I am broken…

When I don’t want to be seen, it’s when I want to be seen the most. When I run and hide from the world, I just beg for someone to reach out to me. These past few weeks have been hard for me and the harder it got, the more I started listening to the whispers of deceit. Choosing to play video games was a lot more fun than glorifying God for all the blessings he has given me. Becoming one with my flesh because I allowed other people to let me think I was fake, unworthy and an attention seeker. I’ve believed those lies my entire life and right now as you read my words, I am declaring in the Jesus name that the enemy is a friggin’ liar! It doesn’t matter what the days ahead have in store for me because I have Jesus on my side.

I used to be scared to show people that I loved Jesus. When I would see people praise the Lord all I could think is man that looks like it feels good. I wasn’t judging them; I was saluting them. How do I get there?!?! Well God said, “Leah, just hang on because it’s about to be a bumpy ride!” By staying as faithful as I possibly could to him, he continues to give me the courage to persevere through the storms. It’s okay to tell you that I’m not okay right now. Just because I have Jesus in my heart doesn’t mean I portray to be this perfect well together person. I’m not trying to fake my way through life by planting a smile on my face. I am merely showing you the love of Christ because no matter what life throws at me, he is a great reason to keep smiling.

People misconstrue me quite often and it use to bother me but now it makes me laugh. I’ve come to learn that not everyone thinks like me and sometimes there will be people that just flat out don’t like me. It’s okay really… I’m still praying for you because in heaven we are going to be BFF’s! Saying that I “dealt” with rejection is an understatement, I wasn’t dealing with it because I let it get the best of me. If I did deal with it then I’d probably be writing more than blogs by now. The only thing that stood in my way was myself. For every person who thinks I’m an idiot, there are ten people who think I’m pretty cool! There is an even bigger person that knows I’m cool and that’s God! His opinion is the only one that matters.

What it all boils down to is, keep trusting in the Lord. Don’t laugh at that statement, don’t say “You don’t know what I’m going through”, don’t roll your eyes and DON’T think that there isn’t any hope. Staying hidden away did nothing but hurt me even worse. Staying in bed rather than taking care of my kids, smoking weed instead of cleaning my house, letting other people pay my bills because I was too lazy to get a job. I’ve done unthinkable things just trying to get through life because I was too stupid to open my eyes and know that the Lord had my back.

Thinking back from where I was and where I am now isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen but like my dear friend tell says all the time. “I’m not where I need to be but I’m sure not where I use to be.” It’s a daily struggle for me sometimes and some days I feel like going on isn’t an option. The more I thank God for getting me through each day the easier it is to get through them. The more I praise the more the devil loosens his grip because good will always prevail over evil. The God I serve is so much bigger than hateful words, mean looks, whispers behind the back, judgement or rejection.

It seems to me that the more I try to be right with God the more my life seems to “fall apart” so to speak. While my life crumbles on the inside, the outside of me wants to take on more responsibility as a Christ follower. My whole thought process is, take something that is going wrong in your life and use it to glorify God. There is a woman that recently came into my life that is a true inspiration to me. The woman was losing her home y’all! She was down to the last three hours of being removed from her house and she’s all like, “God is so good!” The world needs more of that, the more you love and the more you trust, the less the world brings you down.

Recently, a lady left a comment on one of my signing videos that wasn’t very nice. The moment I read her words; they went straight to my heart. The whispers of the enemy turned into screaming. God whispered in my ear and told me to stop it. Her comment has now given me the motivation and brought of tons of ideas of future videos I’ll be posting! Shut it down and the enemy scurries away with his tail between his legs. Here lately I’ve let a lot of negative things consume my mind, words that are being spoken stick to me. If I keep hearing the same thing over then it must be true right? Lies…

If every person on this planet had the same mind set, then it would be boring. Everyone has a talent, something they are good at. The reason why we are miserable with our flesh is because we aren’t feeding it good things. Waking up and scrolling through Facebook isn’t going to make your start your day. I know because I’m guilty of it. Listening to my music and reading one verse in the bible would get me going a lot quicker than the typical drama you read every day on social media. Now, I fill my news feed with motivational words because I realized that it’s my responsibility to change my own situation. I control what I read, I control what I hear, and I control what I see.

When you submit to God and just sit still for a minute, he will fill you up with his love. I’m currently siting outside with my laptop listening to my praise & worship music. God has been talking to me through this entire blog and at one point I stopped, put my hands in the air and he just surrounded me. The wind blew all around me, I could fill his arms around me and I know he is proud. My goal from right now on is to keep pressing through, keep my head up and I’m going to keep on trucking down the path God is laying down for me.

The more I serve the Lord, the less the enemy must hold against me. God has placed people in my life that know when to reach out when they don’t hear from me. They know to be nosy when I get quiet, they know to drop by when I don’t answer the phone. They don’t give the enemy the option to get to me because that is what we do for one another. We stand up and fight for each other when one of us is falling. Half the time the one that fell before you soften the blow because they caught you on their way back up. It’s an endless cycle of love once you submit to it.

My name is Leah Riffe and I’m here to tell you that it will be okay. I promise!

#Godissogood #Jesus #Godsloveisreal #praisehim #healmeLord

My face when someone tries to tell me I’m not good enough!

Three, Three, Three… Three!

God places people in your lives for a reason. Sometimes to annoy us, sometimes to strengthen us and sometimes to make us laugh. I’d like to think I hold all three of those traits and then some. Having friends was never my strong suit and now God has given me a gaggle of them. Some of these women have helped me get to where I am today.

