Let’s Be Like Leah

“And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.”-Genesis 29:16-17

“I don’t want to be like Leah,” I told my mom once.

She called me dramatic, she told me that Leah was more than what I thought of her.

To me, Leah was a failure. She wasn’t just a second choice, she was never a choice, she was never even a thought to Jacob. She was merely a bitter disappointment when Jacob had found out he had been tricked into marrying her in the morning.

Unwanted, that’s how I thought of her. Poor, dejected Leah.

However, I went back and read through the other day and found the side of Leah that I had overlooked.

She didn’t seem to live a happy life, used as a pawn to her father, forced into a loveless marriage with a man who never wanted her, and second-best to her beautiful sister, Rachel. At first, Leah tried to find love by having children: 

“And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.

And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.” -Gen. 29:31-34

The meaning of the names of her children struck me, the meanings behind them, the desperation Leah must have felt in trying to earn a place for herself.

With each name, we see her wants:

Reuben: Behold.

Simeon: Heard.

Levi: Joined to.

Leah wanted to be acknowledged, heard, needed, and loved.

Can you blame her? We all want those things deep down.

Maybe we aren’t trying to win the love of a husband tricked into marrying us, but we still silently want love and acceptance from the people around us, we all want to feel wanted.

When it comes to our relationships with others we wonder, do I belong? How can I belong? Am I needed here or would they not even notice if I was missing?

I’ve met many girls and guys who are pining for a significant other, someone to love them.

The search for a place and a purpose in life is not a new one, and so often people find themselves in circumstances where they feel like the answer to “am I acknowledged, heard, needed, and loved?” would be a “no”. How discouraging and heartbreaking it is to feel unwanted and unneeded, and how easy it is to make finding those things our first priority in life.

Leah wanted to be valued, and while I read, I realized the quiet strength Leah had as she realized that she was already valued, she already had worth.

And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.”-Genesis 29:35

“Now will I praise the Lord.”

No longer does she mention Jacob in the naming of her child, only God, the One who saw, heard, held, and loved her from the start. He is the one she acknowledges now.

While the drama seems to continue in the next chapter, I’d like to think that Leah really did realize the truth of her value.

Leah might have been felt like she was put in second place in her life, but she was never a second choice to God, no one is.

Leah was never unwanted or a failure, she always had worth, and perhaps she learned that if we look for our true worth in other humans or try to earn it with what we can do, that we’ll never truly find it.

She stopped searching for acceptance in Jacob when she realized that she had already found it in the love of her Creator, and for that, she praised the Lord.

Because of this, I want to be like Leah.

Yes, I hope I am loved by those around me, but more so, I hope that even if I’m not, that I’ll have the strength to praise the Lord still.

I hope I always search for my worth in the Lord and place Him above all others.

I hope I learn to be content in whatever circumstance of life I’m in.

That’s truth strength, and I think Leah shows a lot of it just in that one statement: “Now will I praise the Lord.”

Truthfully, are you able to say that, dear reader? I know somedays–and even most days–I’m not, but I want to be able to always, I want to have that mindset.

Now will I praise the Lord.

In whatever season of life we’re in, now we will praise Him.

In whatever situation we’re in, now we will praise Him.

Now we will praise Him.

Life might not always be easy, but God is still good, He is still worthy of our praise.

Leah’s life may have not been the happy one that we hope to live as well, but through her life, we can learn that true happiness isn’t found in people or circumstances, it’s in true contentment in where you are in life. Maybe you aren’t where you want to be right now, but you can still glorify God, and that’s what matters most.

So, let’s be like Leah today, let’s go through the ups and downs in our life, and even when things aren’t great for us, let’s purpose in our hearts to praise God anyway because He’s where our true purpose and worth is found.

 I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.

Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.

 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.-Psalm 145:1-9

You Weren’t Made to Fit In

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”-John 14:15

It’s that simple and that hard.

