Adventure in the “A”

I’ve lived in Atlanta for several months now, however I’ve done very little exploring. This summer has truly been a busy one with travel and major events to attend. But now, I’m ready to explore my new home a little more.

I woke up Saturday feeling slightly adventuresome so I text my favorite partner-in-crime and asked “Will you go exploring with me today!?” 

Here’s some of our day…

*click on the right and left of the image above to view photos*

 

-Lauren Relinquished ❤

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Lighting a Fire Under Your Bum

Why Some Dreams and Goals Never Happen:

  1. You don’t ask for help
  2. You don’t know how to take constructive criticism
  3. You’re waiting for “it” to happen

Since a fire was just lit under my bum, I figured it is only right to pass that same fire onto YOU.

Whatever your next step, or thing you’re supposed to be doing, or that thing you’ve been dreaming about is, I’m going to need you to stop making excuses and get on it. Chances are that, that dream/goal does not require rocket science (sorry, but I’ve met most of y’all and none of y’all were geniuses). Most likely what you need is some motivation, someone to tell you that your idea is worth the work, someone to hold you accountable, prayer and sacrifice.

You gotta get out there and do it. Grind some details out and start putting all those ideas to some kind of action. Like seriously, if you’ve been dreaming about this thing for over a year – the time has really come for you to do something!

Stop letting your dreams/goals just go by the wayside – get busy…NOW!

-Lauren

Some destinations require re-routing [VIDEO]

Stopping in to drop some mid-week encouragement on y’all because sometimes it’s hard in these streets!! 

For instance –  we don’t always get to our destination on the first try or in the exact order of the plan, but that’s ok! Remember to stay encouraged along the journey – you’ll get there eventually, even if that means a re-route or you learn of something better instead!

https://youtu.be/OwwcOKy2onQ

The Hospitable Host

I think one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about moving and meeting new people is hosting. If you know me, you know I love to feed people (I get it from my momma), and I’ve found that I enjoy connecting people as well. There’s something about being a host and helping create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and welcomed that just makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside.

All in all, I’m learning a lot about myself here, in this new place – personally, socially and spiritually…

This morning, I stumbled upon Psalm 121 in my devotion. It’s a chapter of 8 verses that speak of God’s character and promise of protection for the Israelites. But I think it’s fair to apply these same promises to our lives personally. I know for me, my life is a series of Israelite stories over and over again –> I was once captive and then God saved/redeemed me and showed/reminded me why He is my Lord and asked me to trust Him and along the journey I stumble…

These 8 verses are pure gold. If you read it fast, you’ll miss what they truly can mean for your life, so chew on these for a minute…

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will [a]protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will [b]guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

 

I read all of this and can’t help but think -He does all of this if we let, allow, invite and keep Him.

I find that a lot of times I invite Him in, but then do a poor job of hosting and making Him feel welcomed in my life (which is slightly odd considering the fact I enjoy hosting people…).

It’s like inviting a guest over for dinner…you text them up and ask them to come over; they agree and drive over; they ring the doorbell to signal they’ve arrived; you let them in and usher them to sit at the kitchen table while you finish getting the meal plated and ready and then somewhere in the process of getting everything ready, you get distracted and step into another room and leave your guest just sitting there…hungry and unwelcomed.

A hospitable host would at least follow-through with the action they invited the guest over for in the first place.

In that same way, we invite God in (i.e “Lord, help me to be more disciplined in my life”), but then don’t give Him much to work with. There has to be some kind of follow-through on our parts. And I know I can personally attest that lately, the follow-through piece has been an issue.

Yes, God can do ANYTHING – He’s good like that, but some things require that we be willing participants. It’s true that God is no stranger in my house and could have easily finished serving those plates that I absently left when I got distracted, but He didn’t “come over” to eat alone – He wants me to eat with Him; dine with Him; talk with Him.

And as I continue to write and think about this, it boils down to the fact that I hold a responsibility to do my part. If I’ve made a request, I sure as heck should follow-through on it and set the atmosphere for things to transpire.

I like to use the word responsible when describing myself, but we all know a word is just a word until we give it meaning (in this case, that meaning has to come through action). Lauren is not responsible until she takes responsibility and owns the role she needs to play.

