unloved: the life of Leah | the deal with mandrakes.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

If you’ve missed previous posts, click here.

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If you read Genesis 30:14-31, you’ll find an interesting story that reveals to us a few things about the dynamic in the home of Leah and Rachel.

First, I did a little research on mandrakes and what I found was interesting. They are a plant surrounded by folklore and mystical implications. Josephus, a biblical era scholar wrote this about mandrakes,

“A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear.”

The plant is not poisonous, but it is a narcotic and hallucinogen. In biblical times, this drug was considered pagan and is even still used today in witchcraft cults, such as Wicca and Odinism. It’s most common wives tale is that it increases fertility.

(source)

So, I have to ask: what was Reuben, the son of Jacob, son of Abraham, called by the Lord God, doing bringing his barren mother a stack of pagan-associated roots to help her infertility? Reuben is most likely a boy at this point, maybe seven or eight. He probably had friends who were not Jewish and told him about the mandrakes increasing a mother’s childbearing. Perhaps he wanted another little brother. I wonder if he uprooted them like Josephus said and was willing to sacrifice his puppy dog for them. He obviously saw the rivalry between his moms and wanted to give Leah a head start on childbearing, even though she had beat Rachel 4-0 at this point. Maybe he just thought its blooms were pretty and knew nothing about the folklore surrounding them.

Either way, Rachel did know about the folklore surrounding them and endeavored to snatch them up as soon as she found out Reuben had them. We will call this the first ever recorded drug deal.

In chapter 31 of Genesis, Jacob is ready to leave and cleave. He wants to take his family and move away from Laban. He tries to reason with Laban, but he can’t and therefore flees in the middle of the night with his wives and children. Laban catches up with them and one (of many) things he yells at Jacob for is stealing some of his household gods. And so Laban begins to search through everyone’s things. Interestingly enough, he starts with Jacob (he’d trust his daughters before his son-in-law), then Leah’s tent (his least favorite daughter), then to Rachel’s tent (the favored one). Laban finds nothing, but guess who hid them the whole time!? Rachel. AND guess who lied about “the way of a woman” being upon her (code for menstrual cycle), while she sat on her precious little idols? Rachel.

This makes me question if Rachel ever really loved Jacob or longed for the Messiah like he did.

Earlier, when Rachel demands that Leah give her the fertility roots, since Leah was still ahead in childbearing, Leah uses this to her benefit. She asks for a night with her husband. (note: How sad for Leah! That she had to barter for the affection and attention of her man!) Rachel must have held some kind of authority as head wife for Leah to have to bargain. Or it was simply the fact that Jacob preferred Rachel. At this point, because of Leah’s happy, healthy uterus, Rachel was probably doing all she could to keep Leah from bearing more children. Well, Rachel’s trade backfired, because we see that Leah became pregnant that night, and twice more after that.

The mandrakes were dangerous for Rachel, but not in the way that the myths project. She was looking to worldly things to fill her and bring her honor. We see however, that Rachel didn’t conceive until she got on her knees and asked her Heavenly Father for a son, “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son . . . and she called his name, Joseph.” (Genesis 30:22-24)

This shows us that God doesn’t take sides and that He doesn’t hold our past sin against us. He worked in both Leah and Rachel’s lives despite their failures and their hidden idols.

And He can work in yours, too!

p.s. to read more on the mandrake click here.

 Watch, everyday, for 31 days in the month of October, as we get into the story of Leah and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

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Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.

two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.

three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins

four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.

five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

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unloved: the life of Leah | on loving a sinful spouse.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

If you’ve missed previous posts, click here.

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Leah was married to a good man. He was a sinner and struggled with many sins, but he was a redeemed man in the eyes of God.

Jacob was a trickster. He fooled his brother, Esau, into giving up both his birthright (Genesis 25:29-34) and his blessing (Genesis 27), pretty much placing himself as firstborn, entitled to everything their father owned. He again fooled Laban into giving over most of his livestock using some odd wool changing tricks. (Genesis 30:25-43)

Jacob was a coward. He fled from his angry brother, instead of confronting him and apologizing. (Genesis 27:41-45) When he finally saw his brother for the first time, he was manipulative and shrewd in how he presented his wealth and fortune. (Genesis 32)

Jacob was stubborn. Even in his birth, he was stubbornly wrestled his twin brother Esau and he had ahold of his heel when they were birthed (Genesis 25). When his wife, Rachel, lamented why she didn’t have children, Jacob snapped back and her, insisting it was her fault with God. (Genesis 30:1-2) When Jesus appeared to him in the night, he lasted all night, thereby earning his name Israel, meaning, “one who prevails with God.” (Genesis 32:22-32)

Jacob had a lot of faults and weaknesses, but God chose him for God’s purposes.