There used to be a part of me that longed to stand out, it made sense in my mind, to make a difference, you actually have to be different.

My mom always taught me to stand up for the faith, to proudly quote Romans 1:16.

Growing up, I learned quickly that being different wasn’t as glamorous as I had imagined.

I learned being different meant looking up and realizing your shorts are freakishly long compared to the other girls’ and feeling homely. Being different meant being called a prude when you wouldn’t sit down to play spin the bottle with your friends and being told that you needed to “lighten up”. Being different meant no longer being invited to tag along with people because they knew you wouldn’t go along with everything. Being different meant your friend yelling in your face that you wouldn’t understand anything because you’re “sheltered”.

Being different was isolating, being different was painful, and in the end, being different didn’t seem worth it.

So, finally, I traded my modest clothing for immodest clothing that matched what others were wearing, and while I still didn’t participate in some of the things my friends did, I kept my mouth shut. Sometimes I slunk away like a beaten dog when no one was looking so I wouldn’t be pulled in, all I was missing was a tail tucked between my legs in defeat.

For someone who quoted Romans 12 so much, I was anything but transformed, I was conformed.

I wasn’t a Christian back then, but I thought I was.

If I could go back and spend time with my former self, I would ask her, “What makes you different than the world? What sets you apart?”

Former Grace probably would have paused to think, feeling defensive at such a question, “Jesus is in my heart. I live for Him. That’s what sets me apart.”

“Let me ask you something, If you dress like the world, talk like the world, act like the world, sin like the world, and live like the world, how are you different than the world? Maybe you are just the world. Start paying attention to all those verses you memorize and quote every week.”

My former self and I wouldn’t get along very well, but my point remains:

We are supposed to be different. YOU are supposed to be different.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”-Titus 2:11-15

Peculiar, often people take this word and think of “weird” or “strange” however, it’s the Greek word “periousios” which means a people selected by God, a possession.

If we are God’s children, why aren’t we acting like it?

We are called to be righteous and godly in our lives, to be zealous, passionate about good works, and to not let anyone look down on us for that, because this is what we were made to do.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”-Romans 6:1-4

We should not want to be like the world and live in sin.

We should not want to be worldly.

We need to start asking ourselves is there the world in my browser history? Is the world in the words I speak with my friends? Is the world in my actions with my significant other when no one is watching? Is the world in the clothes I wear outside of worship? Is the world in my thoughts?

We should be devastated if the answer to any of these is anything short of an adamant “no”, and we should immediately strive to change.

 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”-1 Corinthians 6:20

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”-1 Corinthians 10:31

Back then, I wouldn’t admit it to even myself, but the glory of God was the last thing on my mind.

At the time, I just wanted to fit in, to have friends, to not sit alone at lunch time at co-op.

I realized I had to give all of it up when I became a Christian and was baptized for the remission of my sins.

I’m no longer ill with FOMO (the fear of missing out) because I’ve learned that I’m not missing out on much.

I look at other kids living the life that is idolized and all I see is the sad emptiness, I’m glad to not be like that, and I want everyone to be able to tell by one conversation or even one glance at me that I’m not like that.

Why would we ever want to fit in with something as dark as the world?

Why would we ever want to pass as one of them?

To make a difference, you actually have to be different.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”-Matthew 5:13-16

You have the choice today to live for God or for yourself, to be set apart or to be like everyone else on the wide path (Matthew 7:13).

You weren’t made to fit in, dear reader. You were made to glorify God, to be a light, and to be salt.

Let’s live for God like we were made to.

Dear Sister, Wait, Don’t Settle

Hey guys, it’s February and you know what that means… here comes the onslaught of blog posts about being single and sad.

 Those articles have good points, being single can feel sad at times, especially for us girls because it’s normal for us to have a need to be needed, that’s natural. God created us to be helpmeets, that desire in itself isn’t wrong. God did look at Adam and say: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him”(Genesis 2:18). It isn’t a sin to hope and pray for something good that God created for a reason.

