Loving the Hard People

Loving those who don’t love us back, is difficult.

The Holy Spirit told me every time you love in a place of hurt and rejection a seed is planted. This seed goes deep into rich soil. The seed starts to germinate out of unselfishness and creates a spectacular botanical garden that begins to expand and flourish.

Those tears that whelp and fall, those tears that scream and cry, “ God help me this hurts and I don’t want to,” those tears of sacrifice water these seeds. These seeds can not be stolen from the enemy because these seeds are watered by obedience, sacrifice, and God’s love and grace for that particular person.

Out of this growth are the most stunning and breath taking flowers which produce the warmest, richest aromas that flow out of our hearts. He explained to me that this garden is his. He put it in each of us. This garden was not man made but God made. It’s a love garden he loves to be in because it’s pure, it’s lovely, and because those flowers and all their beauty were conceived by our obedience, faith, and trust in Him.

We must seek to understand these heart gardens are real and live inside each of us. We can plant anger, jealousy,  bitterness, and out of it gross death, decay, and stinky stench.

This illustration helps me to understand that sacrifice doesn’t just die, it only lives.

Jesus sacrificed his life so we could have eternal life for those who would call upon him to be saved.

You see even though he died, he lives!

Doing what is right will always birth love, kindness, goodness that creates a lasting ripple effect that ripples into our live, and the lives of others continually.

Doing what is wrong conceives death and destruction, this too having a rippling effect that lasts continuously which impacts us and those around us negatively.

So even when when we don’t feel like doing what is right, if we are wise, we will do what is right because each choice we make will have a ripple effect that will produce the power to love and forgive and move on, or stay in bondage to unforgiveness and strife with those around us.

The most beautiful truth is only you are in control of the outcome! 

Ash’Leigh Harris

The Good Shepherd

 

Psalm 23 TPT

David’s poetic praise to God[a]
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b]
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c]
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.[d]
That’s where he restores and revives my life.[e]
He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness[f]
so that I can bring honor to his name.
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.[g]
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
You become my delicious feast
even when my enemies dare to fight.
You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;[h]
you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future?
For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.
Then afterward, when my life is through,
I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!

 

This Psalm resonates peace in my spirit in a time of uncertainty. Jesus our Good Shepherd, our Friend. Why Should I fear the Future? For His goodness and love pursues me all the days of my life. ALL the days of my life! Amen!

Habits for 2019 and beyond

10:44am Friday, January 4th

(Note to self -this is for me)

God is so awesome that he made my jaw drop when I read the first line of my devotion for today!

Let me back up. Every new year I obsess over becoming better then I was the year before. Weather it be more healthier, more intuned with the Holy Spirit, better wife, better mom, better daughter, the list goes on. So it was only natural for me to start figuring out what I would work on for 2019 and habits seemed to surface my mind. Apparently we as humans are habitual creatures who do most of life on habits we have unknowingly created weather good or bad. I was asking my husband if he had finished his habits book at work because I remember him sharing some of the things he was learning from it a few months ago.

Last night I was asking him more questions about it and he was quite taking by my new founded curiosity for this book. I could tell by the face he made as in like I was asking things way too late for his mind to process right before he shuts his mind down so he can sleep and get up early to go to work. However, I’m a chatter box and just carried on with extracting all my thoughts I had been thinking yesterday. “Did you know God is like way bigger then I think I can even comprehend!” I blurted as he snuggled tightly under his weighted blanket and 15 pillows. (He is a tall big muscular man, I get the 1500 pillows, I do! )

I hurried along to join him and I drifted off to sleep.

Each morning I wake up and I read my devotionals, so this morning was no different then before.

Now back to the jaw dropping….

A giggle and a smile swept over my face as I pressed in with my ears wide opened for what he was about to speak directly to me through the fine print. “Okay Lord, I’m listening!”

So 2019 what will it look like for me? Well let’s just say I will adopt God’s habit first, I trust you Jesus, then I will sprinkle on top of that some loving others and finding ways to bless them daily, combined with changing my eating habits to more Whole Foods/ less processed junk!

