Impossible

Because this morning I woke up with a thousand things on my mind.

He wasn’t one of them.

Completely stressed out. Full of worry. With a to-do list a mile long.

And yet, He insisted I come spend some time with Him.

‘The rest of the world can wait,’ He said.

I fought His calling to come and be still.

I didn’t have time to sit and be still. I had things to do. He knew that.

It was true, I had been meaning to spend some time with Him this week, but I just couldn’t find the time.

“I’ll do it tomorrow,” had become my life mantra.

But not today.

I had run out of tomorrows and my Father wanted to talk.

And just like a disciplined child who had just been reprimanded, I lowered my head and found a seat at the table.

Unsure of what to read I just turned to Luke.

I could feel the tension building up. I had so many other things I should have been doing. Rest was not on my list of things to do.

I began to read quickly. Well, more like skimming. I would just get it over with.

Time with God- check!

Except that it didn’t quite go that way.

Even though I wanted to skim, suddenly I was soaking in every word.

Breathing in the word of God like I was just catching my breath.

I could still hear the thoughts in my head.

All the things I needed to figure out.

How I was going to pay for this or that.

How I was going to hit some pretty big numbers for work over the next couple of days.

And the truth was I had zero answers.

It all looked pretty impossible and I was pretty worried.

And then there it was.

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

I got goosebumps.

I stopped.

Before I could even voice my doubt He interrupted me.

‘Nothing,’ He said.

And there was more.

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what He has spoken to her. Luke 1: 45

(I see what You did there.)

Now you might be thinking ‘woah, that’s pretty weird’ but that’s not even the weirdest part. Remember all those things I was stressing about. The money. The bills. The pressure from work. They are still there. I’m looking at them staring at me from across the table, but they don’t seem nearly as significant as they did before.

See what I think I realized is that there really is only one solution to our problems and that’s finding the strength to trust our Holy and loving God enough that we don’t worry about anything else.

Because He tells us that nothing is impossible and that those of us who believe Him are blessed.

Friends, the answers are there. He is there. But for some reason He is the last place I look.

I am grateful that He is gracious enough to blatantly put the answer right in front of me.

Grateful that He knows what I need even before I do.

Truth is though, I don’t know what He’ll do. And I don’t know if His solution looks like mine. But what I do know is that nothing is impossible and I have every reason to believe Him.

Here I Am

Because I can still remember all the prayers I thought you forgot.

The nights I spent crying.

Asking you what I did to deserve any of this.

Because I was miserable. I was lonely. And because I felt forgotten.

But then here I am.

And I am only here because of You.

Because you pursued me.

And you brought me even closer to you.

This entire time. There you were. Right beside me.

Loving.

Pursuing.

Even when I messed up.

When I gave up trusting you.

When I was convinced my way was better.

When I thought you had better things to do.

When I was too ashamed to talk to you.

There you were.

Loving.

Pursuing.

Because you knew better.

You knew this place.

You knew him.

And you knew that he was exactly what I needed.

Because you heard every prayer.

Because you caught every tear.

And because you knew exactly what I deserved- even better than I did.

Because you always keep your promises.

Because you’re still not done.

And because you’re still at it.

Loving.

Pursuing.

Lord, thank you. Thank you for all of this. For this life you have created for me. For him. Lord, you are so good. Help me to trust more. To be reminded of how good You are everyday. Even in this world of brokenness and hurt. You are still good. And we can put our hope in you. Lord, thank you for loving me and pursuing me even when I begged you to just leave me alone. You are so good, Lord. Lord, thank you for being such a good father to me. Help me to grow into Your ways, Lord. Give me a new heart.Help me to trust you, Lord. Without ceasing. But mostly, Lord, thank you. Just thank you. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

With You

I will not make this tragedy about me. 

I will not make it about my beliefs. 

I will not make it my platform to take my stance. 

Because I think that’s the problem. 

The sense of self. 

This pride and sense of entitlement to be right. 

To be heard. 

To be sure that everyone knows how we feel. 