But, let’s talk about the flip side of that desire… Let’s talk about desperation and making sure that we don’t give into that.

No one is perfect, as the twitter quote I read once so beautifully put: “everyone is a mess, pick your favorite train wreck and roll with it.”

However, sometimes I see girls following this advice too much, and with valentines coming up, I’m here to give you my “Don’t Lower Your Standards, RAISE THEM” Ted Talk (I wrote a whole post about my standards that you can read here).

Yes, no one is perfect, I’m not talking about turning someone down because of a quirk or two, a different hair color than what you dreamed of at twelve, or any other superficial thing, but I am talking about the important things.

Things that should be an immediate deal breaker.

Look, I get it. I was single for eighteen years, and you start to feel some pressure to find “the one”. I watched some of my friends meet their “prince charming” even if he only stayed charming for a few months.

It gets lonely at times, and sometimes you wonder if you’ll be alone forever.

You’re watching other couples get married and settle down, you’re watching other people live the dream you’ve had since forever, and now you’re wondering if it will ever come true for you.

Then, you meet a guy.

Finally! You breathe a sigh of relief.

Ok, maybe he’s not Mr. Right, but he’s Mr. Okish or he’s Mr. Potential, and he’s promising you that he’ll get better, he’s promising you that he’ll make you happy. That’s honestly all you really want, you just want to drop the tough act and throw yourself into someone’s arms.

And sometimes, you do just that, against better judgment that you honestly should have had.

Especially if they weren’t a Christian, and I know I just stepped on a few toes, maybe even stomped on some of yours, but here’s the thing:

If he isn’t a man of God, he also isn’t your man.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”-2 Corinthians 6:14

I’ve listened to enough people vent and cry to me after their breakups, and I can tell you that they all say the same thing when it comes to this:

“But Grace, they were perfect. They were everything I wanted and needed. The only thing was that they weren’t a Christian, but they were so close. They told me they wanted to convert. They were going to…”

No.

Stop clinging onto the examples of couples that were unequally yoked at the beginning that made it through.

Listen to me: we really only hear about the success stories in life.

No one wants to tell you that they failed. No one wants to let you know that they tried something which crashed and burned. You won’t be hearing all of the stories about how painful and terrible it was, but that’s what the majority of these relationships are. I know because I’ve watched it.

Get someone who can stand beside you on your beliefs, you want a partner that can fight with you for the Lord, not against you and the Lord.

The real question is: why would you want to date someone who is not running the race you are running? How discouraging would that be?

I’d rather be alone forever. I’ll invest in ten cats.

Wait, dear sister. Don’t settle for a man that isn’t a man of God.

Also, don’t settle for someone if:

  • He’s where you’re searching for your identity

You won’t find it in him.

One time, I told my dad about a compliment a guy had given me and he told me to next time congratulate them on having working eyes.

My dad had a good point, that compliment was superficial and meant nothing because any random guy can look at you and call you pretty, but as the quote, I saw on Pinterest the other day said, “Art is still art even when someone stops admiring it.”

Imagine what it would look like if everyone just dated the first random person that validated them, things would get messy fast.

Girl, that boy is not God. He’s not even your husband. Stop searching for purpose in other flawed humans. You won’t find it. Another insecure and imperfect person isn’t going to fill the void in your heart.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”-Ephesians 2:10

Seek God first and foremost, that’s where your purpose and identity has always been.

I have a few more posts going more in-depth on this if you care to read them:

You Might Not Get Married, and That’s Ok

Two Truths About Your Worth

Waiting for a Relationship

(this post is funny to me because right after I wrote it, I faced a new obstacle: having options but still choosing to wait because they weren’t good options).

I Know You Just Want To Be Somebody This Holiday Season and I’m Here to Tell You That You Are

  • He’s not transparent

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
-Proverbs 10:9

Something was sketchy about one guy I was talking to last summer… I did some digging and found some unsavory things. When I confronted him about what I found, one of the first things he told me was: “I’m so sorry you had to find out that way.”

