Dear Mama, The Struggle Does Not Define You

Dear Mama,

It's okay ...

No, seriously 

You've got to know this.

It's okay to struggle, to cry, to get frustrated, 

to wonder if you'll ever get your life back

ALL of it!

It's okay

You're in a season, and sometimes seasons seem to stay too long. 

Sometimes we're so over the dryness of the winter 

and long for the fresh spring rain, hold on it's coming

The sun will shine again

YOU will smile again, just hold on a little longer

One day those babies will be out of diapers, they'll be feeding themselves, and off to school. 

They're only little for a little while, cherish this day enjoy the moments.

The moments when you're fighting with a wild toddler who insist on resisting bed time.

Those moments when your infant wants you to walk around and rock them even though you're desperate for sleep.

Those moments when your bank account is low and so are the diapers.

Don't let those moments or any moments define you. You are not a failure. 

You are not a bad mom. 

You are a strong woman doing the best you can and guess what? 

That is more than enough, 

YOU 

are 

enough.

Stuck in a cell made up of perfect pinterest moms, instagram perfect kids living in HGTV homes and he expectations we put on ourselves. Free yourself from that cage you're in, just walk out.

Those pinterest moms are not even that put together.

Those instagram kids throw tantrums.

& that HGTV home has a sink full of dirty dishes.

Don't get caught up in the highlight reel. What you are experiencing is real life 

& the chaos, yes even the chaos is beautiful

You are not alone in struggling. You are not the only one with tears and your frustrations are common.

You are actually in good company when you stumble through the day because the truth is all of us moms do.

It's not about him



I was talking to my mama on the phone yesterday, routine stuff. Ya’ know, she asked about the baby I asked her about my siblings nothing out of the ordinary. Randomly (or maybe not so randomly) a girl we both know who I last heard of was pregnant came up in our conversation. The last time I heard about this particular person was long ago enough for there to had been a birth by now. When I asked her how things were going my mom just said she wasn’t pregnant anymore so my natural assumption would be she had the baby. She had not had the baby. “Oh no did she have a miscarriage?” Nope my mother answered. She began to tell me how the girl was so young still in high school and she knew the father was not going to be around so she got an abortion. The conversation continued like nothing out of the ordinary, routine stuff.

I haven’t been able to shake this girl, her baby or her abortion. I barely know her. I haven’t forgotten and it has been on my mind ever since. The sad reality is that abortions are ordinary and almost routine. The reason this story has stayed with me, the reason I care is because it isn't just this girl's story. She represents many young women.

This notion of the father not being around as a reason to abort our babies, it hurts. It hurts because I too once contemplated the same thing. I remember freaking out, breaking down and not knowing what I would choose. I too was a single, jobless, pregnant woman with a foggy future. I remember making it all about him but it isn’t about him.

Now let’s be clear, this doesn’t let him off the hook. This doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t be accountable for their decisions and choices. My heart breaks when I read about or meet young women still struggling from a past abortion because they were afraid of possibly doing it all alone. My insides cringe when they say the words, “I wish I would have kept my baby”. In retrospect it’s not about him it’s about you. It’s about this precious baby who is going to bless your socks off. Life can be chosen even if it’s chosen alone.




It is nothing short of scary when you have a baby growing inside of you and you have no money and no plan.

To say it is painful is an understatement when you are carrying the child of a man who rejects you and no longer wants you around.

Discouragement and shame runs deep when people remind you that this isn’t how your life was suppose to turn out.

But there is hope

There is peace

There is joy

Because it’s not about him but it’s about Him

God who sees you

The Lord who isn’t surprised by your pregnancy

The faithful father who does not cast you and your growing baby out of his presence but wants to scoop you up in his arms

The sovereign king who is not mad at you but loves you madly

He is with you

He is for you

He loves you

Because He loves you

Because He loves you

Because He loves you

Because that's just who HE is ...

So if you’re carrying a baby and you know you will be faced with doing it alone

If you are contemplating an abortion because he has made it clear he will not be there

If you are angry, ashamed and nursing a broken heart, choose life and choose Him

There is beauty on the other side BUT FIRST you must walk through the storm

Rejoice! you never walk alone.


p.s: Check out the "You Are Life Movement" they do amazingly beautiful things for unwed mothers!

If you know any resources that can help unwed moms to be please feel free to post in the comments section! xoxo






5 Things You Can Do WITH Your Kids on Hard Days





Bad mama days, ahh how we all have them! It would be nice to pretend like we can ship our kids off to grandma or shove them into hubby hands but that isn't always realistic. Sometimes grandma has her own life or lives to far and let’s be honest, hubby has to work! The reality is when we have bad days, the kids MUST be with us. We can choose to sulk in our bad day or we can choose to love on our kids harder and do what we can to make it a great day despite the stress. I too have been guilty of being a cranky mama just because I wasn't having a great day. I hated it, I literally would feel so horrible and even worst after a snappy remark or sly comment. I got sick of the house feeling cold because “if momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy”! I had to make the choice to MAKE my day good even if it doesn't start out that way. It's about coming up higher and being the mama your kids need you to be. It's about dying to self and letting your silly emotions know who is boss! The hard days won't stop coming but when you keep making the CHOICE to have a good day it gets easier as they come. Here are 5 things I personally do to make my bad mama days GREAT days!



1) Do something you actually like w/ your kids

Don't get stuck in their routine. You can only watch so much Frozen, Ninja Turtles or anything that has a sing along before you go crazy! If we are all honest I think we all have a little bit of a big kid inside of us! Don’t keep that big kid inside of you, let her out! Your kids will love it and you will loosen up. For me, I love art. Painting, coloring, crafting up something if it’s artsy I love it! On a really hard mama day I love breaking out the water color paint, putting on some classical music (which Eli LOVES!) and we just chat and get creative. It’s relaxing and we all enjoy it! Maybe you like reading or doing yoga, cuddle up with a book and your little ones. Pop in a yoga DVD and have them join in they love stretching out their little bodies.


2) DANCE PARTY!!

So when I first had Zoe I had really bad postpartum depression. I was in counseling and my husband covered me in prayer but I was still plagued with this sadness. I was getting better overall but day to day I was just down. One day I was folding laundry and I had Zoe in her stroller. A really upbeat and fun song came on and she got really happy. She giggled, smiled and moved her little body all around. I without even thinking about it grabbed her and started dancing all over the house with her. Now today Zoe, Eli & I (sometimes my hubby joins in lol) have a full out dance party. I’m talking cupid shuffle, cotton eye joe, Macarena all of that! We just dance and wiggle and we feel better. The day gets lighter, we loosen up and we feel connected as a family! Most of the time when we are done I forget I was even having a sucky day!



3) Implement Quiet Time

This is actually implemented every day in our home and not just on hard days. Zoe can get pretty loud making her adorable baby sounds and Eli just loves talking. From 12:30 to 1:30pm every day we have quiet time (unless we’re out of course). Zoe is usually put down for a nap or in her bouncer at that time. Eli will usually take a nap or read a book quietly to himself. This helps me to relax and get just a little bit of quiet mid-day so I can keep my sanity. This also helps Eli to understand there is a time to talk and a time to be quiet. This also helps him to have self-control as he understands he can’t be on an absolute 10 all day long.



4) When in doubt go to the park!

