Let’s Get Our Hands Dirty, Church!

stocksnap_psr38g3q9mPhoto Credit: Camilla Damasio

I know, I know…where have I been? (Cue mysterious background music.)

Let’s see… first of all, I’ve been finishing up my last semester of college. By the way, I graduate in May with my Criminal Justice degree! Woo hoo! It’s been hectic and time consuming to say the least.

I’ve also been settling in to our new home in Texas. It’s been fun but exhausting since I have a preschooler running around at my feet every second of the day. #onetiredmama

Where else have I been? Oh yeah, I’ve been involved in an amazing local chapter of a global non profit organization called The A21 Campaign and I’m loving it! The local chapter is called The Freedom Chasers and we go around to different churches, schools, events, etc… to raise awareness on human trafficking through informative talks, fundraisers, and community involvement. You might recognize the organization’s name because I wrote about their Walk for Freedom last year in which I participated.

In that same vein, I am writing to you today from the perspective of two young girls who got caught up in the seedy world that is sexual exploitation. Their stories are fictional but the details are based on real stories that I’ve read about or actually encountered. I would greatly appreciate your views and shares of this piece as it is just another tool to raise awareness among our friends and acquaintances on the horrors of human trafficking.

Click on the quote to go to the post and thank you so much for reading! ❤

Our world is experiencing a love drought of epidemic proportions these days. Elicit billboards with sexy imagery line the highways in anticipation of men wanting a pleasure break from their long and lonely drives. Women (and even girls) get caught up in the industry of temporary satisfaction in search of the seemingly elusive concept called love. They are on the receiving end of an unwanted demonstration of imposter love that reveals itself through association and expectation. Someone lied to them and led them to believe that they had to work for it. And the only thing that is going to stop their accidental pursuit of unhealthy love is a purposeful response of healthy love.

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And One More Thing Before You Vote

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Women,

I appeal to you to discover who you really are in Christ. Read the word of God and find out what He says about you. It is critical to your overrall health as a human being. And it is critical to the health of this nation. Yes. That’s right.

Your knowledge of your God ordained identity is the key to a healthy nation.

Did you know that Satan hates women? He literally detests us. So much so that he came to us FIRST in the garden of Eden. He wanted to use Eve to manipulate the man that God gave her. This was the first instance of deception in the Scriptures. The devil is still using his lying ways to rule women today. And those of us who don’t know who we are in Christ are allowing him to do it. (Read Genesis 3.)


The primary thing we Christian women should stand for is truth. Not experiential truth (which is temporal). Not circumstantial truth (which is ever-changing). The truth of who God is and what He says about our role in the earth. Let’s take a look at this truth that stands the test of time.

Acts 10:34- Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”

Women and men are equal in God’s eyes. There is nothing, eternally speaking, that can elevate the status of a man over a woman (and vice-versa). Believing that in order for a woman to succeed she has to climb over a man to get there is a lie. Believing that God favors men over women because she has been used and abused by a man is a lie. God loves women. And He doesn’t try to convince us of this love through a skewed perspective based upon limited pleasure or pain that this world has inevitably forced upon us.

He convinces us of His unconditional, unbiased love through His words of truth which speak for themselves. In no way ever, does God put women down or speak less of the feminine sex. He also never says that women should use their femininity to wield power around like a magic wand. Both men and women are equally and inherently valuable.

When we know that there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than a man and there is nothing that we can do to make God love us less than a man, we are untouchable by the enemy of our souls. Ultimately, that’s the point of this whole living on earth thing, right? To submit to God, resist the devil, and then watch him flee? (James 4:7) Shouldn’t our focus be more on submitting and resisting and less on competing and cheating? With other women? With other men? With ourselves?

What if we turned this nation upside down by grabbing hold of who we really are and never letting go of that truth- not even to the highest or most charming bidder? Chaos follows lies. Peace follows truth.

I implore you, before you go to the polls and choose our great country’s next leader, to vote for the person who values truth more than popularity and peace more than likability. Don’t vote based on gender because you feel like it’s high time a woman’s voice is heard. (By the way, women are speaking up in many places and many ways- influence has nothing to do with the size of your platform in the Kingdom of God.) Don’t vote based on your own hurts that have yet to heal in regards to what someone of the opposite sex may have done to you. Open up the good Book and ask God to reveal His healing, comforting love to you so that you can live a life of freedom. The truth sets you free!