I wish I had some words of advice to share, but honestly I don’t. At times, my motivation is low and my actions are few. I’m glad to have some clarity and a better understanding of some of my issue, but nonetheless, I want to see myself take more responsibility and be the hospitable host; I want to see follow-through action on the things I’m praying for and not inviting God in only for Him to “sit and eat” alone…

The same way I enjoy hosting people at my place, I’ve got to host God the same way in my heart and life.

Journey with me y’all…

-Lauren

Checking-in :)

Hey y’all!

It’s real…I really live in a new place now. New job. New place. New challenges. New friends. New license. New bills. lol Etc.

I know I’ve been a little distant lately…I’m just trying to get settled and when I tell you I am learning so much about myself – you wouldn’t believe it.

From something as small as conversations at work, to how I’m dealing with the challenges at my new place and the property manager…it’s definitely stretching and teaching me so much.

There are definitely some things that are different and I’ve had to adjust the way I do things, such as how I use my resources, how I think about things, how I interact with people, how I eat, etc. The list goes on and on, really!

But through it all, I’ve been reminded of my “root” word time and time again – RELINQUISH.

When different challenges or frustrations arise, there’s like this strange calm that comes over me and reminds me everything is going to be fine. I’ve been way more passive in situations that in the past I wouldn’t be, but I still feel this gentle whisper on my spirit telling me to “let it go…”

I can’t wait to update y’all more, but I wanted to check in and share a little as well as remind you that no matter what’s been placed in front of you, what you have coming up, what steps you have to climb – RELINQUISH and let God plan your steps and really guide your path. You don’t have to control every little thing nor have an understanding of everything to be obedient. Just let go and keep pushing forward.

Love y’all!

-Lauren

Torn.

Truth is…I don’t know how I feel.
I get this falling feeling in my stomach at times.
Sometimes my eye sockets well up with mini oceans.
Other times I’m so giddy I could skip and jump rainbows or something.

I’m all over the place is what I am. And in the midst of it all, it still feels pretty unreal (but then the lack of pennies in my savings brings me back to reality lol).

I don’t know about this whole moving thing right now. I knew I was in for a real treat from the start though. When I started dreaming, praying and investigating my options, I remember it all felt so easy. Not that kind of “it’s never going to happen” easy, but that kind of easiness that makes you feel like it all be a smooth transition and all your ducks will fall right into place.

And it’s not that my ducks aren’t in place, but no one told me my feelings would be all over the place like this. Sheesh. I’m not sure what to feel. It’s all so new…and kind of scary quite frankly.

This will be my first big move on my own. In a way college didn’t completely count because I never took all of my furniture and I was only a 75 minute drive away. Now, I’ll be 450 minutes away 😫 (ay, but there are a couple people I’m ok being that far from 😅 just kidding – I love everyone lol)  Oh and did I mention how much I’m going to miss my momma and her cooking??

I know new adventures await me. I know it’s been God approved, but I must admit…right now I’m a little torn…

…but in a good way.

Yes, my feelings are all over the place, but it’s only because I realize all the gems that I’ve been blessed to encounter; the dope people who’ve enriched my life; the people who love me; the new experiences I’ve had here *sniffles* I miss my framily  and this city already! 

I’m tearing away from the old and being introduced to the new right now…and its different, but I can’t say I don’t like what I see 😏
As the day grows closer, everything is getting more and more real *bites nails*

I’m nervous, but I’m still very expectant!

Say a prayer for lil’ ol me!

Updates to come –

Lauren😬

Expecting.

I’m sitting here thinking about this time last year when I was preparing to go on my very first mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa. I was nervous and excited all at the same time; I felt so blessed and privileged for the opportunity to embark on that adventure. I was also super expectant and just knew that it would be life-changing…and it was.

Today, almost mirrors last year. The only thing that separates then from now is 365 days of time and space. Just like last year, I’m nervous and excited and feeling incredibly blessed for the opportunity that lays before me. I will be embarking on a new adventure and relocating to Georgia! And I am expecting this May and beyond to be nothing short of life-changing, as well 🙂

As you can imagine, I’m stoked for the newness, but you know “new” can also be kind of scary. Not to mention, transitioning mentally, physically and spiritually into this new season has its moments. There are ways you prepare yourself (and others) for what’s to come, but I think you can only prepare so much.

As I reflect on last year, I think about what I did to prepare for that almost 8,300 mile voyage to Cape Town South Africa. I got shots, I shopped, I put in vacation time, I gave notice, I fund-raised, I prayed, etc. And there was another thing…I’m not sure I realized how instrumental this was to the preparation process at the time, but now it’s glaring—

I EXPECTED.

