Sunday, December 28, 2008

Eye Surgery Success...

November 22, 2008 was a momentous day in my life. It was a day that life as I have known it for 25 years changed for the better. On that cool Saturday morning, I had surgery in Dallas to correct the way in which my eyes track with one another, making them straight for the first time in my life as an adult. The end result is, I believe, a direct answer to many prayers offered on my behalf and a gift of grace from the hand of the Lord. My doctor was absolutely wonderful and he was one of the kindest, most gentle, and most humble men I have ever met. I wish all doctors treated their patients the way he treated me. God used him as an instrument to sew me back together the way He inteded. My recovery has gone very well and my family and I are very pleased with the outcome of the surgery. I will go back to Dr. Beauchamp on January 5th for a check-up. Going through this surgery has made me very thankful for the gift of sight! It has been so wonderful to look people straight in the eye! It truly does help a person connect to another. I am so very blessed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

One of My Loves...

There are many things that I really enjoy. Music is at the very top of my list. I usually don't make it through a day without turning on my iPod or radio. The Lord has used music in my life to teach me, to help me relax, and most importantly, to encourage my spirit. My favorite type of music is contemporary Christian. I really enjoy all aspects of this genre. There is one artist who stands above the rest as my very favorite: Chris Tomlin.

In my opinion Chris is a very gifted worship leader that the Lord has used to bless countless lives. It doesn't take very long at all after I have turned on his music that I am led into a time of worship. His music always refreshes, empowers, and blesses my heart and I am thankful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Midweek Blessings...

I have been thinking about the many ways the Lord has blessed me recently. Since it is the middle of the week, I thought I would share a few:

- 2 days of uninterupted time spent with a woman I truly cherish
- freedom
- a warm house on a cold winter night
- God's amazing love
- great friends
- great uplifting music
- God's kindness
- successful eye surgery
- listening to encouraging messages
- the knowledge that I am a chosen and blood-bought daugher of the Lord
- having the priviledge of serving my neighbors at the Christmas Blessing

And that is just a few. I have so many more blessings I could list. God is so good and I am so blessed and honored to know that I belong to Him. Be blessed today!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fun Times...

I have had some fun experiences the past few weeks. One fun new tradition I got to experience was Choctoberfest. I was invited by a wonderful young woman from my Tuesday morning bible study. Every new person that comes to the event just shows up for the fun evening. The women who have been in years past bring all kinds of yummy chocolate dishes. It was really fun to eat and have great fellowship time with some old friends and many new ones. There was such a feeling of warmth and femininity in the air. I loved it. There are already plans being made to attend next year.

I have also been able to rest and be rejuvinated in one of my favorite Texas towns: Fredericksburg.

We all participated in one of my favorite pastimes: shopping. It was a fun time for sure.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recent Randomness...

I haven't been up to much lately. Here are a few things I have enjoyed as the days are getting shorter and the season is changing:

I have loved getting back to one of my favorite pastimes- reading. As I look around my home, I am amazed at how many books I own. At this moment in time I am enjoying "Red Moon Rising" by Pete Greig. This book chronicles the call of the Spirit on Pete's life as he has helped flesh out the 24-7 prayer movement in Europe. It is very interesting and challenging. I am thinking I want to revisit Jan Karon's "Mitford" series next.

I have also recently started a new Beth Moore bible study that I absolutely adore. It is the Jesus the One and Only study. I am being grown and challenged by each week and for that I am thankful. Beth has such a wonderful way of making her studies applicable and very exciting. She also makes me think and sometimes re-evaluate my belief systems which I appreciate. I also really enjoy her energy and passion for the Word. It truly is contagious!

The next two weekends will be busy ones for sure. This next weekend my mom, sister-in-law, her mom, and my mom's best friend are headed to Fredericksburg to enjoy a long girls weekend. I am looking forward to the fun that we will have. Mom, Laura, and I love to go to Fredericksburg in the fall. I think it is becoming a fun family tradition. Then the weekend after that we have a family wedding in Houston. I am enjoying the little joys in life's randomness.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Month To Celebrate...

October is one of my favorite months of the year. It seems that every year when October rolls around, I am given a sense of newness and rejuvination. Maybe it is because this special month helps usher in some of the common signs of the Fall season, such as pumpkins, gourds, beautiful harvest colors, and many other things. I know I feel a sense of thankfulness and deep gratitude especially during this month because I get to celebrate someone who is one of the many priests in my life- my precious mom, Cheryl. I don't know what I would do if I did not have the daily blessing of being her daughter. I am indebted to her in so many ways. She is a lovely representation of Christ in my life and I think everyone should know her. She is extremely special.

One of the most precious treasures we have to share in our relationship is our birthdays. My mom's birthday is on October 5 and mine is on October 6. One day apart. I have always thought of that as God's little gift to me. As my birthday came and went this year, I came to a realization. The older you get, the more low-key a birthday becomes. Sure it is still very special, but it is special in a different way as each year passes. My family and friends make me feel very special every day of the year through their love, devotion to me, and pointing me to Jesus. I am also thankful for the faithfulness of my family and friends. I am blessed to be loved, accepted, and appreciated warts and all. Bottom line: I am immeasurably blessed! My prayer is that I will grow to love and serve others this year in a new way and that I will grow in my devotion to the Love of my life. I pray also that the world may see Him through me and that the Spirit is truly at home in who I am becoming. Thank the Lord it is a process! The Lord is always good. Be blessed today.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Turning Up The Heat...

I don't know about anyone else, but I think the news and forecasts coming out of Washington concerning the economy of our nation have been sobering. Just last week, I read a prophetic word given by Cindy Jacobs, whom I first came to know through the prayer conference I attended this summer. The word she shared was centered around the dire state our economy is in and some of the things we can do about it. The most important thing she suggested was to fervently pray. The heart of the Lord is stirred by the fervent, sincere cries of His people. If you are interested, you can find the prophetic word at I had only heard snippets about Cindy before attending the conference and was excited to learn more about her. I found her to be very humble about her prophetic gifting, but very effective in the way she used it to further the purposes of the Lord. She was very grounded in the authority of God.

So, I have been praying hard as this situation has been heavy on my heart. The Lord continues to teach me that when I am faced with situations that are beyond my control, the BEST thing that I can do is to pray unceasingly about it. I think prayer is the first step in changing any situation- be it good or bad. I ask you to join me in praying for the state of our economy, but most importantly, pray for the state of our nation. My prayer is that America would turn back to the Lord and heed His voice. May the Lord hear the prayers of His children. Be blessed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Counting My Blessings...

The Lord has been teaching me something very special recently that has provided a healthy and very beneficial practice in the daily happenings of my life and in my walk with Him as well. The practice I am speaking of is taking time to make note of and to consciously look for the blessings in my life. These blessings come in all different shapes and sizes and they make themselves known at all different times througout my daily activities. I try to be intentional about this all the time but it seems that the Spirit keeps quitely reminding me to be on the look out for these little Heaven-sent affirmations. They are not always huge, but I have come to find the richest ones are the small ones that come along. It may be a word of encouragement, a scripture, quality time spent with someone else, a quote or another little divine occurrance or opportunity that weaves its way into the day. I have been amazed as I have just watched that the Lord showers these blessings in life if we take the time to look for them.

Watching for and expecting blessing is something that I believe is crucial in order to experience a fulfilling life. If I am constantly expecting a blessing to come along, it most assuredly will in the Lord's time. I have also found that this practice really makes life fun and especially when it comes to my life in God. Looking for blessings keeps me and God on our toes. It always seems that He outblesses me though. I think that is the way He is on alot of things. If I give something to Him, it seems that he gives me far more than I gave Him in the first place. God is amazing in that way! Watching for blessings also brings joy and peace into other peoples' lives as well. If others are looking for and expecting blessing, it seems that worry, doubt, fear, rejection and a whole slew of other detrimental seeds have a harder time gaining entry into their hearts, souls, and maybe even their lives. I guess my word of encouragement for today is rooted in the lesson to try to intentionally look for and EXPECT good things and blessings to come. Believe me, I am still trying to learn this lesson and to implement this practice into my own life, but the time I have spent trying to cultivate this habit has turned out to be a great experience. Take time and try it for yourself :)

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have always enjoyed writing. It has been a very faithful outlet for me in many ways. Writing allows me to get what is swirling and sifting through my head out into the open in a private way. Many of the things I write are tucked safely within the pages of my numerous journals. I also believe there is a lot of power in writing. There seems to be such a permanant nature to anything in black ink. When I write anything, I feel as though my soul can truly breathe deeply. Writing also can and very often does provide such a tangible peace in my little personal and public world. I am thankful that the Lord created writing because it has served as a quiet, but loyal companion to me so many times. For that I am grateful.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike...

