Sunday, February 12, 2017

blind

I realized today that my prayer life was suffering because I did not see my request answered as I thought it should be. Not that I doubted God as all powerful or able to give miracles- that I had seen before my eyes many times.
I did not lack confidence in who God is or what He could do. Rather, that He would give me what I asked for. After all, I was asking for a reconciliation of a man to Himself & to his marriage.
I saw my request as righteous & holy. Asking for a man who once loved God with all his heart to return to his Master & for a godly covenant between 2 people to be restored. It was not unreasonable. Nor was it impossible.
But today- I realized I was holding this against God. As if any other prayer might not be answered just like the last was not.
With the verbalizing of my heart- I felt somewhat free.
Why?
It doesn’t change the fact that my prayer was unanswered or the fact that I wasn’t praying much these days now. But oddly, when verbalizing this to my sister in Christ- it freed me. It opened the door to be addressed, to converse about. Not by my sister, but by God.
He began to speak very softly to the inner most part of my heart…
I heard the words very clearly in my online Sunday service tonight- “let go of your past- let go of what God did not give you- because if He didn’t give it to you, you didn’t need it.”
Tears streamed down my face as my eyes saw for the first time what I was holding on to. What I was allowing to hinder me. What I was allowing to disappoint me. How could I be disappointed in the One who knew exactly what I needed & did not need before I was even born? How could I be disappointed in He who gave me all He had to save a wretch like me? He who put all things into motion before time began.
If God did not give me what I asked for, then I do not need it.
I will continue to pray for the reconciliation of a man to God, and to receive the grace of Your provision in this season!






Friday, December 9, 2016

Soul Cry


 How do you find the words to pray, to speak to the Holy of Holies?
I cant…
So I am grateful that He knows what each tear and wail mean.

I am learning tonight that a soul cry captivates the ears of God- the attention of all of Heaven actually.
I can remember this same feeling almost 3 years ago- knowing all of heaven drew their attention to earth at that moment. That the Holy Spirit was circling me. That Jesus was in the throne room pleading my case.
The King of Kings coming off His throne- laying His crown down- tears streaming down His face, pleading my case before God.
It overwhelms me
That He has such a vested interest in me, who even now fights her flesh and mind and heart back to stay focused on Him.

Praying tears and not words for someone else’s soul creates an atmosphere that moves the heart of God.
As I ask Him to help me in the present, He tends to me… I feel Him holding me as He breaths His life in me with Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG) ““forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. Watch. I am about to do something brand-new.”

The enemy seeks to keep a man wounded. He is only out to kill, steal, & destroy- but even more so when he knows how great the potential of this person for the Kingdom of God. So when we fight in the spirit for someone who is kept wounded- the battle is always intense. But when you serve the Warrior King, you have no fear.
In 2013, I asked for the greatest warrior angels in heaven to surround a man shielding any new arrows from the enemy and dealing with the ones presently wounding him. That same vision was brought back today.
I stand grateful that God has taught my heart what is greater than the things here on earth or the things done to me- and teaches me still how to contend for someone’s heart & soul.

Be alert- be present- watch…



life & death

Today- I was reminded of the feeling when someone you love is ripped away from you.
The knot in the pit of your stomach tightens… leaving a nauseous unsettled feeling brewing inside you… when every breath hurts & every thought ends with a question mark
All things inside of you want to scream… yell… cry… panic… grasp for control…

Pondering life in general as a slew of emotions invade your mind…
We never know when our last moments with a person might be- whether taken by force, death, illness, or choice… the result is still the same
No matter how much preparation you have… the result is still the same
No matter how much time you have with them… the result is still the same
We live each day- up and down, ebs and flow, ins and outs… mostly by routine because we are creatures of habit
We take for granted those that we have around us, those we love, those we care about, those we encounter & interact with- intentionally or unintentionally

I believe God, our Creator, made us to be intential people, not meant to be alone or without fellowship of others, or without love. But we forfeited our right to have continual fellowship & love forever with people when we Fell. But His plan superseded all things… all imagination… all knowledge… all understanding

We get to ponder these things & more but never get the answer till our allotted time which only One knows. We attempt to spend every waking moment with those we love but all coming to the same end.
We avoid… we shut it out… we “think about it tomorrow”… but what if it’s too late?

