Jesus!

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It took a long time for my brain to process that I could live on my own. I pay my own bills, I have my own apartment and I have four furbabies. All of that was accomplished because God hasn’t given up on me. The majority of my life was spent feeling like the mud that gets stuck on the bottom of your shoe. The situations that I chose to put myself in through out my life was because I had no self worth. Not one drop of it. My prayer for this journey that God has laid for me, is that you know it’s gonna be fine! Absolutely fine.. “Psalm 46:5 says, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”

Lord, In the beginning of every prayer I start with myself first.But this time Lord, I am saying Thank You Father. Thank you!Thank you for giving me the courage to open my heart,let my words be only of you. Lord, thank you for my past as it led me to you. Lord, help me to write the right words. Help me to do everything in love.You take over and l will be your vessel.”

Almost three years ago, God gave me the calling to write. I know I’ve told this story a time or two but I’m going to tell it again. Because remembering the night I heard his voice for the first time is something I need to remember. On April 29th, 2017 at 9:42 pm, I made a note in my phone. “God spoke to me and he told me to write.” That particular evening I was sitting alone in my garage listening to Christian music and making a cross for my mom. That evening wasn’t going too well for me and I remember sitting there just talking to God in my head. At one point this feeling came over me that is indescribable and instantly my eyes closed. The wind started to whirl around me but it wasn’t just any wind.. it was the Holy Spirit and I could feel his arms around me. It was nothing I’ve ever felt before and if you’ve ever had an experience then I you already know… The presence was so strong that it took my breath away and it kept getting stronger & stronger. It’s the first time there were no thoughts in my mind, no words on my lips and all I could hear was him. At one point it was so intense that tears started to stream down my face, then everything stopped moving and all I heard was one word.. “Write”..

Writing wasn’t really my thing anymore. I did a lot of it in middle & high school but it wasn’t really my “passion”, it was just something I was good at. Writing was my safe haven in middle school. Just in case you haven’t figured this out yet, but kids aren’t very nice to you when you are the girl that is a total weirdo. I was a tom boy growing up and apparently there is some unspoken rule that when you are a teenage girl, if you aren’t a “girl” then you’re weird… and being a girl wasn’t really my thing. Being vocal to people that walked all over me wasn’t my thing either. I learned real quick that if you act like it doesn’t bother you, then eventually they will go away. Since I didn’t have friends, I had a journal that I wrote in every single day. It was a year or two after my grandmother died that I put down my pencil. Not really sure why but I never thought twice about writing ever again.

Exactly one month after God told me to write, he led me to my very first blog. I made one of those free websites and then I posted my first blog. In the beginning, there was no pressure because I lived in a bubble where everyone is supportive & they are encouraging. After writing a few blogs here and there, my bubble was popped. My discouragement wasn’t coming from people reading them, it was coming from within.

Before I dig further into what I mean by that, I have to put out a disclaimer. Telling my story isn’t easy for me. I’ve lived 39 years completely alone… If it wasn’t for Jesus coming into my heart and opening my eyes. The burdens I walked around with would have eventually crushed me.

My addiction wasn’t drugs or drinking, it was men. Finding a man was my ultimate goal, because I was tired of being alone. I already knew being a good wife would be something I’d do well. I wasn’t a selfish person and I was an excellent door mat. The desperation that consumed me was so bad that if you asked me to lay down on the ground so you could wipe your feet on me, I’d do it without even blinking an eye.. that’s how much I wanted for someone to see how great I was. How great I am…

At the age of twenty I had two kids, living in low income housing and completely clueless on how to take care of myself. I was blinded by insecurities and if I had a man, life would get better. I was failing to see that myself & my children were already being taken care of. I lived in that apartment for a little over a year on my own before my first husband came along. He was in the military, I was young and he was my way out of a really bad situation. That marriage had no love, no Jesus, no respect and even though he laid next to me every night, I was still alone.

After that marriage was over, I moved right on to my next relationship and after that one was over, well… you get my point.. It was a vicious cycle that just kept going. At one point, I came to the conclusion that all men are stupid, I give up! Two months into my path of rehabilitation, I found myself at home on a Saturday night and this commercial for a dating website came on. Then those stupid voices started back up into my head, “the man of your dreams is out there waiting for you. You’re going to find him and be blissfully happy.” I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next? I started thumbing through the catalog of available men trying to find prince charming. What I should have been doing was thumbing through the bible and getting to know the man that was already in my dreams… Jesus…

This is the part where it gets really hard because being transparent is something that needs to happen. The man I was married to has a beautiful soul, I didn’t see any of his imperfections, I didn’t see any of his pain, all I saw was someone that desperately needed to be loved just like I needed to be loved. Maybe, just maybe I won’t screw this up and if I love him hard enough he will see how great I am. His life wasn’t an easy life and right off the bat I knew what I was walking into. It didn’t matter though, because I saw his heart and so I tried to carry his burdens. I pushed myself to the side because he was more important, I had to save him… I had to save him so he could save me. My ability to love myself went away, my ability to feel joy went away, my ability to feel anything went away.

