How the Newsboys Changed My Life

Music. It is a powerful tool. Music can make you happy, move you to act, bring up memories of love, or even strife. There is a reason churches have a music ministry. It’s not so that someone can come up with a new song to sing every week to keep us entertained. It’s a true ministry. Through music you can save lives, renew a relationship with Christ, or even save a few souls. Music is really powerful.

Music can help deepen the connection the listener has with Christ in an amazingly profound way. Through music you can learn how to praise the lord, you can learn how to pray, you can recall upon all the blessings you have experienced… The right song can move you or even bring you to your knees in worship.

You see… I’m a Rocker Chick

For some churches it’s all gospel all the time. Now don’t get me wrong a good gospel song is always a good thing. I grew up in one of those churches. I grew up in a good ole fashioned black church. Lots of music and testimonies, jumping and shouting… I found my love for music in general in that church, but I didn’t really connect with Christ through that music. You see I am much more of a pop/rock – sometimes even metal type of girl. The old timey hymns just didn’t resonate with my spirit.

You Can’t Build on a Rocky Foundation

Slowly I grew away from God for a multitude of reasons but the more I think about it is mostly because I never really felt grounded to him or the church in any way. It was a place I went on Sundays and at a certain point of my life I would much rather spend the day in bed than in a church. ( I am a little ashamed of that last part) So over time my relationship with Christ was something like a classmate you haven’t seen in forever – you think of them every now and then but they aren’t a real part of your life.

When Things Changed

I found my way back to Christ a short 4 years ago and I am proud to say our relationship is pretty solid. Now with that being said I am on a never ending quest enhance it. To learn more, to live my life totally for him, to live by his example… It a process. I believe our faith is in a constant evolutionary process. Our faith grows and changes over time. About a year ago I experienced a shift in my spirit and I wanted to know everything about Jesus, I wanted to commit his teachings to memory and to be a faithful servant. Around this time I discovered the Newsboys after seeing the movie God’s Not Dead. I heard the Song God’s not Dead and I wanted to hear more about this band and their message. I followed them on Youtube and all their social media accounts. Ok so I into fangirl overdrive as I tend to do…. But I started to listen to all their music and the messages found within those lyrics and found that I was really connecting spiritually with their music. SO much that I would take lyrics and google biblical references for them. Which lead me to reading my bible more, which lead me to pray more, to worship more… You get the idea.

My faith pre-Newsboys was a personal thing. You know the whole you don’t discuss religion thing. I never really wanted to jump out there and talk about God with anyone. I was constantly afraid of offending someone or even incite some type of confrontation. I am a very non-confrontational introvert. I also felt like I was just learning about Christ and didn’t feel like I knew enough about him to really speak on his behalf to anyone. Thinking back all of that was coming from a place of fear. I didn’t want people to think I was some crazy woman. I didn’t want to be compared to the homeless man you see in the movies with the End is Coming doomsday sign and message. I was afraid of people thinking I was crazy. How pathetic is that?

Songs like Jesus Freak and Crazy let me know that it’s ok to be crazy. It’s ok for people to think I was strange because there were those who thought Jesus was strange. His teachings where radical and completely unheard of. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to believe in his word so profoundly that I had to share it with the world. And that ladies and gentleman is how Erica Ever After started in the first place. I started this blog to share my faith with the world. All of this happened because of a song.

You see I want to live my life in abandon, to live completely for Christ. I want to share his love and to help to build his church on Earth. I don’t care if people remember my name. If they remember anything about my blog or my life. The only thing I want people to ever say about me and my life is that I lived for Christ, that is the greatest compliment anyone could ever pay me.

Looking back my faith has been completely transformed by Christ through Newsboys. I watched a movie, heard a song, and was forever changed. God uses each of our talents to bring others closer to him.  I can honestly say that the Newsboys are using their gifts to the fullest and that makes me want to do more. To use my talent for the written word to magnify his name and help others to learn how God is moving in my life, and by doing so motivating them to establish a deeper connection with him.

