like a rose

Beautiful girl, so tried and so timid. Your false portrayal of confidence does not fool me. Your heart is breaking and I can see it. Please, take this rose. Take this hand written note of love. Call this number. Be rescued from the darkness in which you dwell. 
Paint your lips and keep the bar code close at hand. Know we are waiting for your cry. We want to help. We dream of your delivery. We pray for you daily. You are trapped. We know. Mentally and physically trapped. You may be older. You may be in your youth. But you can be free. You can be free. 
Jesus broke my heart for you long ago. For your suffering. For your needs. For your freedom. Let us. Please, let us. Don’t run away, shy away, give up. The vans keep driving up and down and up and down. They are looking for their “girls.” The ones who they have seen week after week. The girls that know their white vans and pray to be given the red rose. Like a rose, you are precious and all together lovely. You are beautiful and LOVED. so please, don’t give up or give in but get out! 
(Florida Team)
(Our entire FL/AR Team)
You think that you won’t be safe. We will make sure that you are. You think it won’t work any other way but we promise it will. You think you will have to go back and that it will be worse but you don’t have to and it can be so much better than this. Your body can be yours and your children can get out of their fearful closets. Your Papa in heaven… He sees you. I know you have trouble believing in Him because of all you’ve been through. And especially the thought that as a Father He could possibly be good to you but one day you will. I believe for you. And He’s sending us, week after week to your neighborhood. Not to bug you. Not to cause you more pain. Not to create an issue. But to offer you the chance to be LOVED., known, and once again valued. Maybe even for the first time. Your drug addiction can’t keep you down and neither can your poverty. You are worth the fight and we ask you to let us fight for you in Jesus name. He is the freedom giver and we want to be your freedom fighters. 
Make the call, get in the van. Today could be your day of freedom. Tonight could be your night of rescue. Tomorrow can be the first day of the rest of  your life. We are praying. We are here. We love you. And we want you to know why. Because Jesus paid for you with the price of His life long ago and wants you. He WANTS you. He doesn’t want to USE you. He desires to love you the way He intended you to be loved.
Get in the van of safety. We will lead you to rest. We will share with you your worth. We will hold your hand and tell you of the freedom of God Who LOVED. you enough to bring you a rose and a way out. 
One girl got in the van. It happened. She chose freedom. Praise God. I will never forget her fragility. She was so much like a rose…

(This piece was written in honor of the organization Out of Darkness, connected with the Dream Center and the myMISSION fulfilled wkd event in Atlanta, GA. I was honored to be present for a rescue this past Friday night, there on the streets of Atlanta. One girl was given freedom and safety from her pimp on that night because after 1 year of building a relationship, she trusted us enough to get in the van. Amen)

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

Thank you for your many prayers for this past wkd’s event! I gained a huge amount of insight into the anti-trafficking movement in the United States and feel better prepared for the future work the Lord will allow me to pursue in that field of justice! 

Receiving the Rainbow

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
I cried my eyes out three times in the last week and a half… THREE TIMES! All three times, happen to be the nights that Sheldon and I had more than 5 minutes to spend with each other. Really feeling like I was wasting our moments together, I would try and suck it up. Only to burst again 25 seconds later. Fed up. He was so kind to let me talk, wiping my tears off my cheek with his pointer finger until it grew tired and he grabbed a box of tissues. He’s so funny, he began to hand me a new tissue every few seconds (a little over the top) and it made me smile.
As I cried, I talked… and talked… AND TALKED!
My natural and most impacting processing method is by far, verbal. Everyone who knows me well, knows my processing well. They also probably know that if they just let me get to my own conclusion, it’s easier for them and probably more conclusive than attempting to chime in with a response of their own. By the end of my speech, I have usually found a resolution to my current issue. Can you relate? I hope someone out there can! Haha!!
With my emotional breakdowns explained, let me move on. Why? Why was I losing it every few days? Because I was confused.
How do you handle confusion? Does it eat you up? Do you feel out of control?
These are two of the many feelings I have when I’m confused. I’d rather be mad than confused any day of the week! Because at least I would have a concise reasoning behind my fit!But no, not with confusion. There’s nothing to glean from or to bring forth into the light.  Because although my heart tells me the light will indeed come and shine truth over the mulling of my mind, I have yet to see in what seems to be darkness and so I despair.
Most of the time, I’d not be very keen on writing a blog post about my wrecked moments but then again, aren’t those usually the blog posts I read most from other writers? The ones that feel real and acknowledge that someone has been through what I have and made it out with victory to exclaim over?! So here I am, telling you about my emo days and my “crazy brain” that I often get (Shout out to my fave, Shauna Niequist who coined the phrase “Crazy Brain”). Sometimes when I have a lot on my mind to work out and sometimes when I have a lot on my mind that I just can’t seem to work out. So I hold it in because I have no one right here to listen to all my confused thoughts besides God… and well, doesn’t he tire of hearing me rough house all of His plans? So I wait until suddenly that look that I guess the man you love can only give you, causes me to burst and go on and on. As he patiently waits to say one key thing (Unless I choose to allow more wisdom beyond the one thought!)…
He says, “Lauren… I believe God is trying to tell you…”
Yeah. I knew that already. But I wouldn’t listen to God. I was ashamed! I didn’t want to admit that He knew where my heart was at in regards to His clear message!
You know, sometimes I really listen to God. Usually in regards to other people and how He wants to speak with them. Recently, I have acknowledged a new and humbling truth. My heart puts up a seemingly “God-sized wall” to protect my pride. It’s easy to say, “So and so… God wants you to know…” as Sheldon did so sweetly for me. But it’s so much harder for me to say,
“God. I’m listening. And even if I don’t want to hear it… tell me anyway.”
… when it’s about me. God gave me my first “promise rainbow” 7 years ago. I know I’ve written about it before and probably will again but for those who don’t know, God has consistently placed rainbows in the sky for the last 7 years at exactly the right moments. The moments when He desires to remind me of His promise to give me the desires of my heart based on my obedience to His calling on my life. The whole, “Seek first His kingdom” stuff. Sometimes He speaks to my heart with a word and sometimes it’s the rainbow of light in the sky but He always speaks.
I’m honestly not sure why it’s harder to listen when the word is for me as opposed to someone I know, beyond the one issue of pride (He can be monstrous though!). I mean, Scripture says all things work for my good as a purposed daughter of God? And if He controls the entire universe with no effort beyond His natural identity as God, then why on earth do I think my plans for myself are better than His for me?!!
Oh yeah, it’s not about me. If I had a dime for every time I have written that truth in a blog post, well… you get it.
So I’m grateful. A long way to tie back to the verse at the beginning of this post, I know. But today, I honestly wasn’t sure where this was going. I’m writing along with my hearts’ cry and it’s led me back into God’s Word in a waaaay roundabout direction. I’m grateful in all things. 
I said that Sheldon reminded me of the voice of God but I actually did not receive that reminder when it was given. I just cried on his shoulder until I started laughing again, pushing my frustrations aside… or truly back in. But the next morning, random in nature but divine in plan, I heard this verse over my radio on my way to coffee with two dear friends. As I waited for them to arrive, God just laid a new foundation in my heart for what was next. A defined plan. Not that crying is bad, I’m quite comfortable with it, actually. But there was no need to cry anymore

