Tuesday, April 12, 2011

$2 overalls and a one-way ticket to Haiti.

$2 overalls and a one-way ticket to Haiti.

Just last week I spent quite a bit of time with my grandparents. I always enjoy what comes with my time at their house, because there is always something interesting that happens. Last Monday, my grandfather had decided to buy my grandmother an ipad—she has had a mac notebook for 3 years now, and still only knows how to use the internet. You would think that my grandfather would take this as a hint that she doesn’t really enjoy electronics too much, but he said my mother and aunt talked him into buying it for her. I think the most disturbing part of it all is the time that she will use on it. I know that words with friends must be a very addicting game to play, because my mom plays 21 games at one time. I know that it seems like an enjoyable thing to do with your time, if you don’t have anything better to do, but I pray with all of my heart that I am not 74 years old one day, and I have nothing better to do then to sit around and play on the “next coolest thing” all day long. The thing is, my grandma doesn’t want to do that. Her generation was not taught to sit around and play video games or play on computers all day. Her generation was about working hard and being in relationship with others. She always tells me about the fun times she has hanging out with her bunko friends, and how they talk and laugh all afternoon sometimes, and I always wonder whether they mention the Lord. So I wonder why she feels she has to have an ipad, she has to play words with friends, and she has to get a facebook? She doesn't need to, in fact I think she would be much better off if she didn't. But what's new? I feel the whole world might be better off without words with friends and facebook.

My grandma also mentioned something about this summer and I told her I am going to Jordan. My grandparents never appreciate this news when I tell them about the new country I will be going to, but this one seemed to spark a very particular nerve. My grandma wrestled with me and begged me not to go and put myself in the middle of the violent protests. Despite the animosity she had towards the news of me going to Jordan, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face because the peace of the Lord, I knew was about to transcend on her heart if she would let it. We continued talking about my future and what I had been called to, and I told her about my calling to Haiti, and how I felt the Lord was leading me to move there when I graduate, and this time the response seemed to cut straight to my heart.

My sweet loving grandma, looked at me with heartfelt eyes, and told me, “you know you can’t save the world, Lauren.”


Can I? No. Absolutely not. Did Jesus? Yes, absolutely, he has offered grace to the world. As frustrating as this was to hear her not be encouraging, I was prepared for it. The Lord gracefully helped me see this comment in a different light. It’s true, I cannot save the world, and definitely don’t want to try, but I am COMMANDED to make disciples of all nations. Is this was drives me to go? No. The only thing that drives me to actually stand up and go, is the Glory of the God. His Name is the reason I sing. His Name is the reason I breathe. His Name is the reason I will go to any place He calls me to.

And my response to this comment made by my grandma?

Complete silence. in admiration of the calling the Lord has given me to look different then the world, and to be a citizen of Heaven.

Anyway, last Wednesday I went over to their house again before going to a meeting at Brook Hills and I had on a blue t-shirt and my infamous linen overalls. Every time I put on my brown linen overalls I have a huge smile on my face, one because they cost exactly $2, two because they are amazingly comfortable, and three if anybody asked me for them I would be glad to hand them over. I don’t think hard about what I wear anymore, simply because to me it doesn’t matter. It seems to be vanity these days, but putting on those brown linen overalls was going to mean a lot more that day. As I walked into my grand-parents house and sat down at the counter to begin working on my homework, I waited patiently for my grandma to return so I could chat with her (Grandma’s always seem to have the best things to say—or do they?). Once she returned we talked about the world and what was going on in the Middle east and how things were changing. Once again the Lord spoke through my grandma in a very unconventional way.

She said, “Your mom and I were talking about all the skirts you bought at the thrift store, and I was asking her why you bought them, and she told me she thought they were for this summer.”

“Yea I will be wearing skirts all summer long but I also wear them at school.”

“Lauren, what happened to all of your beautiful clothes?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean all of the clothes you used to wear, all of the beautiful clothes you used to have in your closet?”

“I gave most of them away.”

“Why on earth would you do that?”

“They tied me down to the world too much, and I felt I shouldn’t have clothes that I cared so deeply about.”

“Yea but you used to dress so pretty.”

“So this isn’t considered ‘pretty’?”

“Do you not care?”

“Jim, I really don’t care, I don’t have anybody to impress, I enjoy wearing long skirts because I know this is what I will be wearing for the rest of my life in the mission field. My clothes no longer tie me down to the world because I pay $1 for one skirt and would be happy to give it away to anybody who wanted it.”

“I am 74 years old and I still dress up and wear nice clothes, so why wouldn’t you?”

“Who do you wear those nice clothes for?”

“My self, so I can feel good about myself.”

