Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I can't believe today is the last day of 2013. I remember this day last year. I had in mind the things I would accomplish and what the coming year would bring. But as I look back over the year 2013, I have come to this realization:

I was wrong about everything...and I'm so glad.

This time last year I was sitting across the table from a man I barely knew outside of a gym setting. If you would've told me that this time next year I would be walking down the aisle in less than 3 months, I would've simply laughed at you.

If you would've told me that I would have purchased a home, once again, I would've laughed at you.

If you would've told me that I would be working with clients with various medical issues on a daily basis, I would've told you that you were crazy.

If you would've told me that I was approached by a lady, whom I have never met, and was asked to be a contributor on her Wholly Healing site, I would've said, "yeah, in your wildest dreams."

I thought I was just fine where I was in my life. My relationship with God was great, I had a great job and was enjoying making new friendships. Then God does what He does best, He throws a kink into what you've got going on.

As I look back over this year, I realized that yes, what I had in mind for 2013 would've been great. I would've been happy and I would've been content, but it would be nothing compared to what God had in store for me.

I realized that the dreams I had for myself this year were too safe, too boring, too complacent.

This year has been full of obstacles, but with those obstacles came an abundance of joy. You see, change is something everyone will face when they decide to follow Jesus. We must choose to trust Him on a daily basis, for He is the only one who knows what's right around the corner.

This year many dreams have come true. The man I have been praying for my whole life decided to make his appearance. My dream of contributing to a faith based wellness blog came true. My dream of being a homeowner came true. My dream job became a reality. With great struggle comes great reward. He is good.

As I wrap up 2013, I challenge you to take a look at what you hope is to come in year 2014. As you do everything in your power to stick to this new year's resolutions starting tomorrow, I pray that you will not rely on your own strength, but on God's. Ask Him what He would want you to do in this coming year. Give 2014 to Jesus...I know it'll be your best year yet.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Looking Back: He who promised is faithful!

23 years old. I can't believe I've arrived at 23. It's definitely one of the ages that I've always looked forward to being. I'm not sure why, but it's always an age that's stuck out in my head. I never counted down to 18 or even 21, but I always looked forward to being 23...and here I am!

Each year on my birthday I like to look back at the previous year and reflect on all that I've experienced. Let's just say year 22 was the fullest and most eventful year yet. None of the plans I had for myself came to pass...not one. It was full of discomfort, emotion, uncertainty and anxiety. Year 22 was by far my greatest year.

I know you're probably thinking, "this girl is nuts! Not one of those things sounds pleasant!" You're right. There were times during this past year that were the furthest thing from pleasant. I struggled with what career path I truly wanted to take and with the man who was persistent and continued to try to pursue a relationship with me. Things got uncomfortable very quickly.

Sometimes when we are stepping into what God has for us, we have to get uncomfortable.

I love the organization I work for. We are able to help a lot of people and are encouraged to stay true to our Christian values while doing so. I took a leap of faith and accepted a position that was much more demanding than the one I had. It was a great growth opportunity for me, so I took it! It ended up being a terrible fit for me. The job did not compliment my skill set, so the few months that I was in that position were very tough for me. After many months of praying about what I should do, another job opening became available. This job was right down my alley. I was able to work in the same organization, but work with special populations who needed specific care to help manage their medical issues. If I wouldn't have taken the first job and gotten uncomfortable, I probably wouldn't have been able to step into this job. God knew was He was doing and He was seeing if I would wait on Him to move on my behalf. And boy did He move!

This time last year (start of year 22) one of my gym buddies started texting me on the daily. I knew he was interested in getting to know me on a deeper level by the way he was acting. However, I had decided in my mind that I was not going to be dating anyone in the near future. I was tired of weak men who thought they wanted commitment, but then would chicken out once a relationship started getting serious. So I just decided that I would help him out by kindly rejecting him...8 months later I'm engaged to him. Crazy how that works.

Throughout this year, I have had to really work at trusting God. When things in life don't go according to plan, it's easy to become uneasy and fearful of what the future may hold. However, after continuing to seek the Lord and what He wanted for my life, the picture slowly but surely became clear. I said yes to the love of my life, without any anxiety, and knowing without a doubt that he was the one God had made for me.