Your ability as a woman of God to walk confidently in who He made you hinges on one thing alone: Jesus died for you. He also died for men, too. Let’s see eachother through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice and let go of offense that is dividing the church (and this country) in two. America is at a crossroads and the only way to choose rightly is to choose truth.

Hebrews 4:12- “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Photo Credit: Ben White

The 5 People You NEED in Your Life

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I don’t know about you but as I’ve gotten older (rounding 40 in a few), I have come to realize that my life is much better with certain people in it. Of course, we can all relate to the opposite of this fact as well : Life is much better without certain people in it, too. 🙂

Here’s a list of the five types of people you need in your life right now. This very minute.

1. The Encourager 

This radiant girl is joyful and thoughtful. She doesn’t give in to negativity when the storms of life come her way. She doesn’t let you give in to negativity either. She blesses your life because of the thought she puts into what she says. She lives a life of purpose that is intentionally focused on lifting others up. It’s not fake happiness that she exhibits but rather true joy because of her glass half-full mentality.

2. The REAL DEAL

This gal knows how tough life can be. She’s been through the fire and the rain. She doesn’t sugar coat shi* but lets you know exactly what she thinks. She knows the value of authenticity and vulnerability causing her to be open about her struggles. This is not to bring you down but to help you from making her mistakes. She brings out the raw side of you and it makes you feel free. Her influence on you always prompts you to be your best self.

3. The Warrior 

I love this woman. She is strength and grace personified in a beauty so inspiring that the right words to describe her are hard to find. She fights her battles with wisdom and defends others that are losing theirs. No challenge is too great for her to war against because no matter what she has HOPE. Her passion for justice fuels your inner truth seeker. You can’t be around her and not want to take up a cause or help the hurting.

4. The Mentor  

This is usually someone who’s a bit older than you are and has seen more than you have. She is a walking testimony of God’s faithfulness and speaks of it often. She is also well-read and loves to share her knowledge with others in hopes of helping them navigate life well. She has a desire to nurture, teach and walk beside those that need a boost or just some accountability. Her choices represent strong leadership skills and you know you can go to her for advice on pretty much anything.

5. The Dreamer

This lovely lady has her head in the clouds for all the right reasons. She not only dreams BIG but she writes them down and puts her hand to the plow. Her determination to go all in causes you to  take a good hard look at your own dreaming ability. She does the things that most see as impossible and regards setbacks as set ups to greater opportunities. There’s no being around the dreamer without being motivated to set some serious goals. She believes in miracles and because of her, you do too.


So, I say, do an assessment of the women in your inner circle. Are they all benefiting your life in some way? Even more important to ask of yourself: Are you benefiting their life? How can you display qualities of the Encourager, the Real Deal, the Warrior, the Mentor and the Dreamer to those in your world? Who represents these descriptions to you? Sometimes, if you’re lucky like me, you can find one amazing sister that actually displays all of these attributes well. When you do, never let her go. ❤

#MondayMusings
I’m linking up with #mondaymusings from EverydayGyann.

Ladies, You Are All Awesome

God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.St. Augustine

How often do we get caught up in comparing ourselves with someone else? We discount our own gifting’s or abilities because someone else has the same gifting’s and abilities…and, in our opinion, they do it better. But, here’s the thing I’m learning:

Our opinion about our awesomeness has nothing to do with how awesome we really are.

Sure, we need to have confidence in ourselves. But, this confidence, if based solely upon what we can do within our own strength, will only get us so far. We will eventually feel depleted and worn out from trying to convince ourselves and everyone else just how talented we are. Sounds pretty exhausting to me.

The question that God has been gently asking me lately puts things in a new perspective. He says, “Do you believe that I would uniquely make you just to watch you fight for your place in the world?”  

He made each of us uniquely yet we compete and strive for center stage because we are so worried that someone else is going to out-do us. We strive to perform perfectly so that someone else doesn’t have a chance to one-up us. Or we try to outshine the rest because we only feel accepted if we get the public acclaim and applause.

