Slavery Still Exists

There are a lot of things about this world and about this country in general that infuriate me and break my heart, but nothing breaks my heart more than knowing that right now as I’m writing this blog post, there are 27 million people being used, abused, and sold into slavery all over the world. 200,000 of those people are in my own back yard—the United States of America. 80% of them are women and girls, 50% of them are children, and the average age of them is 14 years old. Do you remember what you were doing when you were 14 years old?

I was 14 in 2008, so I was obsessing over the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, and all of the other Disney pop stars and actors. I was also obsessing over Taylor Swift who had just recently surfaced into the music industry. I was playing basketball on a team with my best friends. I was going to church every Sunday morning, youth group every Sunday night, and Awanas every Thursday night. It hurts me so much to know that there are girls right now who should be obsessing over Justin Bieber and One Direction who aren’t because they aren’t free to do so. They are slaves in the sex trade industry. The innocence that would allow them to obsess over boy bands in a beautiful and ideal world has been and is being stolen from them in the ugly and real world.

I remember the first time I learned that the sex trade was a real thing. I don’t know where I was, why I heard about it, or how old I was, but I do remember that I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this was a real thing. In a sick and twisted kind of way I can somewhat understand horrible things like murder, even though that deeply pains me to think about as well, because it’s something I’ve also heard about. It’s always been talked about in the news, in the Bible, and in other places and stories. It something I just had to accept as a real thing however awful and sickening it is. The sex trade is different though. It’s not something I grew up hearing about on the news or in the Bible. I don’t think I knew it existed for a very long time, so when I found it did, I was crushed. With murder, I thought at least the person only has to suffer for a time period and then it’s all over, but in the sex trade, the person has to suffer over and over and over again day in and day out, and in most cases multiple times a day.

Sadly, I more or less forgot about it for a while and then about a year or so ago, I watched “Taken” starring Liam Neeson for the first time. Watching that movie made me so angry, I seriously wanted to go find someone who was sick and twisted enough to put girls through such awful things and punch him in the face myself. “Taken” may be “just a movie,” but the story of “Taken” is not just a movie. It’s real life. Things like that happen every day, every minute, every second. Someone is being kidnapped, sold into slavery, and sexually abused right now as I type this and as you read this.

Slavery is real and it still exists more prominently and viciously than ever before in the history of the universe. The biggest problem is that it’s so easy to hide and that so few people care enough to try to end it. Stop and think with me for a moment. If you’re reading this odds are you are a female yourself, you have a younger sister, a young female cousin, maybe a daughter of your own, and or there are other little girls around you right now. What would you do if one of them was kidnapped, sold into the sex trade, and used day in and day out? You would pull together all of your resources to try to save her. I have six little sisters and all of them are fifteen or younger. Every minute of every day 2 children are sold into slavery and it imagine “What if that was one of my 6 sisters or even one of my 6 brothers?”

You may not have the money or the resources to actually free a slave, but you do have two other options:

1)      You can pray. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have. Pray for those people who are being traded into the sex trade, those who are in the sex trade, and those who will be sold to the sex trade.

2)      Draw a Red X on your hand and be a walking billboard for the trade. When people see the red X, I can guarantee they will ask you about it. As I’ve worn a red X on my hand, because I unfortunately don’t have any extra money to donate, so many people have asked me about it and I’ve been able to tell them about the #ENDITMOVEMENT which encourages people to draw a red X on their hand in support of those who are being sold for sex.

 

END IT MOVEMENT WEBSITE

Happiness is Temporary; Joy is Eternal

When I was about fifteen or sixteen years old, I started praying every night before bed that God would give me a boyfriend. Actually, praying is probably an understatement. I pleaded with God for a boyfriend. There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep because I thought that having a boyfriend would make me feel happy, and you know what, from the looks of my friends who have boyfriends now, I was probably right. However, looking back on those days with four years’ worth of more wisdom and experience, I realize that my whole mentality as a fifteen and sixteen year old was all wrong. I wasn’t looking for happiness; I was looking for joy and fulfillment. My thoughts were superficial and shallow. Any man can make me happy if he treats me right and acts like a gentleman, but no man can bring me joy and fulfillment. Only my Savior, the God of the universe and Creator of all things can bring me joy and fulfillment.

