Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas!

How can it be that we're celebrating Christmas already?! I know it's cliched, but it is so true that the older we get, the faster time flies!

I pray that you're celebrating Christmas for the right reason: the Celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I don't know about you, but when I think about Jesus' birth, His ministry on earth, and most importantly, His sacrificial death and resurrection, I'm awed . . . and humbled. I certainly don't deserve what He did for me.

I was rereading some of my journals, and I came across this entry from February 9, 2002, that describes how this makes me feel:

Who am I, Lord, that You love me? Who am I that You stayed with me even when I turned my back on You and willingly sinned against You and took Your name in vain? Who am I that You willingly died for me, Jesus, even though You knew that I would choose to so drastically rebel? Who am I that now I am washed clean, that I am now righteous in Your eyes, Father? Who am I that You continue to bless me beyond my need, beyond my desire, beyond what I deserve? Who am I? I am Your child. I am Your beloved daughter. I am Your joy and pleasure. How can that be? How can that be? It is so far beyond my comprehension, so far beyond anything I deserve. But I am so grateful, Lord. I am so blessed and humbled and awe-struck. You are so much more to me than I could ever put into words. I can only give You my love, my praise, my worship, myself. It is all You, Lord, and I am all Yours. I thank You, and I love You.

May I encourage you to focus on God's gift to us this season. May I encourage you to take a moment to express your thanks to Him.

And may you and yours enjoy the most blessed of Christmases and a wonderful 2007!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This is a short entry . . .

My dear friend whom I wrote about previously is declining rapidly, and will likely be going on hospice care soon. As the tears run down my face, I ask "why?" Why is a man of forty-four leaving this earth much too early? Why is his bride of only three years facing the loss of her beloved husband?

Lamentations tells us that our God is faithful through every situation, even unbelievable heartache. Yet, during times of pain, we often ask "why?"

I wish I knew. I wish I could tell this man and his wife why this is happening to them. I can't.

I can only assure them--and you--that God really does love His children, and that someday, the heartache will lessen and the pain will decrease. And one day, we'll understand.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't Lose Your Joy

How often do we put our joy in the temporary things of this world? If we have health, if our relationships are going well, if we have a good job, if we live in the big house . . . then we find joy. So, is the opposite true? If we are ill, if our marriage is strained, if we're unemployed or live in a tiny apartment, can we not have joy?

As I've previously written, I suffer from chronic pain and often overwhelming fatigue, and just yesterday, I was convicted that I'm letting the pain steal my joy.

The question I had to ask myself--the question I ask you-- is "where does our joy really come from?" The psalmist wrote, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Our joy comes from knowing that God is with us. One of my favorite names for Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. However, not only is God with us, but He is also in us. When we accept the gift of salvation by inviting Jesus, God the Son, into our hearts, He is in us. I don't know about you, but the confidence I have that Jesus is in me brings me much joy.

So even when I feel unwell so much of the time, even when I may want to curl up in a little ball and tell the world to go away, I can find joy in my God, in knowing that I'm His beloved daughter. I can have joy in knowing that He uses me to influence and encourage others. And I can have joy knowing that, one day, these "temporary afflictions" will be no more. One day, I will feel no more pain as I bask in the light of my Savior--face to face.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Heart Hurts

It's Tuesday evening, and I'm enjoying some quiet time, watching my dogs sleep and catching up on email and such.

I just read a weekly update from a dear friend's wife, and my heart is hurting for them. This friend is someone I went to high school with, and he's suffering from brain cancer. And he's not doing well.

There's a guestbook on their blog, and person after person writes about how they're praying for this special man and his faithful wife. They write of God's plan and His faithfulness.

I couldn't agree more.

I believe with everything I am that God has a perfect plan for each and every one of us. One of my favorite verses speaks of how His plan is for peace to give us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 28:11) I believe this. I speak about this often, and I've even written a book about it.

