Laurel Thomas

integrity Archive

Thursday

20

July 2017

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COMMENTS

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.

Wednesday

5

April 2017

0

COMMENTS

Unscripted Life

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I talked to a friend on Sunday. The kind of friend who’s such a thinker, I need a notepad when he shares a sentence or two.
“Are you getting those profound thoughts of yours out into cyberspace?” I asked.
“No. I’d have to validate everything I say. It would take forever to document it all.”
Document it all? A man of integrity, for sure. He has opinions, but wants to make sure they’re based on truth.

My caution was – don’t let pressure to perfect keep you from jumping off a cliff with what you believe you hear from God.

Cliff-jumping? How could that be God?

It’s like this. What I believe in my gut about God directs what I do and how I live. That’s a given – almost a cliché.

It’s more than that, though. I’ve lived a careful life. Like a mistake would throw me off course – maybe even propel me out of His plan. So, although I never voiced that opinion, I lived it. And my world suffered because of it.

What about the God of an unscripted life? You know, the God who is appropriate for an ever-changing world.

We all experience change. On a gut-level, I’ve despised it. Because my real issue is, “God, are You up to this?”

We’ve been taught that God is in control. After all, doesn’t He know everything before it happens? If so, where do we fit in?
God isn’t in control when babies are abused, when young girls and boys are sex-trafficked, or when there’s poverty and violence in our culture.

But He made a leap.
He decided to trust us – those who believe – trusting that we’ll partner with Him to let His goodness shape our world.
That takes a certain amount of cliff-jumping.

Me? I’m not God. No one believes I am, for that matter.
But when I act in His behalf, before I know or understand anything other than His nature – I cooperate with Him. I act out the truth of who I am. A child of God.

I’m formed in His image to effect change. The good kind. Because the world won’t change if I don’t act – like who I am.
That means I jump off the cliff of my own understanding. Maybe knowing just enough about “form” – His principles – to keep me from hurtling in the wrong direction.

But still ready to jump.
How about you?
Where will your leap take you? How will it change your world?

Shalom in the River,

Laurel Thomas