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Family, Hobby Lobby, Life, Museum of the Bible, Uncategorized, Work

Latest interviews

October 29, 2016

Hey! If you would like to see my latest interviews, you can find them here!

IF:GATHERING

I sat down with Jamie Ivey while at If Gathering, and we discussed Museum of the Bible. The interview can be found here:

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“Our hope and our mission for the museum is that we will invite ALL people to engage with the Bible.” @LaurenAMcAfee… Click To Tweet

 

SONDER PODCAST

I had a chance to discuss Hobby Lobby and religious liberty with my good friend Kirsten Haglund on her podcast Sonder. Our discussion is in Episode 4, found here:

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CALLED2BUSINESS 

When I spoke in Greenville, NC for a Called2Business luncheon, we filmed a quick segment on faith in business, and leaving a legacy. You can watch the short interview here:

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Our family has tried to be intentional about the values we hold as a business, and a family. -@laurenamcafee… Click To Tweet

-LM

Bible, Culture, Family, Millennials, Theology

Millennials and Marriage

August 31, 2016

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My little sister, Danielle, just got married. I have four younger sisters, and she is the first to join me in the married club. Danielle is one of my best friends, and I absolutely love walking with her through the different seasons of life. Now that will include walking with her in this new, exciting chapter in her life! She is 23, and she and Caleb have a cute little place to call their own. Yet the latest research shows that they are not the norm.

Why are millennials (18-34 year olds) more likely to be living with their parents than living with a spouse? A 2014 Pew Research report noted that for the first time in American history since 1880, young adults are more likely to be living with parents than living with a spouse or cohabitating with a partner. The Pew report points to a few reasons why this might be so:

  1. The postponement of marriage until later in their twenties (or total retreat from marriage).
  2. Lower employment rates among young people, and increasingly lower wages (after inflation) for young men when compared to 1970.
  3. Higher college enrollment since the Great Recession (late 2000s to early 2010s) led to more young adults living at home.

Although all of these reasons are suggested as causes for this phenomenon, the report emphasizes the delay of marriage as the leading cause, over and above the lower employment rates and higher college attendance factors.

Having lived in two U.S. cities that vary culturally – Oklahoma City and New York City – I have seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to marriage age. New York is one of the oldest-marrying states, with the average marriage age being 28.8 for women and 30.3 for men. The only location with an older-marrying age is Washington, DC. In contrast, Oklahoma is one of the youngest-marrying states, with the average marriage age being 24.8 for women and 26.3 for men. Only Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming have a younger-marrying age.

I’ve heard a lot of people, too, that support the idea of marrying at an older age. Their logic is understandable: enjoy singleness, be independent and free while you can, “find yourself” before you settle down, focus on your career first, etc. But what about doing these things alongside a spouse? It may take longer, because there inevitably needs to be time factored into your schedule to work on the marriage – but I also think there is great power in partnering.

Our culture sees individual autonomy as the highest good. Yet while this does keep some people from having a positive view of marriage as the gift that it is, I want to acknowledge that there are also those who are led to remain single or desire to be married but haven’t found the right person yet. To those that are single, your singleness does not mean that you are “incomplete,” or waiting for “real adulthood” to begin. Singleness should be valued. God uses single people to teach others valuable lessons as well. But I want to challenge those of us in the millennial generation that may delay marriage because of the cultural notion that individual autonomy should be valued over collaboration.

I recently read an article where Jeannie Gaffigan, wife of comedian Jim Gaffigan, was being interviewed. She points out that culture subliminally tells us that we have to be 100% on our own – independent and autonomous. But independence can be overrated. It is not weak to be joined up with someone – whether a spouse or even a team. We can accomplish more in a team than we can on our own. The same goes for marriage. When you are teamed up with someone, it may take a little longer to get where you want to be, but in the end you can go farther.

