Never thought we could relate to a pumpkin did ya?

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So, this past weekend, my fiancé Dacota & I spent the afternoon carving pumpkins….with Christmas music & a nice, toasty fireplace on the TV! (thank you Netflix!!!)

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While we were carving, I began to ponder about the whole process it takes, you know, cut the top off, take the gunk out of the inside, decide what it is you may want to carve into the pumpkin, actually carving it, & then putting that candle inside to make it shine in the night!

If you think about it, we are kinda a pumpkin with Christ & he is the carver & creator of our lives if we allow it to be. & if he’s in charge, I know I’m gonna be carved into quite the spectacular pumpkin.

Here we all are, all pumpkins, all full of the “gunky insides” containing plenty of seeds & stringy pumpkin stuff just living our lives. & those gunky insides are probably your struggles in yourself whether that be bitterness, impurity, the things you idolize, selfishness, bad language, etc.

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My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins-and not only our sins, but the sins of the world. 1 John 2:1-2 NLT

 

Praise God that He can throw sin all away! He’ll put all that gunk away, & we are way to blessed to pumpkin2have had Jesus Christ bear it all for sinners like us. It’s through redemption we are able to become new in Him.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 ESV

Once we have Him in our lives, the more and more God is able to carve into us His word, His actions, & our confidence we have in Him & through this we become less of ourselves, while gaining Christ, & loving others more the way Christ loves us all. So during the “carving stage” we see ourselves striving to gain the deeper relationship with God & we are able to find the faith in Him while also finding His will for our lives as we allow Him to shape us to be what He planned for us in the beginning.

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& when we are able to really come to know Christ &  become confident in His word that is living…

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV

then, we are ready to shine & share that light that Jesus has put in us.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, & the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 3:7 ESV

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Faith

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“Well just have faith, it’ll work out.”

Yeah, you’re not wrong, but when your head and heart aren’t already believing that statement, it’s shrugged off & you think to yourself, “yeah right, whatever, been told that before and look what happened.”

We’ve been fed with the thought of faith without knowing fully what to put our faith in.

Is your faith in your friends?
In your family?
In your choices?
In your work?
Or in yourself?

I think sometimes too often we are told that having faith will make everything better. And don’t get me wrong, not that it won’t, but we have to have faith with God, Jesus in our hearts, & not just a belief.

The many struggles we face can knock us to the ground.
Not knowing the future or how our plans will turn out is scary to think about what is unknown.
Bad grades.
Constant trial and error.
Even just disappointment.

Whatever it may be that we are facing, our God is always providing us a flashlight through trusting Him through our faith.
This flashlight He holds is forever guiding us along the path He’s chosen for you and I.

Although this flashlight doesn’t always shine to point A to point B, God will always give us what we need while we are in the darkness on our way to discover the plan He puts in our path.

When we allow our faith to overcome our fears & put the faith in our Lord God, we are then able to gain a hold of God and allow Him to guide us step by unknowing step to get to point B.

In the old testament in Exodus, the Israelite’s were guided by God when they left Egypt to the promise land.
& guess how they were guided?! During the day, they were guided by a pillar of cloud, & during the night, they were guided by a pillar of fire to light the way.

& these pillars were never removed from in front of the people. ( Exodus 13:21-22)

Also, another awesome little tidbit is that while God was guiding the Israelite’s, of course they became hungry and on the search for food. God had heard their cries. & He left them plenty of quail in the evening for meat to eat. When they woke in the morning & the dew evaporated, a substance they called manna had been placed on the ground which was bread for them to eat. God is such a provider! (Exodus 13:3-16)
God didn’t leave them then, and now, we are beyond lucky to always be able to have a pillar of a guidance in us!

Because when Jesus came & died for us, he gave us the Holy Spirit so we could have the light always once he rose again. So when times come and you feel like you’re alone in your darkness, know that your pillar of light is your faith inside your heart. (John 8:12)

God won’t guide you wrong. He hears your cries.

So remember even through the darkness, God is the light that shows our path day or night. & that’s what our faith is in. It’s in God alone.

“In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.”

“For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 ESV

 

lights of patience

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I just finished up at work, ready to head home to make banana bread and do nothing after a busy workday.

I was at the stoplight waiting for a green light when the car in front of me had its signal to turn right. Well of course I’m talking to myself in my car, “Uh, you can turn right on red. LETS GOOOOOO! It’s okay, I don’t think there’s a car coming. Go ahead and just turn right please!”

So I wait for the light to turn green to go anywhere past the white line.
As we approach the next light, of course just my luck it turns yellow in the perfect time to allow the car that didn’t turn right on red to pass through and cause me to wait. AGAIN.

So of course ya girl over here being dramatic. Goodness.

And that’s when God spoke to me.

Oh? Where was I rushing to? To make banana bread & just relax.
Oh? Well I didn’t honk my horn at them. (Besides the point.)
Oh? Dang, my patience…yikes.

God stopped me in my tracks (literally) pointed out to me like Lauren, cool it! Why are we always in a hurry???

