Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Slingshots and Other Such Nonsense

Not having a Dad messes you up more than you know. For me, the reality of everything never really set in until this year. I was hurt, but now the definition of "pain" has taken on a whole new meaning. It's no longer just the aching sense of abandonment felt within, but a controlling impetus that threatens to effect nearly every area of my life. Christians are so great at saying "I'll pray for you" or "give it to God." But many of them don't know how hard it is to hear those words. Because many of them really don't understand the pain.

My way of dealing with things is shoving them on the back-burner until I have the time and energy to deal with it. In my own little sphere, I figure that I can take charge of the situation on my own time, when I feel comfortable and ready. Unfortunately, that's not always what happens. I end up pushing it away so much that it comes back with vengeance. The mental picture I have in my head is one of a sling shot - the further you pull it back, the more force it will use when propelling a whole new set of life circumstances headed straight at the target. The target being, quite often, emotions and feelings that I thought I could control.

I suppose my new challenge for myself is dealing with the blows as they come, instead of letting them all build up inside of me. Instead of carrying the weight of a million different things, as Pilgrim did in Pilgrim's progress, I should be laying them down at the foot of the cross each time... So that I'm only carrying 5 pounds instead of the 500 ton load I chose to ignore. Christ is open and ready to receive my hurt . . . I just have to trust Him.

To all you young ladies out there who can't trust. . . I understand. I know what it's like to have virtually every man in your life - Dad, friends, mentors. . . walk out on you, time and time again. Know that it's OK to have a breakdown every once in a while . . . and that God will put your heart back together, time and time again. He is faithful, even when fathers are not. He is faithful, even when best friends are not. He will never change, like so many people in life do.

He is steadfast . . . While so many people are not. Give your heart and trust to Him - and know that He will bring people into your life someday who will care more about you than they do themselves. I see the Lord doing that in my own life, and I trust Him completely to continue the work He has started.

Pardon my rant. I suppose I've been a bit non-sensical at times, but hey, this is my blog, and I reserve the right to not make any sense. ;) I guess the point I'm trying to make is: Go have a breakdown. It's good for you. And then begin laying your burden down at the cross every time something happens, or you feel down. Every single time. Even if that means you're at the foot of the cross on an hourly basis. Don't let the burdens pile up. Christ is the definition of peace and rest.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unconventionality? Check.

"So, which religion are you?" They looked at me.

Uh oh.

Not this question. No, please, not this question.

Every non-believer I've ever met has this among other reasons for rejecting my belief when I say "I'm a Christian":

"I'm just not a religious person. I don't feel like I need to follow all your 'rules'".

Then, they typically make some negative allusion to home-school skirts and 18-passenger vans (of which I have neither, which makes the remark all the more humorous). I often giggle in response - which is just awful - never laugh at an agnostic, that probably isn't the best way to convert them - but I can't help it. There are so many cliche stereotypes that Christians must forgo. It's as if we're expected to sit there and submit to the conventional image.

I was once at a friends house, who didn't know the Lord. A few of our other friends were there, and they started talking about their New Age ideas of spirituality.

It was then that they turned to me, who had been sitting quiet at the opposite end of the table (quite intentionally). I knew the answer to their question. And, if I had done what I have done a million times before, I would've answered "Christian. I'm a Christian." But I knew that wouldn't go over well. I wanted to influence these people, not turn them away.

"Well? Are you religious?"


....There was a silence.

"Seriously? You don't believe in God? The Universe? Anything?"

"Oh, yeah, I believe in God. And Jesus. But I'm not religious."

This completely confused them. "Jesus" and "Religion" were like ... inseparable! Two peas in a pod, siamese twins, a snake with two heads!

"You believe in Jesus?"


"Like... That he's God?"


....another silence. They knew something was fishy, here.


Bingo. I now had a chance to explain my 5 reasons for believing why Christ is in fact who he said he was, without even referring to scripture. So far: Hadn't even mentioned the word "Christian."
After I was done explaining, my friends were obviously intrigued. They liked this idea. Love Jesus, and don't be religious.

What a thought!

"That's kinda cool. And different" one of my friends said.

"Yep." I smiled. :) In reality, I'm just another Christian. But I'm a Christian without the conventional image of "judgemental religious pew-sitter."

Unfortunately, right when I thought I got off the hook, another one of my friends connected the dots.

"Doesn't that make you a ... LIKE... a Christian?"

But, by this time, I could say "yes" without turning them off to my reasons for why I was a Christian - I had already given my reasons. I had made my case for Christ. I had told them why I believed in the historical and scientific evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was divine.

"I guess you could call me that, if you wanted."

The conversation went on. And my friends are now curious about what it is I truly believe. Still to this day, those same people are asking. And sometimes, that's all it takes for Christ to draw another one of His children to Himself.

Scripture tells us to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. This completely pertains to the way we evangelize. Know the enemy - and know how to defeat him. Know how to stand up against the Devil's stereotypes of Christians. Street corner evangelism is great. Passing out tracks is great. But I've found that being real, and being intriguing, is the most effective.

Just a thought for you to munch on today. :)

My love to all of you . . .

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Washington Project

Hey everyone!

Today's post is a little bit different. I'm here to promote a different blog! :) I've started up a grassroots movement called "The Washington Project". It's essentially devoted to removing the influence of pop-culture in the lives of 21st century teen leaders. Now I know, it's impossible to remove the influence completely. I mean, we live in the midst of it. But at the very least, we should be able to sort through it and throw out the junk.

I see so many lovely young Christian ladies who are led astray by the lustful things they see on Hollywood's big screen, or the latest gossip in celebrity magazines. While it's sometimes unavoidable to be exposed to the sin of this world, it's important that we have a lens to view it all through.

I've opened up several internship positions for The Washington Project, and already have several competent young writers and marketers from all over the WORLD working with us. If you're interested, just go to "Contact" on the site, and shoot us a note. We'd be happy to have you on staff (might I add - it's a fantastic resume builder).