I have been watching the reports on the projected invasion of Hurricane Ike on the coastline of Texas and into the city of Houston. I have been praying ALL day for the protection and covering of the Lord to rest on the coastline and on Houston as well as its surrounding areas. I have a group of people who live in Houston that I dearly love so my intercessor's alarm has been sounding in my spirit as I have claimed this scripture and promise over their lives, property, and material belongings.

"A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it WILL NOT come near you. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in ALL of your ways; they will lift you up into their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." -Psalms 91:7,11

Truly, that is one of my most beloved promises in God's entire Word and I am vigilantly claiming that promise for those who find themselves making hard decisions as they prepare for this hurricane. Please pray along with me for the safety and well being of all of those who will be affected by this storm. I am so thankful that God is in control!

Monday, September 08, 2008

6 Random Things...

I have been tagged by Ashley to share 6 random things about myself. I did this a while back but I think it is always fun to do things like this to allow people to get to know me.

I have a weakness for stationery. I don't know what it is, but anytime I am in any store and I notice stationery, I usually give into the tempation to purchase it. Maybe this weakness comes from my love of shopping, I really couldn't say to tell you the truth. All I know is that if it's there, I most likely will bring it home with me. My favorite stationery is anything with scripture or damask, polka-dots, monograms, or paisley. I LOVE personalized, special order stationery too.

I truly enjoy writing encouragment notes. I love letting people know how special they are and that their lives make a difference in the world. There is something in me that is made complete when I bring a smile to someone's face or I let them know that they are loved by God. There truly is nothing quite like encouraging another person. I am thankful that I have people in my life that encourage and affirm me.

I love looking through the church directory. That is probably one of my quirks and a lilttle known fact about me. I could spend an entire afternoon looking through each picture of each family that makes up my church body. I guess you would have to be me to find that to be fun but it is.

I LOVE to read. One ingredient of my perfect day would be to get cozy in an extra large, comfy, worn-in club chair on a cold fall or winter afternoon and read the day away. I could read for a very long time if I was given the opportunity. I enjoy being transported into different worlds through words, characters, plots, and little minute details of a story that seem to suck me into another time or place. Reading brings me great joy.

I love old things and anything with a sense of history. I think this is where my love for antiques was born. I love to think that the things I surround myself with could tell their own story and the fact that they will have a story after I am gone. I also really like the fact that the things in my life that I enjoy tell my story and convey my history to those around me.

I would love to live in an old cottage in New England one day. I love the fact that New England gets to enjoy true seasons, beauty, and there is a rich sense of history in that part of our country that I would love to partake in someday. I would love to call New England home at some point in my lifetime. Although, I really like Texas, and probably would consider it to be my real home :)

So there you go. I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my life!


I have recently been introduced to a new avenue of communion with the Lord that I love. In this process, I have also been inroduced to some absolutely beautiful Christ-shaped women. This new experience is called soaking. I have only been to one soaking session, but I was hooked the first time I had to opportunity to partake in this special time. A group meets faithfully on Monday evenings in a wonderful Christ-honoring home and the presence of the Spirit is called upon as we all prepare to spend time with God. The outcome of each evening is left up to the Lord. The only thngs provided for us are pillows, blankets, and soft music leading us into the Heavenly places. It truly is magical and does wonders for my spirit. I plan to partake in soaking as long as I can and as long as it is offered. I was amazed at how sweet my time with Jesus was as I completley put all of myself into His keeping for an hour and a half. I am so thankful for times when I can be silent and completely still before the Lord. It is a wonderful start to my day and it brings such a joy into my week as I begin to allow the Spirit to play out His agenda and schedule of my time. I LOVE being available to the Spirit. There is nothing quite as sweet or satisfying that I have come to know than to know that I am being led and fed by my King. I am blesssed. My prayer is that everyone has times and places where you are able to be recommissioned, refueled, and fed by the ultimate source of all things good.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I try pretty hard to stay away from becoming political. I do not enjoy getting down into the nitty gritty of who is and who is not a Democrat or a Republican. I have to say, last night, as I watched Sarah Palin speak at the Republican National Covention, I was very impressed! In my estimation, she is not a typical politician that finds her home in Washington. As I watched her speak I noticed that she not in the least bit afraid to stand up for the things that are close to my heart. She is full of faith, conviction, and she is ready and able to let her voice be heard on important issues. I think John McCain chose the right person to help him get to the White House in January. I think John McCain and Sarah Palin will make a wonderful team as they work to make our country better and to protect our freedoms and our rights. It has been difficult for me to hear everything that John McCain went through as a prisoner of war. I also think Governor Palin has handled the rumors and media scrutiny with total grace and very evident class. It is clear to me that she is concerned to keep her personal life in privacy as it should be. I don't know about anyone else, but I have been very impressed with both John McCain and Sarah Palin. I can see why she is so beloved and popular in Alaska.

Ultimately, I think it is up to the Lord as to who He places in Washington and I will have to continue to plead for his choice to be given the responsibility of becoming the 44th President of the United States of American. It will be interesting to see what happens :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pictures of the New Glasses...

The first picture is me in what I wear when I am going to church and the second picture is of my more casual pair. I am really enjoying both pairs and I am getting a lot of use out of them. If you look, they are very similar shapes and I didn't really pay attention to that in the store. My last pair were round frames so I am really liking the change to newer more modern rectanglular frames. All in all, I am thankful to have these glasses to help me see the world and people around me more clearly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fall Means Football...

Today is a very exciting day in my life. You see, if you are part of the Cunningham family, it is required that you enjoy high school football. I say that this is a very exciting day because tonight is the first Abilene High football game of the season. Welcoming the first football game of the season is an event that ushers in the coming of fall and a lot of my very favorite things. Anyone who knows my family at all knows how much we look forward to the end of August. Seriously, my dad celebrates when this long-awaited day arrives. I think its a really good thing that I truly enjoy high school football because being a part of my family am not given much of a choice! I think one of my favorite things about the beginning of football season is our Friday night family routine. On Fridays in the fall, we go out to dinner with our friends and then head to Shotwell to enjoy the main event. I LOVE being together with other people that I am close to. Football games are not only really fun in West Texas, but they are also times when I enjoy being in the midst of community building and maintaining relationships. I love being surrounded by friends and new people.

Another really fun thing is that Abilene has been placed into another district this year. This move means that we as a family will not only travel to every away game, but we will be traveling to the DFW area frequently. I am excited about that. Football season means that my favorite season is on its way. And that the time to wear my favorite long-sleeved clothes is fast approaching. I am one happy girl :) Who knows, maybe I will see you at an Abilene High football game this season.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Specs...

I got my new glasses this weekend. I am really excited about them, I think they are really cute! I have had to get used to wearing glasses again after a month-long sabatical. When I went into the opthalmologist this last Thursday, I also found out that I could have surgery to correct the way my eyes track with one another and that made me ecstatic. I have a consultation with the leading doctor in pediactric and adult strabismus (the eye tracking problem) in Grapevine on September 25th and I can't wait to talk to him. My eye doctor here in Abilene recommended this guy in the absolute highest regard. My mom has been after me to check into this for about five years but I just haven't been ready. I am apprehensive about any surgery, just like any normal person, but especially surgery pertaining to my vision had me holding out. But when I went into my appointment, I got brave and asked if there might be a possibility to have this surgery done. I am looking forward to having my eyesight somewhat restored and the new perspective this will have on my daily life. I think it will really help me to relate more effectively and seamlessly with others. So if you could begin to join me in praying about my consultation I would really appreciate it. I have felt a peace about the decision to proceed with this if the preliminary appointment with the doctor in Grapevine goes well as we are expecting it to. Be blessed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Phelps Phenomenon and Other Things...

