3 Characteristics of God that Shape My Identity

God captured my heart at a young age in a Sunday school class located in the small town of Jefferson, Oregon. Despite the 25+ years of knowing and walking with Him, there have been poignant moments where I have felt my identity be rocked to the core.

For over half of my twenties, I wondered who I was, especially as my friends began to identify as wife, or mother, or career women. I didn’t have any of those titles. I felt like I was floundering. It wasn’t until a few years later that I could place together the pieces of my life’s puzzle (though God already knew the completed picture) and see my identity.

In those months of clarity, I realized my identity was never to be placed in my marital status, or career, or lack of motherhood. My identity rests in being a child of God. As a child of God, at any point in time, I can remind myself of the following three characteristics of this good, good God.

God is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Before time existed, God was. He is beyond time, which means I can trust in His timing. He isn’t anchored to minutes or hours or days, even years. He placed me in this specific time, for such a time as this. Additionally, God is the Omega, or the end. Revelation 1:8 shares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” In the end, God will be there. When my timeline doesn’t make sense, I can fix my eyes upon the God who knows no limits.

Sarah Dohman Identity

When my Soul Feels Unsettled, I Know I am Chosen by God

1 Peter 2:9 states, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” When I fight rejection, whether that be in relationships or career choices, I know my identity as a child of God means that God picked me! Of the millions of people He creates, He sought after me with reckless abandon. At my core, this is what I want. To be chosen, to be loved. I am not forgotten, but hand picked by a loving God.

Identity Sarah Dohman

My Identity is Anchored to the Truth that God Knows and Sees Everything

 Psalm 139: 1-6 proclaims, “Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” Before I was even a thought in my parents’ heads, God knew me. He knows all of my thoughts and knows exactly what I am going to say before it is even said. God’s omniscience, or all-knowing manner, means He knows and sees my sin, and desires my heart anyway. Nothing I do is hidden from God, and that means I can rest assured as His child—known, seen, and loved deeply.

As I grow and mature in my walk of faith, I know trying times will come. They are guaranteed. My identity will be called into question, no doubt about it. Satan loves to wreak havoc against our souls and cause all sorts of upset. But despite the attacks, my soul will trust in the Alpha & Omega, the God who chooses me, and knows and sees me for who I am, His child.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globetrotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah on her blog or on Instagram.

 

 

Photos from Pixabay
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Confusing Conviction with Condemnation

The hazy blue sky, warm summer air. and the lush Oregon greenery, often cause me to ponder the thoughts my brain can’t reach when busyness is attempting to smother. Lately, I have been sitting with the difference between conviction and condemnation. When Jesus followers hear the word conviction, they often cringe—starting to feel slightly uncomfortable and wiggly inside (I know, I’ve had those feelings myself). “I felt so convicted. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart and so on.” I find there is ultimately a sense of shame associated with the word conviction.

If you’ve been following Jesus for any amount of time, Christians LOVE to throw out the term conviction like a death sentence. Clearly, many people have conviction and condemnation tangled up and confused.

Clearly, many people have conviction and condemnation tangled up and confused. (2).png

As I quickly type the words ‘conviction’ and ‘condemnation’ separately into the Google search bar on my web browser, I land upon this definition:

con•vic•tion

noun

  1. a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.
  2. a firmly held belief or opinion.

con·dem·na·tion

noun

  1. the expression of very strong disapproval; censure.
  2. the action of condemning someone to a punishment; sentencing.

We must stop equating conviction to a sentencing or punishment. Instead of recognizing how the Holy Spirit prompts our hearts to repentance and ultimately glorifying God with a yielded heart, shame moves in and shouts “You deserve death!”

In these moments, dear friends, I urge you to remember WHY Jesus came to earth. Paul writes in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God does not look at our sins expecting us to pay penance for our trespasses. This burden is too great to bear. Instead, when we are convicted or prompted by the Holy Spirit it is done lovingly. God sent Jesus to the Cross to die, be buried, and to rise again after three days to conquer sin and death. Our punishment was taken to the Cross by Jesus and overcome! Our criminal offense is rendered defeated.

