So, here I am.
Here, sitting alone, crisscross applesauce in the Orlando airport with my gigantic headphones on. I am waiting for my sweet family so we can reunite with big bear hugs and spend a week together on a “magical” vacation. My flight got in early; theirs is coming in late, you know the drill.
A year ago today, I started a brand new chapter of my life. After graduating from Oral Roberts University, I accepted a job to work at a church, which was my dream since I was a little girl. I moved from my comfy nest in Tulsa, Oklahoma all by myself to Houston, TX to embark on this wild adventure.
My heart has ached & felt broken at times because I have missed my family so much this past year. However, Jesus tends to drop what I call “sugar droplets” on me ever so often. Sugar droplets are simply moments in life where Jesus loves on you a little extra. This trip could be summed up as such.
I am grateful for time to reflect in this airport.
Even if I am stuck to the floor because of the stickiness, I am grateful.
What a year.
Actually, what a last two years.
I had to fight when everything in me wanted to give up.
When my life felt out of control..
When I questioned that I heard him correctly.
I like to smile.
You see, I am an extremely positive person. I tell people instead of working out my body I work out my face muscles so I can smile all of the time.
I really do love this quality about me, however, sometimes it allows me to put up defenses around me to not fully feel. To not deal with my hurt.
If I went into detail about what I walked through in this last season, we would be here for awhile.
For time’s sake, I will brief you.
Heartbreak and Loss.
Two years ago I was dating who I thought was the love of my life. He was an amazing man of God, who had dreams that were exciting and full of adventure. He was truly my dream man & he really did love me. I let my heart go to a place that it wasn’t supposed to. I treated him as if he was my husband. I fell so hard in love with not only him, but the future that we had created together. Things started getting very difficult as our hearts were being pulled in enormously different directions as college was coming to a close. I wanted something and he wanted something completely different. We were disagreeing constantly.
I was extremely humbled when I realized that I had copyrighted something that was not mine yet, and I was furious, bitter, and confused when it came crashing to end.
In the same month that my boyfriend and I broke up, my beloved grandmother (Mor-Mor) was admitted into Cancer Treatment Center of America. This is the person in the my life that I loved the most. Who taught me about Jesus, who laughed with me and cried with me constantly. Who mentored my friends and I, and would teach as what it means to be a woman of God.
She was my hero.
She was my everything.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. However, the disease had eventually spread to her brain, hence the getting admitted. The doctors gave her very limited time to live. My family (if you watch the show parenthood…that’s my family!) was devastated but still tried to cling to Jesus, even if it was just by our finger tips. We were at the hospital each and every day, all 11 of us, as we prayed and believed for a miracle.
We were believing for healing.
The more we prayed, it seemed like the worse she got.
I never really said that until right at this moment. I didn’t understand why this was happening. She was only 72 years old. She was supposed to be at my wedding; see my children.
I felt like my circumstances were consuming me.Don't let your circumstances consume you. #fierceFriday #fiercelyHis @laurenbranz Click To Tweet
I felt like I had lost control.
This wasn’t me.
I wasn’t this girl. I wasn’t the girl who didn’t have it together. I wasn’t the girl who cried all the time. I wasn’t the girl who doubted.
I was the girl who always knew what to say. Who laughed constantly. Who was happy all the time. Who was constantly talking to others about their trials, not focusing on my own!
Who was I? Is this who I wanted to be?
In those moments, I didn’t care what kind of girl I was. I just wanted to be held. And the day she passed, all I wanted to do was be held.
My world froze for while. I felt like I was in slow-motion at her funeral.
And then something strange started happening to me…I started to feel. Like, really feel.
I didn’t have to know what was going on or why everything happened.
All I knew was that Jesus was good and he loved me.
Even when I was mad, I whispered this truth to myself everyday.
Jesus, like he does, slowly began to melt my heart with truth. A couple of days after Mor Mor went to be with Jesus, He revealed that truth to me.
My favorite chapter in the bible is found in John chapter 20. It’s when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb after Jesus’s crucifixion and realized it was empty. There is much intricate, rich detail in this story, but the gist is that she panicked when she realized that Jesus was not in the tomb.
Just like I was panicking with my break-up… with my grandmother.
Mary Magdalene turned around in the story and saw who she thought was the gardener. She looked to him and said, “Sir if you have taken him, tell me where he is and I will go get him!”
The “so-called” Gardener looked at her and simply said, “Mary.”
She finally realized that this gardener was Jesus. She yelled “Raboni” (which means teacher) as Jesus graciously explained to her to go tell the others what she has seen.
Remember this: Mary knew Jesus well before he was killed. She loved him.
She KNEW HIM.
It would be like your best friend dying and then coming back to life and then you not recognizing them!
Mary was so distracted by her circumstances, by her situation, by her grief that she couldn’t see that Jesus was right in front of her own two eyes.
Don't be so focused on your circumstances that you can't see Jesus! @laurenbranz #fierceFriday… Click To Tweet
I am Mary.
While sitting here on the floor of the Orlando Airport, I realize that I am Mary.
I am seeing the gardener instead of Jesus. Over the last two years, I have been so painfully aware of my circumstances that I have shifted my eyes off of Jesus.
I tear up as I realized this ugly truth.
Jesus…I am so sorry..
My sweet Jesus.. He continues to love me so intimately even when I show him such unflattering parts of me.
Could it be? Is this what Jesus longed for all this time? Did He long to just really know me and for me to let him see me?
I think, maybe so.
It’s such a comforting thought that He is bigger than my circumstances and He is bigger than HOW I FEEL.
As I am sitting on this sticky floor, I feel like Jesus is whispering something to me that I will never forget:
“Lauren, do you want to feel the greatest sugar droplet of all?”
I LOVE YOU.
Don’t be scared.
He isn’t afraid of a little stickiness.Jesus isn't afraid of a little stickiness. #sugardroplets #fiercelyHis @laurenbranz Click To Tweet
Let him drop this sugar droplet on you, because when you get it, like.. when you really get it, you will never be the same.
I would say that Lauren is a fighter, wouldn’t you? #fiercelyHis
About the Author:
Lauren Branz is currently residing in Houston, Texas while working at a church and enjoying the 109 degree weather! She graduated from Oral Roberts University in 2015 and hopes to one day open a treatment center for girls struggling with addiction. In her free time, Lauren enjoys loving on her friends and family, eating cheese pizza, and being googly-eyed for Jesus.
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