Please comment below and share a few of the things God has done for you this week or Any Prayer request you may have.

Peace & Blessings. 🙂

10 Reasons You Should Start a Direct Sales Business

 

*Disclosure – Post contains affiliate links. I may receive commission if purchases are made using links in post. This does not impact the content found in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tupperware, Scentsy, 31, Avon, Stella & Dot...

The direct sales industry is a world wide, multi-million dollar industry that includes everything from chocolate to fashion to home decor and beauty products. If you’re passionate about a type of product there is more than likely a direct sales company that offers women the opportunity to sell it. Moms, dads, retirees, and college students around the globe are taking full advantage of the party plan business model.

I myself ran a successful direct sales business for 10 years, until the company I was with closed it’s doors. I still have respect for the industry that paid my bills, allowed me to shower my kids with new experiences, and helped to mold me into the woman that I am today.

 

 Why I love direct sales. 

  1. Low start up. There are a multitude of direct sales businesses you can start right now, today, for less than $300. There are even several that you start for $100. Whatever the price point you can start a business with way less money than a brick and mortar business. There is also a reduced risk and you don’t have deal with things like vendors, your company deals with all those logistical nightmares.
  2. FREE Training – No business degree required.  The basic foundation of how your business will work is laid out for you in your company training.
  3. Sisterhood – I was bullied as a child and never really had friends. The team aspect of the direct sales industry helped to keep me encourages and gave me a swift kick in the pants when I needed it. The social nature of the direct sales industry helped to bring me out of my shell. My team became my friends, sisters, and therapists.
  4. Goals – Being a direct sales consultant taught me everything I will ever need to know about goal setting . I learned how to make obtainable goals that forced me out of my comfort zone and work toward achieving them.
  5.  It’s your business so if you are looking to make extra cash between pay days or you want to be your own boss and own a home based business – the industry has your back. You make it what you want it to be.
  6. You control your income. It’s up to you to decide when you will work, and how often. If you need more money – just book another party.
  7. Incentive trips – Most company’s offer you the opportunity to earn an incentive trip. I am a huge fan of these. AN incentive trip is when you work harder than you ever have before in the history of the Earth and your company sends you on a vacation – all expenses paid. I mean come on, how else is a single mom, with no college degree, and very little job security going to afford a vacation to exotic locales? FOR FREE that’s how!
  8. Discounts – Are you absolutely in love with a product? Do you find yourself buying tons and tons of it? Why not become a consultant and get a discount. You still have the opportunity to sell it and make some extra cash.
  9. Conventions and In Person Trainings – Conventions are awesome. You get to get out the house for a few days, travel, and learn more about selling, recruiting, and being awesome than you would at home. You also can reach and touch those leaders and successful consultants and pick their brains.
  10. Recognition and Wards. I’m 37. I have never worked for another company in all of my life that gives you recognition for everything you do as you get in the direct sales industry. Your direct sales business comes with a gaggle of cheerleaders Yelling YES QUEEN for just booking a party. That’s the equivalent to  your boss saying ” YOU CAME TO WORK TODAY THAT IS SO AMAZING! lol

If you are thinking about it, just do it. I am certain you will be a rockstar consultant.

🙂

WIN a DIY Lover’s Mystery Box in the Summer Fun Giveaway Hop

 

*Disclosure – I was not compensated in any way for this post. Giveaway is self sponsored, blogger is responsible for the delivery of the giveaway prize.

 

School is out, the days are long, the sun is hot, and the giveaways are a plenty! Come join us for some summer fun .
Anderson’s Angels, This Mamas Life, The More The Merrier and Woven by Words, are very excited to bring you the Summer Fun Giveaway Event! We’ve teamed up with over 15 other wonderful bloggers, to bring you another great giveaway event! Each blog has gathered a prize package worth $25 or more so be sure to visit each blog and enter!

 

I am a huge lover of Upcycling. I love taking something that might be a little out of date and glamming it up to fit my personality and decor tastes. DIY is one of those things you could say I have a passion for. It doesn’t always work out the way thought it might – ok sometimes it is a total fail, but it’s one of those things that is more about the process.

