Thursday, December 9, 2010


ChinaFinals...FinalsChina...It feels like I can't finish a thought for one without a thought for the other interrupting it. This week has been a tadddd bit stressful and overwhelming, and next week's to-do list looks like this weeks'...times 10!

But I really can't complain. I'm planning for the trip of a lifetime and I'm studying for finals in classes that I might actually end up passing, (modern day miracle) despite starting all of them off with the worst grades possible.

But here ya go-if you need me over the next 8 days I'll either be HERE:

....or HERE:

On a different note- I'm obsessed with the words of this song. I'm thinkin it wins as my song for this semester! This was definitely not the case back in September...oh no. I think if you asked me back then what song best summed up everything at that moment, I would've replied sarcastically either with Boston by Augustana or one of many Rascal Flatts songs I played on repeat for well.....longer than I'm proud of haha. BUT, I've cried, argued, questioned, pleaded, and begged with the Big Man. Then when that didn't change anything, I grudgingly tried surrendering, listening, obeying, walking with, and trusting Him instead. You'd think with the track record He has with me, I'd try all those things first! But...I didn't. Time after time this year I freaked. Oh well...live and learn. Now its December, and that word grudgingly is fading away. I do the surrendering and the listening, and the trusting because I want to...and because I need to...and because yet again, He's proved Himself faithful in my life! So, in the midst of packing for China, and studying for finals, and saying adios to 2010, I'm trying to remember to thank Him. What a hard, refining, challenging, heartbreaking, awful, exciting, crazy, long year. But, what a blessing to know that I'm still Yours.

-by Jesus Culture

I'm alive to bring glory to You, King
God of victory, You are my passion.
It's in the way You are. You don't change at all.
Great and humble God, You are my passion

My strength in life is I am Yours.
My soul delights because I am Yours.
Your will on earth is all I'm living for.

Jesus, I glorify; Jesus, my love is Yours.
You are my heart's desire.
I live to know You more.

Light that breaks the darkness, showing what true love is,
always full of goodness, You are my passion.
You never do me wrong,
the meekest man, but strong,
the most perfect song, You are my passion.

My strength in life is I am Yours.
My soul delights because I am Yours.
Your will on earth is all I'm living for.

Friday, November 26, 2010


He is so Faithful.

...more to come later. Tonight I'm just dwelling on how faithful He's been to my family. Welcome home brother :] We've missed you.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1

Thursday, November 4, 2010


From 2 to 4. Yes, our apartment doubled overnight! About 3ish weeks ago I got a puppy, aka Sallie. If you know me at all, then your first reaction was probably pretty similar to all the rest of my friends and family. Something along the lines of- WHAT?! Leah...don't. You don't even like dogs! You're crazy! Or my favorite...we'll just have to see I guess. And normally, I would be completely annoyed/hurt by the lack of support from my "friends". But in this case I have to say....I couldnt blame them. I almost came to just expect those responses as soon as anyone heard the news. Because, its true. I don't like dogs and never have. In fact, I think that 90% of dogs are awfully unattractive creatures. I'm not afraid of them or anything like that. I just think they are dirty, their breath is almost unbearable, they lick your face, they poop and pee and shed everywhere, and you have to plan your whole day around letting them out and playing with them etc...I mean, don't take this the wrong way but...they're like kids. And I never understood someone willingly taking on all of the above for something that will never talk to you or grow up or move out and become independent.

But slowly a weird urking started happening inside me this semester. That's the best word I can find to describe it-an urk. I started listening more closely when people told stories of the love and joy that they get from their dog. I started looking around me and seeing a dog here or there that made me think to myself hmm thats actually a cool looking dog! I noticed more of the good things like: a dog running right beside this lady when she was jogging on Old Omen...not in front of her dragging her down the road, and not lagging way behind her completely miserable, but right down at her side running at the same pace. It just looked cool. Or the guy at the soccer field playing frisbee with his golden retriever (ps: before owning Sallie, a golden retriever is the only dog breed that I could point out confidently. anything else and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in a poodle and a basset hound) I loved the thought of taking my dog for a run or to the park to play with a ball. Part of me wanted that.
But I think really what it came down to was a combination of those experiences, my spontaneous personality and need for adventure, a longing for a responsibility and way to spend my free time, a desire for something to love and care for (and a hope that it would maybe do the same back, despite all my years of pessimism), and ultimately, just a new season of life. The timing seemed right. So, Sarah and I made our way to Petland. In my mind, I'm not leaving there with a dog unless that dog is absolutely perfect and fits the random list of qualities I had assembled in my head. And I'm pretty confident that the idea of leaving with TWO dogs was definitely NOT in mine or Sarah's mind. But long story short...we walk in...fall in love, literally at the first crate of puppies...and come home the next day with Sallie and Riley.

