These Eyes, This Heart, This Mind, This Spirit…

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These eyes have seen dark days
This heart has felt much sorrow
This mind has battled depression
This spirit had lost all hope for tomorrow

These eyes have seen loved ones disappear
This heart has created walls
This mind has fought for mental stability
This spirit has endured countless pitfalls

These eyes have seen deep struggle
This heart has been severely damaged
This mind has overcome confusion
This spirit has fought to manage

But somehow I survived…

The trauma these eyes have seen
The aches this heart has felt
The anguish this mind has battled
The brokenness with which this spirit has dealt

How did I survive?
It surely wasn’t by chance
It wasn’t in my own strength
Nor by the power of my weak hands

It’s because these eyes learned to look to Jesus
This heart learned to embrace His love
This mind learned to seek His peace
This spirit connected to The Power Source above

These eyes now see the beauty of life
This heart now joy exudes
This mind now rests in serenity
This spirit has been wholly rescued

Jesus
That’s how I survived
Yes, Jesus
He’s kept these eyes, this heart, this mind, this spirit alive

Copyright (c) 2013 LaKeisha Rainey-Collins. All Rights Reserved.

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Beauty for Ashes, Inc. Women’s Conference

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ImageBeauty For Ashes, Inc. presents its 1st Annual “Beautiful Me Women’s Conference.”

The “Beautiful Me” Conference is designed to  help women discover wholeness and healing through the perfect love of our Heavenly Father. It’s a conference where messages of hope, love, redemption, and grace will be shared as a means of encouraging women from all walks in believing that, despite the roughness, ugliness, and harshness of life, there’s still beauty within them just waiting to be unveiled.

Evangelist Dianna Hobbs of Buffalo, New York, President & CEO of Empowering Everyday Women Magazine (www.eewmagazine.com) will bring a dynamic, life-changing word from the Lord, along with other musical guests, liturgical dancers, and speakers.

Beauty For Ashes, Inc. founder and conference host LaKeisha Rainey-Collins will launch her debut women’s inspiration book “Beautiful Me: 30 Days to Embracing Your Beauty Within” with a book-signing and giveaways.

Gather your women’s ministry, mommies group, and all of your sisterfriends and come be reminded that: You are Beautiful. You are Valuable. You are Worthy. You are Whole.

See you there!

Follow the link for hotel reservations at Beauty For Ashes’ discounted rate: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mobmc?groupCode=bawbawa&app=resvlink&fromDate=5/30/13&toDate=6/2/13

Try Again: No Fear…All Faith!

ImageEver since the pregnancy loss, it has become the million dollar question that almost everyone asks me – Will you try again?

Each time, I never really have an answer.  Truthfully, I’ve been torn when it comes to considering actually trying again.  There’s a huge part of me that is terrified of the possibility of going through such a traumatic experience again, and if I never give pregnancy another try, I figure I’ll save myself from the risk of suffering that particular heartache and disappointment should the result from the last time repeat itself.

The reality of never having the opportunity to hold my sweet baby in my arms was deeply disappointing for me, and the thought of putting myself in a position to feel that let down again has honestly had me quite fearful.  But since I know that the Lord has not given me the spirit of fear, I knew I had to take my anxiety about conceiving straight to Him.

A few nights ago, I pulled out my prayer journal and favorite pen, and poured my heart to The Father.  I’ll give you a peek inside that intimate moment and share what I wrote…

Click here to read more…

Grace & Peace,

LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

He’s Always There…

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ImageLord, I really need your help
I cannot do this on my own.
I’ve tried all I know to do
But still everything is going wrong.

I’m praying and fasting,
I’m standing on Your Word;
I’m putting all my faith in You
Yet Your voice I have not heard.

I’m drowning in my problems.
Can’t you see I’m going under?
Your Word says You’ll hold me up;
About that, I’m beginning to wonder.

Don’t You see all my pain?
Don’t You know about what I’m going through?
My present help in time of trouble,
Please tell me, where are You?

Where are you when the tears are falling?
Where are you when I’m searching for strength?
Where are you when my bills are due
And all my money is spent?

