Day 13.

Today, faith is recognizing that by opening your mouth and using the voice God gives you, you also open doors for others to walk through in their own form of obedience… sometimes that act sets people free.
Below are two photos that my brother, Bhuvan, tagged me in on FB this past week. Pictured are 2 examples of the results of such a conversation as mentioned above. I am humbled to say that a sit down with this awesome man of God in month 7 of my World Race to discuss His unpressed passions in the anti-trafficking movement, has ignited quite a fierce response… he, his wife, and their ministry partners are currently traveling from remote village to remote village in Nepal (The leading country for under-age trafficking to Indian Prostitution rings), teaching/informing the kids and anyone else who will listen, about the dangerous propositions to avoid when approached by “prosperous big breaks.” Aka Stopping human trafficking before it starts. What a blessed concept. Praise God for my friends’ obedience. Praise God for listening ears and open hearts. Praise God for the faith to lift a fragile voice, unaware of its’ future worth.  

So excited for their freedom!!

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

Would you like to #endslaverynow ???? Please let me know that you’d like to be a part of this huge effort by commenting below and I’ll give you several opportunities to get involved!

Learn more about Light Nepal!

Read more from my 31 Days of Faith!

Enjoy the other 31 Days series writers at The Nester!

Day 12.

See… some people worship God with their voices or their instruments in musical worship. Others choose to worship God with dance, or other giftings that God has blessed them with. I know of quite a few sweet friends of mine who worship God with the words they type or even in the way they rare their children. Really, worship is about living for God and giving Him the glory in everything we do.

Many times worship comes in the form of faith.


In month 3 of my World Race, we faced MAJOR spiritual warfare. We lived in a small village in the countryside where wagons were still pulled by mules down the dusty road outside of little Catholic church we called home. Inside of our home, a soup kitchen was visited daily by the partially infirmed of the local community. Along with a few lonely souls.

The lady who ran the kitchen was possessed. I know you just did a double take… so did I the first time she barked like a dog and turned for the worse before our eyes. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of that experience right now, today at least. I will say that the following days though, were filled with a team of Christians whose’ minds were blown from the existence they had been so ignorantly and blissfully (I might add) living up to this moment. We were scared.

So we banded together to seek the One Who we knew could conquer evil and quiet our fears. We were seeking our new friend’s deliverance, yes. But we were also seeking inner peace for us and a release of what we would experience the next few weeks. Living in Moldova was amazing. I will never forget it and my team and I grew close, as you can imagine.

We fought for each other. We prayed a lot…

And we waved the worship flags in FULL FAITH that God would count this act as precious and would show up because we were obedient to trust Him and praise Him despite our fear.

We waved the flags in eminent victory. For our friend. For this sweet village. For ourselves and our future, knowing that evil is real but that we have authority over evil in the name of Christ.

You may have never seen a woman possessed by evil forces but you have faced days that didn’t make sense and trials that didn’t seem at all fair. Those are both examples of spiritual warfare on a daily level. Worship is such an act of faith in direct combat to the enemy’s silly plans. I encourage you today, whatever you may be facing that seems out of your control… worship the Lord now with anything you have to offer Him. Not because it’s a give and take… no… because He already gave His life and brought us victory over death. Life is ours to live. So live it in faith.

The following are a few of the pics taken by a teammate and dear friend/brother of mine. Christian Norris. He is a gifted photographer in the making. My beautiful teammate Ali Kendrick and I decided to wave our flags over the hillsides on top of which we dwelt, as an act of faithful worship to our Papa in heaven and in spite of our fearful surroundings. And boy did He bless us for it! You will see from our faces that it was an experience we will not long forget. Worship music played and we waved and danced as Chrish snapped away. He captured worship. He captured faith.

beLOVEd.,
Lauren!<><+

How has worship impacted your faith? OR the opposite! Has your faith taken worship to a new level for you? Tell me all about it in comments below 🙂

Read more from my 31 Days of Faith.

Read more 31 Days blog posts.

Day 11.

There is a lot about faith I don’t know… hence the series.

With that said, I think I’ve figured out the “not by sight” part. Funny enough, it happened today. I figured out a piece of what seems to be a “faith puzzle” today, as I heard the results of my eye exam… the second one of the day.

May the FAITH story begin…

When I was 14 years old… or so…. I was suffering with headaches that would often lead to migraines. Serious stuff. It could have been stress, looking back at the season of life I was nearly just beginning, but it wasn’t. Went to the optometrist, he recommended glasses because of a severe astigmatism. “Prism” glasses were prescribed because of their ability to help my two eyes focus on the same thing at the same time. Bring my eyes to one singular point. How much of a simile that was for my needs in life, at the time I had no clue!

