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Faithfulness Abounds

God is so good. SO GOOD.

Do you forget that sometimes? I do. I really don’t understand why I do… but I do.

But over the past few weeks, God has been tugging at my heart, reminding me what it was like when I first fell in love with him. He’s also been planting seeds. Exciting seeds! Seeds bursting, eager to bloom.

I’m not sure what those seeds are, exactly, but I’m praying about them. Praying and letting my excitement grow.

Our God is big, and I’m ready to be used. I’m ready for those seeds to grow!!

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Home Sweet

Jacob and I traveled to Ohio to visit my family for Christmas last weekend. It was a weekend packed with visiting grandmas, aunts, uncles, family friends, and some of my very best friends from high school… and it was much needed.

Although we were exhausted upon arriving back home, I left feeling so refreshed from that time with family and friends.

Good Friends.

Monday was our designated “catch up with friends day,” so we packed in a lot. :) So thankful for these women (and Abbie, who we got to see later in the day and isn’t pictured above!), who carved out some time during their busy lives to spend with us!! We even got to see Sarah’s sweet little sister, Brooke, who hung out with us so patiently for two hours! What a star two-year-old! ;)

Thank you ladies for staying consistent in my life even though we’re states apart. Praising God for you today… those few hours on Monday mean so much to me!

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:22-25).


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Instead of my Usual Review

By this time I normally would have been working on a “2012 in Review” post for a few weeks, ready to hit “publish” this morning… but I’m taking a different route this year.

2012 has been full of ups and downs, struggles and victories, and celebrations of new lives coming together. It’s been a great year on the outside, but it also has been a giant spiritual struggle on the inside for quite a while now.

I’ve struggled to dig into the Scriptures with a hunger for the Word I once I had. I’ve been apathetic toward spending time with the Lord and my attention span quickly dissolves when I finally convince myself to sit and try to focus.

This past Sunday the Lord moved in my heart, stirring up all the pieces that had settled into the dust. I clearly heard him speaking to me, addressing this problem I’ve been struggling with and angry/depressed about for what seems like so long now. When John writes to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:4-5, he says, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” I have abandoned the joy I had in Christ. That joy we all experience when we first meet him- we are so excited to dig into the Word and read until our eyes fall out! We’re eager to pray- all the time and about everything. We’re eager to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. I’ve forgotten my first love and let myself become apathetic about what I sometimes feel I’ve “read so many times already.” (How arrogant is that?!)

Yeah Yeah

So it’s time to repent, Lauren, and return to your first love. It’s time to do the works I did at first, when I first fell in love with Christ. It’s time to sit at his feet and soak in every word he says. Part of the “works I did at first” included spending a lot of time with other women studying the word together, both older women, women my own age, and younger women. It’s time to return to intentional community, and the Lord planted some exciting ideas about those very things in my heart yesterday.

I asked the Lord to give me fresh eyes when I read his Word, and he did. I’m so excited to tell you that I could not get enough of Bible last night, and it was so, so refreshing.

So in light of the new year, I am returning to my first love and pursuing him the way I did at first.

For the grace of God has appeared (!), bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce all ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us for all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14) What beauty!!


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A Day for Thanksgiving

Today I am overwhelmed with the abundantly long list of things and people for whom I am thankful, so I thought I should share just a little bit of that list.

Above all, I’m thankful that Jesus died for me, for mankind, to rescue us from sin and bring us back to God in reconciliation. And even more than that, he continues loving me despite my tendency to forget him. What abundant grace–let’s gather at his throne today and give him the all the thanks.

I’m thankful for my wonderful, merciful, hilarious husband. Thank you, Jacob, for loving me when I’m at my worst and listening to my crazy dreams. I’ve learned so much about the depth of God’s love for me through you over the past 5 months. Thank you for laughing with me, cheering me up, encouraging me to sit with Jesus, and letting me do whatever I want when it comes to decorating our apartment. :) And buying me furniture. Big thanks for that ;) You are a superstar and I’m so, so thankful God gave me you as my husband, best friend, partner, and encourager. I can’t say thank you enough. I love you!!

