Going His Pace

lauren-3Lauren Franklin: University of San Diego Graduate and future Colorado Vincentian Volunteer

Lauren Franklin has been more of an abstract concept in my life than a real person. She would float into my graduation party and give me the sweetest gift that was more me than any other gift and then reappear again when talking with other girls about women we look up to. Yet again I had let myself create this image of “perfect” femininity that we all do so often when faced with beautiful Christian women we barely know. But, when we finally found the time for me to feature her she joyously entered my life and crashed every single one of those lies. As I had imagined, she was grace-filled, kind, and full of the Holy Spirit… but she was also incredibly dorky, a little nervous, and a woman curious about her future just like me. She was refreshing, real, and so authentic and I am so excited to share her words with you.

“It’s been a Yes for me in choosing to say, ‘well the whole world is going to tell me this but God has always had me where He needs me at His pace.”

As an English major, Lauren has grown to truly love words and understand how impactful every single one of them can be. She’s had a word for every season of her life, one that keeps her grounded and reminds her to always look to Christ. Finishing up senior year of college was a hectic time and so it makes sense that as she prayed about what this season would be the Latin root PACE would come to mind. “There are a few meanings for it, one is ‘with peace’ and the other is ‘As so and so wills’ and I like to think of it as ‘As God Wills’. And I’ve learned pace… like Lauren goes at her own pace.” As Lauren entered the world it was hard to recognize that while the whole world may be saying on thing God had intended something so much greater for her. “I’ve felt pressured to go at other’s pace, especially in dating, in my vocation (career) and in potentially being a wife and a mother one day. I have to decide what I, and God, want to do with all the little days in my life and so that’s been really convicting for me. It’s been a Yes for me in choosing to say, ‘well the whole world is going to tell me this but God has always had me where He needs me at His pace.”

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So, what does His ‘pace’ look like in her life? “I was offered a job at a faith based writing company and it was such a blessing and it made me really fired up in the moment but the excitement wore off pretty quickly” It seemed like a perfect opportunity for her and yet it didn’t feel right, so instead of ignoring that feeling and keeping it hidden she went out and sought help. “I talked about it with people who I trust and they asked me if I was excited to work for this company and I knew that my heart was growing duller and duller and duller thinking about it.” The same week she was offered this job she found out she was also accepted into a volunteer program, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, and her heart was torn as she struggled to discern God’s plan for her. “I prayed with a lot of people, because I was having a hard time praying alone, and talked to a spiritual director, and prayed for complete clarity.” And, God did… As she looked through her possible volunteer sites with CVV she came upon a high school for low-income students, “I KNEW that was where I needed to be.”

“God’s plan for us doesn’t call us to be constantly on our game, evangelizing and on fire 24/7… sometimes, He just wants us to rest in our loving Father and that is good and beautiful.”

It’s all about trusting in His plan for you, as His daughter and servant, even when it seems impossible to do so, even when you don’t feel His love. “Sometimes I forget that I’m a daughter of Christ, and my heart always breaks when I do.” When everything seems crazy and it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day it’s so hard to remember this ‘amazing’ plan God apparently has for you. “This semester I was really busy and it was hurting my soul and just draining me. I knew I needed to make time for Him, and myself.” So, when her babysitting job was canceled one night she finally had time alone, “I pulled up to the cliffs and sat in my car and… slept… and I felt soo loved. Like God wanted that for me. Christ wanted to protect my rest and offer that to me.” She didn’t do anything crazy or go to adoration, she slept. She took care of herself and restored her soul in the simplest of ways and I think a lot of the time we all forget how important something like rest is. God’s plan for us doesn’t call us to be constantly on our game, evangelizing and on fire 24/7… sometimes, He just wants us to rest in our loving Father and that is good and beautiful. (Naps are totally at God’s pace)

lauren-7When it comes to her fashion Lauren strives to truly be a free expression of herself. “It flows out from who I am, and sometimes I get hindered and think ‘oh what will people think of me when I wear this’ but I like to feel that what I’m wearing is fun, will bring a lightness to life, allows me not to take myself to seriously, and will celebrate that I am a woman. It’s a celebration to put something on in the morning that I like.

“It’s a celebration to put something on in the morning that I like.”

This blog has always been tips on dressing modestly but Lauren represents the other side of the population. The side that, in the process of dressing modestly, forget to show their feminine beauty. “Sometimes it can actually be more hard to show that I am a woman in a tasteful way. It’s hard to be confident in my curves.” This is such a true statement that a lot of women aren’t talking about in the modesty debate. God wouldn’t have made our bodies so beautiful and so good if He wanted us to just hide them away. We were made in His image as women and while we need to remain dignified in the way we dress it doesn’t mean that we should hide the fact that we are women! For Lauren, modesty is more than just a comfort thing; it’s a way to dignify herself and prepare for her future. “I honor my womanhood by allowing myself to wear fun things and to do that in a way that honors my father who cares about me and has a plan and a pace for my life. It makes me look forward to my wedding night one day. I can’t wait to have my heart prepared where I’m ready to be completely vulnerable with somebody else.”

“There are as many images and definitions of femininity as there are women in the world. You’re an image of femininity by being a child of God who is made in His image.”

Lauren may have crushed this “perfect” image of her that I had created but the real Lauren was so so much better than anything I could have ever imagined. It was like when we make a plan that we think is perfect but God comes in, asks us to trust Him, and then shows us a plan so much greater than anything we could have imagined. The best part is she has taught me a new way of seeing femininity, “There are as many images and definitions of femininity as there are women in the world. I want every girl to know that and that it includes the whole scope of her story. Don’t stop seeking God. You’re an image of femininity by being a child of God who is made in His image.”

Shop Some of Lauren’s Favorite Stores:
Zara
Melrose Trading Post (market every Sunday in LA)
Sale rack at Madewell