Through college, I wore my reading glasses religiously. Most of the time, it worked too.

As an adult, a very responsible one of course, I lost my glasses. Having no insurance and under no one’s specific care, withstanding my own… I gave up on wearing glasses again altogether.

Last year on the World Race, month 11, I went with friends to a very inexpensive eye glass store and underwent the test to see how bad my sight was… .25. Hm. Weird.

But wear my glasses, I have. They just didn’t seem to help me at all but I thought, well, that’s what I get for having an eye exam in Cambodia without my accurate prescription!

Since being home, you may have noticed, but I write a LOT! I love to write! I’m becoming a “writer” I guess, although people still have to call me that 3 times each before I’ll slightly believe them! Oh, insecurities.

With this embraced passion to be a storyteller, I have begun to struggle with my eyesight. I’ve utilized the tired eyes techniques and taken screen fasts… all of it. But still, my eyes go blurry and these glasses just… well, they don’t do anything!

The Lion’s Club here locally have recently blessed my socks off. I applied with them for eye care assistance, since I was still in financial transition from coming off the field and was gladly approved with a small co-pay. Aka I went to the Opthamologist yesterday with the hope that my basically FREE professional exam and glasses would be fruitful in clearing up my sight issues.

As I sat in the waiting room, that fear that we all have when we know something is wrong with us physically but think irrationally that the Doctor will just think we are crazy between the ears… yeah that, it began to creep in. Actually, I told the Doctor I feared that since I can’t keep anything to myself these days! She smiled and continued with the exam.

As she progressed through the VERY THOROUGH exam, my worst fear happened…

“Ms. Clement (That’s never good!), I am finding literally NOTHING wrong with your eyesight!”

But there IS!!! I promise!!! I wanted to scream it. Instead, I stared at her blankly.

She offered to dilate my eyes anyway for the retina exam. I agreed, attempting to stall my departure in case she reconsidered her findings… after all, I had already picked out my cute new frames!!!!

As I waited, and spoke sweetly to my waiting room ladies, who love to pry into the life of a youngin’ in her late 20’s… I began to think about how I would tell people that all that time, I didn’t even NEED the glasses I had worn and that apparently my old doctor had made it all up to get us out of his office, having left a hefty check on the counter first.

It was humiliating. It was confusing… and I felt it was just wrong! I know my body after all!!

Then the drops in my eyes set in.

Sheldon told me that he can drive when his eyes are dilated. I know, I told him he shouldn’t. Mama then confirmed that she mostly functioned fine afterwards…. but that some are more sensitive to it (She’s my  mom so she’s the main one that is supposed to make me feel like I am sane after all!). I told them both that I literally couldn’t see. Oh, dramatic me.

The man that had helped me pick my frames was standing near by and I asked him to find my mama’s contact on my phone for me. He said, “You can’t see it at all?” Nope. That’s why I asked. He quickly pointed to something else and said, “What about that, can you read it?” Apparently there was something on that poster that I was supposed to be able to read. Nope. He chuckled and said, “You aught to tell the Doctor how affected you were by those drops!”

I didn’t have to because I straight up tripped coming in the door of her office. But for good measure I simply inquired, “Dr. Brennen, is there a reason that some people are more highly affected by the drops than others? I just can’t see hardly at all.”

She looked at me for a second, or so I suppose because there was a stirring silence following my words. She responded with, “Well, let’s just see.” She began step 1 of my previous eye exam from 30 minutes earlier.

After a few seconds of flipping those lenses right over my long eye-lashes, she exclaimed, “Well, look a’there!”

Yep. I’m far sighted. Really, really farsighted.

She explained to me, after having started from the beginning of the exam again, that I had learned to control the muscles in my eyes with great excellence and furthered her explanation with how amazed she was at the control I had on my own body. Ha. If she only knew! I did share with her that my family had been through a lot growing up and that doctors tended to state things like that to my sisters and I every time we went for a check up of any sort. It’s just our life and how we’ve overcome.

So yeah, ladies and gents, I will get to wear my cute frames after all and hopefully will no longer be plagued by my own creative craft with headaches and extreme blurred vision! Praise the Lord!!! The drops did it, I actually relaxed enough to get an accurate account of what I had known all along.

