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Wait For It

What eye has not seen nor ear heard, what the human heart has not conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him, this God has revealed to us through His Spirit.
— 1 Corinthians 2:9

A bird decided a couple of weeks ago that our porch was the perfect spot to make her nest and lay eggs. It was a bit of a problem for my husband and I who both love to sit on our tiny porch during this time of year. She was like an unplanned visitor that decided to extend her visit indefinitely. Even though we were slightly annoyed at first, we’ve come to befriend this sweet little bird, checking in on her every day, seeing if she’s changed up the nest or if the eggs have hatched yet. We even named her Gertrude, or as I lovingly refer to her, “Gertie the birdie”.

To be honest, it’s a pretty inspiring thing to witness unfold. I know “Gertie” is just a bird, but she's determined to get the job done no matter what. Day after day, night after night she sits on a pile of sticks keeping her eggs warm and safe. Come rain or shine, raging winds or blazing sun, nothing can take her away from her nest. There's a lot of sitting and a lot waiting - with no change in sight.

I’m not good at waiting. I’ve been known to read the last page of a book before getting to the end of the first chapter (I know, I’m ashamed). I like to be in control. I need to know what’s going to happen next, to anticipate the future and plan ahead. I have big dreams that I want to accomplish on my timeline, in my own way. God is so patient with me. There are things I thought I would have accomplished by now, stages of life that I thought I would be in already. And yet when I listen in the silence of my heart for some sort of answer as to why things are the way they are, I hear, "wait". 

Maybe it's because we are in the Easter season, but I've been thinking a lot about the apostles the past few days. The person that they gave their lives to follow had been brutally murdered. The echo of His words that He would never leave them felt like a distant memory. Did Jesus know what He was doing? Was He really the Son of God? Why did this have to happen? What were they supposed to do now? Waiting for these answers must have been excruciating. The devastation of loss, the confusion, the fear that must have taken over their hearts during those three long days is unimaginable. 

And then the truly unimaginable actually happened. The wait was over. Death couldn’t keep Jesus in the tomb. He had risen, and their lives were forever changed.

We’re all waiting for something that, at times, feels excruciating. Graduating from high school, the news from an important job interview, a pregnancy, a vocation, the results from medical testing etc. It’s easy to get frustrated when things aren't moving at the pace you want them to, and even easier to doubt that the desires of your heart will ever come to fruition. But if there's anything I've learned about waiting, it's that it teaches me that I really don't have control over my life, even though I think that I do. 

How different would my life look if I radically abandoned myself to God's providence?  Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to be a child again. To not have to worry about putting food on the table, paying the bills, making difficult adult decisions. To run around in fields without a care in the world and rest safely in the arms of my parents. Babies don't whine about not being in control, they rely on their parents for every little thing. It's no wonder Jesus says that we must have a childlike faith to enter heaven. We must have a faith that is completely dependent on the love of the Father. And we can get to that place, but it takes practice.

We can choose what posture we take in the waiting. Do we wait begrudgingly, like a disgruntled child in timeout? Do we wait in fear that God won't come through on His promises? Or do we wait with joyful expectation of all that is to come?

 

God is true to His word. He's a miracle working, promise keeping, doer of the impossible God.  It's just who He is. Period. The beauty of the resurrection is that death does not get the final word. Hope won that day, and the wait doesn't last forever. A life surrendered to God is an adventure beyond what our human minds can comprehend, but a big part of it is trusting that God is who He says He is. 

 

After the honeymoon: 4 ways to stay connected to your spouse

 

“So, how’s life?”

 

It seems like every time someone asks me that question these days, my response is “So busy. But so great!” This isn't necessarily what I want to say - it's just my reaction. Life seems to get busier and busier the older I get. I know that once children enter the mix someday (God willing), I'll look back on these days with laughter at how busy and tired I thought I was.