He has a plan and He owns the rights to it. If I don’t like it, I need to search my heart for sin. I believe that my “not liking” God’s perfect plan, might just be coming from that dark of a spot on my heart. Is He patient with me, absolutely. Did He want me to let Him wipe the tears from my cheek, probably. Will I listen better next time to His calming voice, I hope so. But here I was, sitting still in His presence and finally able to listen.In that moment, I wanted whatever He wants for me because I know He loves me through my selfishness and still sees me as blameless. What a gracious God.
No matter what was coming “next” in His conversation with me that morning, I was already thankful. Because I’m not alone or in charge and His timing is perfect.
See… I heard the word “build” in Malaysia and my next blog post will explain what I believe that word means after 3 months of being home and seeing a whole lot of rainbows. As opposed to the meaning I thought the word would hold in the next season of my post-race life, it has come to mean something very different and although not shocking at all… clarity has brought forth peace. 

I’m not crying anymore. I’ve made it to the other sideof this specific trial of confusion and like the bloggers I’ve read before exclaimed to my own heart, I’ll share with you that I’ve found victory! It wasn’t in the tears or in me working it out on my own. It was at the foundation, where God prepared a plan that was way bigger than I could ever imagine. The ancient ruins have been torn down, the foundation of gratitude has been lain, His rainbows of promise are visible, and I’m now ready to listen… to build.













beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

What areas of your heart cause you to give in to frustration? For me it is confusion but yours could be different. Feel free to share below about what brings you to your breaking point and how Papa pulls you out! What does He use to bring you back to Him?

looking my stove in the eyes


For much of 12 years, I cooked for 5 people multiple times each day and every week of the year. No questions asked. This began at a very young age. Part of my story equals a “trapped” existence and much of my bitterness to overcome, revolved around the kitchen, where I had spent the majority of my teen years.
While others were enjoying concerts and Friday nights with their friends, my evenings… mornings, afternoons… etc were spent prepping the carrots, beans, rice, and potatoes for the next meal. And often kale, wheat berries, and flax oil as well for only some apparent reasons.



For so long I have tried not to even glance back on my years of natural and somewhat forced training in the kitchen because of the sore spot it has been in my heart for all this time. Sheldon and I attempted to cook in the kitchen together on one of our first dates and I quickly realized that we would have to revisit this at a later date because I was testy on being questioned in my methods and he was just confused of why pancakes made me so irritable. We have ventured down the story-telling path now, of course, and even back into the kitchen. Successfully, I might add.  But the kitchen reminded me of my wounded heart and I wasn’t ready yet to accept the emotional scars as a gift.

 


BUT GOD in His infinite wisdom and mercy, brought me recently to a new found joy in a place that once embodied home in a way that felt neither comfortable or loving. He has begun to redeem the kitchen as a latter way of bringing more healing to an already overjoyed heart that has known sorrow and now enormous victory!
What I mean to say is… it’s time that this feminist (in the true and most blessed meaning of the word) returns to her kitchen.
I remember so long ago, before the hardest days had come, our table was KNOWN for the kindred spirit moments that make up the most memorable of gatherings of loved ones. I remember feasts of stir fried veggies and chicken breasts and bowls and bowls of yummy spaghetti, passed and passed again around a hearth of inner wealth. A mantel of love and acceptance. It was called “Home Group” and it was held in our dining and living room but to me it should have been called “heaven” because hosting it felt like we were there visiting, even if for just a few hours every Tuesday evening. 
The house always smelled good on Tuesday evenings and the sound of my mama cheerfully talking as she pulled the corded phone around the corner to chat while she cooked, used to make me smile and feel warmed inside, even as I played in the adjacent room. Another benefit to Home Group being at our house was that it was always sparkling clean one night a week. That just seemed fun to me. And still does.
People would laugh, share stories of their week apart, and sometimes become more serious than ever as one person declared change in their life that we all knew would alter life as they knew it in one way or another. Everyone was welcome at our table and many people, young and old, would drop in and were hemmed in, as if they were meant to be there in that minute… and for a perfect reason.
Sweet tea. There was always my mama’s incredible and overly sweetened, Southern Sweet Tea.
… and everyone enjoyed a glass. Or 12.


I was so young then. I may sound from that recollection as if I were an adult among the fold but no, I was only 7 and it still felt like I belonged.
I want to bring back the table. The community. The heart felt taste of something good no matter what this world confronts us with. And now, because of the dark years faced only a twilight or two after the good ones, I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. And there’s the blessing in disguise.
Because let’s be real… Anyone who has known me well, or maybe even just a little, can guess that I’d prefer to stand in the kitchen and talk, over my hands actually getting dirtied in the bowl of flour or by pulling chicken from those wretched bones. Some of this, I’m figuring out as I explore my past feelings of distaste for the kitchen, has simply been the emotional tie to the years it so readily connects itself with, the abuse of days gone by.
BUT GOD is doing a new thing, as I’ve already mentioned, and this time He’s combining my love for the work He does with hearts around a table and the ever present help He was to have me garner such knowledge around organic oats and natural cane sugar syrup while fighting back tears of desperate longing to just “get out.” He’s combining them in a healing wholeness that can only be described as messy… slightly confusing… and altogether lovely.
It’s romantic, really. To bring us back, He and I, to places that we’ve been together and where I’ve so clearly felt and needed His presence. I believe that it’s all in effort to bring others in again to this same space of divine love and creation.
I want to create new. From the old. With skills from within and in spite of.
Nothing is for naught and my time spent over the stove and clearing dishes again and again were all for a reason… because just as my heavenly groom wooed me as a child around cutlery and caringly placed dinnerware… and held me through meal after meal of lack and want as a teenager… now as a young adult, He says once more to my yearning spirit… 

Come away with me, dine with me, and bring others into this same heavenly existence that so beautifully depicts my heart for them in their daily life, around the table, tasting the good things and seizing the moment and their taste buds for all I can offer both of them.