Lord Jesus thank you for your ways of teaching me what is important for my present time here on earth, help me to develop good habits this year Lord that will bless my mind, body, and soul, and bless others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-❤️ Me

Your Compliments Are Desperately Needed

Sunday December 2, 2018

Listen up!

Your words, they have power!

Your words can break through lies and deception.

Life these days are busy, hectic, anxiety filled, and short.

We are stuck in the rat race trying to mark our check lists off and get things accomplished so we feel like we living up to the worlds standards of success. In the mean time we are forgetting to slow down and love one another with our words.

I experienced the beauty of honesty and the power of lies being broken in a record time of 4 seconds.

My nine year old daughter has a knack for being impulsive and speaking her mind at any given moment. When she was a toddler this could leave me mortified as to what was about to escape those precious tiny lips. However today she teaches me the beauty of simplicity in a word that has become infested with man made complications.

Last week we had to take her in to see a doctor because her body was fighting a virus hence her elevated body temperature. Our regular family physician was booked up and I was desperate to get her seen that day so we went with a doctor she has never seen before.

During the exam the lady doctor was very graciously answering all of her worried nine year old questions about what all was going on on inside of her little body, when aburtly out of no where her impulsive colorful words filled the room as she said as honestly as can be, “You are so beautiful!”

The doctor gasped in these vibrant color words in shock as she covered her mouth as to keep them safe inside, then she paused for a moment almost as if she were about to cry as she said, “It has been close to 30 years since I have been told that.” She collected herself, smiled and resumed the exam.

I was frozen in my chair in amazement of the fact that this beautiful woman who had dedicated her life to helping others has not heard the words every woman loves to hear, needs to hear, should be entitled to hear in 30 years!

Her reaction made me feel the emptiness she must have been feeling up until the words were spoken to her from my big hearted daughter.

In this moment she paused long enough to let some love come in. She felt a little lighter I am sure and I pray she will remember those words when the days beat her up and she is glaring at her reflection in the mirror believing anything less.

I was then convicted in the harsh truth that I could have been one of those daring voices that could have spread beauty and color into others who have needed to hear it, too many God given opportunities in the span of my life, but never did out of fear of sounding silly or fake.

We need to slow down and we need to appreciate the privilege we have to share love with our words and not waste moments being to busy and so self consumed to compliment each other.

I am going to do it, the next time the opportunity presents itself to me. I am going to just blurt it out for all to hear the color words of compliments out of love to others.

My new slogan I’m adopting for 2019 is this: Don’t Hurry, be Happy!

Slow down and appreciate and acknowledge the beautiful people in your life along the way. 💖

Ash’Leigh Harris

A Slap in the Face Lesson on Grace

3:47 pm 11/20/2018 Tuesday

One would describe what I went through this past month as a hard blunt slap to the face. You know the kind of slap you see on the movie screen as the pompous jerk gets a very deserving SMACK across his face as his present girlfriend catches him making out with another chick.

The kind of slap that was warranted because I was flat out being a spoiled brat, arrogant, and puffed up with pride.

Someone whom I love dearly in my life and whom I won’t name for the confidentiality of their sake had a come- back-down-to-earth talk with as we were getting ready to spend some time together.

The come-back-down-to-earth talk stung painfully as if I had literally just been slapped across the face. It smacked some hard core anger and confusion inside my heart.

I felt the anger whelp up inside me as my heart raced and the heavy lump caught in my throat. “Don’t you dare cry, don’t do it!” I yelled at myself inside my mind. It was my pride blurting out this command.

Pride. He is always the ugliest and meanest inside my head. He makes me act my complete worst! He makes me act stupid, selfish, childish, you name it.

I took the come-back-down-to- earth talk as an attack. Of course pride is the one who takes most offense to this, after all pride is very selfish. Selfish had become my new middle name.

