Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maybe I am the only one who struggles with no feeling good enough... maybe not.  Maybe I am the only one who struggles with wondering if God truly wants me to share my struggles with people because, honestly, I fear what others might think. Some days, like when I feel led to write on this blog, I envision someone(maybe Peter) standing on the side of a boat dipping his toe into the water terrified to jump in... "what if I didn't hear Jesus right, what if I fail and the others laugh at me, what if they think I am stupid for even trying, what if they are telling me to my face that it's a good idea but think differently in their heads". A person terrified of the what ifs that are past the point of what they can see. A person comfortable inside the boat.  I see a woman scared to leave her husband because even though the marriage is not a great situation, it is comfortable. I see someone afraid to pray with someone a church because they are afraid that the words won't come. I see someone terrified of taking the first step toward a God given dream. I am a failure, I am unqualified, I am too young/old, I don't know all the scriptures, I am not enough... how many times do we tell ourselves these things every day?  How many times do we believe these things about ourselves? How many times do we allow words in our heads to determine our destiny? There are many things that has happened in my life, that I have allowed the past to determine how I feel about myself. There has been abuse, horrific words spoken over my life by people who loved me, broken trust/promises... the voices and words that resound in my head day after day have kept me in bondage for years. God has spoken a calling over my life that, until recently, I could not grasp because I believed all those voices of my past over the voices of my creator.  The enemy comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, is written in the bible (first part of John 10:10) therefore I know the enemy will continue to use those voices from my past to knock me off my path.  He will continue to try to remind me I'll never be good enough to accomplish what God has called me to do. But when those voices come loud and try to knock me down... I can remember that Jesus came to give me life and have it to the fullest(last part of John 10:10). I can also remember what Jesus came to this earth to do.  He died on the cross and endured such horrific things, for me, because He loves me and I AM ENOUGH!!! 
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me BECAUSE HE DELIGHTED IN ME.  Psalm 18:16-19
Those thoughts of myself that I have, those voices from my past, those are of my enemies who continually told me I was not good enough. No matter how many times I tried to fight them, I could not win. It wasn't until I starting listening and really hearing what God says about his love for me that I could fight against those words. I was able to start inserting God's word into the blanks of my words. I do not want anyone reading this to think this is easy or has been an easy journey. I have so many walls built up in my life to keep new hurts from coming, but I have learned no matter how big the wall is, the hurts can still come in one form or another. God has sent people into my life to speak his word to me in ways I can tangibly feel it. And I do know I am not good enough to accomplish anything God has called me to accomplish, without His guidance, wisdom, knowledge, and abilities.  
I say/write all this to say, I am an example of what God can do in a life. It has been a hard journey and continues to have its unpleasant days, Mother's day is coming up and for me it is always a hard day. Not to go into much detail at this time, but Mother's day always reminds me of words that were spoken over my life that hurt more than any others. This is a day when I lean into God to remind me of his words over me versus those of someone else. Please know that there is hope. It can be found in God's words and by TRULY embracing those words and accepting God's loving arms. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"I know you're able and I know you can
Save through the fire with your mighty hand,
But even if you don't
My hope is you alone"

What an amazing song!!  It's my anthem, my truth, for a long time now. When I was pregnant with Mikayla we were believing and hoping for complete healing, that she would no longer have spina bifida.  Her healing did not come the way we had hoped but there was still healing, she is still here with us.  Mikayla takes dance with all abled bodied girls, she goes to school every day in a regular classroom, she loves makeup and jumping on the trampoline, she loves hanging out with her friends, loves to laugh, hates homework, and loves Snapchat.  Mikayla was healed from the life the doctors predicted!!!  She was given a grim diagnosis, one of a vegetative state, but was healed and surpassed that life!!  No, she doesn't walk, must be catheterized every 3 hours, and has some other issues typical of her diagnosis, but she is here with us.  She loves with her whole heart, has an infectious smile and laugh, is a daddy's girl, and loves praising Jesus.  Even if God never heals her completely and things stay completely the same as they are right now, I will still praise Jesus and continue to have all my hope in HIM.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

God continues to hold Mikayla in the palm of his hand... including whatever comes with her diagnosis. He has taken care of her every need since day one and will continue until her last day. I choose to trust HIM and put my hope in HIM alone. With that hope and trust comes a peace that surpasses all understanding. That is not to say I don't have bad days or moments, but I don't allow myself to stay there. I go back to God's word and remember how he has rescued us every time. There has never been one moment in time when I have drowned in my situation. And there never will be! I have an anchor tattooed on my foot.  To me, the anchor symbolizes the first part of Hebrews 6:19, we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. God is my anchor, firm and secure, not allowing me go under in anything that arises in my life or Mikayla's life. Having my life anchored by HIM, allows me to have peace and joy at times when the world says I should not.

