An Open Letter of Apology to Those Who Watched Me Suffer in My Addiction- Guest Blog

I can never use enough words, say enough things to explain how sorry I am.  Some of you knew about my addiction for two years, others only for a few months. But it doesn’t matter if you watched me struggle for two years or two months, this is for everyone who watched me suffer in the middle of addiction. You all watched me as I chose a quick fix over love. You watched as I ran to the razor instead of you. All the while hoping that I would use the people available to me and reach out to them on the days when the struggle was so hard. You watched me drown and struggle in my addiction when you were right there the whole stinking time. You must have wanted to scream at me come on we are right here, don’t destroy yourself, we believe in you, we love you, please don’t do this to yourself. It’s like I ignored all that love that was surrounding me. You were right there loving me the entire time and you watched as I chose a quick fix over love. I can never explain how sorry I am for that. It must have been awful watching me struggle but not being able to do anything. You all watched me drown when all I would have to do is grab one of the many hands reaching in to help me and stand up. I’m sorry for the nights you would lose sleep because you were worried sick about me. Wondering if I was going to hurt myself yet again. Wondering if I would cut myself too deep and lose too much blood. Praying with so much passion that I wouldn’t cut myself, that I would stop hurting myself, that I would see the light, that I wouldn’t give into the addiction. Some of you watched me for a very long time wondering if I would ever come back to the me I used to be. I want to thank you for waiting so patiently throughout the years.

I’m sorry for putting the addiction first. I know that sometimes I wouldn’t consider how it would make other people feel when I gave into my addiction. And oh, how wrong that was. I should have considered not only the damage I was doing to myself, but also the damage I was doing to my parents, my friends, my pastor, and my mentors, my siblings. I’m sorry for the many times you had to let me go to make my own choices yet want to do everything to stop me. I’m sorry you had to watch as I slowly destroyed myself. I’m sorry for all the destruction and pain my addiction caused everyone in my life.

I also wanted to thank you guys. Thank you for never walking away. Thank you for believing I could overcome. The faith you all had in me really helped me overcome my addiction. Thank you for caring about me when I continued down the road of addiction and showed how little I cared for you guys. Thank you for loving me even when I loved my addiction more than I loved you guys. Thank you for never once giving up for me. Thank you for all the times you were there for me. Thank you for giving me hope that I could overcome. Thank you for pushing me to do what I thought was the impossible. Thank you for loving me at my absolute worst.

Thank you.

UnFiltered

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a common quote. Within this culture, we are constantly consumed by statuses and pictures.

I recently came across a faith based blog that stated,  “Do not post a picture without editing.” While this is a harmless phrase, I had a difficult time emotionally processing it. I understand where the author is coming from. As a blogger, I desire my website to be a relection of Christ. I want lama-leah to be well formatted, have few grammatical errors, and post pictures of good quality. However, there is definitely another side to consider when making this statement. When I first read it,  I immediately thought, “How can you portray real life if all your photos are fake?” In May I addressed the flaws that are on this website in my post titled, “I (Will) Have Typos.” You can check out that post here: https://lamaleah.com/2017/05/26/i-will-have-typos/

Shortly after reading this, I took a look at my own social media accounts. I found two pictures of me being in a natural state while I have dozens of photos posted with a full face of makeup, straighten hair, and a few touch ups with the help of the beloved program, Photoshop. I began to ask myself the question, “Why do I want to be transparent as a writer but not with the pictures on my instagram feed?”

The truth is I am scared of showing the world who I physically am. I like to believe that I am confident but I think I am more vulnerable when I share a picture in my “natural state” than I am secure.

I have physical and emotional scars. I have cellulite. I wear loose shirts that hide my belly fat. My thighs are big and I have hips. I cannot naturally get a tan in the summertime and I use my hair as a way to hide. However, now that you know that, do you think that my value has decreased? I would rather be portrayed as someone who has flaws but is secure in their self than being just an average ‘pretty girl.’