(Photos were all taken in Moldova – Month 3 of my World Race – Photographer: Ali Kendrick)

So I say yes. Yes to the table of my childhood, so dear to my heart. Yes to the table of my youth, so seemingly hopeless. And now yes to the table of THIS SEASON. So bright. So connected to both eras of my past. And yes to the way it will bring my loved ones and I closer together and closer to the presence of a God that never left my side. He is faithful and He has a promise to fulfill in me.
… and besides, I know how to cook so I might as well explore that a little. I’m sure a few people won’t mind eating the rewards of a healing heart at “home” in the kitchen. 

How has cooking brought healing into your life? Any thoughts into God redeeming your past for future growth? Please comment below and share your heart! I’d love to hear.
beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

PS A big thank you to Shauna Niequist for writing the book “Bread & Wine” and for (in)courage.me and their book club called “Bloom” for the intrinsic need they helped to bless in me when I dug deep into the pages of this summer’s read and found a ripe blossom in my life ready and willing to be pruned. Soon I will pick it and throw it in a vase but one step at a time 🙂

Love Divine

As we were driving the other day, traveling over one very long state of Florida, Sheldon and I talked about something we are learning to live out… love.
As we talked, I realized something that I literally never have before and I decided to share my heart with him about it… actually, it felt risky and I was trembling as I spoke.
“Sheldon,” I said quietly.
“Yes, lil lady?” He responded as jovially as always.
“I have really fallen for you… deeper than I have ever fallen for anyone. I know you probably know that but I feel I need to talk about it. With you.”
He simply nodded and glanced over long enough to notice that I had become serious… nervous even. He could tell this was heart-felt and worth turning down the Temptations a few notches.
I continued, “My love for you is different and deeper than any love I’ve ever known. It’s grown so far… so big… and… well, it hurts.”
He looked over again, more quickly this time. This was an abrupt change to where I believe he thought my ideas were going.
“Maybe you don’t know what I mean or just don’t know yet. Maybe you do and haven’t said but sometimes the thought of losing you… God forbid… makes me ache from the inside out. It’s so weird! Haha,” I chuckled then, realizing the seeming absurdity of my dramatic speech.
I saw he was about to respond so I halted him mid-breath by adding, “It makes me feel out of control and although I realize it’s the natural progression of love to become a gradual part of the person you love, It makes me scared that I will put you first before the Lord. You know how that has kept me from deeper romances in the past… I’ve literally pushed them away because of my fear, irrational or not, that somehow I would replace my intimacy and dedication for God, with a mere man. A temporal being. An earthly love.”
My thoughts ended there, as my heart picked up pace in anticipation of what I might hear next… would he think I was crazy for feeling for him so deeply already…
Would he consider my heart crazy for risking so much?
…and then he blew me out of the water with his wisdom in response to my emotional overthrow.
“I totally understand and you’re not crazy for feeling that way. “The two shall become one,” (We’ve been referencing this verse in jest a lot as we’ve been learning to overcome our individualistic ways, lol). That’s a painful process and it’s sacrifice of self but if you feel that deeply for me and have that strong of feelings in the thought of losing me… just think how Jesus feels at the thought of being replaced. His love is waaaaaay deeper and stronger than we’ll ever be able to give and yet he risks sharing us with the loved ones he gives us on earth, knowing that we could choose to focus on them instead of Him. We’re worth the risk. He hurts at the thought of us loving something or someone more than Him. And yet He chooses to love us anyway.”
“First. He LOVED. us first,” I added as cement to his already solid proposal.
“I never want you to love me for than you do Jesus, baby. He loves you better than I ever can or will,” Sheldon continued.  “And as long as you seek Him first, above me or anything or anyone on this earth… He will add all of the things you desire most to you… like our love. And the more we love Him and seek His kind of love, the better we’ll understand how to love each other.”
I asked Sheldon for his blessing in sharing this personal story of ours because it taught me something brand new about the love of Christ. I feel there are a few more people than me that continue to be blown away by the depth of His perfect love.
Jesus sacrificed His life for us. He gave it all. He hurt in ways we truly cannot understand but as a friend I had coffee with this week pointed out… Jesus was tempted in every way and yet endured, even to the cross without sinning. It wasn’t in the temptation that was relieved of sin but in His choice of obedience in spite of temptation that He overcame. And so must we to be like Christ. He is our great example in all things. And just like overcoming sin, we must seek Jesus first for that victorious and loving spirit to overwhelm us in word and in deed. It’s not enough to say we love Jesus if we are numb to choosing others and our stuff over Him. He is so jealous for us.
I get jealous, I’ll admit it! I try not to, I pray through it like a good Christian girl should… but in the end, I want to be 1st place in the lives of those I love most. Specifically, in the eyes of the man I love most and want to be my groom. And there’s the point. Jesus is the spotless groom and we are His radiant bride. He longs for us with a love that is so pure… so transparent… He LONGS to reveal to us the truth of who He is and how He feels about us, His beloved.
1 John declares that God. Is. Love.
I want to be LOVED. more than anything else in this world and well, as I write it is confirmed… I want to fall in love so deeply with the Lord that the chest pains I have at the thought of losing the earthly man I love… pale in comparison to the ones I have when I am found distant from my heavenly love… my God.

I love Him because He first LOVED. me. Period.

Translucent



A heart that you can see through is a heart that can be used to shine the glory of God through… clean… pure… authentic.
When I think of the word “pure,” I think of the color white. I think of my heart being “white as snow” when it’s considered a “pure heart.” But in reality, I know that the purest form of gold is not in fact gold, or even white… it’s clear. What about “Clean water?” Is that white? Or anything other than see-through?  An honest heart would not be clouded or masked by an obstruction of any sort, right? Reality must be present when honesty exists and if the reality of the heart is blurred… than so is the authenticity of its’ existence.
Which brings me to the word “translucent.
The pastor at a church I visited this past Sunday was speaking on the value of and call to have a “clean heart” as talked about throughout Scripture. It was a message I love to hear because it often involves a few of my favorite passages of the Bible… Psalm 51Ezekiel 36.Verses that cause you to re-evaluate.
As He was sharing, Papa em-blazed this word, “translucent,” clearly into my thoughts (Love it when He does that!).   I pondered over it, talked about it with Sheldon as we drove down the state of Florida towards vacation a week ago,  and even began to try and practically review my own hearts’ state to see if it could be categorized as such. I mean, what on earth would it look like to possess a “translucent heart?”
Vulnerable. But not quite see-through. 
See-through would be thought of as a phrase revealing much vulnerability in any context and for me, God prodded my own clouded, translucent heart to reveal the next phase of my relationship with Him. He wants me to have an honest, clean, pure, and ultimately authentic heart. He wants to be able to see through it because of its’ intrinsic naked reality.