In two weeks, we celebrate Mikayla's 10th birthday!!  I've seen 10 years of miracles through her, she's brought ten years of smiles to those around her. She's brought ten years of hope to those around her. Hard to believe that little 4 pound baby, that was not supposed to be here, has brought so much joy and impacted this world around her so much.  But GOD...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

For many years, I lived in bondage from trust issues. It stemmed from so many things in my past. I had built up so many walls. Little by little, the walls grew...abuse, love lost, broken promises, betrayal, lies, words spoken over my life... before I knew it, I had huge walls around my heart. I didn't know how to trust anymore or maybe it was that I didn't want to trust anymore.  My heart couldn't deal with the hurt anymore. Every new hurt opened up wounds from the past and took me back to that moment in time. I was living a lie, everything looked joyful and happy on the outside but inside... I was so broken and angry. I had a handful of people that I trusted in my life but I second guessed every kind word they spoke, not trusting it. I read God's words that spoke of His love and how He died on the cross for me, that I am His...but it never soaked into my spirit, it was all for someone else. How could it be for me, people who loved me always left.
It was not until recently that I realized I don't live in that bondage any more. I have prayed for many years to be able to forgive those who have caused the hurts in my life. I have prayed many times and cried many tears that God would help me to not feel this way. I had to surrender the past to him. I have realized that God is protecting me by allow some relationships to be distant and nonexistence now. I have learned to read God's words about His love for me and trust that I am included in those words, not just those around me. I have learned to accepted love from those around me. God has sent some amazing people my way who speak God's truth to me about my life. And I can finally let that truth resonate in my spirit and affirm God's love for me.  After Mikayla was born, I had to learn to trust God with her and the life that she had been given. Trust is something I have to pray about often and every time a new situation comes my way... give it over to God.  Sometimes the enemy brings little thoughts about past situations, words that were spoken over my life, and thoughts of unworthiness BUT GOD... GOD takes those yucks and speaks words of truth, His true words about me. I am now able to have a true peace and joy in my life despite all those past wounds because I trust in God. It has not been an easy road of recovery but I know it is possible. It is amazing to look back at the wounded person I once was and see the renewed, stronger woman I am today. BUT GOD...
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. - Isiah 40:31

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge. - Ps 46:1-3

My health may fail and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. - Ps 73:26

Then I realized my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. YET, I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. - Ps 73:22-24

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are interchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary.  - Hebrews 6:18-19

Monday, February 27, 2017

Why do we live our lives letting this four letter word control us?  Fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of ourselves or others, fear of doing what God has called us to do.  We all have it but how do we get past it??  How do we truly live free of fear?

