Category Archives: Identity

Making a Difference, Everyday.

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Most of us like to do things that make a difference, am I right?

We volunteer our time, give money to our favorite charities, bake for our neighbors, etc.

As a follower of Christ and an active member of my church, I serve in the youth ministry alongside my husband who is our youth pastor. I love being with the teens, helping them sort through drama, theology and the inevitable spats with parents.

I knew there was a piece missing to my service, my “activism” if you will, though.

Ever since the hubs and I met on a HIV/AIDS prevention trip to South Africa, my life was forever changed. Seeing the faces of poverty, disease and heartache up-close-and-personal is just something I will never be able to “shut off”. Nor would I want to.

Issues of social justice have been near-and-dear to my heart since that trip in 2005 and my passion for awareness and to help educate others on these issues has only grown since then. Orphan care, human trafficking, issues of poverty/hunger/lack of education and clean water have consistently moved and stirred my heart.

Fast-forward to 2013. My sweet friend Erin started posting on Facebook about how she was so excited to be an Ambassador for Noonday Collection, where she was selling beautiful, hand-crafted accessories on behalf of artisans world-wide, with the purpose of helping lift them out of poverty.

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And I saw the jewels.

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And I read more about the mission of Noonday.

And I was all: “Did someone seriously read. my. mind?! Like, for real, here. Someone actually combined the worlds of trendy accessories with social justice? No. Freaking, Way.”

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Noonday Collection is a company that provides a sustainable income for over 2,000 artisans in over 10 countries. Their goal is to empower the artisans through dignified work that will have a long-lasting impact on the artisans and their communities.

Through trunk shows, I get to set up a marketplace for our artisans. I display the gorgeous pieces, tell some amazing Noonday stories and women gather for food, laughter and playing dress up! I get to style women in the latest accessories, and meet some world-changing women that believe in using their purchasing power for good.

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Even Charlotte likes to get in on the action!

Even Charlotte likes to get in on the action!

My husband, Jason, will tell you I’m constantly saying “I’m SO glad I’m an Ambassador…for so many reasons!”

Noonday, is also helping us bring our son home from South Africa! We’re that crazy family with 3 biological children under the age of 5 who still has more love to give. Through my earnings with Noonday, we are putting it toward our adoption expenses and getting one step closer to fulfilling our dream.

I love that with Noonday, I can now rest assured that the artisans are receiving 2-4 times more than what they would in their local marketplace. I like to say it’s “more than fair trade”.

It’s beautiful. It’s life-changing.

For everyone.

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You can shop Noonday Collection for yourself or gifts for loved ones anytime at: www.lauraloewen.noondaycollection.com.

Maybe you’ve got a social-justice itch and/or love for on-trend jewelry like I do. Consider becoming an Ambassador and joining an amazing group of women with a heart like yours! 

We all like to make a difference. I hope you’ll join me in sharing these artisans stories, and changing their lives {and the lives in your community} forever by purchasing Noonday, hosting a trunk show or becoming an Ambassador.

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

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7-Year {Anniversary} Reflections

7 years

Jason and I tied the knot at the tender age of 22. Freshly graduated from college, Jason from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and me from Hope College in Holland, MI. We thought we had it nearly all figured out. We were madly in love with each other, wanted to serve God together and thought we had an excellent 5, 10, and 20 year plan for our lives.

Even though we were in the thick of our pride, our sometimes enabling-each-other-because-we-were-always-SO-right mentalities, I am very glad we got married at the young age we did.

Freshly Mr. and Mrs.

Freshly Mr. and Mrs.

In fact, looking back, I wish we would’ve gotten married even sooner. I was convinced I would need an entire year to plan a wedding. Things couldn’t be farther from the truth for this Type-A, super planner. I mean, really. I knew the colors I wanted. The flowers. The flow of everything. Put into the mix that I was recovering from knee surgery in the middle of our engagement, and I had a TON of time on my hands to plan our wedding.

What two crazy-in-love dating 21-year-olds look like.

What two crazy-in-love dating 21-year-olds look like.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say. In this case, yes. Totally believe that to be true. I had graduated from college a semester early in December of 2006, so technically, we would have been poorer than all get-out, but we could have made it work. We wed on June 9, 2007.

We knew we were crazy about each other and man alive, keeping the beast tame that was our desire for each other during that year-long engagement is something I would not wish on anyone.