Therefore, sisters (and brothers), we can view conviction as a stirring in our hearts to return to God, where He will embrace us with open arms. He does not look upon our faces with disappointment but with eyes of a loving Father. Conviction drives us to sanctification in God. We are not criminals, but children. Children of God.

There is freedom in knowing that no matter how repulsive or heart-breaking my sins appear, NOTHING can stop God from seeing me and choosing me anyway. Nothing I do can separate me from Him because of Jesus (see Romans 8:35). I am not a condemned woman, but free to be who God created me to be.

I am not a condemned woman, but free to be who God created me to be. (2)

The next time you overhear someone speaking of conviction, and know they are switching the terminology of conviction of Holy Spirit with the terminology of condemnation, I encourage you to gently remind them how much God loves them. Repent of their sin, yes, but relish in the freedom of a joyfully surrendered life in Christ.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

Book Review: The Road Back to You

When I first heard about the Enneagram, I was skeptical. Another personality test—a set of questions used to place me into a category I think I might not necessarily fit into. My church, however, had an upcoming one-day conference utilizing the Enneagram to gain a greater depth of knowing and relating to the congregation. Hesitantly, I took the plunge and decided to take an Enneagram online test.

The Enneagram is a typology test, separating a person into one of nine personality types, which emerge from childhood. Some say that the Enneagram number you best match up with is the way God originally made you to be, before everyone else told you who to become.

When I took the online test, I have to be honest: I was sort of disappointed. It wasn’t until I read Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s The Road Back to You, that I gained clarification in my typology and began to understand the complexity of the Enneagram itself. My initial disappointment quickly turned from intrigue to understanding and finally to acceptance.

As long as we stay in the dark about how we see the world and the wounds and beliefs that have shaped who we are, we're prisoners of our history. We'll continue going through life on aut

In the book, Ian describes burnout from the church he was pastoring, and how he sought out spiritual direction from Br. Dave, a Benedictine monk. It was Br. Dave that introduced Ian to the Enneagram. “What we don’t know about ourselves can and will hurt us, not to mention others … As long as we stay in the dark about how we see the world and the wounds and beliefs that have shaped who we are, we’re prisoners of our history. We’ll continue going through life on autopilot doing things that hurt and confuse ourselves and everyone around us. Eventually, we become so accustomed to making the same mistakes over and over in our lives that they lull us to sleep. We need to wake up.”

I’m a 2w1 (two wing one), meaning my personality type most lines up with Type 2, The Helper (or my personal favorite title for a Type 2, The Befriender). The wing represents the number that my personality also leans toward—it’s adjacent to my typology number, and I tend to display characteristics of my wing in my personality as well. Type 1 is titled The Perfectionist. You might be able to see why I was initially disappointed when I found out I was a Helping Perfectionist. Yikes. Thankfully, The Road Back to You left my heart encouraged. I can now identify the parts of myself that are unhealthy, and the parts of myself that, when healthy, mean I can lovingly serve God’s people the best, without losing a sense of self.  

I can now identify the parts of myself that are unhealthy, and the parts of my self that when healthy, mean I can lovingly serve God's people the best, without losing a sense of self.

The Ennegram intends to bring illumination to those who take the test, and Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s book beautifully describes each personality type. As I dove into my number’s chapter, I began to relate to the characteristics explained, including the deadly sin my number gravitates toward when unhealthy. Colossians 3:10 shares, “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Learning more about myself has encouraged me to know more about God: His creativity, His love for us. As Thomas À Kempis says, “A humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search after deep learning.”

The Road Back to You is a useful tool in discovering a deeper knowledge of your Enneagram personality type. Its intent is to help people rediscover who God created them to be, and allow God’s people to relate to one another on a more complex level.

Have you taken the Enneagram test? If not, here’s one we recommend. If you have taken the Enneagram test, what’s your typology? What has God been teaching you through this discovery?


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

Manna from Heaven

My family has three character-filled dogs that traipse across our home’s floors and our hearts. Two of the three are miniature dachshunds, with two-inch legs and bigger-than-life personalities. Whenever any of the humans of the house are in the kitchen, you can guarantee the two short canines are in the vicinity, waiting for what I like to call “Manna from Heaven.” Scraps of vegetables, crumbs of bread—anything that drops, the doxies are close by to claim their treat.