Together we can actually, truly do something to encourage teens like ourselves to change their mindsets. I hope you join me and get involved!

Make sure to check it out/follow it! Go here: http://www.the-washington-project.com/

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to Eat an Elephant

Believe it or not, dear readers . . . I am an old person. My college application process begins, well, now. It's hard to believe that this is my last year as a home-schooler. As I fondly look through all the years of utter devotion on the part of my Mother, I remember countless laughs, science experiments gone wrong, "field trips" to Riley's Farms, the time I wrapped up my sister in toilet paper because I was learning about the Egyptian Mummies . . .
It's sad to think it's almost over.

Before me stands a new challenge. College.

I know that many of my sisters-in-Christ have chosen not to take that path, they prefer to nurture their home-skills and learn through online classes through their college years. There are numerous reasons I chose to physically attend a 4-year-university, and one of these days I will devote a post specifically to the purpose of explaining why. But for now: It's my conviction that the Lord is growing and moving me from the mission field of "home", though I will always, always feel a place here to be His servant.

Please be praying for me during this time! It is intimidating and quite frankly, overwhelming. I'm applying to over 20 colleges, and thus find myself buried in essays and SAT prep. But I am so grateful for the opportunity, and am devoted to putting my all into it. While it may seem like an impossible feat, I'll get it done.

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time. ;)

(He doesn't look very happy about that.)

Everything, if we let it, can seem overwhelming. But if we take consistent steps, even if they're just baby steps, we can reach our goals. It's not in the things we choose to do - it's our persistence in doing it. It's running the race.

With that, I put on my running shoes, and will be extremely busy for the next three months. However, I hope to still find plenty of time to find refuge and rest in this blog, in the company of my dear sisters who keep me strong and motivated, and of course in Him who is the source of all strength.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Girls Can Be Mean

I always like reading goofy stories from the satire magazine, "The Onion." They have the wackiest posts! My all time favorite was one about Al Gore sending his son to mars because of global warming. But this one is pretty good, too:

GLENDALE, CA—Expressing a desire to "slow things down and keep it casual," Troy Lanier, 28, said Monday that his friendship with Scott Perotta, 27, is moving way too fast. "[Scott]'s a nice enough guy, but I've only known him for, like, five weeks, and he already acts like we're best friends," said Lanier, a Glendale-area insurance adjuster. "I wish I had stronger feelings for him, but I don't. I just don't know where I want this friendship to go, and I need the space to figure it all out."
Seen as a potentially good match based on their shared love of martial-arts films, Lanier and Perotta were introduced by a mutual friend in early January.

Lanier said he has been reluctant to give Perotta his e-mail address, fearing it will only accelerate the friendship."I just know he'd be e-mailing me every day," Lanier said. "He's always talking about these funny things he sees on the Internet. I've been thinking about setting up a special Yahoo! account and giving him that address with the caveat that I only check it once in a while, but that seems like an awful lot of effort to deal with someone I barely know."

Lanier has also taken exception to Perotta's habit of referring to him by nicknames. "He's always calling me things like 'Laney' or 'Troy-Boy,'" Lanier said. "My old high-school friends and I have nicknames for each other, but that's different. Until we've known each other a while, I'd prefer to be called Troy—or, at worst, Lanier."

Dr. Karen Franks, a Cornell University sociologist, said Lanier's predicament is not unusual. "People make friends at different speeds," Franks said. "The key is to be honest and firm with people who try to take things too fast. Troy and Scott may end up being best friends someday, but until then, they should proceed at a rate comfortable for them both. If they don't, things will burn out, leaving one of them spending months awkwardly trying to get back his Jet Li DVDs."

What's so hilarious about this post is that . . . it's true. Sometimes, we're way too quick to label someone as our "Best Friend." The result is depressing . . . Hurt feelings and burn-out. To quote my Mom, "you really can't know someone, truly, until you've known them for a long time." It's completely true.

A lot of "friends" are quick to reveal their true selves at the first appearance of hardship or change. Wait - but he/she was my best friend! How could they do this to me? ....You probably didn't know them. The problem is that we naturally have high expectations for people. We expect them to stick around, we expect them to have our back. And then . . . They don't??

I've made this mistake so many times! My Mom is so wise, and we had the best conversation just the other day. She told me to consider it seriously before investing emotionally in a friendship, or calling someone my "best friend." Diving in headfirst can lead to a lot of hurt. The fact has always been that girls can be mean . . . It really stinks, especially when you think they were there for you.

Lesson of the day:
Save yourself the pain of let-down expectations. Don't just go around calling friends you're still getting to know your "best friends." Get to know them, first! :)

~Lauren Lee Fischer

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nothing of My Own

Today's post is a little different. There is not so much a desire in my heart to preach to my blog readers but to express my desire to live Christ through my life, on display for a hurting world to see. It is for His glory that I write, so I take this opportunity to simply pray. I hand off the baton to Leslie Ludy to do the teaching . . . her books have so inspired me over the past several years, and I deeply encourage my sisters in Christ to read for themselves and discover the beautiful ministry she and her husband have developed in His name.

I kneel at the foot of your throne feeling completely inadequate to do the things YOU want me to do... I don't have the discipline, I don't have the courage, I want the passion but I can't seem to muster it. I hit roadblock after roadblock but yet it makes me ever more resolute - that You are my Father. You have the discipline, You have the courage, You have the passion. You sustain all things. Where I lack, You gladly fill.
Give me the tools I need to accomplish what it is You would have me do. Dwell in me so that I am continually being molded and shaped by You, so that I am not just Your "creation" in the sense of past-tense, but a work not yet finished. Do with me as you please and I will gladly be formed according to Your will and not my own.
Not in my strength, but yours - take me and make me not a "Lauren" who displays Christ, but Christ displayed through Lauren. Let me live out your power, your resurrection power, in my life. For you have already conquered sin, conquered death, and I have nothing to fear. The battle is won, so why am I still thinking "I'll do better tomorrow God, I promise"? An insult to your name, doubting your very ability to indwell me and overcome -- why? Why do I doubt? I surrender all to you, nothing I have, nothing I am is mine but Yours.
I am freed from the bondage sin has kept me in, you have wiped my slate clean, Satan you can no longer hold guilt over my head or tell me I am not enough. Christ is in me -- a part of me -- my very soul, ingrained in my being, forever residing in my heart. Lord you live in me waiting to shine out, why do I block your light with pride and a lack of faith? Radiate through me... Change me in whatever ways, regardless of how painful, or how much I kick and scream ... My desire is to surrender completely.
Live in me, Lord . . . I want nothing of my own. Amen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Another Enigma

