Happy 1st Yr Blog Anniversary!! Blog Updates, Thank You’s & More

March 31 was my blog’s 1 year anniversary!! On March 31, I was in the hospital preparing to give birth to our little girl, Ms. Elyssa Janee. This first year anniversary is very important to me and even though the last few weeks have been busy, I wanted to take time to acknowledge it, update the readers and thank those that have been instrumental in helping me with my blog over this last year.

BIG thank you to Kim Brookes for encouraging me to start my blog and for giving me guidance on where to begin and how to make it great. Also BIG thank you to Versandra Kennebrew who was my book coach last year and who helped me take my writing, creativity and blog to the next level!! I love you ladies!! Also thank you to my sistafriend Blair for helping to proof read my posts. Girl you have a gift!! Last but not least, THANK YOU to my husband for ALWAYS being supportive of my writing! Sometimes he helps me develop titles, research scriptures and helpful information for my posts. I love and appreciate you honey!!

When I first created this blog, I had no idea what I was going to write about or if people would even care to read it. Since I was a young girl, I’ve always had a passion for writing but I had stopped writing when I graduated from college for whatever reason. Starting this blog has helped me to fall in love with writing again and it’s provided me with a platform to share my testimonies to encourage others. It’s also helped me to start walking in my calling, which is to minister to women and to help them walk down the road of peace, wholeness and restoration.

Over the past year, I’ve written about several different topics but I’ve been most passionate about dating, marriage, sex, sexual assault and pregnancy. I know what it’s like to be a Christian single person trying to walk in patience and holiness. I know what it’s like to be a wife and want to please God and my husband in my marriage. I’m a 10 1/2 year sexual assault survivor and I know the emotional rollercoaster that survivors go through. I’ve also travelled down the long road to healing and restoration. Sex is very important in marriage and it’s sad that often times singles have lots of sex and married people have hardly any. The devil is a LIE!! God created sex for married people to enjoy and I want to help married ladies learn to love their bodies and sex with their husbands! It’s also very important for Christian singles to avoid sexual sin in order to set themselves up for great legal, holy, sex in the marriage bed one day! I was blessed to recently become a mom and I LOVED being pregnant! I enjoyed writing pregnancy updates and information about pregnancy and pro-life information.  

Blog Facts:

I published 166 post. Holy Ghost is awesome because He continues to give me ideas to write about and the right words to use to bless others. I’m honored that He picked me to use in this way!

The blog has 26,488 total views and counting!! 

631 comments and they keep coming in! It’s always so exciting to receive comments and meet new people who are being blessed by what I write.

78 Categories and 478 Tags

On July 26 I published my 100th post.

The highest number of views to date occurred on 4/11/2011. There were  was  260 views that day. On 4/10/11 the most recent post published was She’s Here! Nursing, Burping and Changing OH MY!

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/shes-here-nursing-burping-changing-oh-my/

Thank you to EVERYONE who has ever visited my blog, posted a comment and forwarded my posts to their friends and family! I REALLY REALLY appreciate it!! If you haven’t yet subscribed to my blog, I encourage you to do so now! 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 continue to share my blog link to your loved ones https://joannawillis.wordpress.com

Some of my favorite and most viewed post over the last year have been:

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/a-rape-survivors-letter-to-her-unborn-daughter/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/3-ways-to-meet-your-husbands-needs-during-pregnancy/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/pregnancy-and-the-single-saint/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/im-a-survivor/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/5-myths-about-love-and-sex-after-rape/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/tips-to-avoid-baby-mama-drama/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/4-reasons-why-glee-is-no-longer-for-me/

https://joannawillis.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/stop-giving-the-honey-up-for-free/

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A Rape Survivor’s Letter To Her Unborn Daughter

Dear Elyssa Janee,

My sweet girl, I love you so very much. We have ten weeks until we meet and get to look into each other’s eyes. As each week goes by, I think about all that I want to tell you, teach you and shield you from.