I expected to experience and see God in South Africa. I expected Him to meet me there and show me new things. I expected that I would return home changed. I expected I would grow deeper relationships and gain new friends.

I had a mindset of expectancy that said “I’m expecting great things and I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”

I believe this attitude opened me up to fully experience my situation in a different way.

I’m not talking about what you think “should” happen or how you think it “should” happen, I’m simply talking about expecting something to happen.

Expecting means to anticipate the occurrence of something with reason (www.dictionary.com). You’re not closing yourself off to the details of how it can happen, but leaving yourself open for it TO happen whichever way it may. And honestly that takes a great deal of relinquishing control so you can just experience – you know…undergo, meet, feel, savor, enjoy…

So just like last May, this May – I am expecting.

I can’t promise that I’ll ever be fully prepared for the journey ahead, but I can promise myself that I will expect to experience God, life, surprises, love and growth.

Sincerely an Expectant Lauren ❤

GUEST POST: “Return.” By Anonymous

 

Luke 8:39 – “Return home and tell how much God has done for you”


I’m not a great story teller. I’m not exactly sure how to introduce my experience, so bear with me as I jump right into it…

The abuse started around year 1. Well, the physical abuse. There were always elements of mental and emotional abuse from day one, but I rationalized with myself and deemed it to be acceptable because his jealous and controlling ways meant “he cared about me” and his hurtful words meant he just “kept it real.” Little did I know those were warning signs to a much larger battle that I’d be fighting – literally.

The first big episode that occurred was the day before Valentine’s Day in 2013. I remember because he got me the cutest stuffed monkey and a pink card that read “I’m sorry for the bruises. I love you.” My bruised arms and ribs needed some TLC so I ran a bath and sat in the tub for hours. In that exact moment is when the thought of leaving him first came to mind. I had no idea how I was going to do it. I hadn’t told anyone about what was going on. I knew as soon as I told someone, I’d be held accountable to get out of the relationship and as crazy as it sounds, I don’t know if I was ready to leave yet. It wasn’t because I was dependent on him. Thankfully I was blessed with a great job and a high degree of self-sufficiency. And it wasn’t because I necessarily still loved and wanted to be with him (which was true in a sense)…but it was more so because of the threats. When someone constantly threatens you, tells you they’ll kill you if you ever try to walk out, you believe them. I believed him and I was afraid. I thought it’d be safer to stay and just pray that God changes him, versus me testing him and risking my life. Leaving didn’t sound safe to me. It sounded scarier than just continuing to be with him, so that’s exactly what I decided to do…continue to be with him.

As time progressed, so did the abuse. I’ll spare the details and stories of how and when each blow happened, but I do want to tell you how my spirit was being changed. See, I had always been my own version of a ‘Christian’. What I mean by that is, I went to church (when I wasn’t hungover from the night before), tithed (occasionally), and told people “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” I was that girl. I never had a relationship with God, just a legalistic list of do’s and don’ts that I followed when I felt like it. But about 2.5 years into this relationship, something within me was changing. My heart, mind, and soul was yearning for Christ in a way that I’ve never experienced before. And at this point during our entire relationship we NEVER attended church together. Never. When I approached my then boyfriend about going to church, he was completely against it. In fact, just hearing anything that had to do with God or church sent him into a state of INTENSE anger. I prayed for him – but the more I prayed it seemed like the angrier he got. He didn’t want me to go to church, read the Bible, etc. He hated anything that had to do with my faith. Very quickly I realized the battle that I was fighting was no longer just physical, but a spiritual one as well.

Fast forward to our 3 year anniversary: Right after we exchanged our ‘Happy Anniversaries’ we got into an argument and I told him I was done and I was leaving. Which was something I’d wanted to do for the past year and a half and I finally gained enough strength and courage to get up and go, permanently. I remember praying beforehand and saying, “Lord, if you get me out of this, I promise you’ll get the glory and I’ll never look back.” Through some struggle I made it down the steps to the front door, but I was knocked down. The man that I called mine for the past several years straddled over top of me and placed his hands around my neck for the very last time. I remember laying there thinking, “Ok, this is it. This is the moment I’m losing my life.” So I decided to not fight back anymore. I knew this was a physical battle I was sure to lose, so I just laid there and accepted it. As soon as I stopped fighting, my abuser looked at me, quickly released his grip around my neck, and backed away from me with his hands in the air. The look he gave me was one that I’ll never forget. It was like he just saw a ghost or something. Not only did he stop harming me, but this same man helped me get my things together so I could leave!