So instead, I’m going to think about you. 

I’m going to let my heart break with you. 

I’m going to get angry with you and not at you. 

Because I will not make this tragedy about me. 

But I will use it as an opportunity to stand with you. 

Gratitude: A Study of Psalms

So we all know that the holiday season is fast approaching. 

(Anyone else having a hard time believing September is almost over?!)

I don’t know about you, but every year I try to go into the holidays grateful. I want to be thankful and have a heart full of gratitude.

But then life happens, and while I am grateful some of the time, I find myself in a season of comparison and ungratefulness. 

So I’ve been praying about it.

Praying how i can get my heart into the right place before heading into this season. 

And, well, the answer has always been in front of me. Or on the nightstand next to my bed. Or lying on my bookshelf.

(Hint: It’s my bible.)

So I’m inviting you to join me, starting October 2nd, for a 10 day study in gratitude. 

We’ll focus most of our attention in Psalms, but of course, we know it doesn’t just begin and end there. 

This study will solely be online and I encourage you to invite a friend. (Or ten.)

While we wait for our time together to begin, I would ask for your prayers. 

Because I’m not always sure I know what I’m doing, but apparently He does. And so I am choosing to trust Him. 

After all, His will, not mine.

All Wrong

Y’all, I think I’ve been doing it all wrong. 

Let me start off by asking you the same question someone asked me. 

“Why do you go to church on Sunday morning?” 

I didn’t even have to think about the answer. 

I go because it’s what I do. I go because of how I feel when I’m there. I go because I want my kids to be raised in a church. 

And sure, there’s nothing really wrong with those answers, but there is something missing from those answers. 

Let me ask you another question.

“Why do you read the Bible?”

To comfort myself. To educate myself. To find answers. 

Again, nothing wrong with those answers and yet, they are still missing something. 

Y’all, I’ve been doing it all wrong. 

Because this whole time I’ve made it about myself. 

What can God do for me? 

I never really thought of it like that. I thought I was doing right by reading the Bible and going to church every Sunday. 

You know me, dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. 

But the truth is, it should never be about me. 

It should be about Him. 

Yes, the beautiful thing about Him is that when we honor Him and we praise Him, it does something for us too. It gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling that so many of us long for. But it isn’t about that feeling. 

It’s about Him.

I have been to church for answers. For when I’m having a bad week, a bad day, a bad morning. You name it. I go and I try to make myself feel better.

What can you do for me? 

When I’m struggling in life, as a single mother, with finances, relationships, you name it. I flip open my Bible and I try to make myself feel better. 

But, it isn’t about me. 

Whether I’m happy or sad or stressed or not, it isn’t about me. 

It should be about Him. 

I should be praising Him and worshiping Him despite what my personal life looks like. 

It should never be about what He can do for me, but rather, what I can do for Him. 

Now, in the grand scheme of things I realize I really can’t do much for Him. Truth be told, He doesn’t need me. But thankfully, He doesn’t expect much.

And instead of showing up on Sunday mornings for me, I can show up for Him. 

I can stop worrying about what He can do for me and I can just show up for Him. 

I can love Him. 

I can love Him with my whole heart.

Instead of opening up my Bible to answer all the questions I have to the unfairness of life, I can just be grateful for His living word.

I can just spend time with Him. 

Now, I’m not saying we can’t pray. Or that we shouldn’t pray. I firmly believe that in order to be in a relationship with God, we need to be able to talk to Him. 

And I don’t know about you, but my life would be even more of a wreck if I wasn’t able to pray to Him.

But instead of focusing on the prayer. Instead of focusing on the desired outcome of the specific prayer. Perhaps, I could focus on the action. 

The very blessing that it is to be able to go to Him in prayer. (Thank you Jesus)

Truth be told, I can find myself off track, a lot. 

Desiring my will instead of His.

I’m there right now. 

Boldly praying for Him to do things my way. 

But I think I have it all wrong. 

The bold part is not asking Him to do things my way, it’s being able to talk to Him at all. 

