To Mrs. Willis With Love

mom

My mother in love went home to be with the Lord this past May. She was an amazing woman and it’s honestly still hard to believe that she’s no longer with us but I know she’s partying with the angels. She was an awesome cook, baker and decorator. If they threw parties in Heaven, I know she’d hook Jesus up with the most beautiful spread made with all the fixings. My MIL was full of many talents! When I thought about starting to write in my blog again, several topics and ideas came to mind. I started thinking about everything that’s happened over the past seven months and my MIL came to mind. I dedicate this post to you, Margaret Lee Willis, forever in my heart.

Dear Mrs. Willis,

I sit here tonight thinking of you. I smile at the thought of your smile. I can picture you cooking and decorating the house for the countless parties we hosted. I see you sitting on the couch singing to our daughter Elyssa and finding pure joy in every minute that you got to spend with her. You took your role as a mother and a grandmother very seriously and I’ve always admired and respected that about you.

Though it’s easy to allow myself to be sad that your no longer here, I choose to rejoice instead. I rejoice because you’re no longer in pain. I rejoice because you’re rejoicing with the angels and spending time with our Savior. I rejoice because you raised an amazing man who is the best husband and father and for that I am forever grateful. I rejoice because the Lord will give us the grace to carry on your legacy.

I wanted to say thank you for loving me. Thank you for showing me how to throw a fabulous party! From Rebecca’s Sweet 16, to countless birthday parties and even 3rd Sunday Family Dinners.Thank you for throwing us the biggest and best engagement party. Thank you for making my Tea Party Baby Shower so elegant and unique. Thank you for being so excited when Elyssa was born and for being there to help whenever we called. Thank you for being a woman of faith, a true Proverbs 31 Woman. You were a blessing to me and so many others and I thank God for the time that he blessed us with you. Because I know Jesus, I will see you again and until that day, I’ll just say, see you later.

With Love
Joanna

No Wedding No Womb Part 2: Clarity and What We Can Do To Help

Yesterday’s post on the No Wedding No Womb Campaign received a lot of hits. A few ladies posted some insightful thoughts on the campaign as well as what they thought about the message that was being promoted. I admit that I am new to the NWNW movement and can not profess to support something that I have not researched in detail. I changed the title of yesterdays post from “Why I support the NWNW Campaign” to “The NWNW Campaign.”

While the founder of NWNW is not coming from a Christian perspective, I still feel that she is promoting positivity in the black community and trying to raise awareness and help people to have standards when it comes to relationships, sex and parenting. I belive that just because an organization is not Christian based does not mean that Christians can’t receive little nuggets from the message the organization is promoting.

The campaign is not preaching abstinence and is not coming from a biblical perspective but at least NWNW is trying to educate and encourage the black community as well as assist in preventing unplanned pregnancy. The org is also promoting two parent homes and that is something that the black community is severely lacking. I was told by one single mother who follows the founder of NWNW on Twitter, that her message is negative and depressing to single mothers. I am not sure if this is true because I have only read a few articles on the NWNW website. What I do know is that we aren’t helping single parents by putting them down or passing judgement on them. It is only by God’s grace that all of us who have had sex outside of marriage, did not conceive children. All children are a blessing and a gift from God, no matter what circumstance brought them into this world.  Passing judgement, tearing people down or trying to scare teens into not having sex will not work as productive long-lasting preventative measures.

I do not believe that every couple who has a child together should get married but if people were selective in who they date and had a standard to require a wedding ring before giving up the goods, more children would be born into committed two parent homes. We as a people need to have self respect, standards with regards to relationships and concentrate more on our futures and purpose in life than we do our outward appearance, material possessions and whose hooking up with who. AIDS and STDs are real and they affect the black community more than any other population. Sex isn’t worth dying for. It is best to not have sex before marriage  (read 1 Cor 6:18-20) but if you can not wait, you MUST use protection.

 There are many different components that factor into when and why people start having sex and if those issues aren’t addressed, young people will continue to be sexually active, have children outside of marriage and possibly won’t be able to receive the No Wedding No Womb message.

  • What sexual messages teens are exposed to in their home, through the media and while their out with their friends (viewing pornography) will determine how they see themselves and how they value sex.
  • Many young people are surrounded by friends, family and others in their communities that aren’t married and have multiple children. Viewing this can make young people feel like having sex and babies outside of marriage is normal.
  • When young people have been abused sexually, physically or verbally, they can start to look for love in all the wrong places and find themselves pregnant or getting someone pregnant. They weren’t trying to have a baby, but in the midst of being sexually active, a baby was made.

