Reflection

Last week, I decided to jump in the car and head to Key West. 

The truth is, I had had a really hard weekend before. I was hurting. I was confused. And I couldn’t understand God’s purpose. 

Actually, I felt betrayed by my Father. Betrayed and hurt and lonely. 

And so I decided to escape for a little bit.

It wasn’t long after I got into the car that I realized this was His plan. I still couldn’t understand the whole thing. But I had a glimpse. 

The drive was long. But the conversations between the two of us were longer. 

Typically, in our relationship, I do most of the talking. I have a very hard time listening. I struggle in the quiet. I struggle just being in His presence, but when you’re stuck in the car for over 15 hours, you don’t have much of a choice. 

So, I listened.

I expected to be in trouble. I hadn’t been behaving the way I thought I should have been. I expected that He was angry with me. 

But He wasn’t. 

There was love in His voice. He acknowledged the mistakes I had made, but reassured me that it was okay. 

He reminded me that even though He sent His son to die for my sins, it was an ongoing act of love. I was never going to be sinless. But He died to pursue me. Always and forever. 

And so that’s what He did. On the car ride down. And every minute since I’ve been here. He has been pursuing me. 

I don’t know about you, but I can often seek the approval and the attention I so desperately need from everyone else, but Him. 

I can get caught up in the distraction of trying to be the best, the most put together. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child or maybe it’s something from my past marriage, I don’t know what it is, but my desire to be perfect is overwhelming. 

I strive to be the best I can at everything I do. I want people to look at me and notice that I have it all together. I want the clean house, the perfect job. I want the hours at the gym. I want to be the best single mom. I want my kids to be perfect. 

I want to be the perfect mess. 

Don’t let this fool you, I know I am not perfect. Not even close. But I strive to be. I exhaust myself to be. 

And it’s a race I know I’ll never win. 

And that was His reminder. I am never going to be perfect. Not according to the standards I’ve set for myself. 

The world’s standards. 

But that it’s okay, because I am perfect because He is perfect.

I am good. Because He is good.

I am enough. Because He is enough. 

I will always fall short according to the world’s standards. I will never have enough. I will never be enough. There will always be someone better. Or someone who is at least better at pretending to be better. But that’s not what this life is about. 

This life is about not wanting those things. It’s about wanting Him. 

So a week into this adventure and I’m ready to admit to you that I am not perfect. My house is not always clean. I yell. I get angry. I cry way more than I probably should. Sometimes I am the furthest example of Christ. Sometimes I find myself hating someone for no reason other than my own insecurities. And more often than not, it’s easier for me to point out your flaws than address my own. 

But those things are okay. And chances are you feel the same exact way most days. Because this world, despite it pretending like it understands the definition of ‘perfect’ is anything but. 

It’s broken. And so are we. But that’s okay because He isn’t. 

And we are made whole in Him. 

So today is the first day I stopped comparing myself. Today is the first day that I woke up and I didn’t care what anyone thought. Today is the first day that I looked in the mirror and was ready to love myself in spite of the many flaws that I could point out in that reflection. 

Because today was the day that I didn’t see myself first, but instead, I saw Him. 

The Best Decision

Because it’s easy to love yourself when you’re working out everyday. Or when you’ve been eating well. 

Sticking to the plan. 

It’s easy to love yourself when you’re doing everything right, but what about those moments where you’re anything but? 

I used to get hung up on those moments. Beat myself up for my failures. I would hang on to every imperfection. Every mistake. 

The truth is, I would be become very insecure. I would believe that people could see every single fault of mine, but the actual truth was only I could see them. 

And even though I’ve had my fair share of ‘mean girls’ there’s no one meaner than myself. 

Given the opportunity, I can cut myself down to nothing. 

And it isn’t pretty. 

Because wouldn’t it make sense to love yourself especially during those times? 

I am always talking about giving grace to others. Showing compassion and love, even when they don’t deserve it. 

So why not me? 

Why not ourselves? 