Below are two pictures. The first picture is in my modeling portfolio. It has over 60 ‘Likes’ on my feed. I was doing something that I love to do. My hair and makeup was done and I was modeling. The second photo was taken after the county fair dog show. The dog that I had been working with won her first award as reserve champion in Rally-Obedience. I was also doing an activity that I love. One picture is art and the other one I am in my natural state of beauty. No makeup. I had done nothing to my hair, and I had been at the show throughout the course of the day. Which one is my favorite? The spider. But which one am I being real?

I challenge you to be real when it comes to what you share on social media. Edited photos are great but so are the ones that are not. They each contain there own unique characteristics of beauty.

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I love hearing from all of you. My contact information is listed below.

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Dear God, what am I doing?

Shalom readers! If you have been a Lama-Leah reader for a while, you would probably be aware that my life over the past year has been chaotic but in the best way possible. From graduating high school in May of 2016, briefly moving to a different city to work in June of that year, my college program being cut in August, experiencing a prophecy from the Lord in October, being asked in I wanted to a permanent writer at a small magazine in February, and in this past spring being called into the entertainment industry in the spring. Within this season, I have grown closer to Him in ways that I had yet experienced as a recent highschool graduate.

This past spring, God lead me to a different career path that I really hadn’t considered before. Within a series of events, He led me to be a part of Actors, Models, Talent, for Christ perusing a career in acting, modeling, and music. When I signed with this organization, I had no idea what I exactly I was getting into. Within a matter of weeks after starting this program, I made a contact with an influential man in the Christian entertainment industry. Almost immediately, I was exposed to the dark side of this industry that desperately needs Jesus. I am still learning what this career path entails but I can only say that it is….dark!

This has been physical journey but also a spiritual one. I have been both spiritually attacked and blessed. God has become more real to me but spiritual warfare has been too. My lifelong battle with food has worsened. My appetite has greatly decreased making it difficult to eat on certain days. Days before my first training with AMTC I became ill and lost my voice (and I had to sing at that class). Despite this, the blessings from the Lord have been abundant. When I worship Him, it has become sweeter with more Shalom.

However when still deal with those voices of doubt. Am I equipped? Why me? Am I really talented enough? God, you sent me here but what I am I doing?  When I examine these thoughts, I realize that they are not from the Lord but the adversary and I can refute this with the word of God. I know this in my head, but am I really taking the time to examine these scriptures? Not always

Unless one has been called into a modern day Nineveh, it can be difficult to explain to the believing community where the Lord has led me, especially because it appears that I want a glamorous life. If you are under that impression, let me explain that I don’t desire fame or fortune I desire to make a difference and impact for HaShem within this culture.

I was recently asked the question, “Leah how long are you going to stick with this?” First I was surprised that someone would ask me this. I admit that I found it to be odd then I realized that this probably won’t be the only I’m going to be asked this. It would be easy to simply stick with my career as a writer. I am doing alright in this field for being 19 years old. I could continue to make a difference for Christ through Lama-Leah and the other platforms that I write for. I am going to continue this work but God has led me on this new path. God has blessed me with more connections and opportunities in the past six months than most individuals have in a lifetime. I am excited for the future even though it is unknown. The industry is dark but blood of Jesus sheds light! I often times ask Him what I am doing here, but He always guides me in His perfect direction. In this past year, I have learned about faith and I am applying those lessons daily. If I have learned anything in the past year it would be the following, “The trials of yesterday became the blessings of today.”

With love,

Lama Leah

 

 

 

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The Entire Amor

Recently I was on Twitter and I came across a quote that has been resonating in my heart. The tweet stated, “When you feel like praying the least is when you need to be praying the hardest.”

In a believers walk, there will be highs and lows. There will be times where you have the fire for Christ and seasons where opening up His word feels almost physically impossible. In my most recent season, I was on fire for HaShem. I was determined to be a light in the darkness and I currently feel discouraged with this mission. It seems as if my efforts are not doing anything for the glory of God. However I know that these thoughts come from the enemy and NOT the Lord. Instead of feeding into the lies, I need to be clinging to the armor of God. If I am being completly honest, these days don’t feel like going through the motions of going through the Christian walk. Do I still do them though? Yes. Is it difficult to push though? Yes but when I do connect with the spirit I have His shalom thoughout the day.