We're all busy. It looks different for everyone. Mine looks like traveling full-time for ministry coupled with trying to write for a new album, on top of all the other responsibilities of work, life, marriage, prayer, family, friendships... you know how it is. We can't do it all perfectly all the time. However, if we're not careful with how we balance our time, the most important things might suffer the most. 

When Dom and I got married, we received a lot of great advice from friends on how to maintain connection through the ebbs and flows of our life together. From the get go, we tried to establish some practices that we have kept to this very day. Let me preface this by saying I am no expert in marriage. But if there is anything we have learned in the short amount of time we've been married it's that working to stay connected is priceless work. I’m convinced that by making some of the things on this list a priority in our relationship, we're setting ourselves up for success in the long run. An encouragement to you dating / engaged couples out there: the great part about most of these ideas is that if you put them into practice now, it will help make sure they're habits in the future :)

 

So, without further ado, here it is. 4 ideas for connecting with your spouse:

 

Date Night

This one may seem obvious, but it’s an important one. You don't stop dating when you get married. One of our most trusted friends told us when we were dating that it was crucial to make one date night a week a priority. No matter what. Whether you have no kids, 5 kids, a busy travel schedule, a busy work week. Date night is non-negotiable. And make it a rule to not talk about work (or kids). Seems harsh, but focusing on each other for at least this few hours a week is crucial. 

Date nights are not only meant to help you reconnect with one another, they can help you to remember what made you fall in love in the first place. When you're married it can be easy to forget that, even though you know you will be together forever, you still have to pursue one another. That's why dates are so important! It's time to get away from the mundane tasks of life and to remind you that you are not just roommates living in a shared space, you're friends and lovers first and foremost. 

Because Dom and I both work in ministry and are passionate about what we do, it can become all we talk about sometimes - especially on date nights. A great way to avoid talking about things you already talk about every other day of the week is asking each other fun, creative questions. I've found some great lists on Pinterest and Marriage365.com. And dates don't always have to be expensive, candlelit dinners either. Get creative! One of our favorite date nights is boardgames, wine, and dancing around with the record player on. Again, Pinterest to the rescue if you're really stuck for ideas ;).

 

Happy Hour

This one is our personal favorite. The idea is super simple: After the workday, set aside one hour for unplugged conversation and catch up time with your choice of cocktail or wine (or water if you're pregnant ;)). We've been doing this once or twice a week ever since we got married and it's been amazing! The idea came from a blog post I came across once. The author said that her and her husband established this early on in their marriage and have kept it going even as kiddos came into the picture. The kids know that when Mommy and Daddy are having their "happy hour", they are not to interrupt and they have to occupy themselves. We've added appetizers to our happy hour from time to time to spice things up. :)

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Prayer Time

This is another pretty obvious way to connect, but I wanted to dive into it a little bit. Let me start by saying this: prayer time as a couple looks different for everyone. I struggled with that truth for awhile. In the beginning of our marriage I found myself comparing our prayer life as a couple to what I had seen other couples do. But just like individual prayer life is different for everyone, the same is true for couples. Figure out what works for you and stick with it. Whatever you do, don't let it fade away - praying, in addition to being our relationship with God, is among the most intimate things we can do with our spouse. 

For Dom and I, we are not pray-right-before-bed kind of people. We’ve found that when we try to pray together at night, we’re tired, distracted, sometimes cranky and our prayer ends up being rushed and way less fruitful. Mornings are much better for us. Usually we’ll read the readings of the day and reflect on them with one another. Other times we will individually spend some time reading from a spiritual book that we’re working through and share about it. Sometimes we’ll listen to a spiritual podcast or worship music while we’re making breakfast. There are endless ways to make your prayer life together enjoyable and fruitful, and the best part is you can change it up over time! 

