Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some quick encouragement

Hey guys,
I've been working a lot so it's hard to get blog posts out but I just want to send a little encouragement to you today. I'm just going to let God course through my fingers and tell you guys how he feels.

My lovely child, you have been struggling. You have not been letting Me take the helm in your life. Why? You know I love you. You know I'm the One who loves you more than any other - and at such a deep level that you don't even know yet. Why won't you let Me love you? I will protect you from what the world shoves at you. You need only ask. Will you let Me protect you? You know, My beautiful one, that I know what's best for you. Yet, you still think you know better than I what's good and bad for you.

My bride, you are letting filth into your head. You know how that filth stains you and leaves a scar. You know how it is practically unshakable, unforgettable. Don't you know that I can cleanse you of that? You can be stainless and blameless with Me. You need only ask.

But you have to believe in Me, My love. You've got to. I've heard your secret prayers.
"God, if your real, do this."
"God, if your out there, I need that."

You test me. You don't have faith that I will deliver. But I tell you, My dear, that if you ask with faith in Me and if it is something that is sound and good, you will have it. You can have everything you need.
Let Me lead.
Let Me take the helm, and you will see so much good. You will be a light for many. Some will hate you for believing in Me, but I tell you, you will be rewarded in full for that persecution. I love you.

You need Me.

If you haven't gotten alone with God, do it. Go for a walk. Sit in your room. Do whatever makes you feel solitude, and imagine just talking with God. It will help you. Give up time on Facebook, twitter, and instagram (which do not help your problems) and seek Him.
Be still. Let the chains go. Be free. Seek Him.

Lauren. (and God)


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The overview of the trip

I'm back!

Michigan has been missing this face. I'm sure of it.

I've actually been back for a week now and I have simply been putting blogging off... because I'm lazy and I had no idea how to begin to explain a life-changing trip. But then I realized that pictures do a lot. Soooo... it's picture time.

You may not be able to see these very well on the Apple's touch screen products.
Those Jerks.
Making it hard for me to blog.
But whatever. Find a computer, okay!?

This is the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base in Los Angeles. We stayed in those trailers.
In my trailer, we had like, 24 girls living in there.
It was insane.

That's me. Hangin' out at the base. One of the nice things about California is that it's really nice to just chill outside. It's unbearable to be outside in MI half the time. It's either beastly hot or frigid cold.
Or the weather is just plain stupid.

Davy. Being an idio....I mean.... cute.... thing...
Just kidding! Once again, love ya Davy!

Here's a picture to prove how adorable he is. Hello, sweet boyfriend :) I'll be honest, a lot of our growth took place in our talks. During lectures or worship, there were many times that I found myself confused or upset about how I feel, blah blah blah, but Davy was the same way. Our down time was spent like the picture you see. Us, sitting outside at a picnic table, hashing out our feelings and praying about it. There was so much growth in that.

This isn't the best quality picture but this is a very minimal glimpse of worship with the Circuit Riders. It was intense. We did this for hours every day. The first time I ever experienced this setting on the first night we arrived, I cried.
That's all I could do.
I didn't know what to do.
I was so uncomfortable.
But it was actually lovely. I never experienced such a powerful love. Being in the room when all those people are singing praises... it was like you could reach out in front of you and grab love out of the air. Is that weird? Like, it felt tangible. Heavy, sometimes.
It was emotional. And very good for my relationship with God.

Returning to the topic of down time and growth, that is Shaun. He's a crazy skating boarding, Jesus-loving man. I've mentioned him and his wife Jessica before on my blog. We spent a lot of our free time with them. Davy and I UNLOADED discussed our feelings to them and they helped us so much. Davy almost left the first night. He said this whole thing was way too big of a step for him, so we started arguing outside the worship building. I wasn't ready to leave. Shaun overheard us arguing and convinced Davy to stay. Shaun made us feel like we were in the right place and that it was totally okay to feel uncomfortable. In fact, it was necessary for our growth with God.

It wasn't ALL work, though. There were times where we just hung out. There are families that live on the YWAM base, too. Davy was playing his trumpet one night and this kid overhears him. His name is Issac, and he wanted to try Davy's instrument.
He now thinks he can play better than Davy.
Because he learned how to play from the movies.
Kids say funny things. Davy just kept on agreeing and encouraging him, though. It was quite cute.

Since Jessica and Shaun live in L.A, we wanted to hang out with them whenever we had an ounce of time. They took us to pinkberry.