It got to the point where the thoughts of just going to sleep and never waking up were more satisfying than a box full of fluffy kittens. And if you know me, a box of fluffy kittens would have made my whole life. The first time I met Jesus up close and personal was the day my life changed forever. There was so much love coming from every direction that I didn’t know how to keep up with it. My eyes were starting to open to what life is supposed to be like. And wider my eyes opened, the more I realized the situation I was living in wasn’t a healthy one.

The more I tried to listen to God, the louder the voices got in my head to drown out his word. Those voices have been tormenting me for years. “You’re fat, no self respecting man would want to be seen with you on his arm. You’re fake, if they could only see what you’re like when no one is around. You only want attention.” Those voices were coming straight from the pits of hell and I was DONE listening to them. God released his light on me and he told me to walk towards him. I walked… and it’s been the hardest walk I’ve ever had to endure. The love I held in my heart for was so him pure, so real and it consumed me. God told me it was going to be okay as long as I trust him.

Since I’ve been on my own,I’ve experienced every emotion a person could have. Depression, anger, rage, hunger, snacks & drive thru restaurants. I may or may not have watched the note book a thousand times, but that’s for another time.

The point is, God needed me to stand here and give my testimony so I could reach out to women live and have lived in similar situations. It’s going to be fine and I know this because my Jesus is alive and well.

I surrender

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Do you remember your first memory? Think as far back as you can and what’s the first thing that pops up? My very first memory was my grandpa’s face. He was looking down at me with joy on his face and he was playing with me. My mom told me he would always come in before bedtime to tuck me in. She told me I was around the age of 3-4 when he passed away, but I remember him so vividly. I used to grab his face and ask him why he had salt & pepper all over his face. He would sneak me sips of beer when my mom wasn’t looking, so every morning when I woke up, I’d find myself at the dining room table drinking whatever was left over in his beer can.

I also remember the day he was buried… I hugged my mom’s leg and all I could see was a pile of dirt and a bunch of people crying. My little heart had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that the beer cans weren’t on the dining room table anymore, there was no more being tucked in and there was no more squishing his wrinkled salt & pepper face.

To give my true testimony, I must start at the very beginning, as far back as I can remember. God told me to write and that’s what I’m going to do. Growing up, I was a tom boy and I played with hot wheels & GI Joe toys. Many, many trees were climbed, tons of forts were built and it as always just me & my cousin Jeremiah. We fought over the TV, we stole each other’s toys but we were best friends. My mom was a single mother and she did amazing job being my mom. It has always been just here & I, So, growing up a lot of time was spent with my grandma.

My grandma was my best friend in the entire world. She had eyes on the back of her head, she was an excellent cook and we would talk for hours. Kids have a million & one questions a day and she answered every single one of them. She taught me about our family history, she told me what it was like when she grew up and she loved me. I was her favorite!

Around the age of fifth teen I got a little rebellious… Okay a lot of rebellious and I was shipped off to go live with my dad. It was the first time I had ever been away from my mom & grandma. My dad and I barely knew each other, I met him around the age of 10 and the only time I got to spend with them would be during the summer months. He lived in Massachusetts which meant I was a long way from Georgia, and I spent my second year of ninth grade in a high school with people I didn’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed living up there with my new family but that wasn’t my home.

It got to the point where my grandma was having some health issues, she had a heart attack at one point which lead to having a few major surgeries. So, when my mom called me to let me know she was having another surgery I wasn’t at all worried. My grandma was a superhero and there was no way she’d ever die. My mom had me flown back to Augusta since I was on spring break so I could visit. Grandma’s surgery was on Monday and I got there on Sunday. No one told her I was coming so being able to surprise her was such a blessing. I remember the look on her face as I walked into her hospital room and I also remember my mom & aunt leaving the room, they left me in there with her so I could spend quality time with her. It was like no time had passed, we talked & talked & talked & talked…. It was just like when I was little asking all my questions.

The next morning before the sun came up, all my family huddled around her hospital bed before they wheeled her off into surgery. All I could do was just stare at her as everyone kissed & hugged her. I was the very last one to kiss her and I will remember for as long as I live the final words, I said to her, “I love you grandma, I will see you soon.” She passed away during the surgery due to her lungs collapsing. My cousins & I were at my grandma’s house waiting for someone to call. My aunt Donna & Fritzie had pulled up first and they were crying, that’s when I found out she died but I didn’t believe it. My mom pulled up shortly after, the minute she got out of the car I seen it on her face. It was real… she was gone… and I felt like I had no one. There is so much to the relationship I had with my grandma and I grieved her for a very long time. She has always been a very hard topic to talk about with people, because I miss her so much.

SShortly after her passing I turned seventeen and moved back to Georgia. It was my sophomore year in high school, and I was boy crazy. It was time to fill that void, so I filled it with a bunch of weed & sex. I dropped out of high school and about 6 months later I was pregnant with my son. Since no one cared about me I just stopped caring about myself. I willingly gave myself to the flesh of this world without even batting an eye. Walking around this world existing was the only thing I knew to do. When my son was born, I was barely eighteen and I had no clue what to do. My mom worked her butt off to take care of me & her newborn grandson because having faith in myself to take responsibility wasn’t an option.

