to becoming team leader, to starting on YL student staff. All good things. All just very overwhelming things.

I was hit with reality when I didn't get to wake up next to nine of my best friends, when I didn't get to see Kagney slouched in that broken chair each morning, when I wasn't greeted with Mere at 4PM in the kitchen on those slightly dreadful Monday nights, when I no longer got to listen to Emily's stories of the pure ruckus that went on in that barn that day, when Sunday nights weren't spent running (sweating) around the obstacle course and radioing Mike with the ever so classic, "uh we got another lantern out", when Fridays didn't consist of sitting in that Toyota 4 Runner soaking in the wisdom that flowed from Kfar. When walking was now an actual walk, not a sprint around the camp with Jordan lol. When at 6AM Tuesday mornings I wasn't eating kettle chips with MC and Tuesday nights were no longer spent sitting, simply being, and worshipping with the other interns. When I no longer stepped out of my bed and pulled the curtain to this:

Instead life in Raleigh right now looks a little it more like this: ok wake up early, try to spend time with Jesus, oh but wait I need to move this into the new house, oh and that pile of laundry I should probably fold, ok now try to watch these online lectures, oh what about my YL girls, I need to text them and hang out with them, oh man I didn't get a chance to spend time with Jesus today, oh it's time to leave to go and babysit, get back with enough time to have coffee with this friend, I'm going to be really present while I'm having with coffee with my friend, OHH but wait don't forget to send that email to those parents, hopefully I also don't forget to check in on how my fundraising is going, and oh yeah I need to make sure I make that appointment and get to Target to buy those frames for the house. Shoot I should probably call my mom. Oh it's midnight and I need to wake up at 6AM and hopefully try to read my Bible? Crap.


Getting my soul to quiet down these days, particularly these mornings is kind of like trying to get a four year old to sit still in church. Always distracted. The early hours are good, it's quiet, and His Word is loud. But yet still hard to hear because of the lists and things to do flowing non stop through my head. I tell myself, ok I need this really bad this morning, be still, get past the thoughts in your head and read. Read it over and over and over again. It hard, it's really hard.

But what I do know is Jesus never said it would be easy.

He just told us He would give us all of Himself if we give Him all of ourselves — our mind, our soul, our strength.

Our heart.

So that's just what I'll do.

It's going to be messy, but through it I'll keep my eyes fixed on Him, I'll remember the goodness of what I learned and who I met in that Valley, I'll remember that the same God on that mountain is the same God here in Raleigh. I'll stop making excuses, and I'll put myself in front of the Lord. I'll find that silent spot in my life-in the midst of the chaos and I'll listen. I'll listen to the God who can't keep his eyes off of me, to the God who delights in me, to the God who cups my face in His hands and turns it back towards His.

-Isaiah 62:4-
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cooking and the Oak Tree

I fall off the boat pretty quick when it comes to keeping up with this blog. So, for that I'm sorry. Life seems to go, go, go lately. But then again when does it not seem like that? I'm grateful that the Lord is constant and that day by day He keeps me grounded. I'm grateful that He is playful in the ways He sends me small glimpses of His consistency throughout the day. These past couple months I have found myself saying over and over and over again, "Man. The Lord is oh so faithful." It makes me want to slam my hands over and over into the ceilings of my car, it makes my voice singing praises to Him want to crack like a 13 year old boy. It makes me want to just run down the street with no where to go, just running and dancing in the street. He is so dang good. Yet I go about each day skipping over giving Him praise, my days are consumed with going, going, going, that I forget. I forget to stop and take a deep hard look at His faithfulness. 
I spent last night & today at home. One of my favorite places to be with two of my favorite people; my mom and dad. Life seems to slow down a little when I'm here. And I like that. I thrive off of being with these two. Despite a really hard past couple of days for my mom, despite surgery and doctors appointments they are full of an incredible joy and an incredible way of cherishing every moment of being together. Sometimes I like to just watch them and the way they love one another. 

One of their biggest delights is cooking together every week and last night I got to cook with them. I wish each and every one of you could be in the kitchen with them. My dad turns on James Brown or Earth Wind and Fire on his corny little bluetooth speaker, that he is a little too proud of. He calls off the ingredients needed in the recipe, my mom gathers them out of the fridge. They decide who will chop what, who will marinate what, who will stir. They just flow well together and it's the greatest thing ever to watch. They laugh, they joke, they slow life down and enjoy the moment. It's refreshing, it really is. It's in moments like last night that make a grin come over my face and make me think "Jesus is here. He's good and He's faithful." It's good to slow down. It's hard, but it's good. 

I spent today trying to do just that. To slow down. I turned my phone turned off for the day. Honestly it's embarrassing how connected I am to my phone throughout the week. It consumes me, as I'm sure it does to most of us. I have to force myself to put it away, and that's what I did today. It was good.  Really good. I spent the day trying to be in tune with Jesus with no distractions; lots of reading, lots of writing, lots of sitting in my favorite spot on my porch. There is so much freedom in taking away all distractions. No phone, no group messages, no headphones, no music, no TV, no pictures, no Instagram. 

Most of the day was just me, Jesus and the sounds that come from my front yard. One of my favorite things in life might be sitting in the chair on my front porch, with a blanket and just listening to the various noises that are heard from that spot. Birds, lots of birds, the roar of cars coming from Ten-Ten Rd, the often interruption of Bella barking or scratching to sit in my lap, the clinking of someone putting away the dishes in the kitchen. The way the warmth from the sun always seems to hit just the right spot of that chair. I love that spot. I love being with Jesus in that spot. I often wish each person I know could know what it's like to be completely in tune with Jesus on that porch. What I love most is the smack dab front view of the oak tree. 
the oak tree last winter
the oak tree last summer
I could stare at it for hours. It grabs me and reminds me of who God is. It's so prominent and strong. It's so grounded by the trunk and the roots. There's so many things that find life in that oak tree, like the bald eagle I saw fly off the top earlier today and the birds nest 7 branches up, and the squirrels that seem to risk suicide playing tag from twig to twig. And every so often there's a branch that's dead and dangles from the tree. 

What a representation of who Jesus is and who we are. He is strong, He gives life, He is our base and our strength. He is that trunk, those roots. And we are those branches. Apart from those roots there are no branches. Every so often there is a dangling, about-to-fall-off branch that needs to be cut and pruned from the tree. Just like my heart. What a symbol that oak tree is. 

Lord, you are righteous and mighty. May I never take my eyes off or grow apart from You. Each morning I want to crawl into Your lap and I want to intentionally be with You. I want to slow down. I want to ask You each day adventurously and expectantly, "What's next, Abba?". I want to delight in the disciplines and I want to carry that heart of delight wherever I go. I want to smell like You. I want my heart to yearn for those who aren't living a life with You. I want my heart to break for them in a genuine and real way. I want to be vulnerable, I want to confess that I'm broken, I want to share the stuff that really sucks and not just the good stuff with my community. I want to shed light on a whole lot of darkness. You truly are growing and pruning me each day. You are cupping my face in Your hands, turning my face towards You and saying, "Hey Sarah, I got you. I have you. Would you trust me? You are mine. You are my Beloved. Take a breath, slow down from the busyness of life and sit with me." 

I want to sing His praises more. I want my voice to crack more. I want to run and dance in delight of Him more. I want to slow down, to cook and listen to September by Earth Wind and Fire with my mom and dad more. I want to put my phone away more and I just want to sit and bask in His goodness and faithfulness. I want to take time to sit and stare at that oak tree and be reminded of Who has me and Who calls me theirs.