Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My Testimony- Part Two

I left home to go to university. I graduated from grade twelve the year Ontario dropped grade thirteen, and since I have a fall birthday, I left home at the age of seventeen. This is so young to be all alone in a brand new city! My aunt knew an elder of a church in my new city, so she got in contact with him and he and his family would give me rides to church. Now, I need to backtrack a bit to link the two ideas. I’ve loved swimming since I was six years old and always found success in it. I moved through the ranks quickly, and by my last year of high school was good enough to be considered for varsity teams. I found a university that had the program I wanted, and a nationally-recognized varsity team. I was so thrilled that I could swim the practices and even beat out a few of the team vets. The day of my first practice I could hardly eat or focus on my classes because I was so nervous and excited. It may look good to be on a team who has a history of producing Olympic swimmers, but the view behind the scenes was interesting. The pressure of having to perform all week in practice and then drag your tired body through week-ends and week-ends of meets is exhausting, and people do crazy things to win. Our team initiation was brutal, and it got worse from there. I had never seen anything like this before- drug use, casual sex, gossiping, rumor-spreading, the list goes on. Somehow, this didn’t scare me away from the team, and I stuck with it and worked hard, and ended up really improving. On that team, the faster you got, the more you were hated, and the slower you got, the more people liked you. I found myself alienated very quickly, and by the end of the season I had only two friends, who both swam different events than me, so we had no real reason to view each other as the enemy. The pressure to win apparently got to some people, because there was definite use of illegal drugs, and abuse of legal ones. If an athlete tests positive for drugs, the entire team loses their accomplishments for the year, so it was a risky gamble for everyone involved.
Ok, here’s the link to my two points. Being on the team meant I was traveling on average three out of every four week-ends, which meant I could only go to the Sunday service once a month. Every Friday that I wasn’t on the road I went to the youth group as well, but I always had to leave early. Their youth group went really late, so I would leave in time to be in bed so I could go to the 5am swim practice. Fast forward to Easter of that year, where this particular elder and my grandmother found themselves at the same Easter Conference. My grandmother asked how I was doing, and this elder launched into a speech about how my attendance was erratic, my lack of enthusiasm to being a productive member of the church was shocking, and that I didn’t really seem in to going to church. He said this to my own grandmother! I definitely had a lot of explaining to do, and the story quickly spread through my whole family. I was beyond humiliated. I’m a big believer in the fact that there are two sides to every story, and it still makes me so angry that that elder didn’t once bother to ask me about my attendance or “lack of enthusiam” but just assumed that because I wasn’t there every Sunday that I didn’t care. I was young, alone, going under from the stress of school and swimming and I really needed a church, and I really felt that I was let down. I’ve never gone back to that church, and part of me felt like writing a letter, but my name is already mud there, so I don’t feel like making it worse. The Christian Fellowship on campus is strongly populated with people from that church, and they made it clear that I wasn’t welcome there either.
Once burnt, twice shy…it’s too bad they don’t have a saying about “twice burnt”. Maybe four times shy? Either way, I’d had it with church and being a Christian. My second year of university was uneventful. I went to class, swam a lot, studied a lot, and that was about it. God wasn’t a part of it at all, I don’t think I opened my Bible once and certainly never once talked about my beliefs. The one thing I never wavered on was my belief that there is a God and that he sent his Son to die for our sins. I had the beliefs, I just didn’t live the life of a believer. This is the part of many testimonies that would get really exciting, but mine doesn’t. Nothing really happened that year; I was just at a standstill. Not only was my walk as a Christian on hold, but I was still surrounded by the awful atmosphere of the team. Without my beliefs to hold me fast, and being in a "toxic environment" every day, I was well on my way to spiralling out of control.
Third year was better for me. A lot of my friends were in to clubbing and getting drunk and I wasn’t, so I ended up spending a lot of nights home alone. My two Christian friends didn’t really act the part. They were getting drunk all the time, failing classes, swearing, doing drugs. I found myself getting angry at them for being so stupid, and I had to admit to myself that I really didn’t fit in with the non-Christian crowd. The Lord was planting in my heart that I had to come back to Him, but I was reluctant. As the year went on, the feeling in my gut came harder and harder to ignore. I knew what the right thing to do was, it just took a few months to admit it freely. One night, after a particularly long day of dealing with friends, I opened my Bible and read a few passages. It took me a while, but I was finally back to where I knew I belonged.
Right now I feel as though I’ve more or less got my act together. I’ve got an amazing support group in my church, I’ve got a list of new churches to try out at school, and through my daily studies I’ve really grown in my walk with the Lord. I’m still searching for a group of Christian friends, but I trust in the Lord that that will happen. I’m still plagues though by the feeling that I’m a weak Christian. Why did I let the actions of other people affect my walk with Christ? I should have been stronger than that. As I get older, I want to feel myself wanting to have a stronger role in the church, and I’ve really been considering teaching at a Christian school. As the saying goes, God works in mysterious ways, so maybe I’m supposed to use my experiences to help others? Who knows (expect the Lord, of course!). The one thing I do know is that despite all the bad stuff that happened, I’m so glad that I ended up in the arms of our Creator!

