Today we're excited to share with you this interview we recently did with Sarah. As you read, we pray that you will be refreshed and encouraged in your own walk with Christ!
I received the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart at the age of 5, just three days after my 5th birthday. I will forever be grateful for my mother who led me in prayer to receive Christ. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I really began to grow spiritually, and not until I was in my teen years did I begin to more fully understand what Christ did for me. At one point during those years, my family was experiencing difficulties and for the first time I questioned God and even got upset at Him. Doubts began to creep in and I thought, “Perhaps I am not really a Christian.” But as much as I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t one, Romans 8:16 came true in my life as God’s Spirit bore witness with my spirit that I was indeed His child! That settled it.
I grew up in a family where we called ourselves Christians and others looked at us as a “perfect family.” I learned to wear a big “Christian” mask. It was a good mask that covered all the turmoil and struggles beneath. By the age of 12, I wondered if this was all there was to the Christian life. We were the only homeschooled family in our church and I had no close friends through my teen years. However, I would not trade the best friend in the world for those lonely years that caused me to become best friends with my Savior – the Friend of friends. He became my best friend! He walked with me through the heartaches and tears, the pains of family relationships, and shared with me the joys of walking with Him.
My spiritual life was awakened when I attended a seminar at the age of 13. I believe this is when I truly started living for Christ as I learned what it meant. I discovered there was so much more to the Christian life than religiously reading my Bible and praying every day. Looking back, I can see I began to grow by leaps and bounds as God gave me the desire to eagerly apply foundational principles of life. At the age of 16, I fully surrendered my life to the Lord. It was not at all an easy decision. I felt like I was losing my life, my dreams. But as the months went on, I found that instead of losing my life, I was finding it.
Matthew 16:25 became a reality. By “losing” my life, I found it! God began opening up more opportunities than I ever imagined to make an eternal impact in the lives of others! The years following were growing times and stretching ones for me. I learned that living for Christ meant being willing to be different, to stand alone, to not be welcomed into the “in” crowd, even amongst some Christians. But the joy and fulfillment of pleasing my Savior far outweighed any temporary pleasure of fun, and the fellowship with my Lord outweighed the pleasure of a human relationship.
Following Christ is moment by moment obedience to His promptings, every second, every minute, every hour of the day. When that moment by moment obedience goes out the window, pride and following self creeps in and soon obedience is no longer to Christ but to self.
How have you seen God take painful circumstances and turn them into something good?
Oh my! I could go on and on and share time after time of how God has turned pain into blessing. I will say one thing for sure. Though the pain was often heart wrenching (and there was a lot of it!), I would not trade any one of those experiences for a life of ease, because it has been those very circumstances that have helped me to grow the most. Sometimes I have not seen the good of a situation until months or even years later. But in the end, God is good. All the time! Even now, I still struggle to see the good of a vehicle collision God placed me in over a year ago as I continue to battle its physical and emotional effects. But I know that one day, I will see His plan! Circumstances can either make you bitter or better. I challenge you to choose the latter.
I think "crazy" could sum it up in one word. Running out at any hour of the day or night when my pager goes off, sometimes getting only a few hours of sleep, arriving to a “fainting” call to find myself doing CPR instead, being surrounded by smoke and intense heat in a grass fire, packaging patients from a rollover, being summoned to a dead person found on the side of the road, or the more routine “sick person” call …I love it! And I work with some great people. Most of all, I love getting to reach out, serve, and meet my community in a way that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to. My eyes have been opened to needs in my own community that I had not before seen. Going on these calls, I am constantly reminded that life is short.
How has the Lord been growing you
Joining the fire department has definitely been a growing experience for me. It has helped me grow in my public communication and relational skills, and it has challenged me spiritually. Being in this non-Christian environment has made me so grateful for the years of becoming first grounded in my relationship with the Lord and for the character qualities my parents instilled in me while growing up. Girls, purity and virtue will radiate from your life when you possess it! Don’t trade it for anything. When I joined the department, I was the only female for over a year. Yet I sensed the guys treat me with respect and honor. People would apologize for foul language when I was around. They wouldn’t talk about certain things. Somehow, they knew. Did I come in announcing big and loud, “Hey everyone! I’m a Christian!”? No. Words and actions spoke for themselves. People sense virtue. Over all, the Lord has been using my experience with the department to challenge me as a Christian and to really know where I stand. I am definitely still growing and learning! But there is so much blessing in living for Christ, wherever you are.
If there was one thing you could share with the girls of this generation, what would it be?
Perhaps some of you may have asked, “Is it worth living for Christ?” May I answer that with a resounding “YES!”? I know that some of you reading this may be younger than me, maybe older. But as a 23 year old who has had her share of “sheltered” and “in-the-world” experiences, I can say with my whole heart, it is worth it.
No matter how pleasurable a “worldly” experience may be, nothing, girls, nothing compares to the pleasure of having a close and intimate relationship with Jesus. No matter how painful rejection may be or how uncomfortable standing alone may feel, in the end, following Jesus and living for Him is worth it. There is joy in His presence and joy in walking with Him!
As I close, I want to share three things that have been an important part of maintaining my walk with the Lord:
First is Bible reading. Having that daily quiet time with the Lord in His Word is so crucial. If you think you only need it on Sunday, don’t eat Monday through Saturday.
Second is journaling. I am so thankful my mother encouraged me to start a journal when I was 6 years old. During my teen years, my journals became more and more my conversations with Jesus, the struggles He was taking me through, the joys and victories, and it revealed my present spiritual state. Whenever I look back at my old journals, they never fail to encourage or inspire me. I can see what God has been doing in my life, and I can evaluate if my relationship has gotten closer or farther from the Lord. I also recently observed that my relationship with the Lord seemed to weaken when I did not take the time to journal. I think perhaps it, in a way, keeps me accountable to my Savior as I record what He is saying to me and the lessons He is teaching me.
And lastly, make Jesus your best friend. I know that you have most likely heard this before, but no human relationship will be satisfying if you are not satisfied in Jesus. No job or prestigious title will be fulfilling if you are not fulfilled in Jesus. Make Him your everything.
I am constantly amazed that the God of the universe would choose me to be His child. I can only say with the apostle Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain...” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Truly, it is by His grace alone.
A few of Sarah's favorite things...
Journaling :: having quiet times alone with Jesus ::
corresponding with other girls :: reading (especially books of persecuted Christians)
:: horseback riding :: going on fire calls :: learning to make food that tastes and looks good:: spending time with people :: discovering insights on how relationships work :: enjoying creation/nature :: jogging :: playing piano and violin :: hard work