Sanitized Music and A Big Hook

Part of my role on the Detroit Cru Staff team is being in charge of our Social Media and PR. Sometimes this job is SUPER stressful (ie: beginning of the year when we’re making flyers, posters, etc for 5 campuses and 4 events in like 5 days). Other times, it’s HILARIOUS and so life giving. Like today…

So, I detest Christian Radio (not Christian music, just the songs that are played on the radio). Sorry. I know, I used to work at a Christian Radio station (and I LOVED my co-workers), but I can’t handle the “sanitized” feel of mainstream CCM. Call me a pagan or whatever, but it’s just true of my heart. There was one version of “Good, Good Father” on the radio the other day and I thought (in the tone of “Bro, do you even lift?”) “Bro, do you even love Jesus? You sound like it’s a dread for you to sing this song…” There’s something passionless about some Christian songs that are played on the radio. Listen to Sam Smith and hear the ache in his voice and the passion and drive and… okay sorry. Forgot this blog isn’t about that.

Anyways, I lost my adapter that connects my iPhone to my radio, so I’ve been listening to a lot of mainstream music. And that includes little Justin Bieber.

The Beebs, as I like to call him, has a new song out called, “What Do You Mean.” It’s a song you can picture yourself shopping in Express too. You know? One of those techno-ish songs that’s not too overwhelming but is SO catchy? It’s like that. I decided today that it’d be hilarious to design a new promo about our Thursday Community Groups with Justin’s face on it and him saying, “What do you mean… There’s three options for community groups on Thursday?” Y’all. I think I’m so funny.

All I have to say is, mass media (culture + pop music in this) attracts the masses. And I want the masses to know Jesus. So, we’re gonna use it. We’re gonna use the big hook for the glory of Jesus!

Here’s a few designs I’ve come up with that for some reason are so fun to me. Hope you enjoy them!





Some Things I’m Learning


  1. Michigan lefts are kind of dumb.
  2. Dutch Girl Donuts are my second favorite donuts in all of the world.
  3. Detroit is the best city on the earth… okay. Maybe the best city North of Chattanooga, East of the Mississippi and West of DC. :)
  4. God has the CRAZIEST things planned.
  5. College students are hilarious. Freshmen are sometimes awkward, but mostly fun.
  6. You’re only as Spirit-filled as you want to be.
  7. Coneys are not my jam.
  8. There’s something sweet about the brokenness of Detroit and the hope in Christ for renewal of all people in the D.
  9. Always drop a pin where you park your car otherwise you’ll lose it for a while…
  10. Apparently, no one knows who Ben Rector is.
  11. How to walk out of (and hold onto) the deep conviction that there is no evil intention in God’s heart and He is totally good
  12. Apparently, the blinking red in a turn lane is like a stop sign? Still not sure about that one…
  13. Budgeting.
  14. Fall actually starts feeling like fall on the first day of fall. Who’duh thunk it?
  15. Bless their hearts and their Michigander attempts at BBQ.

Detroit: Week One

712 miles later, here I am! Snuggled in a corner in my temporary bedroom writing back to all you lovely readers!  It feels like such a blur, and I’ve been on quite the emotional roller coaster, but here’s a few updates about the D and what all God has done since being here!



Well, funny story. It wasn’t really working out budget wise with the girls I had hoped to live with (Royal Oak houses are all bungalows which make splitting rent so bizarre). While I did want to live with them because they were super sweet and fun, financially it just wasn’t possible. Anna and Andy Dwyer (a staff couple on my team who are SO close to finishing their initial support) offered for me to live with them until I found housing, or for the year, whatever. I kept saying the “thank you for the offer” thing until I realized they were serious and I was running out of options. So, here I am! I’m living with the Dwyers + pups until God opens up another door. There’s a door wide open in February, but I have to decide if I want to live in the burbs or the city. :) I’m thinking city. #wheninrome



Can I just say I have the best team in the whole wide universe? Not only is one staff couple all “live with us and share our space” but every single person (or couple) on my staff team has called or texted me to invite me to something or has come over to visit. Every one of them. Shoot dog. Talk about feeling pursued and cared for on a team. It’s so needed right now, and I love it.


This week we are going (oh, y’all bless it. I don’t know where we’re going…) somewhere to have a staff retreat and next week we start staff planning for the semester! Wahoo! I’m glad there’s been a little time to adjust without jumping in head first. That would not have been good for me.