I believe the park was created by tired moms for tired moms lol.  I mean what kid doesn't love going to the park seriously, they can run around and play with other kids and all you have to do is sit and watch. You'll also have to yell a few phrases like, “be careful” and “play nice” every now and then, but other than that PIECE OF CAKE. This also gives you the chance to reflect and clear your head. I usually circle the park with Zoe in her stroller as I watch Eli. He’s occupied, she’s falling asleep and I’m enjoying the scenery ahhh. This might also be a good time to chat with another mom and *gasp* have an adult conversation!



5) Be honest, and pray!

 Some of the sweetest and most heartfelt prayers I have heard have come from Eli’s mouth. There have been times when I have been sick or just dealing with a really heavy family situation and Eli will pray for me. He does it of his own free will and we rarely have to ask him to pray but there is nothing wrong with initiating some family prayer time. Simply say, “hey kids mama is having a hard day let’s all pray”. When you constantly pour out so much help and love on your kids I noticed they love doing anything to help you back. This helps your children to grow up being comfortable praying out loud. This is also a great opportunity to teach them that when we have hard days we should go to Jesus first! Heidi Baker, a missionary once said when she prays for healing she always ask the children in the room to pray, because their faith is so great. There's something so pure and powerful about a child's prayer! 



So mama, when you’re having a hard day refuse to sulk. Whatever you do don’t fuss or snap at your kids. Their little spirits are so fragile and they shouldn't be the target of our personal frustration. Instead of staying complacent in bad mama day syndrome get up, get out and do something fun with your kids. I betcha it’ll brighten your day!!

What are some things you do with your kids when you’re having a bad mama day?






My “(un) expectant” New Life





Over the past couple of months my life has changed! I mean like drastic changes. In May I became a first generation college graduate. In June I found out I was pregnant &; oh I wasn't married yet! In June I also got surprised with the second biggest surprise which was an engagement. All summer I planned my wedding while trying to juggle the MESS that is the fist trimester of pregnancy. In August my husband and I pushed back our wedding and in September we said "I Do". I didn't just say "I Do" to my husband but to a family as I became a step mother that day as well. When I graduated I had no idea where I was headed or the series of events to follow. I had no idea I would experience all that I experienced this summer. I also had no idea I would be so happy and at peace about it all. My life is by no means 'together', perfect or easy but I God has taught me so much in this season and I had to share ...


I remember the Tuesday morning like it was yesterday. The doctor walked in and said, “well you’re definitely pregnant”. Those four words changed my life forever. At that time I was an unwed, unemployed, graduate student and oh yeah … pregnant! I always dreamed of having babies and being a mama but the timing in which it happened was not what I expected. I'm a Christian this isn't what my life is suppose to look like right? In an instant shame, guilt, condemnation and a rush of lies flooded my heart and mind. The biggest lie of all “my life was over”. I felt like my story was done, my purpose was forfeited and as if I had nothing left to give. My now husband tried to comfort me and let me know he wasn't going anywhere but it didn't matter. All I seen was my sin. All I seen was the fact that I was unwed and pregnant and a crippling replay of lies.
                                 

As a Christian you would think well duh you’re gonna keep the baby right? That’s what I always thought too. Sadly I considered abortion and not just considered but planned and not just planned but budgeted. I am so thankful to God that I had the right support, clarity of mind and discernment of the voice of God to come to the decision of choosing life. For me coming to that decision was not easy.

I went back and forth. I had highs and lows. I wrestled, I cried, I got PISSED but a time came where the I’s had to take the backseat. The reality was I was pregnant, a baby was coming, no I am not married but there is a REAL LIFE growing inside of me. This life
was depending on me to make the right choice. The reality had to be accepted: I sinned (gasp), I got pregnant (scandalous) and now I had a choice to make. The choice really wasn't mine to make though, I don’t give life. Conceiving a child is truly a miracle who was I to try to take that away? Especially because the timing was off and I was concerned with what people would think. Despite how hard it may be we can never allow temporary concerns and worries move us to a permanent decision.

In all honesty I was never at war with my precious unborn baby. I was at war with the lies in my mind. The lie that told me abortion was a quick fix to the big fat mess I made. The lie that this baby was punishment for my sin. (The Bible makes it very clear that children are a gift from God. Children are never punishment). Here’s the truth: abortion does not fix anything. Abortion may seem like a quick fix and cover up for a time but like a volcano it will erupt in your life when you least expect it. What erupts? Depression, suicidal thoughts, drug addiction and the list goes on. (Do some scholarly research not Google but scholarly research concerning the after effects of abortion). Abortion is not a fix it actually creates a NEW world of guilt, pain and shame.

Though I wasn't excited; though, I wasn't even sure I made the right choice I had to put my big girl panties on. Abortion left my vocabulary and was no longer an option; I chose to keep my baby. When I had my first sonogram I heard the baby’s heartbeat and I saw the little tadpole like fetus swimming around in my womb. At that moment I knew I made the right choice and with every sonogram to follow it was confirmed. With every precious flutter and kick in my belly I am reminded choosing life was the best decision I could ever make. It’s amazing how you can love someone who hasn't been born …

                           

So you may be wondering is that why you got married? Because you were pregnant? Or is that why you got married so soon? All valid questions and concerns but, no and no. My husband had been planning our engagement for months. From the beginning when he first started pursuing me he made it very clear he was in this for the purpose of marriage. Finding out I was pregnant didn't change his feelings towards marrying me it only made him want to make me his wife even more. We knew we loved each other and wanted to be together so we gave it a big fat “what are we waiting for”. We didn't make this decision hastily or in secret. We received premarital counseling from three pastors and we sought counsel from those close to us. We realized just because a baby was coming that we couldn't rush to the altar. With the blessing of our pastors and peace from God we chose to commit to each other for the rest of our lives.

It wasn't easy. We argued and pressed each other buttons. There were times when we felt like we weren't going to make it. There’s something about getting ready to marry someone that will make all your issues come to the surface and all your fears stand up and wave. We realized that marriage was not going to be easy and we had a choice to make. We could have thrown it all away or die to self, quit being so selfish and work this thing out. Not just once and for all but on a daily basis. That meant me shutting my big fat mouth sometimes and him being more sensitive. It’s not easy or perfect but we both know we made the right decision. The peace we have, God’s amazing provision and waking up every morning next to my husband is a great reminder. A reminder that every single thing we went through while crazy and at times straight up RATCHET (lol) was so worth it. It’s a joy seeing each other and our love take deeper root each day.


Forgiveness was the hardest thing for me. Forgiving myself and accepting that God had truly forgiven me. As I began to tell friends, family and those in authority over me about being pregnant I expected condemnation and harsh criticism. Inside I felt that I had deserved to be judged and shunned. No one condemned me! Not one person said anything to affirm the lies I believed. Now there were sly comments (always will be) but no condemnation (lol). I was embraced, loved, supported and shown more grace than I could handle. I've never felt more supported by the church as in this season of my life. When I say the church I do not mean where I attend on Sunday’s (though they were amazing) I mean the body of Christ as a whole, the people. They loved me unconditionally. This was just a tip of the iceberg of how God chased, ran me down and tackled me with grace.

Although I was embraced by people the lies still lingered. These were the truths that set me free:

My sin does not define me.
I failed but I am not a failure
My baby is not sin. The act of sex outside of marriage was the sin.
God is not surprised by my pregnancy
Getting pregnant out of wedlock is no match for the blood of Jesus.

