He Gave Me Gladness

At His feet I cried, I came empty handed, 

He bled for me and died so violently, broken hearted

I said, “I’m sorry I have nothing to give You my Lord, 

I’ve squandered it all for this world;

What good am I to be redeemed and restored?”

He said, “Give Me your heart, give Me your truthful words, 

Give Me your praises, and every hurt you hoard; 

There is nothing I AM not able to do and afford.”

At His feet I cried, full of joy, full of sadness,

He bled for me and died, took my all and gave me gladness.

 

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Why Health (My 2nd Testimony)

Home Improvement was one of my favorite TV shows in the 90s. The middle kid, Randy, was my biggest crush. All throughout high school, I idolized him. When I discovered he was a vegetarian in real life, I thought “Well that’s it! That’s what makes him stand out!” I easily justified his good looks, wit, and smarts to his diet. I admired him and so I wanted to be just like him, or at least be cool like him. I was 9 years old when I first thought of the idea of going vegetarian. I was 10 when I became part-time on the diet. I was 11 when I decided to commit. It caused my family a lot of grief and worry, thinking I’d for sure develop some kind of eating disorder, and end up dead one year later. I was already somewhat health conscious, but I look back now and I really don’t think I knew what I was doing.

https://jttarchive.net/ngg_tag/jonathan-taylor-thomas/nggallery/page/38

 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my initial reason, but overtime it changed as I remained committed and outgrew my obsession with him. I was a weird girl. Life was difficult as a teenager. My relationship with my dad was ugly. Read my testimonyI don’t mention this in that post but I basically equated his diet to his anger. I had daddy issues and my hatred for meat grew the more hostile our relationship became. My choice not to eat meat was psychological. I came to discover this for myself when I finally decided to face my fear of forgiving him completely. You hear people going vegetarian or vegan for health or ethical reasons, but I did it because firstly, I was obsessed with a celebrity and secondly, I wanted to get attention from my dad. I was definitely more of a junk food vegetarian because I struggled with focus, memory, and sleep. I was anemic, had eczema, asthma, indigestion, anxiety, and terrible PMS. Had it not been for my pride, I would have given up on the first year on this diet. I guess it was my way of keeping my dad on his toes. WOW is right. How much weirder can this post get? I’ll get to my point I promise.

My doctor never diagnosed me for any of those conditions because I didn’t have an option. My parents didn’t want me ever getting on any special medication, so I sucked it up. Go ahead, state your opinion, but I’m glad  that no matter how difficult I was, I never took to prescription pills. Instead, I took my health into my own hands and became my own health advocate. My parents bought a Jack Lalanne juicer for the whole family, which I now know they really bought it for me. I put that machine to good use as I came to realize I’m 100% responsible for getting as healthy as I could. Each year I became more and more health conscious, but I really didn’t step it up until a very embarrassing moment at work. I was a cashier and the person who gave their payment decided to hand me change after I had already punched in the numbers on the register. I froze and my ears turned red hot because I could not compute in my mind how much change to give back. My manager had to get off her break just to fix my problem, because it was that busy in the store that none of my mates could help me. That was one of the many awkward and embarrassing moments that pushed me to change my diet.  But taking supplements and actually eating more vegetables wasn’t going to fix me overnight.

I lasted 15 years. Do I regret giving up meat for that long? No. Despite the low self-esteem I had, I gradually progressed by committing to make my health a priority. Since JTT’s influence on me, I’ve always believed that food had a connection with behavior and thoughts. In my case, my pride and stubbornness opted to endure problems, which I totally could have prevented if I just knew what I was doing, and if I just had more discipline. I am a health enthusiast today thanks to the psychological and emotional struggles I had due to my poor diet and my relationship with my dad. After my long journey as a vegetarian, I transitioned to pescatarianism for one year then veganism for one week. Today, I’m an omnivore like most everyone else, but I transition through each eating lifestyle (in a different order) throughout each month/menstrual cycle. Sound interesting? Out of all this, I’ve come to develop a diet that has basically been a mental and emotional cure for me, and weight loss was just a bonus. Anxiety, depression, I’ve had my share.

I NOW SUPPORT MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS BY INTEGRATING FAITH AND MENTAL HEALTH/EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. 