Complex things absolutely fascinate me. Though I stink at math, I've read countless books about the physics of the universe. On a rainy day, you'll most likely find me at the library -- my nose buried in some scientific explanation of the possibilities of parallel universes. I think it's safe to say that about 90% of the stuff I read goes right over my head. Yet, I'm enthralled by it. My imagination becomes completely transfixed, and before you know it, I have a few theories of my own to validate.

I love trying my hand at a good puzzle, figuratively and literally. To me, the most fascinating people are those who are uniquely mysterious - I'm drawn to what I do not understand.

I'm somewhat of enigma. Slightly withdrawn - though you would never know it. And different. I embrace diversity. I like meeting and understanding people who don't hold the same beliefs/hail from the same circumstances.

Dark Christianity (my term for the modern church who's emphasis is on judgement rather than love) does not. Dark Christianity says that anything different must be shut down, for fear that the church body might become "contaminated." Anything different is automatically bad.
Complexity is suddenly scary, instead of fascinating.

Those terms seem to have become nothing more than catchy phrases for their church websites and Sunday worship pamphlets.

I've come across a lot of Dark Christianity in the past two years. Divorce is considered a "contamination", and people run from it like a disease.
They forget that Jesus cleansed the leper. He embraced the hurting.
Christ wasn't scared of the things we're scared of.
He loved.
But so many of His followers don't. The modern church runs from pain - literally shunning the hurting because of fear. If any of you listened to the sermon I posted as a "P.S." on my last post, you'll remember that:
"fear is nothing but the FAITH in SATAN to triumph over Christ in our lives"!
In trying to oust sin through judgement, the modern church is literally opening wide the doors to the Devil, instead of embracing truth - and love.

Lets examine the typical Christian homeschool family:
Mom, Dad, three kids. Dad is in leadership at the church, Mom is a full time stay-at-home Mom. She raises the kids with a love of cooking, pottery, little-league, sign language, long skirts, and babies. Life is happy - the parents love each other - the kids go to Sunday school - everything is cheery. When this otherwise beautiful family is part of Dark Christianity, they'll turn their backs on a family with a single-mom, who can't afford the extra-cirriculars. Or the teenager who doesn't believe you have to wear extra long skirts, to be modest. Or the son who goes to public school.

When will the Church put "Christ" back into Christian?
Do they realize what their judgement is costing?


I have friends who have turned away from Christ because of Christ's "followers." Dark Christianity is slandering the very name of God. Reevaluate yourselves, before you judge. There's a reason for the parable Jesus gave about taking the log out of your own eye before scrutinizing the speck in your neighbors.

Judgement is a sin. Satan is tricky - he tells you to parade your holiness "so that the world will see it and turn to Jesus!" No. Instead of parading ourselves, we must put Christ first, and follow HIS example. We are CHRISTians.

If you do all the exterior "Christian-ly" things, but don't love, you are a fake. Instead of running from what is different, let's learn to embrace it. Lets learn to be fascinated once again with what we can't understand. Lets extend ourselves to the mysteries of a hurting world, instead of recoiling into our perfectly quaffed dining rooms to do our Bible studies in our own little space, where we feel the most comfortable.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

~His Daughter

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Are You Oblivious to the Obvious?

I came across these the other day and thought they were pretty hilarious!

On package of peanuts: "Warning, contains nuts." 

On a chain saw: "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands."
On a household iron: "Never iron clothes while they are on your body.”
On a fireplace log: "Caution, risk of fire." 

On a laser print cartridge: "Do not eat." 

On a baby stroller: "Remove child before folding." 

These things seem pretty obvious to the average Joe Schmo. I’d never think to iron my clothes while they’re on my body, or stop a chain saw with my hands! Yet, some major corporations see fit to put these very distinct, very clear warnings on their products. They make sure that they TELL you what not to do!

Sometimes, I wish God were like that. As New Covenant Christians, we don’t have a set of rules to follow. At least, true Christianity doesn’t. Sure, there are things that are blatently condemned, such as heresy and blasphemy - but those aren’t things a Christian would desire anyways.

I’m talking about every day living.
I’m talking about decisions that plague us about our futures, our relationships, our activities, and our work.

It would be way easier if God would just spell it out. I know I can’t always seem to hear his voice amid the chaos I know to be life. As I look at the silly product warnings above, I can stop laughing because I wish God made things just as obvious in my life as the fact that I shouldn’t eat a laser print cartridge. Why can’t decisions just be . . . crystal clear?

At some point in your life, you’ll be faced with a time where you don’t know which path He wants you to take. His voice might sound muddled, and trust me . . . It will be frustrating. There have been so many times where I’ve just begged God to TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD DO!


And then I realize. He has been telling me. It has been obvious.

I just haven’t been listening.

As my Father, God deserves my special attention. I often come across the blogs of so many lovely young Christian women who focus their attention on "honoring their fathers" and becoming the best homemakers they can. That is a goal I have often wished to pursue, yet, cannot in the physical sense. At least that first part about honoring fathers. :) It's something that pains me . . . I WISH I had that priviledge! Young ladies listen up: If you do have a Dad, don't take it for granted (sorry - rant).

Something I've realized however, is that even though I don't have a Dad, I still have the responsibility to honor my Father. Just as young ladies must listen to and heed their biological father's instruction, so I must do with my heavenly Father. He is that presence in my life! Am I to ignore his voice?