We all need those kinds of friends that hold us accountable in a loving way, not a judgmental way and we need someone in our lives that we can just be still with. I intend to write about each one of them but right now I must talk about the woman who made me love her. No seriously, she didn’t give me an option not to love her. She decided I was to be a part of her life and I got put into the BFF club! God knew I needed someone to teach me how to be transparent and he placed the most transparent person there is in my life.

Having great friends in my life has always been a challenge for me. Girl drama was very real going through school and I have to say as an adult the drama makes me miss high school. I went through different phases in school until I figured out that just being myself was perfectly fine. If people didn’t like it… well then you’re missing out! The more people shunned me, the deeper in hiding I went and I am perfectly content with being a loner…. well at least I thought so. And God showed me different.

When us women ban together and act like we all are on the same team, the enemy starts to shed a little tear, and it infuriates him. The enemy waits for us to get alone and he starts to whisper in our ear and the longer we listen the more we believe what he says. She’s not your friend, she talks behind your back, what will they think of me, they think I’m fat, why can’t I be more like her… It will eat you alive and I have fallen victim to it. Then my heart opened up for Jesus to come right on in and WOW! Just wow!…

I often hear people say that Christians have it easy. I had it easier when I wasn’t one. A very wise man once told me that we perceive the devil the wrong way. We think hell is this fiery pit but, in all reality, hell is the opposite of Heaven. The opposite of everything is nothing. Hell is nothing and I’ve lived a good portion of my life being nothing. At one point in my life, my depression was so bad that the hardest choice I made was picking something on Netflix. The enemy held me down in bed so I wouldn’t be out there shining the light of Jesus. Well guess what, here I am. I’m showing you my light.

There is no way I could have gotten here without God or without my friends. My favorite BFF needs me just as much as I need her, she has my back whenever I need her and she tells me on a daily basis how ridiculous I am. Even when I tell her not to call me, she calls me. When I tell her I don’t need anyone, she says to me, “No ma’am!” Things come out of her mouth that are sometimes hard to take but truthful. God also knew that she also needed me because she’s ridiculous too!

Luke 6:31 tells us, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” I fail at this every day and every day I strive to do the best I can to show the love of Jesus. It’s hard sometimes but the Lord always blesses me when I succeed. You know why? Because once I get past the lies of the enemy, I make a new friend. That’s so much better than having an enemy. When we befriend the people, we think don’t like us or we think that we don’t like them, we kick the devil in his fat stupid head. Guess what, #lovewins

It’s so hard for people to be nice sometimes. The Jesus in me gets tested on a daily basis but I now make it a point to bring a smile to a face that seems sad. The proof is in the pudding folks, try it and see for yourself. Take a moment to just be nice to a complete stranger and just watch what God will do. The person behind you at the drive through, buy their meal. The person in line counting change to buy some milk, swipe your card. A lady sitting on a bench with a defeated look on her face, give her a simple gift. Watch what God will do! I learned that from my friend.

The first time I’d ever met my friend, she was barefooted dancing on a chair… at Church… I instantly liked her. She had this mean mug look about her and you instantly knew back in the day she was the girl you wanted to have as a friend and not as an enemy. But right past that mean mug was something even more scary. It was truth… and I didn’t know it at the time but she was going to be the one that poured a lot truth into me. Pretty sure she realizes now that she bit off more than she could chew with me, but don’t worry because now I’m her favorite!

Showing people my heart was the scariest thing in the world for me to do. My way of hiding my feelings is to be funny because I don’t want to bring you down. You don’t want to hear my sob story. Then my favorite BFF came along and she listened to my sob story. When I was done crying… she looked at me in my face and spoke truth into my soul. She was raw & real and it hurt but I needed to hear it. That was the moment I started to love her willingly. Up until that point, it was pretty touch & go. Now I strive to be just like her when I grow up. The thing I love the most about her is everyday she tells me, “I don’t know why I’m friends with you.” Then I hold her accountable by reminding her that she totally asked for it.

As I stated before, making friends was never my strong suit. Once I had more than two or three I started to panic because I was afraid I couldn’t keep up. I’ve come to know that just because you don’t see someone all the time doesn’t mean they don’t love you. And it also doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Now I cherish every moment I get to spend with these women God has blessed me with. Pretty soon, I will get the chance to see all of them at one time and we will be serving the Lord which will make it even better.

Often, I wonder was it really all worth it? So many years, so many opportunities just passed by me. Too scared to take them.. The more I write the more I realize that if I never went through struggles then there’d be nothing to write about and testify that God is very much real and he saved my life. He saved my life by putting women in my life that are hold me up when I want to just fall.

Proverbs 19:20 tells us, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”

Once, I referred to some of my friends as “professional Christ followers”. Those are people I consider the wise ones. They know the Bible, they know how to pray, they know how to pray out loud, they throw their hands up in the air. Then the more I got to know them, the more I realized we were all amateurs! We were all struggling in all areas spiritually and I was now becoming apart of an Army that was going to stomp on the devils head. Man, oh man are we showing him who’s boss!

#Iloveyoumore #3333 #Godissogoodyall #justsayJesus

I just want to love Jesus..

About a year ago, a ministry at my church was started and it’s called the Silent Praise Team. We basically praise Jesus with our hands and not with our voices. We let the Holy Spirit completely take over and praise him like it’s our last time.

