Peep Holes into My Past

Journaling WHYs

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I’m so tired: tired from work, from being pregnant, and from the endless to-do lists, but at the same time I can’t sit still. Yesterday I reorganized our kitchen cabinets and wiped out utensil drawers… then I got started on cleaning out our closet, the one space I haven’t yet touched in this pregnancy nesting craze.

The fun thing about that, though, is that I found my memory box. And inside that box I found my old journals… talk about fun (and embarrassing)! I spent a couple hours skimming through the pages, not realizing how much of my life I’d accidentally documented! Many of those journals are a weird combination of to-do lists, grocery lists and meal plans, Scripture excerpts, blog post ideas, sermon notes and prayers, and random math equations (budgeting stuff probably??), but those snippets often whisked me back to specific seasons of my life.

I found the journal from our season of wedding planning… in it I had scribbled out my vows, ideas for the order of our ceremony, our wedding gift thank you list, song ideas for the ceremony, notes from wedding band shopping with Jacob, rough schedules for the day of the wedding, etc. I had no idea I kept that stuff, let alone that I did it in (mostly) one place! That same journal had all kinds of notes from when we were apartment hunting, trying to figure out where to get Internet for our new apartment, etc. What a treat to look back at that stuff!

I found a slew of other journals from my college years with all sorts of tidbits in it… notes from trying to redesign my blog, get a general “life plan” (AKA choose a major), the notes from the phone call when I was offered my first “big girl job” after college, etc. My favorite, though, was the journal from the time period Jacob and I started dating. Throughout college I had glued all sorts of notes from my friends into my journals, so this journal had all the notes Jacob wrote me.

A few weeks ago, I shared my reignited love for journaling – I love seeing God’s faithfulness through the words I’ve written and the ways he has responded to those prayers. But I also love getting transported back in time to specific seasons of my life and the relationships I had at the time. I’m so grateful I documented my feelings throughout those seasons of wedding planning, dating, struggling through friendships, wrestling with where to attend college and more. Those pages are glimpses of who I was at the time, which paints a beautiful picture of how much God has grown me since then, and glimpses of God walking with me through hard decisions.

Do you save your old journals? Have you ever looked back through them? There were definitely some cringe-worthy moments where I wish I could reach back in time and slap myself silly, but there were many more moments of enjoying memories I hadn’t recalled for some time and seeing how all the pieces of a situation fell perfectly together to get me where I am now.

Waiting on God’s Promises

John 14:27

Having the patience to wait for God to deliver on his promises can be quite the struggle.

Last week I read the account in Genesis 15, where God promises Abram that he will provide him his own heir, despite his old age.

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4)

But in his and Sarai’s old age, it was hard to believe that promise. Or, at least, it was hard not to take it into their own hands. Because surely, if God made them a promise, they better figure out how to make it come to fruition, right?? Oh boy.

In chapter 16, Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (v. 2)

Are you cringing with me? As soon as I read this, I thought to myself, how often to I take the promises of God into my own hands? I don’t have the faith to trust he will bring that promise to fruition because it seems impossible. And once I’ve heard the promise, I want it now.

I mean, how else was Sarai going to produce an heir in her old age? Like Sarai, I’m often hasty and impatient and I settle for a lesser version of God’s promises. I cash in quickly, jump to the wrong conclusions, and get myself into a mess I could have prevented had I waited on the Lord to fulfill his word.

Not only did Sarai’s plan not fulfill God’s promise (he had other plans), but it also bred contempt between Sarai and Abram, Sarai and her servant Hagar, and Sarai and Hagar’s son Ishmael. What a mess.

God, protect my hasty and impatient heart from settling on what seem to be “quick fixes” to my concerns. Help me to wait for your deliverance, your solution and your ways – and to wait with expectant hope that you will provide in your perfect ways. 

What helps you to determine what is from God and what is from your impatient desires? How do you make sure to listen for God’s plans instead of hastily making your own?

A letter to my every-day self

Every Day Self Letter

Dear every-day Lauren,

You’re trying really hard, I see that. I see it in how you spend your free time, how you pack your days with people and how tired you feel each night. I see you running in a million directions, full speed always, and unable to follow through often.

I see you striving for good things… serving, honoring your husband, fulfilling friends’ needs, exercise,  well-rounded reading, stretching yourself to do hard things, etc. But to what end?

Do you want a cute blog? A nice wardrobe? A better body? People’s approval? Attention? Do you want to be known for things? Do you want to be praised?

These are hard questions. And they absolutely stink to own up to, but answer them honestly. Because what’s the point of living if it’s all about you?

I hope your life will be all about Him. I hope, more than anything else, you see that there is nothing greater than your Creator. I hope you will hold onto him with all you have and see the truth, that those worldly crowns will fade away like the frail flowers they are.

I hope His love will propel you to love others wildly. I hope you will filter your thoughts, your actions, your energy spent through that funnel of his love. I hope you can see the difference between what’s from him and what’s from the world around you. I hope you’ll choose to be His rather than to be Your Own. You’re already loved, you’re already noticed, you’re already considered worthy to be pursued.

In Him, you already have all the things you’re chasing from the world around you. Love him. Be His. Share Him with others. Live this life well, it’s short.

the yesterday you.