You said You’d never leave nor forsake me.
You said You’d never leave my side.
You said You’d always be with me
Your face You’d never hide.

So why can’t I feel you?
Why can’t I see your face?
Why don’t I hear Your voice?
Why does my life feel devoid of Your amazing grace?

I’m crying out to You, My Savior
Please come and rescue me.
Remind me that You’re there;
Extend your love and mercy.

My child, I am here.
I’ve been there all along.
I’ve never left your side,
You’ve got it all wrong.

I see you when you cry.
I feel when you are weak.
I know when you are in need,
Long before you ever speak.

I hear your prayers
I know every request.
I’m not ignoring you
I’m simply preparing you for my best.

My best answers
My best way of escape
My best plans for you
My best out-pour of grace

Have I ever not come to your rescue?
Have I ever let you down?
Have I ever failed to deliver you?
My child, I’ll never let you drown.

I am your hiding place,
The shelter from your storm.
I am constantly extending my grace,
Keeping you safe from harm.

My child, don’t doubt Me
My Presence is always there
I am right beside you,
even when you’re unaware.

Holding your hand,
And wiping your tears.
Soothing your doubts,
and calming your fears.

When you can’t hear my voice
When you don’t see my hand
Know in your heart that I am with you
Forever working on your behalf.

My child, I love you deeply
You’ll never fathom how much I care
You are my treasure
Trust me, Your Father is always there.

~All rights reserved to LaKeisha Rainey-Collins~

A Little Encouragement…

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ImageThere are times when things in life become so hard, that it seems not even God can help you. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, because there is absolutely nothing too hard for God, and His Word promises that He will deliver the righteous from all of their afflictions. (Psalm 34:19) I don’t know what hardships you may 

be facing today, but I do know that God’s strength, grace, mercy, and power will help you overcome. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve suffered, how low you may be, how intense the struggle, or what the enemy is whispering in your mind, God will bring you through.

The very same God who parted the Red Sea to rescue the Israelites from Pharaoh and his army, will make a way for you to overcome the enemy (Exodus 14).

 
Jesus Christ, who abundantly fed the multitude with two fish and five loaves, will abundantly provide for you and your family (Mark 6:35-44).
 
Our powerful Savior, who raised Lazarus from the dead, will resurrect those areas within you that are lifeless (John 11:1-40).
 
Our merciful Lord, who graciously forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery, will pardon you of your sins and wipe your slate clean (John 8:1-11).

He is the same, yesterday, today, and forevermore. If He did it back then, He can surely do it again. God has the solution to any problem you’re facing right now. All is not lost; God will help you overcome. Trust His strength; trust His wisdom; trust His timing; obey His word; keep the faith, and watch Him bring you through.

 
Be encouraged, my sweet friends! ♥

Find the Lessons in the Pain

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A few days ago, I took to my Facebook page to share my heart with my friends in regards to how I was feeling, as that particular day marked eight weeks after experiencing one of the most traumatic situations I’ve ever encountered.

Here’s what I posted:

It’s been 2 months since the devastating loss of our sweet pea, and what a journey to restoration and healing it has been. I am grateful that the Lord’s grace has sustained us through it all, and continues to be the glue that holds us together through all of life’s unexpected changes. Though this has been a tough season for me, I would not trade it for the way I’ve grown closer to the Lord and increased in faith, strength, wisdom, and prayer. I’ve learned so much over the past two months – about life, God, myself, my marriage, purpose, grace, and the list goes on. I’ll share a few with you…

1. There is no pain deeper than the power of God’s ability to heal.
2. I am much stronger than I think.
3. Broken does not mean destroyed.
4. Struggle reveals the strength of a marriage.
5. I have an extremely amazing husband who adores me and deeply cares about my well-being.
6. Living in obedience to God’s plan of purpose will sometimes lead you through the valley of the shadow of death, but you will not die. It’s only a shadow, and is cast away by the light of God’s love. His light will lead you through the valley.
7. The glory will far exceed the grief.
8. The Word of the Lord is a refreshing spring of living water that revitalizes a thirsting soul.
9. Though life may knock you down, with God, you’ll rise again.
10. Your despair does not discount your destiny.