So…that’s my testimony. It’s long, so I tried to edit as much as I could (hope I didn’t bore anyone!). My journey (at least, that’s what I consider it as) to living the life of a believer took a few detours, but only now am I realizing that it has a silver lining. It gave me a much better perspective to the life of someone who doesn’t believe in the Lord, and I’m sure the day will come when that will come in handy!

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”
-John 3:16

Monday, August 28, 2006

My Testimony- Part One

I have heard many testimonies. A few speakers have come to share their testimonies at church, and when I was younger and spent my summers at Bible Camp, there was always a night for people to voluntarily share their testimonies. These testimonies were always so interesting and never failed to include obstacles such as drug use, parents who opposed religion, homelessness, addiction…and the list continues. What I consider my obstacles to living a life for God are so small in comparison, so I would never share mine. People have asked me how I got saved, but I would always give the Reader’s Digest version until now.
I was lucky to have been born into a Christian family, and one that is well-known in my area. There was never any question to the fact that I would grow up with Christian values and morals. The summer right before grade two (I’m a fall baby, so I was still six) my church at the time decided to have a week-long camp. It was there that I heard the story of how God sent His son to earth to save us from our transgressions and that we had to let Him into our hearts. I remember thinking about it all week and that Friday feeling like I couldn’t wait any longer and I had to ask the Lord into my heart NOW. I sat in the field in front the church and prayed. I was so happy and I told my parents right away and wrote the date down in my Bible.
If only it were that simple. I wish the story would end there, but it doesn’t. I think a testimony ends when a person can say that not only did they ask the Lord into their hearts, but that they began to live the life of a born-again Christian. The next few years of my life were uneventful. I went to church every Sunday, went to AWANA every Thursday night, and spent the week memorizing my verses. I had some amazing Christian friends and everything was just peachy. In the days before religion was taken out of the schools, in grade four I brought in my AWANA book and vest and shared with the class what I believed.
The year I was twelve was the year I can pinpoint as the year I started to grow-up and stopped being a child. My paternal grandfather died at the end of grade seven and he wasn’t saved, and I can remember vividly my parents trying to explain to my sister and me why he wasn’t going to Heaven. Up until that point, I think I had naively assumed everyone I loved was joining me in Heaven. That had a big impact on me about the importance of sharing the love of our Lord. That same year, a new family joined our congregation, and I immediately became best friends with the daughter closest in age to me (who I shall refer to as “E”). E and I shared a love of horses, books (I think we read “Love Comes Softly” so many times the cover fell off) and, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. We did EVERYTHING together and would even write letters to each other on the days we had to spend apart and sign them “your horse pal in Christ”. Looking back now, I realize that I was so concerned with my friendship, swim practice and horses that I was blissfully unaware of tensions rising in the church. E’s family had some very different views than what we were used to, and slowly they began to turn members of the chapel against one another. Long story short, there was a huge split in the church that resulted in half the members of the congregation leaving. My family was one of the ones that left. Since my family “sided against” E’s family, our friendship was over. I was too young at the time to really understand what was happening, but in hindsight, I can see that this was a fundamental moment for me. My family had a hard time finding a church we liked as much as our old one, so we sort of floated for a year. This left me with no solid church and no real fellowship at a time when I was getting ready to enter high school. High school is always such a big change, and having a solid Christian background is so essential for a Christian to manage to stay afloat. The split in my old church left me with a lot of bitterness towards the church, and I honestly thought that if Christianity involved back-stabbing, gossiping, tearing friendships apart and changing important beliefs, then I wanted none of it. I already got enough of that at school. I kept going to church because that was what was expected of me from my family, but my heart was completely out of it.
Things started to turn around when I was in grade eleven. My family finally found a permanent church, the one my mom grew up in and my grandmother still attended. We hadn’t originally considered it because it’s a fairly long drive from our house. My grandmother began to teach my sister and I, and I slowly started to warm up again to the idea of loving being a Christian and wanting to follow the Lord, and let Him lead my life. Not completely, but it was a start. The only negative side to our new church was that my sister and I were the only two around each other’s age. We’re three years apart, and I’m the older one, so it was really hard for me to find Christian friends. At this time, my only Christian friend was my best friend, Chelsea, but she didn’t go to the same church as me.

