Author Archive

How Christians Should Respond to the “Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Myth”

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Every year around the Super Bowl, articles about the rise and fight against human trafficking start flying through my newsfeed.  Past articles have emphasized how the sex trafficking industry explodes in areas around large sporting events like the Super Bowl. It’s been said that large amounts of tourism and solo attendance of men to these events creates this boom in demand for sexual transactions.

My heart and so many others breaks over this thought. That’s why hundreds if not thousands of campaigns, posts, and stories about ending human trafficking are highlighted this time of year. The city hosting the Super Bowl cracks down on security, puts extra time and resources into sting operations, and works to raise awareness on how to spot a trafficking incident throughout the city.

This year (2019), there’s a new narrative. I’ve seen dozens of stories throughout my newsfeed unpacking the “Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Myth.” Studies are showing there is actually no perceivable rise in trafficking around the Super Bowl or any other major sporting events.

Bear with me, but my first question upon seeing these new headlines was: why does it matter?

The Truth

The main criticism for this newfound information comes from the surge in money and attention surrounding a big event at the expense of efforts throughout the rest of the year. The human trafficking and the porn industry are actually growing year-round. While the Super Bowl takes the spotlight, authorities told Sports Illustrated, “If we had the resources all the time we could make a very significant dent in this problem.”

I’m all about digging for the truth and not taking headlines at face value, so if studies are showing that there’s not a significant rise in trafficking numbers around the Super Bowl weekend, I want to know that. I have some sense of relief that there is more action being taken this weekend and that these reports say the Big Game isn’t quite as dismal as we all believed.

But regardless of whether or not there’s a “boom” over the next few days, the problem, the need to be aware, and the time take action surrounding human trafficking remains.

Our Response

All this reporting has served as a well-needed wake up call for me. Here’s what I’m working to continue or incorporate into my life this week and beyond. Will you join me?

1. Pray anyways.

Truly, actually set aside intentional time (even 2 minutes) to pray for people in danger because of trafficking this weekend (and any time). Even if numbers aren’t particularly on the rise this weekend, these troubled human souls still exists and we still need God to intervene in the heart, mind, and circumstances of each individual life!

2. Get involved.

Giving to an organization like End It Movement, researching local ministries you can volunteer and pray for, and posting about the fight to end human trafficking are all great ideas. The Priceless Movement website is an incredible resource for finding this kind of information. Whether you want to give, volunteer, or find help for yourself or a loved one, it’s all on pricelessmovement.com.

If a big sporting event can be a catalyst to remind and inspire you to join the fight, that’s a great thing!

3. Celebrate God’s design for sexuality.

This idea may seem out of left field when it comes to an issue like human trafficking, but I assure you it’s at the very core.

Don’t be afraid to talk about sex to the young men and women you have in your sphere of influence. They need positive, honest, and relatable voices to be a safe place to ask questions about what is right and what is wrong. Let’s not treat the subject of sex, relationships, and God’s beautiful design as a taboo subject. Our culture is sending a lot of messages about sexuality that disregard love and respect, many of which are only feeding industries like pornography and sex trafficking.

Without being armed with knowledge, how will the younger generation be empowered to stand up for the vulnerable, to celebrate what is right, and to be equipped to make wise decisions about their own sexuality?

I know the conversation about human trafficking is only trending right now because of the Super Bowl. And it’s true – the initial belief that sex trafficking explodes around big events may or may not be true. But I’m really ok with it. I’m glad we’re at least talking about it.

Let’s take this chance to pray and start a conversation about what sex really means and how healing can really happen – for you, for me, and for the girl who is being sold tonight.

Life is messy. God is the one big enough to heal it all. I promise.

Why Chris Pratt’s Daniel Fast is Actually Worth Talking About

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt took to Instagram stories to explain his participation in the 21-Day Daniel Fast – a commitment to prayer and fasting based on Daniel 1:8-14. The Daniel Fast is a common way for some believers and even whole church congregations to start the year off healthy – both physically and spiritually.