The real manna from Heaven was a little different. The Israelites found themselves in the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Sinai. They were bitter and full of distraught- Moses and Aaron had led them to a land they wished not to go. God’s chosen people voiced their frustration and even wished to have died in Egypt—where meat pots and fluffy, hot-from-the-oven-leavened-bread was plentiful (See Exodus 16).

God, in His glorious wisdom, let Moses know that He’d be raining bread from Heaven. The Israelites were to gather their daily portion, except for the sixth day—on this day these dear people were to collect a double portion in order to honor the Sabbath or holy day of rest. Moses and Aaron relayed the information to the Israelites, and naturally, some were greedy. They gathered too much manna, and it ended up rotting and covered in worms. God quickly put an end to this excess, and the people of Israel learned to take only what they needed.

Manna, as described in Exodus 16, was like coriander seed, came white in color, and tasted like wafers made with honey. This bread from Heaven was thin, and based upon caloric reasoning alone, shouldn’t have sustained the Israelites. But it did! For forty years the people of Israel accumulated manna in the morning, eating their fill and feeling satisfied for that day. The people of Israel also took two liters of manna and filled a jar to rest in the ark of the covenant. This jar was a reminder to show future generations the faithfulness of  God’s provision.mannafromheaven

What strikes me most about this passage, manna from heaven, is how God provided for the people He loved. He didn’t provide His people with nutrient-deficient food, causing the Israelites to overindulge and still feel unsatisfied. He bestowed a perfect daily blessing to His people—just enough and always in the morning as He promised.

As I think about my own life and my own wilderness that I am navigating through, I remember my own perfect daily blessing: knowing and loving Jesus. Jesus is always enough and never too much. He sustains me; He provides for me. He won’t leave me, nor forsake me. I am most satisfied in my life when Jesus is at the center of it. I need not fear what tomorrow will bring because He goes before me and behind me and provides a way for me (see Deuteronomy 31:8). girlindesertWhen I begin to complain or feel distraught, I need to center my life upon God’s perfect gift, Jesus. He will satiate every longing, and bring a peace that surpasses understanding.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

 

God Our Healer

From a young age, I knew my hands and heart were created to heal. In my twenties I graduated from nursing school, ready to bring comfort by words and deed. While most of my job consists of staving off illness, curating health promotion and prevention, I do encounter students on my caseload who have incurable syndromes and diseases. With these precious small friends, I have no choice but to trust that God has a plan for their welfare and their time on Earth. This means that sometimes healing occurs, and sometimes it does not.

One miraculous story of healing in Scripture is found in the book of Matthew. Matthew 9:20-22 (ESV) speaks of a woman in desperate need of healing from physical bleeding. “And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well.”

He wants us to come to him in our ragged state -- to lay down our burdens, to have faith in miracles. He sees us. He knows us.The Passion Translation shares this verse a little more clearly. Suddenly, a woman came from behind Jesus and touched the tassel of his prayer shawl for healing. She had been suffering from continual bleeding for twelve years, but had faith that Jesus could heal her. For she kept saying to herself, ‘If I could only touch his prayer shawl I would be healed.’ Just then Jesus turned around and looked at her and said, My daughter, be encouraged. Your faith has healed you.’ And instantly she was healed!”

Pause for a moment and envision this woman’s life. She lived in a time prior to adequate sanitary conditions. Women who were menstruating were physically separated from men for seven days at a time. They were not to go out, touch members of their family, even cook or clean. Women during this monthly ritual were to be quiet, as per purity laws. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years! She suffered not only all the physical ramifications of having a constant period, but the emotional and social implications as well. I’m positive she felt isolated, depressed, frazzled, and fragile.

In her state of desperation, this woman left her home, where, by law, she was required to reside, and sought after Jesus. She had caught wind that he was in the business of healing, and she knew in her heart of hearts that if she could see him, talk to him, touch him — he could save her from her life of distress. Her faith drew her to Jesus, and prompted her to boldly act, touching his robe. An unclean woman, as she was, shouldn’t have been out in public, nor been in the presence of men. An unclean woman most certainly should not have reached for Jesus in the crowd. But on that day, God heard her cry, and her fingers swept across the robe of Jesus.