As stated previously, Jason and I, although trying to pursue the Lord, made a lot of mistakes.  We made a commitment to ourselves and the Lord that we would save the gift of sex for our wedding night, and I’m SO glad we did!

Growing up, it was never an “option” for me- both for my personal convictions and what my parents instilled in me – to give myself away in that manner to anyone but my husband.

On our honeymoon, 2007.

On our honeymoon, 2007.

So lesson #1? Christian men and women: if you know you want to get married, just do it. Exception? If one or both of you have deep-rooted issues that need to be addressed in individual counseling, then those things should be worked on before saying “I do”.

You’ll never “be ready” to be married. What the heck is “being ready” to be a husband or a wife anyway?

You’ll never have a “enough money”. Trust.

(And for real – an extra $100 or $10,000 isn’t gonna make you happier, or ensure a better marriage. Now, there IS something to be said for a crazy-hard work ethic and a commitment to provide and support each other. Different animals entirely.)

Lesson #2 over these past 7 years? Don’t hold your plans so tightly.

At my MSW graduation, 2008.

At my MSW graduation, 2008.

Case-in-point: this was my 10 year plan when we got married.

  1. Finish graduate school (Master’s in Clinical Social Work)
  2. Get a position as a high-paid therapist
  3. Continue impacting lives while being over-the-moon happy in love
  4. Buy a nearly-new house + car
  5. Have first child at age of 30
  6. Continue to do therapy full-time, having kid(s) in daycare and livin’ the American Dream

Man alive, do I shutter at my then-unspoken goal of living the American Dream.

God had SO. MUCH. more for me – thank you Jesus!

And how did my life actually go? Glad you asked.

A lil’ somethin’ like this:

Life as I hadn't planned. :)

Life as I hadn’t planned. 🙂

  1. Finished graduate school (Master’s in Clinical Social Work)
  2. Got a low-paying, super-stressful job in my field, but not as glamorous as I would have hoped
  3. Felt the “baby itch” every time we sashayed by the baby section in Target
  4. Gave birth to Landon at 24
  5. Began working part-time, then felt God’s call to be a stay-at-home mom
  6. Gave birth to Charlotte at 26
  7. Now at home, felt God’s nudge to both adopt AND have another child biologically
  8. Gave birth to Aiden at 28, to shortly start adoption process for our fourth

God’s plans are always best. How I wish I would have just said “Lord, my life is yours, do with it what you will” at the tender age of 22.

Instead, I spent my time pursuing what I thought was best, what my life plan was.

Lesson #3? Keep your marriage your priority relationship.

Most families put their kids above all else. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kiddos. I mean have you seen them?! Stinkin’ cute. Just thinking of them makes me smile.

But, one day, they’ll all grow up. Leave the nest. And Jason and I will be left.

My love. The bestest.

My love. The bestest.

Hopefully, to remain the best-of-friends, laughing, loving and still making out in the kitchen.(sorry for that visual but guys, we’re crazy about each other. Sue me.)

In our mid-forties when the kiddos are gone working, in school, being married, or where ever God leads them, I want Jason and I to enjoy each other.

And I honestly believe that because of date nights, taking the time for each other daily to check-in, being super affectionate with each other, that we will truly enjoy each other when my role is mama-no-more, but empty-nester-wife.

So thankful for the lessons God’s been teaching me since we’ve been married.

So thankful that Jason loves me, despite me being my full-out intense, goofy self.

May our marriage be one that points others to the beauty of the Cross, and the goodness of God all our days.

Through our imperfections and struggles, may our union remind people of the sacrifice that Christ made and the Love that is so real and calling us all to Himself.

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

 

On Getting Derailed, and How We Might Get Back On-Track

You know those times when you feel like a straight-up crazy person?

Raging lunatic?

Oh, yes. I am all too familiar with these emotions.

Namely, when there’s a bee in my house.

What the what? “A bee?” you say. Yes, a bee.

These guys.

These guys.

Those little insects which cause minor harm to the average Joe, could actually kill my husband.

Jason is deathly allergic to bees, to the degree that if he gets stung, he has been told he has 2 hours to live. 

Needless to say, I have a bit of contempt for these black and yellow creatures.

I mean, you even pose a minor threat to my family, and I will flat-out go crazy on yo’ *ahem* behind.

Every summer, bees inevitably find their way into our home and think they can make themselves cozy. Little-do-they-know they’re about to have the wrath of Laura come down on them. So I swat, and I aim to kill.