The problem with this situation lies in the answer to God’s provocative question. Many of us, not being confident in who God made us to be, would say, “Yes, God, I believe you want me to work for my position.”

That’s what I said when He first prompted me for an answer. Was God stunned at my response? Definitely not. He already knew the fragile condition of my heart. I, on the other hand, was shocked by my admission.

I assure you, He wanted me to be aware of my self-dependency so He could point me back to the truth of His all-sufficiency.

However, we don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone. God made us unique which means we are matchless. We are distinct in our calling, our makeup, our strengths, and yes, even our weaknesses.

St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” So, why are we constantly trying to prove to everyone just how lovable we are? Our value can’t be overestimated. Our worth can’t be bottled and sold to the highest bidder. God already paid for us with His unrelenting love and yet we try to convince ourselves and everyone else of our importance.

I think its high time we ladies got a glimpse of just how amazingly loved we are. We shouldn’t be downgrading our own value because of someone else’s value. We are all equally valuable but are all uniquely made. God doesn’t love us all the same because He made us all different. He does, however, love us all completely.

When we really understand this truth, we start walking in a new level of freedom in our relationships with God and others. We don’t have to try to be better than her (who pops in your mind?) because she was created for something that you could never do. (And vice-versa.)

We GET to embrace our uniqueness with confidence because we know that He never, ever compares us to each other. He affectionately looks at each of us individually and sees a beautiful woman made in His image. (Genesis 1:27)  There’s no upstaging that!

The Sisterhood!

Sisterhood is worth the fight. .

Hey my beautiful friends! I am over on Flourish today with a post that is super important to me. I feel like God has given me a voice to encourage and motivate women towards unity. With all the ways that the entertainment community, big wig politicians, social media, and our male dominated society has undermined our value, I want to highlight our inherent worth in as many posts as possible. This is what I wrote about on Flourish: Unity, Friendship, and Strength in Numbers. 

“The days we are living in are brutal. Our minds, bodies, and souls are literally taking blows from a variety of sources on a regular basis. Can we choose to look beyond a woman’s mistakes or opinions long enough to realize that God never called her to figure this life thing out on her own? In fact, none of us were called to be alone. It’s time for the collective voice of women to rise up over the nagging insecurities and questionable choices that plague each of us behind closed doors.”

Read more here! Comments are always welcome as long as they are supportive and friendly. Thanks! ❤ 

Want to read my other Flourish posts? Check them out under the Flourish Posts category! 

You Can Do This, Mama.

Hi folks! It’s been a few days since I have posted anything because my hubs and I went out of town to NYC for a romantic getaway. ❤ We had a blast- ok, you talked me into it. Here’s a pic of us enjoying a rooftop club in Manhattan:

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Anyways…I wanted to hop on here and share my newest piece on Her View From Home! It’s a shout out to all you mama’s out there who feel tired, neglected, ignored, or just plain scared. (Don’t we all feel these things in a variety of ways at different times on our mommyhood journey?)

Here’s a snippet:

You can use your unique voice to impart lasting words of wisdom to your little ones. You can laugh out loud in the middle of folding laundry and cry tears of gratitude as you stumble over piles of Legos. You can see your reflection as a timeless reminder that you tirelessly fought to be your own kind of beautiful, the kind that only you can be. You can boldly love those babes with fierce abandon; with a certainty that calms every fear inside of their hearts.

I hope you scoot over to Her View From Home and give it a glance. Pass it along to any mama friends that you think might need some encouragement to keep on being amazing! Noone can do your job- God picked you to love those kiddo’s in your home. Pat yourself on the back and put one foot in front of the other on the hard days. It will be SO worth it!

Read more HERE!

Motherhood

 

A Battle Cry for Women Everywhere

 

Now is the time to let the wildfire kept within our hearts grow out of control and freely kindle the collective female voice into a battle cry.Women,

Let the anger stir you until it bubbles red hot to the surface.

Give righteous indignation a voice when justice for your sisters isn’t served.

Be mad with a holy rage that crosses blurred lines defined by an era of ignorance.  

