Beautiful Music Through The Walls

Happy Wednesday! God has been teaching me a few things and I cannot wait to share.

Recently I was at school and had a free period. I decided to practice a vocal solo that I have coming up. Not very long into my own little practice session, sound from someone else practicing was coming through the wall. My peer was in the room next to me playing her violin. The violinist is one of top musicians in the state. As I listened to her I thought to myself, “Why can’t I play my violin that way? I’ve been taking lessons almost as long as she has!” Not too long reality set in. I have not dedicated as much effort to my instrument as I could; I don’t practice as much as I should. Early on when I started playing I had a few bad violin teacher experiences and I let that affect my willingness to invest into it. Part of me plays because I’m the fourth generation to play on the specific violin that I play. I want to be the one to continue this tradition, and I want my kids to play the violin that I played, as well as my dad and grandma. My friend plays violin so well because she loves it and devotes many hours a week to it. I dedicate maybe a few hours and that includes the time that I play in my hour long lesson.

In countless ways this little scenario reflects on many Christians walk in Christianity. In the church we tend to compare each others journey. I have found myself comparing my growth to those who have had a personal relationship for much longer than me and think, “Why am I not as spiritually strong as…. [insert name].” But I can’t compare myself to that.

Sometimes a dangerous thing to do is to hear missionaries speak. This is dangerous because many times missionaries are challenged to live boldly for God and growth comes with that. However, in America God isn’t really accepted, but you won’t have (hopefully) any punishment for living boldly for God.

Countless times I hear about people deciding to be luke warm Christians because someone had a bad experience with a legalistic Christian.

I attend a small Christian school and this next point is close to home. The reason a countless number of my peers are Christian is because their family is. That’s awesome if you decide to follow God and your family does, too. Remember to make the faith your own. Heavens gates don’t unlock because your parents were followers.

Most importantly many have lack of motivation for personal devotion. Can anyone relate? Simply go into a Christian book store and without looking hard you’ll find books called “Five Minutes with God” or similar things. Why is there a need for these books? It’s a discipline issue for sure. I understand that it’s hard to find time to get into the Word but praying can happen anywhere anytime.

I’m guilty of falling into every one of these traps as I search for a deeper relationship with God. I challenge you to exam your own heart. Now I need to go practice my violin. ūüôā

Be the Change You Want to See In the World

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

This quote means more than words can express. This entire blog is based off of this concept. My entire life I have witnessed, learned, and experienced things about the world othat I would love to change.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you most likely have picked up that I am passionate about a wide variety of topics and subject matters. I have a tender heart and so sometimes things bother me that would not particularly bother others.

One thing that bothers me immensely are misconceptions of the messianic po. Christians can be cruel in their words and sometimes actions to Gentile messianic but paticularly the Jewish ones. I have gotten to experience first hand what the these are when my parents put me in a Christian school.

When I started attending this school I was the very first person that most other students and staff HAD met that has any knowledge of the¬†Jewish/Messianic faith. When someone meets a minority it is easy to single them out/unknowingly bully them because they don’t know how to respond to someone of a different culture than they are use to. Some incidents that have happened I have not been sure if it was intentional or unintentional because my culture is completely different than the ones I’ve been around at school¬† (although this year another Jewish student came so that makes two in the school).

In hopes of changing misconceptions of the messianic faith, I have started to become more vocal about my faith over the years at my school. I answer questions my peers have and try my best to explain the differences between my faith and their faith. I am constantly inviting others to my Synagogue  (although only few have taken me up on my other) and I often write about messianic misconceptions on Lamaleah blog.

In my own school I am sneaky about witnessing to the staff. My mother and I are a team in this. My mom is extremely talented in the kitchen. She has few recipes that are flops and even when the recipes don’t turn out as intended she still rescues it and tastes amazing. ūüėä Well, there are several biblical Jewish holidays and most of them involve traditional delicacies. For¬† every holiday my mom leaves treats in the teachers lounge. She makes something and I write¬† about the holiday and creatively display it.

By doing this I am ministering but I am not doing it in ways that will draw others away. Sometimes when you desire to make a change, you have to do it in quiet, peaceful ways.

Gandhi made changes in the world that he wanted to see. However, He had to do it in sutle ways in order to be successful. In my quest to Dubuque myths in the Messianic faith I have learned lots here are a few tips to be successful in making the  change  that YOU want to see in the world.

1) Be kind
This  is mandatory! None will take an aggressive person seriously.

2) Know what you believe and why
If you don’t know why you believe what you believe, how will you change anything?

3) Be open
Be open to discuss things with anyone and listen to differing opinions.

4) Be ready to stand alone
You will lose friends when you stand up for something.

5) Be a strong leader
Lead by setting examples of the change that you want to see.

6) Always love
Love everyone all the time.

