Sara in The Ivory Palaces

I never met her.

I prayed for her, I heard stories, I watched her YouTube videos, I even ran 3.2 miles inher honor, but I never met her.

She was from the same city, we knew the same people, even my college roommate passed programs and bubbles at her wedding, but I never met her.

I will though.

This morning in church we sang  “Ivory Palaces.”

Have you ever heard this old hymn? Yeah, me either.

“Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.”

I imagined her, this woman that I never met, meeting Him in His Ivory palace, too early some might say, but she is there, Sara Pigg Walker is there, sitting next to Him who created her in that Ivory Palace on high. She’s cancer free, she’s safe, she’s finished, she’s resting in Him who created her.

Yep, I never knew her, neither did a lot of those who prayed for her to get better, but there is a family that formed because of this woman who knew Jesus in the depth of her soul, and although she fought the evil grip of cancer with every ounce of her being, she never stopped knowing Jesus and loving Him.

Today, there rests a village in Malawi Africa in honor of this incredible woman I never met. A village that is changing people daily.

A legacy is what she left. A legacy of grace, humility, and the greatest of faith. Faith to move mountains and faith to run the race set before her.

I knew about Sara and her story because of my college roommate.  Nichole Prescott, was my college roommate at Lipscomb University, and a forever friend.

She walked with Sara and her family through the trials of her sickness, she took care of children, she blessed them even after Sara went to Ivory Palaces.

Guess where Nichole is going? 

She’s going to the Village in Malawi in honor of Sara Pigg Walker. 

She’s going to place where the woman ,who was like a sister to her, left a legacy of grace.

But she needs help, and you can be a part of that. You can help her catch another glimpse of Sara’s presence in the physical realm of earth again.  You can help her feel the power of the Jesus that left His Ivory Palaces for her.

Every penny counts. Every prayer matters. You may not know Nichole, but if you knew Sara Pigg Walker, do it for Sara.

Nichole is. She’s going to the Village for her sweet Sara.

Sara full of grace, Sara full of faith…

Sara in the Ivory Palaces. 

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Help Nichole at www.gofundme.com/nnpresmalawi2015

*a little note from Nichole*

My heart in going to Malawi is due to a woman named Sara Pigg Walker. Ever since August 28, 2012 Malawi has been on my heart. This was the day that Sara went to be with Jesus, I will never forget that day. There is something significant about that particular date and it is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God has called me to Malawi this summer. I was very hesitant and thought it was a silly idea but everything has fallen into place perfectly. It has been graced by God and has His complete involvement. I’ve known Sara since I was a little girl I always looked up to her and her siblings. It’s funny how God put me back in Sara’s life when I was much older. The role that she played in my life I was able to play in her boys’ lives. I love that God brought me to Nashville. I was immediately welcomed by Sara and her family. I was trusted to spend time with her precious treasures, Scott and Camden. The Pigg and Walker family brought me great joy and showed me unending love during my time in Nashville. They are family to me. I love them more than I could express in words and look up to them so much.I want to be like Sara. I never thought that my role would change with her from respected adult that I said, “yes mam” to, to friend. Sara always was so encouraging of my dreams. I often looked forward to watching her boys not only because I got to play with them but because I got to sit with Sara and just talk. She was always so kind and encouraging and we often laughed at silly things. I treasured the times that we could talk about God and boys. I treasured her advice and the times that we were able to pray together. When Sara got sick it broke my heart and I often could not understand why God would allow this to happen. Sara’s faith never wavered, it never broke. She was always so open with me about her treatments and the way she was feeling. Her openness showed me that yes, she was hurting but she never blamed God. Sara had one of the strongest faiths I have ever experienced in a friend. I am so thankful that God gave me the chance to know her. Sara altered my walk with God she helped me to see how loving He was and what grace was like. I love Sara so much and miss her often. Sara’s life was used to glorify God 100%. She has affected thousands of people with her life. God has brought so many to Him through her. He used her suffering to heal others. Sara’s memory lives on in Malawi and through her family. She is lived on through her husband Brian and her sons Scott and Camden. She lives on through her family and friends. She lives on in the lives of the people that she helped by God using her as his vessel. Sara will forever be in my heart and a great influence in my life. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me in Malawi.

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Because He Rose

We woke with Him.

We had the most tired eyes and minds.

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We mustered the energy to grab warm socks and a hot cup of Bell Blend and sat out on our balcony together.

We stared at the sky that is barely visible behind the roof of an overgrown house in our back yard. 

Cody read with his deep, southern, and tired voice “He is not here, He is risen.”

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I felt the lump in my throat and the hot tears welling up as we sat with Jesus and spoke with Him about what we felt and thanked Him for what we had.

I began to tell Him the outpour of my heart

“Because You rose from the dead… fill in the blank.”  The list was long, but I know it wasn’t long enough.

There were so many thoughts, so many moments and blessings that have come to my life, all because He rose. 