Else-wise, they’ll literally kill my sweet husband. And you know I’m not having that.

And while I’m totally pro-bees when it comes to them being outside, in their natural habitat and pollinating my garden, and everyone else’s garden, they pose a real threat to my dear family.

Bees have an incredibly important job to do. God created them well, and they are a vital part of our ecosystem.

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Annndd..I love honey. Oh-for-the-love, I love honey.

Isn’t it funny how something that is inherently good can cause so much destruction when it goes outside of it’s intended purpose?

When it gets derailed from it’s created purpose?

I’ve signed (and encouraged others) to sign petitions that our government would “save the bees” so-to-speak. We need them. And so while I am not anti-bee, I do recognize the intense and real threat they pose to my family.

When I get derailed from my created purpose, the consequences are many.

My life starts looking like:

  1. Striving
  2. Trying to be everything to everyone
  3. Burnout
  4. Fatigue
  5. Comparison-trap living
  6. Laziness

And on, and on.

I know Whose I am. I know that He created me to be in relationship with Him. To use the unique gifts He’s placed in me, for His glory and my fulfillment.

Because, what it boils down to is this: God created me to love Him and love others.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

When I am able to focus on these two things, this loving of God and loving of others, I am doing what I was created to do. 

Life, while not easy, goes better. Flows better.

I don’t need to feel crushed, worn-down or tired when I’m living into what He has for me.

I need to try to do a little more of that – by the power of His Spirit living inside of me.

Because I know that apart from God, I can’t do anything of value {John 15:5}.

But, in Him, through Him, He promises that I will bear much fruit.

And oh, don’t we need more fruit in this world? The fruits that are talked about in Galatians chapter 5?

I know I want more: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

In what ways do you need to stop buzzing around, trying to be something your not?

Maybe you could create some space today to let God know that you want to live into who He made you.

Maybe you could even ask His help in that – through prayer, journaling, etc.

Won’t you be who you were created to be?

We’ve got enough of everyone else. We need more of you.

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

 

 

4 Books That Are Changing My Life

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I’m a self-proclaimed “book binger”. As in, I binge on books at various seasons of my life.

After undergrad and grad school, I needed a major break from reading.

During that season of being told what to read, my brain needed a break in the worst way.

So, I’ve slowly picked up reading again. {Slowly, as in…I have three small children, so any free time is a constant inner battle: cleaning, Netflix or reading? Ahh, the struggle!}

The following books are reads that have really made me think, given me hope and even challenged my beliefs.

It’s so healthy for us to read pieces that aren’t in the box we normally go to…on topics that push us; propel us to the next level.

While this is certainly not THEE list of “best books to ever read”, they have been crucial in my faith journey, in this current season of life.

There have been many other books that have strengthened and challenged me along the way, but these have spurred my heart to believe, trust and hope for the greater things right now.

The very things God is stirring in my heart and calling me to.

And, so, the list of books I’ve loved in this season of life…

1. Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons

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This book really challenged me to think about the person God created me to be. Not my friends, not my family, but me. Lil’ old Laura.

Rebekah does a great job of being effortless, relatable and brutally honest. I love the way she describes her journey and lays it out bare for the rest of us.

This book will especially resonate with anyone who’s ever struggled with anxiety or fear  {hi, like, all of us}.

Pick it up and expect to learn more about yourself, and to go deeper into what your calling might be…how you were created to be uniquely you.

2. Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith by Jen Hatmaker

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This book is for two very different types of folk.

This book is for the churchy. You know, the ones who grew up singin’ the hymns, were at church every single moment the doors were open. It’s for the ones who know all the “right” answers. The “good”, “clean” folk.

This book is equally for the people who are disgruntled with Church, Christianity and maybe even God all together.

It’s for the people who look around at the churchy folk and inwardly cry “hypocrite!”.

Yeah, it’s awesome.

Interrupted is a book I appreciate on so many levels. It’s refreshing, honest and raw.

Jen Hatmaker {one of my fave among favorite} authors, does a beautiful job of recounting her life story:  how everything was picture-perfect and comfy-as-could-be until God came and messed it all up.

Due to her authenticity, Jen reaches audiences wherever they’re at. She knows what it’s like to a “churched person”. She also knows what it’s like to look around and say…

Is this really all there is?

So, read Interrupted and be prepared to laugh, cry and have your world rocked. 😉

3. One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace For an Exhaustible World by Tullian Tchividjian

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Crazy last name, but this guy is actually Billy Graham’s grandson (now there’s some immediate credibility for ya!).

