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JLOclassyweb

How to Dress Cute, Modest and Classy

 

JLOclassywebWhat immediately pops up in your mind when you think of the word modesty?  An outdated outfit and frumpy clothes?  Or a sober heart, not too proud or overly excessive? 

Do you think balance or restriction from being who you really are?  Maybe some of us think, “That’s not for me.  I’m just not there yet.”  And that’s okay that we know how we feel and where we are…we are all entitled to start where we are judgment free!

GOD knows and He will take us in our current state, gradually adding His own convictions for each one of us.

God will take us in our current state, gradually adding His own convictions for each one of us.

For example, when I was in my early twenties my modesty journey began.  I was so excited to follow the Lord in every area of my life, that when He began to convict me about certain pieces of clothing in my wardrobe, I said, “Lord, this is so hard, but okay.”

Jade Speaks

In this look I took a dress and put a sheer top under it to make it more suitable for a church environment. It fit my classic modest style type.

Clothes that were a bit too tight here or there began to escape my wardrobe.

Clothes that weren’t reflective of what I wanted to represent began to be filtered.

And then I came across a woman of God teaching on Deuteronomy 22:5.  I read the Scripture.  I studied it.  I thought about it deeply.  Today it’s fully how this one Scripture on, you guessed it, the clothes we wear has become one of the most controversial Scriptures for Christian women. 

But I was convinced God was convicting me to wear only skirts.  The key words here are, “Convicting me.”  This was a personal conviction God gave to me.

And I saw the benefit of it in my life.  I dressed up a lot more, explored more feminine options and no longer was attracting the type of attention I didn’t want from guys.

For a season, this was also very helpful for me to overcome superficiality, finding my beauty in my inward man, not the outward.  But over time I felt the Lord begin to release me from that conviction.

JLO 2.17

And here’s another dress I adapted into a top with skinny jeans to add a modest approach…

What I did wrong was place too much of my zeal and excitement about this life change on others.  It was important not to place my conviction on others or teach it as if it was a law of God.  It was also important not to make this conviction a source of “holiness” or “arriving in God.” 

What I did wrong was place too much of my zeal and excitement about this life change on others.  It was important not to place my conviction on others or teach it as if it was a law of God.

But on the other hand, I know what it’s like to be persecuted for my personal convictions, even by those I never mentioned skirts to!  Please don’t do this to your friends or loved ones.  It has developed a great deal of compassion in my heart towards those who God leads to break cultural norms.

Placing our convictions on others is a danger many new believers experience as the excitement of hearing God’s voice can cause us to miscalculate the purpose of that experience–forcing it on our friends and family–not just in how we dress, but in what we watch, where we go, and what we eat.  This creates a haughty attitude and a “better than thou” demeanor that repels others from us.  Learn from my experience, this is not a healthy way to go and it stifles our relationships.

But on the flip side, if someone you know develops a new conviction, please do your best to respectfully support what God has told them to do–Remember, this is the same God that told Samson to wear his hair in locks and never cut his hair on a Nazarite vow.  The vows people make with God should be respected and honored.  For me, I see my period of wearing skirts as a personal vow between me and the Lord. 

If someone you know develops a new conviction, please do your best to respectfully support what God has told them to do

An outward expression of obeying what He asked me to do.  And I am grateful to say God led me through a 13 year season of embracing this conviction, whether others were pleased or not.  I was content to please God.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

At the end of those 13 years the Lord gave me a sense of peace about wearing pants again (which was not new to me, it’s the way I grew up for many years).  It was the time and He confirmed why to me through various means. 

I was reminded of Peter, who’s conviction as a Jew was to not eat meat.  Then, after living out this lifelong conviction, God gave him a vision of eating “all” of His creation.  Was Peter wrong to be on a mainly plant based diet before this “discovery”?  No way!  He was following God’s law.

But Peter was about to reach the Gentiles.  And he was experiencing the freedom to obey God’s voice, which is what Christianity is all about!

So with all these thoughts on real life lessons about convictions, let’s talk about what modesty really is.  First, it will help to understand that modesty is not our own idea.  It comes from the Bible.  And though it may look different for each lady, it is important for it to be a part of our lifestyle.

This word appears in 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Timothy 3:2.  It’s the word kosmios meaning well arranged, seemly, modest.

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes  1 Timothy 2:9

In the dictionary, it means

“placing a moderate estimate on one’s abilities or worth;  neither bold nor self-assertive :  tending toward diffidence” or “limited in size, amount, or scope a family of modest meansb :  unpretentious a modest home”

So modesty is about being self controlled in our attitude, not putting on an act for someone else (pretentiousness) or going over the top with something.  We can be modest in our thoughts, in our speech, in our actions, and in how we dress. 

Modesty is about being self controlled in our attitude, not putting on an act for someone else or going over the top with something.

