All posts by Lauren Cox

NOT ALONE

 

Ever feel like you’ve ended up somewhere you weren’t supposed to be? Or maybe it was somewhere you really wanted to go, but once you got there you felt like you had made a huge mistake. Everything is flipped upside down, and nothing seems to add up anymore. You’re sitting inside a weird room in a foreign town wondering-

What have I done?

How did I get myself here? Why do I feel so alone? How can I turn back time and undo the decision I’ve made? This can’t be right.

But, maybe it is right. Maybe you are supposed to be there, you just can’t escape the fear of the unknown. Maybe, just maybe, you’re not alone after all.

“So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, ‘Jacob! Jacob!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father,’ he said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.’” GENESIS 46:1-4

I will go down to Egypt with you…

God told Jacob — first through his sons, then with His own mouth — to leave his home and travel to a new place. At his age, this must have been difficult to do. However, God promised to be with him. He reassured Jacob that he would not be making the journey alone and that he would be taken care of.

When new, frightening situations come up, we can rest knowing that God is taking us there and seeing it through. There are times we’re pulled from a path we expected to be on for a while and put on another path that seems eerily uncertain. The road is long and so dark that you can’t see where you’re going. So, naturally, you fight it and do everything you can to keep things the same. Stay away, change! You’re not wanted here! Because duhh.. It’s hard to leave the comfort of a place we’re used to and the people that know us best.

I’m feeling that way again myself. This is the third year in a row I’ve returned to LA with no concrete plans other than, “Welp, I guess we’ll see what happens this time!” The only thing set in stone is where I’m living –and even that has the ability to change on me. (But like, please don’t.) There are so many days I sit and wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Are my intentions pure? Am I hearing You correctly? Is this desire place on my heart by You or by me?

But these are the challenges we are forewarned about. There are countless stories in the Bible of people’s lives being ripped from the ground and rearranged so drastically that they are no longer recognizable. It happens with jobs, relationships, moves, losses, disasters, you name it!

And that’s exactly what happened to Jacob. He discovered his son was not dead but ruling in Egypt and requesting that his entire family move to be with him. So in his old age, he packed up everything and traveled on a whim to be with Joseph. He was scared. He was unsure. But he knew that the Lord had called him to that new place and was traveling with him the entire way.

Our God is faithful. He doesn’t pluck us from safety and send us into danger. You may feel lost and afraid. But remember: you are never alone.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ISAIAH 41:10

#thingsadored

NO FEAR IN LOVE

Lately, I’ve been making it a point not to buy things unless I’m absolutely in love with them. Over the years, my closet has expanded, my shoes have piled up, and my anxiety from the clutter has skyrocketed. But as I was scrolling through Instagram the other day (not an uncommon thing), I noticed a necklace that caught my attention.

@lovishly | No Fear In Love

No fear in love… It struck me. No fear in love? But isn’t love always scary and unpredictable and hurtful? We’re constantly disappointed by those we love. It never fails. Love kinda sucks.

But if I’m being completely honest, I’m always hurting people that love me too. I’m not exempt from that blame. We can all be selfish. It’s in our DNA. So what the HECK kind of love doesn’t include fear?

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18

Perfect Love.

What is perfect love? Better yet, who is perfect love? It’s not me. And it’s not you. It’s not any of us.

“God is love.” 1 John 4:16

[ No fear in Love + God is Love = No fear in God ]

I used to think God was kind of cruel. He sometimes allows bad things to happen and sets boundaries for us that we don’t understand. But I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand because I’m not supposed to yet. He doesn’t give us all the answers in this life, but He does tell us this: He loved us first (1 John 4:19); He loved us so much that gave his only Son so that we could have eternal life with him (John 3:16); nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:37-39); we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27); He is in our midst (Zephaniah 3:17); He cares for us and wants us to lean on Him (1 Peter 5:6-7); He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love (Psalm 86:15); and love comes from Him (1 John 4:7).

God isn’t going to hurt us like we hurt each other, and He doesn’t keep things from us to be hateful. Everything He does serves a purpose, and that purpose is for our own good. We may be scared to love each other from time to time, but He’s constantly reminding us that we shouldn’t be scared to love Him.

We may not have all the answers we’d like to. And I think maybe we don’t know everything because all we need to know is that He loves us. He longs for a relationship with us. He cares for us. He is without fault, without blame, without flaw. And loving Him isn’t scary at all. It’s the most peaceful, consistent, fulfilling thing we could ever do. God is Love. And in His love, there is no fear.

Long story short, I bought the necklace.

#thingsadored

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

RINGING IN 2016

Oh 2015, the year of new adventures.

It was interesting for sure. I became an aunt, booked a few jobs, lived alone for the first time, and drove drove drove til my tush was numb – all while spending 1/3 of the year away from my husband. It was rough. But it was a good rough.

I mean, let’s face it. No one’s year turned out like they would have envisioned. May it be good surprises or tire-popping potholes, we all encountered something unexpected, and the same thing will happen next year. The best thing we can do is be ready to face the giants of 2016 head-on while paying attention to the little details along the way.

Today has been entertaining though. It’s the last day of the year, and everyone is reflecting on what happened the last 365 days. I could join in by listing what I did, who I met, where I went, and how I changed, but I’ll spare you the gag sesh. I know what I’m proud of. I’ll keep it to myself. Instead, I’d like to share with you some things I learned + precautions I will take in 2016. Feel free to take notes.

