As a victim of rape, I thought the rape was my fault. I did not fully understand that I was experiencing the result of sin until years later. No matter the reason for the rape, it still wounded me deeply. Because of my hurt and pain, I often wondered why God would allow His children to suffer.
During the months following my abuse, God felt closer than ever before. He never moved. When I cried out in agony, He was by my side. When I prayed with tears streaming down my cheeks, He was there. When I begged Him to take away the pain, He held my hand.
He was there.
Right beside me, holding my hand, and helping me find healing. He was there and He knew this would happen…
Maybe you were saved at a young age and you fear your story isn’t as powerful as others. Or maybe just like me, you struggle believing that God could use your broken past for his good. I want to share with you that no matter your story, it’s powerful.
My story began in college when Christ softened my heart through a horrible experience. God had been pursuing me all my life, but it wasn’t until college that I finally realized my need for a Savior.
During my freshman year of college, on day three, I was date raped. I became depressed, I lived in shame, and I hated my life. But God pursued me. God used rape to bring me to my knees and allow me to see my need for a Savior. That year I was beginning to experience a love that I had never felt. My freshman year of college I became a follower of Christ, but it would take years for me to start sharing my story with other women.
At the end of this post, I will share with you one example of how God used my story in a powerful way. For now, I want to dive into a passage that talks about how our stories are powerful. (more…)
Feeling sad and lonely during the Christmas season is real. December is a month that can bring immense joy or immense pain. For those struggling with these feelings of pain, this letter from my friend Sam Eaton is for you. During this Christmas season, know that you are loved by your Father in Heaven. For those experiencing joy this Christmas, this letter is for you. During this Christmas season, take moments out of your day to love on those hurting. I love Sam’s suggestion to sit down with a hurting person over a hot cup of coffee and listen to their story.
During the Christmas season, when people are struggling, let’s point them to the one who can heal their souls. The one who came to this earth as a tiny helpless baby so that we could know God personally. Only Jesus can take away pain. Introducing others to Jesus is the best gift we can give people this Christmas.
In high school I was a religious hypocrite, yet I had no idea how I was damaging the gospel. I grew up going to church, but the gospel I heard was you have to be a good and perfect Christian to get to heaven.
This was an impossible goal to reach. As hard as I tried, I could never be sinless. And so I lived in this cycle of addiction. I lived in bondage. I would try to be perfect, fail and turn back to sin.
The cycle went on and on.
Living in bondage was exhausting.
I was a religious Pharisee. I told people that I was a Christian and that I felt called to be a pastor, my church even let me preach on youth Sundays, yet I didn’t even know God. One day on the way to school, I was walking up from the parking lot with my boyfriend and he looked at me and said, “You’re a bad Christian.”
I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian. My church added to the gospel and because of this, I believed I needed to earn my salvation.
Maybe you, just like me, sometimes still think you have to be a good perfect Christian woman. Maybe you’ve lost sight of God’s grace. These desires actually make us slaves. We become slaves to our sin and lose our freedom. Why is it that we allow ourselves to be burdened again by slavery instead of living in the freedom that Christ has freely given?
You are I are living our lives like the Christians in Galatians.
In Galatians 5:1 Paul says “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”(more…)
Desiring to feel loved and beautiful, I downloaded Tinder and uploaded my cutest selfie. Sick of being single and waiting on God’s perfect timing, I wanted to take things into my own hands. I wanted control over my dating life.
Impatient and not trusting God, I began the quest for a man. Swiping right if I found him attractive and left if he was too creepy, I was making every decision based on looks. During this season in college, I was a believer and truly loved God, but I lacked intimacy with Him.
Instead of growing in intimacy with God, I wanted instant intimacy.
I believed that instant intimacy was only found in the love of a man, so in that moment, when he swiped right too and we were a match, I felt desired. This feeling didn’t last. Instead of believing what God says is true about me, I believed I was unloved and ugly. Yet, I kept on swiping and searching for intimacy.
Have you ever sought out intimacy, yet remained unsatisfied?(more…)
“You’ll never find a man to marry who isn’t a virgin!” said a friend to me, Joy, many years ago. I remember thinking, “Why should I wait if he’s not going to wait?” Well ladies, there are men who will be virgins on their wedding night. There are men who value God’s Word and desire to live out purity in singleness and marriage. Sam Eaton is one of those men.
Check out his guest post: Saving Sex for Marriage | From a Guy’s Perspective
It’s easy to be angry at the people we sin sexually with. It is easy to blame them. We might think, ‘they pushed me further than I would have gone.’ This might be true, but we still are at fault. Our sexual sins hurt God, hurt ourselves, and they hurt others. We must come to God in prayer asking Him for forgiveness. (more…)
Readers often ask us questions about relationships, specifically Christian romantic relationships. Women want to know how to find a godly man, what godly men look for in a girlfriend, and lots more. Today four Christian men answer questions about their significant other. Among the four, one is dating, two are engaged, and one is married. Let’s check out their answers! (more…)
I recently got engaged to a godly Christian man. Let me share with you our proposal story. Zack and I were back at his apartment after a night of two-stepping. That morning I had landed in Dallas after being away for a few weeks. When I got home from the airport Zack had given me roses and showed me a puzzle that he completed as a surprise.
Zack knows I love puzzles. In fact, growing up my Dad called me the Puzzle Queen. Months before Zack proposed, Zack had ordered this personalized puzzle online and completed the whole puzzle by himself (a big task for a non puzzle queen). After finishing it, he flipped it over and wrote a secret message that I wouldn’t see for months. (more…)
“Joy, you are so vulnerable and so brave. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I could never be as bold as you to freely talk about these issues.” – Women’s Minister
That was the response I got from a women’s minister as I talked about the growing epidemic of porn addiction for women. Throughout my talk I shared how in 5th grade a friend first introduced me to porn, opening doors of curiosity inside my 11 year old brain. Next, I shared my story of date rape, which led me to turn back to porn out of more curiosity about sex.
In my talk, I was authentic, vulnerable, and bold – characteristics missing from many women’s ministries. If we as women’s ministers are not authentic, vulnerable, and bold, then neither will our women be authentic, vulnerable, and bold. As a millennial, I look for those characteristics in a church and a women’s ministry. Are you afraid of being vulnerable, authentic, and bold with the women you are ministering to? (more…)