I’ve designed an eating lifestyle, which I am hoping works for all menstruating women. I know this is just the beginning of my endeavors with diet and fitness, but if you are a woman reading this and you’re interested in how I balance hormones by balancing nutrients, I’m glad to make this website available for you. Read this post to learn more. The connection between mind and body is amazing and I will never stop studying independently about their relationship, and how we are affected simply by what we consume. I also strongly believe in prevention, why and how it’s better than cures, and why diet alone has a great impact on how a person experiences life overall. Health is important to me because when I lack discipline to maintain good eating habits, my mind goes astray and I lose focus, and focus is a must to maintain. No other person but me experiences what I go through mentally and emotionally when I neglect my own health. And that’s why taking it into my own hands is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I very much strongly believe that health and Christianity go hand in hand and God proves to me time and time again exactly how my body is His temple.

My “Recipes” section is small but I am working on adding more. Check it out here. If you haven’t yet already done so, you can watch my very first video about my diet to learn more on how I’m losing weight.

I had a physical check-up 3 years ago, but that wasn’t my most recent. I told my doctor about how I experience shortness of breath a week to two weeks prior to my period. I have this weird thing that I do. Let me explain. I yawn again and again until I feel like I’ve gotten enough air, but that feeling of relief doesn’t last for long, and I have to force another yawn just to feel okay again. So anyway, I went into grave detail about this issue that I’ve had for over 10 years and asked my doctor if he knew what could be causing my shortness of breath. He responded with a look of bewilderment, saying somewhere along the lines of “It could be your asthma. I never heard of anything like that.” It was another embarrassing moment for me. It’s encounters like this that reaffirms my commitment to be my own health advocate.

*UPDATE: AS OF RIGHT NOW, I AM PUTTING TOGETHER AN EBOOK/PDF FILE OR TWO ABOUT THIS LIFESTYLE I HAVE DEVELOPED THAT REVOLVES AROUND A MODIFIED KETOGENIC DIET AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE. SO PLEASE HAVE PATIENCE WITH ME AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THAT.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Gratitude is a Saving Grace (Devotional)

Ever felt like you were just stuck in the dumps? All you had to do was snap out of it. Easier said than done. But the moment you start praising the Lord, something amazing happens. Your soul begins to feel alive again.

Condemnation is just a feeling, it’s a state. But God remains. Unchanged. The good Lord fills you with conviction. Don’t forget you were made for worship. It’s for His glory, but He loves you so much so He created a way for you to be uplifted as well.

 

Praise His name. Gratitude follows.

 

THE MORE THANKFUL A PERSON IS THE MORE FAITH THEY HAVE IN GOD’S FORGIVENESS. FOR THOSE WHO HAVE A HARD TIME MOVING ON FROM THEIR SIN, WHO DOUBT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN FOR WHATEVER WRONG THEY’VE DONE, THIS IS A REMINDER THAT GRATITUDE IS EVERYTHING. MAKE IT A HABIT.

 

GRATITUDE GIVES WAY TO LOVE AND LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS (1 PETER 4:8).

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  1. What am I grateful for right this minute?
  2. What have I been worried about this past week that I must give up to God?
  3. Who can I faithfully show some love today?

>>>GRAB YOUR FREE, PRINTABLE MONTHLY JOURNAL PROMPTS HERE<<<

 

PRAY:

Father God, let my gratitude for Your wisdom be my praises to You and let me praise You continually because of all Your goodness to me. You are so mighty and powerful to forgive me when all I am is broken. Thank You. Your Son, Jesus is my Redeemer and I am reminded to be grateful that He is my righteousness because I believe and accept Him. Thank You for sending Him and thank You for all there is to be grateful for. Be that grace in my heart when I strive to love Your people today and reveal to me what I must be grateful for. It is well with my soul when I am one with You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

1 Corinthians 15:27 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 15:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

NOTE: This will be a future video series on my channel.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