...Part Two to come soon!

Preventing "truth decay"

Driving out to the barn today, I passed the church that has the big sign out in front (I wrote about one of them about a week ago). Today, the sign said: "Prevent truth decay and brush up on the Word of God". Haha- not an amazing pun, but it definitely made me laugh and it definitely is true!

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path
- Psalms 119:105

I've been such a procrastinator lately and haven't posted my (long ago) promised testimony! My plan for the night is to return all my phone calls before it gets too late, make a cup of tea, STOP PROCRASTINATING and get it done! It's really long, which worried me at first, but the more I wrote, the more I realized that when I became saved I really didn't become a committed Christian, and that makes for one long story! I'll try to keep it as concise as I can without taking out too many details.

May we all remember to prevent "truth decay"-


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Frank Outlaw and 2 Peter

I always find it amazing how the Lord always knows what is in my heart. Today the reading during the hymns was from Matthew 8, the chapter I read last night! Then, the speaker referenced Ephesians 6 (so did last week’s speaker, which is kind of funny!). I just wrote a post this week about how I want my feet “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” and the speaker today talked for a while on that exact section of the verse.
I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed lately about how much I still have to know and learn and that I’ve been such a distant Christian. I’ve been really praying about this lately and the Lord has definitely heard my prayers, because the message was about the importance of equipping ourselves with knowledge. Part of the message was that gaining knowledge takes time and we have the let the Lord direct our paths and trust Him to help us learn. It was such a fantastic message, and very reassuring. I had an amazing talk with the speaker afterwards too and he gave me some great passages to look up.
I absolutely love quotes, especially motivational ones, and I have a book where I write down all my favourites (I also have one for my verses) and I was reminded of one of my favourites today in church:

Watch your thoughts; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your actions. Watch your actions; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny.
- Frank Outlaw

I was reminded of this quote when we read from 2 Peter today, and this verse was read:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
- 2 Peter 1:5-7

Even though these two quotes give different advice, I just love the way that they have similar styles, and that I can apply them both to my life.

Now that I’ve taken the time to sit back and recognize the blessings and direction that the Lord has given me and my life, I’m amazed at the way all my needs are met!

In His Love;


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saying good-bye to summer!