I don’t want us to miss this gem in the life of Leah. She had a prideful, angry, selfish husband, who often seemed to care more for himself than his family. Leah was still called to love him and submit to him.

We all have difficult issues going on and could probably form a pretty good argument about how we are justified in behaving certain ways. But we are also called to love and to submit to one another.

 Jesus himself submitted to completely ridiculous claims when He hung on the cross. 

As followers of such a Savior, we are called to sacrifice much in the wake of the sinful men and women we submit to. And we, in turn leave a sinful wake behind us as well. No one is perfect and no one will fulfill what we long for, except Jesus.

Jesus came because this sinful wake could not be stopped without a really big splash. All it took was our mighty God, dipping His toe into our world, to change the course of the entire river.

So, maybe it’s time to rethink your view of your spouse. Do you believe that God is calling him to greatness? Do you pray often that God’s spirit would be found in her? Or are you so blinded by the faults of your spouse, that you fail to see God’s hand in their life at all?

Leah can teach us a lot. Like how to love a spouse, even when they don’t reciprocate. And how to submit to a spouse who has weaknesses. And how to trust that God has mighty plans for our spouses regardless.

 Watch, everyday, for 31 days in the month of October, as we get into the story of Leah and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

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Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.

two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.

three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins

four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.

five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

unloved: the life of Leah | her hard marriage.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

If you’ve missed previous posts, click here.

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A lot of men and women live in loveless marriages, where they are not cared for as they should be. It’s easy for me to say that those people should be able to leave, but the bible doesn’t say that. Abuse, yes. Unfaithfulness, yes. There are only these two grounds for divorce. Otherwise, according to God’s law and will for us, we are to remain in our marriages and continue to seek His glory through it.

I hurt for Leah as I think of the millions of times she was rejected by the man she loved. Her search for a godly marriage consumed her prayer life, permeated her mothering, and drove her actions in every facet of her livelihood.

Throughout the course of her marriage, she dealt with a hard-hearted, maybe even cruel husband, who didn’t respect her or give her the things a wife needs.

Maybe this is just my entitlement attitude speaking, but no one deserves such a fate!

Then I look at how she became married. She deceived.

Don’t we all, to some extent put on a face of deception to potential spouses prior to getting married. Couples wake up one day and wonder where the person went that they married. Where is that nice, sweet, romantic person I fell for?

Marriage is for God’s glory and to reveal to this dying world that God can love the unlovely, work in the ungodly, and change the unwilling. But often, the goal of marriage is lost in a sea of sorrow and disappointment.

Leah lost herself in that sea many times. But what I love, and what is so amazing about her story, is the grace that is weaved through it all. God saw her and loved her, yes, but what she changed in the world, what she left behind, was far greater than her dreams own to be loved. She aided in spreading the undying love of God to the world.

Think about it, if Leah had given up and walked away from her husband because of the injustice she felt, we would not have Jesus. Although God would have planned another way, He chose Leah, for this moment of her life, to step out in faith and persevere, for the sake of the whole world. We will all sacrifice for the sake of Christ and each other when we step out in faith.

Leah left behind her children, who would later build up God’s chosen people, who were to prepare the entire world for Jesus, who planned to save them all. All because of His great love for us!

Marriage is hard and a struggle. Just like Leah’s, our God-centered marriages work to reveal the goodness of God and the redeeming qualities of Jesus, who saves us. Difficulties aside, what is more important than that?

 Watch, everyday, for 31 days in the month of October, as we get into the story of Leah and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

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Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.

two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.

three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins

four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.

five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

unloved: the life of Leah | her jealousy.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

If you’ve missed previous posts, click here.

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Do you have that woman in your life that seems to have everything you want?

Do you watch her Instagram feed and envy every post?

Do you long to someday be admired like she is?

have the clothes she does?

live the lifestyle she lives?

Jealous is a sin. Though I think we guilt ourselves for becoming jealous, when the thing we originally longed for wasn’t. Hear me, your original desire (to feel pretty, to have nice things, to be loved, etc) is not inherently a bad thing. The sin comes when you take something good and place it higher than your identity in Christ, thereby making it an idol.

You may have spotted those boots in the store long before your friend bought them, but as soon as she did, you had to have them . . . and your idol became the boots, as well as the opinion of your friend.

You may have longed for affection from that boy long before he dated that girl, but as soon as he did, you became angry . . .  and your idol became the status of being “in a relationship.”

You may have wanted your husband to treat you to a certain something for your anniversary, but he didn’t . . . and your idol became yourself.

You may have decided to travel next summer, but someone else one-upped you with a romantic getaway . . . and your idol become money.

