NEW BLOG POST //P R A Y E R// and \\F A I T H\\
Here’s the thing about prayer and asking God for things that you want…sometimes, it’s a clear and easy “yes”. Other times, He say’s a very firm “no”. And then for things we want most, they are almost always a, “wait” or “not yet”…which means, “Lauren, have faith that I am working on it.”
In these times of waiting, God is building your faith and your testimony. If He just gave you everything you ever wanted when you asked, you’d wouldn’t have this amazing testimony of perseverance and Faith that you could share to be a beacon of light for others in their time of need!
Remember those really hard things you went through? Or maybe you’re going through them right now?
One of my favorite stories in the Bible when Jesus speaks very directly, is found in Mark chapter 4:35-41. He had been teaching to large crowds, and He decided that He and the 12 should go over to the other side of the lake. They get in and this crazy storm hits. The 12 disciples are literally freaking out. Meanwhile, Jesus is asleep on a cushion. They shout to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?!” He got up and calmed the storm. When everything died down, Jesus said, “why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I believe that He was saying this because they had seen him do SO MANY MIRACLES. They had seen his love and kindness and how it changed people. They had watched his followers turn from a few to thousands. After witnessing all that, HOW could they still have so little faith through the storm?
For me, I want to have the kind of faith that Jesus has. Faith strong enough to be so calm during a figurative or literal storm, that I could sleep.
You must have faith that Jesus will calm your waves and your storm. He will always bring you safely to the other side.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Did you catch that? “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It’s all in God’s perfect timing. If you are asking, and God keeps telling you, “wait a little longer,” it is because you are not ready yet.
I do consider it a joy. I thank God all the time for everything I have been through. I wouldn’t have everything I have now without it. It was Faith. Faith and prayer that one day, I would come out on the other side of the stormy lake. Let me tell you, I have and it’s beautiful over here.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” -Luke 1:45
Anyway, God finally gave me a “yes” 😊 I’ll share about it soon.
“As I drove over there, I did not know what was going to happen. I did not know if she would last through the night. But I knew God was leading me, so I just simply followed. And I am so happy that I did! I could have turned away and brought her home to let her pass. But I knew I had to go to this place…..”
This is Miley. She is nine years old, and I adopted her in 2010 when she was 8 weeks old. Miley is a terrier, corgi, lab, goldie mutt (I know she doesn’t look like a goldie, but her mom was!). She has always been a fiercely loyal dog, and she’s been the best watch dog. I have every confidence that she would bark away any bad guys. She loves my kids, and is never far from them wherever they are in the house.
I have forever joked that Miley would outlive us all. She’s a trash digging, scrap eating dog. It has never phased her. And she’s never been sick!
Last Tuesday, I noticed that she hadn’t eaten her food for almost a full day. That was highly usual for her. Sometimes, she grazes over her food and comes back an hour later to eat it. But it’s not like her to leave it completely untouched.
I started to notice that she wasn’t barking anymore or leaping up at us when the kids and I came in the door.
Over the next 24 hours, Miley started to decline rapidly. All the sudden, she was limping and could barely walk. Aside from everything else, that’s when I knew something was very seriously wrong.
It was 4pm on Thursday, and the kids and I, along with Miley on a makeshift bed in the back of my explorer, headed to the vet. The vet tech came back and took her temp, and it was a 106.9 fever! The vet came in a re-checked the temp with a different thermometer to double check, and it shot right up to 106.9.
They immediately took her back to give her an IV of fluids, which brought her temp down slightly.
This whole time, I’m freaking out internally because 1.) I was so worried for her, but was trying to remain positive for the kids and 2.) How the heck will I pay for her treatments and medicine? I knew this would be an expensive trip. I’m a single mom that lives basically paycheck to paycheck. That’s not something I advertise, but hey, it’s real. And that’s the point of this blog.
I finally did explain my financial situation to them, and bless the good people at Trinity Animal Hospital off Alicia in Orange County, they didn’t charge me for the bag of fluids.
By that time, it was getting close to their closing time, so they sent us to Animal Urgent Care of SOC in Mission Viejo, which is an overnight urgent care.
As I am driving there, I am having an internal conversation with myself and God. Should we go here? God, how will I afford this OVERNIGHT stay for her? And my mind went darker, what is the point at which I would put her down?
We get there, and poor Miley is panting, extremely tired and weak. They ushered her back right away to get her hooked up to an IV.
