My Modesty Story

modesty story

 

modesty story

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Hannah Anderson. Today Hannah is sharing her personal modesty story — and I commend her for that. Everyone has different modesty standards today; let’s face it, there’s no cut and dry rules. Hannah felt led to share and I love the lesson in her story! Thank you Hannah for being brave!]

A twenty-something Christian woman who always always held herself up to Christian standards of purity and modesty (sort of, more on that later) and wore her father’s purity ring he gave her a decade prior with pride. This woman always liked to talk about how above the world and the pleasures of the flesh she was and how sorry she was for other women who destroyed their lives by going outside God’s boundaries.

However, this woman was self-conscious. She thought herself to be homely and overweight. She noticed that no guys ever paid attention to her except to be her friend and she pretended this didn’t bother he because that is not what a Christian woman should care about. She also noticed that homely girls could get attention from guys by dressing immodestly, but she deigned not to go down that road because of her faith.

This woman met a man at work she really liked. He was an independent contractor working there temporarily. They talked all of the time on lunch break but he never pressed it further. He was about to leave and the woman was tired of being just a friend so she did something. She bought some new clothes that were still very modest but could be quickly made immodest. The lady would be dressed just as demurely and modestly as ever except when talking to the man on lunchbreak when she made sure he saw more than he could handle.

The woman rationalized this behavior by telling herself she was still “dressing modestly.”

The man saw what she was showing and lusted after her. After a week he asked the woman out. The woman was happier than ever but she felt very guilty about using immodesty so he would lust.

Well, you can probably guess the woman is me and the man is now my husband. We have talked about this and while he did lust after me that was not the reason he asked me out. He said he always liked me but was too shy to ask me out and wanted to wait until he would never have to see me again in case I said no. He said he felt just as guilty about lusting after me as I did about being immodest. I, of course apologized to him just like I did to God so many times.

We should never break God’s commandments no matter what advantages we might procure, for he is the one who knows what is best, and sometimes, God in his graciousness gives us what we want despite messing up. Finally, we need to obey the spirit of the law and not just the ‘rules’ that we can keep while violating the principles behind them.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

hannah andersonI grew up South of Atlanta and got a degree in philosophy from Emory University where I learned to think deep thoughts while accruing even bigger debts. I now live North of Atlanta with my husband and son.

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Why I Surrendered My Marriage to God

why-i-surrendered-my-marriage-to-god

Why I Surrendered My Marriage to God

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Angela Tyler. I’m so happy Angela reached out to me to share to her story on Devotional Diva! Marriage isn’t always perfect, but God always is. Thank you for sharing with us, Angela!]

Like many other girls growing up, I often imagined what my life would be like as an adult. I pictured myself married with two children, football practices and family game night. Things were planned out, and I knew exactly the kind of husband I wanted. I was a go getter with a can do attitude about my future. I had the right stuff to make sure everything worked out accordingly. Oh, how naïve I was.

Things aren’t always going to go as you planned.

My husband and I started as very good friends when we first moved in together. We never fought and we had a lot of fun. I would often hear compliments from friends and family that he was such a nice guy, and we were great together. And I couldn’t have agreed more – I adored my husband, and I knew he adored me.

The birth of our daughter was a time of delight. Her arrival was the spark for my salvation and at that point I began to see my life in an entirely new way. We were elated as we took her home and talked about how our lives were going to be different. Respectable. Happy.

A hard lesson.

Our daughter was our salvation, and our sudden awakening that real life had begun. We were responsible for another sweet, tiny human being. And the heaviness of that awareness began to make both of us begin to self-doubt our worthiness of such a task.

We felt that she deserved the very best, and the pressure of proving that was overwhelming. Things got harder quickly as we aimed to give her a better life. The stress of that began to chip away at us, and at times we ended up bitter with each other simply because we were stressed.

I think back now, to the time when I had it all figured out as a teenager. My preconceived notions of what life should be like in the future had set me up for defeat. I wasn’t exactly where I had planned to be, I wasn’t the type of mother I thought I’d be and I definitely was not the type of wife my husband deserved.