As soon as Browning got up from one knee and we were walking back to celebrate with family, one thought came to mind:

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23 

As I look back on this past year, I am overwhelmed at God's faithfulness. I never in a million years would've imagined this happening to me in such a short amount of time. This goes to show that we should never underestimate Christ. He makes all things work together for good. So I encourage you next time you're feeling a little uncomfortable, do your best to embrace it! God is moving on your behalf and beauty is just around the corner! :)

Year 22 was a beautiful year. It was filled with more love and joy than I could've imagined. Here's to year 23. I know this coming year will be the best year yet, and possible the best year ever (March 22 I say "I do"). I'm taking one more step into becoming the woman God wants me to be. 

He promised that He would provide for me. That He would supply all of my needs. That He would give me the desires of my heart. I'm so grateful. He who promised is faithful!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jesus, be the center

The worship team at my church will play this song every once in a while and every time I hear it, I can't help but tear up. I have never heard truer words, "from my heart to the heavens, Jesus, be the center. It's all about You! Yes, it's all about You!"

Israel Houghton is the original artist to sing this song, but I found a clip of one of my church's worship leader's singing it. "Jesus At the Center of it All" I encourage you to click on the link and give it a listen.

As I prepare to enter marriage in just a few short months, I've really been thinking about what I want my marriage to mean. What do I want people to see when they look at Browning and I growing and living life together? I want them to think of the words, "Jesus, at the center." I know my marriage won't be perfect. I know at times it will be hard, but no matter what we go through, Jesus, be the center.

Nothing I do in this life is worth anything without Jesus. I could get by with being an "okay" wife without Him, but it's His love that gives me the ability to love my husband the way he needs to be loved. It gives me a purpose to fight for my marriage, making it the most important thing in my life. It gives me the hope that we will not become the dreaded "one out of every two marriages fail" statistic.  People can look at me like I'm crazy, but it truly is all about Him. The more I grow closer to Him, the more I realize this life is nothing without Him.

From my heart to the heavens, Jesus, be the center.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Believing God

It's easy to believe and trust God when things are just fine and dandy in life, but we tend to not feel that way when the boat starts to rock.

Maybe a job fell through, you made a costly mistake, your child didn't get that scholarship you were counting on, the government shuts down, the doctor's report wasn't what you expected, you're facing divorce, you missed that deadline at work. The list goes on and on.

I am the queen of being confident that God is in control when things are good, orderly, predictable, and safe. Then the boat starts to rock and I start to get a little seasick. That God that was good and in control five minutes before I started thinking of jumping shift is now all of a sudden being questioned. Do I really believe He's in control?

It pretty much comes down to this: not only am I letting my circumstances dictate my joy BUT I am also only choosing to have joy when things are going my way. How selfish!

In less than six months, I am going to be receiving a heavenly wake up call by making a covenant between Browning and God that basically means I will sacrifice and selflessly love my husband.

Hmm...selfless. That's a new word to add to my vocabulary.

I challenge you, along with myself, to really sit back and reflect. Are you one who lets your circumstances dictate your joy? Or do you truly praise the Lord through every trial and mountain top experience? If you are one of these people, let's be friends! I've heard from a few people that I am quite coachable! ;)


Today I'm praying that you will look to Christ through whatever you may be facing. You may be facing something pretty major or you may think what you're facing is silly and you can't quite figure out why you're concerned about it. It's okay! God is a great listener and He cares for you no matter how ridiculous you may feel.

Father, I thank you that You're a good God who is always in control, even when we may not feel that way all the time. Help us to find joy in all circumstances we face and to turn our eyes away from ourselves by looking to You to see what You are doing. Thank you, Lord, for never leaving our side! Amen.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Don't lose focus!

As I was scrolling through my Facebook wall this evening, I came across an article about engagement. In a nutshell, the article was about how the proposal and the wedding itself are becoming more important than the actual marriage in today's society. I completely agree.

Yes, I do think it's awesome when engagements get captured on video. Yes, I do think it's awesome to show off your ring. (It's exciting!) Yes, I do think it's fun to plan a wedding and enjoy your special day. However, I do not believe it's okay to become completely consumed by one day out of your entire life, although it's such an easy thing to do! I was able to go to a bridal show yesterday near my hometown. I had been looking forward to this event for a month, but when I arrived, I found myself disappointed. I passed by beautiful displays that were a little too elaborate for my taste, but they were beautiful nonetheless. However, I did pass by a few brides that just seemed to be completely consumed by their big day. Don't get me wrong, it's a very important and exciting day, but there's so much meaning behind it. 

I hope I don't come off as a complete fun-sucker, because that's not what I'm trying to do. Just trying to shift perspective.

