Should I Be Fearful?

I am asking myself if I should be fearful of the COVID-19 situation because, as of right now, I am not. It is not the fake news or the fighting over toilet paper videos on social media that is making me question myself. Instead, it’s what I hear pastors and others that I look to for wisdom and guidance speaking about fear and why we shouldn’t fear that is causing me to wonder if I should start to fear. 

We can work ourselves up into a fearful state if we allow our thoughts to take over. Whether it’s fear over this COVID-19 situation or fear of how you will pay your mortgage or fear of your children’s future, there is one thing I know to be true, and that is “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” ~2 Timothy 1:7

I lived captive to fear for many years and let me tell you when I escaped the chains of fear, the weight that had been lifted off of me allowed for me to have joy for life again. 

Are you living in fear? Pray this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I am fearful of (state your fear). I can’t see past it. Your word says that you did not give me a spirit of fear, so I ask that you would allow love and a sound mind to take over me because I can’t do it without you. Please help me to listen to what is true and turn from the lies of the enemy. Thank you that I am able to find joy in any situation because you are for me and always with me. Amen 

Scripture is full of truth to get you through the fear you are battling. Here are three verses to start meditating on. Let his truth set you free. 

  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4

No Pain, No Gain

Happy New Year, friends. I am in let down that we have entered 2020 and are not flying our veichles yet. I had such space like expectations of 2020 back when I was growing up. I must say that even though flying cars is not a thing, I love the fact that Chad and I were able to purchase our first vehicle with a backup camera in 2019. #Blessed (lol)

Many of you may have started 2020 off with a new year’s resolution. Maybe it was to attend Church more often, save money, join a gym, or you want to start offering kind gestures daily to put a smile on someone’s face. Changing habbits and putting new ones in place will help you to accomplish whatever it is that you have chosen as your new year’s resolution.

I am not one to make resolutions, at least not on day one of every new year. I am always pursuing new goals. Last summer, I started a fitness program that would help me with strength training, and the year before that, I started indoor cycling. I love that I can do it On Demand in the comfort of my own home with both of those programs. As I am getting older, I realize that my muscle tone is not sticking around as easy. If God is willing to grant me a long and prosperous life, I’d love to do as much as I can for as long as I can. Being strong and having a active, healthy lifestyle is essential to me. However, that has not come without discomfort. You know the saying “no pain, no gain”? Well, that might be true when it comes to building muscle or walking away from a warm slice of chocolate cake… 🙂
The truth is, you will need to make new habits that will most likely cause discomfort and pain, but the outcome produces gain through victory if you do no give up.

James 1:12 (NIV)
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

As I have become more seasoned in my faith, that saying no pain, no gain, has a whole other meaning to me. I have learned that through my suffering, I have gained far more than if I had never suffered. Ok, I am not a fan of suffering. Who is? What I am a fan of is the faith I have gained in Jesus Christ, the wisdom and strength (in many areas) I have attained, the relationships I have in my life, my thriving marriage of almost 25 years and a few ugly stories of my life to share with others who are searching for hope. If it weren’t for my suffering, I wouldn’t have all of that. I pray that my three adult children would also find refuge in Jesus because of how it was modeled to them. They saw (Mommy and Daddy) two very hurt and broken people, and now they see the same two hurt and broken people living the life God called them to live, where hope and true victory is found. That is my legacy I wish to leave for them.
My Pain is Gain,

Reap + Sow = Legacy

When you hear the word legacy, how does it make you feel?  What legacy are you leaving behind? It is never to late to change it. Read on.

At Mighty Oaks Foundation, we offer a program called Legacy. It is a peer to peer program designed to bring hope and healing to those men and women who have served our country, whether they are an active duty service member, a veteran, a first responder or a spouse of one. During the program, a blueprint is presented of what it looks like to be the man or the woman God created them to be. From there they will calibrate the life they are living to the life they were created to live. 

In the earlier years of Mighty Oaks Foundation’s Mens Legacy Program, I was invited to share a part of my story to prepare them for their return home. It was usually the last day, and I would be the final presenter they would hear. The men all seemed to be very inspired and determined to return home with a new attitude and a willingness to take the tools they learned and put them into action. And then I would give them the news that what they left back at home is what they are returning home to. Most likely they had a wife and children that were afraid of them, maybe even an angry and bitter wife who has zero trust and most likely will think his newfound desire to be the man and husband God created him to be is ungenuine. I would share how important it was for them not to give up and why. 