By the age of twenty, I had two kids & still completely clueless on what life should be like. I got my first apartment in low income housing and since I had no money, I didn’t have to pay rent. I lived off a small check, food stamps and determination to find a man so I could take care of myself & my kids. My self-worth was not a priority and all I wanted was a better life. If I could only find someone to love me then it would all be okay.

This was only the beginning on my path of self-destruction. Having to dig all this back up to share with you is going to be very difficult because there are things I don’t want to remember. I pushed it all way down deep inside hoping to never think about it again but the enemy keeps using it all against me and God knows I have a hard time talking about it but he also knew it would be easier to write about it. So here I am… I’m going to stay faithful to him because he’s always been faithful to me.

#iamawarrior

My man Jesus!

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Pastor Ray spoke about the three wise men at church Sunday. He talked about how long the wise men traveled to meet Jesus. It took them approximately two years, give or take, to reach him. When they met him for the first time, they worshiped him and gave him gifts because they knew he was their savior. My journey to Jesus took a bit longer than that, okay a lot longer but the result is unconditional love. So much love, that all I want to do is share it with somebody else. And this past Sunday.. God blessed me with that opportunity.

About three years ago, my friend Erica took me by my hand and walked with me through the doors of my new Church home. The moment I stepped foot into that Church it changed my life. Never in a million years did I ever think I would find myself siting in a pew on Sunday mornings. The more I went the stronger my cravings for the Lord became. I wanted to learn about Jesus and what his life was about. Don’t get me wrong, I went to church as a little girl, and I heard all the bible stories. Jesus was no stranger to me but truly believing in him was where I fell short.

So, here I am.. a total noob at this praising God thing and the desire to worship him just became stronger but the fear to show it overcame me. People all over the church would reach for the heavens, you could hear them all singing their hearts out and then there was this crazy lady that would stand up on the chair just so it would put her that much closer to reaching the Lord. (That’s a story in itself) Eventually I mustarded up the courage to tap my hand on the side of my leg and every now & then I would do the side to side swaying. There was no way anyone would catch my hands up in the air.

Now fast forward to present day, not only do I throw my hands up in the air, now I’ve gotten the courage to pray for people… in front of them… out loud. Praying has been my biggest hurdle. Lord knows I can talk a person to death but praying for them…. my brain flat lines. This anticipation builds up, I start thinking of cool stuff to say and my mouth opens… then nothing… just nothing! It’s so dumb! Why is it so hard to do?! Well, God chimed in and he said, “Just let me talk.” And he reminded me that I must keep walking forward with my prayer life so I can get closer to Jesus.

The past few Sundays at church during alter call I would stand up front if anyone needed prayer. The very first time I stood up there, my heart started pounding and I said, “Lord, please send me somebody easy.” I just wanted to pray for someone’s hurt toe or something like that! The more I got up for alter call the easier it got, but I would still ask God, “please just send me something easy.” This past Sunday, alter call came and up I went. This time I didn’t ask God for anyone easy. The spirit was all over me and I was ready to save the world. “Okay God, give it to me. I’m ready to do this!” Here came this lady, she grabbed me by the hand, and as I pulled her closer to me, I said, “How can I pray for you?” She started balling and buried her head into my shoulder. All I could do was wrap my arms around here and on the inside, I was freaking out! “What do I do Lord?!?! What do I say!!!!” I just opened my mouth and started talking, no clue what I said but after about 30 seconds my brain flat lined. She’s balling and I just kept hugging her! She needed to be loved on and that’s exactly why God sent her to me because he knew I would love her. God poured his blessings over both of us and I felt every bit of it. Even though I didn’t really say anything to her, I knew she could feel God’s arm wrapping around her and I was so blessed he picked me to witness it.

Prayer is what I feared the most, but it just takes practice. The more you stay faithful to your prayer life, the better it gets and I’m starting to see that now. Love wasn’t something I got a whole lot of and showing it to other people has always been a struggle. Now, I have no choice but to show people love because God keeps filling me up with it! It must go somewhere right?! My journey to Jesus is still a working progress but as my best good friend says all the time, “I’m not where I need to be but I’m sure not where I use to be.”

God is so good y’all! Open your heart and watch him work.

I am a warrior

About eight years ago, I was challenged to take a photo of myself every day for the month of November. To be honest, I didn’t want to do it, but because it was a challenge I just did it anyways. On the very last day, it was cold & rainy, I had no idea what to do so I just set up my tripod put my camera on self-timer & there you go. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized that this photo is a perfect reflection on how I’ve been living for a long time. It was dark, cold & I had no identity. I wasn’t allowed to have one…

My fears were preyed upon and used against me in a way that made me numb to reality. My very first blog I ever wrote spoke a lot about living a in a bubble of denial. Denial was my happy place.. it was the only place I felt safe from the boogey man. God laid on me to write and now I understand why, because the more I wrote about myself the more I learned about myself. When you start to realize that you truly are a good person, the enemy will press harder into you and he did… My heart truly believes that God led me to blogging because I needed you all to help me. If my fears, thoughts & feelings were put on blast then the enemy couldn’t use them against me anymore. By writing, I was setting myself free and God was working his way into my soul.

