Saturday, January 31, 2009

11 months later...

this is what my reality looks like...

Psalm 103:1-4
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and
crowns you with love and compassion.
It is unbelievable to think that 11 months ago was the beginning of the end. I have struggled so much within the last week...struggled with my self-esteem, struggled with how I see God, struggled with feeling so alone. I keep hearing the title of the book "When God Writes Your Love Story" and I keep mumbling that the version I'm going to pen will be titled "When God Writes Your Death Story"...I know, that is a little morbid, but it's 100% honesty at its rawest. My mind has run rampant with pure and utter resentment towards the "perfects", people who seem to float through life with nothing but good things going their way. I have harbored bitterness in my heart towards people who are able to easily have a beautiful marriage, complete with beautiful babies. I have felt a brokenness within me, that if not contained could very well break my spirit and leave me the shattered-shadow of a person.
As you can see, its been pretty rough.
Now I realize that its all a mixture of natural human emotion and very specific spiritual warfare...and in keeping that in mind, I know that I have to keep my eye on the prize, that I have to keep praising my God. I look at Job, and he refused to "curse God and die"...he kept his eyes towards heaven. I look within myself and see an ocean of dreams waiting to be fulfilled and my only hope in this, is God. So as I enter into what I begin to believe may be a "tough month", I'm going to stand firm on God's truth that "sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning". I believe God is challenging me to hold on to my dreams and keep them close to my heart...despite present circumstances.
So Sarah Webb...what dreams are you holding on to.
To one day experience living life with the man that God is preparing for I know this is going to be a tough job for whoever you are. You have incredibley large shoes to fill and you are going to have to be an absolutely exceptional person, full of integrity, strength, and love. I realize that I may not fit the mold of a typical person, but trust me when I say that I dance through life with a joy that most of the times is uncontainble. This last year has been a time of testing; testing of my character, testing of my inner strength, testing of my faith...but I promise you, that the sky is breaking and I can start to see the sun shine. And one day, when you look into my eyes, I will set your heart on fire with joy. One day you are going to read this, so I might as well keep going with my dreams. I want to adopt 6 children from all over the world...children who need a mom and dad to love them unconditionally, to give them a good life, to raise them up to be princes and princesses of God...I know that God has prepared me to be an amazing mom, and I'm sure you are going to be an amazing dad, and together we will impact young lives that in turn will impact the world. And as we cultivate our family and grow together in love, I also want a living room that is light yellow with stark white trim, a greenhouse in the backyard full of beautiful, growing plants, family dinners that have endless amounts of joyful laughter echoing throughout our home. These are my dreams, these are the things I hold dear in my heart.
So, 11 month anniversary...I can choose to be completely misreable and sad, and slide back into grieving...or I can choose to hold tight to my dreams, and get buckled in...because once you begin believing in your dreams, God takes you on a wild ride.

I've shed enough tears...I'm now choosing to buckle my seatbelt.

posted by Sarah W @ 11:32 PM   1 Comments

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dream #1 : Swim with Manatees

The first time I ever went kayaking in Florida, I experience manatees first hand, as I paddled my hardest to the channel bank and began screaming "What was that thing!?"

That trip began an eleven year love story between me and those beautiful gentle giants. I did as much research as possible on manatees, collected manatees figurines, and deep in my heart, I began to have a dream to swim with the manatees. And finally, after much waiting, my opportunity came.
Thursday morning came quickly as the alarm rang at 4:50am. I immediately jumped out of bed, bright-eyed and ready to go. I slept in my bathing suit the night before so I wouldn't waste time getting dressed. My stepdad, my cousin and I got into the car and drove 25 minutes to meet up with "Captain Mike". We arrived at the Tour Center, where we were quickly shuffled into a room to put on our wetsuits. Afterwards, we sat down and watched a deliciously 1980s film on keeping the manatees safe and how to swim with them safely. Captain Mike began passing out blankets to us and we boarded the short bus to ride down to the boat.

We boarded the boat and began our 30 minute boat ride to get to the headsprings to begin our swim. The sun had not even risen at that point. It was pitch black dark and still very very cold. 26 degree cold. Kayla (my cousin) and I huddled together to attempt to keep warm with our blankets, but within five minutes I literally could not feel my feet. The guy driving the boat (also named Mike, but not to be confused with Captain Mike) explained to us how to swim with the manatees (horizontal! Never vertical!) and explained how to use our snorkel...he also kept stressing the importance of being quiet, being gentle, utilizing the dead man float, and just letting the manatees come to you.

By 7:00am or so, we arrived to the headsprings and began our journey to the water. Boat drive Mike put de-fog solution in our goggles and put float-aides to help us float better. And one by one we got into the water. Surprisingly, although it was 26 degrees outside, the water was a constant 72 degrees year round, and it felt like bath water. As I floated in the water and let my fingers and toes de-thaw, I decided it was time to finally start my swim. And I fixed my goggles and snorkel and went under water.

