Maybe, Just Maybe

Four years. 

At first I thought that my actions insured the consequence of my having to rely solely on myself to survive. I believed that getting a divorce meant God could (or would) not bless me, support me, or assist me, but then he caused things to fall into place (behind the scenes) when I would run into obstacles, enabling me to overcome and move forward.
Because of these occurrences, I adjusted my thinking to accept that God allowed the rain to fall on the just and the unjust – But there was something else. 

He was carrying me. 
I was blinded by pain and I knew it. 

I couldn’t see where I was going. I was stumbling on the path, yet He was there for those blind years, leading, guiding, showing me which way to turn when I came up against a wall. 
Little by little, God has continued to draw me closer, and I have learned that He still wants relationship with this broken woman, which blows me away. I’m still smudged with soot on the inside of me, like a fireplace chimney.

When I first found the Lord, my life changed dramatically. I wanted to do great things for Him, big big things, but I didn’t do great things at all, in fact, my life was something I was often ashamed of.

What if…

What if I, like Sarah, tried to make things happen in my own strength due to my own natural reasoning, instead of simply living and obeying God while allowing Him to do what He has always done,

Bring it to pass –
In His way

In His Time

By His Spirit.

Do I understand God’s grace spilling onto my life?

No, nor do I advise going through a divorce to learn about His unconditional love, and faithfulness,

But I marvel as He continues to call me even still.

It causes flickers of hope to ignite within my depths that maybe, just maybe, God’s original plan for my life will be realized just yet.

– leah

Win their heart.

When I compare the woman I am today with the woman I was when I was young, I grieve.
Young me was downright mean at times.
I’m sorry for those days.
Life has a way of teaching us what matters.
Who matters.

You sit on the couch, involved in a heated argument, and your mouth is full of words that are just as effective as bullets.
You know they will destroy.
Rip, tear, wound the psyche of your opponent.
Make them bleed.
No, not bleed, hemorrhage.

In the past I would open my mouth.
Today, I swallow the words and respond slowly.

98% of the time. ♡

Young women today…
I caution you.
Choose words carefully,
Use them rarely,
And choose silence frequently,
Rather than blurt out a sharp retort.

You may win a battle,
But the bloody aftermath you find yourself mopping up,
Removes the thrill of victory.

The only victory,
The true triumph,
Is to win, not an argument,
But the very heart of the one with whom you are arguing.

– Leah

Trump vs Kelly

I stand by Fox’s M. Kelly, and I liked her questions.
The left is going to hammer those same points in campaign ads, and sound bytes of Trump saying a woman would look beautiful on her knees will play so often – we will hear them in our sleep.

Especially if he ends up running against a woman.

If Trump can’t handle any heat here on his home turf during a debate,
He sure won’t be able to handle it on the world’s stage.

He was pouty, cranky, and arrogant.
He avoided answering questions and deflected more than the House of Mirrors at a carnival!

His apparent willingness to raise his hand regarding running on a 3rd party ticket shows anyone – who cares to see – where his heart lies.
It lies in winning winning winning,
Even if it costs the conservative movement the election.

I respect his intelligence,
But it ends there.

He is not a true conservative.
He is not able to see the big picture and step down like a gentleman, (if he isn’t selected) offering his vote and support to whomever the GOP nominates.

That alone should give a person something to think about when they are deciding how to cast their vote.

Any person arrogant enough to think that they would win an election on a 3rd party ticket is too blasted prideful to run this country properly.

They will think of themselves first.

They will NOT occupy the WH with the knowledge, attitude, or heart of a privileged servant of the American people, and no man or woman can properly lead a nation unless their heart is humble.

Trump is stubborn.
A wedge of division.

And when it comes to this nation’s chances of gaining truly conservative leadership, he is dangerous.
Because he will prevent success instead of provide it.

– Leah

The Lesson

I fell for someone once.

Hard, fast, tumbletumbletumble
Head over heels
The swoon you read about in books,
I fell for him.

He was a writer.
That was half of it right there.
I had read something he had written and was moved powerfully.

So I wrote him a small letter,
And he wrote back.
And I wrote back.
And it began.