I was trying to control every aspect of my life exactly the way I wanted it to go. I wanted my kids to behave so I wouldn’t be a yelling mom. I wanted my husband to be act a certain way so that I could act in a gracious and loving way. I wanted other things to change so I wouldn’t have to.

The moment everything changed.

The day it happened was a few months ago at church. My husband and I had just come through a pretty rotten week. Some hard things were going on and we weren’t getting along at all. I was in a pretty dark place and feeling incredibly unsatisfied with my life. Pastor offered an altar call for the surrender of a burden in your life. My heart was pulled from my seat and I walked down to the altar. I asked God to fix everything. Just take away the hurting and bitterness because I loved my husband and didn’t want our marriage to turn into something undesirable. A warm hand was laid on my shoulder and in an answer to my prayer, said these words softly in my ear: “your husband is not your enemy.”

That was the day I surrendered my marriage to God. I was not in control, he was. The relief in that moment was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My problems were not solved that day – God didn’t take away any of my husband’s “faults”, he didn’t make my kids perfect angels, and he didn’t suddenly make us debt free. He released my soul from the burden of carrying it all.

When I relinquished the responsibility of taking that responsibility all by myself I was free to place my priorities elsewhere. I became a better mother, I became more motivated to please my husband, and I began to really live my life.

Still, there are moments of discouragement. A person of faith is never exempt from suffering. But the wonderful truth is that our God is bigger than our problems. We have problems that we try to fix on our own but we don’t have the ability to do that without the help of God. He works things out for our good in his own time. And in my experience, the result is a hundred times better than I could have imagined.

 

angela-tylerHi! My name is Angela Tyler. I’m a wife and mother of two beautiful kids. Reading scripture and other literature has been a core part of understanding the profound love of our Father, and helped me to live a happier life. My heart’s desire is to contribute to some of the amazing literature available to wives and mothers everywhere.

Angela is offering free printable prayer cards just for Devotional Diva readers (link here!)

 

 

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My Heart Was Filled Up!

I feel like I’ve left pieces of my heart in so many places. But Iowa is where I have spent the longest amount of time, it is where I grew up, and I still have so many people I love there, so it feels like my true home.

As I mentioned in my post last week, in September, we traveled back to Iowa for my best friend’s wedding (I was a bridesmaid).

Honestly, this trip back home was so much different than any other because I could really appreciate how homey it is. Especially because of the wedding, I reconnected with many more special people.

My heart was filled up with so much love and joy, and I wanted to share that with you today.

home-rehearsal
The bride and I have been best friends since 1st grade! We are family to each other, and it was so important for me to be a part of her wedding day. I cried a lot and I’m so glad I could be there.
Beautiful bride
Right before the first glance photos! We were all filled with so much excitement!
home-jitters
I took this photo when were all gathered together about 20 minutes before the ceremony. We could hear all the people shuffling in and we were getting so nervous, especially the bride!
home-dancing
This is my husband dancing with the bride — so cute.
home-brigit
This is my princess Brigit snuggling up to me. I cherished this moment as she is selectively snuggly and usually prefers to be alone.
home-zero
This is Zero, our elderly kitty. He is doing okay. We are just grateful we could spend any time with him. He was undoubtedly happy to see us again, too.
home-playing
Here is O playing with Brigit. They had so much fun playing together! I can’t wait until they are reunited. They’ll be such good buddies. I always knew they would be. It made me so happy to see the joy on his face playing with her.
home-elan
My sister-in-law took this beautiful photo of me with my nephew. I love it and him.
home-besties
O was so sweet with his cousin and I caught him on camera giving him kisses a couple times.

 

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A Story of Rediscovery

a story of rediscovery by erin marie shell on devotional diva[Guest post by Erin Marie Shell: This is a story of God’s love, a story of heartbreak and a story of rediscovery. Thanks for sharing, Erin!]

Exhausted after a full day of work, I arrived home late one night, opened the front door, and entered the darkness.  As I walked into the house, my heels clicked on the floor, greeting me with a very loud, unfamiliar echo. Without turning on the lights, I began to realize what had happened. 

