Interview Friday with Lauren Alexander
Hi Friends! Happy Friday!!
Our family has had a fun and full week! We started the week off in Chicago, and today Tim and I will set out to wrap up the weekend at the place where we first met- The University of Alabama. Tim was the President of a Christian fraternity on campus there, and we are traveling back for an Alumni event for the fraternity.
Today, I'm so excited to introduce you to my amazing friend Lauren Alexander! Lauren and I met last year at a writer's conference, and became instant friends. A fellow pastor's wife, Lauren shares some great wisdom with each of us about what she's learned about life in ministry through the years, as well as life as a mom to four beautiful kids, and how she finds joy in it all.
Please help me welcome Lauren to the blog today!
Q. In three sentences or less, tell us about yourself.
Hello to Kristin’s blog readers! My name is Lauren Alexander, and I am a Hoosier wife and mother of four children. My husband is a pastor, so I serve in our church, manage our home and find ways of communicating the Gospel and discipling women each day.
Q. How long have you been writing and speaking? What do you enjoy most about ministry?
I taught my first sermon at an Easter sunrise service when I was probably 12 or 13. I was raised in a church that did a youth takeover for sunrise service (probably the only way they had to get us to a service at that time in the morning). They asked for a volunteer to give the sermon, and I raised my hand (and later realized what I had done!). I remember the message I gave about Mary Magdalene carrying the Good News of the resurrection. God brought me more opportunities at youth retreats and Bible Studies and I found myself deeply enjoying what most people fear: Public Speaking. I also loved praying over those to whom I spoke. It was certainly a weird hobby for a high school girl, and I really didn’t sense the Call right away. I just knew that I loved to share what I learned from the Bible and craved the chance to teach those lessons as much as I could.
I have a sweet memory from youth group when I was in high school. My youth pastor hit the play button on the recording of a relatively unknown woman who absolutely preached the house down and led many to the saving knowledge of Christ. I remember that while I watched the video, my heart beat out of my chest, and I left youth group that night whispering to God, “If women can really DO that, could I do that for You, too?” That woman is now a very famous evangelist and author, and every time I hear her, I am reminded of that special night.
When I was 19 years old, I was a part of a youth retreat and we had some reflection time. I sensed God was asking for more from me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that He desired. A pastor friend came up and began to pray for me and suggested that the call to ministry was on the horizon. It led to a ministry internship, a BS in religious studies, and God opening doors for me to evangelize and disciple women locally and regionally.
I started writing in college because everyone had a Xanga site. It was what the cool kids were doing at the time, and I joined right in. Everyone had a blog, and I remember reading so many people’s thoughts on faith and life. I found it to be remarkably cathartic as my mom battled a life-threatening illness and I navigated the challenges of collegiate life. I also found a faithful audience who was interested in my writing and found it helpful.
God has blessed me in so many ways as I have sought to serve Him in ministry, but the things I treasure most are God’s presence and His people. He has privileged me to bear witness to His faithfulness to others and celebrate His work in their lives. I have also met and befriended so many incredible people whose stories have the common thread of the power of God. Their presence in my life, whether brief or lasting, has led me to see a more complete picture of God’s loving grace.
Q. Who do you think would most love your Facebook lives?
In 2016, I sat down at my kitchen table and pressed the Facebook Live button for the first time. I had no idea that it would lead me to interview people of God whose stories are surprising, challenging and chock-full of God’s fingerprints. Each week, the wisdom and encouragement they share challenges me to be a more faithful disciple of Jesus. My favorite part is seeing how God uses my friends to minister to the All The Things Community!
Kristin was just on All The Things and spoke such truth and love to us. Check it out here: LINK
Q: Tell us about your beautiful kids! How old are they, what are their favorite activities, etc.
We have four beautiful and spirited children and I LOVE to talk about them!
Tabbi is our eldest daughter. She is 11 and in the sixth grade this year. She is a tomboy through and through and has more natural athletic talent than the rest of our family put together. She has great comedic timing and keeps us laughing when things get tense. She is definitely an overcomer and has really blossomed into a servant in our church family. She has a gift with children and I think one of her spiritual gifts is teaching, so she enjoys helping smaller kids during kids’ church. She likes Christian hip-hop and loves riding her bike. She is really into reading as well. She’s a perfectionist, and that is hard for me to watch as it’s something I battle as well. The upside to perfectionism is that she does desire to do her best, and I know God can use that desire!
