Layla’s Light Blog – Encouragement

Depleted

Depleted-Powerpoint-Slide4-3

I sat on my closet floor for 30 minutes this morning. My closet is my war room. It’s the one place I can disconnect my mind from all the distractions for a few moments. However, even that has become difficult. As I sat on the floor, I just whispered. “God help me”. “ I need you”.

I am depleted. I am mentally exhausted. The enemy has been trying to attack me over and over. I recognize this reality, and I am fighting the battle. I am in constant prayer and discussion with God, and constantly asking Jesus to take control. I surrender my life, my existence, to Jesus every single morning. I trust God with all my heart. He created me, He saved me. I live for God, first and foremost. Everything I do, I ask for guidance, wisdom, and direction. I prepare myself every single day, for whatever God has in store for me.

In theory, this should be enough, correct? However, my flesh is struggling. I’ve always been honest with my audience. And my honesty today is that I am really struggling. I know I am not the only one. These times are strange, confusing, and difficult. Every day is a challenge. For me, I’ve had zero rest. My nonprofit, Light of Hope, is serving our community in an emergency status. While other people have been quarantined, restricted, or confined, I’ve been on the forefront. We are feeding the masses through our food pantry, and our involvement in the USDA food box program. That is taking an entire team of volunteers to implement. Our support group programs, school drug education programs, and classes are having to be re-created, and new programs are having to be implemented. Everything we do is volunteer. we don’t get paid, and we work tireless hours. We rely on donations from our community, and the reality is, everyone is holding tight to their own money to prepare for the future. That means donations are not coming in. This puts stress on me, and an emotional struggle as well. The needs of our community are incredible, and we have to provide help. I cannot stand the thought of anyone going hungry. I cannot stand the thought of depression, isolation, addiction, and anything that hinders hope. Therefore, I will do whatever it takes to keep us moving forward and providing for our community. I have an incredible team of people, and they have been true angels as they pour their hearts into helping people see the hope.

The enemy knows this. The enemy knows how passionate I am about helping the people, and how willing I am to be all that God has called me to be. Therefore, the enemy keeps attacking me.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I know there are other people out there going through the same thing. I surrender my life every day, but I also struggle every day. It’s a mental, physical, and emotional battle right now. Even though I’m working tirelessly, I feel very alone. I’m digging into scripture, I drop to my knees in prayer all the time, yet I struggle. Just as Paul describes in Romans as he wages war with his flesh. The flesh is what we are and our spirit dwells within us. It’s a real battle and I know how to fight the battle. But it doesn’t negate the fact that it’s hard.

I pray that as I reveal this inward struggle to you, I am helping someone else who is facing the same struggle. We have permission to struggle. It’s ok to admit our weaknesses, for in the surrender we invite God unto the depths of our heart. These are the times of growth and refinement. These are where we enter into a more intimate relationship with Jesus. This relationship, this spiritual battle, is critical to our eternal life. Embrace the battle. Be willing to press on. Trust that God is with us, and allow the Holy Spirit to stir, speak, nudge, and guide us. Soon, we will look back and be able to help and hold the hand of someone else, because we have endured and know that all is well with God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” PROVERBS 3:5-6 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” EPHESIANS 6:12-13

God is with us.

Layla Freeman

© Layla Freeman 2020
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: 


AMAZON
Light of Hope  
Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017
Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 

Navigating the Unknown

Navigating the Unknown www.laylafreeman.com

Oh Father, how long? Does anyone else feel drained and frustrated? This world seems so broken right now, and there are no clear answers to anything at the moment. We go through each day trying to navigate the unknown. Parts of this journey are creating necessary change and unity. Parts of the journey is creating division. We are assured one solid truth. God is with us. God is Sovereign. God will show us the way. The answers to all the unknown are already answered in God’s Word. We are given direction through the scriptures. We must dig deep. Trust God. Wait. Be still.

However, we still battle the flesh. “My flesh is weak. My Spirit is yearning to hear from you. I am under attack and I feel as if I’m failing. I can’t find the words to pray anymore because I feel so alone.”

Does this sound familiar? Many times this is how we feel. We just don’t know how to put it into words. It’s ok to admit this dryness. It’s ok to call out to God in desperation. It’s ok to be real, raw, and broken. Do not be afraid, to be honest. We all struggle with the unknown. We all struggle with wanting to have answers to life-changing situations in our life. I know I can’t do life on my own. You can’t do life on your own.