7) Don’t settle for anything less than what your goal is.
Be bold and stand up for your beliefs. Ask yourself what you’re willing to risk by achieving your goal and remember the reason why you wanted to make a change in the first place.

“Cinderella Never Asked for a Prince, She Asked for a Night Off and a Dress” ~Kiera Cass

For little girls fairy tales are magical things. Many want to grow up to be a Princess falling in love with Prince Charming and live the classic “happily ever after.”

This is a great goal. Unfortunately, most little girls don’t end up having a royal wedding, living in a castle, and growing old in a¬†“happily ever after” lifestyle. Life happens. Life gets busy, the house gets dirty, and bills need to be paid. At times life is rough, sad, happy, and joyful all at the same time.

When I think of classic fairy tale, Cinderella, I think of her being just an exhausted girl who needed a night out on the town. When she wanted to go to the ball she wasn’t looking for Prince Charming. She wanted fun. I applaud her for this. I don’t think she would have exactly been looking for happily ever after.

What is fun about life, is it is unpredictable. You can meet the most interesting (or boring) people anywhere. Cinderella had to be open to meeting a new person. Yeah, you may not have married Prince Charming or live in a castle or had a royal wedding, but you¬†can still meet amazing people. Cinderella wasn’t looking for a Prince – she wanted a night off. I encourage you to have fun and be open to new relationships.
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Pro-Life Vegetarian *Gasp*

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I believe that what you consume affects your overall health. By striving to live this way, I have slowly been becoming a vegetarian. I have been doing this for health reasons and personal convictions about harming animals for my dinner. Let me tell you, if you are a new vegetarian or vegan, don’t try to shout it from the rooftop. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Being a vegetarian isn’t healthy, there’s no way to get protein.” “You need meat.” “How can you live without bacon?” But by far the most hurtful things that others have told me on my quest to eat healthy and help the environment, economy, and the animals by trying to eat ethically is when I’m told that I can’t be pro-life and a vegetarian.

Yes, you read it right. In the past, I have been told that I shouldn’t be fighting for animal life and yet be pro-human life.

I’m not sure how some seem to compare eating veggies to baby’s being murdered in their mothers womb, but, however, I have been told that my focus should be on saving babies, not animals because animals don’t have souls. I recognize this, but in too many cases animals in industrial farming there’s an abuse in the way the animals are raised and murdered for profit.

I am pro-life, but that goes further than babies. I have personal convictions about what and who I support in the animal industry. I don’t push my beliefs on others, but I believe that it’s one of my responsibilities to stand up for the animals because they don’t have a voice. Babies don’t have a voice, either; I stand up for them, too.¬†

Let me make this straight, I am in no way saying that a steak is more important than a baby. I love people, so that means I love babies too! Often times the others define being pro-life as being pro-human. But I say that sometimes being pro-life it means more than human babies. It means pro-life of babies, animals, and the environment. All being life – just being in different forms.

Happy Sukkot!

As there are several Jewish holidays the feast of booths, also known as Sukkot, is probably my favorite one. Don’t misunderstand me, eating fried foods during Chanukah is fun, eating Matzo ball soup is yummy, marching around with the Torah at Synagogue is a mermable holiday, too.

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something special about Sukkot. The story behind Sukkot is the Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years. Therefore, Jews and Gentles are to sleep and eat outside in “Sukkots” and reflect on G-d’s provirsion for the Israelites.

A Sukkot is a “hut” like structure Jewish families live in during this holiday. The Sukkah is decorated by the family often times with fruits and vegetables that are associated with fall harvest.

It is by no means that I am someone who adores nature. For example, I have limited knowledge of insects and think that about every insect is poisonous. For being someone who isn’t necessarily a fan of “the great outdoors,” it can be a struggle to embrace this holiday. Yet, somehow it’s one of my favorite holidays.

There’s something special about having synagogue outside. About the congregation decorating a Sukkot and just having a more of a¬† relaxed service after Yom Kippur which is a very serious observance.

This celebration lasts for one week. As I mentioned earlier, the feast of harvest, otherwise known as the feast of booths, is about remembering to stay faithful. A few days ago, one of my Jewish friends told me that his family did not check the weather before going to sleep in their sukkah and the family was awakened in the middle of the night by a rain storm. Needless to say, they didn’t sleep in there Sukkah all night.¬†

This is literally a perfect example about having faith through the storms. When my friend went to bed, they didn’t assume the weather would get bad, but instead had faith that everything would be fine.

So many times it’s easy to have faith in G-d in the sunny days but difficult to adhere the same faith when the storms pour. Even the Israelites had a chance to get out of the wilderness after wondering for only ten years but because they had a lack of faith they wondered for an entire forty years.