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I was younger than the average Oklahoman when I got married at 21 in 2009, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Marriage has taught me a lot over the years. It has shown me more of my selfishness than anything else in my life thus far, and I value those lessons. (I hear this happens all over again when you have kids– but I’m not there yet!) It has also taught me how to work with someone who has opposite strengths, and this has allowed me to grow in areas where I am weak. I also have built-in accountability, which grows my character. All of these things have been beneficial for me in other areas of life and in my work.

Mostly what I am grateful for is the way that I’ve learned more about the gospel through marriage. Marriage is not for my happiness, but for my holiness. My husband has seen my worst moments, and I have seen his. No one can cause more pain than those closest to you, and in the times where I have wronged Michael, he has showed me grace and forgiveness. And likewise, as he has wronged me, I have had the chance to practice forgiveness for him. I can have the strength to forgive because I know that I have been forgiven exponentially more through Jesus Christ’s (Colossians 2:12-13; 3:12-17; 1 John 4:7-12, 19-21).

Marriage was created by God and is for our good. Let’s not allow culture to fool us into de-valuing this gift.

 

-LM

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

More pics from the magical night can be found on my instagram @laurenamcafee!

Bible, Church, Family, Theology, Uncategorized

Six Ways I Engage with the Bible: Part 3, Additional Reading

May 23, 2016

When I was a freshman in high school, I vividly remember reading my first book on spiritual growth. I had grown up in the church, and been exposed to Bible teachings and Bible study for as long as I can remember. I was periodically reading the Bible on my own, trying to understand how it could help my high school struggles. But when I discovered books that could help my spiritual growth by expanding on spiritual disciplines and theology, I was hooked.

I’ll be honest. The motivation for reading that first book was out of a desire to impress an older guy at my school who had recommended it. Despite the selfish motivation, it had an impact on me. The book was Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. Cymbala is a pastor in Brooklyn, NY, and I actually got to enjoy lunch with his daughter Susan just last month! Meeting her and touring the Brooklyn Tabernacle (which the book is about) brought me back to those high school days when my passion for reading was set on fire.

When I read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, I was stepping out of my small context in Oklahoma City, and I was brought into the stories of how people’s lives were changed through the prayers of people in the church of Brooklyn, NY. I read stories of people with deep faith, despite difficult circumstances. It inspired me to want to strengthen my faith as well.

As I began reading Christian books, I loved them so much that I actually haven’t read anything but non-fiction since I graduated high school! It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I read an article by Dr. Russell Moore encouraging the reading of some fiction, and also my husband buying me the Harry Potter books for my birthday that brought me to read my first fiction book in ten years. I must say, I am loving the Harry Potter books—I have been such a fan of the movies, I figured I may as well give the books a try. Plus, I just went to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”™ in California, so the timing was perfect.

Getting back to the point though . . . . In reading various books, I have found that authors who have studied the Bible can provide me with deeper insight of my favorite book. Through good books, I benefit from others’ study of theology and the Bible. It also allows me to see how they understand and apply it in their thinking and lives. Hearing this additional perspective provides more opportunity to relate to the text of scripture.

Through the years, I have read a number of books by a variety of authors. Some have been good, and others were . . . well, let’s just say I wish I could get the time back that I spent on them. The experiences with those books can be helpful, too, though. As I read, I want to consider all of the author’s claims, and compare to what I know of the Bible to ensure that I am not absorbing bad theology. If I am unsure about something I’ve read, I usually discuss it with someone who I know can help me think through it. For me, I usually work through these questions with my husband and get his feedback. I am grateful to have a husband who is theologically trained and knowledgeable about the Bible. Discussing my questions with him is helpful, and I enjoy learning from my husband’s feedback.

Let me share with you my five favorite books for spiritual growth:

  1. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges

This is one of my all-time favorites. Jerry Bridges takes a look at the sovereignty of God, and his faithfulness, even when life seems unjust. I read this book during a difficult time in my family, and it was an incredibly helpful reminder that despite the broken promises or broken trust that I have experienced with people, I can trust God because he is perfect in keeping his promises.