It wasn't an easy thing to realize. Staying "in tune" with God as much as I would stay in tune with an earthly father was a pretty big transition. After all, I couldn't hear my Dad - or see Him. Suddenly, my entire understanding of human communication rendered itself useless. I had to completely reorient myself, so I could not only communicate with -- but honor, and obey a spiritual Father, who had real things to say about every aspect of my life! Once I began to feel the presence of God as tangibly in my life as I did my Mom or my sister who sat next to me at the breakfast table each morning, could I truly understand, even if in a small sense, what it meant to be a "child" of God.

Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Isn't that beautiful?

It is a blessed and joyful path to know what God wishes for your life, and for your decisions. The way can in fact be clear, if you take the time to listen!

1. Meditation.
Take time to talk with God. I know that I so enjoy the time I spend in deep conversation with my Mom - she always has such amazing words of insight! Shouldn't I do the same with my Father? The almighty God of the universe, who "cares to know my name"? Furthermore - who cares about every decision I make?

2. Listen to Your Conscience
Isaiah 31:21 describes the voice of God via our conscience:
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in." There it is - plain and simple! The voice of God will be heard through that still small voice.

3. Write Down Your Prayers
I've done this for a while now... And every time I look back through prayers that I've written in the margins of my Bible, I'm reminded how God answered those prayers. My father has answered so, so, so many of my prayers.

All this to say... Don't be oblivious to the obvious. Take a little more time to realize the voice of God - the most IMPORTANT voice in your life! :)

~His Daughter

P.S. -- Here's a great sermon about learning how to hear God. Take an evening sometime and listen to the whole thing. It is fantastic.

Four Keys to Hearing God's Voice

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Girl

"The WEATHER? You two talked about ... the weather??"
My friend stared at me in disbelief.

"Well ... what else were we supposed to talk about?? We were both uncomfortable. and It was obvious. It was like we wanted to talk about something but didn't know what to talk about."

"But ... the WEATHER, Lo?"

"Yeah. He asked how the weather was and I said it was 'pretty' out."

"Humph. You should've said something like, 'it's raining IN MY HEART, FOO!"

And then we both collapsed laughing.
She was right ... It WAS raining in my heart when I was talking to this person. And small talk definitely wasn't doing anything to help it!

For a long time, I had been at conflict with someone in my life, and every time we started to "resolve" things, I seemed to get hurt again. Every time the sun started coming out, and the clouds started disappearing, an UN-natural disaster would happen and the cycle of precipitation would start all over again. The rain would come with a fresh burst over my already depressed self. It's like I couldn't get out of it ... Couldn't pick myself up and dust myself off. I couldn't ...

get over it, already!

It wasn't that simple. At least, for me.
It's not that I wasn't trying to. I did try to "get over things". But I was doing so in my own strength - I was trying to overcome the hurt by telling myself "Hey, I'm a strong person, I can feel OK if I want to!"
Eh. Not really. I'd collapse again in a day or two.

There's a song that I really like ... and it's been stuck in my head for the past couple days. It's a country song, so all you anti-hick people, you're... losers. :P The lyrics say,

I used to live in a darkened room Had a face of stone And a heart of gloom
Lost my hope, I was so far gone
Cryin all my tears With the curtains drawn

Now everytime i start to feel like that... I roll my heart out like a welcome mat.
Oh watch me go, I'm a happy girl Everybody knows
That the sweetest thing that you'll ever see In the whole wide world Is a happy girl.

I'm writing this post for a friend of mine. She's been through Hell and back these past few days... So, I hope that whatever craziness I write herein, it might be of some help to her. But in all honesty - this is for anyone who just can't see OUT. You feel trapped. Talking about the weather. Talking about absolutely inconsequential things, wondering if anyone will ever care enough to ask the hard questions. I get it, totally. =)

I really encourage you to radically run away from the darkness that tempts you to close up and hide. Realize that there is so much more to life than the drama you're dealing with. Easier said than done, right? ;) Yep. But I finally put my foot down, and I'm so glad I did.

A few days ago I was watching soul surfer with one of my closest friends. There's this SUPER DUPER corny part in it with Carrie Underwood acting as the youth group leader. My friend and I kinda poked fun at her when this part in the movie came up, I admit. But she made a really good point. Go ahead and watch the clip, now:

Pretty corny, right? ;) Told you.
Regardless of the acting, I love her illustration. When we're up close to something, we can't always tell what it is in the big picture. But when we take a step back, WOAH, it suddenly makes sense.

I challenge my readers to apply this to whatever they may be dealing with, today. When I take a step back, I am so relieved. I feel a huge burden lifted from my shoulders, and suddenly, its about the FUTURE, not the past. "My chains are gone, I've been set free." I was able to step out of a painful friendship, and move on with life.

From this realization springs joy everlasting. I can relish in the goodness of Christ, my savior, and the blessed life that I've been given. I can see the pain as a blessing, the tears as medicine, the trials as a welcome test. Everything falls into place.

See the big picture, and become a happy girl. (Unless your a guy. Then you should really consider finding another theme song.)

~His Daughter

Monday, August 8, 2011

Walking the Tightrope

Have you ever felt like you're walking a thin line? Like if you look down, you might tumble to your death? I have. Not in the physical sense where my very life hangs in the balance, but an emotional despair that seems to threaten at every moment to pull me down. If I don't keep looking up -- every minute, every moment -- the prospects of a sudden fall seem to multiply out of control. Just keep looking forward, Lauren . . .

In a way, having to keep this level of focus is kind of annoying, even if it is necessary. I see friends who live their insouciant lives enjoying a sort of loosey-goosey existence that I often envy. You know, it's true when "they" say that life isn't fair. It isn't. Some people have beautifully unruffled vivacity. They can dabble in all sorts of play, while keeping their lives in perfect order.

I am not one of those people.

