Sarah Nyhan’s Texas

I find myself frequently sharing information with people about what to do and where to go in Texas. Specifically in San Antonio. So I created a map with a lot of information about local spots.

This is a work in progress. Please feel free to comment and offer up your own recommendations.

Due to current economic changes, please check with any of these places before venturing out.

Feel free to use the map and it’s features below. Or click this link for direct access: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1mNgWgDn5Lmdp9n7vawSBXEIftME7lKQ_&usp=sharing

Do you have what it takes?

Before Christ was crucified, Peter was in his own strength saying, “I got this.” It is recorded for us how Peter failed.

Yet we say, “I’d never be like Peter. Everyone else will, but not me, God.” And then we all fail in our own ways. We don’t trust Him and we take matters into our own hands. Like Adam and Eve?

After they all failed Jesus, Peter and the rest of the guys were hiding and went back to what they knew before their failures.

Jesus revealed Himself to them!! He pursued them as they were failing to provide for themselves.

Did He say, “Man guys, if you would have laid down your lives for me, you probably would be having a better time right now.” Nope.

He gave them a choice: “Keep doing it your way or listen to Me.”

When they listened to Him, they were overwhelmed with goodness and that goodness opened their eyes.

Peter ran to Him. Did Jesus say, “I just died for you after you denied me. The least you could do is cook me some breakfast, Peter”? Nope.

Jesus said, “Kids, you are hungry. Take a load off and come eat some fish tacos I made for you.” 😊

Did Jesus then say, “Peter, since you towed the line and showed all these wimps how to do it, I’m going to leave you in charge when I’m gone”? Nope.

Did Jesus say, “Peter, since you repented and believed enough after you screwed up, I’m going to put you in charge when I leave so you can show the rest of these hoodlums how to do it when I’m gone”? Nope.

In front everyone, to redeem Peter’s original failure (as a picture of Christ redeeming Adam’s original failure?), Jesus said, “Peter, do you have what it takes this time?”

“No, Lord. I have a little but not enough.”

Again: “Peter, do you have what it takes?”

“No, Lord.”

And a third time, “Peter, do you have what it takes?”

“No, Lord. You know I don’t have what it takes.”

Then Jesus says, “Great! Now you are ready! Tell them how much I love you. Tell them how much I love them.”

Just like with Moses: “I got this, Lord”. God says, “Whoa Moses, let me show you some stuff.” And out Moses goes to learn about dirty, stinky sheep in the desert for a few decades.

Then after he’s lost all hope of his dreams being fulfilled, it’s like God shows up and says, “You ready, Moses?”

“Oh, no way, God. Look at me.”

“Exactly! Look at you. Perfect for what I AM doing. I don’t need your strength, Moses.”

I don’t need your strength, Sarah. I don’t need your strength, children.

Just like with the Israelites. Why were Joshua and Caleb praised? THEY KNEW THEIR GOD!!! They didn’t see things through their own efforts.

Just like with Abraham, no? Another picture of Adam and us? Kinda like, “Ok Abe, I am giving you a promise.”

“Sounds great, Lord.”

Time goes by. All Abe sees is his own inabilities.

Sarah says, not unlike Eve, “Well, maybe God really did leave us to figure this out on our own?” So they proceed to make a mess of it.

And what does God do? “That’s it! I can’t stand ya’ll!” ZAP! Nope.

More grace. God says like He said to Peter, “I don’t even need your strength of believing, Abraham. I don’t need your strength of faith.”

God gave Abraham the promise of a son before Abraham believed. Did Abraham’s subsequent acts of unbelief nullify God’s promise?

GOD KNEW!!! Right after He gives the promise, He sealed it using the perfect picture: the old tradition was that if two men made an agreement, then they signified and sealed that agreement by killing an animal and splitting it’s body in half and both men would walk through the middle of the slaughtered animal so as to say, “If I don’t keep my part of this promise then let the same thing be done to me as to this animal.”

But did God let Abraham walk through the middle of the dead animals? NO! There was only a torch to represent God that was sent through the dead animals!! To show that only God was tied to keeping the promise!

And the torch, what a picture: a Light! And on top of that, God had Abraham setup the slaughtered animals during the day but waited until the darkness in order for The Light to pass through and seal the deal.

Wow! Picture after picture. Now that is good news!

