He Finds Us in the “Unawares”…

 

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Have you noticed or were you unaware?

That God seems to find us, show us, give us small gifts in unexpected ways?

He did it today when singing in an impromptu trio…“thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown when thou camest to earth for me…”

Suddenly, transformed to 45 years ago and the old Bev Shea Album my Dad played at Christmas with all the old hymns….

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but in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room for thy holy nativity…”

No room, I find there’s no room for His touch when I am filled with the distractions of

self-pity, expectations, business that can wait and lost priorities.

It’s when I’m not looking that He appears again to me, touches my face so softly, allows me to feel both joy and pain and even embrace a tear.

Am I better than He?

The foxes found rest and the birds their nest in the shade of the forest tree

But the couch was the sod, Oh thou Son of God in the deserts of Galilee”

Do I escape earth’s pain?

Dare I trust a homeless god,  such a humble and humiliating saviour?

He caught them unaware as well, it seems

thou camest Lord with the living Word that would set thy people free;

But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn 

They bore thee to Calvary”

Do I escape lowly titles, humiliation and even scorn like Him?

Would I count it an honor for the King?

The last stanza rings the ultimate moment

When heavens arches shall ring and her choirs shall sing

At thy coming to victory

Let thy voice call me up saying yet there is room, there is room at my side for thee,

O Come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee”

So leave the crowd behind and find Him in the unawares…

The moments He bids you and you answer the call

they are subtle but they abound this Advent season

He will not disappoint you.

Amen.

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How to not Press the Snooze Button and Other Musings on Chemo…

image I consider myself a “Morning Person” but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get out of bed. I’m not one of those who jumps up on the exercise bike and then runs 2 miles before meeting a 6am networking group or prays for 3 hours on her knees for missionaries.  I’m somewhere in between.  I do get up after 2 snooze pushes at 5 am, I do exercise and I do have a “quiet time” with God before leaving the house for the day’s adventure. But it’s not easy, and it takes lots of makeup.

These days, I use my daughter’s vanity as my makeup table- one of the advantages of being an empty nester is that we can spread out and use all of our 4 bedrooms for our various purposes.  I thought buying a lot of expensive makeup would help me get up easier so I treated myself to the Estee Lauder Counter at Macy’s for Mother’s day-( P.S. it didn’t help so I’m back to the CVS counter).

Then I was given a gift (by my son)- a shirt that said “crunch before lunch” from Victoria’s Secret no less and I thought that would do the trick (by the way-what ever happened to pretty frilly nightgowns-everyone thinks wearing sweats to bed  will drop weight and their husband won’t bother them?) I’m a believer in pretty lingerie, but that’s my generation.

I watched an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry talks about getting up in the morning- “It’s like you have to learn to walk again”, I couldn’t agree more. And to talk again, don’t talk to me in the morning-at least not before quiet time. And yes, that’s become legalistic- like something you do instead of being with Him.

I spent a weekend in Chicago recently and also visited the suburbs where I entered “Hobby Lobby” for the first time. Wow, it was like my first time at Christmas Tree Shops in Maine before they came to the Island!  Well, ya’ gotta love those stores owned by Christians, Christian music playing, lot of Jesus stuff and lots of good prices on everything for the home and crafty types (I tried to be one of those but my NY accent is too thick). In fact my Home Ec teacher told me to throw away the dress I made in Jr High and my knitting squares at our church group were used sparingly in the blankets we gave to the sick-( those poor souls have suffered enough without being exposed to my squares).

But to tell you the truth the sign I bought in Hobby Lobby just about sums it up- In the Morning, Just give Me Jesus”.  That is what it all comes down to for me. Yes, I like my pumpkin coffee, yes; I can’t leave the house without a lot of make up (I used to wear false eyelashes in High School) and yes, I am weak, frail and sometimes broken but He remains the same. He meets me in my weakness, my failures and speaks hope and life to me. He tells me that He loves me and will never leave me and that I have a bright future. He knows how I felt  when I  had a bad hair day (that’s putting it mildly) ,it fell out during chemo. Now this is a hard pic for someone who won’t leave the house without lots of prep to post but I know some friends going through this now and I want you to know that He is there for you when you feel like you can’t get up or want to push the eternal snooze button.

Yes, Just give me Jesus- Sometimes His presence is so real-sometimes not.

