Layla’s Light Blog – Encouragement

Those People

Have you ever stared across the room and wondered why you couldn’t be more like “those people”? Sometimes we get inside our own head and stir up emotions that we cannot seem to shake. I say this with raw honesty. Just over 11 years ago, I was at the lowest, darkest point in my life. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I can remember feeling like it was impossible to be ‘normal’. There was a time in my life when I was so broken, so lost, so empty…all I could do was breathe from second to second. I was so filled with shame, remorse, sadness, and emptiness, that I wanted it all to go away. My mind would not shut off. I contemplated ending my life. I used alcohol to numb the deep emotional brokenness. I turned away from God, my family, from everyone and everything. I reclused into a shell and buried every emotion so deeply within, that even I could not make sense of it all. The enemy had control.

Then, I made a decision one day. I made a choice. I bowed my head and made a raw, honest plea. I simply said out loud, “Jesus, help me.”

I had tried saying this before. I had tried reading my Bible. I had tried looking at the self-help books people had given me. I had tried so many things. None of those had helped me break past the barrier the enemy had over me. There was something different this time. I meant it. I had nowhere else to turn. Alcohol had been my controller, and depression had been driving my mind. When I spoke the words out loud, “Jesus, help me.” I gave power to the situation. I allowed Jesus to enter in. I cannot tell you that there was a monumental life-changing occurrence at that moment. But I can tell you that things began to change.

It took work on my end. Just because I cried out to Jesus, didn’t mean I sat complacent waiting on the magic fairy dust to do the work for me. No. It meant I was able to hear and feel the nudgings of Jesus. I was able to pick up my Bible and allow the words to be read with meaning. I was able to put one foot in front of the other and step past fear. It was a long process of recovery. I faced the monster of alcohol and began a lifetime recovery program. I was able to find counseling, which in turn guided me into the proper mental health treatment for PTSD, from past rape and abuse.

The more I became honest, the more I healed. The more I leaned into Jesus, the more peace I experienced. I surrendered my entire life, breath, and soul to God.

Life will always have difficult times. It is simply part of the human existence. These difficulties can be faced and worked through when we allow God to guide our heart. Christmas Eve of 2013 I faced the most difficult pain possible. At 23 years old, my oldest daughter went to Heaven. There are no words to describe child loss. It is a daily journey. However, I am able to face this reality with Jesus by my side. My faith has only grown stronger, and I have a determination to turn what the enemy meant for destruction, into a purpose for God’s glory.

Today, my perspective and purpose are clear. I wake up daily and pray that my testimony, life experiences, and wisdom can be used to help others. I look at “those people” and see their needs. I see the pain, the struggle, the brokenness in so many people. I see this and I desire with all that I am…to help people see the hope. God is hope. God is love. Jesus is our Savior, who gives us the opportunity and complete forgiveness with new life. You are not alone, and the non-profit, Light of Hope, that God allowed me to form from these life experiences, is here to help you. www.lightofhopeinc.org

I pray that anyone who looks out into the world and wishes they were more like “those people”, would reach out to Jesus. Simply ask for Jesus to help you, and mean it. Then, allow the people who want to help you…help you. Stop pushing people away, and allow God to use those people to walk you through the difficulty. Find a support system, and step past the fear of the unknown. God is with us in all that we do. We must allow God to show us the way. We must take the first step, and in doing so…you will find a peace that surpasses all understanding. Allow yourself to experience the gift of change, of hope, and of new life.

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 path. PROVERBS 3:5-6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

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: HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE – $9.95

Light of Hope

http://www.lightofhopeinc.org

Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017 / Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560  / www.lightofhopeinc.org

Honest Prayers

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 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 HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE -$9.95

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 

www.lightofhopeinc.org

Through the Unknown

Facing the Unknown

The fear of the unknown is debilitating. Do you clearly know that a change needs to happen, but have no idea how to pursue that? Do you feel trapped, lost, or possibly hopeless? First and foremost, know that you can and will make it through this. Whatever you are facing is only temporary. God has promised us a way out of the darkness you may feel surrounding you. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. Jesus is there for you…always. There is no fear in Christ. God promises us help, hope, and a life of peace, when we allow Him the ability to show us how to receive those promises. Allow positive people into your life, who can pray with you, encourage you, and be the flicker of light you may need to see that God is with you.

The things we face right now, are only what we see at the moment. God knows your struggles…your exhaustion…and your inability to see a way through it. That is why He gave us Jesus; so that Jesus could reassure us by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” JOHN 14:1  As we face the fears that hold us back, we must make a conscious decision to trust God. Don’t think you can figure it out on your own. Pray to God, asking for Him to take control and help you. Ask God to guide you in the right directions. Ask God to help calm your emotions of anxiety. Trust in God’s timing, and believe that He is hearing your prayers…for He promised us, He is.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. JAMES 1:5-6

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. JAMES 1:12

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 – HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE -$9.95

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 

www.lightofhopeinc.org

You Can and You Have

Life is hard. Sometimes life feels overwhelming, and we tend to feel as if we are alone. This can cause us to feel like we just can’t handle what we are facing. There are times in our lives that we feel like we have absolutely no answer, no direction, nothing makes sense, and we are simply lost. Sometimes it may feel like you can’t seem to find a way to get through these next few hours, let alone the next few weeks. Part of you may feel like you just can’t do it, but the truth is, you can and you have.

We have endured months of the most disrupted, unknown, difficult times in history. The world pandemic has caused our normal to be stripped away. We have had to adapt, and sometimes make complete change. Although this has been very difficult, there has been growth in this process. There is some good in the midst of all the past chaos. This is true with whatever we face in life. Difficult times create growth, even we don’t like it or don’t feel it.