I continue to heal. God continues to shower me with grace. I continue to trust in Him. He continues to prove His faithfulness. The journey continues…

God is steadily restoring, rebuilding, and refreshing me as I journey on in recovering from the pain, loss, and heartache this season has brought upon my life.  Though I could’ve allowed myself to become bitter and angry with God, I choose to be brave and look deep into the pain to find the lessons and wisdom I can gain.  Furthermore, I’ve made the choice to apply those lessons to my life as I continue to move forward in fulfilling God’s purpose for me, and to share the wisdom I gain along the way with others.  For me, that’s what the current challenges of my life inspire me to do.  Click here to read the rest.

Follow this link to read my latest contribution to Womanhood With Purpose blog.

Until next time, remember…you are valuable, you are worthy, you are whole!

In Christ,

LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

xoxo

God Loves YOU!

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It’s been a couple of months since I’ve blogged, but tonight I feel compelled to revisit and revise an old blog post to share with you.  It’s a message about how God loves us so unconditionally, that even though He already knew we’d be imperfect people, He still chose us to be His children…His daughters.  Isn’t it so comforting and refreshing to know that in spite of how flawed we may be, our Heavenly Father sees us as His perfect creation and loves us with an everlasting, ever-increasing, ever-faithful love?  I can’t explain why He loves us so, but I’m mighty grateful that He does.  I pray that this ministers to your heart, and reminds you that despite your shortcomings, you are loved and chosen by God.

 “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT)

Long before the creation of the world, God knew you, He loved you, and He chose you.  Long before you were ever conceived in your mother’s womb, the Lord loved you and chose you as His own.  He already knew about the mistakes you’d make, yet He loved you.  He already knew about the struggles you’d have, yet He still chose you. He already knew you’d slip up and fall down, yet it still gave Him great pleasure to love you and have you as His child.

I don’t know who this is for, but know that God’s love for you is not contingent upon how good you are, how pretty you are, how educated you are, how wealthy you are, or any other quality you may or may not possess…it is an unconditional, uncircumstantial, untainted, perfect love.  There’s nothing you can do to gain it, and there’s nothing you can do to lose it, because nothing can separate you from His love.  God loves you; in all of your imperfection, He chose you.  Why?  Simply because that’s what He wanted to do.

Through the blood of His son Jesus Christ, He sees you faultless…a perfect reflection of Himself.  He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

In your pain…God loves you.

In your shame…God loves you.

In your insecurities…God loves you.

In your guilt…God loves you.

In your mistakes…God loves you.

In your brokenness…God loves you.

Embrace the Father’s love for you. Enjoy the song posted below…

Get Daily Inspiration from LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

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Need a little “Beauty In Your Day”?  I will deliver it straight to your email!  Day-to-day life can get a bit ugly at times, and it can be a challenge to really see the beauty of it all.  Well, my friends, I am here to help you focus on the goodness that each day brings…here to add a little sunshine to your day.  Would you like that?  If so, click here to subscribe to my daily newsletter.  I know it will be a blessing to your life!

Looking forward to sharing with you!

xoxo

-LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

Comfort & Assurance In God’s Word

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But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.O Israel, the one who formed you says,“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.

~Isaiah 43:1-3a,4b~

The Lord led me to this passage of scripture during the wee hours of the morning when sleep escaped me and all I could do was pour out my heart to Him through tears.

“Lord, help me.  I need to know that You will see me through this” I spoke outwardly through sobs.  I reached over to my nightstand, grabbed my New Living Translation Study Bible, and combed through its delicate pages, searching for words of comfort and assurance.

“Speak to my heart, God.  I need to hear from You”, I pleaded with the Lord.  I was desperate to hear my Father’s voice…longing to know that He hadn’t forsaken me and left me to drown in my sorrow.  I needed to know that despite what He was taking me through, He still loved me.

