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!!

31 Days of Faith



“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Faith. I know, it’s broad.
I tried to narrow it down, even thought of a few ideas to do so and every time, Papa said no. 
He told me to not “box myself in.” 
For the month of October, 31 days to be specific, I will be seeking the Lord about a new revelation of this word that I have known and even claimed my whole life over. Faith. It’s time for me to understand it from His perspective. The meaning He intended for it before people like me came along and decided we would give our take on it and then spread that definition among His children. 
I want to give FAITH back to the Creator of it. I want Him to redefine it for me so I don’t have to will it to be something it’s not meant to be in my heart… you know, based on my efforts or my thinking? 
So there will be stories. Stories from my World Race last year, and the ways He has proven to me in other times that FAITH is indeed REAL. A reality of hope.
I may also host others who have seen Him. You know, SEEN Him. And are willing to talk about it.  
I want to believe in my God and His power, more than I ever have in my life because of these 31 days. 
Please join me on this journey as we face challenges together! It’s so exciting to be a part of this special series! I really want you to do this with me because I have a feeling that He’s about to just blow my mind with Who He is and with how much He desires the belief in my heart to be in complete abandonment of any doubt. 
31 Days of Faith. Let’s go.

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

(Click the following link to read the rest of the 31 days link up and click 31 to read more about FAITH)

“Come away…” (31 days intro)

So Papa asked me to “Come away” with Him long ago… at 6 years old, actually.

When He asked…not told but asked, I said yes. I said yes largely because it sounded like an adventure to live my life with Him leading me. Partly, because He was so romantic in His early pursuit of my heart. And mostly, because I knew right then and there that He LOVED. me more than anyone could ever love someone as humans on this earth. I desired that relationship with Him and He began, in that little moment, to build my faith, to trust, to follow, and to live the adventure of a lifetime. Literally.

I have been attempting to decide for what seems like months but has yet only been days, what to write about as a theme for my collaboration series with The Nester. I will be linking up with her superb annual Series starter 31 Days and will confront one thought from (hopefully) 31 different angles, to bring to you a month of focused furry in regards to what Jesus wants to teach me and therefore share with you.

I hope to keep it short, simple, heart-warming/provoking, and include stories, challenges, and much more on this one specific Spirit led series topic.

As does the month of October, my series will begin on Tuesday! I will be out of town almost the entire first week of October, which shall make posting tricky. Bare with me 🙂

I know the Lord has called me to share in this one month writing adventure, as a part of His broad adventurous leadings in my creative and practical writing outlets. My hope is that as I follow His call to do this in obedience that you and I both will be inspired in our EVERY. October. Day.

Drummer role please…

Faith. 31 Days of Faith.

I thought about specifying in this title that I would be sharing unknown stories form my last year on the World Race. And I will be but have felt the constant urge the last couple of days, not to box myself in. God always wants to do more than we can expect.

So… hear the call and read the stories as I beseech you to “Come away” with the Father of Lights, to reveal to you the areas of our lives that could be brought from the shades of grey that we live in and into His glorious light of life.

“Come away” to the days of the past and the lessons learned for the future, as I seize FAITH today.

I have yet to conquer this quest and that is why I’m seeking His wisdom, His plans. Because I know they’re great… and absolutely full of Him.

Won’t you join me in this FAITH discovery for the month of October? I encourage you to also check out the other writers in the Link Up at The Nester’s blog this month (Link above). It’s also not too late to join in if you feel the tug on your heart to do so. What could you share with the world for 31 days…

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

(Many  times it’s easy to judge worship if it’s different then ours. This past year, I noted worship as “different” everywhere I traveled around the world. I love this video by Jesus Culture because Stephany worships in a way that resonates so deeply with my need for God given expression, that it doesn’t matter if she looks different when she does it because it’s all in, for, and about Him. And He’s wild about her. And I’m wild about Him.) Come Away by Jesus Culture!!! (Click that link to hear/see my cry for faith this next month)

Featured by the editor of “My Mission Fulfilled”

What an honor it is to be the featured writer this week on Courtney Simpson’s, Editor’s page! Courtney is a sweet friend I made in Atlanta a few weeks ago during her organization’s event to serve (even set free) women who are refugees and trafficked into the sex industry. She is the editor for My Mission Fulfilled, which is a ministry child of the WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union)! Please Click the link above to see the featured piece and to peruse the site to become more aware of this awesome mission and inspirational resource!

Thanks, once again, to the WMU, My Mission Fulfilled, and to Courtney and Kristy Carr specifically, for finding a bigger purpose for such a small writer this week. Many blessings over the work still to be done.

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

Piggyback, please?

You’ve heard, or maybe read for yourself, the story of the footsteps before…

You know, the one that begins with two sets and ends with one because Jesus is now carrying the person in need of strong, heavenly arms?

Yeah, that one.

Well, Sheldon said something in a prayer he prayed over us the other night that really stuck out to me and I’ve yet to be able to shake its’ unexpected parallel. He simply asked something specific of our great God that was spoken with a hint of humour and even slightly tongue in cheek. But really… it’s made me think about the depth of such a request.

Father, let us depend on you like never before. If you could just carry us… no, give us a piggyback ride…

A piggyback ride?

I remember that as I glanced up at this glorious man I’ve been chosen to spend life with, I grinned. First of all, he’s cute and saying something like that in the midst of prayer really reminded me of a child talking to his daddy, so strong and so capable, but there was more of a reason then even that.