He wants my heart to be “transparent.”
How?
How do I become honest? How do I achieve purity of heart in its’ ultimate and most basic form?
I continued to soak in this question as our beautiful vacation of laughter and relaxation continued…
My heart, valued as gold, must be melted down. Subdued to its’ base level… it’s going to be a painful process. Not because my God desires me to suffer humiliation but because He is so real and at the base of who I am as a being created in His image… He has already been there and done that and desires me to reflect Him as an image in a mirror.
What else besides a mirror has a reflecting affect? Many types of metal and water.
Metal is melted down to its’ purest form for shaping and the stillest of waters reflects most clearly. My lesson here? Apply my heart to the refiners’ fire before being formed and sit patiently while He allows peace to cause His perfect reflection.Eventually, my translucent heart will produce the best product of  His workmanship… undefiled and completely transparent love.

please return to read more on my next blog entitled “Love Divine.”

myMission: atlanta

I AM GOING!!! Not only did my friend donate to my serving at this worthy event but has also decided to go herself!!! PRAISE GOD!!! He provides the funds and the laborers!! 

Now my new question is… WHO ELSE WANTS TO SERVE AT THIS EVENT???!!!

We can carpool and/or meet up while we are there and work as a TEAM for the weekend!! Please, let me know if you are as excited as we are about serving these women!!! You may comment below or find me on Facebook!

We plan to register THIS Monday (July 15th) either way but would love to go as a team!!

(If you are unable to go but would like to sponsor someone else going, please click “donate” below and it will go straight to a willing servant of this event! THANK YOU!)

stepping into the rain


As we entered the village that day, the sun shone hot and the clouds moved lazily through the sky. The afternoon was cheerful and the ownership of plans in tact. We were to wash the children’s hair with shampoo and speak to the families with smiles and an equally cheery countenance. These were our only mission points, so to speak. We just wanted to help the children with their lice and the families with their hope. God had a different plan for me that day. His plan would wreck me. His plan would set my heart on fire. His plan was not my plan. His plan was not for me. 

Pay Pond.

The children were laughing at all of the silly American antics as we walked and my young Cambodian friend told me more of her dreams of the future with each step we took. She wants to be a pastor. She’s sixteen and very determined to share the love of God that she has received. We walked on and finally reached the wooden open air hut we were aiming for. We did wash the children’s hair and there was even a tiny little girl, staying in the hut with her aunt and uncle next door, who I gladly conversed with (She spoke English very well!) until the moment of all frozen moments of my Race happened. It just happened. 

I looked up from the tiny head I had just washed clean and saw a woman in her 40s, rubbing a large coin across the arms, back, and legs of an older woman laying flat and with nothing on but an old blanket.  I rounded the group of children and with a pounding heart, approached the scene of deliberate life giving motion from a daughter for her mother.  She was working the body back and forth with her coin to bring circulation to the weary veins of a woman she loved, trusted, and had been cared for by many years before. Honor. I saw honor in this picture and could only take it in with short breaths. 

The chorus of lively children seemed like a stark and almost slap in the face kind of contrast to the reality of this broken woman lying flat against the war of time. She had been strong and now, even in the face of obviously great pain, she just lie there. Still. Unwavering, not knowing what state she was in… no, not caring. She just didn’t care anymore and you could tell. Her daughter cared though and so she rubbed on, over the bodily signs of fatigue and the pooling of blood shown along the outside lines of her frail, hungry frame. 

If I had been shocked by this picture, I would have been shocked by a thousand others the ten months prior. Instead, I stood there staring  utterly connected in spirit with this elderly woman, tired from years of something she never asked for and yet was born into by divine appointment. Here she was, lying still. So still. And then there was her face. Wow. The look in her eyes as she opened her weary lids left me speechless and in a split second I made a choice. Slowly my hand reached forward and she stared back much like I had just done. She looked from my hand to my face for a few seconds and then also made a similar choice. She uncurled her arm from under her bare chest and slower than you can imagine, reach her worn fingers towards mine. My arm was fully outstretched, if you can picture it, because I was standing on the ground and the landing she was perched on was at shoulder level for me. For 45 uncomfortable minutes, we stay as this. Me reaching out in great feelings of sympathy and she holding on for life. 

Sorrow. Her eyes held so much sorrow, my stomach turned in knots. My friend, Hannah, joined me for a while and even cupped her hand over ours for a bit but soon was, believe it or not, redirected to this elderly lady’s sister who was also “bed ridden” behind the sheer and tattered curtain on the other side of this worn out porch. There were two of them. There were two of us called to their sides that day. I was glad to not leave my new friend’s side. More than anyone else the entire 11 months, this angel, this tired angel, needed me to tell her it was okay, without saying a word. And so I did. The Spirit of a very living God told me she was sad and we never said a thing. He said she was so sad right now because she was missing her husband. I didn’t know why exactly, assuming by her age that he had long passed. I began to intercede for this woman and specifically her broken heart. 

Those long minutes passed but our eye contact never faltered. I soon realized that this grasp was not enough to release this woman of her inner agony. More action needed to be taken… and with that, I bounded the few steps to reach her level and with a gust of emotion, laid down right next to this precious woman. There might have been times on the Race when I worried about cultural norms or the need to fit into a society nothing like my own but this moment called for an unsung courage that I do not possess on my own. This moment was about her and there was something she DID need from me that day. The love of my Jesus, face to face with her… to carry her burdens far from her. To take on her fears, sadness, and desperate loneliness. It really did take lying flat on the hard wood to win over her trust. We began to sing.

A song filled my heart and I began to hum… still no words necessary. She hummed along. I had yet to hear sounds from her mouth but here they were, quiet. Sure. I looked deeply into the pools of blackened sorrow that shaped her almond eyes and I told her something with my own blue eyes that was only a message from heaven, “It’s okay. You mean the world to me and your heart will feel better soon. You have done so much… been so much to a family who needed you, to a village that needed you. It’s time to let me love you. You’ve done well. You are beautiful and I want to take your sorrow from your bones so that you can lie in peace for the remainder of your days, though they are few. 