And even though it took no more than 2 or 3 days before I stopped referring to her as "the perfect puppy", I can tell you that I really do love and am so thankful I decided to get Sallie. I'm convinced that God's hand has been over the whole thing and blown away by the reminder that God knows my heart. For example: the first week, Sallie stayed in my lap or in my arms pretty much all day. And she was asleep for most of that so it was even better. At the same time, Riley, aka tripod...crazy...runt...was not exactly calm and chill and quiet like Sallie. Both of them are absolutely the cutest, greatest puppies...but we quickly learned the differences in their personalities. I cant count the number of times I whispered Thanks God...thanks God...thanks God. I, the amateur dog-owner, would have been absolutely overwhelmed if Riley was my dog that first week. I wouldn't have been able to adjust, I'm sure I wouldve just gotten frustrated, annoyed, and given up. I'm not sure if there is a return policy at Petland, but if I had left there with any dog other than Sallie, I'm convinced I would've brought her back.
Now before you get the wrong idea that Sallie is an angel and Riley is just crazy, I have to tell you about these last 2 weeks. Sallie (and Leah) adjusted to life with each other. Sallie started to get comfortable with the apartment, with me, and with Riley and Sarah. Soon after that, the puppy that I had started to just assume came right out of the womb already potty-trained, began leaving her little pee puddles on the floor and in her kennel and pooping on the clean towels. She no longer slept in my arms 24/7...instead, seemingly overnight, she became this constant ball of energy who always wanted to play and wrestle. AND to top it all off, her new favorite hours to play/whine/pee became 3am and 6am. Ask anyone you want-those are not my friendliest hours!

All that to say, Sallie has quickly earned a few choice nicknames herself. And earlier this week I was convinced she was beginning to think her name was NO instead of Sallie. But I still love her tremendously. I went to Washington DC this weekend and actually missed her...alot. I look both ways like 3 times before crossing the street to take her to go potty just to triple check for cars coming around the corner. And she's even in my dreams sometimes. The love I have for her surprises me all the time and is nothing like I would've ever expected. ever. She's exactly what I needed. There's no doubt in my mind that it was all my Father's doing...He's just taking care of His daughter.I'm thankful to for the opportunity to learn patience through something whose love for me never stops and is unconditional. I mean, where else can you find that besides in God and in a dog? While the patience lessons seem to never end, neither does Sallie's love. If I'm tired and snap at her for whining when I'm trying to sleep, she still loves me. Or if I groan the whole time shes decides she needs to pee at 3 am in the freezing cold, she still loves me. Or if I whack her a little too hard after she makes a mess of her kennel for the 5th time that day, she just climbs into my lap and looks at me with those sweet eyes that just seem to shout, I still love you...
I'm thankful, in the weirdest way possible, for her poop and my reaction to her poop. I hate it- it makes a mess...its smells...its gross...and its one of those things that belong nowhere but the toilet. But every time I clean it up. And I clean her up. I might get angry and even gag a little bit, but I will always clean it up. And inevitably...she will do it again. It reminds me of my sin and of Gods love and forgiveness for me. I've been known to make some pretty big messes in my life. Ive gotten myself dirty. But God has always, always cleaned me up and loved me just the same. And just like Sallie, I know that I'll mess up again. But His love for me never ends. Now every time Sallie leaves a mess I get super frustrated, and sometimes just plain shocked because I just took her outside, but I'm completely sure that a small part of me smiles because of the reminder that comes with it :)

I'm thankful for you Sallie. And I love you so much.

Monday, October 11, 2010

God of my days.

You awaken my heart from slumbering
Meet me in mourning,
and You speak to my grief
You're the light in my darkness,
The delight of my eyes,
the hope of the daybreak when the sun's slow to rise.
I trust that every moments in Your hands...

You're the God of my days,
The King of my nights,
Lord of my laughter,
Sovereign in sorrow.
You're the Prince of my praise,
The love of my life,
You never leave me,
YOU ARE FAITHFUL-God of my days.

You unveil my eyes,
Help me to see the arms of my Father
encircling me.
You're a constant companion,
I am never alone.
Your love is the banner that is leading me home...

You're the God of my days,
The King of my nights.
Lord of my laughter,
Sovereign in sorrow.
You're the Prince of my praise,
The love of my life.
You never leave me,
You are faithful-God of my days.

