Author Archives: Sarah Mullins-Hess

My man

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My man.

I just love him.

We met almost 20 years ago.  He tells me, today, that it was in February of 1997 (because I have a hard time recalling dates the way he does): He walked up to me, and our mutual friend Abbie, kissed my hand and told me it was “delightful” to meet me.

He was 17 years old. And already a romantic at heart. An old soul, of sorts, and just wise and witty beyond his years.

A few weeks after that strange and intriguing first encounter, I saw him at a high school battle of the bands and approached him to say “hi” … but we ended that evening taking the “music in our minds” outside into the rain, where we danced and laughed and played. I was 15, still a confused and broken girl, but I found a real friend that rainy day.

And that my friends is where our love began.

The love found in child-like laughter of two friends restoring their hope in a world that had (has) a way of tearing us down.

The love that is found in a listening ear over the phone when one pensive soul is trying to understand the lessons of life.

The love found in bins filled with letters over a four year time span, while James was away in the Army.  It was encouragement through his Basic Training, Army barrack life, and Sergeant School and encouragement for me to smile and smell the roses when I couldn’t cope after coming back from Africa after a short term mission trip, navigating through community college, and later Nursing School at University.  It was care packages of sand, rain in a bottle, and audio “tape” recordings of songs we wrote about faith (just to name a few).  And it was the steady flow of written word that bore our hearts of our daily struggles, dreams, hurts, and growing pains.

The love that is found when a wild young artful soul loses his free spirit in surrender to a cause that is “bigger” and foreign to his own …. a growing up of sorts, and sorting out of sorts … only to leave a man whose heart understands more deeply pain and what it means to fight for something you love.

The love that is found when I realized James tended for me as a shepherd cares for his flock; velvety, non-assuming, all accepting arms of love reaching out to me with big hugs through the phone … and I finally saw what I always knew.

The jaw dropping, knee quivering, shouting and dancing, utter shock love that left James (almost) speechless, when I told him, “I love you” and he (after a couple of other attempts to tell him) finally understood that I finally meant a love that was more than friendship. (yes I know that I used the word “finally” a couple times in that sentence.  deal with it!)

A love that is patient … and kind … and not jealous, or rude.

A love that stayed up with me and held me during the two weeks it took to miscarry our first baby.  And a love that fully supported me while I birthed all four of our children and joyously celebrated their lives with me.

A love that lets me cry, and talk, and get lost just to get found. (Yes, even James, needs reminding sometimes to keep his mouth shut and please just listen).

A love that trusts me, and God, no matter what!!!  And doesn’t question the bends and twists that life brings (or at least not as severely as I do!)

A deep and earthy and connecting love.

A father’s love and teaching example.

This man.  He doesn’t hinder one dream God puts in my heart.  Not one.  He says “dream big” and I do.  He says “God will”, and I try to trust the way he does.  He says. “I love you Sarah.”  And I know that he does.  With all my heart I know he is true.

This is the kind of love story books are made of. Not the fairy tale kind, but the ones etched out of blood, sweat, and tears.

This man, I would not trade for the world!!!!  He is mine.  and I am his.

But, today when I was rolling over in laughter while James personified a interesting (to say the least) group of individuals with great accuracy and wit, and our kids could not understand why we laugh so hard at each-other’s “jokes that are not even funny!!”, I had to just inform them: “because you aint smart enough yet” to comprehend the intricate quirks and humor that we have etched out over the years to cope and rebuild again.

 

The past year, has been an interesting one for me to watch James.

A freedom and creativity has sparked in him and in his ventures to use his talents, abilities and God given desire to provide for his family.

He decided in 2011, after losing his job due to the economy, that he would step away from working for someone to build something for our family, a decision that was mutual, as we felt God was calling me back to pursue working in women and children’s healthcare. However, 2011-2013 were hard years for both of us.  We stepped out to pursue our dreams and callings, but it was no bed of roses, and both of us carried far more mental burdens than either of us should have carried, which in turn stole our creativity, freedom, and joy.  2014 was a transition year for us that was just plain painful in and of itself, even if we were shouldering those extra burdens on Jesus.

But this year, 2015, I am starting to see the man who used to dress himself up like Charley Chaplain, carrying a cane wherever he went, walking on his hands, and philosophizing with anyone and everyone he met.  In high school he was a social butterfly … but one with depth. He was (and is) the quintessential youngest child.  He had (has) charisma.