I’m so thankful for my family, who loves me so well all the way from Ohio. I’m blessed and so happy to be spending today with you. The love you guys have for me (and for Jacob!) has blown me away, and I cherish every moment we get to spend together. Thank you for sacrificing for us and welcoming us home no matter what else has been going on in our lives. You guys are such a blessing.

I’m thankful for our family here in Tennessee. It has been SUCH a blessing to have sisters with whom I can share life-I love you girls! And thank you Larry & Teresa for opening your home to us at all times, while at the same time giving us space to figure out what it is to be married and on our own. You guys are also a HUGE blessing to us and I delight in the time we get to share with you guys.

I’m thankful for the crazy communities the Lord has blessed us with! Thank you for surrounding us with people both here and in Ohio who love you and love us and encourage us to seek you together! We feel SO BLESSED and cannot even say enough how wonderfully encouraged and loved we feel by all of our friends, both near and far.

And thank you, Lord, for helping us adjust in our church transition. The past few weeks have been so refreshing and genuinely enjoyable. Thank you for transforming my mind, opening my eyes, and humbling my heart to meet you in our new church. Thank you for surrounding us with brothers and sisters who encourage us to do what may not be the easiest, but in the end is definitely the most growth-provoking and encouraging. Thank you for providing us with opportunities to use our gifts to serve you and be blessed by you and also to bless our brothers and sisters. I have been overwhelmed by your faithfulness in this season of our lives. Amen and AMEN!

And last but not least in the slightest bit, I’m incredibly thankful for our jobs. God has provided for us more than we could have ever hoped! We both are in positions that humble us and give us great opportunities for ministry.

We are so blessed!! PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE HIM!!!


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The Prodigal Parable: A Response (in poetry y’all!)

My Prodigal Son class required that we turn in a creativity project, and last night we all shared our projects. It was so encouraging to see my classmates using their giftings to respond to the parable. We saw sketches, paintings, a pastel drawing, typography poster, music video, skit, board game, sculpture, gingerbread house re-creation  & heard several poems and songs. Like I said, it was moving and super encouraging. I even scored a copy of the typography poster! Whoo!

Here is the poem I shared last night. I knew I wanted to write a poem from the get-go, but it took a few months to get some ideas swimming around. A sermon from a few weeks ago really inspired me and connected some dots, thus the poetry writing began. Pastor Clint preached from Judges about the cycle of peace-sin-oppression-repentance-restoration-peace that we all go through, which is especially clear in Judges. The cool part is that God is faithful to his people and patient throughout that cycle, waiting for us to return to him in repentance. So cool and really encouraging and reminded me a lot of the parable. The poem has since morphed a lot, but this is where it is stationed now.

The Prodigal Parable: A Response
Lauren Albrecht

At night I remember you,
Even praise and thank you, but
Come morning I’ve forgotten you,
Occupied instead with who, when, why, and what.

Coffee, clothes, class conflict
Deadlines, duties, disappointments prohibit
My mind from bringing you into it,
Instead it stays centered on me and my benefit.

Oh, how easily I follow
Willingly chasing what appears fulfilling
Seeking love and approval leaves me hollow
Because I already have both in you

Oh, that my want be better directed to
my eyes be locked on
my heart be empty apart from you

For night again returns to me
Along with a reminder
I’ve forgotten He,
He who loves me so prodigally

How can I forget so easily?

Oh, Prodigal God, steal my heart
Away from my prodigal wants
And reel me back to you, back to my start.

Back to community with the One
Who gave his life for me—the God who loves so prodigally,
The God who calls me his Son.

What an extravagant love you have for me,
So graciously you wait for me,
God I hate the way I live for me,
Thank you for waiting so patiently.

Thank you for calling me Son.