Ten years ago, while pregnant with my first baby then, 3+ years later while pregnant with my second baby, we received  terrible news about the baby I was carrying at that time. During both pregnancies, the babies were diagnosed with medical conditions which could only be cured by a miraculous healing touch from God. During the first pregnancy, it was Spina Bifida and many other comorbidities which added to the toughness of the situation. Our sweet baby girl was not expected to live further than the hospital. This was the toughest, most gut-wrenching time of my life. At receipt of the news we began praying, along with many other people, for a miraculous healing of this little baby I was carrying. We continued going to doctors appointments, every time, expecting to receive incredible news that she had been healed and there was no sign of any medical conditions. However, at every doctors appointment, we were slapped in the face with continued bad news sometimes worse that the previous appointment. There came a point, a month or so in, that I started to doubt God and I went back and forth, believing then wondering and doubting. FEAR consumed my heart about what was to come for our little girl. I remember a conversation with a pastor who instructed/commanded us to decide what we were going to believe, the doctors or God's word. From that moment on, I decided that no matter what, God was my anchor and my hope.  I am not going to say it was a cake walk from that point on or that the remainder of my pregnancy was easy because IT WAS NOT!!  Every appointment continued to be difficult with nothing but bad news.  But what did change was my fear was superseded by my HOPE in Jesus. We started putting sticky notes around our house with scriptures on them, which we still have to this day. One in particular is Deut 31:8, The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  We stood on that and other scriptures for the duration of the pregnancy, holding tight to God when fear presented itself. This continued on for 5+ months until April 25, 2007, when we ,and a waiting room FULL of loved ones, welcomed our baby girl into this world.  We took her home with us where she continues to live almost 10 years later.
The second time around, when we received our report with my son, his was honestly a much worse initial report than with my daughter. His report was one of certain death either at birth or shortly thereafter. My first response was, "Really, GOD, are you serious??"  After the initial heartbreak and fear from the doctors report, God's hope set in. We started praying, standing on God's word, and believing for a miracle. Shortly after getting the report, we had an ultrasound which finally delivered us some good news. The specialist who read the ultrasound reported to us, "I'm not sure why your doctor gave you the report he did, there's nothing wrong with this baby." 
Since being mom to both my kids there have been and continue to be other doctors' reports, some good and some bad. The bad ones have sometimes allowed fear to creep back in. There are a lot of unknowns for my daughter's life and future. These things sometimes allow that fear to sneak back in.  And, if I am completely honest, there have been times when I have allowed that stupid, enemy provoked fear to either knock me down or to hang out a little longer than I should. But, when I stop and get a God perspective on the situation, it helps me to remove fear with God's word.  Living without fear does not change my situation but it allows me to live with joy in my life that only God can grant me. Without leaning and standing on God's word for mine and my children's lives, I would be a hot mess and my life would be miserable. I am so THANKFUL that I don't have to live there.

Friday, June 22, 2012

We have read it hundreds of times...

We have all read 1 Corinthians 13 many, many times.  It is read at weddings as a scripture to model the love in one's marriage was read at ours... I even have it hanging in my house.  But do we really follow it??  The part that stuck out to me this morning was verse 5... "It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged".  It was like the words were slapping me in the face... hard!!  How many times can we say we do just the opposite in own homes, with our own family, the ones we love the most.  Maybe I am just writing this for myself and no one else.  The people I take out my frustrations with I love the most.  My irritability, with everything going on around me, affects those innocent people around me.  My husband gets it when he comes home from work when it has nothing to do with him (maybe sometimes he's the culprit).  My kids get it when I have an internal issue with myself.  Now don't get me wrong, my kids are not perfect and do cause me frustration.  However, there is no reason why I should snap at others when I dislike myself or the way my day is going.  Wow!!  I am really getting correction this morning!!
Then, there's the last statement of the verse... "it keeps no record of being wronged".  Yow!!  Do we really love this way.  Think about the person at work... maybe we don't love them like we love our family BUT we do have to show love to them.  That means not keep track of how many times they screw up and no one notices or how many times they wrong us... revenge is out of the question.  That ex who treated us like dirt...we gotta let it go.  The family member who wronged us... let it go.  God gave us the people in our lives for a reason.  I have a family member who has wronged me and hurt me in so many ways but I am learning to let it go...I don't want to lash out and hurt them back anymore.  I think about times when Mike makes me mad and I think "well you just wait until..."  and I stew over it.  Or when couples fight and bring up things from the past that the other one has done to them.  Just let it go.  Love like you wanna be loved!!  The golden rule from childhood... treat others as you want to be treated.  I have got to work on all this myself!!  Why is it we are so rude to the people we share a home with but the people at church or our friends get our best??  Maybe it's because we know those in our home will love us anyway?? 
I pray that God will really help me in this area of my life.  I pray that the holy spirit will give me a little nudge of correction when I mess up.  Thank you God for loving me through all my mess ups!!  And thank you for giving me a family who loves me through them also.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Matthew 14:24-31
24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified.  In their fear, they cried out, "it's a ghost!!" 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage, I am here!" 28 Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water." 29 "Yes, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he sat the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.  "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.  "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?"

