Finding my bearings

Posted August 24th, 2015 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

This morning I received an email from Patsy, a sweet friend who attended several past REPLENISH retreats.  She had forwarded my last post last October to 10 friends inviting them to the fall retreat! Oops, there is no fall retreat! This morning was a reality check that I am still finding my bearing in this NEW SEASON of life!

Never have King Solomon’s words touched my life in such an active way…daily way, moment by moment tangible way.

His wisdom tells us there is a Time For Everything…Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season (appropriate time),

and

a time for every matter (purpose) under heaven:

Seasons… we can expect to experience them, we are encouraged to embrace them remembering not the tyranny of time but the certainty of change. Those changes are God’s way of making everything beautiful, but it is in His timing.

Late fall of 2014, Jim and I completed a small cottage in the back of the garden here at The Farm so my 80-year old parents could come live with us.

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.

DSC06640

IMG_1797

IMG_1850

IMG_1852

mom & dad

The Farm is a place of new life and healing, and day by day we have seen a Springtime of new life emerge from a very Wintery season.  Summertime is a time for hard work, but faithful toiling produces a harvest in the fall.

DSC04619 (3)

This summer has been a season of adjusting. A season of being pushed outside of my comfort zone. A season that holds great potential for joy when I embrace it with a fresh commitment to living vitally in the here and now. The past is just that, past. And the future is totally in God’s hands. The only “stuff” of life I can control is how I will respond. How open I am to the Holy Spirit producing an abundance of fruit in my life. An abundance of his love, joy, peace, patience….kindness and self control.

Last fall, right before I moved mom and dad, I completed a beautiful home in Birmingham, Alabama. During construction I stood at the top of the double spiral staircase and thought about just how often I viewed life from the top! Yet far too often I found myself looking down in worry instead of rejoicing that my feet were on high ground. In my heart, I knew that this new season of care taking would be a climb, but as I gazed the chandelier at the peak, I was reminded to keep looking up!  Focus on the main thing, while holding on tight to the railing, the boundaries, the hem of Jesus’ garment.

Psalm 121…I look to the hills from whence my help comes, my help comes from the Lord…  So I ask you, what season are you experiencing? Are you looking up in confidence remembering that you are not alone?  For me, self-sufficiency tired out less than half way up! Thank goodness!

DSC06606

DSC06707

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…

Plucking up self-sufficiency to plant dependency on God alone helps me find my bearings in this new season. I have missed holding the REPLENISH retreats here at The Farm, but God is always up to something new. Taking Replenish on the road, I found myself in Texas twice in January, Mississippi in March and New Jersey in April. All different denominations Replenishing in the one true living God!

By the way, you can truly see forever in Texas!                                                                                                                  

IMG_1902

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted….

New seasons bring newness of relationship plucking up any past issues and planting unity in love. Plucking up means getting at the root of things. Frank, Eva and I have come together by listening to each other, loving each other and putting “self” aside for the good of our parents. I am so blessed by them.                                                                                     

IMG_1953

DSC06766

My heart is full and I write you this morning! Your notes, emails and calls wondering why I haven’t blogged means so much to me, especially the emails from those of you who have experienced a season of care taking older parents. Please keep us in your prayers. God is faithful, but new seasons you have never experienced can be scary. Miss “much afraid” here is standing on those 365 FEAR NOTS in Scripture…but knowing you are interceding encourages me immeasurably!

So from, Jim and his 13 milking goats, chickens, french guineas, me and the rest of the family…Thank you!

I love you and hope to blog more often as I find my bearings in this new season of life.

xo

leah

Seeing God’s glory in a taxi cab

Posted August 15th, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

Since my flight arrived very early, my clients sent a car to meet me at the airport. During the flight, I pondered my morning devotional, which reminded me that God does not commission us to do anything with insuring our success. He equips us for success. And oftentimes, like Joshua, he allows us to fight the battle, but the outcome is settled in the Heavens before we ever pick up our weapon.

So why do I fear?

This truth should instill such confidence as I traverse perilous paths. The truth the Holy Spirit reminded me of Monday morning was

GOD IS SOVEREIGN.

Even during hard times, sad times, challenging times…good and joyful times, Romans 8:28 is a rock-solid truth.