I have been glued to the Olympics for the past nine days. Micheal Phelps is one amazing athlete! He probably is one of my favorites in all of sports. Yes, I have noticed that he is ripped, but I do not have a crush on him. I have marveled at his ability as I have watched him make history in Beijing in the last week. As I have watched interviews with commentators on NBC, I have learned that all he does is eat, sleep, swim, and carb up for another event when he competes. In my opinion, his feat is quite impressive! In what other sport could a person have a chance to compete in 17 different events to try to bring home eight gold medals?

In other news my little cousin Lily celebrated her first birthday today. My mom made her a really cute homemade sunflower birthday cake. I had so much fun celebrating her. Let me just say, the girl is LOVED! I am thankful for my little 'Lily Belle'. I would love to post pictures but i have never figured out how to download them onto Blogger. So if anyone can help me out please leave a comment and let me know. I got some cute pictures of her party. Be blessed this week :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sweet Seasons....

I have had the honor of being given a very valuable, but fleeting gift in our whirlwind pace of a society this week. This gift I esteem so highly and cherish to the ultimate extent is the gift of quality time. I realize it is only Tuesday evening, but already, I have partaken of the blessing of spending extended periods of time with four women that I am extremely close to. The Lord has parceled out His delight and I have reveled in it. On Monday evening I shared a meal with three single women who epitomize a rich, Spirit-filled life testimony. Every second, minute, or hour I spend with them is sacred time. It is a thin place where I am taken into the presence of the Lord. I am a different person each time I leave when we have been together. Every time I depart from them, I feel as though my soul has feasted on Heaven's richest fare. They know who they are. Truly, these women showcase the glory of God. I am incredibly blessed.

Then the Lord had another beautiful blessing in store for me on Tuesday evening. One of my most beloved friends and I made plans to have a night at the movies. We saw Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. It was a great movie with such a sweet storyline. More than the movie, I enjoyed really getting to hear and see the season her heart was in. Spending time with people who really know you-who have poured their own lives into yours and who are eternally invested in who you are is a rare treasure in my opinion. At several points during both nights I profusely praised God for such relationships. Connecting with another soul is priceless. You cannot put worldly value on it. I believe that the value of close, godly, good-for-the-soul relationships can only be calculated accurately by the God who created them and called them good.

So, I have already had such a wonderful week. My heart is full, my soul is invigorated, and my spirit is grateful. Pictures will follow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Truly Blessed....

Lately I have seen the face of the Lord in some wonderful ways. One opportunity was completely unexpected as I attended a weekly elders meeting at Highland. I was there to report on my experiences at a prayer conference in Phoenix. As the meeting was drawing to a close, I was given the very precious and extremely humbling honor of praying over our shepherds. I am here to tell you, I don't think I have ever witnessed such a sweetly sacred moment in time thus far in my journey of faith. It was truly a night I will remember forever. To see a group of such humble, God-fearing servants in tears was something that is permanantly etched in my spirit. I saw the movement and presence of the Holy Spirit that night.

Another place where I came face to face with God was during a special time of prayer one Sunday morning recently. As I was preparing to go to the front to pray with my mom and dad, one of my mentors came up and grabbed me. He said, "Lauren, I came for you to pray over me. Out of the entire church body, I knew who I wanted to intercede for me." Wow. That is quite an affirmation. I have been profoundly humbled as God has poured out His goodness and confirmation over my life recently. His goodness continually leaves me astounded. I believe the Lord is allowing me to realize and to see that He absolutely is intricately invested and interested in the most minute details of my life. That brings me unspeakable comfort. I have come to expect the unexpected when it comes to God. This season in my journey toward the likeness of Christ and the heart of the Father has been sweet. I praise the name of my God for all He has done, what He is in the process of bringing to pass, and what rich and glorious things are in my future.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Time With Daddy....

On Tuesday I got to do something special with my sweet Daddy. He is a residential real estate appraiser and I have been helping him measure houses in and around our area. He actually is generous enough to pay me for helping him do something I truly enjoy. He had called me on Monday evening and said that he had two houses that we needed to measure. There were three special parts to this request: first, the two houses that needed to be measured were in Sweetwater which is about 45 miles from Abilene, secondly, I got to enjoy a wonderful lunch with my Daddy, and thirdly, there was the 45-minute drive back into town. Secretly, I was ovrjoyed to accompany him to Sweetwater because I knew I would be given the gift of quality time with one of the most influential, cherished people in my life.

You see, the Scriptures paint a wonderful, true-to-life picture of who my Daddy is. When I read Psalm 1 and Psalm 112 I clearly see the face of my Dad. I love to talk to my Daddy about faith, life, stuggles, and what it means to truly live a rich Christ-shaped witness. My Daddy is humble to his core, he is gentle, full of integrity, and he is a very quiet servant leader who does not enjoy any type of recognition for his giftedness. He truly is a man after God's own heart, even though, he would shy away from confirming it. My Dad is also very very wise and I depend on his wise words when I am trying to decipher what the Lord is up to in my own journey of faith. He truly is the lead-priest of our home taking direction and guidance from the Lord as to how to lead our family to Heaven.

I have learned the fear of the Lord from both of my parents, but it has been modeled to me in many other diffrent venues of life. I have seen the fear of the Lord lived out in my parents faith, in their marriage covenant, in the day-in and day-out occurances in our home. The Spirit truly resides in our home and in our family and that is something I will never have enough thaks and gratitude for. I have seen the face of God so many times as I have learned what He truly looks like in flesh and bone form through the life of my Dad and my mom for that matter. Thank you, Daddy for living a righteous, humble life before me so that Christ truly could be modeled in my own life. I love you more than I could ever express in words.

Monday, August 04, 2008


I woke up this morning looking forward to this week. As is my daily custom before climbing out of bed, I thanked the Lord for the day with excitement and and an air of thankfulness. One of the reasons for my excitement is a dinner date with one of my oldest friends. I have not seen her in more than a year and the sad thing is we both live in the same town. I am continually amazed at my ability to get so caught up in what is going on in my own little world. I have been friends with Haley since the first day of Kindergarten as we walked into the same classroom. Though we do not see each other regularly, Haley's friendship is very special to me and her life continues to teach me how to be a better, more devoted disciple. Her mom is one of my most treasured mentors. I have been drawn to the heart of Christ through the surrendered purity of Haley's spirit. I am looking forward to having an opportunity to catch up with her and to be sharpened by the Lord's activity in her life. She is a young woman who is hungry for the Lord. I have felt a strong desire and need to be in the presence of people who are passionate and intentional about the Lord and all that He represents. I want to be challenged to live radically for Jesus. I want to be invested in the lives of true and authentic seekers of Christ and His presence. I am thankful for the gift of quality time in the presence of the Lord.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Face-lift....

My blog has been redecorated and I love it! My friend M'chelle Reedy offered to spruce it up for me and I took her up on her offer. I think she did such a great job and my header really depicts my personality. The dog in the header is my Westie, Sophie, who I thought deserved to be a part of the project. I look forward to seeing this welcoming, cozy header every time I blog. Thanks again, M'chelle for all your work! It is great.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Branson and Broken Glasses....

My mom and I returned from a vacation to Branson, Mossouri on Saturday. My dad had to return to Abilene on Tuesday to continue working, but he did get to enjoy Friday through Monday with all of us. Grant and Laura as well as my cousins and their little ones returned on Wednesday. So that just left my mom and I plus my grandparents and my aunt to finish out the rest of the week. When my grandad first suggested Branson as a vacation spot, I was a little skeptical. I am not really a show person, although, we did see one show-Pierce Arrow. It was a show full of a mixture of country and gospel singing in addition to a wonderful and clean comedian. When we arrived in Branson, I was greeted by beautiful scenery and my worst enemy-very hot temperatures and very high humidity. It really reminded me of Houston. I came home with a new appreciation and love for my friends Steve and Chelsie Sargent. I know that you get used to the heat and humidity, but those two factors and I don't mix very well. The guys spent a lot of time on the golf course and the girls spent time shopping in flea markets and antique stores and poking around historic downtown Branson. Our family also enjoyed some wonderful time just being together and sharing great meals throughout the city.