Nearly every big media outlet has reported on Chris’ announcement. Entertainment Tonight took their own angle since one of their reporters actually attends the same church as Chris Pratt. She explained that the Daniel Fast is “50% physical and 50% spiritual.”

Hollywood is always going to raise an eyebrow when a celebrity tries something a little off-the-wall, especially in regards to faith, so what makes this story important? 

Understand God’s Attitude Toward Our Physical Bodies.

It’s no secret that our culture puts an unhealthy emphasis on physical appearance. New diets, programs, or exercise plans often make the headlines. Culture is overly focus on how our body looks and performs. Modern commentaries on health often ignore the fact that our physical bodies are not only tied to our spirituality, but also that our physical bodies are holy.

“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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
(Psalm 139:13-14)

God created your body to be honored and to serve a purpose. Your body is a beautifully crafted vehicle that allows you live out God’s purpose for you and experience great joy. Therefore, we should take care of our bodies, be proud of them, and understand that we can’t separate our physical health from our emotional and spiritual health.

Invite God Into Your Health Journey.

Trying to work out more or eat a certain way is a recipe for discouragement for many of us. We try and fail. Or we try and do well, but still don’t think our bodies measure up to our hopes. Sometimes our physical bodies come with a set of limitations that aren’t considered “normal” to the society around us.

God wants to enter into all of these things. Your journey with physical health and attitude toward your body will be wildly enhanced if you get honest with the one who Created your body in the first place. Prayer and honesty with God doesn’t mean you’ll magically have a flat stomach or be able to run a 5K, but it does mean your perspective will change and you’ll begin to realize you’re not alone.

God offers us rest, wisdom, and support in all areas of life through the power of His Holy Spirit. That includes your physical health and goals! You don’t have to do this alone.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) 

So, is the news about Chris Pratt’s Daniel Fast life-changing? No, not really. Chris Pratt probably didn’t mean it as something incredibly deep. It’s just his own personal decision as he resets his own heart and mind in the new year.

All that to say, I’m glad Chris’s fast is subtly putting attention on the idea that our spiritual life and our physical health can (and should) go hand-in-hand.

Read more about finding a healthy relationship with food both practically and spiritually!

How to Find Freedom in Your Relationship with Food

Photo Credit: IMDB

“Let a Person Have a Chance to Grieve” – Candace Cameron Bure

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

In the wake of senseless tragedy, it can be nearly impossible to find the right words to say. The shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA hit close to home for actress and author, Candace Cameron Bure. It happened literally too close to home for her. Even while being miles away working on a movie set, she stepped out in this difficult moment and expressed her raw emotions and prayers as she grieved along with her community.

Amidst tears, she addressed her Instagram followers in a story, saying:

“I know it’s hard to comprehend the senseless tragedies that seem to happen every single month… all of it is horrible. I do not want this to turn into any kind of political thing. That’s not my point. I just want all of my friends and family, community and everyone in Thousand Oaks to know that I’m thinking of you! I’m sending my love, my prayers, and if you can go donate blood, do it!”

She shared information on where to donate blood right after her message.

Well, things did get political in her private messages. And what she said next demonstrates an important point for anyone when responding to tragedy.

“This is me saying in the nicest but firmest way possible… STOP 🛑 sending me your political messages and telling me to use my voice otherwise I’m not helping! Let a person have a chance to grieve!!! YOU ARE NOT HELPING!!!”

Look, we totally get it. When something like this happens, the horror, outrage, and anxiety wells up in each of us and we want to do something about it. So often we feel helpless. While it’s easy to turn to your political ideas as a “solution,” no matter what they are, take a minute to think about what Candace is saying.

There’s something to this “taking time to mourn with those who mourn,” taking time to encourage those who are struggling. The grief and search for hope is something we can truly all agree on. It’s something that can bring us together in a very polarizing political climate.