In an instant, Jesus turned and saw this unclean woman. Only, he didn't see her impurities, or scrunch his face up in disgust. In turn, he saw her heart, broken and willing. He knew her

In an instant, Jesus turned and saw this unclean woman. Only, he didn’t see her impurities, or scrunch his face up in disgust. Instead, he saw her heart, broken and willing. He knew her pain, her cry for help. He picked her out of the crowd, declared her faith, and healed her.

As I grow older, I recognize the need for Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. Psalm 147:3 states, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” He wants us to come to Him in our brokenness, whether that means physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. He has no desire to shame us, or turn us away when we are in a state of desperation. Instead, Jehovah Rapha longs to repair the wounds. God is the God of healing, no matter what state we are in.

My time as a nurse has taught me to see beauty in the brokenness. There are those who are suffering from physical ailments. Minds that are overwhelmed by anxiety and fear, depression and angst. Hearts that are longing to be known and loved. Working as a nurse has revealed there is a humility in asking for help when life feels uncontrollable.

I am not sure if you are in a current state of desperation — if you are needing healing. If you are not, I’m sure you know a friend or loved one who is. And while I cannot explain why God does not always heal this side of heaven, I am sure of this: He wants us to come to him in our ragged state — to lay down our burdens, to have faith in miracles. He sees us. He knows us. May we be moved in our times of biggest need to seek Jehovah Rapha for restoration and healing.


Sarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

Let ‘s All Be Brave! A Book Review

I listened to Annie F. Downs before I ever read a word of her writing. She’s likable — and a super fun sounding Southern gal, always up for a good laugh. Her podcast, That Sounds Fun, hosts a variety of insightful, Jesus-loving people. Her heart for God, and others, drew me in, and I asked for her book, Let’s All Be Brave, for Christmas. Thankfully, one of my brothers bought it off my Amazon list.

As I opened her book, I knew from the first few pages that I would glean encouragement and wisdom. At the time of the book’s publication, Annie was 33. And single. Hello! She’s like me. Possessing a zest for life, and seeking adventure. Chockablock full of raw emotions, some easy breezy, some a little trickier to navigate through.

Hold on to hope. That's the thing we can't stand to lose. You can let go of jobs or people or hurts, but don't let go of hope.

My #oneword365 is hope, and I cannot help myself as I mull over a particular passage Annie shares about in the pages of her book:

Hold on to hope. That’s the thing we can’t stand to lose. You can let go of jobs or people or hurts, but don’t let go of hope.

This book isn’t about me being single, but if you think it’s been easy to hold on to hope as I’ve watched my friends pass me by in life phases over and over again, oh friend. Not so much. It’s one thing when they get engaged or married. It’s another when babies come. And another when the kids go to school — and I’m still alone at night.

Amy Stroup sings a song called “Hold Onto Hope Love” that has been my companion more nights that I can count as I’ve cried to God about the rough patches on my hands from holding on so tight to the cliff of hope when it feels like it would be easier to just let go and fall into hopelessness.

And the truth? It would be easier.

But it wouldn’t be brave.

It’s not the story God is writing with my life. It’s not the story God is writing with yours either.

So please. Hold on. (p. 122)

Envision my face after reading this passage. Oh the tears! What perfect, God-ordained timing that I would pick up a book without knowing why I must read it. My heart, as I kept reading, said, “Hey! Me too! I am feeling all those feels friend. I am not alone and crazy, but validated in my thoughts and emotions.” Annie’s bravery throughout the entire book, by sharing her God-given story, vastly encouraged my heart. And in turn, her story helps me want to take steps of bravery in my own life. Whether that means sharing vulnerable parts of my own life through writing, or taking steps toward a dream I may have pushed by the wayside for some time.

If you want to read a book that will embolden you, I cannot recommend this book enough. In what way is God asking you to hold on to hope? What dream has He placed in your heart? How can you begin to be brave today? Read on friends, read on, and I think you might be surprised by the end of the book what God reveals to you through Annie’s words.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

Risking It All

Two years ago, the founder of this blog, Chara, challenged a bunch of us gals to think and pray over a word for our year. She read about #oneword365 and wanted to set the tone for an entire year by settling upon just that, one word.