Please be encouraged to every day, be bold in your faith and trust in G-d always. Even in the darkest times you don’t know when there may be a small ray of light coming your way.

The next time you consider losing your faith, remember G-d will persevere and think about the Israelites and the real reason for Sukkot.

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Beauty is Not Defined By Size; Young Girls Need To Be Taught This

Eight Рthe age she became obsessed with everything that she ate.

Nine – her friends were playing with yo-yo toys, but she was messing with yo-yo diets.

Ten Рall she wants is to fit in; she used a combination of diet pills with exercise drills.

Eleven – all she sees is her so-called bigger built for that is why she puts on extra guilt.

Twelve – she puts herself under a spell.

Thirteen – boys are starting to look at her friends like crazy. She weighs 110; she tells herself if she “gets thin” she will get the boys and she will win.

Fourteen – her body fat is finally becoming the minority, but her eating disorder is slowly taking over as seniority. She starves herself for days; her parents see it only as a phase.

Fifteen –¬†her E.D. is finally king; she channels her pain this way because her emotions have gone away.

Sixteen – was the last birthday she would ever see. Now, her self-hatred became king. She no longer had the chance to put on a wedding ring or fly free.

Because shortly after she turned sixteen…

She left a note on her bed telling them that she is drowning.

Drowning in the tub for she suffered from lack of self-worth and seeing G-ds eternal love.

~Lama Leah

This poem turned out darker than I thought that it would go when I started writing¬†it. When I wrote it, it was eight in the morning I hadn’t slept at all that night. The sun was rising and I was still laying in bed and G-d put the first stanza in my head. I pulled out my beloved poetry notebook and started writing. I didn’t know how it was going to end, but the L-rd placed all of the rhythms and rhymes¬†in my head to for me to put in a poem.

Personally, I am scared for this generation of young women. Girls who are already small in size are worried about having a thigh gap or a flat stomach or whatever it is because the media is constantly showing ladies what the “ideal woman” looks like through social media, television, movies, and magazines.

I can’t tell you the number of times that I have heard devotionals or older Christian¬†women¬†tell me something¬†that goes like, “Beauty is in the heart…” yes it is. I have personally found out that the most beautiful women¬†are precious¬†ladies because of what is their heart, but when young girls are told this, in a way, the issue is being ignored about women¬†who struggle seeing themselves¬†in a positive¬†matter because of their¬†size whether¬†they are a size two or a size twelve.

In this day and¬†age the pretty girls¬†have to be tall, skinny, and beautiful because they wear makeup that makes them look naturally beautiful. This is a lie because¬†women¬†come in all shapes and sizes and in many cases — this is impossible! In my poem, the girl thinks that she is bigger boned because she weighs 110 pounds. I made a point to put this in there because¬†women¬†themselves¬†are their own¬†worse enemy. Young¬†girls need to be taught¬†that beauty¬†is not defined by size because every women’s¬†body is different and one size/bone structure cannot be deemed more valuable¬†than¬†another. It is important that older¬†women tell the younger ones this because just like the girl in my poem she saw herself as not having a good enough body type from a young¬†age and it developed into a serious eating disorder¬†as the years passed. Many young women have similar stories and I won’t¬†let¬†the generation behind me follow that thought pattern.

Story Time by Lama-Leah. “The Rose Among Wildflowers”

There once was a bouquet of flowers. The bouquet mostly had purple wild flowers in it and were arranged in a mason jar. Though most of the flowers were wild flowers it had one red rose in the arrangement. The purple flowers made fun of the rose for being different. They didn’t see any value in the rose and continuously told her that she didn’t belong. The rose started believing everything that the wild flowers told her, “You’re so different from us.” “You don’t belong!” “You will never be one of us!” “Why don’t you just die?”

One day the rose had it. She walked into the sun and waited for her beautiful petals to wilt away.
When the wild flowers found out what the rose was doing they laughed. They did not care about the rose one bit and were happy she would finally be gone making the bouquet “perfect.”

While the rose was waiting to wilt away, a flower gardener walked by and discovered the wilting rose.
“What a shame! This valuable rose is wilting away! If I put it in water right now, I might be able to make its life a further for good!”, the gardener said.

The rose was furious. What does this man know about flowers she wondered? The wild flowers told me I have no value, I believe them before a flower gardener, she thought.

After the gardener put the rose in water, the gardener took her to his flower garden. The rose was amazed by the beauty that she saw. She was dozens of types of flowers–daisies, petunias, sunflowers, and best of all, red roses! She had never seen other roses before in her life!

The gardener placed the special rose in a flower bouquet of other red roses just like her. She had never been happier before in her life.

For the first time, another flower loved her and saw value and beauty in her. She never had a sense of belonging until that day.

The rose was happy and very grateful that the flower gardener found her and did not let her wilt away in the sun.

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