Modesty is not just about how we dress.  It comes from the realization that we are where God chooses to reside and because of that we want to walk in the Spirit.  We want to respect His presence.  We want to be humble in all that we do.  This comes from the heart.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says Our body is a temple of God. We want to represent Him well. 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own  1 Corinthians 6:19

Let’s keep in mind that, as Christians, what is in the heart is what is most important, not the outward appearance.  And we don’t win God’s approval by how we dress.  We are justified by Jesus Christ alone!

1 Timothy 2:8-10 give us the principle behind an inward focus, not an outward one alone.  If we begin to put how we look on the outside (whether modest or inmodest) before God who is in our temple, we’ll probably find ourselves in bondage.

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Modest doesn’t have to be frumpy or colorless it can be stylish and fun!

Is what I’m wearing reflecting Godliness?  Am I wearing this to attract the right attention or to get a lustful stare, the attention of some guy I don’t even know?  Am I wearing this to help heal insecurities?

As we know our heart, we focus on ways we need healing we will realize why we do what what do.  We will discover our motives.  God can help us see this and this is the Holy Spirit’s role to personally convict us.  If He convicts you it will lead to freedom,  not a sense of negativity or bondage.

Another principle that I like to apply is knowing my “areas”:

Is my chest showing, cleavage becoming a distraction?  This is not a hard and fast rule, but we want to keep our private parts discreet for our current or future hubby if possible.  Pray about this and ask the Lord how He feels.  He will show you where He wants you to draw the line.

Am I depending on the praise of people to give me identity?  If I wear something cute, I get a bunch of compliments and I feel better.  There’s nothing wrong with that but the core of who we are comes from who Jesus says we are in the Bible…fearfully and wonderfully made.

Many times we are told as women in the church that we have to dress more modest to protect our brothers and although this does have a role of putting our brother before ourselves, this can also be abused.  Men also have to carry their own spiritual responsibility in how they keep their eyes, but are we at least concerned about helping a brother out from stumbling?

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Romans 12:10

By the way, even when we are modest it’s really important that beneath the surface we love ourselves, care for our bodies, try our best–this is not an excuse to go to the other extreme of not putting forth effort to look our best.

Well those are my words on modesty plus here’s a few fashion tips:

There’s a few ways you can “work your own look”:

  1. Know Your Body Type (Are you an apple, pear, hourglass or banana)?body-shape
  2. Know Your Style (Are you classic, trendy, bohemian, or dramatic?) style types
  3. Learn to Love Yourself!  Who you are in essence rarely changes.
  4. Learn your Undertone (color) and Color Wheel, are you a winter, spring, summer or fall?
  5. Explore a Few Trends- Certain cuts, looks and even colors could be on trend from year to year.  Don’t try to wear all of them lol figure out which ones look best on you  Here’s a few for 2017:neonruffleskhaki

I’m a classic but I do trends and chic looks as well.  Classic tops, bottoms and earrings never go out of style!  You can still have fun by mixing colors and trends.

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Here I’m wearing a classic white collard skirt and pencil skirt but mixed up with a trendy fur vest!

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Here I’m wearing a classic outfit with bell sleeves, a current trend. You can google trends for 2017 to see the last ones!

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And here I am wearing a classic a line cut dress with a pop of color. All classic though- straight lines etc. I like skirts and dresses that flare on me since I’m a pencil/banana and don’t have many curves lol

And here’s a link to natural makeup options that don’t have any preservatives or chemicals that will seep into your pores.

Well, I hope this helped you understand a little bit more about modesty and I know you will be well on your way to hear from God for your own modesty journey.  But let’s keep in mind that it’s what is in our hearts that matters most!

Love you!

Jade Lee

 

 

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The Single and Happy Live, Saved and In College- Episode #1

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

Rainbow-Light-Prenatal-Supplemental-Facts

Naturally Preparing your Body for Pregnancy

I’ve been blessed to help quite a few women pre, during and postpartum to find that we need A Clear Plan before getting into the world of pregnancy; this should help you prepare your body for pregnancy even before you are pregnant.  It is so reassuring for these mamas to know that they are educated on what is happening to their body and how to respond to the sudden changes they are experiencing.  Unfortunately, as a pastor’s wife, I have been through the process of walking with a number of couples through unexpected miscarriages, pregnancy complications and panic attacks.

This is a very sensitive issue and something that I hold in confidentiality with these couples, so I will not provide any “real-life” examples, but it has been on my heart for quite some time to share what I have learned through walking with these couples and my own research in helping “keep them pregnant.”  None of this information is to replace or negate what your practitioner advises you to do, only to supplement and provide a natural, reassuring perspective that can further empower you as a mama or mama-to-be.

