Make Peace Reign During Your Holiday Get-Together With These Four Tips – Guest Blog Jennifer Scott

There’s nothing better during the holidays than spending time with family. Then again, there’s nothing worse during the holidays than…well, spending time with family. Does this bittersweet appraisal ring true with you? If so, then relax and enjoy a well-deserved chuckle, knowing you’re in good company according to writers for Popular Science.

Still, some of life’s greatest joys only come when we’re around those with whom we share the closest bonds. So in this post we’ll look at four ground rules for avoiding discord. Use them to help keep things harmonious when hosting your holiday get-together.

Rule One: No Generalizing

Generalizing is one of humanity’s worst traits. It expresses itself whenever people make broad, sweeping statements based on a handful of examples. Here are some forms it can take in a family setting:

“Joan is irresponsible. Look at how she totaled her last car!”

“Greg is no genius. Remember that D he got in high school algebra?”

“Terry is a dreamer. Remember that time she wanted to go into acting?”

Everyone has foibles, of course. But the holidays are for focusing on what’s good inside all of us, not the opposite. Remind your relatives of this fact before they gather together under your roof.

Rule Two: No Name-Calling

We tend to dislike those who are most like us, according to an article in Atlantic.  This may explain why some of the nastiest exchanges can erupt between family members, who are so alike it’s scary sometimes. But you don’t need a medical degree to recognize that name-calling never makes a situation better. So outlaw this nasty habit from the outset.

Rule Three: No “Nos”

Few words in the English language can stir up as much discord as the simple “no.” This is certainly the case when used in a heated discussion: “No intelligent person shares your views;” “Your husband is no good at all.” Not only is this use of the word “no” bad manners, it’s also bad thinking. If your guests must debate each other, then encourage them to see both the good and the bad in the other’s perspective. This can keep an honest disagreement from degenerating into an ugly uproar. It may even help to mend fences between estranged persons.

Rule Four: No Scapegoating

We all stumble at times. Even successful people make their share of  boneheaded blunders. Henry Ford pioneered the auto industry but clung to outdated designs long after his rivals adopted better approaches. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos poured a fortune into developing a cellphone line that lost the company $170 million. Yet, while nobody thinks of Ford or Bezos as failures, the fact remains that mistakes and shortcomings can sting. One way people try to muffle this pain is by blaming a convenient scapegoat, as in the following examples:

“I could have retired in comfort if Aunt Sally hadn’t cashed in the savings bonds.”

“My son would be rich if your brother hadn’t talked him out of selling his invention.”

These are the stuff of which endless quarrels are made. We suggest banning them from your holiday gathering.

Special Cases

Dealing with family members can pose formidable challenges for those in recovery. Here are ways to respond when someone brings up your past:

  • Refuse to discuss the addiction issue. If someone brings it up, let them know you’ve made a firm decision about harmful substances, and say, “I’m clean now. That’s it.” There’s no need to say anything else. If the other person tries belittling or blaming you, then just repeat, “I’m clean now. That’s it,” until the person drops the matter. This powerful assertiveness technique can stop attempts to shame or manipulate you in their tracks.
  • Walk away. There’s no law that says you must endure another’s bad manners, even if the person has good intentions. Anything is better than letting others drive you towards relapse.

Playing host to a group of not-so-perfect relatives can make anyone anxious. But using the tips in this post can give you the self-assurance to handle any situation with grace and confidence. Think of them as our gift to you this season. Happy holidays!