I have to stay focused at every moment, because life is a constant storm. It's as if I'm walking a tightrope . . . doing all I can to stay balanced. This past week, I had to do just that. Once again, walking on a thin line, every little thing was about to push me off. I kept my eyes up -- remembered Peter, prayed for strength, and got through it.

Peter is one of my heros. He was a sinful, selfish person. He was often so self-consumed, that he missed the big picture.
I like him a lot.
We're very much alike.
We both doubt. We both struggle. We both fall.
But here's something that gives me hope: Peter was Christ's best friend, even though he lived on a constant tightrope -- in a constant state of emotional variance and mistrust. One story in particular, has ministered to me ever so much these past few days . . . So I thought I'd share it. :)

Matthew 14:25-31

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Peter had focus problems. He had to keep his eye on the goal, at all times. His goal was Christ - yet the winds distracted him, and he quickly begin to slip. Whatever your goal is in life, stick with it. When you feel yourself falling, look up. Countless times, I had to do that this week. I know it's not easy! But you will reach a place of faith! You will feel Christ's blessings.

Last week I was at a debate camp (go ahead, point and call me a nerd). Wow, it was hard. Not the debating, but something that had just been weighing me down the whole week. During one of the practice debates, I literally was on the verge of tears, thinking about something that had been on my mind for a while. Let me tell you... the presence of the Lord is so strongly felt, when you keep your eyes up. As I sat there, thinking to myself, "crap! I can't cry in the middle of a debate round!" I remembered Peter. I felt peace, as if the very arms of Christ were lifting me from the waves and setting me on safe ground. At that moment, I never felt quite so loved.

Be encouraged, brothers and sisters. Christ offers to rescue you every time you feel yourself falling. Keep your head up. :)

~His Daughter

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacant Eyes

Somewhere, tonight, there is a man sitting in a prison cell. It is loud, chaotic, and stark. He lays on a cot, gazing up at his ceiling. He feels nothing. His eyes are as vacant as his heart.

He should be scared, and remorseful, but he's long forgotten what those emotions feel like.

So he lays there, and stares, as isolated as the cell he now calls home.

Today my Dad went to prison. He has been sentenced to serve 8 years, and 8 months. If he were to serve his full term, I will be 25 when he is released.

I’m not sure what to think. . .

To be honest, I've been staring at the last sentence for the past 20 minutes, attempting to formulate a thought. Perhaps I should meditate on how God is my true father? Or maybe I should consider how He is in control, even through the most dire of circumstances? Maybe, just maybe I'm too grieved to think at all right now. Maybe best to leave this to prayer.

With prayer, comes clarity. . .

Prison, while a horrible chastening, is an opportunity for my dad to focus on what's important without the distraction of general life. For a man struggling with the concepts of right and wrong, and the responsibilities of manhood, time out is not just a punishment, but an opportunity to refocus. What mercies The Lord provides for even another day of new beginnings and breath.

Lord you hold the very life of every man in the palm of your hand. You alone, are sovereign over every circumstance, and every action. I trust you completely, knowing that nothing happens without your allowance. While this is hard . . . hard hard hard . . . your will be done, Father! I surrender my heartbreak, and my dad to you.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Horrors of Google

Friends can do some pretty awful things to you.

This morning, as I was pondering just how hurtful those awful things can be, I asked a question of myself. It is usually a pretty normal thing for me to get lost in deep questions like this while doing nothing of importance whatsoever. In this case, I was sitting quite complacent at my kitchen counter eating a bundt cake.
It was very yummy.

The question I asked was this:

. . . . What is a friend, anyways? What truly constitutes friendship?

I then had one of my most original ideas ever.


Little did I know, but . . .
My bundt cake was soon to be spoiled.

The page was loading.
The wheel of death was spinning.
(My computer has been really slow lately.)
And then it appeared.
The google search results were in.

At the very top of the page I saw:

Friend: To add someone to a list of contacts associated with a social networking website.

..... No joke. The first thing that popped up on my google homescreen.
Out of 1,470,000,000 results, that is what appeared to be the most popular definition.
In case you don't believe me, here's a screenshot.

If that's not the craziest thing you've ever seen in your life, then my hair ain't blonde and the sky ain't blue.
A friend: Merely another number on your "facebook" contacts list.
Is that really how our modern world sees friendship?

As shocking as this definition might seem to us Christians, who supposedly value friendship *so much more* than the average person, *looks down nose*, that superficial definition is our standard for "friend." Lets not decieve ourselves. All too often, friends are used as fillers for our own insecurities. They're not really "friends" they're "aquantainces." They're another name on a list. Another person we can say we "know."

I think that's really depressing.

I've come to know that there are only a handful of people who can be classified as friends. Who will stick around, regardless of the pain - who will be there for you when your day isn't sunshine and rainbows. Some one who will pick you up after you fall, and then give you a kick in the butt to get you going again. I appreciate those people. :)

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

I honestly see my true friends as family. :) I see them as brothers and sisters, and I know that they are, in Christ! They are so much more than just another name.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Prov 17:17

Our culture has somehow molded friendship into a sort of individualized isolationism. We can still be "friends" but we don't have to be involved in each others lives. Well, that's just sad. Treasure your friends, love them, know that they are part of your family.

Ultimately, as with everything, our love for our friends must mirror Christ's love for his friends. Isn't it interesting that when Judas betrayed Christ, Jesus responded in love:
"friend, do what you have come to do."
~Matthew 26:50

Christ had crazy love for us! Love that demanded a cross. And he did this because we are his friends.

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
John 15:12-15

~ LL

A big shout out by the way to some of the people in my own life who have been truly great friends.. Ya'll know who you are :) I am really blessed to have you in my life! What a great group! Thank you for everything.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Water in the Desert Land

The first time I published this post it said "water in a dessert land." Ha! Oops.

Nope, sorry, I'm not talking about the "dessert" you had for dinner, unfortunately (although that would be awesome. Hm. POST IDEA!)
So for all ya'll who happened to see "Water in a Dessert Land" and ecstatically thought my blog had suddenly turned into a source for recipes tasty and delicious, I'm sorry to disappoint (In reality, I actually am not a very good cook-er).
But hey... that's my spelling, for ya.