On the first full day in Branson as we were all preparing for communion, a very sad thing happened: the glasses that I have had since I was a senior in high school broke into four pieces. A family member very accidently sat on them. I really liked those glasses. I have needed to go to the eye doctor to get a new prescription for quite awhile but I don't enjoy getting my eyes dialated. He has to do this every time I visit. My vision is really bad if I don't wear my glasses. I like to go through life taking periodic rests from wearing them, but the truth of the matter is, I need them pretty badly. As a result of having no glasses, I get to make an appointment with the eye doctor and pick out totally brand new ones. I just thought I would check back in. I hope your day is blessed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Times....

This past week and weekend was really good. On Wednesday night, one of my dad's little friends got baptized at Jacob's Dream on the ACU campus. It was my first time to witness a baptism there. I really enjoy Jacob's Dream. It is a very sacred space where I feel the Spirit of the Lord. Then on Friday night our family got to spend some great time with two other couples that we always go out with on the weekends. It had been quite awhile since we had all gotten together. All of the families have been very busy this summer. One of the couples have a son that just got engaged and the other couple has had a family member diagnosed with cancer. So this summer has been filled with major life events. Throughout the summer, we usually all get together for dinner and then go to someone's home to play Chickenfoot on Friday nights. It is a fun time. I have really missed these people's presence in my life. It was so great to see them this week.

Then on Saturday night my parents best friends and two of my close friends came over for dinner. One of the aforementioned friends has just gotten back to the US after spending a year in Egypt. My other friend that came has just begun working on a Masters in Social Work. It was wonderful to reconnect and see what has been transpiring in their lives. I was so blessed to hear what the Lord has done in them and through them and how He is using them in the world. God has absolutely lavished my life with godly frienships -ones that will last a lifetime no matter where we all end up. I am thankful for the ways these great friends have shaped and sharpened my witness of Christ. I think the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when he brought these special people into my life. I praise Him for the gift of close friendship.

On Saturday, my family is heading to Branson, Mosouri for a week. I am getting excited. I have heard good things about Branson. I am looking forward to some good time with my family. All in all, the Lord has been so good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Whispers of Wisdom....

Wisdom. For about a month and a half that word, its biblical meaning, and the practical concept of what it is supposed to look like has been crying out to me. It has found its way into my quiet daily devotional times with God, it has found its way into my prayer life, and it has been bounced around as I have meditated on what exactly godly wisdom should incorporate into my day-to-day walk. Gaining insight into a humble, righteous, and Christ-shaped wisdom has been foremost on my mind in recent days and weeks. And then, yesterday, the Lord did what I have come to expect Him to do-he totally surprised and delighted me with a scripture about this precious trait. The Spirit led me to one of my favorite books, the book that is synonamous with wisdom: Proverbs.

"I have taught you in the way of skillful and godly Wisdom, which is comprehensive, insight into the ways and purposes of God. I have led you in paths of uprightness. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, your path will be clear open; and when you run, you will not stumble. Hold firmly to instruction and do not let it go; guard it, for it is your life." -Proverbs 4:11-13.

The Lord left me undone. What rich, beautiful, and precious words. This word from God showed me in black and white what wisdom is and what ingredients it contains. I have a deep yearning to be a woman of wisdom. I do not want to live this vapor of a life foolishly in the eyes of the Lord or man. But, honestly, I try not to concern myself with what others think of me or my actions. I am centrally concerned with how the Lord will evaluate and weigh the actions, words, relationships, gifts, acts of worship, and the witness of who He is in my life when I stand before Him and give a final account of my earthly life. I want all of these components of the sacrifice of my life to come together and add up to a life lived fully and totally surrendered to the glory of the Lord.

I want with every fiber of my flesh, my mind, my character, the knowledge I have gained, and the meditations of my spirit to build a house of wisdom, gentleness, lovely authenticity, grace, kindness, goodness, generosity, and ever-deepening worship with the sacrifice of my life. I desire to live humbly, authentically, tenderly, and worshipfully in this world and in the presence of the Lord. Wisdom is teaching me to carefully wait upon my King to build, refine, and shape the tapestry of my life testimony. Wisdom is teaching me to hunger after heavenly things. Wisdom is guiding me to fall relentlessly in love with my Sustainer, Creator, and Redeemer. I am so grateful to be loved in this way, to be loved so much by a God that is so far from my finite realm of comprehension. I bless you Lord. I love you. I praise your name. Thank you for teaching me to be still and listen. Continue, I am on my knees, and I am waiting.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life According to Lorelei and Rory....

Like most young women in America, I too am very fond of the wonderful show known as Gilmre Girls. It is in my top 5 favorite T.V. shows. Although I own all seven seasons of my beloved Gilmore Girls, I anxiously await the rerun shown on ABC Family at 4:00 every weekday afternoon. I have seen each episode 500 times, but for some reason, I just can't get enough of the wit, the quirky citizens that make Stars Hollow such an endearing community, and the pop culture references. I really enjoy the close-knit relationship Lorelei and Rory share with one another. I like the ebb and flow of the different relationships in each of their lives. I love seeing what sort of pickle Kirk will get himself into. I love Babette's dirty mind, and I love how Luke patiently waits for Lorelei to love him. I just think Gilmore Girls is one of the greatest shows on television. To prove my point, my entire famiy consisting of my mom, dad, and brother have all sat in front of our T.V. in the family room totally entraced in a world dominated by Gilmore Girls. Both my mom and dad have proclaimed, "Lauren, start the next one." This show is that entertaining.

To be honest, I don't think there are a lot of shows on T.V. in our society today that are worth taking the time to watch. You may think I'm a little naieve, but a good portion of my favorite shows have been taken off of the air. One of the shows that I love that has been a victim of this is Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Some of my other favorites are Leave It To Beaver, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Hopkins, I Love Lucy, and The Andy Griffith Show. I love Barney Fife. As you can see, I enjoy family-frendly shows that center around values that are far from the radar of our present-day society. It seems to me that we have traded wholesome, good-for-the-soul shows in for plain trash that constantly bombards the minds and character of men, women, and children. I have had to make a decision to be very careful about what I allow myself to watch. This is very difficult. I have really tried to shield myself from anything that dishonors the Lord and what He stands for. I have found that nearly every show in primetime and daytime t.v. has some sort of profanity that bilittle and totally disregard godly principles and ways of living. Does anyone else feel this way or am I the only one?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Dream of a KitchenAid Mixer....

I really like to watch cooking shows. Most of the time, my Saturday mornings are spent watching Food Network. I like a lot of things about this channel. There is one common thread that runs through all of my favorite chefs' shows- Paula, Ina, and Giada all own KitchenAid mixers. I like to bake anything be it cookies, brownies, cakes, shortbread, the list could go on and on. Ever since I became a Food Network junkie, I have pleaded for my very own KitchenAid. My mom has always promised that when I get married she will buy me one because I have never had a place or a definite need for one. Every Christmas I have secretly prayed that the Lord would mysteriously place one under the tree, but alas, it has yet to come to pass. I have kidded with those I am close to that the only thing that would top getting a KitchenAid for Christmas would be if the Lord placed a guy under the tree on Christmas morning :) And believe me I have secretly prayed for this as well! I'm sorry Mama, that boyfriend in a box that you put in my stocking a couple of years ago just isn't cutting it.

I truly don't know what my fascination with this mixer is about. Maybe I'm thinking that if and when I ever receive one, I will be a real cook. Maybe the gift of a KitchenAid would signify that I have finally arrived in adulthood. I don't know. All I know is that I have wanted one for a very long time.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Throughout my 25 years of life, the Lord has afforded me many blessings that I have felt are extravagant, beautiful gifts of His favor and grace. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a very relational person. I thrive off of the relationships in my life. Now, let me just say, by this I mean that I am sharpened, shaped, guided, mentored, and grown into the image of Christ and His character by the gifts of these relationships. I have been so blessed to have the gift of longevity in many of my friendships. I have found that these frienships are the richest-the ones that have been worn by time, distance, and connection. I love the familiarity of a well-worn, close-knit friendship. I feel as though my soul is at home with the people who have earned my relationship. I love having to take the time to really get to know my friends. I love knowing what makes them tick, really knowing the depth of their relationships with God, praying with them, encouraging them, getting to know their families, and having the honor of being in their homes. There is no greater blessing than a friend who truly knows me and continually points me to Jesus. I also feel so blessed to know that I am going to spend eternity with my friends worshipping before the living God.