 

My Love

Your father and I love you already, more than words can express. I want you to know that your father has taught me so much about real love. He has been dedicated, patient, selfless and compassionate since the day we met 7 1/2 years ago. I’m excited that you get to have him as a dad! You’re a blessed young lady! Your father and I have come to know the love of Christ and learning about how Christ loves us has taught us how to love one another and prepares us to love you unconditionally too. You will never have to wonder if we love you. You will always be loved, encouraged, challenged, praised and disciplined.

My Past

Over ten years ago, a man took advantage of me and I went through a very rough time. BUT GOD! With God’s grace, mercy, strength, comfort and the wisdom and guidance of friends and family, I became a overcomer, survivor, victor, never again to be a victim. I want you to know that you never ever have to be afraid of men, the world or anything. No weapon formed against you will prosper. God’s blood covers you. God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of love, joy and a sound mind.

I will not pass onto you a legacy of hate, unforgiveness, anxiety, bitterness or anger. I let all of those things go many years ago with the strength of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because I knew that one day I wanted to be a healthy and free wife and mother. I wanted to be able to teach my children about the love, protection and peace of walking with Christ. I wanted to have children with a husband that was a protector and not one that would abuse his family verbally, physically or emotionally. By getting free, I broke the cycle or victimization over our family. You belong to God, you are His daughter and He is entrusting you to us.

My Promise

I promise to be the best mother that I can be. I promise to spend time in prayer so that I can have patience with you and receive guidance from God concerning you. I promise to always encourage you to have a close relationship with your earthly father and Heavenly Father. I promise to be open and honest with you, even when it makes me feel uncomfortable because I want you to trust me and know that I will never purposely watch you walk in the wrong direction. I promise to be selfless and take my role as your mother seriously. Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve dreamed of one day being blessed with a family and God has granted me that prayer; I do not take this honor lightly. I promise to take care of my body and you, for the next 10 weeks especially, so that you can continue to grow strong and be safe and comfy inside of me. Until we officially meet my lovely little lady, know that I love you and I’m preparing for you. I’m also continuly praying and confessing great things over you.

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.

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

My 10 Yr Survivor Testimony: Victim to Victor

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
Anonymous
Like the butterfly, each of us has to let go of our past and be willing to step out, be transformed and made new. Letting go is the 1st step.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – Author Unknown

“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” – Ann Landers

Today is an awesome day for me. Today marks the ten year anniversary of the sexual assault that I SURVIVED. The devil picked the wrong one to mess with! Those first three years I was a mess, BUT GOD!! I have spent the last seven years walking as a victor and NOT a victim!! The number seven means completion and over the last seven years, I”ve allowed God to prepare me for the work that He is doing in me now and is about to do through me. I’m ready Lord! Use me, send me, speak through me to set other’s free!!

I want to encourage people today to not allow your past to haunt you and cause you to be a victim and not a victor. You can’t change what has been done to you or what you did to yourself. You must give your hurt, pain, shame, confusion and disappointments over to God. I strongly encourage you to seek professional guidance to assist you in your journey towards healing, victory and success.

Victim is defined as 1. One who is harmed or killed by another. A person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of.

Victor is defined as one who defeats an adversary; the winner in a fight, battle, contest, or struggle.

I used to see myself as a victim. I used to have low self-esteem and lots of anger, hate and fear in my heart. I allowed the person who took advantage of me to rule my mind, emotions and my life. Out of fear I would not go certain places or be around certain people, because I was angry on the inside, I rarely had peace of joy. What he did to me was bad enough, but I had no right to give him the rest of my life to ruin. I made a choice to get seek God’s healing power, a minister, a counselor, my family and friends. I decided to take my life back, to get strong AND to help others who had gone through what I had. I made a choice to FIGHT to become a victor and never again a victim!

The road to recovery was one day at a time. I was very depressed when my journey first started because I had to allow myself to feel all the pain of the assault that I had blocked out and ignored as best I could for two years. Each time I met with my counselor, did a homework assignment about my experience, read my bible, pray out loud and talk to God about what had happened, I took the power out of the attackers hands and put it back in my own.

