Layla’s Light Blog – Encouragement

Let go of your “shame box”.

shame

Letting go of pain and suffering is not easy. Often times things happen to us that are greater than we can even wrap our minds around. Sometimes things are so severe, that we bury them deep inside pretending they didn’t happen. Often times we have convinced ourselves that we were the ones to blame for the incident. Sometimes we become angry at God, blaming Him for allowing things to happen. The truth is, God is not to blame. The enemy is alive and real, and He will attack and attempt to devour us, in any way he can. God has given us free will to make decisions in our lives, and sometimes our decisions can be dangerous. It is not that we have decided to allow things to happen to us; but over the course of time, some of our decisions have left us vulnerable for the enemy to attack. God is still in the midst of our lives, but He waits for us to call on Him, versus forcing Himself on us. We are in control of who controls our lives. This does not mean things will not happen to us. This means we have the ability to allow God to guide our lives if we let Him. When we develop a relationship with Jesus, we begin to gain wisdom and understanding, which will help us make better choices and decisions. My life began taking a turn toward healing, once I began understanding this.

I’ve often been asked how I overcame some of the things I faced in my past. Reflecting back on this question always brings me to a deep understanding of how great our God is. Years ago I was violently raped. Many years went by before I ever spoke about it. I had buried the violent incident in my ‘shame box’ deep within my soul. I pretended it didn’t happen. I pretended it wasn’t there. I put many other things in that same ‘shame box’. It’s amazing how much we can collect over time. Eventually, we have to let our ‘shame box’ open up enough to face the truth. The only way to true healing from pain, resentment, bitterness and suffering is to face the truth and walk through it. It took me so many years to come to that understanding. Remembering the details of the violent violation is one of the most painful things I’ve had to journey through. But it’s also one of the most healing things I’ve overcome. Not only did it allow me to release the resentments and the festering pain, but it allowed me to forgive my perpetrator. Many of you have walk-through serious incidences in your life, that you have placed in your ‘shame box’. Conveniently tucking away the incident, leads to deep-seated pain. This pain can consume our lives. Depression, isolation, bitterness, sorrow, and resentment can build up over time. It’s time to open up the ‘shame box’ and clean it out for good.

God is not an author of shame. He is an author of love, hope, and joy. God desires for us to find healing in Him. Jesus understands the suffering, and His love can cover all your pain. Shame is something we carry around as punishment to ourselves. Again, shame is NOT of God. We are forgiven, redeemed, and cleansed from any mistakes we have made; when we allow Jesus into our hearts. As we process through our days, pray for God to allow you healing. Jesus understands. Jesus suffered, carried all our sin and shame to the cross, and died for us. He is our comforter, our healer, our Savior. He knows what you need. He knows how to walk you through it, and He will carry you every step of the way. His arms are wrapped around you every second of every day. Release your heart and mind to Jesus and you will find peace, healing, love, and comfort in Him.

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. PSALM 34:5
 
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
 
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 
 

 

 

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 

You deserve this.

i-am-worthy

Every one of us can relate to having regrets from the past. We all have something we can reflect on…and cringe when we think about what we did. We were born into this world, given the breath of life, and the ability to make choices. We were not given a childhood instruction manual. We were given parents or caregivers to take care of us as we grew up. We made it to adulthood and were given free rein to choose how our life direction would go. It is not easy to know how to handle adult life if you don’t have the foundation of Christ. Many people come to know Christ as adults…after they have lived a pattern of mistakes and regrets. This is the reality of life. Even those who were raised with Christ in their home, have made their share of wrong choices. We are all human, coming from all aspects of life, trying to place one foot in front of the other. So why is it so hard to admit we made mistakes? Why do we do all that we can to cover up those past regrets? SHAME. Shame is the enemy in our subconscious. Shame is that small voice in your head, whispering, “you are not worthy”. Shame is the devil’s way of pulling you down. Holding in our guilt from what we have done in the past, is like pouring fuel on burning embers. Just as soon as the embers are about to go out, they are re-ignited by the shame that spews out within your mind.

YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE VALUABLE. You can and will be forgiven for any and all things you have EVER done in your life. Jesus Christ died for us, carrying all our sins to the cross (past, present, and future), so we could be given that free gift of repentance and forgiveness. God did that for you and for me. God knew we would make mistakes, so He gave us a way to be free from our sins. God loves you unconditionally, without contingencies. Receive the love of Jesus. Believe and confess that Jesus is Lord. Then, ask God to forgive you for anything from your past…and allow that shame to be lifted away. Save yourself from unnecessary pain. You deserve this.

