Some of you may know, some of you may not know, but I love to smile. I love to laugh. I love to love and I love to give joy. And some of you may know there was a time where I couldn’t do that – where I couldn’t give out extra joy overflowing, where I couldn’t even extend love to my family at times, where I couldn’t even muscle up a smile in reciprocation. Hardly anything was ever funny, and I was extremely lacking in the areas of joy and hope.
There were those who told me, “Your actions define who you are as a person.“ This statement laden with the connotation that, “because you did this, this, and that, and because this happened to you, You Are Worthless. You are unworthy of love. You are unworthy of redemption. You are too dirty to be made clean.” Not only does this limit the power of the all-powerful God, but it also places limits on the depths of His never-ending love. These are the lies of the enemy! He wants you to believe these facts about yourself and become so defeated that you have no smiles to initiate or reciprocate, that you have no laughter to muster up, and that you have no love or joy to pour out. Because when we are weak, the enemy attacks to kill – like a lion preying on a beat-down, defeated little sheep.
I believed those lies, each and every one of them, and I was the beat-down defeated little sheep. The enemy attacked and attacked, stirring up doubt in the faithfulness and love and redemptive power of the Almighty God, and inspiring deceitful trust in the lies of unworthiness. My faith was tired from being so strained and so worn down, and my small inkling of hope was all I had left in the worst part of it all.
The Lord rescued me. He rescued me. He saved me. He redeemed me. He clothed me in pure white. He transformed my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He left the 99 other little sheep, and tracked me down to the deepest valley, and He rescued me and carried me back to family, back to love, and back to joy. Sweet, sweet joy was restored to my soul when the Lord rescued me. He gave me the strength to smile again, and grace to love more fully. Additionally, He gave me courage.
Courage in the shape of my mom.
Courage in the shape of my grandma.
Courage in the shape of my teachers.
Courage in the shape of my mentors.
Each one inspiring in me strength to stand when my knees were too weak, to speak when I was too afraid, and to face each day anew.
I learned in this refinement of my heart that: Encouragement is Key
(en)•courage – to give • courage (Encourage LITERALLY means “to give courage”)
This is why I wear my courage key around my neck:
So, I’ll never forget that “courage is key” and the encouragement of others is the reason I am still alive today.
So yeah, there was a time when I believed the lies of the enemy more than I trusted in the unbreakable promises of the Lord.
I did believe that my past actions would define who I was as a person
That Jesus redemptive blood was not enough to redeem me
That I was unworthy of His love
And that I was too dirty to be made clean.
But now, after His grace has rescued me.
I am not defined by my past, what has happened to me, or what I have done.
I am defined by Christ who is living in me, cleansing me, making me whole, transforming my heart. His love is never-ending and knows no limits. There is nothing too dirty that He cannot make worthy.
I am clean. And so are you.
My name is Lauren Grace. I am loved by the Savior of the world. I have courage. I have joy, hope, and love. And I am clean.
These promises and these gifts of life, love, courage, hope, grace, and joy are not “Lauren-only exclusives.” They are not “Christian-only exclusives.”
God has made these promises and these gifts available to anyone who surrenders their life to Him, to anyone who asks the Lord to lead them and then obediently and earnestly follows after Him.
My hope is to be transparent through this. I am not perfect, and I have made mistakes. I’ve been on some high mountains, and I have definitely been in some deep, treacherous valleys. The point is though, despite my shortcomings, Jesus loves me and He has redeemed me. Furthermore, we’re all humans, and we all have shortcomings, so He loves you to, and He gave His life so you may be redeemed as well.
I love you. I am praying for you. You are beautiful. You are precious. You are worthy. You are beloved by the Beloved. xoxo, Lauren Grace
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23
He is our shepherd, and we His little sheep.