Telling His Story

Today, I have the privilege of being a featured Storyteller on my girlfriend and new book author, Jennifer Lee’s blog in her Tell His Story series. Click the picture to read “Keep Him”.

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little faith in a BIG God

Have you ever been nudged by God to believe Him, but when you look at the situation of impossibility sitting in your lap, you politely decline? I have. I’d love to tell you it was years ago that I had unbelief in the Almighty One, but it’s been more recent then that. It’s been today.

When I recall the miraculous moments in my life, it’s ridiculous to me how easily I dismiss His credentials and suddenly convince myself that He’s not capable for this particular job.

This summer we had a company tell us that if we didn’t fix our basement walls soon we would lose the foundation of our home. The impossibility was that the job would cost over $6,400.00. We had less than $20.00 in our savings account as of the end of August. The job was scheduled for November and then they bumped it up to the end of September.

We prayed little and tried problem-solving a lot, only to come to the frustrating conclusion that we had to take out a loan. That’s when the God who claims that nothing is impossible with Him proved the truth of that statement. Money began to come in to our life in weird ways. For example, a check we were expecting was double the amount. This happened time and time again over the next few weeks and by the time Thrasher Basement arrived to fix our broken walls, God had squashed the master-mind plan of the Chealey’s to borrow and provided all of the money needed for a job that requires full payment upon completion.

At the end of the day, Gene wrote Thrasher out a check. For the full amount.

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So why when I receive an email this morning regarding an opportunity for writing that I’ve been praying about do I instantly grab the hands of doubt because of finances? Why would I not remember “the basement miracle” that had Gene and I praising and in a state if awe? I need to believe versus doubt. God is capable of the opportunity before me and I have to believe that if this is His plans for me that He will provide.

The human part of me looks at the calendar and savings account as the opportunity nears and says, “impossible” while the Jesus seeker in me walks around my basement, running my hands along the repaired paid-in-full walls and says, “I believe.”

Blessings,

Lelia

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Cheering for freedom

After our weekly visit with our son, I rush to my car and drive to the side of the prison, hoping for one last view of him until the next visit as he walks into his unit. Gene thinks I’m silly and dramatic, but it’s a Momma thing. Every time I have tried for the last look I have missed seeing him, until this past Saturday.

imageI was with my sister and Aaron’s girlfriend, and when we saw him, I honked my horn and yelled, we love you, Aaron! His eyes were probably rolling as he waved, but I was too far away to notice.

When I see him again in 7 days, he will more than likely agree with his Dad and call it silly and dramatic, but I know my boy…he secretly loved my form of encouragement and I’m okay with him never admitting it.

Sunday night I led the “Surrendering the Secret” Bible study for post-abort women. I sat with women who have each held their secret of shame for years. 40 years total between them that they were held prisoner by this secret. I shared this picture of my son and told them that as I am doing for him, I will be cheering them on as I stand on free ground waiting for the day they walk out of their prison.

When people in our lives are not walking in God’s freedom in all areas of their life, we need to be there for them. We need to cheer them on as they seek their healing, peace and freedom. We do this by praying for them and encouraging them. Somedays they may roll their eyes, but don’t stop being their cheerleader. Keep honking and yelling “I love you!”

No matter what kind of past or present we have, God has freedom only He can give waiting for us, because as Psalm 146:7 tells us, “The Lord sets prisoners free”.

Cheering you on,

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Even Now

runaway_bride2Have you ever played the role of the runaway bride in your relationship with Jesus? 

So often in my walk with Christ I have run away from the One I needed the most. It’s always been during a tough time. I don’t know if I felt like He couldn’t handle my drama or situation, but I would follow Him until I felt the heat and then I was out of there. 

I would return to what I knew in the time of crisis or hardship. Things or people who did not draw me closer to Christ. Speaker Carla Marroquin calls returning to what we know our “patterns of comfort”. I have returned many times to my “patterns of comfort” to only experience emptiness. And then I discovered that Jesus always wants me and I’m never too much for Him. 