The question becomes, are campaigns like NWNW affective in reaching these young people who have been exposed to so much and may have unhealthy views on sex, pregnancy, parenthood and marriage? The campaign maybe affective for some and not for others. 

Each of us can do the following to promote healthy holy living: single people can spread the news to others that is ok to be single and you can be healthy, happy and content in your singlehood. Single parents can continue to give their children their all and be dedicated examples. Single parents can admit that life with children and no partner is difficult and not ideal, and teach those around them how not to end up being single parents. Those that are married can promote stable, healthy, long lasting godly marriage because many people in our society never get to see that. Everyday each of us are walking billboards. Ask yourself, what are you promoting? Pray for those around you, witness to your family and friends, let them know that God loves them and wants whats best for them. Share your testimony of how God brought you out of difficult situations and made you whole again. This is my purpose in life, to spread the good news of Christ through sharing my testimony and lifestyle with others.

Forgiveness is the Sweetest Revenge

Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge- Isaac Friedmann

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you- Lewis B. Smedes

Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future~ Paul Boese

Forgive or relive~ unknown

Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” Hannah Moore

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong~ Ghandi

We achieve inner health only through forgiveness-the forgiveness of not only others but of ourselves~ Joshua Liebman

Ladies take back your life! Don’t give those that have hurt you the pleasure of keeping you insecure, depressed, angry and afraid. Forgiveness is for you. When you forgive you get free, you get to take your life back, to smile again, to live a happy life  and to have joy and peace of mind. You deserve to be free, to be happy and to enjoy fulfilling relationships with others. You can’t be in a healthy place if you’re not walking in forgiveness. You’ll always have the chains around your hands and feet, the weight of the painful past will always hold you down. Its time to BREAK FREE!!!!!

Forgive those who have hurt you, give the pain over to the Lord. Ask Him to heal your broken heart, to help you see yourself how He sees you. The bible tells us to cast our burdens unto Jesus because He cares for us! The bible also tells us that God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He is waiting and willing to restore you to your rightful place in Him. Please make the decision today to seek guidance from a friend, family member, church member, pastor, counselor, social worker or your doctor. Talk to someone and start your healing process. Forgiveness may seem impossible today BUT trust me, as each day goes by, the decision gets easier and easier. It’s harder to live in pain and loneliness of unforgiveness, than it is to forgive and be free. You may never forget and that’s okay, but at least you will have your joy and peace back. True forgiveness says “I will not allow the things you’ve done to me to hold me captive any longer. I forgive you, I wish you well and I’m moving on.” You don’t have to be best friends with that person, talk to them on the phone and hang out. Forgiveness means you will not speak or think ill of them, you will not seek revenge on them, but instead you will pray for them and ask God to heal you both of the past. God is faithful. He will walk with you every step of the way, just trust Him and obey!!

My Recent Forgiveness Test: Thank God I’m Free From My Past

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well- Lewis B. Smedes

Yesterday I found out that the man who raped me had gotten married and has a child. Honestly when I saw the pictures through a mutual associate who does not know about the rape, I felt all types of emotions and forgiveness was not one of them. For a few seconds I felt anger and hate trying to rise back up. Who was he to be happy? Does she know what he did to me? What type of father will this rapist become? Even though I had been praying for him throughout the years and actively working to shed the layers of negative emotions and unforgiveness, in those first few moments I was walking in the flesh.

Then I had to remind myself, I can’t wish ill on someone and say I’ve forgiven them. I can’t judge him based on what was done ten years ago. I’m certainly not the woman I was ten years ago. I decided that it was better for me to pray, walk in love and forgiveness towards him verses continuing to stare at his picture and wish evil to come his way. In the past, I forgave him so that I could be free of the bondage that held me captive.Yesterday I made that decision again with God’s strength. Forgiveness is a decision and must be done often for the same event sometimes. 

That night I called a friend who had also survived rape in college. She’s a believer also and she was very encouraging and supportive. She helped me to remember that I am human and it’s okay to have initial negative reactions but it’s the decisions I made quickly following the incident that proved that God had done heart surgery on me and I was strong and delivered from the past.

 God has truly done heart surgery on me! Like the lady in this picture, in 2003, I feel like my heart was literally taken out and replaced with a new one. Back in college, following the years after the rape, I was angry, hateful, bitter, fearful, insecure and confused. I couldn’t say the word rape, I literally crossed out the rapist’s name in every book that I read, I wrote depressing and angry poems and made bad choices in my relationships. When I gave my heart to the Lord fully, I asked Him to heal me of all the pain and make me new. I sought the help of my campus minister and she encouraged me to start going to counseling. I joined Word of Faith in Southfield MI, started receiving life changing messages about God’s love, healing, faith and I learned to have an intimate relationship with God. Years later, I know that I am healed and restored and I refuse to let this recent incident take me back. Back to the horrible place that I once was. God has given me a new heart, a new start and I wont allow the past, the young man or the devil to destroy all that I have worked so hard in God to overcome.