Story 1: The WOW Project

The first photographer I ever spoke/shot with asked me about how comfortable I was in front of the camera. I responded with a genuine “It’s not so bad.” And he responded with “Now how comfortable would you be topless?” The next session I went to I brought my boyfriend to try and buffer the situation, and this time the photographer told me politely yet firmly that he was not allowed on set because it would ‘inhibit’ my modeling for him. Little did I know that with him gone he would wittle away at my self confidence and dignity to the point where I agreed to wear only a robe for photos. Then when he pushed things over the edge towards pornographic I pushed back. Suddenly I was a terrible model. “Don’t you want to have a career? This is what models do for money. Don’t you want to be a model?” That’s a question that a lot of young models are asked, or demanded. Take an already semi awkward situation and add in an even more awkward proposition. Some respond with no, some respond with sure, some don’t respond at all. And the point isn’t wether or not their responses are correct, but why are we even asked these questions in the first place? People I have worked with claim that nude or pornographic models are the only models that make money or make it big, and that’s simply untrue. But for a young model starting out who is going to tell her that? She’s putting her trust in these photographers who may or may not have the right drive for her. I never received the photos from that shoot, until a few years later when a man from the internet sent me a link to them on a website. They had been posted places without my knowledge or consent. It took a fight to get them taken down, and it was one that was never acknowledged from the man who took them. To this day it is a difficult decision on who to work with, when to say no, and when to be concerned for your own well being. And I don’t really have any life changing advice, just to always trust your gut feelings, don’t be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.

– A Local Wichita Model

The WOW Project- Now Accepting Submissions

As many of you know, I consider myself to be a feminist (yay for girl power). This past October, the #Metoo movement came about when the allegations of sexual abuse against  Harvey Weinstien was released to the public. Within a matter of days, I had individuals asking me as a model, what my thoughts were on this issue. I responded by saying that I am not surprised because even in the tiny city of Wichita Kansas, I have personally had a handful of negative experiences from photographers in the area, and the deeper I grow into the industry, the more I learn about the darkness within it. From a personal standpoint, it feels as if the more well known the photographer is, the more they tend to get away with misconduct. As a women who was once a victim, I feel that I have a personal responsiblity to the public to bring light to this issue that is so prevalent in this city but few know about unless they are in the photography/modeling/stylist community.

This is where the W.O.W. project comes in.

W.O.W. stands for Weinstiens of Wichita. I desire for the issue of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault between photographers and models to be an issue that is known to the general public. I am now accepting submissions for Wichita area models to guest blog  about their personal experiences when it comes to this subject.

Submissions can be sent to lamaleahblog@gmail.com

To The Broken Hearted Girl

Hello beautiful, I know that you are hurting. You just found out the boy that you have had a crush on for years has a girlfriend and that girlfriend isn’t you. Nothing that I can tell you can help with the pain that you are experiencing. I understand that it hurts to see him with someone else. I have a few things that I want to remind you that may encourage you.

  • Take time to mourn. Time will help you heal it’s also perfectly alright to cry, and eat an entire pizza
  • I want you to be reminded that this boy not being your significant other has NOTHING to do with inherent value. You are precious because of who your Father is

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalms 139:13

  • Singleness is not a curse and may only be a season

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

  • Most boys are drama, appreciate life with as little drama
  • Fully living life consists less of romantic relationships but living in a way of no regrets
  • He is not worth the time to be stressing over when you have a greater purpose
  • Take this time and develop deep relationships with others
  • Take your worries to the thorn

“Cast your anxieties to the Lord because He cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:7

  • Study what perfect love is

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I promise you that things will get eventually get better ❤

 

Love,

Lama Leah

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Twitter: @lamaleahblog DSC_3265Photo taken by Derek Hildebrandt

Never Belonging Became My Strength

I have had a strange life. Everyone has a different definition of what normal is, but I don’t think that my life so far could be defined as anyone’s definition of normal. Several weeks ago, I was sharing about my life with an individual and they laughed at how diverse I am. Here is my life summed up.

My parents were raised in Christian environments. My mom went to Bible College, my dad went to art school. When I was three years old, my family was invited to a Chanukah service at the local Messianic congregation and my mother experienced imitate shalom. Visiting just for Chanukah led into attending the following Friday, and every Friday evening preceding that. My family gave up Christmas, Easter, and Halloween and those festivities were replaced by Chanukah, Passover, and dressing up in costume for Purim. By the time I was 10, I could not tell you the name of a single hymn but I could recite and chant countless Jewish liturgy. Does my family have descendants from Israel? Nope. I am very Swedish actually. Did that make a difference when my parents decided to change their ways and convert? Nope.