My eyes are on You
My hope is in You
My faith is in You
My eyes are on You
My hope is in You
My faith is in You

God of my days-Gateway worship

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Prosperity gospel

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him in the midst of pain."


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blessings in the midst of chaos

This picture pretty much sums up how I've been feeling. In school...in life...in everything. I'm overwhelmed, stressed, broken, searching, emotionally/physically/spiritually exhausted. I wake up in the morning and my body hurts. I can just feel the stress all over. Its ridiculous. I find myself getting uber sensitive at the silliest things. The other day I cried during Gilmore Girls...really Leah? Not normal. It wasnt even a sad episode!

Isaiah 26:3-"You keep in PERFECT PEACE those whose mind stays on You, because they trust You."
Philippians 4:7-"The peace of God,
which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus."

I am accepted. I am Gods friend. I am Gods child. I am justified. Praise Him.

Praise Him for sisters! They keep me going. They lift me up. They remind me of my worth. They make me feel alive. I love it. I love them. What a blessing to be apart of Gods family :)

Hebrews 3:12-14 "See to it sisters that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's decietfulness. We have come to share in Christ is we hold firmly the confidence we had at first."

Chinese bible study. Just the fact that those 3 words can even go in a sentence together is a glimpse of God's power. Friday nights Sarah and I have the privilege of having bible study with these precious people. Their stories...the sound of their laughs...their courage...their intelligence...their love for everyone...inspires me. Oh and Ms. Mary, the older lady in the bottom picture...absolutely the greatest lady I've ever met. Shes more sarcastic and funny than anyone our age, she lovesss the Lord, and shes 100% selfless. She was born in China and then spent her life as a missionary in Japan with her husband until he died. Her stories fascinate me. She's just one of those people you never want to leave.
God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I'm so thankful to have met these friends. Those few hours every Friday night refresh my heart and bring me back to that place last semester when the exchange students were here. I love their culture. They will never know just how much I enjoy being around them. Its so funny...they say thank you like 50 times every week. Thank you Leah for coming! Thank you for taking a picture with me! Thank you for sharing in bible study! The funny part is, everything inside me is screaming no, thank YOU, thank YOU...thank you.

19 days from now, my roommate and I are going to Colorado for a long weekend of refreshment, restoration, and rest. God literally provided for everything we needed and worked out all the dates with school and tests. We have plane tickets. And new bibles. And our climbing shoes. And I cannot wait.

"You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and His rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then, can you be embraced by the One who is most dear to you." -Matthew 5:3-4 (The Message)

In the midst of my brokenness, God is here.
He reminds me of that through the love of my sisters, and time with chinese friends, and peace that I know isn't of this world. He reminds me He's here every morning when I pull back my curtains and open my blinds and find, sometimes to my surprise, that no matter how dark the night or how stormy the sky,
the sun always comes out again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


There's something about moving that inevitably forces you to start a new chapter in life. I'm sure sometimes this new chapter is a little less drastic than the one I'm experiencing now, but none the less, every move leads to a new beginning. I never moved as a kid. We lived in the same 2 story house on the corner, since before there was a me. Mom and brother still live there actually. Good ole 322 Antler court. There are so many memories for me in that house....

There's the ones that I'm too young to remember...
But there's also things that I'll never forget-
...like my brother never really wearing a real outfit around the house. It was either shorts or a shirt...but never both!...or how my mom never failed to make Christmas special for us. Whether its craft day or bake day or stories of real elves leaving elf prints in the fireplace or hiding all our gifts even when she knows I'll find them anyway or dressing up with scrooge hats, she always made Christmas so fun.
There's also a few memories that I would be ok with erasing from memory...for example, this one time my mom's brilliant make it from scratch costumes didn't turn out quite so brilliant. Especially for a girl trying to keep friends in Elementary school! Come on mom...
Point is...that house is special to me. A good part of my growing up happened there...things happened that I look back on and laugh at, smile about, and love looking at pictures of. And then there's other memories from that house that bring tears to my eyes, make me angry, but even still, were a big part of my growing up as well. So I took the good and the bad together...and in August 2007, started a new chapter and moved away.
And just like my house back home, each place I've lived here in Tyler and each semester I've completed carries with it alot of memories. I only thought that my growing up happened in that corner house in Lewisville. Sure, my hair got longer, my feet got bigger, I learned to cook in my easy bake oven, I learned to make my bed and do my chores, I got older and experienced oldest child responsibility...but my real growing up...that happened in Tyler, Texas.