To the man who changed my life forever I say the following: I pray God’s mercy, grace, correction, protection, peace, comfort, restoration and salvation for you. I pray you are or do become the man who God has created you to be. I pray you learn what is means to be a godly faithful, nonviolent husband and a godly devoted father. I pray you make better choices and live a holy life in front of your son. I pray you never ever put another person through the things you put me through. I pray you seek God for forgiveness and you learn to forgive yourself. I pray God’s blessing over your family. In Jesus name amen.

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The Middle Ground Between The Chastity Belt and Girls Gone Wild

 

In today’s sexualized society, there has to be a middle ground between feeling like you need to wear a chastity belt to remain pure and falling head first into the sexual revolution. I believe the media has fed women so many lies about sexuality and now many of us are paying the hurtful price behind believing those lies. Checkout the definitions of chastity belt and sexual revolution.

Wikipedia defines a chastity belt as  a locking item of clothing designed to prevent sexual intercourse. They may be used to protect the wearer from rape or temptation. Some devices have been designed with additional features to prevent masturbation. Chastity belts have been created for males and females. According to modern myth the chastity belt was used as an anti-temptation device during the Crusades. When the knight left for the Holy Lands on the Crusades, his Lady would wear a chastity belt to preserve her faithfulness to him.

The sexual revolution (sexual liberation”) encompasses the changes in social thought and codes of behaviour related to sexuality throughout the Western world that took place from the 1960s into the 1970s.Sexual liberalisation was the beginning of an acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage).[3] Contraception and the pill, public nudity, the normalisation of homosexuality and alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed.

As a married woman, I strongly believe in women being free in marriage to please their husbands and be pleased as well as often as they want to. Sex is good, sex is important, sex is fun and pleasing in God’s sight. The problem is so many women have brought the world’s lies about what sex and what being sexually free really means. In many women’s fight to kill the double standard between men and women, some have chosen to become just as irresponsible, slutty, cold-hearted and promiscuous as the men who’ve hurt them in the past. Everyone should be responsible and safe when it comes to sex. No one should misuse, abuse, lie, cheat and jump in and out of bed with multiple partners.

As a Christian, I believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin. I know first hand how hurtful, lonely, confusing, disappointing, dangerous and depressing casual sex can be. I thank God for His healing and restoring power. When I turned my life over to Christ, I found the hope, joy, peace, comfort, strength, wisdom, self-confidence and love that I was missing and looking for in all the wrong places. Now I have been extremely blessed with a husband who loves God, loves me and faithful and dedicated to only me. My husband was a virgin when we got married and from the day we met until this very second, he continues to show me what true, holy godly love really is. Ladies there is nothing like it in the whole wide world.

Women don’t fight for your right:

1. To have your body used and then forgotten about by men who don’t really love you or themselves.

2. Get pregnant and left all alone to struggle to raise a child or children.

3. Get STD’s and/or AIDs. African American women have the highest AIDs rate than any other population.

4. Be emotionally and mentally drained, hurt, angry and bitter because of the sexual choices you’ve made with the wrong men.

You don’t have to wear a chastity belt and be afraid of men or the thought of sexual pleasure BUT you don’t have to be apart of the girls gone wild movement either. Have respect for yourself, have standards for the men that you date and understand that you are more than a sex object/baby maker. Read 1 Cor 13 and find out what real love is. When you know who you are and what your worth, you won’t waste another day letting someone treat you like trash.

Here’s an interesting article about the lie behind the sexual liberation movement.

http://www.goodmorals.org/kersten.htm

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com

Why Spouses Should NOT Hide Money From Each Other

I had a debate with my friends on FB about spouses hiding money from their mate and needing to “have their own” in case their spouse leaves them. It all started from a conversation that I witnessed while watching the Oprah Show. Oprah was saying that women need to have their own house, money, bills in their name and not combined them with their significant other. I don’t believe that married people should sneak around and stash money away just in case things go sour. Yes we should have our complete trust in God alone, yes we all have individual purposes to be on the earth and we need to pursue our careers, ministries and business. I believe that couples should have their own identities BUT when you get married, you need to find balance because you and your spouse have become one!!