  1. Humility by C.J. Mahaney

I love this book because I constantly need to push back against my pull toward pride. I was reading an article the other day that put it like this: “When you stand in the water at the beach you feel the persistent pull of the current. Regardless of how long you stand in that water the current will, with varying intensity, pull you. To deny or minimize it will result in potential bodily harm. Such is the case with pride” (Erik Raymond). Thus, I love this book Humility, and it helps me keep my pride in check.

  1. Knowing God by J.I. Packer

I read this book recently and found it a bit more practical than some of the others. Packer shares deep theological knowledge, but also conveys the realities of trying to live out the Christian faith in the day-to-day world. Knowing God is a classic. It was voted in Christianity Today as one of the top fifty books that have shaped evangelical Christians.

  1. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper

In this book, Piper looks at fifty reasons found in the New Testament for why Jesus came to die. This is a look at the meaning behind the cross of Christ. It was a humbling book, as well as a reminder of many truths that often get overlooked. Each chapter is one page, so it is easy to read a chapter a day or use as a devotional.

  1. Radical by David Platt

This book helped shape and challenge me when it comes to my struggle with materialism. Radical is more than a book on materialism, though. The book is about following Christ, no matter what. There is a lot of discussion about material things that sidetrack us from being “all in” for God, but the book as a whole points to the life transformation that happens in every area of life because of the gospel.

These are just some of my favorites from what I have read, but there are so many more that I am sure I haven’t gotten to yet! For a few more suggestions, check out my friend Matt Brown’s list for what he thinks are the 5 best books on spiritual growth.

Do you have any recommendations? I would love to hear what your favorite spiritual growth books have been!

-LM

Bible, Family, Uncategorized

Six Ways I Engage with the Bible – Part One: Daily Reading

February 15, 2016

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Growing up being homeschooled, my Dad taught my math lesson every morning before he left for work. And every morning as I walked into my Dad’s study, half-asleep, to start my math lesson, he was already there reading his Bible. Seeing my Dad prioritize this book, even amidst his busy schedule – president of a large privately-owned company and a homeschooling father of four (at the time) – made a lasting impression on me.

The Bible is important to me, but it’s not just me. Did you know that three of every five people that read this post will wish they read the Bible more? Based on a 2015 Barna Group study, 88% of American households own at least one Bible, and 60% of Americans want to read the Bible more. Even though most of us own a Bible, it can be hard to spend time reading it and to actually engage with it.

Biblical Illiteracy: My friend Jeremiah Johnston just posted an article on Fox News using the same Barna survey exploring a crucial question:
Why are so many Christians biblically illiterate?”

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, every year. It is the most read, most published, and ironically, the most shoplifted book. It is a book that has changed the world in more ways than we realize. The Bible is worth reading!

I say all of this because it is helpful for me to remember every day the significance of the Bible. It is challenging to stay disciplined and to remember to spend time – especially during busy days – reading and engaging with this book. We live in a time where busyness can be seen as synonymous with importance. This simply isn’t true. Most successful people take the time to grow, to learn, and to read. The Bible, in my opinion, is the best book to spend time reading.

Easier said than done though, right?

I thought I might share with you six ways I interact and engage with the Bible. I will do so over a series of six posts, starting first with daily Bible reading.

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Daily Bible Reading

I am one of the 60% of Americans who want to read the Bible more. Daily Bible reading is the foundational way that I get into this book. Taking time to read a few chapters of the Bible each day is a habit that I started in high school following my Dad’s example. I often do my reading through reading plans. I love the wide array of reading plans that are readily available. There are chronological plans, canonical plans, topical plans, plans focusing on specific books of the Bible, and more. I typically choose from one of the plans that can be found through the YouVersion app because they are free and easily accessible.

Daily Bible reading is different than digging in and studying a passage, or meditating on a passage. Reading the Bible every day is a great way to start spending time with this book and getting to know it. The one year reading plans I have used can be found through YouVersion:

BibleandPhoneReading the Bible can be daunting, but I encourage you to jump in with an easy reading plan, or just pick a book of the Bible and start reading through it chapter by chapter every day. I hope this gives you a few options to check out if you are looking for a one year plan. Otherwise, there are so many other ways to go about daily Bible reading. I encourage you to start today – even if it’s only for a few minutes a day!