In Romans 12, Paul (the writer) breaks down what it means to be a living sacrifice for God’s glory. In verses 15-16 he says, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (emphasis mine)

In 1 Corinthians when Paul is explaining the character of our God, he says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (emphasis mine)

A few things stand out today:

  • Weep with those who weep in California.
  • Respond to tragic events in a way that lets us still live in harmony.
  • Remember how God has comforted you in your troubles, and lean on His power as you give that same comfort to others who are hurting today.

If you haven’t experienced that comfort from God, maybe that’s where you start. Maybe today is your day to get to know Him better and begin to understand why these ideas are so life-changing.

None of us are going to get it right every time, but today, we appreciate what Candace communicated. Let a person have a chance to grieve. Not only that, but let’s pray and grieve with them, just like the God of all comforts does for us.

15 Fun Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer (Boredom Busters!!)

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Summer instantly feels like freedom and endless possibilities to a kid, but the reality is, summer can bring more free time than you or your kids know what to do with. I harnessed some babysitting knowledge and polled my mom friends to come up with a list of 15 great activities to do this summer. So whether you’re looking to bust the boredom or just make some memories with the children in your life, try these ideas!

1. Read a chapter book aloud.

Choose a chapter book that’s just one reading level higher than your child actually reads. Then pick a special time of day and read one chapter aloud. If their attention span is short, just read for a set amount of time, maybe 10-15 minutes. Leave a little time to talk about what you read and what the kids thought about it!

2. Crafts, crafts, crafts!

No doubt about it, crafts are a pretty instant boredom busters for many ages! Whether it’s finger paints, a full-on craft kit from the store, or just some construction paper, glue, and macaroni, encourage some creativity! Let them get their hands dirty and get busy for a while. You’ll be surprised how much they love it!

3. Challenge them to a block battle!

This was one of the best babysitting tricks I figured out one summer. The kids were too old for the colorful block set in the play room, but we re-vamped it! Divide the blocks up evenly, then appoint one person to be the judge. Have the judge pick a category like, “amusement park,” “animals,” or “outer space.”  Then set a timer. The others compete to see who can build the best rendition of the theme before the timer runs out! Have the judge examine each design, pick out some good things about each one, then crown a winner. Now that person gets to be the judge! You’ll be surprised how differently each person interprets the same theme!

Don’t have a set of blocks? Substitute for another set of objects or grab some off Amazon here!

4. Start a lemonade stand – with purpose!

If your kids are older, why not help them start a small business? One mom said, “My boys are doing a lemonade stand – it takes time, puts them on a schedule, and helps them decide whether or not they like entrepreneurial work. It also teaches them the value of a dollar and making wise investments. It’s a low cost/high value investment. And, it beats summer boredom!” If you want to teach them something extra, let each kid pick out a charity or ministry to invest in at the end of the summer.

5. Adopt pet rocks!

Go outside and search for a medium-sized rock. Once each child has one, go inside and have them rinse it off while you set up some simple painting supplies. Let them design and create a little creature out of their rock! Give each child a pair of googly eyes and tell them to paint their pet however they want. While this activity alone could take up an entire afternoon, get more mileage out of this one. Each day, encourage each child to create a scene featuring their pet or write a story about what their pet did that day.

6. Sign up for a summer reading program.

Ask your local library if they are running a summer reading program and sign up! If that doesn’t work out, just make your own! Create a list of books for your kids to read and set a reward for certain amounts of reading! Create a chart, stick it on the fridge, and let them check it off as they go.

7. Get baking – to bless others!

Let the kids spend a day in the kitchen! And while it’s great fun to make sweets for yourself and your own family, encourage them to make a container for a friend or neighbor. Use it as a chance to teach them about encouraging others.

8. Time for swimming lessons?

My mom never felt super comfortable in the water growing up, so as soon as we were old enough, she signed us up for swimming lessons. It turned into one of our favorite parts of the summer! We looked forward to those couple of weeks every year. It got us out of the house, to the pool, and around new friends. We often made a day of it with a picnic lunch afterward or going out for ice cream! Not only are you equipping your kids with a valuable life skill, but you’re creating great summer memories! (And filling up a whole 1-2 weeks of potential summer boredom!)