Last night was my last night of work at the centre. It was sad; I’m really going to miss everyone when I go back to school! To mark the end of another summer the entire staff went out last night for dinner. We are split up in different centers all around the city, so it was fun having everyone together again!
Tonight we’ve got company coming for dinner so my family has spent the day getting ready. I worked last night, then had the dinner (which went late into the evening) and now I’ve got to help get ready for supper, so I feel as though I’ve been neglecting my devotions.
This afternoon I took my cat to the vet. He was so bad! He hates it when he has to go though, and I really don’t blame him! He got a clean bill of health, except he might have a thyroid condition so we have to take him back for blood tests. Since he turned 10 this year, he’s now considered geriatric, which makes me sad- it feels like I just got him! The appointment before us ran late because the woman had to put down her cat so she was crying and it made me cry! This is exactly why I gave up on being a vet- I can’t handle pets dying. Blood, surgery…none of that bothers me; putting down a pet, I think I’d be crying harder than the owners!
For my daily verse, I’m going to return to Matthew (the book I’ve been studying):

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”.
- Matthew 4:4

Definitely something to think about in the week to come!

Hope you all have a safe and fun-filled week-end-


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Apples and Post-Its

A few years ago there was an e-mail forward that circulated around and found its way into my inbox. It was a story about how women are like apples. The basic idea of the story is that the best apples are at the top of the tree, and only the best men will patiently climb the tree to get to the best "apples", and the lazy ones will simply take the ones within reach. The goal behind the story was to make women feel better about themselves and not to feel badly about not having a man. (I tried to find a copy of the e-mail to post, but I can't find my copy!). I was thinking about this when I was at work. As luck would have it, one of the girls at work this summer was the girl my first boyfriend dated after me. She's absolutely GORGEOUS, and she intimidates me (I've always been really intimidated by women that guys oogle- silly isn't it?!?). I found out today that she's actually a model, and all I could think of was "oh great, your first boyfriend moved on to a model!". This was about five years ago, so I don't even think she's made the connection.
When Chelsea and I were out for breakfast, one of the things we discussed was the lack of support and resources for women our age (and maybe older too? I don't know; I've never really asked!) who are struggling in their relationship with the Lord. I know when I was a teen I really needed more than what was available. I've been searching in vain for a good devotional book. One of the things I've always to start was a youth group for teen girls to talk about a whole pile of issues and to get Christian direction on them.
These two thoughts led me to stray away from the book of Matthew for today's devotion and look into verses on women in the Bible. I found a verse that I wished I'd found and memorized when I was young:

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised"
- Proverbs 31:30

I'm writing this verse on a Post-It and sticking it to my mirror!

In His love;


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Buried in paperwork!

It's funny how, in a world that relies so much on computers, we still have so much paperwork! Yesterday there was an incident in the centre and I ended up having to kick a kid out. He came back today with the intention of creating chaos, and definitely suceeded. I now have a ridiculous amount of forms to fill in (City policy!). Plus, I got some forms from the university in the mail, and I've got to fill out forms about my immunizations (one of my courses involves working in the physical therapy unit of the hospital, so we all have to be properly immunized). I'm sitting here looking at a very daunting pile of papers, and I'm not really sure where to start!
As a result of all the commotion at the centre, I ended up working a lot later than I was supposed to, so it looks like a late night for me. I was hoping to post more tonight, but I don't think I'll have time.
In my own private studies, I've been reading from Matthew. Today I studied chapter 6, and found a verse that definitely applies to me, especially after today!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 6:34

How lucky we are to have the Lord to lean on in good times and bad!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pity party- table of one!

Today got off to an interesting start. I slept in today, so around 10 I went to get the mail in my pj’s (the mailbox is right outside the front door). As I was grabbing the mail, out of the corner of my eye I saw someone walk past. The person stopped, and then I heard someone say “Lauren?”. “Oh no” was my only thought. It was a guy I went to elementary and high school with, and we’ve bumped in to each other a few times since then, but I haven’t seen him in a year. He was out walking his dog, and looked very good (he been working out!). Likes to be active? Check. Likes animals? Check. Nice and funny? Check. Christian? No really sure (all this engagement stuff has gone to my head!). I was IN MY PJ’S!!!! I was so embarrassed! He was really good about it though (I mean, we’ve went to school together for eight years, so I’m sure he’s seen me do my fair share of stupid things). I got his new number, so I’m hoping we can get together and catch up before I go back to school. I’m still embarrassed though; I can feel myself blushing as I think about it!
After reading over yesterday’s post, I realized that I sound like such a whiner! I felt worse when I was reminded about how some people have no choice but to scavenge in dumpsters (there was an entry on David Fisher’s blog on this topic). Sigh- hasn’t that ever happened to anyone? When you feel like everything is falling apart and then you realize just how lucky you really have it?
I categorize my favourite verses in a book my grandmother gave me, so I think I’m going to start a new category and call it “pity party”, and include my verse for today:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
- Matthew 10:29-31

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, instead of posting another whiny post, I’ll re-read this verse and remember that the Lord loves me, so much that he knows the number of hairs on my head!

