Layla’s Light Blog – Encouragement

Trying Times

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‘I quit.’ ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ ‘I don’t understand why?’ ‘I’m tired of trying.’
Do these phrases sound familiar? If you haven’t experienced this at some point in your life, you will. We all come to the end of our rope, so to speak. It is a heavy, lonely, hard place to be. At the time, it can seem like there is no answer, no way out of the situation, and no hope. As we reflect back on those times in our lives, we can still feel the emotions. Isn’t it awesome that you made it through?! God was with you…even when you felt like you were alone.
If you are experiencing this desperately difficult time in your life right now, know that God is there. It is during those trying times in our lives, that we develop a closer relationship to our Creator. The times in which we suffer are the times when we are being refined and made stronger. Our suffering allows us the opportunity to seek Jesus and trust solely in God. Suffering prepares us to be empathetic. Every fire you have walked through…every obstacle you have overcome…has now become a testimony. We are the example of Christ in this world. We are the light in the midst of the darkness.  Use your experiences to help others. Don’t be afraid to share your journey, for you can be assured that you will help someone who is walking in that valley right now. Rise up and know…God is with you.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. ROMANS 5:1-5
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11
God is with us.
Layla 
© 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 

Purchase: 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 

Fighting the Attack

praying

Recently I have been under attack. It seems like every day has another level of circumstance that makes the day difficult. The most obvious attack has been the attempt from the enemy, who is trying to affect my health. I recognize this as spiritual warfare, and I am calling on Jesus at an even deeper level.

None of us like to face the cycles of our lives, where we feel like we are under attack. When we are going through difficulties, it makes no sense. How often have you felt like you were being punished? You wonder why things are happening to you, and more often you wonder where God is in all the trials? It can seem like the more you pray, the more the silence. Rest assured, God is there. God is NOT punishing you. God did not go away. God hears every prayer and knows every difficulty you are facing. Jesus is in the midst of the situations, and He is guiding you along. You may not feel His presence. You may not understand what is happening to you. However, you can be assured that you have the power to allow God to protect and guide you.

You must ask, and allow God into the situation. Remember, God does not force Himself on you. He waits for us to call on Him. Jesus is with you…waiting for you to ask for His help. The key is, we must ask, and then take His Hand. Call on the name of Jesus. The enemy is a thief that will rob you of your joy if you allow him to. Satan works in all kinds of ways, to distract you from the power God has given you through the Holy Spirit. The enemy will try to destroy you and cause doubt and confusion. The more tough times you experience, the more you need to seek Jesus in a much deeper level. Pray in all circumstances, throughout the entire day. When something happens that causes you to doubt…stop and call on Jesus. Rebuke the devil. Speak the name of Jesus out loud, and ask God to protect, guide, and carry you through this difficult time. This world will always have difficulty with it. The difference in your life outcomes, are in the decision you make in how you face it. There is hope in the struggle…when you stand firm in your faith. God is with you, and in time…you will see the journey you have walked through, and how Jesus carried you to victory.

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. DEUTERONOMY 31:8

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 PETER 5:6-11

God is with us.

Layla

© 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 

The Other Side

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We go through life hearing and seeing things that help us form our own opinions. The influences that surround us help us form these opinions. Sometimes we are surrounded by good influences, and sometimes we are surrounded by influences that may not have the best intentions. We can be swayed by society and we often form opinions that aren’t really our own, simply because we fall into the influential trap. It’s hard to filter through the influences that surround us. But it is so important to recognize this reality and begin actively doing something different.

How do we actively and purposefully live in a balance of this world? We cannot do it alone. We must seek God to be our guide and our source of wisdom. We must be willing to pray and seek wisdom through scripture in order to know how to filter through the influences of this world. This means we must see and hear with the spirit guiding us. This means we must allow Christ to penetrate our hearts and allow Him to live within our very core. We must surrender and we must be willing to be lead by the Holy Spirit. As we draw nearer to God we begin to understand discernment and how to listen and see. In order to listen and see, we must look at things in all perspectives.

Perspective means we take the focus off our selves and our immediate surroundings. We seek to understand things at a deeper level, listening and analyzing all variables. The more we allow God to lead our hearts, the more we begin to have compassion and understanding for others. We begin to understand perspectives from what we would have once considered “the other side”. What does it mean to understand “the other side”? For me, I begin hearing the heart of people and situations in a much more complete and detailed way.

Most of you know that I have a nonprofit ministry Light of Hope that assists individuals and families who are struggling with addiction and many life difficulties. I hear the heart of so many different levels of tragedy and pain. I walk beside people struggling. This includes individuals, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, grandparents, friends, and any other person affected by the life struggles. I hear and see the effects of what these situations cause. I pray with people, love on people, and guide people through the most terrible of situations. I experience trauma right alongside people. I know the other side, the side society may not see.

The experiences I have faced have given me such an overwhelming perspective of how judgemental society can instantly be. People have a tendency to place blame, speak out of line, or put people in a category…before they ever know the truth behind the situation. There is always a story, a ‘why’ behind the situation. My heart breaks when I walk alongside families who have to face the judgment of society, just because they are the family associated. No one understands how much a family goes through when they have a loved one who has made a mistake. The family suffers just because they are family. They feel alone, targeted and saddened by the reality of how people can treat them.