Today I have decided to tackle something much larger an issue than the ice cream sundae you ate in celebration of Easter. It's not a matter that can be compared to even the best of Mom's Apple Pies, or Grandma's homemade Christmas cookies.
Actually, my grandma doesn't make Christmas cookies ... I merely employed use of a stereotype. Call me a profile-er! Heh.

Today I'm writing about a desert land: a place that's so dry, it's torturous. I happen to live in a desert, so I would know what it's like when it gets to be 120 degrees outside. It's really not a fun thing.

When I was younger and lived on a farm, our farm hand used to say that if I helped him pick rocks out of the pastures, he'd pay me a dollar a bucket. I used to stay outside, in summer, in 115 degree weather, for hours, all for about $4.00 profit. Then I'd get so overheated I'd go inside and sleep the rest of the day. :P

Sometimes our spiritual lives find themselves in the same predicament - working overtime for no real payoff. It literally feels like we're walking through a desert.

The temperature is so heavy, it's a burden on our backs.
The sand threatens to blind our sense of reason.
Any gust of hot air threatens to knock us over, while our feeble selves wish for nothing more than a gentle cool breeze.
The enormity of the desert ahead seems vast and never-ending.
Each step is a struggle physically and mentally, as we wonder if we have the strength to go on.

Anything but a piece of cake, right?

All of us have felt this in some sense. Even if it's not the full blown desert scenario I've described, every human being on earth has felt hopelessness. Some have felt it more than others, but the feeling remains the same . . . It's merely the extent of said hopelessness that varies according to the individual.

With that, I can safely assume then that you agree with me. The spiritual desert is not a fun place to be.

There was a point when I was so burdened with the hardships of life that I literally couldn't pick myself up, much less ever trust or love again. I was walling in an infinite desert of self-doubt and in constant danger of being swallowed whole by my own insecurity. The door had been slammed in my face and it was pretty much a downwards spiral from there.

It seemed like no one could hear me, or my cries for relief . . . Because they kept on hurting me anyways. I'd rather not think they were doing it intentionally. I felt abandon in a dry wilderness larger than life - I seemed no more important than a speck of sand. Who would listen to me? There was no one around. Who would spend their time out here anyways, in this scorched and bare bowl of dust?

I was totally alone, and no one could understand.
No one in the world.
No one.

A walk in the desert.
We hear of people in the Hindu religion doing this all the time - literally. They go on spiritual journey's to find out who they really are. They have a soul searching time of wandering all alone. For Christians, it should be no different. Maybe not a year long trip physically camping out in Death Valley, but Christians should realize their alone-ness. Only GOD can fully minister to you, where you are!

There's a certain point that I think every person needs to come to in their life - a certain point that changes their entire outlook. It's a transition that takes them from a superficial understanding to deep-rooted faith. While I'm far from being "deep rooted" I've found the Oasis in the desert. I no longer feel hopeless, alone, or desperate for cool air. I have been immensely blessed by God.

There is hope.

While the desert looks agonizing, it only seems that way because you're in it's throes. The pain doesn't last forever. God doesn't forget His children. He brings them to a place filled with cool water and a place to rest.

Look to Israel:
Isa 48:21: And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.

I've come to a place of rest, in Him. I hope you can be encouraged to do the same. :) If you're in the middle of hell right now, and can't seem to get out . . . Wait on the Lord. Easier said than done, I know . . . But I've done it, or at least tried to. Let me tell you: Blessings await on the other side. While I may not be out of the desert completely, I know one thing for sure . . .

There is water in the desert land.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Repelling the Superficial

I get it - I make other people uncomfortable with this blog. In fact, some of my friends have even told me so. But I also know it's a comfort to some. And hey, it's a comfort to me. I try to make everything I write real. Nothing you see here is fake. It's raw heart. If the depth is scary, I understand - hey, I'm the one writing it, remember? :)

A couple days ago I had a great talk with my Mom about the content of this post. I've never really been too judgemental of a person. If people real or superficial, I don't really know . . I try to keep an open mind and hear different sides of various issues. I know what it's like to be judged, and I would never intentionally pass it on to someone else. Yet there's something I've been noticing, and it's not a matter of judgement. It's a matter of truth.

People are, or at least they act, shallow.
The lack of real-ness seems to scream at me everywhere I turn.
I think it's easy for anyone to fall down the slope of pointlessness, only to find themselves engaging in worthless and deconstructive conversations. I don't pretend to judge that, because I've done that many times myself. I'm not talking about jokes with friends or being immature with girlfriends. That's not at all what I mean.
When I say shallow, I mean a general tendancy of people to draw away from the deep, meaningful things of life. Like they're scared that someone's hurt is contagious and will infect them as if it were a common cold or flu.

My Mom was telling me this: Pain pushes people away, especially if those people are used to easier lifestyles. Pain seems to almost bring out the superficial in others.

I've, so many times, seen my Mom's "friends" go on and on about themselves but never ask her how she's doing, almost as if they're scared that she'll spill out her whole divorce story on them or something. It's kind of ridiculous. I've concluded that there's a certain depth to people who suffer. There's a certain mystery, a certain intrigue - that makes them repulsive to the superficial. I think it's a silent warning to "step away, I don't want to get my hands dirty."

It's a label.
It's like you're walking around with a mark on your forehead. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows. "You're carrying . . . pain. Ew."

Not necessarily because it shows, either. Unless you know me pretty well (in person) you'd never guess I've been through what I have if you met me on the street. It's rumors, gossip, assumptions that create a label. Look, it's not like I don't see it.

Why is everyone scared of pain? Why does no one want to face the reality that life can hurt? I don't understand. Pain is a part of life. You'll experience it one day. Pretending like it doesn't exist?

It doesn't work. I've tried it.