Weddings are great. They are a sacred, beautiful union between you and your mate. This day is full of celebration with those closest to you because the bride and groom were made for each other. I do, however, feel as though that's not quite what this day is about anymore. TV shows, magazines and Internet sites advertise all of these different elaborate wedding ideas (elaborate is completely fine, by the way), but they only focus on the wedding. Rightfully so, their business is wedding supplies. But I feel as though we have lost sight of what a wedding is truly about. 

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." -Matthew 19:4-6

When Browning got down on one knee and proposed to me, the first thing on my mind was, "Wow, I can't believe this man wants to spend the rest of his life with me!" 

Then the planning started... 
At first it was fun, new, and exciting. Then the planning became stressful, overwhelming, and no fun at all. I wasn't even looking forward to my wedding. I just wanted it done and over with. Talk about a sad way to feel --- this is supposed to be the most exciting time of my life! One day, after I was ready to call off the wedding and go to the courthouse, I challenged myself to just put away the plans for a while to refocus. I began thinking about Browning and how much he means to me. I thought about my confidence in him and how I knew he would take on the world for me. I thought about his devotion, love, and genuine spirit. I had a huge perspective shift. 

April 5, 2014 will be a very exciting day. I will wear a pretty white dress, carry beautiful flowers, stand beside six of my best friends, and say my vows to Browning in front of 150 family members and friends. We will have a great reception filled with laughter, dancing, and food. This is all extremely exciting and I'm looking forward to it!

However, the single greatest thing I'm looking forward to is calling Browning my husband. I have come to the point where I know I don't need a pretty dress, beautiful flowers, or to stand up in front of 150 people and say my vows to Browning. I don't need a great reception filled with laughter, dancing, and food. All I need is to be with him for the rest of my life. He is my best friend and the love of my life. I'm grateful that God blessed us with the resources to be able to have a beautiful wedding day, but I'm even more grateful that God has chosen me to be his wife. This is how I know he is the one for me. 

I pray for all of those who are going through the season of engagement in their lives. I pray that you will get back to what truly matters. (Why you fell in love in the first place!) I pray for those who may be in that stage soon. That you wouldn't get ahead of yourself and just enjoy this time getting to know your boyfriend/girlfriend. I pray for those who don't see anyone coming any time soon. I pray that you will be confident in who you are in Christ, trusting Him to bring you the right person at the perfect time. I pray that when you do enter that stage in your life, that you will remember what truly matters. This isn't about a daylong event in your life. This is about a covenant made before God and a lifetime spent with your best friend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Opportunities

There is no greater feeling than God showing you favor! Over the last month I have been blessed to start an incredible new position at the YMCA that I'm extremely passionate about! I am now able to work with medical referral clients and be there fitness specialist as they embark on improving their lifestyles. I am by their side throughout a 12 week program, training them and cheering them on! I know that it is going to be extremely rewarding!

I also wanted to make a very exciting announcement! Christy Cotterman with Wholly Healing, LLC contacted me a few months ago telling me about an amazing opportunity she had for me. After speaking to her and getting to know her heart to see people live heathy lives, I have agreed to be a regular contributor on Wholly Healing's blog site. I am honored that she approached me and can only say that God's timing is perfect! My new job gives me a steady schedule where I am able to devote more time to my personal blog as well as the Wholly Healing Blog. I do hope that you will join me as I blog every Wednesday at www.whollyhealingexperience.com. There are also three other amazing blog contributors that post on different days of the week.

I just wanted to update that exciting news. I am hoping to blog more often now that life is a little more structured. I am going to make a goal to post on this blog once every two weeks- we'll see how it goes!

In the meantime, please know that I am praying for each of you as you continue to seek the Lord's face and make small changes to better your health- it's never too late to start making healthier decisions!

--Sarah :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm Engaged!

Yes, you did read the title of this post correctly. I can tell you that the title of this post is the last thing I thought I would be blogging about next...but sometimes surprises happen. Yes, that's right... I'M ENGAGED!!!

Like legit engaged...

See! There's your proof!

So I'm sure you are all wondering how I tricked this amazing man into liking me. So I will share a little bit of our story :) 

I met Browning in December of 2011. We met after joining a CrossFit group at ECU and began working out together. We were both seeing other people at the time, but had a great time working out with the group. We continued to work out together up until I graduated in May of 2012 and I moved 4 hours away back to my hometown. He stayed at ECU to finish graduate school. For the most part, we lost touch. 