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love.” Fear loved me and I loved him. Now, after all these years I realize… that wasn’t love. Nothing about it was.. This photo was also taken during the selfie challenge eight years ago. Again, my camera was on a tripod and the self-timer was on. The light was in my hand and I just let the camera do all the work. The title for that photo was the darkness was overcoming me. If my eyes were open to the truth back then my story today would be different. When I look at this picture now, I see God’s light reflecting away the darkness.

We must surrender to God’s will and not lean on our own understanding. For so many years, the little voices in my head kept telling me I was a nobody. No one loves you… you’re fat.. you’re not very pretty.. everyone thinks you’re stupid. When I started writing, those voices started back up again. You are irrelevant, you’re insignificant, you don’t deserve to be loved in a real way, you brought this on yourself, you’re getting everything you deserve, no one is reading your words…. nobody cares about you… So I would post blogs all the time, then I would stop… I would post all the time, then I would stop… because I kept letting those stupid voices get to me.

The only light in my life was the church I attended. If it wasn’t for Pastor Ray feeding me the word, if it wasn’t for my friend Pam that kept holding me up, if it wasn’t for Christy that kept speaking truth into me and if it wasn’t for my friend Erica that held my hand as I walked into church willingly for the first time, fear would have overcame me and I wouldn’t be here to share my testimony. So many people played a role in my salvation but the most important person was God. He placed all these women in my path that just kept loving me and feeding into me.

There is an entire series of blogs & vlogs I plan to release over the next few months and the vagueness I tend to use will all be revealed. God is pressing into me in ways that are taking me out of my comfort zone. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” So, I’ve made my mind up, I’m giving you my entire heart.. it’s broken, battered and bruised… Please pray for me, even if you have no clue who I am. I need strength, guidance & peace to overcome my fears.

My prayer for the women who live in similar situations is that you know you’re worth it. God created you in your mother’s womb and if you doubt yourself then that means you are doubting God. I’ve doubted God for a very long time.

I am beautiful.. I am enough.. I am a warrior…

I’m getting in the chair

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My ability to feel my own feelings was taken from me, or at least that’s what I thought. It’s been up to me to trust in God by not living in my flesh. I wasn’t living for God, I am living for myself. Psalm 130:5 says, “I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.” I’m going to let you in on a big secret I’ve been carrying around for a very long time. I wasn’t counting on God to get me through the storms, I was counting on a figment of my imagination. I was waiting patiently for some miracle to fall in my lap and a lot of time was spent searching for the answer when I had the answer right in front of me… Jesus…

My prayer for as long as I can remember has been, “God, please help me. Reveal to me what I need to do.” He kept revealing what was being prayed for and I kept ignoring the obvious. So obvious that he was putting huge flashing signs right in front of my face and I will still wouldn’t listen to him. In my mind, I was putting all my trust & hope into the Lord. But day after day I continued to walk around in this fog like state. Not understanding what was really going on.

The word says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” Revelation 3:20. I keep writing about living for the Lord, I’m trusting him, I’m listening to him but it was all a bunch of lies. I figured if I could just keep saying it over & over that one day the words that were being said would finally come to life, but the version of reality I was living in was blinding me. God gives us all free will to choose what path we are going to walk down and how we are going to live our life.

“I’m getting in the chair” is the title of this blog and the link to that sermon is on the bottom of this post. I highly recommend watching it from beginning to end. The end of the video he tells a story about a father and son, the son doesn’t have the ability to walk or talk and was given the chance to communicate through computer technology. Through that technology the son told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5k run. His father wasn’t a runner so he trained by pushing 100 lb. sack in a wheelchair so he could push his son in the race. When the race was over, his son expressed that he felt free, long story short, his father continued to participate in these races with his son. Again, I encourage you to watch this sermon to hear the full story and basically the moral of the story is that we need to get in the chair and let God push us… so we can be free…

I on the other hand haven’t been sitting in that chair, it was decided a long time ago that I’m just not that worthy. Instead of just letting God talk to me, I put my fingers in my ears and gave up on trying to live life. When my eyes closed at night, I didn’t want them to open the next morning. Depression hit me hard and it was overcoming me in every aspect. The inside of me was screaming for help but on the outside, I just acted as if everything was okay. Every day was spent just going through the motions just hoping today would be better than yesterday. The longer I kept doing that, the harder each day got. There was a battle taking place that I just didn’t want to fight, so I just stood there with my arms open telling the devil to just come get me. I was a willing participant.. #butGod I may have been standing willing to let it all go but God said no ma’am. He stood in front of me taking all those daggers until I realized that life is worth living, especially when you live it for him. So, I got in the chair and I’m letting God push me.

Today God gave me the word for this blog. He said, just let me train you, let me mold you so you can see what I see. “Trust me” he said. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” My heart has been hurting for so long that I became dependent on that pain. Now, not to feel it anymore is something I have get used to..if that makes sense. Once I learn to organize my thoughts in a way you can understand this will all make more sense. At this point I’m letting God do his thing. A good friend told me, “when in doubt you stand still until God tells you to move.” I’ve hung onto those words ever since; those words have been my life line. It’s all in God’s timing and I’m slowly understanding what they mean.