God still does love me, all along God STILL had and has plans for me. He still calls me HIS princess. I use to think because I followed the rules that I was accepted by God. Now I know I’m loved despite what I do and there’s no valley too low for God’s grace to reach. This truth compels me not to right behavior for the sake of being a “good Christian”. This truth compels me to righteousness. This truth convicts me to holiness.

Now I know that this is true:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:37-39

    
I’m here to tell you even if you don’t start strong you can finish strong. Maybe you’re like me and my husband and you started on FIRE but somewhere down the road you messed up, you can STILL finish strong. I would have loved to say I didn't kiss or have sex with my husband until we were married but it isn't true. I would love to say we set boundaries and were pure the WHOLE way through but we weren't.  Somewhere along the lie we replaced Christ in our relationship with our selfish lust but we can STILL finish strong. You can STILL finish strong. This is not the end!

Many of you reading have gone too far with your boyfriend or  girlfriend. Maybe you’re expecting a baby and aren't married. In the words of a great friend spoken at our wedding “your covenant is different”. What Ishaq and I have is our own. I believe this is true of everyone. Every single marriage is different, there are something’s that are just plain not okay but every marriage and relationship is different. The only step by step guide we need is the Bible not the lives of people. If you get anything from us don’t get a blueprint get a lesson. The lesson is this: No matter what you go through, despite what unexpected series of events may come your story is not over. You can finish strong despite how you begin.

Maybe your story is way different than mine. Perhaps your guy is not sticking around for the baby and marriage is not an option for you. Even if marriage is not an option for you DO NOT allow abortion to be an option for you either. Your start does not determine your finish. You may have to work harder, Ishaq and I did but that’s okay. Despite what it may look like now you can, YOU CAN, YOU CAN FINISH STRONG! I had no idea I’d be this at peace about my life right now. When I first got pregnant all I seen was the problem in front of me. Choose to look beyond your now. Right now you may only see a big, disastrous storm but on the other side of that storm is sunny rainbow. It won’t be perfect, it won’t be easy but it WILL be worth it!!!

                     

For those couples out there, it is never too late to set boundaries. It is never in vain to pursue purity, we did it and I believe you can too. Yes if you’re already expecting it is never too late to put Christ first. Remember, we aren't pure so we can escape disease and pregnancies we pursue purity because it is God’s standard for us in relationships. Choose to turn from your sin and be pure in your relationship.






P.s: oh yeah and that precious baby Ishaq and I are expecting …




She’s due for arrival early next year and I couldn't be more full of joy!!!



10 Things to do While PMSing (& 5 things NOT to do!)



So it's that time of the month but not quite! Your hormones are everywhere and you want to cry, yell, jump with joy, punch someone in the face & cuddle a small kitten all at once. Yup, you're PMSing. Oh and let's not forget the chocolate cravings, can't forget those good 'ol chocolate cravings. Some women go through this time gracefully, their moods never change and it's beautiful HOWEVER that's not girls like us. Some of us need a little bit of a push in the right direction to keep us from acting irrational and plain 'ol CRAZY!! So here's my PMS cheat sheet to keep me & you from being miserable and making others miserable once every month.








Your emotions are everywhere. You're irritable maybe sad probably angry. When you find yourself getting overwhelmed with all that your body is doing stop for a moment. If you're at work, if you're in class take a 5 minute bathroom break and just run to Jesus. Pray, read your favorite verse or just take a moment to breathe in His sweet presence. Ask Him to realign your thoughts and emotions and to give you a fresh perspective.








Having alone time is sooo super important, especially when your body is doing all that it is doing. Spending time with yourself reading a book, watching your favorite show or just laying down will help you relax and rejuvenate especially because you may be feeling irritable. If you can't do this for a full day take at least one hour. Take a bubble bath or go for a walk, turn off your cell phone or leave it at home. No facebook, no twitter, no instagram just you and Jesus.






You're having food cravings out the wazoo, go head have something sweet to eat IN MODERATION. Don't you dare go buy a gallon of ice cream, a bunch of chocolate cake and crawl into bed and pig out. Do go on head and buy a piece of dark chocolate which is actually good for you and sweet at the same time. Do have an organic and naturally sweetened fruit smoothie.







Whenever I'm PMSing a girls night always helps. Your girlfriends understand how you feel because they most likely share some of the feelings you are currently feeling. You all can get together have some great girl talk, laugh, cry, hug and get your mind off of the long range of emotions you're having. After spending some time alone do not isolate yourself, DO go head and get together with some girlfriends.







In a graceful, tasteful and polite way let those around you know that you are currently experiencing PMS. While you are not excusing your actions or mood swings let them know you're just not feeling it today and you may need a little space.






Journal! Write down how you're feeling. It will help you sort out how you really feel from just plain 'ol PMS. It will also be a good outlet for your emotions. You can't throw your emotions away they've got to go somewhere. Your emotions should NEVER be given to friends and family members while PMSing that is unfair to them and will strain the relationship when you're yourself again. Give your emotions to Jesus and your journal! This is also a great time to track the date of the month and how you feel during that time. After 3 or 4 months you may see a pattern like every third week of the month I PMS and feel irritable. It will help you take care of yourself better in the future.






There are so many foods that can help regulate your mood and eliminate irritability but they're all healthy. I get it you have your cravings but that doesn't mean you should submit to them and PMS is not excuse for forsaking all rules for healthy eating. Salad's with apples and oranges, bananas, salmon, avocado, nuts, whole grains, spinach and beans are great for you while your PMSing. They will also help set you up for a smoother actual menstrual period. Oh and don't forget the good 'ol water which we should be drinking lots of EVERY day!








When you're PMSing your boyfriend, fiance or husband is most likely to feel your wrath & he doesn't deserve to!!! Setting up a code word with him will help you to recognize when you're getting out of hand and help him feel more comfortable telling you you're getting out of hand.







Endorphin's galore!!!! When you work out you release a chemical in your body called endorphin. This lovely chemical boost your mood and basically makes your happy. People who frequently work out have better moods because of this chemical. So when you're irritable and cranky hit the gym and get those endorphins working!!!







Princess, life goes on. There's really nothing else to say, just keep going!!! Don't allow your life to be completely disrupted once every month.









When you're irritable small things seem big. Don't sweat the small stuff. Keep it in mind that you're really not yourself right now. Don't forget to give people extra grace because you will get annoyed more and easier, let stuff go more than ever when your PMSing.









As mentioned before those close to you like boyfriends, fiances and husbands will experience your wrath. Cute little things he usually does that you find hilarious normally will just dance on you nerve when your PMSing. Give him grace gracefully remind him that you're not there right now and you can't appreciate his gesture at that time. It takes practice but you'll get there. Choose your words and remember it's not what you say it's how you say it. (this goes for everyone in your life)







Let's just be honest, your emotions can't be trusted right now so don't go making an impulse decision for instance: don't paint a room in your house you may hate that color later. Don't dye your hair or cut it differently you may REALLY hate it later. You get my point, no being spontaneous while your PMSing wait a few days until you're back to yourself.




We're trying to get your emotions back in order. None of those sappy love movies, false expectation, crying, making you even MORE emotional junk. Cut off the Nicholas Sparks, the Notebook can wait, NONE OF THAT! Do something more valuable with your time.