I encourage you today to face your fears of the past. To not walk around with the baggage of yesterday, last year, ten years ago etc. You deserve to be happy, healthy, healed emotionally, financially, spiritually, mentally, physically, successful, victorious and FREE. Yes they hurt you, they lied, abused you, mistreated you, lied on you, took advantage of you BUT GOD BUT GOD BUT GOD BUT GOD BUT GOD!! He’s bigger, He’s able, He’s faithful and He’s waiting with open arms!!

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Matthew 11:27-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Isaiah 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Matthew 6:14-15 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Can Husbands Rape Their Wives? Exploring Martial Rape

“When it is the person you have entrusted your life to who rapes you, it isn’t just physical or sexual assault, it is a betrayal of the very core of your marriage, of your person, of your trust.”

One form of rape that is rarely discussed it marital rape. Just because two people are married it doesn’t mean that they have the right to use, abuse or violate one another. We as wives need to meet our husband’s sexual needs. Husbands need to be sensitive, patient and understanding towards their wife’s feelings, desires and needs also. Sex should never be forced in marriage. Please read this article and share your thoughts.

Also to celebrate Restoration Week for my blog, please click the link below to read a woman’s testimony of how she survived years of spousal rape.

If you have been a victim of spousal rape, please seek help from your pastor, doctor, a social worker or the police. No one has the right to force themselves on you. No means no!

Marital Rape was only made a criminal act in the UK in 1991? Up until then it was considered impossible for a man to rape or sexually assault his wife. To quote: “A husband cannot rape his wife unless the parties are separated or the court has by injunction forbidden him to interfere with his wife or he has given an undertaking in court no to interfere with her.” (The Law Made Simple, The Chaucer Press, 1981)

Rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between the rapist and the victim. It can be a total stranger; someone you recognise by sight, but have never really communicated with; someone you know superficially, a neighbour or a colleague; a friend, a boy-friend or a former boyfriend; a live-in partner, or a former partner; someone you are married to or have been married to in the past.

The main differences between stranger rape and marital rape

Stranger rape is usually a one-off, someone you don’t know, with whom you don’t share any experiences or history. When the assault happens, there can be no doubt as to what is happening: that it is Rape (though even in such situations the victim will often wonder what she has done to precipitate the assault and will blame herself). In marital rape the circumstances are very different. It is – quite apart from a physical and sexual violation – a betrayal of trust. Here is a person whom you thought you knew intimately, with whom you share a history, a home and quite often children. Here is a person whom you have made love to on a frequent basis often over many years, with whom you have shared your most intimate secrets and fears, and whom you believe to love you, want the best for you, who would never intentionally hurt you. Marital rape is so destructive because it betrays the fundamental basis of the marital relationship, because it questions every understanding you have not only of your partner and the marriage, but of yourself. You end up feeling betrayed, humiliated and, above all, very confused.

Another problem victims of marital rape face is that such instances are rarely a one-off, but a repeated if not frequent occurrence. This can be a huge issue to the victim, because she will feel as though she has somehow ‘asked for it’ by staying or putting herself in the situation where it can happen again. Also, once it has been tolerated on a number of occasions, she may question her right to then act upon it.

The problem of defining marital rape as Rape

Many women who are victims of marital rape have great difficulty in defining it as such. The traditional idea that it is impossible for a man to rape his wife and that somehow, in taking our marriage vows we have abdicated any say over our own body and sexuality, basically denied ourselves the right to say ‘no’, is still prevalent amongst wives as much as amongst their husbands. A wife being raped will often question her right to refuse intercourse with her husband, and while she may realise that legally it now constitutes rape, there are many reasons which may prevent her from perceiving it in such a light.