Lessons from 2015

Your hair can and will get stuck in a blowdryer. I’m not the exception to the rule.

Not everyone loves my dog as much as I do.

Selfies are ok as long as you use a tripod.

Ticks are real. Very real.

75% of what comes out of my mouth at home is completely ignored by my husband. I’m ok with it.

You should keep your eyes open at all times while singing in the car.

It may take buying seven or eight lip stains to find the right shade. Oops.

Living alone is fun. It only takes 3 weeks to stop crying!

You won’t ‘literally die’ from giving up a TV show or two.

And lastly, it’s ok to touch other people’s pets and babies. Just ask first.

Goals for 2016

Go on more hikes.

Eat less bread and cheese. And tator tots. No more tator tots.

Try my best to actually use the 100 bottles of nail polish I own.

Get more than two haircuts a year.

Give gifts and compliments often.

Wear more sunscreen – not because I need to, but because apparently it’s healthy.

Say yes to everything. But not drugs. Don’t do drugs.

Take more pictures with Morgan. 

Give away more clothes. Give away, like, all my clothes.

Love everyone. With all that you have. No matter what.

I hope you all have a blessed New Year. Be safe. Have fun. Keep my lists for future reference.

Love,

Lauren

Photos by Anna Grace Photography

THE CHRISTMAS PATH

In this world, there is a lot of uncertainty. We go through life not always having the answers, and sometimes it’s frustrating to be blinded by the unknown. So, we do the best we can. We cling to ideas and beliefs that best suit our needs. By creating our own truths and rules, we can justify our actions.

So how do you find the correct path? How do you know which one is right…

Many people ask, why Jesus? Why is He the way? What makes Christianity so different from every other religion or idea?

It’s quite a complex question to ask. Some people like to think of it this way: God is sitting atop a mountain and on all sides of the mountain are different paths. You may take a different path to get to the top, but we all end up in the same place as long as you believe in God or a higher power of some sort. So if everyone makes it up there somehow, why Christianity over something else? Why Jesus? Why the cross?

Take a journey with me to the top of this mountain. You’ve got your hiking boots on, backpack filled with food and water, equipment to get you through the rough patches, and you know which direction you’re headed. In the first thirty minutes it’s smooth sailing until you come across some poison ivy. You hop over to another path only to find it’s snake infested. Backtrack to the previous route, and you’re good to go. Well just kidding, you’ve come up on a drop off too high and your equipment just won’t cut it. Now you transition to another route. This pathway is gorgeous. The scenery is breathtaking! After an hour or so of trees and flowers and a view to die for, you get wrapped up and eat some berries that were not meant for your stomach. You take a break to feel better and choose a fourth path. This path leads you to the top but when you get there – nothing. You’re standing up there completely alone and confused. You can’t figure out why all your hard work was wasted. There’s no one there but you.

Why?

One word:

CHRISTMAS

In every other religion, we have to work to get to God. But instead of waiting for us to come to Him, He sent His Son to earth to save us. He humbly left His throne in heaven to become flesh and take on the sins of the world. Jesus doesn’t force us to take that journey. He’s not sitting in heaven with His nose held high, judging the world and reminding us of all our shortcomings. He came down. Why? Because He loves us.

What other god did that? None other than Jesus Christ.

And that’s what Christmas is all about. It is about our Lord leaving heaven to save us from an impossible journey that would only lead to defeat because of sin. No amount of effort on our part can get us to heaven. What happened on the cross does. We aren’t worthy of eternal life with God, so

He gave us a Way up by sending His Son down.

I don’t know all the answers. I won’t until I’m resurrected with the rest of our brothers and sisters. But one thing I do know is this: even if I wasn’t sure about religion, even if I had more questions than answers, even if the grass seemed greener on the other side, I would rather follow a God that sacrificed for me than a god who didn’t.

You can climb all day long. Climb as high as you want. But just know that you don’t have to because two thousand years ago, a Savior was born in a manger. While other religions are busy trying to reach unrealistic expectations, our Father is kneeling down to meet us where we are. That’s what’s different about Jesus. His love and forgiveness.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Merry Christmas

#thingsadored

How many Kings stepped down from their thrones?

How many Lords have abandoned their homes?

How many Greats have become the least for me?

And how many gods have poured out their hearts

To romance a world that is torn all apart?

How many Fathers gave up their Sons for me?

Only One did that for me.

Find the song here.

EXPLORE MORE

Welcome to Owings Mills, MD, the last place on earth you’d expect to wind up in a scene like this one. And believe me when I say that my mouth hit the floor when I stumbled upon this little corner of the earth. It’s incredible. I’ve visited this trail a few times lately, and I find myself thinking about it all the time.

It’s pet friendly, too!

As I get older, I find myself wanting more of this – more adventure, beauty, solitude, peacefulness, and reminders of God’s love. It’s places like these that cause me to think of how big the world is and how small I am. But it also shows us how much we’re loved.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?” Job 12:7-9

God is the only one responsible or capable of such beauty. It’s a beauty we should constantly seek and never stop giving thanks for.

So grab a friend and go exploring! You never know what you may find out there.

Jacket | Francesca’s

Sweater | H&M

Pants | Garage

Boots | Target

Hat | Under Armor

#thingsadored