UPDATE

It’s been so long. I know I’ve abandoned my blog. Forgive me. I just edited my About Me too explaining this. I sound redundant. But I’m back. If you care. Or if you don’t I really don’t mind. 🙂 I started this years ago and I just can’t not use it ever again. It’s always nice to have something to call your own. I think I’m finally starting to think more like a mom, even though I don’t have any kids. This is my baby. I need to nurture it. I think God would really like that. He was the one who prompted me to start this anyway. So yes, Im back. I’m alive or at least trying to survive. Life got busy. Reading some of my old posts makes me crack up. I’ve gone and deleted ones that just sound immature. Err. I’m still growing and every year gets better and better. What matters is I keep walking in faith and part of that is keeping up with this blog. I’m so glad 2018 has been great towards me so far. I’m learning to expand in ways I only dreamed in the past. And having this blog will push me to share the Lord’s goodness. I’m grateful. And so should you, for whatever circumstance you might be in, know that it only takes gratitude for the things you already have, because with God all things are possible. While I’ve been gone, on my free time, I would read so much on health because I knew I wasn’t living my best. I’m always led to the cold truth that my relationship with Christ is directly related to my overall wellbeing, and the topic of health has definitely stepped up on my list of values. So I’ve been doing a lot of independent research, specifically concerning women’s health. If you are only following this blog because of the Christian-based content, you might want to unsubscribe. I would just like to warn you that I’m incorporating all things related to diet/weight loss (recipes, tips, and health in general). I will be sharing my weight loss journey in hopes of helping many other women struggling to lose unwanted weight. Lastly, I am a portrait artist who has committed to using my talent not just when I feel like drawing or painting. I’ve been blessed to appreciate detail in everything and with this gift, how can I suppress it? I’ll be posting all my artwork here. Check out my GALLERY. So that’s me for now. I hope you all are doing great this year. And I pray you receive blessings every day. BE BLESSED! 🙂

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

GOD’S PEACE | HUMILITY

Being humble is good. It brings you to places that has your mind and heart expecting peace…not expecting in a way that you think you deserve it, but instead expecting in a way that it’s just there and it’s free. And not many know this or is even aware it’s there, but you feel special cause you see it and understand it. At that point, it’s more of a gift than it is free. The peace of God is joy and love, and in it there is freedom. You have to help people understand this. There’s much peace by meeting Him halfway, by approaching Him in humility, by surrendering completely. But don’t waste this gift of knowledge and not tell a soul.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I was sent a message for one of the posts I made in my other blog, which was also about humility. He told me to define “humble” because he says he didn’t believe many people truly understand humility. I will eventually make a vlog discussing more on this topic. But anyway, I thought I’d refer to an older post I made, thanks to an anonymous prayer request. Here’s my thoughts on humility and more.

 

I’ve been struggling with a certain sin pattern in my life for a long time now, and no matter how many times I try to give it over to God, I end up falling back into it eventually. It’s doing a number on my anxiety, and I just feelhopeless and far from God. A friend told me I should talk to someone she knows about it, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to do that. I’d really appreciate some prayer, and maybe some advice on what to do if you’ve got any. (Sorry it’s kinda vague…)