9. Join your local VBS!

A lot of churches host a week-long Vacation Bible School full of friends, crafts, songs, and Jesus! Maybe your church is one of them. You can drop the kids off and get a little break or make a it a chance to serve alongside your kids and volunteer for the week!

10. Make pizza together!

Let them choose the toppings and create their own pizza! Who wouldn’t want to do that? Plus, it will take up more time and require much more creative thinking from the kiddos than just ordering one.

11. On rainy days – it’s blanket fort time!

Challenge your kids to make the most awesome blanket fort ever! Give them free reign on a set of blankets, sheets, and chairs and see who they do. Afterwards, have an inside picnic and let them get to work on their summer in their new fort.

12. Sidewalk chalk challenge

Pulling out the sidewalk chalk is a boredom buster in itself! So, start there, then get creative! Challenge them to write out their favorite Bible verse or draw their favorite movie or book characters.

13. Eat a meal backwards.

Change things up a bit! Eat backwards starting with dessert, moving onto the main course, then finishing off with an appetizer!

14. A good old-fashioned puzzle and an audio book

Take a step back and help your kids learn the art of being still. Find some puzzles of different levels, maybe you can even let the kids pick out some with fun pictures! Then pick out an audio book or radio drama and let them listen and build. I suggest trying Adventures in Odyssey, The Chronicles of Narnia Series, Anne of Green Gables, or Little Women. This is something they can do for hours at a time or come back to every so often when they’re looking for something to do.

15. Go on a nature walk.

It would do us all good to get outside! Just simply going for a stroll and enjoying the scenery is enough, but if you want to make it a little more interesting, create a scavenger hunt or ask the kids to pick out the most interesting thing they see to tell about when you get back.

Disclaimer: The links in this blog post are Amazon affiliate links. When you use them to make a purchase, a small percentage supports the ministry of WAY Nation. Thanks! 

How to Stop Being Afraid of Conflict and Disagreements

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

3 out of 4 sets of my great grandparents came over from Italy. The Italian food has been the main surviving tradition. All the women in my family can make the best tomato sauce you’ve ever tasted in your life – from scratch! But there’s another other ethnic “stereotype,” if you will, that has actually helped shape me into who I am today.

My loud, expressive family members are great. They’re the main reason I’m not an awkwardly shy human today. (They’re also the reason I talk with my hands all the time!) If you spend a little time with my family, you’ll realize – sometimes you have to try really hard to get a word in. They love a lively conversation and are more than happy to share their opinions on most any subject. Their convictions and ideas run deep. There’s no fear and I’ve always admired them for that.

Then there’s me.

I was born more introverted, a little quieter, and while I wouldn’t call myself shy anymore, I definitely was as a kid. Growing up in this family meant that I had to learn how to speak up when I absolutely needed to. It made me stronger.

But those opinions. Opinions are freaking everywhere.

Not just in my family, but they’ve followed me through all of life. Everyone has an opinion these days about everything from politics to theology to pop culture and back again.

To be honest, for better or for worse, I learned to just stay away from them. I don’t need to weigh in on every current event, pop culture antic, or water cooler conversation. I’ll be over here eating my favorite ice cream, finally cleaning out my car, and enjoying the sunshine. Let me like what I like and be happy, ok?

At least, that’s become my default mentality.

While I’m totally capable of developing and sharing a strong opinion, that doesn’t mean I want to share it. Or do the work to get to that educated opinion in the first place.

You see, that’s the thing. If I actually have an opinion on something, there’s a high chance I’ve thought this through for a long time. It means I care a lot about it and I’ve done a lot of research.

So, what happens when I finally have a true opinion about something important to me and I found out it’s a lot different from most of my friends’ opinions? You better believe I’m squirming.

Voicing my opinion used to fill me with anxiety. Here's what I'm doing about it! Click To Tweet

By voicing my differing opinion, I’m afraid it will be the equivalent of me saying, “Um, you’re wrong.” I’m afraid the other person will feel judged. I’m afraid it will change our friendship. And deep down, I’m afraid he/she won’t understand where I’m coming from and they’ll just judge me, or worse – write me off as an annoyance.