After 11 years of marriage, he had moved out. The shock of an empty house left me reeling in confusion.  I was exhausted with life, exhausted with familiar feeling of not being good enough, exhausted with begging him to see me…really see me. 

As though life itself was being drained from my body, I sunk to the floor with my sleeping baby girl in my arms.

Physically, emotionally, mentally, with certainty, I knew that this would be the one that I could never overcome. Surely, this was the blow that would take me completely out. I cried for hours, and I lost track of time. There was no one I could call, there was no one who could understand.

The journey to this point had been traveled imperfectly by him and me alone. We were both responsible for what appeared to be a tragic failure.  I had given more than I had to give to a marriage that was never satisfied, a marriage that didn’t care if I suffered, a marriage that refused to justify our existence in it.

I felt dejected, fooled, and crushed with disappointment as I lay on the floor, my body heaving with every cry and breath.

But it was on that floor, in a single defining moment, that God met me, and gently picked up the shattered pieces of my spirit, shattered beyond my recognition.

He met me there, right where I was, and flooded my heart with His love.  Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was alone – I was accompanied by a great, warm Presence. 

God reminded me that in my weakness, He was strong.  This was not an opportunity to give up on His abilities, instead, this was an opportunity to give up on my abilities.  I had to give up on the belief that I had to do it all by myself, that I was alone, and that I would fail.

This was my opportunity to let go, and allow Him to be God.  This was the beginning of my ultimate love-encounter with God.

I began to experience my love-encounter with God, beginning with my own personal meditation practice.  This was a time that I dedicated to listening, feeling and recording the knowledge and wisdom that God impressed upon my spirit in a delightful, soothing way.

Just as with anything you devote time and energy to, over time, I came into a deep knowledge of what I was studying – God and my Self.  As a result, I was restored, stronger, more radiantly than I can recall with any previous awareness.  This delivery of restoration reverberated throughout every aspect of my life, from my spirit and relationships, to my career, business, family, and ministry.

During this period of time, Beautiful Wild Free – Spiritual Healing for Women Rediscovering Themselves, was birthed.  Women began contacting me as they experienced the inevitable challenges of life, looking for answers.

“Why?” they asked, and as we engaged in conversation, I discovered that a process of rediscovery was a natural result of having been spiritually broken.  It doesn’t really matter what did the breaking – the loss of a child, a marriage, a relationship, health – it was simply the fact that there was a breaking that positioned them perfectly to embark upon a journey of restoration that would exceed any understanding of possibility or expectation.  

What would you do to discover peace, to wake up vibrant, to embody radiance that illuminates that life path that you’re walking?  At the base of all created things is an energy of love.

Love has the power to restore, create and enliven.

It takes more than just a knowledge of love to accomplish this, it actually takes a love-encounter.  An encounter with love brings you to your most authentic self, which is a gateway to true personal freedom. As you learn to love God, then to truly love yourself, you can then love others – even those who have purposefully committed severe acts of hurt and hate against your spirit.

This is where you find true peace and love, and where you learn to position yourself to receive what it is your spirit truly desires…to rejoice in the beauty of love, wildly, freely and with abandon. Beautiful.  Wild.  Free.

Erin Marie Shell on Devotional DivaErin Marie Shell, MBA is a passionate lover of Jesus Christ, bestselling author, compelling speaker and successful businesswoman whose life purpose is to help women achieve spiritual healing by coming into an intimate encounter with God’s love. She is the creator and spiritual catalyst of her women’s ministry Beautiful, Wild, Free: Spiritual Healing for Women Rediscovering Themselves.

photo credit: Petite Blonde via photopin (license)

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God's Love Stories

gods love stories on devotional diva valentines stephanie rawnsley [Guest post by Stephanie Rawnsley: February is the month of Valentine’s Day, so I thought we would kick off the month with Stephanie’s great post about God’s love stories!]

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, ours or someone else’s, we all love a good story.

Look at how many movies and books there are out there. When we go out for coffee, we exchange stories. We love hearing amazing tails of good winning over evil, of love conquering all. We love the stories that make us believe again, that make us reach for the stars and believe in the impossible. Why do you think Nicholas Sparks has been such a success?