This breaks my heart to hear. I use to say this frequently too. I went to a seminar at my school where the speaker pretty much educated young women on the beauty of the menstrual cycle. Menstration reminds us that we are bearers of life and that we give life in a different way than men. Our bodies are vessels and funnels of life, that is nothing to be regretful or ashamed about. Love your femininity and walk in it boldly even when you're bleeding, cranky and having cramps! You're a woman darn it & that's beautiful!!!














p.s: what do's and don'ts would you add to this list?

3 TRUTHS to Remember When You Don't Feel Like Fighting



"The struggle is real", a phrase commonly used by me and my girlfriends in a joking way & yet it carries such weight and such truth. This walk, this journey, this race as a Christian is a fight. Becoming a Christian is must like enlisting in a war. Once you carry the name of Christ you become a target and our enemy does not fight fair. Fighting this daily battle can become wearisome and there are times when quite frankly we just don't FEEL like fighting. I've had plenty of those days! I learned early on that when I don't feel like it I've got to speak truth to myself. Below are the 3 truths I remember and remind myself when the battle seems too big and I don't want to be bothered with it all.










'The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, - Duet. 1:30

When the battle is raging it is so easy to feel alone. One of the tactics and lies the enemy uses to trap God's daughter is the lie that you are alone, no one knows how you feel and you are the only one fighting this hard. It is a big fat lie!!! This is one of the key reasons why community is extremely important. We must live in constant community, no soldier in a war goes out to combat alone they go with their unit. Who is apart of your unit for combat? If you currently don't have a unit what unit can you join? Your local church, women's group, and bible study are a great place to start building community. Most importantly God almighty is fighting for you!!! He goes before you in every single battle you face. Though you may not see His face and though His hand may appear absent remember the just (meaning you) will walk by faith. Sight may say you are alone but faith screams that God is SO with you and SO very for you!



The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. - 2 Corinthians 10:4
This is something I have been learning more and more. God has equipped His daughters with weapons! I'm not talking about stick thin branches to ward off flies in the woods. We're talking 2 by 4's, shot guns, pistols and grenades to take down the enemy of our soul. Honey, you are ARMED ... or are you? The weapons have been given to us and made available for our taking but we must USE them!! I encourage you to go to Ephesians 6 where Paul speaks about the weapons God has entrusted us with and how we can DAILY use those weapons and put on the armour of God. I am a very territorial person. I get very protective of those I love. It is absolutely crazy to me how I would not let another person mess with me or those whom I love but I let the enemy do the same thing to me and those whom I love in the spiritual realm. Princess, God has called you too be a warrior for His kingdom. Let's not be passive we are in a VERY real war. Pick up those weapons of yours (THERE ARE SO MANY) and let's fight.













"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. - Genesis 50:20

It's not about you! This fight, this war is so much bigger than just you. Each and every one of us are called to reach certain people for the cause of Christ.Some of us at larger scales and some of us at smaller scales. Regardless of how many people you are called to reach the fact remains you are called to reach people! Now those people that you are called to reach are meant to reach people as well and those people are meant to reach people and so on and so fourth. When you choose to give up the fight there is a ripple effect that takes place that goes beyond you! The enemy of your soul has meant many of the battles in your life to make you defeated, to make you quit and give up but God has intended that those things grow you, that those things make you the warrior Princess you were always meant to be. The battle is bigger than you remember that when you want to give up. Remember that when you start to feel alone, remember  when you feel powerless and weak that there is a whole generation of girls who will also feel that way and YOU have been called to reach them. Beloved, the battle is bigger than you.






p.s: keep fighting

A Heart Surrendered ...



As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man. - Proverbs 27:19 ♥

I have always said that a persons heart will always tell on them. Scripture continuously affirms this notion. Scriptures like out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks affirms that whats in our hearts won't stay just there, the condition of our heart will reveal itself.. Our heart will reflect who we truly are. Honestly, my heart hasn't reflected the things I would desire for it to reflect. Ya' know things like patient, gentleness, self-control. Nope, instead I've been agitated, easily annoyed, snappy and down right selfish on many occasions. God is completely and totally concerned with your heart. The ground of your heart is such a precious place. Scripture is extremely clear on how important our hearts are to God. God doesn't look at all the things we do, how we dress, or even how much we do for Him. All of those outward practices shrink in comparison to the condition of our hearts. This is a reality I am constantly confronted with. Recently I got super honest with myself and realized my heart is not in the right place. My heart doesn't overflow with the right things. This realization isn't the end all be all. There is grace, there is mercy praise God that He can change my heart through His sweet word.

While it is important to realize our depravity and it is crucial that we do a honest assessment on ourselves this isn't enough. From that realization and assessment must come action. Proverbs tells us to guard our hearts. Beloved, while we should desire to guard the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ and vice versa we must remember this very direct pearl of wisdom. It's YOUR job to guard your heart. It's your heart. I want you to think of something in your life that you love having that you would never want to be ruined. Maybe it's your iPhone, maybe it's your favorite handbag. When it comes to that item you don't leave it up to anyone else to take care of it. While you expect those around you to know that they shouldn't tamper with that thing because it's important to you you take FULL responsibility for the care, preservation and protection of what means so much to you. Princess, know your heart is precious. Beloved, realize your heart is valuable. Daughter, believe your heart is a scared place. We live in an anti-scared culture. Very few things of worth are scared, treasured and valued. In this culture God's word still rings true and His wisdom is still applicable to you. Now because your heart is scared, valuable and treasured there is a different way in which you ought to take care of it. 

Water it! Water your heart as you would water a garden. We do this through the word of God. We do this through intimacy with God, through prayer. Those spiritual disciplines that nourish you. Notice I said water your heart. In the same way that you wouldn't put Doritos in the fertilizer and you wouldn't water a garden with soda don't allow JUNK into your heart. What's junk? Junk is that stuff that takes up time, energy and space in your heart but lacks nutrients. What are you watching on tv? Is it nourishing you? Is it bringing you closer to Jesus and His will for your life? Is it true, lovely, pure, of good report? Does whatever your watching, listening to, talking to, or saying help you to develop in the fruits of the spirit? If you answer no to any of these questions you are watering your garden with soda. What is the soda in your life? When you've been feeding your heart things that do not nourish it you need to do a bit of a heart detox. 

Okay so what's a heart detox you ask?
A heart detox is the process of ridding and filling. In this case that process is 30 days. We rid our hearts of the junk of this world and fill our hearts with the nourishment of our sweet savior. Here's how the process goes:

1. Prayer - really surrender yourself to God right here right now. Get on your knees, on your face whatever you need to do to get in God's presence do it. One way that I quiet myself down and get into God's presence is by getting in a comfortable position. I pick a scripture and I just meditate on it . I literally just fill my mind with truth and then I begin to thank God for pretty much everything from the air I'm breathing to recent victories. From there I go on ahead and just pray. Of course you don't have to do exactly what I do but if this concept is a bit foreign to you the tip might help. When praying ask God to reveal those things you need to rid yourself of.