There are so many passion-inciting topics that my fellow women alone can disagree on. I’m going to name a few just so you get an idea: feminism, motherhood, dating, marriage, sex, birth control, male headship, abortion, faith, church.

Is your heart beat picking up right now? Because mine is.

When it comes to my friends and family whom I love dearly, whom I want to encourage and keep in my life, whom I want to be able to talk openly to – ugh, that’s the worst.

If anything can divide a group of women it’s differing opinions on their fertility, faith, and role as a woman. If we disagree, where would I even begin? What if I don’t explain myself well enough? What if this is the end?

That’s why I’m talking about this. This is a place within myself where I can majorly feel like the only one. But I believe we all need to step out of our isolation and talk about it! (In fact, I started a whole podcast to help make that happen!)

I’ve been working through this in my head and heart for a while now and while I’m still far from perfect at handling conflict, I’ve been learning a lot. Plus, my co-host and co-worker Candice has a totally different perspective on conflict and disagreements between friends that I’ve found really helpful. I think you will, too!

So, let’s get to the bottom of what’s happening (and what needs to be happening) when we disagree. Here are 6 truths to remember the next time you’re confronted with tension or conflict in your relationships.

1. Seek to understand first.

My friend Candice found this quote: “Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.” How many times do I go into a conversation feeling anxious and wracking my brain about what I’m going to say and how I can defend what I believe? If we can switch this off and focus on understanding the other person’s experience we will find a whole new perspective. Truly listening is going to give you more empathy, a wider understanding of the issue, and a better conversation with your friend. It takes humility for sure, but it’s worth the effort.

Seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Click To Tweet

2. Your mind doesn’t have to change.

When it comes to my core beliefs about my faith, I’m not going to be swayed – and that’s a good thing! Listening and understanding doesn’t mean you’re expecting to change your mind. It means you’re trying to understand and strengthen a relationship. Honestly, sometimes when you hear another side of an issue, your beliefs might be strengthened! Having these conversations is what makes growth happen either way!

3. Don’t be afraid to do the work.

I think the main reason I’ve been so averse to conflict lately is that I don’t want to do the emotional work. Wading through all the thoughts and opinions, being vulnerable enough to ask the hard questions, taking enough time and energy to do my research – that can sound exhausting and uncomfortable! But we weren’t meant to live in laziness or fear. Sometimes it’s necessary to do the work. I know from personal experience, when I make the effort to dig in, that’s when I see the coolest relationships form. That’s also when I see the most growth and strength develop within myself.

4. You don’t have to have an answer.

This is so freeing! Part of the anxiety that tends to cripple me is feeling like I have to have the right answer. I have to have an opinion on every important or hot-button issue and I don’t want to be caught of guard, right?. Wrong. In fact, realizing that it may take time to fully learn and develop an opinion on something, let alone find an answer, is healthy. It’s ok to just be learning. It’s ok to not know everything every time. Breathe easy.

5. You never know what God is going to do in the other person.

There have been a few times now where I’ve been secretly frustrated with a friend for their opinions and choices that I truly believed were not good ones. Then to my surprise – and to God’s credit – we come back to this topic several months or even a couple of years down the road only to find their hearts and minds have grown and changed over time. God has been working on them. And not only has he been changing them for the better, but he’s been changing me into a more gracious and understanding person. Not to mention that there’s probably something in my life that a couple of years down the road will be completely different, too! When we let God work, beautiful things happen.

6. Pursue God’s thoughts on each topic first… and continually.

If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this. James 1:2 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Meanwhile, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, God tells us to “pray without ceasing.” Don’t think there’s any problem, issue, or disagreement you can’t bring to God. He wants us to seek wisdom from Him and says He will give it generously if we would just ask! Not to mention, He commands us – for our own good and well-being – to keep on praying. Talking to God should be a normal part of our lives that sheds so much grace, peace, and truth into our everyday. So ask! Pray! You have the all-knowing, continuously loving God of the universe on your side.