The process is my favorite part, but my fiancee has noticed that I don’t always keep my things organized. Ok… let’s be honest – It’s all over the place and I have to get my inventory of crafty heavenly-ness under control.

I was thinking to myself – Self, you should do a mystery box with all these craft you have laying around. I was like that is a great idea, I should totally do that. So just so I won’t have hear about it anymore and my fiancee can stay the charming, sane woman I fell in love with I decided to curate a box for you of craft supplies I just had to have when I bought them but never got around to using.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Flamingos are really HOT in Home Decor This Summer and We LOVE It

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission on sales resulting from the links in this post. This does not influence my thoughts, ideas, or opinions found within. 

 

I am usually not one for jumping on band wagons when it comes to trends. I generally like what I like and I don’t put much stock into what the “pros” have to say on the matter. The pros will have you redecorating your entire house every season. 🙂

Last year it was pineapples. Everything was pineapples. If I see another darn pineapple… lol  While I was at home decor stores shopping ( because I am redecorating my entire house) I saw that the gears have shifted this summer. Yes, have entered new territory… This year the Flamingo is King and we are definitely here for it!

OK – I’m here for it. I myself have decided to do a whole flamingo theme in my kitchen this season. I bought the cutest Kate Spade Flamingo kitchen towel set. I am addicted. I’m hooked. The pros got me on this one!

I am more of an online shopper, when I can get away with it, and thought I’d since Amazon is the talk of the town today due to their Prime Day Deals, I thought I’d share 10 flamingo themed home decor items you can order right now on Amazon.

  1. Kate Spade Strut Your Stuff Table Runner

I am a HUGE fan of Kate Spade home decor and she is absolutely killing me with her Strut Your Stuff print. (this is the print I have the towel set in) I think a black or Tiffany blue table cloth with this runner would be super cute!  Retail $34.90

2. Gold Foil Flamingo Art Print

I really think this cutey would be perfect for a gallery wall or above a summer themed bar cart. It’s 5X7 so it  cute while not taking up too much space for the minimalist out there.  Bonus – it’s only $10

3.  Flamingo Vinyl Wall Stickers

I think these are a perfect, temporary way to add a splash of pink while keeping with the flamingo trend. I saw an office on pinterest that had these on the wall and it was super cute! Retail $6.95-15.95

 

4.  Flamingo Shower Curtain

Well… Flamingos go with water right? Why not add a little South Beach to your bathroom? This pattern is delicate enough that it doesn’t overwhelm you. It also comes at pretty decent price point at $12.00

5.  Indoor/Outdoor rug

This indoor/outdoor rug is patio perfect. I can just see it right now on our back porch or on the deck right outside the door adding a ray of sunshine and to our next BBQ or family gathering. Retail $13.99

 

6. Pewter Flamingo hooks – set of 2

I am not going to lie… I’ve been eyeballing these for a while. See I have an enclosed porch which we run tube lights around the perimeter of. I just think these would be super cute one we whitewash the porch. Ok enough about my home decor daydreams – Retail $22.96

7. Flamingo Throw Pillow Covers

A cheap way to change the look in a room as the seasons change is to buy throw pillow covers. These are a super affordable option with a Retail Price of $2.49 each.

8. Flamingo Area Rug

Now if you want to go all out with a major focal point check out this Flamingo Area Rug. The aqua and pink shades are perfect for summer and matches the throw pillow covers above if you want to go flamingo crazy… although I don’t think I’d really recommend going completely nuts with the flamingos everywhere but who am I to judge your life choices? Retail $65.99

9. Flamingo Bath towels

I am seriously about to order these myself.  The stripes are super cute and the colors are just my idea of heaven. It sort of reminds me of something Kate Spade would do without looking like a knock off Kate Spade item.  Retail $8.99

 

10.  100 pc Paper Straws with Hot Pink Foil Flamingo Accents

These would look really cute on a summer bar cart. I also love the fact that you get 100 of them. One pack would probably last me all summer – we don’t entertain much. You could use them for a girls night shindig at your place, or for a BBQ, or even just to sip a drink of your choice on your own.  Retail $9.99

However you chose to use the Flamingo trend in your house, think outside the box and make it your own. Flamingos make me happy. They are one of my favorite animals and I adore seeing them whenever I get a chance. So to bring them into my house as decor is like the second best thing to having flamingos in my back yard.