His stories of love and overcoming the odds grips our hearts and makes us yearn for a love like that. An all consuming love that nothing and no one is ever going to destroy. 

Those are the stories that stick with us, that we hold dear to our heart, that meant something. Because they were just ordinary people who found the strength to do extraordinary things and we toy with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we could do something extraordinary too. 

That’s one of the greatest things about living in New York City. You meet people of all kinds, all backgrounds, races, religion, nationalities, and each person has their own unique story to tell. They are as diverse as the city itself. Some have stories of triumph, some are down on their luck, some haven’t faced too many big trials, while others seem to never be able to get out of the fire.

But we all have one thing in common, we all have a story to tell.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 

We all have our story, our own struggles and hardships. But we also have one thing in common: we are loved by a good, holy and perfect God.

He is writing your story, one filled with many peaks and valleys, struggles and triumphs, heartbreak and joy.

It’s through the messiness in life that you see the holiness in God. It’s through the struggles that the blessings come. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world because it is because I had been through the fire and came out the other side that I am here today.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” I believe that. I believe that our hardships, our trials, and pain change us in ways we can’t even imagine to prepare us to do things we can’t even fathom.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Your story is a testament to the greatest love story of all time.

The story of a man who loved us so much he sacrificed himself to redeem us. We are just a microcosm of the bigger picture, of what God is doing around the world today. It’s the greatest love story ever told. One of sacrifice, of unconditional love, of laying down ones life to save another, of good conquering evil. Your story is a part of that.

When you are little, you read the stories in the Bible. You learned about Abraham, Noah, Moses, Peter and Paul. You learn about Jesus and the stories he himself told. Even Jesus used stories and parables to teach, to share about himself, about love, and about life in ways we could understand.

Jesus was the ultimate story teller and we get to tell the story of him, the story of our past and his redeeming grace. What an honor!

We all have our own stories, our own hardships, our own trials. We all have something to say, war wounds that shape who we are. All that you have been through will launch you to a destiny only you can do. We all have a story to tell. Embrace it. Own it. Share it. It’s a miraculous story of love, redemption, sacrifice, and overcoming the odds.

Your story is a best seller because it was written by the greatest author of all.

So tell the story only you can tell. 

stephanie rawnsley on Devotional diva love storiesStephanie Rawnsley is an author, blogger, public speaker, and founder of Fearless in High Heels. She currently lives in Manhattan. To hear her story, just visit her website: fearlessinhighheels.com. You can also keep up with all of her blogs, videos, and appearances on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

photo credit: isoteemu via photopin cc

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A Christian Fairy Tale

devotional diva christian love story[Guest Post by La Micia Genova: I’m thrilled for you to “meet” La Micia today because, although our stories are different, La Micia and I both dealt with depression before God gave us our knights in shining armor. I’m all about princesses and fairy tales and this is an awesome Christian fairy tale!]

Do you believe God can give you a happily ever after? I’ve done things my way for 20 years and when I finally came to God, he gave me my fairy tale.

I probably made just about every mistake a teenager and young adult could make, and what’s crazy is I grew up in the Church! From impurity to drunkenness, I was a mess. When I submitted to Gods way of doing things I saw Gods plan for me come to life. 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

As I grew in my relationship with God, and really applied the “seeking” part of the passage in Jeremiah, I began to see him move in my life in powerful ways. From my friendships, to my family life, and eventually, my dating life.

As a hopeless romantic, I always prayed for my knight in shining armor to magically arrive and constantly asked God for the desires of my heart.

Growing up, what young girl doesn’t want to live out the Disney movie fairy tales? I was no different then the majority of girls my age and I never grew out of this phase. I continued believing this was possible, but heartbreak after heartbreak led me to feel God’s hand was against me.

This all changed in a vacant lot in south side Chicago in 2010.

I was 20 years old and had just given my life to Christ. I was at a conference in Inglewood, Chicago helping our volunteer group clean up vacant lots. I was dirty, tired, and focused on the cause. This was not the place I expected to meet my knight in shining armor. It was cleaning this lot that God intervened in my life for what later turned out to be a fulfillment of one of favorite scriptures in psalms.