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I Think This Is Contentment

Lately I’ve been feeling very content in the mundaneness of life. Going to class, going to work, planning dinners, cleaning, trying to do homework, reading, grocery shopping, talking with friends, washing dishes, watching movies with Jacob, making coffee, eating Special K Redberries every morning for breakfast… really just the same things over and over, but it’s nice. I feel like there’s a rhythm and I like it. I like living with Jacob, and even though I rag on him about where he puts his clothes, I like doing little things for him like laundry and keeping a clean home. Everyone around us is getting engaged, getting married, getting pregnant, or having babies, but I’m content right here where we are now, living life together and enjoying the mundane, everyday-ness of it all.

I scheduled my classes today for next semester–my last semester of school! I can hardly believe it, but I am so ready. I’ll be taking 17 hours–Dynamics of Group Communication, Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion, 3 hours of The Stampede (the school paper), Christ and Culture, Editing and Style, Alexander Technique, and–what I am most excited for–HORSEBACK RIDING! Yeah! I’m excited to round up my boots when we visit home next so I can get some horse time next semester!

Going right along with this random blog post, I read a few chapters in Luke today and I am happy to say it left me thinking. In Luke 8:9-15, Jesus explains the parable of the sower (the one where the seeds fell in various types of soil). The last verse jumped out at me today. It says, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Maybe this is only striking to me today because everyone else has already figured this out, but Jesus is saying that we make the choice to be good soil. Being good soil is not only hearing the word, but holding tight and fast to it and letting it invade our hearts! We must let the word of God change us and bear fruit in us, but–here’s the kicker– this is a process, so it takes patience. Sometimes it’s easy for me to be frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m learning anything or growing, but at the same time I give in to that frustration and stop pursuing the Lord. I am not holding tight and fast to his word with patience. Instead I’m brushing it aside when I don’t feel instantly gratified and blaming Him for not teaching me anything. So today I am listening to Jesus’ words. I am going to hold tight to his word and what his word says is true with patience. And while that sounds easy when I read it, I need to focus just one day at a time. So here we go.

Lord, again I come to you after searching elsewhere for what can only be found in you. You are my Light, my Foundation, my Rock, my Savior, and the reason I even have life. Thank you for patiently loving me with your prodigal love, waiting for my eyes to open and my feet to run back to you. Today I am choosing you, holding fast to you alone. Not my friends’ or families’ approval, nor the gifts with which you’ve gifted me, nor my appearance, nor my grades, and nor my possessions. Those things are but specks next to you and your great, great love. Amen.


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Cooking & Relying on Christ Go Hand-in-Hand

Some days, like today, I really enjoy cooking. It brings me some serious joy to make a good meal that I know is at least semi healthy for us. It’s a good feeling to know what you’re eating, you know?

But then there are those other days. Those days I can’t think of something to cook that I haven’t already made like 1000 times, when I get really hot from the stove and frustrated because I don’t feel like a good wife. Isn’t it silly that sometimes my definition of “being a good wife” boils down to how well I grocery shop, keep the cabinets full while sticking to our budget, and the level of creativity in the meals I make?

What in the world??

Sure, those things are parts of being a good wife! Sure, I’m called to care for my husband in those ways–submitting to the budget we laid out, using our money wisely, and making yummy, healthy dinners…. but that is not the extent of my calling, nor the heart of it! Those qualities alone do not make me a good wife… or a “good” anything. My own actions don’t make me “good” or “worthy” because I have already been made new, clean, and worthy in Christ, fully!

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:3

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

Praise the Lord that my worth does not rest in how well I can cook! No, friends, instead our worth rests in the ever-sustaining name of our Savior Jesus!

My calling as a wife does not rest in cooking well (PTL), but rather in loving Jesus well and relying on him every minute of the day! Reliance upon Christ even in those frustrating minutes when I don’t like to cook will lead me to remember my worth is in him and will free me also to love my husband the way I am called to love him, without looking for my value in his approval.

Today has been a roller-coaster day, but I am so thankful and ready to rest in reliance upon Christ.