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.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ROMANS 9:9-13

 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. HEBREWS 8:12

 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 

Surrender the past.

surrender

What if? What if I had done things differently? We could all spend a lifetime looking backward asking the ‘what if’ question. This is human nature, and something we all tend to do. Unfortunately, most of the time we are asking those ‘what if’ questions, we are thinking of the mistakes we made in the past. This kind of thinking creates guilt and remorse, and can seriously hinder our future. There is no human being on this earth that hasn’t made mistakes. It’s time to surrender the past.

The past is something we can use as a very positive part of our life. Take a look at what you are questioning in your ‘what if’ statement. Instead of focusing on the negative that encompasses that situation, find the positive. There is positive in every situation…always. We must make the effort to see things differently, and use the situation as a guide and a resource for our future. This is called wisdom from experience. I don’t care how awful things were in the past, there is a positive lesson to come out of it. What if you were able to use your experience to help someone else avoid making the same mistakes? What if you analyze the journey, and begin seeing where God redirected you and helped save you from more destruction? What if we recognize where we tend to block Jesus out and begin to open up our hearts to seek His help? What if we stop hiding from our past, and release the guilt and remorse to Jesus? What if we REALLY take to heart the unconditional, never-ending, love and forgiveness we have been freely given? What if we surrender the past to God, and pick up our cross to follow Jesus. Our lives are in our hands. We can choose to keep looking back and hold onto past regrets, or we can make the choice to give all that baggage to Jesus. Today, think about the baggage you are dragging around in your heart. What if you placed that baggage in the Hands of Jesus, and allow Him to carry it away for you? What if?

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son, He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. COLOSSIANS 1:13-14

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet, was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. HEBREWS 4:14-16

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 

Faith In Action

faith in action

If there was anything in your life you could change right now, what would that be? So often, our human minds automatically think of things that we can physically see, such as our bank account, physical appearance, the home we live in, the cars we drive, or our job. Think much deeper than these things. What would you change, that could ultimately make a significant positive difference in your life?

There is such simplicity in what we can all do to make our lives much more fulfilled. God has given us the gift of free will. We have the opportunity to grab hold of all the power and hope God has promised us. Faith in action can make all the difference in how your life unfolds. Prayer is the power source that gives God the ability to take action to help you with your needs and concerns. Make a commitment to start each day with prayer, regardless of how busy you may be. Reading God’s Word can give us all the wisdom to understand how to make proper decisions. Receiving Jesus and allowing Him to guide you and help you, will bring you a peace you cannot obtain from any material thing in this world. Trusting in God, and believing that He can and will do more than you can ever imagine…will bring you more than you can ever imagine. Today, make the choice to allow yourself to become an even more amazing you. Put your faith into action, and God will continue to fulfill you in so many wonderful ways.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” JOHN 8:12

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen! EPHESIANS 3:16-21

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 

Gossip

Gossip

Gossip. The world loves to hear all about other people. The world enjoys sharing the ‘news’ of someone else’s hurt, pain, or difficulty. Gossip makes the devil smile. Why? Gossip is not compassionate, loving, and helpful. Gossip is damaging, hurtful, and breeds negativity. If this negative gossip continues from person to person, it magnifies and causes more damage and pain. The devil loves to see this damage in action. This kind of behavior causes chaos and destruction. It is time to pay attention to what comes out of your mouth. It is time to pay attention to what you allow to process through your ears. God asks us to love one another. This means we build each other up. When you hear someone trying to gossip about another person, you have a choice to make. Choose to end that conversation. Stop the cycle of negative words by refusing to engage in a negative conversation. Change the subject. Reroute the conversation or find something else to do. Take action to help the individual by praying for them. Pray for God to intercede and for His Hand to take over all situations. If it is possible to help that individual, then do so. Show compassion and love by standing up for God. It doesn’t have to be a major ordeal to make a major change in the conversation. When we clearly show that we will not be a part of any gossip, we are taking a stand for this world. If we can end one strand of negative conversation, we can make a difference, by helping this world become a more loving environment.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. COLOSSIANS 3:12-14

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. JAMES 3:3-5

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