10 Things I’m Accepting and Why My Life is Better For It

 

*Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links, if purchases are made by clicking the links in this post I will receive a commission.  This does not impact my views, thoughts, or opinions.

In life we often are faced with obstacles, some within our control and some not. I’m sure we’re all acquainted with the serenity prayer.  Just in case someone doesn’t know I’ll share it below.

 

Ok So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s be real for a minute. There are things that happen in life that you have no control over whatsoever, there are also things that we have no control over because we chose to give our power away and someone else is pulling the strings. not bashing you, I’ve been there too.

Since we can not control the actions of others we need to learn how to let some things go.  One of the things I learned from my time in the direct sales industry is that you have to Bless and Release some people, things, circumstances… etc. You have to say I wish the best for you (and mean it) but let them go.

Seriously, holding on to that bitterness will destroy you and if you believe in the Law of Attraction, bring more chaos to your life since you are putting out so much negative energy.  Letting go and letting God take over is the best tool you have against the world. Unfortunately, the enemy employs a lot of agents, he will come to you in all sorts of ways. You have to learn that it is in fact the enemy attacking you and learn to let God take over and do his thing. 🙂

That being said there are certain situations I’ve learned to accept. Not that  I am accepting less, just that God has not yet helped me overcome this hurdle in life and I am accepting it. I have an amazing God and I know he can do all things, I also know he doesn’t work on my schedule so patience is definitely a virtue.

Here are the 10 things I am accepting and why I’m better for it.

  1. I don’t get to see my teenager much. It kills me, but  I know God is working on that situation. So we text everyday – for some reason teenagers don’t answer the phone. We are working things out and it looks promising.  I could be sitting here bawling my eyes out – and I’ll be honest that does happen from time to time – Or even worse, but I am accepting that our relationship is just unconventional at this point but we still have one.

Check out I’m a Terrible Mom

2. I had a crappy time in my teens. This one I think I am accepting as I believe I went through what I went through in Middle & High School because I can use that time to help others. I survived being suicidal, empty shell of a person. That puts in the position to assist others experiencing bullying and depression.

See I Prayed Last Night…This is What Happened

3. My finances are not where I’d like them to be. I am working at this but i’m not there yet. I was once told that the joy is not in being at the top, it’s the journey you took to get there. It’s in watching your business grow, meeting new milestones, and celebrating each success.

4. My family is not on good terms with fiancee and it creates a lot of discord… I rarely go to family functions because she is not welcome and that hurts my feelings. So we stay home. I am continuing to pray over this situation. I’m confident God will change their  hearts at some point. #PATIENCE

5. Trump is president… I am not even going to go into that one.

6. I never had a daughter. I always wanted a little girl. Didn’t happen for me. I’ll be 38 in December and at this stage in my life baby duty is just not an option. I’m in the HGTV and Travel Channel stage in my life. 🙂

7. I’m gay and a lot of other Christians have a problem with that. I really am unbothered by their rationale and opinions. I can’t live my life pleasing others. I spent 30 odd years doing that. Now it’s my time to be happy and still love my God.

8. Natural Hair Products cost a fortune. lol I had to throw that in their because yeah… finances. Thank God for Curlkit

See Confessions of a Product Junkie 

9. I’m not model perfect. While I am beginning to make steps towards losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle in general, I am in no way a bombshell in the general sense. I’ve come to understand that I can not allow the media’s standard of beauty impact the way I see myself.

invite you to look at your life and find a few things that you can accept as they are and move past them. It’s a very liberating experience to just say “I’m letting this go.” It can take your life in a completely different direction, a more positive and powerful one.