 

Turn Off Your Screens

Sitting on a couch next to someone who has their face buried in a screen, scrolling mindlessly through newsfeed after newsfeed is not fun for anyone. Especially when it’s your significant other. I will admit, I am the one who was most guilty of doing this at the beginning of our marriage. What I didn't realize was that while I was on my phone, mindlessly "connecting" with hundreds of people on social media or friends via text whilst my husband sat beside me, it made Dom feel like the people on the other side of the screen were more important to me than connecting with him. That's just not right.

Airplane mode is a real gem, people. Use it. I try to keep my phone either on airplane mode or on silent from dinner time until work hours the following day.

I know what you're thinking. But what if someone has to get in touch with me? What if I miss an important email? What if I miss out on something that's going on in the world or on social media? You don't know how bad my FOMO is, Sarah.

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Listen. A text can wait. An email can wait. No one has ever died from not hearing back from you immediately. What the world needs most from you now is to stay connected to your spouse. And an added bonus: I promise you that by disconnecting from your phone for several hours every single day, your stress level will be significantly less. Trust me, try it for a week.

 

There it is. I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you! Do you and your spouse have a way that you enjoy connecting that I didn't share above? Comment below, I'd love to hear about it! We all know that relationships take work, but a lot of the "work" should also be fun and enjoyable. You're married to who you are married to because they are your best friend. Let's work to never forget that :)

Our Love Song: I Choose You

It's a song about love.
It's a song about choice.
It's a song about the covenant. 


The day my husband and I got married was the sweetest day of my life to date. After Dom and I got engaged, he told me that he had always dreamed of me singing at his wedding someday. Luckily for him, he actually got to marry me, which I personally thought was the better end of the deal ;). But being the girl that I am, I wanted to make his dreams come true. Inspired by our love story, I wrote this song for him and surprised him with it at our reception. It continues to be one of our favorite songs to listen to as a couple and has served as a beautiful reminder for us of what we are called to in our covenant of marriage.

I think it is too easy these days to fall into the trap of feeling like love is supposed to look like a fairytale. But true love is about so much more. It's choosing to pick up the dirty laundry off the floor without complaining, even when you've asked your spouse nicely 500 times to please put it in the hamper. It's choosing to love someone even when the butterflies have long faded away. It's choosing to show up and fight for your love every single day, even when you feel like giving up.

It's choosing the cross. 


I am so excited to be able to finally share this little love song with the world, and during a month that is particularly special for my husband and I (February is the month we started dating and got engaged in :)). It's obviously a song that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope it is an encouragement for you on the journey. If you have a couple that you think could use this song, I encourage you to share it!

Thank you for your undying support of my art. I couldn't do this without each of you. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my producer, Loyd, and each person who contributed their gifts to the recording. Collaboration is a beautiful thing. 

"I Choose You" Credits:

  • Sarah Hart: Cowriter
  • Loyd Rieves: Producer & Mastering
  • Matt Gilder: Piano
  • Kevin Terry: Cello
  • Jon Matteson: Percussion
  • Ainslie Grosser: Mixing
  • Recorded at The Study in Atlanta, GA
  • iTunes / Google Play

Finally, enjoy some pictures of my first live performance of "I Choose You" :) (Added bonus, a completely shocked groom caught on film).

Photos by Root Photography

 

More Than A Feeling

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

My husband and I were friends for several years before we started dating. Dom had always been someone that I admired. He made me laugh more than anyone I had ever met. Over a long period of friendship, our mutual admiration for one another grew into something more. We both realized that we simply couldn't see our lives without the other in it. I mean, what’s not to like about the guy? He’s handsome, hilarious, talented, in love with God (swoon), in love with me (swoon again), a great dancer, a great cook, has great taste in music, incredibly well spoken. Not to mention he's made me feel like a princess from day one. There were days back when we were dating when I would get zero work done because I literally couldn't stop thinking about him. It was like a romantic comedy on overdrive.

But what would happen if that's all that I knew of love? Just how Dom makes me "feel"? What happens if, one day, I don't have that feeling anymore? I think a lot of us these days fall into a trap of thinking that love is like what we see in a Nicholas Sparks movie. Spoiler alert: it's not.