I'm talking about the growing up that makes you question what you believe and why you believe it. The growing up that requires you to make your own mistakes, some of them way bigger and worse than others, and face the consequences of them for yourself. The growing up that lets you choose your own friends and then experience the climb back to life after you've followed them farther than you wanted to go. The growing up that means adults now speak the truth to you even when truth isn't always what you want to hear. The growing up that means you stop running from things and burying pain, but instead experience surrender and love and forgiveness and healing. The growing up that means letting go of the relationships in your life that only bring you down, no matter what the cost....
In some way or another, each of those statements fit into the past 3 years and even the past 3 months of my life here.
However, a few weeks ago, I moved into a new apartment. And I can't begin to tell you the excitement that I felt! I had so much space to decorate. All these new and clean things to work with. And a new roommate who I love and fully believe is a blessing straight from the Lord. But more than all of that...this place felt to me like a haven and a fresh start. These past few weeks while my roommate has been across the ocean doing her thing, I've lived in this new apartment by myself. I've experienced so much of something that I never had before, and that's quiet. I have spent more time resting in Him...listening to Him...being alone with Him...than I think I have in the last 3 years combined. I read this verse this morning and I'm FINALLY getting to my point for this post-

Psalm 103:2-5 "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his Holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles..."

I am so excited to be where I am. I can look back on college and begin to see pieces of why God allowed me to go down the paths that I did. There's still a lot that I don't understand. And there's still a lot of lessons I'll probably have to learn to hard way. But you guys, in the time I've had to look back on the last few years and the quiet of these past few weeks of my life, I've learned something. And that is, the Lord's love for me never fails. The same God who says that He knows every single thing about me is the same God that says "I love you more than you will ever understand". His ways are not even close to my ways and His thoughts aren't my thoughts. But His promises...yeah, those are something I can cling to. His character...trustworthy. His love for me...deeper than I'll ever understand. And His plan for my life...perfect.
I'm SO excited for all of the good things that are coming from this chapter of my life in Apartment 3201. Those words in that verse are powerful and real to me. They describe perfectly, the journey I'm on and the promise of hope that we can have. He's forgiven me. He's healing me. He satisfies me. And He redeemed me. holy schmoly that's good stuff.

REDEEM: to obtain restoration or freedom from captivity by paying a ransom.
HEAL: to bring to an end; to free, cleanse, and purify; to become whole.
SATISFY: to put an end to a desire by sufficient or ample provision.

Love you all. Have a great rest of the week :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

China on my mind.

I miss these sweet faces more than I can put into words. I miss the joy that they brought into my life every single time I was around them. I miss their affirming words. I miss them greeting me with the biggest hugs and calling me beautiful no matter if I felt it that day or not. I miss their questions. I miss the jokes. I even miss having to tell them to hurry every 5 seconds when we took them places.
These friends of mine brought out a side of me that I really didn't know I had. Never before was my heart so burdened and pulled towards another culture. I had never felt such an urgency to share the good news. Too be honest, I've never been brought to tears over someone not knowing Gods love for them. That is, until I met these six precious people.
I dream of seeing them again. I wake up in the morning and roll over to check my email just to see if they've emailed while I was asleep...which they usually do with the crazy time difference there!
Even from thousands of miles away God comforts my heart and lets me know that He's working on them. He's keeping them safe...He's watching over them...He's pulling them to Him. My hearts cry is that one day I can call all of them my brother and sisters.

...Will you pray for my friends today?

Friday, June 18, 2010

The start of something new...

Well...the time has come. I figured I read everyone else's blogs every day its only fair for me to start writing instead of just mooching thoughts off other people. The only problem here is that I definitely don't need one more thing distracting me on my computer! So, here's to trying to have some self control with the amount of time I spend on here and yet still share my thoughts every once in a while. I'm a person of extremes though, so I have a feeling this will turn into either a daily thing or a monthly thing. I guess time will tell!
I love the idea of using this blog as my omer of manna. In Exodus, Moses talks about filling an omer to keep for years and years so that the generations after them will see how the Lord provided for them in the wilderness and during the long years they experienced. Literally of course, he is talking about bread. But figuratively, the idea of this blog for me is to write out my journey so that years from now, my friends or my husband or my kids, can read it and hopefully see how the Lord sustained me, restored me, and provided for me every day. That's the goal. I'm excited.
That's all for today though. I played around too long trying to make it look pretty that my brain hurts too much to lay out my thoughts...I'll just leave you with a verse that's been on my heart the last few days-

"See to it brothers and sisters that none of you has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end, the confidence we had at first." -Hebrews 3:12-14

Lets encourage each other today. Community is the best weapon to fight Satan's lies.

Love you all.