God works everything in our lives together for our greatest good and his greatest glory!  Honestly, my mind can’t completely comprehend this truth at times, but my heart does.

When we believe God is sovereign, we must know that the outcome is oftentimes different from our expectations and always different from the world’s. Our success looks different from God’s lens. When I truly embrace God’s sovereignty, he produces great peace in my heart…and, in hind-sight, I see his glory.

The taxi driver had an infectious pre-dawn joy! I stepped into his cab and he ask me why I was visiting his beautiful city of Birmingham and about my work. As I briefly shared, always including the sub-title of Interior Wisdom, opening up the conversation about faith, he began sharing his story.

The Bible tells us deep cries out to deep at the roar of God’s waterfalls…and that morning I heard how God grabbed up this precious man in salvation. At the end of his testimony he said something I will remember for a very long time…AND I needed to hear!

He said to me…“Do you Remember when Moses asked God to show him His glory?” The story is in Exodus 33, and God said you can’t see my face but I will cover you and hold you close and after my glory passes by I will remove my hand and allow you to see my back.

“Yes,” I said.

He looked in the rear view mirror at me and said, that is how much of my life has been. I must trust God is covering my life and holding me close. I must trust He knows what he is doing. I must know in my heart that, in hind-sight, he will reveal his glory, ways, purposes in those hard times. I have to walk through the “thing” and then look back and see God.

What an encouragement from my Heavenly Father to trust him! To know He is right there in the most difficult times! Too often I try to make common-sense out of the supernatural! When all God desires is for me to trust him.

One day we will see God face to face, until then, He covers us with his blood offering, Jesus’ life, and holds us close revealing his ways and his glory in his perfect timing. Maybe like me, you need our brother, the taxi driver’s message today for that “thing” you are facing.

have a beautiful weekend,

leah

p.s…    I have set the date for REPLENISH…check out HERE, for it will be an amazing time! Hope to see you this fall!

 

 

Speaking in Orlando

Posted June 2nd, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

Hi Friends! If you are in the Orlando area, I wanted to tell you about J4, a wonderful interdenominational organization dedicated to encouraging women to lead with a Biblical perspective in business, the community, ministry and the home. The name J4 comes from the Bible- Judges: Chapter 4.  As the fourth ruler of Israel, Judge Deborah led successfully by submitting to God’s plan for her life using her gifts and skills for His glory. Deborah’s story is an inspiration for all women who are called into leadership and it encourages us to lead with a Biblical perspective.

This year J4 has been exploring the many ways that women can “Take the Word to Work” by applying the commands of Scripture. Tomorrow night, June 3rd, I will be giving a message from the beatitudes, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

What does that beatitude mean to you, to be pure in heart?  And how do we keep our heart pure?

Join me as I share my journey of how the Lord has “detoxed” my heart! For the desire of my heart is to see God. See him at work in my life and those around me.

Social/networking begins 5:30-6 pm on the 3rd floor of the Edington Ministry Center at First Presbyterian Church, 106 E. Church St., Orlando. The parking garage is located at the corner of Jackson/Rosalind Ave. Parking will be validated so please bring your ticket with you.

I hope you will join me…for when we let go of the toxic, unnecessary and harmful things affecting our heart life, we make room for the Holy Spirit to fill us with his beautiful character and ways so all who cross our path will see God in us, and we will begin to see others with a new perspective.

To read more about j4 and the event, click HERE.

Many blessings on all you do! I will be signing Interior Wisdom before and after the event.

leah

A time and season…

Posted May 29th, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.00.10 AM

For everything there is a season,

and a time for every purpose under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.00.27 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.01.03 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.01.48 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.02.20 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.03.57 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.04.43 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.04.57 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 7.05.22 AM

The past two weeks have been really hard for Jim and me. We lost our precious Rudy, lovingly called The Roo. Rudy was a huge part of our lives for many many years. For me…what I miss most is having him snuggled beside me this chair during our morning quiet time. We both loved this part of our day. The stillness of early morning…just the 3 of us. Thank you God.

As I look back, I realize I have had very little experience with death. Losing someone, or anything God created, having life and breath in its lungs. Life is eternal, yet life on earth is short. Just a wisp, or moment, the Bible tells us.

