God sees your details. What do we mean by this? We mean that not only does he see what makes you uniquely you, but he communicates with you in the way that is best for you. For Sarah, he first found her with music. Her journey led her to a simple, risky prayer – “Lord, I’m willing. I’m available.” That’s how everything changed.
Sarah Taylor: Saying to the Lord, I’m available, and then he will be faithful. He will put someone on your heart, and it will be beautiful timing. If you’ve never done that, like try it out. Even today. Just try it out. Just Lord, who is, who do you want to put on my heart? And what do you want me to do? And then just wait.
And you’ll be able to be a part of the gift that he wants to give someone else. So, if you could do one thing today, the way I did when I was in church and I asked about, you know, how can I give for building for life? I said, Jesus, I’m available. And with that prayer for my friends, I say, Jesus, I’m available. It’s a risky little prayer. Cause he’ll take you up on it.
Narrator: We’ve all experienced it. You run into a friend from the past, but there’s something different. They are changed. Maybe there is a calm where there once was a storm. Maybe there is gentleness instead of harshness. There’s a new passion, a new life. What changed? Welcome to Brought Back To Life, a podcast where we explore stories of ordinary transformation.
Sarah Taylor: I’m Sarah Taylor, and I believe God sees your details. In fact, not only does he see them, but I also think he wants to communicate to us with them, in whatever makes you uniquely you. Because that’s been my experience and it’s been how I’ve felt god’s love the most. So, my first memories of talking with God happened through music. I was probably seven years old. I was really afraid to go to the dentist. I don’t know I had a phobia. I would cry the whole way there. My mom didn’t know what to do. I was inconsolable and she had the radio on, we didn’t know about SPIRIT 105.3 yet, we didn’t have Christian music in our life. So we were listening to like the adult contemporary station. And I remember in the background, I was launching my first prayers to God that I’d ever said. If he existed. Our family believed, but we didn’t have discussions about it. I’d been to church, but this was the first time I was reaching out on a personal level.
And I said to God, do you see me? I’m really scared. Can you help this to go well? If I don’t have any cavities, I’ll know you’re real. And I went and I didn’t have any cavities, and on the way home, that station was on in the background, and I heard the chorus or the bridge of that Bette Midler song that said, God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance. And I remember thinking, is that for me? Did you put that on the, are you seriously there? You care about me and the dentist.
Then I remember a couple years later, like flash forward to middle school, I was on the school bus and that same adult contemporary station must have been chosen by the bus driver, and I was just staring out the window, sitting alone and I can’t describe it other than hearing a Rod Stewart song come on and the lyrics, like have I told you lately that I love you, and you fill my heart with gladness and you take away all my sadness and you ease my troubles. That’s what you do. And something in me knew that the God of the universe was telling that to me. And the difference this time was he wasn’t asking me to like, love him or worship him. No, he was saying to me, that’s how I feel about you. Like, I see you and I love you. And all these years later, I look back at that moment and it, I understand scripture better now. So, I know that’s… we love because he first loved us.
And it’s amazing to me that even though I wasn’t in church, he sought me out at the core of my being. My mom would sing me a song before bed and I loved to harmonize with her and it was called Seek Ye First, and it was Matthew 6:33 put to music. And I didn’t understand what it meant to seek God first, and all these things will be added to you as well, I just knew, I liked to harmonize with my mom. It’s interesting that that verse has followed me my whole life. But all three of those examples I just gave you, is how I feel like God used music to get my attention.