But I have to tell you: When you're in the valley, when the pain is more than you can bear, sometimes it's hard to see how that pain can possibly be for good.

It's then when we have to lay our hearts completely at the foot of the cross and ask for a peace that can only come from God.

And it's then when we can have confidence that God hears our cries and that it's okay with Him that we do cry. He understands when we just need to ask, "Why, Lord?"

We can cry to Him and tell Him that we don't really like what's happening . . . but that we trust Him, even through the valley. And we can pray that someday we'll finally make sense of what just doesn't make sense on this earth.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Our God is So Good!

If you experience chronic pain, you'll relate with my day . . .

I was driving into work this morning feeling the Monday morning blues, whining and complaining about how lousy I was feeling and how I wanted things to go . . . well, my way . . .

As I moaned and groaned, the words of my favorite hymn filled my heart:

". . . Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."

Then, I arrived at my desk and settled myself in for the day, and I had two more reminders of how good God is.

First, I have a little promise box, and the verse I pulled out today was from Job: "He knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (23:10) Don't you love that? I may be facing trials and difficulties, but He knows the way I take, and I'm being refined as gold--I'm beautiful and valuable in His eyes!

Second, I have a perpetual calendar that I bought at Women of Faith in 1997 (yes, it still sits on my desk almost ten years later!), and this is what it says today:

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace." Isaiah 55:12 Pray for and practice a calm attitude. Remember: upset minds upset; peaceful minds bring peace - Barbara Johnson

Couldn't have said it better myself!

So, today, my friend, I pray for God's peace in your heart. I pray that, as you face your own times of trial and difficulty, you'll remember that you too are gold-to-come. You too are beautiful and valuable in the eyes of our good God!

Be blessed and filled with love and peace and joy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Crying Out to God

Over the last couple weeks, I've grieved with a sweet friend who lost her forty-two year old sister to an untimely death. I've listened to a dear friend describe how her marriage is falling apart. And I myself have been diagnosed with a chronic disease.

It's times like these when we ask "why?"

Why the pain? Why the sadness?

I wish I could give you an answer that would make it "all better."

I do know this: God is faithful, and all things really do work out for good to those who love God. (Romans 8:28)

And I know that God understands our cries. In fact, He welcomes our cries. Isaiah 58:9 says "Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, 'Here I am.'" (KJV)

So if you're hurting today. If you're tired or grieving or sad. Cry out to Him and know that He will hear you. More importantly, know that He is with you.

As He said in Isaiah, "Here I am."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Night Blues

It's Sunday, and the day is winding down. I enjoyed a wonderful time of worship at my home church this morning, did some shopping with my husband, played with the dogs . . . typical Sunday "stuff." It's been a nice relaxing day.

But now I face the "Sunday Night Blues." You know what I mean: You've enjoyed your weekend even if you had tons of things to do, and now you know that the work week starts in just a few hours.

Sound familiar?

Now, I'm fortunate to work at a wonderful company, and I really do love my job. The problem is that I love my husband and home and ministry more, and it's hard sometimes to balance all of it.
So, what do I do to get over these blues? What can you do?

There's a verse that helps me to actually look forward to Mondays: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." (Col 3:23)

Remembering that my job is a gift from God and that I'm called to work to glorify Him makes it easier to get over those Sunday Night Blues.

I pray that this will help you as you prepare for another work week.

Be blessed!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Servant's Heart

Lately, I seem to be reading, seeing, hearing a lot about being a servant. I'm currently going through a Charles Stanley Bible study on the topic. Within the last month, I've read two books on leadership that focus on it. And I just attended a conference for leaders that discussed it.

So why all this talk about serving others? Because that's what we're called to do as children of the King. Jesus served His followers by washing their feet. We can't do anything less.

I've felt very convicted about this lately, and I've been challenged to find ways to serve. I've been wanting to mentor a younger woman, so I'm starting to look at opportunities to do this. And at the other end of the spectrum, I've missed having my grandparents (I lost my last living grandparent last year), so I'm looking into "adopting" a grandma.