Is this how Jesus taught us to react? Jesus taught us to love one another. Jesus taught us to help others, speak kindly to others, and to never pass judgment. We must be a society who is purposefully striving to be who Jesus called us to be. We have been given a gift each day. This gift is the ability to make a difference. Let us all strive to make a difference today. Love others. Think about the “other side”, and recognize what that “other side” may be going through. Help as many people as you can each day, and allow God to use you. God loves us so much, and He desires us to exemplify His love. Pray that God will open up your heart, and give you the wisdom and the desire to be all He has called you to be.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4

“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” JAMES 4:11

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 PETER 3:8

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 

 

Prayer Whisper

Whisper

Sometimes it is hard to wake up to the morning alarm. Facing another day can be difficult when we are going through hard times. Life can be so overwhelming, so full, and so exhausting. We can be left feeling so depleted, that it is even hard to think of what to say in prayer. Our Spirit knows we need to pray…but our worn out body can’t seem to put the thoughts together. It is at these times that we must NOT give up on prayer. We must give in to the Holy Spirit. The act of simply saying “I do not know what to pray” is enough. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. God did not leave us without strength from Him. We have all that we need when we trust in God and hold onto hope. Jesus lives within you, and He will help you walk through the difficulties of life. The key is asking for that help, through prayer and communication. Prayer is surrender, and it does not have to be spoken in lengthy words. Simple, honest, whispered prayers from the heart, allow God to enter into the situation with you. Remember, we must ask for help. God does not force Himself on anyone. Reach out to God right now, and He will show you His presence by filling you with the ability to press past the fear and move forward in a new direction.

The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. PSALM 121:5-8

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. ROMANS 8:25-26

God is with us.

Layla

© 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 

He died for you.

Faith

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? Have you ever been judged? Have you ever felt threatened? Have you ever felt a deep heartache for someone else’s pain or loss? Have you ever willingly accepted the blame…the judgment…the threats? Have you ever been able to take the pain and suffering from someone else…and carry it yourself? Have you ever watched someone else sin? Did you then take their sin…and carry it yourself?  Do you realize that Jesus did all of these things…willingly..for you, for the world? As we remind ourselves of the magnitude of the gift we have been given, we must recognize that we can never take it for granted. Jesus suffered. Jesus took all of this world’s sin and carried it to the cross. Jesus fought for the salvation of the human race, by carrying the evil to the cross. Jesus died…so we could live. We have hope because Jesus gave us a way to salvation, through His death and resurrection. When we believe and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have been given new life.  As you apply this truth to your own life, remind yourself that you have been saved. We all sin, but we all have the ability to repent and be forgiven of those sins. Give thanks to God for His gift to us, of His only Son, so that we could have a way to eternal life. Give all your heart and soul to Jesus, and allow yourself to receive the peace and hope we have been freely given.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” ROMANS 10:9-11

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority. In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead. COLOSSIANS 2:6-12

God is with us. 

Layla 

© 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 

Vulnerable Me.

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Where do I fit in? What does it mean to fit in? Have you ever walked into a room and felt an “air” about the room, and instantly, you felt unwelcome? I spent the majority of my life feeling this way. I still find myself experiencing this awkwardness at times.  It’s a reality that we face. We struggle to feel quite adequate enough to be a part of certain groups, organizations, or types of society. We feed on human acceptance. It’s part of our flesh and our emotional capacity.

Some of you know me in my community. Many of you see and hear the activity of my non-profit, Light Of Hope. I created this organization, as a place for people to find hope, to know they fit in, unconditional, loved, and understood. Even with this organization established, I admit I still struggle with identity. Not too many people know me personally. If you’ve heard my testimony, you’ve heard some of the difficult journeys. However, the depths of my experiences are still unknown to most people. There are details that I went through that are incomprehensible. Sometimes, I wish someone understood those difficult details. It’s been a tough road. Those of us who have been through severe situations must process through human emotions on a daily basis. Because of the depth of the pain, we had to make a choice. My choice was the only option. Surrender my life, completely and wholly to God. I reach out for the Hand of Jesus and allow Jesus to carry me through each day. I dedicate my life to turning my pain into purpose. My entire existence is committed to helping other people press through their difficult journey. I am determined to allow God to use me in any way He possibly needs me.

Doing this comes with its own set of difficulty. I had to become completely vulnerable. I am an open book. My dirty laundry sits on a shelf for the world to see. I am judged by those who don’t understand the purpose. This means I battle the human flesh of emotions every day. This means I experience that ‘feeling’ of not fitting in. I still don’t know that I have been accepted by some people. I still face the reality of certain people’s attitudes toward me. There are still people that only know me for that struggling, abused, depressed, alcoholic that I was for a small period of my life. There are still people that purposely avoid me, as they identify me with pity, as a mom who lost her daughter. It’s hard to get over that identity. It’s hard to know if you’ve been accepted, forgiven, “unjudged”. It’s hard to know if you fit in.

I am so thankful that I know that my identity does not revolve around the difficulty of the past or the acceptance of others. My identity exists because of our Savior Jesus Christ.  My life is a reflection of God’s power. Only God could have carried me through what I’ve been through. Only God can carry me through each day and use it for His glory. I am a survivor. I am a child of the Most High God. I am His example, His vessel, His warrior on this earth. I pray that each one of you knows that you have a purpose. Our purpose is deep within us. Our purpose is our witness to the world, in how we choose to live out our lives. We can take our past brokenness and use it as a pedestal to reveal the unveiling of Christ within us. We can determine to allow God to show us His love, by allowing Him to pour into you. Surrender your life to Christ, and ask God to be the one in control. Then, walk boldly into those rooms, and allow yourself to experience the vulnerability of ‘uncomfortableness’. It is in these moments when you will experience the power of God. He will create an atmosphere in which you ‘fit in’. God will guide you through the awkward moments and allow you to feel welcome. Your renewed life in Christ will be filled with His purpose and His love.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ROMANS 12:2
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
God is with us.
Layla
© 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