Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She Falls, He Gets Her Up, She Writes, SHE SPEAKS

"Lelia, I didn't know you were a Christian!"

This is what my friend and co-worker Deb told me at my wedding reception in the summer of '99. Basing her revelation on what was sung and said in my wedding, she was excited to discover I was her quiet sister in Christ. I was equally shocked for I've been a Christian since second grade when I asked Jesus into my life on the playground led in prayer by Miss E'Lise Christensen. Twenty-two years saved so what part of Jesus didn't Deb see in my life?

Deb's comment didn't leave my mind anytime soon. I had worked 40 hours a week with this woman for a year. I was aware of what she believed about Jesus. I knew that all of her activities centered on Him. I knew that she loved Him passionately and I knew of her reputation of being a woman of God. So what if I lived with Gene before we got married and had two kids out of wedlock ? So I never told any of my co-workers about Him. I would've invited them to church like Deb did if I faithfully attended one. I still loved Jesus.

When life settled back into place after our honeymoon, I thought more about Deb's words spoken in shock to find out I loved Jesus. It really bothered me and so I opened my Bible and read

1 John 1:5-7

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

God's own words changed my heart and my life. I now try to live a life that daily speaks love for Jesus. A life that's on fire to share about the One that saved me from the pits of hell. My walk with Jesus isn't something I take for granted anymore. My life now tries to reflect what I believe and in Who I believe. I crave Him and want others to have Him too.

In God's own timing He's taken me from writing in the comfort of my home to the jailhouse downtown to share with women what He's done and is doing in my life. He's wiped my tears when I've seen tough acting women behind bars with rap sheets as long as their tattoo-covered arms break down in tears after reading something I've written and ask me to tell them more about the Saviour I write and talk about.

In His own timing, He has graduated me from writing in my journal to writing poems to stories, from stories to blogging and daily sharing about His awesome ways with old friends and new blogging buddies. I point to Him when I'm told I should get published and accept the desire He has placed in my heart to write a book. He knows that whatever I do, say or write to Him be all the glory. I have tried writing solo and all I end up with is a lot of frustration and a blank computer screen.

So daily I have to acknowledge that the gift of writing He has blessed me with is just that...HIS gift. I have humbly laid this gift at the foot of His cross and promised Him that I will use it to glorify Him. It blows me off the top of Calvary as I kneel, soaked in tears of thanksgiving trying to grasp that He actually wants to use a woman with a past like mine to draw others to Him. I am so unusable, but yet by the hands of my Redeemer I am a new creation ready, willing and able to be used by her King. A creation that wants to encourage other woman to seek Him, love Him and never turn away from their True Love. A woman that when she speaks it's not Lelia Chealey they hear, but God's grace, mercy and hope that fill their ears and hearts instead.

By faith, I keep walking through the doors only He can kick open. I walk over His holy threshold with trust, amazement and obedience not having any idea what lies before me. This year alone through the world's eyes, I should have thrown the towel in on Him. Pregnant teen daughter, teen son in trouble with the law, financial strain, one thing after the other, but yet, I trust. I follow, I cry, I yell, I love Him and I lean on Him. I write and talk about Him and I watch as He throws the towel in for me on my enemy, who by God's grace cannot take me down.

I'm sharing all of this because I believe the next door opening for me is to attend the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks conference in June in North Carolina and learn more about the direction God is pointing me in. This is a conference that is led by godly women ready to share with other women the gifts that God has entrusted to them. Gifts of speaking, writing, blogging and how to lead a women's ministry. Gifts to raise up young girls ages 12-17 years old that desire to serve the Lord. This teachable, hungry, heart wants to learn from the ones God has chosen to put this conference together.
"I am very passionate about this conference for speakers, writers and women’s ministry leaders because I’ve experienced first hand the amazing things God does with the ladies that attend. "
~Lysa TerKeurst~
President/Founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Financially there's no way possible I can attend this conference. I can barely afford the gas to drive to work so asking my husband to buy a plane ticket to NC would make him laugh. My van in the shop as I type, bills that need to be paid and diapers to buy for a granddaughter due to arrive in the Spring are just a few of what is before me. If you've read my blog you know the story about my couch from God so you know I have no doubt in my Saviour's ability to provide for the desires of my heart. Even though finances can be tough, He always provides for our needs.

There is a scholarship opportunity that if it is God's will, I will be chosen to receive it and will praise Him. If He has someone else chosen to receive it then I will praise Him. I believe in my heart that He wants me to attend this conference and I'm excited about the moment He clues me in on how He's going to get me from Nebraska to North Carolina this summer.