I really want to be a deep person. The type that repels the superficial. I want that emotional maturity that comes as a result of suffering. Christ cared about the things that really mattered, when he was on earth. Think about all the silly things we waste our time on. Vanity, strange ideas about love, popularity, friends, and jealousies - drama, basically - it's all really stupid once you think about it.

The purpose of our Christian lives are so much greater! Our calling lies in pain. Suffering. Empathy towards the hurting as we struggle on our own. We are called to live REAL lives. Not superficial. Suffering is such a blessing, because it yields truth. It yields an understanding into the depths of life that one can only know if he or she has experienced it first hand.

It's taken me a while to get to this place . . . But I'm finally viewing pain as something other than a shameful label.

Lord, help me to grow, help me to be the person you want me to be, shaped and molded by life's catastraphies. You are God. You are all about depth, all about the soul. Thank you for the love you show me, your superficial child.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I can't swallow pills.

I seriously can not. Yesterday, I sat with a pill in my mouth and a glass of water in my hand for 10 minutes attempting to suck up and take it like a "big girl, Lauren. You can do it." I'm convinced those evil little things have minds of their own. They mischievously refuse to go down my throat, just so I can suffer the humiliation!

Mom says I'm just stubborn. What 16 year old can't swallow a teeny-weeny little capsule?!?!?

I blame it on the pills.

The things are huge!
At least in my mind.
Just looking at them gives me visions of the Heimlich.

I know . . . I know . . . I have to get them down somehow . . . and thankfully, I've found a way. Or rather - my sister, Taylor, has. She's done several experiments and finally discovered that emptying the capsules and putting them in milkshakes is actually quite tasty.

A few days ago I came into the kitchen holding a large chocolate shake, and told Mom triumphantly, "See! I'm taking my medicine. I can too be a "big girl"! Or at least I'll be a "big girl" when I'm older. Literally. Because of all the milkshakes I drank back in the day . . . ."

Despite their high-carb count, I'm forever indebted to Taylor for such a discovery. She lands right alongside my heroes: Aristotle, Ronald Reagan, The apostle Paul, Glenn Beck, and now. . . Taylor. My sister. Ranks right up there with the rest of 'em.
Thank you, sista.

Medicine is never fun. I've been sick for a while now, and I know that this is the only way I can get on the road to recovery. To be honest, it really is not enjoyable . . . But I know it's for my own good.

My Mom and I had the best talk yesterday, about just this: things that are hard to swallow can actually can turn out for our own good. No, not talking about pills here. Now we're talking about life (even scarier).

We've heard this lesson a million times - the things that hurt are the things that makes us strongest. That's pretty much what this entire blog is about! ;) I don't need to reiterate it. But there's something unique about our suffering that I think we so often fail to realize . . .

We see them as failures. We see them as mess-ups . . . But in Heaven, they're celebrated as victories.

That's a pretty wacky thought! Especially when we are so used to blaming the Devil!

"Ooooh, got fired from your job. That must be the Devil, you know, doin' his thang."
"An A on my Chemistry test!! The Lord must be with me!!"
"Earth-quake in Japan? That was definitely Satan's idea."
"He asked me out! Took him long enough! ... oh yeah... Thank you Jesus!!!!"
"Oh, dude .... a car crash... I'm sorry man... You sending enough prayers up to the Big Guy lately?"


Yeah. No.
That's ridiculous.
That's not the way things work - God is sovereign over everything. It isn't a tug-of-war between God and Satan. There's not one thing that happens on this earth that isn't filtered through God's fingers.

Romans 8:28, a verse that I probably over-use . . . "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

The fact is according to scripture, however much of a "fail" our circumstances seem, it's victory in the eyes of God. He is working everything for our good . . . ending with our ultimate sanctification when we see Him face to face!

What seems unnecessary and even painful to us is really medicine he's giving us for spiritual health. He sees the end result: a person made holy and refined. What do we see? A whole lot of crud. Why? Because we don't see that end result. We're so focused on now that we forget to see His purpose. We forget that there's a big picture.

Reading stories of the martyrs, I have always been in awe about how they could sing praises, even as they were being fed to the lions. How they could give thanks, while being burned at the stake. How, on their way to the gallows, they were reciting the Lord's Prayer. They were able to have peace, because they knew that it was actually a victory, and that in a few short moments they would be greeted by the angels triumphantly welcoming them into the very presence of God! What greater victory could there be??

The martyrs got it.
Pain was only pain for a moment. Suffering was soon to be turned into unthinkable, unspeakable joy. They were about to see the face of God. Tears would be no more. What are our temporary trials, when compared to such eternity?

In my own life, a lot of things seem like they are failing right now. Health, academics, and the most obvious issue of dealing with my Dad. Sometimes it feels like a zero sum game - one part of life improves, as the other part sinks ever deeper into quick-sand. Or vice versa. There are just days that FEEL like failures from beginning to end.
I have to remember that Christ has a different plan for my life.

The worst is for our best. Everything is a victory, even the pain. That medicine may be gross, but it will keep you alive. So I just wanted to share that with all of you. I hope it's an encouragement. :)

In the words of good 'ol Charlie Sheen:



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Peace . . . Or War??

My dear friend Johanna recently wrote a shocking, and startling post. As I read it, I was deeply, deeply troubled. I've decided to re-post on this topic, because I think it's something worth spreading the word about.

We're all familiar with the famous "peace" sign. It adorns our clothes, walls, and yes, I've even seen a few old bug-cars with it painted on the side doors. We decorate our rooms with it, and wear it as jewelery. But . . . we don't really, truly know what we're supporting.

The truth of it is that the "peace" sign, or the "Teutonic cross", is actually a Satanic sign for religious intolerance.

"Known as the 'peace sign' throughout the 1960's and into the present day, this symbol is the Teutonic rune of death. 1950's peace advocate Gerald Holtom may have been commissioned by communist sympathiser Bertrand Russell to design a symbol to unite leftist peace marchers in 1958. It is clear that either Holtom or Russell deemed the Teutonic (Neronic) cross as the appropriate symbol for their cause.