From a young age I was forced to learn how to be confident in myself because I didn’t really have a cultural identity. Am I bitter about how I was raised? Not at all in fact, I feel that the believers who are NOT messianic are missing out on great blessings. At the same time, I have always been a misfit. As I grew older, I started to notice how anti-Semitic  thought has entered the minds of many Christians. It did not take long to realize learn how even young Christians were being persuade by these beliefs. The thing about being Messianic is that it’s not exactly accepted by the Christian or the Jewish community. I never felt as if I belonged because I never really did. My personal religious beliefs and convictions were a huge part of my life but I was rarely in environments where I could freely share them. My parents NEVER forced their own believes on me, I personally experienced the complete shalom of God myself and when that happened I knew that God is real.

My parents sent me to a highly academic private Christian school and I am NOT book smart by any means. I am dyslexic and had difficulty finding techniques to help me overcome that. Even though my life has been different, I have learned a variety of life lessons from not ‘belonging’ in the places that God has led me.

  • Know who you are in God
  • EMBRACE who you are
  • Accept and make a point to have diversity in your life
  • Don’t feel pressured to fit a certain mold that society has made, it’s not worth conforming
  • Always always practice the golden rule, epically to other misfits
  • Find a way to learn from anyone regardless of their age or background

After I graduated high school, I had a desire to be a makeup artist but God closed every door for me to pursue that, but when I surrendered that to Him He opened up different opportunities. The same week that I gave up the idea of being a makeup artist, this blog grow more in a short period of time than it did the prior year. Within the same season, God was tugging at my heart to pursue the entertainment industry to be a light for Him. Additionally, God granted me several opportunities to perform. Within eight months after graduating at the age of 18 years old, I was offered to guest write in an online magazine. Shortly after that, I was asked if I would interested in being a regular columnist. What kind Magazine? A Pentecostal magazine! Everyone on staff has been so incredibly encouraging and supportive of me. I am definitely on the young side of the staff but I see that as an honor.

As God has led me to pursue the entertainment industry, I have found that there is power in never feeling that you belong. I am petite and few probably see a model in me because of my height, but am I going to let that hinder me? Nope. I have probably done more photoshoots then some of my friends who are built as fashion model have. I never fit a stereo type so why start now, right? Because I never felt as if I belonged, I don’t feel as if I HAVE to do what my peers from high school are doing. I don’t feel this pressure to go to a state college for four years, find a spouse, get married after graduation, and start a family after that. Is there value in that? Absolutely but I have no desire to follow a path that society has paved for me.

Everyone has something that they want to try but are scared to because they are scared to try. I refuse to live a life of regret because someone persuaded me not to try it. In the beginning of the month, I competed in a talent competition called Shine. At this competition, there was talent ranging from the age of four years old to elderly adults. I greatly admire the older adults who got on the stage and acted, sang, danced, ect. If nothing is stopping them from pursuing their dreams, what is stopping you?

 

“Don’t be so thirsty you will drink anything” – Nate Butler

This past weekend I competed at a faith based talent competition in Chicago. While a variety of things stood out to me, I have been fixating on came from quote Nate Butler that said, “Don’t be so thirsty that you will drink anything”

If you have been following my blog for the past several months, you would be aware that I felt God calling me to pursue the entertainment industry to be a light to the world. When I have shared what I have been doing with other believers I typically get two responses which are, “Good for you to be going where God has called you” OR I am told, “I want you to know that it’s a really dark field that you are going into.” While I understand and appreciate the concern fellow believers have given me, I want to share a few things that I have been keeping private about this journey.

First of all, I have no desire for fame but to make a positive influence upon others in this field. If I began pursuing this for, “fame” I could be closer to my goals by now IF I was willing to compromise. Shortly after I said, “Okay God lets do this” I made a HUGE contact in the industry and they promised me a music tour if I was involved in a scandal with an individual that they represented. I told them that I was not interested and blocked them from every platform that they could try to contact me from. After that, I was offered a role in a film production that compromised my standards. From the very start, I saw how DARK the industry is. At times I don’t understand why I have been giving so many opportunities IF I compromised but then I am reminded that not every opportunity is from God. While I am in this to be light, I have not always kept my testimony. I have associated myself with individuals who represent darkness and within time, their own darkness began to enter my soul and dimmer my flame almost to the point of it being blown out. Within a matter of time of this happening, I became a version of Leah that I did not like.