My journey is only beginning and from this point forward I need learn how to put on my armor so I’m not a willing participant to fear. We all need to learn how to armor up, so we don’t fall victim to this world that is only temporary. Life sucks, it’s hard and it’s full of stuff that will bring you down. Even Jesus himself asked God, “Do I really have to do this.” Jesus took it all for us. He did it for us so he could show us it can be done. Stay strong, have faith and know that it will not always be like this. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

#justsayJesus

I can’t even..

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When I was in the ninth grade, (for the second time), I was tested, and I discovered that I had a learning disability. Basically, if you just stood in front of me and told me how to do something, my brain wouldn’t be able to process what you were saying. If you stood in front of me and just showed me how to do something, I would master it in seconds. My brain holds so much information that I can’t remember anything important like, where did I just put down my cell phone?.. It turned out that as a 16-year-old girl, my ability to learn by sight scored in the Albert Einstein range and my ability to learn by listening, well let’s just say that I am not smarter than a fifth grader. The devil knows that if I sat down to read my bible that I would learn so much and he knows how far I can go when I learn things. So instead of using my eyes, I use my ears and I listen to all the lies not learning a thing.

Right now, I’m not okay. I haven’t been for quite some time and in some ways, it was probably a good thing. I had to face the storm so I could be blessed by it. God blessed me with so much love that it was almost ridiculous. I mean I can’t even… I’ve let so much weigh me down for so long that I just didn’t think I could ever recover from it. When I tell you that I was hanging on by a string, I mean the string was on fire and I was hovering over a pit full of hungry alligators. For a good portion of my years here on earth, I have chosen to surround myself around people that don’t have nice things to say. Especially to me… I kept swiping it off my shoulder and “getting over it” because I thought I was strong enough to take it. Obviously, there is something way deep down that makes them say such mean things so, I’ll just sit here and take your words until you feel better. Well let me tell you where that got me… nowhere…

After a while, it just got to the point where the nice stuff came so far and in between that it was just harder to believe it. When you hear the mean stuff more than the nice it just means that something must be wrong with me right? Well maybe if I act this way then it will be better. Maybe if I just say this more then it will get better. My life has been filled with nothing but a bunch of maybes and I’m no longer going to stand for it. Jesus told me I didn’t have to do it anymore and I’m pretty sure he’s the one I need to be taking my instructions from.

I completely understand the meaning of forgiveness now. The enemy has stood in my way for so long and I let him block all my blessings. I can no longer keep letting that stuff weigh me down so I can receive the blessings that God has in store for me right now. All I can do is forgive and ask for forgiveness. Now I’m free… and now it means it’s about to get even harder for me. Tomorrow morning when I open my eyes, I must remember every word I just wrote, and I live my day for Jesus and for him only. Pastor Ray taught me that today, he started out saying that he was going to stomp on someone’s toes, and he stomped all over mine. Let me tell you, Pastor Ray.. he wears big shoes… Ouch!

Typically, you will find me in the sound booth at the Church I attend. When I do get to worship, I’ve found myself standing up front so I can throw my hands up in the air. I like being up front because everyone else is behind me and I can’t tell if they are judging me. I know.. it sounds stupid… Today was one of those days I got to stay on the floor, and I wasn’t up front. I stood in a row of chairs and looked at the screen the entire time. I didn’t dance, I didn’t smile… All I did was sway and cry… sway and cry.. I was so disappointed in myself because I had finally gotten to a point where I started to love myself and I started going backwards. I bought a pack of cigarettes a few weeks back and every puff I took I screamed at myself… STOP IT!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?! I didn’t listen, I just kept smoking them. Don’t worry, that phase was very short lived.

As I swayed back and forth all I could think was, God why do you love me so much? What about me is so special?.. Why me?… He said, “because I made you.” I felt so defeated today that I didn’t even know where to start. Church was over and I went straight to my car, my friend wanted to go to lunch and I turned her down. Came straight home and felt sorry for myself the rest of the day. I cried so much that my eye lids were folded over, I don’t even know how to explain it. I looked as if I had two black eyes and they were swollen. It was horrible… Then I just cried out for help and Lord have mercy the Army that God sent for me. They all came crashing down on me and told the devil to take his butt right on down the road. #butGod

I’m never going to start receiving the love God has for me until I learn to love myself. My friend Christina told me today, “God turns brokenness into beauty.” God is has taken my brokenness and he has taught me to share it with you, so you know that it’s not just you… Girl it’s me too! It’s all of us.. even the guys. God restored me is so many ways tonight and he will continue to do it every day. Every time someone tells me they love me; I’m going to believe them. Every time I tell someone I love them.. I’m going to believe me.

Lord,

It’s me Leah. I know you know me, I’m your favorite!…

Thank you for the struggles in my life, Thank you for the fear, the tears, the pain, the brokenness.. It brought me closer to you. I’m sorry… I’m sorry for not trusting you completely. Forgive me for keeping a part of my heart closed off. I spent so long believe that my words aren’t real, that my feelings were false, and my thoughts were wrong. I have failed you in so many ways, but you continue to encourage me. Lord, because of you, I can sit here and praise you. You give me all the time I need; you give me all the love I need, you give me all the attention because you made this world for me to enjoy. Through all the mess that goes on, you give me the free will to stop and enjoy the beauty of the brokenness. Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for all the love you poured out on me today. Thank you for never leaving me. I ask for strength Lord. A lot of it…

I love you..