 

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance

 

So I remember what I know. By the grace of God I have the hope of Heaven! Faith and hope in a huge God who takes my ash heap of sorrow and makes all things beautiful in its time.  Rudy and I learned this in our quiet time together. And together, for almost 15 years we stand on His Word.

 

All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers, and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.

 

So I cling to hope…  Thankful that I can mourn with hope in a living God who cares deeply about every little thing that affects my life. Thank you God for The Roo!

xo

leah

Purpose

Posted March 17th, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

Soooo, yesterday was my birthday…a pretty pivotal birthday in my mind. While spending the day with Jim and Lauren, I made the statement to Lauren that I never thought I’d be this old!! As I stared into my 29-year old daughter’s beautiful eyes, I knew, somehow, she understood, for 30 {which will be pivotal to her} is just around the corner.

I am not sure what I thought my life at this stage would look like, but the Holy Spirit brings to my remembrance a sermon I heard in Destin, Florida at a beachside service, which greatly impacted the past 22 years of my life. The Methodist minister encouraged us saying, “Do what you can with what you’ve got.”

Do what you can with what you’ve got.

For what “we’ve got” matters not, if we don’t use it to be a blessing to others God puts in out path. We all have a sphere of influence, a ministry, and God desires to use our natural gifts and talents, time and resources He has so generously given us, to shine brightly with the love of Jesus. I want my life to look like a little slice of Heaven on earth, how about you? Heaven came down, giving our lives beautiful meaning and purpose. Jesus did that for me. Jesus did that for you.

Do what you can with what you’ve got.

Just like a  custom interior, all our lives look different. But each of us can decide to make a difference during this little wisp of a time we are on earth. Maybe in another 20 years when 75 rolls around, I will say the same thing…I never thought I’d be this old! But hopefully I will know in the depths of my soul that I did what I could with what God gave me, to the honor and glory of His name.

Today I pray a blessing over your life. A blessing of discovery, discovery of God’s design for your life to impact this generation. He knows you completely and has ordained good for your life. May God give you revelation knowledge and Spiritual wisdom, coupled with a courageous steadfast heart to walk your path. I pray he expands your territory in amazing ways giving you a life of abundant joy. May it be a simple life, a life full of meaning and purpose in the big and small stuff. The simplicity of living in Jesus’ name overflowing the reservoir of your life with love, springing up living water moment by moment as you

Do what you can with what you’ve got.

What is that for you?

The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,

which a man found and covered up.

Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

 Matthew 13:44

Purpose is precious!

xo

leah

7 New Additions to The Farm

Posted February 19th, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

 As we continue homesteading at The Farm….our Nigerian dwarf goats.

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 9.03.54 AM

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 9.04.09 AM

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 9.04.45 AM

DSC06543

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.17.31 AM

Jim with “Miss Congeniality” who loves to be rubbed and petted, and sit in your lap!

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.18.00 AM

Our sweet friend Laura brought her kids to see our kids Sunday after church and she took some of these wonderful pictures. This is her daughter Quinn.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.15.14 AM

Meet “Bootsie”!  She is a bit shy and Mr. Jim is really the only one she trusts.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.16.38 AM

DSC06551

“Angel” is a beautiful blond with soft blue eyes and a melodic bleat.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.17.11 AM

Miss C. does love to be in the middle of everything!

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.18.23 AM

DSC06550

We have 2 males, note the blue collars, and this is “Isaac”.  He is quite a pretty boy with his Rod Stewart-like blonde hair sticking straight up between his horns.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.18.47 AM

DSC06552

“Mama Love”, who has a heart shape on her back, and her little one, “baby Joy”, who looks like the Chick-fila cow in miniature, are inseparable.  All the kids are about 6 months old, except for Mama, who is about 2. Margie, from whom we purchased the kids, suggested we get a Mama to teach the young ones, and protect them too.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.20.09 AM

DSC06554

And then there is “Milkshake”! He is our alpha male that loves to dance on the picnic table! We think he and “Bootsie” are in love. Speaking of love…we plan to breed them and sell the males and milk the females. I am researching how to make goat milk products such as soaps, lotions and cheeses.

