Monday, August 02, 2010


"8Look, I go forward, but He is not there. And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. 10But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:8-10 (NKJV)

I've written a little about my bout with depression before, and in that post I mentioned how Job knew that no matter what, God was still there. Recently, I've fallen into a depressive state again (though I wouldn't say that I am depressed), and I've been struggling with it. I mean, there are a lot of good things happening in my life, but there are things that I've worried about, too.

Yesterday was the third day of my latest migraine. I didn't start getting migraines until a few years ago, and they started to get really bad and more frequent earlier this year. I would say that part of the reason is due to stress from dealing with my break-up with JM and going back to school full time. Yesterday was also Sunday, so in spite of the pounding in my head, I went to church. I managed to get through worship, but by the time break time came so the pastor could get set up, I was in sorry shape. As I sat in the fellowship hall debating whether or not I should go in to try to listen to the sermon, I got the rather strong urge to find someone to pray for my head right then and there. I found two ladies who had yet to go in to the sanctuary and they were more than willing to pray for me. I sat in a chair while they prayed over me, and then one started to rub my neck and shoulders. She asked me if there were a lot of tension spots. I laughed and said, "Probably." She then said that there were things I needed to let go, so while she ministered to my neck, I bent my head and in a jumble of words poured out some of my immediate concerns to God. When she finished, and though I wasn't anywhere near to be finished, my migraine was almost gone. Not completely, but almost. It stayed that way for the rest of the time I was at church.

What she said got me thinking more about things that I need to let go. See, I have a hard time letting go of things. I tend to try to rely on myself more than on God. I get worried about things very easily and then I try to figure out how to resolve these worries. Recently, it's been about finances – getting things together for school, finding a place to live, paying my phone bill, etc. Unfortunately, I also have the bad habit of procrastinating. So many times things are left to the last minute, which only adds to the stress. I realized a long time ago that it was this combination, among a few other things, that was a catalyst to my prior depression. However, I chose to blame God for everything. When I read this passage in Job the first time, I was amazed how the first two verses encompassed exactly how I felt. But then I got to verse 10: "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." God wanted me to read that verse that day. In it, He was telling me, "I know how you felt that I wasn't there, but I was. I still am. I know everything that has gone on with you, and I know what is yet to happen. I allow you to go through things like this because it refines you. Gold has to go through the refining process to gain its purity. So it is with you. This will not be the last time you will go through hardship, but know that there is purpose in everything I do." As far as encouragement goes, it's not a "feel-good" kind of thing, but to me something clicked.

It's so hard to keep that in mind, though, and when that kind lady told me I needed to let go of things, it was nothing but a gentle reminder from God. There are other things I need to let go, as well. It's the dross of my life. As each impurity rises to the surface, God removes it. I just need to stop being so stubborn.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Well, I've, backdated, I blog.  I re-posted some older posts from when I had this blog and another blog a few years ago.  There aren't as many as I'd thought there would be, because some were for a specific social networking site (Shoutlife!) and they didn't apply here.  Anyway, check them out and I will also try to post a new one soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who I Am

I originally wrote this back in September 2007 and sent it to my mother for her to read. Today, she forwarded it to me asking if I still had a copy. I'm sure I do somewhere (between moving, switching computers, etc.), but after re-reading it, I decided to post it here. ~ LB

Have you ever been in the midst of some mundane task, like…say, making coffee, and God gifts you with an insight? That happened to me a few days ago while I was…yes, making coffee.

Names are important to me. I like to try to find the meaning of my friends' names, both the first and the middle. Each name has an individual origin and meaning, and it's neat to combine the separate meanings into one that might make some sense. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. After that, I like to try to find a spiritual application that I can put to the name and what it means. Again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

That doesn't mean that God doesn't have an His own application to ascribe to a name, and I believe He gives our parents our names for a reason. It's just not obvious to us at the time. And sometimes we think we know, but later it turns out that it is not what we first thought it meant.

My name is Lauren Margaret. "Lauren" means "victorious," and "Margaret" means "pearl." Together, they could be either "victorious pearl" or "pearl of victory." I prefer "pearl of victory." It seems to be more definite, more clear, about who I am in Christ.