I decided I was going to shut it all down then maybe I would be loved and accepted. Maybe then I could get something, anything right with relationships with the opposite sex.

The next day instead of going to the gym at my routine 4:30am time I skipped and found myself wide awake in my husband’s big comfy recliner in our living room. I knew there was something waiting in hiding for me to discover, like a ruby in the sand. It was there and I was going to find it. All the answers to my problems. At some point the enemy had convinced me I didn’t even know how to love others. He mocked and ridiculed me and used the smack down to drill it into my soul that I only loved myself.

I started searching scriptures when I stumbled across an article on self righteousness.

For years I had been striving and preforming and obeying God but for all the wrong reasons. My heart was pure at first but then I became sucked into the lie that if I measured up to this list of laws I gave myself then I would become a “really good” disciple of Christ. He would be the proudest of me and he would want to shine his glory and works through me because I was on top of my Holy Spirit “A” Game. Finally, I was special.

What I didn’t realize was during this striving for perfection I was ignoring those around me in my pursuit to be the best godly woman. I was loving feeding my insecurities with what I thought to be things God needed out of me to accept me and do his work in my life. I was in love with how I felt. For you see I was a forever lost and insecure girl who turned into a rejected and insecure woman. In my pursuit to be my best for God, all those insecurities were not lying on the surface of my heart anymore.I was feeling good and I didn’t want to let go of the happiness I found in my performance, in the striving in Christ of course. At least that’s what I truly believed. The danger with this behavior is that it’s detrimental to yourself when you fail because then you feel low and defeated and unloved again; not good enough.

When I read that list of bullets that fell under a self righteous person, heavy wet tears filled my checks as they dripped off my chin and onto my lap. To my unpleasant surprise my actions and thoughts were a perfect illustration of each bullet.

I had turned into a self righteous monster.

“I don’t want to be that person anymore, but how can I not be?” I thought to myself.

It took a lot of time, energy, and effort creating my godly woman character I had designed and slipped on like an expensive glamours party dress. If it comes off I will be naked and exposed.

How could I just do this, it would ruin me and my burn my safety net of feeling good enough. Most importantly what would God think? Would he call me a fraud, insecure, ridiculous? Would he choose not to use me anymore? Would he be angry that I was trying to manipulate him with my striving to answer my prayers and feeling accepted by him?

I didn’t know what to think or how to fix this so Numbness became my best friend.

Numbness made me feel like the loneliest person and most far away from God. I would cry myself to sleep begging him to talk to me, begging him to let me sense his presence, begging him to lift the numbness but numbness was robbing me and controlling my thoughts.

See when numbness becomes your friend, you no longer feel, therefore you don’t even know what or how to feel. You become cold and isolated, and it’s the worst feeling I think I experience as a human. Numbness accompanies anger because when I can’t feel, I get angry.

So there I was as numb, angry, confused and felt like I completely screwed it all up with my creator, on top of that I felt undeserving of God’s love and the come- back -to -earth talk person’s love.

I needed to let go of control.

I needed freedom from the unverbalized agreement exchange that I had made myself with God: perfection and performance in exchange of his acceptance and approval.

I needed to pop all my pride like a bright yellow balloon flying high with a pretty white streamer attached to its base. Inflated by deception from the enemy. Inflated with my own selfish pride to be better then what God calls us to be.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!

God wasn’t mad at me, he was so in love with me that he didn’t want me to continue my journey with him on the terms it set upon, the standards I created for relationship with him. So he allowed what should have shut me down to reteach me his design for relationship with him.

I needed to learn and experience his grace.

Interestingly enough my blog and Instagram name is Absorbing_Grace. I guess if the Lord has willed me the freedom to blog about absorbing grace, I needed a real life lesson on the subject!

This is what I learned.

The true exchange is my doubts and fears, insecurities, pride, perfection, need to be approved, envy, strife, control all of it for God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

I will never be enough, but that’s okay because Jesus was and is, and Jesus made the ultimate exchange for me and you, when he bore all sins of humanity on the cross and laid down his life for us.

