Messianic and Dating? Growing up Messianic Pt.2

“How do you get a guy to back off? Tell him you are Messianic and you will probably just scare him away.”

LOL. If you are Messianic and have ever been looking in the romance department, you can probably relate too well to this joke!

Dating and romantic relationships, in general, are a funny, odd, and sometimes just frustrating when you identify as Messianic. I have had a few non-serious, romantic relationships, but have only been in one relationship with another man who identifies as Messianic. While I keep aspects of my life both very open and very private, my ‘love life’ is something that I haven’t shared much about on my blog, or even on my social media. While I don’t see the need to share about ALL of my dating experiences, I will share about two that broke my spirit and gave me hope that it may be possible to find a Messianic man.

I was 16 and fell for a guy that seemed completely opposite of me, at least from the outside. He was real with the world, and I appreciated that more than anything. We were both extremely broken at the time, and were able to find comfort in each other. Deep down, I knew that we weren’t going to last, “Forever” even though, at the time I wanted that. We dated for several months, and I found out that his parents (who I had never met), didn’t like me, because I was messianic. His parent’s opinions of me stemmed into our relationship, and it wasn’t too much longer before they had a long list as to why they didn’t like me. After several months, he broke my heart, and I can’t help but wonder if it had to do something with the fact that I was Messianic. His parents made several remarks, about it, and so did he. To them, I was in a cult, which I had a suspicion that they were simply anti-sematic . I am grateful that things ended because I cannot imagine being in a relationship with someone who is prejudice against the Jewish nation.

The next guy that I am going to share about happened more recently. I was in high school, but close to graduation and I realized that there was a new guy in my congregation, who was very cute. I didn’t know his name but knew that he was probably significantly older than me and knew that I should hold off on making a move until I graduated. The winter preceding graduation, I got to know the nameless guy better. I was correct, he was significantly older than me. We ended up in a relationship by Valentine’s day.  As I am not used to having a true connection with people, in a platonic or romantic way because of my religious roots, and it was strange to have that. The entire relationship seemed surreal but in a good way. It was a positive relationship but after a few months, we realized that we were both going different places in life, as we had an age difference that was more than a few years.

Romance is a tricky thing as a Messianic young adult. First of all, where do you find someone? The Messianic community in my area is very small, but also I refuse to go to Temple with the intention to find someone. I go to worship God. Also, is it okay to date someone who isn’t Messianic if they are Christian? Throughout my life, I have generally felt more acceptance from guys who wouldn’t consider themselves to be religious at all.

Today I am single, but I know that I have several ladies in my synagog who would be more then willing to try to set me up with a partner if I asked them too. I am perfectly fine being single as I am very focused on my dreams and goals. I don’t feel like I am ‘Missing’ anything. Especially, as I have little time, even for my friends. At this point, I feel perfectly content in my life. Although I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to a romantic relationship, at some point, but within this season I am not going to simply ‘wait around’ for a guy.

I hope that this gave you a little bit of insight on dating as a Messianic. If I am supposed to settle down one day, I have faith that I will somewhere, and somehow find a Messianic man. However, in the meantime, I have a lot of stuff to get done.

-Leah

Email: lamaleahblog@gmail.com

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Accept Me, Don’t Try To Convert Me: Growing Up Messianic Pt. 1

My life has been, well strange. I have shared various key parts of my life story throughout this blog. When I began writing, almost three years ago, I shared mainly about my own struggles of not really fitting in as a Messianic believer. I haven’t shared as much in the past year or so because about every time that I write about Messianic Judaism, I offend SOMEBODY, and it is usually a Christian before it is a Jew. Today I chose to turn my head away from the possible criticism and share once again about my experiences growing up Messianic.

I was in Preschool when my family was invited to visit a Chanukah service at a Messianic Synagogue, and my family fell in love with it. Within a year, we were celebrating all of the feasts, keeping Sabbath, and were on a completely Kosher diet. Now, at 20 years old, this is the only lifestyle that I know. Even within the seasons that I haven’t been following God, I have always kept Kosher, and at least gone to services for holidays. Although I have a few problems with how members of my denomination have a tendency to handle some issues, I do not see myself leaving the roots that were ingrained into me.

Here are a few thoughts I have about growing up in the Messianic, Torah following movement.