As a health care provider I see death almost every day- if its not immediate then it is coming soon. We have no borrowed time.  We can become callused to death- lacking compassion some might say.
What they don’t know is that we just cant take another death. Like a miner chipping away at the earth- each death chips a little more off the heart.
And when these moments that I spoke of in the beginning come, we are stopped dead in our tracks- trying to hold it together, trying to calm the questions, the unanswered questions as we face families- faces- children- mothers- fathers- husbands- wives…

We fight death so often for life.  But the reality is- the only certainty of life is death, and the only certainty of death is answered with a question…

That feeling in the pit of my stomach increases as a reminder to be intential with those people we come into contact with everyday. What if this is their last moments of life? What if death is just a moment away for them? What does that change for you- how does the thought change your approach, your speech, your questions…
How do we love people, who may not be the kindest, but whose moments might be their last… because after all… the only certainty of life is death, and the only certainty of death is answered with a question…

Do you really know Him?




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Albania Bound

Well- it is very short notice, but I am off again to travel the world. This time God has sent me with an amazing medical team to Albania.
You are probably wondering where that is- I know I did…. Albania is wedged in the middle of Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, & Greece… you know, right on the Mediterranean.
Hard life… I know

I am traveling with a medical team consisting of 7-8 doctors & dentists, 4 nurses, 1 dental assistant, a life coach, & a few other supporting members. We are volunteering with the Christian Medical & Dental Association , for their Albania fund. We will be teaching nursing & medical Albania students. Our focus is “How to Save a Life.”

Work has been so busy here in Lancaster that my excitement hasn’t hit with full force yet. Come Thursday evening… it will settle in!

My dear friend Cyndy is heading up the nursing team. One of my best friends, Becki, will be traveling & teaching along side me. Both of these women of God, I am very honored & privileged to serve the Lord with overseas. My heart is overwhelmed with joy at what God will present to us in this time together. I look forward to connecting with the other ladies on our team in this way & watching what God does through us & in us while we are in Albania.

I am always astonished at how God continues to call me to areas of need, not just in my own workplace & country, but also to others. I am grateful that He continues to fulfill His promise to me that He made when I was a 10 year old girl.

We will be flying out of Dulles airport on Tuesday, November 8th.
Yep… voting day! We will be arrive the next day in Tirana, Albania. From there we will meet up with the full team & Albania’s hosting us & make our way to Durres on the coast of Albania!!!!
The pictures are beautiful.


I am asking for prayer as we prep & travel. Albania is primarily an Islamic country. Please pray with us in God opportunities & conversations. The students are thrilled to have us come- so I am hopeful of much time spent getting to know the students & their stories. All to say- I know God will work through our own stories & the time we have with these precious people.
We are on a short trip this visit- we will be returning Monday, November 14th.
I will be paying the cost of the trip- so if you are interested in supporting me financially, you can send a check to me directly or you can donate at www.albanianhealthfund.org   click on donate- fill out the info- & in the comments you can put “donate towards April Leonard’s mission trip.”
If you have any questions, please ask them via email or text. I will update periodically while we are there, but a full update will be when I return.

Thank you for supporting my & the team with your prayers & also financially.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

failure

I recently had the experience of being called a failure as a nurse. This is the second time in my life &  almost 10 year career as a nurse to be called a failure. 
As it sunk in through the rest of my shift, its roots kept growing deeper- doubts kept in- anger- frustration

No tears would fall that night- no words against the person would come out- it would be held inside where it festered.

As the next morning woke me, I quickly discovered the same feeling & emotions were still lingering. 
as I opened my devotional- I remember being desperate for something to help me- I prayed... "Lord, You see my heart & You see the stain that one person's words have left on me. Help me up from this hit."

Mark 6:3-4 "Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother s James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house."

With tears streaming down my face- I saw it-- I felt it--- God had wrapped His loving arms around me & just held me there, reminding me that Jesus, in his home town with his own siblings was no honored or accepted. What a comfort in knowing that He knows exactly how I feel.
He reminded me that I will not do things perfectly, I will make mistakes, but I am no failure. 

Jesus kept after what He knew His purpose was while on Earth- it doesn't mean it didn't hurt or that He didn't feel the emotions we feel. But He held on tight to His Father because He knew it would all work out- that He would succeed & do the most amazing thing in the world. 


Sunday, April 3, 2016

fighting flesh

I was recently asked... "does dating a man that isn't completely devoted to God scare you? Because you have been hurt in a past relationship with a man who was not devoted to God? But you know that God is a person that will never let you down- so therefore you seek that in a man?"