There's a lyric in an Audrey Assad song that says, "Love planted deeply becomes what it ought to be." I've always loved that line. You see, love isn’t about a feeling. Let's face it, feelings come and go with the wind. Our feelings are going to change and grow as we change and grow over time. It's not something to be fearful of. Rather, it's something that reminds us that our emotions can’t be counted on. When love is rooted in Christ, everything is different. When you love who God is making a person to be rather than how a person makes you feel, that's when love can truly grow into all that God has planned for it. 

Dom is someone who challenges me to become the best version of myself. He champions me and pushes me on because he knows that God has great plans for my life, even when I forget or don’t see it. He inspires me. He leads me to Jesus every single day because he understands that the Lord is the only one that can complete my heart. He affirms me for who I am, accepts me for who I am, LOVES me for who I am.

All that being said, just because we are in love doesn't mean that we have a fairytale relationship. Relationships take a lot of effort, even the good ones. We disagree sometimes (shocking!). It can be really frustrating when we challenge each other to become better. It's never fun to be called out and it certainly doesn't "feel" good. In the short year and 4 months that we've been married, I've had to learn the hard way that I don't know everything, my way is not the only way, I'm not perfect, and that even though I love Dom deeply, he will fail me sometimes because he is also not perfect. The truth is we're just two imperfect people trying to become as holy as we can this side of heaven, and the Lord has blessed us with one another as a team on that journey. 

Love is so much more than a feeling. It's transforming. True love is sanctifying. True love leads us to humility. True love leads us closer to Jesus, not further away. True love sacrifices for the good of your heart, it doesn't send you into the confession line. True love brings peace and joy, not anxiety and fear. True love makes you come alive and helps you to become the person God created you to be. True love means the cross. And in the end, that is the only thing that matters. How much did we love, how open were we to Love, and how we share His love with others. 

I pray that wherever you are and whatever season of life you're in that you will know you are worth it. You are worth this kind of selfless love. No matter how long you have to wait for it. Don't give up hope.

 

I Choose You 

When love is a dream

And it's all as it should be

I will choose you

When love is a storm

Through the fire or the flood

Still, I choose you

I choose you

(C 2015 Sarah Kroger and Sarah Hart)

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The Closet Challenge: Round 2

 

"We need to do another closet challenge."

 

My initial reaction when I received the above text from my friend Leah was complete dread. The closet challenge was awesome last year. (If you weren't a part of the journey last year, you can check out my initial blog about it here: The Closet Challenge). I learned a lot about myself, I gave away a ton of clothes, I dove into some areas of personal struggle and unhealthy attachments that I didn't even realize existed. But doing it again? Isn't that the definition of insanity?

Well, insane or not, we are doing it again. 

7 items of clothing. 30 days. 

What's the point of doing the challenge? What are some things we learned about ourselves by doing it last year? Leah and I had a conversation about it on her podcast called Do Something Beautiful the other day, which you can find here: itun.es/i6hm6C3  (And while you're at it, I highly recommend subscribing to it :))

Join us in doing the closet challenge for 30 days in October! Use #TheClosetChallenge in your social media posts and follow along with ours:

  • @skroger
  • @leahdarrow

This Is My Story // The Story Behind The Song

 

Friends,

I am so excited to finally share my new single with you, This Is My Story. It is the first song I've released in almost 3 years, and hopefully the first of many to come this year :).

I want to tell you a little bit about the background of this song. Over the last few months, I've heard from so many people about their struggles with doubt. It can be easy for us to turn on God in the midst of darkness and hardship, and even more tempting when it feels like we've waited an eternity for Him to fulfill a promise or holy desire in our lives. That's exactly where the enemy tries to speak his lies to us. We start to doubt God's plans for us, doubt that He will come through on His promises, doubt that He actually knows what's good for us, doubt in His love. 

