My Name is Lauren Rost and my story is one of many lows, but I have also experienced great areas of grace among the hardships. My parents were both addicts from the time I was born, but I had grandparents who stepped in to raise me. I was taken advantage of by a trusted adult early in my life, I made poor choices throughout my teens; promiscuity, drugs, dropping out of school, among others.
I also got my GED and went to college. So even in times where I made my worst decisions, I see Jesus. I may not have always felt Him but looking back now I can see He was always there.
I struggled with addiction for about 5 years. I finally got help and got clean August of 2010. I met my husband the following September and by November we were dating, and we have been together ever since. Andrew’s family introduced me to Jesus in a real way; a more intimate way than I had ever experienced before. His grandmother, Rose, lived with them at the time and she is still to this day the godliest woman I have ever met. I was super broken when I met her, she saw and heard some of the most embarrassing things. She NEVER looked at me any different. It was through her that I really started to understand what Jesus’ love is truly like. I never understood unconditional love. I felt everything had to be earned and that heaven was a place not obtainable by people who had lived their lives like me.
I started to attend church on Sundays with their family. I recall them convincing me the first time, telling me I could go in my pajamas if I wanted and that there was coffee. During the first few months, worship made me super uncomfortable. I remember thinking, “Why in the world are they raising their hands?” Then once we went down to visit Andrew’s mom in NC and I got to see some Pentecostal worship with tongues, all I was really thinking was, “This will never be me.”
As time wore on I started to listen to worship music on my own in my car, learning the songs and signing along. That when it started to become more enjoyable. When I started to relate to the songs I would enjoy the music more in church. Then there was this awkward phase, where I loved the music and I really WANTED to raise my hands but I had already decided I wasn’t a hand-raiser. Honestly, at this point I still didn’t really understand “why” we raise our hands. I just knew that in my heart I wanted to; I wanted to reach out and reach up to be as close to God as I could to show Him I am willing to risk it all, not caring who is watching to praise His name. Which is why the present-day me raises my hands.
I had multiple encounters explaining and experiencing worship on an intimate level. Through speakers at events, church on Sunday, and on mission in Guatemala, I experienced God’s presence through worship.
It was freeing to me that there was no “wrong way” to do it. When I empty myself at the alter, He will fill me up. When I shout out in worship, His name is glorified. In my willingness to worship undignified, tears, yelling out with my voice cracking, that is when His name is lifted high. For me, worship is my heart-song; you won’t see me with an instrument or a mic. When I feel unsure about signing out His praises, I am reminded of this scripture: “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” 2 Samuel 6:21-22
I speak mostly about worship for my story because it is in those moments that I feel most connected to the Father. It’s in those times He communicates so directly to me. This is one of my most treasured portions of my relationship with Jesus. It is the thing I turn to when I don’t know what else to do.