It was in that beautiful moment in time his exchange became enough for us all if we would just believe it, accept it, and confess it.

I told God I’m sorry for my foolish ways, sorry for my rebellion, my pride, and for believing I could control him in my life. I repented of that thinking and I told him I couldn’t live one day with out him in my life.

In this exchange his grace and love flooded my heart and Numbness was driven out of my soul. I could feel again! Love, excitement, peace, hope, it all came back to me!

Grace is an undeserved gift God gives us, his children.

Grace does not expect perfection, Jesus is our perfection.

Grace is not a sentence, grace is a comma.

Grace is continual.

Grace is a symptom of God’s love.

Grace can not be earned. It’s freely given.

Grace enables us to get back up after we fall or fail.

Grace is not a license to sin.

Grace enables forgiveness through Christ.

Grace enables us to be redeemed and saved through Christ.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/2co.12.9.esv

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/rom.11.6.esv

“and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/rom.3.24.esv

Grace can be extended to others through us.

Grace allows us to forgive and love those who have hurt us.

Maybe it’s time for some self-reflection. Are you living under God’s grace, or are you trying to be a control freak like me and earn brownie points? We can’t earn them, lol!

❤️Ash’Leigh

Rejection Chokes Out

Seeds of rejection take root underneath into the unseen heart which then grows into life choking vines that keep us trapped in our own solace.

Rejection masks itself as proud and strong but honestly it makes us weak, fearful, and vulnerable to letting others take advantage of us or hurt us. We then push away opportunities to love and be loved by others. We feel all alone and unwanted and ashamed.

Jesus is the healer of our hearts, our pains, our rejections. Today he is saying release the rejection and hurt into my hands, and I will give you a new heart that isn’t afraid to love anymore. He loves you and is waiting on you to love him. It’s time to do some landscaping! ❤

He knows

He heals the broken-hearted and binds their wounds. Psalms 147:3❤️

The Lord touched my soul about 6 years ago when I came across the scripture Psalms 27:10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. I was going through some difficult situations in my life where I had felt abandoned by the ones I loved.

When the hurt would creep in late at night while I was laying awake in bed I would imagine that Jesus would scoop me up and hold me tight like a little child being embraced by her mother.

This image that I would play over and over had the power to heal my brokenness that I would experience in those dark moments.

I don’t know what you are walking through today but my prayer is that you will pause, close your eyes and invision the Lord who loves you more then anyone on this earth embracing you as you weep at his feet casting all your burdensome cares  on him today to lighten your heavy load.

I believe he wants to be that love that embraces you today that reminds you with a soft whisper He is here, He knows, and He is able to heal your brokenness.

It’s okay to cry out to him and ask him to take the pain away.

❤️

Monday Motivation 

  
Monday’s bring newness, opportunities to be intentional, opportunities to start over, and start fresh!
Hebrews 13:16 presents each and everyone of us with a challenge to share with those in need! 
Maybe it is something as huge as your pocket, but maybe it’s just your time, your smile, your hug, your extended grace, your forgiveness, your love, an ear, your encouragement, your support, your help; whatever it may be I challenge you to go out and be a blessing on this beautiful MLKJ Monday! 
Xoxo

Leigh 

Follow me on Instagram @Absorbing_grace

Living on not Borrowed Time

    

There are 24 hours in a day.

168 hours in a week.

8,736 hours in a year.

Job 14:5 “You have decided the length of our lives.
You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.”

Your life is no accident! The days you get to live here are not to be waisted away.

Each second is gifted to us by our creator to live a life worthy of our calling. A calling that is given to us to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbor as we love ourself. A calling that we are tasked and equipped for to share the gospel, the Good news, about Jesus Christ.  

I feel encouraged, convicted, and inspired to make the most out of each day that is given to me. These moments in time are no accident. These days of life are not just for selfish pleasures, or to be taken for granted. We have a broken world filled with broken people who need to hear that there is going to be a day when all this brokenness is washed away. 