Comment below and let me know a couple things you’d like to let go of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Achieve Beautiful Skin in Your 30’s and Beyond

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I received product from L’oreal through my relationship with Influenster free of charge in order to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I don’t know about you ladies but I’ve seen a significant change in my skin lately. Can we say DRY… like Sahara dry. Not a drop of moisture. I guess time has finally caught up with me. I’ll be 38 in December so It’s probably time to get serious about my skin. I’ll be honest with you ladies. I don’t have a skin care routine. I basically wash it and put on a moisturizer and call it a day. So maybe a more dedicated routine is warranted at this stage in my life. I’m knocking on 40 here… time to give a damn. lol

So I received my L’oreal Voxbox in the mail and excited to try something different, literally anything to bring some life back to my skin. It has sort of been at the back of my mind to take better care of my skin before I’m all wrinkly and stuff so I was excited to get a full size product from Influenster.

Want to Join Influentser Click HERE

Since I’m experiencing some issues with moisture and crows feet… ugh… I decided to go all in with the #RevitaLiftChallenge.

No Makeup – wanted to be transparent so you could see how RevitaLift enhanced my skin.

Here’s How it Works!

For the next 14 Days Apply the moisturizer morning and night. Upload to instagram a Before Pic, After Week 1, and a final at Week 2 to track your progress.

Ok that sounds simple enough right? I  can totally do that. I’m looking forward to going on this journey to beautiful skin and I hope you don’t mind if I take you along with me. I’ll be posting pics on my Instagram of my experiences in the RevitaLift Challenge and tracking my progress – being 100% transparent, no makeup whatsoever. My hope is to experience a change in my skin texture and decraesed crow’s feet.

Fingers Crossed.

I’ll be posting a review of the challenge, my results, and product review after the I’ve completed the 14 days of the challenge. So stay tuned for that. If you have any experience with L’oreal RevitaLift Products comment below and let me know how it worked for you.

 

 

Contemporary Christian Music To Shake The Monday Blues!

 

 

It’s Monday… I know… I know… Sucks… or Does it?

I try to live by the Philosophy that that everyday we’re still breathing is a gift. So in essence Mondays are truly no different, but yeah… we still ride the struggle bus every week. I find that every chore I do is made easier with Jesus, from getting in the shower to my hair, to sitting at my desk attempting to find new and exciting things to talk to you lovely people about. I bring him with me everywhere I go.

I feel more deeply connected with God through music. My worship is magnified through song. I find peace through out my day by singing to my lord, my father, my savior. It’s the best way I have found to beat the Monday blues so I thought I’d share my Christian Rock playlist on Spotify with my Warrior Women. I hope that in doing this maybe one or two songs will resonate with you and you can feel the spirit move in your life.

This playlist is ever growing. As soon as I hear a song that resonates with me I plop it right on in there. In the future  plan to write mini devotionals about these songs, how they relate to scripture, and how they impact me personally and on a spiritual level.  This is not something I take lightly so I have to really do my homework before I’m comfortable putting those posts up. I want be a beneficial resource not just someone shouting what God says about blah, blah, blah. There is enough of that foolishness on the internet.

Once I had a job where my supervisor was really riding me. Really really riding me. I would pop my ear buds in, excuse myself to the restroom silently sing and pray and ask God for strength to get through this day. It worked. Every single time.

Have a great Monday Warrior Women!

I Am A Terrible Mother and How I Forgave Myself.

Ok Confession Time!

This is not going to be pretty but God placed this on my heart to talk about. I always try my very best to be an obedient servant but this one was hard. I talked to my fiancee about it, and really had a very stern talking to by my mother about it (lol) and I prayed about it. After a nice long cry I decided that there may be a woman out there with a guilty mom conscience that needs to hear my story. So here we are Warrior Women, ready to speak some truth and hoping you all don’t get too mad at me….