What I learned through the process was even more valuable, I do believe. God showed me something about faith and how even when I can’t see… or am told that what I know to be true, isn’t. I can still trust. I can still believe… I can have faith that it is. Because it was. And He is. And I have faith that He will confirm in me His identity, as He skillfully unveils my own.

Faith. You can’t see it. But you can know you have it by trusting that God is Who He says He is and He’s not going anywhere. You can hear Him speak. You can feel His love and peace. YOU CAN have faith even when you’re not “supposed” to.

Sometimes it just takes giving up control. A lot of the conferences I have been a part of, have been so very effective because the people there were willing to give up what they came in with for something new. Something better. Something true. Someone Who has always been. I’ve seen them lay on the floor and wait for a transformation in their hearts. Vulnerability was called out and affirmation of what is flowed in. A give and a take. Giving up what was or is for something better. A Better and truer future, based on the love of a great, great God that has been here all along… waiting on us to relax and give HIM control of the life He created in the first place. Sometimes it takes a bit of patience with ourselves to let His truth sink in… you know, the waiting room of our hearts’ desires. But when it does, we can see clearer than we have ever in our lives! And there’s just so much to see!! You may not agree with me as you’ve read this but that’s my account of what I learned on day 11 of this month of faith questions and answers!

This experience has made me stubborn to what other humans want from me. An acknowledgement that He may not be who he says he is and what I’ve always believed in… yikes. So much humiliation, confusion… but wait… He is. There it is. Truth.

Try and prove to me that my God doesn’t exist. I dare you. I won’t argue with you. Nope, don’t have to. I know He does. I’ve experienced Him personally. I choose to have faith.  I choose to have faith.

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

If you would like to experience Him, please email me, find me on FB… ask a trusted friend to tell you how you can, something! And today! Today is THE day that you accept this gift of truth!

Comment below with your recent “faith” account!!! Do you see clearer about a specific topic of faith than you ever have before? Again, share below!

(To read more in this 31 Days of Faith series, click HERE!!! Or to read the collaborative efforts of 31 Days writers, click The Nester!!)

Day 5.

We saw on Day 4, that the world has varying views of “faith” and what it means to possess or even act on it…

Today, I want to focus a bit on the Bible. Can I???!! I do love it so!!

God’s written Word gives us such a beautiful and unashamed display of “faith” and mostly in the very stories we read within its’ pages! But to include all of those, I’d really just need to leave a link to the Bible itself … OP, and there it is!! 

For the purposes of this series, though, I have included some of my favorite verses that depict FAITH or describe it as a whole… enjoy!!!




Matthew 17:20 “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”


1 Peter 1:21 “Through Him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 

1 Peter 1:7 “These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 “We live by faith, not by sight.”

1 Peter 1:9 “For you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

1 John 5:4 “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

Colossians 1:5 “The faith and love that spring from hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the world of truth, the gospel.”

Titus 1:2 “A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.”

1 Corinthians 15:17 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.”

1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Ephesians 6:16 “In addition to all this; take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

1 Corinthians 2:5 “So that your faith might not rest on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

2 Corinthians 1:24 “It is by faith that you stand firm.”



For more readings in this series click 31 Days of Faith!!

To join so many others in the full 31 Days series, click The Nester to read them all!!

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

Do you have other favorite passages that give a good picture of “faith”… comment below and share them with me!!!



Day 10.

Grace.
Oh, my precious readers!! I need your GRACE for being MIA for the last week of this series! This past week was spent on the road and in the midst of wedding frenzy! Good days but long and disconnected from my laptop. Prayers appreciated as I recover from my extensive travels and rebuild my schedule for the coming days of this series. My hope is to still post 31 days’ worth of writings!
Discouragement was met with grace as I realized a couple of days overdue, that I would not be able to publish while I was gone. Instead of facing failure in all its’ force and being attacked by that “I’m not enough” self-talk as the days swam past me,  I was filled with an inexplicable grace for my own unworthiness, despite my lack of ability to “perform” in the way that my heart desired to do so. God doesn’t care if I miss my mark. Because that’s my mark. And that’s the faith I have in God, His character is sustainable in me in spite of my human short-comings. He doesn’t have a “mark” for me. He has only great plans and grace as I walk.
I have FAITH in God in me.
Keep your eyes out for the coming posts but in case life gets a little bit busier than you intend, know that there is grace as we grow in faith together 🙂

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

(The pic at the top is of just a few of my World Race lovelies that I cherish so heartily! We joined together in love of our sister, Liz, for her wedding celebration! The one to the left is of our host family, Liz’s sister and her 3 adorable daughters! Thought you might like to experience a very windy/chilly Chicago day with me!)
How has Papa been spreading the message of GRACE in faith over you recently? Any takers to share? Comment below! To read more on this 31 Days of Faith series, click here!!! To read many more takes on the 31 Days series, head to The Nester’s blog!!!

