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Sabrina Gauer

Faith, Life & The Journey

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Judgment

The Credibility of Being Different

“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s okay. You’re here to live your life, not to make everyone understand.” – Anonymous

There’s something so interesting about swimming upstream. Especially in the face of chronic illness, cancer, and disease. It’s a difficult hill to climb, with very few who are willing to hear you out or believe in your journey when you choose something different for your body, treatment plan, and healing.

My story is no less credible just because it’s different.

Initially, I had written this post from a place of anger and justification. It’s exhausting when you’re passionate about something so personal, but feeling the need to give yourself credibility to those who should know better. Finally, I came to the point where I needed to just let it go.

My story is no less credible just because I chose differently. 

I used to be known as a singer/songwriter and worship leader. These days, I’m usually known as the stage IV cancer survivor who healed naturally. I’ll admit, the labels are hard sometimes. But I also know the intentional path that God has led me down, with health coaching and holistic treatment and research. Others may joke about it, pat me on the head as if I’m somehow less of a cancer patient because of what I decided for myself, or brush off my personal experience with a shrug. But I don’t need to justify myself to anyone.

My story is no less credible just because I am different.

God is using me in ways I couldn’t even begin to fathom prior to cancer. The amount of people I talk to DAILY who are searching for answers, the rise of AYA (adolescent and young adult) cancers, the dreams God’s putting on my heart for the future…

Yes, I’m a different person than I was two years ago. Two years ago, I was still sure my place was in full-time ministry within the four walls of the church. I was broken, feeling that my dreams had come to halt with circumstances I was facing at that time, dealing poorly with stress, and fighting through the pain and anxiety of trying to be someone I wasn’t, but who everyone kept telling me I should be.

And now? I wish I could wrap that girl up in a hug and tell her to hang on tight because the curveball was about to hit her straight between the eyes and change everything forever.

I am proud of who I’ve become through all of this, and I’m waiting on my God-given future with hope-filled expectancy. I know that my passions and dreams are deeply rooted with a Divine purpose, and the things that used to seem so important have become so small in comparison to this journey. Full-time ministry, as a follower of Christ, means you are called to serve WHEREVER you are; not just on Sundays or being employed by a church. Worship is how you live your life; not the music that you hear on a Sunday morning or throw on your Spotify account every now and then.

How I am choosing to live my life is distinctly MY CHOICE. I am no longer afraid to say no, to set boundaries, to stand up for myself, and to be my best advocate. Whether it’s my mind, my heart, or my body — down to the very cells that make up my being — I am making these decisions through prayer, personal experience, and trust that God knows exactly what He’s doing, even if I’ve had to walk through some horrific and dark moments to find the light on the other side.

And if I have credibility with Him, then that is all that truly matters.

Wasted Grace

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:11

There was a woman who had committed adultery.

The religious leaders caught her, and in their smug, self-righteous attempt to prove how holy they were, she was dragged to the feet of Jesus, where the religious leaders laid her sins out in front of everyone, and challenged Jesus to do something about it. “She’s supposed to be stoned, according to our Law,” they sneered. “What are you going to do about it, oh great Teacher?”

And Jesus looked right at them and said, “Okay, whoever here is without sin – go ahead and throw that first stone.”

One by one, the leaders had to choke on their own pride and walk away. The text says that Jesus was writing something in the sand – was it their hidden sins? Was it the Law that they claimed she had broken, yet they had forgotten the other 9 commandments that were also impossible not to break?

When Jesus looked up, she was still there.

“Where are your accusers?”

“Everyone left,” she replied, probably confused, probably timid, probably still shaking from the prospect of being stoned to death.

So, Jesus told her she was forgiven. And to go and leave her life of sin.

We all struggle with sin.

Our earthly, fleshly nature is sin. Pride, covetousness. Gossip, deceit, lies. Lust, greed, and immorality. It’s all programmed right into our DNA, and we are powerless against it. Might as well just give up trying to fight it and give in to it, right? We’re already saved by grace anyway. We’ve already been told there’s no condemnation in Christ!

Stop right there. SUFT 9 worship

I’ve had too many conversations and observed too many Christians/Christ-followers (even churches!) who believe this very thing- even if they don’t say it outright. Their actions show that they aren’t willing to go the extra mile. To be different even though the world would call them out on it. To stand strong even when it’s lonely, depressing, and discouraging.

They aren’t willing to be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

I’ve been mind-blown these past few days over how much I’m gleaning from the book of Romans. I remember studying it a few years ago, and having an older friend tell me they were surprised, because it was a difficult piece of the Bible to understand. I remember feeling a little deflated in my study because of those words, and stupidly moved on to something else. But reading it now – it’s a very clear, very concise, very hard-hitting letter. There’s nothing confusing about it.

And it makes more sense to me than ever before.