While campus ministry hasn’t started, I have been encouraged to see God open up doors to spiritual conversation in the normal things. About a week ago I went to get my oil changed and a man walked in asking for directions then kept talking, and talking, and talking. Somehow he pulled me into the conversation and then brought up something about church and God. So, I began asking a few questions and then the guy at the counter jumps in with his thoughts too. Before we know it, we’re in a conversation about what really makes a person “good” before the Lord. He begins to explain how he’s always been told he isn’t good enough for God and that he’s going to hell. I shared with him the truth of that-that we’re all not good enough and because of our sin we deserve separation from God BUT. God makes us righteous when we put our trust in Him. It’s not us centered. It’s Christ alone who gives us access to the father and who makes us “good enough”. So that was cool! A spiritual conversation and clear proclamation of the gospel in an oil change shop. Haha. I feel so rugged. So Detroit.

Other random things:

My heart was and is still so full from getting to hang with the CalChatt. team while they were in Detroit. It was fun getting to see people I knew, but incredibly sad knowing when they left they went back to a city that I love with a love that overflows from God and community that I so desperately miss. My best friend Elaina said, “It’s okay to grieve the loss of Chatt., but we as believers grieve with hope.” <— that’s why she’s my bestie.

I talked to a good friend Maggie the night they left and we both realized this is the first time I’ve done life without an end point in a long time (close to 15 years). When we moved to Chicago, I knew I would only be there until my high school graduation. College=4 years, but you know five years was fine too. STINT in Senegal=2 year time commitment. Joining staff=however long it took to raise that initial support and then go to my first assignment. This is the first year I don’t have a time cap on life. And that’s very overwhelming. Will God provide sweet community with a church? Will I have that fun friend group of people my age that love Jesus? In faith I say “YES He will,” and He has with my team!

And… I think that’s about it for this update! Prayer points would be: wisdom on housing, for our staff retreat and staff planning week, for community and a church home and…. I think that’s it! :)

Thanks for reading ALL of this.

In Which I Was A Nomad

Wow! Y’all, this season of life is hot, hectic and even when I’m sitting still it feels as though I’m on a moving walk way. 3097 miles, 10 states, 5 time zones, 3 countries and 8 flights in three and a half months will do that to you.


Sometimes, okay oftentimes, I wish I was a princess and could just snap my fingers to make this move and transition easier. I would have all my belongings that majorly outweigh the space allotted inside my 2001 Honda Accord arrive safely to Detroit. I’d make finding a place to rent less of a complicated matter (really, you need my credit score? Invasive.). But hashtag ADULT LIFE, if Kate Middleton can’t even get a princess title and she’s married to a real life prince, then I suppose the commoner road is the one I must travel. [Sidenote: it is unjust, Kate. I support you.]

So, that’s enough real talk of my exhaustion and subtle frustration over the fact that I have many things when I need little and have little when I need many… Let’s talk about MY EXCITEMENT.

MemphisRenting: PROS: I get to stay somewhere for one year. Not one, 10 month STINT year that goes between countries, one full 12 month year. Praise Jesus! And, if me and my roommates like the living situation we can live there longer. Ministry partner development is amazingly good for my heart and my growth in the Lord, but a year of travel from location to location pursuing people constantly (without being deeply rooted somewhere) is exhausting. I am excited to have roommates, find a church community, get to know my team, and start adult life in America.


Detroit: PROS: I LOVE DETROIT. I don’t know why. I can’t wait to start exploring and trying new foods, winter sports, and living in a big city with not as much traffic. I am excited for metro living. Call me big city. Just kidding, don’t do that.

Ministry: Our staff conference was good for my heart. It was good for my prayer life. It was good to be around people who are on the same mission and feel the freedom to dream with one another about what God could do in us, through us and among the nations. I love those people that you can talk about the realities of where things are, celebrate what God has done, and talk about improvements/faith steps that can be taken. It gives no room for complacency and ignites a fire that community gets to fan. It almost feels like a locker room rally. I don’t sport, so I am not positive that it’s like that, but thats how I feel so we’ll go with it.

I’m excited to walk with Jesus and see Him grow me, stretch me, and use me. I’m excited to be on a team of people who are so wonderful. I’m excited to serve them and learn from them as we co-labor alongside of each other for Detroit and for the nations.

Here’s to a safe 712 miles to Detroit that begin tomorrow. And to new beginnings letting my roots grow deep in a city that God loves immensely.

Thanks for riding this ride with me.

Sincerely, your American turned African turned Detroit-ian Princess


My Declaration of Love for Dirt Cheap

Dear Dirt Cheap,

Your name made me think, “Probably not interested.” Even as I stepped through your doors, I thought, “Chaos. This is total chaos.” I pressed on in spite of my initial overwhelmed heart in search of something I have a definite immediate need for: towels. As I strolled through your aisles I became more and more impressed. All brand new items at 60% off or more? What is this place?