It’s meant so much to me to be a part of God’s vision and it’s brought me out of my comfort zone. If my job in heaven will be signing to music all day then I’ll take it. I’m not afraid to stand in front of people and praise God but I’m afraid of doing it where people can really see me. I don’t stand on the stage, I will stand on the floor.

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of serving at a women’s retreat. Despite what was going on in their lives, we all got together and served the Lord together. That weekend changed my entire life and that weekend God blessed me with a new friend. That weekend would be the very first time I would use sign-language(ish) to a song. Prior to this performance, I listened to that song 647 times a day. MINIMUM! Driving down the road, my hands were going everywhere. It’s so bad that to this day, I still can’t listen to that song without signing to it. God also blessed me with the best group of ladies in the whole wide world to serve with. We all had our parts to learn and I guarantee you, many of us were driving down the road with hands going all over the place. #hollyballpartnersforlife

Up until this point, I was so determined to nail that song that I had zero time to be nervous about it. It was by the grace of God that I didn’t pass out right there in front of everyone. The enemy tried to instill fear into me and there was NO way he was going to get in the way of that Holy Ghost high. I tell you what, we killed it. After it was all said and done, a woman that I barely knew but apparently knew me ran up to me, she gave me the best hug ever and told me that was my calling… that was when Jesus gave me my purpose. To praise him! Praise him the ways I know how to and don’t hold back.

“They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.” Deuteronomy 6:5

It’s not just new every morning for me, it’s new for me every minute of the day. God shows up in a matter of seconds, I pray for the day I don’t have to worry about anything anymore and just sign for the Lord. To the same song… over & over again. Just when you think the song is over, it just keeps going. Forever!

As the weekend went on, I had another encounter with this new friend. She was laying on her face trying not to be mad at God. She loved him so much and she was fighting the enemy with everything she had. I was completely clueless on what exactly her struggle was at that moment because I didn’t realize who she was yet. I’d had only heard wonderful things about her and I knew a little of her story, but I hadn’t met her face to face yet. Just sitting on the floor next to her, I could feel the angels around her. The heaviness of her tears was tearing me up and the only thing I knew to do was try to make her laugh. She picked herself up off that floor with snot, makeup & whatever was on that floor, but she shined with the light of Jesus. What do I do? Lick my fingers like I was going to mama spit clean her face. Y’all should have seen the look she gave me! She knew me but she didn’t know me like that. I’m her favorite now so it’s cool.

After that weekend was over, we all piled in our cars and headed on the long journey home. Now, if you have ever spent a weekend with the Holy-Spirit, then you will know what a day of rest really means. As time went on, I knew God was pushing me to start my own team. No idea what I was doing but trusting the Lord is what “they” tell me to do and that’s what I did.

As time went on, I got to know my new friend and realized quick that she was my favorite. She has taught me a lot in the short time I’ve known her. When I found out who she really was then it made me love her even more. Prior to that weekend, her son went to be with Jesus. Not too much longer, her grandson went to be with Jesus. Through it all, the enemy has tried to use this against her, and God used it to empower her. When I find myself randomly smiling, I look around and there’s my friend. The joy of the Lord shines so bright that you feel it before she even comes in the room.

The Lord blessed me one night with watching her sign along with her daughter. That moment gave me the courage to really go to the next level with the ministry God called me to. I just want to praise Jesus, I don’t want to be seen but you have to see me and that terrifies me sometimes. This world can be so judgmental sometimes. As tough as I try to be, sometimes it cuts right through me. Then I remember what a very wise woman told me once. God never wants you to feel pain, sorrow or heart ache. God is love, he is joy, he is peace. He is calm… He is still…

Each day I wake up and I just want to be faithful to the Lord. Each day, I gain more courage to step out. God blessed me with my new friend. Through her ministry, I was able to give a piece of my testimony and guess what. I was standing on a stage praising the Lord. I love you my friend!

#blesstheLord #Ilovedunkindonutscoffeenow #Godissogoodyall

Jesus Loves you but…

My little room

Jesus loves you, but I’m his favorite! That is a bumper sticker that was bought for me by someone who really knows me. That person took one look at that bumper sticker and he said, “Yep, I’m going to buy this for my wife!” He grabbed that sticker with a smirk on his face because he knew it was going to make me smile! And boy did he win that day! I strive to be everyone’s favorite. I want you all to know that you are my favorite too. Each person reading this blog, even the ones I don’t know and have never met you. I want you to know that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, where you’ve been, how dark and sadistic it was, how horrendous, how shameful, how dirty, how sick & twisted….. it doesn’t matter. It …. does…..NOT…. matter. You are loved, Jesus loves you… I love you. I pray blessings over you right now.

Being transparent isn’t an easy thing to do and it’s become my new favorite word. Recently, I gave my testimony to a room full of women. I don’t know how many were there, but it was more than five! All my friends were dropping like flies that day. No one could come and I the enemy got up all in my ear telling me that they didn’t care about me. That gave me even more motivation to kick him in his mouth and I let it out. I sort of remember what I talked about but what I do know is I felt some freedom. God told me, “Hey Leah, I’m proud of you!!!”

That’s what these blogs are for me. I’m letting it out because maybe through my words, you can see that it’s okay. It’s okay! No matter what your day was like, you just thank God that he got you through it. Now rest your eyes child, because tomorrow is going to be another day. Armor up! I may be dis-liked, I may be loved even more. Being your favorite is my ultimate goal of this because then you fill that love of Jesus and then you go and spread the good word!