I’m still working on this. Join me in stopping fear and anxiety from holding us back from better relationships and personal growth?

Hear more stories like this one on the Nonexclusive Podcast: Stories that remind you you’re not the only one.

Listen to Ep 8: Agree to Disagree!

4 Things You Need to Remember When God Makes You Wait

Friday, May 4th, 2018

You’re about to take a leap into the next phase of life. You have a beautiful plan, dreams you can’t shake, and people backing you.

The big moment comes and…

Nothing happens.

This was me the month after I graduated college. I had done everything “right.” Good grades, great resume, friendships and connections in my chosen field, and the like.

Even so, internships fell through at the last minute. Employers who praised me in the interview brushed me aside. And before I know it, I was back in my parent’s house – unemployed, uprooted from my community, and completely bewildered.

God stopped me in my tracks and made me re-examine my expectations and my trust in Him. To make a long story short, after several months and lots of prayer, I was hired for a position I knew God had been saving for me at WAY Media – and boy, am I thankful!

The outcome of waiting isn’t always like this, I realize, but I did learn this: if God is asking you to wait, you better believe He’s trying to point something out to you. Whether you’re waiting for a job, waiting for a spouse, waiting for children, or waiting for doors to open so you can move forward – these 4 lessons I carry with me from the times God made me wait may help.

1) Stop and love on the people around you.

Watching my college friends thrive without me via social media made for some serious pity parties. While I sat around missing my friends and feeling sorry for myself, God had other plans. Little did I know how much the people around me would start to bless me – and how I would find ways to bless them. By the time my wait had ended, I was sad to leave the people in my home-town and sorry for all the missed opportunities I had to love and learn from these relationships. This is a lesson I’m constantly learning. God puts us in the exact sphere of influence He wants us to impact. Learning to love more like Jesus is a beautiful thing. Don’t underestimate the power of investing in the people God has placed around you, even if it’s not what you thought it would look like!

2) The feeling of “Trusting God” isn’t what you expect.

Trusting God is a conscious effort. At first, I thought I needed to worry about my circumstances to get results. This left me feeling helpless. Over time, I started to be more honest with God and began looking at Him and His word more than I looked at the unknown. Peace set in. My prayers shifted away from asking “Why me?” and toward, “God, I’m adamantly asking for peace, direction, and a job I’m going to love. But no matter what happens, I will still love and serve you.”

If you're loving & serving Him right where you are, He is using, growing, & loving you right back. Click To Tweet

3) God’s timing is perfect and yours can be pretty flawed.

Looking back at all the insecurities I sorted out and all the pipe dreams I had a chance to follow while I waited – I realize I may not have been ready for a job right out of college. Plus, if WAY Media had hired me right when I wanted them to, it would have been right in the middle of a big transition and Zach from The Wally Show wouldn’t be my boss (and that would be sad.) Who knows if we would have ever hired my coworker (and now co-host) Candice, and we may never have started the podcast I dreamed of creating. At the beginning of my months of waiting, I might have said God was taking too long, but now I know He had it all working out perfectly. My plan is to remember this truth the next time I wait – even if I don’t see it.

4) Be present.

Now, over a year later, there are moments I would love to be drinking coffee each morning at my mom and dad’s kitchen counter. I miss my family! But this feeling doesn’t trump the knowledge that God has me exactly where I’m supposed to be. He has me surrounded by the exact people, resources, and influences I need to glorify Him and share His love with others. So, my goal is not to waste it. No matter where he places me now or in the future, I want to be right where God has me, never taking an opportunity for granted.

Every story ends differently. I don’t know what your outcome will be and I’m not sure why God is making you wait. But please remember this: as long as you’re loving and serving Him right where you are, He is using you, growing you, and loving you right back.

You can hear more stories like this from Rebie and Candice on the Nonexclusive Podcast: Stories that remind you, you’re not the only one. 

Listen the Nonexclusive Podcast!

Don’t forget that God is bigger than this! | Jo Dee Messina

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Jo Dee Messina gives an update on her battle with cancer and how she’s dealing with the really bad days.