This book was recommended then kindly gifted by  someone who Jason and I greatly respect and would even call a friend – Greg Stier, President of Dare 2 Share Ministries {if you know teens, are a parent, a pastor or a youth leader, you need to get familiar with them! After 9 years in student ministry, I can confidentially say that Dare 2 Share is hands-down the most impactful, genuine, spot-on student ministry you’ll EVER see}.

This book is all about grace. God’s grace.

What it is, why we need it, and all the beautiful reasons we should extend this grace to others.

Tchividjian does an amazing job of gently explaining the difference between law and grace. He beautifully and practically paints pictures of what lives lived through both look like.

If you’re like me and struggle with “law living”, meaning, you air on the side of: “These are the rules” and are more justice focused, (perhaps, like me, speak a lot of truth but need to work on that whole truth in love thing) then this book is totally for you!

Reaching into your soul, and lovingly offering various ways of responding to difficult situations and even your view of yourself, One Way Love is a book you’ll want to soak in and truly get. 

4. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne

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This is one of those books that I wasn’t ready for until now.

You know how you can listen to a sermon, hear a piece of advice from a friend, etc. and know that you know that if it would’ve come any earlier you would’ve just brushed it off?

Yeah. That’s totally this book for me.

“Unconventional”, completely flipping-church-on-it’s-head, I love Claiborne’s humility and transparency throughout this book.

Premise? What if the Church today looked like the early Church (the one in the book of Acts)?

What if we all actually loved each other...and lived it out?

Claiborne spent some time in Calcutta learning from and being mentored by Mother Theresa right before she passed. For real, for real.

It appears as though Claiborne and I have the same major beliefs theologically. We both believe in the Trinity, that Christ came down as God with flesh on to take care of our biggest problem (sin) and then rose again three days later.

We also are fully in-line with the fact that God isn’t just about heaven, although heaven is going to be awesome and such a beautiful gift.

That God longs for us to have life to the full (John 10:10), or an ABUNDANT life here. and. now.

For me, this book isn’t something I fall in-line with theoretically point-for-point. However, I do believe there is a ton of merit in his message…

If we’re Christians, wouldn’t it be awesome if we acted like it?

If you’re like me, and aren’t familiar with communal living or a more “free/gypsy” lifestyle, then totally take this book with a grain of salt.

However, I will promise you that if you’re open to God doing a new work in your heart that He’ll most certainly speak to you through Irresistible Revolution.

Leave me a comment on what books are rocking your world right now!

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

Inventory of Sorts

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A Noonday sister and lady after my own heart, Wynne Elder did a blog post titled ‘Taking Stock’. Just a little sneak-peak into what’s going on with her, and I loved it {if you haven’t already, seriously go check out her blog. She’s real, she has the cutest little twins and she’s just so endearing} and thought it was a fun idea, so I decided to copy it!

Inside Laura’s head {brace yourself}:

Making: a mess on my floor with pumpkin muffin crumbs.

Cooking: nothing, oddly enough…life has been a little cray-cray!

Reading: One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian. Changing my life.

Wanting: to sleep through the night.

Looking: for what God’s doing next.

Playing: sword fights with my Aiden boy.

Wasting: crusts of sandwiches. I’m just as bad as a kid!

Trusting: God knows what He’s doing.

Wishing: for more time with my girlfriends.

Enjoying: snuggles with my love at the end of each day.

Waiting: for USCIS approval for adoption so we can move forward.

Liking: Greek God’s salted honey greek yogurt. To. Die.

Wondering: when I’ll get to sleep soundly again.

Loving: snuggles with Landon during a movie when he’s not aware of what mama is up to!

Hoping: for temps above 55 to play outside with no coats

Marveling: at the Lord’s faithfulness to me.

Needing: to find a hobby.

Anticipating: running a half marathon with Jason. Eek!

Contemplating: living with more grace.

Smelling: sweet Aiden-boy hair.

Wearing: jeans and a hoodie.

Following: the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Knowing: God has me where I’m at for a reason.

Thinking: there isn’t enough coffee in all the world.

Praying: to be poured out, filled with more love and grace.

Bookmarking: favorite recipes on the tablet. Recipes for dayz.

Opening: the pantry for the gazillionth time. Maybe I’ll find a new snack I didn’t buy and that will secretly take my breath away.

