Strain Away

Straining seems to be a good word for my life as a Christian.  One day I am being stretched as thin as possible, in every area of life.  I am pulled in the direction of this world, but feel I need to be going the opposite way.
Some days I see where I need to be and do everything I can to get there.  It looks messy and appears I don’t know what I am doing.  The secret is I don’t know, but I am friends with the One who does.  I have to urge myself to stick with Jesus even when things are scary and the problems I imagined are real and staring me in the face.
Then there are months, and sometimes years, where straining feels so painful.  If there is an unpleasing habit or attitude in me, God allows it to be filtered out of me.  Just like in the kitchen when I separate cooked noodles from boiling water, God uses my circumstances to prepare me for the time I am the right temperature and consistency.  Or like the tea bag I use that allows the tea to flavor water, God uses situations to flavor my life.  He strains me so that any unnecessary pieces fall out, while the good remain. 
As a child (and teenager, and well, adult), I went gem mining.  I paid for a bag of dirt and sifted for the colored stones that were in it.  On the outside the bag looked plain.  But when you took the time to go through it, there were beautiful gems to pull out.  No matter how we feel about ourselves, we must remember that we are made in Christ’s image.  He put aspects of Himself in us that we are to use.  God puts opportunities in front of us to make the most of those attributes.  Whether for work, volunteer, or in our personal lives, we are a certain way for a reason.
Straining is useful in our walk with God.  None of us is meant to stay the same-that causes stagnation.  We need to grow and blossom into someone who serves God.  When I get to the end of my life here on earth, I want to be like that tea bag I mentioned-wrung out with nothing left of use.
Join me as I learn to listen to God and act in a way that He gets all the glory.

12 thoughts on “Strain Away

  1. Thank you, Sarah, for writing this blog. You have always been an open and honest person and that comes through very clearly in this post. I am also glad that my investment in the gem mining is still producing a good return! I am proud of you, Dad

  2. So excited to read your blog and see a little more of your heart. I'm encouraged reading this and it was what I needed to be reminded of today. God is still working on me! Love you!

  3. I’m so glad you left a comment on my blog so I could find yours! I love the “about me” description and can totally relate! Looking forward to being encouraged and challenged by your words!

  4. Hi Sarah,

    I absolutely love your analogy of the tea bag – God allowing situations into our lives to bring flavor, and to strain away the things that are unnecessary. He truly has our best interests at heart. Many of the painful experiences I have been through in my life have made me who I am. These struggles help me to truly empathize with others who are struggling. It is because I have been broken, and am being restored by my loving heavenly Father, that I am able to offer hope to a hurting world.

    I have subscribed to your blog, and look forward to reading more. I would love it if you would follow my journey as well.


  5. As a child (and teenager, and well, adult), I went gem mining. I paid for a bag of dirt and sifted for the colored stones that were in it. On the outside the bag looked plain. But when you took the time to go through it, there were beautiful gems to pull out.

    I love this! I often feel like there is a lot of dirt in me… but those who have taken the time to know me well are able to pull out the gems and show me the places that I sparkle. Well done!

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