I learned early on, that generally the Christians will not accept you, and if they do, they will probably try to convert you. I struggle with what I call, “Sunday Morning Christians.” One of my strongest and most traumatizing stories that I have, happened when was about seven years old. My family was visiting a Baptist Church and during Children’s church, the teacher taught a salvation message. The teacher asked me if I was saved, and I shared that I was messianic, and she proceeded to tell me that I was not saved if I was Messianic and that I was going to go to hell. I was scared, for YEARS after that, that I wasn’t truly saved, and repeatedly asked Yeshua into my heart. Looking back, I wonder how someone who is so anti-Semitic would ever be put into a position of leadership.

I have story after story about being emotionally scarred, and somewhat discriminated by members of the Christian church. I guess, you just learn not to bring it up, if you want to be accepted by fellow Christians. I have found, that it is honestly not worth bringing up with potential new friends who are Christians. I do not deny my faith, however, there’s a time and a place to discuss who the Torah is for, we agree on the important content so that is really all that matters. I never make plans on a Friday night, besides Temple. I can recite Hebraic prayers in basically my sleep. I sleep in on Sunday mornings and I couldn’t tell you the name of a single hymn until I joined the choir in my private Christian high school. I would not have my life any other way though.

I have a HUGE appreciation for human connection, especially with the few people who I can actually relate too. I could not have made it through my teen years without my many long venting sessions with Margo and Zevi, two young Messianic believers that I grew up with in my temple, that can relate to the struggles and tribulations that come with proclaiming you are a Torah follower. I am grateful for all of the older members (mainly women) who helped guide me with scripture about the questions I have, especially about how to practically take the Torah and put it into practice.  I am grateful for the random strangers that I meet online, mainly through Lama-Leah who are Messianic as well. But more importantly, I am grateful for those who love me unconditionally. Those who don’t  accuse me of being in a cult, when they find out that I am Messianic. In 2017-2018, I have been connected with more people who have done just this.God has placed more free thinking, open-minded, individuals in my life then I have ever had and I could not be more grateful for all of them.

Through my unique upbringing, I had to learn from a very early age to be okay with being different. I rarely felt any sense of belonging, therefore in those rare times that I feel like I truly belong, I have learned how to treasure it. I feel extremely special that I had to learn this so soon in life, because I am not afraid to be different, to stand out a little, to defend my believes when appropriate. am not afraid to be out of my comfort zone because I am rarely in it.  Life can be extremely limited when you life a life of fear of being different, but I say that there’s power in being so.

As a young adult, I can honestly say that the biggest and probably most important thing that I learned out of the constant trials that occur when you proclaim Messianic Judaism as your own, is to learn how to love unconditionally. People will be different from you, but you will always be remembered by how you make others feel. Be the LIGHT in someones world. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19). Make others wonder why you are different, and how you make that difference. Be the person, and influence that you needed when you were younger. What I needed, was someone, a friend who wasn’t judgmental but also wasn’t a negative influence. I needed someone who didn’t try to get me to convert, but loved me for who I was. I craved acceptance, but eventually found that I was better off standing alone. I want things to be different for the next generation of Messianic believers, because keeping this lifestyle is challenging enough. I want my fellow young Torah followers to be proud to skip a friday night high school football game because they are in temple, or be okay with not eating the pepperoni pizza at a party. I want things to be different, and it can start with me.

In every path that you walk through, you are going to experience beasts and beauties. My prayer for you is that you will always find a way to find beauty within ashes.

 

~Shalom,

Leah

Feel something? Do Something

Hello! It has been awhile! I have been keeping very busy with my other pursuits outside of blogging (along with traveling all over the country in the past month) and have had little time to write for this site. I wanted to share a few quick thoughts that I have this afternoon and I am going to make this blog post Leah style, which means that it is going to be, short, sweet, and to the point.

Last night, I was in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma, traveling home, and had a strange experience, that I know was from God. As I had time and space to think about anything I wanted too, my former modeling school was cautiously on my mind. At the moment, I could not tell you why this institution was on my mind. I would try to think about something else, and then the school would come back to my mind. I could not, not, think about it. I had a horrible, almost sick to my stomach feeling everytime that I thought about it. I could not tell you why, though. I had a wonderful time as a student and grew tremendously as a model. I was to the point that I was uncomfortable and said a short prayer for all of the staff members, and after I did that, the feeling went away.

Today, I got more of an explanation as to why I may have had this experience. I found out that during the time of my utter uncomfortableness, an act of gun violence was happening less than a mile from the modeling school. I am not sure if I personally knew anyone who was affected by the shooting, but the victims are in my thoughts and prayers.

