When You Don’t Have The Long Testimony 

For believers, the testimony of which they found faith is powerful. Through your story you can show others about your faith.

In Christian culture we tend to be attracted to the typical beauty from ashes testimony. We invite speakers into our places of worship, read books, and personally ask questions about their story. In a way I grew up in this type of culture. My mom’s good friend ran a few ministries for teen girls who were hurting from the sorrows of life. Being too young to stay home alone, I spent many hours at her home and she would have ladies come over and they would tell their story.  For a period of time in my life this was the normal for me. It felt as if everyone in the church had the big testimony but when I started going to the private Christian school that I graduated from I found a different side of life.

The testimony culture that I had grown up in wasn’t at the school. It seemed that besides one or two teachers nobody had (or at least shared) the beauty from ashes testimony. I was at that school for five years and I had one friend  (who didn’t stay very long) who openly admitted that their testimony was lengthy and having Jesus by their side doesn’t mean that they have that “perfect life” that Christians seem to portray to have. 

I couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of someone not having the long drawn out testimony. My junior year of high school I learned the other side of this. On the bus coming home from a school trip my peers started talking about testimony culture. They were expressing the pressure to have a long testimony but my peers didn’t have this. Most of them grew up in a middle to upper class family, in a good neighborhood, a good home life, and became a follower at the age of three or four. So far they didn’t have anything bad or worth sharing about. From at least the outside they had perfect lives, even though it wasn’t, it was portrayed that way when they compared it to the testimonies we here about all the time.

I personally think that this is the enemy’s way to distort testimonies. I think the danger of being surrounded by testimony culture is that if you don’t have that life changing beauty from ashes testimony you may feel that you are not a good Christian because God didn’t use you in ways that others have been used. 

If you are feeling this way, let me give you some Shalom. You are not a bad Christian just because you have had what seems to be a perfect life.  If your testimony is short, that’s great! It’s still Christ’s amazing grace that you found Him. You are not any less of a member of the church. I challenge you to keep getting to personally know God. Keep up the good work. Grow strong because some time your faith will be tested in a way you have never felt before. 

If you have the long drawn out testimony, good for you! You are not any less or any more a part of the church because of your experiences.  I challenge you to continue to share your testimony with others so that they may get a closser glimpse of what Christ has the capabilities to transform. 

Despite our pasts we are all the same in the church. Go and share your life experiences and wisdom with others.

“People put you down enough – you start to believe them.”

I am a girl who loves watching classic movies, classic chick flicks to be exact. The movies, “Father of the Bride” and “You’ve Got Mail” are a few favorites. A few days ago a movie that was filmed in this era was on tv and I watched it with my family. I am not going to say what it was but I am sure that certain readers will be able to figure out what it is.

The storyline of this movie was a socially high up business man falls in love with a woman who is looked down upon in society. A few lines stuck out to me. He said to her, “You could be so much more,” and she responded, “People put you down enough – you start to believe it”

Those lines are sadly the truth for so many people. At least for me, negative words stick with me longer than any compliment does. Through high school I was critizied for my looks from various “mean girls” at some point during every school year. My freshman year I listened to them the most but it eventually became common knowledge to me. I didn’t have to be told that I was “ugly” because I believed it myself. I believed them even though I would get random notes from my peers saying I was “pretty” and through those years people who knew what the standard of beauty (whatever that is) is would compliment me for my looks, from makeup artists to a few people who are active in the entertainment industry in LA. But I still didn’t believe them, even though the girls who said those things really didn’t have any qualifications to tell me that I needed to change my physical self.

I relate to those lines in the movie because I have lived them. I have let my ‘enemies’ decide for me how I am going to view myself. If I look at the spirtual side of this, if I believe that I was created in HIS image and I am built and look the way that HE wants me to be, shouldn’t that have been enough for me? God has the perfect standard because He is perfect Himself and He knows WAY more about internal and physical beauty than anyone here on earth. If He wanted me to be the 5’1″ and pale as a snowman that I am, than that is just fine. If He wanted me to be “beautiful” by the world’s standards, than I won’t complain. I will be grateful for everything. Every little inch of my body that I find myself feeling insecure about, I am grateful for because that is how He created me to be. When I am feeling down, I know that I can fall into my heavenly Father’s arms and be reminded that I am a daughter of the KING and was created in His image and that is more than enough for me.

Love you all. In the words of Taylor Swift, “Stay beautiful.”
(Psalms 139:13)

Here’s a picture of me in my earthly father’s arms.