One of the reasons I don’t think I ever did well when it came to church was because we didn’t go very regularly and so, I was a straight a student at school, I was first with the answer 4.0, never a late assignment. I was actually in the like the challenge program. I tested into that, and so my brain was always on. But when I went to church, All the other kids seem to know. They’d have those Bible drills where you would like win a prize or candy if you found something first, and I wasn’t good at that. So, I realized I was a failure at the church part because I didn’t know the club, but I was really good at school. So, I was just going to stick with school because I don’t belong here. When I would occasionally go with my neighbor, I would forget my tithe and offering. So, I was embarrassed because the plate would go by me, and I wouldn’t have anything. You’d get points if you brought your Bible, I would forget. I went to Awana, and I had no idea what was going on, and it freaked me out and I didn’t want to go back. And so, middle school still, I didn’t have a lot of friends. And I was really picked on. I did early morning PE so that I could have an extra class to take orchestra. So, I had the hard case violin. I had greasy hair. I had straight A’s in the teachers were my friends, but I was friendless among my peers. And at the end of eighth grade, it really started to weigh on me socially, and I remember some kids came up and said, you made the yearbook, the hall of fame and that’s where you get like prettiest eyes or most popular or something. And I was like, oh my gosh, maybe, maybe I do have something going for me. And they took my picture, but they didn’t tell me what it was for. And I didn’t find out until the last week of school when the yearbook was released. And there was a very unflattering photo of me and a boy standing next to me and it said academic wizards. And it was like a mocking thing that all the students knew what a slight, but the teacher’s like, let it pass and go in the yearbook. And I closed the yearbook and I thought to myself, I don’t think I can go through another four years of the public school that this middle school feeds into with these kids.
I can’t do this anymore. And I had this little idea in my head because my neighbors, the ones that had taken me to church before, couple of vacation Bible schools and stuff, they went to a private Christian school, and they were a really kind family. And I said to my mom, can we check out that school? Because the only thing I was going off of was that those kids and their mom was nice and maybe there’d be other people there that were nice.
So, my mom said, sure. Cause again, remember our family had a faith background. We sometimes went to church. So, it wouldn’t be completely out of the blue for me to ask. I liked that that school. Was smaller and I, something inside of me, it was just like, well, it’s gotta be better to have that fresh start with people that are potentially nice. So, I watched my mom, my dad said at the dining room table, go through the checkbook and cross everything off that they could to afford to send me there. And she said, we won’t have cable anymore. And I said, that’s fine. And as I’ve watched them, make that sacrifice. And so, I showed up the first day. I went to the Bible class and my Bible was so new that it creaked when I opened it. And the class was called the book of John, and I had looked in the table of contents so that I would know how to find the book of John. All the kids were faster than me. And all of a sudden it was like, ugh, they, and they were talking about things… I remember the the teacher said something about the flood, and I’m looking around like, what flood? And everyone knew what the flood was. And I didn’t know the difference between the old and the New Testament. And then when homework is assigned, we were assigned to read parts out of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And I was so confused that I burst into tears in the middle of second period. And I thought I’ve just made the biggest mistake.
I knew better than to do this. If this class is called the book of John and they’re having me read, I can’t do this. I won’t get straight A’s. I went to the office in tears, tried to get my mom to come pick me up on the first day, tried to go back to the other school where I was tormented, because this was worse. And I went home and I remember some of the teachers praying for me to saying, stick it out. You’ll be okay. And they were praying, and I felt so uncomfortable as they were praying over me. It was like more Christian was being thrown at me and I wanted to get away from it. I went home and I told my mom everything, and she cried and said, sweetheart, I have failed to teach you my faith. I failed you. And she looked at my stepdad and she said, Kevin, we’re going back to church on Sunday. And she pulled her chair, this is the part I remember, she pulled her chair up next to me, side by side, and she opened her Bible and I’m open my Bible, and she said, the reason your homework is in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is because these are the four synoptic gospels. And each of them is telling the account of the life of Jesus. So, to better understand John, you’re going to understand the way the other people saw him. And she made it understandable to me and it wasn’t threatening. And for my homework, she helped me so I could get the A’s. And our family started going back to church. It changed the trajectory of our lives.
After high school, I had developed some great friendships. And so, I went off to college and I did what college kids do. Jesus was there. I knew about him, but dancing was more fun with my friends, but it got me to the point where my knees hit the dorm room floor and I, I said to God, I’ve strayed from you, and I want to come back. And that’s when I found Christian music. I knew it existed, but I didn’t bring my Bible to college with me, and I needed God’s word in that moment. And so, I knew to search for Christian music. I knew it existed. And so, I did, and that’s how I got God’s word into my heart.