In His Love-


Monday, August 21, 2006

The pleasantness of friends

Friends truly are a blessing! Breakfast (which ended around 1, so I guess it can’t really be limited to just breakfast) was more than a success!
I’m the first person to admit that I am not the perfect Christian; I’m human, I falter, and I sin. I freely admit to that. But thinking it in my head and actually saying it out loud are two VERY different things. Today was the first chance for me in a while to just let it all out and know that the person sitting across from me may disagree but never judge. I got so much off my chest, and was so relieved to hear that my best friend felt the same and was in the same place! As I get older and older, I really realize the importance of fellowship more and more.
As for the rest of the day, I just don’t even know where to begin. When I’m at school and I’m feeling overwhelmed, my own personal coping mechanism is just to wrap myself on my fleece blanket and lie on my bed for five minutes and think of nothing (preferable while cuddling with a cat!). Today would qualify as a “fleece blanket day”. The co-worker (previously referred to as CW) was going through all the stuff being thrown out by the teachers (our centre is based in a school) and stumbled across a child’s prayer book. Obviously religious material is no longer allowed in schools, which is how the book found its way into the trash. Then came the hour long rant from CW about how stupid everything was, and mocking it insistently, all the while knowing he was in the presence of a Christian. I’m so bad at confrontations so I did my best to stop it, but I really hate the way that I couldn’t take this amazing stand and be able to deflect all the comments. I just felt like I was standing there repeating the same things over and over. I don’t think I would have listened to me if I were in his place. I need my fleece blanket! Why oh why did I leave it at school?
I guess my mantra for the day will be “focus on the good”; I had a great five hour (yes, we like to talk!) breakfast with Chelsea, and I managed to speak up somewhat about my beliefs, which is a big step for me. But still, it’s frustrating.

THANKS CHELSEA for the love and support today…my daily verse goes out to you!

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.
- Proverbs 27:9

God bless-


Sunday, August 20, 2006

designer belts vs. belts of truth

Yet another Lord's day comes to an end. It's so hard to believe that the summer is coming to a close!
Today in church the speaker made a joke about how he was in such a rush this morning that he had forgotten to put on a belt, but that he was happy he was always wearing his belt of truth. That statement popped back into my head as I put away my clean laundry and sorted my clothes. I suppose I'm what some may call a "fashion freak"- I absolutely love it. It's my amateur passion. I'm embarrassed to admit that I recently saw "The Devil Wears Prada" and was able to identify all the clothes and their designers. My passion for clothes definitely balance out my passion for sports, and keep me from being labelled a tomboy (although I'm thinking the pj's I wear to a 5am practice aren't going to be sweeping the runways anytime soon!). My biggest weakness are shoes, and many will argue that I have a few too many pairs. My feet will (hopefully!) always be fitted with shoes, but will they always be "fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace"? I know that nothing is for sure, but by the grace of God I'm hoping so. Wearing the belt of truth will always be better than wearing any belt that I could find in a store.
This afternoon I sat down and began to write out my testimony, and it's taking much longer than I anticipated. I always thought my testimony was pretty short and sweet (and slightly boring), but it turns out it's longer than I originally thought! Tomorrow morning I have a breakfast date with Chelsea, and then I work until late, but hopefully it will be done in a day or two so I can post it.

Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- Ephesians 6:13-17

May we all remember to wear our belts of truth-


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Countdown to classes!