God never leaves us alone. There is hope, there is help, and Jesus is there with you.

Right this moment, take a second to breathe. Sit down and let out some pressure by talking to God. Talk to Him as if you were talking to your friend. Thank Him for what you have in your life, and then ask Him to help you stay focused. Ask Him to help you balance all these crazy situations and emotions. Ask Him to help you feel His presence so you don’t feel like you are all alone. Ask God ANYTHING! Give Him the chance to help you and give Him the time to show you His work. Don’t rush through anything in life to please other people. Rush to God and let Him work things out in the way that is best for everyone. Trust in God, allow Jesus to carry you when you can’t walk on your own, and you will be able to face anything this world places in front of you.

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 path. PROVERBS 3:5-6

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. PHILIPPIANS 1:9-11

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 – HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE -$9.95

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 

www.lightofhopeinc.org

It’s OK to be Sad.

Upset woman sitting alone on city stairs
You are not alone. God is with you. 
http://www.laylafreeman.com

The last few months have been challenging, to say the least. The days go by, and we are all facing the question, “when will this end”? The unknown is heavy. These are what I call “the days of weird”. It is easy to wake up each morning and dread the day. As a nation, we are all struggling. I don’t think there is a single human being that hasn’t felt the sense of oppression at some point in the last few months. This causes us to face a reality. Some days it is hard to be positive, and an overwhelming sense of sadness can take over.  The truth is, our nation is facing a serious depression issue. Sadness is being prolonged, leading into longer term depression, and we need to be addressing it and talking about it.

What does it mean to be sad? Does it mean we are weak? No. Does it mean our faith is not where it should be? No. Sadness is a human emotion that we all face at some point in our life. Sadness is an emptiness that needs to be filled. Often times when we face times of sadness, we tend to withdraw. We isolate, seclude ourselves, and reject others. This is the time when we need to pray. This is the time when we need others. But as flesh, we are weak. We fall into the trap of thinking that sadness and depression are “shameful”. There is no shame in our normal human emotions; especially during these unprecedented times. A spiritual war is going on around us. The enemy uses this time to manipulate our thoughts. The enemy wants you to believe that feeling sad or depressed is wrong. The enemy is a liar.

We have HOPE. We are not alone. We have a God who is greater than any obstacle this world throws in our path. We have each other, and Jesus walks alongside us every second of every day. The enemy wants you to forget that. Our greatest weapon against the enemy is prayer and the Scripture. This is the time when we need to pick up our Bible more than ever. But why is it so hard to pray or seek The Word when we are sad? Once again, the enemy tries to hold you down, push you away from Jesus, and block the very power that God has given us.

Even if we don’t feel like praying or reading God’s Word during our sadness, it’s the most powerful thing we can do. Whispering prayer to God gives Him the opportunity to enter into your heart. Dropping to your knees is surrender, even if you don’t have words to speak. We must invite God in. We have been given free will to live our lives as we choose. God will not invade that free will, therefore, we must ask God to come to us. We must pray. Even if it’s three words muttered under your breath. “God, help me,” or “guide me through”, it is a prayer that God will hear. Reading God’s Word points us back to the Cross. It brings our spirit to the surface. It opens our hearts to allow God to nourish our soul.

Sadness is ok. Maintaining the sadness is not ok. Allow people that God places in your life to help you. Answer the text, open the door, and let people love on you. You have permission to recieve help. There is no shame in depression and sadness. Give yourself the gift of love, through God’s people, prayer, and the words in scripture that are written in love. Remind yourself that you are loved more than anything on this earth. You have the control and power given to you through Jesus, to overcome. Your Heavenly Father created you in His image. Seek Him in prayer and through His Word and He will lift you up in due time. I assure you, God is with you, always.

**If you are feeling hopeless, please reach out for help. I have a non-profit ministry that can help guide you or your family. www.lightofhopeinc.org If you need immediate help and are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please don’t let shame hold you back from calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline emergency crisis lines. 1-800-273-8255. You are worth it, you are valuable, and you are loved.

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

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. ISAIAH 58:11

God is with us.

© 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 HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE -$9.95
Light of Hope  Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 www.lightofhopeinc.org

The Importance of Communication

Communication is essential. Our voice, our attitude, our eyes, and our hands are all forms of communication. It is essential that we use these tools, to convey our thoughts and our needs. This communication is important and eliminates assumptions based on guessing other peoples thoughts or actions. Guessing and assuming causes confusion. We cannot go through life assuming that we know what to expect, what other people are thinking, or even that we will have another opportunity.

How often do we wake up in the morning and assume it’s just another routine day? Just think of those days when you were rushed and skipped the most important preparation for the day…a prayer to God. It probably made that day a bit more difficult, and you never even realized it. Yes, we can be assured that God is with us in all we do…and that is the truth. However, we cannot assume God will be able to help us if we don’t ask for help for those specific things. We must ask, and invite God into the situation.

The same goes for anything in life. If we don’t voice our needs or concerns, how can we expect anyone else to know them? If we don’t respond to people with the proper communication, how can we expect them to know you have received information? Take a proactive stance in your life. Remember to respond to people and don’t let the conveniences of the electronic world take over that personal interaction. Don’t assume that you are heard, when the only voice being communicated is the one in your own head. Speak up. Pray to God on a regular basis. Ask God for help and guidance, and be specific with your thoughts and needs. Communicate clearly with people, know what your priorities are, and focus on your blessings. Make every effort to live righteously and in direct communication with God, so that your daily life will be properly guided, which will help you follow the will of God.

“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

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. COLOSSIANS 3:23-25

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 HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE -$9.95
Light of Hope  Main Offices:  403 West 1st Street  Claremore, OK 74017Food Pantry:  400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017 
918-373-4560 www.lightofhopeinc.org