And Then I Turned 40 {Part 1, Journaling a Year}

I sit with pen in hand.  I listen.  I wait.

And I know…

My life is an organized mess – at best.

My marriage officially ends in November 2013.  The court makes it so in May 2014.  It’s now December 2014, and I am all over the map – literally.  Overwhelmed. Running from place to place. Reading a piece of this book and that book.  Starting this diet one week and another diet the next week. Singing I surrender all, then micromanaging everyone and everything around me.

Grabbing, grasping at everything and everyone.  All slithers through my fingers.  I can’t find peace.

You catch me one moment –  I am loving and sweet. The next? Sad, angry, and (most likely) blaming you. It’s miserable. I am miserable, not on the surface, but deep deep down….

This is not who I am or how I want to live. I know it.

I can’t keep living reactive.  In turmoil.

As all Type A personalities do, I make a plan. And another plan. I research and resource.

I also know that I’ll never finish any of it. Dream big. Fall hard.  No follow through.  And that’s part of the problem.

So, I make TWO decisions on my 39th birthday.

and then I turned 40

ONE:  I will journal my 40th year of life.

TWO: I will step away from life. I will work and keep commitments.  I will continue to serve with Women of Purpose.  I will love and support my children. I will hold what I have steady, but I will not pursue anything more in any arena of life.  I will stay home unless going is a MUST.

I buy a journal that says “Let Your Soul Shine,” and I begin.  One word, one day at a time.  On the bottom of page 2, I write: A journal to healing.  {This would be one of six journals I’d complete last year.}

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I had no idea how prophetic those words would be.  God knew though.

I turned 40 on Sunday.  The year is done.  And is the healing complete?

I don’t think we are healed this side of heaven, but I can tell you…all the research on writing and healing? It’s true.  Why? Because He heals and changes us as we commune with Him. And my journals became THAT: Communion with my Creator.

I can share with you so many prayers He answered, hearts He changed, healing He gifted. Until I began rereading each page of this year’s journals, I had NO idea how tangible and active he’d been in my life. How He’d shown himself over and over.  I am incredibly humbled and in awe as I read the words from my heart to His…and how he lovingly honored each word in HIS way – rarely in mine.

Some things I prayed for…

On December 7, 2014 I joined Sanctuary Columbus for church.  From my journal…Jesus is missing from the season.  How can I find Him? I loved this service.  Gabe’s mom praying over Him, the prayer team around the room, people standing and going to pray. I was all so beautiful.  Owen loved that too.  I spent the service in tears.  I just felt I could trust Pastor Rich to lead me.  I loved the benediction to go and find Jesus – in your neighbor, in your Bible, and in your work.

As I reread, I see my heart longing for a church family again.  I don’t ask God specifically for that.  I never pray that prayer.  But, he hears and sees the longing.  I need to trust the leader.  I need someone who examples the benediction that day: Go find Jesus  – in your neighbor, in your Bible, and in your work.

God gives me The Warehouse in August 2015.  Nine months of writing. Nine months of not really asking, but Him knowing.  I find it funny that God would allow nine months to pass. My return to church was so much like pregnancy and birth that I could probably write a book:)




December 12, 2014…my finances.  (This would be a theme on several days.)

I never ask God for second job.  I pray for provision, yes, but not employment.  I can’t tell you how, but God always made my finances work.  And just one week ago, God opened a door wider than wide. A door I could never have orchestrated. In fact, if I told you how I happened by this opened door, you’d never believe me.  Only He can get credit.  No, my situation isn’t perfect because if it were, I’d stop leaning into Him and He knows that about me.

December 15, 2014 I listen to Ann Voskamp in Nashville. I lose my appetite for Jesus because I am full already.  My needs are met.  So where and why is there room for Jesus? If I come to the table, and I’ve already eaten, then I am not hungry…I need an appetite for you, Lord.  How do I create it?

I didn’t create it.  He did. I suddenly have this crazy appetite for the scripture.  Oh, I’ve been a Bible nerd in the past. But, I’d always read books written by humans about Jesus. This new desire was to know him above all else through His word and not man.

I could go on and on.

Yes, I held all things steady, not adding and not subtracting.  No sudden decisions.  But, God.  He pursued on my behalf.  He went before me and opened doors that I didn’t even know to ask for Him to open.  And while I “stayed mostly off the world’s radar,” which was my goal (and an extrovert’s nightmare), He grew me and stretched me.

And allowed me opportunities that I’d begged Him for in previous years.  Surrender is funny that way.

I gave Him a year, and He gave me Himself.

So, here I sit.  Age 40. (That’s crazy to me!)

And I wonder…what’s next, Lord.  And He says,  Come see, Sarah.

Isn’t that beautiful?  As I ask him…ok, Lord. That “whole journaling the year” thing really worked out!  I love looking back and seeing how you’ve changed me and worked in and through others to show me that you love me.  Now what?

I feel like I am in the huddle during the big game, confident that God and I are about to score the winning touchdown.  We’ve been through so much together during the game. We’ve learned and loved…this is our moment!! I am just waiting for Him to call in THE play!

And instead of giving me THE thing or THE play, he simply invites me to COME SEE.

I feel like the woman at the well who has discovered living water for the first time, running back to my village – the one in which I’ve previously felt shame – and instead of shame, I am shouting: COME SEE!

Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves. John 4:29-30 MSG

Come and see for yourself.

Come and see what a broken life looks like when the vessel decides to drink living water.

I also resonate with Luke 2 – a famliar passage.  The angels appear to the shepherds, telling to go see what God has done – go meet Jesus.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

That’s how I feel after this year. Seeing is believing.  And I’ve seen Him.  I want to tell everyone I meet how awesome He is. And some other things?  I want to hold dear, deep within, pondering like Mary.  Because, friend, it’s turned out exactly the way I’d been told:  He is in control.  He is sovereign.  He writes the story. He loves you.  He cares for you.  He is your provision and your King.

What else have I learned? Only books can detail it all, but these words reflect my heart – what I know to be true and who I know I am …(come back tomorrow!)


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! You are amazing and I love reading the words that you write. You are such an inspiration and I am grateful for the things that you choose to share with us.
    I think that you have inspired me to journal this next year of my life! 🙂
    I hope that you have such a blessed day and new year!
    Thank you again!

    • Thanks so much for your kindness, Becky! Please update me as you journal your year…I will be praying for you! Much love, Sarah

    • Hi Becky! It’s almost the new year…I hope you still plan to journal your year! Let me know how it goes:) Happy New Year!


  1. […] {This is Part 2. If you missed yesterday’s post, read it here.} […]

  2. […] And Then I Turned 40 {Part 1, Journaling a Year} […]

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