I want to encourage you to listen to that gutt feeling when you feel that something could be off. Because many times, it might not make any logical sense, but true gutt feelings are a gift from God. See something, feel something, do something.

Love you all! Stay safe!

-Leah

2018 Passover Lessons

Pesach, the Feast of Unleavened bread has come and gone once again. Did you manage to stay Kosher?

This year I have had an unique perspective on this holiday. I am in a time of life where I am expected to meet perfection in a physical and business sense. I don’t leave my house without my hair being styled, at least minimal makeup on, and without following a hefty list of fashion rules. When I do leave my home without following a list of procedures, I feel strange, not put together, and not very confident. Additionally, my diet is nutritionally stricter then it has ever been. I am extremely cautious with every word that I speak and every word that I type because keeping a clean reputation is “everything” at this point in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am still all about being real and honest with the world, however, I have begun to take that approach in more of a ‘Clean cut” type of manner.

In one way, my life has more direction and is more put together then it has ever been, however, in another way I find myself disappointed in myself if I don’t meet this standard of r(un)realistic perfection. If my clothes need to be ironed or if I forget to wear mascara (and for some reason, I don’t have any in my bag), I find myself feeling not as confident. My mind will fixate on what is wrong with my physical appearance instead of focusing on the beautiful parts of my personality.

Within this past Passover, God showed me that I need to start having inword grace and forgiveness for myself. I did NOT manage to keep a Kosher diet this year. To my knowledge, I consumed leavening twice. Was it the end of the world? No, it was not. I was reminded even more just how much I am in need of a personal savior who shows conditional love even when I have a wrinkled shirt, or ate a piece of bread on Pesach. How I need a savior because I mess up more then I would like to admit. How only HE can satisfy my needs and mend my brokenness.

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ~ Psalms 100:5

~Leah

Email: lamaleahblog@gmail.com

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Twitter: @lamaleahblog

The Storm Still Rages- Guest blogger Lauren Flickinger

It’s funny how everything can change in a matter of a year. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad.

 Last year I was saying: I hate me. I hate life.

But today is not that day. Today I get to say: I love where I am today

Last year I was praying: God please take me

But today I’m praying: Thank you for victory

Last year I was thinking: I can’t do this anymore

Today I’m thinking: I can do ALL things (Philippians 4:13)

 

Last year the storm raged.

The waves tossed, knocking me to the ground

The sky darkened, I couldn’t see

The thunder boomed, there was no hope; this storm was going to take me

The see was deep, I was drowning

I seemed to be in an everlasting storm

 

But today I’ve found hope

Sometimes storms still come

But I’ve found my anchor amid the storms

The waves toss, but I remain standing

The sky darkens, but I still see the light peeking through the clouds

The thunder booms, but I hear a whisper, “I am with you”

The sea is deep, but I remember I can swim

I remember: This storm is but for a moment

 

When you walk through the storm remember the victory you have in our sweet Savior

Go on sing it!

Shout it out!

Praise God for the victory!

 

“I heard an old, old story

How a savior came from glory,

How he gave his life on Calvary

To save a wretch like me

I heard about his groaning

Of his precious blood atoning

Then I repented of my sins and won the victory”

 

“OH, VICTORY IN JESUS MY SAVIOR FOREVER”

 

Perhaps this next verse of this hymn is the best to sing over and over when walking through the storm

“I heard about his healing

of his cleansing power revealing

how he made the lame to walk again

and caused the bling to see;

and then I cried “Dear Jesus,

come and heal my broken spirit”

And somehow Jesus came and brought

To me the victory

 

“OH, VICTORY IN JESUS
MY SAVIOR FOREVER
HE SOUGHT ME AND BOUGHT ME

WITH HIS REDEEMING BLOOD

HE LOVED ME ERE I KNEW HIM

HE PLUNGED ME IN VICTORY

BENEATH THE CLEANSING FLOOD”

 

I’ve found the victory I have in Christ.

I’ve found His peace

His healing

His power

I’ve come from a place of no hope, to a heart full of hope.

Storms still come, but I have hope, I have victory, I have peace.

Today I say and I mean with my whole heart, “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL”

-Lauren Flickinger

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Confessions Of A Dyslexic Pretty Girl, Part 2 

Almost two years ago I published a post titled, “My Value has not decreased, It may just be a little different then yours~ Confessions of a dyslexic ‘Pretty girl’  I wrote this blog at a vulnerable time in my life when I was trying to figure out, “Whats next?” I was insecure about not going to college because I didn’t get in. In fact, I just barely graduated high school. I shared about how I found my niche in fashion, and makeup as a creative outlet when school was too stressful. Times have changed since writing that post and I decided to do a part two. 