We all know our Father will bring us out of the stillness. We all walk the path of silence at times in our life. But we all question. Human flesh has a weakness. That’s why we need Jesus more than we need anything else in this life. We need Jesus to carry us, literally hold us tight, in these dry periods of life. You may feel so desperately alone in your struggle, but thankfully, we know the truth of God’s promises. God is with us. Jesus lives within us and He will bring you through the storm. Wait. Be still. Pray. Even when you think you can’t. Simply breathe deeply in and out, whispering the name of Jesus. That is a powerful prayer in each deep breath. God knows. God hears. God will. We just have to trust and believe…and when the time is right…we will receive the answers.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ISAIAH 41:10

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. ISAIAH 41:13

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 THESSALONIANS 3:3-5

God is with us.

Layla Freeman

© Layla Freeman 2020
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: 

AMAZON
Light of Hope  
Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017
Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 

 

Vulnerable

Dont hideWhere 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 difficulties. 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 Freeman
© Layla Freeman 2020
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: 

AMAZON
Light of Hope
Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017
Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 

 

I can’t do this anymore.

I can't do this anymore
‘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 with 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 Freeman 
© Layla Freeman 2020
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: 

AMAZON
Light of Hope  
Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017
Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 

 

 

It’s Not Fair

It's not fair

“What did I do wrong? Why do things keep happening to me? Why am I going through this?” These are the questions that get asked over and over in life. As Christians, there is a misconception that we are not supposed to face adversity if we are ‘doing’ all the right things in life. Many of us are really struggling through the impact of the world pandemic. How can we explain all that has happened as a result of COVID-19? It’s not fair, and it has been out of our control. Despite the hardship, thank God for each day. You might be rolling your eyes at me right now just for saying that. Sometimes saying ‘thank you’ seems like the hardest thing to do.

How hard is it to say ‘thank you’  for pain, suffering, or the unexplainable? It is very hard. It is not the natural human response and it is not going to be easy to understand why. As life moves forward, our difficulties can compound, making it even harder to understand the ‘why’ in our hardship. God becomes the one to blame because He is the easiest source to place the blame on. However, God did not cause things to happen to you. God did not make an event or a situation arise, to punish you in any way. God is a God of love, compassion, and help. God gave us free will to do everything in our lives. That means we make the decisions…we make the choices…and we are responsible for the direction of our lives. The challenge is, not everyone in this world makes the right choices. A situation may be happening to you, not because of any choices you made, but because of the choices, someone else made. God may be protecting you from future disasters by allowing certain situations to happen. This is why we say thank you. God is the creator of all, and the one who can give you the guidance and wisdom to work your way through all situations. Yes, there are still certain tragedy’s that we will never be able to explain, but God has allowed those things to happen for a reason. We must remember that we are only here on this earth temporarily. Our goal is eternal life. God gave us a way, through His Son Jesus, to have eternal life with Him. Focus your thoughts and your future on trusting that God has an eternal perspective for all of us. Trust in God’s plan…His way…and His purpose. Lean on the Word of God as the sole resource of your direction, and find peace in knowing that what you see and feel right this moment has a reason, and it is only temporary. God is with you, and His eternal promises are real.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:16-18

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. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. EPHESIANS 6:10-13

God is with us.

Layla Freeman

© Layla Freeman 2020
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: 

AMAZON
Light of Hope  
Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017
Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 

 

Facing the Unknown

 

Facing the Unkown-2

The last few weeks have really identified the statement,”You never know”.  You never know what today will have in store. You never know what tomorrow holds. You never know how things will turn out. We still don’t know so many things. We are human, and we do not have that kind of control. Many times we pretend or attempt to have that kind of control. We find ourselves trying to manipulate things, force things, or pray things into some sort of scenario we think should be the answer. How often have we prayed repeated prayers…saying we are ‘praying’ about it…when in all honesty, we are begging God for Him to make things go the way WE think they should go? We play magician, fortune teller, or miracle worker in our heads. Why do we still do this?

We know the truth. We know that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He is the answer, the miracle worker, the helper, and the redeemer. We know God is the one in control. God knows the situations. God wants the very best for us. God gave us His Holy Spirit to communicate with us. When we seek God wholeheartedly and truly listen to the guidance given to us by the Holy Spirit, we will receive direction. We must remember that God has given us free will to choose how we will face the adversity and decisions we must face in this world. We can choose to play like we are in control, or we can choose to surrender and seek God with all our heart.

Next time you are faced with the unknown, and you feel desperate to force things into action, force yourself to stop, and honestly pray. Ask Jesus to guide you and give you direction. Pray with honest surrender, telling God your fears, confusions, and frustrations. Find a place where you can hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit as you seek God’s direction. Read God’s Word. Don’t expect loud booming answers. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t happen immediately, or go the way you think they should go. Rather, receive the peace that will be given to you, as you slowly receive the direction and unfolding of God’s plan. Trust in the One who created you…and holds you in the palm of His Hand.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. PROVERBS 3:5-6

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” MATTHEW 7:7-8

God is with us.

Layla Freeman

© Layla Freeman 2020
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: 

AMAZON
Light of Hope  
Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017
Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560