I Have a Dream For Change 

Shabbot Shalom. The Lord has been doing some great things. I have been checking stats and am pleased to announce that Lama-Leah has had more views in September than any other month so far! It has also been viewed in over fifty countries this year! Thank you all for reading.

My last post has gotten many reactions. Shortly after posting, I received a number of comments on my personal facebook page, private messages, and I’ve had friends who read it personally talk to me about it. I’ve recieved an overwhelming amount of love and support. I had one particular male friend who was extra supportive. He is a gentleman. I am grateful to have him as a friend (and be friends with his friends) because they give me hope that not every guy out there only desires to use me for my body. With this friend, I’ve been quiet about the situations I’ve been in because I knew that if I told him it would hurt him. When he read my last post it was a shock to him. I have so many more stories that I could tell about getting unwanted attention, being treated different, being catcalled, and generally not always feeling safe as a woman.

 As I talked with him something that stuck out to me went along the lines of this:

Friend, “I just don’t understand how someone can be that–”

Me, “Icky?”

Friend, “Yeah, that’s one way to describe it. I just don’t understand.”

At that point I think he understands a little bit more why I consider myself to be a feminist. Having the honor to be friends with a gentleman who thinks that way is rare. 

I have a dream. My dream is that it becomes rare for a female to be disrespected purely because of her gender. I dream for the day that I can become friends with a guy and not have to wonder if they are only being friendly to me for the purpose of getting me into their bedroom. I have a dream that I won’t feel the need to say an extra prayer of saftey for my girlfriends who are on college campuses or big cities. I dream that one day everyone will respond to the disrespect of anyone the exact same way that my friend did. 

I have a dream for change. 

Do I think that this can happen? Absolutely. Do I think that it will happen? I am hopeful. If not in my lifetime, my future daughter’s lifetime. 

When The Words No Longer Hurt 

This post isn’t for all audiences. It’s definitely about feminism and has some language. I’ll tell you about what I was called very recently and my thoughts about it.

In some ways I love summer. I love the weather, but I hate the constant struggle of trying to find modest outfits that are cute, are not “dorky,” and yet can keep me physically cool. I also have skin that will not become dark no matter how much time I spend in the sun and it seems as if I’m the “white girl” in the midwest  (I have the typical blond hair, blue eyes, and very pale skin – Swedish traits). I recently found out that I have a little bit of Italian blood in me and I immediately became perturbed that I didn’t get any physical Italian traits. Honestly, wearing shorts in the summer time is uncomfortable for me. My pale body is exposed! I’m confident but deep inside I feel a little uncomfortable. Fall fashion is my favorite season. Denim, scarves, and sweaters is what I dream about all summer.

Even though it’s September, it is still hot outside. For the past several days I’ve been wearing jeans. Well, on this particular day it was too hot outside to wear my skinny jeans. I wore a pair of black shorts that were not too short considering that I have short legs. On this day I practiced being a human being – I messed up something for someone. I felt guilty and embarassed but at the same time this situation wasn’t really my fault. The person whom I “messed up” for was anything but happy with me. I tried to apologize to them and they didn’t accept it. After being chewed out about what happened they attacked my physical appearance. They said, “…and I hate those shorts! They make you look like a whore.” I just responded by saying “Ok” and that was the end of it. I think they wanted a response from me and I didn’t give it to them. A few minutes later I asked why they said that and they said, “They are too short! And you are too big to wear them. They look bad on you and make you look like a whore.” This time I didn’t respond.

I’ve been told so many words about my appearance that this conversation didn’t really bother me. I’m going to continue wearing these shorts and maybe even a little bit more than I had before. I think what bothered me was that it didn’t bother me. I have become so immune to these comments from boys and  men (this was a grown man who said this to me and trust me, it wasn’t said in a loving way; he was trying to ‘get’ to me) that I didn’t feel anything besides an immediate urge to want to say something sassy back.

As a feminist, how have I let this happen? Honestly, I don’t remember a time that I didn’t hear a little comment from someone  (even in my family) for wearing a tank top or a pair of shorts that were above my knee. I’ve been treated poorly and have just sat back and let it happen.

The first time someone told me I was “too fat” I was about 7 years old and then I created a very unhealthy relationship with food.

When I was about 10 I was told that I dressed like a “slut.”

When I was 13 I started getting unwanted attention from older men.

At the age of 15 I was told that I don’t deserve respect because of my gender from a guy who got mad at me because I wouldn’t go on a date with him.