 

This video is part of the World’s Biggest Small Group! If you’ve ever dealt with feelings of anxiety, worry, or fear in any capacity, this 15 day study is for you. It’s called, Fear: What it is and how to live beyond it.” We’ll send you inspiring stories right to your inbox from Christian artists and personalities who have been there, too.

Join the World’s Biggest Small Group!

The best way to deal with anxiety and panic attacks | Jasmine Murray

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Before going into a songwriting session, Jasmine Murray suffered from a panic attack. This had been going on for a while and she hadn’t opened up about it. But that day, everything changed and something beautiful came from it. If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, Jasmine’s video is for you!

This video is part of the World’s Biggest Small Group! If you’ve ever dealt with feelings of anxiety, worry, or fear in any capacity, this 15 day study is for you. It’s called, Fear: What it is and how to live beyond it.” We’ll send you inspiring stories right to your inbox from Christian artists and personalities who have been there, too.

Join the World’s Biggest Small Group!

Finally, a Hopeful Love Song for Your Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Sarah Reeves never set out to write a love song and definitely didn’t think she would be sharing it with the world. Yet, here she is, singing an important message about love and marriage set to an trance-like melody.

The song tells a personal story of redemption about her own marriage. Sarah says, “When we wrote this song, I honestly didn’t think it would end up on my album. I thought it was too outside of the box of my norm. But… it’s a huge part of my story. It’s very personal & vulnerable as it tells of the redemption of my once broken marriage.”

So, why is this love song so important?

Sarah says it well. “There [are] too many songs about break ups and giving up and not enough songs about forgiveness and choosing love. Though my husband and I experienced hardships, we chose to overcome. Though we hurt each other, we chose to forgive. It hasn’t been easy and some days, it’s still not easy, but love is worth fighting for… I pray that this inspires you whether you’re married, single or dating. Love is worth fighting for.”

There are too many songs about break ups and giving up and not enough songs about forgiveness and choosing love. Click To Tweet

Godly romance and Christ-centered marriage are beautifully designed and meant to reflect His character and love for us. We couldn’t agree with Sarah more. It’s worth fighting for! 

And just in case you had any doubts, Sarah got the first very romantic lyric of the chorus straight from the Bible. Song of Solomon 4:11. “The kisses of your lips drip honey…” Sarah says, “God created romance and I’m not afraid to sing about it!”

Check out Sarah’s music video to “Feel the Waters!” 

 

When we wrote this song, I honestly didn’t think it would end up on my album. I thought it was too outside of the box of my norm. But as it circulated among my team, it became apparent that I needed to release it. It’s a huge part of my story. It’s very personal & vulnerable as it tells of the redemption of my once broken marriage. There’s too many songs about break ups and giving up and not enough songs about forgiveness and choosing love. Though my husband and I experienced hardships, we chose to overcome. Though we hurt each other, we chose to forgive. It hasn’t been easy and some days, it’s still not easy, but love is worth fighting for. I pray this inspires you. Thank you @iankeaggy and @daniellamason for helping me craft my emotions in a song.  Thank you @seanhagwell and team for putting together an amazing visual of our story. Thank you @robertmarvin & @iankeaggy for treating the music with such care and detail. Thank you Word team for giving me the freedom to run with this! Thank you @philipkothlow for your acting debut & looking hot in my video! 🔥(Link in bio)

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8 Ways Hollyn Encourages You to Be Who You Were Meant to Be

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

If social media has you focused on the negative today, check out Hollyn’s Instagram account. Her posts will leave you feeling full of truth! Here are 8 ways she has encouraged us and shown us we can live fuller, more purposeful, and joyful lives.

1. She serenades us with truth.

She’s always speaking out truth. And often using her stunning voice to sing it out.

2. She reminds us how beautiful genuine worship can be.

Hollyn has a very genuine heart that loves worship. After watching a few of her short worship videos, you can tell, she knows she just needs more of Jesus. She takes time to bask in who He is and what He’s done for her. We all could use more of this, don’t you think?

