Chag Sameach!  I hope that you have been having a blessed festival of lights. A variety of readers follows this blog and not all of them are familiar with God’s appointed times and through this site I have the honor of sharing about my faith and its traditions.

The Celebration of Chanukah can also be known as “the festival of lights” or the “feast of dedication” and the holiday goes for eight consecutive days. Although it is commonly mistaken for being associated with the Christian celebration of Christ’s birth, it does not have any connections to Christmas. A practicing Jew would not observe Christmas because they would not see Yeshua as the Messiah. A practicing Messianic Jew (what I associate as) does celebrate the birth of Christ, however, not in December but during high holy days, specifically during Sukkot which is during the fall because this is when we believe that Christ was most likely born. Unlike Christmas, Chanukah does not have a set date that it is observed. It depends on the moon cycle. The starting date can fall of Christmas, but not every year. In 2016 it started on sundown on December 24 and ends on sundown, January 1, while in 2017 it will be December 12-20th.

This holiday has different perspectives that I could write about, but a few weeks ago God showed me which point of view I am supposed to write on.

The 2016 Celebration of Chanukah is unique because it started on Christmas Eve and goes until the American New Year. The Jewish or spiritual New Year was during the feast of Trumpets earlier this fall. The Jewish New Year is followed by other holidays within a short period of time and this is known as High Holy days and it is focused on self examination of one’s personal relationship with G-d.

For the American new year, many tend to make New Year resolutions to lose weight, work harder, “become a better person,” etc. We all hope that the New Year will be “better then the last year.” Gyms and health clubs have specials on joiner fees because most of us are determined to be “better” for this New Year and make plans on how to accomplish this. However, most do not stick to their plan and have given up by the time Valentine’s Day comes around.

My goal for 2017 is to have an article that I have written be shared in the format of some kind of print. It is not a resolution but a goal. Yet, I know that I will never be able to accomplish this if I don’t keep G-d first in my life because I can do little without Him, but through Him the possibilities of where I can/will go are endless. I know that some Messianic do not celebrate the American New Year the “traditional way” but I believe that one can learn different elements about G-d through Jewish holidays or ‘secular’ observation.

This year the Feast of Dedication ends on the first full day of the American New Year. My challenge for you is to examine what you are dedicating yourself to. Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight to glorify God and take care of your body or is it to look better and is rooted in selfish desires? Is your desire to be promoted at work so that you look better in front of your peers or is it to fully commit yourself to HIM in every aspect of your life including your job? Are you wanting to change the way you have done your finances because you are exhausted from being in debt or to use the money that G-d has given you in a  way that glorifies Him (in this case I believe that being exhausted from being in debt is a completely worthy cause). Whatever your goal may be, I encourage you to consider what your motives are and most importantly I hope that you continually dedicate your personal life and everything that you do in it for the TRUE light of the world. You will never be disappointed in the results, I promise. Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year. See you next year.

Dear High School Seniors

To all of the seniors in high school I have three powerful words to remind you of, you are enough. You are halfway done with the school year and you have many choices to make. For some, you are hearing the message from flawed educational systems that you are not enough. 

When I was in high school, every college visit would end with me sniffling/crying on the way home in the car because I knew that I had no chance of attending the school. My grades never made honor roll, my test scores were not high enough, and I was not enough. I tried to tell myself, “You don’t want this anyway,” but it wasn’t the truth. I would’ve given anything to go to the University of Kansas last fall.

If you had asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing after high school, I would tell you that without a doubt I would be attending Wichita State University and be in the School of Engineering. If you had told me last May what I was going to do after graduation, I would hesitantly tell you I was going to get my certification in makeup. What has changed in the past 10 years? Me believing that I am not enough. Believing that I am only bound to the options of community college or technical school. Believing that I’m not going to do anything great because college didn’t accept me.

Besides my mom, nobody ever told me that I still have value, even though colleges didn’t like my grades. This is what I am here to tell you. Regardless of how many schools have or have not accepted you, You ARE — valuable, enough, and you are going to do great things! A grade is only a number and does not define you. 

Good luck class of 2017!

Love, Lama-Leah 

Please Stop Saying You Have OCD

A few days ago when I was coming home I realized that I have lived at the same location my entire live and when I drive home I still count the streets until my turn. In my neighborhood the street names go “A, B, C, D, E” and I live on “C.” I am always nervous that I am going to miss it even though I never have. When I direct friends to my home I always tell them about the alphabetical system and the most common response is, “My OCD self is happy about the way the streets are laid out.”

