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’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..

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

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