Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dogs stay, husband goes

Last night on yahoo news, the title of an article caught my eye,

Say what?

Here is the subtitle of the article:
10 years ago a Singapore lady gave up her marriage for 10 stray dogs.
Now she has more than 200, and doesn't regret her decision at all.

The more I read about this woman, the more disbelief surrounded me.
I just finished reading Completely His by Shannon Ethridge. Amazing book. One thing she teaches about is how when we have Jesus in our heart, we are the bride of Christ.
Shannon points things out in this book about that role we take on that kept my attention captive, such as this,
"We are all invited into an intimate love relationship with Jesus, regardless of our heritage, our social status, or our gender.
All that is required is that we submit to Him as our heavenly Bridegroom and love Him with a bridal love".

She also points out that before we said yes to God, He knew we'd be unfaithful to Him.
"It's hard to imagine that a groom would commit himself to an unfaithful bride, but this is exactly what God has done with you and me".

The lady in the article mentioned above gave up her marriage for her love of stray dogs.
One day her husband gave her an ultimatum -- either the dogs went, or he did.
The dogs won.

How sad for that man, I thought.
But then I started thinking about my walk with Christ, my marriage to Christ, and I thought of all the meaningless things I have swapped Him out for.
Things that "won".

~Relationships that brought Him no glory
~Ungodly attitudes
~An affair
~Ridiculous spending habits

Gene and I have been married for 10 years. Standing at the altar together if I had said to him,
"I Lelia take you Gene, to be my husband, to honor and cherish, but I'm not going to be faithful to you. I'm going to lie and sneak and cheat on you. Oh and I will get pregnant from this affair and hide my lying life style by having an abortion. In sickness and health, 'till death do us part".

If Gene knew ahead of time that I was not going to keep my vows, he would've said, "See ya" and turned and walked out of that church on 9th and Claremont Streets on that hot summer day in June. Out the door and never to be heard of again.

Same thing with the groom in Singapore. Had he known she would choose canines over him within a decade, no way would he have taken her as his wife. One thing she said about her ex-husband is this, "If he loves me, he should accept me for who I am".

Jesus Christ.
He knows us.
He accepts us for who we are.
And still says I do.
I do want her all to Myself.
I do want to use her ugly past for My glory.
I do love her as is.
I do want to be the God of her Is (present), Was (past) and Is to Come (future).

Are you swapping out anything for Jesus?
Just like the Singapore groom gave his wife an ultimatum Christ gives us one in
Revelation 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

As that man didn't want dogs to be his wife's #1 priority, God wants nothing or nobody to come before Him.
I need to be swapping out some junk in my life for Jesus.
I need to trust my Bridegroom enough to completely surrender to Him. Every day.
I need to be on fire for the God who loves me regardless of my unfaithful heart beating within my chest. Because being spit out by God is much worse than the sting of rejection that man felt when his wife chose dogs over their marriage.

I love you Jesus!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I love this verse...

Ephesians 5:1
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

Whenever I sit at the kitchen table with my laptop, our 23 month old granddaughter, Amiyah wants to help me. She knows she is not supposed to touch my computer, so she will put her little fingers right to the edge of it and once in awhile reach up and do what she thinks is typing. She is what we call "hard-headed" as she does not give up easily. Sometimes she just continues to do what she wants, and ends up getting in a little bit of toddler trouble.
She wants to copy what I am doing no matter what it may cost her.

Then I saw it at Walgreens one day right before Christmas.
A pink "real" looking laptop.
Best sixteen bucks I've ever spent.
She loves this thing and every time she comes over insists on getting it out and "working".
Here is a picture of her and aunt Alivia working away.
As soon as she saw Alivia on the couch, Amiyah ran her little bow-legged self to get her laptop.

And bless Alivia's patient heart, Amiyah sat right next to her and imitated
every move her Auntie made.
At almost 2 years old she wants to do what her Mommy, Grandma, Aunt and even what
Uncle Aaron and Grandpa does.

She is a little imitator of all she sees us do.
In the picture above she was a mini-me version of Alivia;
a reflection of the 8 year old she sat beside.

Who are you imitating today?
Who are you a reflection of?
Are you willing to copy Jesus, no matter what the cost may be?

I wish I could say God to the first 2 questions and yes to the third everyday, but I'd be lying.
He is what I strive to be like, but I know some days the devils' horns sprout up from underneath my hair and just knock my halo right to the ground.

Thankfully, one thing about His mercies...they are new every morning.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Really Believe

Song of Solomon 4:7

You are altogether beautiful, my love;
there is no flaw in you.

Valentine's Day.
Big money maker for flower shops, restaurants and Hallmark.
Valentine's Day is when your better half is supposed to acknowledge their unending love for you.

But what if you don't get a flower, a card or even a candlelight dinner?
What if you are single and you don't have a significant other that will express their love to you?
What if you're the only one at work that won't be surprised by a dozen red roses delivered to your desk?

So many women feel very lonely and left out on this day.
Ignored, shunned and down right forgotten.
Whether they have a ring on their finger or hopes of having one someday, women feel as if they are not good enough. All because the world says that on this one day of the year, you need to be lavished with gifts wrapped in red paper and a teddy bear that says I Love You across its chest or you are nothing.

But what if we really believed that there is Someone crazy in love with us?
Not just on February 14th, but since before we were born?
One that expressed His love for us in such a deep way, that no store bought gift can compare to its value of sacrifice.

What if we really believed that a King, A KING is enthralled by our beauty?

