Sunday, November 9, 2008

Who Am I?

Chelsey at Joyfully Living for His Glory is hosting this week, and she wants us to take the time to tell about ourselves. So it's gonna be LOUD! And I'm so excited to know my sisters better. I wish I had more time to put this post together and organize it well, but I'm extremely limited on time right now, so I'll speak off the cuff. Hey, at least I have the backspace key in this conversation. Too bad we don't have them in real life discussions, right?

Wellza (pun intended), here is my story, at least part of it:


Today:
Brian and I have been married for almost 19 years. He's a blessing to me, and I can say honestly that our love has grown deeper and more unselfish over the years. (thank goodness!) Our kids are known as the "A Team," seeing as all their names start with "A"s. Austin is 13, AnaLee is 10, and Allison is 8. And Allison would have a heart attack if I didn't mention that Abby, our 8-year-old Toy Manchester Terrier is also part of those "A"s.

I've entered a new season of parenting--one where the titles of taxi driver, counselor, teacher, friend, intercessor, manager, director and social coordinator all fall under the same hat. Life never gets dull, and my kids make the season fun and laughter-filled. Wouldn't be completely real, though, if I didn't mention that, with the way I'm wired, this is a tough season for me. It's easy on the discipling, shepherding front. Tough on the hectic pace, juggling, and constant "with-it-ness" that it takes to stay on top of all the physical and emotional issues. It keeps me on my knees!

My past:
Would take me a novel, so the nutshell version is, it was tough, but God faithfully provided beauty in midst of the pain. Though dysfunction, abuse and tragedy lined the walls of my childhood home, I refuse to allow those to define me. I am not a victim, I am an overcomer in Christ.

I grew up in an itty bitty town (3200 people) in southern Illinois with only a few stoplights in the town square. Everybody knew everybody else, and it was kind of neat that way. Most of my mom's family lived around us, so my life was full of time with family--grandma and grandpa, aunts and cousins.

My personality as a young girl was always a bit offbeat. I yakked off the ears of strangers and would pretend with Barbies and dolls in my bedroom for hours at a time. As I grew up, I often role-played what I was going to be when I grew up. I started off as a fast food window clerk, got promoted to television anchor woman, then ended up a famous Christian singer. Quite the imagination I had.

The First Baptist Church of my town meant the world to me. I was saved there at 6 years old and married there almost 14 years later. The people in that Body cared for our family through the most difficult of times.

It makes me tired remembering all the activities I dove into as a youth. Almost everything that was offered. In retrospect, I know that was because I needed an escape from my home life, but at the time, I just thought I needed to do it all. My favorite, though, was singing and acting. When I left home after high school, I moved to Texas to go to college on a music scholarship, and I was able to do so because my only sister (and best friend) and her husband took me into their home to live.

I had only been in Texas a few months when I met Brian, and two years later, we were married. Wowzer, did he swoop me off my feet. As a matter of fact, he still is. We've had a rough three years, full of loss and taking care of others, and I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather walk through it with than Brian. We lost his dad to a brain tumor (which was a long suffering death), had his granddad live in our home for a few years and pass away in Brian's arms in our house, and we lost my mom in the midst of taking care of both of them. All of the suffering and pain has brought us to this new normal, this strange new place of figuring out what God wants us to do as a family. It's brought us to a place where we've had to seek Him with open hearts about how He wants us to spend our time, our money, our passions, our ministry. We're still working through it.

While I'm pretty sure everyone in the blogosphere has read it, because it has had the most reads and posts of any I've written, one story in particular that I wrote tells a great deal about who I am and where I've come from. It has some pics as well. If the Lord leads you, give it a read when you have some spare time. It's called Remember Glory.

My life Scripture verse is Psalm 118:14 (NIV):
"The LORD is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation."

I picked this verse a few years back, because I realized then that through all of the hardships I face, He has become my strength. With all of the voices from the past that try to throw me into depression and despair, He has become my song. With all of the strongholds I discover that I need freeing from, HE has become my salvation.

The Lord has been, is and will continue to be so very faithful. I'm blessed to have my husband, my kids, my best friend and sister, a brother-in-law that is just like my brother, my precious nieces and nephews, a few very close friends, and a bundle of faithful, fun friends and ministry partners. Above all, I have a faith that will not be shaken because of a God that loved me enough to send His one and only Son to die for me. My future, though unwritten here on earth, is written in permanent ink in Heaven, and that defines my life above all.

In the Key of HE,

25 friends shared a comment:

Willow said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. It's always nice to get to know more about somebody "behind the blog" so to speak!