After a long discussion and a very tearful evening, I ended things because of a still present sin in his life. He told me that he was going to focus on getting his life back together and I pray he’s doing just that.

Trust me, sister, you don’t want a guy to say the words: “I’m sorry you had to find out that way.” to you.

If someone has a past or something they’re struggling with, you don’t want to find out after stalking their social media, running into their ex, their old friends, or when they have a breakdown about it months into your relationship.

A relationship takes teamwork, and teammates need to communicate, and if this guy you’re talking to isn’t doing that and isn’t willing to improve, that’s something you need to rethink.

Before I was dating my now-boyfriend, my mom asked me why I was interested in him, and one of the things I told her was that he is transparent. From the get-go, he’s never wavered from being open and having harder conversations with me. It was one of the first things I noticed and appreciated about him. Truthfully, it would have been easy for him to omit some things when we were talking, and I probably wouldn’t have been any wiser, but he didn’t, even though I know it was very nerve-wracking and hard for him at times to put himself out there like that.

I know that’s the type of guy I want to be with, and that’s the type of person we all should be. Don’t date someone who won’t be transparent and honest with you.

  • He’s not seeking to guard your heart

I am reminded of the woman in Proverbs 7 who gets a man to commit adultery with her. What struck me when I got to the end in verse 27 when it describes how her house is a way to hell and her bedroom to is leading him to death, is how this woman did not care for this man’s soul, only her selfish desires.

This should be a lesson for us too. Girls, not only do we not want to be like that woman, but we don’t want to date a male version of her. We do not want to give our hearts to someone who is going to be selfish and who isn’t going to care about your soul, your relationship with Christ, or your purity. The right guy is going to help you guard your heart. He knows the value you hold as a child of God and because he wants to honor God as much as you do. He will know the preciousness of your heart. Wait for that guy, don’t date guys who are going to try to manipulate you and ask or pressure you to compromise.

  • He’s never wrong

Have you ever met a person who never says “sorry”? That person, who, even if Google says they’re wrong, they’ll call every article on there false? Don’t date him. There’s something to be said for humility and the ability to reevaluate your past beliefs and decisions and admit that you were wrong. That’s how we grow.

A man who is never wrong is also never learning.

  • He’s not headed in the same direction as you

This one can go back to number one on this list especially, but it also applies to many other things. The other day, I was listening to a random YouTube video where they had compiled all these answers that people had given when the question “what do you regret not talking to your partner about before marriage?” was asked. The fact that so many people never talked about children, parenting style, money management, etc. was crazy to me.

In the same way, I would even say getting into an official relationship with anyone before you know what they want in life and what some of their top priorities are isn’t wise. If you’re not dating to get married, you’re simply dating to break up.

I could go on and on, and we’d be here all day.

Girl, you want someone who is going to love you, cherish you, protect you, be honest with you, be dependable, someone who will grow with you, and someone who is already on the same path to heaven with you.

I’d rather you and I spend Valentine’s day and every other day for the rest of our lives alone than with someone who falls short of those things.

It’s not worth it.

Please, don’t settle.

There’s no such thing as the perfect man, but there are godly ones, there are ones who are true.

He’ll make mistakes. You might meet him and discover that he’s made a ton of mistakes in the past, maybe even some that still haunt him. Yet, he will have the character, the strength, and the love for the Lord in him to admit when he’s been wrong and to move forward, and to keep striving to be the man of God he was made to be.

You won’t be left wondering if he loves the Lord or if he’s sincere, he will easily prove it to you with everything he does.

The right guy is going to treat you with honor and with respect. He will protect you because he knows your value as a woman of God, and he’ll want to help you reach your full potential. He won’t pull you down. The right guy will help lead you to Christ daily.

This is a guy worth waiting for, don’t you dare settle for any less.