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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Long Road Home

Yesterday a sweet little piece of heaven fell in my lap..  Well, it was actually handed to me when I went to pick up daughter's transcripts from her school. You see, my sweet Lauren and I have been on a loooong journey the past several years together.  One that, at times, I thought I might not survive. 

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.  
Both these girls have a passionate love for Jesus and the Lord is using them to advance His kingdom all because of His grace in their lives.

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."
 Jeremiah 31:16-17

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 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 :)

Stephanie :)



  1. What a true blessing! I am amazed of a 4th grader having that much knowledge and insight! What an incredible journey :))

  2. Wow. That's so wonderful! Thanks for posting that! We have a 'strong-willed' 5 year old daughter. I often feel so emotionally exhausted and begin to worry about the years to come. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Glad to have found your blog, I'm now following! ~Jessica

  3. That is AMAZING! I am so happy for you, and what a great story. Thank you for sharing your heart. :)

  4. I love it! What a great post. I pray for and look forward to the day my kids accept Christ. It will be a glorious day.
    Found your through Mrs. T!

    Visit me some time :)

  5. I know this was posted awhile ago, but I'm so glad I came across it and read it :) It reminded me so much of my own mother who stayed by MY side when I was "working out my salvation" and choosing ways that were not what she taught me growing up. I'm blessed to say that because of her {and obviously God's hand on my life}, I came back more on fire for Christ than ever before.
    I love how the Lord allows the strong-willed to test waters but He never lets us go- and with mothers like YOU and my mama, we can't deny His grace for too long!
    I hope to come back and read this in about 10 years and my twin girls are 15! haha {yikes!!}
    xo (Colleen)

  6. *love*

    God was so good to have given you comfort and a promise. He has done the same with me in many cases...i always have to "go back to what i know for sure" and remember his promises when the liar tries to defeat me.

    i bet lauren's faith is strengthened because of that time. that is good... but i bet it was so hard for you as her mama.

    i pray for so many things for my 3. pray for the LORD to always be their God, that they would not let anything take His place. pray that they won't grow complacent in their relationship with Him. Pray that they will live in His, and bring Him glory.
    what scares me is what God will allow to bring them into intimacy with Him... BUT GOD. instead i should be scared of them never experiencing intimacy with Him, and pray for God to draw each one of them close to Him, and then trust Him. Hmm...

    Being a mama is so hard. We WANT so much for them. Hmmm...God wants so much MORE.

    i delight in you, Stephanie.

    i think you should offer some mama mentoring weekend, where i can come and soak up all your wisdom and encouragement and learn to say "allyaall."

  7. Had to come visit this little link. I follow Lauren on Instagram and I've heard of her speak of how her life was 'inturrupted by Jesus' so it's good to get this back ground. It's amazing how Jesus can change one life. Amazing. Because I look at her today (what little I see of her life via instagram) and she is a beautiful soul. You can see Jesus radiate from her through a picture and text. It's amazing. Your prayers were answered momma! You've done a great job! ENJOY THE BEACH! xoxoxo


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