This is one of those growing pains every women remember, getting their period for the first time. Without going into too much detail, I knew what was happening when mine first started, but I was too embarrassed to tell my mom about it. I was actually out of town and my Great Aunt (amazing woman) helped set me up with all the necessary feminine hygiene products, and after that I kept it a secret. I stored my newly acquired pads in the closet and didn’t say a word to my mom when I got home. This burned me up on the inside. I felt like I was keeping some deep dark secret, that my mom should know about.
I wasted so many hours striving after things that ultimately led to heartache. I spent so much time, effort, and energy on my desires, but thing after thing would fail. I wasn’t able to live a life full of joy. Instead, I was bogged down by seeking things that the I thought would bring happiness. And the truth is, what I wanted would bring me happiness--temporarily.
As an unapologetic optimist, I used to assume the best about people which made me an unfortunate judge of character. Sometimes I honestly couldn't identify fake friends from real ones. But the sarcastic words? The little insults? They were the hundred paper cuts that eventually made me bleed. I had to learn the hard way that not everyone likes Ashley. And some people never will.
I’ve always been good at being self-sufficient. If I had a problem, I’d find a way to fix it. If I were feeling sad, I would realize it was my responsibility to make sure I stopped feeling that way. Essentially, I’ve always had the logical sense to realize that nobody else could fix my problems; I knew I had to be responsible and take care of them myself. In many ways, I applied that to my relationship with God. He had good works prepared for me to do, so I’d better get my act together and get them done, right?
Wouldn’t it be more caring to pray for someone instead of worrying for them? I find the difference between worrying and putting my trust in God to be this: when I worry, I draw more into myself, allowing my fears and anxieties to spread. When I instead turn and give my worries over to God, I draw more into His peace and trust that He’s got me no matter what the situation may be. The crazy part is, God loves our families and friends way more than we ever could. God doesn’t want His children, you or me, to live in the fear of not knowing what the future will hold. But instead to have faith in knowing that He holds our future and will never leave us.
Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of having a prestigious career. There has always been something in me that has desired to have the status of a successful career woman, a woman who has done something with her life. Intelligence and prestige had become so important in my life. Being a wife and mother didn’t really appeal to me all that much. Honestly, it was pride in my heart that told me that being a wife and mother wasn’t good enough. Sure, eventually I wanted to have kids. But in my mind, the end-all goal was to be successful and to make a name for myself.
You know you’ve messed up. How could anyone love you anymore? No matter what you do, there is nothing that can atone for your mistakes. Yet your husband comes and pursues you, like you are priceless. What kind of love is this?
Our culture has taught us that to love someone you need to accept them, all of them. Tolerance is key. The Bible teaches us the contrary. Love does not tolerate blatant sin. If someone, particularly a fellow believer, has a consistent sin issue: gossip, pride, anger, sexual immorality of any kind, slander, etc. it is our duty to say something.
Sex is confusing. The church has overcomplicated it. The world has overcomplicated it. But it doesn't have to be that way. God's ways are actually quite simple. Our co-founder & director, Ashley Giovannucci, spoke about holistic purity with one hundred 6th-12th graders at the One Heart Youth Conference last weekend. She talked about failed attempts to navigate our sexuality - the purity movement of the 1990's, abstinence education, and the free love movement. And she ultimately shared how the simplicity of God's way brings clarity to our lives.
My phone background during my 10th grade year read simply, “Love Never Fails.” As a kid who grew up in the church, this reference to 1 Corinthians 13:8 seemed pretty cut and dry. However, as my friend picked up my phone, read my background, and said casually yet confidently, “That’s a lie!” my perspective shifted.