If you are going through the same season, I have some scripture to encourage you with.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:12

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:11

Thank you for bearing with me as I have vented. As always, I write with love. Feel free to contact me.

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Praying with Faith

Prayer should be a common activity in a believer’s life, however, in my walk I have often times gotten in the habit of going through the motions of having a prayer life without considering coming to HaShem with faith that He can do miraculous works.

Make New Year’s resolutions whether that be during the spiritual New Year or the fiscal year. My goal for the spiritual New Year was to use my testimony for the pure glory of God and my goal for the fiscal year was to become a prayer warrior. I made a small rule to pray when I am driving. Whenever I am driving on the road to exit my small town, or am on the highway, I will pray. Whenever I am driving near my congregational leaders home (I live on the same side of town as them and drive in that direction often), I will pray for the leadership of my congregation and/or the future synagogue that we are to make our home. At times, when I am on these roads, I have little desire to pray, however, I try to make it a point to practice the rule that I made.

Within the past several months of doing this, my faith has been transformed in a new way. I have learned the difference between praying because I think that is what I am supposed to do, and praying with belief that He will transform his children’s lives. This past fall, I was baptized. While this is a joyous occasion, as soon as my head came up from that water, my life was changed. Almost immediately after the ceremony, the enemy started attacking me. That evening the spirit of suicide entered my presences. I recognized those spirits and rebuked them in the name of Yeshua’s blood. Almost every night, and through parts of the day for about a month after that service, the enemy continued to try to attack me. In this period of time, it was the beginning of His sacred High holy days, the enemy was trying to distract me from the reasons that I rejoice in these holidays.  As a believer, this season was the most enduring that I have yet to experience. The enemy was feeding me lies, but this time I was strong enough in my faith to recognize them as being lies from the enemy. I would never desire to go back to last fall, but through the trials my faith expanded and I learned something that is priceless. I learned how to pray and fight the enemy. My prayers that I previously prayed out of simple habit were not enough this time. I had to constantly put on the full and complete amour of God. I had been in a season where I was always needing Him. I admit that I did not always desire to fight but I knew that Satan comes steal, kill, and destroy.

Honestly speaking, one way that I tend to pray without belief is before meals. Growing up in a Torah following household, I was taught by my parents and grandparents to pray before eating. It is a habit. Is it a bad habit? Not at all! Do I ever just do it purely because that’s what I was taught to do? Yes, I do. “Dear Jesus, thank you for this food, please use it as nourishment to our bodies, and bless the hands who helped produce the food, in Yeshua’s name, amen.” Does a variation of a prayer similar to this sound familiar? I admit that in certain instances I ‘zone out’ when thanking HaShem for my food. In my life, have I ever gone hungry though? God has always graciously provided. Do I need to be thanking Him? Absolutely! Habits are not necessarily bad, but do I sometimes choose to forget why I am thanking Him? I do.

A few weeks ago I had my first audition as an actress. It was for a Christian film and I was genuinely interested in working on this project. The night before my audition, I had a dream that I failed. I woke up declaring to Satan that he has no power over me or my performance later that afternoon. On my way to the audition, I continued to combat the lies from the enemy while asking for the shalom that only comes from God. I did not ask God for the role but I simply asked Him to help me to act to the best of my abilities, and for boldness and discernment. I thought that the audition went well overall. I recently received a call from the director of the film asking if I wanted the lead female role. I was shocked to have been offered that job. I sought the Lord on this project before and after the audition and He showed me that I should not be working on this particular project. However, I recognized the spirit of Satan before my time in front of the camera and rebuked him before setting foot in the audition room.

Earlier, I shared about my goal of praying frequently in 2017. I did not share about the testimonies that have happened since starting the regimen. Every time that I am on this road, I try to be open to the Holy Spirit in prayer while still praying with complete faith. HaShem has put it on my heart to pray for a few of my former bullies and the Spirit has been working! One of the boys who sexually harassed me contacted me and apologized! One of my former bullies asked if I would pray for them. Lastly, one of the friends that I have been praying for accepted an invite to come to service. These are just a few examples of what all has happened in the past several months.