I cried out of insecurity when writing that post and to my suprise, it ended up getting national attention. I think my readers appreciated my honestly and how I was vulnerable. 

About a year ago, I started my path towards the entertainment industry. I was in hopes of becoming a singer, however I was advised by several industry professionals to try focusing modeling as well. When I was given this advice, my heart always sunk a little bit. I never felt as if I was good at anything besides having a decent physical look. I didn’t want this advice, but I understood that those that were giving me the advice knew what they were talking. I didn’t want to loose opportunities simply because I had to much pride not to listen to them. 

I found that I actually love being in front of the camera as a model. Within a short period of time, I have accumulated a large portfolio. Additionally, I believe that I have found the route that I would like to take my professional career. I’ve learned that I love branding and marketing. I’ve leared that I can tell stories with not only words, but through pictures with my emotions and poses. I’ve learned that eventually, I want to be on the other side of the industry as a talented scout, industry coach, or a booking agent. I probably would not have learned these facts if I hadn’t embraced my physical appearance that I was embarrassed about two years ago. What I have learned is that being physically attractive is NOT a fault in the way that I saw it not too long ago. Meanwhile being academic is NOT a fault. I still wish that I was mentally able to achieve the dreams I had as a child to pursue an academic path. However I am no longer sad and have accepted it. I am contented within finding that I am pretty.

Pretty loving 

Pretty talented 

Pretty insightful 

Pretty nice

Pretty creative 

Pretty determined 

Pretty strong 

With much love, 

~Leah 

Facebook: Lamaleahblog & Leah Pilcher Actress/Model

Instagram: @Modellamaleah & @Lamaleahblog 

Twitter: @lamaleahblog 

Email: lamaleahblog@gmail.com 

Photo courtesy of AB Portraiture

Hair and Makeup: Unica Beauty 

How I found my voice- Guest blogger Brixey McWhorter

Initially, with all the wonderful things in life, I found my voice as a writer and individual when I was LOST.  For the past year and a half leading up to August 2017, I was barely employed. It was a trying season for me as I felt discouragement on many different levels in life. From fighting my own inadequacies, to essentially being without a job for over a year and a half, and confiding in anyone and everyone instead of those who I am closest to.

Last year I was significantly lost. I didn’t see clearly, and I was too stubborn to verbalize my need for help to the ones who mean the most to me. So instead, I turned to the community with my fears and anxieties in life, which was both a beneficial and a negative thing. I turned to the community, and I turned to my notebook and pen.

Though I would vocalize some of my fears to people, I would also press myself to spill it all out and navigate it on paper. On paper I did not have to go to my family, or friends, or people within the community, and I didn’t become what I felt like was a burden to those whom I spoke with when I word-vomited whatever I was going through at the moment.

So, out of adversity, confusion and being lost — a voice for poetry was born. It led me and taught me how to be honest and raw with myself. Through writing, I found in me the things I value and the things I hate. Through it, I am learning to celebrate them all. Learning to love myself and others better through this magnificent magnifying glass I have been given.

Though it is cliche to say, if you are out there and you are lost, this time may honestly be rough and challenging, but perhaps it’s a special time that has been granted to you so you may encounter the gold within you. Whether it be your voice or something else that may come about from the time you are enduring. Maybe the dark times in our lives are only here so we can encounter the genuine light within us and others.

~Brixey McWhorter

Adressing my darker photoshoots

If you have been following my journey via social media you may have noticed that lately, I have been posting darker content. I have received some mixed reviews about my recent projects. Some of those who follow me have expressed encouragement and excitement while others have expressed concern.

A few months back, I posted a few photos from a moody photoshoot and received a private message if I needed Jesus because of the dark content that I shared. I responded with kindness sharing that I was just fine spiritually and that they could even take a look at this blog if they continued to doubt.

In 2018 I have continued to take moody shots but the concern for my spiritual and mental state has shifted from random people on the internet to individuals in my congregation, and family members. I have decided to publicly address why I continue to post moody content while in everyday life I am a happy lady.

First of all, I would like to remind everyone that I am based out of Wichita, KS. I am under no contracts with anyone in this area. If I want to model, I have to do the networking myself. Even though the Midwest as a whole is a commercial market, I have not been booking commercial print work in Wichita. This area has a semi predominate creative community and I have managed to stay busy within it. That being said, I am pretty much at the mercy of the photographers projects. Moody content is trendy in this area at the moment and, therefore, I accept the projects that are offered to me under the right circumstancesI do not shoot with someone just because they own a camera. They have to meet several requirements before I say yes to an offer.