I thought a moment
my response... Yes








It had never been verbalized or asked of me in that manner- but that was it. 
Was this a fear? yes but more of a choice of a way of life. 
I fight my flesh everyday
fighting to beat back the tendencies to be judgmental or let anything come out of my mouth or lacking compassion or kindness. to live and do whatever it is I want. 
That is not my way of living any longer
I have chosen to live a different life. To be a different person. And that- I am. 







I have fought within myself over the last 3-4 weeks about online dating or dating in general. Do I? Don't I? now? later?  The answer came clearly as I began to have the increased longing inside to not be alone- to seek companionship- to feel the full affects of loneliness- lack love & admiration of a man. All those things and more I desire very strongly. I want to be in relationship. I desire it. 
It was like waking up startled & frightened. If I seek it out now... it will not be in His timing or with the right frame of mind. 

A sigh of relief left me

There was no rush. He wasn't rushing- so why would I?

Then I heard it- God is stabilizing you in this season. 

That's it

If I enter into a relationship prematurely- without a stable foundation, not talking of just a foundation in Him but- in which He is healing me, suring up my foundation in Him, mending my broken heart, & rewiring my way to love & be loved by another- I will only be filling the void. 

It was said perfectly in a sermon... "He is stabilizing my emotions, my commitment, my ambition, my relationships, & my BELIF in Him."


I want the more He has promised me. And that more- I am willing to wait for. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

unqualified

I heard his helpless scream down the hallway. As my eyes beheld the person making the awful noise that disturbed everyone on the hall, I felt pity for the man. both legs were removed leaving nothing but fresh stubs- his left hand consisted of a nub with an aged scar across it- his right hand had only 2 nubs for digits and an even older scar for a hand. As his eyes blankly stared at me and seemed to follow me or at least my voice- then I realized this poor man was blind to boot. My heart hurt for what he might be going through- but boy was he mean!
As I stood in attempt to console the man, as well as treat his extremely low blood sugar- it seemed hopeless… not in treating his low blood sugar but to appease the yelling and hateful attitude. 
As we bantered back & forth- meeting his needs & him being thankful one moment, then not meeting his need to wake up his entire family via phone calls & want of chocolate (for an uncontrolled diabetic)- I was called every name in the book. It all seemed to bounce off after being a nurse after so many years. nothing personal- I remind myself. he is just scared & lashing out- I repeat it with every harsh word. 
As his next comment came out… I was blank. Almost 10 years of nursing & I had yet to hear this one.     It made me stop.   It made me think.   
“You are unqualified to be a nurse.”

I brushed it off. Never thought of it till tonight in conversation with a friend. 
Again, it made me stop- think…

Unqualified. 

As I began reading my new book in the mail- I chuckled- when did I order this book & how funny the timing? My book, by Steven Furtick, was entitled (un)qualified: how God uses broken people to do big things.

The accused words by the man replayed in my mind… "What to you sir, makes me unqualified to care for you tonight? Because according to the State of Pennsylvania & the Army- they believe I am highly qualified to care for you. As well as this facility that you willingly came to. Plus, I am very confident that I am highly qualified to care for you as your nurse tonight.
His response was- well that’s for me to know & you to find out.

I laughed. 

I laugh even now- but with slight hesitation. 
Am i qualified? 
My question doesn't challenge my ability or degree or knowledge or skill— its much deeper than that. I know that I am qualified to be a nurse and am confident that I am a good nurse & enjoy what I do. But am I qualified to do the other things in life? 
With the start of each day, the battle ensues- barely noticeable at first, till by the end of the day, it is full on internal fight for life
fighting feelings of inadequacy- insufficiency
what if I fail? what if my failures shipwreck others along the way?

then I read it… “it’s about understanding who we really are now in order to be who we are capable of becoming. it’s about ruthlessly peeling back the prejudices & assumptions we’ve made about ourselves. It’s about letting God be our source of sufficiency.”
my inward struggle
not what others think of me- I could really care less about that. 
It is about what I think of me. 
I continued to read. 
“We tend to qualify people based on character & competency. Character refers to who we are & competency refers to what we do. Our competency is usually much more at the forefront that our character. It is so intricately connected to our identity that we often think it is our identity.” 
Did you hear that???

How do you view yourself, April?

My identity 
What makes me April

As I began to list things- it felt awkward… selfish… conceited… then I heard, "But I view you as these things, April"
I sighed 
If I pray for Him to help me view others as He views them & love others as He loves them, would He not be excited for me to ask the same for myself? 

I am unqualified in life & love & job, but I know who qualifies me everyday- especially to do nursing.
So… how do I let God be my source of sufficiency day in & day out- before the battle begins? 

I’ll begin where He first taught me