We were never promised a life free of suffering and hardship - it's an inevitable part of being human. But we have been promised that we would never walk alone, and while this may not make everything easier, it can help us embrace life with joy. God sees our pain, and He has the power to transform it into something beautiful if we walk with Him through it. 

God writes our stories. We may not always like the way it's written or what the next page holds. We probably won't understand it most of the time. We are not expected to be able to understand the ways of our Father. We are simply asked to trust. To trust that He's got us in the palm of His hands. To trust that He's sees what's going on and will never leave our side through whatever storms may come our way. To trust that He has our greatest good in mind. Always. 

'This Is My Story' is a song about claiming God's story for us. A story that is filled with hope, redemption, resurrection, mercy. A story filled with light. We may not know what the next page holds, but we know Who is writing it, and because of that, we must always press on in hope. 


I pray that this small offering of a song is a blessing to your prayer life, whatever season you're in. You can purchase the song on iTunesAmazon, or Google Play. As an added bonus, I also released a music video of the song! You can find that by clicking here. I would be honored if you would help me to get the word out there about the new release by sharing a link to the song with your friends and family. Thank you for being a part of my story.

Be His,
Sarah

Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.
— Deuteronomy 31:6

 

This Is My Story

(Written by Sarah Kroger and Sarah Hart)

There’s a song that You sing in the morning light

O wondrous love, O wondrous love

There’s a song that You sing in my longest night

O wondrous love, O wondrous love

 

High on the mountain, tossed to the seas

I am remembered, You are for me

Your voice is freedom, Your word is peace

I am remembered, You are for me

 

This is my story, this is my song

This is my story, this is my song

 

Every wound is a kiss, every thorn a grace

O wondrous love, O wondrous love

Every beat of my heart is Your highest praise

O wondrous love, O wondrous love

 

On wings of eagles, in valleys deep

I am remembered, You are for me

Your voice is freedom, Your word is peace

I am remembered, You are for me

 

This is my story, this is my song

This is my story, this is my song 

 

Jesus

You are my song

 

You are my story, You are my song



Day 1: The Closet Challenge

 

Day 1. I loved seeing all the positive response yesterday! It's interesting to read the comments from some of you who have always felt challenged in this area but didn't know how to combat it. That's exactly how I've felt for years. I truly believed that the Holy Spirit inspired me to finally do something about it.

There were a lot of you who were curious about the guidelines for the Closet Challenge. Sorry for not including those in my post yesterday. Leah and I used the following when determining our choices for the month:

  • 30 day challenge for the month of September. But you can join us at any time :)
  • Use only 7 separate items of clothing
  • Motto and prayer for the Challenge: “Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be and becoming that person” – St. Therese of Lisieux.
  • **Freebies: I gave myself accessories, shoes, bathing suits, workout clothes, pajamas, and undergarments as freebies. Anything that I wouldn’t wear out in public fell into this category. Plus, each of these items has a specific purpose. You wear a workout shirt to the gym and only the gym, a bathing suit to the pool etc. That was my logic when it came to my freebies. 

Those are the guidelines we landed on for ourselves, but if you desire to change or add things to your own list, go ahead! There’s no Closet Challenge police coming after you if you decide to do 10 pieces instead of 7. The purpose is to get away from excess, use the fast as a prayer and to gain perspective.

For those of you following along, I wanted to share with you the items I chose for the month. Keep in mind that when I was picking out what I was going to use, I had to plan for 3 ministry events, 1 wedding and a film shoot. After much deliberation, I landed on the 7 items below. It was definitely not impossible, it just took some thinking and good planning on my part. 

Here the 7 items I chose and why I chose them:

1 T-shirt — For casual days / when I’m traveling and don’t feel like wearing a nice top.

2 Nice tops — Both of these tops are great choices for ministry events. They can also be worn as an everyday kind of shirt when I’m going out with friends, going on a date, or going to a coffee shop to get some work done (like today :)). 