In the storm, there’s still sun somewhere.

To say my weekend felt like a roller coaster would certainly take the grand prize for my personal understatement of the year. But I think it’s important to take a step back on days like that and say, “thank you” for the positive parts, too. The parts that keep you sane on the days you just can’t believe they are still going, am I right?

Despite the fact I probably cried more yesterday than I have over the 9 months since we moved, I’m thankful for

+ A lazy Saturday morning playing games with my husband, who doesn’t usually ask to play board games when it’s just the two of us. And laughter, so much laughter.

+ A quiet Friday night that was supposed to be filled with hard conversations.

+ The rainbow I saw yesterday, separating the dark section of the sky from the beautifully sunny part. The rainbow that reminded me God keeps his promises.

+ Phone calls with dear friends who know me enough to listen to me whine and cry and then say, “Yes, that stinks,” while also sharing truth that makes my heart lighter.

+ The gift we have in God’s Word.

+ Seeing the adorable invitations I made for a friend’s shower in tangible, printed form.

+ New friends who make a great effort to make me feel loved, whether through check-up texts or parking lot conversations.

+ The convictions that propel me toward Christ, even when it’s hard to face my shortcomings again and again.

We all have rough days, weekends, weeks, and/or months. I feel you, friend. What can you say “thank you” for today, even in the midst of other challenges?

I’m linking up today with Ember Grey for Grateful Heart Monday.

It’s okay not to have babies

If we were 100% in charge of the timing, Jacob and I very clearly tell people we aren’t ready to have kids. But in all reality, I know we aren’t in charge of that timing, so I’ve been hesitant to write out this post in case the next week our entire reality changes. 😉

But it’s my blog, so I can do what I want here, and I want to document these feelings. We have several good friends who are expecting, for whom we are very excited, but it’s weird to be in that stage where now announcing babies is almost more typical than announcing engagements.

The more we talk about kids, though, and think about how much our lives would drastically change once we have them, we aren’t ready. We’ve been married for two years, but there’s still so much I have to learn about Jacob… not to mention how to love him and honor him and minister to him above anyone else on earth! I can’t imagine how complicated that gets when you throw kids into the mix – I don’t want our lives to become so focused on our children that we lose each other! Is that a normal fear to have?

It often feels like you’re supposed to go to college, get married, have babies, grow them up, send them to college, etc… those are just the steps you’re supposed to take. But they aren’t required and they definitely shouldn’t be rushed. I don’t want to live my life always looking to the next thing – I want to be happy with where I am now. God has given me so much, in such abundance… and most of which I don’t even appreciate fully.

But most importantly, and maybe even more truthfully, neither one of us feels the tug to have kids right now… and that’s enough reason not to. Granted, if tomorrow I found out I was pregnant, we would be excited and life would move forward in a drastically new way. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not wishing for that every day. We just aren’t there yet, and that’s okay.

So for those of you in similar places, it’s okay. If you aren’t sure about having kids, that’s okay. There’s no pressure – it isn’t something you just follow the crowd into doing. If you do want kids, that’s awesome, too. That’s the beauty about life – we can (mostly) go where we want to go, when we’re ready to try it. There may be obstacles, or giant mountains, blocking the way, but that’s part of the ride. Your adventure is yours. Don’t let anyone else pressure you to do something you aren’t interested in or ready to do.

What are your thoughts? If not about babies, do you feel pressured in another area of life? I hope these words today can give you strength to go where you feel lead, not where you feel pushed.

Be still, be present

Sometimes I just need to pause for a second and recognize how this life is such a gift. The busyness of fall has started to rev up over here, but God has been growing me immensely in enjoying each moment for what it is – a precious, one of a kind, not re-doable moment.

I’ve spent so much of my life rushing around from one thing to the next that I never learned how to be busy without rushing and without being halfway present wherever I am. 
Worrying about where I need to be next or what I need to do once I get home won’t change anything about where I’m at in that moment. I don’t want to be wishing away Bible study so I can get home to do the dishes or write a blog post. I don’t want to be planning out my evening run during work or stressing about what to cook for dinner while half-listening to my friend share a story. I want to be fully present at work, then be present during my run and be present during bible study. I want to be fully present while listening and pay attention to the people around me. Stressing doesn’t change a thing about what’s to come; instead, it ruins where I am now.
More than ever before, I’m trusting and finding immense rest Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life?”… He’s so right.
This week I’ve felt overwhelmed with blessings. A long-time friend stayed with us all weekend and just did life with us, a new friend and her husband came over to share the sex of their baby before telling anyone else, the youth group fall kick off was an absolute blast and set a great tone for the year ahead, I ran my longest run yet (8 miles!), I actually cooked pretty nice dinners and liked it, and I’ve been enjoying books for fun. All of those things were made great because I wasn’t looking to what’s next. I was enjoying those moments wholeheartedly, something that requires me to stop, rest and appreciate. It is beautiful.
In our world that tells us to run like we aren’t allowed to stop, I want to encourage you to be present where you are today. Work hard at work and stay focused, appreciate your spouse or friend who you spend time with today, really listen to whoever is speaking to you and meet each moment with joy. It will change your attitude, which will change your life.

Happy weekend, my friends. I hope you can enjoy many moments that fill you up!