I got to the point where I absolutely hated myself and when I realized that, I knew that something had to change. One morning when my phone alarm clock went off to the song, “Overcommer” by Mandisa I woke up with a new abundant amount of self-respect. That day with the help of new friends, I made the choice to cut out the dark influences. Yes, we made beautiful art together but when someone influencing you to be a worse version of who you are instead of a better one, they need to LEAVE.

Within the short time that I have been pursing the industry, I have learned a few things.

  1. Within ANYTHING you do, ask for the Holy Spirit to be present
  2. Listen to spirit when it does not make any logical sense. I have given up several opportunities because my gutt feeling told me to flee. At the same time, within the times that I did not listen to that I dealt with individuals crossing lines
  3. Use caution when trying to be a light to someone who desires to live in darkness
  4. Remember that God is keeping you accountable
  5. Don’t be afraid to leave a set if you are being put in a compromising position
  6. remember that you are not even known but you are still a role model to someone

No matter what you are pursing, these six points can be used throughout almost all areas of life. And remember don’t be so thirsty that you will drink anything.

Dear Death, I choose life- A Suicide Prevention Letter

I write this with great heartache.

The pain that I am experiencing is unbearable and I can’t live this way anymore.

The demons of my past are taking over my soul.

For I have been hiding how much pain that I am actually in.

For years I have been finding the strength to stay strong but I can no longer seem to find it.

By the time you will read this, it will be too late.

I am no longer going to be a burden to the world.

Do not blame yourself,  this is my choice

I love you more than you can imagine, this is why I must make this decision.

-Leah

 

I write you this time with joy in my soul

The pain that I experienced was unbearable, but I received help. I have learned not only how to cope with it, but find joy within any circumstances even if it is just an ounce of joy.

The demons of my past that had overtaken my memories no longer have a place in my life. For I no longer have to life in the past.

For years I hid how much pain that I was actually. I over time however I was able to find a smile that was not fake.

Holding on just a little bit longer was the best decision that I have ever made. I did not think that life could get better, but I was wrong. I truly belive that I was placed on this earth for a purpose.

I am going to continue searching and achieving this purpose. My story has an eliminate of hope and I need to share this hope with the world.

It was my choice to want to try to die, but I am eternally grateful that I didn’t and am still here today.

I love you more than you could ever imagine. I am starting to realize that if my plan hadn’t fell through, I would have caused so much heartache to my loved ones. At the time I believed that I would have been doing the world a favor by leaving it, but I have  realized that nobody else can take my place in the world except for me.

-Leah

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions, please know that there is always hope. ❤ NOBODY can replace you. You are absolutely priceless for endless reasons. It has been on my heart to cover this topic with my Lama-Leah readers. On January 22, 2015 at the age of 16 I tried to end my life but God had other plans, so much beauty came out of my pain and story. A few months after my attempt, I began to anonymously share my heart on this blog. A little over a year after I started blogging, this site started impacting individuals in ways that I could never imagine. If I could go back to that cold January night I would have told myself, “You have no idea what God has in store for you and the ride is worth it.” This pain is temporary and easier times will come. Life is worth the journey. To find resources for help head over to the page titled, “Hoepline Help.”

-With love,

Lama-Leah

 

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Why the Shema?

The Shema is a  meaningful prayer in the Jewish faith, however I have come to question what would this world look if all believers in Yeshua were to fully keep this prayer to its fullest extent. If you are not already familiar with the Shema, it can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9

 “ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

This passage is found in the Torah. If you are a Christian, you may be reading this verse and be thinking, “How does this concern me as a Christ follower?” While you may not see the value in this passage because of the place that it was written in the bible, I argue that this piece of scripture holds the power to change the world if believers actively applied it.

A religious Jew would recite this prayer daily. Additionally, the words to this prayer is posted on the door frames throughout the home on an item called a Mezuzah. Traditionally when the door frame is walked through that piece of scripture is touched or kissed as a reminder of the essence of the prayer.

If you break down the Shema it can be broken down into two parts.