If you have been reading my writing for long, you know that I am an intercessor. Prayer is one of my deepest passions and joys in this earthly life. I feel that I am fueled with the most purpose from the hand of God when I am in the midst of the power of prayer. The power that resides in bowing my heart soul, mind, strength, and character before an all-knowing, holy God absolutely leaves me astounded and utterly amazed. I feel most at home when I am bowed before Jesus. I say all of this to say, that one of the most precious honors I have found is when the Lord gives me the sacred opportunity to pray over and to physically lay my hands on the precious life of one of my friends. There is no more cherished thing that I have ever been a part of then to see the power of prayer at work in the lives of my friends. The number of truly treasured friendships that I have the blesssing of considering close take one hand plus two additonal fingers :) The Lord truly has just been right in the midst of these friendships, leading them and drawing them to Himself. I am abundantly blessed. The Lord has been exceedingly good to me.

Thank you for giving me such life-giving, sacred, soul-sastaining, and Christ-honoring friendships that I will have for a lifetime to draw strength and power from, Father. I have been drawn further into Who you are as a result of the overflow of the lives of these precious relationships. Thank you for the honor of truly knowing them and seeing You reflected in their ambitions, dreams, their life's work, and the sacrifices of their hearts. You deserve all the honor for the rare gift of such rich, treasured relationships. Again, I say thank you!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Latest Reflections....

It seems as though I cannot get through any of my posts without mentioning the Lord and his activity throughout the various seasons of my journey with Him. Sometimes I wonder if those reading my writing grow weary of hearing how I am growing in Jesus. There are times that I think, "Come on, Lauren, is there anything else you can write about?" I don't want anyone to think that my life and my journey with Christ is perfect because it is so far from where I want to be! I have so much to learn and so many more miles to travel with the Lord. There are days when I don't have the strength to put one foot in front of the other and cry out to the Lord to guide my steps and to fill me with His power. In fact, I have found that I have to do that on a daily basis and if I do not there will be great consequences. I know with every fiber of my being that I can do absolutely nothing without the blessing and strength that the Lord supplies. Anything that is good in my life and in my journey of discipleship is a direct and extravagant gift of grace straight from the hand of God.

I am incredibly mediocre and completely average without the light of Who Christ is. That is just a fact. I have come to find that living in the richness and beauty of the Lord is the only way to go if I want a life that is beyond my wildest imagination. Living my life surrendered to the leading, movement, and guidance of Christ has brought such an immeasurable joy and peace to my spirit and soul. I take such confidence from the fact that God has my future competely under control. To be totally honest, it has taken the pressure off of me, and for that I am so thankful. I just get to live in the goodness, joy, peace, confidence, and grace of an incredibly great God. My life is secure in His certainty. There are days when I whine and doubt and sometimes they just sneak up on me. I know that the Lord must get really annoyed when I do this. It is like saying, "Lord, I think I'll take my life in all its brokenness and uncertainty and do what I please. I think I can and will do a much better job than you can. Plus, you are working at a snail's pace. Pick up the tempo!" How dare I show such arrogance and dishonor toward my Creator. I want to honor the Lord and revere his name and His ways.

The Lord has shown me that life is so much better and smoother when I let Him have complete soveriegnty, access, and control to all areas of my character, my life, and the purposes He has for me to fulfill. Besides, He has proven time after time that he is totally capable of handling every part of my existence. And His qualifications are so far beyond what my finite mind can conceive or comprehend. I bless you Lord and I thank you for knowing exactly what my needs are and for holding my life safely and securely in your hands that also bear my name and the scars of humanity's ignorance, arrogance, and self-sufficiency. I want to be one hundred percent dependent on you, Jesus. You are the meaning and definition of all of who I am and all that I yearn to become. I love you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

No Words....

On Saturday afternoon, I returned from a three-day prayer conference in Phoenix called PrayerQuake. To say that I loved it is putting it at the mildest point possible. My prayer leading up to the conference was that the Lord would open my mind, heart, spirit, and soul to receive whatever the He had in store for me. I wanted to be completely surrendered and open to His will and what was on His heart concerning my inner life and my inner reputation. I truly cannot express in words what I experienced. This conference and the quality alone time with the Lord came at a wonderful time because I have been walking through a season of trying to embrace godliness in every area of my life. I desire godliness to be the standard of my entire being and everything that I am. Here are a few of my observations and imprints left on my heart by God.

1. The times of worship were completely orchestrated and visited by God. PrayerQuake took place at a non-denominational church which I absolutely loved. If I had to categorize this church, I would say that it is Pentecostal. There were shofars blowing, flags waving, people dancing in the aisles, and men and women down on their knees worshipping before God. At several points during these times of worship, I found myself thinking, "I cannot wait for life in Heaven because I know this is how we will worship before the Throne of the Most High. " These people were not ostentacious or arrogant in any way. What showed was the absolute reckless abandon they possessed as they worshipped in Spirit and in Truth. It was phenominal! The other thing that I really respected and admired during these times of worship was the way in which the leaders of this conference did not want to squelch the moving of the Holy Spirit. They totally understood that we were experiencing hollowed, sacred times with the King of Heaven. They knew they were on holy ground being visited by the Lord. I felt as though I was in the throneroom of God.

2. I came home with a renewed and fervent passion for my communion times with the Lord. I am always very excited to spend time with God, but this conference confirmed the need to spend my entire day being led and fed by the promptings of God and the Holy Spirit. I want desperately to allow my schedule to be dictated by the agendas of the Lord. God has placed an insaitable hunger and thirst for His Word deep within my inner man the past 5-6 months. Being devoted to reading His precious Word--what he thinks, what he says, what he knows, and who he is has become a matter of life or death to me. I am desperately wanting to become at home in the Word of God. I want to be challenged by it, changed by it, encouraged by it, and convicted about how to live my earthly life so that the Lord alone can be honored, revered, and loved with every single thing wihin me and about me.

3. The speakers at this conference as well as the workshops were very authentic and powerful. I participated in a class about the power of praying God's Word, one about hearing His voice, and one about the realities of spiritual warfare in the heavenly places as well as on earth. I received such beautiful, rich treasures from each one of these classes. I want so badly to be intentional about all three of these subjects. I won't go into all of the specific things I received here. To be honest, there are just too many. Suffice it to say, I received rich, transforming information that will help equip the incessant, fervent, Spirit-saturated person of prayer that I yearn to become.

God is good and my heart and spirit are full. Through the fruit of this conference, the Lord opened wide the storehouses of my spirit, soul, heart, and mind to pour in His knowledge, His joy, and most importantly, His heart so that I in turn can be ready and waiting to bless those in the Body of Christ and in the ordinary, day-to-day, mundane areas of my life for His glory and honor. The name of the Lord be praised. I am abundantly blessed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Favorite Seasons....

There are certain things I love about all the seasons. I love that seasons exist and measure time. It seems that just when I am tired of one season, the next one comes and brings a new freshness and rejuvination to my life. My favorite seasons are Fall and Winter. Some of my favorite things about each are:

1. I love to go to high school football games on Friday nights in the fall. Being a West Texas girl my entire life and having a father who is a rabid fan has fostered this love affair. I love cheering on my beloved alma mater and hearing the drumline play. I love the friendly but fierce spirit of competition in the air. In my family, because my dad is the rabid fan he is, we have to arrive at the stadium at least an hour before kickoff. Oh, the life of an Eagle fan :) I have such fun and fond memories of these times.

2. I love the smells of fall. Cinnamon, apples, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, cloves, and that certain smell of burning firewood that is distinctly fall. I love burning candles during this time of year as well. It just makes me feel warm and cozy and it makes my soul feel at home.

