Lauren Michelle Dowler
RESENSITISING MY STORY
At times it’s difficult to recount my story because it’s hard to believe that it was even mine to begin with. As life advances and I’m expectant for more, I forget the magnitude of what God has already done, and powerful testimonies grow dim.
Did I really walk in the shoes of a 16-year-old girl as she rounded the corridor of a hospital in India as amputees and lepers waited for medical attention on cots in the corridor? Did I really witness a young woman lying bed stricken with burns from her head down to her toes? Were those really my Rainbow sandals that pedaled the streets of Isla Vista, California on a mint green beach cruiser and my hands that passed out "Jesus Burgers" to partiers on Friday nights? Did I really move to Wollongong, Australia to study abroad for a year without knowing a soul and without a place to live, celebrating my 21st birthday sleeping on an all guys dorm room couch, eating cold canned spaghetti? It was only days later that God provided the apartment that I had prayed for. Did I really set off around the globe believing that God would show me where to go, where to stay, connect me with the right people, provide for me and bring me back in His timing?
I’m not trying to boast, I’m just being honest. As amazing of a #LIFE as I’ve had, I struggle to remember it all. Memories become vague, and sometimes I second guess their reality. I’m realizing more and more that I need to pinch the past and get some feeling back.
Lauren, what exactly does that look like?
As I reflect back, I’ve come to realize that specific people have played a pivotal part in my story. Some I’ve stayed in close contact with, while others I have not. Some I shared a moment with not knowing if I would ever see them again, while others I will share a #LIFEtime.
In this beautiful season of writing #LIFE I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with people and places that have helped make my story what it is today and in doing so, my story has come to life again.
As I write to you, I’m sitting at a picnic table listening to the steadfast buzz of the cicadas, surrounded by lush tropical foliage and only a few feet to my left is a spider larger than my fist. At 19-year-old, I made my way up the east coast of Australia to a place that to this day I would consider one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. As we piled off the tour bus, we found ourselves at a backpackers resort surrounded by dense rainforest in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Only steps to the beach, this humble getaway bordered one of the many wonders of this beautiful world- the Great Barrier Reef.
“Alright, back to the bus everyone!” the tour guide alerted us.
I felt like I was torn away from a moment! Can I get a witness?
One day I’m going to make it back here, and I’m going to stay overnight.
It has been 8 ½ years since I last found myself in the Land Down Under and over 16 since I last stepped foot in this neck of the forest; Cape Tribulation. Since then people have gotten married, had littles, and seasons have changed. Were they really a part of my story? Did I actually do #LIFE with them? It had become such a blur. As I dug into the past, studied photographs, and recounted what God had done, blurred images began to take on shape, but details continued to lack.
I miss them. My heart ached. I need to see them. It’s time.
God, you’ve provided for me amazing tickets to Australia in the past, you could do it again.
And within a week I was messaged by a dear friend that had played a role in my story in chapters past.
Hey Lauren, It looks like you live in a beautiful place, but hey, if you’re missing Australia, I just wanted to let you know that the airline I work for just reinstituted their "friends pass" and I want to give you one to get you back here.
And here I am.
As I journey from place to a place and hug those whose images had faded in my recollection, the past is merging the present and I can't help but tear up. The transition back to this land I once called home has been seamless. Relationships that were once “closer than a brother” have proved to stand the test of both time and distance and are more alive than ever before.
If there is any part of your story that God desires to awaken, my prayer is that He will do so. Maybe it’s a friend you haven’t seen in ages, reconciliation with a relative where there has been a breach or even visiting a location that was once the backdrop in a scene of your story. In the meantime, I pray for a call to remembrance of what God’s done in all of our lives. May we not just recall, but may we rejoice and give Him all the glory!
"But call to remembrance the former days..." Hebrews 10:32