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In God We Trust

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” -James 1:2-3 ESV⁠⠀

American sisters and brothers in Christ, as we approach Independence Day during this unique time in history, with so many issues coming into the light – division, injustice, hypocrisy, hate, spiritual blindness… SIN – let’s not forget God commands us to rejoice in trials and suffering.⁠⠀

In Christ, we can still celebrate and rejoice because we know that trials of various kinds are used by God to produce steadfastness – unwavering loyalty, faithfulness, deep commitment to our God and to loving people. ALL people – even people who look different than us, people who hold different political beliefs, people who might genuinely hate us and Christ.⁠⠀

When we rejoice in trials and suffering, we are opening the door for the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts to make us more like Christ. This is such a gift and a huge reason to give thanks!⁠⠀

This Fourth of July, let’s be grateful for the good we see and experience. Let’s praise God that He is trustworthy! That He keeps His promises! Let’s walk through this season in humility – praising, confessing, and asking… seeking wisdom in the Word of God.⁠⠀

Because Jesus came to us, offered His own life as a sacrifice for sin, and overcame all sin, death, and the depravity of the world through His resurrection, there is always hope! He is ALIVE today! He is with us and He will return one day to restore all things! 🙌🏻🙌🏽🙌🏿⁠⠀

In God, We Trust. 🇺🇸⁠⠀


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Focus on how big our God is

Wise words from my husband. 🧡💛⁠⠀

These days, I’m easily overwhelmed by the problems in our world that need redeeming. They seem too big and I often wonder how we will come out of this season and how long it will last. As a highly sensitive person, it all really effects me mentally and emotionally.⁠⠀

I do know God is using it to build my trust in Him and as I shared my feelings with my sweet husband Luke the other day, He said, “Don’t focus on how big the problems are. Focus on how big our God is.” Those were the exact words I needed to hear. I was on the verge of spiraling once again and those words re-centered me on Christ.⁠⠀

Luke and I are not saying to ignore the problems. But, we can’t let them take center stage. When we focus on God through trials, a big part of that is asking Him to give us eyes to see things the way He does.⁠⠀

Our God is the Creator of the universe. He keeps all of His promises. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He overcame sin and death and is the Redeemer of all things.⁠⠀

I know God has unique lessons for each one of us to learn in these difficult times. What is He teaching you through it all? If you’re having trouble seeing, ask Him to open your eyes to what He wants to show you in this season.⁠⠀

If you haven’t yet put your faith in Christ, today can be the day of salvation! You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. You were never meant to. Surrender your life, your heart, soul, and mind to Christ. He wants to set you free (Isaiah 61)!⁠


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God is Amazing.

The Gospel.⁠⠀

Who is the focus? Jesus.⁠⠀

Solid truth always has God, His character, His heart… THE GOSPEL at the center. ⠀

Let’s pray for wisdom. Let’s pray for discernment and compare everything we hear and read to what God says in the Bible. Let’s follow leaders and influencers who exalt Jesus and the Bible above their own words and experiences. Let’s center our beliefs – minds, hearts, souls… our entire way of living on Him alone.⁠⠀

Here are a few truths that come to mind that help me personally with discernment and guard me against false teachings and false ways of thinking:⠀

▪️Jesus says, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19)⁠⠀

▪️Jesus is enough. (Romans 8:1-8)⁠⠀

▪️No one is righteous on their own. Through Christ we are declared righteous. (Romans 3:10-12)⁠⠀

▪️Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6)⁠⠀

▪️There is one Truth and it’s what God has spoken through His Word (the Bible). (John 15:6 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17)⁠⠀

▪️The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23)⁠⠀

▪️God is amazing. He loves us even though we sin. By grace, through faith He forgives, calls us righteous in His sight, promising eternal life, not because we are good, but because He is good. (John 3:16-21)⁠⠀


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It’s Time To…

Wisdom from our pastor at @mngracechurch. Wanna know what to be doing now?⁠⠀

It’s Time To:⁠⠀

1) Pray for godly change⁠⠀
2) Stay humble – we all have blind spots⁠⠀
3) Be a part of the solution, not the problem⁠⠀
4) Be peacemakers⁠⠀
5) Keep the Gospel central to everything⁠⠀
6) Win people to Christ – it’s the way we change culture⁠⠀
7) Take your cues from God’s Word (not the latest tweet)⁠⠀
8) Have conversations instead of making declarations⁠⠀
9) Do good⁠⠀
10) Love deeply & refuse to let the enemy divide you⁠