The first area of concern for me is that many times I have found women’s bodies and minds are not prepared for pregnancy.  There is a common belief that “I will just get pregnant, grab a pre-natal vitamin off a grocery store shelf, get to my doctor, take a blood test to confirm and keep it moving.”  But when there is not enough body fat to maintain the pregnancy, the body has toxins causing a hormonal imbalance, or the body is not getting enough healthy nutrients to keep mama and baby healthy, this can result in an unwanted crisis.  Unfortunately, this risk is not always shared with mama until it is too late.  So, what can you do to prepare your body for that day when you find out you are pregnant?

This is important if you are married, trying to get pregnant, or using no means of protection and may get pregnant.  Let’s give our body what it needs in a preventative way so that we can have healthy, full term deliveries.

#1 Find a Whole Food, Good Quality PreNatal Vitamin

There is only one downside to a whole food prenatal, it is more expensive, but the cost is worth every penny when you consider its benefits.  This is different than a prescription or over the counter manufactured prenatal.  Instead, it consists of all natural ingredients and vitamins from their natural source.  The prescription prenatals can be very hard on some women’s digestion, cause nausea, heartburn, indigestion and constipation.  It may not be right for all women.  Doing your own research and discovering what is best for your body in consultation with your doctor is helpful.

Prenatal vitamins are helpful because the baby pulls from mama’s nutrients to get her own taking care of, leaving mama depleted of daily intake if not eating enough or supplementing.  This can cause more nausea, fainting or other complications (including miscarriage or the baby not growing at a recommended rate).  To ensure both baby and mama get all they need I have included a few prenatal vitamin options to supplement your daily food intake.

A few high quality, whole food prenatal vitamins are:

Baby & Me
babyandme2Baby and Me is a plant based, vegetable vitamins so you do not have to worry about manufactured items entering your body and it is full of great vitamins for you and your baby, as it’s name suggests.  There is also a Herb-Free Version of Baby & Me available (especially important if you are already taking herbs or tonics to support your health).  A lot of mamas absolutely love how easy this vitamin is on their stomachs and how they can take it with no worries of a sick tummy!  It is also very high in Vitamin D (which helps prevent miscarriage).

Rainbow Light Prenatal One

Rainbow-Light-Prenatal-Supplemental-FactsAnother option is Rainbow Light Prenatal One.  This 100% vegetarian and natural vitamin has no preservatives and is also vegan.  Another perk is you only need one a day to get your daily intake, and it is very light on the stomach due to it’s inclusion of probiotics (good for digestion).    It has twice the amount of the following vitamins as a lot of prenatal vitamins:

  • iron (good for metabalism and blood cell production),
  • vitamin D (for mama and baby’s healthy bones and teeth),
  • vitamin C & A (for skin, eye, immune, brain health, and destressing),
  • folic acid (to prevent birth defects, help with the baby’s brain and cell development, plus spine growth), and
  • vitamin B (for energy, cell growth, stress, immune support and more). 

#2 A Whole Food, Healthy Diet

Of course, this is only a supplement to eating a whole food, healthy diet, with healthy fats like organic butter, coconut, olive, sunflower and sesame seed oils, fish, nuts, seeds, lots of dark leafy vegetables, and bright, vibrant choices like carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Plus a lot of fruit (think half your plate being full of fruits and vegetables).  There are so many new fruits and veggies that you may not have tried yet and can now focus on enjoying. 

The key is to snack, snack, snack on healthy foods and meal prep ahead of time so you don’t run out of food and go crazy at a fast food restaurant!  To avoid preservatives, try organic, grass fed, farm fresh food from the farmer’s market or the organic section of your grocery store.  This will protect both you and baby from unwanted harmful substances.

This is your chance to taste the rainbow.  Think about beautiful colors, many beautiful colors you are taking into your body on a daily consistent (never skipping meals) basis.  Try some of the foods on this rainbow chart to get you started:

jlo rainbow food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many healthy options out there, a few tips on snacks: slice oranges, apples, kiwi, peaches and bring them to work with you.  Grab a bunch of grapes and throw them in your lunch bag.  Keep a cooler in the back of your car/trunk full of yummy homemade smoothies (by the way this is a good snack option), lots of water, and your fruit. 

And mama’s protein intake is really important too.  You can get this from grass fed meats (lower in fat plus essential fatty acids) and cold water fish (look for “wild” fish, rather “farm raised”in grocery store- like cod, Alaskan salmon, and Alaskan halibut), lentils, beans and vegetables like kale and broccoli.  Try to get a balance of both meat and vegetable proteins in your meals.

A few tips: Low zinc is believed to cause miscarriage (you can always get your blood levels checked prior to pregnancy) and the right amount of vitamin B12 can help prevent miscarriage by strengthening mama’s endometrium lining where the egg is fertilized.  Zinc: shrimp, lamb, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, sesame seeds, green peas.   B12: Lobster, eggs, liver, crab, fish, beef, lamb, oysters.