You are the only one that can change your situation. It took my mom having to kick me out of the house and I spent one week sleeping in my car before I realized that it was time to grow up. Thankfully she took care of my son for me during this one week but that’s all it took. I moved into this low income apartment. I had two kids that depended on me and I was a selfish person. My mind set wasn’t ready for mother-hood Dylan was a tad under 3 and Ali was barely walking. Had no idea what the hell I was going to do. I had some donated furniture, a hand full of groceries in my refrigerator and maybe ten dollars in my pocket. I had no job but I had food stamps & a $300 a month child support check.

My first husband came into the picture when I was around the age of twenty-two. He wasn’t what I would call a Godly man, but he taught me a lot about life and it meant not having to live in a roach infested apartment anymore. Love wouldn’t be the word I’d use to describe that marriage, but I learned a lot. He was very smart, and I paid attention. My dating/relationship history isn’t the best, but I have some great memories & very funny only share with your girlfriend stories!

At a young age, my children didn’t get the best of me. By the time they started school, I was married in a nice apartment and I had dinner on the table every night by five. Cupcakes were made for every class party and homework done every night. I love my babies more than myself and I kick myself in the butt every day that I didn’t show them that in a physical way. Keeping people at arm’s length was my thing and my kids fell victim to that as well. Thank God for Jesus because now we have awesome bonds! They know I’m momma bear and I will still beat the mess out of them if they act up.

If I could describe a scene from a movie to describe my mother hood experience, it would have to be this. Picture you must a lady standing at the river’s edge with two kids. Our lives depend upon getting to the other side and the only way to get there is jumping from rock to rock. Just when I think I’m going to fall into the water, I some how manage to make it to the next rock. That’s because God has been holding me up this entire time. I didn’t know it but he was there through it all.

Laying in a dark room use to be my weekend plans and now sleeping past 7 am is considered sleeping in. My days use to start angry and end in tears. Now my days are filled with lots of smiles and ends with peace. My relationship with God gets stronger by every minute. The only way my situation was going to change was by taking the first step on the path of Jesus. No matter what my day holds, no matter what the enemy throws at me, I will hold my head up high and let the light of Jesus shine through me. Each day I vow to make it the best I can.

By giving my testimony and being transparent, it’s to glorify God. I do it for him because it’s the least I can do for a man that loves me like Jesus does! Because of his love, I can now show it to other people. My life was spent in fear of showing love, but I have to repent that I have a hard time showing it to people that really know me. I love on complete strangers all the time when no one is looking at me. I’m still scared the people I love the most won’t love me back. Most of the time I feel like I don’t deserve their love.

One day I will grow more confidence in myself to write more than a 5 minute read. It’s better to give you my heart is short doses because I can be a bit much sometimes!

#Godislove #thankyouJesus #idoitforyou

I met Jesus at a pond!

My pond!

One of my favorite places in the whole wide world is this pond that sits in the middle of nowhere. It’s surrounded by trees, it’s hidden, it houses many different creatures and at night you can hear frogs. It’s my pond! Well, I don’t own it but it’s my pond. This pond holds a very special place in my heart. I met Jesus at this pond!

My short-term memory is so bad that it affects my short-term memory. But there have been moments throughout my life that will always stick with me no matter what. The Pastor at the Church I attend gave an awesome sermon about being stuck in the mud. Walking away that Sunday, I felt convicted because I’d been stuck in the mud for a very long time. I have lived my life content for thirty-one…. okay thirty-eight years. When Jesus came into my life, I started feeling less content with each passing day and I started to feel worthy. Putting myself out there for people to see started to feel necessary and it started to feel like I had a purpose. #fearlesstribesisters

It wasn’t easy getting to this point in my life. Three years ago if you asked me if I would be posting blogs on the world wide web, my answer would have been hell to the nah, nah, nahhhhh! Sitting around a table full of women changed my perspective on how the world can be when you turn the lights on. The light of Jesus that is! I’ve never shared my story truly with anyone because I feared that I wasn’t good enough. I know… everyone feels that way. You’re right! But it affects everyone differently and it matters how it affects you.

The day I got baptized was a day that wasn’t expected. What I thought would be just a typical day turned out to be the day God gave me three women that blessed me more than I could have ever imagined. I attended a women’s retreat one weekend at a place called Rocky Creek Christian Retreat. It’s in the middle of the woods, no cellphone signal, no sound of the highways. Just you, the frogs and the peach of the Lord. A chest cold almost prevented me from being able to go, but I drugged myself for two days and slept it off the best I could. What was supposed to be a very small walk to see some flowing creek turned out to be a 2,000 mile okay 2 mile walk and just in case I forgot to mention, this was a hot Georgia day in the middle of the woods with water. It was HOT!!

There was a group of us ladies during that very long walk and I was falling behind the herd. That chest cold was kicking my butt and I was very out of shape. Two of the ladies stayed back with me and that was the start of two very special friendships. At the end of this hike through the jungle, one of them said to me, “See we weren’t lost, we were going the right way.” At that moment, my mouth opened, and I said, “Maybe that is what God has been trying to tell me. I may have been taking the long way in life, but I’ve always been going the right way.” Not really sure where that came from, but it was awesome! By George, I think I just found Jesus!

Then I made up my mind that I was getting baptized, that day… in the pond… That was the day I went down into the mud dirty but I came up clean. Two very special ladies were right there in the water with me as I got baptized and was my gift straight from God. He knew the road I was getting ready to go down would be harder than the one I just got off of and he knew I needed strong people in my life to keep my straight. He didn’t just give me two of them, he gave me an entire army of people who love & pray for me.