I’m going back to my roots.

I want to go back to the very minute God put the word write in my head. When I was a teenager, I use to write a lot. Poems, short stories, songs, just whatever. I kept a journal and I wrote in it just about every day. The desire to move forward as a writer never occurred to me. Never in a million years would I ever imagine me trying to become known as an “inspirational” person. What would people find inspirational about me? There isn’t anything special about me, so why would you care?

Now that I think about it, God kind of nudged me into the writing career a few years back. A local magazine where I’m from asked if I would take pictures for them. Someone else would write the article but I would just take pictures. It ranged from local food reviews, to just taking a picture of someone they were writing about. One day I got an email, and this time instead of giving me my assignments, they offered me a spot writing about local businesses. I would go myself out and interview them &take their picture. No clue what I was doing but I said… okay… I did it a few times and they ended up selling the magazine to someone else. Even then, I didn’t really think about pursuing it any further and just like everything else, I just walked away from it.

Walking away is so easy for me. It’s easier to just forget about something rather than remembering it, especially if it’s something bad. I walked away from just about everything, because I didn’t think anyone would think I was good enough. Instead of just being rejected, I just became the person that would just reject you first. Photography was probably the only thing I really stuck with and the only reason why I’m not taking pictures now is because I don’t have a camera.

When I realized that Jesus didn’t find me but that I found him, my life started to change. Slowly but surely, I was starting to become the Leah he created. I was a total amateur at this whole loving Jesus thing and one night I was sitting still enough for God to whisper one word in my ear. He said, “Write.” It was the first time I truly ever felt the Holy Spirit and the first time I heard his voice.

I’ve given this testimony a few times, but the reason I keep going back to it is because I must remember that God wouldn’t have told me to write if he didn’t know I could change someone’s life with my words. My prayer is that if you are reading this right now and you don’t know who Jesus is, that it leads you to him so you can see exactly how beautiful his love is. Every day I struggle to stay true to his word because it’s so much easier to just walk away. Walking away is no longer an option! I’m going back to my roots; I’m going back to that night God told me to write and I’m going to keep writing about it until I can’t write no more.

Another thing that happened that night, is I raised my hands to worship him. I was sitting alone in my garage on a beautiful spring night listening to worship music. My playlist wasn’t very long but there was this one particular song that I played over and over again. The name of the song was Holy Spirit and when it came on tears formed in my eyes. I closed my eyes and instantly I could feel God’s arms wrapped around me. The wind started to wrap around me and I could just feel him there. My eyes were shut so tight but all I could see was his light. He was there and he was there for me, he left it all to come get me. At the exact moment I held my breath, all the thoughts in my head stopped long enough for him to whisper, “write.”

My first thought was, “write what?” That was on April, 29 2019 at 9:42 pm. and exactly one month later is when I wrote my first blog. I made a cheap free website and posted my first blog-ish. Tonight, I am re-writing that story because for you to know where I’m going, you have to know where I came from. I came from Jesus… No matter how many road blocks the enemy tries to throw in my path, I’m just going to keep over coming them until the day I don’t have to overcome them no more. When that day comes, all of this will be worth it. It will all be worth it, because there will be no more pain, no more fear, it will all just be a life of beautiful. Eternal life in heaven is what I will have.

There has been a lot of pain in my life and the majority I went through on my own. Never really talking about it, but I would always write in my journals. It was the only way I could release it because no one was around to listen to me. I didn’t think anyone would hear me, so I never reached out. My teenage years were very hard and when my grandmother died, I closed off from everything and everybody. If God didn’t exist, there is no way I would be alive right now. Many days that the idea of going to sleep and never waking up just seemed so much better. When I think back to some of the events that have taken place in my life, I see now that God has always been there even when I didn’t think he existed.

God was just a figment of my imagination; I knew all the stories, but they were just stories. My concept of what was real and what wasn’t didn’t coincide with one another. I put myself in a fantasy world filled with things that would make me happy. I used to call that my bubble of denial. Living a life of denial was so much better than what was really happening around me. It kept me sane! As a kid, if I didn’t have anyone to play with, well that was fine. Climbing a tree and pretending I was living in Africa watching baby elephants running around was a lot better than worrying about how many friends I didn’t have.

Now, friends are coming out of my ears. God has blessed me with so many good people that I can’t keep up with them all sometimes. As Pastor Ray said today, if you don’t know the word then hang around people that do and you’ll start to catch on. Was he ever right about that!! If I choose to surround myself with people who are debbie downers then I’m going to be a debbie downer. If I hang around people that are like, WOO HOO JESUS!! Then I’m going to be like WOO HOO JESUS!!! Now when I get around the debbie downers I share a little WOO HOO JESUS and I pray it rubs off!