 

How do you approach daily Bible reading? I would love to hear from you!

I’ll be back later with Part Two on using devotionals.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

-LM

Bible, Family, Life

3 Crucial Principals to Embrace Change

January 13, 2016

A few days ago we took our Christmas tree to the trash pick-up on the curb outside our apartment. It was time. All the needles were falling onto the floor and it was beginning to smell more like swine than pine. Like that tree, 2015 has come and gone. And with the clearing out of the old there is room for the new. The incomparable Taylor Swift said, “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

I had no idea how true that quote was until last year when “change” became my thing. I am a girl who enjoys change as much as this kid enjoys the snow.

But when change comes and you cannot control it, you either embrace the new or you struggle to make the new fit into an outdated mold.

At the beginning of 2015, I worked as Collections Manager at Museum of the Bible and lived in Oklahoma City with my husband Michael. He was serving on staff at the church where we met at age seven. It was all either of us ever dreamed of having. Today, one year later, we both work at new jobs for Museum of the Bible while living in a New York City high-rise with no weekly church duties. We are surrounded by new people, a new church community, and new daily routines. Everything has changed.

Change is hard.

I know people who thrive in change. I know others who struggle with the smallest change. Change causes discomfort as we get outside of the known and beyond the routine. The beauty in the difficulty of change is that it can cause us to grow, to move forward, and to learn something new.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H. P. Lovecraft

Here are three things I learned in what I’ve dubbed “The Year of Change”:

  1. Change Takes Courage

Fear is inherent anytime we consider significant change. When we are fearing the fear of change, though, we can confront it with the hope of the result we are striving toward. This hope for the future can give us the courage to change today. Take fear for what it is: Our routine hoping to remain untouched.

We all know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While a computer with dial-up internet might not be “broke” that does not mean it is operating at its highest capacity. We often settle for ordinary or what we know because it is comfortable. While change for the sake of change is not always healthy, change does give us the opportunity to grow.

  1. Our Change Affects Others

One of the hardest parts about change is the way our personal change can affect others. Personal autonomy is so widely celebrated we often forget the reality that everything we do affects other people. This includes changes that comes into our lives.

When I moved away from home, this did not just affect my ability to see my friends, they can no longer see me. Leaving my church meant my voice is no longer present in our Bible studies there. Change is difficult because it not only costs me, but it often costs the people I love. This realization should cause us to communicate well with those we love, in order to help them move through our change with us. Being sensitive and reassuring to those affected by my change will go a long way in the relationship.

For more thoughts on this point, I enjoyed this perspective by Donald Miller on how our changes or growth can affect others.

  1. Change Is Worth It

Despite all the pain it causes us and others, change is worth it. Truly, it is inevitable. Whether or not we try to change, we will change. If any of us consider ourselves leaders, then it is especially important for us to learn to embrace change not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of those we are leading.

If we are a believers in Jesus Christ, we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him. So change is good because God is working it out for our good! Even in tragic, unexpected, ugly change, God can use it for his purposes. Be encouraged. Change is worth it!

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. -Winston Churchill

With all of this change, I have found comfort in two things that I know will never change: the Bible, and the God of the Bible. As J.I. Packer said in his book Knowing God: (p. 78)

“The words of human beings are unstable. But not so the words of God. They stand forever, as abidingly valid expressions of his mind and thought… Isaiah writes, ‘All flesh is grass… The grass withers… But the word of our God will stand forever’. (Isaiah 40:6-8 RSV)”

I would love to hear from you. How do you handle change? What material have you found helpful?

 

-LM

 

Additional reading:

For 7 helpful tips on how to handle major life change, I enjoyed this article from the Huffington Post.

To read about how to help manage change as a business leader, I thought this article by Forbes was a good starting point.