And I started listening all the time. And that was such a doorway because I was sort of intimidated. Like, does God welcome me back? Is he disappointed in me? I was too, like too shy to like go into a church on my own. I don’t want to go alone. And I didn’t quite know where to start in the Bible again, so Christian radio just eased me in back into God’s full embrace because so many of the songs were about how he just welcomes us as we are.
One of my favorite moments to happen during those college years is, I was sitting at church and the pastor wanted to build, he was explaining that we were starting this building for life project, which our church had outgrown its its space. We were going to add more services. We wanted to bring more people in expand. So, he was asking everyone in the congregation, what we would give. Some people were choosing to, you know, make big financial sacrifices in order to increase their giving. It was a three-year commitment to the church. And I sat there and I was very willing. My, my heart was very willing, but I didn’t really have anything to give in college. My parents were paying for my tuition, and I didn’t have a job cause they wanted me to focus fully on my studies, but I prayed anyway. Lord, would you make a way I want to give back to this church to bring more people in the way that it’s blessed me.
And that was it. That was the prayer. Couple weeks later, I get a phone call from someone saying Wheel of Fortune is in Seattle. They are doing a college week. You got to audition. And for the sake of time, I’m going to really gloss over the length of this story to get to the point. I did audition. And even though there were hundreds of people there, my audition must’ve been okay because I got on the show, they only picked 15 contestants.
And so there I was Pat, Vanna, the wheel, the letters I practiced with like, you know, Scrabble and stuff before this. And as I was there, that same, whoa feeling, came over me of, you know, it’s like, I don’t know how to explain it. You’re doing something, and all of a sudden, you, you think, or you feel something that’s not for you.
And I was behind the letter board because I was nervous and I was praying and I felt like Jesus was, I was like, Jesus, this is how you’re going to do it. Whatever I win today is yours. Any money I win is the churches. How fun. And my nerves went away after that, cause I knew that God had orchestrated the whole thing.
I ended up winning cash and prizes over $11,500. They take like half of that out for taxes. But at the end of the day, I was able to give the church a check for $6,000. And when I told my pastor, he got, he was like, what? You’ve got to tell this story in front of our congregation. So, I did like the next Sunday. And as I was practicing, writing it out, I I needed someone to practice my speech. And my dad hadn’t been in church my whole life. He was also a believer, but like, you know, I gave him a Bible on Father’s Day. It sat on the counter for years. He had really been involved with like campus crusade for Christ in his college years, but after he and my mom got divorced, both just took a break from each other, and from Christianity. It was, it’s inside them, but not in an outwardly practicing way, or it wasn’t then. So, I read my, everything. I just told you, I read that to my dad. He was silent at the end, and I was like, oh geez, is he going to be mad at me? Like the $6,000 could have gone to my college that he’s paying for. And he said, how can I hear that and not rededicate my life to the Lord? And I was like, I’m sorry. Say what? And the next Sunday when I gave that speech to the congregation, I looked out and my dad was sitting in church for the first time that I ever could remember seeing him. So, I got to walk off the stage. So, here I was just praying that God would use me for the opportunity to help our church bring new people in and little did I know the first person would be my dad.
I want to talk a little bit about the power of words, because I’ve built my career on it. Life-giving words, and I know that after I had each of my three kids, I went through postpartum depression. It was the fight of my life. And in those darkest days with the hormone imbalance, I was so hard on myself, and I was really disappointed. I had thought my days with a new, I love babies, so when I finally had my own, I just had such a different experience of what it would be like. And I remember my husband saying to me, I know who you are when I didn’t know who I was anymore. He said, I know who you are. And then he would remind me. And he would speak truth over my life. And I remember, I mean, it was, it was bad, and it really strained a lot of my relationships. My friends didn’t know how to support me. My mom was really she and I had a really hard time because she never struggled with depression like that, so she couldn’t understand. And sometimes she’d get angry, and she would say to me, like you have everything you’ve ever wanted. Why are you crying? You know, she would yell. And then that would obviously make things way worse.