We went in to a room, and after they assessed her, the vet tech came in with a summary of what her estimated treatments and bill will look like in the morning.
What she said next shocked me, and I knew that God was extremely present in that moment.
“Someone by the name of ………….. just called, and she wants to take care of the entire bill for you.”
I stood there in disbelief. And then the tears came in as realization settled in. I had no idea who this woman was. I don’t know what her faith is, but she must have had some kind of nagging in her heart. That’s the Holy Spirit.
What would have happened if she ignored that feeling? My dog would have died. It scares me to think of how many times that I have felt that familiar nagging feeling in my heart and ignored it. How many times have I said “No” to God?
BUT she said “yes”, and answered the call. And my Miley was able to receive the overnight care and medications that she so desperately needed.
Once again, GOD SHOWED UP. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
As I drove over there, I did not know what was going to happen. I did not know if she would last through the night. But I knew God was leading me, so I just simply followed. And I am so happy that I did! I could have turned away and brought her home to let her pass. But I knew I had to go to this place.
I love when God does this. You’re scared and very nervous. And then He’s like BAM! Wassup? Miracle for YOU! And a miracle for YOU! EVERYBODY HERE GET’S MIRACCCCLLLLLLLLEEESSSSSSS!
I love this imagery, and it’s fun to paint it that way, but that’s how it feels! When you are following where God is leading you, when you listen to the silent messages He gives you, He always shows up. He will never leave you, and rest assured He will always be with you when you go through tough times.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
So to the woman who helped save my dog, I will be forever thankful. I will use this lesson of selflessness and pay it forward.
Update: She’s doing great on antibiotics and is at home with us!
Last week, I talked about how my world fell to pieces when my husband left me in part 1 (secret time: my world didn’t really fall into pieces. On the contrary, my life fell in to place, but at the time, it felt like it.)
Remember when I told you about how I got stuck on the almost chant like phrase, “please, God. Please, God. Please, God….”?
This would carry me through the next several hours of that very long first night. One thing that I remember is that nothing would soothe me enough to fall asleep. Tv shows, movies, music and even spa music was somehow all still reminding me of what I had just gone through. Eventually, I settled on infomercials in the middle of the night.
I fell asleep to the soothing sounds of someone telling me how easy it was to pickle things. 5 easy payments for this system, and I could start pickling at home. Thank you, Pickle Jar Man, for helping me fall asleep that night, and several nights after. My favorite show, The Office, was eventually the thing I would play as I fell asleep. Even to this day, 5 years later, The Office is something that I turn to for comfort.
The next morning, my eyes were puffy and salty from all the tears. I don’t recall what happened when my son, Jack, woke up. I was hyper focused on talking to my husband. WHAT HAPPENED? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US? PLEASE COME BACK.
Then something happened that changed everything…
He finally admitted that he had been having an affair.
I EXPLODED. I was so angry that I could have probably tipped over a car. I was enraged.
I knew it. Looking back, there were clear signs of it. At night, he would prop a pillow up between us because he didn’t want me to wake up and see what he was doing. He would take his phone in to the shower with him. etc etc etc.
Back story: my ex husband was in his 8th year in Marine Corps. He had very bad PTSD from not only being shot in Afghanistan, but also from the trauma of seeing his buddies die in front of him and having to kill people. At the time of all this, he was going through the process of being medically retired. In order to do that, they have to make sure that it’s legit. So he had to re-hash everything that he saw and went through in these “getting out” therapy sessions. It brought up a lot that he had stuffed down. And it tanked our marriage. In a time when I needed him to be the rock, he wasn’t able to. He needed a rock, and I couldn’t be that for him at that time. I had already done that when he was shot in 2009. I needed him now.
In this time, he admitted to himself that he was no longer in love with me. In one of our fights during this the time before he left, I finally got him to admit this out loud. Man, it stung. More than that, it wrecked me. And it only added to his fuel for leaving me. Little did I know, he had this woman talking in his ear, grooming him to leave me.
“Ok I’ll tell you the truth. I am seeing someone.”
It was so cold, the way he said it. It was as if he was saying, “yeah this is happening. Deal with it.” Actually, he did say these words to me on multiple occasions. I was spiraling out of control, and he was just ok with exploding this marriage that we had built for 5 years.
I was so lost and confused! I was spiraling out of control and grasping on to anything I could hold on to. I was desperately trying to get him to listen to me and reason with me. I was trying to get him to WAKE UP! I was in the first couple stages of grief- shock and bargaining.