When I turned eighteen, my tiny little, boyfriend obsessed, teenage mind finally started to grasp the fact that boyfriends aren’t the beginning, ending, or entirety of the whole world! Realizing that gaining a boyfriend would not gain me what I really wanted, which was joy and fulfillment; I turned my back on boys all together. I decided that boys were bad and that the only way I would ever find joy and fulfillment would be by turning my back on boys and dating altogether, at least until I was married or something. I did a complete 180. Instead of obsessing over finding a boyfriend, I started obsessing over not caring about having a boyfriend. I took Paul’s advice from 1 Corinthians 7 way too seriously and my understanding of it was completely disoriented. Basically, my thought process went like this, “Hhm, okay. So, if I focus on God and what He wants me to do, then He’ll finally give me a boyfriend. Okay, got it!” My thoughts were just as superficial and shallow as they had been before. I still didn’t get it! There were more times in my life when I felt truly joyful and happy, but I still didn’t feel much fulfillment.

Now I am twenty years old and over the past six or so months, I have been feeling true joy and fulfillment. I still want a boyfriend and I still think having a boyfriend will make me happy, but my mindset is different now. Most of the time, I’m not as superficial and shallow in my thinking toward boys as I had been. In fact, I don’t even really think about getting a boyfriend as much as I used to think about it. Over the past few months, I have met a handful of guys that could be perfect candidates to be a great boyfriend, but that hasn’t been my concern anymore. I can honestly say, I just want to be friends with these guys right now. I don’t want to worry about their potential for being a boyfriend, and normally I don’t, unlike with the guys I knew a few years ago. Before that past half a year or so, I thought of every guy I met as a potential boyfriend, but now I think of guys as friends and spiritual brothers. My superficial and shallow thinking has become supernatural and eternal. I want to be joyful and fulfilled, so my concern nowadays is falling deeper and deeper in love with my First Love and being just friends with the guys in my life. I can honestly say that I have been happier, more joyful, and more fulfilled in the past six months of my life than I ever have been before and it’s because I’ve given up on temporary fulfillment to focus on eternal fulfillment. God may bless me one day with the love of a man who will make me happy in this world, and I sure would love it if He did, but if He doesn’t, I can honestly, I’ll be okay with that.

Back in the day, when I was sixteen, I didn’t really see much hope for the future, because my focus was on the temporary fulfillment and happiness of finding a boyfriend to love me. Now, I see hope in almost everything around me, because my focus is on the eternal fulfillment and joy of loving my Beloved Bridegroom in Heaven.

Let It Go

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, put on a show
Make one wrong move and everyone will know”
Queen Elsa – ‘For the First Time in Forever’

From what I’ve seen in my life and in the lives of my friends and acquaintances, we all have periods in our lives—days, weeks, months, and even years—when we feel like Queen Elsa from the newest Disney fairytale, “Frozen.” If you’re like me and my friends, you will have times when you feel like you have to put up a front and pretend everything is all right all of the time! You’ll put on a mask and hide the pain, heartbreak, sadness, and anger you feel inside, because you’ll feel like if you let people see you when you’re vulnerable, they’ll think differently of you when you’re strong. So, like Elsa, you’ll become the queen of your own “kingdom of isolation.” You’ll close yourself up inside your heart and lock the door behind you. It’ll get to a point when you won’t even let your closest friends inside. You won’t explain or share your feelings; you’ll just hide away and shut everyone out. Eventually, someone or something will push you to your breaking point and you’ll explode! All that you had been hiding inside, all of your secrets and lies will be aired out in the open where everyone will be able to see your dirty laundry, at which point your theme song will probably go from being “For the First Time in Forever” to “Let It Go:”

Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know.
Well, now they know!
Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back anymore.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.”
Queen Elsa – ‘Let It Go’

Ideally, once you realize everyone knows the truth, you will also realize it’s pointless to hold your feelings and the truth inside any longer, so you’ll choose to let it go and you’ll realize how freeing it is to open up and be who you really are. You’ll stop trying so hard to be the perfect girl you always knew you could never really be and you’ll start to be the girl you were made to be. You’ll open up and let your talents, desires, and dreams take flight! You’ll stop worrying about what other people think and what they might say and you’ll start to live. You’ll let go, you’ll turn away, and you’ll slam the door in the face of anyone who tries to bring you down. Those who want to follow you will be allowed as long as they don’t try to tear you down or tell you you can’t when you know you can! You’ll only allow those people who build you up and encourage you to follow you out the door and into the world of unknown and infinite possibilities!
Ideally, that’s when all of your dreams will start to come true, when you’ll let go and let yourself feel what you never let yourself feel before—joy, hope, fear, and love! All of a sudden, your hopes and dreams will start to become real and tangible, because you’ll let people in, people who will hope, dream, and dare with you! The ice cold and rock hard barriers you’ve set around your “kingdom of isolation” will finally start to melt and you’ll learn that while isolation can be a good thing sometimes, communication and relation are more beneficial most of the time.
Letting go, allowing myself to feel every emotion inside me, and letting people in is something I struggle with on a regular basis, but when I do let go, let people in, and allow myself to feel, my life is so much better than the alternative!
I urge you, whoever you are, to let people in and let them see the girl you really are–hopes, dreams, fears, tears, and all! Let it all go and allow yourself to be the girl you were meant to be–the girl who isn’t afraid to let people see her in a vulnerable state!

Being Single VS Being in a Relationship

Several years ago, I decided I wanted to write an essay about the pros and cons of being single vs being in a relationship, but I didn’t end up writing the essay. Fast forward to a few months ago, I decided I wanted to try again, but it still didn’t work. The reason being, that the majority of my single friends mostly came up with the cons of being single, while my friends with boyfriends mostly only came up with the pros of being in a relationship. After the second time around, I realized why it seemed so impossible for me to write anything comparing the pros and cons of being single vs being in a relationship. The problem isn’t that relationships only have pros, while being single only has cons. It’s that women have a warped concept of what being single means. The majority of us spend our days dreaming of the day when prince charming will come riding in on his white horse and sweep us off of our feet. I mean, that’s how we were raised right? Haven’t we all grown up watching all of those fairytale movies about how the princess is supposed to sit alone in her tower until the prince comes to save her from the dragon? In our world, we’re the princesses, being single is the dragon, and our future or current boyfriend is the prince.

I know all of the above is true for me, I spent all of my high school years wrapped up in this idea that being single was a bad thing and the only way to get away from it was by being saved by my prince. And, ya know what? I was right! I was trapped inside a tower that was guarded by a dragon and I needed a prince to save me! However, I was also deceiving myself. While I was trapped in a tower that was guarded by dragon that wouldn’t leave me alone unless my prince saved me, the tower wasn’t high school, the dragon wasn’t being single, and the prince would never be a man. The truth of the matter is this, my heart was my tower, the world was my dragon, and Jesus Christ is my Prince.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?
Jeremiah 17:8-10 (AMP)

My heart was my tower and it was deceiving me. I believed with everything in me that high school was my tower, being single was my dragon, and some man I would one day meet and date was my prince. Every ounce of my being told me that if I was ever to be happy, I would have to fall in love with a prince who would slay my dragon named, Single. My heart was telling me that if I could just get out of high school and meet some guys that I hadn’t known my whole life, then I would be saved by true love’s kiss. My heart was deceiving me into believing that I absolutely *had* to have a boyfriend in order to be happy.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]
Romans 12:2 (AMP)