There is a common phrase in the believing community that states, “Prayer changes things.” I am going to add a Lama-Leah twist to this. I am changing it to, “Prayer with complete faith changes things.”

Trials produce perseverance. I am grateful for the trials that HaShem has allowed me to go through. Through them I have learned how to pray believing instead of habit.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” ~Psalms 17:1

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” ~Psalms 145:18

If you have questions, comments, or prayer requests, feel free to contact me. I would love to communicate with you.

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Thy Will- Guest Blogger

As I was driving down the road I was struggling to understand. I poured my heart out to God. It started out as a prayer. “God please help me to let go. Help me to just rest in the fact that You got this.” But then my prayer gets violent. I am screaming at God. “GOD WHY? THIS IS NOT WHAT I PLANNED!” I start pounding on the dashboard. I am screaming, people along the road are staring, but I don’t care. I release everything you’ve been holding on to. “God I wanted to spend the summer in camp, I wanted to get so close to you this summer, I wanted to go to a Christian University, I wanted to go to college with my best friend. God why are you doing this? This isn’t fair. I don’t want this, but I can’t do anything to change it. I’m tired of having to explain myself to everyone. I’m tired of being the subject of gossip.”

Many of the things I wanted seemed good. In fact, they even sounded Biblical. However, it’s what I wanted to do and not what God had in store for me. I thought going to a Christian University and ministering at a camp was what God’s will was for me. The message that was ingrained in me throughout my elementary and high school years was: Go to a Christian University and you will be doing God’s will and you will be a Great Christian.

‘God’s will’ is a term we use a lot. But when we say God’s will is it really His will or is it simply what we want with a label attached to it? I wanted to serve at camp, I wanted to go to college with my best friend so I labeled it as God’s will. Because it seemed right and it was what I wanted. However, God’s will is so much more than us.  

The Truth is sometimes what people tell us is God’s will for us, sometimes what we think is God’s will for us simply isn’t. We struggle to understand why everything is changing when we think what we were going to do was God’s will. Sometimes what God’s will is for you no one else will think is God’s will for you. Right now, God wants me to go to a State University. Is everyone going to think I’m doing God’s will by going to a state university? No of course not. In fact, many people will think I’m rebelling against God, they will think I’m doing the wrong thing. But let me tell you something I don’t need people’s approval. If I know what I’m doing is what God wants, I’m doing what’s right. I do not need other people to tell me what is right or wrong. Of course, I can get counsel, but ultimately my decisions are between me and God. Is everything going to change? Yes, I won’t be as close to some people and I might be more alone than ever before. But the truth is. I need to be willing to step out in faith. I need to be willing to go alone sometimes. I don’t need permission from others to grow. Not everyone who started with me will finish with me and its hard but it’s okay.

We don’t always know what God’s will is for us. Truthfully doing God’s will is not about knowing what to do in the future. Doing God’s will is actively stepping out in faith on a day to day basis.

I don’t want any of this to happen. I was trying to hold it all in for the past two months. But I couldn’t. I started screaming at God. I poured it all out. Everything. And that was good. It helped. I want to encourage you. If you are struggling to understand, if you are trying to keep it all together, but secretly you are falling apart. Go find a private area and pour your heart out to God. Pound the ground. Scream out in anguish. Get it all out. God desires you to be real with Him. Don’t hold on to your pain, take it to the one who carried the whole world’s.

~Anonymous

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Playing it BIG for God

I recently attained this quote from Marianne Williamson that said, “Your playing small does not serve the world.” I immediately adored this quote, however, I put my own Lama-Leah spin on it and changed it to, “Your playing small does not serve the world  Kingdom.”  If you are a regular reader, you would be aware that I am in a new season of life. God has called me to pursue commercial modeling, singing, and acting for the glory of Him. I have been training with the organization, Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ.

This path has been exciting, not only because of future job opportunities but because I am doing exactly what God has called me to do. When I was about seven years old I was cast in a movie as an extra (my character’s name was ‘little girl wearing pink dress’). From that experience, I always knew that I would somehow be involved in the entertainment industry. I can’t explain that “gut feeling” to anyone who hasn’t that experienced it yet. Honestly speaking, I was scared. I knew where my assignment was but yet didn’t pursue it.