Bible, Family, Life, Museum of the Bible, Travel, Uncategorized

“Welcome to New York… It’s been waiting for you”

December 22, 2015

I love hearing Taylor Swift welcome me home to NYC every time I land. Maybe someday I’ll even get to meet her. After all, we do live in the same city now – as well as 8.5 million other people (but at least there’s a chance?)

Now that I have lived in Manhattan for a month, here are the top 5 things I have learned about life here:

  1. Sirens are constantly going off.
    • It is surprising how quickly you begin to tune them out.
  2. New Yorkers are actually very nice.
    • In the first few days living in our apartment, we met so many people in our building that were excited for us and sincerely welcoming. It really made a difference and put us at ease.
    • Although New Yorkers can be nice, don’t mess with them if it is rush hour, or in a crowded touristy area.
  3. People sleep on the subway more often than I would expect.
    • In almost every other subway ride, I see a person sleeping. One guy even fell asleep mid-text message. He kept almost dropping his phone as his hand’s grip slowly loosened when he drifted to deeper and deeper sleep. (I was tempted to take his phone and carry on the conversation with whoever he was texting.)
  4. Living near an express subway stop is fantastic.
    • The subway stops every five to ten streets or so, but on the express train it will skip a few stops and only stop every twenty streets or so. Hopping on the express subway and avoiding the local stops = joy. It saves precious time.
  5. Chick-fil-A is a hit.
    • In September we began praying about whether or not to make this move. I felt like we were supposed to move, but I really just wanted a sign to solidify the decision. Not too long after that, we read Chick-fil-A was opening its first store in Manhattan. If that’s not a sign, I do not know what is.
    • As long as I am in a city with a Chick-fil-A, I can survive. We went to their store during our first week here, and it was PACKED. I think they are going to do alright in this city.

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On a more personal note, here is one thing I have learned about myself so far:

I’ve learned to appreciate my relationships and community more. For the first time in my life, I am living in a place where I can count on my two hands the number of people that know my name. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, and never living further than a 45-minute radius from where I was born, I have always been surrounded by family and long-standing friendships. New York is such a different experience since I don’t have quick, easy availability to those friends and family members.

A few highlights of our time in the city so far are definitely our Museum of the Bible (MOTB) events. During our first few weeks, MOTB hosted two events. This provided a great opportunity to introduce the vision of the museum with some wonderful people. Michael and I were also excited about the timing of the events, because it meant we got to meet people, hoping that we could make a few new friends!

As always, the museum events were fabulous. Our events planning team members always do an amazing job at making each event special. Here are a few photos of the evening:

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We also loved going to our new friend Scott Harrison’s event – a charity ball for Charity: Water at the Met. It was spectacular.

http://adammason.com

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One month in, and, New York, you do not disappoint.

It’s a new soundtrack, I can dance to this beat forevermore. The lights are so bright, but they never blind me. (“Welcome to New York” – Taylor Swift, 1989)

-LM

 

Family, Hobby Lobby, Uncategorized, Work

Three Secrets to Success

June 17, 2015

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Do you ever feel like you are being pulled so many different directions, and you don’t know what to focus on?
I sure feel this way at times, and I appreciate being able to look to examples in my life of people that live life with a lot of focus and intentionality.

One example of razor sharp focus in my life is my grandpa, David Green. This guy is seriously focused. This will blow your mind:
-My grandpa doesn’t have a computer.
-He doesn’t have an email address
-He doesn’t even have a CELL PHONE!

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Now, I am not saying that having those things is a bad idea. It’s actually probably quite helpful to have those things for your work. But the point is, my grandpa has seen success without those things, and he is able to stay focused because he keeps out the distractions.

“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliot

He focuses on the things that are most important, like faith, family and his business, Hobby Lobby. He doesn’t let things get him sidetracked. This takes a lot discipline in a world where we all have so many different opportunities in front of us. We all have so many things pulling for our attention.

How can you keep focused in life?
Here are some questions I have been working through:

  • What are the most important things in your life?
  • What are the areas of life that you want to influence or impact in your lifetime?
  • Who are the lives that are most important to you?