Heather Is our 10-year-old. She’s currently in the fourth grade. She is a princess-loving, mermaid hair-wanting, unicorn loyalist. She is sweet and kindhearted. Her compassion is unmatched in our family, and so is her stubborn will! (Takes one to know one!) She loves cooking and baking with me. At age 5, she reported to us during an episode of “DC Cupcakes” that she would be opening her own cupcakery and she even had a name for it: “Cupcake Baby” and she has been steadfast in her determination in becoming a baker. She frequently visits our elderly neighbors to visit and chat. She is very energetic and loves to have us snuggle with her every night. She is a daddy’s girl, for sure. She is a delight to so many, including her baby brother. She is very blissfully unaware, which creates no small amount of hilarity around our place!
Eight is GREAT for our boy, Ty! He is a second-grader who can take anything apart and put it back together again. He loves LEGOs and learning carpentry techniques from my husband. He has overcome many challenges, including Sensory Processing Disorder. These challenges have made him incredibly sensitive/discerning and help him befriend students who may not make friends easily. He doesn’t have much of a sensor, so he often cracks us up with his **honest** observations on family life and situational humor. He is very much the class clown of our tribe. He has an engineering mind and is extremely curious. He often surprises us with the depth of his budding faith as well.
Tabbi, Heather and Ty are known as The Big Three!
Elijah Burke is five and rounds out what we affectionately call The A* Team. He faithfully plays his role as the baby of our family in both darling-ness and chaos creation. He loves to join his siblings’ party, sometimes to their chagrin! He is a social bug who can give you the rundown of not only his classmates’ names, but their parents’ names as well! He loves to greet people and make them feel welcome. He loves to learn a new joke, so he can make people laugh and he loves being the center of attention. He is one volume: LOUD! He is also the cuddliest person in our family and is good at sensing who needs extra love on a given day. He loves to sing and dance for Jesus. He is a total hoot (even if I can hear him coming a mile away)!
Q. Your husband is a pastor, and you are very involved with him. What is your favorite thing about being a pastor’s wife?
My husband Seth has been at the same church for his entire ministry career, which is extremely rare for someone in his age bracket. I respect and honor him as a leader and a shepherd. It’s special to watch him operate in his giftings. Our church, FBC Bicknell, is a truly incredible group of people who are committed to growing Christ’s Kingdom and sharing His truth in love. They have been so kind to us in every way imaginable!
My favorite part of being a pastor’s wife is sharing the most sacred moments with people. The moments of conversion. The moments of new life. The moments of grief. The moments where the unexpected comes. The moments where the legacy of faith is realized.
I don’t know another profession/calling which would allow us to share such profoundly life-altering moments with people who are not in our immediate family. It’s truly a privilege to sit near to those who are on the mountain, and those in the darkest valley – to carry their joy and their pain to Christ with them. What an honor.
Q. What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you first started in ministry?
I wish someone would have told me to stay tender. I am waging war on cynicism, and it is a very sneaky attitude that can make ministry a burden and a drain instead of a joy and a welcome challenge. Cynicism is applying past experiences to future outcomes, and it often leads ministry leaders to make assumptions and generalizations that are unhealthy. “X hurt me last time, and this situation reminds me of X, therefore I am going to get hurt again.” This cynical algebra has led me to damage relationships and clam up from time to time.
I attach to people very quickly and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so it’s easy to take ministry life personally. I wish someone would have warned me about how easy it is to become cynical, and more importantly, how to fight it. Thankfully, I’m getting the ammunition from God’s Word and wise counsel to battle this mindset with more authority, so I can overcome this temptation.
Q: If you could have an entire day to yourself, how would you spend it?
That sounds heavenly! My extrovert personality is about to appear here in print: I would go to prayer group, take Seth on a day date, have a dinner party with all my girlfriends and then we’d gather in a huge convoy to Target and the movies!
For those who are new to your site, where should they start?
This blog includes a glimpse into our adoption story.
Here is one of my favorite episodes of my weekly live chat, All the Things:
You can also join the All The Things Community at www.facebook.com/allthethingswithlaurenalexander