I understand why one may respond this way, but I don’t find it an appropriate response. You can choose to read this or not. It could be read as taking a “small issue” out of hand but if you have an open mind, please continue to read.

Jokes are constantly being thrown around about obsessive compulsive disorder and I am tired of it. I do not personally suffer from this disorder but I do struggle with mental health and have a couple mental disorders and by far the worst part about suffering from this is the stigma and jokes about mental health. When I find myself in a conversation and a joke about mental illness is said, I never laugh and often times find myself screaming inside from wanting to announce that I struggle with my mental health and have spent many hours in therapy.

I’ll put it this way, let’s say that you are heavy and you are insecure about it and you are out with a group of friends who are thinner than you. One orders a piece of pizza and says, “I’m such a fatty.” How do you feel in that situation? Awkward maybe? A little bit more insecure than you already were? That is exactly how it feels when you are the one who suffers from OCD and someone makes a light hearted ‘joke’ or comment about it.

Anyone who has been medically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will have an abundant amount of struggle for the rest of their life. I argue that they will have more struggles than one who does not suffer from a mental illness.  Making innocent jokes about having OCD is insulting. If you understand what I am saying but don’t know what to replace saying “I have OCD” with here are a few suggestions on what you can say:

“I want everything to be organized.”

“It is a pet peeve of mine that I want everything to be in a nice and neat order.”

“I like things to be in a particular order.”

“I enjoy my space being clean.”

Please just be considerate when expressing your personal need for an orderly environment.

Thanks, Lama Leah

Jesus Loves You

I haven’t written for some time on here I’ve been writing for some other places and honestly I’ve had writers block for this blog.Today I am going to share with you a little bit about what God has been teaching me over the course of the past few months.

Before this fall if you would have asked me if I believed in devine appointments, I probably would have said “I’m not sure.” I had personally never experienced it before and didn’t know my stance on it. I believed in the Holy Spirit but not exactly to its full extent. A few years ago I had a umm well crazy experience at a friends church. The congregation was abusing (I’m not sure if that’s the right word) the Rauch HaKodesh. During the service, church members would get “prophecies from God” and then most of these messages didn’t come true. I went one funeral and less than five minutes of a regular Sunday service and as I was walking out I told myself that I would never step foot into that church again. It was not a church of God but a cult. I could write a book about everything that went on in that building within the short time I spent in it. Prior to this fall, that was my only expirence with truly inviting the Holy Spirit in the room (and look how that turned out). In a way I think that experience changed the way I view God and His Holy spirit working.

Within the past three months I’ve had so many expirences and stories to tell about how God has been working in my life. What God has laid on my heart to share is how He worked last weekend.

On Saturday my best friend got married and after the reception I had made plans to have coffee with a dear friend on mine at my favorite coffee shop near the church that wedding was at. My day was refreshing but I had no idea what was coming next. When I got home in the evening my parents had told me about some family issues that was going on. I was hurt, upset, and anxious about the confrontation that I needed to do the next day. As I was trying to process everything that had happened, I had the random thought of attending Church the next morning. I made a promise to my Aunt that I would visit her place of worship sometime and I thought it would be a good time to make trip (if nothing else, I would get to give a hug to my Aunt). 

While I was driving to Church I was constantly changing the station on the radio (as always) and suddenly a song came on that I needed so badly to hear in the midst of my anxiety about the day.  I listened to the song “Please Don’t Let Me Go” by Group 1 Crew and this is the first time I had ever listened to it and I’m in the car proclaiming “GOD PLEASE DON’T LET ME GO!” I got to the church and the during worship they started with my favorite song (this is amazing grace) and I started to feel God telling me, “I haven’t forgotten about you.” During the “talk to people time” (whatever that’s called) a man came up to me and said, “When you walked in I felt that God wanted me to tell you that you are the apple of His eye…” And what was the sermon about? Love. Within the past three months multiple people who I don’t know have come up to me and have said something along the lines of, “I felt that God wanted me tell you that He loves you and He is hurting for you.” I’ve always known that He loves me but lately I haven’t been believing it! What good does it do if I know but yet not believe it? What happened after the service? My Aunt and her husband prayed over me for strength to get through my confrontation that I had to do that afternoon. As I was driving home I had a sense of shalom that I didn’t have about the situation. I did what I had to do and the sittuation ended so much differently than what I was expecting. There were tears, but tears of happiness instead of sorrow.
What I have to say to you my friend is Jesus loves you and I hope you know and believe that.