These may not be easy to answer right away unless you have already spent time thinking through them. Take time to process through these, and write down your answers. Don’t get bogged down by feeling so committed to your answers. Write them in pencil. They can always change as life continues forward.

It took a lot of time for me to process through those questions for my life. I spent time in prayer, in the Bible, and in conversation with those close to me.

Once you have your answers, invest only in things that can help develops those important people and goals.

-Lauren A. G. McAfee

Jim Elliot Quote

Bible, Church, Family, Teaching

Life at the Youth Group

April 27, 2014

Today I had the opportunity to speak to the CRBC High School Sunday morning class. Now, if you know me- you might know that I don’t really feel comfortable speaking in front of people. For some reason though, God has recently given me a few opportunities to speak about things that I really care about, so I was reluctantly happy to say yes to this chance to speak about the sanctity of human life.

We looked at the biblical view of life and the pro-life stance. I went over five different passages of scripture, but of course one of the main passages that people think of is from Psalm 139.

Psalm 139:13-15. “13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

I love how clear and beautiful this passage it. God is the author of life, and He knits us together while we are in the womb. He loves and values us, and we should view life in the womb in the same way- valuing it.

Speaking on the Sanctity of Human Life

Speaking on the Sanctity of Human Life

I also went over some scientific facts that help us understand what is going on in the womb. At the time of conception, when we consider that in that moment a unique DNA is created that has never existed and never will exist again, we have to see that this is a unique human life. At two and a half weeks into pregnancy, there is a heartbeat, and at five and a half weeks brain activity can be detected in the baby. By the time the baby is only eight weeks old in the womb, it can suck its thumb, has unique finder prints, and can feel pain. A tiny human life.

I am thankful for the chance to share these truths with this group of high school students at my church this morning. It was not easy, but I believe it is so important. I pray that it showed biblical truth, and emboldens others to take a stand for protecting the unborn. I also pray that as we realize we need to take a stand for life, that we would also step in and provide the love and support that women need when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

(graphics and media from www.onlineforlife.org)

 

Family

Adoption

January 18, 2013

In many countries, there is a requirement that one of the parents has to be 25 years old before a couple is eligible to adopt. I have had a heart that was for adoption for a long time, and always thought it would be a part of Michael and I’s future. So, with that background information- December 8 was Michael’s 25th birthday. So, naturally, the day after he turned 25, I took him to a nice dinner to celebrate his birthday, and didn’t really mean for it to come up but the words just began coming out of my mouth like I couldn’t stop it. I was bringing up the idea of adopting- and doing it now. After chatting about it for a while, we decided that we needed to pray about it for 40 days before we did anything. So, today – January 18- marks 40 days. And it didn’t take us this long to decide that this was something we wanted to do- so we have already started the adoption paperwork process! haha. We are applying for an adoption to Uganda, Africa. It is a 2-3 year process from the time we start to the time we actually bring our child home, so we have a long road ahead of us. We greatly appreciate the prayers of our friends and family as we are on this journey. We plan to request a male child, between the age of 6-12 months. So the child that we will one day have is not even born yet! But we are excited that we have started the journey toward him.

As one of our pastors always says in his sign off-

Adopted(by my Heavenly Father) and loving it,

Lauren and Michael

Church, Family, Teaching, Theology

Community

December 2, 2012

It has been an interesting month or two in my life, with ups and downs relating to particular circumstances. But something that I can say I am very grateful through it all is the steady biblical community that I have been blessed to have. I have such encouraging and godly people around me, whether my family or my friends, or church family, and I am just grateful. Today my church family offered so much support and prayer, that it brought tears to my eyes. God created us to live in relationship and community with others. We talked in the Young Adult Sunday School class thismorning at Council Road Baptist Church about the importance of allowing people to be in your life in a way that they can speak truth into your life, or call you out and keep you accountable. This type of deeper relationship can be difficult, but it is the most rewarding usually. I just want to say thank you to all the people that have been in my life and will continue to be in my life. Thank you for the prayers, and support. What a blessing they are.