Confession: I Didn’t Raise My Kids…

Let’s back up for a bit here… I had my kids at 17 and 20 years old. I have no excuse for what I’ve done but I really want to try and paint an accurate picture here.  I’ve been severely depressed for probably the bulk of my teenage and adult life. My children were little rays of sunlight that penetrated the dark clouds of my existence. Now I did not just give birth and hand them over. I think that early on I was a good mom.  I fed, clothed, nurtured, and loved on them the best I could given my age and financial circumstances. Early on we had a good life.

I moved out of my mom’s house at 19. Thanks to public housing I was able to secure us a nice little 2 bedroom apartment not to far from my family. I didn’t want to be too far away, but on my own at the same time. For the time being we were pretty happy. The darkness didn’t stay away for long. I reverted to my old ways of using sex and a tool. It was a momentary escape from the war raging inside me. My own insecurities, my suicidal thoughts were getting louder and I needed something to shut it all up – even if it was for a few minutes. ( I didn’t know Jesus back then)  Well out of this came my youngest. I didn’t know what I was going to do, how I was going to care for him but I was going to make it happen

At this point my oldest was going back and forth between my house and my mom’s. Which seemed perfectly OK with us at the time. He loved his Nana and would have rather we all lived there, which was a possibility but I was always at odds with my mother so it didn’t seem like a good fit for me. So at this stage in the game I was still a full time Mommy with a few breaks here and there. Totally normal.

When my youngest entered the world I was in complete awe of him. He came from something pretty ugly – but he was a gift from God and treasured him. I was all about being a good mom to both of my boys. To me at the time that was making sure they ate good, were clean, had a roof over their heads, and were clothed decently. I probably overwhelmed them with I love yous, hugs, and kisses… but I didn’t feel like I heard that enough growing up so I made sure they never questioned that. Not even for a minute.

A Turn For The Worse…

As time went on my oldest spent more and more time at my Mom’s house. It was a gradual thing and I honestly can’t even remember how this all started. Sorry… there was no big event to mark him being their permanently it just sort of happened. This is going to be a common theme in this story. When I was younger I had no voice. No backbone whatsoever and as a result a lot of things just sort of happened in my life. I always had custody of Ian and he always had a room at whatever house I was living in but it just kind of happened that he wasn’t there. Now at this point I am living directly around the corner from my mom so it never seemed like a big deal to me. I was right there… Or so I would tell myself.

I got a job working third shift because it was higher pay. Of course I’m still a single mom and needed help with the boys as far a child care was concerned. My mother agreed for both boys to stay at her house at night and I would be home to get them off to school in the morning. This went on for almost a year, then the youngest came back and the oldest seemed to be making guest appearance at my house. He has Asperger’s and does not like things to change to much so we never forced this issue. He actually preferred being at my Mom’s and enjoyed it when I came over to visit with him. I always brought groceries for my Mom’s house when I was shopping so she didn’t have to worry about feeding him.

I know, I know these are the little lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better. At the time I really felt like I was doing something! Like I was caring for my child by buying groceries and new outfit here and there.

I Thought I Was Doing The Right Thing…

So my youngest began having major behavioral problems at school. Like really bad, calls every day behavior problems. Then he’d come home and be my sweet little angel of  a boy who never caused me a moments grief. This kid would do anything for you. He’d clean anything, do anything you’d ask… just awesome at home get him to school and he was Mr Hyde’s manipulative little brother.  I was at my wit’s end and I had no idea how to fix any of this. I did everything… you name it. I tried it. He would not behave. My brother eventually gave me an olive branch – he figured he needed a firm man’s hand ( his father has never been in the picture). My brother offered to have Devon go to school from his house, which was a better township, and he’d come home every weekend and breaks etc.

So that was the arrangement… My son was to stay at my brother’s home for school only and would be at my house whenever school was not in session. It worked great for years. No discord, no arguments,  in my mind it was the best arrangement ever.  His grades were improving, he was getting the structure and discipline he needed and everything was sunshine and rainbows. One day I got a call from my brother that the school found out I didn’t live there and he was going to be charged tuition if I didn’t give him Guardianship. I sat on this situation for weeks not wanting to give up rights to my son. But eventually I caved and just let it happen. I signed the paper thinking this is my brother and he would never keep my son from me.