Are those Target office supplies for 60% off?  A Target shower curtain for $5? Wait, oh those winter tights are .25 a piece? Is that a new down comforter sold normally at $299+ for $50?!

I cannot express to you enough how deeply wrong I was about you. I was proud. And prejudice. You have made my transition into adulthood so much less stressful, and for that I am ever thankful. I believe I can now. And it’s all thanks to you.

Even though I didn’t walk out with what I was looking for (towels), I am so incandescently happy.

Yours only when I’m in Memphis,



Memphis and Mississippi friends: check out Dirt Cheap. It’s all brand new home goods, clothes, tools, etc that stores like Target, Bed, Bath + Beyond, Kohls, and other stores couldn’t sell. And it’s marked down something ridiculous. $98 total bought me a wall decal/chalkboard from Target, 4 pairs of winter tights, a down comforter, a rug, one shower curtain, two bars of all natural soap, a desk divider/organizer, a window curtain panel, and one large bed pillow. How does that even happen?

Here’s some pictures of a few of the items I purchased that I’m in love with:

Isn't it rustic dreamy?  $4.
Isn’t it rustic dreamy? $4. Ignore the chaos around it. Everything I own is in boxes and bags all over the place.
The Threshold desk organizer. I have a brass wire 2 drawer organizer that sits on a desk, BUT I can't put anything small on it because the wire's so big it falls through. Problem solved! $2.70 for this.
The Threshold desk organizer. I have a brass wire 2 drawer organizer that sits on a desk, BUT I can’t put anything small on it because the wire’s so big it falls through. Problem solved! $2.70 for this.
It's a sheer window panel. This one's gonna take a little work. There wasn't a second match to this, so I'm going to cut it in half and cut the previously mentioned shower curtain in half and have 1/4 sheer pattern and 3/4 white curtains on my window. :) This panel was $5.
It’s a sheer window panel. This one’s gonna take a little work. There wasn’t a second match to this, so I’m going to cut it in half and cut the previously mentioned shower curtain in half and have 1/4 sheer pattern and 3/4 white curtains on my window. :) This panel was $5.
So, this is my 2nd favorite purchase. It’s a stand up (or hang up) wooden chalk board with a ceramic vase attached for pens, which I’ll be using for fake flowers. ;) I want to write a monthly word of encouragement, verse, quote or prayer and use that to help me refocus. I love the possibilities with this one. $15

What’s been going on?

I am sorry I’ve taken a blog break without telling you. It wasn’t you; it was me. Scouts honor. Trying to finish up my initial partnership team, briefing, two weeks in Detroit, 6 weeks in Senegal, and then almost 2 weeks recovering from some kind of bacterial infection has made me a little… busy? But I’m back and ready to dive into LIFE with you. So let’s start with the latest.

I just arrived in Memphis a few days ago to pack up the rest of my things that are at my sister’s house so that I can move to Detroit permanently after our staff conference. Annnndddd I’m also here to see my new niece! Yay! My sister had a serious complication during Evelyn’s birth that really had our whole family scared. One nurse fought for the doctors to check on her, which ended up saving her life. My sister is one of my best friends. I tell her everything, pretty much. I know that nurse will never read this, but thank you to that nurse that followed her instincts and fought for the benefit of the patient. You da bomb, girlfriend.  I’d never be the same person without my T.


And Evelyn, she’s great. BEAUTIFUL. And sleepy. I’ve never been around infants much, so my assessment is that they sleep and grunt a lot. But they sure are cute and smell good!


Summer Mission was…


challenging, rewarding and not at all like I had expected. It’s funny that it wasn’t how I expected since I lived there for two years and hosted short-term teams a lot. It was a shift from STINT where my direct ministry was Senegalese students to my ministry being mostly on helping American students grow in their faith and win others to Christ. It was great because I got to see a lot of fruit! I got to see a lot of the girls grow in their walks, fall more in love with Jesus, and have their hearts yearn for God’s glory to be displayed among the nations. Super great. :)

What’s next…

Screen shot 2015-07-11 at 10.17.38 PM

Tomorrow I’m heading out to Colorado for our National Staff Conference, #Cru15. We’ll be there for 10 days doing, well… I’m not exactly sure. Conferencing. ;) I’m super excited to see my Detroit team, New Staff Training friends and Mid-South Cru! :) I’m sure it’s going to be a great time of growth and unity. I’ll let you know how it was in a few weeks.