Well, the chaos before classes has officially begun! I got an e-mail from the school saying that one of my classes (one of the mandatory ones, of course) has been moved to a new time, which interferes with an elective. All of the other electives which I can take require me to switch around even more classes. It's a vicious never-ending circle! I'm going to make this short, so I can switch around some more classes before my Internet connection dies again. (Of course, it would have to happen at a crucial time of the year).
The basketball tournament was an over-all success. Our centre entered two teams, and they each won one game and lost another. A few kids have some issues with anger and self-control (one kid actually tried to set the building on fire and another was kicked out last year for stabbing someone- no joke, these families need our prayers), and I was very proud of them for handling both their victories and defeats very well. We took them out for a treat afterwards, which was almost as fun as the tournament itself! Diane came to cheer our teams on, and I took her to get her face painted. A good friend of mine works at another centre in the area and her centre entered a team. We had a few minutes alone, so it was good to catch up with her.
On another positive note, my best friend has come back from her trip, so we have a breakfast date on Monday. We both have so much to talk about, and we both are in big need of each other's support, so I'm actually looking forward to Monday!
Well, I'm off to work on the disaster that is my class schedule, but hopefully with any luck I'll be able to post something of actual substance later tonight.
Since I mentioned before that my devotions don't usual involve my three "favourite" books, I decided to spend some time reading through them today, and I found yet another "green" verse that I love:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
- Proverbs 3:5-6

In Christ;


Friday, August 18, 2006

Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah

Finally, I managed to get on to the Internet! Are computers really supposed to make our lives easier? Tonight, the Internet kept going up and down, and then sites wouldn't load...and then I just got so frustrated that I walked away, which I why I'm posting so late! I'm assuming that since it's just after midnight that this will show Friday's date, but I'm considering this Thursday's post. Speaking of computers, apparently there is a re-call on my laptop because people have been reporting that the battery will randomly go up in flames. It reminded me of the story from the Bible of the burning bush. One minute you're typing away, or walking past a bush, and the next minute it's up in flames! Although I suppose I can't classify my burning laptop as a religious experience of any sort!
I was flipping through my Bible today, and I couldn't help but take note of the fact that it appears most of my favourite verses fall in three books: Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah. I've really been relying on verses from these books lately, and I find myself quoting them in my head. I guess it's natural to have parts of the Bible which apply more to you than others. I hesitate to say that the verses in these three books are more "important", because every word in the Lord's Word is important. I have verses underlined in green (for those who missed that post: all my favourites are in green) throughout the Bible, so I'm not limiting myself to a studying just a small section. In fact, my devotions don't take me to those three books very often. When I was younger, I loved hearing stories from the New Testament, which we studied from a lot in Sunday School. Now that I'm getting older, and in a place in my life where people constantly question my beliefs and I'm struggling to keep a stand, verses of encouragement are always a relief to read. Has anyone else ever felt pulled to a certain section of the Bible, or a book in particular? I have no clue if I'm unique in this or not!
The basketball tournament is tomorrow, so I'm praying like crazy it goes well. The kids were practicing all night tonight!

For my daily verse, I read over a lot of my highlighted verses from the three books, and I've picked this one:

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
- Psalms 62:6

God bless;


Thursday, August 17, 2006

A spinster at 21?!?!