We prefer to see it possibly as a communication problem (did I make it clear enough that I did not want intercourse tonight), we may see it as an act for which the man is not fully responsible due to his nature (men have a biological need to have sex and if there is a woman next to them in bed when they are in the mood they just cannot help it), we may see it as a misunderstanding (although I told him I didn’t want to, maybe I gave him the wrong signals somehow), we may have religious issues which question our right to refuse intercourse (I have got to submit myself to him and accept his will above mine as my Lord and Master).

Basically, as wives being raped by our husbands, we look for every reason, every excuse to deny it is Rape because we do not want to accept the alternative: it is Rape, he is hurting and humiliating us with intent, we can no longer trust him, turn to him in comfort, gain reassurance and protection from his company and our home is no longer safe.

To read this article in full and learn more about spousal rape, checkout this link. http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/Articles/maritalrape.htm

To read a woman’s personal journey of restoration from marital rape, checkout this link http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/Personal/raperecovery.htm

Restoration Week: But God Update

In four days, it will be the 10 year victory anniversary of the sexual assault that I survived. For the days leading up to the 9/4/10 celebration of the victory,  I will publish post about God’s restoration power.  Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. The devil thought he had me BUT GOD!!

Regarding the format of the book, originally I was composing a women’s testimony book and collecting testimonies surrounding several different topics. I thought that by collecting several different testimony topics, women all over the world could relate and be blessed. I promoted the books and requested testimony submissions and was blessed to collect 40 testimonies!!

Kim Brookes, author of several books including, He’s Fine But Is He Saved, blessed me to go to The Anointed Pen Seminar earlier this year. At the seminar I met many awesome, anointed, talented and wise authors, including Versandra Kennebrew, author of Thank God For The Shelter.  I signed up for Versandra to be my book coach and the rest is history! Kim and Versandra continued to encourage me to pray about narrowing down the topic of my book to make it organized and geared towards a more target audience. After praying and learning more about book writing and marketing, I have decided to focus my first testimony book on rape, attempted rape, incest and sexual abuse.

The purpose of the book will be to shed the light on the sexual assault epidemic. To educate, encourage and empower women. To let women know that they can and will get through the after effects of rape, incest or sexual abuse. To let women know how God sees them and that He is not to blame but He is there to heal and restore and rebuild. The book will be a Christian resource, self-help, and motivational book. Resources will be provided at the end of the book (websites, hotlines, books, healing ministries)

I want to explore stats, preventative steps and what to do if you or someone you know has been assaulted. I want to explore the importance of seeking counseling, medical and legal help if you have experienced any of the mention situations.

How you can help

Before the resource chapter, I want to include 5-10 short testimonies of women who have experienced, survived and overcome rape, attempted rape, incest or sexual abuse. 

If you are a rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse or incest survivor and would like to have your story in the book (all testimonies will be brief and anonymous) please contact me with regards to further details. I have a few ladies already who are willing to write on these difficult topics. More women than you all care to know have suffered in silence regarding these topics and I say no more!! I want to shine a light on the truth and bring healing and wholeness by introducing people to the ultimate healer and restorer, Jesus Christ!!

If you or someone you know would like to share their short testimony to stump on the devil’s head, give God ALL the glory and encourage other women, I ask that you email me at butgodbook@yahoo.com All testimonies that are selected will be published anonymously to protect the identities of the survivors. The deadline for submissions will be 9/25/10 but please contact me ASAP to let me know that you would like to be apart of the book. Please share this post with other women that may be interested as well.

I have written out my new plan of action and I am praying, writing and meeting with Versandra. She is one of my accountability partners throughout this journey. I will keep you all posted as I go alone. I am sorry for not being able to include all of the testimonies in this first book but I feel that the book will be more organized, focused and affective this way. As the Lord leads, I would like to use the other testimonies for future projects and I would of course seek the permission of the writers before doing anything with their testimonies.