So unknown to me of the details of my travel, I await my trip to North Carolina willing to look beyond an empty checking account and say "yes" to a God who has His best interest for me at heart. A God who is looking out for me. A God who loves me, forgives me and even slaps me upside my head when I need it. A God who never forsakes this girl who in the past has chosen to forget Him. Oh how I love and need Him!
Thank you sweet Jesus!

If you have an interest in writing, speaking, women's ministry or even leading a Bible study, this conference is for you. Click here for more details from Lysa TerKeurst of how you too can apply for the scholarship.
~Many Blessings~


Heather@Mommymonk said...

Hey - if God could get you that couch, I think He can figure out a way for you to go to She Speaks (if that's HIS plan), right? I really hope you can go, because it is phenomenal! And it's clear that God has a plan for you in the arena of speaking and writing.

MrsJoeB said...

Lelia-you deserve to go!! You deserve to win! God will make it happen for us if it is His will.

As far as my daughter-she's been in a lighter mood, I am still not her favorite person but we are getting along. Her lifestyle is no different and I continue to pray every day for God to capture her heart. I try to model what it means to have an intimate relationship with God. I fail like every other Christian mom but I keep trying. When did teenagers get so much control of their life-or at least think they have so much control of it?!?!?

We have been down similiar paths it seems and I would like to meet you too. I love this blog ministry and I pray it will grow bigger for both of us as we reach out for God!

In His Graces~Pamela

kmom3 said...

May He bless you tremendously as you seek to follow His heart for your life!
How exciting to think of the plans He has for you...plans that are designed for you and you alone! Being His is so awesome!
Love and Blessings,

Sita Henderson said...

Lelia, I have to tell you that I was flirting with the idea of entering this, but after I read your post, whoa girl, I was stumped and felt a little [actually a whole lot!] foolish! If I was the judge, I mean, how could I not give this to you? (no disrespect to any others who entered!). This was so beautiful, piercing to my bones, girl! Just teach us what you learn when you get it, huh! May God honor your step of faith.
Love, thoughts and prayers,

Susan said...

Oh Leila,

I wish, I hope, I pray the Lord would open this great big door wide open for you!

He's given you this gift, for His glory.

I'm believing with you, now is the time.

Love ya!

Celly B said...

What a powerful testimony! I pray that God will bless your desire to share it.

kmom3 said...

Hey, sweet lady!
I posted about you and other bloggy friends who bless me! It isn't anything you have to pass on! Just know I am blessed by you and think my friends would be blessed by you as well!

valerie said...

I was just telling a co-worker that a boy in our youth group had a prayer request the past two Wed. nights for a car. He's not picky either and only has $1200 saved up.
He works and I'm believing God is going to provide that car for him.
I went on to tell my co-worker that one time a few years back I prayed for a new dresser for my bedroom. Mine was a hand-me-down from my sister and it was fine, but the biggest drawer was broken and would always get off the track. One day I prayed to God that I wasn't picky and wasn't just wanting new furniture b/c I was tired of mine, but I needed it.
Well, my husband had been helping a friend with lots of work and one day he surprised me and they drove up with an entire brand new bedroom suit and best of all it was paid for with the money from the friend.
God knows the desires of our heart and He sees the sincerity. I'm trusting that you'll get to go!

MaryLu said...

To echo what the other commentors's have said. God's timing is not our timing, and He does provide a way if it is in His will. Keep praying the prayer that never fails, Thy will be done, and wait on him.
This post was very meaning ful to me, even without the reason for writing it, the scholarship, I have a difficult teenager boy, and one day I may feel free enough to write about it on my blog, for now, it is tucked away in that secret place between God and me. Thank you for being so open and honest in your writings, I know that you are a blessing to those with whom you come in contact.

Miss Sandy said...

Touching post and testimony, blessing on your ability to attend.

MrsJoeB said...

Lelia-thank you for the post. I so enjoy coming here. I now have you on my front page too! I had to get one of youth from our church to help me add the "links". I thought I was computer savy but within this blog system I am not!

I am on our knees that we will be able to attend that conference and meet. If not, maybe we can connect at a Beth Moore conference! Can we be bold and just ask for both?!?!?
Have a blessed week!!
In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous said...

This post was just so refreshing!
How nice to hear about a real woman, trusting a real God, with real problems, and he REAAALLY cares!
I love your blog and appalud you for this piece and what it requires to be this real!
God bless you!
Thanks for stopping buy my blog! And please come back anytime!
And remember, with God, ALL things are possible!
In Christ,
Writing To Encourage You!