Grow with God • When I don’t really have time..

Hello Everybody!

I hope you’re all doing great this week and if you are in school that you are staying ahead! Personally, I have a larger course load than I have had in several years so balancing it with work, church, bf, and family has been interesting so far, but I am doing it! There is a cheesy tumblr post that says, “I run. I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I run!!” Which is how I feel about school, and life, at times TBH. AND though I never plan my intros, (Which is evident by how much I babble in them if you look at previous posts. Haha.) this funnily enough kind of ties in with my topic today.

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 ANYWAY, around a year ago and the beginning time of this blog of mine, I was carrying a similar course load as I am this semester in school, yet while being just as busy I was probably the closest that I have EVER been with God.  (Not that I am not close to Him now, but we can always improve and strive harder to be close to Him.) At the time, I had a reader reach out to me who was from Brisbane, Australia. Obviously, I was stoked that she reached out to me, but what got me more excited was her questions about God and our relationships with Him. She expressed in her email that she was a high school student and a Christian but she was “finding it hard to FOCUS on God because [she] did not have many Christian friends or influences around [her] and that [she] was pretty busy with [her] school schedule.” She then asked my tips for growing a relationship with God when you can’t really find that much time in your schedule. I obviously did not want to bombard her with a bunch of stuff all at once; I mean, How do you climb Mount Everest? One step at a time. So I decided to start off SLOW and give a few tips at a time. This is why for the first time ever, I am going to do a series on this blog page.  Because there will always be more that we can do as we learn more and grow more. I’m super excited about it, are you? *I’m imagining a crowd screaming “YESSSSSSS!” right now, not gonna lie.*

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Let’s dive on in!

Step 1: The first step is simple, though many people don’t actually do it and that is: spending time with Him (in the Word and in prayer.) It is just like a relationship with anyone else in your life; it takes time and effort. Can you imagine your BFF and you being as close still if you never talk or see each other? So when you feel a strain (like you aren’t as close as you want), start with that. Now, let’s talk how this can be a PRACTICAL application to our lives. Realistically, it would start with reading the Bible every day (just 1 chapter a day) & 15 min of prayer. At least. So if that means waking up 15 minutes earlier to spend time with Him, then so be it. In my opinion,  it’s better in the morning to do this; nobody else is awake and He has your full attention. Throw on some worship music and just talk to Him as though he were sitting across from you. Do this every day and then, when you get used to it, increase it to 30 min or an hour or however much you feel.  Odds are, when you get in the groove, the time will fly by and you will crave more time with him. 

Step 2: This one helped me A LOT and I never even thought it would. I don’t know if you drive or not, but when you are in the car, try to cut out secular music (aka anything not Christian.)  I’m not saying forever, I still love me some Go-Country 105. But at least as far as “car time” goes for a while, try to dedicate this time to Him. To be completely honest, this is an area that I need to work on again (This goes to show that it takes constant effort to maintain a strong relationship). Previously, I made that change and continued for 4-6  months and noticed it totally improved my overall mood. I wasn’t getting “road rage” or upset. It also helped calm me down when I felt an attitude coming on or when I was feeling anxious or upset. Spending time in His presence helps you, so you might as well get in as much time as you can. *warning: some worship songs are not suitable for driving because they cause tears and sobbing* Lol! All jokes aside though, I truly want you to take this #CarpoolWorshipSesh challenge. (and keep an eye out for one of my upcoming post-series where I am going to do my top 5 Praise Songs and then my Top 5 Worship songs. Until that comes out, you can check out my friend Kristen’s youtube video where she discusses the topic! I’ll link it below!)

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There are so many other things that could help, but seriously, just start with these and see how it improves your walk with Christ. Let me know how these work for you on my Instagram DM’s or by email! And if you want more tips, keep an eye out for the next post in this series.

Until next time, I’m signing off with a Graceful Soul and a Grateful heart.

xo, Leah Grace

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Want to read the bible, but don’t know where to start? My church has a plan that follows the one chapter a day! here is the link for a free download: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5HegXgDdEYMMlVhNGx1emlROEE/view
Kristen’s Video!! https://youtu.be/7r2mkxpDGX4
image from laura hooper calligraphy on google images.

you ain’t seen nothing yet

Hey y’all. It has been a while, amiright? 

I could do the whole spiel with “oh I’ve been busy,” “life got in the way,” yadda yadda yadda. Which all are technically true, but quite honestly, i just could not bring myself to write a blog post about being the “amazing christian” that i am when i did not feel like i was serving in the best way possible or in the way that i know in my heart is how i should be. I let distractions come into my life and steer my focus away from where it should be: centered on Christ. Then, in times such as these, when it feels like everything that could go wrong is doing so, i would have that strong foundation that is not easily shaken.