I know many of you are thinking…Leah and goats! Well, I must say that I have come to love these precious creatures and can while away an hour or two just watching them jump and play. They are very clean animals and amazingly won’t eat or drink anything unclean. They have 4 compartments to their stomach and so what comes out in the end is pure compost for our garden.

Speaking of love, love is definitely in the air on The Farm!!

DSC06555

Stop by for a visit and experience Psalm 24…The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof!

xo

leah

p.s…Registration is open for Replenish at The Farm so check out the retreat HERE

and regarding the Wake Forest tee shirt Jim is wearing…he is still an Alabama fan, but he prayed with and encouraged a young man from Deland who went on to play football at Wake Forest and he gave Jim this tee shirt.

Got FRUIT?

Posted February 11th, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

Recently a friend shared a story with me about an associate pastor who was forced to leave his position with his church due to the extreme stress he was experiencing. Stress that perpetuated physical distress. Stress of working in a ministry. Stress of working for a church proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of loving Jesus. Stress of working in an environment that most secular companies would not tolerate.

As I listened in sadness, my friend said, “I don’t see any FRUITS of the Holy Spirit.” I corrected {terrible habit!}, and said, “It is the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit, not plural.”

Walking away, I thought about our conversation. When I make a list, I call it the items, plural, on my list, but a grocery list is different. Although many of the items work together to make a delicious meal, one isn’t conditional on the other. I can substitute, even leave that extra cup of sugar out and all is fine. I found myself mulling over, meditating on Galatians 6:22, regarding keeping in step with the Spirit of God.

But the FRUIT of the Spirit is

love, joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness, self-control;

against such things there is no law.

 

Can I really love from the heart and be impatient and unkind? Can I have such a settled peace about my relationship with Jesus and let my tongue rage out of control? The FRUIT of the Holy Spirit, the character of God displayed in my life…this word FRUIT, in some translations, is substituted with the word benefit. The benefit of the Holy Spirit living and dwelling in my heart is love. is peace. is patience. is kindness. is goodness. is faithfulness. is gentleness. is self-control. They all work together. All of God or none of God displayed in my life?

When we are unloving, miserable, anxious, impatient, unkind, mean, rough and completely out of control…are we being FAITHFUL or UNFAITHFUL to God?

But the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit…

Scripture is infallible…not fruits plural, but singular. Oh the manifold wisdom of God! Help us Lord to keep in step with your Spirit, displaying as one, the One. Purge the smelly rotten fruit from our lives and fill us with big, fat juicy FRUIT of your precious Spirit. Bookend our lives with Love and Self-control. Speak to each of us personally and show us where our partial obedience is no obedience at all.

Overflow all of God in our lives. The FRUIT of the Holy Spirit…

xo

leah

 

 

 

 

Coffee with Erica

Posted February 4th, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

If you live near The Farm, please come for a wonderful time of fellowship and inspiration!

Just send an email to Leah@LeahRichardson.com if you can join us.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 11.05.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 11.05.15 AMblessings of joy!

xo

leah

Sidelined

Posted January 23rd, 2014 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson

I enjoy watching football, but of course I grew up as a Georgia Bulldog in the SEC! Last Sunday watching a playoff game with Jim, I noticed the army of players on the side lines and my mind wandered off…

Sometimes I feel sidelined. I am dressed, ready and equipped, even seeing where I can make a difference, yet I stand still, remain unmoved for stepping forward into the game feels uncomfortable. That still small voice of the Spirit has not released me to move, go, help, call…write. So I rest, sidelined.

Have you ever been sidelined? Called to step aside for a time? Surrender and acceptance bring revelation, and I have found it is most often for the revelation of rest…needed rest that the ultimate coach makes me lie down in green pastures while He brings restoration to my soul.

During times of rest, forced or willing, do you spend your time replenishing mind, body, soul and spirit or whining, wishing and complaining about not being in the game? Far too many times past the latter applied to me! But I am learning that being briefly sidelined doesn’t mean the game is over. Selah means to pause, not the end. The coach knows every player on his roster…Oh how much more does God know us! Every strand we will tuck in our helmet when our name is called to play our part. When it is our turn.