You see, I was that wife who was angry and bitter. The kids and I walked on eggshells to not make Daddy mad. For me to sit back and watch Chad “be all holy” now was not something I accepted well. To make a long story short; it was Chad’s consistency in his actions and words that showed me he was no longer the man he used to be. I rejected his change out of fear that he was only lifting me up to throw me back down. “Besides, he pulled this stunt one too many times.” There were times that I needed to express my fear and anger from the hurt he had caused me. In the past, Chad would shout me down with manipulation and control, which would only leave me feeling terrified of him and hopeless for our marriage. But something was changing in his heart; he cried over the pain I was experiencing from the hurt he had caused me. Chad would wrap his arms around me and prayed for me while I sobbed. Over the next year, “YES, YEAR,” he began to earn my trust again. I finally believed that he was changing into the man and husband that God created him to be and that this change was authentic. Our marriage is whole and truly beautiful. It was hard work and seemed impossible at times, but we did it, and he did it! Chad changed his legacy. 

Galatians 6:8-9 (NIV)
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Do you want to leave a lasting legacy that shows the evidence of one who planted good seeds and whose harvest will continue to grow long after you are gone? It is never too late to change your legacy. 

Can I encourage you to: 

  1. Start planting seeds that will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness in your life and those around you. DO NOT GIVE UP!
    Keep in mind that you will reap what you sow.
    If you are a gossiper, you will lose friendships. If you are selfish, you will cause division and strife in your marriage. If you are trustworthy, you will have healthy relationships. If you are slow to anger and speak kindly, you may find that communication between you and your spouse is something that can be successful without hurting each other. 
  2. If you are unsure where to start, or you feel it’s too late to turn things around, start with tiny baby steps. Identify one seed that produces weeds, attack it with weed killer until it dies!!
    Example: Chad wanted to throw in the towel because of my unwillingness to accept his heart change (which was hard work), but he had made a pre-determined decision when he moved back home that he was going to respond with care (his weed killer) instead of anger towards me every time I brought up the past. At first, that was not natural for him, but eventually, it became easier. 
  3. Ask for forgiveness. Admit that you handled the situation wrong and that you would like to make it right. Follow up with actions to support your willingness to make things right.
    One thing my adult children can say about their father is that he made some huge mistakes, but what they remember most is how he humbly came to them and asked for their forgiveness. They watched him plant seeds of restoration and integrity, and now they have a very close relationship with him. The bond they share is special. I love it!

More Than a Princess

If you have read the book that my husband Chad and I wrote called Marriage Advance, Love Never Gives Up; you will learn that from a young age, I was searching for somebody to love me. Sadly I was dealing with rejection and insecurity that no young girl should ever experience. I strongly feel that my parents never intended for me to feel this way, but I did, and them divorcing before I was two years old may have been a part of that emptiness inside of me. My parents did what they could to meet mine and my brother’s needs; we were never hungry or cold. I just wanted to be somebody’s little princess. Little did I know, I was so much more than a princess, I was a Masterpiece, created by God to do good things. 

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

I found Jesus at the age of ten. He was the one person I know loved me unconditionally because I sang the song Jesus Loves me this I know for the bible tells me so. However, that song wasn’t going to cut it through adolescents. As many young girls do, I searched for Love, and at the age of 17, I found it. Here he was “LOVE” wrapped up in a young, dark, and handsome United States Marine. Chad was the first person ever to value me. He was my prince charming, and I was his princess. 

Becoming Chad’s wife on July 15th, 1995 brought me happiness that I had never experienced. Off the bat, I believed in my heart that this lovable husband of mine would never fail me emotionally. I dreamed of our future together with beautiful children and a white picket fence. To sum it up, Chad was going to be the one to give me a fairy tale ending. 

When married life didn’t go as planned, my heart was once again shattered, leaving me feeling unloved and unwanted. The fact is, I expected Chad to do something for me that he was never created to do. I wish I understood that before I said: “I Do.” Once I took Chad off of that pedestal and replaced him with Jesus, I began to find wholeness. I am loved unconditionally and am never alone, no matter what my circumstances are around me. For the first time, I began to grasp onto that it meant to be God’s Poiema (greek for masterpiece). 

Learning to put Jesus first in my life and marriage took time. I am still in the process of learning. Reading the Word of God and applying it to my daily life is a must if I want to be whole. Living for Jesus has given me the encouragement to give grace and forgiveness that I would have never been able to offer on my own. I am OK now with my Childhood. I see now that my parents were also looking for Love. 