Wrapped up in the love of the moment and the serenity within the shrill shrieks of the exciting day in the village, I almost missed the rolling in of the dark clouds above our heads or the feeling of chill gradually filling the humid air. As the thunder sounded and the lighting began to streak across the now rugged sky, the translator was asked to make a few specific inquieries about the family, the two older ladies and more. We found out that the two elder sisters were 90 and 91, mine being the oldest of the two. We also found out that a big portion of their issue at the moment was that they were starving… to death. The family had not expected them to live as long as they had and could not afford their meals on top of the rest. I did find out that her husband had only died the year before leaving her so alone and beyond broken. 

Even though the religioius statistics of the country would project otherwise, somehow I knew she knew Jesus and when I asked about this very thing, this old woman’s daughter looked at me instead of the translator and said in another language quickly translated, “She and her husband ran the missionary church in the village over from here. She hasn’t been back since her husband died and she is brokenhearted.” I knew the timing was perfect. I knew this woman’s incredible heavenly Father had planned this. And I knew that I was at the right place for the right time to share an unspoken message with her that would determine the rest of her long lived short life. She was finished and her Papa just wanted her to know that she had done well and that He loved her. 

I finally pulled away from the old woman that had stolen my heart for an hour and a half… maybe a lifetime. The single stream of tears down her right cheek was slowly wiped away and although she never smiled with her mouth at any point, her eyes were definitively lighter and held a speck of light that was unmistakable. She would live well for however many days she had left because she knew the truth. My friend and I were able to bless them with $5 each… all we had on us since we didn’t typically give out money. I wouldn’t even tell you that we gave if it wasn’t so key to what I want to share with you in this story… $5 equaled enough money to provide a MONTH of food for each of them. The mother smiled broadly as the translator shared that she would be back to check on the use of the funds. She would be a good daughter. No doubt in my mind. She already was. 

As Pay Pond slid her weathered blanket further up and over her shoulders to reveal her feet to the cold wind, rain began to fall. Rain began to pour. 


Who knew that my return to the Race, following a short stint of celebration at home, would bring the absolute best moment of the entire 11 month journey?? Some people mentioned to me that they would have stayed home given the chance but I always knew that there was more that God wanted to do and for humbling reasons that I certainly cannot explain, He had chosen to use me. 

In church this past Sunday, the pastor on the simulcast spoke words that have stuck with me into the week. He said, “The Spirit of God is always raining down on God’s land. It’s those stepping into the rain that reap its’ rewards of refreshment, renewal, and powerful love.” I’ve noticed that I often feel tired, weary, and even fragile in this life I live whether walking on the dusty road of Cambodia or driving the paved Scenic Highway in Pensacola, FL USA. It’s certainly easy for me to forget the power of God that He filled me with long ago and for Whom I claim to live life dedicated to each day. Many times the simple act of walking out into the showers of what He is offering is all it would take to encourage me or create in me a selfless outlook into the impact I could make in that day. It’s perspective. It’s acknowledging what’s already there and taking place whether I join in or not…

So I pray that I will always acknowledge the rain of the Spirit all around me. That I would live better than without and larger than too small. He wants every person to feel the intensity of what He shared with How Sieng through a single stare. Even me. He wants me to know Him and hear His messages. He is not hiding. He is allowing the rain, even on the sunny Florida days. This rain isn’t depressing as some are… it’s empowering, invigorating, and enticing for an amazing life just waiting to be discovered. 

I did have to walk away from Pay Pond, maybe one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. She will only live days and I know it and then she will be waiting on me. I like that thought a lot! No more pain, no more sorrow, only beauty, and altogether perfection in the arms of the rainmaker. 

As Hannah and I held each other and walked home that day, the rain came down so hard that our vision was blurred and yet we shared the same feeling of walking above the ground just a bit because of 1 hr and 45 min of heaven on earth with Pay Pond and her sister, How Sieng. This rain felt just how I described God’s rain above. 

There will always be this decision… to be in the rain with the Spirit, instead of staying under the shelters that we make for ourselves to protect us from the hurts of the world. 

I want to be soaked through. 


beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

the seventh day

“…and at the end of the sixth day, God looked at all he had made and it was very good… and on the seventh day, He rested.” – Genesis 1:31 & 2:2
Home has been many long awaited things but the one thing I felt the need for when landing with butterflies in my stomach and a knot in my throat on American soil. Rest. Undisturbed, revitalizing rest. The rest that makes you want to curl your toes up in the warmth of a blanket. Rest that says, “Your home.” The kind of rest that let’s you sit free of distractions. From all you’ve seen, experienced… and even faced in your world and in my case, around the world on my World Race.
I love my home. I used to see the word “home” and consider it a synonym for the word “Egypt” and all the history that Egypt holds within its’ grasp and meaning. For years I’ve felt that my return home would be going back to where I came from… returning to the place I was in… giving up the identity that I am and choosing my past as the present and future. Do not confuse my loved ones as cause for fear because they too lived through tragedy to become what they are now, Overcomers. No, it’s not them at all. It’s the idea. The thought that what was and was horrible as it was might somehow become my way and will again. Egypt was not an option. For the last 6, going on 7 years, I have been pursuing the Promised Land.
My car was named Moses last year! I’ve mentioned this in a past blog, I know. It humors me to think of the drive in which we have to pursue what we want… what we are passionate about. I am passionate about FREEDOM.
Just shy of one year ago, I said “see ya later” to those loved ones and a few new ones (Okay, one new one in particular ;), in effort to follow HARD after the will of my Savior. He said “go” and I simply said, “yes.” 
(Above pics by Ali Kendrick)
(Team 1: Aletheia)
Month one (Ireland) was a shock, not at all what I hoped for and yet exceeded my expectations of community in incomparable ways. 