As a person that loves Jesus very dearly, I find myself in a daily struggle. There is always something that comes along daily that tests the Jesus in me. My daily commute use to be nothing but interstate. There is nothing like angry driving at 80 mph hour and have someone driving 60 in the left lane. If I had to touch my brakes on the highway, then you were in my way and I needed you to get over as quick as possible. If you didn’t, I bullied you out of my way. That is why I like SUV’s, they are scary when you see them hurling at you in the rear-view mirror. No explanation on why I was in such a hurry, showing up early to work was my thing. It was just pent up anger I was taking out on my fellow commuter.

My job was very stressful and my boss wasn’t easy to work for. The only good thing about it was that I made a lot of money. God blessed me with a new job that didn’t involve having to drive on the interstate and was just eight minutes down the road. The money wasn’t great but it gave me co-workers that love Jesus just as much as I do! My boss is very much awesome to work for because he loves Jesus too!

My bad days use to out weight my good days and then God put his hands on me. Now my good days are starting to out weight my bad ones. There was a moment recently that I fell to my knees and I said God please help me. I can’t do this alone… My nights were sleepless, my eyes were puffy and my appetite had vanished. Life wasn’t being very kind to me at the moment and it took everything I had not to curl up in a ball and disappear. The enemy had me all to himself and he was taking advantage of his time with me. He’d get me almost to the point of total control, I’d pick up my phone and use my call a friend lifeline. I find myself going through a season that is scary & very hard to understand. God told me I need to be still and let him do his thing.

When each day ends, I try to take a moment and just thank Jesus for getting me through it. Thank you Lord for helping me get through today! Life sucks some times and can be very unfair. Trying to remember what the grand prize is all this is all said and done is the only thing that gets me through most days. Recently, I got to stand next to my pond and remember the day I was cleansed by the blood of the lamb. I’ve walked many miles on my journey with God and I have a lot further to go but what I can say is I’m not where I need to be, but I’m not where I use to be.

#Godislove #iloveyoumore #Jesus

She is my favorite!

Lord have mercy do I come from a line of hard-headed women! This picture is the first time since I don’t know when that all sisters were in a picture and smiling together… at the same time! That is three generations of Deslandes/Rousseau women right there. So, in my defense… I get it honestly!

I tell each one of my aunts that they are my favorite. Because they are, all in the own special way. Starting from left to right, I’m going to give you the cliff notes on each one of them because each one of my split personalities represents all of them.

My Aunt Joyce is the one that is always concerned about you, she will love you even when she doesn’t love herself. She will make sure you are taken care of before she takes care of herself. She taught me to always love first and cry later. The one thing I love most about her she’s always so happy to see you and it sure does make me happy to see her. She is one of my favorites!

Skip over two people and that is my mom. I’m going to get back to her in a second. The next lady is my Aunt Becky, she puts up a tough front and it kinda scares you a little but once you get past that part, she has such a creative and sophisticated brain. My favorite part about her is that she could give two hoots what you think about her because she knows she’s fabulous. She taught me all of that. She’s my favorite! *wink wink*

The next one over is my Aunt Donna! She is the photographer of the family and she taught me how to see the beauty in this world. When I was a little girl, my grandmother and I would go visit her. She’d take us on car rides through the mountain roads and she’d make me fruit smoothies. Not just any kind of fruit smoothie, the fruit came from the garden she had in the back yard. She taught me the significance in the things God put on this earth for us. She is my favorite too!

My Aunt Vivian is the next one over and she had the best songs for everything situation. “I can’t wait to get home to get my pajamas on.” She had a car that was a smaller version of a station wagon. Maybe some sort of hatch back type of car. I’m pretty sure it was some sort of family gathering and all us cousins piled up in her car. When you are a kid, it’s fun to sit in other spots of a moving vehicle and I had to share the hatch back part with one of my cousins. It started off fun but about an hour later I felt like the walls were closing in. The next morning, my Aunt Vivian made us maple brown sugar oatmeal, I dared my cousin to dip a Dorito in his oatmeal and eat it. Not only did he do it but he then dared me to eat one and it was actually pretty good! My aunt was always so fun to be around, she has such an outgoing personality. She will always be my favorite.

My Aunt Friztie is the last one in the picture. She taught me about Jesus and she was the nurturing one. I spent a lot of time with her as a kid because she was the mother of my cousin Jeremiah and the two of us were inseparable as kids. She was the strict, rule enforcer mom! But she did it with love and taught me discipline. Random story time… As kids, I spent a lot of summers at the lake with my cousin. My uncle drove this big Ford bronco and we use to love riding in the back. One particular day, Jeremiah and I were waiting impatiently in the back of the truck. It was time to go to the lake and to kill time we proceeded to just scream…. lol We weren’t screaming at anything in particular, it just felt like a time to just scream!

I’m assuming at this point that we were screaming loud enough that my aunt, uncle & cousin all came running out of the house like we were being murdered. Of course, at the time, I didn’t really think that far ahead and so it caught us off guard. We got in so much trouble… He had to go to his room, I had to go to the other room, and we had to sit & just wait… She put the fear in me that I was about to get my butt tore up and if you all knew my uncle, he had big ole hands and his spankings hurt. Anyways, so there I was… All scared waiting to get my butt tore up, praying to God that he doesn’t kill me. Here comes my Aunt with her serious mom face and she gave me the boy that cried wolf speech. Except her version ended with some kid that cried wolf and his legs got cut off by a lawn mower and when he screamed for help nobody came. (I can’t make this stuff up!) She my favorite for multiple reasons, but the biggest reason is she taught me how to tell stories that would get my future kids’ attention.

