5 years…

Dear Sara,

This is me writing to you from 5 years after that life-changing event. Here’s what I have learned and grieved as life doesn’t look anything like I thought it would, but God is good in the chaos of life.

  1. Nothing is a coincidence. I feel like I already kinda knew this, but I have really felt this lately. It’s not a coincidence that on one of my hardest days, a friend texts me out of the blue or I get a letter that encourages my soul.
  2. We need people. We can’t do life or get through hard things without certain people. I mean, you must choose the people that surround you wisely, but I can’t count the number of times that I was “this” close to giving up, but certain people took me by the hand and walked with me. 
  3. Everybody goes through something, but don’t let it define you. Sometimes it’s more obvious and sometimes it’s more subtle. I’ve learned in the past couple of years that I am more than my accident or brain injury. Yes, I do have chronic pain and I deal with migraines, but it makes me a better nurse because I get it. 
  4. Life is not simply about my happiness or comfort. Growing up, I knew this fact but there’s a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge. Life is about glorifying God and His desire to rescue humanity. If God can use my story to advance His kingdom, who am I to stand in His way.
  5. I probably wouldn’t have a few people that have impacted my life-my husband being the most significant. I met him shortly after and he put up with me finding myself again before I could offer anything to him. We are still growing and figuring stuff out, but he is my soulmate and my accident put us in the same circles quicker. 
  6. It’s necessary to put down roots so you have a place or people to go home to. Throughout my nomadic childhood, I put my roots into people rather than the bevy of places that shaped my worldview. I’ve always wrestled with the idea of staying vs going. I’ve learned the necessity of walking the tension of both. It’s exciting to go to different places and see exotic things, but there’s also a strange kind of comfort in being known by the barista in the local coffee shops or the guy at the front desk at work. There’s something about being known and seen.

This is not a comprehensive list of what I’ve learned and grieved in the past couple of years, but as 5 years rolls around, I’m learning that I’m a complex person. This is part of my story but not the entirety of it. It complicates life a little, but it ultimately makes me a better nurse, daughter, best friend and wife.

Love, Sara

Broken People Loving Broken People.

As Christians, with whom do we surround ourselves? Who do we let in to our sacred space, and with whom do we choose to share our story with? We are constantly growing closer to God, so automatically we are going to choose to surround ourselves with people who are growing as well.

But the need to share the gospel with them diminishes because they already understand this organic relationship with the Creator of the universe. He is already working in their hearts.

Like attracts like.

But, should it?

A community of believers worshipping God, and sharing what He is doing in their lives reveals a piece of God’s heart for his people. God thrives in the middle of sacred moments like Sunday mornings or bible studies. Wherever two or three are gathered, God is in the midst of them.

God-honoring community and fellowship is a beautiful thing, but if that is all one focuses on then they are missing the entire point.

Jesus calls us to help spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. If we simply choose to remain within the confines of God- honoring community, we become stagnant.

We are not forwarding the kingdom.

Jesus surrounded himself with the least and lowest. He interacted with tax-collectors, Pharisees, prostitutes, women, and the poor. Jesus walked with the misfits and lepers. Jesus repeatedly reached out to those at the bottom of the social pyramid—poor people, women, Samaritans, lepers, children, prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus was also eager to accept people who were well-placed, but he made clear that all regardless of social position, needed to repent. Needed Him.

The people he interacted with were looked over and discarded by society, but Jesus saw them. He was not afraid of their messy lives or dirty faces. Should we?

Jesus loved them and welcomed them into his story. The merciful story of redemption.

Jesus shared meals with them and did life with them. He laughed and cried with them.

He welcomed the women and the children into his story, when no one else would.

He opened his heart, life and arms wide to allow all the brokenhearted and oppressed.

How much more is our call to share this Jesus with broken people?

This Jesus who chose a small boy to be the bearer of the meal that feed the five thousand. This Jesus that saved an adulterous woman from being stoned. This Jesus that offered the Samaritan woman at the well living water. This Jesus that made the blind see and the lame walk. This Jesus who cast out demons and healed lepers.
This is our Jesus.

This is the Jesus who advocates for and liberates the oppressed.

Our call is not to simply socialize with people who already know him, but to fill up during those God-honoring fellowships and take Jesus to the brokenhearted.

They need Jesus-His love, His mercy, His peace.

As we branch out and reach out to the people in our midst who are brokenhearted, overlooked, oppressed, disconcerted, and lost, we reflect the One who gave us life.

We reflect His work in our lives so that the people we are allowing into our life and story can see the impact our Jesus has made.

Jesus speaks for Himself when we allow His light to show through our messy lives.

We do not have it all figured out as we reach out to others—that is the beauty of it. God works in our life as He changes theirs.

The change comes when the people we are reaching out to feel loved and cherished as humans because we are welcoming them into our lives and homes, not afraid of their pain, baggage and hurt.

It simply starts with a smile and “Hello, would you like to do life with me? You are a valuable human being, and I choose to let you into my sacred and messy story, Jesus’ story.”

“I want to be outside with the misfits, with the rebels, the dreamers, second-chance givers, the radical grace lavishers, the ones with arms wide open, the courageously vulnerable, and among even—or maybe especially—the ones rejected by the Table as not worthy enough or right enough.”

Sarah Bessey