-no words were needed after this statement, but I felt I should respond anyway.

“I just really don’t care about clothes, fashion, or looking good, I have no reason left on this earth to wear expensive clothing, or to dress nicely.” And then, the verse the Lord has been pointing me to time and time again for the past few months, came to life: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of your hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet Spirits, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

At this moment I realized I had given up on outward beauty, and realized how much it did not satisfy. I realized the preciousness of the Lord’s grace, and how He provides me with beauty because of the Spirit inside of me, not because of the color of my hair, or the clothes I wear, or how much I weigh. Praise be to the Lord, that I no longer have to worry about external beauty.

Please don’t take me the wrong way in all of this. I appreciate being a woman, and dressing like a woman, and wearing make up, on occasion, but I am very weary of allowing this to consume my heart and mind. I think it is safe to say that whenever we, as women of God, feel the Lord may be convicting us of being too consumed in external beauty, we should take the makeup off, and wear an outfit that we wouldn’t mind giving to somebody if we walked by them and they asked for it. If we can walk with the same confidence, because of the Spirit inside of us, which we would if we had on makeup and a “beautiful outfit” then I think we are safe to continue as we are. But, if you put on this outfit and your heart drops every time you walk by a potential “mate” and you think of how you wished you had worn a cuter outfit, then I think the Lord has some reshaping to do. The Spirit is our joy, the Spirit is our life and our light. He will radiate from us, and no matter what we wear, He will always make His presence known through us. I think its safe to say that we can wear beautiful clothing and put on makeup and remind ourselves that these are gifts, that they are wants, and that they are not necessary.


Praise be to God our Father who gives us the Joy to know we can be confident with the Spirit inside of us being our adornment.

Monday, April 11, 2011

So sweet my Savior's Grace to me.



Yes, My Savior, my One True Love of my life, has been so sweet to me, His goodness tastes so sweet and it is all satisfying. As Solomon’s Beloved’s lips tasted as honey to him, so my Savior’s Love, my true Beloved, has tasted to me. Blessed be His Name.


AdVENTURE


There are many wonderful things that I have learned through my relationship to my father, but most significantly I think I have learned the importance of an adventure. One day this past summer my dad and I wanted to hike to this lake which is about 4 miles uphill in between two mountain peaks in Colorado. The idea of hiking 4 miles there and four miles back somewhat terrified me, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to physically handle the hike. We set off on the adventure despite my reluctance, and my loving father encouraged me to push myself. We had a backpack with our picnic food in it, and a fishing pole. Originally he asked to carry the heavy load (the backpack) so I could get a good start while carrying the fishing pole. As we continued the hike, my dad was not proud, instead of walking much faster like I knew he could, he hiked with me and encouraged me along the route. As we got further along the trail, and I started getting a feel for what the hike would be like, I decided to ask him if he would like me to take a turn to carry the backpack. I knew that he would not feel comfortable giving me the heavier thing to carry, but I truly wanted to help him, by carrying the load some of the time. For the next hour or so we went back and forth carrying the backpack and the fishing pole. The higher we got up the mountain the cooler it was getting, and we could tell we were getting closer to the lake. At this point my dad and I had had a great time encouraging each other the whole way to the lake, and then my dad thought because we were getting so close to the lake that we should race to the top. There are very few moments in life that I remember every single detail, but I believe the Lord gave me these moments for me to cherish my relationship with my earthly father, in remembrance of my Heavenly Father. As we laughed and huffed and puffed all the way to the lake we both rejoiced together and congratulated each other that we had made it all the way up! For the next 3 hours while we were next to the lake we enjoyed each other’s company but didn’t say hardly in words to each other. He fished and I walked around and took pictures and sat in my hammock.

As I was sitting on the hammock, I thought of how we had just hiked all the way up the mountain to come to the lake, and how we encouraged each other all the way up and enjoyed each other’s presence, and then how it didn’t matter that we weren’t saying anything to each other for the next 3 hours, all that mattered was that we were together. After a few hours at the lake my dad realized an afternoon storm was coming in and in his protection of me, he asked that we start to head down the mountain. As we headed down the mountain I came to realize that normally the trip back is not as enjoyable as the trip down, because you don’t have something to look forward to. Boy was I wrong, my dad made it somewhat of a game! We tried to find the shortest way down the mountain, through the little byways that people had made off of the trail! I started to get ahead of my dad, and quickly realized that if something happened to him I would not know if I wasn’t next to him. The motherly instinct in me, reminded my body to slow down and hike with him, just in case something happened. After an hour or so down the mountain, we had successfully hiked 8 miles to a beautiful, serene lake in the magnificent mountains of Colorado.