His eyes – in nearly every photo –
Were full of mischief.
Impish things, holding the promise of
One. More. Prank.
You could see the child in the man,
And I could see the man who once was child.
And I fell for him
As he fell for me.

Phone calls, letters, conversations,
He was not as funny as he was intellectual,
And my appetite was never sated for his words, his writing, his take on things,
Life, politics, religion…
Even when I diagreed most vehemently,
His thoughts were fascinating.
Intriguing.

“More.
More, please.
No, don’t stop sharing,
More still…
I’m hungry for your thoughts.
You’re brilliant!”

That classic feeling of mutual understanding
Was there almost from the very beginning…

His words poured into me
Honey, lava, silk.
He said the things I’d always wanted to hear but never told anyone.

He was horrible and scary
in his understanding of me,
Yet wonderful and intoxicating
In his understanding of me.

And it was over as quickly as it had begun.

The most fantastic fireworks display I had ever seen.
One burst of light and color and I was captivated.
Another and another,
And my mouth dropped open.
“Can it get any better?”
Oh, yes. It can. Just wait…

Explosions of light,
Vibrant, hot, and sexy
Filled my darkened sky,
And it got brighter,
And Brighter,
And BRIGHTER…
Then darkness.

The finale.

It was the finale
And I didn’t realize,
So I wasn’t prepared
For goodbye.

We never spoke again.

The show was over
And all I had from the experience
Were ashes fluttering through the air,
Smoke
Lingering
In the sky,
Gray dust
At my feet.

I reached down into my soul,
Into the ashes lying there,
And found a tiny stone.

I named it.
“Lesson Learned”

The poets and the authors write about this thing.
This passion,
This blind blind love that does not think.

I never thought I’d experience the story,
But sometimes,
The ingredients are there,
And the pitfall presents itself.

You stumble in,
And you call it love,
But it isn’t love.

It’s something else.

I don’t know its name.

I hold the stone and I remember,
A man once found me as brilliant as I found him,
As captivating
As I found him,
Who couldn’t stay away,
And I couldn’t either,

Though we never even held each other’s hands,
Or kissed,
Or embraced.

But it was not the thing that life is made of,
It was the thing that was a tragedy before it had begun.

Mindless,
Thoughtless,
Intoxicating
Passion.

The stuff of Romeo and Juliet
Whose emotion paved the way to death.

Pyrotechnics.
Fireworks.
Bursts of light and color
As dangerous as they are spectacular.

That coat your soul in ash.
Your heart left cold.

Passion
Can never hold
The steering wheel.

I will keep the tiny stone
As a reminder.

When I am tempted to believe otherwise,
I will slip it into my mouth,
And roll it around on my tongue,
And savor the
Hard
Cold
Bitterness
Of memory.

It is better to tend to warm coals on the ground,
Than to reach for fireworks in the sky.

-leah ♡

Root Them Out

Today’s thoughts. 

I face painted a twin boy, once, whose twin had died.
He was four or five.
His mother told me in whispers that the brother died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
His father in prison.
He hit the child too hard in anger.

It is difficult to convey the turmoil and struggle for control as I painted the boy whose brother was killed,
trying to smile and be light-hearted while mom whispered a nightmarish story into my ear.

What they asked me to paint was the brother’s name on his arm. 
I did my job,
Compartmentalizing the horror, jamming my reaction into a box and shoving it down to contemplate later while I smiled and talked to the child whose arm was cradled in my hand.
The child condemned to a life without his twin by one angry man who blew it.

Ask Yourself, about the people in your charge…
– What type of person removes the blossom of a flower from its stem to crush the petals?
– What person cultivates a garden only to destroy it in a fit of temper?
Mommies?
Daddies?
When you are angry, how do you behave?
Husbands?
Wives?
How do you cultivate your garden?

God gave Adam a garden and he told him to care for it.
God has given one to you, too.
It is full of roses in bloom, dogwood trees with flowering branches, tulips and snapdragons and hardy mums…
How do you treat your loved ones when you’re angry?

Do you assault them?
With hands?
With words?
With shouting?