  1. Love God
  2. Take His commandments in a serious manner

Fundamentally, I question how would the church be different if completly loved God took His commandments as the Lord instructs in the Torah? If every day when we pass through the door frames of our homes when we are on our way to work, we were reminded to have the intention of keeping his commandments? As a Torah follower, I have found that the mitvahs that are scribed into His word are not a burdan but a great reminder that I can only follow His laws with the help and grace of Yeshua.

As a follower of Christ, keeping the Shema could be a reminder as closely as a religous Jew could teach us a few lessons.

  • Love God (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • Love others as Christ did because you love Him

But more importantly….

  • Be set apart by keeping His ways 

We are called to be set apart and I believe that keeping the Shema can be a way to achieve that. This world is full of chaos and it needs more of the love of God in it.

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 “Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” – Romans 12:2-4

As always, I write with love. These are some simple thoughts that I have. I love feedback from readers and you can shoot me an email or message me on social media.

-Leah

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Hope in Hopelessness: A Response to Bullying – Written by Kori Diaz-Schott

What does it mean to be in high school? The fashion trends, good grades, or activities that bring young people together under one roof. I wanted to give some thoughts on my high school experience and shed some light on the hope that all students, graduated or not, can take for their own negative high school experiences.
All my school life, from the second grade till my senior year, I had struggled with this idea, I’m prone to call “fitting the mold.” For this particular school the “understood” criteria was as follows:
-The popular girls get good grades (4.0 is a MUST!)
-The popular girls are naturally talented in sports (A team is the place to be!)
-The popular girls have lots of friends (they are the role models!)
-The popular girls wear make up (not too much to where it is over the top) and they dress in an attractive dressy casual, while keeping dress code
The list could go on and on in my head, and though most of these where my thoughts the nature of bullying came into play when I attempted to put them into practice.
I want to take a moment to address the definition of bullying, and what bullying means. Webster’s Dictionary gives this definition: abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. I’ve narrowed it down to three main contributors that bring about bullying.
1. Physical Bullying
The most obvious of the three, I’ve watched movies and heard more stories with a physical abuse as the collaborate. Karate Kid anyone? It’s a cliche storyline of students picking on the “weaker” students, whether it be shoving them into lockers, calling them names, fill in the blank.
2. Emotional
God made us to be in relationship with others, and that emotional need is what drives the last part of abuse. Like the mental it can all be just what’s going on in the head, but it’s also about the student in relation to others. When I read/write books, I like get so into the characters heads and relationships, it gets me more emotionally involved in the plot!
3.  Mental Bullying
Self afflicted abuse, discriminating yourself and others. This can be the result of physical bullying or just the false ideas believed in a students head, in which they believe. The consequences of this type of bullying is depression, self infliction, low self esteem, or anger and retaliation.
From those definitions, let me share with you some examples of my own experiences.
1. Physically
 I knew my classmates since the second grade. If you asked about them, I could probably tell you a complete biography from their school life, but when walking around, or in class, there was no relationship. If I talked with one of my classmates, it was simple as if they were talking to a stranger. I’d seen how they talked with their friends, and the body language and what they talked about was distant with me, therefore I gave them the same.
2. Emotionally
My mom has told me since the beginning that I get carried away with the idea of friendships. Because of the small conversations with my classmates, whenever a new student would come into my class, I’d jump on the opportunity to have a new friend. The problem came when they would make more friends than I. Jealousy would eat me alive and I’d curl back into my shell. I was therefore the quiet kid, not at all who I wanted to be, trapped in this allusion that I was at the bottom of the pecking order. That crushed my spirit and my self esteem.
3. Mentally
God created us as human beings to have relationships with others. I can remember many days after lunch while others talked and laughed with their friends I would sit in the corner of the room and pretend in my head to talk with my characters in the novel I’m still in the process of writing. I told myself that I couldn’t measure up, that I was hopeless. To this day the feeling brings tears to my eyes, because mentally, I had given up.
So depressing right?! I mean why would a God who loves me so much and calls me his treasure, allow me to walk through this crushing pain of loneliness?
Let me tell you why.