When I first found out what my name meant, I was in high school. I pondered what it meant to me spiritually for a long time, because even then names were important to me, though I didn't know why. One day, while I was in the bath (yes, another mundane task), it occurred to me that it meant that I would have victory in certain areas of my life. "That's great!" thought I in my naiveté. "There's hope for me yet!"

Little did I know that the certain areas in my life in high school were quite trivial compared to certain areas in my life in college and beyond. How was I to know at the time that God would continue to work on me? I didn't have a true perception of Who God really is.

I'm getting there. While I was making that coffee, God spoke to me. He said, "You know how you thought your name meant you would be victorious?"

"Thought, God?" I fill the coffee maker with water. "What do you mean by that? I still do think it."

"It's time to change that." He answered as I measured out the coffee beans. "The victory has already been won through My Son. You know that."

I pause. "Yes, I do. But we have our own victories to win, right? I mean, You hone our character through these situations You place us in. When we finish one trial, and learn what we need to, then we've had a victory."

I can feel Him gently smiling at me as I turn on the coffee grinder. "Dear child," He says. "It's not about the victories you win. It's not even about the trials you go through. It's about becoming holy and pure, like My Son. What happens to make a pearl?"

I recount in my head the story of how the oyster makes a pearl. Instead of spitting out an irritation, the oyster covers it with a fine layer of mother of pearl. Over time and after many layers, what was once an irritation becomes a beautiful and luminous pearl, shining with a radiance that seems to emanate from it's very core. That's when it hit me.

I am an irritation because I am sin. I was born sin and my life is sin. Because of God's incredible and beautiful love for us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on that Cross. His blood covers us, covers our sin with grace. Over time, our sin is not visible to God anymore. For each trial we go through, we receive more grace. And more grace. His grace is limitless!

"Yes, child," He says into my heart. "It's not about the victories. It's about what My Son does for you. When I finish with you, you will be the most beautiful pearl, and you will shine with the radiance of Christ, Who is the core of your being. That is what your name means. It is who you are to Me. My Pearl."

Sunday, April 04, 2010


When I read this post by Pete Peterson at The Rabbit Room, it brought some memories regarding Easter to mind.

When I was younger, we attended a certain Episcopal church in East Tennessee, and that is the only church I remember where we followed the traditions of Holy Week. Even as a young girl, I remember the solemnity during specific services, especially Good Friday. I remember my mother instructing me about what happened during this particular service, and how at the end we had to leave the church in silence. It was the silence that had the impact on me. I remember hearing the people shuffling about in the almost-completely dark sanctuary (due to candles, except one, being extinguished during the service), the sound of their clothes rubbing, coughing, the sound of them picking up their belongings. We walked in somewhat of a line out of the sanctuary into the fellowship hall. I didn't understand it then, and when we reached the fellowship hall it felt like something lifted and I could be my usual self. As I thought about it in later years, I realize the significance of the darkness and the silence. When Christ died, even God, His Father, went into mourning.

Today, we celebrate His Resurrection. It is a true celebration because of the reason why He died and why He rose again – for us. So that we may have life in Him. Life everlasting. I can't think of a better reason to celebrate, can you?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Thoughts

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about this book I want to write. I have a general thought about it as well as the Main Character (MC) and two supporting characters, with a couple of other minor characters. Many of you know my story, "Genoa," and some of you have read a longer version of it, "Genoa (revised)." I want to expand it even more, and for a long time I didn't know where to take it. After everything that has happened to me with JM, I've thought that I would address the issue of domestic violence in this book. I'm thinking also that it would be somewhat therapeutic.
Now I've just got to figure out how I'm going to work on it while I'm going to school. :P

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What a Week!