3. I love getting all bundled up during winter. I love wearing sweaters, gloves hats, coats, and scarves. I like the fact that during winter, I kind of have to unwrap myself from my coat, my scarf, and my gloves to finally be comfortable enough to stay in a place for awhile. I also love the sense of community that I feel during winter. There is something about this season, that when I am around people, makes me feel alive and warm and cozy all the way down to my core. I truly feel the warmth of community during winter. I feel that there is a tangible sense of loyalty and faithfulness as well as a close-knit bond with those we love during this season.

4. I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. The thing I love most about this holiday is the traditions that make each one special. I love all of the decorations, the music, the festivities, and the special touches that make Christmas special. I love the warmth of being together that surrounds Christmas. I love all of the delicious meals that make Christmas memorable. Most of all I love that Christmas is a time to be thankful for all the things I have been blessed with.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reasons to Rejoice....

Throughout my journey in discipleship, it has been very important to me to learn and understand all I can about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. When a person looks at my life from a worldly and natural perspective, they see that I have many reasons to be defeated. I walk with a limp, my eyes do not work properly, I have a learning disability, I have to deal with a lack of spacial awareness and so forth and so on. I was not supposed to make it to 25. Satan wanted me to die the day I was born, in fact, he tried everything in his power to make that happen. Thankfully, God had a different plan. God's plan was to restore me, to work through my limitations to capitalize on His power, and to teach me that He is the one running the show of my life. I praise Him for this every day.

One of the reasons I rejoice is because I know that God can and does work through every situation I face. I rest assured in the fact that I can do anything through the power of the Lord. The power of the Lord is so much greater than anything I possess or boast in. If I rest in the certanty of who He is, than I am confident in my abilities and giftedness.

Another reason I rejoice is because I do not rely on my physical body anymore. By this I mean that I rely fully on the Lord to accomplish anything that is good in me. I rely on the Lord for everything that I need. Now, yes, I have days when my flesh gets the best of me and I hate when those days come because I want so much to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. I am learning that God allows me to have those days because I need to constantly be reminded that I can do nothing without Him. Flesh days allow me to see the depth of my need for Jesus and the filling of the Holy Spirit.

The thing I rejoice in the most is the fact that my beauty cannot and is not calculated by the things and methods of this world. I belong to a God who constantly reminds me of my beauty. I have really tried to learn to see myself through the eyes of God. This is hard sometimes because I live in a world that is constantly bombarding me with temporal beauty. This world does not focus on the contents of the heart, the contents of character, and the contents of soul and spirit. I have had to turn to my God to define who I am. His opinion and evaluation of my life is the only one I am concerned about. I am thankful that we all have a place and purpose in this world. I am thankful that if we seek the things of eternity we will find the face of God.

Don't let the things of this world define who you are. Don't be defeated by what this world thows at you. Most importantly, know that you are a priceless, one-of-a-kind creation of God. Be blessed.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Cup Overflows....

Lately I have been thinking about all the good things in my life. God has been and continues to be exceedingly good to me. In our world it is so easy to focus on the negative things that tie us down. I don't want to be that kind of person. I want to be a person who is aware of the many blessings God lavishes on me on a daily basis. I want to live in a posture of thankfulness, gratitude, and ceaseless praise. I have a wonderful family, wonderful, Heaven-sent friends, a Spirit-filled church, a home that is my haven and so much more. I want to focus on making the people and places in my life better. I want to focus on the joys of this world. I want to watch for the blessings of the Lord. I want to expect the goodness and favor of the Lord.

This last Sunday Highland took communion in my favorite way. The entire church came down to the front row by row to recieve the body and blood of Jesus. I think this is a very holy and sacred way to partake of communion. This is because I get to embrace people who are very special to me as they come to the front. I get to bless those who have blessed me. Each time our church does this, I feel as though the Lord truly is in our midst. I cried as I watched my mom and dad serve the people in our section. It is just really special.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Recent Thoughts and Meditations....

Here are some of the things that have been rolling around in my mind:

How does the Lord orchestrate the different seasons in our lives and how can different seasons become intertwined?

Sometimes I want so badly to understand the mystery and the many complexities of the Lord, but I know that He is God and I am not.

I have yearned for wisdom, discernment, and a surrendered heart.

I have wanted to grasp a deeper sense of understanding regarding God's timing and sovreignty.

I yearn to disengage myself from this world and focus solely on Heavenly things, but my flesh wins out some days. I am constantly working on this!

Take me deeper into holiness and godliness, Lord.

Thank you for being in control, for having all of the answers to all of my questions, and for your ways being higher than mine. You are good. You are faithful. You alone are God. Blessed be your name.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fun Facts....

I have been tagged by my lovely friend Chelsie to share six random things about me. I did this a couple of months ago and had so much fun trying to figure out silly things about my personality. Here goes round two.

1. I love being surrounded by pictures of close friends and family. Seriously, my refrigerator is full of precious pictures of precious friends and family members that I have shared memories with. Each time I glance around my little home, a broad smile creeps across my face and across my soul. God is so good and my life is so full. I use these pictures scattered around my home to remind myself to pray for my friends and the ones who are closest to my heart.

2. My favorite patterns are toille, paisley, damask, harlequin, and small plaids. Any object with these patterns causes me to swoon and turn my head. I think patterns add so much zest and fun to life. Let's face it-a world without pattern would be very sad and very dull :)

3. One of my deepest passions is intercessory prayer. I feel like one of the reasons God created me is to enter the courts of Heaven in order to intercede on behalf of the needs and desires of others. I find such a deep joy in intercession. I find myself praying all the time, through whatever I'm doing. I'm so glad God dosen't get tired of hearing from his children because I talk to him a lot :) Prayer is my lifeline. Prayer teaches me surrender. Prayer teaches me authenticity. I absolutely love that in prayer I cannot wear any masks because God already knows everything about any part of my life and my journey with Him. I LOVE to pray about all things at all times. I yearn to become a better intercessor. I want to constantly grow in this area.

4. Another passion of my heart is ministering to elderly men and women. In the fall of 2007, as part of my coursework in the Social Work program, I was given the opportunity to be an intern at Coronado Nursing Center in Abilene. It was in this place that God confirmed my love for this very special population. I was totally honored to sit and talk to men and women who were lonely, people who were sick, people who were starving for interaction, and people who silently pleaded for prayer. Every day when I entered the holy ground of that nursing home, my soul was filled and my heart was stirred. It was as if God was filling me every day with everything I needed to bless those precious people and I was given the task of being His light in the halls of the nursing home. I am so thankful for that season in life.

5. Any time I get really excited about something, I gasp really loudly. I have no idea why this happens. For example, in the fall of 2007, two of my closest, most precious friends were preparing to get engaged. One of the guys who is also part of this precious group of friends was preparing to tell me that I was invited to a celebration that night honoring these two people. I was getting really excited, because I knew it was close and I was excited about this new marriage covenant. He said, "Lauren, you have to remain calm. You cannot freak. You have to keep a straight face." I think he said these things because he knew I could not hold in my excitement. And yes, in spite of his little pep talk, a huge gasp escaped from my mouth. My family laughs so hard when the "sucking air" begins.

6. I love to play any type of board game, but one of my favorite games to play is Chickenfoot. I do realize that Chickenfoot is a game played with dominoes. My parents and I along with two other families who we are very close to gather in a home on Friday nights during the summer to play Chickenfoot after a good meal. I love the community and the sharing that happens while playing this fun game. One of my favorite board games is Monopoly.

Chelsie, just in case you were wondering, you and Steve are on my refrigerator and every time I see your faces my spirit and my face smiles.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Let The LIttle Children Come....

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it." -Mark 10:14

Wow. Those are very powerful and convicting words. Today, I got to partake in something very special and very holy. I got to spend precious hours with my cousins Emma Beth, who is three, and Lily who is six months. As I enjoyed talking to Emma Beth over her Subway lunch, and listening to her three-year-old conversation, I found myself praying silently over her. I asked the Lord to give her a bold, strong, and steadfast faith. I also asked Him that whatever tiny seed I planted within her soul would take root deep within her spirit when it was time. I was honored to read to her out of a tiny old, tattered book of King James scriptures that my Grandma has kept through the years. At the end, I heard these words form and come out of my mouth,"Emma, these are God's words; they are called scriptures. Anything that God says is very good." Honestly, I did not expect to say those things. I can only think that those words came out of a teachable moment entrusted to me by the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Father.