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How to Read the Bible

We need to read the Bible to navigate all that’s happening in the world around us. We need to understand God’s truth in order to have a biblical worldview.⁠⠀

After chatting with a friend who is new to reading the Bible on her own, I was reminded that many in this community might not know how to do that. I get it. the Bible can be super intimidating at first! I didn’t grow up reading it on my own or understanding it. I only started reading it for myself when I put my faith in Christ in 2012. It’s never too late to start.⁠⠀

Even for seasoned Bible readers, keeping this little “roadmap” in mind as we read the Bible can be super helpful:⁠⠀

1) Pray. Ask God to give you understanding.⁠⠀
2) What’s the context?/What are the facts?⁠⠀
3) What did you learn about God? Yourself? Humanity?⁠⠀
4) How will you apply what you learned to your life.⁠

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Faith Over Fear: Finding Lasting Peace In Uncertain Circumstances

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I’m looking at this COVID-19 season as an opportunity: an opportunity to draw near to Christ. It’s my hope that God will use me to encourage others to do the same, so we all can find deeper rest and peace in Him.

I am excited to share this blog post I wrote for The Homebody Society, which includes personal stories, a list of several practical ways to choose faith over fear, and tons of scripture for you to cling to and be reminded of.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POST

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How Hand Lettering Changed My Life

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Four years ago, in September 2015, I bought my first brush pen and fell in love instantly. To celebrate my 4-year “calligraversary” I thought some of you might be interested to hear my story about why I got started and how the Lord used what started as a relaxing hobby to change the trajectory of my life.

How it all began

Back in 2015 I was pursuing a career as a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter and had just finished an internship at a local church. My supervisors told me there would be an on-staff worship leader position opening in less than a year. I really wanted the job, so I chose to wait. I began working a few hours a week as a barista while pursuing a solo music career, but still had a lot of time on my hands. So, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill – brush lettering.

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I had been into block letters, cursive, making my normal handwriting as pretty as possible, and “fauxligraphy.” (That’s where you write with a regular pen and go back and make all the downstrokes of the letters thicker to look like calligraphy – see this lyric video I created back in 2013 for one of my songs using this technique!) Hand lettering was starting to become more mainstream when I started practicing, so up until then, I didn’t know what to call it. I just knew I liked creating pretty word pictures of Bible verses, quotes from sermons, and lyrics from worship music in my free time. <3

A slow transition

I started sharing my brush-lettered quotes on Instagram right away. I knew I wasn’t very good yet, but I loved what I was making and couldn’t help but share! My Instagram account started as a place to share my music endeavors and a bit about my personal life. But, the more I shared my lettering, the more that account grew – if you scroll down far enough, you can see this transition happen! When I look back, it’s almost like I can see my heart begin to shift from music to lettering. It’s pretty cool to have that visual reminder.

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One of the very first quotes I brushed lettered was “how great Thou art.” And I letter it every year to mark my calligraversary and see how my style changes from year to year. It’s one of my favorite little traditions!

My love for lettering began growing and so did my scope of work. I got the job at the church and was doing more and more custom lettering work on the side. I had grown tired of the hustle and challenges that came with gigging as a solo musician singing outwardly Christian lyrics. I loved lettering so much and knew that I was onto something, so I poured my heart into that and less and less into songwriting. I felt really conflicted about it, but still got to sing and lead worship every weekend for my job, so I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds.

After I got married in October 2016 I opened an Etsy shop to try selling some of my own designs. I started with digital prints, then found a printer I really liked and started selling actual paper prints. My custom orders kept coming in, but the shop sales were really slow. (I’m talking 1-2 sales per month for the first several months!) But, in the summer of 2017, things started to change when I decided to turn a personal Romans lettering project into a devotional. When I announced I’d be self-publishing my first book, Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional, I knew I was onto something bigger than I had planned. Hundreds of people (even strangers!) were getting behind a project that wasn’t even finished yet and I was blown away.