Giggling: at the girlie girl that is my Charlotte. She’ll be 3 tomorrow. How in the world did that happen??

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Feeling: completely exhausted. grateful. worn out. blessed.

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Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

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New Chapter, More Insanity

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As some of you know, Jason and I are in the process of adding to our family through adoption. Our family of five will soon become a family of six (I can’t even stinkin’ believe it and sometimes most of the time, it leaves me feeling like we are totally insane).

I mean, really.

Landon is 4, Charlotte will be 3 next week and Aiden just turned 1.

 

Jason and I discussed adoption seriously when I was pregnant with Charlotte. With both agreed that it was something we absolutely wanted to do. We thought that meant we would start the adoption process after I gave birth to Charlotte.

God had other plans.

One day, I couldn’t shake this feeling that I needed to get pregnant again. At the time, Landon was nearly three and Charlotte just turned one. Jason and I talked it over, and we agreed.

Time to get to business. 

A month later we were pregnant with Aiden, and while all three of my pregnancies were actually quite wonderful (stop it with the ‘I’m-going-to-kill-you-glare’ women who had challenging pregnancies. I’m sorry! It’s just the way it all worked out 😉 ) I knew that it was the very last time I wanted to be pregnant.

I wanted my body back…err…some semblance of the former body I used to have….so we decided that we’d move forward with the adoption process like we had tried once before.

This time, I felt a huge peace. Even an urgency from The Lord.

This was it. This was His timing, not mine.

After having Charlotte, and moving to Northern MI, we started fundraising for an adoption. However, the entire time I felt this check in my spirit like “Laura, not now. This is good, just not now.”

Note to self: don’t ignore those little checks in your spirit again.

So, we pressed forward as we choleric’s tend to do, and a minimal amount of money came in.

Sometimes  Most often, it takes us firstborns awhile to concede to an idea other than our own.

For us, adoption is a beautiful picture of what God has done for those who believe  in the spiritual realms. 

God’s Word, the Bible, tells us that…

He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – Ephesians 1:5

 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15

We also know as Christ-followers that we are to follow James 1:27 which tells us: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Add that to the fact that there are approximately 147 million orphans worldwide –

Let that sink in. 147 million orphans.

147 million babies with no mama to kiss their boo-boo’s.

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147 million little ones with no daddy to cradle them in strong arms.

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147 million precious children with no one to tell them ‘I love you’, care for them.

– and Jason and I knew we needed to adopt.

We’re adopting from South Africa, as it has crazy-special place in our hearts, since we met there some 9 years ago.

So, that’s totally crazy.

But were doing something additionally crazy.

WE ARE FREAKING GOING TO RUN A HALF MARATHON FOR OUR SON.

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People.

Laura Loewen.

The girl who hasn’t been on one, no not one sports team in her entire life.

The girl who hasn’t given working out an honest effort in six months.

This girl (and her cute husband) are running a half marathon!!

September 6, 2014 on the shores of Holland, MI for the Holland Haven race, you will find us (inevitably toned, less fatty…) rockin’ and rollin’ after training for the spring and summer.

So will you join us?

Will you be a part of our story? Of our sons story?

We will be raising funds for our half marathon and every last penny will go toward funding our $40,000 adoption (yes, it’s true).

If you’re interested in blessing our family and changing a little boys’ life forever, you can go to:

http://www.abbafund.org/blog/the-loewens-family-adoption/family-adoption-fund/#/step1

Through Abba Fund, you can give via credit card, debit card, even cell phones and commodities!

Thanks for considering this – what a journey we’re on!

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura

 

 

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‘Bout To Call It

I’ve been thinking I wanted to write a post on social media. On what it’s doing to us as a culture. What is does to me.

How I think I might be addicted to it at times.

Wait. Did I actually say that out loud??

But, as I’ve been wrestling through this issue, this issue of checking and re-checking Facebook, Instagram or Twitter…it hit me.

It’s not really about social media.

It’s about me. It’s about my heart.

Picture I WANT y'all to see

Picture I WANT y’all to see

Far back as I can remember, I’ve longed for approval. Validation.

A snapshot I'd really rather you NOT see.

A snapshot I’d really rather you NOT see.

“Daddy do you like this?” I’d say holding up a picture.

In later years it was “Look at my report card!”

Coming down the stairs with a sheepish grin on my face because, dangit, I had a cute outfit on, my make-up was all in place and I just got my hair did.