But beyond these, I'm also looking for every opportunity to serve others with a joyful heart. I realized that I can clean my house--something I don't really love--with a servant's heart because I'm doing something to make our home more pleasant. I can complete tasks for others at work without grumbling. I can ask for specific ways to help my friends and family.

What can you do? How can you be more like Christ? Serving others actually serves God. And serving God brings glory to Him.

Find ways to serve today. And cultivate a servant's heart.

Monday, July 31, 2006

An Amazing Child

I spent the weekend with the most amazing child! My niece, Sarah, and her husband, Chris, visited from Oregon, and they brought their one-year-old son, Christopher Jr, aka C.J.

Now, there are hundreds of thousands of great aunts out there. I realize this. And I realize that each of these hundreds of thousands of great aunts thinks her great nephew or niece is the sweetest, the cutest, the smartest, etc. etc. etc. But I have to say, my great nephew really IS the sweetest, the cutest, the smartest, etc. etc. etc.

God didn't bless my husband and me with children, and I've lived somewhat vicariously through the lives of our nieces and nephews. My eldest niece--I call her my "first born" because I was only nineteen when she was born--has always had a special place in my heart, and when she married in 2004, she honored me by asking me to be an attendant in her wedding.

And then when she gave birth to that amazing child in 2005, she and Chris asked me and Russ to be "honorary grandparents."

So, this weekend, I was able to love on that baby!

And I was reminded of something: God loves me. Even though He had a different plan for Russ and me, I've had wonderful relationships with children that He's brought into my life. And now I have the opportunity to have a relationship this new little one.

God is faithful. He really is!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

He leads besides the cool waters

Here in Southern California, we've been having some record heat. It's been in the high nineties to low 100s where I live, and the humidity has been unusually high. We've even experienced some thunder storms. My two Labrador retreivers haven't been enjoying this heat at all . . . and neither have I (my husband jokes that I do well only when the temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees, and I'm sorry to say that he's right!).

We've had power outages and hot nights that have made sleep difficult. It's enough to make the calmest of us a bit grouchy.

What do we do when the weather gets so hot, so miserable? We can seek the cool of air conditioned homes and malls. We can hope that the power stays on long enough to keep the indoors at least tolerable. Or we can just keep our fingers crossed that the weather cools down.

But what about when our spirits experience the "heat" of the world? Those of us who know Jesus Christ know that trials and struggles and pain will come. We know we'll face the heat, the parched desert times.

When those times come, we can go to our Shepherd, the One who can cool our heated souls. Psalm 23 tells us that the Shepherd will "lead us beside the cool waters" and that He will "restore our souls."

If you're facing the heat of the day, go to the Lord and ask Him to cool your spirit.

And for the weather? Join me in praying for a cold spell!

Be blessed this day and this week.


Saturday, July 15, 2006


Greetings to the inaugural posting of my blog!

This blog will touch on some of what the Lord has laid upon my heart. I have a speaking ministry, and my mission is to encourage, edify, and equip. I speak on different topics (you can get more information on www.saunirinehart.com), but I'm highly passionate about two: the struggle with infertility and being married to a spouse who doesn't share my faith.

Over the next weeks and months, I'd love to dialog with others who may be facing the same issues.

Today, though, I want to share some thoughts about what it means to be an encourager. I feel blessed that God has given me a heart to encourage others, and one of the most encouraging thoughts for me is that we are loved by a sovereign Creator. The Bible tells us that God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us (John 3:16). It also tells us that God will work everything out for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Because I believe in this God of love, I can have confidence that everything I've experienced--including infertilty and loving my non-believing husband--has a purpose. I look forward to sharing with you how I've been able to embrace the good, the bad, the ugly, and it's my prayer that your heart will be encourage.

So again, welcome to my blog. I hope to see you again.

For His glory,