What if on this day of expected love we really believed that this King has plans for us?
Great plans that doesn't include one forced night of romance, but 365 days of wooing us with His passion for us?

Now don't get me wrong here, I'm a woman that longs for this stuff to happen on the 14th of February like the next woman, but how much self worth do I invest in this man made holiday?

Is the way I feel about myself altered if Gene doesn't sweep me off my feet?

Do I feel worthless if Gene doesn't meet my expectations?

With the aisles of stores being splashed with hearts and candy the day after Christmas, it easily can be that way. It's hard to ignore that many women will be spoiled on Sunday. I can go to bed on Sunday night feeling unloved, uncared for and unappreciated OR I can choose to rest in the fact that Jesus Christ loves me more than Gene is ever capable of loving me.

There are many single women who will wake up Sunday morning with depression weighing heavily on their hearts. Many women who want to wait for Mr. Right to come along, but in the midst of their waiting become willing to give themselves away for a cheap box of chocolates. Chocolates that will melt away as fast as their self esteem. Just so they aren't alone on this day.

But what if this year was different and she really believed she is worthy of a King's love?
That she is worth the wait.
Even if that means falling asleep alone?
What if she gets in between her sheets Sunday night with a smile on her face because she knows that it is the angels, not the devil doing a victory dance over her choice to let Christ be her Valentine?

If you have asked Jesus Christ into your life then your heart is already taken.
You are spoken for.
You have the Ultimate Lover.
Not just on Valentine's Day, but every day.
You have a Valentine that didn't capture you by shooting an arrow through your heart, but instead, because He let soldiers drive nails through His hands and feet. For you.
Because He really believed you are worth dying for.

I don't know if Valentine's Day is a day that makes you feel unworthy and unloved, but if it has in the past why not look at it through a different lens this year? Instead of dreading it, expect much this Sunday. Expect to be shown a unique love from the only One that knows how to fill the empty holes of your heart to overflowing. Expect to be amazed and made to feel special and chosen because you are. Because the Son of God thinks that you are worthy enough to come to earth with one purpose: to give His life for yours.
He loves you and wants you to know it.
Let Him.

Author Shannon Ethridge puts it best in her book I'm currently reading, Completely His, when she said this:
"We are incomplete, imperfect, and impatiently craving that which our souls cannot find apart from an intimate relationship with our loving God".

So this Sunday, let Him be the lover of your soul.
Let Jesus romance you in a way you never thought possible.

I bet if you allow yourself to be loved on by your King, the two of you will look a lot like this...

I happen to capture this sweet moment between our grand babies,
Juliana and Amiyah.

A great visual of

True Love Forever

*Click here to visit P31's Rachel Olsen's blog to read other entry's in her Devotional Carnival on the topic of Love.
* here to be a part of an exciting opportunity with P31's Wendy Blight!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The fruit of the Spirit is crooked. Again.

Last night I was going from the kitchen to the living room when I noticed that yet again a picture above the kitchen table was crooked.
As I went to fix it, I read the words on my favorite picture.


As I was straightening the picture for the 2nd or 3rd time this week, I got to thinking about if I'm portraying any of the fruit of the Spirit in my life toward my family.
Or like the picture that refuses to stay straight, is my life crooked and off balanced,
unable to produce any evidence that the Holy Spirit resides in me?

Did my husband feel love from me last night when I had to win our discussion/argument?

Do my kids see joy in my face when I see them after being apart for 8 hours?

Is my home a peaceful or tension filled place to be? Is it a haven or hell on earth for my family?

Do I get frustrated when things aren't done on my timing?

Does my family see me treat the mailman nicer than I treat them?

Does goodness come pouring out of my heart or does selfish motives?

Am I committed to God no matter what?

What do my kids or husband hear in my voice when I answer their many questions?

When life gets stressed do I go to God's Word or straight to the kitchen.
What do I feed myself when I feel pressure?

We can be our harshest critics, that is for sure, but I really believe when we tear ourselves down we don't let God do what He wants to do within us.
So as I was reflecting on how I've been this week and going through each fruit, I started to get down on myself when my phone alerted me of an e-mail.

And I read these words unexpectedly received from my friend Lysa...

I'm so proud of you Lelia for the way you are so tenderly responsive to God's heart. I know you struggle with things sometimes but don't ever lose sight of the amazing way God created you to constantly respond in obedience to His voice.

WOW! Isn't God good?
He knew I needed this message.He used Lysa to send it to me and she had no idea the thoughts running through my mind.
And so now I had to either receive the message or dismiss it and not believe it. I chose to receive it and let God speak to my heart.

He above anyone else knows my heart.
He knows I don't get this right.
He knows I try, but fail.
He knows I don't try to act like a know it all, but instead I seek the One Who does.

The truth of it matter how hard we try, we ARE going to fail sisters.
We are going to wake up with the best intentions of living out this Christian walk, only to crawl into bed at night with bloody scrapes on our elbows and knees from all the falls we endured throughout our day.
There will be those days that strangers see beautiful spiritual produce in our lives while our loved ones only see rotten bruised up fruit coming from our hearts.

But that is why we must have Daily Dependence on God as Lysa taught in a conference recently.

Daily seeking Him.
Daily relying on Him.
Daily calling on Him.
Daily trusting Him.
Daily quieting ourselves to listen to Him.

Because when we don't our lives become unbalanced and we are producing
not so lovely, no joy, tense, impatient, unkind, selfish, unfaithful, rough, out of control fruit and we don't want anything to do with that.

Seek Him and see how balanced your life can become.
When we are connected to the Vine daily, He makes fruit come from our hearts that we never thought was possible.