Today I do have three beautiful children (19, 21 and 22) and an incredible “old” dark and handsome United States Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine) husband who loves me like crazy. Chad and I have a love for each other that we know would not be possible if it wasn’t for us inviting Christ to be in the center of our marriage and family. My heart is that my children will see who they are in Christ no matter their circumstances, and that is my heart for you. 

Please do not wait until life, people and heartache fail you to grasp onto who you are in Christ. The pressure we place on others to make us feel valued and loved can be fatal in our relationships. Allow Christ to be the one to tell you who you are and how much you are loved. If you allow His truth to sink in, we will set others free from an expectation that they were not created to do. 

I encourage you to: 

  1. Open the Word of God to learn who you are and stay away from social media! Fakebook is not going to give you the truth of who you are. 
  2. I have found a three-part series called Altar Ego from Pastor Craig Groeschel at Life Church, Oklahoma. Take some time to listen as he teaches you the truth of who God says you are. 
  3. Ask one or two of your God-loving friends to come alongside you to encourage you. And when you’re feeling discouraged, reach out to them for wisdom and or prayer.  
  4. Write on an index card three or more of your favorite scriptures that remind you of the Love God has for you and who He says you are. Post it on your bathroom mirror, car dash, office cubical or above the toilet 🙂 Whenever works for you to see it every day several times a day.  

Why I Share My Story

In the Mighty Oaks Foundation Women’s Legacy Program, We like to encourage the women to serve in their home or their communities. Just this past weekend, my pastor spoke about serving. We are a growing church, and with that comes the need for more volunteers.  He explained how serving is paving a way to Jesus, just like John the Baptist did. 

One area that I love to serve in is my church nursery.  Rocking babies is a God-given talent of mine. I was born to nurture.  For as long as I can remember, I was playing with baby dolls, feeding them, changing them, dressing them, and rocking them. One Christmas morning, I walked out to a baby stroller waiting for me right in front of the Christmas tree. To this day, it brings me so much joy thinking how excited I was to be able to give my babies a walk or take them to the store in that brand new pink stroller. I knew that I wanted to be a professional Mommy at a young age, and that is exactly what I did. I married my husband Chad two weeks out of high school. Thankfully Chad was on the same page about having a family, so we got busy.  We were blessed to have three beautiful babies is three years. With that said, my service was in my very own home for quite some time. Those three babies are all now young adults. My service in my home has thinned out, allowing me to give my time, gifts, and talents elsewhere. 

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13 (NLT)

Chad and I started the Mighty Oaks Foundation in 2011; our hearts were still bleeding from working through a broken marriage. The Lord made it so clear to us to start Mighty Oaks to show others how we found hope and restoration in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. We didn’t have an ounce of knowledge of how we were going to do this, nor did we ever go to bible college. All we had was a story, but it was a story of Christ making beauty from ashes in our lives and in our marriage. I felt unqualified for this calling the Lord put on our hearts. I thought, how can I ask these women who come to me searching for hope and answers to take my advice when I am so broken myself.  I looked at women like Beth Moore and Kasey Van Norman, who to me seemed educated and knew the bible very well and thought I would never be able to encourage women as they do. 

It has now been eight years since we started Mighty Oaks, and what I have discovered is that in my brokenness, I have gained wisdom in many areas of my marriage struggles, forgiveness and finding my worth.  Those same areas are what I get asked about most from women who reach out to me. I am not a bible scholar, and I never went to college, but I did go to cosmetology school, which has allowed me to share my story with women in my chair. 

I did not see it before but after this past weekend hearing my pastor speak on serving I realized that sharing my story when I speak for Mighty Oaks in public or at one of our women’s sessions it is an act of service. Writing this blog is also an act of service.  God qualified this Professional Mommy of three with only a cosmetology education to bring hope to the world by sharing my story. I am paving a way to Jesus for others, and I hope you will meet Him there. 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

I have heard it said that God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called. Are you withholding from serving in your home or community because you feel unqualified? Are you a churchgoer? If so, are you giving your time, gifts, and talents to help pave a path to Jesus?  

I encourage you to: 

  1. Identify your gifts and talents. If you are unsure of what those are, ask your loved ones to help you identify what those can be? 
  2. Put them into action. Use those gifts and talents to serve others. 
  3. Serving should come from a willing and joyful heart. If we are serving to be good enough, we are doing it wrong. That is not what serving is all about.