2 Pairs of pants — My black pants are super comfy and almost operate like leggings would. I also chose jeans so that I could create different looks with the 3 shirts I chose. Both pairs of pants could be used to dress up or dress down an outfit depending on the accessories and shirt choice.

1 Maxi skirt — I am singing at a friends wedding this month and was invited to the rehearsal dinner, so I needed to add something that could somewhat dress up one of my shirts. Plus, maxi skirts are super comfortable and can be used with almost any kind of shirt, whether it’s a nicer shirt or a t-shirt. I’m happy I decided to include this piece :).

1 Dress — Like I said, I had to plan for being at a wedding this month. I'm also going to be a part of a ministry event this month that requires nicer attire than just jeans and a shirt. Plus, I sometimes use this dress as a “tunic shirt” over jeans, so I can use it as another top option for the month.

There you have it, my 7 "companions" for the month. Things are going great so far. Then again, it’s only been a day, but I’m excited already for what God is doing in my heart. I'll update again soon. Peace.

Live simply so that others may simply live
— Gandhi


The Closet Challenge

 

Hi, my name is Sarah and I really like clothes.

When I say I really like clothes, I mean I really, really like clothes. Let me start by saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying clothing. We all need them. Some enjoy shopping for clothing more than others. But have we become attached to our clothing in ways we aren’t even aware? Have we become a people living in excess?

My fiancé just recently moved into what is going to become our apartment in just 35 days. While I’m living in my friends basement (thank you, Sarah), I also moved all of my things into “our” new apartment since I would be there in a month anyways. When I was moving over my closet, it hit me big time: I am a hoarder of clothes. Now, I’ve had this realization before. On multiple occasions I have come home with some new finds from an innocent shopping trip and quite literally have to stuff my cute new shirts or skirts or whatever the item of choice was that day in my closet with the rest of my clothes. I’ve even said to myself before, “that’s it! Every time I buy something new, I am giving something away.” In the spirit of being completely honest with you all, that resolution probably lasted a week. 

Some of you might have seen my post on twitter just a couple weeks back: 

After taking a good, hard look at myself, I’ve decided to go on a clothing fast. Just to clarify, I don’t mean I’m fasting from all clothing. I’m just limiting my options. A lot. I’m going to spend the entire month of September using 7 items of clothing. That’s right, let me repeat myself so that you understand (and so that I understand because I’m still coming to grips with what I’ve signed on for). 7 items of clothing for an entire month. Not 7 outfits. Not 7 of each item category we could think of. 7 items total. Why 7? Because it’s a biblical number. And what’s better than doing a clothing fast by yourself? Doing a clothing fast with a friend. My good friend Leah Darrow and I decided to do it together! We’re calling it the “Closet Challenge”.

Each of us has our own set of reasons for entering the fast. For me, I need a perspective shift. I want to learn detachment. I desire a deeper sense of gratitude for the things I have in my life. I’m going to be asking myself some serious questions this month. Why do I feel the pressure to look a certain way, especially at ministry events? Have I become a creature of excess? Am I attached to material things in ways I am not even aware of? 

Here’s the thing. I’m not doing this to look good on social media. I’m not doing this because I want to create a new fad. I’m not doing this just to purge my closet or make packing easier for trips. I’m doing this as a true fast. You see, many people think of fasting as something us Catholics only do during lent or on Fridays. The truth is, fasting from something can be an incredible prayer. Pope Benedict XVI has this to say about it:

Fasting is a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves ... It is a therapy to heal all that prevents [us] from conformity to the will of God…and assists us to mortify our egoism and open our heart to love of God and neighbor.