2. Customize Your Detox - Okay I'm a list girl so of course that's apart of this. Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Make a two column list. Title one column junk and title the other column nourishment. Go through your daily schedule and write down which of your actions nourish you and what do not. For an example if every night I'm watching Mob wives, basketball wives, love & hip hop, and the jersey shore all those things go under my junk column. Those aren't things that nurture me. Just like junk food doesn't provide us with the nutrients we need neither does heart junk.. If every morning I read my Bible that goes under my nourishment column (don't forget to add your time spent on instagram and facebook which should most likely go under the junk column lol) Now it's time to customize your detox. Now everything  that you wrote under the junk column for the next 30 days (and some of them hopefully your life) you will not be doing any of those things for the next 30 days. Now to customize your detox even more replace every junk item with a nourishment item. If your junk column was longer than your nourishment column then you will need to add some practices that you don't currently do. Some spiritual disciplines you can consider adding are: fasting, serving, evangelism, and worship. Some other disciplines you can consider are: reading a Biblically sound book, exercising, perfecting your craft, and maybe even spending more time working on your relationships with friends and family. So for an example say I wrote under my junk list that I watch Mob wives I will replace that in my schedule with serving. So instead of watching television that night maybe i'll go help out a single parent clean up after dinner and get the kids read for school the next day. From this list you should have an all new schedule for the next 30 days.

3. Choose a Bible Reading Plan - Bible reading plans are a really easy way to get into the habit of reading the word daily. YouVersion.com has some really amazing Bible reading plans. These plans can be used on the computer and on your mobile device. The Youversion Bible study I'm doing is She Reads Truth: Fresh Start it is a 19 day plan. Reading the Bible is extremely vital! Your heart NEEDS truth! Beloved, your heart craves truth. Choose to no longer fill you heart with the counterfeit and give it the REAL thing it needs: truth!

4. Got Music? Princess, this is soooo important. I am not at all saying this to take away from the art of music. Music is simply words to a tune. Words are powerful. Be mindful of what words you let in. We've got to learn to filter. Not just with music but with movies as well. Remember your heart is valuable its precious we want to guard it well.  I challenge you to replace every negative song on your iPOD with a positive song that reflects truth. Check out noisetrade.com and rapzilla.com for some fun FREE truth reflecting music. Noisetrade isn't a christian only site so practice filtering.

5. The Company You Keep - Assess the company you keep. Are they people who bring you closer to Christ or are they people who kick you right back into your pit? Choose to surround yourself with like minded people who are following hard after Christ. More than just Sunday at church try and connect through fellowship throughout the week also. It is really encouraging to keep going in your walk when you're around people who share that same hearts desire.

6. Enjoy God - Remember this isn't a check off list. This is us ridding our hearts of anything that keeps us from our Abba. Remember to enjoy God. You don't HAVE to spend time with God you GET to spend time with God. It is a privilege and a honor to be in the presence of our king. Remember to have joy. Happy detoxing!

I'm so excited about the next 30 days (regardless of when your 30 days starts). Joining me on this detox journey? Post of the button below on your blog/website and invite some other sisters on the journey!!!





The Art of Letting Go


No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
- Philippians 4:13

I use to hate whenever people talked about letting go of the past. It's like how do you do that?!?! How does one go through various hurts, trials, and tragedies and just "let go". It use to be one of those things that I would often respond to with, "easier said than done". and YES while it is easier said than done it can be done. Beloved, wallowing, holding onto and using your past as an excuse might be comfortable however it is hindering you from growth. Our problems are meant to develop us, to sharpen us and to GROW us. The past is gone beloved! It's a new day with new mercies. The Bible promises that God gives us new mercies every single day. We're not running off of last years, last night's or last week's mercies. The mercy God has for you today is FRESH, it's brand spanking new. What does that tell us about God? It tells us SO much about Him but one thing we can take from that today is that God isn't about being stuck in the past. Princess, it's time to let go. Paul said in Philippians 4:13 that although he hasn't arrived he isn't perfect one thing he does do is focus on the future not his past and Paul had a vast past. I have no idea what your past consist of I don't know what exactly what you've been through or what you've done. One thing I do know is that nothing in your past can stand against the great sacrifice made for you by Christ. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in the past. We take on a victim mentality causing us to see ourselves as helpless, worthless and beyond help. Those are just lies of the enemy of your soul! You are never helpless because the Lord is a present help in times of need. You have NEVER been worthless because even when you were still a sinner Jesus deemed you worthy of His own life. You are not beyond help because none of your circumstances, pain or problems are a match for the blood that was shed for you on the cross. Princess, you are NOT a victim. You are a royal daughter of the King, wounded but royal indeed. 

The question still lingers, how do you really let go? One day at time, sometimes moment by moment choosing Christ over your pain. How do you choose Christ over your pain? By choosing into love. Hurt and pain are designed to make you zero in on yourself. They are both very selfish emotions that lead to selfish thoughts which lead to selfish actions which is followed by a self-centered, bitter, angry lifestyle. Hurt and pain whisper, "look what they did to me", "what about me?" I'm not saying that you shouldn't feel hurt or pain but I am challenging how you deal with that hurt and pain. You can't stay there beloved. It is unhealthy to believe we can wallow in our feelings.  Some of us just need to tell our feelings to SHUT UP. You deal with your pain, you talk through you pain, you work through your hurt but you don't sit in it that's where pity parties come from. Gotta cry? Oh honey cry your little heart out. Put 10 minutes on your oven timer and cry your eyes out.  When your 10 minutes is up you GET UP and do something about your pain. Remember our pain is meant to grow us NOT chain us. Don't be kept captive or bound by your hurt and pain which are matters of the past.

"Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ."  - Oswald Chambers

Princess,
Choose to lay your past at Christ feet and press towards the future. No more excuses. No more games. No more pity parties and wallowing in what you can not change. Here's the beautiful thing about laying your past at Christ feet when you give him your ashes in Isaiah it promises us that God will give us beauty. Jesus never wallowed in His hurt or pain and Jesus had many reasons to be hurt and full of pain but He loved regardless of what was done to Him. He was the example for us. Beloved, choose to let go of your past in 2013 and live the abundant life God has for you.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
- Mother Teresa




Hurricane Sandy


This past week I had the privilege of attending and speaking at a retreat. I was so focused on retreat planning that I had absolutely no idea that Hurricane Sandy was heading for the Northeast. I actually didn't find out about the Hurricane until Saturday evening and even still I didn't take it seriously. I just kind of shrugged and said "it's just going to be a little rain". On Sunday as we headed back from the retreat center to the college campus I live on I noticed Jersey was in a state of emergency that's when I thought "okay maybe this is serious". It wasn't long before the winds began to gust. I'm talking 60 mph and higher winds. I've seen many windy days but nothing like that! I noticed trees that never EVER moved swaying and bending with the wind.  


I live on a college campus right outside of New York City (the 5 boroughs). We were hit pretty hard especially because there are so many trees around. Some buildings on campus need to receive new power lines all together because they were completely snapped due to trees falling on them. The dorm I reside in never fully lost power due to our back up generator. Compared to the rest of the Tri-state area I can honestly say we have been sitting in the lap of luxury. We never had to worry about food, water or heat. I am so thankful!