Foods to avoid: cold cuts, excess caffeine, soft cheeses, alcohol, don’t go on a low fat diet (you need healthy fats to support your growing baby)

#3 Relaxation Plan

Of course there’s a lot more mama’s-to-be can do to prepare for pregnancy and keep a healthy pregnancy, but for today, we will close this up by talking about the importance of the R&R: Rest and Relaxation.  We all need rest, but your body is working twice as hard when pregnant, so you finally have a good excuse for sleeping A LOT. 

Sleep– On your left side (your liver is on your right side, this will help avoid pressure on your liver- this can get harder as you get bigger, so just try your best).  Try to avoid sleeping on your back because it pressures a lot of organs and can lower circulation.  

You can also get a wedge when you get bigger to help with sleep. 

wedge

Journal– Write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions, your joys and annoyances while pregnant.  Doing this can help declutter your mind and give you a sense of needed relief.  Taking note of what is causing you to feel stressful in your environment can be really helpful as well.

Relaxing Exercise– There are pregnancy exercises you can do like walking, leaning forward on an exercise ball (think about how much pregnant mamas  lean back), and butterflies (remember these cute exercises from when you were a child?).

Prayer and Meditation– Daily spending time praying and meditating on Scripture can help remove fear and increase your faith in a smooth pregnancy.  There are so many concerns and questions pregnant mamas may have; having a few Scriptures handy is helpful when we are in uncertain times.  This book, Supernatural Childbirth, I did a review on recently is really good to have on hand to help you pray prayers for pre, during and post pregnancy (plus while in labor)!

Supernatural Childbirth

Best of wishes on your coming baby, or if you’re just really proactive and preventative, I wish you the best on your way to being a mama one day! 

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Prayer: Father, I thank you for everyone reading this and pray that You will give them the strength they need, the wisdom they ask for and the health You promised that they may have a full term, strong pregnancy, a healthy baby in their loving mama arms. And I pray that they will overcome all fears of the days to come no matter what is in their family history or their own past. They deserve the best because that is what Christ died for. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

xoxo,

Jade Lee

A few Mama Scriptures:

You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:13-14

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast.  From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Psalm 22:9-10

He will have no fear of bad news; he heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.  Psalm 112:7

 

 

Supernatural Childbirth

How to Have a Supernatural Childbirth (Book Review)

Supernatural ChildbirthThis is one of those books that should be in every woman’s library, even before she is pregnant, Supernatural Childbirth. 

I have been meaning to write a book review on this for months now and have finally found the time to squeeze in a few thoughts on a topic that is really special to my heart.

It may seem strange on one hand but very natural on the other that I would write on this topic as someone who has experienced the hard journey of infertility for years.  But that is what initially led me to it…I was looking for answers, for a resource I could use to pray over my womb.

And then I found Jackie Mize’s classic book.  And it has been a blessing to everyone I have been gifted to mentor over the years.

This book is full of wisdom, personal life stories, prayers and Scriptures you can pray over yourself before, during and post pregnancy.  It even includes a section on prayers for the delivery and shares how to overcome fear during the entire experience (which is a major struggle for almost every woman I have walked with through pregnancy).

So far, I’ve gotten a chance to play the role of a pastor’s wife/unofficial doula for 10 babies and we used this book in the process.  The woman I worked with would pray these prayers over their womb and we would actually see “Supernatural Childbirths.”

As we prayed, we noticed a trend begin to occur.  Seemless childbirths were happening, babies were being born almost completely pain free, the women were giving birth in four hours or less (in most cases) and the nurses were running into rooms in shock!

We knew it was the prayers and mental techniques these women were using. 

If that baby was holding on a little too long, as I walked into the room, we would simply pray a strong prayer and shortly thereafter the baby would arrive.  One time I prayed a prayer like that, went down to get food for the new mommy and dad, and by the time I returned the baby had already surprise us all with a Very Quick delivery.

Another time, the nurses all came running into the room because they could not believe the woman giving birth did so that calmly, with no pain until she was 10 centimeters dilated.

And the doula exclaimed, “We have to get you all to pray for all of the women we worked with!”

It was an act of God, and His original intention for how childbirth should occur…Before the fall of man, it was not so but due to Genesis 3:16 women begin to experience pain in childbearing:

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

But now that consequence has been broken through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law.  When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.  For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  Galatians 3:13

If you have experienced a painful delivery or a fearful pregnancy, I would definitely recommend this book.  And if you have not experienced a pregnancy yet but are expecting, it is worth the try to read it, it really does make a difference.  Thirdly, if you are fighting infertility, many have read this book to take a stance against that struggle spiritually. 