The first year I participated, my word was “Yes.” In uncanny ways, “Yes” popped up in my life persistently. God shaped 2016 for me with that word. When I began to pray over 2017‘s word, I didn’t entirely like the word that I kept visualizing in my head. In fact, I almost avoided selecting a word for the year, purely because the one word that I couldn’t shake from my thoughts was “Risk”. Seriously? What in the world? Sometimes God calls us to BIG things, or changes—that is exactly why the word “Risk” terrified me so.

One Word Hope Sarah DohmanHowever, God surprised me with my 2017’s word “Risk”. I wasn’t asked to move somewhere new, or start a different job. I spent a large portion of the year on the edge of my toes, waiting for something drastic to take place. But God, in His infinitely better ways, used this word risk to teach me about trusting Him and loving His people.

Jennie Allen, in Nothing to Prove, writes about obedient risk. “Obedient risk will simply be us leaning into His abundance, leaning into His love, simply believing that He will work, believing that He could take any situation and any boring day and cause life change to happen in it.” Leaning into His abundance requires trust, just like in Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.When I trust God with my life, I can lay it down in submission, knowing that His plans far outweigh my own. Every day is an opportunity to trust Him more and find refuge in Him, and in His refuge, I can and will find rest. Resting in God’s love, knowing He’s working in every intricate detail of my life, facilitating every moment, takes away any hesitation for me to obediently risk.

Sarah Dohman One WordAs I learn to trust in Him more, I am ready and willing to love and serve His people more. Loving others is a risk- there is no guarantee that it will be reciprocated. Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, shares, “Relationships are the realest reality- and the realest risk … and the worthiest risk. Because in sacrificing ourselves, we are guaranteed to discover the depths of our best and realest selves. Because when you self-sacrifice, you are guaranteed to find your better self.” 2017 taught me that investing my time, my energy, in God’s people, is never a waste. It is divinely appointed. God asks us to risk vulnerability in order to love and serve His people with an open heart.

As 2018 begins, I am anticipating the newness of the year, and my One Word 365, Hope. Friends, what is your one word for 2018?


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

Resting in the God Who Never Changes

“This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.” –J.R.R. Tolkien

I am a girl who embraces change — well, mostly. I traversed through 5 colleges, travel often, and worked numerous jobs before I became a nurse. Each switch in my life’s story welcomed fully. I need not fear, for I was girl on an adventure!

Change Sarah DohmanAnd then adulthood hit, head on. Instead of looking for the next inspiring task or journey, I began to plant roots. Roots that have now run deep, and secure. Those around me seem to having perpetual changes happening in their life. But for me life has been fairly consistent for a couple of years. I’ve worked for the same school district for 3, going on 4 years. I’ve attended the same church for 10 years. Even my newest source of change, the new community group I attend, has been meeting for a year.

I know change is coming down the pike, as it always does, but sometimes my life can feel like a hamster wheel: spinning, spinning. Consistency is not necessarily bad, but what happens when consistency feels like monotony? What truths and/or lies do I believe about myself— about God when life goes on, and I’m feeling a little left behind?

Upon examination of my heart and mindset, I’d say the biggest emotion I feel in the daily grind is fear. Consequently, what I personally love about God’s word is how it shows us what to do when riddled with fear.

Sarah Dohman ChangeIsaiah 43:1-2 says, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” In this passage of Scripture, Israel’s people are about to walk through huge change. God prepares their hearts by explaining they are not alone. God’s people are never alone. They need not fear because they have been chosen and redeemed, and God will not leave their side! What reassurance the Israelites had, and what reassurance we can have too.

When everyday life rests in the mundane, I rest assured in knowing I am not forgotten. I am loved by a God who will walk through the stillness with me. I can submerse myself in His word and be reminded that He chose me and knows me.

Oswald Chambers succinctly sums up what God is up to when change feels distant. “We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and by, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God’s say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways.”

My hope is that in the mundane, when the outside world is bustling with change, there would be an inner strengthening of my character. That my heart would be so reliant upon God, contentment would take root inside my heart, and I would be a woman not living in fear, but in ultimate trust that His ways are better than my own, whatever may come.


sarah-dohman-square Sarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.