I witnessed God move in my situation within seconds. It was a complete supernatural experience. And I also realized I wasn’t just fighting my abuser. I’m not taking away responsibility for his actions, but unfortunately he was just a willing vessel to carry out the harm, and the real battle that I was fighting was with the enemy. The devil doesn’t fight you when you’re compliant with his agenda. The opposition worsened while I was getting my breakthrough.

—-

Some of you are in the same position I was, maybe just in a different scenario. You’re on the ground, lifeless, the enemy has his hands around your neck and you have no more fight left in you. But let me tell you that sometimes that’s the best position that we can be in, because all we can do while we’re laying down on our backs is look up and focus on Him. That’s when God can get our attention the most. I tried to run before, but I would go back to my abuser. I was persuaded and convinced back into the hands of a toxic spirit…and that’s something the devil is good at as well. He’ll tell you to stay in a harmful situation and reason with you to do so. I was there, and that’s a dangerous place to be – where your place of comfort is a place of destruction.

“You’re on the ground, lifeless, the enemy has his hands around your neck and you have no more fight left in you. But let me tell you that sometimes that’s the best position that we can be in, because all we can do while we’re laying down on our backs is look up and focus on Him.”

At one point I questioned if God even existed. Logically, God didn’t make sense – that’s what I would hear often. But logically, I’m not supposed to be here today. Logically, my abuser would have choked me to death that night. Logically, through all the abuse, I shouldn’t have a sound mind and sleep well at night. But…my God surpasses all logic and I know, that I know, that I KNOW!

I’ve already talked way too long, but someone needed to hear this. I’m not sure who it is or where you are, but YOU need to hear that God can and will get you out of your trouble…you just have to let Him. The battle is not yours, it never was. It’s God’s. Give Him your battle and you’ll come out with the victory EVERY TIME.

If you or someone you know is battling domestic violence please tell someone while considering yours and their safety. You can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and they will give you resources or next steps in trying to figure out what to do. If you’re in a very dangerous situation, I would suggest and encourage you to visit your local domestic violence division and report the incidents.

Thank you for reading and letting me tell you what God has done for me…He deserves all the glory and honor! God bless you all!

Signed,

A Woman Renewed

*This post was written by a woman who wanted to share her story anonymously with YOU. Should you need prayer or have questions, please email LaurenRelinquished@GMail.com or leave comments below.*

share.

Sharing is undeniably one of the greatest duties you have.

You are you. No one else can be you. Therefore, no one else can share what you share; No one else can share what you share the way you share it.

There’s so much power in that truth. And the weight of that power can be felt in so many ways. I can only imagine what you’re thinking; how deep the pound in your chest; how weighty that great knowledge of self feels.

What’s on your mind?

What do you feel a great need to share?

What are you scared to share?

Don’t deny yourself the great pleasure of sharing – it’s unnatural.

Share with one body…two bodies…somebody!

It’s your undeniable duty to share —

s  h  a  r  e.

Sometimes You Gotta Hit the “Pause” Button

What if we got hung up on all of the small things and lost sight of the big picture?
Wait, that happens every day…well at least for me it does. I run the potential of paying too much attention to small details that are pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things long term. And when I realize I’ve gotten to that point, I literally have to PAUSE

Imagine you’re hitting the pause button in the middle of your movie. You hit the pause button to take a break to go do something else, or you stop what you’re watching momentarily to figure out what in the world you just watched.

Life is very similar.

 

Sometimes, it’s important to take a quick break and either take a walk or a deep breath or go think in the confines of a bathroom stall (whatever your method, take a break when you need to). And other times, you just need to pause to reflect – reflect on your journey and what you’ve seen happen so far.

Today, I chose the latter. I found myself getting worked up about what seemed like a very large detail. In reality, it was rather trivial. But when I lose focus on the grand scheme of things, those small pebbles on the path appear to be boulders and at that moment, I MUST adjust my perspective.

 

So now, I’m not tripping about not getting a relocation package because it’s not a “have to have” in order for me to move forward with what God is aligning. To be honest, the greediness in me wants it all so of course I wanted all the help I could get and then some. But if the overall goal is to move forward in my career and grow my relationship with my man in the same city, then why am I trippin’? Let me wipe off this pouty face and pick up the remote again, because it’s time to hit “PLAY.”