Turn Up The Music

I wouldn’t say that I was much of a music person before the trials of my struggling marriage. However, I have found that playing praise and worship music from various Christian artists in my home usually sets a calm atmosphere. Listening to words that encourage me to trust in the Lord helps me to feel his presence. I find that feeding my soul with a melody of his truth and existence gives me joy and a reason to take my next step. Music has become part of my daily life and food for my soul. 

It was during my separation with my husband (Chad) I found listening to music as a tool to help me during the darkest moments. Most days, I could barely get out of my bed and falling asleep at night usually came with haunting dreams of who my husband was with and what he was doing. There were days and nights that I was utterly alone when my three children were at Daddy’s house. It hurt so bad knowing the reality of being home with mom was depressing but being with Dad was fun. Chad seemed to have no care in the world of the direction we were going or the pain I was feeling. In most of my dreams, I would see Chad and other women laughing at me. I am unable to describe those agonizing visions of those dreams all I can say is he hurt me to my core, ripped out my heart, and those dreams magnified what Chad was putting me through. 

My Co-Worker form the salon and God-loving Friend of mine Elizabeth introduced me to Kim Walker-Smith and her band Jesus Culture. Elizabeth encouraged me to play their music to help me go through the fire. Every time I hear a song come on from their Consumed album, it takes me back to laying in my bed full of tears in that lonely condo the kids, and I had moved to after splitting up with Chad. It also brings me to a place that I want to dance and raise my hands to heaven and sing praises to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for his goodness, love, and refuge He gave me during those times. I found peace in His presence while the music was feeding my soul. 

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. 
Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Are you struggling hearing lies of the enemy over the truth and promises that our Heavenly Father is speaking to you? It’s time to turn up the music! 

I encourage you to:

  1. Turn on praise and worship music throughout your home. Hillsong United is also one of my top favorite bands. You won’t go wrong starting with them. It brings joy to my heart when I see my children sing along because they know the words. It’s almost like the words are embedding onto our hearts.
  2. When you lay your head down at night, ask the Lord to protect your mind and thoughts while you sleep. Tell Him that you desire to see the beauty of what his plans are for you. 
  3. Turn back on that worship music and while you sleep, allow it to play quietly. I did this myself so that as I slept, I was being fed a melody of truth and love. It helped silence the voice of the enemy, and the horrifying dreams became fewer and farther apart. 

Fight For Us

My husband Chad and I had the privilege of attending a Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway presented by Family Life earlier this summer. One of the presenters that weekend was Matt Hammitt. He was the lead singer and songwriter for the band Sanctus Real from 1996-2016. I knew them best for a song that was released in 2010 called Lead Me (click to listen). As Matt shared the story behind the song Lead Me, I found out that it was his wife who came to him and said I need for you to lead our family and me because I can’t do this alone. The chorus of the songs sings:

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

I can’t speak for Mrs. Hammitt, but I bet she may have felt what I had been feeling. Maybe Matt was chasing his dreams in the music industry, just like Chad was chasing his dreams in professional fighting. Perhaps Matt was fighting for everything else but his family? I felt that’s what Chad was doing and if you were to ask him today, he would agree.

2010 was the year that Chad and I sold our beautiful home, packed up the family pictures and separated. Lead Me was hit song on Christian radio. Every time that song came on, I would sob. I felt the words of that song, expressed my exact feelings of what I longed for so badly from my husband. How was I to ask Chad to take the lead anymore when we were separated? That ship had sailed and now seemed to be sinking. Our marriage was heading for the big D, and I don’t mean Dallas (I guess I all about music today). It had been about three months into the separation when I asked Chad “How is it that you can put the time, effort and discipline into your fighting career, MMA and military deployments but when it comes to our family you QUIT?” In some way, shape or form, I had asked him that question umpteen times over the past 15 years. I wanted him to fight for me, for our family and us the way he did for everything else. I wanted him to put our children and me in his #1 spot. Was I wrong to want that? I don’t think so. I believe it is how I approached him regarding this need was where I went wrong. I learned that I needed some help in this area.

Over 24 years of marriage now, I have learned many do’s and don’ts. The way I approach Chad will usually determine the outcome of that situation. If I come at him with an attitude of anger, he will automatically see it as control or disrespect and will not be open to conflict resolution. When that happens, our tempers flare, and we accomplish nothing good. However, if I approach him with a heart of respectful and kindness, he usually sees that I value him and what he has to say on the matter. We get better results this way every time.

