lauren-grant-family

The Stories of TNL – Lauren Grant

When I think of TNL the first word that comes to mind is “family”

This place encompasses everything the word family means to me. For as long as I can remember, my Tuesdays have been oriented around TNL, around my church family.

I started attending TNL as a freshman in High School, way back in 1995. Each week I sat on the floor up front and rocked out to the music with 2,000 of my closet friends. During that time I found the faith my parents brought me up in becoming my own. TNL became my family.

One of my best friends from high school came to TNL with me. He had some struggles in his personal life and we both found comfort in being here together. When he and I began dating and fell in “love”, TNL was our family. When we got married in 2003, many of you celebrated with us. I thought life was perfect and we were in God’s plan.

Not long after that marriage began, it started to fall apart. The scars from my partner’s past were deep and ugly. He withdrew and eventually abandoned me, leaving me alone for almost 2 years. He went to live with friends and even one of the pastors of TNL before deciding to throw in the towel on our relationship. I was a shell of a person. I went through the motions and tried desperately to heal only to find that I was continuing to unravel. People close to me judged me and turned from me. I experienced the greatest depth of loneliness and depression I have ever known. And yet, TNL was my family: Many of you reading this surrounded us during those dark times. You brought me meals, you visited with him, you paid my bills, you laid hands on me in prayer, you called, and you listened.

The years that followed slowly brought healing and hope. I looked in the mirror, completely empty and void and asked God to show me who He saw me to be. And to no surprise, He did much of the answering through you all. TNL was still my family. It was a slow process and it didn’t come easily or without exhaustive work, but I tell people regularly that I would face it all again to see my life where it is now.

In 2010 I met Patrick, and as many of you know, my life’s true love story began unfolding before my eyes. The years of hard work and focus on God’s will for my life were answered with a love like nothing I have ever known before. Patrick and I gave our lives to each other on September 10, 2010 and God knit our hearts together like only He can. We celebrated with many of you. TNL was still my family.

Since that time, Patrick and I have added 2 beautiful children to our family and although bedtime schedules and my need to focus on my job as Children’s Director means you don’t see them much, TNL is still our family, and they know of all of you and what you mean to me.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He doesn’t expect that we will hit all the marks and make it all look easy. He doesn’t promise a life without pain. But He also doesn’t expect us to go at it alone.

When I look at your faces I feel the warmth that God intends family to be. When I spend time with your children each week, I know I am caring for those in my own family and it is truly an honor. I’ve been a part of TNL for 22 years now. My TNL family has changed over time but some things remain the same. You are all so much of my story and I am so deeply thankful for my TNL family. Happy 24th anniversary, my loves!

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Categories: Stories of TNL

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