To be completely honest, I’ve forgotten the details of a lot of these excruciatingly painful moments. When I think back now, I have no idea just HOW I was able to withstand any of it. Especially because I was 8 months pregnant AND had a 2 year old.
It was God.
….and a little bit the Pickle Jar Man
There is a false statement that gets thrown around in the Christian community A LOT. It goes something like this, “God wouldn’t put you through it if you couldn’t handle it.” or “God wouldn’t give you anything you couldn’t withstand”. THIS IS A LIE. God absolutely 110% gives us things that we cannot mentally or physically withstand because we are supposed to rely on HIM to help us. That is the whole point. If you could handle it on your own, you wouldn’t need God. But He has designed us to need him, to cry out to Him for help. He desperately wants us to desperately need him.
I found the following verses one night. I would recite it anytime I could feel my anxiety and panic rise. Especially the very first verse.
“Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God…You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief…Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.” -Psalm 31:2-16
Do you see where this is all going? The story itself is almost irrelevant. It was coming back to Jesus. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Nothing is accidental. It’s all God’s plan.
But the story IS real, and I do believe that there is a reason that I felt a pull to share it. I am excited to see where God is leading me.
Come back for Part 3 next week, and make sure to follow me on Instagram!
As I sit down to right this, I am not sure where to start. I am a little scared about sharing my journey that is filled with grief, depression, anger, and a multitude of other emotions.
My story also includes unimaginable joy, change, self improvement and self care, my two beautiful children and my light- Jesus.
I want to be transparent, though. If my story can be even just a small light for someone going through what I went through, it will be worth it.
My story begins 5 years ago, almost to the day, when my husband of 5 years left me. I was 8 months pregnant with our second child (a girl).
Our son was asleep upstairs, and my husband came downstairs with a bag packed. He announced that he would be going to work to stay that night since he had an early hike. He was a Marine and this was not a normal thing for him. Normally, he would have just left early in the morning for work.
I could see what was really happening. This had been brewing for weeks.
I pleaded with him to not go. I knew that if he went, he would never come back.
The man I married was gone. He turned in to a cold, unfeeling person that I did not know.
He sat in his chair and looked down. He had no expression in his eyes, and his jaw was clenched. He was a million miles away from the chair he sat in.
I got down on my knees in front of him, and I put my hand in his.
I am maybe a little ashamed to admit this, but I begged him to stay.
I tried to hold on to any shred of what he once was and who we once were. I tried to find that in his hand that I was griping on to. I tried to find it in his eyes that had turned away from me.
“Please don’t leave me. Don’t leave us. Please”, I pleaded through sobs.
I asked if there was someone else.
He looked me dead in the eye and said that there was no one else.
So again, I begged. I didn’t understand. We had a toddler and a baby on the way! Why would he leave?!
He pulled my hand out of his and stood up.
He grabbed his bag and walked over to the front door. He stepped in to the door frame.
“Please don’t leave!”
The door then closed, and I crumbled.
He never even looked back.
It felt like he had chopped off my legs and left me to bleed out.
I was in complete and utter shock.
All I could do in that moment was cry and say, “please, God.” Over and over.
When I was a kid, and I was afraid in the middle of the night, I would clasp my hands together in a prayer position, and I’d be able to fall back asleep. It was a comfort thing.
So that is what I did. I clasped my hands together and chanted over and over, “please, God. Please, God. Please, God.”
Sometimes I think about why I chose that particular phrase. I believe that I chanted that over and over again because my mind was racing. I was just torn in to a million pieces. I needed something to hold on to to get me through to the next second.
God did carry me though to the next second. And then the next and so on.
Little did I know then, I went through this for a greater purpose. There is much much more to this story. And I am thankful for this pain; this deep deep wound inside me.
I have never actually written any of that down before. And as I sit in the mechanics waiting room while my car is being fixed, tears are in my eyes. Tears of sadness for opening something that had scarred over, but also tears of joy for where I am now.
I want you to know, dear reader, that you will be OKAY. You will get through your river of sadness. You will climb and get out of your pit of grief/anger/depression/anxiety.
This is not the end of your story. And it’s not the end of mine either.
I will be back to share Part 2 next week.
Thank you so much for reading! Make sure to follow along on Instagram!
“For the Lord has called you back from your grief— as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God.”