Because it’s not about me. It’s about Him. 

Because, y’all. I’ve been doing it all wrong. 

It was never actually about me. That’s the sin and the brokenness in our world. That’s the reminder that I desperately need Him in all things. 

Even in these kinds of things. 

Because I mess up. 

Because even when it’s about Him, I make it about me. 

Lord, help me to make it about you. 


Caught

My sin finally caught up with me. 

I'm not sure how long I thought I could outrun it. Out smart it. And, well, just ignore it. 

But I tried. 

I tried really hard.

But it finally caught up with me. 

I expected an outrage. Punishment. 

I expected to be shamed. Hated. 

And so I hid. 

I hid for a long time. 

I hid behind these words. I hid behind you. Anything I could do to hide, I did. 

But my sin finally caught up with me.

I stood there, face to face with it. 

And you want to know something? 

It wasn't as bad as I thought. 

Yes, it was bad. Yes, it broke God's heart. But it didn't define me. 

It didn't control me. 

And it didn't make Him love me any less. 

Because that's who He is. 

The world would have you believe that He couldn't love us. That He couldn't forgive us. 

That it would have to be up to us to make it better.

Y'all. The world is wrong. 

He loves us. Period.

He loves us even when we don't love ourselves. 

When we can't love ourselves. 

Because what the world uses to hurt us, He uses to love us. 

To meet us wherever we are. 

And to say, "I love you, anyways." 

It's not to justify our sin. Or to make it okay. But it's to remind us that even though we are broken, He is not. 

Even though we fall short, He never will. 

Even though we can't, He can. 

So, I finally stopped running. 

I finally stopped hiding.

Because I finally let my sin catch up to me. 

Lost

Since when did it become so hard to pray? 

I am lost, y’all. Completely lost. 

So without getting into a lot of detail I will tell you that something happened. I did something and it changed everything. 

I am being hard on myself. Too hard according to some. And not hard enough according to others. 

And on one hand I know He’s here. He’s been here the whole time. 

And on the other, I wish He wasn’t. 

But I just don’t know how to talk to Him right now. 

And it isn’t Him. It’s me. 

It’s all me. 

And here’s the thing. I know what will help. I know what will take this burden from me. I know all of that. 

And I’ve been reminded of just that from many of you, but it isn’t that easy. 

Because part of me thinks He shouldn’t. Part of me wishes He would be angry. 

Because I know what I would do. 

But that’s not Him. 

For anyone reading this who might not know Him. For anyone who might think He’s mean or angry or full of wrath. 

He isn’t. 

‘But this world is so awful and horrible…’

Yeah, I know. But that’s not Him. He’s not responsible for that. We are. 

The brokenness. The evil. The injustice. That’s us. Not Him. 

But I still can’t talk to Him. 

Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I deserve grace, forgiveness, love. 

I just can’t. 

Because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. 

And the person I ask for help when I’m scared, well, you see what’s happening. 

And I know that He already knows. I know that He already knows what I can’t say yet, but still, here I am. 

Silent. 

Desperate to be heard, but too scared to say a word. 

So, it looks like I’ll have to be lost a little while longer. 

At least, I know I’m not alone. 

“God Hid Her”

Because I shared this blog with another friend of mine. It didn’t apply to me because at the time I was convinced that I had found the man of my dreams. 

He was everything that I could have ever wanted and I believed that I was finally done looking. 

My kids loved him. I loved him. And he fit in with our family. 

Finally, this season of loneliness was over. 

Except that it wasn’t. 

Long story short, but ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t typically work out when you find out he has another girlfriend. 

So I’ve moved on. 

Learning to be comfortable with just myself. 

Learning to not take a single moment for granted.

But y’all, I am lonely.

Oh, I’ve heard it all before. I’ve even offered the same advice to my friends. 

But, I’d be lying if I pretended like it was easy. Like this was easy. Because it isn’t. Not even close. 

Because I’m lonely. 

“She was continuously rejected.

She couldn’t understand why.

No one ever stuck around.