Wasn’t anyone going to tell me how pretty I was?

So continued the cycle, from 3 until…well about now.

Striving, striving. Please love me. Please love me. 

More striving. Tell me I’m beautiful. I’m smart. I’m talented. 

Worthy of your time.

And don’t think I’m not aware of what my desperate state must have looked like between the ages of 14 and 17.

Oh, dear Lord….to those of you who knew me then. Sigh. I’m sorry.

I was not the person God wanted me to be. I did not live up to the higher standard He called me to.

Those that watched the Laura of said years must have been awfully confused.

Great Christian girl. Goes to church twice most weeks. Nice to everyone she knows. Wait. Is that Laura with another guy again?

Deep sigh. Yes, I know.

My longing for approval never steered far from the male species.

Sometimes they were awfully cute boys in high school (looking at you – several boys of the ’02-’03 Jenison High School football team).

Sometimes they were just boys that were breathing.

But they gave me attention. 

They validated me.

So whoever could do this the best or longest, I stuck around for. Oh, just having the many guy friends of high school flash through my mind makes me almost sick to my stomach.

How some of them were clearly interested in more than being my friend, and yet because I liked the way they looked at me, their focus on me, I kept going to them. Talking with them. Never mind that my feelings were anything but mutual. Oh, wretched girl.

And then there were the relationships where I was head-over-heels. Once my freshman year of high school and the other my senior year.

Those relationships couldn’t have been more polar opposite from each other. Their common thred?

Those guys were really good at making me feel special. Telling me I was beautiful, showing me they genuinely liked the person I was and that they enjoyed spending time with me.

In fact, I felt like my heart was ripped right out of my chest when freshman year boy called it quits and when I felt like needed to call it quits with senior year boy.

Oh, to be affirmed.

Have someone really care for you, about you, and for you.

I remember at 19 being layed-up on the couch post-reconstructive knee surgery, having just broke it off with the guy I was convinced I was going to marry. It was hard to breathe. My heart was so heavy.

Was anyone ever going to love me? Was anyone going to value and appreciate me again? Would I ever find someone?

I get a little weepy for Laura at 19. She didn’t know who she was.

She didn’t know, truly know, that she was created for more than a guy to validate her.

She was created to be wooed by her Creator, her Savior….but she was looking for approval in all the wrong places.

Laura at 19 didn’t fully believe Psalm 139 telling her she was fearfully and wonderfully made. Sure, she believed it for other people. But, her? Eeehh…not so much.

So, here it comes, full-circle.

No longer 19, and a whole decade has passed.

Shouldn’t my identity in Christ be cemented? Shouldn’t I be grounded more in Him?

I mean, for crying out loud! I’m a wife! A mom! Of three! 😉

But if you don’t have a solid foundation from which to grow upon, you’ll just keep building those bricks of sand.

That’s been my realization with social media.

Scrolling IG again? Does that mom have it more together than I do? Why does her house look perfect and I still have Minnie toys laying on the floor?

Posting once more on Facebook? Look world! I’m a great mom! I take a whole 10 minutes out of my day to do a craft with my kids in between crying and screaming. Wow. Someone get me my award, stat.

What is it with us women and our constant need to compete with each other? To win each other’s approval?

I’m ’bout to call it like they did in the “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” card game scene.

Done. Over. It.

God made me who I am for a reason. And love me, like me, or hate me…He made me.

He prepared me in advance to do good works {Ephesians 2:10}

His banner over me is love {Song of Songs 2:4}

He created me in His image {Genesis 1:27}

He loved me enough to die in my place {John 3:16}

He gives me abundant, fulfilling life {John 10:10}

So I’m entering into a new phase of life.

I’m declaring what He speaks over me, and being done with my insecurities and need for approval.

The only One’s approval that I need already demonstrated it by taking my place while I was still a sinner {Romans 5:8}.

I’m still gonna post on social media. But it’ll be much more carefully through a lens of these lessons.

I’m hoping the recipes I post will be out of a heart as of recent – a helpful heart, wanting to pass along yumminess and helpfulness, not being an annoying show off.

I’m hoping the pictures I post will be testimonies to God’s goodness and activities in my life, not another bragging display of a fake part of me.

Are you ready to lay down the approval game, the competition, and start living to be uniquely you?

I so hope you’ll join me. Would LOVE to hear your thoughts if you are.

Through Unspeakable Joy,

Laura