A word from Joanna

Joanna is a a beautiful soul and we are excited to share some of her words today, as her story will be shared at the conference as well :) 

What does the word Selah mean to you? Stop in my tracks, take a deep cleansing breath, quiet down and focus on Jesus. 

What comes to mind when you consider the word RISE? I picture myself like the sunrise, slowly breaking the day and coming to the full power of the noon day and ti shines every day even when the clouds block the view.

Is there a tim in your life you can recall where you have been able to pause, a season that you feel like God allowed to work on you, to reset or bless you? - I so wanted to change where I work. Get a new job..new assignment..I laid it down and he gave me quiet contentment..work unto The Lord. I recommitted to do a good job every day until he moved me.. and if he doesn't.. it is well! That commitment was 2 and a half years ago. 

Is there anything you visualize when you think of the words Selah, RISE and the women's conference as whole? Giant Holy Spirit scissors that cut the strings of whatever had me bound, then I'm no longer held back in my mind. I stand and rise with the mind of Christ and I'm empowered with strength to stand and move forward with the challenge at hand. 

A Peek in Ashley's Blog

Today we are hearing from Ashley Dun, one of our speakers! Ashley is an author and co-creator of Secret Midnight Press, a publishing company that ships seasonal packages full of poetry and other feel good surprises. Her blog is loaded with travel, fashion and inspirational writing. Currently she is sharing an eight part series on self care. Today we are giving you a piece of that! Here is part three of the series on facing fears. To keep up with Ashley’s writing follow her blog at: www.ashleydun.com. Enjoy!

23.

 

is this what living looks like?

like there's this gaping 

wound in my chest

like salt water

washed over it and 

breathing is more like

gasping and

this can't be what living looks like. 

like the night never ends

and the stars have been

eaten alive by 

the black sky and

I’ll never know 

why the sun never seems

to rise in the places my

eyes look upon through

broken glasses.

this won’t be what living looks like.

I will sew up my shattered

spirit with twine and 

I will

be my own light.

I will

be a spark to 

ignite the sun and

defeat the

cold dark of night.

 

- from Smoke Signals

this poem has been on my mind lately as i wrestle with some fears and insecurities that have been berating me lately and making daily activities a bit more difficult.

 

if you're on this journey of self-care with me, hopefully taking the time to get to know yourself (part 2) has helped you find out more about what you deeply desire out of your life, and what may be holding you back.

 

insecurity and anxiety have held me back from living my life too many times. i know that traveling is something that makes me feel alive and strong. there were times in my life when my anxiety was so bad that i couldn't get into a car for even a short road trip, much less get on an airplane to a new city. at times i've thought that i'll never get to enjoy traveling again. but this is simply a lie.

 

as i've mentioned to you, anxiety and depression come and go in waves in my life. as anxiety took a step back last year, i had enough strength to book a month long trip to europe. i made the plans, and as each day got closer to my trip, i kept thinking of ways to get out of it. i was so sure that i was going to be a complete mess and hate every second of it.

 

i talked to my doctor about this and he prescribed me an anxiety medication to take as-needed. (this is a personal choice, but one that i recommend if you feel that your mental health is taking joy away from your life). so i had this prescription in my pocket, and even just knowing that it was there was a huge relief to me. it allowed me the strength to step onto the plane, and that trip ended up being one of the best things i've ever done in my life.

 

wandering can start in your mind. let your thoughts wander to places that maybe make you a little bit uncomfortable. dreams that are so large, you're afraid people would laugh if you told them. don't worry about what those people think. honestly, i believe in you. i believe that you're capable to do such incredible things. you can change the world and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

dip your toes into the water of your dreams and ambitions. realize that the water is warm and welcoming. it starts with that step, with acknowledging your hopes and recognizing your fears. the more aware you are of these two things, the further you can separate them until your fears no longer have power over you.

 

talk to people that you trust about these things. you'd be surprised at how many people are in the same exact boat as you. know that you're stronger than you think you are.

 

maybe this week, do one small thing that scares you - starting a conversation with a stranger, complimenting someone that isn't very nice to you. remind people that you love them, because maybe in that moment their fear can shrink as well.

 

we need each other. we're in this together, and as i fight for my joy, know that i'm fighting for yours as well.

 

continue living boldly, dear friend. joy and light are just on the other side of what you're scared of.

 

xo,

Ashley

Thoughts from Esté

Today we get to hear from Esté, a woman who radiates joy and love! Anyone who knows her has experienced her warmth and faithfulness.  And she's  a gifted artist to boot!

What comes to mind when you consider the phrase 'pause in his presence'? -Taking a simple, secret moment to think of God.

What comes to mind when you consider the word RISE? -Cake! :) 

Is there a time in your life you can recall where God has called you to rise? In faith, out of a situation.. in any way. What was this experience for you?
-I experienced deep despair when I was a teenager as a victim of on going abuse. I felt very alone, and I remember crying out to God to give me strength to "rise" and to somehow escape it. He answered my prayer literally the next day, giving me an opportunity to be physically removed from my bad situation. From there, I was safely placed in the care of loving people who prayed for me every day, and walked with me as God healed my heart.

 Is there a time in your life you can recall where you have been able to pause or rest, a spiritual season that you feel like God allowed to work on you, to reset, or to bless you?
-I've actually been going through that recently. I feel like God asked me to 'just breathe', and to become comfortable with silence. To just know and trust in His presence. To say the least, it's harder than it sounds! For me at least. :)