There is one more lady in that photo that taught me how to be me. She taught me how to stand up for myself, how to be strong, how to get through each day like it’s your last and how to go no matter what life throws at you. My mom was a single mother my entire life and she made it look easy. There were good days, there were bad days, but she has such a way about her that tells struggles to get on up the road. Things were not always easy on her and sometimes the struggles overwhelmed her. She knew she had me to take care of and I believe I was that inspiration for her to keep going as she was my inspiration to keep going with her. It has always and will always be me and her. She will always be my most favorite!

I represent each one of those women proudly and there isn’t a thing I’d change about any of them. They might not realize it but God used each one of them to show his love in different ways. No matter their differences or their stubbornness, the love of the Lord radiates through each of them. Throughout my walk with God, he has opened my eyes to so much I was missing out on. The biggest thing I’ve missed out on is love and because of Jesus, I feel it more & more everyday. God will always show up and show out! He never fails me.

#Godislove #Jesusismysavior #becauseofyou #Iloveyou

My not so little princess!

Eighteen years ago, a precious little baby came into my life. She was my second child at 20 years old and I was already terrified that I would have another one just like my son.

Now don’t get me wrong, my son is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and he has one beautiful soul. But he was bad…. as a toddler…. it was so bad. He was a strong-willed little boy that let nothing get in his way and I was a strong-willed woman that wasn’t going to let him defeat me. I’ll hand it to him, he brought me to my knees a few times, but we’ve managed to develop a close bond.

When my daughter came into the world, she had this light about her. She slept the entire night starting at a month old, she was a squishy baby and she had a smile that would make your heart melt. She was always happy and cried very little. As a toddler, she was even cuter. Dressing like a princess was her favorite! She loved to dress up and pretend like she was a princess.

My favorite memory of her being little, she was about three years old and it was the weekend she would spend with her dad. She loved going to her dad’s house and on the Friday’s she knew he would pick her up, it was the longest day ever for her! I had an errand to run that afternoon and she followed me down the hallway as I made my way to the bedroom. She says, “Mom? Are you getting me dressed now?” I replied, “No ma’am, not yet.” Then she proceeds to ask me, “Are you going to draw me a bath?”

Now, the reason that is my favorite story about my sweet child, is because that is the very moment, I knew she was going to let me have it when she became a teenager. She didn’t realize it, but she just challenged me.. She didn’t realize it, but she just started the biggest war that we would ever fight. Who can out sass the other one… WHO is going to have the biggest attitude problem and who is going to be more sarcastic?

Challenge accepted…

Carol & Rebecca are nick names we use for each other. She told me one day that I needed to have an old lady name so she called me Carol. I then decided that she needed a new name so her name became Rebecca. (Don’t ask… I have no idea. ) When she got to the age when it was fun to embarrass her, man oh man. Teenagers have their own secret language these days, I hear things like, “Mom.. don’t be flexin’.” or my personal favorite, “It be like dat!” I always made it a point to use those phrases when she had friends around. Old people…

My daughter has always been very dramatic, so dramatic in fact that along he way her dramatic-ness started to obtain different accents. When she was in elementary school, I picked her up from the babysitters and she was all strapped in her little car seat, just as happy as a clam. She tells me that she can speak English. I was a little confused by that since English was the language that I taught her, but I just went with it. “That’s great honey!” She then proceeds to start talking to me in a British accent and it sounded as if she’d been doing it for years.

Her birthday was yesterday, and today she had her very first adult melt down. She just experienced the life is very overwhelming moment. I remember when I had that moment and it sucked. I’m so proud of her, she has a job, she goes to school every day and she does it all on her own. By that I mean, I don’t have to yell at her every morning to get out of bed, I don’t have to remind her on what days she must work. She is a very responsible young lady and she has turned into my not so little princess. She still dresses up, but she doesn’t twirl around the living room like she used to. Instead of seeing her in princess dresses, I now get to see her in a prom dress.

My mom didn’t get to see me in a prom dress because I dropped out in the tenth grade. So, not only did I get to see my baby in a pretty dress, my mom was there to see her too and be a part of this beautiful memory. This is where I had to let go of her. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do but if I didn’t do it.. then she would have never learned what real life is about.

I fed her everything bit of knowledge, motherly advice, the do’s and don’ts, the what if’s, the now this can happens, the say no to drugs and yes to hugs speeches. I gave her all I knew to give her and pushed her out the nest. She may have thought I didn’t care about her but I loved her more than she would ever know. I waved my white flag and said, “have at it.” She made it! She’s still a teenager but now she must be her own person.

This is where God comes in. Up until now, I’ve never truly been able to appreciate the significance of these mother/daughter moments. When I was her age, my mother couldn’t speak one word that was right in my eyes. She knew absolutely nothing, and she obviously hadn’t experienced real life like I did. I had it WAY harder than she did. Boy was I wrong… When the moment came in my life that I had to stand down and admit that my mother was right about mostly everything, it hurt my feeling. My mom got to stand there proudly and cross her arms, give a little giggle and even throw in a head shake… All while saying, “I told you so…”

Tonight, I got to experience that very same moment as I watched my poor sweet baby in tears because life is rough. She just let it all out and my heart absolutely broke for her. But…. there might have been a very small part of me that was getting a little vindication from this. I may have took a step back but she was starting to realize that she will always need her momma. You know how I know that? Because she went to her room in tears but she came back and gave me a kiss on my cheek once she got over it.