Why am I stressing over a red light that’s not going to stay red? It’ll only be red for a minute. And will only take me a minute longer to get home.

This just came to me that I have to trust his timing.
His ways are higher than my ways.
It’s in the times of hurry that you miss out on the little things.
It’s in the times of waiting that you grow & find peace with what you have.

We have got to fulfill our hearts and our minds with God’s truth because without it, we’ll be satisfied with nothing.

I’ll keep searching for the bigger and better, and I know deep down that really isn’t going to satisfy. And if I’m there in that mindset, I’ll be stuck in a little red light of my own going absolutely nowhere in life. And this is what we think because this is the way the world makes us think.

So sometimes our lights are meant to be red. So they can shut OURSELVES down, & point us back to God.

I can spend that moment in Him growing and learning and pointing back to where my mindset needs to be.

And if it’s not? If you’re not in God?

God’s gonna give you another yellow light and make you slow back down and enter the red light all over again to teach you. (James 1:2-4)

So what ever that red light is to you, know that it is going to turn green. It will, but if you’re not in God, it will turn back to yellow and back to red to show you to rely on Him and to possibly change your ways.

And this goes with everything.

I’ll never get away from what I want to get away from if I keep introducing it into my life.
God’s going to allow it to speak to me.
To wreck me, to break me down at the red light so I can fix myself in Him & His promises so that way when the light turns green, my headlights shine His light and I’ll have a gas tank full of his truth & word to carry me along the way.

open our eyes.

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My heart hurts right now. Also, I’ve got some snotty tissues.
I just finished 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. Having read the book 5 years ago, to now seeing it be played on the screen seriously brings it to life. (And if you know me, usually movies let me down so much from the book, but not this.)
This series is about a girl named Hannah who gives 13 reasons as to why she committed suicide. With each of these reasons being about a specific person. The tapes are passed along to each person so they understand what went on through Hannah’s perspective.

Suicide happens. And I think it’s easy to not understand it. We also don’t want to understand or know why. And I think if we are being honest with ourselves, sometimes we want to forget because that’s easier.

We want to forget problems. But don’t we all have problems? Don’t we all have issues? Don’t we all say things that later on we wish we didn’t. These things happen.
And don’t we miss out on the opportunities to even compliment, or just send a smile towards someones way to make them feel important and loved?

I’ll never know what really you’re dealing with, what you see from your eyes, or the memories your head holds. And that’s okay, but I also need to make sure you’re okay. Be there. At least no matter what be there instead of turning away.

We all have got to love eachother, care for one another, and build eachother up. Not only optimistically, but in Christ. (Ephesians 4:29 & 1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Christ is our lifeline.

And though this show doesn’t necessarily have appropriate content, it’s real content. These things happen. And I think it’s great to open our eyes to see what we are/can be missing when we just choose to ignore others because we have our own problems, our own things to do with “no time to fill” with anyone else’s.

It’s time that we stop wearing our shades to avoid eye contact. Let’s open our eyes. It’s easy to put on a smile and say we are fine, but are we? Are they?

Let’s love one another because Christ loved us first. (1 John 4:13) Love everyone as we love ourselves. (Leviticus 19:18, 1 John 4:11, & Mark 12:31)

No it’s not easy, and I’m not saying that life doesn’t get us down but if we love one another, Christ then lives in us and is through His love we are made complete, not through someone else. (1 John 4:12)

So that’s what our heart also has to find. Find Christ, and love all. And through that, this is an easy step to let your light shine to others. (Matthew 5:14-16)

So open your eyes to others, your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and build them up.

Content.

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If you asked me, “Lauren, are you content with your life?”

Ha. Welllll, that would lead me to taking a step back thinking of all the things and telling you a lie. I’d probably reply to you with, “Oh, yeah things are going well. How about you?” And deep down I’d walk away from that conversation realizing that no, things aren’t all fine.

And I think that goes for all of us.

I’m not sure why nothing can please us.

Even the weather has been 70 degrees, back to 40 degrees, then once its about to 80 degrees we complain that it’s hot. (Welcome to the midwest.)

We aren’t happy about a lot and when we aren’t happy, we sure as heck aren’t content.

Whether that be our friendships, a work, searching for someone to accept you, not being satisfied with our order from Chick-fil-A (okay, don’t see how that could happen, but example okay?) or even your family. The list could go on forever.

No matter how good life gets, we won’t be satisfied when our hearts and minds are in the world, this Earth, or in materialistic things.

And that’s why we have to set our hearts and minds on Christ.

When we are in our flesh, thinking about worldly things such as how we dress for the day, how people see us, what vehicle we drive, etc, we are going to never be pleased.

“5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.” Romans 8: 5-7 NLT

So, yeah sure, sounds simple right? Fix my eyes on Christ and all will be peachy? Okay. Tbh, they probably still won’t be. WE ARE HUMAN living in the world. That’s why we have to choose to not let our human nature overrule, and instead let our spirit rule over that.

And with Christ, He can give us strength to let our Spirit rule instead of our own flesh.