Over these past few days I've spent a lot of time in community. Oh yea did I mention classes were cancelled all week? This Hurricane for me was a blessing and a treat. God truly gave me the gift of rest. I do realize that my experience is not everyone's experience and I realize many have lost their homes and are suffering right now. Please join me in praying for those in the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, Farrock away, Manhattan and Staten Island areas. If you live in any of these surrounding areas and would like to help out please check out:
www.bowery.org

{Me posing next to this super huge willow tree. Poor thing didn't stand a chance against Sandy! 
Willow tree - 0, Sandy - 1}



Take Heart


I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
- John 16:33

I write this not on the shores of safety or even after the storm, but in the middle of torrent rain in a storm that rages.  Those trials Jesus promises us, I am experiencing. Those sorrows He boldly says will come, I'm feeling.  At one point or another in your life YOU too have tasted the rotten taste of trials and sorrows & yet Jesus says to take heart. Reading this scripture in and of itself one is like "oh cool yea take heart simple", reading this scripture in the midst of the storm sounds more like "what the *bleep* how am I suppose to do that?!?". It's amazing how scriptures sound so easy and simple enough until it's time for you to live them out in the midst of trials and sorrows. Here's the thing Jesus has never told us to do something He didn't do himself while on this earth. Jesus experienced various trials with the pharisees. Let's remember Jesus was fully human and fully God He experienced all of the feelings we experience. Jesus felt sorrow, remember when John the baptist died. Don't forget how Jesus wept when Lazarus died. Trials and sorrows, Jesus knows full well. 

That's not all! Jesus tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world!! Have you ever hung out with a very important person? Maybe they took you to an event and got you in for free somewhere. Everything they got you got. Everywhere they went you went. You got the same first class treatment and perks simply because you were with them. Jesus is with you so because He overcomes the world SO DO YOU, SO DO WE! It doesn't matter what you are going through right now simply because you attach yourself to Jesus Christ you overcome even when your circumstances scream otherwise!

For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
- 2 Corinthians 4:17

Beloved, my prayer for you is that you trust in, rely on and set your gaze upon Jesus in every season of life. I pray that you will pray when its hardest and you will trust when you have no strength. Princess, take heart you overcome because He has.

xo,
Your sister Chantal

Homemade yogurt parfait (including homemade granola) recipe to come soon!!






Sister to Sister: Sweet One, You Are Loved!

you are loved...

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:8

I'm always amazed when I think about how God didn't wait for us to "get it together" before he expressed His great love for us! Recently God has been doing a lot in my heart especially in this area of God's love. I often think about the girls who feel like they HAVE to sleep around to keep or get a guy. The girls who constantly compromise their values, worth and morals because they don't really get that they are beautiful, worth it and so so loved. I find this deep longing in my heart to just love on them and shower them with truth. If I could write them a letter of encouragement it would most likely go like this:

Sweet one,
You are loved. You are beautiful. You are worth being heard. You are worth waiting for. Jesus Himself deemed YOU worthy of His own life. You ooze worth, value and purpose. While you may not be able to see the truth this TRUTH STILL REMAINS. Your body was designed to be cherished, protected, and valued NOT used and traded for love and acceptance. Your body is not currency for love and acceptance. The man who really loves you, the man who God has for you will not pressure, push or coerce you into anything. You my dear are worth waiting for! God's love is more than enough for you. Seek Him, chase Him, give all your worries, pain and cares to Him and watch Him FILL you with His satisfying love. The love and acceptance you currently chase may seem good at the moment but the pain to follow is not worth it, you know this well. Do not make serious emotional and spiritual bonds with a man who is casual with you. You are worth being seriously wanted as a wife not some mans play toy.You were made for more than quickies, hot and heavy make-out sessions, midnight phone calls and recycled lines coated in "romance". You were made to shine as God's princess. You were made for an unconditional never ending always there loves you wants you is serious about you satisfying love. I will not promise this journey will be easy because there is much pain and regret to walk through I will promise that it is worth it and I will promise that you will never be the same. Sweet one, God our heavenly father knows best. Allow His ways to govern your life. He only wants the best for you. Like a good father His job is to protect you, let Him. Run to Him with open arms with all of your pain and He will give you beauty for ashes. He's waiting, will you let Him lavish His love on you?
xo, your sister
Chantal


Me last month celebrating my 22nd Birthday!!!

Journal Entry 1.7




In this season of my life God has been doing so very MANY amazing things. I am always amazed by how life yields so many different seasons. In this current season God has been doing a lot of restoration and healing in me. When you have a past full of so much abuse and pain like I do you can not just go back to life as usual. There is a process of becoming okay again that must take place. A process in which God cleans and heals the wound, a restoration process ...

Part of my restoration process is God restoring my view of men. After being shafted by so many men in my life my heart began to grow cold against them. I guess you can say this is my season of thawing. A thawing heart is not a mere emotional shift but rather a constant renewing of the mind.

Whenever a mindset begins to shift there is a potential to go to another extreme. As I begin to allow certain guys in and let my guard down I can easily waver to the side of thinking every guy is safe and every guy will protect me. This is a dual process of renewing my mind and guarding my heart. A process in which we could never do alone. A process in which God doesn't want us to go through alone. 

God is so very concerned about every single thing concerning you. From the strands of hairs on your head (each one has a specific number), to your thoughts, to your relationship choices. He loves you so very much. While He loves you where you are He loves you too much to allow you to stay there and He calls us to come up higher. Come up through the pain, come up through the lies, come up through the heartache, come up Princess leaning on Jesus.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness learning on the one she loves?
- Song of Solomon 8:5

We've got to quit the blame game. Although what happened to you wasn't your fault, placing blame on others doesn't help you. The blame game keeps us stagnant, revengeful and bitter. It's time to come up higher Princess. I dare you to take a hard look at yourself and consider your part to play in your current state. What steps need to be taken for growth, development and freedom?

Recently I found myself in two situations where men were around and I found myself unprotected. While these situations were not extremely serious, nor were they life or death I was extremely uncomfortable and felt the men who were around should have been there to cover me. For someone in as such a fragile state as I'm in it could be easy for me to revert, harden my hard and grow cold. In that very moment where I found myself saying, "I'm over it, I'll just take care of myself", God spoke the sweetest words to me in the form of a letter (one of the reasons I carry my journal EVERYWHERE):

Princess,
Men will fail you, they will disappoint and they will not always be there. This does not make them bad or unreliable but merely human. I, the LORD your God am the only one that has, always and will be there for you. I am surrounding you w/ unfailing love. I am surrounding you w/ protection. I am MORE than able & the very definition of sufficient for you.
Love,
Your Abba who LOVES to protects you!

Put no more trust in human,
who has only the breathe in their nostrils,
What are they really worth?
- Isaiah 2:22

See beloved, when you get hurt or abused a large part of security is lost. There is this "who is going to protect me" insecurity that rises up. As you heal, as you develop as you grow put no trust in people!This does not mean you expect the worst from people or you flat out don't trust anyone but you don't put your trust IN them. That trust that belongs to almighty God. Don't even put trust in yourself to protect you. When you try to protect yourself that is called self-preservation and that is bred out of fear.Put away fear. You only have the breathe in your nostrils. Put your full trust in  Jesus. He will always protect you. He will always take care of you.

Beloved,
My prayer is that as you go through your process of healing and restoration that you fall deeper in love with Jesus. Despite the pain you have endured or the abuse that has been done to you that you would leave those things that are behind and press aggressively towards the future. The hope filled future that God has for you. I pray that you would desire to renew your mind and desire to guard your heart and even when you don't you'll choose to do it anyway. In Jesus Precious Name,
Amen



[ Me in Fort Greene, Brooklyn (NYC) at a fair ]




True Love Waits ... It Really Waits!





