Unblock your writer

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“I write in terror. I have to talk myself into bravery with every sentence, sometimes every syllable.” –Cynthia Ozick

“Don’t simply tell me that faith saves you, tell me how it almost failed you, too. Don’t tell me about love, speak of your passion. Don’t tell me you’re hurt, let me see your heart breaking. I don’t want to see your talent on the page, I want to see your blood.

“Dare to be naked before your readers. Because that is writing, and everything else is worthless crap.”

-Wisdom tapped from From Billy Coffey’s post Writing Naked

Perhaps, if you are blocked, you are not writing about what moves you, what terrifies you most. You are not afraid enough yet.

Write a few words about the scariest stuff, and then see how big your block is.

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Fear and Faith: Stories of Healing

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I went to a conference and mustered some courage from seeing God do the impossible. And then I started to believe it was possible. And that maybe God could use me to bring healing to people’s bodies and lives too.

For years, I complained to God that I just didn’t have faith to see him heal people. But I still noticed all the sick and injured people as I went about my life.

I saw them, but I did nothing. It was miserable.

While at the conference, I realized it was hope I was missing the whole time. Faith is the substance of what I hope for. So if I don’t hope, faith has nothing to hang on to.

The catch: without faith, it is impossible to please God. Wow. Straight forward.

So essentially, if I need hope to have faith, and I need faith to please God, then I need hope to please God. 

Hope is just as essential as faith. It is the building block of faith.

So that was what I learned, and little by little, I started. I prayed. And I still do.

I see some healing, and I feel great. And some days, when I pray and people don’t get healed, I just get frustrated and disappointed and wonder what’s wrong with me.

Josh reminded me that faith pleases God, and my prayers, even when I don’t see answers immediately, demonstrate faith. So I am making God happy, and that really is all I need to worry about.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce to you my latest project. It used to be scratched down on little index cards, and the stories still are. But I wanted to put them out here to encourage people who want to pray for healing too, and to let the skeptics know that I’m not selling anything, this doesn’t always work, but I want to believe big because God is big.

The Prayer and Healing Journal can be found here. Stop by often for new stories of breakthrough, miracles, healings and the honest truth about the in-between days when I wonder where God is.

Stories of Fear and Faith #6.1

https://vimeo.com/63140117

This is all a little surreal. I’m really doing it though. I am praying for strangers and friends alike for healing. I am realizing what an adventurous God I’m working with here. He loves so much. I just have to stay connected to that love or I’m headed for compassion burnout. But it’s been fun to just watch what he does. I know I’m not the one healing these people, but I pray, and that gives him the opportunity. Amazing!

I got sick this week, and that messed with me a little. I prayed, friends prayed, but I stayed sick and in pain. It messed with me, but I decided I would keep asking God to heal people. I decided not to give up.

Stats from the week:
9 people prayed for
4 strangers prayed for
4 people experienced immediate healing, full or partial

Watch the video for short stories of some of the people I prayed for. And be encouraged that God can use all of us scared, broken people, wherever we are in life, to do miracles and great, big things!

Stories of Fear and Faith #5

http://vimeo.com/62496661

Wrap up of our third day here in Oklahoma. The stories just got better and better. And I didn’t even mention the physical healings yet. 🙂 Be sure to check out the last video where you will meet our new friends from Manhattan.

Stories of Fear and Faith #4: New Friends

https://vimeo.com/62483121

Meet our newest friends from Manhattan, a group of five men who, like Megan and I, want to see Manhattan restored and revitalized through miracles, healing and all-around God-powered awesomeness. Meet the crew right here.

Stories of Fear and Faith#3

https://vimeo.com/62430736

Yesterday was our first full day at the conference. It was full of 2/3 fear and failing and 1/3 success and bravery. I know that’s better than 100% failure, but it’s clear I have a long way to go. I’m realizing some major blocks in my desire to pray for sick or injured people. My faith to see total strangers walk out of wheelchairs has been pretty low. So praying for the sick is my next frontier.

Stories of Fear and Faith #2

It’s our first full day in Oklahoma. Check out the video for a little background on why we are here, what we’re doing and a fun story about God giving me a message for a junior high girl. She was adorable!

Also check Instagram and Twitter (@sarahsiders on both) for my crazy #4days4ways challenge, wearing one shirt 4 ways in 4 days.

http://vimeo.com/62339864

The Brave want things

A friend and I were talking tonight, as my friends and I often do, about longings and desires, wants and needs. And what we do with the things we say we don’t want, or don’t need, but really, we do.

I find myself often enough drowning out genuine wants and needs simply for fear of not being able to obtain them, or perhaps the reality of having to ache while I wait. I’ve written on this a million times, but it’s so true. I just keep stuffing the longing, quieting it right up, just cause it hurts too much. 

My trepidation and sorry lack of courage are so disappointing. I fancy myself one of the brave poets, an intrepid world-travelers, or a missionary who will risk her entire life to bring a village to Jesus. I think of myself that way, and yet, I’m afraid to pray for a sick person. I spend my life on the mediocre for fear the great won’t come to me. Or that I will fail on my way to the great. Or some other suppressed reason, perhaps.

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[photo cred: poppyinibiza.blogspot.com]

I would like to get in trouble a little more often because I’m doing so many innovative things, pushing boundaries for the sake of good, raising eyebrows, but believing so deeply in something true. 

I come up with reasons why now is just not the right time to be a successful writer, or to take a trip, or be set on fire for God. I tell myself we can’t possibly afford another child. I’m so tired as it is. 

I sigh at nights because this is still not the life I want to live, and yet I’m afraid to ask, afraid to long, afraid to yearn.

Afraid to get my heart broken.

I’ve been brave some of the time. I was brave enough to pursue God completely and somewhere in there, my husband came to me. I was brave enough to cry and beg for a child, and then to surrender the desire, and then I got that dream too.

But I’m here again with ambiguous desires, living in this floating, non-committal state where I refuse to give my all to something. To want it so badly, but to let myself trust God at the same time. To insist that he is good, that he loves me, and that he’s not going anywhere, despite what my circumstances say. 

One of my greatest wrestlings with Hope is immortalized in this prose piece I wrote in the first few months of trying to get pregnant last time. My heart hurt so early on. But as I wrote this, I gave up a bit of my suspicion toward Hope and found it might actually be worth it to give her some of my time. 

You can read this excerpt here below. Then visit The Burnside Writer’s Collective to read it in its entirety.

Hope, The Foolish Child

What shall I do with Hope, this child I can’t stop feeding?
I want to kill her, but she says the sweetest things.
She knows my desire,
Keeps telling me it’s coming, it’s coming.
I start to think she might be a liar;
And just when I’m about to stop standing there like a fool,
Hand over my eyes,
Staring into that thin horizon line,
Just then she points, shouts,
“Here It comes!”
I squint into the light and sure enough,
Here comes my Longing.
I reach over to hug Hope, that bouncing child.
But she’s gone,
Gone to lay claim to a new desire.

Read the rest here