Living

Living is all the little moments with people, with yourself. Living is this moment right now. Living is not what you do after you get all of the business and preparation of life out of the way. Living is the business of life. You might not be able to make a change that impacts the whole world but you can live right now in such a way that at least one person’s world is changed. For the better or for the worse? Bringing love and life or bringing more destruction and death?

Bigger Than

I drove through an area of thick new tree growth. Beautiful. I was reminded that the area was completely decimated a few years ago by a wildfire that billowed into the sky like a scene from the apocalypse.

A whisper to my soul: “I am allowing parts of your world to burn to the ground right now. This is not an indication of your worth, value, or performance. There will be new life.”

Further down the road I see huge tall majestic pine trees that tower over the road. My heart feels like it will burst from taking in so much beauty.

Again the whisper: “You have been so long in one place that you have forgotten that anything else is possible. There is a whole other big world out there.”

Kindness. Let’s start there. But entertaining hope feels like looking at the sun. Such bright light is painful inside our wounds.

There is no security in thinking it depends on me. Remember His character. Remember how I have experienced Him. Just because I don’t know how to explain the bad stuff doesn’t mean He is bad.

Success is measured in minutes. Manna. Keeps me close. Probably another of my prayers being answered.

Like when I prayed along with the lyrics: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

Can I take back those prayers? And yet nothing else satisfies.

The only hope I have is that He won’t give me up. “I AM.”

Then a car accident. The temptation: “You can’t trust Him.”

He lets me try to build my ladders again. He stands with me as I work furiously. As it all falls down. He is right there. So close. Then I remember again that I was welcome all along.

These days I call it magic. Witchcraft. When I convince myself that if I do XYZ then He will do 123. Now I understand the rich young ruler: “Just tell me what I have to do? I’ve tried everything. I still can’t hear You.”

He loved the rich young ruler. He loves me. I’m learning to be the children running to Him. I’m learning to be the blind men with nothing to offer.

Another drive. All planned out. I check and recheck the map. But when I head out I run into traffic. Frustrated. It speaks to another thing being burned up: “How can you expect us to get this right when You haven’t preserved a perfect copy for us?”

Was my faith not in Him but in my ability to interpret and perform correctly? No wonder I had no security! How is that good news?!

I think I see now. Is my faith in the map or is my faith in Who the map points to? One is about control. The other involves trust.

I need Him to be bigger than me. “I AM.”

Living Loved

I was packing for a conference last Thursday. The name of the conference was, “Living Loved”. A friend I respect very much invited me to the conference and I was going to be meeting many of her friends and a lot of other people for the first time. There was not a dress code but I didn’t want to embarrass her by dressing inappropriately for the occasion.

She had emailed me and told me she had a feeling I was being reserved. She assured me she wasn’t going to judge me. She told me she was proud of me.

So I took a risk and instead of packing my “fake-a-good-impression” fancy lady clothes, I decided to just be myself and plan on wearing my jeans and my Never Give Up shirts.
Well, on the way to the conference I had too much time to think. My insecurities and fears were holding front and center in my brain. I felt like being myself was not enough. Plenty of people remind me of that on a daily basis. I thought about turning around and not going to the conference. I was worried I would embarrass my friend by who I am. To be absolutely clear: a reflection only of my fears and insecurities and not related to any truth or reality expressed in any way by my friend.

But it was a sold-out conference with a waiting list and I had generously been given a ticket because someone else could not attend. Also, I was scheduled to serve during a part of the conference. I felt like it would be really selfish and wrong for me to cancel at the last minute. So I kept on driving.

I comforted myself by deciding that I would go shopping for better more acceptable clothes in the few hours of free time I had before the conference began. To fit in with everyone else and not stand out.

Well, due to a series of uncontrollable events, I was delayed and hardly had any time to shop. I tried. I went to the shopping center. But I kept feeling this nudge in my spirit: “Just trust Me.” So, scared out of my mind, I decided to stop looking for “better” clothes and just wear what I brought.

When I met up with my friend and all of her friends I wore my new Never Give Up shirt with the obnoxiously large font. They couldn’t have been nicer! Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I was overwhelmed with their kindness. I felt a nudge in my spirit: “Seeeee! I told you. Chill out. Just trust Me.”

As the conference began, I met so many women and several people told me, “I like your shirt.” I lost count of how many people told me that. In my spirit I felt the nudge again: “Seeeee. I told you. Just trust Me.”