A Very Bad Hair Day Indeed!

dscn0782 That’s when He fills it in with friends and God’s people and laughter and support. HE DID NOT LET ME DOWN AND HE WON’T LET YOU DOWN.

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God sent me awesome fun people, we ate breakfast at Se-port and did some political door to door campaigning that day pictured above.  He gave me an awesome small group to share this time with and have made life-long friends!

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He gave me laughter in many forms and I love Him for that-That’s our God…So go to Chemo and smile-Thank you Bunty! Show the world you have hope because you do….046

(By the way, that’s the bell for the nurse) And remember, don’t isolate yourself in your time of trouble, we all need each other not only during cancer treatment but always…And Yes in the morning especially-just give me Jesus before the phone starts ringing.  And P.S. I kinda had fun with all the different wigs too!

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Please Wake the Woke- A NYPD Mom Speaks Up

My heart has been heavy for a very long time. I have experienced a kind of PTSD and finally I figured out the connection between the political divide among Christians and my sons in blue. I am happy to say the burden has lifted due to the power of prayer and calling out to the Lord, my Father.

Yet, I believe I still have a responsibility to “speak the truth in love” and give accurate information because I know Mom’s everywhere of all races and creeds share the same heart for their beloved children. Therefore we are One, we shed the same tears for all the confusion, hatred and sorrows we have been carrying for a very long time. I love you with all my heart, please know that. Especially those in the household of faith, we have so much to bind us together. Like Mary who looked upon her Son’s suffering, we too sometimes bear the unbearable but for His grace in our weak estate.

In my research, I came across a very sound and scholarly author, Dr. Thaddeus Williams. (his books and articles are easy to google). What I found interesting was the study done by an independent scientific company to confirm or deny racial profiling on the New Jersey Turnpike (the NJ Attorney General failed to use scientific methods). In a true experiment you would change or vary the independent variable to measure the outcome of the dependent variable (more black drivers pulled over for speeding). The samples are also analyzed as representative samples. What the study concluded was that age not race was the determining cause of the pullovers.

This is just one of many studies, yet what are we all fed- information skewed to a popular ideological philosophy. For those of us who lived during the 60’s Black Panther movement, we know there is nothing new under the sun as far as ideologies, just different labels. The difference then was we had systemic racism (1950’s and 60’s) but thank God laws have been changed and laws determine the “systemic” structure of a society. I am happy to say that in past 10 years of selling houses on Long Island, I have not seen any racism except in one isolated person and the Fair Housing Laws were our “bible”. Do the hearts of some individuals need to be changed and converted, yes, as long as there sin in this world short of ‘His kingdom come”, YES!

I hurt for the Church of Jesus Christ, especially the young generation of Evangelicals buying full force into “Another Jesus, Another Gospel”. They would do well to counsel with their elder mature biblically sound parents. The Gospel that embraces a sociological or ideological trend (nothing new, same old Marxism Critical Race Theory) is a gospel of division and a snare of the enemy. As a “senior saint’ who grew up in a racially diverse church, we were very much “One in Christ”, we had “Him” and He had the preeminence” Colossians 1:18. Let’s get back to “Solo Christo”

Your Life as a Mosaic

Do you view your life as a complicated puzzle that needs to be figured out or as a beautiful mosaic whose broken pieces are forming something beautiful and unique?

Walking through Ace hardware this past Christmas season, I was looking for a fun gift for my husband and came across a 1000 piece puzzle. “That would be interesting during long winter months”, I thought but guess what—it was just too much!

I immediately though of the beautiful one of a kind antique bowl I dropped days before. I could not bear to throw it away and thought about using the broken pieces to form a beautiful piece of art, maybe even a backsplash in the guest bathroom behind the pedestal sink. I though to myself about the metaphors of my own life and it’s many pieces that sometimes make no sense and asked, “do I really want to spend my days, trying to make sense and fit all these pieces together or do I want to make something beautiful of the brokenness of my human condition.

Do I really need to figure it out, wrestle with God or like Jacob use that limp for the rest of my life as a reminder of my need for Him? I thought of St. Paul, another feisty biblical figure, full of pride and head knowledge that came to the conclusion that God’s strength shines best through his weakness.

So today, I give my imperfect self to the loving arms of a Perfect Father and trust to Him the story yet to be revealed.