(Above pics by Ali Kendrick)
Month two (Ukraine) was busy, exhausting, and fulfilling… a real difference maker for so many children, and us. It was about becoming a team member, instead of an individual. 
(Above pics by Ali Kendrick)
(Above pic by me)
(Flag pics by Christian Norris) 
Month three (Moldova) often left me quaking with the newness of the spiritual realm and how real the presence of darkness can be. It also put a fight in me as a daughter of the most high King that I had never experienced before. I want to write more about Moldova… it seems to be the most productive work I did in the kingdom this year visibly and I couldn’t even converse in the same language as most I encountered. 
(Above pic by Daniel Whited)
(Above pics by me)
(Above pics by Ashley Francis)
(Team 2: Team Team Ignition)
Month four (Kenya) rocked my world and my worldview and even my confidence in the life that I am capable of enduring and even enjoying. Prayer and deliverance. Hope and inspiration. These were the important “things” that I did in month 4. 
(Above pic by Diane LaCour)
(Above pics by me)
Month five (Tanzania) makes me weary just talking about it but I know Papa worked in ways I can not see. 
(Above pic by Ashley Francis)
Month six (Malawi/Mozambique) seems like a blur because of the randomness of our work, the focus being taken off of our ministry and on to us, and even the way in which God used simple conversation to change my life. 
(Above pic by Tyler Lee)
(Above pic by Diane LaCour)
(Above pic by me)
(Above pics by Ashley Francis)
(Above pic by Meghan Tschanz)
Month seven (Nepal) was long awaited because of the words given to me the year before about its’ great significance in my life. I learned month seven, stricken with sickness and incapable of “leading” as I thought I needed to do, that I don’t want to be needed by the world. I just want to be a part of it. Moving, changing, living, and mostly loving. I led better that month than I ever did the rest of the year as a Team Leader and then a Squad Leader… because I rested in the presence of God and left the results up to Him. I began to be greatly humbled.
(Above pics by Ashley Mueller)
Month eight (India), I was busy again. Maybe busier than I was month two, if possible. Planning for month nine (Womanistry in Thailand!) with my accomplice and fellow Team/Squad Leaders, we also determined our minds to focus where we were and as Jim Eliot commissioned long ago, be all there. It wasn’t difficult because the precious children at the deaf school we served at reminded us of why we were where we were by the very groans they produced to praise our King as they could. We were indeed all in. 

(Above pic by Rachel Ritsema)

(Above pic by Deon Vanstaden)
(Womanistry. Pics by Georgia Dewey)
(Above pic by Ali Kendrick)
(Above pic by me)
Month nine (Thailand) was a blessing. Working in the Red Light, a coffee shop, and clearing brush in the village, all the while looking after the hearts of all of our World Race girls with two other Squad Leaders, created a month of great joy and challenges for me personally. God began to confront the deepest parts of my identity and to rock my world in relation to what His plans for my next season following the Race really were. 
(Above pics by Georgia Dewey)
(Above pic by me)
The tenth month (Malaysia) of the World Race brought difficulty as I had not faced as each day became a fight to stay honoring in a degrading society. Women were not treated well in the town we lived in and we were no exception. Our contact was incredible, however, and I did in  fact meet me in eighteen years in the form of a special Chinese lady. We became besties and it redeemed a month of silence, forced to remain quiet about the hope that leapt inside our hearts each day. Religious and gender persecution were nothing to play around with that month. The team I was visiting with that month really banded together and we grew because of it. 
(Above pics by me)
The beginning of month eleven came with a great surprise!!! I went home (US of A!) to celebrate my Mama’s graduation and was blessed to see Sheldon baptized as well as to celebrate one of my sister’s bdays with her for the first time in ten years! What a blessed seven days! Seven days… hm. I returned to the Race to finish. The rest of month eleven (Cambodia) could not have been more memorable. Incredible youth, orphans, rescued women and amazing squad mates ended my World Race with a celebration of what God can do when you just say yes.
(Above pic by me)

(Above pics by Georgia Dewey)
(Above pic by Deon Vanstaden)
 
(Above pic by Diane LaCour)
And that’s that. My World Race in summary! As I look back on what could be compared to days 1-6 of creation (eleven months, actually!), I do now as my Creator’s daughter as He did then. He looked back and smiled… so do I.
There will be days where I think back to this month or that one and think, “I could have done more or something different,” but God (as my example in all things) did not do this. He looked at his work and he said, “It is very good.” I now choose to do that too.  This summer really is my day seven. It’s time to rest. Not just because the World Race is over but because my Life Race has only just hit a stride and for me to not tire out, I must take a breather, a sip of Gatorade (I actually prefer PowerAde), if you will. It’s time to let go and release, time to be, and time to gear up. It’s time to be fed properly and to soak up the presence of my Father in an uninterrupted way. It’s time to process the war zone I’ve returned from. The spiritual battle is not over, it’s just shifted and for me to be in fighting (aka LOVING) shape, I must recharge.

(Above pics are a glimpse into this summer’s rest. Day 7.)

My Papa has not led me back to Egypt… nope! He has moved me forward towards the Promised land, which looks a lot like Jerusalem. Jerusalem is where He wants me to start again. It’s a new season in an old place and it’s going to still be here when day seven comes to a close. So for now look back at what God did last year in and through me as I rest in His promise that He’s not finished with me yet.
I’m looking back at my World Race… It sure was good.
Now rest.
beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+

PS Just returned from Project Searchlight (A re-gathering of Racers fresh off the field for reentry information, counseling, and refreshment in community and worship at the main office in Gainesville, GA). I highly recommend every Racer go to their own PSL. WORTH IT!!!

beLOVED.

(4/12/13)