I got to read Love You Forever which is one of my all time favorite childrens books. There is a point near the end of the story where the grown son is holding, cuddling, and rocking his elderly, sick mother singing, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living my Mommy you'll be." It is at this point in the story that I cry. I think I cry becasue of the tenderness of a moment like that. Today, I saw the face of God through the faces of Emma Beth and Lily. Jesus met with me as I read, as I cuddled, as I changed clothes, and as I loved on two of my favorite little girls, who to Jesus are some of "the least of these."

I praise the Lord for little children. I adore the raw honesty they bring to any situation. I adore the authentic, non-judgmental faith they bring. Thank you, Father, for giving me the gift of time and the gift of memories today. I cherish and treasure these times.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lord I Love You Because....

-You are the significance and meaning in life
-You are my sufficiency
-Your Word is lovely, living, and active
-You love me extravagantly
-You lavish my journey with good things
-You give me your grace on a daily basis
-You teach and stretch me through my limitations
-You are my joy
-You are my hope
-Your mercy is new every morning
-You draw me to yourself
-You are the passion that burns within me
-You bless and strengthen others through my giftedness
-You show me the depth of my need for you
-You stir my spirit
-You constantly show me your tenderness
-You call to me through ordinary, mundane things
-You constantly are refining and growing me
-You permaeate me with your peace
-You fill my thoughts
-You make me better
-You inhabit my praise
-You give me friends and mentors to draw strength and life from
-You hold me in all seasons
-You rejoice over me
- You work through my humanness

I love you. May I forever revere and fear your name and your ways. Thank you for redeeming me, for choosing me, for cancelling my debts, for believing in my capabilities and weaknesses, and thank you for abiding with me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Heavy Hearted....

I don't know who knows this, but the 5-year-old adopted daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman was killed accidentally on Wednesday afternoon by a family member. To make the tragedy worse, I read that the entire family was there and witnessed the accident. They had been at the Chapman home celebrating the engagement of Steven and Mary Beth's oldest daughter Emily. They were also preparing to celebrate their son Caleb's graduation from high school.

To say the least my heart is so very heavy for this family. I cannot even comprehend or understand the amount of grief and intense and immense pain this family is walking in right now. If this happened to me I don't know if I could even find the strength to form my breath. They are all constantly on my mind, on my heart, and in my prayers.

The only prayer I can offer up for them at this moment in time is the prayer of Psalm 91: They who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. The Chapmans will say of the Lord,"He is my refuge, and my fortress, my God in whom I trust." Surely the Lord will save the Chapmans from the fowler's snare and froim the deadly pestilence. He will cover the Chapmans with his pinions. He will cover the Chapmans in the shelter of His wings. His faithfulness will be the shield protecting and defending the Chapmans. The Chapmans will not fear the terror of the night, or the sudden death at mid day, or the pestilence that stalks in the darkness. No harm will come near the Chapmans in their season of grief. The Lord will command the angels concerning all of the Champmans to guard them in all of their ways. The angels will lift them up and carry them so that they will not strike their foot against a stone .

Bless these precious servants, Lord. Enter into their suffering, grief, and loss and extavagantly overwhelm them all with your love, mercy, and grace. May they be blessed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Family Fun....

This weekend was so much fun. I absolutely love taking little weekend trips to bigger Texas cities with anyone I am close to, but especially my family. We took one such excursion this weekend to Fredricksburg and San Antonio. Back in the fall, we decided we would go to the wedding of a guy whose family we are close to in San Antonio. My parents decided that since the drive from Abilene to San Antonio is pretty lengthy, we would just make a weekend out of it. Grant and Laura also went along. I love when my immediate family is all together in the same space! Mama, Laura, and I watched The Holiday on the way down there, we ate delicious BBQ at Hard Eight in Brady on the way to Fredricksburg, and then repeated the BBQ for lunch at the original Rudy's in San Antonio on the way to the wedding. It was yummy.

The wedding was beautiful and the reception was at a really cool stable that once housed the Clydsdale Horses. It has now been rennovated as a beautiful, rustic venue for very nice parties. I got some pictures. That should come as a big shock, right?! After the wedding Daddy and Grant wanted to go to Bass Pro Shop so the girls made an executive decision to visit La Cantera which was new to Mama and I. This outdoor mall was so beautiful! It had fantastic, but expensive stores. My favorites were Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and Williams & Sonoma. It sort of reminded me of the Towne Square in Southlake. The shopping was fun :) I had been saving up for this trip to Fredricksburg and SA.

Then on Sunday the girls shopped Main Street in Fredricksburg. I LOVE shopping in this fun liittle Hill Country town. One of my favorite things about it is walking down quaint little streets and stopping in quaint shops that are busting at the seams with precious things. Believe me, the Lord teaches me restraint and self control with a little dash of discipline thrown in :) I love seeing how the new things in this little German city has mixed the old and the new. I love the Ausin stone that all the major buildings boast. Thanks to the hospitality of three different individuals, we always have wonderful spaces to stay and enjoy time together. All in all this weekend was wonderful. Thanks Mama and Daddy. Be blessed this week :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Prayer Conference....

I am so excited. God totally opened up a great opportunity for me this summer. The woman who heads up the prayer ministry at my church asked me to accompany her and three other women to Pheonix, AZ in June to go to PrayerQuake 2008. I am really looking forward to being immersed in how to pray more effectively, how to approach my King in new and innovative ways, and receiving the blessing of spending time with four mighty prayer warriors.

For months I have desired to go deeper into the heart of my Jesus in intercession. I have really been interested in the power of praying prayers of blessing. And, when I received a brochure today outlining the choices of presentations, they had a presentation on the power of blessing! How great is God?! I get more and more excited as the dates for the conference draw near. I am praying that the Lord will give me a new understanding of the power of intercession. I am praying that the Lord will give me a revelation of His heart so that I may speak directly to Him in the authority given to me through the gift of the blood of Jesus. Prayer is my lifeline. Prayer is power. Prayer is surrender. Prayer is communion. I want to live and breathe in a posture of prayer in complete humility and authenticity before the Lord. I want to fear and reverence his name. God is good.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Mother's Love....

My Mama means so much in my life! My mama is a woman of deep, steadfast faith. She is a woman of beautiful gentleness and tenderness. I have learned so many things from her. Here are some of my favorite lessons...

1. She has taught me to cling to Jesus and to press deeply into Him. She has modeled an amazing, Spirit-filled joy and an infinite agape love in my journey of faith. She has nurtured me in the development of my spirit, encouraging me to search and find Jesus for myself so that I may walk out my own story. Because of this, I enjoy such a rich, captivating journey with the Lord everyday.

2. My Mama epitomizes godliness and she has taught me to pursue it myself. She has modeled such a beautiful relentless pursuit of Jesus in our home and in our family. I believe when someone steps into our family for any length of time, they know beyond the shadow of a doubt that our family is commited to the Way of Jesus Christ. Mama has taught me to create a beautiful, Christ-centered home of my own.

3. My Mama is a gifted administrator and has such a precious love for God's little ones. The Lord has given her such a godly way of leading her employees. They know that she is a woman of God who is quick to pray for them. The thing that I love most about her as an administrator is that she knows not to depend on her own abilites and strengths, but to give all of herself to the Lord and allow Him to work in and through her.

4. My Mama is a woman of excellence and she is an amazing wife and compliment to my Daddy. I am constantly praising the Lord for my parent's marriage and for the life that they share. My Mama provides such a safe haven for my Daddy. She constantly makes all of us laugh and smile. She brings such joy and life to my Daddy. I am thankful that the Lord orchestrated and founded the marriage covenant they share. I have been immeasurably blessed to witness such a godly, Christ-honoring, sacrificial love between my parents. Thank you for working so hard to live out your love for the Lord and one another for Grant and I to try to emulate.

5. My Mama is a commited friend. She speaks kindness and blessing into so many lives. Her friends know that she is a safe place. She loves her friends fully and fiercely. My Mama is such a gifted minister. She brings such authenticity and humility to the kids in her Huddle on Wednesday nights. She speaks truth and love whenever she opens her mouth. Her words heal and bring restoration into brokenness and lonliness.