You don’t give Your heart in pieces.

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3. She reminds us we each have a voice.

It’s easy to just go through the motions or fade into the background, but every one of us have people in our lives that we can speak truth to. Find your voice and use it!

find your voice and USE it. 📸: @breemariefish

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4. She reminds us where real self-esteem comes from.

Hollyn’s song “Lovely” is a very honest conversation with God about her self worth. I think we can all relate.

But You call me lovely
You say I’m wonderfully made
Your river floods me
Your words feel like a serenade
I love that You are thinkin’ of me
All of those voices fade away
When You call me lovely
Lo-o-ovely

4. She reminds us that God calls us to greatness, but He never calls us alone.

COURAGE is Hollyn’s word for her 21st birthday. And the reason she can have courage is because God goes with her wherever He calls her. LOVE that!

5. She reminds us that struggles are real, but there’s more to them.

There is hope found in Jesus. And a community of fellow believers who are rooting for you! She made this post for her cousin Tristan who struggles with depression. She explains the reality of those who are struggling, but also points to the very real hope they can find in Jesus.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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. 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:4-9‬ ‭#Fallfor21 🌹 #MentalHealthAwareness

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6. She celebrates community and reminds us there are many good people in the world.

It’s important to invest in a good community. We weren’t meant to live life alone. We need to encourage each other to keep going! She knows this. It’s evident by the posts she makes celebrating and thanking God for the lives of her friends and family and their specific gifts.

7. She has fun!

Life gets hard sometimes, but Hollyn knows we need to take time to enjoy the ride and create some sunshine! Whether it’s Christmas onesies or goofy selfies, she seems to thoroughly enjoy the hilarious and light-hearted things in life and we love that.

what’s Christmas w/o cakes

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buncha goons

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Hawaiian wiffle ball bing bong

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8. She knows where true joy comes from.

In the middle of a dark time in her life, Hollyn says, “Jesus spoke to me like never before in the darkest places i never thought i’d see myself in. He became my entire strength. He is my total joy. He has never stopped singing melodies and new songs over my every breath.” You can read her full story about finding joy in this Instagram post. It’s beautiful!

this year hit me extremely hard. i thought it was going to look entirely different, but instead of going into all the details of why, i will simply say this… Jesus spoke to me like never before in the darkest places i never thought i’d see myself in. He became my entire strength. He is my total joy. He has never stopped singing melodies and new songs over my every breath. I have made mistakes, loved harder and more passionate than ever, been disappointed, walked through grief, battled with anxiety, championed friends, lost relationships, found clarity, learned how to be patient with myself, and allowed HIM to be my source. i hated 2017 with a passion in the thick of it, but it will forever be the year i look back on and say, “That’s when I fully began walking in the identity I have always been destined for.” Neh. 8:10… The JOY of the Lord is my strength!!!! my perspective is changing and A NEW THING IS COMING. 💙 (📷: @loveinjustin) thank you to all of my beautiful friends, family, and team who have been patient with me, always loving me. I wouldn’t have made it without you. You know who you are💙

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Her post reads: this year hit me extremely hard. i thought it was going to look entirely different, but instead of going into all the details of why, i will simply say this… Jesus spoke to me like never before in the darkest places i never thought i’d see myself in. He became my entire strength. He is my total joy. He has never stopped singing melodies and new songs over my every breath. I have made mistakes, loved harder and more passionate than ever, been disappointed, walked through grief, battled with anxiety, championed friends, lost relationships, found clarity, learned how to be patient with myself, and allowed HIM to be my source. i hated 2017 with a passion in the thick of it, but it will forever be the year i look back on and say, “That’s when I fully began walking in the identity I have always been destined for.” Neh. 8:10… The JOY of the Lord is my strength!!!! my perspective is changing and A NEW THING IS COMING. 💙 (📷: @loveinjustin) thank you to all of my beautiful friends, family, and team who have been patient with me, always loving me. I wouldn’t have made it without you. You know who you are💙