Words Kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit-you choose.
Proverbs 18:21 MSG

Today Chad leads our family and has made me his #2. He has put Christ in the #1 spot. I wouldn’t want that any other way. Without Christ, in his life, I would be way down on the list. Chad made a choice not to quit on the essential things in his life. He chose us and is no longer chasing dreams that don’t include me or that don’t line up with God’s calling over his life. Chad put his priorities in order. It was hard work, and it took lots of practice and determination on both his end and mine to make it where we are today.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and see the situation in a different way. It can be gut-wrenching because we don’t like to see where we have been in the wrong. Taking responsibility can be a powerful tool that can set you free.

I encourage you to:
1. Pray and ask the Lord to show you any areas that He wants you to take responsibility for regarding your actions.
2. If you are unsure or do not think there is any responsibility to take, please seek wise counsel. Maybe that person can help you see it differently. Even if you are 6 % at fault, take 100% responsibility for your 6%
3. Ask for forgiveness from that person. Tell them you were wrong and that you want to make it right. Turn from those ways and seek wisdom on not repeating the same mistake.

My Prayer Book – Journaling

As I was going through some dark days, someone suggested journaling to me. I had never journaled and expressing my feelings and thoughts did not come easy to me, especially on paper. At first, I found myself running to my journal when I was experiencing emotions of intense anger caused by a hurting and broken heart. Those pages were full of tears, sadness, and sorrow. When I look through most of my journaling during that time, I am unable to read half of what I wrote. It could be because my spelling is horrible, but the fact is, the words that were pouring out did not make any sense. The pain was beyond my understanding. What looked like scribble-scratch then is something I now look at as art. It was a tapestry in the making as the words of despair wove together with words of surrender and then eventually words of praise.  

Journaling for me first started as a form of crying and shouting out to God for His help. I wanted so badly for Him to rescue me and my children from the agony we were going through. It also became a way for me to express whatever I wanted without judgment. Let me just say that hateful and ugly words are found on many pages. 

However, today, I call my journal my Prayer Book. There are some days that I am giving thanks and praising Him for the good and sometimes even for the bad (I try). I have days that I am pleading for my children in fear. Other days you will see that familiar scribble-scratch which usually means there is some serious hurt involved. Talking (or shouting) to God in my prayer book through my writings was one more tool that I used in the process of walking in forgiveness. Like I said before, I knew that expressing everything that I was feeling to my husband would not get us anywhere because we were two broken people expecting the other person to fix themselves which only caused strife and misunderstanding. Taking my burdens to the God of Love and laying them at His feet gave me comfort that no one and no thing were able to give me.

Cast your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. 
Psalms 55:22

If you are ready to walk in forgiveness, today is the day to cast your burdens to the Lord. 

I encourage you to:

  1. Develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. Talk to Him as if He is the closest person to you. Invite Him to see the deepest recesses of your heart. By doing this, you will find that you are not alone. He will bring you comfort in your pain and direction to your next steps. 
  3. Before all the craziness of your day starts, take a few minutes each day talking to God in prayer and reading His word. If you like the idea of talking to God through journaling, purchase a journal, your favorite pen and get started even if it’s just scribble-scratch that only He can understand.

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus Christ

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus Christ
To truly be the woman God created you to be, you must begin a personal relationship with Him, for it is only as you align to His will for your life that you can fulfill the purpose for which He created you. Having a relationship with Christ is simply coming to the place where you understand and accept that the Bible is true when it talks about who Jesus is and your need for Him as your Savior. There is no magical process needed to enter into a relationship with Christ. The following four steps can serve as a guide for anyone who sincerely desires to give his or her life to Him.

1. Recognize Your Condition.
In order to find the way to eternal life with God, you must admit you are stuck in sin. (Sin is any act contrary to God’s laws and commandments.) Romans 5:12 teaches us that since Adam and Eve (the first man and woman on earth), a sinful nature has been present in all people. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The sins you have committed separate you from God and keep you apart from Him. But all sin has a penalty―a big one. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The “wage” or payment for our sin is spiritual death and eternal separation from God.