God is always with me and when I have those moments where life would be much better suited if I just handled things myself. God takes a step back and lets go of me, he’s always there when it’s time to run back to him. If I never let Jesus in my heart then I wouldn’t have the courage to share my words with you. Letting the enemy tell me that my words don’t matter to whoever reads this would be missing out on a huge blessing.

I had to let her cry through her boo boos, and God lets me cry through mine. And when I’m done, he takes me by my hand and he doesn’t let go. You don’t know what God has in store for you tomorrow… Just love him through it and it will always be a good day.

My beautiful princess in her beautiful princess dress

I am who I am

Being a photographer has always been my dream. When I learned what a camera was and what it could do there was no stopping me. I wanted to move to New York and become a fashion photographer. I wanted a loft apartment, I wanted a big fluffy cat and I wanted to show the world how glamorous people really are. The first thing women would say to me before I took their picture was, “Make me look thin!” My reply to them would always stay the same, “Just trust me and I promise you will see what I see.”

There was a beautiful woman that approached me once about taking her pictures. It was her anniversary and she wanted to gift her husband with a photo of herself. You could tell she was a little nervous because she thought she was too heavy and I just told her to trust me. I’ll be a little honest, I was terrified to take her pictures. Not because I didn’t think she was beautiful, but because I wanted her to see what I saw. She radiated beauty just the way God had intended. Her photos not only came out beautiful but she loved them!

I realize now that God wants me to just trust him so I can see what he sees. I spent so much time trying to make other people feel pretty that I was completely missing out. A time came where I stopped taking pictures, I really can’t give a valid reason for it but the photographer that lives deep down inside is rearing to come back out. I’ve been faithful to the path that God laid down in front of me. On April, 29th of 2017, God gave me the calling to write. My first blog was posted on May 29th, exactly one month later.

I wanted to show the beauty of the world through a lens but God wanted me to show the beauty of his love through my words. I never imagined I would ever do something like this. Trying to stay faithful to the Lord has taken me places I’d never imagine. Making friends, keeping friends and having a best friend. (ah-man) The Lord gave me faith not only in other people but most important, faith in myself….

I’ve always been a visual person, and by that I mean I like to observe my surroundings. People watching is a past time not because I wanted to judge them but because I want to know them. I also want to learn the world and it’s beauty. Years ago I came across this barn on a trip when I visited Ohio. People may look at that barn and think it’s old or should be torn down. I look at that barn and I see a story that needs to be told. I’d like to think that once upon a time, that barn held lots of animals and was owned by a family that appreciated it. They loved that old barn so much that tearing it down wasn’t an option. I’d also like to think that God kept that barn together because he knew I would appreciate it.

This is who I am… I see light where there is darkness, I see beauty when you see ugly, I see opportunity when you see struggle and I see confidence when you see weakness. I see strength when you see fear and I laughter when you see tears. Being a serious person is not my strong suit. If someone is sad, then my instincts kick in and I want to make you see joy again. Embrace your struggles because they make you a better person. My struggles have made me a better person. Through my struggles I have learned how to keep my head up as high as I can.

Photography is and will always be something I love. I may not be famous for it but I appreciate the eye that God has given me. Just because I don’t have a camera right now doesn’t mean I still can’t see with my eyes. Taking what I’ve learned and applying it to everyday life is my main focus. If we do not love ourselves then we will never be able to show love. God has taken me down the path to share with you all his love and his grace. He has picked me up straight out of the mud and stood me back up on my feet. Sometimes falling victim to what the enemy tells us will happen from time to time. But what are we going to do about it? Are we going to cry about it and bring everyone else down with us or are we going to keep our heads up and let the love God has give us strength?

Now I understand why God led me to writing…. Even though I can express myself visually through my photos. Expressing myself through my words is proof in the pudding that if you just stay true to God & to yourself then there is nothing that can’t be accomplished. There is no telling what else God has in store for me but what I can tell you is I’m ready for it. Bring it on! I may crash & burn at this whole writing thing or I may not. If I can help one person realize how awesome God made them, then my job here is done. The Lord I try to serve on a daily basis is so faithful, he is so loving and he is so full of grace. There are days where I feel I have used up all the grace that is allotted to me but he just reminds me that it’s unlimited.

I’ve done a lot in this life that would warrant me a one way ticket to hell. Once upon a time my running joke was I would drive the bus that went to hell. There have been times I’ve thought that hell would be a vacation compared to this world and when the feeling of defeat consumes me, God holds me closer to him and he fights away the boogie man. Though my flesh wants to take pictures, my soul wants to write and my heart wants to stay faithful to the one person that has always stayed faithful to me. #God

I am who I am…

#thereaintnogravethatwillholdthisbodydown #Jesusismysavior #Heisyoursaviortoo

Itty bitty kitty!