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

Sins of The Mother

In Feb of 2010, Life Time aired a movie titled Sins of The Mother. Here’s a summary of the movie: Graduate student Shay Hunter (Beharie) reaches a crossroad in her life when she finds herself broke, burned out and unable to cope with the stress of school. With nowhere else to go, she embarks on a journey home to Tacoma, Washington, to face her abusive, alcoholic, estranged mother, Nona (Scott). When she returns home, Shay finds Nona living life as a recovered alcoholic, with a new daughter and completely transformed. Thrown by her mother’s new path, Shay must now accept Nona’s changes and influences, including her sponsor Lois (Rogers) — all forcing Shay to move past her pent-up anger and awaken her own relationships.

Read more: SINS OF THE MOTHER – Lifetime Movie Starring Jill Scott | Daemon’s TV http://www.daemonstv.com/2010/02/21/sins-of-the-mother-lifetime-movie-starring-jill-scott/#ixzz0xRD3XIdw

I thought the movie was deep because even though the mother had gotten clean, was going to church and being a good mother to her younger daughter, her older daughter still struggled with the abuse and neglect that she suffered at the hands of her mother from the past. The young lady had to find peace and forgive her mother so that she could have a happy life and healthy relationships. If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you check it out.

As a social worker/counselor, everyday I see or hear about cases where parents made bad decisions that had grave effects on their children. If a mother chooses the wrong man to date and allows him to have access to her children, the children could end up being molested or abused, this happens everyday. If parents don’t ensure that their children go to school everyday AND teach them at home, the children will not flourish educationally and may grow up to be illiterate.

People need to understand the purpose of becoming a mother. It is not: to collect money from the State, to keep a man from leaving, to have children to boss around and to wait on your hand and foot and it is not to have someone who will love you and never leave you. I believe women should plan to become mothers after they are in healthy stable marriages. I belive that the purpose of being a parent is to raise up men and women for the kingdom of God, to cultivate children and teach them how to be intelligent, confident, productive, kind, compassionate, giving citizens.

When people abuse their authority as a mother and mistreat children or expose them to things that are harmful to them, the children in turn grow up to be angry, struggle with feelings of rejection, low self-esteem and more. As parents we can’t afford to live our lives like we are single and without kids. When we made the decision to become parents, we gave up our right to stay out all night, do what we want and only care for ourselves. We must seek help if we have unresolved issues that cause us to not be the parents that we have been called to be. We must seek mentors and spiritual guidance from our leaders if we feel that we don’t have a good enough understanding about how to parent appropriately. Our children need us to be alert, aware, protecting them, teaching them, loving, encouraging and supporting them. When we sin it affects them. When we mess up, we must apologize to our kids and God and ask God to help us get it right the next time.

As the movie Sins of The Mother showed, even when the mother/parent gets themselves stable and cleaned up, the children don’t miraclously forget the pain of the past. As parents we must live good lives and be examples today so that our children’s tomorrow can be bright.

As a woman embarking on motherhood, I have come to understand that the things that I do, say, eat, meditate on, all affect my baby. If I engage in strenuous physical activities, always find myself arguing with someone, eating horribly and meditating on worry filled thoughts, I would be causing harm to my unborn baby. It’s my job as a mommy to be, to stay calm and healthy so that my baby can grow strong on the inside of me. I have a choice, to nurture or harm the life inside of me.

Prayer for Mothers

Dear Lord, thank you for all of the mothers and mothers to be. Thank you for blessing us with children. Lord help us to be the best mothers that we can be. Guide us and give us wisdom so that we live lives that bring you glory and so that can become blessing to our children. Help us to be patient and keep our tempers. Give us insight on how to handle our children when they are misbehaving. For the single mothers, send helpers and mentors their way to help them with their children and to show them how to be better women and mothers. For the mothers that are married, Lord help us to parent as a team with our husbands. Help us to allow our husbands to be the head of the house and support them in the decisions that they make. Lord forgive us for the sins of the past. Help us to forgive ourselves and to be the best women, wives and mothers that we can be. Thank you for the grace needed to be awesome moms. In Jesus name, AMEN!