In October I went back to ECU to visit my roommates, who were in their senior year of nursing school. I texted the CrossFit group to see if they wanted to get together for lunch and a workout, but no one was available. I would say a little less than a month goes by and Browning randomly texts me while I'm  at my brother's state championship cross country meet. He apologized for not being able to get together when I was at ECU but wanted to make it up to me next time I was in town. I told him not to worry about it and we could definitely get the group (I played hard to get from the beginning...oops) together to hang out next time I was in town for a visit. 

He texted me the next day. and the day after...and the day after. Needless to say, I could tell that he was interested in getting to know me better. I was not interested in getting involved in any sort of relationship. I made that fact EXTREMELY clear thinking he would leave me alone and we could just be the gym buddies we had always been. He apparently interpreted my "no, I'm not interested," as, "Bring it on, Sanderson. You're gonna have to chase me and win me over." 

He continued to chase after me for 5 whole months. He would drive 4 hours once a month just to hang out with me...only for me to turn him down again and again...and (you guessed it) again.

The pursuit started in December of 2012. I didn't agree to be his girlfriend until April 28, 2013. I know what you're thinking...this guy sounds incredible, what the heck took you so long? I'll tell you...

I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 19 years old. The first boyfriend I had was no good for me. The second guy I dated was a really sweet guy, but my personality was too dominant for him. The third guy was also a great guy, but we were chasing after two different things in life.

Then I met Browning. I couldn't control him. He had a mind of his own. He was stronger than me. He scared me to death. Not because I thought he could harm me, but because I knew he was the kind of man I needed. So in my sorry attempt to run away from this man who I couldn't control, I started running and coming up with any excuse I could find not to go on a date with him. Then after 4 months I realized he had been doing what I've always prayed for. He chased me. He pursued me and he had no intentions of stopping.

I have prayed for my future husband every day since I was 12 years old. I prayed that he would be a Godly man who loved the Lord with all of his heart. I prayed that he would be a leader and show others what it looks like to be a real man of integrity. I prayed that he would work hard and take pride in his work. I prayed that he would be spontaneous, creative and relaxed. I prayed that he would be the man that I needed. I also prayed that he would be my friend. 

I could not have asked for a better friend than Browning. He has seen me at my worst and at my very best. We met in a gym...you see a lot of people at their worst there. He was always encouraging me and challenging me. Most importantly, he helped me loosen up after stressful days. He was a natural leader who carried himself with integrity. Looking back, I realized he was everything I prayed for. 

So August 31, 2013 comes around. We are driving to spend a few days with his parents on Topsail Island...one of my favorite places, if not my favorite place in the entire world. We arrive and spent about a half hour with his folks and then Browning jumps up and announces that we were going on a bike ride. We rode around for a while and then began walking on the beach. We stopped up at Serenity's Point at the very tip of Topsail Island. He stopped walking and stood still, then very slowly he got down on one knee. At this point I have lost it. I knew exactly what was happening. He said some really sweet things that I don't remember...but I do remember him saying, "I love you. Sarah, will you marry me?" He insists that I said, "yes," but all I remember is nodding yes uncontrollably.

After getting my act together and posing for a nice picture taken from some random man on the beach (see below for picture), we headed back to the beach house.

His parents and sister were there waiting for us and they are so excited! Let me tell you, I could not have asked for a better family to marry into. They love the Lord, value family and have so much fun! I love being around them! 

So what does one do right when they get engaged? They call their mommy! I called my mom and told her the wonderful news. Then I called my dad... let me tell ya... there is something about your dad's voice right after you get engaged that makes you cry. Why? I don't know. I could barely get the words out. I love that man so much. For him to give me away to another man...he must think very highly of him. He told me that he was out with my mom and they would call me later. 

Little did I know that just 2 short hours later, I would walk into the kitchen for dinner and my mom and dad would be standing there. Browning had arranged all of this when he asked my dad for my hand. I lost it...again. Talk about an emotionally taxing day! But it has been the best day of my life so far. All I can say is that God is faithful. I don't deserve any of this!

I can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to have our families there with us. Our families are so important to us. I feel so blessed to not only have parents who have been together for 25 years, but to marry into a family where the parents are also still together. It's rare, but God is faithful and it can happen! It's how it should be. I know Browning and I are going to thrive in our marriage because of the Godly example that was set by our parents. 

So now I've started working on wedding plans...and fast. Six months is going to fly by! But I am so excited about spending the rest of my life with Browning. I know that we will grow in love, go on many adventures, work through the hard times and never forget to have a little fun. He is definitely my better half and I love him dearly!

I will post some pictures below, but if you wish to see more, please click on the video below to see a slideshow that was put together by my dad and Browning's sister :)