As far as the bible states, Leah never wanted to be “beautiful” (which is why I am still curious over what “weak eyes” means) and she never equated her beauty with her worth. Instead, she equated the love Jacob had for her with her worth, and therefore became envious over the attention Rachel received and eventually made Rachel her object of jealousy.  Even though Leah’s initial desire to be loved was not wrong, she allowed sin to enter when she found someone who had what she wanted . . . and she hated her for it.

How often do you envy things you don’t have or people you aren’t? I know I am jealous far too often, in the past to the point of becoming consumed.

How many relationships are destroyed by envy!

Leah battled the battle of jealousy and comparison and need for position for her whole life.  Further more, Leah passed this habit down to her children, who were insecure, foolish, and so jealous that they sold their brother into slavery because he was favored.

Imagine Leah’s heartbreak when she realized what the rivalry between Rachel had caused her sons.

What we do and believe, our kids are more likely to do and believe.

Won’t you stop the cycle?

 Watch, everyday, for 31 days in the month of October, as we get into the story of Leah and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

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Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.

two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.

three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins

four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.

five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

unloved: the life of Leah | her identity.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

If you’ve missed previous posts, click here.

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Leah had weak eyes, the bible says. Many commentaries have suggested endless definitions of what this might mean. The original greek word for weak literally means, “tender, soft, delicate, weak” and eyes can be “physical eye or mental or spiritual qualities.” Whether this meant she was meek in spirit or psychically unattractive, no one is really sure. Either way, we see Leah live under this identity throughout most of her younger years. We see her live under the shadow of the more beautiful, more loved Rachel in her marriage. We see her participate in the insecure competition over who can produce more sons for Jacob. We even see her bargain for her husband’s attention for one night.

What we can draw from her actions is something deeper, something emotionally unstable was going on in Leah’s heart throughout the course of her entire life. Leah struggled with insecurity. Insecurity in a spiritual manner. Leah was insecure about her place in God’s eyes. Even though we see that God showed His love for her through opening her womb, we see her still long for the affection of her husband. Genesis tells us that “It is not good for man to be alone” and rightly so. Leah’s intentions in wanting love was not incorrect or sinful.

Where Leah goes wrong is in allowing her very identity and purpose to shift into the hands of her husband, not her Father God.

20131006-174311.jpgAt one point, when Leah births her fourth son, Judah, she proclaims, prophetically that with this son, “I will praise the Lord.” (Genesis 29:35) What we see here, is just a glimpse of a revelation in where Leah placed her identity. After this, with each son she bears, whether through her own womb or her maidservant, we see Leah’s joy increase. Saying things like, “How happy am I!” and “Good fortune has come!”. With her final son, we see her first give glory to God by saying, “God has endowed me with good endowment” though she still held onto hope in her husband by saying, “now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” (Genesis 30:11,13, & 20) Leah’s sons went onto become vital in the people of Israel, as well as detrimental in many ways. Jesus Himself was from the line of Judah, bringing reason for each of us to simply praise God as Leah did.

We search for our identity is so many things, as if there is something to mold. When in reality, God has already molded and fired our identity, as His and as redeemed and as perfectly designed to bring Him glory. Our identities aren’t something we go out and create for ourselves, but they are something that we were created to fill and embrace as children of the Living God. We are to become more like Jesus in our specific, individual design. We can fight, bargain, and worry all we want over who we are, but when it comes down to it, God has already decided who we are. And guess what? He sees us, loves us, and has plans for us that go far beyond anything we can imagine.

 Watch, everyday, for 31 days in the month of October, as we get into the story of Leah and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

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Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.

two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.

three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins

four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.

five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

unloved: the life of Leah | In The Light of Eternity.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

To view previous posts, click here.

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There is one thing I have to ask in regards to the life of Leah: why didn’t God change her situation because of His compassion for her? Leah lived and died in Jacob’s household, under his loveless direction, raised his sons through to adulthood, and bore the burdens that a wife does, even though she was constantly rejected and unloved by him. Does not a part of you want God to come into Leah’s life, shiny armor, white horse and rescue her from such a fate? But He, frustratingly, does not.

This begs the question, what kind of fatherly love is this? That He would see His baby girl suffer so, but not do anything to change her situation? Could it be that He is harsh to His people? Or that He lacks love for us? Or could it have been because God saw Leah’s life through the lens of eternity and therefore treated her to high eternal blessings because of her forsaken earthly ones?