At times I feel unworthy of this promise unworthy of this band. As I

look at my left hand on my middle finger the ring stares at me,"waits"

is the word read. At times when I think of my purity I say "great I

don't have sex, I'm still pure" but am I really? Doesn't purity mean
so much more. Am I pure when I'm having conversations with guys that
are everything less and short of God's plan and best for me? Am I pure
when I get dressed? Am I pure when interacting with the opposite sex?
Am I really, truly, honorably, and purely waiting for my true love?
Are you?


I often refer to God's authentic love as a feast while the love that

we often settle for in this world is like Ramen noodles! At times I

find myself settling for the Ramen noodles. I can see the Ramen
noodles, I can touch them, feel them the steam from them even blows in
my face and fogs my glasses. The feast isn't that accessible, at least
that is the lie I believe. The LIE that I believe, not the truth of
God's word. The truth is God's love is SO there and SO real. Even in
my mess and instability with Him God continues to tackle, lavish and
adorn me with His love. The essence of love Himself wants to lavish me
with TRUE love, what is any better than this? Why would I stray?
Why would I fall into the love of another? Maybe I'm not as convinced as I 
think I am, maybe wishful thinking has replaced my faith, maybe ....


This brings me back to my purity. As I sit on this train on my way to
Manhattan writing this I glance over at my hand and see the word again
"waits". See the thing about waiting is that it must be rooted in a
place. Not just sitting on top of or laying around but deeply rooted
in some truth if it intends to stand! If I do not truly believe and
have faith in the lavish love of God compromise is inevitable.


I didn't grow up in the church and I've been a Christian for

about 5 years but I'm seeing how this is much like the relationships

we have on earth. After 5 years being in intimate relationship with
someone things can become mundane, boring. What use to wow you can
become dry and meaningless. We daily need a fresh experience with
God.


It is so easy to get on fire for God, the fire dies, go with the

motion, get on fire again rinse, lather and repeat (lol).  We can't

allow yesterday’s experience with God to carry us through today. It's
great to look back and be amazed by what God has done but it is vital,
super vital for us to seek new experiences with God all of the time.
God promises and gives new mercies every single day, He loves newness.
 He wants a new fresh experience with us all every single day.


Waiting, purity, the love of God. While all separate entities all are

linked and tied together. We live in a society where sex is constantly

being thrown at us, how much can you get and how fast can you get it!
Committing your body, sexuality and even deeper your purity to the
Lord can not just ride on mere will power. Self control is important
but the roots of purity need to dig a bit deeper all the way to the
core of which we are right down to the lavish love of God that sets our
hearts ablaze!


So now true love waits is no longer just a ring although that is

important it is so much more than that. It is a form of worship. I

don't know about you but I love a GOOD worship set. Worship is more
than songs, we say this all of the time. Just like I love a good
worship set and I wouldn't sit still and watch during a worship
service why would I pass up an opportunity to worship Him with my
life? Why have I? ... So now when I'm tempted to respond to a text
message late at night I see it as a form of worship to my Abba when I
turn my phone off and commit and submit those last minutes of that day
to God before sleeping. Now when I'm asked out on a date that I know
God wouldn't approve of I see it as a form of worship. True love
waits, true love worships. Waiting is a form of worship...


Guest Post: I Just Love It When You Drool by Rachel Marie Brown


He smiles, his blonde hair shimmering in the sun. I push him higher and higher as he laughs, with laughter bubbling forth: his eyes sparkle. He cannot contain his joy…and neither can I, because I chime in, laughing with him. Egging him on and provoking him, tickling him. Making him laugh harder…harder…harder. He loves the swing.

Then he points his stubby little finger. And when he points his finger, that can only mean one thing: he wants something. And he will do anything to get that something. To have his way. He will pull your hair, tug on your shirt, dig his nails into your skin. He folds his legs and drops to the ground, deadweight. And he will stay there. Until you take him to the place that he wants to go, as he grabs onto your arms with his hands. His wet, slobbery, this-ain’t-no-ordinary-thumb-sucker spit, drenched hands. It’s all fun and games until he touches you…until he touches me with his slimy, wet hands.

But that’s what I signed up for. Isn’t it? And it’s a given, working with Special Needs kids. There will be pee, there will be poop, there will be biting and there will be drool.

Some days I can’t take it. My back hurts from carrying the burden of so many kids, those that can’t lift themselves, and those that can – but just refuse to. Because they’re spoiled, and they’re cute…and it’s our job to take care of them. And so, we pick them up anyway. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to dress myself up…nicely, very nicely. To do my hair and makeup—to wear that cute dress…to wear the cute shoes. To have a job where I can just look good. Be myself, express myself. Some days, I wonder…when my shift will be over. And I mean over, over. When my last day at the job will be. I wonder what it will be like to clock out and never go back—to not have to wash my hands one hundred and fifty times in one hour. Scrubbing the drool off of me, off of my clothes. Out of my hair.

But then. I think of the times when I am pushing him on the swing…higher and higher. And he is smiling harder and harder. Laughing, filling himself with joy. His blonde hair dancing in the wind…as he looks up to me with that crooked smile. That crooked smile that melts my heart. Who knows when his next smile will be…does he laugh like this at home?

The least of these. Jesus talks about them in the Gospel; the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31-46. He talks about them all through-out the New Testament. God’s heart is for them, and bent towards them, through-out the whole context of the Bible. And even today, in the here and now.

He loves the beggar, the broken, the slave, the leper, the sick, the mentally retarded, the physically seized, the invalid, the Samaritan, the poor, the prisoner…the least of these. And He loves them with an unconditional love. Not a love that says, “You can smile at me and it will be okay. I will push you in a swing and we will keep it at that. Just don’t touch me…I squirm at the feel of your drool sliding across my hand. And the smell of it. The nauseating smell of it. I love you, but just don’t touch me.”


I’m sorry. But this is the God-honest thought process that I partake in at my job.

How many times will I choose my own luxury over the least of these? My vain efforts mean nothing if I am in it for the wrong reasons. In it to be seen by the right people. In it, partially. Giving only my heart, but not my mind…or my body. In it to give money to, but not to hug and hold the impoverished, unshowered hungry girl with lice in her hair.

Jesus talks about them—the least of these—in the Gospel; the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31-46.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I wonder how many times a week Jesus extends his hand towards me, reaching out from the body of a beggar…longing, hoping…desiring that I would see through the rugged face and slashed clothing and look to the heart of the person, and see them for who they truly are: a Child of the Most High King. A beloved, in the eyes of Jesus.
This isn’t just about me. This is about you. This is about us and this is about the condition of our hearts. We must fix our hearts, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, we must agree to be transformed, we must care. We gotta. And not just partially. No. We need to care, with everything that we are and everything that we’ve got.
Boy, you can tug on my shirt all you want. You can hold my hands all that you want. You can pull on my arms all that you want, all that you need. And when you touch me with your drool, I won’t flinch, I won’t think twice of it. Because I love you just the way you are. I won’t deny you Jesus…I won’t deny you, least of these…



For more by the lovely Rae Marie Brown visit her blog: http://www.imchasingkitetails.com/

Love's Definition


For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16

What is love?
Isn't that the most ultimate question for us ladies. Isn't it what our hearts long for, Isn't it what we desire the most?
We do so much for the sake of finding "love". 
We search.
We seek.
We compromise.
We do not find.
We settle.
We do not find.
We perform.
We try to earn it.
We still do not find.
True love
that authentic love
that YOUR heart longs and thirst for can not be earned
it can only be accepted, you must receive it.

