Now back to the little piece of heaven that was handed to me. Here it is. Get ready for it....
Ta daa! I know, probably not as exciting or spiritual has you were hoping for, but it's what inside that rocked this momma's world. But before I show you, let me explain a little of our "story" to you.
Even though my immediate family now consists of four full time pastors in our family: my step-dad, my brother, my husband and my son-n-law, our family does not come from a long line of pastors. Through the persevering prayers of my mother and then a radical transforming salvation of my mother-n-law....a revival broke out in our family and the Lord began to interrupt our lives right and left. When the smoke cleared, my husband and brother had been called to give their lives to full time pastoring and our family hasn't been the same since. Hallelujah!!
My girls were ages 11, 8 and 6 when we were called to our first church. The Lord gave me a burden early in our ministry to pray a specific prayer for them...
- That they would always see ministry as a good thing, a blessing, and a privilege. (so often pk's become cynical because they are privy to the ugly side of ministry)
- That they would have their own authentic passionate love for the Lord, and not think they could rely on the merits of their daddy's ministry and calling.
- I prayed they would not become "desensitized" to the things of the Lord because of being surrounded by it and knowing the "spiritual thing to say".........
(It happens folks. Why do you think "preacher's kids" have such a bad rep?)
Well, Elizabeth will turn 23 in September, Lydia will turn 20 next week!!, and Lauren will turn 18 in November. They have done gone and grown up on me!
|Here's my girls ( the lady on the left is my mom-n-law i was telling you about...oh, and the cutie patooties are my grandgirls)|
- Elizabeth fell in love with a cute guy in love with Jesus and he's a full-time youth pastor.
- Lydia has her heart set on this really cute country feller who can pick the banjo like nobodies business who loves Jesus and is a full-time youth pastor.
And now for the rest of the story.... my precious Lauren. At about age 14, she decided to rebel against everything that we were about. All that she was taught and all that she saw lived out in our home became unwanted by her. She didn't like any of our standards or "rules"...the same rules that had been set in place for both of her sisters. Rules that pertained to our view of courtship and dating, the way to dress, curfews, movies ....I could go on and on. She acted out her rebellion in ways I thought I would never have to experience as a mother. These were the things that OTHER people went through.... not us, a pastor's family, who homeschooled taboot! Well, the Lord stripped me of that ugly sin of pride that He despises so much and humbled me in ways I would have never chosen for myself. But oh the things I have learned on this journey.
When I had gotten to a place where I even wondered if we were even "fit" to be in ministry, just when I was really about to give up, He gave me this word of hope as I was literally crying to Him that morning...
"Thus says the LORD;
Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears:
For your work shall be rewarded,
Says the LORD;
And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
There is hope in your future, says the LORD,
That your children shall come again to their own border."
Wow! I felt as if the Lord had inspired Jeremiah to write that so many years ago just for this worn out momma at the end of my rope when I was ready to just give up all hope! What peace washed over me that morning. It was as if the Lord told me verbally, "Stephanie, wipe your eyes. All of your work hasn't been for nothing. Lauren will return from the enemy's snare and his deception. I have great things in store for her future.. She will come back to all that she has been shown and taught. Just trust ME."
Yowza!!! I had renewed strength to face whatever was still yet to come because I had a word, a promise to cling to. "Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life." Psalm 119:49-50
Lauren didn't change in an instant after the Lord spoke to me that day, but the word He gave me sustained me and comforted me. And in the days that would follow, I would remember His promise to me...."Lauren will come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in her future. She will come again to her own border you have set for her."
And that is exactly what happened. Not in my timing, but in His. The Lord interrupted Lauren's life and her way of thinking and put her on a new course. He opened her eyes to the Truth and her life has never been the same since. He has taken her strong willed personality and has used that for His glory. She is not afraid to stand up alone in a crowd of her peers to speak about Jesus and what He does for you. Her boldness blesses and amazes me daily. I want to be more like her. I find myself crying again as I write this, but these are tears of another kind. Tears of joy for what God's grace can do in a life.
Ok Ok....now I will show you what's inside my little piece of heaven the Lord blessed me with yesterday. Overlook the spelling...she was only in 4th grade and apparently still needed a little work on "dropping the e before adding ing" lol.... but the content is incredible.
|I LOVE the line "He has given us the Holy Bible to read and to know Him. To understand Jesus, you need a Bible." Wow!|
Her heart then was she wished she could become more like Jesus and be admired the way she admires Him. Well Lauren, you have become more like Jesus. Your growth in His grace and knowledge is astounding and everyone who knows you, knows Who you love. And I for one, admire you more than you may ever know!
Yes, it's been a long road home but for all the Lord has taught me and my family along the way, I wouldn't trade the journey for anything :)