Sheldon was asking God to not only carry our burdens, our baggage, our weight… but to do so as a loving father would his child with cut feet from stepping on sharp shells, or a lover to his girl to create a bond between them that was slightly whimsical, and maybe still a base to a flyer, cheering loudly while believing her partner won’t let her down.

Or maybe a best friend, just because it’s fun and that’s what best friends do… they give piggyback rides and laugh the whole time.

The cool thing about God giving us a piggyback ride of sorts, is that he won’t ever let us slip down his back or feel insecure with a misstep or two. He is solid, secure, and gentle with us as we ride this life out, gripping his shoulders with our fingers or squeezing his neck with our arms wrapped around Him desperately, depending on Him to take us where He wants us to go. For our good. Don’t forget that part. And He could take us anywhere. Anywhere in the world. Or He could have us love as He would, right where we are as He keeps us trusting Him here in this place. It’s worth a grin.

I’m so grateful for my Papa’s strength when I am weak and when I think I’m strong. I need Him to give me a piggyback ride either way. I don’t want to walk on my legs in my favored direction… He’s got me. I trust Him. Let’s go. 

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” -Deuteronomy 33:12

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

Carry Me – Audrey Assad (Click here!)

Where does your dependency on God stand right now, this very minute? Are you holding His hand through trials… wiggling around uneasily while He hoists you up and over his back? Are you riding gleefully, in full acknowledgment that he’s got you and won’t let you down, even if He decides to run? Leave a comment below if you have something to share.

Laborer of Love


“I’ve tried to build a few things in my life. I took what I thought were great ideas, I stacked them neatly on pillars, put them on my AV cart, and rolled them out. I’ve hit my share of rocks too, and those rocks have sent parts of my dreams hurling. Yet Jesus continues to select broken and splattered people not just as followers but as participants. He called people like me who can’t even figure out which end of a plastic bag to open His hands, He called people who trip every day His feet, and He called people who can’t figure out which way to turn a screw to tighten it…  the ones who would build a kingdom.” – “Love Does” by Bog Goff



When a man goes to build something new, very little of the time does he begin on an already cleared lot. No, most of the time he must tear down something first to start his new project. Sometimes it’s a forest that must be cleared… sometimes it’s the ancient ruins of past days and dreams in the form of an old creaky house… 

When Papa gave me the word “Build” on a rooftop in Malaysia, in regards to my homecoming to America, the image in my mind matched the image I saw when I looked beneath that very building on which I stood. There, lying in neat symmetrical patterns, were the makings of a new project, supplies organized and ready to go. Simply waiting on the builder to start construction.



Little did I realize that my return to the United States, after 11 months on the road and in the air traveling on my kindom journey with the World Race, would begin in the tearing down phase and would only look and feel by month 4 of being home as if my heart, mind, and even life had been cleared a  small patch towards the open space needed to build as declared in month 10 of the 11 away. As the days and now months have passed by since arriving home seemingly “ready to go,” the Lord has humbled me greatly in what the entire process of new construction on a piece of land or simply a heart looks like when the Foreman is in complete control of His project. I am a laborer. That is what I am. I am a valued laborer in this kingdom work but a laborer just the same. The project is so much bigger than I can fathom. 

The phrase “tearing down” can seem drastic or defeating when read point blank but truly, it’s an intimate process where excess is done away with and the soil is left as ready for its’ greater purpose. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I feel that gratitude for this season, has been the foundation on which God, yes that very Foreman of this life building project, desires to build His new framework. 


As you can see by clicking here, there are many steps to building anything. Some revolve around forethought and planning… others around preparation for the build… and yet others still for the very beginning stages. Good thing life is long because I suddenly feel that it is planned to be very full. Full of new ideas, dreams, and goals that all result in a finished product when I meet my great Foreman face to face. That special greeting will not just be because I’m His daughter but also because I was His obedient and willing laborer along the way. 

If you clicked on that website link I provided above, you’d understand what I mean when I say that I believe that I am in the “flooring” stage of this building project. It’s just a lot more about rebuilding me than I ever imagined it would be. It was about His dreams for my future, His planning for my location, His determination in pursuing my desire to be where He wanted me to be, His direction as to how I would build with the identity He has designed me to be as His laborer, and even His kind stripping of my knotted and twisted excess picked up along the way to this day… and now He’s laid a foundation of gratitude that will hold up His will in me and through me. 



I totally get Bob Goff, almost on every level. I hope you will read his book and feel the same way. But as this life building project gets off the ground, I realize as Bob has more and more, how ill-equipped I feel and yet how incredibly skilled I am in my Foreman’s shadow. I rest in Him and He does the work through my obedience to His call. 

Sometimes when I write about my relationship with God, I feel that a person reading who has yet to experience Him, may find it to be a manipulative relationship… let me say that I have never felt so loved in all of my life… or so free as I do right now while typing this post. Please note that even though this is about Him and not me, this life I mean, He created me to be in a love relationship with Him that only naturally involves service. As any earthly love relationship does only to the greatest degree. I serve Him because I love Him and mainly because He LOVED. me first. 

Now that I’ve explained the building process that has begun in me, I hope to help you and others experience it all week by week and in ways that change your life to also live under construction and ready to build whatever project or projects He has for you as His laborer. Life is so much better when we say yes to our Foreman’s call and labor out of love. 








beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

Maybe you are reading this post today and wondering what “your project” is going to be? Tell me your thoughts! Or maybe you desire that relationship with God, the foreman of your life, as I have described? Please click His story to know more about the Father and His Son Jesus now. Lastly, maybe you DO know how God has or is planning to use you to build as His laborer… please share below your thoughts from that perspective! I can’t wait to know!