Mama, you are one of my heroes in the faith. I am who I am because of who YOU are. Thank you for being my mentor, my friend, my safe place, my example, and my model. Thank you for all the richness you bring into my life. Lord, thank you for choosing my mom to guide, mold, cultivate, love, and nurture my journey to your heart. She truly is a woman of esteemed honor. I will love you forever, I'll love you for always, as long as I'm living, my Mama you'll be!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bits and Pieces...

The ladies at Highland just finished a rich study on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John that I was blessed to be a part of. I gained so much rich knowledge from being in the Word everyday during this study. It made me really sit back and think about how I love others as an expression of Jesus. I was challenged, convicted, encouraged and edified in my walk with the Lord. I got to know some beautiful women who have become vessels of His love in my journey. Our last session was today, and we ended out time together with a time of affirmation and blessing of everyone. My favorite part was that we got to right our blessings out to keep forever. The things the ladies wrote were beautiful, warm, and heartfelt. I am thankful and blessed to be nurtured by such wonderful women at Highland.

God has been really teaching me about hospitality lately. He keeps reminding me that my house doesn't have to be perfect, He just cares that I invite people in. I love having my home full of friends and family that I cherish and treasure. I also am reminded that Christ extends His welcome to me every day as I surrender myself to His heart and into His plan.

I ran across this prayer recently and I had to write it out and keep it. It really blessed my spirit and spoke of such a beautiful concept. It is taken from Beverly Ross who is a blogger like me out of the Dallas area. Here is the prayer:

"I pray that I will not only love much, but that I will love well; that I will learn to love appropriately. I need to use my head and test my feelings so that my love is sincere, not sentimental gush. I pray that I may live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus would be proud of: beautiful in fruits from the soul. I pray that these fruits will be rooted to my core so that they may take up residence in my soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God."

I thought those were very powerful words to an amazing concept. Be blessed this day.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Random things about the author

A person who knows me well can tell you four of my favorite things right off the bat. Those four things are that I love to burn candles, that I can never have enough picture frames in my house, that I am semi-obsessed with beautiful, oftentimes expensive stationery, and that I am a quote collector. They can also tell you that I always have a current prayer journal. But I guess that is a given when I am an intercessor, right? Here are some fun little facts about who I am.

I have a Westie named Sophie who is an independent, little spit-fire of a girl who brings so much joy and fun into my life. From the time I was little I have always thought that Westies were the most precious dogs, and now that I finally own one, I would have to agree. Although sometimes Sophie makes me want to pull my hair out! I just have to remember why I love her and that she is a terrier and she is bred to be independent and a digger. Westies are supposed to be white but I would say that 95% of the time she is a deep brown shade chiefly because the dirt is her dearest and most loyal companion :)

I have a loathing hatred of any clanging noise. For example, whenever I have to wash my dishes and I am putting my silverware away, I cringe as I place each piece into its assigned place in the top drawer of my counter. If anyone is clanging pots and pans together I am bee-lining into the next room. I have no idea why this is. That sound just gives me goosebumps!

My favorite colors are red and navy. I have always tried to dress in a modest, classy style, and somehow, a little less than have of my wardrobe ends up to be one of these two colors. Although navy and red are my favorite colors, my bedroom is painted a very soothing but rich shade of sage.

I LOVE to travel. London is my favorite city in the world. I could be British very easily. I love the English accent and the tradions of afternoon tea, the queen, and the keeping of beautiful gardens. I have a feeling Savannah, Georgia and I could be kindred spirits even though I have never had the pleasure of exploring its potential. Two of my favorite things reside in Savannah. Southern hospitality and Paula Deen.

I love watching cooking shows. If you ever visit me, and you turn on the TV, it is highly likely you will be greeted by either Paula, Ina, or Giada. You would be sad to know that I can't cook right now. I am wanting to learn. The microwave is this girl's best friend for the time being. Now, if God brings me the prospect of a husband, that will change real fast :)

I am about to make a confession. I figure this blog is a safe place and that I won't be judged for it:
My favorite foods are chicken strips, hambugers, and pizza. I know, I know, I need to learn to be a healthier eater. I guess it was all those years manning the little league concession stand.

I love music. My soul is uplifted and my heart is ministered to whenever I turn on a CD or turn on the radio. My favorite artists are Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, Phillips Craig and Dean, Point of Grace, Shante & Shane, Rascal Flatts, and Josh Groban. There is something about music that connects deeply with my heart and soothes my spirit.

I love being surrounded by people, but I also find a lot of peace when I am face to face with the Lord. I think we are wired for community. I know I am refreshed and challenged when I am being spurred on by other people. I cannot get enough of the raw honesty and vulnerability that comes with communion with the Lord. His presence brings me a joy like I've never experienced.

I desire to be a woman of hospitality. I think hospitality is essential in the Christian journey. Hospitality invites others into our most intimate and sacred space and says, "Come into my life and what I am all about." My precious parents have modeled the most authentic example of hospitality that I have seen. Inviting people into your home invites them further into your life. I love the warmth and coziness of a full and bustling home.

So there you have it. Until next time, be blessed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

True Joy

These are some of my favorite joys right now:

-writing encouragement notes knowing that the words I speak into people's lives are given to me for a purpose
-looking back and realizing how the Lord has shown His goodness
-being loved on physically and spurred on in faith by some of my heroes in the faith who are some of the most godly, excellent women I have ever known
-seeing how the Lord has used my encouragement to bring life, fullness, and significance to souls
-being intentional about watching the Spirit's activity all around me
-having the inner courts of my soul stirred by a living, active Creator
-gaining rich knowledge into prayer
-learning ways to guard and tend my heart and turn it toward Heaven
-spending lots of time pleading in intercession
-feasting and delighting completely in the peace of my Lord
-learning what true joy is all about
-having "wells" where my soul is fed and ministered to
-knowing that I am a child of God, that I am blessed, and that I am highly favored
-coming to cling to my High Priest

I am immeasurably blessed. The Lord has been so faithful and so good. I am thankful.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Simple Pleasures

These are the things I am finding joy in lately. As always, I am finding the Lord's goodness all around me. My prayer is that I will continue to have eyes to see the simple blessings I am afforded on a daily basis.

* wonderful friends
* a wonderful haven in my little home
* the presence of the Lord
* babysitting
* a wonderful, Spirit-filled church community
* discovering the beauty of things long dormant
* being refined and made new by the Author of all good things
* music
* being intentional in intercession
* being able to build others up
* becoming more comfortable in my own skin
* inviting the Holy Spirit into my day

I am finding such a joy and a peace in this season of my journey. In a time when most people wonder what their lives will look like, I am confident in where my future lies. It lies in the hands of a present, ever-unchanging Father and Friend that has my best in mind at all times, in all seasons and in all circumstances. Boy that takes the pressure off me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God's Authority

To be totally honest, I have no idea if anyone reads my thoughts. I use this blog as an outlet to process things, to document if and how I am growing in the Lord, and to just write out my feelings on a subject. I do not write here because I believe my way of feeling or thinking is the end all. Please hear me, I am only writing what is on my heart and what is coming up into my spirit. That all being said, I will move on to what has been on my heart lately.

The topic that I think God is bringing to my attention is that of authority. He seems to be asking me over and over, "Lauren, am I the ultimate authority in your life?" I have really been wrestling with what this should look like in my own journey into the heart of Christ. I am desperately seeking to align all of the areas in my life with the authority of the Lord. I want to be totally and completely under His Lordship. I want to be intimately connected to Him so that all of my thoughts, motives, words, attitudes, and meditations can be directed and immersed in power and grace that is only found in the Lord. More than anything in this world, I yearn to be clothed in word and deed in the likeness of Christ. I want to live in such a way that the world can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is an all-powerful, supreme God that is sovereign over all things.

Lord God, I say to you once again that all of who I am belongs solely to you. You are my treasure. You are my portion. You are the meaning and signifigance of my life. In you I can do all things to which you call me. Without you I am nothing. Please come and sew me to be totally and completely in awe of you. You are the ultimate joy of all of who I am. Have your way in me now and forever. I love you.