You see, this world is temporary. This video from Francis Chan puts this in perspective for us. Enjoy:

My hope is that Leah, even for those few moments was able to acknowledge that God loved her so much that He wanted her with Him for all of eternity, no matter what she endured on earth.  After her tiny sliver of a life full of really difficult struggles, she found herself in the presence of Jesus and she was handed her trophy and no longer lives with shame or rejection, but with honor. I am sure that not one moment of the pain or lack of love she endured on earth has torn her eternal joy away.

We are eternal beings, created for oneness with Christ, let us not waste one moment living like anything less.

 Watch, everyday, for 31 days, as we get into the story of Leah and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

sparrow sig

Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.
two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.
three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins
four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.
five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

unloved: the life of Leah | God saw her.

This post is apart of my 31 days of writing challenge where I am zooming in on the life of Leah. How she was unloved & hated, but God saw her. How she was jealous & fearful, but God honored her. We can learn a lot from Leah, so won’t you join me? To stay updated, please follow my facebook page here. To read the biblical account of Leah’s life, see Genesis 29 & on.

To view previous posts, click here.

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“When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb.” Genesis 29:31

The Lord saw that Leah was hated.

Our God, friends, is a compassionate God. Leah was hated, resented, and not loved very well. Her earthly needs went by the wayside and real prejudices were built up against her.  One thing we learn about our Father in Leah’s story is that He is in the intricacies, the details, and the emotions. He sees us, even when we are missing the things that we desire, to be known and loved. In Leah’s heart of hearts, as a new, hopeful bride, all she wanted was that loving high that should follow every honeymoon, and then a solid marriage based on friendship that could easily be cultivated into intimacy. All this little girl wanted was for the desires that God placed in her heart, to be filled. In the end, she did not get any of it, no affection, no love, no lavishing, and God saw her. We need to remember this, that even when we face trials and hardship, rejection and prejudices, our God does not simply turn His face away, but He watches us, every single flicker of pain that crosses our faces, knowing that one day, He will use it for our good. Do not misunderstand me, God does not wish any harm or hardship on His children, but He is wise enough to know when to step in and when to allow the world to remind us of it’s temporal existence.

He opened her womb.

 There is definitely a lot of fuel being added to the idea of a prosperity gospel these days. The movement is huge, and while it fails in one crucial point, it’s important to keep a balanced idea of who God is. The Prosperity Gospel is defined by Wikipedia as “Prosperity theology is a Christian religious doctrine that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always increase one’s material wealth.” What is the biggest thing that is fatally wrong with this idea (although I could make lists and list) is the quality that it projects on God. He is not a genie-in-a-bottle who reacts based upon cause and reaction. In fact, God is much more involved in our lives than this idea portrays of giving and getting. Possibly one scripture where this doctrine gets the idea of give-and-receive prosperity is from Malachi 3:10 where God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” But we have taken this idea and turned it into “What can I get from God?” instead of, humbly and correctly realizing our place in this huge story by saying, “God, I give you all to do with what you please with.” In our pride, we diminish God’s name to a controlled substance.

Sometimes God’s plans for us include financial gain. But sometimes, in Leah’s case, financial gain would not have touched her deepest desires. God, in His sovereignty, along with His incredible idea of childbearing, knew that we women fall in love with our children. Whether or not our love is displayed exactly as we would have it, or whether it is lost somewhere in the curfews and the spankings and the worry, the drive behind any mother’s actions ultimately leads back to the fact that mothers are inherently crazy about their kids and above all else, desire the best for them. God knew that even if He could not cause Jacob to love his wife, He could bless Leah’s life with a new type of love. Leah experienced a motherly love that went beyond wedding bells and disappointed expectations, into a love that surpasses all realms of existence and will follow us into eternity. The love that a parent has for their children is not a choice, but a sustained reality. God wanted Leah to understand the undying love a Father had for his daughter, so He gave her seven little gifts that would remind her everyday of just how strong that love was.

Leah’s life was defined by the love her Father had for her, who loved her enough to see her and give her the blessings of children. Watch, everyday, for 31 days, as we get into her story and walk with her as her feet trod aside a God who saw her.

note: I am doing my best to get the word out to everyone who could benefit from the Unloved series | a peek into the life of Leah, but I need your help! Please share away on your social media(s) of choice below, tell your friends, and don’t be afraid to join in the conversation in the comments below. xo!

sparrow sig

Want to stay updated? Let me count the ways:

one. visit and like my Facebook page.
two. follow me on Twitter: @JASparrowblog.
three. request me on Instagram: @mrslilahhiggins
four. join my circles at Google+by clicking here.
five. leave a comment below.

Want to leave feedback? Join in on the conversation by commenting at the bottom of this post!

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am linking up at The Nesting Place’s 31 day writing challenge: inspiration & faith.

I am linking up at Proverbs & Pacifiers – Babies & Beyond.