Each of us has a God sized void in our hearts. It is God sized because only He can fill it. Only God alone can satisfy that thirst you have. That which your heart is searching for can only be satisfied in Christ.

Your search foreign places for love: boyfriends, men, sex, clothing, money, acceptance, achievement and etc.  (they are foreign to your heart because you are using them outside of their intended purpose. None of these places you search are meant to satisfy the God sized void for your heart) Are those things negative? Of course not. Are they bad? No, not at all. Can they satisfy your hearts longing: no my dear, they can not. 

But whoever drinks from the water that I give him will never get thirsty again - ever!
- John 4:14

Beloved, you are well aware that there are many fountains you can drink from. There are various fountains where you can go for momentary fulfillment. Jesus promises a water that will leave you satisfied, you'll never thirst again when you drink from Him.

A boyfriend or husband will not satisfy the thirst of your heart. Things will NEVER grant you the security you desperately need. A lot of times we fight God concerning this issue. Saying things like "I just want a husband", " I just wanna know who I'm gonna marry", "I just want a boyfriend". Proverbs tells us the virtuous women who trust in the Lord and fears Him can laugh at the time to come. There is a peace that comes from being secure in God's love for you. Knowing the plans He has for you is for your good completely diminishes the need to worry about those things. There is a security and peace that comes from receiving God's love for you.

Think of how horrible it would be if people and things could satisfy us. People mess up all the time, they come and go, things are perishable. Seek the unchanging, always there, never going anywhere, not a man that He should lie, loved you from the beginning God!

He said, "It is finished!" Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
- John 19:30

Jesus, sweet sweet, amazing, loving, healing, powerful, humble, sinless Jesus came to die for US. When He died for us He deemed us worth His own life. So back to our original question:


What is love?
Isn't that the most ultimate question for us ladies. Isn't it what our hearts long for, Isn't it what we desire the most?
As I reflect on Good Friday and think of Jesus on the cross bleeding, for us as He spoke His last words I see love. Arms wide open, as He exposed His heart, His passion, His desire, as God proved His love for all of humanity I see LOVE. Jesus is love's definition.

Love is not a emotion, love is not some romantic whim. Love is a sacrificial choice, love is a perfect sinless man, love is God himself becoming flesh to die for us! Love's definition is Jesus Christ dying for you!!!

As we celebrate this Easter weekend I pray that God would reveal His love to you! That you would be able to comprehend with all the saints how wide, how long, how deep, and how long is the father's LOVE for you.


Styled by Chantal: 0.1

What I love most about this look is that although it is sexy and fun it is still modest. This look can easily go from office to night out by simply removing the blazer.
- Chantal

Spring Trend: Pastel colors




Blazer - Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Lace Top - Forever 21
Pencil Skirt -Ann Taylor
Shoes - Call It Spring (Aldo's Brand)
Jewelry - Thrifted






Kissing Your Insecurities Goodbye ...

[goodbye insecurities. xoxo, wonderfully made]

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful
   I know that full well. 
- Psalms 139:14

I look in the mirror and staring back at me are my skinny legs. "My legs are too skinny", I think to myself. Tomorrow is our first really hot day of the year. We are expecting 80 degree weather, what's this mean for me? I can no longer hide behind pants, jeans, leggings, or tights. I have to go out in public with bare legs, I feel so naked just thinking about it. What will people say, who will accuse me of not eating, the thoughts of things said about my weight from Jr.high even rush back to my mind. I find myself taking on the lie of the enemy, taking on his voice and making it my own, standing in agreement with the originator of lies. I try on an outfit that I think is beautiful but the only shoes that make the outfit pop are my nude heels (5.5 inches to add on to my 5'9 height). Okay so not only are my skinny legs going to be exposed but I'm also going to be super tall??? Wait a minute, maybe I should wear something else. I go to friends who will only tell me the truth and they completely affirm me (beauty of community). One of my friends goes on to talk about her legs and I totally affirm her, wait what's wrong with this picture. I just bashed on myself but I can affirm you??? It wasn't until I was alone in my room that I could hear the still, small voice of God. It's time we kiss our insecurities goodbye!!! I've decided that if I ever shrink back because I think about "them" (whoever them is) or I think how a part of my body is gross I will intentionally do that thing on PURPOSE. I refuse to let my insecurities stop me from living a full life in Christ and all that entails; from wearing certain outfits to accomplishing great things. My insecurities aren't the boss, God's truth is and He says I'm wonderfully made. I've kissed my insecurities goodbye, join me?


Dear Broken Heart, From, A Healing Heart

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 
- Psalms 147:3
I by no means have all the answers, what I do have is wisdom from my Abba spoken to me in my deepest moments of pain. As someone who is very familiar with pain and broken hearts I understand how you are feeling first hand. First off I want to remind and reassure you that God is not the one who is hurting you, the great and mighty healer is completely FOR you (Romans 8:31), He loves you with an undying, relentless, eternal, compassionate, all consuming LOVE (Song of Solomon 8:6-7). God is so concerned with YOU that He keeps record of your sorrow and holds all of your tears in a bottle. Not one tear you have ever cried has fallen below the Father's radar (Psalms 56:8). He gave all of Heaven has to offer just so you can be close with Him, do you really believe your heart is of no concern to Him? (John 3:16) Beloved, God sees how you pretend to be okay and how you work so hard to appear to be fine and He is not fooled for one minute. While others may judge you by what's outside God looks at you and sees straight to your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Princess, God did not just see the day your heart would break but He also sees the day His very hands will put it back together. God, your King, your Abba, your best friend, the lover of your soul heals the brokenhearted and He himself will bind up your wounds (Psalms 147:3). When you feel alone, crushed, forgotten and broken God is near to you, don't believe the lie, God has NEVER left you (Psalms 34:18). The road to healing is not easy but I promise you it is so worth it. On days when you feel too weak to go on, don't give up or regress, HIS grace is sufficient for you and HIS strength is made perfect in your weakness, trust Him beloved (2 Corinthians 12:9). For some of you the idea and concept of trusting God is so hard to grasp because your trust has been broken over and over, God sees that. God knows what you've been through and He will take baby steps with you. Beloved, God meets you where you are, all you have to do is draw close to Him (James 4:8). Jesus is not like the many men in your life that have hurt you. When He said He loves you He meant it. When He said He will NEVER leave you or forsake you, He meant it. When He promised to heal your heart He meant that too! Jesus is not given to every wind of His emotions, He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). I can't promise you this road will be easy or that every moment will seem like God is present, I can assure you that God is who He says He is and that His word is truth that will never fail (Isaiah 55:11). God is longing to heal you, will you let Him in?

I am a living testimony of God's healing power. I love when people say to me, "I had no idea you've been through so much". It is such an example of what Christ healing love can do! He makes all things NEW! My prayer is that you would allow the king of glory into your heart and that you would allow Him to have His way in you, in Jesus name Amen!