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I am ENOUGH

written by Lauren

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(photocred: Matt Engelking)

If any of you know me at all, you know how much I love to write. My journal is a place where I write out my prayers each morning over a cup of coffee and listen as the Lord speaks through the pages. I get that “giddy excited” joy when I complete a journal and get to start a new one with fresh new pages. To me a brand new journal is the begining of new stories, new adventures, new HOPES, and new dreams. But before my trip to Uganda, writing had become difficult and time seemed to escape. I was met with distraction after distraction. I had this “plan” of everything I wanted to do and all I wanted to read so I could be fully equipped to lead my team. I was relying upon the “doing” rather that the “being.” 

August 14, 2015 3 comments
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I woke up this morning with just a stirring in my spirit. A hunger and a longing for more. I began to sing, “I’m full Lord BUT I’m not satisfied.” I want more.There has got to be more. These past few months for me have just been an unsettled place. I feel like insecurity has stolen a lot from me lately and the dreamer in me I can’t seem to find. I’ve thought more these past couple of months about things I don’t have and the places I’m not at in life. I’ll find myself wondering if and when I’ll ever enter a new season, if that day will ever come.

August 9, 2015 2 comments
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It’s been so long since I’ve been able to write a blog post, life has been a bit crazy but I wanted to share with you what the word of the Lord spoke to my heart this morning in Daniel 3.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. BUT even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods, or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

– Daniel 3:17-18

“Lauren, my daughter, do you have FAITH enough in me to risk everything you have, even your life?” I stopped for a moment and got this sinking feeling in my stomach. “Was I living a life that potrayed this kind of faith? Was my faith so fully set in Christ that even if He didn’t come through, would I still live a life completely sold out to Him or would I try to manufacture my own promises?” The beauty of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is that they loved and trusted God so much that even if He didn’t rescue them they would still never worship another god. They had a steadfast and immoveable faith that could not be touched by the fire they were about to walk through. Their minds were already made up whether or not God would rescue them. That’s how much they loved HIM. So many times in life we wait for God to answer a prayer while holding onto something else just in case He doesn’t come through. This isn’t true, genuine, risk-it-all kinda faith.

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What does true, genuine, risk-it-all kinda faith look like? For a moment, the Lord took my back to a a year ago when I was in Nigeria, Africa. We drove down into a remote village called Osula. The drive down into the village made me carsick due to the unpaved roads and all I really remember is stepping out into a village full of mud huts and hungry children with no clothes on. Their noses where runny and their bodies filthy. I quickly looked around and found that these people had absolutely nothing. No running water, no electricity, barely a roof over their head, and just what little clothes they had to share between everyone in the village. As soon as the people heard us drive up, a beautiful song arose in the air. It was a joyful song. One I will never forget. A song of praise to our heavenly father. The people of the village surrounded us and danced with all their hearts giving praise to Jesus, for they finally saw a glimer of hope in the buckets we carried. These people weeped, not from sadness but tears of joy. One 80 year old man said that he has been praying and fasting for the past 40 years for the opportunity to have access to clean, purified drinking water. But another thing he also said that struck my heart was “If God doesn’t come through during my lifetime and let me experience the blessing of clean water,  I know without a doubt that my prayers will live on so that one day these children will know what clean water really is. Water that will make their tummies not hurt anymore and their bodies stronger. My God is able and I KNOW He will come through. But if He doesn’t, I’ll still praise His name.” Wow. What beautiful faith.

I want this kind of faith. This is what Jesus desires us to walk in, a FAITH where we are not afraid to give our life to the glory of His name, regardless of what our circumstances look like. How many times in life do we lose faith and hope when God doesn’t come through on our own time and just like we envision it? There are so many times I catch myself envisioning my life a certain way or how I want something to work out and when it doesn’t, I find that I have a “back-up” plan or try to fix what God was really trying to save me from. I let the “physical” emptiness rob me of my faith. Therefore, I give in to the tendency to go back to what’s comfortable and what I can control. As I began to think about this, with all of my heart I prayed, “Lord do whatever it takes to develop a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego type of faith within me. I’m ALL IN.

In two weeks, myself and this amazing team leave for Uganda. I’m praying an incredible faith over us and that we aren’t afraid to love the people with all our hearts. Sometimes it can be difficult to love so much that your heart hurts, BUT that type of love is transformational and will mark your life forever.

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May 28, 2015 5 comments
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The struggle to find our value and identity is probably one of the biggest battles we as women face (and men as well). It’s a search to find significance in the eyes of others, an internal struggle that leaves us continuously unfulfilled day after day. We may not fully realize it but from the moment we wake up in the morning to deciding what to wear to putting make-up on our faces and racing out the door, we are in a constant battle with our self-worth. A little voice inside our head is whispering, you will never be enough.

When we lose sight of “who” we are and “whose” we are, we fall into the trap of comparison. Comparison clouds the promises of God and convinces you that God doesn’t have a plan for your life. It attacks the uniqueness of WHO God created you to be. Then your joy is gone and you feel isolated and alone.

Before we can ever find JOY and FULFILLMENT in our life, we must first realize WHO we are. YOU are a daughter of the KING! YOU are an HEIR of Christ. His MASTERPIECE. His BRIDE. We must believe and know the value we possess. It’s one thing to read who we are in the word of God but it’s another thing to actually believe it and walk in that truth. There will always be voices that surround you telling you “who” you should be and “what” you should be doing. Voices that try to convince you that you’re not enough and you’ve missed it. They cause you to revert to the past wishing you would have settled for something less that God’s best for your life.  If we listen to these voices without taking them captive we will lead our lives down a destructive path away from God’s perfect plan.