From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
5 years ago, God began a little baby organization called Revealed Ministries. Although young in experience, fiery and determined has been its’ existence. Upon ignition, this same ministry was thrust forward into the direction of “radical” as little girl after little girl came to the Revealed truth that she is in fact a daughter of the Most High King and is valuable, right now, simply because she was born and He loves her. Revealed has traveled across the South East thus far, on mission to spread God’s truth and grace, and yet so many girls have already heard Him speak to them and have found refuge in Him. All of these girls, and many a leader, have been shared with a very specific and yet deeply sinking message…
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
LOVED.
The theme verse of Revealed Ministries and the heart behind every word spoken, dance choreographed, and painting designed is that of 1 John 4:9
“By this was God’s love revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
The fact that the love of Jesus is deep, wide, and covers all our sin, making us blameless in His sight, is not only needed to be heard by the young women of our day but they are actually starving for such truth as this. The world says that they are not enough. And they are. We all are, actually. The world and even the church often send a message to its’ hearers that more has to be done to be seen, heard, and found important when in reality, our very presence can equally hold His presence and God’s view of us does not change one single ounce when the weight of our sin is placed on a scale of worth. We remain without shame.
  From laurenclement.theworldrace.org      From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
Is the Gospel presented, yes. Because Christ’s blood is the atonement but even without His atonement, his view of us would not have changed or even began as negative. But because of His sacrifice, our FUTURE has changed. His blood is redeeming so for all of the sweet angel girls who have gone too far and have sliced to feel, and even those who have yet to try but feel they might break soon… we speak out and wing in. Revealed Ministries brings light to dark spaces that are creeping in the midst of the walls of a church and to school clubs that just want to make a difference in their halls but don’t know how. Leaders come and they too experience the raptured passion that they once had for God’s Word and His plans for their futures. They decide to influence those they can and when these girls leave an event, they tell us that they know that God’s love is unconditional. That they choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to add or take away from His powerful and beautiful love. PERIOD.
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org From laurenclement.theworldrace.org From laurenclement.theworldrace.orgFrom laurenclement.theworldrace.org
I tell you about Revealed Ministries because even after 11 months of visiting and partnering with organizations all over the world, this work remains my heart. My heart breaks for women around the world. And I feel that if I can be a part of pioneering the Revelation of truth to American teenage girls… they will be the very ones to continue the work that is needed internationally to set women free. Freedom. It’s what we all crave and it’s what the Spirit of God offers. By setting the hearts of young girls on fire for the passionate promise of God’s love in their lives, I have done the one and only thing that I am most called to do. Ignite. When a fire is lit, the spreading is contagious to the elements around it. They are consumed and gathered as a part of the force. “Please, God,” I pray, “Set a fire in women here so that they can free women there.”
I believe that one day (While I am alive and well, I hope!), God will call Revealed Ministries to be Revealed International. Actually, I claim it. Because I’ve seen women trapped, hurting, and needing of rescue everywhere I’ve been this year. And that started at the Revealed events that were held in the US. We are all the same, just some know the truth of what it means to be free.
  From laurenclement.theworldrace.org  From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
I am not alone in this quest!! Thank God!!! We are a team. We have been and as God leads, we will be. There is so much to be done for we are tiny and the work is big but our FAITHFUL God is bigger and it’s His plan anyway. He said, “Revealed is your Plan A” in Thailand and I have chosen to buy in. His reward, the heavenly one is so much better a blessing than anything I could acquire for myself. I don’t even want to look elsewhere. I just want to keep looking into the eyes of freedom. Free indeed.
So I’m leaving this 11 month journey with a cause but not one that I picked up along the way (Because I truly thought He was going to call me somewhere in Africa to drop everything and move there to adopt 100 kids or something… maybe that was Katie, lol). Instead, He has led me back to the place I started. Not a finish line at all, folks. Nope. This World Race led me to a new journey of accepting the gifts that God has already given to me and putting my 100% into them.
    From laurenclement.theworldrace.org From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org         From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
What’s next???
I’m moving home. Pcola bound! I will be living with my mama and my soon to be 17 year old sister, Mallori, until further notice. I have an incredible man of God waiting for me at the Pensacola Regional Airport, that is anxiously and yet supportively waiting for us to plant roots in our home town. My story will be written one mug of coffee at a time and I will teach dance as a hobby (Because I love it!), as a passion (Because God made it so), as a money-maker (Because it’s a little of one), and as a way to invest in the community that I call home. In this I want to sing more, dance more, act more, and love more. I want to experience and not just live. I desire conversations and quiet meaningful moments and more than anything, I want the presence of the Spirit of God wherever I am. I may start a Women’s group or maybe even hold a safe place for teen girls to come together once a week because I’m still technically single and can. I know I want to be a functioning part of a church and am seeking God to lead me to the one of many that will be available. Cooking is on the agenda too but more as therapy from 11 months of rice than anything practical. This will be my life for the next leg of my Life Race.
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
First, 2 weeks at least of sleep and hulu 😉
Revealed will be my number 1 “job” and I have no idea how that is supposed to look when bills begin to come. Please pray with me as I trust God to direct my path day. By. Day. He’s always been true to His word. Do you know that I love rainbows because of how God has spoken His promises through them? I’ll be honest, I’m scared a little. Scared that my life doesn’t look “normal” in some ways and scared because it’s starting to look too “normal” in others. Ha! So I appreciate your prayers, your thoughts, and definitely your community. I’m leaving a Race filled with people sharing common current goals. I look forward to this next season and the relationships that will be built along the way over meals, movies, and moment by moment memories.
I’m looking for a few rainbows.
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
Life may be changing radically in a matter of days but from my current view, the one I’ve requested from heaven, it’s looks colorful and joyful…
beLOVED. is who I have become. If you have read my previous blog, you know that I was given that name in a prophetic word from 2 friends through Isaiah 62 but now it’s also a way of life and a striking title to this next season.
Revealed Ministries opened the door in my life to Who God is and “How He Loves.” But now God has shown me His desire for me to dwell in that unconditional place of His wonder. And since to be known is to be LOVED., I desire that the next route I run will be filled with the being and not doing, resting and not striving, and abiding right where I was meant to live. Healthy and in Him. He is sufficient and I am going to let my Papa love me. That is enough.
  From laurenclement.theworldrace.org  From laurenclement.theworldrace.org  From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org    From laurenclement.theworldrace.org
Thanks for joining me here in this update. I still have so much to tell you about the World Race and running it but that will have to wait until I can type away on MY lap top instead of my ridiculous tablet of scorn! Haha! Keep reading, God’s done some crazy, life altering things in and around me and I’m so stoked to share it all!
From laurenclement.theworldrace.org(See that open space… “so I go”)
beLOVED.,
LO!<><+
About Revealed Ministries:
Revealed Ministries will continue to develop as the Leadership Team catches up to God’s recent movements but as of now, we provide either a night of worship or a weekend retreat for girls ages 13-18 (And their church or school leaders) to hear and see the revelation of God’s truth in the way of art, speaking, dancing, sports, writing, small groups, music, and all other forms of worship to our King. They will come as seeking girls and leave as princess warriors!!!!
Contact revealedministries@hotmail.com or check out our facebook page Revealed Ministries. We have a website under development and you can find the link on our facebook page!
              From laurenclement.theworldrace.org



I have a new name!

(4/23/13)

From laurenclement.theworldrace.org

“When the 

Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”  Psalm 126

 
God gave me the above passage as a measure of hope during the darkest season of my life to date. I remember that I was awake at 2 in the morning on a winter’s night, leaned against my bathroom door where I often braced myself against the sorrow of the world I was trapped in. Sleep had not come because I had stubbornly not let it. I was 17 and my heart just felt as if it couldn’t take any more isolation or abuse and the only time I felt a moment of sanity was in the quiet of the night, late into the hours of the only freedom I knew. Without going too deep into detail, I will simply say that I was desperate for a word from the God I claimed as my own and He reached down in a single moment, that determining moment, and gave me the above words as not only a sign that life would not end this way but a prophetic word that the future would be about new beginnings, mercies unknown, and an overcoming spirit that tells its’ story in declarations of overflowing joy for others to receive as similar messages of hope. 