People need hope! They need healing! They need a Savior who will forgive them no strings attached. They need grace and forgiveness to be shown to them, and mercy for when they screw it all up big! 

We need to Love with no stings attached.

We need to help with no strings attached. 

How will you live out these next 24 hours of your life? Will you move when you fill lead to move, speak when the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak about Jesus, or will you continue to stay quite by fear or feelings of inadequacy?

I’m praying for you and for me this morning that God’s love may abide in us and overflow into others we come in contact with these next 24 hours. I’m praying for a revelation to hit our hearts that this is not just our life to live, but a life lived to bring Glory to our Heavenly Father.  

❤️ Leigh Leigh

I’m on Instagram now so find me and show me some love by liking my page and say hi!! Absorbing_Grace

Break my Heart

I am feeling bipolar and a bit lost these days.

I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I am going to spend my summer vacation. (Sounds bratty right?) I am so blessed to even have a summer vacation! I wanted it to be productive and meaningful.

I wanted to take my blog to a new level. I wanted to start crocheting on the side for a possible Etsy shop. I keep wrestling in my mind as if I am trying to figure out WHAT it is. Why am I so discontent lately? Why am I constantly trying find something out there to achieve? To be honest I am frustrated, I am restless, and I am puzzled.

I had a vision for this blog to be an ENCOURAGEMENT to others, and quite frankly I feel as if I am the one in need of encouragement.

I literally had this conversation with my husband last night, pillow talk before we shut our eyes, about how I feel like something is just missing. I want to achieve this whatever it is I can’t seem to see clearly. This desire in my heart for something that I haven’t a clue what it even is. I have been praying about this feeling for over a month now.

I pray and I ask God and I try to be content on waiting….

I pray and I wait…

I pray and I wait….

Today our Summer Women’s Bible study started up. YEA! I love Women’s Summer Bible Study! This year we are Studying Kelly Minster’s Nehemiah- A Heart that can break.

Right out of the first video Session I hear lady giving her story about how she prayed to God to give her a tender heart so that she could love like Jesus, and she felt overwhelmed with compassion to help this village in the Amazon that she would pass as she gave tour guides. She told us she prayed for compassion for others. I could feel my heart fill up and my throat become tight when she said that if you are feeling discontent with life, help others. There it was plain as day, the answer I had been praying for. She said,” Get back to Jesus! Go to him with a humble heart asking him what you should do. Here I am God to do the best for you. God will open the door, He will direct your path. You ARE ENOUGH! Blessed are those who serve.”

I couldn’t help but hold back my tears, reminding myself to KEEP IT TOGETHER MAN! I am not much for public crying.

To gain composer I glanced at the older women sitting at the table in front of us. They were just as filled up with encouragement at that moment as I was. I don’t want to be super old on this journey here before I really make my mind up to live for others. This life really isn’t about me. The reality is THIS LIFE ISN’T ABOUT ME! God is real and we do have a duty, a reason we are all here on Earth. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to love others like he does while we wait for him to come back. He is coming back. That is the reality.

He is coming back…that is the reality.

When I put this in perspective everything else I am chasing that isn’t for him doesn’t matter.

So then What God, who have you put in my heart to help? What will break my heart the way it breaks yours.

I really feel vulnerable for even sharing such intimate thoughts. I usually just journal this and keep it to myself, but I can’t help but wonder if there is someone else out there that is feeling this discontentment, this arrival of something big, but you can’t put your finger it.

I want to encourage you to pray and wait…pray and wait. Ask God to give you a compassionate heart for others, and then ask him to direct you to the right people to help. Keep your faith. Be patient. Now that I know for sure what it is, I will be diligently praying for revelation, compassion, and a tender heart that can break. I will also be praying for God to examine my heart and point out the cold parts so that I can warm those back up!

heart break

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As always I would love to hear what you have to say! Please feel free to comment!

xoxo

Leigh Leigh