The past 48 hours have been crazy! Work has been good, but hectic. We're taking the kids to a basketball tournament on Friday, so I'm praying that that goes well. For the past two mornings before work, I've been researching schools for after I graduate from my undergrad, and a few look promising. Some ever have a strong Christian Fellowship, which I'm starting to realize in going to be very important.
Lately, a lot of my friends have been getting married. Every single person in my old youth group at school (long story!) is married, and they're all my age, some even younger. Sunday at church there was a special speaker, so members from other congregations in the area came, and a lot of the girls I went to Bible Camp with when I was young were there- all married or engaged. The whole day I heard "I'm so-and-so, and this is my husband/fiance Bob". I'm thinking in my head "I'm Lauren, and ... it's just me!". Don't get me wrong, I'm happy they're happy and married to great guys. It's just slighty depressing that at 21 I'm already a "spinster" (it's a good thing I like cats!). All the good guys are being snatched up! Ok, I just realized I sound really superficial and flighty worrying about this. It's just an observation! My best friend and I were talking about this tonight, and about how few Christian guys there are, and apparently they're all married! Is it so hard to find a Christian guy, preferably one who likes sports, animals and is funny? I usually don't obsess about things like this; I mean, yes I want to get married, but I'm only almost 21 (one more month!), so by the time I graduate and get a career started, I'm going to be left with the weird old guy that sits in the back pew. Haha, I'll be Mrs. Backpew. Now that I've made myself sound really needy (none of us are perfect), I'll just say that getting married is something that I, like every other little girl, wanted, so it just made me a little sad that I'm kind of being left in the dust in that area.
Now, a more serious note, and a cute story. One of the girls (Diane) at the centre is having a hard time making friends with the other girls, so I try to hang out with her as much as I can. I never talk about my faith at work unless I'm asked because I feel that work is the place to live by example, and because there are so many kids from different backgrounds there. Diane and I were making a village out of sand in the playground today, and out of nowhere she looked at me and said "you know Lauren, I don't believe in God". I treaded VERY carefully on this topic, and after a while we just sort of switched subjects. By the time we finished our village, the sun was going down and she watched the sunset and then said "although the sky is very pretty right now, so it would be nice to know it was God doing that for us". (On side note, it made me smile when I saw the pictures of sunsets on David Fisher's blog, and then again on Terry's!) Amen to that! If only we could see the world through the eyes of a child once in a while.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40:31

God bless-


Monday, August 14, 2006

It's called doing the RIGHT thing for a reason!

Was it Mark Twain who said that you can live off a compliment for a month? A month seems like a long time, but today I got a compliment that should keep me smiling for a few days at least. I work at a youth drop-in centre for children from low-income households, and part of our job description includes being a role model and a positive influence in the community (that fact was said over and over at our job trainings!). My co-worker and I have very different views on what this means, which has become evident over the past two weeks. A TV was donated to our centre, so from time to time we let the kids watch a movie or play Nintendo. My co-worker (I'll refer to him as CW!) brought in South Park two weeks ago for them to watch. I, up until that point, had never seen it, although I had heard some kids when I was in high school quoting it, and it sounded stupid. CW reassured me that it was all fine and dandy, and he put it on. About five minuted into it, I was beyond offended. The show was full of racial slurs, derogatory terms, insults to women, and (this is when they took it WAY too far), they made jokes about Christopher Reeve and Michael Jackson/child abuse. I turned it off, and my first fight with CW started up. I believe that this isn't just a Christian vs. non-Christian disagreement, but just common sense! Jokes about any of the before mentioned topics are not appropriate anywhere, at any time, especially at a youth centre filled with 10-13 year olds! CW kept trying to put it on, and I keep turning it off. I tried to have logical talks with him about it, but when I was getting nowhere I talked to my boss. She completely agreed with me and was happy I told her, and I am happy to report that there has been no more South Park at our centre!
So, today we each had a meeting with our boss and the co-ordinators to discuss our most recent employee evaluation. In my comments: "you are a responsible, mature leader, and your judgment skills are an asset to the kids and the community". Now, I hate people who brag, so I wasn't even going to talk about this at all, but I changed my mind because I think I deserve to be happy about this! I took a stand for what is right, which is something I've always struggled with, and it paid off! YEAH:) I've been praying about this my whole life, and the Lord truly does answer prayer. In the grand scheme of things this is small, but everyone has to start somewhere. It is such a great reassurance to know that the Lord is watching over and guiding me as I try to figure it all out.

In keeping with the theme of doing what is right, my daily verse is:

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love and in purity.
- 1 Timothy 4:12

In all the times I've been to a youth group (whether at my own in high school or visiting a friend's) I've never heard anyone speak on this verse, but I think it's so important for all of us, even those who don't qualify as "young" anymore!

On a completely un-related note, my cat has decided that there is no better place in the world to scratch than my mom's couch. The poor guy is now banished to the basement when no one is home. Poor little guy. Anyone know how to break this habit? He has his own scratching post, and more toys than a spoiled child. I go back to school in a few weeks, and I'll feel even more guilty than I usually do leaving him if I know he's spending his days in the basement.

