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A Letter From Leah

There are so many women who have made the wrong choices because they were looking for love, approval and acceptance and needing to belong. Many times these women have been abandoned by fathers , husbands and boyfriends. It’s common knowledge that a girl’s relationship with her father influences her future relationships with men, and many of us who have had bad or nonexistent father figures are said to be destined to make bad choices and have rocky connections with men. There is usually a desire in us to be loved. We usually seek male approval from the time we are children and it spills over into our adult lives.
I have spoken and worked with numerous women who were involved in this kind of interdependence and were victims of their own lack of self esteem due to this basic insufficiency of nurturing from the father figure. What we do to be loved and accepted ? We do some outrageous things and accept some incredible conditions hoping to finally achieve love. We deny ourselves of ourselves and in some cases we change to become what is someone else’s ideal .
I thought of Leah in Genesis. This dear women lived in the shadow of her sister probably all her life. She was the victim of her father’s scheme to cheat Jacob. It is more than likely that the relationship between Leah and her father was not an edifying one. How could a father do to a daughter that he loved what Laban did to Leah. This women missed love from her father and surely felt inferior to her sister. Then she marries. And on her wedding night….. Can you imagine what she must have felt to sleep with a man that thinks she’s someone else and wants her to be someone else. What was it like for her to hear the anger in Jacobs voice when he discovered who she was. Certainly no boost to her self image. For Laban to treat his daughter in this way he had to have put little value on her. Do you think Leah didn’t know this, you think she didn’t feel that everyday of her life. Leah is referred to in the Torah as “The Hated” According to the Torah upon discovering Laban’s trickery Jacob could have either divorced her or simply made her life miserable in an unhappy marriage. What loving father would have wanted this for his daughter ?Laban had his own plans.
Leah, now living with her husband, believes that having sons will diminish the distance between herself and Jacob. She believes that giving birth to this son will somehow give her some value in Jacobs eyes. She had her first son and called him Rueben- Leah was saying to Jacob, look a son. When her first son Rueben (meaning behold a son) was born, Leah said: “Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me” (Genesis 29:32).
She was saying , look what I have been able to do for you , give you the highest honor. Can’t you see God himself loves me , why can’t you? Then came the birth of her second son Simeon (meaning hearing), Leah said: “Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon” (Genesis 29:33).
Hebrew for “God has heard that I am unloved” In the names she gave her son we look into the sentiments of a woman many years ago. With her first son she was hopeful, happy with the second we understand that she was hurt because she saw that with the second son she still had not won the love of her husband. When Leah’s third son Levi (meaning joining) was born, Leah said: “Now this time my husband will be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi” (Genesis 29:34).She still looked for a connection, closeness, validation and affection from Jacob. With the third son, we hear a glimmer of hope come back to her voice. I mean who could not love a woman who had produced three sons ? For a man in the position of Jacob/Israel this was important and Leah should have been important to Jacob. But with the fourth son something important happens. When Leah had conceived and her fourth son Judah (meaning praise) was born, Leah said: “Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah” (Genesis 29:35).Here Leah makes the most important decision of her life. To praise the Lord. To put aside living for her husbands love and approval and simply live for the Lord and make him her focus.
Dear Leah what a lesson you’ve taught to us all. Woman stop running after that which does not give you the love , respect, consideration or the validation that you deserve. Just praise the Lord. Put him first and he’ll put everything in place. We must learn our position of validation in God’s eyes not man’s.
Leah ,first passive and led by her father into this deceitful marriage, after the birth of her fourth son makes a decision with a purpose.
Is it any accident that Judah is the ruling tribe ? Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff. In generations to come, when Israel went into battle. Each tribe had a strategic position. Judah was positioned out in front. Praise goes before everything else. Moral of the story ,Let praise lead your battles.
A young Rueben, surely aware of his mother’s pain, one day comforts her with a bouquet of mandrakes. Rachel then asks Leah for some of her mandrakes. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes. And she said unto her, is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes. And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. Leah had a bit of a set back. We all do. She feels she has to deal for and buy her husbands affections. What does she really hope to accomplish here ? Why were these mandrakes so important to Rachel? Rachel is willing to let Leah sleep with Jacob if she’ll give her the mandrakes Reuben brings in from the field. The mandrakes must have been awfully important to Rachel. Why ? The mandrake had the reputation of being an aphrodisiac as well as a stimulant to improve fertility. Rachel is childless, so the mere thought of having something that would make her fertile is important to her. This was more than a mere bouquet of flowers. Rachel does not put her faith in God but in a potion she thinks will help her to conceive.
Rachel has Jacob’s love but she is looking for her validation. Women must discover who they are in the Lord We must discover our value, no matter what our situation is. We tend to believe that as soon as some particular event happens, we’ll be ok, everything will be better. If I could just lose weight, if I could get my degree. If I could be prettier or smarter or if I were a better cook or housekeeper. If I had a child, if I could give him a son. If I had a better job. If I had more money, then I’d be happy. Then he would love me, respect me, appreciate me. I don’t mean that we should not try to improve ourselves or our situations, I just means that we must be aware of our motives. Who are we trying to please. We need to believe in our worth to God our true Father. Our worth as the body of Christ and God gives us confidence in who and what we are.
A Letter from Leah
By DéLise Finley-Vaccino

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