God took my struggles and he made something beautiful out of them. Hearing what other people have gone through gave me hope that it’s going to be okay! Showing the love of Jesus can be as big or as little as you like. Giving your food to a homeless person or just helping a little old lady grab something on a high shelf at the grocery store is showing the love of Jesus. When God whispered that word in my ear, he gave me the ability to open my eyes and just enjoy the life he’s given me. If you are still enough, you can hear him too!

Remember, I came from Jesus and so did you…

It’s just me… Me & Jesus..

I closed my eyes on Sunday night and I opened them Monday morning a different person. Why was I different? Because I was alone for the first time in my entire life. I had only me… me and Jesus. This week I have been in a total fog and trying to piece my life together. By the grace of God, he has gotten me this far and I will depend on him to keep me going even further. God is picking up all the broken pieces and putting them back together one by one. So, where do I go from here? Another failed relationship, another reason to give up, more reason to look in the mirror and see nothing but failure.

When I opened my eyes on Monday, they instantly filled with tears. I prayed, “Lord, please give me strength.” I maneuvered around the unpacked boxes, the piles of clothes and all the memories I’ve carried around for ten years. My heart was heavy, it was broken and there was no hiding from the world like I’m use to doing when things get rough. Life wasn’t going to stop because I thought it was over and there was no way I was letting the enemy keep me down.

There has been so much that has taken place over the years and it all came down on me like a ton of bricks. I tell you right now, if I didn’t have Jesus in my heart.. I’d probably be in a bar looking for a warm body, needing fake assurance that I’m good enough to exist. Instead of going to the bar to feel pretty, I went to Church and felt loved. I know the choice I have made had to be done and I’m going to have to go through the emotions and i will come out cleaner on the other side. Jesus knows my heart and he knows who I am. He is the defender of my heart…

God has been giving me lots of hugs this week and one of the biggest hugs is my itty bitty kitty. I wrote a blog about him a while back. Ari was personally picked out and given to me by God himself. He never leaves my side and he knows when I need a hug, even right now as I’m pouring my heart out he’s laying right next to me. He’s helped this process be a lot more entertaining as he plays with all the papers on the floor and jumping all over the boxes. The night before last, I pulled my little chair into the living room just to sit and take a breath. As I turned to grab a blanket, didn’t take me more than 10 seconds… He already stole my chair.

As I found myself wandering through Walmart to get somethings I needed, I came across this little wax plug in that said “Enjoy the little things.” It was the only one on the shelf and I snagged it. It’s the little things in life that make me the happiest and that right there was little thing from God. My basket was filled with cute kitchen towels, a new comforter for my bed and just constant reminders that it’s going to be just fine. God knows that I use to love the little things in life and as long as I keep my eyes on him, he’s going to continue to bless me with a lot of little things.

Now that I am on my own, that means I have to do everything myself. Now it’s up to me to remember where I left my glasses, or my phone, or my keys, or my mind. When the air is low in my tire, I have to learn how to use the air machine. When I need to hang something in a high place, I now I have to figure it out on my own. Then God reminded me that he is here to help me. He will guide me to where I left my keys, he will hold me up as I hang up my pictures. The more I put into my new little space, the more it starts to fill with God’s presence and all I can feel is his love. The more I kept wanting to write about this, the more the enemy filled with me doubt. He wanted to hold me down and keep me away from filling my broken heart with God’s grace. I can’t do this on my own and I need help. By telling you being alone is one of my biggest fears, I’m stopping the devil in his tracks. Don’t look at me and say I’m so sorry, look at me and say.. Wow, but God! It’s him and only him is why I’m able to even share my words with you. Hiding under my blankets and pretending like the world doesn’t exist is what I really wanted to do.

It’s time to trust what God has planned and it’s time to be faithful to it. We stumble & we fall but he picks us up. When we thought we lost ourselves, he finds us. I checked out on life a long time ago and didn’t even realize it. Walking around doing what I do and not a bit more than that. Thinking I was being faithful to the Lord when in fact I was further away from him than I realized. I wasn’t living for him, I was living for my flesh. The Lord was convicting me every day I walked in lies. Every smile I planted on my face so people couldn’t see the truth in my eyes, every tear I hid from my friends, every scar I had on my heart but I covered them up with jokes and every time I told you I was fine, I wasn’t. Just when I thought all was lost, God swept right in and he grabbed me. He left the 99 and he came for me because he knew I had a purpose to fulfill and that purpose is my testimony.

Days to come are going to be very hard but I will persevere by staying faithful to the one and only man that has stayed true to me. That man is Jesus…

Lord,

It’s me… Leah. I come to you right now and I ask you for forgiveness. Forgive me Lord for not trusting you sooner. Forgive me that I checked out on my life, on my friends, on my kids and I kept listening to the lies. I kept listening to fear and it over came me. Please forgive me. I pray for your grace and your mercy, I pray that you help me put one foot in front of the other to go out and do your work. Lord through my hurt, my tears and my brokenness, help me shine my light that you’ve given me. Help me be a better me, help me be a better mother, help me be a better friend. You are the man I want to serve and through you I want to show people what your love has done in my life. I lost myself and you helped me find me again. You were always there and you will continue to be there. Lord I love you and I’m so thankful that you picked me to be Leah…

Amen

My Girls!

She’s my favorite!