5 Reasons Why I Read Scripture Daily

The most transformative discipline affecting my spiritual health has been, without a doubt, spending time in God’s word. I say discipline, because spending daily time in the Bible is not always easy. Roadblocks try to separate me from reaching for God’s truth: time, commitments, even reading other text written from fellow believers. Why do I practice this spiritual discipline?

image1 (3)Here are 5 reasons why I spend time in the Bible daily:

  1. We are in a battle folks, a battle against good and evil. A battle that is waging a war for our souls. Ephesians 6:14-18 shares, Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” We wouldn’t go into battle without first gathering all of our equipment, and going into battle against the devil should be no different. God’s word equips us with truth that will not lead us astray, even when lies and deceit are swirling around us.
  2. Our hearts and flesh fail. Take heart though, friend. God is our strength. Many verses point us to this truth. Psalm 73:26 says, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Filling up on verses that point us to God’s strength are needed in times of trial. We can’t do this on our own, but God can. 
  3. The Bible is chalk full of sage advice on topics such as wisdom. Proverbs 3:13 shares, Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” Scripture will always point us back to God, no matter the topic. When we need the best advice, we can go to God’s word for the clearest answers. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
  4. Scripture equips us for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Spending time in God’s word prepares us to serve and love His people.
  5. God’s word is counter cultural, and teaches us to seek peace. We are living in world that constantly bombards and persuades us to reciprocate wrongdoing with more hatred or evil. An eye for an eye. Scripture, however, shows us that as Christ followers, we are to be different. We are to seek peace. 1 Peter 3:10 asserts, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” The peace of God inwardly transcends our hearts, and outwardly alters the way we live our lives.

image2 (1)I spend daily time in the Bible because life has a natural ebb and flow of mountains of rejoicing and valleys of mourning. Life has variables, but Scripture is constant. I want to submerge myself in truth, letting it marinate my heart. Soaking in God’s word eventually overflows into all aspects of my life. This spiritual act of discipline enables me to know and love God, and ultimately, love His people more.

 


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Twitter.

Messy No Longer

Scrubbing. Dusting. Washing. Vacuuming. If there’s one extra-biblical theologically-sounding statement my family believes in, it’s “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” With three dogs & four humans, our house can get messy. Even if it’s been less than a week since cleaning, the dirt and grime stealthily builds up.

Messy Sarah DohmanI dread the beginning of the whole process, but I love the end result. There’s nothing like a clean toilet and uncluttered surfaces. I truly admire a dust-free house, even if it only lasts a few days. There’s something triggered deep within my soul when the weekly chores have been completed. I can rest in knowing I have a window of time to enjoy the clean sparkle.

Much like my admiration for an unsullied household, there’s something to be said about a washed life. This world is in a recurrent state of mess. Violence, natural disasters, broken families,  and there are even parts of my own heart that are just plain ugly. Can I tell you how grateful I am for Jesus, fixer of the broken things? Healer and redeemer of all the messy and unlovely.

Jesus, lover of my soul, lived a perfect life. He always directed his followers back to God the Father. And in his utmost and flawless timing, he gave up himself on the cross so that there could be an end to all the mess and stains that separate us from God. Isn’t that incredible?

Peter, one of the early church fathers and a disciple of Jesus, shares,

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”-1 Peter 1:13-21

Sarah Dohman Messy (2)We were “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers.” Our uncleanliness, this separation from God was and is multi-generational. This is a perpetual cycle of sin that can only be ended by the perfect blood of Jesus. Jesus’s death and resurrection conquers all. He takes the mess in our hearts and wipes it clean. We are not required to clean ourselves up over and over as we come to God, but can rest assure that Jesus finished the work that has ensured our holiness. He washed us with His blood and it removed all filth.

As the world aches, and our hearts wane, I am praising God for his son. His clean, pure, holy son. Who looks at my mess and says, “I love you anyway.” Let’s not waste any time trying to scrub ourselves clean. It’s exhausting and futile. Instead, let’s kneel at the feet of the One who loves us at our worst. Jesus can and always will be able to handle our disarrayed lives, and transform them into something beautiful.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Twitter.