            The world was my dragon and it had me in its clutches. Magazine covers, internet articles, music videos, song lyrics, popular movies, romantic stories, and my favorite childhood fairytales—it seemed like everywhere I looked I was being told that the key to happiness was having a boyfriend. That’s why my heart was able to deceive me so convincingly. I’ve grown up as a hopeless romantic! I dream of falling in love with prince charming, having a fairytale wedding, raising the ideal family, and making it to happily ever after with an ever-enduring marriage. Wanting those things is not a bad thing, but the mindset I used to have about those things was bad. I let the world tell me having a relationship like the ones in my favorite chick flicks, the ones written by Nicholas Sparks, and my favorite love songs, namely those sung by Taylor Swift, was the most important thing I could ever have in this world. The world is wrong though, oh so very wrong!

For your Maker is your Husband—the Lord of hosts is His name—and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called.

Isaiah 54:5 (AMP)

            Jesus Christ is my Prince; He has already slain my dragon and unlocked my tower, and He’s coming back for me one day very soon. My prince isn’t some knight in shining armor carrying a javelin and riding on a white horse, he’s not a high school all-star joke with straight A’s, and a winning personality who drives a muscle car, nor is he some celebrity rock star with a voice like honey and the best of everything money can buy, including the most expensive sports car known to man! My Prince does however ride a white horse and He is a Rebel with a cause, despised by the majority of humanity, who has fire in His eyes, blood on his clothes, a sword in his mouth, and a tattoo on his thigh. Revelation 19:11-16

            I am no longer giving into the lie that society has fed me, the lie that so many women believe—only a man can make me happy! Excuse me while I laugh! I am single, I’ve been single for twenty years, and ya know what? I AM HAPPY!!!! I don’t need a man to make me happy I just need THE MAN to make me happy! I’ve given up on looking for “Prince Charming.” If I have a prince charming who is looking for me, then great! I’ll be so very happy when he decides to grace me with his presence, but until that day comes, I’m not just gonna sit around for him. I’m going to live my life to the fullest, try to ignore the cons of being single, and keep my focus on the pros of being single. As a single girl, I’m not tied down! I can focus on me, my relationships with my friends, and my relationships with my family and most importantly my relationship with God! I can dream big about my goals in life! I can go out with friends on a Friday night and not worry about what someone else is or isn’t doing. I can be friends with guys and not care if someone is okay with it or not. And, most importantly, I can serve God whole-heartedly without being distracted by another man in my life.1 Corinthians 7:34 As Paul says in 1 Corinthians, I’m not saying being in a relationship is a bad thing, on the contrary, being in relationship is a beautiful and God-blessed experience that should not be taken lightly and I still dream of getting married one day. However, being single is just as beautiful and just as God-blessed as being in a relationship is! I’m slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that God may never have me get married, yes I’m only twenty, so I don’t have to worry about that too much right now, but it is something that I should consider even at a young age. What if God never has me get married? Well, I’m not gonna lie, I’ll be totally bummed if God never has me get married, but if I don’t get married, that’ll be okay with me, because God is my one true love and I don’t need a man to make me happy!

            The point in saying all of the above is this: Yes, there are many cons to being single, but so what! There are many cons to everything under the sun! Being single and being in a relationship are not opposites, so we need to stop comparing them to one another! Single Christian women and taken Christian women are all the same at the end of the day, we all just want to be happy and feel loved and the only One who can truly make us feel happy and loved isn’t of this world! He is supernatural and gives His love unconditionally! So let’s stop comparing the single life to the relationship life! If you’re single, be happy and think about all the things you can do now that you wouldn’t be able to do if you had a boyfriend! If you’re in a relationship, don’t take your man for granted and always remember that even when he fails, and he will fail you, God will NEVER fail you! Single and taken women alike, cling to God and know that only He will fulfill your desire to be happy and loved!