2. Religion and Good Works Are Not the Answer.
World religions try to create their own ways to God. Their systems may seem logical, but they cannot bridge the gap created by our sin or remove the consequences of it. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” In other words, our own ideas and opinions are not what matters. God’s Word, the Bible, is what provides true answers. It shows us how to receive forgiveness for our sins and wrongdoings, and that this forgiveness comes by God’s grace―it is His free gift to us. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and that this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

3. The Good News: Jesus Christ Provides the Way!
Even though you are lost and your sins have separated you from God, He still loves you. In fact, it is because He is love that God sent His Son Jesus to be crucified on the cross as a spiritual payment for your sins. John 3:16 explains, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Through the death of Jesus, He became the payment for your sins. In Romans 5:8, the Bible says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Through His resurrection three days later, He provided the spiritual power for us to live above the consequences of sin. As a result, we do not have to pay for our sins ourselves. By His grace, salvation―a way out―is provided.

4. Believe, Repent, and Receive Christ.
In order to have a relationship with God and an eternal home with Him in heaven, you must stop trusting what you can do (or what any religion says) and must instead place your full trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and for receiving eternal life. Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” It is a promise directly from God that if you will pray to Him, confess that you are a sinner (that is, confess that you have done things your own way rather than His), ask Him to forgive your sins, and turn to Him alone to be your Savior, He then promises to spiritually cleanse you, place you in a personal relationship with Him, and give you the free gift of eternal life. You can make that decision today by praying to Him from your heart. You can pray something like this:

I know that I am separated from You because of sin. I confess that I cannot save myself. Right now, I turn to You alone to be my Savior. I ask You to save me from the penalty of my sin, and I trust You to provide eternal life to me. I ask that You give me the courage, strength, and direction to be the woman and warrior You created me to be, Amen.

If you prayed the above, you have just begun a personal relationship with Christ, I (and others) rejoice with you. Congratulations! You’ll never regret this decision! Yet make no mistake, the battle ahead to be the woman you were created to be will not be an easy one. So don’t attempt to do it alone. Locking arms with other believers in a church community is a crucial part of your walk. 

Finding a Church Home
Finding the right church home with like-minded believers is an important step in having the accountability and support to live out the new decision you have made. It will not only help you continue to grow spiritually, but you will find strength in numbers. In the right church, you will learn and grow through the teaching of the pastor, and you will have the chance to connect with sisters and even a mentor who will invest in your spiritual growth. You were created to be in community, not to do it alone.

At Mighty Oaks Foundation, we use several resources to find the right church home for the graduates of our programs. Here are a few:

Recommended Web Sources:

Watch Your Mouth

When we are angry and hurt, we look for someone to whom we can vent, and boy, if they agree with us, watch out! Let the bashing party begin! Who is that person(s) that you go to? Ask yourself, do they produce good fruit? Meaning: is he or she giving you advice and support that are in line with God’s will for your life, or are they leading you down a path of destruction that does not follow God’s will for your life?

He that walketh with the wise man shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverbs 13:20 KJV

Walking with a companion of fools is not helpful if you are going to forgive. This will only add fuel to the fire. I can hear you saying now, “I can never forgive!” I thought the same thing. I know there are many of you who have been through horrific and tragic events in your life. I am truly sorry, and if you know me, you would know that I would personally take away your pain from you if I could. The truth is forgiveness sets us free no matter what we have experienced. God’s word has instructed us to forgive our offenders. I see now that one of the reasons we are to forgive is because God doesn’t want to see us held down by the chains unforgiveness keeps us in. He wants to set you free and give you life. That’s what Jesus Christ did for you.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, Just as Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

I have heard it said that holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. There came a time in my life when I made a choice: I did not want to stay chained down and drink poison anymore. I wanted freedom.

When I decided to walk in forgiveness, one of the steps that I took was cutting out some friends and even harder, a few family members. “Wow, is that hard.” I also made the choice to stop bashing my husband and others who hurt me because I could not continue to feed the bitterness and hate that the enemy was using to destroy me if I wanted to find freedom in forgiveness. Please understand that cutting them out did not mean I was turning my back on them. It was just time to stop the bashing party. I knew that I had to avoid all negative talk. I began to watch my mouth by no longer allowing myself to verbally express everything that I was feeling especially with people who agreed with me and thought that divorcing my husband was best for me.

If you are ready to walk in forgiveness, today is the day to stop the Hate Bashing and Watch You Mouth.

I encourage you to: 

  1. Get connected with someone in your church that truly loves the Lord and knows His word. This person is going to help you find hope when you feel like there is no hope. 
  2. Think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. When you think of such things, the words that come from our mouths change. This is the best antidote for bitterness. 
  3. Study the promises that God has for you.