Yeah – So I thought. Eventually breaks and holidays were not mine. They always had plans. My I cried about it, complained about it but ultimately I had signed that piece of paper in that lawyer’s office and had no voice anymore. I was told by the attorney that I would have to go to court and prove that he was better with me and let’s be honest I have not had the best track record. I lived in the hood and was at this point out of a job, I didn’t have a leg to stand on.

 Then It Got Really Ugly…

I spent years beating myself up over letting other people, family or not control my life. i had the most sever case of mom guilt ever. My spiraling resulted in me becoming homeless which meant I had nowhere for either of my kids to stay, well with me anyway. By this time i was living at my mom’s house and she moved in with her new husband, however my older sister was better adept to renovate and upkeep my mom’s house as I was still unemployed. I was going from place to place at the time, and was just not stable. Eventually I got my own place but it was too late. They were established where they were and the worst mom in history.  I lost them.

How I Forgave Myself….

God. That’s just all I can say. We know that God forgives us but it is quite another thing to forgive ourselves. I have spent years praying that this situation would be magically altered but the truth is we have to own our mistakes. Jesus wipes away sin, not consequences. We may be forgiven but we may, in some cases, still face the ramifications of our deeds.  I gave my power away. I must face the music not only in my own spirit but with my children as well. But prayer changes things.

One of the ways I forgive myself is by practicing self care and doing things for other people. Just being kind for no reason other than I am a good person, and by being in my boys lives as much as I can. I also refused to carry around any more baggage so I have to tell myself I can not change what happened but I am in control of how I move forward. What I do from here. They are old enough to make up their own minds now. My oldest is in college and my youngest is starting his senior year of high school this fall. The best advice I have ever heard was….

There is literally NOTHING you can do about the past. The best thing you can do is to  atone and make the present and future better. We all make mistakes, some small some massive, but the trick is to not wallow in it for too long. Don’t get so beat down by what you have done that it makes it impossible for you to do any good at all. Forgive yourself and move on… Easy to say, not so easy to do. But you will not truly live an abundant life until you let go of the past, forgive your own misdeeds, and accept yourself for who you are, who you truly are. I allowed being an inconsistent mother define me. Do not let your past define you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made! You are a child of God.

 

How to Treat LGBT Church Members and Why You’re Doing It Wrong

 

 

I have been going back and forth on whether or not this post is a good idea. Don’t get me wrong the situation needs to be addressed and I really want to talk about it, it’s just that internet trolls are plentiful and this is guaranteed to ruffle more than a few feathers. See the thing is internet that the LGBT community loves Christ just as much as the next person, we’ve just been made to feel that we don’t belong at church and if we take the church I grew up in as an example if we do exist within in the church we are not given any position of leadership or even allowed to sing in the choir. Basically seen and not heard. Yes, church hurt is real and it runs deep.

I understand that the church as a whole has spent quite a bit of time setting up this gay blockade that no one ever took the time to learn anything about us, or how their actions effect us on a deep spiritual level.

John 13:34 (from the New Living Translation) tell us “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other”. This apparently does not apply to the gay community because we haven’t felt very much love in the place we are supposed to feel welcomed and embraced because we are sons and daughter of Christ, let’s just put the gay part aside, we are all the same, the same as you, we are believers who wish to fellowship, worship, and pray with you. As a fellow believer – how can you turn your back on us? 

There is a lot that goes into the decision to wake up on that Sunday morning, get in the shower, get dressed, and get in the car and go to church. Just for the average person, but for members of the LGBTQ community this decision is even more complex. Understand that we are coming to you broken. We have been beat over the head with scripture and proclamations that God HATES us, or that we are going directly to Hell: Do not pass Go, Don’t even think about collecting $200. So a lot of us are left feeling – if I’m going to Hell anyway – why fake the funk?