Consider the hard things today.
Look at yourself today.
Do not hide from You.

And remove the weeds you uncover.
Ruthlessly pull them out of the soil that is yours to care for. 
The health of your garden depends on it.

Seek the Master Gardener for assistance. 
Then rise up and walk.

Only a fool would turn to the most precious items in their life and destroy them in a fit of temper.

Let’s not be that fool.

The hard things.
The ugly things.
Face them.
Acknowledge them.
And Root. Them. Out.

– Leah

You Have Not Lived….

Until you’ve heard the words,
“Mommmmm! Josiah put hair removal creme all over his hair!”.

Yes.
You read that correctly.
My ten year old son rubbed, not one, but two applications of hair removal creme into his beautiful sandy brown hair.

image
Terror in a tube.

When his sister got married, she and her bridesmaids were primping and beautifying every inch of skin, and this tiny tube is the only trace of evidence that my home was “Spa for a Day”, last July.

But I’m not thinking of that happy morning right now.
Right now, I am running toward the bathroom and yelling,
“What?!? What did you just say?!?”
That was my calm, cool, and collected response to the 16 year old, also known as,  “The Informer”, thank goodness.

I rush in, trying to remain calm, picturing clumps of hair falling out of my son’s scalp until he looks like a like a flea-infested mangey stray, while I try to calm down.
But I feel it.
I feel panic rise within me, not for his hair…that stuff grows back, but for his eyes.

I call him into the bathroom.
“Do you know what you’ve done?
Do you understand the gravity of this situation?”
I feel the screamer inside of me begging to be let out of the dungeon I’ve banished her to.
I feel tension in my voice.
I am at war with the old me I left behind so long ago.

Fear and incredulity have joined hands and they are racing through my mind like it’s their amusement park.

Hurry,  Alma, hurry!”, I silently urge.

“Just strip. Strip out of everything.”, I tell my son.

Reach for a washcloth so he can cover his developing body – preserve his dignity,
Turn on the water – get it warm but not hot,
Reach for a towel to cover his eyes…

“Step in. Turn around. Sit. Scootch forward. I have to rinse right away. Lie back. Cover your body. Do. not. open. your. eyes.”
I am in a hurry but I am not yelling and this is a good thing.
I am relaying the danger into which he placed himself.
I am wondering what type of discipline this will merit.
He is ten, after all.
He knew what he was doing.

I rinse and apply shampoo – then repeat,
watching for strands of hair to break free.
None break free.
Silent prayers sent heavenward, “Thank God.”.

We finish and he steps out.
I wrap his body in a towel and tell him he was fortunate. Very.
I make small talk. “You know, when you wash your hair you need to focus right here…” to calm the situation.
All is well.
Healthy eyes.
Healthy hair.
Healthy hearts.

No one lost their temper.
No one was belittled or humiliated.
Every one is okay.

I remember in the Bible when Adam and Eve blew it.
When Cain killed Abel.
I think of God and his reactions.
Calm questions.
“Adam, where are you?”
“Cain, where is your brother?”

The perfect Father did not rant and rave and scream, even when very bad things happened.
I can almost hear the quiet sighs of resignation  and disappointment, though.
And he disciplined.
But he didn’t withhold himself from his creation.

I try to model my parenting after the Lord’s.
Children know when they’ve done wrong.

No lecture necessary, the learning happens in their hearts when the actions have come to light.

My son is okay.
He’s in trouble, but he’s okay.
We’ve lived through another adventure.
And no one is worse for the wear.

Except, perhaps, for my hair.
I may have a few more grays.

Peace to you.

~ leah

No Man Gets To Break You

I received communication today full of accusations regarding my divorce.

The accusations stated blatantly that I did not care about my children. They accused me of not putting them first when my marriage was in dire straits.
Of course the accusations were from a soul whose mind bore a one-sided perspective.

I cared about my children.
Of course I cared.
The main reason I stayed in the twenty-one year situation was for their sake.
Every storm weathered, every desire denied, every tearful night endured, every sacrifice made, every price paid was for my children.