Recently I received some devastating news about a dear friend whose home burned down over the New Year. Every time I wanted to pick up the phone- sidelined! I’ve learned to be sensitive to the Spirit and listen, so I waited until my name was called, and I called. What sweet and meaningful conversation in His perfect timing! God knows best. He has a plan. Don’t fret away your time on the side line. Let us spend it in even more prayerful preparation for such a time as our name is called.

We have a part in the big game! Stay close to the One who knows and be ready when He calls your name!

xo

leah

Wonderfully REPLENISHED!

Posted October 21st, 2013 by Leah and filed in Leah Richardson, REPLENISH

 FALL REPLENISH  2013

DSC06475

Gail, Dee, Jessi, Marcy, Gina and I, the REPLENISH Team, welcomed 26 beautiful women from around the state of Florida to The Farm for the Fall REPLENISH!  God provided perfect weather! One of the sweetest things I enjoy watching happen…precious sisters becoming new friends! The theme this year surrounded the word “Ornaments” from the 33rd chapter of Exodus.

Here is a little snippet of my teaching…

Remember when Moses and God were up on the mountain crafting the 10 Commandments, the perfect plan to prosper His people in the Promised Land. Tired of waiting the Israelites crafted their own God, an idol from their excess ORNAMENTS. So God decided he would send an angel to guide them into the new land, for he might consume this stiff-necked people if he went with them. They were devastated! They mourned and no one PUT ON THEIR ORNAMENTS. God told them to STRIP themselves of their ORNAMENTS, REMOVE their ORNAMENTS. 

Although this is an ancient story, we too get impatient when asked to wait. We find ourselves cycling in and out of the wilderness with one eye back on Egypt. For too often, we’ve chosen the ORNAMENTS of the world over our relationship with God. Those accessories, temporary bobbles that eventually fade and lose their beauty. Those things that give us a false sense of security, feeble love, distract and even enslave us.

What are some of those ORNAMENTS you wear yourself out desiring…chasing…grabbing at every chance…run after- even it means going back to Egypt?

The Israelites had to choose, and so do we. God’s Presence or all those ORNAMENTS that decorate our exterior. Those ORNAMENTS we cleverly hide behind. Some we are relieved to lay down, some not so much.

ORNAMENTS I challenged the women to consider…Complacency, Self-Salvation, Self-reliance, Self-rejection, Control, Manipulation, Performance. These are all intangibles we park in our heart, but there are tangibles ones to consider like our appearance, address, children’s accomplishments, church work…

Anything that comes before our relationship with Jesus is an idol. And idols put intense, unnecessary pressure on us!

So again, what needs to go? be removed? striped? purged? edited?

We can trust God, for God will never leave us bare, naked or ashamed! He has already covered you with His ORNAMENT of Grace, the ORNAMENT of Heaven, Divinely appointed and custom-designed just for you! The beautiful ORNAMENTS of

God’s REST…Come he says, unto me.

God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS…His beautiful Robe covers you perfectly.

God’s LOYALTY…He is so loyal to us, will we be loyal to Him?

Draw us Lord and we (mind, body, soul and spirit) will run! Trust God to show you what ORNAMENTS to lay aside, and run after God!

 

The weekend was chocked full of good fellowship, food, worship, teachings and creativity! Gail and Marcy shared personal stories and guided the women in creating ORNAMENTS out of clay. Jessi ushered us into God’s throne room with beautiful songs of praise. The  entire team enjoyed the privilege of loving and serving sisters in the splendor of God’s beauty and holiness! I praise Him for his faithfulness in REPLENISHING us all with His presence.

My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest…peace…success…everything will be o.k.  (Exodus 33:14)  The most beautiful ORNAMENT of all…God’s presence!

DSC06350

DSC06352

DSC06357

DSC06353

DSC06354

DSC06361

DSC06364

DSC06367

DSC06372

DSC06478

DSC06355

DSC06384

DSC06407

DSC06394

DSC06389

DSC06399

DSC06395

DSC06423

DSC06426

DSC06390

DSC06393

DSC06431

DSC06443

DSC06444

DSC06437

 

Would you like to be on the REPLENISH mailing list? Just email me at Leah@LeahRichardson.com.

Blessings sweet friends!

xo

leah