Spiritual Identity Theft

Home | Live on Purpose Coaching with Lauren Blackburn (wixsite.com)

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Have you felt hijacked lately? The roles you once held have been somewhat altered by life seasons or covid? I don’t know about you but life seems to be divided up by pro masks vs. non pro masks and other categories that never existed before. One friend recently told me that “it was never like this growing up”, the hate, the vitriol these past 4 years have been dehumanizing to say the least. Some have chosen to “block out” and retreat for healthy survival.

I’ve learned from trauma ministry that “dissociation” from one’s identity is a mechanism the mind uses to survive trauma. We saw it dramatically displayed in soap operas and movies (multiple personalities) however, I have learned and been exposed to people that have actually experienced their identity stolen in such a way. Remarkable, the coping mechanisms that are there to survive, endure…even if it means giving away a part of ourselves.

We have all experienced this spiritual Identity theft in the workplace. Making a living in the real world, we are often forced to compromise, keep silent or look the other way if we want to keep that paycheck. It’s everywhere even in the church where we vie for positions and acknowledgement that cause us to silence our conscience on matters of morality or theology.

Identity is a touchy thing, I believe we will do anything to protect it when threatened unless our identity is very deeply rooted in our relationship with Christ, crucified, risen and coming again.

I know we have all faced our personal 40 days of testing in the wilderness where the devil has dangled things in front of our nose(s).

What is he dangling in front of you?

Life Maps, Vision Boards and Other Strangers

Writing from My Kitchen Today…

Have you ever wondered what your mind would look like if it was put up on a screen? Try a picture of the freeway or expressway depending on where your live; in other words- do you have racing thoughts? If not racing thoughts then lots of multi tasking in your mind and distractions which make it difficult to focus, accomplish or just have peace?

Many of the techniques used by the early church Fathers are shunned today because they have New Age or Eastern stigmas attached to them. However, meditation, contemplative prayer, lectio divina (divine listening) are all Christian practices which reap amazing benefits for the person willing to take the time and training.

Even before I became a credentialed Biblical Life Coach, I have utilized these disciplines personally for the past decade. The peace and truth that have transformed my walk with God and many aspects of my life are undeniable.

There are other tools I like to utilize as well, life mapping and vision boards. I am planning on a zoom seminar on these tools in cold winter months that loom ahead of us. Please leave a comment or shoot an email to me if you would like more information. Laurenblackburncoach@gmail.com

Lie Based Thinking and the Ghost of Christmas Past

Gillian was triggered every time she rode past a certain part of town. Lack of paper goods in the grocery store during pandemic reminded Allison of empty cupboards growing up. I have been flooded with some very pleasant memories of visiting my Grandmother in City Island and sipping Welch’s Grape Juice from a sippy cup but I can also relate to the more troubled responses of unwelcome thoughts and images that people battle.

Which ghost has visited you this season?

Over a decade ago I was introduced to a very helpful ministry which invited the Holy Spirit in to reveal truth to lies I chose to believe but was not fully aware of. We all have beliefs about ourselves, situations and even others that are not based on the truth of God’s word. Even if a circumstances is true in reality or situationally what we believe about it is what makes the difference; the person at church may have walked right past you and not said hello (based in reality) but the belief I may have formed (she doesn’t like me) may be based in a lie. What we believe makes or breaks us. If the truth is that a person really doesn’t like us or mistreats or even abuses us , what we believe about ourselves needs to be based in God’s truth —that’s what makes the difference between stuck and free. Does that persons behavior toward you really define who you are? Most likely not and I need to have the courage to allow God to reveal that to me.

You will know the truth and the truth will make you free”

We can know all the bible verses that are true, but if they haven’t reached the revelation level in our being, the truth does us no benefit.

My life has been transformed by Transformation Prayer Ministry which I trained in over a decade ago. I am incorporating this practice in to my Coaching Ministry. Please feel free to email me at laurenblackburncoach@gmail.com for more information/

God Bless, and walk in God’s truth.

Promise in Pandemic?

Is this a season of Promise for you? I believe that even in the middle of a time of suffering for so many, God gives us the ability to experience real, pure, undiluted joy and a deeper sense of well being than ever thought possible. He has proven that to me, time and time again.

If your not feeling the hope of promise, I encourage you to look fresh into God’s word where “all the Promises are YES and Amen!” . But look in a different way, not rushed, not with a check list of chapters to get done by a certain date, but a parking place if you will where God can commune with your spirit on a deeper level.