Because even though I might have an off day. Or even though I might make a bad choice. Or I might slip. That’s just one choice. Why not celebrate the hundreds of good choices I’ve made? 

Why not be able to celebrate the choice to love myself even when it’s hard? 

So what if I had a doughnut for breakfast instead of my 3 hardboiled eggs. And maybe chocolate cake at the birthday party wasn’t necessary, but, boy, was it good. 

Because there’s no reason to beat myself up over it. I made the choice and now it’s time to move on. 

Because the next good decision is right around the corner. 

And the best decision you can ever make is to love yourself. 

Today Only! 

Guess what today is?! 

It’s my 3 year anniversary with Beautycounter

So today only! When you spend $150+ I’m going to give you a FREE chic, canvas pouch! That’s in addition to the FREE Rejuvenating Eye Cream and FREE Calendula Lip Balm!

And if you’re not a Band of Beauty member yet, you could get a FREE Soothing Face Oil too and FREE shipping! Oh and money back to spend on your next order! 

Message me to take advantage! Because you can’t afford not to take advantage of this incredible offer! 

http://www.beautycounter.com/laurenfalber 

Free Stuff

Okay, raise your hand if you love free stuff? Yeah, me too! 

What if I told you that Beautycounter is giving away some major free stuff and I could help you take advantage? You interested yet? You should be. 

So when you spend $150+ you’re gonna get a FREE full size Rejuvenating Eye Cream and. FREE full size Calendula Lip BalmBut it gets better. 

When you become a Band of Beauty member. Think Amazon Prime, but cheaper. We’re going to give you a FREE full size Soothing Lustro Face OilNot to mention, you’ll be able to take advantage of FREE shipping on orders over $100 and you’ll earn 15% back in product credit to use on your next order. Yep, we pay you to shop. 

So what do you have to lose? 

Questions? Beautycounter@laurenfalber.com http://www.beautycounter.com/laurenfalber 

**offer ends 2/28/17 or while supplies last**

Hummus- Instant Pot

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a hummus connoisseur. 

Boy, do I love hummus. (Understatement of the year)

So when I found out I could make my own hummus at home, quickly, easily, and way more cost efficiently, I couldn’t wait. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound dried garbonzo beans, rinsed
  • 12 cups water
  • Instant Pot
  • Food processor
  • 1/2 cup warm bean cooking liquid
  • 1/4 cup tahini 
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

What you’ll do: 

Rinse beans and discard any stones. Place in Instant Pot along with 12 cups of water. Close lid, make sure steam vent is sealed and set to Manual for 35 minutes.When done, allow Instant Pot to naturally release. 

After steam is released drain beans and reserve 1/2 cup of warm bean cooking liquid. Place the remaining ingredients except olive oil into food processor. Set to mix and add olive oil a teaspoon at a time. Blend until creamy and smooth. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add your own flavor to your hummus. I love to add hot pepper flakes and Chipotle Chili Powder. Serve warm. Store rest in airtight container and refrigerate. 

Enjoy! 

Hardboiled Eggs- Instant Pot

So, not going to lie. When I first heard that people were making hardboiled eggs in their Instant Pot, I thought, ‘Wow, they must be lazy.’ 

(And then I thought, ‘Sounds like my kind of people.’) 

But I quickly realized, ‘they’ were onto something. 

Hardboiled eggs are a staple in my house. I eat them all the time as a quick boost of protein or a fast breakfast on the go. 

But the one thing that sucks about hardboiled eggs is finding the right amount of time to cook them and crossing your fingers that they’ll be easy to peel. 

Now I want you to listen to me. Do yourself a favor and use your Instant Pot to make your hardboiled eggs. Follow this recipe exactly. Because it is perfect. And then you can thank me later by sharing this post with your friends. 

This is the 5-5-5 method. 

And believe me when I tell you that I have tried a dozen of different recipes and times. This is the one that will guarantee you the perfect hardboiled egg.