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Now to try to make some sense of this to you, particularly if you have no idea who i am and just somehow found your way into this “confused 20-something year old” girl’s blog, here is a brief summary : I’m Leanne. The reason that i began this blog was as a way to de-stress in my time of distress. Intended to vent and somehow formulate my “mind-scribbles” into processed thoughts, i found myself creating this blog where you find yourself now. Along the way, i have failed and triumphed and met a bunch of cool people along the way. Here i am, one year later, after feeling like nobody cared about what i had to say and that i was a failure as a christian because i felt like i was plateauing. I am coming back to remind myself that the intent was to do this for myself. If people read it, cool. If not, that is cool too. Anyhow, here we go. I am going through a lot of family stuff right now. life is hard right now, but Christ is good. The devil is attacking my family in the worst way possible, but it will be okay because God is on our side and who can stand against us. I read my bible today for the first time in (embarrassingly, i do not even know how long) a while. I use a bible app on my phone and the “verse of the day” was Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” I continued on to read the whole chapter which was so comforting and made me feel a lot better about the current state of my life and my prayer requests. I am praying and expecting the Lord to do great things for my family to make this horrible test into an amazing testimony, and Christ is telling me (in a roughly millennial/paraphrased way), “oh booboo, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

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Anyhow, prayers always welcome, and if you could pray for me too, it would mean the world.

Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul and a Grateful Heart.

♥ xo, leah grace

Run without Ankle Weights!

Hi Everyone!!

I know, I KNOW, I KNOWWWW. I am so inconsistent with posts lately, and there isn’t even a valid excuse. I do apologize but I have some great upcoming posts lined up so stick with me please!

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So here is a fun fact about me! In high school, I was in track and field. It was so much fun. I was a “thrower,” so we did shot-put and discus. We were actually Del Rio League Champions for Varsity Girls when i was there. I have the shirt to prove it. LOL. Annnnnyway, because I was a thrower, I didn’t do many things on the actual field because we had our own designated areas. But during practice and for warm ups we ran the track every. SINGLE. DAY.

***SIDE NOTE: Ooh girl, do i hate running. Huffing and puffing my way through a zumba class or a few levels of a stair-master are hard enough, but running is a whole other level of torture.***

But I am digressing. One of the workouts we did was hurdles. But we didn’t just run the hurdles. As throwers we constantly had to do leg workouts and hip stretches. Legs are how you throw far, not so much arms. So we would hop over the hurdles and side step over and a bunch of other stuff.  Well, a very common, well known verse that is found in Hebrews alludes to running in a race. Who already knows what I am talking about? If not, don’t worry. I’ll tell you.

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Now, you may be thinking, “But HOW DOES THIS RELATE? I don’t get it!” Well, in the race that this verse is talking about, it is much more complicated than a simple race or even a lap with hurdles. In life, not only are there hurdles, but there are potholes, trap doors, and ankle weights on you.  “HOW IS THAT ENCOURAGING, LEAH!?!? YOURE FIRED. STOP.”

Let me finish. I LOVE this verse, because it makes me feel human. Just because I have messed up in the past, (easily messed up and fallen into that pothole) doesn’t mean that I have to carry those around as a constant reminder. *Takes off ankle weights* I can lay them aside and just push through, running the race with endurance. Translation: As hard and fast as I can.

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Another cool thing is that it is scientifically proven that you run faster when you are looking ahead because your body is facing the direction you are running in. If you are running and look back to see how close the other people are, or in this case at your past, you WILL SLOW DOWN. Want to know what to look at instead? JESUS. Read the next verse in Hebrews.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”

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When  you focus on Christ and the things ahead, you’ll run faster. Don’t forget, the verse does say it is a race. Run with gusto. Run to win the prize.
What ankle weights are you still carrying around? Cast your cares on HIM! Remember, prayer requests are always welcome!

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Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

BFF: Best Friends (Forever?)

Hello Everyone!

When growing up, you can have so many types of friendships in your life. Some last longer than others, some mean more to you, and some unfortunately, are to teach you to be highly selective with who you trust. Personally, I have had so many friends in my lifetime that did not stick (especially in high school.) Now don’t misinterpret what I’m saying; it’s not like there was a huge “dramatic breakup between friends.” There were no “mean girls” situations or turning against one another with the ultimate betrayal. It just so happened that after graduation we learned that the only thing that we all had in common was the fact that we were stuck at the same school for 7 hours a day. My two closest friends at the time and I have spoken MAYBE twice via social media and only once in person since I graduated three years ago.  Do I still care for them? Obviously! Would I call them my best friends? Nope. That is what sucks about growing up sometimes, it isn’t just “OH! We are going to be best friends forever.” As an adult, you learn that whoever wants to be in your life puts in time and effort.

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Here is Webster’s definition:

Friend: (N) 1. One attached to another by affection or esteem. 2. One that is not hostile.

Well, dang. If that is all that it takes to be a “friend,” then my hairstylist must be my friend because she sure makes me have better esteem and my dentist makes me feel better with a cleaner smile. NO! That isn’t what a friend is. A friend loves at all times  and is always loyal (Proverbs 17:17).  They should have your back whether you are around or not.  A friend knows when to correct you and give you some tough love (Proverbs 27:6).  Or even when to be your shoulder to cry on.

