open our eyes.

Standard

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.

Standard

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.

Standard

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

Standard

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 ♪♫♪

Prayer Didn’t Work

Standard

Prayer didn’t work.
I would pray before I slept. And would do so again the next night.
Nada. Not a thing.
What the heck God?
Why?
Mayyybeee because this is what I was praying for…

God, can I please just be a part of their friend group? I just don’t feel like I have a close friend.

Please don’t let her come near me today. My patience is just not good and I can not handle it.

God, I just pray that you’ll lead me to a relationship because I really just wish I was in one because it seems like everyone else is.

lol @ me. But I’ll bet you’ve done something similar? After awhile I would think okay… guess God doesn’t love me to let me have these things. My question of God raised because wasn’t he able to do all things? You know, ask and it will be given to you? I was left with the thought that prayer didn’t work.

9 times out of 10 I did not “get my wish granted.” I treated my God that made all things as if He was a genie in a bottle… He blessed me with my family, my bed, food, an education to just name the big blessings. Yet how simple is it to forget that and still hope for bigger and better things?

It took me a heck of a long time to realize that prayer won’t work when I pray to God to just give me what I want, yet I choose to keep my own character and actions the same while not being open to His plans.

I’ve had to learn to let myself down, my pride, my wishes and my biggest fantasies. I’ve had to understand that when I pray for something, I have to do my part to fulfill it.

Like, I can not ask God to put me in a friend group without making myself apart of it. It’s uncomfortable to try and make friends when you’re the type who feels super awkward and is okay with sitting in your desk ignoring all else and having your nose stuck in a book. But, when my face is stuck in a book and not in pursuing friendships, how is God just going to give me a friend out of the blue without me also making an effort?

When I asked for that person not to come near me, chances are they probably will, but through that will be a growing opportunity to learn that I gotta buckle up, and learn to love her just as God loves me even though I mess up. It’s a chance for me to smile and be an example as one of God’s children.

Asking for a relationship may also set me up for failed relationships to help me grow into a a better wife for “that someday.” It may lead me to see what I really need in a relationship. Or it may lead me to patience and learning how to wait knowing that God has the best plans for me.

I’ve learned to let God into my heart little by little gradually making my heart look like swiss cheese with a bunch of holes in myself, allowing those holes to be filled with faith.

God will answer prayers, just some may require a little more of ourselves to help fulfill it! And prayer is hard. It’s hard too waiting for prayers to be answered. But with time, He will help your faith grow. And when my faith grew, I was able to pray like this instead of what I used to pray:

God, I pray that you will help me to become not so shy and lead me to acquaintances that will benefit my faith with you or to even help me show someone your faithfulness.

God, help me with my patience today and help my bite my tongue, and to think better thoughts. I pray that I love her the way that you love her. Help me set a good example for others to follow.

God, of course, like many girls, I’d love to have “that guy.” But God, help me rest in your will and your plan for me.

Asking in this way opens yourself up to receive God. Not for you to pray just so your wish gets set on the “waiting list.” It’s an effort that’s taken sometime to see. But after praying this way, I’ve noticed those changes. Changes that may not have resulted in me getting my wishes and wants. But changes in my faith that help me be a better follower of God, an example, and a better understanding of His ways and plans.

The Test

Standard

Now’s the time for tests, exams, & finals. I’m sure you’ve been studying your little heart out learning and memorizing the material so you ace that test because you are one heck of a smart cookie! Or… you’re one of those that looks the material over and “knows it enough” to do an okay job. (I’m totally the second one…whoops) But either way I’ll bet most of the time your going to study. You’re gonna set aside the time to prepare. And you’re gonna over and over the material right before your test to lock in those words, phrases, and helpful tidbits you have written in your notes. But what if every day you prepared for your test? You’d for sure ace that thing.

So what if you prepared everyday for a test with your faith? You would be able to build your faith up with truth and God’s word to hold you rooted to Him and to have all the truths that you’ve learned and kept in your back pocket (or even written on your hand, notes in your phone/ lock screen, and other little easy cheats to keep the info handy!)  so you’d be able to keep the truth with you at any moment when tests come at you in life.

Crazy things can come up. Things that can discourage our faith in our God. Such things as a loved one passing away, getting a bad grade, changing plans, feeling useless & seeing/hearing upsetting things that make you question, really God?! Why??
But guys, that is where our faith comes into play!