Until my soul was almost shattered beyond repair like the windshield that bore the brunt of his most recent outburst of anger.

I lived in fear.
I lived alone.
I had no mate.
I had a master.

Like the woman in an airplane who puts the oxygen mask over her mouth before helping others, I did what I needed to do to stay alive so that my children would have a healthy mother.
I didn’t want them visiting me in a hospital unit.
I didn’t want them visiting me in a long-term mental health facility.
I didn’t want them laying flowers near a headstone with my name on it.

Yes.
I left.

I offered a six-month plan,
One that preserved sanity and postponed a permanent divorce situation.
The plan was rejected three times in one evening.
The door was closed.

Ladies who endure domestic violence for the sake of your children, this is what I learned:

You are building a glass house for your family.
When it breaks, everyone will bleed.
If you are fortunate, you will be able to prevent them from bleeding to death.
But the scars will show.

Your “mate” may never embrace the blame for wounding those who were in his charge.
He may play the victim whose spouse left him.
He could point a finger and accuse, “You didn’t love them, me, us, enough to stay.”.
Even if he does admit at least half of the blame, it is quite likely that you will be accused of not forgiving him.
It will not matter how many times you’ve forgiven him before.
If this occurs you must make yourself deaf to it and this is why:
Because no man gets to break you and then blame you for being broken.

No man gets to break you and then blame you for wounding your progeny when you leave to preserve your sanity.

No man gets to break you and then act like he is the victim.

Do you hear me?

No man gets to break you.

Look at your children and ask yourself,
What are they seeing?
What are they hearing?
What are they learning?

If you love your children, you will not subject them to negative images that will never leave their memories.
If you love your children you will remove them from the environment if it drains life from a soul.
Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you would allow your child’s mate to treat them as you are currently being treated.
Answer all of these questions honestly, and then do what is right for your family.

You do not want to live in a house made of glass.

You can clean up the mess when it shatters,
But you will always see the scars.
And try as you might,
You will not be able to remove every bloodstain.

-leah

Whom are you loving today?

There was a time in my life when I was at a crossroads, and a friend taught me by her example, how to love someone.

It was a most unhappy time when a choice begged to be made – things could not continue as they were – changes needed to happen. I was at a loss for what to do.  I was in pain – struggling to find logic and reason – all while in the midst of a storm.  The wind was whipping about, no clear direction lay before me.  I was at the point of despair, for both decisions would cause fall-out in the lives around me.

Like Ripples on a Pond, the effects would be far reaching...

I knew there would be ramifications that would extend far beyond my vision – like ripples on a pond or a lake.  We have all tossed a pebble in, or skipped stones and watched the circles radiate along the water from the point of contact to some point beyond, depending on the strength of the impact.  Well, I was about to climb to the top of a hill and roll a boulder into the water.  After the devastating splash, the ripples were going to go further than I could imagine.

 

 

I was at the point of desperation.  I could not endure the heartbreak any longer, so I decided to confide in one friend … everything.
Oh, sure, women talk. We tell each other about what we are going through all the time, but we are careful with the big stuff. We keep that to ourselves, because we need to be accepted by “the pack”.
No one wants to lose their place in their circle of friends.

At the risk of rejection and judgment I shared my dilemma.

I told my friend

Every.

Single.

Thing.

It was frightening.  I was taking a risk, for I loved her dearly.  She was the one person Ihad chosen, out of all of my friends and confidants, after all.  To lose her esteem was almost more than I could bear, but I chose to risk it to receive her wisdom. I needed it.

I needed her.

I shared the good path and the bad. I hid nothing from her, and then I waited – almost wincing my eyes – for the reaction. 
Do you know what she said to me?

No matter what you choose, I will be your friend. 
I will be there for you, and I will support you. 
I
am your friend.

And tears of shame and relief poured out of me.

Sometimes a person comes along in your life and leaves imprints on your soul. Fingerprints on your heart. No. Not mere fingerprints. Indentations.

I learned something that day that I will never forget.

I learned that there is a place in your soul so deep that even you may not know it exists.

– A location tucked so far from view, that you have no idea it is there.