We are not made to be used. We are not here for his pleasure. We are not a tall glass of water.

Let the indecency of our “I want it so I will have it” culture provoke you to stand up.

Grant fury the right to flame high above complacency for the cause of womanhood.

Today is the day when the thundering cries of victims turn to resounding chants of victory.

We are meant for more than what we we’ve been told we can have.  

A good girl does NOT keep quiet when her mother is abused.

A good girl does NOT sit still when her daughter is violated.

A good girl does NOT use her manners when her girlfriend is corrupted.

Forget all the man-made rules. Throw them into the fire to be burned alongside issues of Playboy.  Douse them in gasoline and watch every last one of them crinkle, melt, and disintegrate under the white heat.

United, we can trample on the ashes of yesterday’s suffocating restraints.

Together, we can blow on the embers of today’s liberating release.

There is no looking back. There is no going back. There is no turning back.

We must violently blaze ahead gathering the wounded off of the charred ground and into our uninhibited arms, taking notice of the memorials hidden by the overgrowth, flinging propane on the crowds of weeds trying to block our path.

We are fire-starters, flame-throwers, torch-bearers for the ones who have gone before us and the ones who will follow after us.

Now is the time to let the wildfire kept within our hearts grow out of control and freely kindle the collective female voice into a battle cry.

For You.

For Me.

For Her.

What does it really mean to be Wild and Free?

From self doubt to God- confidence

It’s June already. I can’t even believe it. Summer is practically here! As you may recall, I have been reading one book a month as a personal growth challenge of sorts.

My book for May was called “Wild and Free” by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. First of all, let me just say this to start:

EVERY WOMAN, YOUNG or OLD, NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. 

Here’s why:

It deals with two of the biggest issues women of all ages have dealt with since the dawn of time. Never being enough or Always being too much. We are either one or the other. Sometimes both!

It takes the reader through the lives of two women, one introvert and one extrovert. Both women talk about their journey from self-doubt to God-confidence. They are real, raw, and relate-able.

Lastly, included is an anthem for women everywhere that raises our eyes upward from our circumstances and fills us with everlasting hope. It goes like this:

“The world may tell us we’re too much and never enough.

But we can walk wildly in who God created us to be and rest freely in the work Jesus did for us.

We do not have to be confined or conformed by cultural expectations.

We are unchained from our past and unafraid of our future.

We choose compassion over comparison.

We love without condition, without reserve.

Our eyes are on God; we hold nothing back; we run fast and strong; we do not hide our light.

We aren’t wild and free for our sake alone; rather we sing life, hope, and truth over the world with abandon- just as our God sings over us.

We are wild and free.

And we are poised to do mighty things, in Christ alone.”

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Check this amazing book out! You’ll be motivated and encouraged to live out your God-given purpose with joy and confidence.

Laugh Along With Me…at Me.

I am a very reasonable person. This is what I tell myself on a daily basis. Especially when I do something that looks, well, questionable. 🙂

For example, just yesterday, my new favorite song came on the radio and I found myself (to the shock and horror of my seven year old daughter) twerking in the kitchen. I mean, how can you not get down to this song?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that the video is a little racy so just shield your eyes if it offends you. BUT I can’t hear this song and not jam out a bit. At first, it was the beat- catchy and fun. Easy to dance to, right? (And did I mention that I LOVE Meghan Trainor?)

Then I started paying attention to the lyrics and I thought to myself, I love this song even more now. Where was it when I was in college and living the single life? 

Oh girls, it would have probably changed some things for me. Like I may have focused a little bit more on me and my self worth instead of on every Tom, Dick, and Harry that gave me a wink.

So, yeah, I’m over here all twerking in the kitchen to this woman power song and I don’t feel guilty about the fact that my little girl is watching this hilarious and slightly off-putting scene take place. In fact, I invite her to join in the dance party with me.

Because I want her to know that she can say NO. That it’s ok to be ok with being single. That no boy is ever as important as her inherent self-worth and infinite value. 

She just laughed at my awkward display of dance moves (that, frankly, I learned from zumba class) and then she jumped right on in.

And, together, we danced for women everywhere.

Happy Mother's Day