My little Lion of God

When God really wants to get your attention, he will do it in such a way that just makes you know he is real. What was supposed to be a typical day at Church, turned into me driving home with a very tiny kitten asleep on my lap. This little guy was carried into church in a shoe box and just about every woman, child & maybe even a few men went, “awwwww.” First glance at him and all I could think to myself was, “don’t look at him Leah. He’s tiny, cute and your husband will NEVER let you keep him.” That was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do was walk away from that tiny, sweet, defenseless face. Growing up, my mother and I always had animals. I love animals so much that I have a pet rat that was captured in a trap at a daycare center. I used to have pet rats and they are by far the coolest things ever. My husband knew I would make him rotten, so he brought him home to me. So, the point I’m trying to make is for me to just walk by a cute cuddly kitten begging for me to take him home was torture.

The sound booth is where I spend most of my Sundays and I have a great view of the entire sanctuary. The entire time I kept looking down at this adorable little baby and he needed me to be his new momma. He needed me and I needed him, somehow I was going to convince my husband that he needed a itty bitty lil kitty. Since service was going on and I obviously couldn’t leave the sound booth at that moment, I made a deal with myself. I said, “self… if that kitten doesn’t have a home by the end of the service you’re going to take him home.” Well that lasted all about five minutes, okay more like one minute and I sent a text to my daughter. The message read, “Go get the kitten.”

My daughter picked up her phone and she instantly jumped up with pure excitement. Ali is just like me when it comes to cute, soft, cuddly animals and she made a straight B-line to that box. The cat wasn’t for her of course but I needed her to help me, I needed to see how my husband would react when she walked back up with that oh so cute kitten in her arms. So I waited…. and I watched… I plotted…. Ali sat back down holding my future fur baby and without skipping a beat, Rick looks straight up at the sound booth with this look. Now I needed to buy some time until I could figure out how to make his furever home at my house, so I did what any person would do. I picked up my phone and sent him text stating that I already found him a home. Technically I wasn’t lying because I did find him a home…

 

On the way, I prayed the entire way home, Lord please let me have this cat. I need dis… This little guy was probably five weeks old and his mother was killed by a dog. He was a very healthy little baby but he still needed kitty milk. Instead of going straight to the store, I went home first so my husband could watch the itty bitty kitty for me while I sent to the store. This is where I put my complete trust in God and I’m here to say that my God has never failed me yet. Not only was my plan an absolute success, it was just living proof that if you have trust in the Lord then he will show up and show out.

In the twenty minutes I was gone at the store, this little guy completely showed out with his cuteness and had my husband eating out of his itty bitty lil paw. I may have won the battle at this point but I still had to win the war. My husband wasn’t going down without a fight and he put his gloves on. As the day went on, we were just causally hanging out in our bedroom and the kitten was being all cute running around on our bed. I just watched and observed the smiles that came across my husband’s face as this itty bitty kitty was being all itty bitty. I got him! He was hooked and I had to plan my next move perfectly.

Purfect!

So, I asked, “If he were to stay here, what would we name him?” Rick named him Ari. (R-reee). As you can see in the picture, I won the war too!

Now I know, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with God. Don’t worry, I am getting there! For some time now I have been going through what most would say, a season. Life had been feeling a little unfair and the enemy was coming at me from any direction he thought would get to me. I’ll admit that he came close a few times of winning. Too close…

My husband is a trucker and has been for almost a year. In the beginning, he got to come home a few times during the week. Then it got to a point where I would only see him during the weekends. Now I’m alone…

Being alone is not an issue for me. I grew up a only child, I didn’t really have a lot of friends and when that happens you tend to adapt to your surroundings. Entertaining myself is not an issue, when I was a little girl there was a spot in my grandma’s backyard that was all dirt. Cars was my absolute favorite toy, so I would carve out roads and dig tunnels. Hours would go by and I’m still having a good time.

Along the way something changed, and I started to like having people around. It felt good to be loved by people and to be loved by good Godly husband. He always knows where to find my keys, glasses, wallet, phone, shoes, pink cup, jacket & my mind when I can’t find them. Now I am forced to keep up with these things on my own. My short-term memory is so bad that if affects my short-term memory. My husband plays a huge role in my daily need to remember where I put my keys at. The struggle is real!

I missed him and he missed me. The enemy took advantage of that and I started to get use to being alone again. I started to get the, “I don’t care attitude” back. No one, not even my own husband knew what was going on inside my head. I carried a smile so bright on my face that I was told the love of Jesus shined all over me. When I came home to a empty house it tore me up. My son is gone, my daughter is a seventeen with a very active social circle & an Instagram and my husband is gone five days out of the week. It ate me alive… and I let it happen.

Then came along that itty bitty lil kitty. God knew I needed something to love and he gave me Ari. God also knew that putting a one pound ball of fur in my path would get my attention. Jesus has his arms around me at every second, minute, hour of the day and the enemy doesn’t want me to fill his love. He will taunt you & taunt you to the point that death seems like a better option than living. God is so mighty that he used something as small as Ari to show me that love is real & so is he!

This life wasn’t meant to be lived in any other way than hard. Even when I felt at times that my life was over and nothing will ever be okay, I still woke up the next morning. Even when I feared my power may get cut off, the bill always got paid. Even when I thought at times that my marriage may be over, I’d get reminded that I wouldn’t have anyone to find all my stuff when I lost it sitting in the same spot. Even though I come home to an empty house, he gave me a itty bitty little kitty to keep me occupied until my husband comes home.

God is always with you and even though you don’t know it. If a mustard seed can grow to be a big tree just imagine what he can do with your heart if you let your guard down for one split second. I’m just sayin’!

#ittybittykitty #Godissogoodyall #testimony #livelife #love #Jesus #Jesusismysavior

My little Lion of God