In chapter 7, Paul confesses how hard it is for him to fight his sin-nature…in his own strength. “The things I want to do, I don’t do, and the things I don’t want to do, I do!…I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Just give up and give in, right? NO. Paul then continues on in chapter 8, which in my personal opinion is the most powerful and life-changing part; “You, however, are controlled NOT by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” (v. 9, emphasis my own)

God didn’t send His Son to die a horrific death, defeat sin, and rise again to glory just so we could continue living in our filth…so that we could continue giving in to sin but claiming everything’s fine because God already forgave us. If you’ve accepted that Jesus is LORD of YOUR life, that you are no longer a slave to sin but a child of God, that the atonement for your sin (past, present, and future) was owed and yet taken on by Jesus so you could be free and have eternal life…

Then why do we act like grace is nothing? Why do we ignore 99.9999% of the Bible, and only subscribe to the feel-good fluff that so many people are preaching? Of course we don’t want to be uncomfortable! Of course we don’t want conviction! We don’t really want the Power of the Holy Spirit.

We want the perks of salvation without giving up anything. We want to be saved out of fear, but we don’t have enough fear to change our hearts.

I need this message right now. You need this message right now. Jesus’s words echoing from over two thousand years ago, “Go now, and leave your life of sin.” It isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command.

He forgave you everything. But that doesn’t give you license to waste His grace. Instead, it should break your heart, tear off your chains, and set you free on the road less traveled.

Stop Speaking For God

“It was for God’s glory…”

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was approached by a couple of people who had taken it upon themselves to inform me that my sickness was due to bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart. And that in order for any healing prayers to be heard about my situation, I needed to repent.

When my dad was very sick and battling pulmonary fibrosis, we heard the same things from “well-meaning” people who just thought they knew what the solution was; “You have unconfessed sin! God can’t heal you until you repent!”

Sadly, I have heard this same story more than once from others who have been beaten down with these words instead of loved on and supported by people who should have known better. And needless to say, that callous, judgmental, unbiblical and self-righteous attitude doesn’t really fly in my book.

It’s funny how we try to speak for God.

A few days ago, I was reading John chapter 9:1-3. One of Jesus’s many miracles was healing the blind- physically and figuratively. But the people around Him asked, “Hey, Jesus! So, who’s to blame here for this guy’s handicap? Who sinned- this guy or his parents?” (Because of course we also have those who LOVE to latch onto the “generational curse” theology…)

Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Did those words settle into your heart like they did mine?

We are always grasping in our humanness to find an answer for the pain. “If this, then that.” But  what if the answer to why you’re facing your uphill battle this very moment has nothing to do with some past sin, but simply to glorify God through the outcome? What if the answer isn’t logical, orderly, and complete?

The truth is that we are all sinners. We were born with the innate ability to disobey, strive, and test the limits of consequences to our actions. But we serve a loving, caring God who is in the business of redemption. When we repent of our sins, “He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we are constantly feeling like we are dodging lightning bolts from the Great Punisher in the Sky, or telling others that the reason for their suffering is because they’re sinners…well, then we’re dangerously missing the whole point of TRUE Christianity.

Further along in the book of John, there’s the death of Lazarus- a dear friend of Jesus. Jesus knew that Lazarus was close to death, and yet…He waited before going to see him. In fact, it was 4 days after his death before Jesus headed to see Lazarus’s family. And Lazarus’s sisters both confronted Jesus with the same thing; “Lord, if you had only been here, our brother would still be alive.”

And Jesus wept. John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, and it frankly shows Jesus’s human emotions- His grief over losing a close friend to sickness and death. But then, He raises a very dead Lazarus back to life, and says what? That this was all to show God’s glory.

Because that’s who God is. That’s what He does. He is love and power. He is blessing and redemption of the broken things. And when we portray a false and hurtful version of who He is, I have to think that it hurts God too. When we wound someone who is already in pain because of life’s hardships through our self-righteous and works-driven theology, we are not only falsely showing them who Christ is, but also proving that we are so desperate for an answer that we are willing to make one up– and believe it so strongly that we force it upon others as well.

I do not claim that my cancer, surgery, and recovery hasn’t affected me deeply. But not for a second did I ever think that God was punishing me for something. And these verses were exactly what I needed to read in confirmation. God loves us so much, and we live in a very broken, messed up world. Jesus is our salvation, and we long for Eternity. But before we get there, we have to go through the broken, painful things to grow. To mature. To bless others in their faith through our trials. If we don’t go through the fire, we don’t experience refinement. And God is with us, through every single step, if we ask Him. If we give Jesus our lives and believe that never once do we ever walk alone.

Your trial isn’t about you. God is about to show the world His glory through it. So hang on to Him, let Him refine you and shape you through the fire. And ignore anyone who ever tries to make you doubt His limitless, unfailing love for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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