A couple of months ago I came off my motorbike. I know what you’re thinking—first Lauren, then me? What’s with these Vision180 girls having accidents, anyway?
Well, I tore my ACL ligament from my tibia bone breaking it off with a beautiful little piece still attached. It was a very unspectacular crash, I cleared the jumps fine but slipped up in a corner. What followed—what God has done in my life since—was a lot more spectacular. Miracles, revelations and God-incidents.
A week later after the crash I went into surgery. To paint a picture of how I was feeling: I had never set foot in a hospital or broken a bone. I had always been terrified of both. To make it worse my family was six hours away back at my hometown and most of my local friends over an hour away.
So, to my complete surprise going into surgery I was incredibly relaxed, happy and cheerful… even joking with the surgeons as I hopped onto the operating table! I was comforted too by the words in Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.’
And for the record, the nurses hadn’t even given me any drugs at that point! I was covered in prayer and God had given me unbelievable peace.
When I woke up after the surgery, I could hear worship music. Honestly, I thought the drugs were finally kicking in! To my surprise, someone in my ward was singing along to Hillsong music. Even more surprising was when I told my nurse how much I loved Hillsong music, he responded by telling me he was a Christian. We got talking about work and then another surprise—he’d been on the cover of Vision180 magazine about a year ago! Crazy, right!
Fast forward two weeks and I’m out of hospital, back home with my family and rocking a straight leg brace. Yeah, I was frustrated, but real talk—it was a blessing in disguise to be able to spend time with them. Following that was another eleven weeks in leg brace that allowed me to slowly increase how much I could bend my knee. And only now am I able to start physio. It was a long and frustrating time.
So what did God teach me?
Sometimes you are the giver and sometimes you are the receiver. We need to be great at both.
Well, this whole thing has allowed me to work on my pride. Everyone likes to be confident, to be independent. I guess that’s why I enjoy riding motocross so much, because it’s the one opportunity where I feel people don’t see me as little and weak. I love the feeling of pulling on my gear and heading onto the track—watching others look at me in disbelief: ‘But she’s so small!’
My family even say the same thing. That’s also why I love going to the gym. So I can lift heavy things by myself and be a ‘strong independent women who don’t need no man’ (insert head bob here). I have the she’ll-be-right, I-got-this attitude. But truth is, sometimes we can have this attitude towards God! I found my own stubbornness affecting my relationship with God. And it wasn’t until having the accident that I needed other people’s help more than ever!
One of the big ways I realised this was when I met Chelsea at Nandos. It was a pretty crazy meeting—we didn’t know each other at all but she approached me and asked to pray for my leg. I was taken aback but also so encouraged by her boldness and faith. She prayed for me right then and there, in the middle of the restaurant. It was more than just a coincidence—it was a God-incident. Talking to her gave me the revelation that I needed to let others bless me and help me. We got talking and I found myself telling her about my relationship with my boyfriend and my stubbornness to not let him get things for me while I was on crutches. I felt weak because I had to ask for help.
But in reality God had blessed him by giving him time off work to look after me. He said looking after me is not a chore—it’s what he loves to do. But in not letting him help me I was denying him the opportunity to show his love by helping me. One of the expressions of love is service.
I find it ironic now that I would pray to God for help, and He would send someone to help me yet I would be too stubborn to let them help me, so I would pray again for help from God… and so the cycle continued!
I’ve heard before that God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others. But what if we don’t let others bless us?! The truth is: God is glorified when we receive His blessings too. This is found in one of the greatest commandments mentioned by Jesus! ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Mark 12:31NLT) I’ve heard it thousands of times and you probably have too. But sometimes we are the neighbour in the equation! Sometimes you are the giver and sometimes you are the receiver. We need to be great at both.
In the end I realised my own stubbornness and independence was just a reflection of my relationship with God. I also learned the meaning of giving God FULL control. So… we need to be less independent and more God-dependent.
And doing so is never a weakness, but always a strength.
C H E L S E A
I was raised in a Christian household which was super awesome. I understood a relationship with God—but it was still pretty religious.
In grade 10 I started pulling away. In my mind Christ was there for when I died; it wasn’t like anything real for me in everyday life. In year 12, I went off-track. Got into partying and tried to find my identity in boys, drinking and having fun.