Well, last week was eventful…somewhat.
I've been on Spring Break last week and it continues this week. School starts back up on April 5th, and I'm really looking forward to it, except maybe for the fact that I have a physics class first thing. I'm not sure about the wisdom of having a science class in the morning, but then again, it might be better than having one in the afternoon.
Anyway, on Wednesday this last week, I opened up my email to see that I had received one from my ex-boyfriend, JM. For those who don't know, JM was abusive to me. In fact, he is so typically abusive, it's scary. According to a mutual friend of ours, he is following the same pattern he did with a previous girlfriend – one who actually moved to Alaska to get away from him. He also would wait several months before emailing her, then wait another few months and email her again. Fortunately for me, his abuse was mostly verbal, but if I hadn't left when I did, it certainly would have escalated. I replied to his email. Yes, I know, I should have just ignored it, but it's that niggling little thought that maybe this once I could talk (or write) something that he won't take out of context or twist to his advantage, or even flat-out lie about. His accusations are hard to ignore, especially when they are false and full of name-calling and straight out viciousness. I warned him that I would take steps to get him to leave me alone (after repeatedly asking him to do so), which he just laughed off. So, I've started the process. I have an appointment with a domestic violence advocate this coming Wednesday to fill out paperwork for a protection order. One major consequence of this is that he would no longer be able to go to the same college which I attend. He went there last quarter, but his classes were in the morning and mine were in the afternoon, and they were on opposite ends of the campus. I never saw him, much to my relief. Plus, his emails had stopped for the time being. This will not prevent him from going to college at all, it just won't allow him to go to the same one I go to. I thought he was finally done…until last Wednesday. I'd appreciate prayers about this.
Thursday night, I went to a Seder dinner with my mother, my little sisters, and my friend, Amy Michelle Wiley. It was a wonderful experience, and I really recommend if you have the chance, you need to go.
Friday, I went to lunch with another friend, Anna Greta Rivera, but this one was not a pleasant experience…at least, not at first. We had stopped at a red light on one of the busiest streets here in town, and just as our car had completely stopped, we heard bang and the car jumped forward. We had been rear-ended! Fortunately, no one was hurt. Anna did decide that she wanted to get checked out, as well as her baby girl, so after her husband met us we headed to the clinic. The baby is just fine and Anna has a strained muscle in her neck. I chose not to go to the doctor, and though I've been a little sore and I also have a neck muscle that seems to be strained, I'm just fine. We still went to eat, but obviously our afternoon didn't go as planned!
Here's hoping this next week is better!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Boundless – Pure Again

Facebook is a great tool. I have found quite a few things worth my attention through FB, and this is one of them:
Pure Again

I "happened" upon the Boundless website tonight (I put quotes around "happened" because I don't think it was by accident) and read article after article that were very good, but this one impacted me. Honestly, I couldn't finish it without crying.
See, we are all the adulteress required to "go and sin no more," but this is the first time I truly understood that parable, that I could actually personalize it. I was in similar circumstances not too long ago. I am just as guilty as she, and especially after reading this article and the parable that goes with it, I am just as awed at His forgiveness.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For Those Interested

I have decided to go back to school to finish my Associate's degree and continue on to get my Bachelor's degree. I am currently in my finals week of my first term in ten years, which has been…well, a few things. Interesting. Fun. Stressful. Eye-opening. Inspiring.
I've met some nice people, and I've met a few…characters. I've also met some stereotypes that I was none too pleased to be acquainted with. One in particular is in my English class. He's gay. Obviously and totally. Flaming. And he's just a kid! Now, I've met some gay people that I got along with pretty well. This kid has an attitude that he doesn't deserve to have. He's very annoying. Don't get me wrong, he's a smart kid and his contributions to our discussions in class are applicable and serious. However, his affectations out of class are worthy of eye-rolling and an "oh, please" whispered under your breath.
Ok, ok, I can hear some of you saying that he's still a child of God and he should be treated as such. Love the sinner, hate the sin, etc. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with his attitude that he deserves special attention because of his sexual preference. I would have a problem with anyone who had such an attitude, gay or not.
I don't know what his major is, but I really hope he isn't in any of my classes next quarter.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Might Be Insane

I've decided to join eHarmony. It might be crazy and unexpected, but there it is. We shall see what happens.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New blog design

So I'm trying to figure out to change my blog according to this new Blogger designer they have, however I have yet to figure it out. :P