All. Day. Long.

The church was bursting at it seams. There wasn’t enough room to seat all that came in Sunday morning. Because He rose. 

We had family lunch, and my nephew was there, healthy and happy, not a soul could tell that he was  in the NICU a mere three months ago all Because He rose. 

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My niece was sassy, hunting eggs, giggling and completely set free from neutropenia all Because He rose. 

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Our family lunch was fun, full of joy and laughter, even though two of our sweetest ones have gone to be with Jesus, Because He rose.

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We have carried on traditions within our family for this specific day, because He rose. 

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(these little beauties are wearing dresses that their great-grandmother hand made for all of us as little girls.  Although taking a pic was a bit of a struggle, the sentiment was present.)

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My husband journeyed almost a full year of marriage with me, full of painfully hard moments and the most enormous joys.  He chose to walk all of them with me, because He rose. 

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*I love our weirdness.*:)

The list could go on for days.

Sunday was a day that struck me on a different level. He rose from the dead and I am set free, but because He rose from the dead, that power lives inside of me!

I’m undone by the grace. I’m navigated by the Spirit.  I’m healed from the inside out and continue to be pursued when my weakness comes against me.

All. Because. He. Rose. From. The. Dead. 

Why Faking It Doesn’t Make It

I am not an interior decorator.

It really is a fact.

I salute all who are, man, what a gift and EXTREME sense of patience.

I feel so overwhelmed by the process of putting things up on my walls, positioning furniture, picking colors. AH! All of it gets to my head.  I second guess every choice that I make until I just simply quit making choices.

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Does it look cute? Do they notice the tacky wall paper that I didn’t have a choice about when agreeing to live in my apt? Does it smell nice? Are people comfortable here?

The list of questions I battle in my mind about my home are endless. I become so obsessed with trying to accommodate what I think others expect my home to look like, instead of making it according to my taste.  In fact, I think my taste buds change for every person that comes over.

But yesterday, help came to the rescue in the form of my sweet, precious, barely five foot tall aunts. These two know me.  If they walked into a room and had to decorate it “La” style (nobody in my family actually calls me Laura Jean), they would knock it out of the park.

They walked into my apartment with a bag full of fun things and sat me down at my kitchen table.  My Aunt, Kathy, started to give me a little pep talk, well at least I viewed it as that. She talked right through my heart without even knowing it.  She said, “When it’s all said and done, fill your home with things you love, things that have meaning to you.”

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We got to work.

I mean, they were at my apartment for hours.  Not a dime spent, just simple rearrangement, hanging items in different places, finding things that hold a deeper purpose and exposing them within my home.

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 Those two women are like mama’s to me. What I love about them is what they see in me that I can’t see within myself. I type these words with misty eyes because of the gratitude I feel for them; they know me. They held me as an infant, probably on their hips when I was a toddler screaming because someone told me “No” (Y’all that was a real season in my life, God bless my parents). They cooked me meals, carted me and my 7 cousins all over town, I know they have prayed for my heart and my future, they support my goals and my dreams, and I love that I get a hug every Sunday morning after church service, the list goes on and on.  I have done life with these two ladies.  We may look like night and day next to each other, but there’s no denying they’re family, and no doubt that they see my gifts better than I can.

We filled my walls and my bookshelves with items that have meaning, a real story behind it. I am pretty sure a story was told for every nail hammered.

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In the whole process I started to feel this notion of how my home can be such a representation of my heart.

How many decisions do I NOT  make because of my fears of not measuring up, my fears of others not liking what I have, or simply my fear of finding out what I am not. If I simply don’t make a decision I never have to find out if I am really not good at something.  So, I stop. I quit.  I don’t pursue.  I let others who know they are good at something pursue their wildest dreams and I stay content being their cheerleader, and not really having a “thing”.

It’s easier right? Never exposing your deepest dreams or gifts, that way nobody will find out who you really are, nobody can shame what you really love, you stay protected, you stay safe.

OR better yet, you never expose yourself to yourself. 

“Better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody.”- Matt Damon

But I wonder, how many things in this world HAVEN’T happened for that exact reason?

That’s a chilling thought. 

I had a professor in college who gave me 57 on a 15 page research paper.  The only notes or corrections made on the paper was this “You could stand to use better vocabulary”, and a 57 in bright red, circled.

So, I doubt.

I doubt my abilities.  I doubt if I really am good at the things that I actually love or if they are just little things I will never be a master of.

But here is what decorating my apartment brought me:

I love writing

I love reading

I love talking (seriously it’s the best)

I love people

I love running

I love coffee

So this morning, the decision to stop obsessing over what others believe I should be and the start to being who I know I was created to be has begun. I have my list of what I love, and I am done being afraid of myself.

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 *for real, my coffee addiction is real, that’s why my husband and I make our own. Buy some Bell Blend today :)*