I don’t know if he will actualize or accomplish all that he dreams.  For me, It is yet to be decided as to what God has dreamed for him vs what he has dreamed for himself; what James’ original design is vs preconceived notions of what “provider” should look like.  Whatever it is God has created him for, is exactly what I want for him, because I know that is where Jame’s true joy is found. I am seeing glimmers more and more of who I know him to be.  And, I think to myself, again, who is this marvelous James-man?

When God Makes You Into A Threshing Tool

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When God Makes You Into A Threshing ToolIt was the spring of 2000.  I was a full time student at Valencia Community College, and it was Spring break.  For about a week and a half prior I had been trying to get a hold of dear friend who had tentatively planned on me staying with her for the break.  She lived near the beach and I was thrilled to have the time with her soaking up the sun, sand, and waves.

The only problem was, the break had begun and I still was not able to get a hold of my friend.  (This was pre-cell phone era and getting a hold of someone meant calling their house-line and hoping they noticed that their was a red blinking light on the answering machine that was tucked on the small table in the back of their living room).   I had no back up plans for my spring break.  None.   I was getting disappointed!  But with it being the first Monday of the break, all my other friends were now scattered about already beginning their excursions.  What other options did I have but to wait and try to make the best of my Monday?

It had been a while since I had been to the beach.  (Well … for a Florida girl, not seeing the beach in one year’s time, is considered “a while”!)  And my heart was dead-set on seeing it during my break-time.  For crying out loud, I lived 45 minutes away from some of the beaches!!!  But, I had no one to go along with me, even for a day trip.  Besides, I did not have the money, at 18 years old, to get a hotel for the night and I felt that was too unsafe for me to brave alone.

That long and lonely Monday turned into a Tuesday.  I was getting angry.  Angry at my friend.  Angry at God.  Angry that my break time was slipping away from me.  Angry at myself for being so stubborn about needing to go to the beach for my spring break and probably blinding myself from seeing any other opportunities to do other things to occupy my time (let me catch my breath now!).  Do you ever get like this?!

I turned to God, and knew I needed to hear from Him.  So what did I do?  I randomly opened up my Bible and pointed my finger to whatever verse was in front of me.  (super spiritual, i know.)  This is what I read:

Isaiah 41: 14-15  Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you.  I am the Lord, your Redeemer.  I am the Holy One of Israel.’  You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth.  You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.

So, what, you may ask, does this verse of scripture have anything to do with my situation?

Do you every feel like a worm?  Low, slimy, in the dirt.  Easily devoured.  No backbone, no strength to hold you up?  Weak.  Defeated.  The only time you come out of your hiding place is in times when the brightness of the sun is covered by clouds and rain?  Depressed

Situations and circumstances can get us down.  But we can choose to let them keep us there.  Waiting for the situation to change, for someone to call us.  Or, we can believe in the transforming power of a God who calls us out and makes us new.

I felt like a threshing tool in that moment, while reading the scripture.  I was mad.  I was upset and had anger in my heart.  And, the scripture I was reading was putting some definition to those hostile feelings.   He was transforming my defeat into some doable actions.  And in that moment, He reminded me of my family that lived on the beach.  He encouraged me to boldly ask them if I could stay with them, who I by the way stayed with and enjoyed the rest of my vacation time with.  It was stirring up a tenacity, a persistence, and boldness that won’t quit.

I find myself a LOT in my life with these uncomfortable feelings, and the subsequent call from God to be stirred to action.  Lately, it has been me proving who I am to some of my managers at work who view me as someone I am not and with the very best intentions are trying to groom me for what they see fit for my “career path” or the with the worst of intentions are maliciously using trickery and slander to thwart my movement into the Labor & Delivery position that I feel that the Lord is calling me to pursue.  Either way it is discouraging and extremely frustrating to my soul.

Even still, the Lord keeps saying every step of the way, “Look here, this door is cracked open for you.  Push through.  Train at this; gain more skills here.  Don’t get discouraged by what mere man is saying about you.  I am the one who promotes you.  Show yourself approved to me.”

Sometimes, I think it is ridiculous how much tenacity the Lord wants to build in me, but then I smile and am reminded He is preparing me for greater things.  Tenacity calls you to go against your worm like feelings, into becoming someone who is strong and devours mountains of obstacles and defeat.

Sarah