After I get back from #Cru15, I’ll be in Memphis a few days to say goodbye to family + ministry partners and begin the trek up to Detroit to look for housing. We start back up with planning and campus move-ins in August, so this is going to be a fast paced season. Much prayer is needed, so thanks in advance for praying.

Until next time friends!


In which a spider reminded me of the battle…

I hate spiders, so much to my dismay when I saw one the size of a nickel navigating it’s way across my den’s ceiling with Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible-esque stealth during my time with the Lord, I freaked out. I gasped and told Tucker (a cocker spaniel), “Ew! Look! He’s huge!”  I jumped up and thought many a thoughts, most of which were, “Lauren just got back from camping; that’s a wilderness spider which means it’s more likely to be poisonous [not true]; it’s going to attack me now or when I’m asleep.”  All highly rational thoughts…

Fight or flight, baby. 

I stood up and thought, “This has gone poorly for me before, but I have to do something!” How many of you have ever tried to kill a bug on the ceiling? How many of you also know from experience that doing so is almost always like painting a ceiling? You end up with it on your face. There ain’t no way in Satan’s promised land that I’m allowing a spider to fall anywhere near my face. I hastily grabbed the closest thing that could spray him to his impending death. That thing was Lauren’s Off brand bug spray. It repells them right? So if I just douse it in spray, he’ll die right? RIGHT.

Beyoncé’s Drunk In Love had nothing on that spider. Drunk on insecticides was what he was singing. He got near enough to the ground, hanging by a thread [literally] and I knocked him with my sisters shoe to the ground and stepped on him. Naturally, my 4″ wedges were available to get him real good, but why use my shoes when I can use hers? [Sorry not sorry, Lo.]

As I sat back down, obviously super enthralled with myself that I just made that mission impossible for him, I thought, “man, what if that were how I interacted with sin in my heart and in my life?”

I recently began a John Piper sermon on suffering with Christ and had to stop it 20 minutes in because REAL TALK: It’s John Piper. I could spend a year reflecting on one 55 minute long sermon about my wicked and deceitful self in light of God’s glory. But the first 20 minutes of that sermon where on the “if you’re continuing in the faith…” John Piper talked about how we can know if we’re continuing in the faith by asking ourselves, “Do we hate our sin? Have we made peace with it or are we actively trying to kill our sin in faith and power of the Holy Spirit?”

I wrestled with that idea this morning because I’ve seen a few sin issues pop up in my heart: unforgiveness, comparison, people pleasing which is idolatry. And can I confess something? I haven’t sought an ounce as hard to put to death some of those “prettier sins” like I killed that spider earlier today. And you know what? That’s ugly.

That’s allowing the deceitfulness of sin to creep into my life and not take a stand against evil, darkness, and welcoming strain in my relationship with God. Hashtag ew. I, as a child of God, am to live redeemed, free from the bondage of sin. I am called to forsake my desires and ask God to fill me with His. I am to love my enemies, forgive graciously and abundantly when wronged. I am to walk in and out of everyday by His power and His Spirit. I am called to put to death the things of the flesh and shed light on sin because it has no place in God’s holy, righteous and glorious kingdom. Allowing it room in the corner of my heart to grow is submitting again to a yoke of slavery. And performance/people pleasing has got to be the heaviest yoke of all people.

I sat back down and continued journaling thanking God for that illustration (sorry PETA), confessing sin and asking God to help spur me on in continuing with him in the faith. Luckily, God has me in the book of Hebrews this season so I got a good scare (LOLZ) and really good application on how I can continue to be spurred on in my walk with him. I made a list of things I read today that I want to dive into in order to understand and know God more. Here’s that list!

  • Learn more about God through studying the life of Jesus. Hebrews 1:3, “Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”
  • Ask God to reveal where I have drifted in my heart from the foundational truths of the gospel and preach the gospel to myself daily. Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we must pay close attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”
  • Submit all things under His lordship so that He can get glory and I can experience deeper trust in Him and greater freedom knowing He is in control. Hebrews 2:8, “…now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.”
  • Ask God to search my heart to see where I am not trusting or believing God for His promises. Hebrews 3:12, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an unbelieving heart.”
  • Abide in the word and allow it to pierce my heart where needed; it is living and active. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
  • Learn more about suffering and temptations of Christ to see better a Great High Priest who sympathizes with me and offers mercy and grace in my time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

That’s about it! Remembering that the battle against the flesh and sin will be until the day I die. It’s kind of a bummer knowing that the struggle is real, but it’s also kind of hopeful knowing who is on my side and that Christ partners with us. Putting to death sin cannot be done in my own strength. He gives us the Holy Spirit and the body to help us in combat. And for that I am thankful.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13