A Reason to Celebrate

I recently received a HUGE answer to prayer. To say I had a sense of relief today is an understatement;  almost felt like I could breathe again for the first time in several weeks actually. Since returning back to New York just 3 months ago I’ve already faced many hardships. Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was getting myself into having lived here before, but  the thoughts, why am I doing this to myself, I’m exhausted, and  cut me some slack run through my head almost daily.

I can say that the most positive thing since returning to New York is the network of amazing friends I am building and the church Hillsong, which I have been going to every week. The first week I went it brought me to tears with words spoken that I needed to hear and ever since it’s continued to renew my spirit weekly and fill me with hope and joy and peace and give me strength to pursue the week ahead. I continue to go back because each time I feel this amazing sense of Joy and Welcome like I’m at home, and I hear things that I feel are intended for me to hear, and I meet encouraging people.

Tonight I had somewhat of a revelation and something really encouraged my heart BIG TIME and I wanted to share it.

I mentioned that I had a huge prayer answered; I had been praying endlessly about a situation in my life and asking others to pray about it as well. A pastor named Rich Wilkerson Jr gave a sermon tonight at Hillsong Church in NYC. He pointed out that a prayer should be three things, PURPOSEFUL, CONFIDENT, PERSISTENT. My prayers recently were definitely in line with these three things. He mentioned our prayers should be almost “sniper focused”, so detailed with a direct vision in mind. My prayer was definitely of huge purpose!! I knew if God wanted me to stay in New York…this prayer would NEED to be answered. He also mentioned our prayers should be CONFIDENT . I definitely had faith that God would provide for me. He has never let me down in the past, he’s always come through for me. And, although I felt like I needed a miracle, I knew he could do it…because I had a strong feeling I was meant to stay here. He didn’t bring me this far just to desert me. And, lastly he said our prayers should be PERSISTENT. God honors and loves when we are persistent, when we don’t give up; his timing is not always ours, but ,1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray without ceasing.”

When my prayer was answered it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and and all I could think was “GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS”!! He came through…He MADE A WAY when it seemed like there was going to be no way!! And, in doing so this has given me so much hope and encouragement. If HE is doing this for me now, he is going to continue to provide, continue to guide and carry me through difficult circumstances. My faith was strengthened!IMG_9231

With all that said and my prayer answered there still left one question in my mind; “why does it take so long sometimes for God to answer our prayers? Why does it feel like sometimes we have to go through so much to get some relief? Why drag it out? Why put obstacles in the way, and speed bumps down the path?” Well, for one, HE knew it was going to strengthen my faith that much more. I was persistent. He already KNEW my situation but I will admit, the longer I had to wait…the more I had to have faith that He was going to provide. But, most importantly he wants me to LET GO of my plan for my life and the way I want it to go and PICK UP what he has in store for me. He wants to USE my story, my struggles, my pain, and hardships, for HIS STORY. Because in this life, it is not about MY story, I’m here ultimately for HIS story. He’s USING me, just like all of those stories from the bible of men who had to make sacrifices , some went through pain, struggles , hardships, but all for the GLORY of the Kingdom of God.

Does he want me to be in pain? NO. Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. BUT, how boring would my story be if everything in my life was perfect and went GREAT all the time and I got everything I wanted?? How would that affect others around me? Would that drive me, strengthen me and encourage me to write like I’m writing right now? NO! So, God knows what he’s doing; and I have to TRUST that he is using my story for HIS STORY because thats what it’s about.  And, this blog post is not just about ME….I am using myself as an example. But, it’s really about each and every one of you as well. We all play a part.

In closing I want to say that all of this leaves me in a REALLY GOOD PLACE with a lot more PEACE than I went into this week having. It takes the pressure off of my life, it takes the stress and anxiety off of me. Why? Because when the thoughts run through my head of, why am I in New York again? Why do I have to take this job? Why is this man in my life? Why is the person treating me this way? Why did this situation fall though? Well…trusting that it’s all for a purpose , for HIS purpose releases me from any of the anxiousness about having to figure that stuff out. I don’t have to know. As long as I continue to pursue the desires on my heart, follow my dreams, do what I love, and am sincere in prayer, HE’s going to SHOW me the answers to these questions. I don’t have to stress and try to have it all figured out. God’s got me, He’s got YOU too! ❤

Love you all

Lauren

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