“We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 MSG

So I added some emphasis…EMPHASIS (haha had to add a little Drake & Josh reference there guys.) but look before the but and what comes after the BUT! Our troubles may surround us and make us feel like we are drowning in them, BUT, we won’t lose our hope. We may be lost not knowing what path to take, BUT, God knows what to do. Our spirit has had fearful times, BUT, God hasn’t ever left you! You have been thrown down, BUT, with God, you haven’t been able to break.
How crazy is that?!  So much truth to that verse and it’s things like these we need to hold on to so when the big test or trial comes, so we are prepared to fight those struggles with our faith in God and be able to pass that test with confidence!

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:3-4 NLT

Let’s take The Tortoise and The Hare as an example, a basic story that we all know. But let’s start comparing this story to Gods word and changing things a bit! You could be the Hare with the big head thinking you’ve got it all figured out and suuuuper duper confident in yourself, but not confident in your faith with God. Thinking that only you yourself can accomplish a test (or race) all on your own. Or, you can believe that with God, all things are possible (Luke 1:37) and you could be like the tortoise & defeat those discouraging things that Satan brings to us to make our faith a difficult journey. We have to have the understanding that it may take some time to get out of a test trial, just like how the tortoise had to take his time & also understand that with God on your side cheering you along the sidelines helps push you through those trials & even win, just like the tortoise did.

“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9 NLT

Don’t quit learning about God. That’s our only way of understanding is getting into the word he has given us to help build us against our temptations, and many struggles along the way. An easy way I get into the word is from the First 5 app from Proverbs 31. They go through book by book of the Bible. You read a chapter and have a little devotional. It’s about giving your first 5 minutes to God when you wake up to start your day on the right foot.

So good luck! Be that tortoise and allow God to be your cheerleader on the sidelines reminding you of all the good that you mean to Him. Stick it out & stick those verses in your heart and your mind now so when the tough stuff comes, you’ll be able to tackle all tests that become thrown at you with the truth of God.

The Ignored Text

Standard

How frustrated are you when you text a friend, boyfriend, even your mom AND THEY DON’T ANSWER?! (Especially your mom cuz you know what she’d say if you had ignored her text right?) Or how upset do you become when your friend hangs out with their other friends and don’t invite you? Or when they cancel on you and make other plans?

I’ll bet when these things happen you feel like you’re on the back burner of everyone’s priority. I know.

But I know I’ve done the same to friends…even God.

So how do we think OUR GOD feels when we don’t spend time with Him? When we IGNORE Him to do things that He may not even approve of? Or when we could be spending time praying, worshiping, or reading His good word, but we decide to refresh our Instagram feed 20 times instead of just keep turning the pages? (Been there.)

I know for a fact that I have not given Him the time He needs. I set him aside because “He isn’t good enough, or worth my time.” So instead I hop onto Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and see what’s going on there. I spend my time watching everything possible on Netflix too. But God is a jealous God guys. He wants us to want His unfailing love. “You must never bow or worship it in any way; for I, the Lord your God, am very possessive. I will not share your affection with any other god!” Exodus 20:5 TLB So if I can ask, what is the “it” you worship or idolize?

Whatever fills your time up the most can become your “it idol”. Such as social media (Try turning off the notifications so it’s not as tempting!), Netflix, work, gossip, news, oh, I could go on forever!

So we need to make sure that we are still offering our time to God. And know that He can be jealous too.

But even though God can be jealous…through all of that when He doesn’t receive our time, He still loves us so much.

God loves you so much people! “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans ‭8:38-39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Go back…reread that.

Okay.
Sooooo…..

HOW GOOD IS GOD?!
Even when we don’t give Him the time He really deserves, he still loves us just as much.
That’s so hard for me to understand from how upset I know I can become when I’ve been ignored…but yet my God’s love remains the same towards me & you.

How quick are we to get upset at our friends, boyfriends, family, etc.? I’d easily say our first thought is not that we still love them because our anger can get out of control. BUT! Don’t you see that God doesn’t even do that. NOTHING. NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM GODS WONDERFUL LOVE.

So, don’t be one of Gods “ignored texts” answer Him, I promise He’s so excited to hear from you and for you to welcome His presence. Whether it be from you signing praises to Him, a prayer or even opening up His word to grasp how good He is.