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Going all in

While I was getting ready to release the book, I was feeling more and more conflicted about my job at the church. There were things I loved about it more than anything, but I also knew I wouldn’t be there forever. I told myself I’d be there two more years. (If that were the case, I’d just be finishing! Crazy!) But, a week after I said that, I had clarity that it was time to leave. The timing made no sense. My husband had just decided he was going back to school, my tiny business was not ready… but, God had a plan!

The Lord’s plans

Two years after all of that, here we are, and it’s clear He did have a plan. I could write an entire book about the highs and lows of the self-employed life and the unforeseen trials Luke and I faced over the past two years. But, I’ll attempt to sum it all up in just a few final sentences.

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God turned something I kind of just fell into into something I wanted to put my all into. He has used hand lettering to help me rest in His goodness. He uses it to test my faith in Him, to build trust that He will provide my every need, to teach me about the downfalls of self-reliance, to show me the peace that comes with relying on Him, to humble me… I’ve learned a lot of lessons and in so many ways, I am still in the learning process.

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I celebrate this anniversary, not to just celebrate a great passion of mine, but the great work Jesus has done in my life since picking up that first brush pen. All glory to Him for the work that has been done and the work He will do in and through me! I am extremely humbled that the Creator of the universe wants to use me in this way and that so many of you have been a part of the journey. Thank you!

<3 Lauren

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Grow In Your Faith This Summer

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“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”John 15:4 ESV

This post contains affiliate links.

Summer is finally getting started! Many of our schedules change over the summer and it can be easy to let our spiritual growth become an afterthought. But, what if we made it our number one priority? It can be challenging to know where to start, so I wanted to provide a few resources for you to consider. We need God’s Word, prayer, and community to grow, so I’ve listed some books, studies, accounts, and suggestions below to consider.

The Word

Holy Bible

If you haven’t invested in a good study Bible, there is no time like the present! You can learn so much from just reading from a great study Bible daily. I love my ESV study Bible. I really like the ESV translation because it is more of a word-for-word translation, but it’s still written in language we can understand. If you are newer to reading the Bible, you might better understand a thought-for-thought translation like the NIV. But, I wouldn’t get hung up on the translation. I’ve heard it said, the best translation is the one you pick up and read. 🙂
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P.S. When you’re on the go or needing to quick look up a verse, using the Bible App or Bible Gateway are great options too!

Commentaries

A great way to go even deeper as you read the Bible, is by reading a commentary. I love The Be Series by Warren W. Wiersbe. I’ve linked “The Gospels” bundle, but you can find any book of the Bible. I cannot express enough how much I love these commentaries. I highly recommend these books and know you will grow so much if you use these as companions to your Bible reading. There are even a few questions at the end of each chapter for you to reflect on!

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Devotionals

I would love to help you grow in your faith this summer and I’ve written two devotionals you should definitely check out if you are looking for something less in-depth than a commentary. Ephesians: A Hand Lettered Devotional breaks down each chapter in half, Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional is broken down by whole chapters, and both include intricate hand lettered art to spark creativity and help with scripture memory,  along with thought provoking devotional content to help you apply what you’ve read to your life and remember the main ideas of each chapter. (An additional perk is you can save a lot by ordering both together!)
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Prayer

Prayer is essential to growing in our faith, because it’s really all about growing in our relationship with Christ and that takes knowledge and understanding through His Word, but also requires communication with our Savior.

Prayer Journal

If you are like me and struggle to sit down, pray, and get your thoughts in order, a prayer journal might be really helpful for you. I recently released my Guided Prayer Journal to help you grow in your prayer life, whether you are a long-time believer or are getting to know Jesus for the first time. I’ve included prompts for praise, gratitude, confession, reminders to pray and read your Bible, and space to write and reflect on prayers for yourself and others. I have been keeping a prayer journal for over seven years and I’ve been working through the journal. I can honestly say, I am so thankful for the balance the Guided Prayer Journal has added to my prayer life.