My beautiful sisters, you have a God-written story, but your lack of knowing your value and identity in Christ can keep you in the waiting. The waiting season can be good and of great benefit but it can also be damaging if our eyes aren’t on Jesus. During this time it’s so easy to watch other stories around you unfold and compare it to your own. We allow our worth to diminish against that strength of someone else’s story. I’ve been there and at times I feel I’m in that place. We get tired of waiting and forget who is writing our own story; therefore we give-in and settle for an incomplete rather than a fully complete God-written story. We come to the conclusion that what we desire doesn’t really exist and that maybe we just aren’t one of those that God truly wants to use to write and amazing story. Lies then become reality. Have you ever felt that?

During the waiting season, we have to choose to believe, despite our circumstances, that we carry value and worth even when we don’t feel valued or worthy. Maybe you don’t feel loved or you compare your love story to someone else’s. Maybe you’re single and your fighting against the lies that you will always be single. Maybe you have made so many mistakes that you have lost who you are. Maybe you gave yourself away to someone who didn’t deserve you and now your fighting to find yourself again. Maybe you desire just to be loved but feel unloveable. Maybe you feel like you have nothing to offer, no gifts, not talents. BUT I pray you know this, God cares so much about your life that He wants to get you to a point to where you are a “strong, energetic, and confident girl who knows the value she possesses regardless of the way she feels or what her circumstances look like.” It’s in the moments when our faith is greater than our feelings that things began to change and we become BRAVE.

Embrace the story that God has entrusted you with. DARE to trust him. Be BRAVE. Even when it’s tough and when it doesn’t make sense. Find joy in the small things. I haven’t made it there yet but I KNOW that in the end of the struggle you will be able to look back and say “it was worth it.”

I love you and I believe in your story. You are BRAVE.

March 19, 2015 0 comment
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I’m reading this book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty and in the forward of the book Katie Davis says,

“To love is to be vulnerable — Open to love, and then, too, open to disappointment. Too often we try to avoid that scary place where we love so deep, so much, our hearts could break. But without the bitterness we would never appreciate the sweetness.”

I remember a time I let my heart love so deeply that it broke. In a little impoverished village in Haiti, I scooped up into my arms a 3 year old little girl that weighed less than 10 pounds. I remember taking my hand and wiping the sweat off her face as she looked into my eyes. She began to cry and point to the water bottle that was hanging off the side of my backpack. She was thirsty. She was dying of dehydration and there was no clean water for her to drink. Everything within my tummy hurt as I began to get nauseas by what I was seeing. My heart was breaking and as I tried to process it all I couldn’t understand why this beautiful little girl was born into such overwhelming poverty. She was unclothed and I could trace the outline of her bones with my finger. That year had been one of the hardest years of my life and so I decided to take a mission trip to Haiti to just serve and get away. I had built walls to love. I was scared to get back to that deep place again. But in that moment, this beautiful little girl was teaching me what it meant to truly love deeply. I thought I had it figured out but I was far from it. That moment was transformational for me and through that baby girl I was holding I could “feel” the way our Father truly and deeply loves us. True love (loving like Jesus) is loving through the bitterness and hard moments in life and finding its sweetness.

“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” – Proverbs 27:7

When I read this it struck my heart so deeply. With this being the month of love driven by chocolate candies, stuffed animals and Valentines Day cards, I had to ask myself, what does it truly mean to love deeply — so deep that your heart could break? Are we displaying this type of love in our relationships, friendships, and families? Are we giving this love to the lost? Are we letting this type of love be an example to our children and those who look up to us?

Christ is the MOST beautiful picture of what it means to love deeply. He loved you and I SO much that He shed his own blood on a cross. His love for us drove Him to the greatest pain of all, the greatest heartbreak of all. He went the length of “feeling” so deeply that it cost Him his life. The blood He shed gave us freedom from the sin we live in every single day. Jesus knew that through the cross His heart would break and His vulnerability would leave scars on His hands BUT to Him it was worth us getting to see and experience the greatest LOVE of all.

Maybe you’re single, dating, or even married. Maybe you have some relational scars that have affected every area of your life when it comes to love. Maybe you have lost all hope in what love even is or you wonder if a LOVE that great even exists because of the pain you have experienced in the past. I’ve been there. I’ve doubted. I’ve questioned. But one thing lately I’ve learned is that it begins with me. It begins with not being afraid to love beyond the surface, to love when it doesn’t make sense and to love when the odds are against you. It is choosing to love beyond the arguments, the imperfections, and the heartbreaks. To let love drive every area of your life, in EVERYTHING you say and do. It is a risk-it-all kind of love where you are going to give it all you’ve got regardless of what those around you say. And then it’s in the deepness and the vulnerability that you find the true love of our Father, an unconditional love that knows no bounds. One that comforts and truly satisfies the deepest longings in your heart. When you experience this type of love, He becomes your identity and your hope which transforms every area of your life. Fear and anxiety are replaced with unexplainable joy and peace.

This is the way Jesus wants us to LOVE; just like Him. But it’s not that easy and it may cost you something. There are many stories in the bible where He teaches us how to love. Majority of the time we read those words and leave them on the pages. We don’t live them out because it’s out of our comfort zone.  We can’t LOVE like Jesus if we’ve built walls around our hearts where we can’t “feel” with those around us. Opening yourself up to truly feel will cost you your comfort and control. If “LOVE is the greatest” and “LOVE covers all,” opening yourself up to love like Jesus will transform every area of your life. I’m daily learning this type of love. Tear down your walls and transformation is yours.

I dare you to LOVE deeply with me today.

 

February 23, 2015 1 comment
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