Who I Am

I originally wrote this back in September 2007 and sent it to my mother for her to read. Today, she forwarded it to me asking if I still had a copy. I’m sure I do somewhere (between moving, switching computers, etc.), but after re-reading it, I decided to post it here. ~ LB

Have you ever been in the midst of some mundane task, like…say, making coffee, and God gifts you with an insight? That happened to me a few days ago while I was…yes, making coffee.

Names are important to me. I like to try to find the meaning of my friends’ names, both the first and the middle. Each name has an individual origin and meaning, and it’s neat to combine the separate meanings into one that might make some sense. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. After that, I like to try to find a spiritual application that I can put to the name and what it means. Again, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have an His own application to ascribe to a name, and I believe He gives our parents our names for a reason. It’s just not obvious to us at the time. And sometimes we think we know, but later it turns out that it is not what we first thought it meant.

My name is Lauren Margaret. “Lauren” means “victorious,” and “Margaret” means “pearl.” Together, they could be either “victorious pearl” or “pearl of victory.” I prefer “pearl of victory.” It seems to be more definite, more clear, about who I am in Christ.

When I first found out what my name meant, I was in high school. I pondered what it meant to me spiritually for a long time, because even then names were important to me, though I didn’t know why. One day, while I was in the bath (yes, another mundane task), it occurred to me that it meant that I would have victory in certain areas of my life. “That’s great!” thought I in my naiveté. “There’s hope for me yet!”

Little did I know that the certain areas in my life in high school were quite trivial compared to certain areas in my life in college and beyond. How was I to know at the time that God would continue to work on me? I didn’t have a true perception of Who God really is.

I’m getting there. While I was making that coffee, God spoke to me. He said, “You know how you thought your name meant you would be victorious?”

“Thought, God?” I fill the coffee maker with water. “What do you mean by that? I still do think it.”

“It’s time to change that.” He answered as I measured out the coffee beans. “The victory has already been won through My Son. You know that.”

I pause. “Yes, I do. But we have our own victories to win, right? I mean, You hone our character through these situations You place us in. When we finish one trial, and learn what we need to, then we’ve had a victory.”

I can feel Him gently smiling at me as I turn on the coffee grinder. “Dear child,” He says. “It’s not about the victories you win. It’s not even about the trials you go through. It’s about becoming holy and pure, like My Son. What happens to make a pearl?”

I recount in my head the story of how the oyster makes a pearl. Instead of spitting out an irritation, the oyster covers it with a fine layer of mother of pearl. Over time and after many layers, what was once an irritation becomes a beautiful and luminous pearl, shining with a radiance that seems to emanate from it’s very core. That’s when it hit me.

I am an irritation because I am sin. I was born sin and my life is sin. Because of God’s incredible and beautiful love for us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on that Cross. His blood covers us, covers our sin with grace. Over time, our sin is not visible to God anymore. For each trial we go through, we receive more grace. And more grace. His grace is limitless!

“Yes, child,” He says into my heart. “It’s not about the victories. It’s about what My Son does for you. When I finish with you, you will be the most beautiful pearl, and you will shine with the radiance of Christ, Who is the core of your being. That is what your name means. It is who you are to Me. My Pearl.”


Book Thoughts

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this book I want to write. I have a general thought about it as well as the Main Character (MC) and two supporting characters, with a couple of other minor characters. Many of you know my story, “Genoa,” and some of you have read a longer version of it, “Genoa (revised).” I want to expand it even more, and for a long time I didn’t know where to take it. After everything that has happened to me with JM, I’ve thought that I would address the issue of domestic violence in this book. I’m thinking also that it would be somewhat therapeutic.
Now I’ve just got to figure out how I’m going to work on it while I’m going to school. 😛

When Bees Attack

My brother saved my life last night. Big, brave, strong Thomas who thinks that being afraid of wasps is a silly thing. It’s really not, but who’s thinking about such things when your life is in danger?