Moody is a trend right now and if I refused to do it I would be limiting myself as a model just because they have a darker feel to them. To me, I see modeling as a form of art and only a form of art. Typically when I am participating in these types of shoots, I am laughing with the photographer between shots because generally, my shoots are light-hearted. I can switch from being happy, commercial Leah, to dark, sad, and moody Leah in a few seconds. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing commercial styled shoots. I enjoy giving a huge, happy smile to the camera BUT I would be a bad model if I could not portray more than just a general happy emotion.

It hurts a little when I receive negative comments from fellow believers concerning my choice to do moody work. I was recently asked I was doing these shoots with “Christian photographers” and I was taken aback for a second. I think I only know one photographer who claims Christianity but how could I ever be a light in an industry consumed with darkness if I only worked with believers? These same photographers that I work with frequently know the brand that I maintain and know not to even to bother asking me to do shoots that would be considered to be sacrilegious or would be too edgy for me. I have maintained modesty and try my very best to maintain a quiet but yet bold testimony within the community.

Art can be made within many elements of life. I believe that the human body makes the most beautiful kind of art though. I appreciate everyone who is following and supporting me on this journey. I am truly grateful for every follow, like, and encouraging comment. I do not intend on quitting moody photoshoots any time within the near future. I have been able to reach an entirely new community of artists when I agree to do these types of shoots. I do not feel any conviction about not continuing with this form of art, therefore, I am going to continue with it. If you have a problem with it, however, I kindly ask you to keep your opinions to yourself. You do not have to like every project that I work on, however, it hurts on an entirely new level when a believer questions my heart behind a photo shoot just because I do not perceive to be happy when they see the results.

 

-Leah

Facebook: LamaLeahblog & Leah Pilcher Actress/Model

Instagram: @modellamaleah & @lamaleahblog

Twitter: @lamaleahblog

Email: @lamaleahblog@gmail.com

The images below were taken by my dear friend Kim at Creative Reflections photography.  Read More

Stand Your Ground- The WOW Project

Considering my background in theater, I’m already accustomed to being labeled a prude. There seems to be an theory in the industry that an actress or model must be willing to do whatever it takes in order to “make it.” Those who draw a hard boundary line are often slapped with the label of prude or told they’re not really cut out for the job. But this ideology leaves the door wide open for producers, directors or photographers to take advantage of women (or men) who are trying to establish themselves in the business.

This industry is broad. There is plenty of room for everyone to find a niche. There is a place for artistic nudes, boudoir, and even ‘sexy photos.’ And there are plenty of other styles for those who are uncomfortable doing such shoots. What there is not room for, however, is photographers who use a model’s trust and body for personal enjoyment. Whether this involves unwanted touch, unwarranted use of nudity, or simply shaming a model into pushing past her own clearly established boundaries, it is inappropriate and inexcusable.

I’ve been fortunate, thus far, to have been largely treated with respect while on shoots – even by photographers I was later warned against working with. I have a generally positive perspective on the photography community here in Wichita. I have only once attended a shoot where I actually feared for my safety. However, I have attended a couple of shoots where I was asked to pose in a manner that was both beyond the boundaries I established at the time of booking, and also irrelevant to the style of shoot. There was no need to be asked to do “sexy poses” at a headshot shoot. Nor was there an excuse for pouting about pre-approved cosplay costumes not showing enough cleavage or leg. I do my best to screen portfolios to make sure my style matches up with a photographer’s, but when I am approached by a photographer and he agrees beforehand to the style and theme of the shoot, it’s disheartening, to say the least, when I am then treated as though I am “difficult” because I won’t suddenly start acting sexy. I have found this mindset particularly prevalent in “for trade” shoots, where the photographer behaves as if the model owes him compliance because he is volunteering his time. In reality, both parties are investing time and energy into the shoot, and both parties should behave professionally.

We as models need to remember that our time and talent are valuable and that we do not have to compromise our personal safety or standards while on a shoot. Communicate clearly before the shoot begins, speak up if a photographer’s conduct is unprofessional, and speak out if you believe that other models could also be at risk. Let’s all remember that “whatever it takes” should never include harm to or exploitation of our bodies, especially by professionals whom we should be able to trust.

-A Local Wichita Model