Overall, I have had some amazing support while starting my new career. I have been blessed to be a part of several communities that supports the arts and the entertainment industry. I cannot express how grateful I am to everyone who has been rooting for me. It means more then you will ever know. However, I have also seen a different side of the Christian community that has been discouraging on this journey.

I have learned that in some cases, it is a common thought that Christians cannot be involved in the entertainment industry and stay grounded. We are supposed to be in the world, but not of it and some interpret this verse as – don’t be involved in the world at all. When I have explained that Jesus has called me into the entertainment industry I have gotten responses of others doubting that God would reveal this to me. I have gotten, the almost but not quite judgmental, “Oh, that is interesting…” And let’s not forget my favorite, “Just be careful, okay?” Over the course of my time in this program, I have had several conversations with other participants about how there has almost been a disapproval from their own communities for pursuing the entertainment industry as a believer.

If you are one of the individuals who as expressed concern for me, let me tell you this, I am grounded in who I am as a believer. I have seen first hand a glimpse of the darkness in the industry and I am using it as fuel for the light that I need to be shining. My prayer has been for God to give me boldness, discernment, and courage as I train, go to auditions, and work. Let me tell you, He has provided in every aspect!

Some Christians are called to serve the Kingdom by using their God given wisdom by mentoring youth who are at risk; others are called to use their God given talent and beauty in Hollywood. Each calling comes with their own set of challenges and difficulties, but each one makes an impact. It is the mere fact that they are simply using what God has given them, at times leaving their comfort zone, and impacting the kingdom that matters.

At the beginning of this post I shared a Lama-Leah revised quote. I did this because I wanted to share that when we stay in our comfort zones and “play small” as believers, we will make little impact for the Kingdom. We need to practice being bold, and playing big with love for Christ to make an impact for the Kingdom.

Stay faithful and be encouraged.

With love,

Lama-Leah

 

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Special Offer- Life According to Bella

Two years ago I set up my this blog. I never imagined it growing in the ways that it has. I’ve grown as a believer and a writer. As a celebration I have a special promo code for you. The website, lifeaccordingtobella.com is giving Lama-Leah readers  $1 off ANY product on their website using promo code: lamaleah 

I am in love with the format of the blog. Miss Annabelle, has been lovely to work with. I have had a difficult time opening up the ebooks though. If you are looking for an in depth devotional, I recommend the products.  

Check it out! 

Shavout 2017 – The Harvest

Chag Sameach! Happy Holidays! This week is the week of Shavuot or the holiday known as Pentecost. This is the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai from God to Moses, and to the Nation of Israel. This is observed 50 days after Passover, and is also a celebration of wheat harvest. Overall, this is a remembrance that HaShem is faithful, and provides for our needs.  It is tradition to study the Torah all night and consume dairy foods. While I could take several different angles on this holiday, I am being led to share about agriculture.

I was not truly exposed to agriculture when I was a young child. I generally thought I knew where my food comes from – the local farmers market. It was not until I was nearly in high school that I saw a tiny glimpse of where our food comes from. The high school I graduated from was in rural Kansas. On the daily commute I witnessed how the earth changed throughout the year by observing the farmers hard work being grown in the fields. I am by no means a country girl, however, I have learned about a few aspects of life on the farm throughout the years. I apologize if I misuse any farm lingo!

What I have observed about harvest is that cannot be started if the farmer had not planted the seeds. An experienced farmer will know which season is appropriate to plant each crop. There are several factors that one would consider when selecting which type of seeds to grow — location, weather conditions and timing are just a few. The farmer will be investing not only financially, but also through his time. He will have to use wisdom and judgment when it comes to matters pertaining to agriculture.

God plants different seeds on our own piece of land throughout this journey here on earth and we often times have the privilege of reaping the harvest, however, certain situations can take a significant amount of time to pass after the seed is planted in order to witness the harvest that God has in store for us. A few examples of God growing me in my personal life would be being born into a generally artsy family where I can easily express my creative side, being raised Messianic, the day I found out I was dyslexic, and the day depression became a part of my soul. I have complete faith that God knew what He was doing when He placed each of those experiences in my path. At times I had sorrows and at times I had joy. But through each season He always remained faithful and had my best interest in mind, even if I didn’t understand at the time.