Always pointing the finger at herself.

But all along God was hiding her.

From harm seen & unseen.

For He knew her worth when she didn’t. 

Too precious was she for any ol’ body.

Especially a somebody who’d dim her light.

Especially a somebody who’d take her away from her purpose.

So He made them dodge her because He was saving her for His very best. 

The realest love she’d ever lay eyes on, sweet him. 

& it’d be worth being hidden. 

He’s hiding you.”

And when I read that I think ‘how sweet’, but then I also think ‘okay, enough.’ 
‘Do you hear me?! Enough!’

Because this season is confusing. And it’s hard. And while I don’t want to sit here and whine, I’m over it. 

Because I just want someone.

I want someone to share things with. 

To lay on the couch with.

To do nothing with.

I want someone who I know will be excited to hear my good news.

Someone who will understand the bad news. 

Someone who won’t expect me to talk at all, but will just be still with me. 

And maybe there are some of you reading this thinking ‘give it time, it will happen.’ And trust me, I’ve said the exact same thing, and maybe my perception of time and His is different (note the sarcasm), but I’ve been lonely for a long time (insert dramatic exasperated sigh and eye roll). 

In fact, I would say that I was lonely my entire marriage. But I had become content. Because at least I had someone. And even if I couldn’t have the conversations I so desperately wanted to have, I could argue. I could have some sort of interaction.

Something.

And then maybe there are some of you who would offer the same advice I have.

That I will always be lonely until He is enough for me. Even if I had someone.

And I get it. I do. But I struggle. 

Man, do I struggle.

I struggle a lot with this idea.

Because I need something. Someone. I need substance. 

I need, Jesus with skin on. 

Because I’m tired of quiet time. I’m tired of reflecting. I’m tired of talking to myself. 

Because I never wanted to be here. 

Because I’m tired of going to the grocery store and seeing all the happy couples. 

Because then I remember that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and suddenly I can see the enemy’s tactics. 

And I realize that as long as I am busy focusing on the things I don’t have, I will never focus on the things I do have. 

And I know that I have a lot. I know that my life is good. It might not look like the way I think it should, but I know it’s good because He is good. 

Because as long as the enemy can remind me of what I don’t have he can change my perspective of who He is. 

Because he can convince me to settle. To come out of hiding. To just want anything. To deal with anything. Even if it isn’t good. Even if it isn’t really what I want. 

Because deep down I know what I deserve. And after my marriage ended I decided that I wasn’t going to settle ever again. 

That this time, I would do it His way.

So maybe it is a good thing He’s hiding me. 

Your Will, Not Mine. 

I’ve started this blog about 15 times already, but I end up reading what I’m writing and deleting it just as fast because I just don’t know what to say.

Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I know what to say, but I’m having a hard time saying it.

It wasn’t too long ago that I listened to a sermon about Pride

I’ve never really thought of myself as a prideful person, but turns out, I am.

A lot.

My pride was hurt when my ex husband walked out on me. It was hurt when I found out that he was cheating.

It killed me to have to start over. 

To live on my parents’ couch for 4 months while I tried to piece my life back together.

I work in a business where pride runs the show. Even this blog has made its own contribution.

The truth is, I pride myself on doing it all on my own. Being a single mom, who not only has a successful business, but who homeschools, who works out 6 days a week. Who really does her best not to depend on anyone. 

I hate asking for help. 

But more than that, I hate admitting that I need help.

And this is the lesson He’s been trying to teach me.

This is the lesson I’ve been avoiding. Pretending not to hear Him. Pretending to have a plan B, C, D…

Praying for discernment and wisdom, but really hoping that I’d figure it out all on my own. Or that He would just jump on board with my will, not His.

 So, here I am. I’m sure you’ve seen my many selfies and beach photos. Living it up in Florida over the last few weeks while my kids spend some time with their dad.

I’ve bragged about my life. Bragged about being able to take vacation after vacation. And on one hand, I’ve been completely honest. On the other, I’ve manipulated what you see. 