In Christ;


Sunday, August 13, 2006

No eye has seen, no ear has heard

Today, as it is Sunday, was a church day. The message today was on being united as believers, and the importance of fellowship. I truly believe that the best earthly support system for a Christian comes from friends. I know I am very lucky to have been blessed with a best friend who is a solid Christian. Together we have had many amazing talks, and I have really felt our relationship with each other grow through Christ, and our respective relationships with Christ have also grown. I know that one of my biggest hurdles at school is a lack of a solid group of Christians. In my first year I made friends with some girls who claimed to be Christians, but one got trapped up in the boozing world that is "residence life" and the other one is what I refer to as a "Sunday Christian". Monday through Saturday she acts very much like a non-believer, yet every Sunday is in the church right beside me. During a lunch together last year, I tried to tip-toe around the subject of her behaviour, to which she replied "I know, but that's the great thing about going to church- I feel so much better about all that when I leave. It's like I've been forgiven". God blesses us with many people in our lives who are willing to help us with our relationship with Christ, and there are days when I get very discouraged that I have an apparent lack. I believe that God will provide, and that He knows what is in my heart, so I have faith. I ask for prayers for my best friend (Chelsea), for my two friends at school, and for myself.

Also today, as I flipped through my Bible, I noticed an awful lot of green! Black and red are the standard colours of a Bible, so I'm sure many of you may be wondering what green is doing in there! I'm for sure a Type A person, so I love to colour-coordinate everything. A few years back I decided that every verse that I read that impacted me, or truly spoke to me, would be highlighted or underlined in green. I read over a few "green verses" while I waited for the meeting to start, and I found one that I think I'll make my verse for the day:

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him".
- 1 Corinthians 2:9

I picked this verse today because it was welcome thing to read after all my worries about staying a strong Christian, especially in environments that I find myself in that are not very supportive of my choice.

May you all have a safe week, and remember that God has great plans for all of us who love Him!

In Christ;


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Handing over the reins

Today was actually interesting. My day started out with a trip out to visit the horses I'm taking care of this summer. As a side note, I was upset over the fact that I couldn't afford to ride this summer (anyone who knows the sport will be able to tell you it's a no-go on a student budget!) until a friend of a friend knew someone who was looking for someone knowledgable to look after and help train her horses (and one pony!). The best part? It was for free! Yet another example of how the Lord provides. Anyways, back to the point. I usually don't read a lot of signs while I drive, but today as I drove through the small town the barn is located in, I found myself glancing at the occasional sign. The one outside the church read "Hand over the reins, because God reigns". I laughed, because it was a pun involving riding, which I was on my way to do. Once I was out riding though, my mind wandered back to this statement, and I realized that it is indeed very true (and can even be applied to both Jeremiah 29:11 and the story about me being upset over horses). We need to stop trying to control our lives and give God the ultimate control. After all, life is much better if we let God in and give our lives over to Him.
I got an e-mail today from my best friend, who's been having a hard time with her boyfriend. She recently decided that they should break up, and long story short, he's not in agreement with her decision. My best friend is the nicest person I know, and one of the strongest Christians, and so I know this has been hard on her. She has asked for my prayers for her situation. In an attempt to help encourage her, I looked through my Bible and found a verse that I really love, and I think I'll end with it today!

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble".
- Psalm 46:1

I know that the Lord is my refuge and my strength, and I will happily hands the reins over to Him!

God bless-


Friday, August 11, 2006

My intro!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' ".
- Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

For a long time in my life, I wandered, constantly questioning my beliefs and who I was. Luckily, one day I stumbled across this verse. Although, I guess if I look back now, it wasn't luck, but the grace of our Lord that led me to this verse. Knowing that the Lord has a plan for my life has been a reassurance of enormous proportions, and it is my hope that all of you will know this too. For everyone out there, I suggest posting this verse up somewhere as a daily reminder that we are in the safe, caring hands of our Creator.

God bless-