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Community

Connect with others near you

I have learned more than ever this year that community is essential to growing in our relationships with Christ. When we surround ourselves with like-minded people who are also actively seeking the Lord, we are strengthened! Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17)! Attending church is important (keep doing that this summer!), but right now I’m talking about making room for fellowship outside the Sunday morning church service. You can join a Bible study – look into what your church or other churches in the area might be offering – or it can be as simple as making time to get coffee with one or two friends every other week with the intention of talking about what the Lord is teaching you and praying together. I am involved in Bible Study Fellowship during most of the year, so I usually just get together with a few friends regularly over the summer and making that time a priority in the summer is so sweet!romansdevotional_016 copy

Connect with others online

I hesitated to add this section, but I did think it was necessary. Community online can be amazing, but as much as I love following and connecting with other women who love and share about Christ on social media, I’ve found that it can be harder to get deep and have an actual conversation when you’re just connecting over DMs and comments. If we’re on social media, I think it’s very important to follow, connect, and communicate with others, instead of just scrolling mindlessly through our feeds, consuming whatever comes up. I’ve listed just a few women I have connected with – some have books, some have “official” ministries of their own, some just love sharing the love of Christ, some are close friends of mine, others are friends I only know through chatting here and there online. I hope you’ll be encouraged by what they’re sharing!

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Encouragement

Hope you have a great summer and that even just one of these resources were helpful to you or that they’ll lead you to other great resources. Remember, Jesus wants our whole hearts. He doesn’t want to just be a part of our daily routine, He wants to be the center of our lives! Our time with Him helps us recenter and keep Him first throughout the day and He deserves to be made first! So, especially in the summer when things are busy, focus on the quality of your time with Him. Instead of asking yourself, “Did I spend time with the Lord today?” ask yourself questions like:

  • What is the Lord teaching me today?
  • How is God speaking to me today?
  • What truths are God revealing and reminding me about Himself?

It can be easy for us to worry about the amount of  time spent, but really He just wants to connect with us, meet with us, reveal more of Himself to us, and make us more like Himself. Sure, more time can really be a benefit, but if we focus more on the connection, instead of worrying about hitting a specific time frame, that’s when we will grow and fall deeper in love with Jesus.

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Recommitting My Work to the Lord

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“Commit your work to the LORD and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

I shared in a recent Instagram post that I have been feeling restlessness in my life – especially in my work. I’ve been praying my heart would be aligned to Christ and it didn’t take long for Him to start answering that prayer. However, it took a little bit more time and a good nudge for me to really start responding.

The turning point

At the beginning of May, I was a vendor at Minneapolis Pinners Conference. This was a dream come true for me and I saw it as a career milestone. However, God used the event not only as a milestone, but as a turning point in my career and life.

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I met so many wonderful people at the conference and had some great conversations that really got me thinking about my purpose as a creative small business owner. I walked into the event with a new realization that I had been making a lot of decisions based on what other people in the professional lettering community were doing instead of looking to God for wisdom and guidance. But, I wasn’t totally sure what to do with that knowledge.

After processing the entire event and many insightful conversations with other vendors, teachers, and attendees, I realized that I first needed to stop doing what other successful people are doing or saying to do and assuming it will be right for me. I had gotten caught up in the hustle and was starting to realize the things I was striving for weren’t 100% in line with how God wanted to use me and my gifts.

My response

I responded to these new realizations by taking some time off from posting on social media. Planning content sucks up so much of my time, so I knew by cutting that out for a bit, I would be opening up so much more time to pray, read my Bible, listen to sermons, meet with friends, and begin figuring out how God wants to use me. I also knew that I needed to re-evaluate the content I was putting out there and place my trust in the Lord to provide, instead of relying so much on my marketing efforts. Taking a break from posting for a couple weeks needed to happen for a lot of reasons and I’m so glad I took that time to reset.

I am amazed by all the things the Lord has been teaching me in just the past few weeks. The list really goes on and on and I’m excited to share more about those things in future social media and blog posts. I am still very much in the process of discovering how God specifically wants to use me, but what I do know for sure is that He wants me to go all in for Him. He wants me to give up my control, my ideas of what I think is gonna work, and allow Him to show me what He’s capable of. Not just so I can experience His best for me, but more importantly, so I can be used for His greater purposes.

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Moving forward

Like I said, I’m still learning a lot and figuring out where God is leading me. I know it will be a never ending process and I’m excited to see how the journey will impact what I share with this supportive, kind, loving community I get to be a part of.

I was hoping to end this post with what you can expect from me in the future, but really all I can say is, expect change. Expect more Jesus. I don’t want my shop and posts to be about hand lettering or even about me. I want my hand lettering and creativity to be used as a tool to point myself and others back to Him.

<3 Lauren

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