Of all of the wonderful scriptures of comfort found in the pages of God’s word, I felt as if my search for consolation was reaching a dead end.  Frustrated and feeling that God wasn’t hearing my cry for help, I sat my Bible aside and began to cry uncontrollably, when all of a sudden I felt a light wave of wind and heard the pages of my Bible crinkling.  The coolness of the wind jolted me out of my outpour of tears, and when I looked up it was as if a light was shining on my Bible, specifically highlighting the first four verses of Isaiah 43.
It was so odd, because the position of the lamp on my nightstand was no where near close enough to my Bible to provide such light, and the slow rotation of my ceiling fan was not strong enough to give off such a breeze.
Simultaneously puzzled and curious, I picked up my favorite book and began to read.  As I read the words of the scripture posted above, I knew it was only the wind of God and the light of Christ I felt and saw.  It was as if the Lord was wrapping me in the warmth and security of His arms, giving me the exact comfort and assurance I so desperately needed.  My present help in trouble met me at my very point of need.
I heard my Father so sweetly whispering to me:
“My child, my sweet daughter, you are mine.  I know the waters you tread right now are deep, but I’m right there with you, holding your hand.  The river you wade is extremely difficult, and it’s taking all of your strength, but I promise I won’t let you drown.  The fire, I know it’s hot and unbearable, but the heat will only refine you; I won’t allow the flames to consume you.  I am your God; your Father; your Savior, and you are so precious to me. I love you too much to allow anything to destroy you.”

 In that moment, through the pain, I worshiped my Savior for coming to my rescue and assuring me that even in the numbing pain of child loss, He was yet with me and would see me through, because I am precious to Him and He loves me.

Though it has not magically erased the pain I feel deep inside, I am confident that, as much as losing my baby has broken me and shattered my heart into a billion pieces, my loving, compassionate, caring, faithful Father will hold me up, restore me, and heal me in every place that I hurt.

The same is true for you.  No matter how tough or painful your current season may be, find comfort and assurance in God’s word – He is with you; you will not drown; you will not be burned up; you will not be consumed.  Our Father, your Savior who loves you so dearly and deeply, will make sure of that.

Don’t be afraid to go through whatever it is the Lord allows to come your way.  He’s got you, and you’ve got what it takes to make it.
I’ll leave you with what David said in Psalm 23:4, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

 Hallelujah!  Praise God for the comfort and assurance we find in His Holy Word.

Love & Hugs,

LaKeisha Rainey-Collins

 

Your Life Is No Mistake

Sometimes the pain is too hard to bear

And the burdens are so heavy I can barely stand tall

My faith doesn’t seem to move these mountains

Nothing appears to help at all

I don’t know why I bother

I’m sure this is as good as life gets

I must be crazy to believe

That I deserve anything better than this

 My mother says I was a mistake

My father never loved me enough to show his face

I have no one to call a friend

I wonder why I was ever born into this place

 My life serves no purpose

Nothing about it makes sense

I feel like I’m just taking up space

My existence, to me, is nothing but suspense

Why did God put me here

In this dark, empty world of mine

Why would He make me suffer

Searching for acceptance and purpose I can never seem to find

 God if you hear me

Please tell me why

Why would you give me life

When all I feel is death inside

 My child, I hear you

I hear you loud and clear

I am perfect in all that I do

It’s by no mistake that you are here

 Before I formed you in your mother’s womb

I knew everything about you

I loved you and chose you to be my own

And I gave you purpose too

It doesn’t matter what your mother says

Or what your father failed to do

I love you with an everlasting love

And I will never forsake you

 Despite what you see of your life right now

My plans for you are good

I have hope and a future for you

My child, you’ve misunderstood

 See, you were created on purpose

In me, nothing is happenstance

I will show you who I designed you to be

If only you’d give me a chance

 In me is where you find life

For I am The Living Well

If you lose yourself completely in me

Oh what a testimony you’ll soon tell

 Your best days are still ahead

Don’t you give up your life

Keep your eyes focused on me

And sunshine will fill even your darkest nights

Give me the shattered pieces of your life

And I will restore it fully  unto thee

For I am The Master Potter

And you, My child, are my masterpiece

Perfectly created

Loved unconditionally

Accepted purposefully

A mistake, by no means.

 ~LaKeisha Rainey-Collins~