The belief that we have out-sinned God’s grace has to end. We give up to easily on a God Who wants to be our Everything. He desires relationship with us and wants to be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. 

When we make choices that are just down right sinful, selfish and stupid instead of avoiding all things Jesus, and returning to our patterns of comfort, THAT is when we need to stick with a Savior Who proved His love for us from the manger to the grave. To Him we were worth the brutal beatings, the pounding of material that ripped through His flesh, the crown of thorns. He loves us no matter what with an everlasting love. 

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart.” Joel 2:12a

Even now. 

What is your even now? What is it that you have in your past or present that is holding you back from full-out relationship with Jesus Christ? 

When I made the choice to cheat on my husband, Jesus said, “Even now”

When I aborted my precious baby, Jesus said, “Even now”

I could go on and on with my Even now moments, but let me tell you that it does not matter what you have done, Jesus wants you as is. Stop running away from the One you need and return to your Even-now, I’ll-take-you-as-is-Savior. 

Run to Him not from Him. 

Even now…

Blessings,

Lelia is booking into 2014…

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From Pain to Peace

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Written in my journal one week after our teenage son was sentenced to prison

How does one go from such deep heartache to experiencing God’s perfect peace?

By trusting in God. Completely. By not trying to make sense out of something that will never make sense.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD is the Rock Eternal. 

Whatever you are facing today, whether it’s big or small, put your trust in the Rock Eternal. He makes trusting worth it with peace that only He can provide. A peace that goes beyond all human ability to comprehend.

Ephesians 2:14a Christ Himself is our peace.

Blessings,

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His words

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…And because of His words many more became believers.  John 4:39 & 41

I tell stories.

Past and present stories of truth.

Stories that have one common subject and His name is Jesus.

I tell of how I regret my abortion. I tell of the grace that grabbed the hands of two cheaters and transformed their marriage. I’ve told of how life changed when my husband lost his job and was put on disability after 4 major surgeries. I’ve told of watching when my daughter became a teen mom of two blessings. I tell of the pain mixed with praise as our teenage son is an inmate in prison.

But the words I’ve spoken or written about of my past or present choices or the stuff that has happened to our family are not the words that take people to their knees. The words about my regrets are not the words that change the course of someone’s eternal dwelling.

The words that change lives are His words.

He uses my ugly past for His glory. He makes my story-telling worth it.

He plays the role of the Redeemer in every story. He’s the Giver of Hope.

When I receive emails from women who are inspired to share their story because I tell mine…it’s because of His words.

When I receive a message from a woman who has kept her secret of abortion for 26 years and wants the freedom I have…it’s because of His words.

When I hear from a woman who heard me on the Proverbs 31 Ministries conference call share my testimony and wants to end the affair she’s having…it’s because of His words.

And when I read a Facebook message from a woman in Texas tell me how her daughter went to an abortion clinic twice, but couldn’t go through with it because she couldn’t stop thinking about my story that she had read on our mutual friends’ Facebook page the morning of her appointment…it’s because of His words. 

When God asks you to tell your story it’s because He has plans for it. He has plans for the ones that read it or hear it. Don’t be shy to share of His greatness. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to tell of what you’ve done to shine light on what He has done. Because when we obey Him and tell others of all He has done in our life we will get a message that will completely undo us. A message that will make us ask what the psalmist did in Psalm 24:10 Who is He, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty–He is the King of glory. 

Today I received a text message with this picture.

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 This is the beautiful granddaughter of the lady in Texas who wrote me last February to tell me thank you for telling my story because twice her daughter didn’t go through with her plan of abortion. Because of His words, His glory is wrapped in pink in Houston, Texas tonight.

All because He had a story to be told.

Tell your story and trust the real Storyteller with it and when you do, many will become believers because of His words.

Blessings,

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I’m sorry. Not really.

In the blue shirt is one of my granddaughters, Juliana and the one with the blue eyes is her cousin Ella.