Day 4.

The following quotes are the result of my random online search for “faith quotes” today. I really wanted to seek the general world view of “faith” and I’m pretty sure this gives me the picture I was looking for.

Read and then scroll down to today’s question:



Faith is a grand cathedral, with divinely pictured windows – 

       standing without, you can see no glory, nor can imagine

       any, but standing within every ray of light reveals a

       harmony of unspeakable splendors.  
                                                                        – Nathaniel Hawthorne


Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.

     It’s  simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.

                                                                   – Joni Erickson Tada


Where hope grows, miracles blossom.

                                                                             – Elna Rae


Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is 

      still dark.

                                                                             – Rabindranath Tagore


All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have

     not seen.

                                                                          – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.

                                                                           – William Newton Clark 


The root of all difficulties is a lack of the sense of the 

     Presence of God.

                                                                            – Emmett Fox


Fear knocked at the door and faith answered.  No one was

        there.

                                                                             – Old English Proverb


There are only two ways to live . . . one is as though nothing is

        a miracle. . . the other is as if everything is.

                                                                                            – Albert Einstein


Faith is reacting positively to a negative situation.

                                                                                 – Dr. Robert Schuller



Do you know of other thoughts that this world has as to WHAT faith is? Please share below. I am not looking for the “Christian” answer but more so, a GENERAL world view, including Christian. As we saw day 1 of this series, Hebrews 11:1 states what would be considered the “Biblical” answer to this question… expand your horizons today to become more aware of the ideology of those surrounding you!

Faith challenge: Ask 5 people today what THEY believe “faith” really is… this could get really interesting! The goal is not to convince them otherwise but more so for your knowledge and to see where you are positioned right now. Now go for it!

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

You can read more about what I’m learning this month in regards to FAITH by clicking 31 Days of Faith! You may also read the rest of the blogger’s posts who are involved in the 31 days link up by visiting the host blogger’s site The Nester!

Day 3.

 “
The Lord is trustworthy in all that He says, faithful in all that He does” – Psalms 145:13b

As a collaborative effort with The Nester, I dedicate Day 3 of this 31 Days of Faith series to the most consistent reason I clung to faith last year as I traveled through 16 different countries over the course of 11 months, on mission to love the world as God loves them:
…because I knew they were waiting for me with baited breath, on this side of the world. USA. 
This post is a very much REAL LIFE, even blurred, vision of what “coming home” looked like after this long year of testing the validity of God’s faithfulness that THIS moment, this reunion, indeed would happen. That it was not an illusion to be missed because “on mission” meant sacrificing “home” forever but a reality in the as yet unseen… to be hoped for. Do you get the simple, yet VERY practical, example of God’s faithfulness in this story? Sometimes it’s easy to think that when God calls us to something bigger than ourselves, that all of our faith acts will involve the day to day practice in accomplishing His current goal for us… a romanticised view of the term “Missionary.” However, as a normal human being (Or as normal as they come, ha!), I can attest to the fact that the most consistent choice of belief I made throughout each visited culture, was that Papa WOULD secure my return to the States as promised 11 months prior.
So Day 3 looks like faith in the form of long awaited hugs, kisses, tears of joy, and the toughness of trials faced alone, broken down in the arms of family waiting.
And there they were, waiting as promised…
(5 out of the 9 waiting on me to arrive had only been told I was coming 5 minutes before this photo was snapped! The surprise of a lifetime!)

(Wouldn’t have missed seeing this woman graduate from Nursing school for the world… literally.)

(Dated 3 months and I left for almost a year… what can I say, God was at the center and He doused us with faith!)

(She started driving while I was gone, played volleyball as a Junior, gained so much wisdom and passion… I missed my roommate so much!)
(Jodi and I were discussing the fact that I was close enough to touch and it felt a little unreal! Jaami and I schemed to make sure I hugged her neck and met my nephew, Joaquin, before they moved to Colombia! PRECIOUS BOY!)

                        

(Tori was the woman with the plan and helped me every step of the way home. She also was the photographer for all of these fun pics! I was home… and it felt so good!)
(Celebrating our one year with coats, dresses and heels, and of course prom style pictures… what?)
(Maw maw. You just never know. So thankful I didn’t have to. She was so bright eyed! Missed our family matriarch!) 

