God’s Hand in our Dreams
In honor of my new Bible Study, ‘Written: Capturing + Cultivating the Blueprint of your Dream,’ launching this January, I am hosting a guest blog series! Featuring a new dreamer every week, you will be inspired by their journeys of pressing into their dreams. This week we are hearing from Lauren Frazer, a creative, driven, and passionate woman from Lima, Ohio! Read her blog today and be encouraged in your own dream pursuit!
It was April of 2014 and I was living in Portland, Oregon at the time. I was walking through beautiful, endless tulip fields in Woodburn, Oregon. I had decided to take a day trip adventure on my own and was fascinated by the colors and sheer beauty of God’s creation. I spent time wandering, praying, & reflecting. It was a week after Easter and Luke 24:32 kept running through my mind “They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” I thought about Jesus coming to these men after the resurrection and the way their hearts were burning, He had opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and had left them with a fervency for the word. I can recall reading a passage from She Reads Truth saying “Do we continue down the road as a different person because we walk with Jesus?” I kept thinking about how God uses challenges to help us grow- through our weakness we are made strong through Christ’s power and grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). How the fervency of God can burn in our hearts, this burning that brings about refining of our hearts into His image. We can come boldly to Jesus with our challenges, prayers, dreams, desires knowing that He walks with us and knows our prayers before we even ask.
I didn’t truly realize what it would become at the time, but this tulip field adventure was the start of God doing something in my heart. After this adventure, I started using the phrase “Refined Heart” to talk about refining of my own heart that God was doing through the word and my circumstances. The way that God has continued to move over the last several years, brining callings, dreams, visions, to fruition has left me in awe. This was just the small beginning to using the phrase “Refined Heart” that has now transformed into the name of my Website, Blog and Business, Refined Heart Living.
Fast forward three years, and I found myself burnt out and struggling for a way out of the corporate world, after nearly six years. The very job that moved me to Oregon, and back again to Ohio, helped to grow my faith, my skills, my experiences, and ultimately my trust in God’s plan, timing and fulfillment to His promises, had left me dried up and dreaming of new beginnings. I left my corporate job in February of 2017, married the love of my life a month later in March and that same month, moved across the state to what I will call a “smaller” town. There was so much excitement, so many new beginnings, my heart, mind, body and soul found rest, freedom, joy and so much peace. But then, I was left asking the Lord, “now what?”
God started to put a new vision and dream on my heart, and so I decided to slowly start building my own business. Refined Heart Living started as just the name of my website, blog & social media platform, a space for me to share my heart and encourage others. Then, I felt God leading me to have it be the name of my business as well, knowing that for me, my faith and work are so intertwined. You see, I work for the Lord first, to bring Him glory and work to serve my customers second. In my business, I independently represent a portfolio of brands such as candles, books, cards, and other gift items to retail locations across the state of Ohio such as boutiques, bakeries, flower shops, hospital gift shops, among others. I work to serve my stores, customers, and brands well, helping to share the love and light of Jesus in my interactions and service.
Refined Heart Living means to live in such a way to continually be refined in heart and refine others, in order to live better and more boldly for the Lord, our families, friends & customers- those we live with, work with and those we get to love & serve daily. I want the Refined Heart Blog to be a place where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee. To read the blog and be encouraged either in spirit, in heart or in truth, in life, business or in faith. I want to share my heart, my stories and create a safe space of community while encouraging women and refining hearts to live well – right where they are – for not just the kingdom of God, but for those we get to serve and interact with on a daily basis. It’s about offering grace to ourselves & each other, but most importantly, it’s about HIS grace poured out, refining us more into His image daily.
While the writing on my blog and social media to date is often spiritual and my original intent in “Refined Heart” was spiritual, I do feel that Refined Heart Living, can be also secular. To be refined means to remove impurities or unwanted elements from a substance or process- this is often seen in gold, oil, or can even be in our own hearts by God’s word, or simply by the encouragement of friends, feedback from a boss, or even from challenging experiences we go through.
“But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].” -JOB 23:10 AMP We often hear the phrase “refine by fire.” Gold goes through a refining process by fire that removes impurities. So when someone says, “you have a heart of gold” I can’t help but think of the refining process that someone’s heart has been through. The Lord knows the way we take, He sees every step, He pays attention and loves is so much. There are things in our lives- circumstances, challenges, relationships that “try” us, and even still God uses it all for good. We will come forth as refined gold, our heart more refined into His image. This is another verse that has brought me inspiration to the name Refined Heart Living.
From a business standpoint Refine means to develop or improve so as to be precise or subtle “building up a more refined profile of the customer’s needs.” Refined can also mean to improve something by making small changes in particular to make an idea, theory, perfect, polish up, hone, fine tune. It also means to be elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, taste. Some synonyms include cultivated, cultured, polished, styled, elegant, sophisticated, well mannered, gracious, polite, discerning, fine.
I share my story because starting this business has been filled with a lot of small beginnings, big dreams, trusting God, and staying encouraged along the way. Any goal, dream, vision, or desire that God has placed on our hearts takes devotion, discipline and commitment to cultivate seeds that lead to a harvest, bearing fruit. It takes time, there are many challenges along the way, but the harvest is always worth it. It’s in the small beginnings that we learn so much, we grow, and God is glorified, pleased and rejoices. I was humbled and encouraged in my business the last few weeks, seeing relationships being built, growth and even some unexpected fruit. I was reminded to not despise the small beginnings, but rather rejoice in each little step, each interaction, relationship built and opportunity to serve. Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin – Zechariah 4:10
These dreams have been written on my heart from long ago, and have been moved forward by God’s hand. He has continued to define my callings, and has led me each step to pursue these dreams. I have been motivated by the Lord to bring Him glory, walking in obedience to His call. Daily I keep asking the Lord, give me the words! Looking to this verse, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” -Psalm 19:14. I work for the Lord and He has been first place in my mind and my heart. All of this work on my website, blog and business is Kingdom work, in my mind, all to please Him and bring Him Glory! It has all been challenging and refining. But honestly things just keep coming to me, my vision and dreams have become clear because I have been walking in step with Him. So, I encourage you to seek the Lord while He may be found, see where He is calling you, what are the dreams and visions on your heart, and where do you see His hand leading you? I pray that the Lord has spoken through me to encourage your heart and that He might bless you in the process!
LAUREN FRAZER is a creative, business minded gal that went from the corporate world craziness, to entrepreneur, starting her own business with the guidance of God’s hand. Lauren is the Proprietor, Curator & Independent Brand Rep with her company, Refined Heart Living, LLC. She loves Jesus and encouraging women about how God works to refine our hearts and lives to be more like Him. She has been writing and blogging for a few years but just started the Refined Hear Blog this past August. Lauren is newly married to her husband, Corey, and they live in Lima, OH. You can follow along with Lauren’s writing, business and encouragement at RefinedHeartLiving.com or on social media, @refinedheartliving.
VISIT HER AT www.refinedheartliving.com