There are many reasons why this story is prevalent for my life today, and so promising to remember. First of all in my relationship with my Heavenly Father; second of all in my future relationship with my husband. I have always loved adventure, and have always enjoyed the great outdoors, not only because of the fresh air and the beauty of the earth, but because of the things I learn by being in relationship with the Lord, and seeing how He works in the things around me. I desire to go on an adventure with the Lord, with Jesus, to the end of the world, just Jesus and I. I desire to walk into the desert and completely rely on my Savior to teach me how to survive, and to nourish me with Spiritual milk. I desire to feel the dryness of the desert and the hopelessness of the barren land, then for the Lord to take me to a spring that is more glorious then anything I have ever seen. O God you are my God; earnestly I seek you my soul THIRSTS for you, my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1). I want to thirst for my God, for the living God, for the God that gives us living water so our well never runs dry. I want to suffer for the sake of Christ, to experience a trial, and to still be able to say through it all, "our God reigns." I want to run and not grow weary. I want to sour on wings like eagles, and be so totally consumed with my Father, and the Kingdom of Heaven, that i forget that I am still on earth. I want to be reminded of my humanness and humbled by the fact that i can only be the Lord's vessel, because of the Spirit inside of me. I want to be baptized to proclaim to the world that God is God, and that He now has my life, every single aspect of it, including all of my relationships. And the best part of all of these desires is that they are His desires, and through all of this, I can fully understand Psalm 37:4, because I have completely found delight in the Lord, and therefore He will give me the desires of [His] heart. Praise be to Him.

And in the future I hope to be given the gift of an adventure with my husband. I hope to share with him the mountains and the valleys, to be encouraged by him to do something I never thought I could do. I hope to carry the burden for him sometimes, and to carry it with joy. I pray that I look for the opportunity to serve him and to love him and to make him laugh (despite my corny jokes that nobody normally laughs at). I pray the Lord gives us very many opportunities to be in the company of each other but to know that words are not necessary, and that we are simply enjoying each other's presence. I pray that I will be reminded to walk with my husband to not leave him behind or to not end up behind him. I pray we walk towards the Lord daily holding hands. And i pray when one of us falls that we will pick each other up, rest, and then continue, no matter how hard it is. My identity has not been found in my earthly father, and my identity will not be found in my future husband. My identity is only in Christ, and because of this identity in Christ, I have lost all earthly ties, I have learned that what is mine is HIs, and He is allowed to use His things and people however He wants. I have nothing to own in this world anymore, and I praise God for what OVERWHELMING joy this brings to my heart!

On another note....
The Lord has been overwhelmingly good to me in the past few weeks, and has taught me to love Him like I have never loved Him before. Thursday, April 7, 2011 I was in the car on my way to go rock climbing, and Heaven came down. The Lord gave me a visual image of my soul just my soul, not hindered by any flesh, and then the Spirit inside of my soul, and He was connected to the Lord, and the Lord was moving my soul as He pleased. The connection made to the Father is something that once you have tasted it you never want to turn away from it, in fact all you want to do is to experience it all day every day. Although we have no idea what Heaven will be like, I know that we will have this unadulterated connection to the Father all the time. This is what I long for, these moments of purity with the Spirit and the Father and Christ Himself, all as one, bringing praise to His Holy Name! I long for these moments, indeed thirst for these moments, and I am so appreciative that He has been continuously giving me these moments for months now. All I had to do was surrender every part of me, beginning and end, and then He ran with my heart, soul, and mind, and every day He is overcoming my flesh and using the Spirit within me, to bring many Sons to glory. Praise His Holy Name! To Him be all the glory! And so with expectation, we await His arrival, knowing that there will be tough times and suffering along the way. We desire only to walk on this straight path, and not become wayward.

I am expectant of this summer, for I know I am walking to Jordan alone. I believe this summer will be a MASSIVE relationship binder with the Lord. I know that He will protect me, and send legions of angels to watch over me. I also know how many people think I am crazy for wanting to go, but I have to admit, I don’t think it is as much me wanting to go as it is the Lord commanding me to go. As we know, when the Lord COMMANDS, there is no questioning His command. Only do as He has commanded us to do. Yes indeed, I have one crazy journey ahead of me, I do not doubt that, but I am amazingly blessed to be able to experience this crazy journey with my loving Savior, knowing that his Grace is all sufficient and worthy of all glory and Honor and Praise.

Yes, My Savior, my One True Love of my life, has been so sweet to me, His goodness tastes so sweet and it is all satisfying. As Solomon’s Beloved’s lips tasted as honey to him, so my Savior’s Love, my true Beloved, has tasted to me. Blessed be His Name.