It has been a season of loss and change for me (and you) I’m sure but also a season pf provision, adventure and a renewed sense of vocation. Making the decision to become a Biblical Life Coach has been pivotal for me in terms of knowing a living God who is never stagnant but a giver of new Zoe life again and again and through eternal ages!

It all starts with Awareness, a place we often avoid. But awareness of yourself is extremely valuable not fearful with the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Paracelete, the Wonderful Counselor of Christ Himself.

So start with that one first step- Where am I right now? Where do I want to be? If you need the help of a coach, please visit my website https://laurenblackburncoa.wixsite.com or email me at laurenblackburncoach@gmail.com.

Rememeber, Wise men and women still seek Him…

Many Blessings await …

Is it Healthy?

We are living in an amazing time in history. Generations from now, our great grandchildren will learn about the age of “Trumpism” . Years from now we will remember this time, the way we remembered the 60’s (if you are a baby boomer) and 9/11. Although we may feel this time is unique (simply because it’s us living it) in reality it is not as there is really ‘nothing new under the sun‘ according to King Solomon.

I was reminded of that as I watched a documentary on two British sisters who became politically divided and estranged. One was mesmerized by fascism, powerful men and became a friend of Hitler; the other a Communist who fled to the United States and involved herself in left wing causes of the day. Watching this fascinating documentary of bored sisters of the aristocracy who channeled their energies into differing ideologies, fierce loyalties and divisions reminds us of what we are facing in our country, our families and even our churches today.

So many of us suffer from black and white thinking, not seeing the similarities we share. Are we nationalists or patriots? Are we deceived by sophistry falling under the old spell of Marxism and tribalism?

Where does that leave us as the church? Are my brothers and sisters deceived and out of God’s will and favor supporting a world system or party that slaughters the innocent without the batting of an eye and even celebrates it as a civil right? Is there any logical explanation to this without resorting to accusations of racism, are we making excuses using the world’s script.

Is is wrong to wrap the gospel in an American flag or in a old Marxist frock? Are we myopic to view everything through one lens—race or sanctity of life. Are we image bearers of Christs or are we unequally yoked to identity culture. Do we dare mix the gospel with critical race theory? I was disturbed by one of my church members statement on social media, saying that there will be no unity among Christians till we abolish white supremacy.

That scares me, when Jesus prayer for unity in John 17 was paved for us prior to His sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection. Are we patting ourselves on the back for being so racially progressive when we are filled with ‘classism’ and bias toward people who punch a timeclock or work with their hands?

Have we missed it as independent thinkers in Evangelical circles whose fierce individualism and disdain for authoritarianism does not want to be told what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. Is the Priest more on target when he tells his flock, in God’s eye there is only one issue that takes precedence over all others when you vote? Do this, God is making it easy for you?

We have a challenge before us? Is it healthy to hold onto the mindsets and confusion of 2020 or is it time to move forward with a renewed mindset that only the Holy Spirit can usher us into? A time of spiritual renewal or a time of apostacy and deception awaits, the choice is ours, may we discern wisely.

Post Election Elijah Syndrome

I don’t know anyone who isn’t a feeling a wave of emotion this past week. For some it’s a high, for others a kick in the stomach with the bowels of social and philosophical and spiritual values gushing outward while the gladiators look on with soulless glee.

Welcome to the world of Elijah, the great prophet of Israel who challenged the prophets of Baal, conducted an experiment in which he called down fire and killed the 450 idol peddlers with the sword. All in the Name of the God of Israel. It’s enough victory to call a big rally with screams and cheers but instead he ended up physically and emotionally exhausted under a Juniper tree asking God to let him die.

How could this happen? Was Elijah always subject to such wild mood swings that he would say, “it is ENOUGH God, take my life for I am no better than my fathers” I Kings 19:4. God literally baked him a little “cake bread” and gave him some water, this mighty man was reduced to food and sleep to replenish.

How will you replenish when your hopes are dashed or when you achieve a pinnacle and ask “what else is there?”

Some of us put too much hope in a man, a President to fight the mighty battles that are warred in heavenly places. Others turned a blind eye to the atrocities applauded in our society and got on the hate wagon. Both erred and failed and now it’s time to unite as One in the Body of Christ .

The Holy Spirit is the One who leads His people in all truth, not little ol’ you and me as self appointed prophets. He cares about His people more than you do and the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church, His bride is His beloved no matter who is in the White House.

There is a season to lament and a time to “Go forward” in the power of His might not ours. May God give us grace and revelation in this new season.