What you’ll need: 

  • Eggs (I do 8-9 at a time)
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Instant Pot 

What you’ll do:

You’re going to start by placing the rack that comes with the Instant Pot into the bottom of the pot. Add 1 cup of water. Place eggs on top of rack. Close the lid. Make sure steam valve is closed. Set on Manual for 5 minutes. And then you wait. 

When timer goes off, turn off Instant Pot. Set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes and let the Instant Pot naturally release. 
And then you wait some more. 

When timer goes off, turn steam valve to open (Be careful and don’t burn yourself). Once steam is released, open lid. And place eggs into a bowl of ice water immediately. This stops the cooking process and that means no green ring around the yolk. 

Let sit for about 15-20 minutes and then get ready to enjoy the best egg ever. 

Happy

People must think I’m crazy. 

I get that a lot. They take one look at me and they just don’t understand. 

I have been through so much. I have been through hell and back. I have been in constant battle with the enemy. I have a target on my back and I know it. 

I struggle. Everyday I struggle. With life. With finances. With worry. All of it. 

I am not immune to it, I promise. 

So then how am I so darn happy? 

You’d be surprised at how many times people ask me that. 

Well, that’s easy. I’m happy because of Him. 

What you see isn’t me. It’s Him. 

I have spent so much of my life being angry. Feeling sorry for myself. Being jealous. Hating myself. And quite frankly, I’ve had enough. 

Is my life perfect? Not even close, but He is. And because He is, He has graciously given me a heart of gratitude. 

Could I still feel sorry for myself? Absolutely. I busted my butt last month for work. Remember, I work in sales and solely for commission. And when my paycheck didn’t cover the bills this month I could have decided right then and there to be mad. 

And I did. For a little bit, I was mad. But want to know something? No matter how mad I was it still didn’t change the size of my bank account. But it did change my heart of gratitude. 

So I gave it to Him. He knew I was disappointed. He knew I didn’t like my situation, so I gave it to Him and He gave me His peace. 

So remember that when you see this girl. This girl who always seems to have a smile on her face. This girl who is so ‘glass half full’ it can make you sick. Know that you aren’t really looking at this girl, you’re looking at Him.

I would love to pray for you so please send me an email or leave a comment and let me know how I can pray for you today. 

In His Love, 

      Lauren 

Restoration

I’ve asked myself the same question for years, now. 

Because I remember how it felt every time I prayed for it. Because I believed that He could do it. And for a long time, I believed that He would. 

So imagine my surprise when I came home from a 3+ week vacation to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and instead my husband decided to walk out. 

It would be the last time he walked out. 

But even in those moments of not knowing, I knew. I knew that He would fix it. That He would make it better. That we would finally have the marriage that I had dreamed about and worked so hard for. 

I was constantly praying during those next few days. I think I had everyone praying for me. For us. 

So then, why didn’t He restore my marriage? 

He could have. 

He was capable. 

He could hear the desperation in my voice.

I had been faithful, both to Him and to my marriage. 

He knew I didn’t believe in divorce. 

He knew I couldn’t imagine my life without my husband in it. 

He knew the shame I felt as I watched my marriage fall apart and I knew that there was nothing left I could do, and yet, there had been so much that I did to get us there. 

He knew my pain. My loneliness. My frustration. He knew it all. 

He knew what it did to me to feel that rejection. To know that my husband had already found someone else. Someone that he wanted more than me. He knew how that crushed me. How I let it define me. He knew. 

And yet, He chose not to restore my marriage. 

Oh I prayed to give Him the chance to let me give Him glory and honor for the restoration. I told Him repeatedly that I would not take any credit, but instead give it all to Him. 

This was His chance to shine. This was a chance for my friends and my family and for those who didn’t believe in Him to see just exactly what He could do. 

But He never took me up on my offer. Despite my compelling argument.

Instead, He chose not to restore my marriage. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself through all the things I never imagined I would be doing. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself through starting over. He chose to show Himself in blessing me for my faithfulness. Instead, He chose to show Himself in answering my prayer to get me back home. He chose to show Himself through the strength that only He could provide when it came to raising these two kids all by myself. Instead, He chose to show Himself by blessing my business and allowing me to do all the things I loved without having to sacrifice any of it. He chose to show Himself in the way that I had finally fallen in love with who I was, not because of who I am, but because of who He is. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself in my story of love and compassion and forgiveness and grace. 