There are people in our world who have one outfit to wear for a week. There are people who don’t have clothing at all. There are countless women being stripped bare, beaten, raped and sold into slavery just because they are a female. Will a clothing fast change all that? No. I can, however, fast from convenience, excess, and material items for a month and offer it up as a prayer for my brothers and sisters across the globe. It may seem like a very small offering. I wish I had millions of dollars to break people free from poverty and slavery, but I don’t. What I do have is a beating heart and a fervent prayer, and I believe that God hears our prayers both big and small.

I know that God is going to teach me a lot in this upcoming month. It might be completely crazy to do something like this 34 days before getting married. Or it might just be the best possible way for me prepare to enter our upcoming sacrament. Detachment from the material item I’m most attached to. 

I will be blogging throughout the month of September to share reflections, challenges and anything else that comes up along the way. One more thing: Leah and I want to invite YOU to join us this month for the Closet Challenge if you feel called to. Come on, you know you want to :). Pray about it, and if you decide to join, we will all be using #TheClosetChallenge to stay together through the ups and downs. You can do anything for 30 days, especially if you make it a prayer. 

 

Here are some other links if you desire to follow along:

Celebrate Good Times

Happy summer, friends. It's time for swimming, basking in the sun, drinking lemonade, running in sprinklers...and whatever else you're favorite summer pastimes are! I love summer and I love freebies. In the spirit of that, I've decided to give away a FREE download of the title track from my last album, Hallelujah Is Our Song! Head on over to NoiseTrade.com for your download. Share it with your friends, your family, even your enemies. My freebies aren't biased :). 

www.noisetrade.com/sarahkroger

Happy Summer. I hope it's a blessed one. 

-Sarah

PS. Enjoying one of my favorite summer activities ;) 

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Embrace

 

"Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can't heal." I want to believe those words, I really do. And most days I can, but it's days like today that it can be a struggle. You see, tonight I'm leading worship at the Annual Embrace Memorial Mass. It is one of the most powerful and difficult events I am blessed to be a part of all year. Tonight is a night that families in Atlanta gather to remember the lives of their little ones. Lives that were cut far too short. All Embrace is a ministry that seeks to celebrate those lives.

 

The story of how All Embrace came to be begins with a woman named Nicole Hartman. Nicole is a dear friend of mine whom I met several years ago on a Life Teen Women's Retreat. Her story wrecked my heart. She had been happily married for years, desperate to start a family. After several years of trying to conceive and suffering the pain of several miscarriages, Nicole and her husband Peter felt that they were being called to adopt a child. They are now the proud parents of an adorable little girl named Olivia. As a result of her own struggles with losing her children, Nicole felt called to found a ministry called All Embrace. The main goal of the ministry is to serve families who have gone through the loss of a child, whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth, or any other circumstance. This ministry was born out of the ashes of defeat and utter despair. It is living proof that God can turn anything and everything into something beautiful.

 

It has been incredible to witness God use Embrace over the years to help countless families as they journey through their loss. The death of a child is a pain I cannot even begin to imagine. Many families suffer their loss in silence. Through ministries like All Embrace and services like what we are going to do tonight, they don't have to suffer in silence anymore. It is an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate the lives of these babies. To celebrate their short but precious time on this earth. To celebrate that they are in better hands now and that one day, their parents will meet them again. To celebrate the GIFT that they are. They were not mistakes, they were miracles, and God had a plan for them just like He does for all His children.

 

If you could, please pray for the families that are gathering tonight in Atlanta. Please pray for healing, for peace, for strength in the face of this trial. I leave you with the lyrics from a new David Crowder song called Come As You Are that we will be singing for communion tonight.

 

Come out of sadness
from wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner, come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal

So, lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer, come home
You’re not too far
So, lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

 

If you have suffered a loss, please know that I am praying for you and your family today. I know that I can't take away your pain, but I can stand by you and be a prayer warrior for your heart. If you know of a child who is now with God, you can send me an email with their name at sarah@sarahkroger.com and I will place their name in the book of remembrance for this evening's service. 

 

For more information about All Embrace, go to http://www.allembrace.com