 
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they didn’t love their live – even unto death.” -Revelation 12:11
 

One night, several years ago now, I stood in front of my peers at a BCM event and declared to them a tiny piece of my story, more than I had ever shared before. Actually, anything would have been considered “more” because this was the very first time I had opened up about my story. That night we were asked to wear a white T-shirt, covered by a black T-shirt. Both had block letters on either the front or the back. The black shirt declared the word “Trapped” on the back as I stood facing the band at the front of the room. Quivering, I shook out my notes several times just to keep the words un-blurred. After we had each shared, a song was played by the band and as they came to the lyrics listed above that are taken straight from Scripture, we pulled the black shirts over our heads and turned around to reveal BRIGHT RED letters on the front of our shirts, which declared who we actually were to all as witnesses. Mine said “FREEDOM.”

That night began a journey. A Kingdom journey. One of discovery. One of 2 steps forward and often, 1 step back. A journey to uncover the hidden wounds of the past and definitely a journey to seek healing and redemption for all that was. 

Now we speed forward . . .

 
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent . . .”

From laurenclement.theworldrace.org


 
The story I have to tell the world is not quaint. It’s definitely not roses and butterflies but it’s real. It’s relatable to someone somewhere and that’s why I will not be silent. She or he needs to know the hope I have come to cling to. The joy I have been given as an unmerited gift. And don’t forget the value I never knew I held. A value that gives me the right to be called a co-heir with Christ. A daughter of the King. 

In Moldova, going into month 3, God told me He wanted to give me a new name because at one point in time, I had related to the sowing of tears represented in Psalm 126 but that now, as an overcomer, I had a new name to walk in. Similar to the saints of old, when something big happens in a person’s life, we should move forward in the new work in them and claim their victory right along with them! I asked Him what this new name was, assuming it was to replace “Lauren.” Naturally, I was ready to give it up , even if it meant being called Bertha! Haha! There was so much excitement in the idea of walking out the victory of a new life with a new name! Then He was silent . . .

My friend, Ashley, asked me if I thought I was to go back to being called Lauren (Instead of my newer nickname, “LO”). “I don’t know? Could be,” I said. Her reasoning was great and played into the redemption of the past. I prayed further into this as the months progressed but eventually gave up on receiving a new name. It didn’t seem to come and I was like, “Oh well, I have the new life. I don’t need a new name. I guess I kind of like my current one anyway, ha!”


 
“. . . until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.”

 
This year has been incredible. Leaning on Jesus to get me through day to day in brand new surroundings and with intensely passionate people who just want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. It wasn’t perfect. Neither was I. I did change though. I changed little by little with each passing day and pruning of my heart. God continues to shape me. It’s not over yet. Some days it’s painful but other days His hands are comforting. Either way, He’s working on me so that I can be free as me. Lauren. In Mozambique, this hit me. My identity had become wrapped up in the word “Minister” instead of who I was created to walk the earth as, “Lauren.” Me. He just wanted me to be me. His story through my story is great without me having to try hard to make it better. I was trapped. Then I represented FREEDOM. That’s enough. I am enough. 

 
“The nations shall see your righteousness. . . and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.”

 
About a month ago, my heart was shook to the core as I came to my knees in the area of my pride. I’m hoping to post a separate blog strictly for that because it was such a defining moment but I must mention it here as a part of my new name. After claiming who I was in Mozambique, I settled in to live out the rest of my days as “me.” What I hadn’t realized at the time was that God was softening my heart towards who I was so that He could point out where the oil and the fire met. The place where I was ignited for Him and how sometimes I threw water on His fire in me instead of pouring on the oil of gladness and grace. Some of you may have seen this in me before but others may have not so let me just say that there is a portion of my heart that still hurts from the past. From the days braced against the bathroom door and the ills of this world. That isn’t shocking, however, it is sometimes ugly when it rares its’ head at other’s expense. I have a way with words and sometimes this can be wounding when tossed carelessly into the air. Again, without details coming out in this post, let me just say that by no means had I intended EVER to drown out the fire that God wanted to ignite in others through me but pride has a funny way of springing to the surface when we still think we are justified because of hurts of our past. REFINERS FIRE. That’s what I would call the last month of my life from Thailand to Malaysia. It’s time to work through some ugly stuff. The yucky heart sickness that is left after a season of trauma. There is no purpose for that in my future and the next chapter of my story can not be accomplished until Jesus shows me fully that it is HIS grace in me that allows me to do anything I do in His Kingdom. He doesn’t ask me to be perfect. He does ask me to live like I love Him and to depend on Him like a branch to the Vine. King Jesus. He is so mighty to save me day by day.

From laurenclement.theworldrace.org

 
“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord. . .”

 

Then He told me my new name . . .
 
 
 


Beloved



“You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called Hephzibah “My delight is in her” and your land Beulah “Married.”

 
A few days ago, Meghan (One of the girls on a team I am visiting), shared with therest of her team and I that she felt that God was speaking “New Names” over all of us and that we were to pray into that for the week ahead. We were paired off and at the end of the week, she herself gave me Isaiah 62 and told me that my new name is

Beloved.

Little did she know that God would speak through this word to confirm the next chapter of my story . . . again, a coming post titled “beLOVED.”

As she shared with the team what God had given her for me, she read Isaiah 62 and closed with these words, “LO, I just feel that God is declaring your past closed and your future open. That what happened in your past is redeemed and that He now plans to use you as Beloved to bring His Kingdom to earth in a new way, with you walking in a new name.” (Something like that! Ha!)



 
“Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples.”
 

On a rooftop in Penang, Malaysia on day 2 of this month, God repeatedly spoke the words “Build up” to me and I was so confused by them that I remember shouting it into the night sky and adding, “…What in the world does that mean???!” When this verse was read aloud in Team Time a few weeks later, the very same words leapt from the pages and into not only my ears but also my heart! 

He always shines light on the next step. Have you noticed that? I didn’t know what name He wanted to give me until I was ready for one. Likewise, He spoke the words “Build up” over my future and gave me only a snippet of clarity into what that means. Will he again come through in the future with further light shone onto the practicality of this personal call? Yes!! Yes, He will! He’s so faithful! Don’t you see?? He gave me a new name at the exact point in time that I needed it. I will be going home soon and I pray that like my new name, God will reveal all that “build up” entails but for now . . . I’m walking as His beLOVED. and it’s an honor. 

From laurenclement.theworldrace.org

beLOVED.,
Lauren!<><+