The truth is I have been blessed. Very blessed. Everything I have is a gift from Him. Everything. And while I work hard, none of this is my doing. It’s Him.

I think I forgot that for a little bit. Truly believing that I got myself to where I am. 

I didn’t. He did.

The truth is I’ve spent about $30 on this vacation. I have been blessed to be able to stay with friends and family during this time away. 

And thank goodness, because financially, I’m struggling. 

Money has always been a tough topic to talk about. With anyone. It makes me uncomfortable. And as much as I hate having a budget, I have to have one. 

I’ve done well on my own. I still can’t believe that I get paid to do what I do for a living. 

And I never thought that I could do this on my own, but I am (well, with His help, of course.) 

But what I’ve learned, or rather, what He’s trying to teach me, is that it isn’t all about what I can do.

And honestly, I can’t do it alone. 

It’s a lesson I’ve seen this entire trip. If you’re familiar with 12 step programs, it’s steps 1-3. 

Given my own history with recovery, I can’t help but find it ironic that these are the steps I struggle with. 

To sum it up:

  1. Admitted we were powerless.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Turned our life and our will over to the care of God as we understood him.

Oh, how I go about each day thinking that I’m in control. That I’ve got it. 

Cue, eyeroll. 

So this trip has been all about acknowledging these steps.

Let’s have another eyeroll. 

I can’t get into the many details of what has happened since I left my house in April, but it’s Him. 

And the final lesson is that I can’t do it. Not without Him. 

My sales are down. My ex owes me money. I have bills that are due and, to be honest, I have no idea how I’m going to pay for them. 

I was sharing these things with my friend. 

“It’s like He has put up a wall on everything. Literally, He has blocked my way. The only way left to go is His way.”

I’m reminding myself of all the life lessons I’ve had up until this point because going His way is intimidating. It’s humbling. And even though I know it’s not, it seems so unsure. 

“The thing is, there is nothing scarier than when I can’t hear Him anymore. When He goes quiet. When I’m screaming out to Him and yet, I hear nothing…and then there are times like this, when I know His voice exactly. When I can’t pretend not to hear Him. When He’s so loud that there’s no escaping Him.” 

That’s where I’m at. 

I’ve tried plans B, C, and D, but it’s evident that no matter what my plan is, it won’t work. 

Therefore, this is what I will do:
I will block her way with thorns; 
I will enclose her with a wall,
So that she cannot find her paths.

                                          Hosea 2:6

As I shared what was going on with another friend, she approached me about setting up a Gofundme. Immediately, I cringed. 

I didn’t want people to know that I was having such a hard time. 

I was embarrassed. I AM embarrassed. 

She felt that God had put it on her heart to do this for me. 

I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew she was probably right. 

It went hand in hand with what He had been trying to do in my life. 

So, I let her. But I had a few conditions. I wasn’t going to share it with anyone I knew. She was not allowed to tag me either.

We should probably do another eye roll for good measure. 

We talked again after I got some more bad news.

“I think you should share it,” she said. 

I hesitated. Then quickly came up with a few excuses why I couldn’t do that. I told her I would pray about it, but what I meant is that I would briefly mention it during my prayers and move onto the next subject without waiting for a response.

I guess it is true that He knows us better than we know ourselves because I knew the answer to the prayer I hadn’t even prayed. 

Immediately, I knew.

“Lauren,” she said, “this is how He uses you. You go through your struggles and you share it with people and in that you bring people closer to Him. People get to see who He is through you. How do you know that He doesn’t want you to share this so someone else can be blessed?” 

I held back the tears. 

I knew she was right. 

This is what We did. 

I struggled. He blessed.

So was my ego really too big to do what we had always done? 

Over the course of this relationship did I really begin to believe that He had nothing to do with getting me to where I was?

So here I am. 

Finally finishing up the blog that I couldn’t write just a few days ago. 

Humbling myself to you, but mostly to Him.

Admitting that I am powerless. That my life had become unmanageable. And that the only way to change that would be with Him. Turning my life and my will over to Him. No matter if I think I have a better way. Or if my path is a little less intimidating. 

