My countenance is bright with laughter in the midst of an adventure I thoroughly enjoy.

That has been the mantra I have lived by (or tried my best to live by, anyway) for the last eight years since I first read it in Brennan Manning’s book, Abba’s Child.

I’m Sarah and I’m World Next Door’s newest fellow. Without a doubt, my life has certainly been an adventure. I’ve traveled the world, climbed tall mountains, abseiled down waterfalls, shared stories, and enjoyed cups of tea with friends and soon-to-be friends. But as I mulled over that phrase, I realized that I always land on the last part: An adventure I thoroughly enjoy.

Well, sure, I thought, I’m an adventurer, so I usually enjoy the adventure. But I think I’m mixing up two ideas if I assume Brennan is talking about rafting when he talks about “this adventure.” Those are the highlights. But it’s the adventure of this present life that he’s referring to.

So what happens when I don’t feel much like laughing? When life gets hard, school work piles up, family is a mess, finances are tight, and I can’t remember what time zone I’m in? There’s something to be said for stability, and there are certainly days when I feel like I don’t have much of it. In the exciting moments, the adventure is awesome. When I step off the plane in a new country, I feel that surge of adrenaline. But then there are all those in between times and I don’t always feel quite so joyful. I sort of wish life wasn’t quite so much an adventure and maybe a little more…I don’t know…normal?

Sarah and Suden

Sarah and Suden

So, really, the hard part is the first bit: My countenance is bright with laughter. I can laugh and not have it be a part of my countenance. I think a person’s countenance comes from somewhere deep within them – it bubbles up from a firmly entrenched well within the soul. So how do I find that on Monday morning, when I haven’t slept in my own bed for more than a week at a time, and life seems overwhelming?

Here’s what I know. I am one who is beloved by the Father. It’s who I am. My countenance can be bright with laughter because success isn’t about impressing others, accomplishing something great, or leaving a legacy that is unforgettable. I can rest in the knowledge that the Father is fond of me, He sings over me, and He quiets me with His love. I am freed, as the Beloved, to enjoy the adventure set before me with peace. And if tomorrow, everything were to be taken away, my place as the Beloved would not change.

So as I set out to discover the beauty God has created in the country of Ukraine, I am at ease, with a countenance full of laughter, ready to take on the adventure, knowing that I am indeed the Beloved.

Until next time,


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About the Author: Sarah is a journalism fellow with World Next Door. She has her undergraduate degree in Business Communication from Azusa Pacific University in Southern California and is currently working on her Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Sarah recently finished a two and a half year assignment working for an anti-trafficking NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she had the opportunity to mentor and lead college students in ministry abroad. She is mildly obsessed with Jeopardy, coffee, running, and the Atlanta Falcons.

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  1. Jim M. said... 


    October 8th, 2014 at 10:11 pm  

    “Here’s what I know. I am one who is beloved by the Father. It’s who I am”…. Welcome Sarah, you are about to take a walk in the garden, looking forward to hearing and seeing what God is about to share with you.

  2. Brooke said... 


    October 9th, 2014 at 8:31 pm  

    Xo, pal. I miss your countenance!

  3. Jen Thompson said... 


    October 12th, 2014 at 12:41 pm  

    Such wisdom in these words, dear friend. Can’t wait to read more. <3

  4. Ginny said... 


    October 13th, 2014 at 4:10 pm  

    Sarah, your wonderful way of expressing yourself in “print” brought tears to my eyes: of joy, pride in you, & – my heart beats ( I think that is what it was feeling in my chest ☺️) it amazes me still when you can be on the other side of the world, yet txt me that you were viewing the ISS on Sunday evening while I was just sitting down to worship on Sunday morning!!!! I am often praying for you !

  5. Ginny said... 


    October 15th, 2014 at 12:13 am  

    Hospitality means food! Wondering if those sweaters you bought at the outlet mall in Oregon will still fit you in a month!

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