But I had this feeling that that actually wasn’t who I am. I’d been in relationship with God but at that time just didn’t really engage with Him. It was super easy to fall.
Then my mum invited me to a Citipointe Young Adults Conference. I’m pretty sure it was Pastor John Gray who was speaking—he was absolutely hilarious. It was so great. He did an altar call and I knew without a shadow of a doubt it was time to come home.
I ended up meeting this lady called Kelly and she got a word of knowledge about my back being really sore. She prayed for me, it got healed and I was blown away. I’d heard of people doing healings but to actually experience one was really insane. Kelly ended up discipling me, speaking a lot of truth and light into my life and getting me into the Word.
It’s been a really big transformation from who I was to who I am now.
I realise that I’m a child of God, I’m completely righteous now and I can actually walk in that.
For a long period, I felt like I was trying and trying but change wasn’t happening. Then Kelly said: ‘If you really knew who you were then you wouldn’t have to try and it would just happen.’
Knowing who I was finally came from me just forgetting everything I thought I knew and actually just sitting with the Lord. Asking Him who He is and who I am—engaging with Him in a personal relationship way and hearing back from Him. That’s when it all started, pretty much just doing nothing and being with the Lord.
So, this day I was bold and decided to chat to Alex was actually a testimony in itself. I just had this massive revelation in my heart about who God made me to be and I was like: ‘How can I hold this back?’
When you become so aware of God then you don’t have a spirit of fear but instead a spirit of love, power and a sound mind.
what you do in the world should be done more so behind closed doors
And it’s just sitting and becoming aware of that and rebuking any fear because it’s not your own that’s helped me a lot. It did when I was first evangelising and started talking to people about my faith. I’d gotten to a point where I would evangelise and it wouldn’t be a second thought. It wouldn’t even be me thinking, ‘I’m going out evangelising,’ but actually just ‘Because I’m a child of God, I’m just going to share this with people and just love on people no matter what.’ I had zero fear of evangelising.
But then the two weeks leading up to a youth camp I just got struck with intense fear. It wasn’t funny. I knew something was attacking me because it was like so not me. I went on youth camp, determined to break this thing off my life. After youth camp, I was driving home and spending time with the Lord, and this question popped up” ‘Whose thoughts do I care about more? God’s thoughts or the thoughts of people?’
I had to sit with that and surrender it to the Lord. I made the decision I’m sold out for God and that’s what I’m going to walk in.
When I met Alex it was zero fear again. I ran into Nandos and saw she had this leg brace cast. I just had this insane feeling to go and pray for her. As a child of God that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to go out and evangelise and actually make disciples and heal the sick.
My encouragement to you is just abide in God. It’s so simple; it’s not supposed to be hard. I have this saying: ‘What you do in the world should be done more so behind closed doors.’ Life should just happen out of an overflow from your relationship with God. Signs and wonders follow those who are disciples.
So I would fully just encourage you to be with the Lord, abide in Him and let everything else flow.
‘His Word can cut through our spirits.’ Hebrews 4:12 CEV
As you read and feed on the Bible, God will do far more than tantalise your taste buds. He’ll give you strength and guidance for your life that you can’t get any other way. Eliphaz said to Job the patriarch: ‘He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.’ (Job 5:18 NKJV)
That’s what God does to you as you read the Scriptures. ‘His Word can cut through our spirits.’ Others see what we do, but when we get alone with God and open the Scriptures, He reveals to us what we are. He brings to the surface long-standing and unresolved issues, and helps us to deal with them. He confronts us over our stubborn habits and shows us how to conquer them. He pinpoints our selfish and unloving attitudes, giving us a chance to repent and change our ways. The old Quakers had a saying: ‘Sin will keep you from your Bible, and your Bible will keep you from sin.’
Maybe you’re thinking, ‘But when I get up in the morning, I’m so busy that I don’t have time to read the Bible.’ Then read it at night! Make it a priority over Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, tv, movies… The truth is that we make time for the things that we want, that we value, and that we enjoy. So, ask God to give you a greater appetite for His Word. Ask Him to help you relish what you read in it. Then open it up and spend time with Him. Watch your appetite grow!
SoulFood: Gal 5:22, Lk 2:8–20, Prov 3:13–18, Ps 119:161–168
word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
161 Princes persecute me without cause,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Sin and Shin
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O LORD,
and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
161 Princes persecute me without cause,