Wow!!  I read this with my devotion this morning.  Many times I have read these words but for some reason I stopped and read it slower than normal this morning.  How many times are we out in rough waters with waves crashing all around us...awake at 3am not knowing what to do??  How many times are we in Peter's position??  We call out to God, get out of the boat with strong faith, but then we give in to the storm around us and let it consume us again.  Then we feel like we are going to be consumed by the crashing waves instead of engulfed by God's protection around us.  It is so easy to look around at the news or just daily life and give up hope.  It would be so easy for the woman who just lost her fiance or the family who just lost their son or the mom whose baby is fighting for his life to give up on hope and life... to be swallowed by despair.  But God tells us in the verses above...come to me...don't be afraid... have faith...take courage!!  God NEVER, EVER tells us in the, your problem is way to big for me... I can't handle it...You are gonna have to deal with this one on your own.  Nope, God always gives us a way out.  Most of the time when my worry and anxiety keep me up at night it's over things I have absolutely NO control over!!!  There have been so many times when I have been standing in the boat, looking over the side, scared to death to climb out.  At these moments I am usually looking around for ways that God is gonna work it out...thinking " well, maybe I could do this and this or that will happen."  Then, I raise my eyes toward Jesus and the response I usually get is something like this... umm, hello Leshia... you are not the captain of this ship, I am... just stop looking around for how you can fix it and just step out... I am right here like I always am!!  How reassuring that we don't have to handle the waves and the storm on our own.  BUT, we must have the faith to step out of the boat. Baby steps and faith the size of a mustard seed. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Walk By Faith Jeremy Camp (Lyrics)

Mandisa: Stronger - Official Lyric Video

Mandisa - He Is With You (Slideshow With Lyrics)

It has to be for something...

Being on facebook can be a good thing and can be a bad thing.  It is so nice to see people from high school and feel like I am in constant contact with them.  On the other hand I see the heartache that those same people are going through on a daily basis.  It seems lately there is heartache and sorrow all around.  Even for Mike and I there seems to be an overabundance of blah days going on.  It can get overwhelming and sleep depriving to see so much sadness.  There is a song that comes on the radio that asks God to give us his eyes to see... his heart to feel.  I understand the concept of the song BUT... I don't want to hurt like God does for the things that are around me.  Maybe that is me being selfish but it would keep me up every single night... my heart would be broken all the time. These times that we live in are so, so hard and frustrating.  You can't even watch the news without seeing the sorrow around... someone being shot...someone's home burning down... child abuse.  Scary times we live in.  But if you read the bible, it tells of hard times to come... of suffering and wars.  I believe not just wars or the military type but wars among ourselves.  I honestly feel like lately that I am in constant struggle with something.  Mostly, its financial related.  Some days I feel like I am swimming, treading water really...and my arms are getting extremely tired but there is nothing to grab onto... no life preserver anywhere in sight.  Seems that things are never going to change...
When I feel a little twinge of self pity coming through... God reminds me that it could be so, so much worse.  It could always be worse.  No matter what pit of hell we seem to be in... it is only for a season.  One of my dearest friends and I are constantly telling each other that... whatever we are facing... "it's only for a season".  Some situations feel like they part of a NEVER ENDING do we get through those??  How do we keep on keeping on??  How do we not let our pit suck the life out of us??  Ugh... the answer is soooo much easier said than done!!!  We have to keep looking up!!  Those times when I feel like I am treading water and getting tired... at least I can breathe a little easier if I look up and get my face above the water... Look up to the sky... look up the savior for answers.  He always comes in to save the day like a knight in shining armor.  It may not happen the way Leshia wants it to but i have not lost a fight yet where I call on Jesus.  So many times I want to question why all these things are happening around me... I want to lay in the floor and throw a temper tantrum like my 1 year old... and ask God why!!!  Why God... its not fair... what wrong am I doing that is causing me to go through this??  Why can't we catch a break??  The promises in your word, why can't some of those HAPPEN for me??  I told a friend the other day... it has to all be for something... we cannot go through all this CRAP for nothing.  People say to me that I have an incredible testimony... well, just being brutally honest... some days I would give up that testimony to have my life happening exactly the way I think it should... exactly perfect in my eyes.  I know, I know... those thoughts are soooo selfish.  I know that I am created to do a certain thing and without going through junk I can't do it.  Some days though... no junk would be nice.  I just have to keep going... keep loving on my kids and my hubby... doing every day life, one day at a time.  Keep praying for those around me who are suffering and dying inside... showing them it is so hard at times but you can do it... you can make it.  God will create a way for you... even if they have to throw their hands up in the air and give God the authority to carry them for a little while.  YOU WILL MAKE IT!!!  There are two songs by Mandisa that I listen to... "He is With You" ... and "Stronger". When my arms and legs get tired of treading water these songs give me a rejuvenation.