These thoughts caused a crisis of faith in me that actually lasted every bit of an entire year. I honestly felt that since who I am is so wrong then why go to church, why study the bible, and why dig into my sinful bank account to give back to a religion who despises my very existence? I came to realize that religion is not what Jesus desires us to have but  a relationship with him. That all these thoughts, the actions from fellow Christians, the words that hit me like daggers in the heart – these are the work of the enemy, designed to keep us from reaching our full potential and growing our faith. Let that sink in, by your actions you are doing the work for the enemy.

So you’ve stuck around for my ravings, let’s dig into how you should treat LGBT members of your church.

  1. We are not sick, we do not have a disease and do not need to be shown the light. Please stop with the scripture. Seriously, if we do not know any other scriptures we know Genesis 19:4-9; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. My main point is we do not require YOU to tell us about it. We love you but… JUST.. Stop.
  2. Our families are blessings and we are ever thankful for them, no our children will not be confused by having two moms, two dads, or any other variation. Please stop whispering about it. Gossiping is not a good look.
  3. I said previously that it took a lot for us to come to church, please be kind, welcoming, and inviting. It was a big step to take and we’ve been burned before… We are fragile. Handle us with care.
  4. Don’t ignore us either! We want to pitch in and help out, we want to plan events, and bring our expertise to the table for glory of Jesus. Don’t exclude us from the conversation or talk around us as if we are invisible.
  5. A little personal experience I have watched church members be dismissive of my fiancee and break their necks to be nice to me. Why am I different from her? Because she is a minister and they don’t feel like she should be. It breaks my heart every time I see it. To the point that they refuse to call her Minister Gilbert, but they have no problem calling the other female ministers by their given titles. I have seen people talk around her like she is not even there. I have witnessed the disrespect, the hurt in her eyes. Needless to say I no longer attend that church. Please don’t do this in your church. Give every member of your church  the respect they deserve.
  6. Being gay does not equal sexually depraved. We are not abusers of children, or interested in you. Sorry honey, I love women as a whole but that does not mean I am trying to flirt with you when I am being nice, pleasant, or helpful.
  7. You can hug us. I promise you won’t catch “the gay”.
  8. Our partners are our family. It is important to us that you treat our family with respect. Don’t be all nice to one of us and, because the other party is more masculine or feminine than you would like to see, you treat them like garbage. That is not ok.
  9. Acknowledge Trans members by the pronoun they are comfortable with. For the love of all things holy do not call him a her or her a him. Respect their identity.
  10. Treat us like everyone else. We don’t actually ask for special treatment. We prefer our sexuality to not be biggest part of who we are. I am Erica, same Erica I was before I came out. The same Erica I will always be. Now with experience and growth  I will be Erica 2.0 🙂 But I’m still me. I don’t want to be treated like the lesbian from church. I want to Erica from church. The same woman you fellowship with, the same woman you worship with, the same woman you pray with and for.  All we ask is for a little acceptance, respect and love. The same love we give to you and the same love Christ gives to us.

 

Enter to Win 5 Free Redbox Movie codes in the #SuperDad Giveaway Hop

 

 

Welcome to the Super Dad Giveaway Hop

Hosted by: MamatheFox, The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island

 

At each stop in this hop you will find amazing prizes that are sure to make any Fathers excited this Fathers Day. Be sure to check out MamatheFox’s Grand Prize valued at over $300! Come back daily to increase your chances of winning! Good luck

Enter for your chance to win:

This Grand Prize is valued at over $360!

 

Father’s Day will be here before we know it and we really wanted to do something special to celebrate. So we decided  to give the Dad in your life something to help him kick back with a cold one while watching an action packed superhero repping manliness. So how’s 5 FREE rentals from Redbox? I mean who doesn’t love movies? After a hard day of manning the grill and saying an endless array of “Dadisms” every dad deserves to kick those feet up and veg in his man cave with a movie he choose. No Romantic Comedies or kid’s movies just action, violence, and gore. (You know I think i might actually be a dad. lol)  Enter using the rafflecopter entry form below. Don’t forget to stop by the other bloggers giveaways and show them a little love.

Don’t forget to give Mama The Fox some love on the Grand Prize giveaway.

 

 

 

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Disclosure:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

 

 

 

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