I am extremely fortunate because in my young age, I am starting to see the harvest within the difficulty. Although I have few chapters in my life that I do not understand, I have faith. I have had seasons where it felt that God was only planting, and nothing in my field was growing besides a few weeds. I have come to believe that even the weeds can represent beauty in its own unique form. Without the difficulty this blog would probably not exist. If I had experienced the feeling of having a voice and opinions that could be heard, I do not think I would have began writing. He has used my sleepless nights for His own good. Even though I have always felt extremely insecure about my thoughts and wisdom, He has made it clear to me that I am supposed to share the light that He has given me with the world.

This holiday is about the remembrance that GOD PROVIDES. He could be planting seeds for a new season that you have not experienced yet. It could be faith testing, and faith enduring. Whatever it may be, He will be with you wherever He takes you. Remember you cannot expirence the fullness of harvest without taking the precious time of letting God plant the seeds and investing in you first.

Love you all!

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I (Will) Have Typos

I have typos on this blog. Even as I double-check my drafts before posting, I always seem to miss something. As a writer, this scares me but I have had to learn how to allow myself to share grace… even when it’s grace towards myself. I have had to learn how to say after I have caught the typos (these types of things can be embarrassing), I can say, “It’s okay.” Every day I struggle with my dyslexia. Although this doesn’t normally affect my ability to clearly communicate, it does effect how I understand the proper use of the English language.

In the Christian community we tend to approach the concept of grace in two basic forms:

  • The grace that God has given His children,
  • The grace that we should give our brothers and sisters in Christ because of what He did, and continually does for us.

However, we forget the importance of another side of this issue. We don’t talk about giving ourselves permission to receive grace from ourselves. As a woman, I believe that this is a true problem in the church even though it is rarely spoken on. Even though I am still considered to be “young,” I am not immune to witnessing this dark issue that is essentially an issue of pride. We live in a day and age where we capture the special parts of our lives through the lenses of our camera phones, while using filters to sift through the rough parts of our journey. Through this age of filters, we tend to life with the goal of achieving the lifestyles that are as seemingly perfect as our social media feed.

It is no secret that girls in general are constantly comparing themselves to each other. Generally, as soon as we enter a room we are comparing ourselves to every other women in same vicinity.  We “judge” others for everything from outward appearances, social status, and social media status, just to name a few. We live in a society where we are expected to be perfect. We naturally desire to have a Pinterest-perfect life, but that is not how life seems to work. The thing is…we are going fail multiple times on our journey. We will fail our friends. We will fail our families. We will fail God and at times we will fail our own expectations that we have set for ourselves. It is within these times that grace comes into the picture.

I have found that in the Christian community women can be great at displaying grace towards others. However, we lack in the area of allowing grace for us individually. We can forgive others when they sin against us, but we struggle with forgiving ourselves when we fall into temptation.  From experience, I have learned that sometimes the greatest forms of healing can happen when you let go and forgive yourself after accepting the full forgiveness from God. The enemy tries to keep us in bondage of our own guilt and sin when we don’t allow grace to enter in our own hearts. If you truly believe that the creator of the ENTIRE universe can, and has forgiven you, what is stopping you from forgiving yourself?

I believe that something that sets this blog apart is my honesty about the struggles that I go through. It is my goal as a blogger to be transparent to anyone who reads this blog. I desire to be the same girl when I am online, and offline.  I am not always going to be politically correct or even grammatically correct for that manner. As you are a reader, I ask for grace from you. Grace, as I haven’t been the best at posting these past few months. Grace, as I seem to be writing about similar topics every week. Grace, as I don’t catch every typo. As writer, I want to emphasize how grateful I am for those who read this blog. I often times pray for God to give me the correct words to use, so that Lama-Leah can be a blessing to others.

I challenge you to display grace in all areas of your life and be transparent in your daily life.

Love you all! ~Lama-Leah

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