I know that marriage is hard and nothing is guaranteed BUT the word of God is true and it does not change. My God promises me that I can have the desires of my heart. The word of God gives detailed instructions about marriage and the roles of husbands and wives. I believe that if couples keep Christ at the center always, are quick to forgive, communicate their needs and concerns, stay hooked up to one another, forsaking all others, they WILL have long-lasting happy, healthy and hot marriages!!

4 Reasons Why Spouses Should Not Hide Money From Each Other

1. In marriage you must trust each other 100%. Without trust you have nothing. If you can’t trust someone with your money, body, goals/dreams, children or your life, what’s the point of dating or marrying them?

2. Honesty and communication is a must. What if you found out that your spouse was hiding money from you in case he/she felt like leaving you one day? Instead of hiding money for a rainy day, be open and honest about what makes you unsure about the relationship so that you can both fight to stay in it, not plan your escape to get out of it.

3. Marriage is forever and if you don’t believe that, save yourself the money and time (both of which you could never get back) and JUST DON’T GET MARRIED! By saying that you have to put a little money aside each check in case your spouse leaves you or you get tired of him/her, means you never made up in your mind that marriage is for life. Yes things happen, people change and sometimes get divorced, but know that divorce doesn’t have to be  a word used in your house. Date for a good period of time, go to premarital counseling, seek God before you say I do, study what the bible says about marriage, husbands and wives, and if you think your ready, go ahead and jump the broom.

4. Before you get married, seek God and wise counsel regarding healing that you may need from past negative relationships. If you are still hurting from past exboyfriends cheating, abusing you, lying to you or even watching your father/mother do these things to your parent, you MUST get restored from that hurt BEFORE you get married. It’s not fair to sleep with one eye open on a spouse who hasn’t done anything to not be trusted. Don’t push your issues on him. Seek help and get whole so that you can be happy, healthy and free.

Sistas Positively Affecting Sistas

Many women in the African American community are struggling. Struggling to know their purpose, their value/worth, to understand what real love is,  to be accepted and live productive lives. Many AA women have made celebrities and the women in the videos their role models and this much change. I went to visit a 22-year-old single mom with four kids. She had a few female friends over and all the ladies had their hair done, gold around their necks and designer clothes on. The family lives in poverty. I am not saying that people with low-income can not have nice things, but often times AA women spend more money on hair, nails, jewelry, clothes, shoes and make up than anything else. This must change. Our value should never be in how cute we look or what possessions we have. Our value isn’t in how great our bodies look or how many men are following us around. Our value is who are we in Christ; that we are healthy mind, body and soul, that we’re happy, determined and successful. We are more than just baby makers or women with big butts. We are creative,  smart, worthy of love and healthy relationships. We are strong, survivors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, social workers, stay at home mothers, business owners, ministers of the gospel etc.

To my Christian sistas, the next time you see that same prostitute that passes by your job everyday, the young girl in your neighborhood that dresses too fast, a single mother on your job that you know is struggling to raise her six children all alone, your aunt who struggles with drug addiction, your girl who fell away from church or your sister who just dropped out of school, pray and follow the Holy Spirit as to how to love on that woman. Give her a smile, some encouraging words, a hug, tell her Jesus loves her, you love her, it will be ok, ask if you can pray with her, invite her to church, treat her to lunch and just be a listening ear, whatever Holy Spirit tells you to do.

Christians are the salt of the earth. The bible says the world will know we are Christians by our love. We must love on those around us. We must let our light shine. We must live a sold out for Christ lifestyle so that the women around us can know that they too can have peace, joy, a great life in Christ. I give  God ALL the glory that my life is a positive example to others. I am blessed to be a 29-year-old black woman who loves the Lord, has a husband who loves the Lord, we serve at our church together, we have a happy marriage, we were blessed to plan our pregnancy, we own a home in the suburbs, I have two college degrees and we both have careers that we love. Ask me if ten years ago I would have thought I would be this blessed, no! God is good and when I completely surrender my life to Him, He restored me and continues to mold me into the woman who He has called me to be. I want my life to encourage others. To let them know that if God did it for me, He will do that and more for them.

Ladies today’s message is to walk in love, be led as to how the Holy Ghost wants you to mentor and reach out to those around you and to let your lifestyle be a witness of God’s goodness and faithfulness to others. The world needs us. We can’t afford to be half stepping, fake, worthless Christians. Our families need us, our coworkers, neighbors and those that we come into contact with daily on Facebook and Twitter. People all over need hope and we know the one who has all that they need, JESUS!!!

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com