            “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”

            Psalm 37:4

I met Patrick G.

At the time I had no idea that this was who God had planned for me to spend the rest of my life with, but as three years went by, you could say my eyes finally were opened.

One night Patrick began to open up to me about his struggle with depression and I felt like for the first time ever, someone understood me, the real me.

I grew up dealing with depression, and felt that no one could really understand.  I was constantly fatigued and didn’t know why. I had so many self-defeating thoughts, I really hated myself, I still struggle with this to this day, but at least I have a name for this monster. When Patrick got vulnerable with me about his fight with depression and how it made him feel, I felt like my feelings weren’t all that crazy.

I realized that I am not in this fight alone and that God has put a guy in my life that could understand me. From this conversation forward we leave off where my book, Becoming Ms. G picks up. I hope and pray you enjoy the rest of the journey that God has taken me on with my knight in shining armor, Patrick.

lamicia genova on devotional divaLa Micia really has a heart for doing Gods work and being a voice for women who deal with depression, anxiety, and self esteem issues. La Micia created a blog called “No Place to Lay”, www.noplacetolay.com this year to share the ways God is working in her life through struggles. You can purchase her book, Becoming Mrs. G here.

photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc

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Little Miracle on the Way!

maggie winterton on devotional divaI’m writing this post on my 3rd wedding anniversary.

When I was younger, I always used to imagine being pregnant on my 3rd anniversary. I guess I just thought that would be a good time to have my first baby. And I wanted a May baby, because my home state of Iowa usually has pretty good weather in May.

Both of those teenage dreams are coming true!

My husband, Brandon, and I are expecting our first baby in May 2015 (I’m beginning the 2nd trimester now). My official due date is actually the day after Mother’s Day, which I think is kind of cool.

I’m so excited to finally share this with you because this baby is an absolute miracle to me. I believe all living things are blessings (well, maybe not ants…I really hate ants!) but after the year I’ve had, there was some doubt about my fertility.

I don’t know if this is something I’m ready to fully write about yet…It was a painful experience and I don’t think it has been long enough for me to process. And this is supposed to be a joyful post. So I’ll try to keep this part short.

It’s something I’ve kept mostly a secret, but I’ve been dealing with serious pelvic pain since January (although it has improved during my pregnancy, thank the Lord!). Pelvic pain isn’t something that is easy to talk about! The main reason this whole situation is so emotionally painful is because I was not treated well by the doctors in charge of my care. Because of that, I still don’t know why I even had the pelvic pain.

And since we didn’t know what the cause was, we didn’t know what the fertility situation was. Depending on what was actually going on, there were many things that could prevent having a healthy baby. Brandon and I planned for a year that summer 2014 would be our time to try to have a baby.

I’ll admit, I did let the negativity of my possible fertility issues get to me. But something inside of me told me that it would be okay – and I had faith in that.

In just three months of “trying,” our little miracle happened. Surprisingly, I haven’t even worried that much about miscarrying (and I’m the queen of worrying).

I’ve just felt so peaceful and had so much faith in the Lord that this baby is meant to be ours.

Everything is just so wonderful and working out perfectly. Not-so-ironically, Sarah Coleman’s guest post on peaceful pregnancy was set to be published just a few days after we found out about Baby Winterton.

God is more powerful than anything going on in my body. I believe having faith that He would give us the precious baby we prayed for aided us even further. A conscious effort to keep positive thoughts can’t hurt; and doing so really helped me feel less stressed.

Nurturing others is what I think God made me to do. That’s why I love being the editor of Devotional Diva; helping women share their stories here is so fulfilling to me. When I felt down about the unknowns of my fertility, I thought, “I would give up everything to just be able to be a mom.”

God has fulfilled this prayer of ours and given us a little miracle. I can’t tell you how good it feels to just have so much faith in the health of our baby. Take it from this worrier, it’s much more enjoyable to relax and be positive.

So, if this baby is a girl, obviously she’ll be a “Little Diva.” But what if it’s a boy? Should we call him a Divo? 🙂

P.S. If you’re from the States, thank you, Veterans, for your service!