It was really fun hanging out with a passionate christian couple. We learned so many good things through them.

We did outreaches, too. Basically, we take the day to go to a city and talk to people about Jesus. We pray for people and share good news to them. We went to Huntington Beach. It is really hard to confront people and talk to them, but you feel so good afterwards.

Shaun did skate demos with a group of other skaters and they share their testimonies. In the picture, they are praying before stating the demo!

We caught wind that Ruby's was "off the hook." Shaun said that.
Crazy California lingo.
So we went there. It was wonderful.

Davy with his burger. He was mad that I wouldn't let him eat his food until I got a picture.

And here is my glorious "Saturn burger." That's a ring of cheese around that baby.

At the end of the day, a few people from Circuit Riders wanted to get baptized on the beach, including Davy. Shaun was doing the baptizing.

I tried to capture this moment of Davy's baptism, but everyone was in the way! Oh well. There were like, 30 other people that ended up getting baptized that day that weren't part of Circuit Riders. So cool.

I went to Hollywood for another one of the outreaches. Davy went to Pasadena. It was tough. Everybody was there to see Katy Perry.

That is a snippet of the crowd for her. I got a crappy picture of her, too. Wanna see it?


YWAM finished off the program with having Lou Engle come in to speak to us. Check out his bio. He is a crazy man in a great way. He was pretty intense but that was how the program was supposed to be. It gave me so much growth.

And then Samantha (Davy's sister) and Rick (Samantha's husband) picked us up from L.A. and took us to San Jose.

First, we visited Davy and Samantha's aunt in Los Gatos.

This was at dinner. We went to some fancy panini place.
They had good tots. Just saying.

Then we went to Stanford for a soccer game! San Jose Earthquakes vs LA Galaxy.

David Beckham plays on the LA Galaxy team.
He wears pink shoes.
Here's some zoom-in action:

Check out his butt-ugly hair.

Rick is in the Air Force and since it was almost 4th of July, they wanted to do some sort of military feature in the halftime show. He is holding the flag in the middle! Zoom-in time? I think so:


Rick was able to use his military-ness to get us in for free and sneak us right next to the field to take pictures! Oh yeahhh.

It was a crazy hair night for me.

Then we woke up early the next morning to go to...


Hello delicious San Fran breakfast food.

Uh... they are super adorable.
And super fun to hang out with.

We went all over the place. We went to this yummy burrito place, yogurt shops, coffee shops, outlet stores, and saw Spidey Man.
It was so fun.
I really miss them.

It's THOSE houses. And they are adorable. That city is so cool. It's so unique. And it's very artistic. All the shops are local artists. You can hardly find a brand name store around. It's very inspiring. It makes me think I can legitimately get somewhere with my craft skillz.

We also went to see some redwoods:

Samantha is so pretty.

Jeez-o-petes he is handsome.

I love this girl.
She is a year older than me and she is living such a good life with her husband in California. She trusted God with her life and look where He took her. She is just the most precious thing.
She has a blog, too! Take a look :)

So that was our trip. We trusted God that he would take good care of us and He delivered big-time.
We didn't think we would see a huge soccer game. I didn't think I'd set foot in Stanford. I didn't think I would be seeing Katy Perry. I had no idea I would be witnessing healings. I didn't think I would get as many friends as I did. I didn't think I would be talking and praying to homeless people. I didn't think I would be able to handle airports as well as I did.
And I had no idea Davy would have the faith that he does now.

God changed my heart. I feel so loved... I just can't explain it. He healed me. I finally grew after feeling stagnant for years. He finally brought Davy to believe after 3 years of my prayers.
He is so... incomprehensible. The way He works...
it's SO supernatural. It is absolutely thrilling to watch Him unfolding my life.
I was hurting so much before I left because I thought I was forcing myself to love Him and I was forcing Davy to love Him as well.

What I didn't know was this: God was hurting me. Strange to say, right? Sometimes in order to heal us, He has to hurt us. Pain is part of the process. Ever notice when you have a fight with your significant other, after the fight, you feel like you've never loved them more? I was the one fighting. But then I forgave myself, because He forgave me. Then His love came over me like a gigantic wave and I felt so free to love Him back.
It was completely unforced love.
Love that I had been longing for.

God is worth everything. That is one of the biggest things I've learned on this trip.
He loves me. He knows what's best for me. He protects me.

He feels that way about you, too.

I hope you enjoyed my really long overview of our trip :) Praise God!