Laurel Thomas

journey 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.



April 2015



Stories in the River

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Here’s a peek into some journaling I’ve been doing since a writer’s conference in California this spring. It starts with me, then moves (by faith) into His response.

Me: Lord, I love the adventure of You! I love Your beauty – especially in a good story. I love seeing a character created and linked in with others. I love how words, in careful design, embrace and carry me as a willing captive to unexpected places.

But how do You feel about me writing stories?

God: You want to write fiction? Why not? I love a good story, too. Aren’t you and I proof of that? I love your story. So much mystery, so much intrigue! A weaving as intricate as you being formed in your momma’s womb.

I take a seed, breath on it and then hand tool design and beauty into a complete work. Is there travail all around? Yes! I don’t create in isolated perfection. Circumstances can rage, NO, NO! But do they stop My breath? Do they prevent My creation? No. I am He Who is and was and always will be.

The creation of story is what I do. When you invite me, I’m with you in the journey, connecting with others, with the land, with life. It’s all story.

Don’t be afraid. You won’t get this wrong. You still fight imperfection. I don’t. I hate sin, true, and I hate what seeks to destroy My expression in you. But imperfection – well, sometimes there’s order you can’t see yet.

Things may look messy, but with My redeeming hand, broken pieces come into patterns and patterns reflect what only I can form. It is beauty that is both mystery and wonder.

Touch Me, beloved. Come near. Don’t stand apart. I’m not afraid of your imperfections. I trust our journey together. I love our story.

Me: He loves our story! May we expect His life in unexpected places as we take those leaps with Him, our Creator!

Shalom in the river,

Laurel Thomas