A well-known pastor once said that becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Laura Brown’s life has been a confirmation of this as God has slowly grown her through friendships, singleness, tragedy and even opportunities. Through it all she has learned to trust God more fully, and as a result her love for Him has grown and grown.
Being rich in friendships is such a blessing and Laura is blessed with many strong friendships. However, Laura discovered over time that she was tightening her grip on these friendships and began to value their attention and good opinion of her above God’s approval. She sensed God’s prodding to check her heart and realign her priorities, but she didn’t. So God began to prune away, calling Laura back to Him. He was a loving Father disciplining his daughter. As Laura relates, “He was drawing me to Himself and teaching me that as good as human relationships are, He is the only one that eternally satisfies.”
One key truth instilled in Laura’s walk is that only the Lord is the one who eternally satisfies. Not things, events, or people, or relationships. As a single adult, God also wanted the parts of her heart that longed for a husband. “Over the years as He has grown me, the idol of marriage has become smaller as He’s teaching me to lean into Him, and that all that my heart aches for finds fulfillment in Him.” The truth is that only God fully satisfies or as Laura has discovered, “A husband can make a great companion but a terrible Savior! Only Jesus can bear the weight of fulfilling my soul. He continues to teach me to trust in His sovereignty, to believe that His plan is the best plan, even though I might think otherwise.” God’s plan for Laura involves unique opportunities as a single adult to humbly learn from friends as they navigate marriage and parenting, as well as giving time to invest in their lives and the lives of their children. It has also given Laura opportunities to speak into the lives of high school girls by serving as a small group leader and helping out with student leadership.
One of Laura’s most intense seasons of growth and learning started on December 1, 2016, when her good friend, Jourdan Bacot, was struck by a drunk driver and suffered a traumatic brain injury. “The first days after the crash required a moment-by-moment dependence on God, which I had never before experienced,” shares Laura. “In those early days, I gripped onto the truth of God’s power – His ability to work in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances.” Ephesians 3:20 provided encouragement for Laura as it says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
As the weeks turned into months after the accident, God challenged Laura to take Him at his word. “Life was heading down a path that I would never have chosen myself,” reflects Laura. “I couldn’t understand how God sovereignly saw this way as the best way. Proverbs 3:5 was my reminder to trust in the Lord with all my heart and not to lean on my own understanding.” The end result was Laura’s faith grew as she understood that God is trustworthy. As she says, “From my perspective, trusting in God in situations like this can feel like standing on the edge of a cliff being asked to jump. He’s shown me that if I trust in Him, He will be there with me every single time.”
During this last year Laura was “stretched” as she led a women’s summer study. And as she has learned to trust God more fully, God has continually equipped her to say yes to opportunities in high school ministry as well as women’s ministry - opportunities from which she would normally run. “God continues to challenge me to operate out of trust in Him – not out of fear. He’s not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. If God has seen me through the hardest year of my life, I knew that by His strength I could face these challenges that seemed so small in comparison.” Being led by Christ gives perspective to the future. Laura sums it up, “When I look ahead, it’s exciting to consider what new opportunities will come my way because I’ve learned on a new level the truth that God will always be there to strengthen me and give me hope.”