I’m not doing this because of the money. Or to make myself feel better after I receive encouragement for being so open and honest. 

Nope, I’m doing this because it isn’t really about me. 

Never has been.

But, because Your will, not mine. 

Hand Holding

Last week, God laid some pretty crazy things on my heart. 

“This is what we’re going to do,” He said. 

I couldn’t help but think He was a little crazy, but I went with it. 

And just to make sure I was hearing Him correctly I went on a 3 day fast. And y’all. I heard Him correctly.

So my fast is over. I’m back to my typical routine and life. And, to be honest, I’m back to my old ways.

I seriously can’t roll my eyes enough at this.

Because the truth is, last week I was so close to Him. Like, so close. I could feel Him everywhere. I knew Him in a way I hadn’t before. Our relationship had become intimate. It had become the relationship that I was dying to have with Him. 

Seriously, I was on another level. 

But like I said, I’ve fallen back to my old habits.

Let me explain.

Okay, so last week God had put some things on my heart. I saw a plan (even if I didn’t have all the details). I saw a purpose. It made sense. 

And I was all in.

So today, when the plan started to drift from what I thought it would look like, my first reaction was to embrace for impact. 

What do I mean?

I mean, telling myself that I probably didn’t hear Him correctly. That maybe I was mistaken. Maybe this wasn’t the plan after all. 

SERIOUSLY, LAUREN?? 

Did you guys see what I just did there? Because I didn’t. Not right away anyways. 

And I’m pretty sure that most of us do what I did, naturally. It’s our go-to because we don’t really get who He is. 

And if you read my blog from last week, you would see that today, I did my best to stuff Him back into that tiny little box. 

Because here’s the truth, y’all. When things started to go differently than I had expected them to, I immediately thought it couldn’t be done. 

The plan He had just couldn’t be done if He didn’t stick to the way I thought it should work. 

Because that’s so typical of me. Thinking that my way is the best way and if it isn’t done my way, well then, what’s the point? 

But here’s the truth. The truth is that my God can do anything. 

The truth is, no matter how hard I try I will never get Him to fit inside of that box. 

The truth is, that this Sunday we are celebrating the fact that my God overcame death. 

The truth is, that there is nothing too impossible for Him.

The truth is, He doesn’t have to have a detailed plan because at His command it will all fall into place.

The truth is, this isn’t really about Him and His abilities, but rather it’s about me, my heart, and my faith to believe that if He said He would, He will. 

And so today when I realized what I had done I had to dig deep and ask myself ‘Do you really think He can do it? Or were you just thinking He could if He did it your way?’ 

And y’all, that realization hurt me. Because at the first sign of it not going the way I thought it should I just believed that He wasn’t going to do it. 

And that is a bold faced lie straight from the pit of hell. 

That’s what the enemy wants me to believe. That not only He won’t do it, but that I never heard Him in the first place. 

Because the enemy would rather create doubt inside of my heart so that I would stop trusting God to do it and maybe take things into my own hands. 

But not this time. 

So what if He doesn’t show me the exact layout of His plan. That’s not how this relationship works. He wants me to know that He is good. And that His plans are good. And that everything He does is for my good. Whether it goes the way I want it to or it doesn’t. 

All I have to do is have faith in Him. 

He doesn’t ask me to collaborate on a plan. He doesn’t ask me for a plan B, if His doesn’t work. All He asks of me is that I have faith in Him and in who He is. 

He isn’t going to show us all the details. Because if He did that makes it easy to trust Him. If we see the details and we see the outcome, what exactly do we have to put our faith in? 

It’s trusting in the things we can’t see. Believing Him even when it looks like the odds are against us. 

It’s being willing to step off the ledge without seeing what’s underneath, but only being able to see who’s holding our hand. 

So today, I want you to join me and ask yourself ‘Do you really think He can do it? Or were you just thinking He could if He did it your way?’

Because I’m thinking He can really do it.