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A few weeks ago these two were with my sister Michelle for the day. She was at work in her office when she heard them fighting, but before she had to intervene, she overheard a heart-felt apology come out of Juliana’s mouth. Michelle’s moment of pride that her 4-year-old great-niece had apologized on her own didn’t last long as she heard what Juliana said next.

After saying, “I’m sorry Ella”, Juliana turned away from her and said, “Sorry doesn’t mean nothin’.” Loud enough for Ella to also hear.

Which then made Ella burst into tears. Which then made Michelle enter the room and request a do-over of her sorry. And then Juliana repeated her empty apology.

This gave me such a picture of what we must look like to God. We do something ungodly and apologize to Him, but as we walk away our actions of repeating the same junk says to God, “Sorry doesn’t mean nothin’.”

True repentance is what our Savior is after. Evident life change is what He wants. I love Luke 3:8.

In the NIV Bible it says: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 

The Max Lucado New Century Version Bible says: Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. 

When we spit out “I’m sorry” with no desire to be different, chances are we’ll be apologizing a lot for the same choices. However, when we allow God to have His way with us and we’re truly sorry for our actions and/or words THEN our lives will produce the fruit that only a repentant heart can harvest. That’s exciting.

May we be followers of Christ who have changed hearts and lives because when we’re not, then our sorry means nothin’.

Blessings,

Lelia

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Seeing Red

Today I’m participating in Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday5minutefriday

She gives a prompt of what to write on and you write non-stop for 5 minutes. No major editing just freedom writing. I had the privilege of meeting Lisa-Jo at Jumping Tandem last April, which was a weekend retreat in Nebraska we both spoke at. She’s real, easy to listen to and fun to hold a conversation with. 

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Check out her blog by clicking here and if you’re a blogger, join in and if you’re not, just write your heart out for 5 minutes in the comment section of her blog if you want to. There’s room for everyone. 

Now to begin my Five Minute writing off the prompt “RED”…

I love when my 88-year-old Grandpa tells stories. My favorite one though is of my Grandma. They were at K-Mart years ago and while she shopped, he pushed the cart behind her. Somehow, he lost track of her and began to call out for her, “Lee? Lee” Where’d ya go?”

“I’m right here Wayne,” she said looking at him like he had gone mad. She was standing within arms reach of her husband of many years. He started laughing and explained to her that as he scanned the store, he was looking for his red-head. Standing in the aisle of K-Mart for the first time he realized that his bride’s red hair had turned gray over the years and he never noticed.

Four kids, many grand-kids and many more great grand-children and almost 67 years of marriage, I love that he still sees her as his red-headed bride he married back in the ’40’s. So sweet. Such blinded love.

Gma and Gpa Great

Blessings,

Lelia

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I don’t have anything to wear…whatever

Last week I picked up my junior-high daughter after school along with two of her friends. Her girlfriends were in the back seat and they started to complain about the new clothing rule at school: No short shorts

I listened to their complaints for a few minutes: 

Nobody even makes shorts that long. 

I don’t have anything to wear tomorrow.

I’m going to have to wear jeans for the whole year. 

And then I piped in. I started to clap and say that I was in agreement with their new principal. After looking at me like I was crazy, they changed the subject. 

The next morning I called the principal and after welcoming her to the school, I told her I was calling about the shorts rule. I then told her that she had me and Gene’s support and she exhaled the breath she was holding. She told me that so many parents had called her and complained about it. She told me how many tween and teen girls entered her office and voiced why they shouldn’t have the no short shorts rule.

Then she told me how she had a numerous amount of boys tell her, “You have ruined my life because now I can’t sit next to girls in class wearing booty shorts.” 

As a mom of a 12-year-old daughter I don’t understand the parents that called in to complain about a rule that is being enforced to protect their daughters from being the focal point for young boys. And if we’re honest, the male teachers too, unless they keep their eyes closed at work. 