Homesteader in Training said...

I know I would have liked you growing up! I wanted to sing like Amy Grant lol. I love getting to know more about you.
Love you sister!
Hugs.

Chelsey said...

Laura Lee,
I am SO glad you shared today! It was so neat getting to take a peak into your life and getting to know more about you! I am SO glad you are part of the Well community!

LAURIE said...

Praise God that THRU IT ALL it walks with us and talks with us. When I had to face some hard things from my past - coming to grips with being fatherless all my life - God gave me a saying and I clung to it "the decisions of other people do not define me" - I clung to that as a reminder that Jesus Christ is the one who defines me. Each piece of the clay! - Appreciate your heart, Laurie

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Beautiful beginning to a beautiful week! I'm claiming that for all of us, friend. What I dearly love most about this post is your willingness to write your faith, despite your feelings to, perhaps, the contrary. Your difficult seasons and mine have shaped us in ways we never imagined or thought possible.

Remember the gain when the going is rough. God is ever so faithful to carry us through...all the way home to him.

Enjoy the promise of this new week.

peace~elaine

Laury said...

Thank you for sharing your life with us, Laura. You do it every single day and I love feeling your splashes of joy fall on me. Love you, Lalee!

Amydeanne said...

i love your life verse.. that one is amazing!

JesusRulzMe said...

My beautiful sister LauraLee!!!!

LOVE THIS and LOVE YOU more!!!

BTW, I don't think this was rambling. I thought it was actually, very well thought out and chronological. :-)

You're such a precious sister and I LOVE how transparent you are and always give glory to our awesome God!

Love you!
Sunny

Joyfull said...

Thank you for opening up and sharing with us especially of the beauty of the Lord's work which radiates out from you. Thank you for sharing painful memories but also sharing the hope that alone comes from the Lord. It has been great getting to know you better!

Laurie Ann said...

LauraLee, what a beautiful lifesong you tell. I love that you wrote, "Though dysfunction, abuse and tragedy lined the walls of my childhood home, I refuse to allow those to define me. I am not a victim, I am an overcomer in Christ." Amen to that! We have this in common, my friend. I choose to be a victor and not a victim. Christ has done this for me!

lori said...

GIRLFRIEND...we are in the same SEASON...with the same ages! HA! That is so funny! I loved hearing this side of you...We'll be married 18 years...

GIRL, you have an amazing heart and it's a blessing that you've crossed my path;)

Peace and it was so NOT rambling...girl and I KNOW rambling...:)LOL!

Rick said...

Nice post - strong testimony - God bless you.

june said...

Thanks for being transparant. Nice
to know who is behind the beautiful
writings. Looking forward to more
open windows as we journey along this highway toward heaven.

Sarah June

Ashley said...

It is so nice to get to know you better!

Thanks for sharing!

-Ashley

Daniel's Mom said...

Thank you for sharing more about yourself!! Our town was small too and everyone knew everyone ha! I'll have to read more about your on the other post.

momstheword said...

Such a blessing getting to know you today. I love reading about God's faithfulness, it's a constant reminder that He is the potter and we are the clay. He molds us all into a beautiful piece of work, to bring glory to Him. BTW, I too wanted to grow up to be a famous singer (which is funny, because I really don't have a great voice!) and an actress.

Jenn said...

This was beautifully written! It was great to hear about you and your family. What strength you show through this blog post- amazing!

Betsy Markman said...

I know the path has been rough sometimes, but I'm so glad God made you who you are!

Joanne Sher said...

What a lifesong you have, my dear Laura! Thank you so much for sharing it. You are a blessing and inspiration to many (especially me!). Love you TONS.

BP said...

I need to remember to participate in this meme. Thanks for sharing!

Debra said...

LauraLee,

I've never once thought you rambled ~ you are so transparent and beautiful to me! I loved that you talked to Barbie dolls when you were younger.

I love your life verse and I could just ((hug)) you to pieces.

Thanks so much for the links. Blessings to you!

judy said...

Praise God that He can use our broken past to bring Glory to His name. It was nice to meet you!

Naomi said...

Thank you for sharing! It was beautiful!

Thank you for your sweet comment! It was a blessing to me!

I will be stopping back by a lot! I really enjoyed your site!

Many Blessings,
Naomi

DarcyLee said...

I, too, get tired thinking about all the church activities I was involved in throughout my high school years. Most weeks I was busy 7 days a week. It was definitely an escape route, so to speak. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

God bless.

Patty Wysong said...

The refining process has made you glow, sweetie.

Wish I hadn't missed out on this yesterday!!
Many hugs!