 Until…

Until a very special someone reaches that depth with

One.

Loving.

Act.

They take a stone of their own – Love – and they drop it into that well within you, that seemingly bottomless pit that you didn’t even know was there, and when it lands on the bottom, you are suddenly aware of its existence.  I was loved so purely at that moment.  My soul was nourished like never before.  She freely gave unconditional love whose richness and depth I had always sensed, but had never truly known.  

Do you know what is beautiful?

When she exposed its existence, this depth of need within me, she simultaneously fortified me to the extent that nothing on the planet could shake the foundation of my security.
From that moment on, my footing was sure, for she had seen me at my worst and I was not rejected. 

She also gave me my choice.

Free will. 

No matter what I decided – I knew she would be there.
Do you know who this reminds me of?

God, of course.

Jesus.

What is True Christianity?
Who among us are truly Christlike?
Was it not the Lord who gave us free will?
Was it not the Lord who sent His Son, “while we were yet sinners.”?

What did Jesus say? He who bore our sins and not his own…

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he (an injured traveler) was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”

Jesus continues – addressing a man who asked Him who is “neighbor” was, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

 
Perhaps you are thinking, “Well that was a person who was wounded innocently. He was not in willful sin, and many are in trouble today because of their own foolish choices.”

Allow me to bring to your remembrance another situation that Jesus put himself in;  curiously, involving a person from Samaria again; A place and a people not respected by those to whom Jesus was speaking.

Jesus, offering a woman unconditional love and living water.

You will find this story in the Book of John, chapter four. Jesus sits at a well, and asks a woman, who comes to draw water, for a drink. She is stunned that he would even speak to her.  There is racism even then, and she expects it from Him, not knowing who He is.
He eventually shares with her that He knows she’s been married multiple times and that the man with whom she currently lives isn’t her husband at all.  He then offers her living water.  No lecture. No condemnation. No words of scolding. No self-help literature, and no counseling session to determine why she finds herself in so many short-term relationships. Just Living Water. Eternal Life.
Unconditional Love and Acceptance to a person who has apparently never had either.

While He made it clear that He knew what she was doing,  He did not condemn her or point out all of the spiritual laws she was breaking. If anyone had the right to, it would have been Him.  Instead He offered her a choice.
Do you know why?

She already knew she was wrong.
Just like your friends know whether they are right or wrong.
They don’t need you to tell them.

Your friends don’t need lectures, and they don’t need your criticism.
What they need, dear heart, is You.

A good Samaritan.  
A neighbor.
A friend.

Take care, dear ones, when someone puts their trust in you.

The human heart is fragile.
It is a tiny bird that trembles; delicate bones beneath feathers – so easily broken.

You will make a difference to someone.
My question to you is, “What type of difference will you make?”

Whom are you loving today?

Songbird, by Eva Cassidy.

As you listen to this, remember, there is ONE who loves you
more than you could possibly imagine,
and He offers you living water ♥.
Today.

 

Leah

~ When you are in the Wilderness ~

 

We can find beauty in the most barren of surroundings.

Today during a blessed conversation with a person whom I consider to be a true friend, I remembered Jacob from the Bible, and how the Lord visited him in the wilderness even though he had just deceived his father and “stolen” his brother’s birthright.

He bargained for it, we all know, but we also know that Esau would never have given it up.

He went hunting when his dad told him to get ready to receive his blessing, remember?

It occurred to me; We humans screw up so often. We, like Jacob, make so many mistakes when we act on our own “wisdom”, but God is greater.  His ways really aren’t our ways, for He visited a frightened thief in the wilderness when that thief was at his lowest.

I detest being in the wilderness, but I always discover a new facet of God’s personality there.
A new depth to His Grace; 

A more faithful love than the one I knew before.

So I am sharing with you. 
Maybe you really blew it.
Maybe you are definitely in the wrong, and are suffering for it.

Be Encouraged, dear one.
God is able to meet you where you are at.

He is the God of all the earth; Yes, even the wilderness.
And He is the God of those who find themselves wandering therein.


I hope this song ministers to you.
Clint Brown – Mercy and Grace ♫