I was reading Philippians 4 earlier this week and the words stood out to me as to why and how Christ strengthens us. Because I think we all get that Christ strengthens us.

“11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

In whatever situation Paul has learned to be content. He knows how to be brought down, and brought up. He’s learned how to face hunger, and to still be humble when he’s had plenty. …ready for the cool part? Paul is able to be content because he can face all of these things because of Christ who gives him the strength. The strength to be content.

I hope that we can all learn how to set ourselves in the Spirit, to set our hearts, our minds on Him. Set ourselves on Him so he will strengthen us, so we can also learn, just like Paul how to be content in all things whether we have less, just enough, or plenty.

Help me. I’m lost.

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I could very well just sit here and leave this title and ask for suggestions, prayers, and guidance because I am lost and I need help. It’s in these times I find it so hard to not do anything and let God provide the way for me.
I want to take control of the reigns of life. I want there to be a direction guide for what to do next. Annnndd, I want everything to work out how I want it to.

…buuuut , is that ever how anything happens?

NOPE.

And sometimes I think that can be super discouraging at first, but I know from the past you can’t always see your next step, but when you’re past all that, you’re able to see past the fog that held you down. You are able to see that through all the stops you had along the way, they brought you here today.
You could say that in those times I was lost in my faith, but now looking back, it’s through those times that my faith was building. Looking back and SEEING what God has provided me with makes me wonder why I question anything at all that happens…but hey I’m still human, and my doubt will always creep in unfortunately. But y’all, I have to reassure myself with scripture.

I can rest in knowing that even though I am lost in this season of my life, I know God’s brought me through stuff in the past. He’s brought me though things I never even thought to worry about. So why even drown myself in my fears, worry, and thoughts? I constantly have to remind myself that what I know and what I think is not what God knows or is what God sees for my life. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

It’s super easy for me to turn to my parents, family, and friends and ask what I should do. And not that they don’t give great advice, but they can’t see my future. But GOD CAN SEE THE FUTURE. He’s an all-knowing God. (Psalm 139)

We have to just do what we feel God has placed on our hearts in the hard times and trials. And no, you don’t always know where that can lead you. Faith becomes even a bigger stepping stone in these times. Prayer can transform your mind and heart to the peace God gives also. Although, prayer to me is something that hasn’t always come easy to me. But I’m learning and growing in that in my faith, and I hope you can too. For when you pray, God bends down to hear you. (Psalm 116:2)  It’s just a place where you’re able to humble yourself to your God and ask for his guidance and for Him to show you the ways He intends for you to go. Sometimes He shows you or speaks to you and sometimes that doesn’t happen. But God is still with you. Don’t ever forget that. (Isaiah 41:10) Just in your time of wondering where your compass is pointing in the midst of the fog, learn to be still and wait for God to point you and to guide you out of whatever path you’re in. (Psalm 37:7 ; Psalm 27:14)

You Are

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The mirror showed a different reflection today of yourself. Your eyes aren’t twinkling, and your smile isn’t smiley enough. As you search for what’s missing, you find that your mind just keeps running. Running the race with no finish line. It’s more like a scavenger hunt of looking for the items that run down the check list of whys.

Why did this happen to me?
Why did she get more likes and not me?
Why does no one comment on my picture?
How come they invited her and not me?
How come I don’t feel loved?
Why aren’t I in a relationship?
How come I don’t have a BFF4L?

Running through this check list can kill you emotionally & spiritually as you search for the reasons why. And through time, you don’t find your whys. You just decide that it is what it is and that’s what you settle on. Feeling left out, and not good enough, that’s what you settle for. Telling yourself that this is who you are and accepting that this is how it will always be.

Satan is feeding you lies girl.

You’re not settling on what YOU believe, you’re settling on what SATAN wants you to believe.

He’s transforming that mirror into someone he wants you to see. He’s transforming their words into things that only hurt your relationship with God. And more importantly he’s transforming your beliefs of yourself to tell you you’re not enough, you aren’t beautiful, and you aren’t worthy.

But girl, you are so worthy of love, love from others, and love from your God. And we love, because God loved us first. (1 John 4:19)  You are enough. And your belief in Him is important so you can stand firm against the devil with arms wide open asking for God’s help through your trial. (1 Peter 5:8) You can’t always defeat the battles or not let them get to you unless you stand firm in your faith against the lies that tell you you’re not enough, you’re not beautiful, and you aren’t worthy.

1 John 3:8 says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. He doesn’t believe in what the devil believes. So, believe you are loved. Believe you’re worthy. And believe you are beautiful.  Because, “You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words.” (Song of Songs 4:1)

So look in the mirror again, and rest in knowing that your Creator made you perfect, worthy, loved, good enough & beautiful and He sees that you are all of that through His eyes.

And if that still isn’t enough, remember that God sent His Son to die for you because He LOVES you and WANTS you to be one of His children to be with Him one day in glorious Heaven.

So with this being said, I’d love to share this little tune with you that adds some more truth that tells you that you are beautiful, & you are His.
Mercy Me-Beautiful ♪♫♪