→M

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Choose Love + Giveaway!

choose love by stormie omartian on devotional diva

I was thrilled when I was contacted to review Stormie Omartian’s new book Choose Love because she was one of the first Christian writers I ever read.

The title also caught my attention. As a Christian living in this 2014 world, I often think about love (or lack thereof).

To me, love is the most important “thing” to have, experience and give.

Choose Love is broken down into three choices:

1. Choose to Receive God’s Love for You:

Stormie writes, “Many people don’t really know God, so they don’t know His love. They know what good, bad, or erroneous things people have told them about God, but they don’t know Him. And I am talking about some of the many who believe in Him as well as those who doubt Him. Understanding God’s love for us is a never-ending quest that will not be full realized until we are with Him in heaven.”

2. Choose to Express Your Love for God:

“You express your love for God when you trust Him in all things. Thinking you don’t need Him except in an emergency or crisis does not please Him. You show love for God when you recognize your own weakness and dependence upon Him. It tells God that you don’t want to even try to make it through a day without Him.”

3. Choose to Love Others in a Way That Pleases God

“There is a price to pay for lovelessness, but the good news is that we don’t have to live this way. God can free us from all of that and keep our hearts filled with His love. But there is a choice we make. We choose to let our heart overflow with God’s love, we choose to express our love for Him, and in the process our heart of love overflows to others. This is seen in the way we talk to and act toward people, and it pleases them as well as God.”

In the King James Version of The Bible, the word “love” (not including its variations) is mentioned 314 times.

And one of the most famous, well-known verses is this:

John 3:16

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (NLT)

That’s love. And we, as disciples of the Lord, should learn to choose love over hate more often.

 

Would you like to win a copy of Choose Love? I have been given 3 copies for a giveaway. Just leave a comment below! A winner will be chosen at random. Sadly, this giveaway is for US residents only. Sorry international Divas!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

 

(Parts of this article have been excerpted from Choose Love by Stormie Omartian. Used with permission).

FTC: I received Choose Love for review. All opinions are my own.

photo credit: Shereen M via photopin cc

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The 3 People You Need to Meet

people you need to meet

[Maggie is on vacation so I thought I’d jump on and encourage you all with the three people you need to meet to achieve your dreams. My newest book, Dream Devotional, just released this month. Pick up a copy on Amazon for only $2.99!]

Dreaming together is important because we are designed, commanded, and encouraged into a loving relationship with God and each other.

I’ll never forget the day I was sitting at the front desk as the office receptionist when a woman walked in for an interview. She thought I was pregnant–say what??–and asked me when I was due.

I was completely shocked and mortified. She felt really bad too when she found out that I was in fact, not pregnant. My boss and I joked that she probably wouldn’t get the job because of her comments, but I’m so glad she did because it wasn’t until after she got the job that I found out she was a Christian and had heard a word from the Lord for me on why she thought I was preggers.

She told me, “God wants to birth a ministry through you — if you’ll let him, not to say that your future husband isn’t important.”

Ouch.

Anyone who knew me when I was single, knew how important my future husband was to me. I desperately wanted to be married, and for whatever reason God prolonged that dream until I was almost 30.

God knew the plans and purposes He created specifically for me. He knew if He brought my future husband into my life too soon — I wouldn’t have risked so many dreams with Him.

Friends, God created you for an individual and unique purpose as well. You have a divine destiny that only you can fulfill.

Don’t believe me? Just read the Scriptures full of men and women of faith who entrusted their lives to God in the most courageous circumstances. Sometimes, we don’t see until afterwards why God gives us the dreams and visions He does because He doesn’t want to scare us or hinder us from fulfilling our mission.

for such a time as thisIt wasn’t until afterwards that Joseph realized why he so arrogantly shared his dreams to all 12 of his brothers…after he was thrown in prison (not once but twice)…and after he was summoned into the courts of Pharaoh — did he see why God placed him in his prison cell for such a time as this.

Friends, you may be the catalyst for someone else’s dreams. If it wasn’t for the many brave women in my life — I wouldn’t be where I am today!