God made us as humans to have a relationship with him and others, a point that may be repeated more than once. The relationship with God was severed, therefore so have ours with others.  Not just in bullying, but in marriage, friendships, family members, the list goes on.
Living in a fallen world isn’t the only answer! I know if I was popular, excelled at sports, and kept a 4.0 in high school (if all my wants were met), I wouldn’t have room or possibly a desire for God. Though it’s hard to say, I needed those moments of loneliness and the days where homework was just too hard, to know that life was not something I could do on my own.
I can still remember the day I found this out, and a smile comes to my face with the memory. We were discussing a book in bible class, I can still remember sitting in that desk, in Mrs. Wuthrich’s room, and she saying something that has changed my life forever. Here is a paraphrase of what she said:
“Sometimes God takes away friendships, or distractions, to draw us closer to God.”
For a girl who was broken, that was an answer I had never heard before. I love the verse in James 4, where James is talking about submitting yourselves to God, and rejecting the world. Paraphrasing again, he says that those who seek friendship with the world are an enemy of God. We must resist the devil and he will flee. The verses I want to emphasize is James 4:8a, which states:
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you!”
So what does that look like? Even for those who have graduated already? Well, there’s a few challenges I’ve discovered over the years that may help you in your walk with God, and your relationships, both good and bad, with others.
1. God made you to be you.
I had to learn that “fitting the mold” was not what God has called us to do. Yes, we must obey authority and do our best in our schoolwork, but He has made each one of us with different talents and gifts. We all have original personalities given to us, from conception in the womb. We have been given an identify in God as his sons and daughters, and each of us hold a piece of His face. We have been filled with his love. This idea is hard to live, but life gets a little better when our value is found in God rather than in fitting the mold.
2. The Bully Struggles too
Most people don’t think I was bullied when I share my testimony. I have many stories and experiences I could add to this post to tell you how in many ways I was. But I wanted to touch on my own struggle because that’s what I should hit on, instead of tearing others down. For those, like me, who experience the downcast of others, I want to challenge you to look into where the bully comes from.  When I study up on my characters in the novel that I am working on, and consider who I want them to be, I have to do that. What experiences drive their choices? Thinking on that is far better than giving them the reaction they expect and want from you.
Cue a To Kill a Mocking Bird quote:
“…You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
3. Count your blessings
I was so focused on all the negative things that I couldn’t have hope in any of the positive. This was a step I could discover now, looking back, because I would not be who I am today without the positives. From this time in my life, here’s a couple that I’ve never been more thankful for:
– A God that gives me hope (hope changes everything!!)
– The teachers I love and respect so much, I wouldn’t have made it this far without them
– My mother and father, their experiences of being bullied in high school and sharing that with me.
– My older sister telling me to never give up
– My book that has educated me in more ways than I can count
– A cat that was almost like a dog in the way she followed me around
– He gave me a friend, outside of school that opened the door to the friend group I have now!
Count your blessings name them one by one…
4. Forgive and Forget
The bully wins if all that all you have for them is hate and memories that hold grudges. God has given us repetitive forgiveness for our sins as an example toward us. I know in high school I had a hate for those people who “left” me for new friends, I had a hate for that school and felt like it was my prison. I still may ache and have pain when I think of those days, but it wasn’t until I forgave those people who I believed wronged me (with or without their knowledge) and moved on with my life that I could for the first time experience peace!
For those of you in high school that feel as trapped as I did, I want to comfort you by saying, high school is not the destination. Don’t be discouraged, take heart. As one of my favorite comedians, Mark Lowery, puts it, “It came to pass, it didn’t come to stay!” And those of you who love high school or are graduated! YAY! Praise the Lord, but I want to challenge you to look out for others around you. Be a friend.
Wow that’s heavy! It’s hard talking about my past, but just like history class, hard things, if they are remembered they are less likely to be repeated. Therefore be hopeful! Remember what God’s son Jesus has done for you, and go do likewise!
Thank you for letting me share! I hope this helps reach you where you’re at and challenges you to  develop new relationships and continue to strengthen your current ones! God Bless!
* If you are interested in writing for Lama Leah send an email at lamaleahblog@gmail.com *

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.