(The Clement 5… and our hero… the week of my surprise return)


(Papa blessed us both by allowing me to have returned the day before Sheldon proclaimed his life in Christ in this blessed way!) 

(So thankful for family and loved ones so dear… my niece Nila (SO TALL NOW!), Jodi’s fella’ Chris (Finally got to meet him!), Aunt Linda (Missed her humor so much!), and my bro in-law Justin (Hadn’t seen this Naval pilot in almost 2 years!) are the others in this pic, not in the ones above. I love these people.)

 

(So happy to know that all of God’s promises, like Him, are faithful)
As we press on into this month’s series about faith, I just want to always be real with you. Today, is a post about something genuine but not that shocking. Tomorrow very well could be about something that no one else knows but me. The only reason differing thoughts/stories will be posted for all to see each day, will be God’s leading to do so. In my “writer’s mind” I want beautiful, heart-wrenching stories every day about things no one saw coming but real life is more relatable, whatever that is day to day. Faith is for everyone, so is this blog. Come back for Day 4 tomorrow because you just never know what Papa will decide to let my fingers type!
beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+
(So what can you tell me about the faith that makes you wait… the promises that are waiting for you… and the way it FEELS in the moments when faithful belief in God’s plans are fulfilled? Comment below!

Day 2.

“…The trip was uneventful and a number of hours later we were rounding Point Loma and into the calm waters of the San Diego Bay. If nothing else, the boat was brimming with Whimsy. Whimsy was the gleam in our eyes; whimsy swelled the sails; whimsy swelled our hearts. That’s the way whimsy works. It’s a renewable, infinite resource that multiplies. 

I’ve come to understand more about faith as I’ve understood more about whimsy. What whimsy means to me is a combination of the “do”: part of faith along with doing something worth doing. It’s whimsy that spreads hope like grass seed in the wind. Whimsy reminds me of the Bible, too, when it talks about stuff being like an aroma. It is not an overpowering one, just something that has the scent of God’s love, an unmistakable scent that lingers.”
Chapter 27 “The Story” in Bob Goff’s book Love Does

I’ve read Bob Goff’s book Love Does recently, actually I have like 2 chapters left… if I’m being honest here! And by reading His book, I’ve gained insight into 2 things about “faith,” ironically enough. I mean, the book is about “love” after all. 
One “light bulb” (so to speak) is that faith also does. It does. And a lot of that is in the unseeing nature of God’s plan and that’s where the second “light bulb” lies, in the unseen. To some He says, “Get to know me and then just be.” Which “being”, in itself, can be an action.” You may say, actually it’s a lack of action but for some of us (I’m guilty of this for sure), it’s actually the harder choice to make. To be or not move. That’s difficult. It’s more difficult, again personally, than jumping… or sailing off on missions of my own desire. My heart says I want to serve the Lord and when He says stay I say, “But… I could… okay.”

(What faith looked like 1 year ago: Traveling to ministry location in Kenya, Africa… aka “go”)
(What faith looked like for me today: A day of errands and Statefarm agents with my sweet mama… aka “be”)
It’s a choice or action to be. That’s just me though. You may be the complete opposite and the moving of your feet when Papa says go, is the hard choice that He often calls you to. 
We’re all so uniquely designed. Even our doubts. That’s how intricately He displays His love when weaving within the womb. 
So faith takes action, it takes a choice to follow in a direction that is only lit one step at a time.
We walk by faith and not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (Smell the sweet aroma of His word? True to this day)
As of this day, Day 2 of my October FAITH journey… Faith seems to be KNOWING God… ACTING on His call (stay…go?)… and TRUSTING despite the lack of visual given to us for the future. 
Faith is in the whimsy (ie. “An odd or fanciful notion”) and the wandering of hope within the will of the person. I love how creative our great God is. AND as much as it grates my natural man, I LOVE that He keeps us guessing when it comes to the future. Oh I know, He directs our steps and we can know where He’s taking us largely based on our identity and physical makeup but come on… we all wonder what’s next? 
Grateful am I that I can KNOW He is constant. Grateful am I that He blesses my ACTION within His will. Grateful am I that He earned my TRUST long ago by His sacrifice of love for me. 
beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+
“Faith is ???”  Fill in the blank as a comment below!! I’d love to hear your thoughts and include some of them as a part of the series!! Ready to read day 1? Click HERE to read from my 31 days page 🙂 OR go to The Nester’s blog to read the other fine “31 Days” posts!!