No worries, thank you for this! 🙂 A sin is a sin. Sins will always present anxiety/fear sooner or later. There is no greater sin God detests over another because the point is He always wants us to repent and confess whatever wrong it was we did. It’s for our own good so that we move on with peace. See how much He loves us? Prayer is suppose to bring you back to humility, hence  ACTS – adoration (praise), confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (special requests). In prayer, anything you ask for should often be towards the end or at the end. I say often because if you’re not already yet in a state of surrender/humility, it will be hard to reach the heart of God, but if you already are humble before you ask, then more likely than not your prayers will be answered sooner than later. God wants you to grow in humility first before asking Him anything. Know the difference between weakness and humility. Weakness, believe it or not has pride in it. It is based on the thought and feeling we have because we believe we are not strong enough. You can magnify your weakness by feeding into that belief, which will only strengthen your “weakness”. Humility is acceptance of whatever you have good or bad and trusting God with it. We are not perfect for a reason, we’ll always make mistakes, and that reason is because the Lord wants us to call on Him in our desperation. It’s a reminder that He’s God and we’re not. I believe that when a person struggles with the same sin over and over again, it’s in His will that they are going through it. That is your test/trial. How will you handle it? Some might believe God is punishing them, or it’s karma, or it’s just life and you have to deal with it, or they might not even really think much because they are so deep into sin. He will put the person in the same situation time and time again until they approach God or in some cases approach Him a different way. Try ACTS and ask Him at the end to help you transform your mind, to help you see that your situation with the same sin are trials. It puts importance on praise and thanks rather than going to Him with your sin being the thing that’s magnified. Focus on Him, not on yourself, and the natural thing that happens next is a deep humility to surrender and give up your sins, turning away from them in complete faith. There is power in the name of Jesus. Pray and mention His name often. Put importance on the relationship between the Son and the Father. I believe we get stuck in our sins because we have lost the significance of the connection between them. God sent His Son to die for you. He died at the Cross and was resurrected to be with the Father. When He joined God in Heaven, He took our sins with Him and His Father dealt with them. ALL SINS OF THE WORLD WERE FORGIVEN, PARDONED, PAID FOR, BECAUSE GOD’S SON DYING FOR YOU AND ME WAS ALL IN HIS WILL. NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING TO UNDO THAT. THAT WAS ALL GOD’S DOING, HE SENT JESUS FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE. WE ARE THEN LEFT TO ACCEPT THAT PERFECT GRACE WHICH IS CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS AGAIN AND AGAIN AS MANY TIMES AS WE MUST EVERY HOUR, EVERY DAY AND BE LIKE JESUS, WHO WAS JUST THE EXAMPLE GOD KNEW WE NEEDED. OUR OLD LIVES MUST DIE WITH OUR SINS EACH TIME WE ACCEPT CHRIST BECAUSE WHEN WE ACCEPT CHRIST WE ALSO BECOME ONE IN THE FATHER JUST AS HE WAS UNITED WITH HIM. WE CAN’T COME TO THE FATHER WITHOUT FIRST ACCEPTING CHRIST (John 14:6). YOU WILL FEEL MUCH CLOSER TO GOD THE MORE YOU STRIVE TO LIVE WITH THE CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUS BECAUSE HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. IF YOU KNOW JESUS, THEN YOU KNOW THE FATHER (John 14:9). If you accept Christ you will do whatever it takes not to take God’s Grace for granted and also not take advantage of it. When you accept Christ you’re accepting God’s Grace. Get in the habit of accepting Him into your heart every morning and truly mean it so that your mind magnifies God’s revealed truth about His Son….you’re reminding yourself that JESUS IS GOD’S GRACE. WE DON’T DESERVE HIM BUT HE WAS SENT ANYWAY. Every time you obey Him on the basis of His Grace, He is proud of you. That is a blessing because it should grant your heart joy and peace for being in harmony with Him. And if you fall into the same sin again, repeat the process ACTS and in His time you’ll get better and better at turning away. I believe that anxiety is the result of a divided heart. Make sure you’re not making certain situations, thoughts, and things more important than God. Anything that  doesn’t point to Him is a distraction. He must be behind your every motive. Whatever you entertain in your mind and in your life is what you end up worshipping over Him. Pay close attention to the things you feed your mind and body. FOCUS ON HIM. A couple years ago I found out the word integrity comes from “integer” meaning whole and complete, not a fraction. Integrity is found in wholeness, in being one with God. It’s only in being one with Him you will find true peace and joy and faith and confidence to overcome your giants. PRAY THROUGHOUT THE DAY, OBEY CONSISTENTLY.

       (my prayer…)

Heavenly Father, we worship You, the God who frees us from ourselves. Be magnified in our minds, be glorified in our hearts, be exalted in Your will, to which we surrender faithfully. Lord God, we praise Jesus, thank You for His holiness, thank You that You chose us to be Your servants, that we might give up our ways of pleasing ourselves to devote a life of honoring You. Father, I lift up my friend who seeks to live that life of freedom, I point them to You. Every morning, the life You grace them with, breathe Your Spirit into their soul so that they rise and walk with the life You meant for them live. Lord, give them Your willpower, so they seek to find a strength that matches Jesus’ to go after Your heart in all they do and say. Reveal to them the beauty that is in Your heart, so they strive to offer theirs in place for humility. Forgive them Father for all they have done to pollute their heart and show them how easily You have removed all impurity and fears because of surrendering to You. I ask that You help them to focus on praising You and magnifying that perfect heart of Yours so that in their desire for more of You, they allow theirs to be shaped and molded continually. And however You are going to do that, let their minds be also transformed to trust that in all situations and circumstances, You are there guiding them no matter what. Lord, I lift up all those that return to the same sins. In Your power break their addictions, teach them the ways of Jesus because it’s His heart full of character we want to reflect. We call on You, our ever-present help, please convict us loudly in our hearts when temptation is near to offer that time to You. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

1 John 3:6-7 “No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Acts 8:22 Repent, then, of this evil plan of yours, and pray to the Lord that He will forgive you for thinking such a thing as this.

