Wow, wow, wow, wow! All I can say is wow! I know it’s been a few months since I’ve written in this blog. However, after a revelation like yesterday, I woke up today actually excited to get my fingers moving again, and share with YOU what has been on my heart, in hopes to encourage someone, somehow. I have to give you a little background about me, before I get into it. You see, I love the Lord a lot! I definitely do not have all of the answers, but I do know that over the past 14 years of trying to have a better understanding of God’s heart that I can honestly say that I love the Lord. I do know that for me no other name than the name of Jesus, has lifted me up, actually picked me up from the ground in some of my lowest lows. With that being said because of that, there’s a praise on the inside of me. Whenever I experience praise and worship then my heart and mind are at one with the Lord, and it takes me to another place. On the outside I may be crying, but on the inside I’m literally overwhelmed by the many times God has come through for my family and I. I’ve seen joy after death. I’ve seen deliverance from abuse. I’ve seen the power of forgiveness. I’ve seen healing after hurt. I’ve seen my marriage restored. I’ve seen chains broken in my life and the lives of others. I’ve seen friends and families healed when the doctors said there’s no way. I’ve also seen the opposite of each one. However, I’ve learned over the years that God is with us no matter what, and that alone brings me peace. With that being said, for that, and many other reasons I love praise and worship time. It’s my time to spend with God and to reflect on all of his goodness, faithfulness, and mercy. On the outside I may be crying, but I am not sad. I am literally overwhelmed by the things the Lord has done, is doing, and will do, in my life and the people that I love.
Now, if you don’t believe in God, then you might think I’m crazy, but that’s okay. This is me. I would be a hypocrite to act like my foundation is based on my own efforts and good works. I’ve tried that approach before, and it just doesn’t work. I always end up feeling inauthentic, because everyone who truly knows me, knows that my faith is a big part of who I am. I wasn’t always like this, it’s been a 14 year journey, that started with a lot of questions, doubts, and uncertainties, which is another story in itself. In my heart I always know it’s God, but sometimes I hold back from sharing that, because I don’t have all the answers. One of my good friends, that’s like a sister to me, simply told me, “Leneen, you aren’t God and you aren’t Moses, so you don’t need to have all the answers.” What I do know is that I am nothing without the Lord, but with Christ I can do all things. Okay with that background, I can get into yesterday.
Like I mentioned before praise and worship is my time to just spend with the Lord. I remember years ago I never used to lift my hands, and I would look around at people during praise and worship and wonder why are they lifting their hands, why is she crying, what in the world is going on? Well that whole time I was there observing others, I was missing out on my time with the Lord. Fast forward 10 years later, now my hands are lifted, and tears are pouring out. During this time I get revelations. One of the lyrics to the song I heard yesterday at church was, “Set the captives free.” When I heard those lyrics then it was like I saw all of the things that were holding me back from being who God has called me to be. My bad habits, my negative thoughts. I was bound. Then I started seeing all the things that were holding back the people I love, and the people in this world in general. Think about it. What are 1 2, or 3 things that you wish you could change in your life, yet it’s the very thing you spend the most time doing or thinking when you really wish you could stop? It could be an addiction, bad habit, or negativity. I don’t know what it is for you, but you know. Well, today I wanted to share what it is for me, but before I continue I wanted to share with you that during that time all of the things that my loved ones struggle with started coming into my mind and those words, let the captives free, really hit me hard. However, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the scripture about don’t try and take the speck out of your brother’s eye when you have a huge plank in your own. You see I could’ve easily thought those words were for someone else, dealing with something “bigger” than what I am dealing with. Oh, how I would’ve completely missed it. So I share this all in hopes to encourage someone, somehow.
I’ve been doing a Bible study the past 8 weeks, by Tara Owens, called, “Intentional: Life Lessons from Jesus on the Road to Emmaus.” It has been extremely eye-opening for me. Last week Tara was mentioning it was time for us to go to the other side. (That spoke to me as well.) Then this Sunday I heard those lyrics, “Set the captives free.” You see for me I have struggled with 3 things, consistency, fatigue, and negative thoughts. Despite my flaws God has still used me. However, I believe that to get to the other side, and to really live out my purpose, to truly give glory to Him then there are somethings that I have to be real with, and most importantly give it to God. Well, how in the world does one “give” something to God when you can’t see Him? That’s where my faith kicks in. I have a child-like faith. To me, when something gets too heavy for me to carry I literally pray about it. I say Lord I can not handle this, please take this from me, please open my eyes and help me see this person the way you do, please bless the people that have hurt me, please _____________. (You can fill in the blank for you.) So for me my prayer is Lord please change my inconsistency to consistency, my fatigue to energy, and my negative thoughts and words to positive and powerful thoughts and words. I feel that whatever we are held captive to, is the very same thing(s) that are holding us back from being who God has called us to be, and also holds us back from doing what God has called us to do. Now for me, I know that these are areas that I have struggled with for years, but the first step is saying it! I shared this revelation with my husband and my eldest son yesterday, and today I share it with you. Why? Because life is hard. Why? Because I truly believe iron sharpens iron. Why? Because I believe we all have our issues, and that nobody is perfect. We live in a world where we share our best, but the truth is we all face hills and valleys. Life sometimes can get so heavy and depressing. However, I know that for me personally, when I’ve been at my lowest lows then it has been God’s word that has lifted me up. It can come through conversations with my family and friends, radio stations, sermons, or just me spending time in the Bible. Verses like Phillippians 4:6-9, 2 Timothy1:7, Galatians 6:9, and so many others have comforted me so many times.
This morning I woke up, and the words, “Let Your Will Be Done,” were the words that were on my heart before I was fully awake. I made my list of things to do after spending time with the Lord. Cleaning, writing, and updating my calendar were on my things to do. However, I know I haven’t written in months. (I also need to finish writing the cartoon for Peacebe, but that’s another story for another day.) My flesh just wanted to clean, and do that first, because honestly I think about writing a lot, but to make the time to write I definitely need to be more consistent with that. I was reminded of the words, “Let YOUR will be done.” So I decided to write first, because the truth is the laundry, rooms, bathroom, and house will still be there waiting to be cleaned after I write. Also I realized I’ve put this off for months, and if I started cleaning then maybe more months would pass, before I finally wrote. Well, I could keep writing for days, but at some point I have to stop.
My encouragement to you, is that whatever is holding you captive from being who God has called you to be and doing what God has called you to do. Pray about it. Realize that it’s probably too big for you. That’s part of the reason why it’s been such a struggle for so many years. Shed some light on whatever your struggle is. Tell your spouse, close friend, or family member, or if you’re too embarrassed just say a prayer to God. I believe we may face similar battles, but the enemy or our inner-me has a way of making us feel that we are all alone, and that nobody else struggles with whatever holds us captive. I know that is not the case.
My prayer for you today is that whatever “it” is, that you give it to God. Now, you still might struggle with it after you pray, but I truly believe that He who has started a GOOD work within you will complete it. You will have ups and downs in your journey, but know in the end that God will get the glory in your story, if you put your trust and faith in Him. I saw this quote a few weeks ago, and I just wanted to share it with you. “Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hand in everything.” Now it doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to do our part, because I also believe that faith without work is dead. So whatever is holding you captive, pray about it, ask God to strengthen you, and do your part in helping to set yourself free! May God bless you abundantly, and may you keep fighting the good fight of faith. I hope you have an amazing week, and hopefully this was a blessing to someone, somehow <3