But it is more an application that a reading book, so here is the link to begin your prayerful pregnancy journey and best of wishes to your new bundle of joy!

If you have any questions about my experiences using this book for infertility or to help moms please use the comments below or you can email me at info@jadelee.org  I really welcome your comments…Thanks!

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The Single and Happy Life

by Edleea Brewster

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

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Healing Journaling to Find Your Voice

by Jade Lee

I vividly remember a few moments in my dorm room (years ago) when I needed to get all my thoughts out, one was to write a joy list in overcoming the blues, but the other was reading the Psalms.   I wasn’t on the path I should have been but hearing David’s vulnerability and authenticity in the Psalms was really comforting to me in my time of weakness, I was experiencing what I have now termed Biblical Healing Journaling.  If he could do it, then surely I could freely share what was on my heart, it was like his feelings were equivalent to mine, all I needed was love undeserved, beyond performance.

I have come to find that, like David, we need a way to express our inner lives.  Sometimes, this comes out with whoever we can trust, usually our nearest loved ones or friends.  But it doesn’t always get expressed in positive ways.  I sure have had my moments of trying to express in a healthy way then in quickly goes down hill with a blow up because we are talking about a sensitive topic.

Writing and reading are both very instrumental in creating a stronger self awareness in our lives.  And writing can be a way to ease the raw emotions before they are shared with others in anger or the fullness of frustration the shock causes us to feel.

My Story

I have always loved writing.  It is like second nature to me and was many times much easier than sharing with someone verbally.  I wrote short love stories, poems, journal entries and research papers.  But all of it was from my deepest place of self.  And that’s what I want to help you do, find your deepest sense of who you are then express it in a wholesome way.

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When you write you can safely express whatever is on your heart.  Over the years as you mature in your voice, you will find that this can become an intricate language depending on who you are, or it may remain profoundly simple.

But combined with Scriptural truth, writing can be used very powerfully to heal our hearts and bring deep joy.

One day I began to realize how to write in a different way.  This was the day my writing became my prayer.  I noticed that I was going on a passage from deep heart stings, pressures and emotional duress to release, forgiveness and liberation.  

As I walked many women through mentorship and intimacy therapy I realized that this could be a great tool to help them accomplish a new state of being, they could live with all the windows on their emotional computer closed and their minds could be free of overload.

I started that day by writing everything that was on my mind when I first woke up, for many people that is when the wrestling match begins…words that you have processed from the day before come back up and you begin to wonder “why did they say that like that?”

For some simply casting down thoughts in general and moving on may work.  But I tend to be much more complex.  I need to literally see my thoughts in front of me then deal with them one by one.  (I can think a lot of thoughts at a time so I need a way to get it all out.)

I noticed that once it was all out on that sweet paper in my journal a sense of peace came over me.  And I felt healed!

I wrote vulnerably, free flowing, intricately from the deepest place of self awareness and pain.  And my pain became an electrifying tool to release strong emotions, questions, fears, challenges…without being hurtful to the hearer.  It became a filter guarding my loved ones from the worlds that only God could handle.

Because rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

Rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

The Shift

Once all of our words are out, our heart is empty and we sense “the release.”  At this point we go through the needed passage from pain to an elevated perspective.  We see through the eyes of God- that person, that situation, the words that hurt us.  

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You can do it, just keep going, keep writing and be consistent! Let’s hold one another up in prayer.

Suddenly, it’s as if light begins to break through our darkness.  We are at the end of a gloomy tunnel.

This is what the Psalmist David, experienced in the lament psalms like Psalm 3:

“A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

  1. O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me;
  2. many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.  Selah
  3. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
  4. I cried aloud to the lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Selah

In this passage David is running away from his son Absalom.  If you want to read the story read 2 Samuel 15:13-23.  But you may want to read 2 Samuel 14-18 if you want the entire narrative.  It is definitely a tear jerker.

Can you imagine running from your own son who wants to kill you?  There had to be some serious identity, soul searching emotions happening here.  Questions like, What did I did wrong?  Why does my own flesh and blood want me dead?  must have been combatting David’s warrior heart.

This was not your son or daughter sitting in a counseling office, it was them growing up to want to come after your life.  

But notice how David handled it, he wrote down his complaints to God.  He shared from the deepest places of his soul, “O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.”

His reputation was being mocked, he was being chased, his life was on the line and he felt severe levels of rejection.  He expressed it freely to God, in a healthy dosage of desperation.

Release the Sting on Paper, Not on a Person

David’s situation was enough to make any marriage fall apart, friendships deteriorate and arguments to spring forth with children.  He had a lot to manage and his heart was full of disappointment.  

I’ve noticed that when I am in that position I am much more vulnerable to making poor choices and decisions I may live to regret.  