"Throughout the last 2,000 years this symbol has designated hatred of Christians. Nero, who despised Christians, crucified the Apostle Peter on a cross head downward. This hideous event resembled the Teutonic cross and became a popular pagan insignia of the day.

Thereafter, this sign became known as the 'Neronic cross.'

The peace symbol (also called the "broken cross," "crow's foot," "witch's foot," "Nero Cross," "sign of the 'broken Jew,'" and the "symbol of the 'anti-Christ''') is actually a cross with the arms broken. It also signifies the "gesture of despair," and the "death of man.''

These symbols that we know and love are anything but the "peace" they claim. Rather, they have a bloody, and gorey past. Christians everywhere support this unknowingly, because they have no idea what it stands for. Remember: It's anti-Christian, anti-Jew . . . an upside down cross, with broken arms.

Scary, isn't it? I can think of several of my own sisters-in-Christ who are really into the whole "70s peace out" thing. Even I have a headband with the peace sign on it (needless to say - I don't think I'll be wearing that anymore). It's scary. The sign of Satan - the sign of the Anti-Christ, is everywhere we go.

So how about that awesome "V" sign that we typically flash for camera's and all that? Is that OK?

Nope. That too has pretty disgusting associations.

The signal "actually began as a symbol of Satanic benediction during the rituals.'' "the meaning for the Hebrew letter for V (Van) is 'Nail.' Now, 'The Nail' is one of the secret titles of Satan within the Brotherhood of Satanism. Satan is letting us know that this is one of his favourite signs.

Its pretty... shocking, isn't it? Peace, as these symbols define it, is war.
Spiritual War. Link

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Warning: Thematic Elements

Have you ever wondered at a movie rating that says "PG-13 for THEMATIC ELEMENTS"? Seriously, what on earth does that mean...? My sister and I love going on sister movie-dates at the mall. But we really don't get the point of those silly ratings. In fact, we determined that if "Thematic Elements" were a truly legitimate reason for a PG-13 movie, than our daily lives must be "PG-13, too. Because we have quite a few "thematic elements" swirling around. And that's what I'm here to write about: The themes we have in our lives, and how horribly they can sometimes effect us.

I've always known the saying "history repeats itself" to be true, but I've only recently discovered how often it is true. You see, for me, it doesn't just repeat itself once every couple hundred years, like it does for the rest of the world (with the exceptions of a select few). Rather, history repeats itself daily. My life seems to have a common theme that's been shoved in my face, every day for the past couple years.

Sometimes I don't know how to cope with it. Because every day, it's a new burden. It's not just the same theme, but a new avenue by which to see that theme. It's a new situation - new problem - different circumstances - but yet, it's always the same message:

You'll never, really be loved. Because everyone in your life will leave, at some point.

Whether it's my Dad, leaving... or the person I really loved, leaving... Or friends, leaving, every day, someone's leaving.
That's the thematic element of my life.
It's really enough to make me mad. And at times, I am . . . Because I've always thought of myself as a pretty loyal person. Even though my Dad left, I still love him. All the people who drift in and out of my life? I still love them, too. I always will. But that doesn't change the theme.

You'll never, really be loved. Because everyone in your life will leave, at some point.

Every day, like clockwork, I'm faced with the choice to get mad because of the theme, or use it to grow. Satan, like he did with Job, will turn a single bad experience into a string of unparalleled catastrophes. He likes making things look like you will never get out. He wants you in a box - because he knows it's where you're least dangerous.

I guess my encouragement to my readers today is that sometimes - it looks hopeless. It really, really does. The thematic elements of life can drag you down and keep you confined to a sort of "limbo" state, questioning God's plan, unable to get yourself out. I know that the theme Satan is trying to indoctrinate me with is completely and totally wrong, but he's using his age-old technique - Repetition. Maybe, if I only get bombarded enough with it, I'll start believing it. May God's grace keep me from ever falling into that trap!

So, yeah. There may be a few thematic elements in your life. Don't let it keep you from enjoying the movie.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Doing Stupid Things Faster . . . ?

Can you believe it? I'm still alive... ! After not having written anything since what, November?! Needless to say, I'm so glad to be back... I think I've finally found some time to just sit down and write. I think I needed time to sink into life without worrying about broad-casting anything to the world whatsoever. And although I love each, and every one of my beautiful little followers, I needed to step away from the blogging world.

A lot has happened since November. Although some of those things have been really painful, I can say that on a net benefits scale God's blessings definitely outweigh! So many amazing moments, such great people . . . It's been an answer to prayer. I guess you can say that the last few months have not just been my "break" from blogging but also a break from some pretty hard times. I've come out of these months now ready and rested: bring it on. :)

So I must warn you - I'm not fully "warmed up" here with my writing skills. So I won't attempt to do one of my two page essays with a cute little intro and humorous tidbits along the way - Look for that in future posts. ;) But I do simply want to encourage you readers who need rest to go get it. I can't tell you how much I needed it, even though I didn't want it at first. Keeping busy was - and is - it has always been - my way of escaping from reality. I bury myself in homework, and suddenly I don't think of *that *. I stay up all night working on debate research, and I don't have TIME to think about my relationship with so and so. Being busy is a good thing to an extent, but not when it's used as an escape. Then, it just becomes unhealthy.

Now I'm not telling you to go take a snooze when your midterm is due or anything. :P Be industrious - scripture tells us that a lazy man can't and won't prosper. The idea I'm getting at is a refusal to submit to His gentle calling to come back and sit at his feet. As a wife, I'd hate it if my husband was working all the time and never, ever, wanted to be just with me. (I don't know, maybe I'm just the cuddly type. :P )
I bet Christ feels that same sense of grief when we push him out of the way for things we think are more important. He's all about relationship.

So, take some time today, if you're running. Slow down. And sit with Jesus for a little bit. You'll find it to be so nice to relax in the arms of your Savior.

Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

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