And with that, He brought Himself the honor and glory that I had so desperately pleaded for, on His behalf. 

Because by not restoring my marriage, He restored me. 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

It Had to End

Earlier this week, when I found myself on the phone talking to my ex there was something different about him.

It wasn’t that we were getting along. It wasn’t that he was finally saying all the things I had wished he had been saying. But it was that he was happy.

He was actually happy.

It had been a long time since I had heard him be that happy. I honestly can’t remember making him that happy in our marriage. I’m sure I did at some point, but he was genuinely happy. 

And it was because of her. 

I know that’s weird of me to talk about, but it was. 

It was her. 

He talked about her and you could hear the smile in his voice. 

I thought I would be upset. That it would hurt. Knowing that it wasn’t me who made him happy, but I realized that wasn’t my job. 

Let me explain.

Did I love my ex? Of course I did, but it was a specific kind of love. 

Oh, I thought we would be together forever. I had invested 10 years of my life into that relationship only to have it end through a text. I spent days and weeks and months analyzing everything I did leading up to that moment. Trying to figure it all out, but I couldn’t.

Until I heard how happy he was.

I know some people get into a relationship that ends and they can’t understand it. They can’t help but claim that it was a waste of their time. 

But I don’t believe that. 

Even though it didn’t work out the way I thought it would, I think it’s better. I think it served it’s purpose. 

Yes, my marriage ended. Yes, it was sad. But look at what has happened because of that. 

And I don’t think it was a waste of time. I think it did what it was supposed to do.

You guys, not only is my ex happy, but I am. I have found this man who is unlike anything I’ve ever known. 

Do I wish I had found him sooner? Of course. I’m crazy about him and now that he’s in my life, I can’t imagine a second without him. 

But the timing was perfect. 

Because not only has God given me an amazing guy, but He made sure to give me my amazing kids. And without my ex, they wouldn’t be here. 

I had to ‘waste that time’ so I could have them. 

Hard to be upset at that, especially as I sit here writing this watching them play on the couch. 

My ex wasn’t the love of my life. And I wasn’t the love of his life either. But what our temporary love did was give me two of the greatest joys I could ever have. 

And who knows, maybe it’s even introduced me to the love of my life. 

Sometimes it can be hard to understand God’s plan. Sometimes it’s hard to think that anything good can come from something that hurt so bad. But you guys, that’s when you go back to my favorite verse of all times and you read it, over and over and over again. 

“In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28

Because had my marriage not ended. I would be miserable. Had my marriage not ended I never would have learned to fall in love with myself. Had my marriage not ended I never would have met the man who has swept me off my feet. Had the marriage not ended I never would have understood the point of it all. 

So see? It had to end. 

Because how else would we have known how to be so happy? 

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 2 a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 8 a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

More

You wanna know something? There is never going to be enough time with you. 

Like, ever.

The truth is, had I known that it could be this good, I would have waited.

I would have sat on a rock and waited for you. 

Twiddling my thumbs. Patiently, well, almost patiently, waiting for you. 

I wouldn’t have wasted my time on anyone else because, if I’ve learned anything since being with you, it’s that there is never going to be enough time. 

I say that and then I think back to all the time, all the hours, the minutes, the seconds, that I have taken for granted. 

But not with you. 

Because I refuse to take even a single second for granted with you. 

Because I’m convinced there is never going to be enough time with you.

Because I’m only going to say this once. 

This is it.

Even the time it takes to say those 10 words is time that I’m losing with you. 

Because I’m always going to want one more minute. 

Because I’m always going to want one more kiss. 

Or one more chance to put my hand inside of yours.

Because I could wake up to you every morning and fall asleep to you every night and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Because I’m always going to want one more hug. 

One more story. 

One more laugh. 

Because I’m always going to want more. 

More of everything. 

Because there is never going to be enough time with you.