Matthew 3:8 Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

1 Peter 1:13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 

By His Grace, Sheela (Via godfirstgodalways)

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

God’s Will

Proverbs 3:4-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

I’m learning to trust in God with all my heart all over again. Too often I grow with pride and sometimes I’m so blind thinking I’m still following Him when I’m not. Instead I’m following my emotions. It’s important I stay highly focused on Him, I need to yield every second. His will is for me to discover it no matter how many times it takes. His will will bring me to obey Him.

It’s easier prayed than done, and it truly is a challenge for some not to give in to their human emotions. But if we learn to use negative feelings as triggers to go straight to the Lord in prayer, we can prevent so many regrets, and broken relationships. Falling off the narrow path is the result of leading ourselves based on what we think is better for us. Yet the Lord Almighty loves us so relentlessly that He will not allow us to keep going without His discipline. And whenever we return, He will not allow us to keep going without the strength and faith we asked for.

I believe so many of us get anxious figuring out what God’s will is as if to say there is a general idea/plan He has for each individual, which He does, but I think it’s a big misconception to put the importance on that. He reveals His will every time we obey. In our journey with Christ, every step we surrender we’re brought closer to the Father, making us one with Him. His will may not always make sense at first, but sooner or later we discover a growing peace and acceptance in the most inner part of our being placed by none other than God. His purpose is for me to take His will and make action based on the faith He’s graced me with and the wisdom that has been learned from that. His will won’t bring me somewhere where He is not also present. But to merely acknowledge Him in every situation is not the same as surrendering to His will. A declaration to the Lord saying, “I obey Your will, please help me now to understand what I should do” is an act of faith where He then has our full attention as He urges us to simply walk by it. His will is always good, otherwise He wouldn’t have created you for it, because your purpose in life is for Him alone, where His love and guidance will never abandon you nor forsake you.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  • Is there any problem I had this past week that made me trust my feelings more than God?
  • Can I try better at handing Him my emotions by confessing right then and there and ask for a desire to recognize the times I have the opportunity to pray?
  • What can I do differently tomorrow to remind me that my faith is more important than my feelings?

PRAY:

Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for creating me with emotions, for the person that I was then, the person I am now, and the person that You want me to become. Forgive me for the times I have only focused on my needs and desires and the times I have forgotten to depend on Your vision for me. You love me so much not to leave me as I am and so I thank You for disciplining me by using my emotions to teach me lessons. I ask that you help me use them as a way to refocus on You so that I can remember to trust You and Your will for me and not myself or my ways. Help me to understand and make sense of things that I have a hard time accepting and remind me that Your ways are higher. Lord, help me to rely on Your truth when problems confuse me by doing whatever it takes for me to make things less about me and more about You and help me to desire what You desire for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

Sorrows Into Joy

 

Even after all these years of being a Christian, I still struggle with trust. In all my relationships, God wants me to dearly cling onto Him. When I’m at my weakest (usually a few days out of the month…) I’m reminded of traumatizing experiences in my past. But without a relationship with the Lord, I would be clueless as to how He could turn my sorrows into joy. I’m so grateful for my trials. Anybody who has been physically and/or verbally abused by a parent, guardian, or partner, remember He only gives what you can handle, and it’s in His will you come out of it a much stronger person. You wouldn’t be the faithful and strong person you are today if you never acknowledged God was watching over you.

James 1:2-4, 12 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast (or perseveres) under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Romans 5:3-4 We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

My Peace of Mind

View this painting in my ART GALLERY.

Original art. 20″ x 24″ Oil on canvas.

I painted this lovely scene in 2009, except it was much gloomier and quite depressing. Just last year, I decided it wasn’t finished and added colors that I believed my heart belted out if it wasn’t for joy. Then I decided it isn’t nearly done if I don’t add a poem. 🙂 I’m probably going to work on this again, because I already see some things I need to touch up on. Always happens after taking a picture. But anyway…..

There exists a beautiful place

Of a blue river flowing with grace

It’s nowhere found on Earth’s face

Not the sight of man can be seen or traced

I walk here when peace is hard to find

I lay here to have that peace of mind

I pray here when the world seems deaf and blind

I return here for a heart that was left behind

 

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art