Ok, ok, my life may not have been in danger, but I really am afraid of wasps and bees, and all other related insects. Why? Because I’ve been stung before. Yes, indeedy. It’s no picnic, let me tell ya.

The first time I was ever stung, I was about 13 years old and I had just finished mopping the kitchen floor. It was our habit to just toss the dirty water over the side of our deck onto the bark. Well, that day was a nice, sunny day. It was mid-summer, and I was anticipating going to the county fair that night. We lived in a sleepy little town in southeast Kansas, so the county fair was a big thing. A very big thing.

Anyway, I banged my way through our back door with the mop and bucket of dirty water to the side of our deck. I blissfully squeezed the excess water out of the mop, and blithely tossed the buckets contents over the side. I turned to set the bucket down, and when I straightened up, I screamed. Yes, it was loud and it carried throughout the whole neighborhood, as I found out later to my chagrin.

So why did I scream? You know those big black and yellow bumblebees that fly in lazy circles around your flower garden? They look harmless, and even kind of cute at times. Well, the one I met on this occasion was not cute. In fact, he was mad! I’m talking kamikaze-mad, and he was preparing to dive-bomb my face!

Apparently, he had been minding his own business, gathering pollen to take back to his hive, when he was suddenly drenched from antenna to stinger with dirty, soapy, stinky water. Now, looking at it from his point of view, you can probably understand why he’d be angry. I mean, he was probably going to go to the fair that night, too, and he wanted to look his best. Yeah, okay, maybe not, but no one really likes to get wet when they aren’t expecting it.

So here is this angry bumblebee heading straight for me. I scream and flap my arms around, trying to get him away from me, but he was determined. Next thing I know, this incredible pain exploded into my brain. The source? The end of my nose. He had found the most embarrassing place to sting me!

By that time, my mother was there and trying to get me into the house while at the same time trying to keep my 3-year-old brother (yes, the aforementioned Thomas) inside away from the killer bee.

Suddenly, I felt more pain in my side. The little bugger had somehow ended up inside my shirt and stung me on my side – twice! I yelled this time, and my mother tried to rip my shirt off of me to get the bee out. Well, I didn’t want anyone to see me without my shirt, so I tried to keep it on. In the meantime, the bee got out and stung my mother on her hand, and she flung him outside. I calmed down as soon as the door was shut, but that event traumatized me for the rest of my life. I can still see the big, black puff buzzing straight for me. *shudder*

The second time I was stung was not nearly so dramatic. I was much older by this time (about 24 years old) and I was working at the gift shop/concession stand at Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. Somewhere nearby, there was a yellow jacket nest, and they absolutely loved to some into the concession stand and eat up anything sugary. If I had a soda from the fountain, I even had to cover the end of the straw, because the yellow jackets would crawl down the straw to the soda! We ended up putting Skittles in a cardboard tray with a little water on them to keep them occupied, though that didn’t always work.

By that time, I had gotten over my fear (I thought, anyway), and I was able to tolerate them somewhat. Then one day, I felt something on the back of my arm, and thinking it was a fly, I brushed it off. Bad idea. A sharpness pierced through my consciousness and I gasped aloud. The customer I was helping showed a bit of concern when I explained what happened, but I tried to downplay it.

A few days later, the exact same thing happened. So at that point I had two yellow jacket stings – one on top of the other. By the next morning, the whole back of my arm was swollen and itched terribly. I had hives. My roommate, who was susceptible to allergies, gave me some ointment to cut down on the itch and another friend gave me some Benedryl pills, which knocked me out so thoroughly that I was late to work the next morning at a different job. Fortunately, when my boss found out what happened, he was very understanding.

When I got to the gift shop that afternoon, my boss from there was working. She told me that another girl who worked there had been stung on her tongue! She had been eating a sucker and didn’t realize that she was sharing it when she put it in her mouth. I was definitely glad that hadn’t happened to me.

Ever since then, I have been extremely wary of insects of that nature. When I saw the wasp just inside the window last night, I didn’t want to take any chances. Fortunately, my brother took pity on me, and he killed that big, mean, wasp. Brave boy!