And began having an anxiety attack.

Oh yeah, did I explain that I had an intense fear of open bodies of water. No one can prepare for exactly how LARGE a manatee is face to face. Boat driver Mike tried to prepare us, but even his warning (they are alot bigger than you think) could not even prepare me for being face to face with a 15 foot long, 2000 pound underwater mammal. I came out of the water telling them that I didn't think I could do this and that I was starting to freak out. Boat Driver Mike (lets just start calling him Mike) said "theres nothing in the water that can hurt you".

And it hit me. This was my biggest and most attainable dream to date and that I was living it and more importantly I could not let my fear overwhelm my dream. And with this revelation, I went back underwater and began to enjoy myself.

Manatees are alot like mischievious little cats. They love playing with string and ropes, and will interact with you similarly to a cat. One particular mantee that was nicknamed Snuggles, kept coming to me and wanting me to pet him and he kissed my hand. Another manatee came to me and rolled around so I would pet his belly. During our hour and a half swim, we were surrounded by as few as a dozen manatees and as many as 20. They ranged in sizes from 5 feet up to 15 feet. Some were as big as a human (babies) some were as much as a van. They were beautiful....I would swim and look them in the eyes and just melted when their eyes met mine. I pet each and every one of them and enjoyed every moment. Each one was unique...they had algae on their backs, and one had hair on his body, and each bore scars on their backs from careless boat drivers who have hit them. In my head I was singing David Crowders version of "All Creatures of Our God and King" was the most magical and beautiful experience I have had in a very long time. And well worth the 11 year wait.

When it was time to leave, it had warmed up to a nice 30 degrees outside. As we got dressed icycles formed in our hair. My hands were so cold I could not even button my pants. I lost feeling in my hands and feet. But despite all of these things, nothing could wipe the smile that was on my face.
So after enduring 26 degree weather, getting up at 4:50am, and conquering my intense fear of water...I lived my dream. So my challenge to you is - what would you endure to live your dream? Never give up. Never let anything stop you.

Don't let your fear overwhelm your dream.

(on a side note - the wonderful people at Walgreens, who are all genius's, did not really know what they were doing as they opened my water proof disposable camera, over exposing all the film and in turn, ruining every single picture I had take of me and the I have no pictures of the actual manatees and me...but here are some highlights)

posted by Sarah W @ 10:23 PM   1 Comments

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

As my heart falls apart...

Strength in numbers.

I open and read an email and proceed with reading a blog and my heart simply fell apart.

Let's begin at the beginning.

I was blessed enough to meet E. I was call her E because I'm not sure if she wants her name painted all over my blog. But in meeting E and talking with E, I found an extreme amount of comfort from her words. She too was a young widow, her husband suddenly dying, leaving her with two very small children. She gave me comfort, she gave me hope, she gave me love. It were her words that affirmed me and calmed my fears. She let the light of Christ shine through her heart into my email, and let her radiating love burst through my computer screen. I will always remember the blessing of E.

Today, a friend from school approached me about allowing another friend read my blog. Of course, I was thrilled at this...When I went online and looked at this new friends blog, my heart slowly began to unravel. By the end of the night after she had befriended me on facebook, sent me an email, and I spent a good amount of time looking at pictures and reading her blog...I can safely say that my heart is so heavy right now, I'm surprised it hasn't dropped right out of my chest.

This new friend, another E, lost her husband a few months. And like myself, had been trying to have a baby. My heart broke into a thousand pieces reading her blog. I literally wanted to crawl through the computer screen and hug her. I would've never thought in a thousand years that would be two of us, so similar in circumstance.

And so to you, dear sweet E. My heart aches with the very thought of your situation and at the same it overflows with love. I leave you with this thought...

From Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

From Isaiah 54:10
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

From Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

From Psalm 126:5-6
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy,
He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with him

My final thought...From Eccl 3:4
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance

One day E, you will dance again...until then, His unwavering Love surrounds you.

posted by Sarah W @ 12:08 AM   17 Comments

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Goodbye 2008 - you sucked

So long to 2008 AKA the worst and the best year of my life.

January - A beautiful month
February - I re-fell in love with my husband
March - He died and I became a zombie
April - I started to slowly wake up
May - I started to get angry
June - I became more angry and lonely
July - I hit rock bottom
August - I found hope
September - I started to see Joy
October - I finally started to find myself
November - I finally began healing
December - I became at peace

So here's to a year of losing and learning.

2009 WILL be my best year ever.

In retrospect - 2008 was a tough year. I have never been loneliner. I have never been happier. Its a paradoxial year where I lost what was most important to me, and gained more than I could've ever expected from such an experience.

Happy New Year....I hope and pray its your best year yet!

posted by Sarah W @ 2:35 AM   2 Comments