During the conference there was a practical joke that my friend invited me to be a part of. It was not mean-spirited. It was a funny practical joke but it involved standing up with her and several of her friends in front of over a hundred other people. When it came time to play the practical joke, I just couldn’t bring myself to stand up in front of everyone. My friend said, “You didn’t stand up?” I said, “I am so shy.” She said, “Oh you’ll get over that by the time you leave here.”

Something the main speaker at the conference said really stood out to me: if we are unashamed then no one will be able to define us or have power over us. But as I dressed for the second day of the conference with another “Never Give Up” shirt, I had to fight the fears all over again. I told myself: “Well at least the font size on this shirt is smaller.” In my mind I was afraid people would be thinking, “Ok lady, one day of your cutesy little t-shirt was fine but c’mon, grow up!” I was avoiding interacting with people because I didn’t want to call attention to myself.

But nearly every moment of the day there was someone initiating conversation with me. Ladies I had only met the day before were inviting me to dinner and pursuing conversations with me. After going through some significant rejection in the months and weeks prior to the conference, the kindness of these new friends was a giant hug from God that was frying the circuits of my brain. I was truly overwhelmed in the best way.

So the last day of the conference arrives. I’m looking at my clothes to wear. The choices are yet another “Never Give Up” shirt with the obnoxiously large font or a plain t-shirt. The thoughts in my head were: “Ok, yes people were understanding with your little Never Give Up shirt two days in a row but three days is overkill. C’mon, grow up. Quit being weird.”

My heart really just wants to encourage. My heart doesn’t care so much about looking like a fool as long as even one person is given hope. But my mind was worried about embarrassing my friend, so I played it safe and put on the plain t-shirt and finished packing.

As I was about to zip up my last bag, I felt the nudge in my spirit: “Sarah, you are only going to see these people for two more hours. You may never see them again. Then you will be driving for several hours and stopping at several stores along the way and maybe your Never Give Up shirt will help give someone hope along the way. Just trust Me.” Uggggggh. Ok. Fine. I’ll be “weird”.

So I changed shirts and put on the Never Give Up shirt with the big obnoxious font. I brought a jacket with me just in case I became overwhelmed with self-consciousness. I was trying to hide. I was worried my friend would be embarrassed of me. I was worried people would think I only had one change of clothes. I was counting down the minutes until I could be free of my anxiety.

Well the last session of the conference begins and an unplanned moment happens where a woman shares about how she was forced to sign divorce papers a few days prior for a divorce she did not want. She talked about how it was the biggest “you are not enough” of her life. She barely was able to speak because she was crying and in so much pain. So many people in the audience started crying along with her.

Then another unplanned moment happens and another lady is invited to share her experience that involved the pain of being sexually abused. Again, so many people in the audience were crying along with her.

Finally the second to last planned speaker of the conference starts sharing her story. Again, more pain and suffering at the hands of others. Again, her words are resonating and so many people in the audience are crying as she shares her experiences.

I am completely overwhelmed at this point. I already had so much of my own rejection prior to the conference, it was a fight to even get to the conference, I rode the rollercoaster of anxiety and being saturated with kindness over the past three days, and then the added intensity of the past hour or so with the speakers just made me want to jump up out of there and get on the road by myself with some music and zone out.

I kept checking the time my phone and counting down the minutes until I could breathe again. At one point the speaker says something like, “I already ran over my time.” And then the speaker schedule to follow her says something like, “It’s ok, keep going.” And although everything being shared was good, it was so intense that my whole being was just screaming, “Noooo, get me out of here!” I was wrestling with whether to get up and leave the room just to get a break from the intensity. If I had been in the back I probably would have excused myself but I was on the second row up front.

Well as I am trying to keep from jumping out of my skin, I hear the speaker say, “Where is that lady with the “give up” shirt?” Oh no. I raise my hand. She says, “Stand up!” Oh no. Yep, this is happening. So I stand up and she says, “Turn around!” I’m facing the entire audience. They are all a blur. All I hear is her say something like, “NEVER GIVE UP, ladies!!!” And then everyone starts clapping and I sit down. So much for being shy. Then the nudge from The Holy Spirit with a big smile, “Seeeee!!!!! I told you. Just trust Me.” The speaker talks for a few more minutes and then ends her speech by saying something like, “And remember ladies, DO NOT GIVE UP!”

I attended the conference expecting to learn a bunch of head knowledge but I think God had other plans as to how He wanted to teach me about Living Loved.