When my heart aches because someone gave me harsh criticisms like, “You’re not doing this right.”  “I don’t like what you are doing here, the way you minister, how you carry yourself.”  Or, “You need to do this…”  The sting of those words can pierce my tender heart.

I have also learned that if I don’t deal with the sting, try to keep it moving and forget about it, it will come up later because it is still buried deep without.  This can come out in many ways, but we don’t have time to address that in this article.

Journaling is a way to deal with the sting.  This is so helpful for anger management.  

It has helped me to release the sting on paper instead of on a loved one.

Then I can process the pain.  Many times when we feel pain the only words we have to express it are “I feel angry” or “I feel hurt”…”I can’t believe she had the nerve to say that,” “I don’t really feel anything.  I could care less.  They can’t bother me.”

But if we are going to heal, plus have healthy relationships, we need a more expansive vocabulary to communicate in a way that others can receive.

This is called Finding Your Voice and I will help you do that in our next article.

This is really all about self awareness.  Self Awareness is about being in tune with your feelings so that you can express those feelings appropriately to others including challenging upwards, sharing your preferences with peers and lovingly talking to those in your care.

Here are a list of emotions you can bring with you as you do healing journaling:

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emotions2Using this list of emotions can be very helpful to articulate and even discover for yourself how you really feel about a comment, an action or a behavior of another.  It can also help you sort through how you feel about God in a situation or what you are in need of emotionally.

Not having a voice for your feelings oftentimes leads to one emotion: Anger.  That can then become passive aggressive (shut down) or aggressive (blow up).   Neither are healthy.

When We Hear God’s Voice

After the release in journaling you will being to see the light.  This is where it all makes sense.  God begins to speak to you.  Write down what you hear from Him.

If you need help in hearing His voice asking questions may be a great starting point:

Ask the Question- God is there anything you want me to know?  

  • How is God using this situation to heal me?
  • How is God using this situation to bring something to my attention?
  • How is God using this situation to help me grow?

Journal your thoughts and search the Bible for truth.  

Through this writing process you will find yourself seeing from a perspective beyond your own thoughts.  Maybe you write the psalmist key word, “But”…that is a sign of Transition.

“But God will use this to help others.”  “But I can handle this and that’s why I’ve been chosen for this challenge.”  “But I know these thoughts aren’t true.”  “But I am forgiven.”

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In transition you may feel small but are able to realize you are really at the top of the world, while seeming insignificant.

When you have all your thoughts on paper you can in a way see yourself as if you are looking from the outside in.  You can then medicate your pains with the Word of God.  Some phrases may have been initially expressed in your journaling session that you want to revisit:

“I feel like a failure.  I’m such a loser.  I always mess up.  I’m never going to get this right.”

These are trigger phrases to a negative thought pattern, they are signs towards why you may feel sad, depressed or angry.

This is empowering you to get the knowledge and understanding needed to identify the faulty thought processes you are encountering regularly.  You can now see the enemy’s lists and course correct these ideas with truth.

God’s Word is the truth we need:

For example if you wrote the thought, “I feel so ashamed.”

The Course Correction is Isaiah 61:7 For my shame I will have double and for confusion I will rejoice or 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Finally, like David, you are able to get your Confidence back in the midst of a Really hard, seemingly impossible situation.

And that is the Healing Journaling process.

My Prayer for you: Father, I thank you for every one who reads about this tool you are giving us as Your beloved children.  I pray that you will speak to our hearts through your Scriptures when we are in need of Your help.  Please give us the boldness to face ourselves, to grace to let go our our shame and the confidence to move forward with strength.  Remind us that your mercies are new every morning and You are a very present help in the time of need.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

My Challenge: I want to challenge you to do at least one healing journaling session this week.  Start with prayer and then use the 4 C’s based on the Lament Psalm.  Focus on Psalm 3 as an example:

  • The Complaint- Write down how you feel (Psalm 3:1-2)
  • The Conjunction- Write down your “but” statement (Psalm 3:3)
  • The Clarity- Write down your newfound Biblical clarity (Psalm 3:3-4)
  • The Confidence- Write down the confidence that you now have out of that clarity (Psalm 3:5-8)

I hope you have found this helpful and can use it frequently as another way to do the needed work of inner healing.

If you have any other ideas or questions that center around this concept of healing through writing I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  They are Always Welcome!

Be Inspired.  Be Encouraged.  But Most Importantly…Be Transformed!

In His Love,

Jade Lee

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A Quick Self Esteem Boost

By Paige Smith

 

According to Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, Dove Self-Esteem Fund, 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.

According to this study, 70% of girls are dealing with low self-esteem. That means 70% of girls desire boldness and confidence.

There is an undeniable attack against the self-esteem of women in our society. The Dove Campaign also found that 92% of women want to change something about the way they look.