What healed me was when he would replace harsh words and say, you know, I’m not going to leave. And you’re a wonderful mother. He would, he would give the antidote to the lies in my head. I tried a bunch of medications, but none of them worked, or the side effects were too hard. And so, all I had to go off of was life-giving words from people who knew me well. And, you know, after the first round of postpartum depression, I was hopeful that five years later when I had my son that maybe I wouldn’t go through it again. We had some plans in place. I had a counselor, all that, but it was still just as bad. And then I remember saying to Joel, I’m like I long for one more, baby. I long for us to be a family of three. Can you go through that with me again if it’s as bad? And he said, yes. And I asked my doctor, are you able to, because it’s not just postpartum, it’s also during pregnancy, I was like, do you still want me as a patient? Like, can we do this? And she said, I know how hard it is for you, and I’m here with you. And to hear people believe in me during times where I couldn’t believe in myself. And then I remember with Nora, she had a lot of health challenges after she was born, and I had to call my boss and extend my maternity leave. And I was afraid like, am I going to lose my job? Like, are people rolling their eyes? Like, why did she have another baby? If this is what happens after. And my boss said, we’re going to build a home studio for you so that you can take as long as you need. When someone says that, it healed me from the inside out. It expedited my healing. Again, it’s someone else believing in you and speaking life giving words, seeing a better outlook when you can’t and making accommodations that you’re not there yet. That’s what got me better.
I told my mom that some of the words that she’d said to me kept haunting me on a loop and would she be willing, and she goes, sweetheart, I don’t even remember saying that to you. If you’re a venter, if you vent your frustration at your kids or anyone else, I’m a venter, but this has taught me to be quiet because your words might be the loop in their head. And you might not remember saying them. And my mom did the most beautiful thing, when I told her that they were stuck on a loop, she said, I said, would you make replacement words? So that whenever that comes up again, I can go to what you actually mean. If you don’t even remember saying that. And she said, thank you for the opportunity. Yes, I will do that. And sorry, this one makes me emotional. Not only I, I thought maybe she’d write a couple of things. She wrote me a song and then she recorded it. And she doesn’t even know that’s how I received God’s love. But she wrote me a song and she called it radiant blessing. And she told me how she felt about me, and I don’t have the flashbacks, so the bad stuff anymore. I just remember that she called me a radiant blessing. It speaks to the power of our words. I’m so thankful to be at a station that focuses on speaking life, the way that God does, and a reminder that we are his mouthpiece.
One of the things, and I’ll leave you with this, one of the things that I’ve been doing recently is, I have a group of other women that we love to just sit and wait on what we believe the Lord, we ask for words for other people. And we hold up a specific person before the Lord and then we share what we feel like he might be saying. And then we record it like, you know, on a voice memo on your phone or we can type it out. And then we send it to the person as agift. I did this for a friend. I’m going to name her Jen. It’s not her real name, but I’m doing it for her privacy, but she had, she’s got three kids and her and her husband are struggling with parenting their oldest, and I know it’s been weighing on her. And so on her behalf, we ask God for a word for her, but also just for his, his design over her oldest child, you know? Who is this child and just unique, beautiful things about the way this child was created? We recorded it and I sent it to her that morning and she wrote back instantly and said, I will never forget this moment. I am crying at my kitchen table, begging the Lord for wisdom. And you sent me a text with this recording. It excites me to know, and to be able to just, I’m saying to the Lord I’m available and then he will be faithful. He will put someone on your heart, and it will be beautiful timing. If you’ve never done that, like try it out, even today. Just try it out. Just Lord, who is, who do you want to put on my heart? And what do you want me to do? And then just wait. And you’ll be able to be a part of the gift that he wants to give someone else. So, if you could do one thing today, the way I did when I was in church and I asked about, you know, how can I give for building for life? I said, Jesus, I’m available. And with that prayer for my friends, I say, Jesus, I’m available. It’s a risky little prayer, cause he’ll take you up on it.
Narrator: We are telling these stories of transformation so you can know and understand the power of Jesus in your own life. If you’d like to learn more about Jesus and how he can bring you back to life, visit us at onpurposely.com/whoisjesus. You can follow Brought Back To Life on apple podcasts, iHeart radio or wherever you’re listening right now.
Thanks for listening to Brought Back To Life from Purposely.