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Friends make each other wiser (Proverbs 13:20). This verse says “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” This kind of goes in hand with that mantra that says “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” Or a similar version that says,” Show me your friends and I will show you who you truly are.” This simply put, means that the people that you choose to surround yourself with is a representation of who you are. It reflects on you. Surround yourself with wise people who will impart wisdom to you, not with fools who will tarnish your reputation.  There’s a cheesy quote that says, “Friends are the Family that you choose!” or “God made us besties because He knew our parents couldn’t handle us as sisters!” Well, the bible says that a real friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 26:24). I mean, you do choose your friends. Choose some awesome ones that you love and trust who can be your second family!

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And one of my favorite verses about friendship says that “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens the countenance of a friend.” Friends help keep each other accountable, sharpen each other, correct each other and help the other grow. A real faith friend will do that with love, support, and a couple awesome memories along the way.  They will encourage your walk with Christ and try to keep you on track. You click & just get each other.

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I would love to hear about your godly friendships! Feel free to send me a funny story, how you met, or a selfie with your bestie on instagram! Tag me @xoleahgrace .  Also, share this with your best friend! Let them know that to you, they are the best! That they exemplify the TRUEST FRIEND EVER. Thanks so much for reading guys. I hope you have a friend you can count on unconditionally, and if you don’t, make sure to keep an eye out for these qualities in your search.

Until next time, I’m signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

Sticks & Stones

Hello Everyone!

Man, what a week it has been. I try to update my blog a couple times a week, but with finals, work, and being sick, I was stretched pretty thin. I currently have a double-ear infection which hurts sooOO BAAD. Keep yo’ girl in prayer, please! Today I am going to write about one of the biggest lies that is taught to young children as they grow up. That saying is: “Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but your Words will never hurt me!” What a load of bologna. Words hurt! I can speak that from personal experience on the giving and receiving end. Our words have power. Sometimes a punch in the face would most likely hurt less than a direct strategic insult (especially if it is about something you’re already insecure about.) My pastor always says this, which is way more accurate: Sticks & stones will break your bones, but words hurt more than anything. Amen? Seriously, it is so true.

58e4940ca8960676670931a154c55243b4f49b9acef9bd585e3165e0bf265836_1.gifOne of the reasons that I wanted to write about this topic is because we have a series that is being taught right now at my church about core values. These are topics that we really hope to instill into the youth at the group where I am a leader. We have various mantras that we teach. One of the more popular ones is: Just Kidding just hurts. Meaning that sometimes the “joke isn’t worth the laugh.” The bible talks about the power of words and how we are called to speak in various different places. Why? Because clearly it is important. Example one: Proverbs 16:24 states, “Kind words are like honey– sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”  It is healthy for the body. It brings good to your soul & it is healthy. It makes you feel good. One of my favorites though is found in Ephesians Chapter 4, verse 29. It says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful to the hearer, building them up according to their needs that it may be beneficial to those who listen.” 0a9f4f57317eb755e6b42b985485acebThis verse is LITERALLY saying “Hey! Every word that comes out of your mouth should be edifying (aka helpful to the people listening.)” If it isn’t building them up, making them feel better, or is beneficial to them in some way, then just zip it, lock it, & put it in your pocket. Remember what thumper said in Bambi? That is an important message. Sometimes the joke isn’t worth the laugh, sometimes those words can hurt, sometimes it will stick with the person that you say it to for a long time. Why not just use your words to make people feel good. Why not have words that are sweet like honey?  

Remember to be kind with your words. Remember to build people up with your words. James 3:5 says, “The tongue is a small thing, yet it makes grand speeches. Likewise a tiny spark can set even a great forest on fire.” A small spark, a simple statement. Both can cause great destruction when used incorrectly. One final verse to tie it all together: Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be full of GRACE, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Y’all know how much I try to remain full of grace and patience with this blog. This verse is saying be graceful (elegant, poised, favored,  & blessed) and to be seasoned (qualified, matured, & w/ food a little spunky LOL). In doing so, you will begin to know how to answer people. 8780c2000e9d35213c5ad04ef8eb5b67Whether they are being kind to you first or they’re being rude. You’re called to be kind, sweet, and uncorrupted. If you don’t have anything like that to say, then just don’t say anything. It’ll be waaaaay better to not talk as much than to say something that you may regret saying. If I have learned anything in my life, it is that you can’t take words back once they’re out of your mouth. So be slow to speak and when you do, make sure it’s sweet and graceful. Keep that in mind, even if you need to repeat the mantras to yourself!

Until next time, I’m signing off with a Graceful Soul and a Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

 

(PS. I read an awesome blog post http://wp.me/p8MN8O-4  by HoneytotheSoulBlog which dealt with this topic also. Check it out.)