At 15 I also was also being pressured to have sex with an older boy at my school. I stopped being a part of after school events because I didn’t want to be anywhere near him when I didn’t have to be. At that point I struggled even more academically because I didn’t feel safe when he was around. I saw a younger girl become close to him and told her to be careful (that’s just girl code) and she didn’t believe me.

Right after my 17th birthday I was cat called for the first time.

And at 18 I was told that, “Your shorts make you look like a whore.”

I’ve grown up in this culture that being disrespected for my gender has somehow become normal. So so many boys try to pressure me into having sex with them and when I say, “No!” many 0f them don’t take it well. I’ve been told I’m a b*tch because I didn’t want to sleep with someone. Why is this okay? In the moment of being told my shorts make me look like a whore, I wanted to go off on him about not talking to anyone that way but it was not an appropriate time to do so. What has happened in this society that it’s okay to disrespect and violate a girl if you feel like it? And then have no or very little consequences for it.

I am eighteen years old and I have subconsciously thought of it to be okay for someone to bully me over my body and the clothes I put on it. I have let this go on for too long. It is no longer going to be ok. As someone who is a sensitive that when a negative comment no longer hurts me, I know that I’ve let the pain go on for too long.

Ladies, I challenge you to examine what you’ve been told about your own body or sexuality. Please help me spread the message that being demeaning over someone’s image, body, or sexuality is not okay. We are all equal.

Here’s a picture of me in these shorts. You can make a judgment call.

My Value Has Not Decreased, It May Just Be A Little Different From Yours ~ Confessions Of A Dyslexic “Pretty” Girl

My value has not decreased, it may just be a little different from yours. Here are my honest confessions of the emotions of not being the “smart one.”

As humans we all want what we don’t have and then often times are not grateful for the gifts and talents that we do have. It doesn’t take long for anyone reading my posts to find a grammatical error or a misspelled word. I have learning disabilities and miss many things that need to be corrected. Having this kind of “disability”doesn’t bother, but it’s all of the emotional side affects that do.

As my friends are in their first weeks of college I’m not joining them. I didn’t even apply for college because I didn’t meet the requirements to be accepted into any school that I was even slightly interested in  (I’m not talking about private colleges, I’m referring to state schools). I am living with my parents trying to find work. Besides doing babysitting and house sitting I haven’t found anything. Society says that I just didn’t work hard enough in high school in order to be accepted into school, but that was not the case for me. Believe me, I worked hard but my effort hardly matched my results. I never turned in an assignment late, I spent many sleepless nights preparing and stressing over tests, I spent my entire school career being stressed over simply “passing” just to  end up barely graduating.

As a way to handle my stress, I would make myself feel beautiful.My motto was, “if I can’t ‘feel smart,’ I can at least feel pretty.” I spent more hours doing my hair and make-up after school than before. I did it for me. It became my way to relax. I guess that I knew that I could never be the smart one but I could accomplish being the pretty one. I mean I might be considered ‘dumb’ for not understanding a theory in math class but at least I could look cute while doing so. Honestly, more than anything else I would love to be book smart. If I had the chance to give up going to the salon for the rest of my life just to be smart, I would do it. I’m not insecure about my physical appearance, but I am so insecure about my intellectual appearance.

For me my learning disabilities don’t go away when I’m not at school. It plays into so many parts of my life – understanding directions, being able to comprehend a conversation, or the instant anxiety that comes when I’m asked to read something out loud. But with difficulty, comes strength. I have essentially been forced into having to be creative when figuring out how to live with these disabilities. For instance, cooking can be extremely hard for me. Reading the directions on a recipe along with numbers can be a nightmare. What do I do? I don’t mess with a recipe. I’ll look at the picture that’s in the cookbook, look at the ingredients and do the best that I can to make the dish look the same as the picture. I have to use all of my senses to understand what’s going on sometimes.

What does come naturally to me is art, fashion, most importantly, creativity. This summer I’ve randomly done my friends and family’s makeup and every single time I’ve noticed that they “perk up” a little bit when I’m finished; they walk taller, and smile bigger. One of the first times I did some else’s makeup she kept telling me with a big smile, “I just feel so beautiful!” It amazes me how spending twenty minutes on someone can change how they view themselves for at least that day.

More then anything, I want to be book smart but G-d didn’t create me to be that way. I want to be valued for my intellectual self, not just my outward appearance. I would love to become a medical doctor, lawyer or something that is socially valued to be able to help others with my intellectual abilities but I don’t have those capabilities. What I do have though is a blending sponge, some lipstick to share, and some mascara. That is all I need to make someone’s day special. My value has not decreased, it may just be a little different than yours.