Laurel Thomas

Monthly Archive: July 2014



July 2014



A Birthday Cake in the River

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I was four and blue was my favorite color. My grandmother Alice made me a birthday cake that year. It was a cake layered in hues of blue and more blue. The cake, icing and decorations were blue. All to remind me it was my birthday and I could have as much of any color I wanted.

A year later, we moved with our new step-dad away from Minnesota, away from my grandmother who made blue birthday cakes. It was necessary. My dad’s addiction marred our lives to the core. Jim Gilmer entered as a gift from God after those ten years. He reminded my mom that promises were still promises and joy still beckoned after years of grief.

I hadn’t thought about the blue birthday cake since. Until one night after a busy summer day. I hadn’t written for several days and decided to stay up and at least read my new writing book, Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamont. She suggested a short writing prompt. It was to describe a childhood birthday.

I remembered the blue birthday cake. It was extravagant and over the top with layers and layers of my favorite color. Who knew if anyone else would eat it? It didn’t matter. My grandmother knew I would notice it was special, tailored-made, just for me.

As I remembered that cake, the Lord spoke to me. “What happened to your blue?”

I knew what He meant. When did I give up on the extravagant, the just for me and just because? No matter what it looked like or if anyone else liked it.

I knew where it went. It went into the file of optional. I cut it out of my expectations.

But He remembered. He remembered the blue.

Even as I write this, I rush to explain that I’m a blessed lady. The Lord brings joy after joy to fill my already full heart. I want to give out of that goodness He’s poured out on me.

Still He highlighted a limitation in my heart that night. It was a smallness formed in me before I had the knowledge to reject it as a lie.

The blue isn’t optional at all. It doesn’t deplete a limitless God who loves me.

There is a process here. I offer Him my fish and loaves. It is what I have right now. He appreciates my giving. But He wants me to understand that giving enlarges me. Out of my offering, I receive a greater capacity. One that will feed multitudes. Not out of my poverty. But out of His extravagance.

So where is your blue? Keep an eye out. It hovers over our hearts with an unexpected extravagance, unique and designed with just us in mind.


Laurel Thomas



July 2014



Strange Fire in the River

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Why does it surprise me that the Holy Spirit is who He says He is, the Spirit of truth? The One who jumps in the middle of my business when I am believing a lie.

Growth is me letting Him shine light on what I don’t see. If I could see it, I wouldn’t need His light.

Darkness likes to hide. I can even help it hide. I can make excuses for rotten attitudes. I can convince myself that my rights are more important than His truth.

Most often, the darkness works hand in hand with a sly helper. Its name is pride.

Pride is sneaky. But I’ve found a real deal, sure-fire way to expose it. At least in me.

Here’s my recipe:
One person I value
Misjudges or maligns me
Or at least unjustly in my eyes

Mix well and bake with lots of outrage.
“What? Me? I try so hard. How could they?”

I didn’t plan to be wrong. It was just time for His fire to reveal something I couldn’t see.

It is important to understand inner vows. An inner vow was a deal I made during a hard time. Not that I was aware of it. Lots of pain and pandemonium scared the hell out of me. This kind of vow was my attempt to make sure it never happened again.

My personal inner vow went something like this:
“Lord, I will live a careful life and try not to screw things up.”

Simple enough.

Except this vow included every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed. It was a cautious, careful control born out of deep fear. If I never upset or offended anyone, the kingdom of God and I would be safe.

Flawed logic, I know. But inner vows are not formed in the vat of truth.

Here came the Holy Spirit. Right where I was misjudged. In the middle of my goodest, most careful behavior.

A right response considered the fact I might be wrong. If not, no big deal. I couldn’t make everyone happy all the time.

A wrong motive, on the other hand, raged like strange fire. It was a subterranean lava flow, polluting the inside of me.
“How could they? Can you believe it? The nerve!”

What fueled the belly of that volcano?
Pride. And lots of it.

How did I know it was there? In my sweetest, most obedient moment?
No. When someone I valued implied “not enough,” or worse, “rejected”.

Out came my vise grip. It demanded payment of a debt.
“You owe me attention, approval, recognition.”
Because I need all of the above. You have them and I don’t.

Why would the Lord block a need or desire from being met? When I asked Him to affirm a lie.

I may have used this vise grip successfully for years. But the time came when Truth said NO MORE.

How long did it take me to hand over the vise grip? As soon as I chose to reject the pride that resisted Him.


In the past when the Lord showed me something nasty in my motives, I pulled out a handy smokescreen.

Oh, woe is me! I’m a scum-bag! I’m a worm, etc., etc., etc.
I’d hear the Lord sigh, “Enough already!”

He wanted to press the oil of His grace and truth deep in my wine-skin, making me tender and flexible. He needed me teachable.

As painful as it is, I’m learning to resist pride and choose the fire. The fire of the Holy Spirit stings, but it separates me from a lie. It frees me from a vise grip of my own making.

Here’s the good news.

I’m already loved, accepted and affirmed. He paid that debt. I don’t have to.

Neither do you.

Now that is good news!

Laurel Thomas