Most women want to be confident, want to love who they are and how they look, but believe they will only feel that unshakeable confidence once they change something about themselves.

But what if God wants us to feel that self-assurance and peace about ourselves right now, in the midst of our imperfections and shortcomings?

God is our Heavenly Father and He sees us as His beautiful daughters. When we only see our “darkness” and our frailties, like the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon, God sees our beauty and declares it proudly:

“Behold, you are beautiful, my love! Behold, you are beautiful! You have dove’s eyes” (Song of Solomon 1:15).

You may feel like the Shulamite woman today, so conscious of your own darkness and how you daily make mistakes, yet there was hope for her and there is hope for you.

She begins her journey unsure of herself, doubtful of her own beauty, and desperate to be loved. By the last chapter of Song of Solomon, she is confident in her Beloved’s love for her:

“I am my beloved’s, And his desire is towards me” (Song of Solomon 7:10)

She has not changed, but her perspective of who she is has drastically been altered.

She boldly declares, “I am my beloved’s”

Not only does she know she belongs to her Beloved, but she knows He returns her affections,

“And his desire is towards me.”

Today know that you are deeply and irrevocably loved by your Heavenly Father. You are His daughter and He adores you!

He sings over you, He rejoices over you, and His banner over you is LOVE!

Its clear that women all over are longing to feel confident, to walk in boldness, and to love who they are! It doesn’t begin with a pair of stiletto heels or the perfect profile picture. It begins with a fresh revelation of how much you are loved.

Allow the truth of your Father’s love to penetrate your heart in a new way today and speak those truths back to Him. It will produce a true confidence and boldness rooted in the only unchanging variable that exists, His love.

7 Biblical truths on the Father’s love for us:

  1. We are valuable to God. (Matthew 6:26)
  2. We are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)
  3. God has prepared a place for us. (John 14:1-2)
  4. Our Father in heaven gives good gifts to those who ask Him. (Matthew 7:9-11)
  5. God doesn’t want to lose any of His children, and will seek out any that are lost. (Matthew 18:12-14)
  6. God is kind and merciful towards us. (Luke 6:36-37)
  7. God lavishes His love on us! (1 John 3:1)

We pray this article has been empowered you with a boldness that comes from knowing you are a Beloved Daughter of The King!

Are there any Scriptures you have used to help yourself or others gain a stronger self esteem?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments section so we can encourage one another!

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Healing a Hardened Heart

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

It is very hard to honor our fathers, God, or anyone else when our hearts have been hardened.  But if you are reading this, allow me to encourage you- you must have a desire to forgive and be healed.

This topic reminds me of a Biblical character named Pharaoh.  The Bible says Pharaoh’s heart was hardened against God (the Father).  The missing element in Pharaoh’s life was honor.  

He failed to yield, to give respect, or to honor the God of the Israelites.  Pharaoh eventually gave honor tot he Lord, but it was at his own expense.

When our hearts become hardened due to life’s difficulty or pain, we must remember that honor is a choice.  We don’t have to remain forever calloused.

Multiple times in my own relationship with my father, the Lord has convicted me about three acts of love.  He has asked my hardened heart to express love as I forgive, confess, and restore.

I’ve had to forgive my father, confess that I was wrong for holding anger and resentment against my dad, and then make a commitment to restoring him back to his rightful place in my life.  This process has not always been easy, but in return for my obedience, I’ve seen my father travel for hours just to kneel at my feet, weeping words of godly sorrow.

It was through my place of humility that God brought healing, restoration, and the healthy relationship I desired.  He wants to do the same for each of us as we listen to His leading.

Multiple times in my own relationships ith my father, the Lord has convicted me about three acts of love: Forgiveness, Confession and Restoration. I know God can restore any one of our hearts to sweet gentleness and healing.

Multiple times in my own relationships ith my father, the Lord has convicted me about three acts of love: Forgiveness, Confession and Restoration. I know God can restore any one of our hearts to sweet gentleness and healing.

In fact, He promises to give us a softened, loving heart if we receive by faith, saying, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

So go and be bold; don’t be afraid to exemplify love, because you will be glad you took a step of faith.  Even if your father (or others) do not respond the way you desire, you will be able to say you have obeyed a very important part of God’s Word, and your heavenly Father will always be there to carry you.

Let’s Practice This Truth Together:

That it may go well with you in the land the LORD your GOD is giving you.  (Deuteronomy 5:16)

Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you with any needed areas of change in your life.  Ask Him:

  • Is my heart hardened?  Do I need more humility or a new heart from You?  Ezekiel 36:26
  • Is there any forgiveness that You want me to show to my father?
  • Is there anything that I need to confess to You or to my earthly father?  Search me, Lord, and know my heart…(Psalm 139:23)
  • Is there any restoration needed in my relationship with my father?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the answers, and then make plans to live out anything He reveals.