I’ll tell you one thing, if ever you find yourself in a hard patch. My prayer for you is that you have a tribe of women that are there holding you up. I have blogged a few times about a few women that hold a special place in my heart. There are so many I don’t know where to start! God has blessed me with so many good people that if I felt how much these women actually loved me, it’d probably kill me! My last blog, I’m broken, was a release for me! “Boldness” has been the word of the week for me. I keep hearing that word from everyone. They all tell me they wish they could have the same boldness and my reply to them is, “Why can’t you?” Seriously… why can’t you? It’s because of you that I gained my boldness. You showed me the love of Jesus and I wanted to show the world my light too!

In the first picture, this is my friend Tamara. She holds a special place in my heart. She is my favorite person in the whole wide world! I didn’t give her a chance the first time I met her but God knew I needed her and she needed me. My dear friend Tamara has a smile on her face from ear to ear because she knows that every day she’s alive, it’s a good day. There is nothing to be mad about! Currently, my friend is struggling with a mountain but she knows that she will make it to the other side. She told me today that I probably wouldn’t have wanted to see her a couple days ago. I reminded her that no matter what she was doing or what she looked like, she would still smile at me and I’d never know anything was wrong with her. I absolutely adore her.

First impressions aren’t something I’m typically good at. When I’m nervous, I start with the joking sarcasm. I’ve managed over the years to put a filter over my mouth, but I can’t seem to manage putting one on my facial expressions.

She’s my rock and my favorite!

The next picture is my friend Pammmmm! (You totally just said it out loud in your head.) I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that woman was placed on the earth solely for me. She is mine, you can’t have her! My life can not go on unless I have Pam. Jesus lives in her heart 24/7 so I get the best of both worlds at the same time! The first time I met her, she didn’t like me. She thought I snubbed her and she’s right I did. She met me at my very worse. I knew who Jesus was but he probably didn’t know me. She needed me just as much as I needed her but we were both so lost that we couldn’t see why. Thank you Jesus for giving me a second chance! She mothers the crap out of me but she will tell you that I am her rock.

She gets me!

She tried for the longest time to get me to go to church with her. The church she attended was one of those big stadium ones and there was no way I’d be caught dead around that many people. God willing, she did try to get me to go to church. The next picture is my friend Erica and it was her hand I held as we walked into the church that I now call home. The minute I laid eyes on her, it was love at first site. She is my favorite and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. She was my light in the world when all I saw was darkness. The very minute when I called Jesus into my heart she was right there at the alter with me holding my hand. She said to me, girl all you have to do is say it. Just say, “Jesus.” I love you.

She is my favorite!

This lady right here, I love her and she loves me. There we were… she said these very words to me, “Do you want a wedding?” My answer to her was, “Well yea.” And wow did she throw me a wedding. I can’t even right now… this woman could rule the world with her hands tied behind her back. Scoot over Jesus here comes Jan! She will tell you right now she’s got this! She is the strongest person I’ve ever met in my life and I know a professional arm wrestler that appeared in sports magazines in Europe. The first time I met her, I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. She’s going to kill me for saying that but I’m sorry it’s true. She knows everyone. We could be stuck on a deserted island but I wouldn’t be scared because she probably knows one of the native islanders. If they didn’t know her well… they will. She is my favorite!

Remember the professional arm wrestler I was telling you about?! Well this is her. Folks, meet my friend Nicole. This girl right here knew me when I didn’t even know myself. To say that she’s my favorite would be an understatement. There aren’t words to describe the pure, natural beauty that radiates from her. Whoever Jan doesn’t know, well Nicole knows them. The girl puts Glam in Glamorous! One Sunday during the announcement portion of our church service. My duty at Church is the sound booth, which puts me above the congregation so I have the best view in the house. The Pastor’s wife was talking about a concert that was taken place of a man that ministers to prisoners. At that exact moment it was being talked about, here comes Nicole looking fabulous… in her black and white striped dress. It was like she was the spokes model for prison ministry. She’s just casually strolling through Church finding a place to park it, totally unfazed. I’m looking like a dork laughing to myself. I guess you just had to be there… I love her!

There are so many more to write about and trust me I will. It’s a series I would like to continue with and the reason why is because you need your sisters. Whoever you are reading this blog, if you don’t have women in your life that make you better then please go find some. Trust God and watch what he will do. Regardless how often I see them it doesn’t matter, they know I love them and I know they love me.

Pray for your sisters! God reminds me on a daily basis to pray. Stop & take a moment and thank him for what he’s done. Just like you need to know that you are important to someone. He needs that from us too! He is God and he does have feelings and it blesses him when he knows we care about him.

Stop listening to the lies that the enemy tries to instill in you. God places people in your life for a reason. Remember that he gives us free will and just because he places these people in our lives doesn’t mean he makes the road to a beautiful friend an easy one. No matter what it is they did to hurt your feelings, no matter what they say behind your back. It doesn’t matter… It does… not… matter. They all can’t love you at the same time all the time, but it’s up to us to make sure to band together and tell the devil to go straight to hell.

Pray for your sisters! I love you all and thank you for it all.

#youareboldtoo #girlpower #Jesusisrealyall #yougetme