If you are currently experiencing the death of a vision or a dream — I encourage you to partner up with people who believe in you. Seek out trusted partners and ministry relationships to foster the dreams God has placed on your heart because they are strong enough to save not only your souls, but the lives of many others (James 1:21).

If you are wondering what kind of relationships I am talking about, I want to encourage you to connect with three different kinds of relationships to accomplish your BIG dreams:

1. A Mentor in the business — someone who has been there, done that, and can help guide you through the obstacles to become a expert person of business and integrity.

2. A Life or Dream Coach — someone who believes in you even if others including your family does not believe in you. Someone who will stand by you and lift your arms up like Moses when the battle becomes too weary.

3. Prayer partners — someone who can pray for you when you can’t pray for yourself. I never endeavor to write any books or speak at any function without asking for prayer covering. Prayer is the most powerful form we have against spiritual attack, so use it (James 5:16!

I feel like I am at a point in my life right now where I can look back and see God’s hand and His many answered prayers.

Question: Who cheerleads your dreams? Who’s dreams are you currently cheerleading?

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Why I Chose to Marry Young

 

Why I chose to marry young

I chose to marry young — at 19, to be exact.

As some of you may know, I am still pretty young – 22, to be exact.

There’s that Taylor Swift song “22,” but I don’t relate to it at all because I’m married and have been for 2 and a half years. I don’t know if you’ve heard that song, but here are a couple quick quotes:

Everything will be alright
If we just keep dancing like we’re 22

 

And

 

It feels like one of those nights
We won’t be sleeping

Nope, does not describe my life at 22 at all.

I do not dance anywhere, except I did dance at my wedding.

And YES, I will be sleeping because I have things to do tomorrow! Every day I have things to do!

I’m not complaing in any way. I love my life! I just think it’s comical how different my life is from this Taylor Swift song and actually, most of my peers’ lives.

When I wrote about How God Changed the Course of My life Completely, I told you about how supportive my now-husband Brandon was (and still is) and how we met.

But what I didn’t tell you then was how big of a role following my heart played.

Brandon and I have a fairy tale love story – with some major kinks thrown in.

We had a lot of opposition going up against us the whole time we were dating.

For one, I was in a horrible place mentally and physically in the beginning. I talked about this in that post I mentioned, but it really was a struggle. My mom knew that Brandon was the one for me because of how he stuck by me through it all.

I mean, I was in the mental health unit at the hospital (more than once) and he stayed with me. He supported me. He showed me love. I know that I was not able to show him the same kind of love at that time, just because I was going through so much.

And it was a shock to everyone around us when we started dating because Brandon is 7 and a half years older than me.

But we got through all that stuff. I got better. Things were going great, and we were happy.

Then Brandon decided to join the Navy.

At first, we didn’t even consider getting married before his boot camp. But as we went through his recruitment process, marriage actually seemed like a pretty good idea.

I knew I loved Brandon and wanted to be with him forever. He said he always knew that I was “the one.”

It soon became clear that we did want to get married before Brandon would leave for basic training.

But I was so nervous about what my parents would say.

I felt like they would disapprove, because I was only 19 after all. Now-a-days, that is young.

It wasn’t like getting married so young was in their (or my) plans for my future.

I worked up the courage to talk to my mom about it first, and she eased my dad into the idea. They were accepting, more than I thought they would be. They supported us.

Brandon formally asked my dad for my hand in marriage in June, and a few days later he proposed to me. In November, we said our vows at my childhood church.

My mom said she felt the presence of Jesus so strongly during the ceremony.

We’ve been married 2 and a half years now, and things are working out for us. We’re happy. I see how God had these plans for me, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I was always supposed to be with Brandon.

I followed my heart and ended up with a great man. But getting married at a young age is not for everyone. Honestly, everyone’s situation will be different. When you find your mate is up to God.

I still get surprised reactions when people find out I’m 22 and married, let alone that I have been married for almost 3 years now. That’s okay, but I wish there wasn’t so much judgment.

It’s not just people who marry young – I know those who wait until their later 20’s or 30’s are judged too.

Bottom line is that everyone has a different path; Let’s get over expectations.

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