Men are very visual. They have been since the day king David stood on his balcony and watched and lusted after another man’s wife and eventually slept with her. This lust thing is nothing new to young boys, men and especially Satan.

So this is why I want to talk to the women for a second. Women in ministry. Women in the church. Women who are an example to the younger girls. Women who want to represent Jesus above anything else in their life. This has been on my heart since last week when I listened to the young girls talk in my car and the principal sigh relief through the phone in disbelief that I was on her side, cheering for her modesty rule.

This lust thing starts young. It starts as soon as the boys stop thinking girls have cooties. And it doesn’t go away. As women of God, we have a responsibility to teach our young girls how to dress. We need to show them how to cover themselves in a way that does not cause a boy or man’s mind to wander, because when we fail to teach this we are setting our girls and young women up to be the object of nothing more than lust.

They will become wanted. Desired and eventually sought after. They will be given compliments that will give elevation to a false height of self-esteem. And around them boys and men will stumble whether in thought or in the physical through masturbation.

Lust. It’s a monster that will snatch the innocence from both boys and girls. And it starts with a visual.

As grown women we can be much like junior-high girls and defend the way we dress by blaming the stores and designers for what hangs in our closet. But until we put all excuses down and choose to clothe ourselves in modesty we will have many king David’s looking over our shoulder at the skin that is exposed. Lusting.

If you cannot raise and praise in your shirt without showing skin–don’t wear it. If your dresses are so tight and short that every curve you have is popping out, even if it’s popping out in the right places, don’t wear it. If you have more leg showing than skin covered–don’t wear it. This doesn’t mean we have to wear long skirts and turtle necks, it means we want to keep the exposure controlled and be classy.

When we choose modesty over what the designer magazines say is the latest fashion, God is pleased with our fashion sense. He is pleased that we are choosing to make Him smile. And He is pleased that the young girls around us who are watching sees women who dress modestly on purpose.

No short shorts….one day they’ll call and thank us. Just like I did with the principal.

Ladies…1 Corinthians 10:32a Do not cause anyone to stumble.

Blessings,

Lelia

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Why I go across the street

In 2008, my friend Missy, called herself “The Proverbs 32 Woman (aka, the one who got cut)” in this blog post.  She even shared a picture of her messy kitchen to show that even though she tries to follow the example of the woman in Proverbs 31, some days it just doesn’t always happen.

I love when we’re real with one another instead of trying to make life look perfect. Even the P31 woman didn’t try to be perfect, she just tried to please God. 

In places such as Facebook it is really easy to portray a display of perfectionism. I’ll give an example at my attempt to show my online friends and family just how together I am.

Whenever I want to take a picture of the girls outside, I make them unwillingly cross the street to our neighbors yard which looks like the cover of Better Homes and Garden.

Pic I posted Tuesday on Facebook taken in front of my neighbors beautiful pink rose bush...picture perfect

Pic I posted Tuesday on Facebook taken in front of my neighbors beautiful pink rose bush…picture perfect

The pic I didn't post on FB because I took it in my yard amongst the weeds

The pic I didn’t post on FB because I took it in my yard amongst the weeds

In the new book “The Jesus-Hearted Woman”, author Jodi Detrick said this about being real…

“It’s only when we come down off of our high horses and allow ourselves, and others in the room to be imperfectly human, that we can come together and help each other become a little more godly. A Jesus-hearted woman is real, down-to-earth, and approachable.”

So today, I will try to follow the example of the Proverbs 31 Woman, but just know that if you see more pics in front of the rose-bush, they were taken by a P32 Woman who just appreciates the beauty her Jesus-hearted neighbor Cindy planted.

And if I showcase any backyard pics, more than likely it will be in our other Jesus-hearted neighbors, Ben and Julie’s gorgeous space because my backyard is in need of a landscaping miracle.

Blessings,

Lelia

Please ignore the random ads popping up on my blog.

Changes will be coming soon to avoid this from happening.

Thank you! 🙂

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