Laurel Thomas

family Archive



July 2017



A Child’s Voice in the River

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A speech impediment plagued my five-year old self. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pronounce my name. The letter “l” was impossible, the “r” tricky. My name, Laurel, required mastery of one or the other. The sound that tumbled out of my mouth in an untidy heap was not my name.

Awkward, mumbling “Ohwell” confused anyone who asked, “What’s your name, little girl?”

How could six letters arranged to identify me be so hard to get out of my mouth? It was embarrassing, even for a little kid who shouldn’t have cared much. After all, I was loved by the people who mattered. No big deal.

Except it was a big deal. But for reasons I didn’t understand at the time.

Later, when I experienced God, I realized why. Because me with Him was the point. The whole point. Me living this life, with Him, as only I could.

It took me awhile to figure that out. And to understood I needed to be grateful for all the parts of my life. In my worst moments, I’d made flawed decisions, opted for easy instead of difficult, and stayed passive when a mess required a response.

But those parts could be summed up in a sentence or two. Unlike the incredible joy of seeing my babies for the first time. When my husband and I locked eyes and knew we were part of a miracle – together.

Or the journey of recognizing my mom’s courage. Loving and appreciating with adult eyes how she responded to dashed dreams as a good mom – loving her kids and making the hard choice to protect us.

And accepting the wonder of a dad who chose me. Actually, he chose my mom first. But by choosing her, he embraced me. On purpose. He loved that way when I recognized it and when I didn’t.

I’d had great people who helped me along the way. Most of all, my husband. But, also leaders and bosses who taught me to be wise and work hard. Even the ones who blew it showed me that my decisions for integrity, or not, were me writing my own story. The one I’d be able to share with my kids in the years to come. Or not.

Colossians 1:28 has been talking to me all summer. Talking to me? Well, it’s a big subject. Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Confidence in God showing up as God in me? What does that look like?

I struggled a long time with the largeness of that thought. I’d focus on how many ways I’d missed it. And why. Until I decided to go another direction. It started with a simple prayer.

Lord, help me see You in me. Help me identify and treasure Your uniqueness in me.

Then, help me steward Your expression in me well.

A steward doesn’t just keep order and make sure life colors within the lines. A steward administrates what doesn’t belong to her. The assignment and it’s design are unveiled as I keep moving and trusting.

Finally, help me share it in love. Because love rests over my imperfections and somehow makes my offering lovely.

This summer, in time for my birthday, I’m discovering the one thing that evaded me as a child.

I’m learning to pronounce my name.



June 2014



Expanding in the River

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It was a dream. We were having a big event at our house. Everyone was there, all four of our kids, their families – everyone.

The house was a mess. There were piles of laundry, crumbs under the table, and stuff on the counters.

I asked for help, but everyone had another job or reason they couldn’t. So I plowed in and started to work with a sinking feeling, knowing it would be too little, too late.

Sure enough, there were still crumbs under the table when people arrived.

Ready or not. They were ready. I was not.

We have a large family, so a Saturday night dinner can be a big event. We love people and people need food. Jesus knew that. He used a crowd to teach His disciples about expansion. He gave them a clear visual of what it looked like and how to handle it.

My mother-in-law did the same for me. She taught me how to feed a crowd and retain my sanity. It was a valuable life lesson! The Lord knew I would need it.

She showed me how to get the table ready, have the right groceries on hand and how to use recipes that were easy, delicious and could expand to feed added guests. Most of all, she taught me to be prepared ahead of time.

I learned. I helped her with Christmas meals, birthdays, weddings, whatever occasion called for food and fun. It took a few years, but I like doing big events now. If I’m prepared.

The disciples were amazed at the crowds who came to hear Jesus. Their journey hadn’t started with a multitude. One was introduced to Him by his brother. Another was a tax collector. One sat under a tree, unaware how his life would change in one meeting.

They didn’t plan to feed thousands.

Whenever I wonder what the heck is going on, I know I’m in a new place. I’m in the middle of a new wineskin in the making.

It’s a new place with new requirements. I look around and say, “Hey! Could someone help me out here?”

The nature of this place over-extends all I’ve offered in the past.

I look around me, spying out what I don’t have and might need, just like the disciples who looked around, frantic, trying to figure out how to do what Jesus just said.

“You feed them.”

With what?

The answer was right there. It wasn’t in what they didn’t have. It was in what they didn’t see. One disciple made a desperate stab. Turned out he was right.

A young boy had some food. They didn’t.

This is a key for expansion.

I’m asking Him to help me see what He’s placed in my life right now. Not something I have to drum up. But something I need to acknowledge is already there. I honor what He’s put in my life by recognizing its potential to become more than I expected.

He puts pressure on my ability. Not to be mean, but so my capacity will grow.

I still have a few messes, but can’t let them stop me from offering my current capacity to Him for a multiplied one.

I’ll look at that community college catalog. Maybe there’s a class that will help my writing. Maybe there’s someone I know and love who will critique my work. Maybe a multitude waits for the very small thing I put into action today.

It’s more than a stab in the dark. It’s His principle for expansion.



Laurel Thomas