Talk to others who don’t know Jesus about the transformational power of our heavenly Father.

I hope you had a Happy Father’s Day!

Here’s a pic of me and the hubby on daddy’s day this year.  This was a fun look I achieved through basics in my wardrobe and thrift store finds!

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Get the Look:

Sleeveless Tank- JCPenney ($9.99), Old Navy, Cato ($7.99, many colors), The Limited ($24.90, classic colors, satin- great for dressy outfits).  The key to a dressier look is to buy “seamless” not “ribbed”

Red Flats- Nine West ($69.00)| Forever 21 ($9.99)| JCrew ($135)|Born ($44.51) I found these Talbot shoes for $7.99 at a thrift store!

A Line Midi Skirt- Macys ($24.99)| Zulily ($11.99)| Honor ($240)|Chicwish ($39.02)|ASOS ($40.00)

Purse- Kate Spade ($29.00)|Nordstrom ($33.98)| Humble Chic ($38.00) Really this is a Kate Spade eyeglass case that I used as a purse my dears

Pearl Necklace- JCrew ($26.00)|Banana Republic ($198)

Let’s be beautiful both inside and out with hearts ready to love from the deep place we have been embraced!  Have a sweet blessed week…

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Why Black Women are Silently Suffering with Depression

By Paige Smith

Depression has become the silent assassin on the black community. Like any mental or physical illness, depression doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Yet in the black community depression has long been stigmatized as a condition African Americans, in particular African American women, don’t deal with.

Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting opened up in a CNN interview with Soledad O’ Brien on how for years she silently suffered with depression. She admits that she felt so much darkness and pain but never opened up because she had to wear “the mask”.

Although on the outside she seemed to have it all together, having a successful publicist career with high profile clientele, for her even the small task of getting out of the bed in the morning and taking a shower was “the hardest thing”.

So many black women are like Williams, feeling engulfed by the weight of depression but for the sake of their careers, their marriages, their ministries, their reputations, they pull it together, put on “the mask”, and continue on, seemingly conquering the world.

Yet this “Black superwoman syndrome”, as JLO and Ebony have coined it, is crippling Black women who feel the need to be strong for everyone else, often at the expense of their own mental health. (Read more “The Danger of Being a Superwoman” on JadeLee.org and “Depression and The Black Superwoman Syndrome” on Ebony.com).

As a young black woman I’ve seen it in my life and so many others. Black women who are pillars for so many others, carrying the weight of the world to the point of mental and emotional breakdowns.

Some would say that “black women are the back bone of society”, yet depression is what can be a result when that back bone begins to bend under the strain of mounting pressures, with no support to lean on (Soledad O’Brian).

I know for myself and many other Black women, we can find ourselves in the throes of anxiety and depression yet find it so difficult to reach out of our internal darkness for help.

This “darkness” can look different for many, and some women like Terrie Williams may seem to be doing perfectly fine, but be suffering from depression.

According to www.mentalhealthamerica.com some symptoms are:

1. A persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood, or excessive crying
2. Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain

3. Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain

4. Irritability, restlessness

5. Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
 Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism

6. Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning waking

7. Loss of interest on pleasure in activities, including sex

8. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

8. Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

If you or a loved one have experienced any of these symptoms, I encourage you to reach out. Nothing is more important than your well being and your mental health.

You don’t have to be strong for everyone. In fact, opening up to someone who accepts your vulnerability can bring immense healing. Consider talking to a therapist and allowing yourself a safe place to discuss how you’ve been feeling beyond “the mask” you may feel the need to wear.

You deserve happiness. You deserve joy. You deserve beauty for your ashes. You deserve the ability to be an authentic woman, without the pressure to be a “super” version of yourself.

Open up today, your physical, emotional, and mental life could be saved because of it.

Here are some encouraging scriptures to read for meditation:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:8)

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him” (Psalm 40:1-3)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Do you have any tips for someone struggling with depression?  We want to hear from you as our readers.  Please share in the comments below.

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Healthy Body Image in African American Women

Did you know that every one in two African American women are obese? But we have the highest self-esteem of women in our nation? Education is one of the most powerful mediums to overcoming this foe in our community of high self-esteem but sometimes unbalanced views. Our goal is obtaining a healthy body image for ourselves, daughters, friends and families. As we gain more understanding regarding the significant empowerment that comes from healthy living, we can learn how to creatively change our diets and lifestyles, all while continuing to be the glue of our communities.

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/curvy-hurts-black-womans-severe-struggle-body-image/story?id=24777077

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4696065

http://healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu/2009/AfricanAmericanBodyImage.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/black-women-and-body-image/2012/02/24/gIQAuvkIeR_gallery.html