Mission To Love

I sat at the cemetery this morning. I don’t visit there too often anymore. The cemetery can either be a place of comfort or a place of difficulty and lately, it’s been tough. It’s time to change the flowers from summer to fall foliage. I doubt people ever realize how hard this is for a mom who has lost a child. The simple fact we have to change flowers on our child’s headstone is nauseating. I know the holidays are right around the corner. This means we will face another year of the empty chair at the family functions. This means the anniversary of Ashley’s death, Christmas Eve, is not far away. This means I will have to force myself to smile and be normal as everyone else celebrates the holiday spirit around me. There is a great deal of pretending when it comes to parents who have lost children. We are all masters of wearing our mask well. I sit here today, just staring at Ashley’s headstone. I read the scripture over and over and it brings me comfort. But I struggle to know what to pray at these times. Sometimes all I can do is sit in silence. I think God understands these times. I don’t think He expects us to know how to navigate some moments of our lives. It’s just important for us to trust and rely on God’s promises. 

I don’t say any of this to gain sympathy. I don’t need or want that at all. I say this to bring awareness. You see, unless it’s talked about, people don’t realize. This is why I speak publically at every opportunity I can. I want others to hear the truth of what our world is facing, and hear the things they need to pay attention to. I don’t ever want anyone to have to live through this internal pain. I am on a mission to educate and do all that I can to prevent another parent from burying their child. 

People often ask me how I keep going, how I have the energy or how I maintain the crazy schedule I have. It is this passion in my heart that keeps me focused. It is me, turning my pain into purpose. As I continue to pursue my vision through Light of Hope, I see the fruits of the hard work. Ashley’s memory stays alive in my nonprofit. We are educating children in such a way they are becoming equipped to face life. We are helping parents, grandparents, individuals, family, and friends walk through difficult life journeys. We are helping people see the hope.

As I press through the beginning of this week, I thank God for all He has carried me through and all He carries others through. Life isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. People need us, they need you. We need each other. May this week and each week to come, be full of purpose and persistence. One day at a time, one foot in front of another, we can make a difference. Even if it’s the smile you give someone as you are passing in the street; you make a difference. You will never know how much your smile made a difference to me when I could not make sense of anything. Thank you world. I am grateful today, and on a mission to love.

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” DANIEL 12:3

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.” I CORINTHIANS 13:4-7

God is with us.

Layla Freeman

© Layla Freeman 2019
Author of HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE and Layla’s Light 
All Rights Reserved 
P.O. Box 669 Claremore, OK 74018 
http://www.laylafreeman.com
laylaslight@cox.net
Facebook – Layla’s Light
Twitter – @laylaslight

Layla’s Devotional Book available for purchase at the following: 

HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE  – $9.95 

AMAZON – Hope In the Struggle 
Light of Hope  
400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
1801 N. Hwy. 66 Catoosa, OK 74015 
918-373-4560 

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Layla Freeman

Layla Freeman is a wife, mother, friend, and encourager to all. She is a passionate disciple of Jesus Christ. Layla is the C.E.O. and Founder of the Non-Profit outreach ministry called “Light of Hope”. www.lightofhopeinc.org. This is an outreach to help individuals and families who are struggling with addiction and life difficulties. On Christmas Eve 2013, Layla lost her oldest daughter Ashley. Ashley was only 23 years old. There is no greater pain than child loss. Layla attributes her ability to face each day, to the overwhelming love of Jesus, who carries her through. This very difficult journey has given Layla the desire to help those who are facing difficult times and to help people see the hope. Her love for helping others is the passion behind Light of Hope. Light of Hope non-profit ministry has a vast variety of services that encourage, educate, empower and bring change and hope to the lives of those who need restoration and new life. Layla was awarded the Non-Profit “Leading Lady” award of Rogers County in 2018. She was also voted #1 community volunteer “Best of Claremore” in both 2019 & 2020. On June 9, 2020, Layla Freeman was Inducted into the Prestigious Marquis Who’s Who Biographical National Registry, as well as recognized as an “Amazing Oklahoman” in October 2020. Additionally, her non-profit Light of Hope was awarded the "Non-Profit of the Year" in both 2019 & 2020 and is also the winner of the International 2020 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Community Drug Prevention Award. Layla is also an author. Her first book publication, HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE, offers hope in the midst of dark times. Layla is also the author of the encouragement blog “Layla’s Light,” found on Facebook or on her website, www.laylafreeman.com. She has been actively writing since 2001. Layla’s personal experience in the extreme difficulties of life gives her a deep understanding of brokenness. Therefore, Layla’s writing and passion behind her desire to help others is empowered by the truth of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, and the hope we find in God’s promises. Layla is also a Business Owner/Vice President of Asset Industrial, Inc. She and her husband, Randall, work together providing services necessary for the oil refinery industry. She is also a respected Executive Committee Board Member, serving on the State Northeast Oklahoma Workforce Development Board. Layla is a public speaker and enjoys the opportunity to speak and present to groups, schools, churches, organizations, conferences, etc. She has a passion to bring awareness, education, and hope to our society. She believes that working together, and collaboration with others is the key to healthy families and stronger communities. In addition, Layla is a Stephen Minister, Congregational Care Minister, Lay Servant/Speaker, and a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (Layla has two daughters who face Type 1 Diabetes daily).

4 thoughts on “Mission To Love

  1. Thank you for sharing. I don’t ever leave the cemetery and my daughter Michelle’s grace until I can honestly stand there and look up to the heaven and thank the Lord for the 18 1/2 years that I had her.

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  2. As her Grandmother I could not help but cry as I read this. Layla always looks so beautiful you don’t see the pain she suffers for the loss of her daughter. I also feel the pain for the loss of our Sweet, loving, and beautiful Ashley. We miss you very much Ashley. Sending love and prayers to Layla. Love you. Mom

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  3. Layla I wish there were words I could say to take away the Pain In your heart. It’s times like this you are right that I believe God keeps us Quite and just pray for your comfort, strength and guidance in him. We never know as a Parent if we will face this tragic loss. I can only Pray that I don’t. You definitely have taken your Pain and turned it into a Purpose for so many of us. Especially me, as you know my circumstances life can always be worse. God be with you and know so many Love You , especially me 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼💖💖💖

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