Restoration of Love

About three and a half years ago, a sequence of events began that would ultimately change my life forever. About that time, I was living with my girlfriend who, in all honesty, I hooked up with in a one night stand. We both grew up in church and knew that how we were living was wrong, but we wanted it to work so we made up every excuse we could to make it seem ok.

Fast-forward to right now. We are still together, we are madly in love with each other, and even greater, we are insanely in love with God. We have huge hearts to help others transform their relationships to allow God to be at the center. How did all of this happen? God. Only God could pour out enough grace in our relationship to completely transform it to one of purity, honor, and covenant.

We allowed God to basically put our relationship in reverse and then slowly rebuild it, all the while changing our beliefs and mindsets. This isn’t an easy process, especially when couples stay together like Libby and I did. We moved out and became physically pure with each other, which meant no sex, no foreplay, and during certain time periods, no kissing and no hand-holding. During this time God taught me I needed to know myself before I could attempt to understand someone else. I had Libby in my “God spot.” I looked to her for everything—joy, happiness, value, confirmation, and even guidance. I had to come to the understanding that only God can be in the God spot. I had to learn what it meant to have an identity as a son to God.


– John, 23, Florida, US

How to Discover Missing Pieces of Your Calling

Several people meet with me because they don’t understand what their God-given calling is. God has always intended for us to be in relationship with Him while coming alive in what we do.

Most of us know Psalms 37:4 which says “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart” (NASB).

So why do we try to bury the pieces of our heart that are connected to our calling?

For some it might be due to divorcing the life they had before coming to Christ. Others may have grown up in church but feel like they can never find God’s will for their life. Regardless of the reason why, it’s sad when people are floundering in life while dismissing their God-given call.

I’m the last one to point a finger.

At eighteen years old I had to make a decision. It came at a time when I wanted little to do with God or the church. The last thing I was trying to figure out was the call on my life. That said, as I began the process of applying for the Marine Corps I was almost haunted by this thought: “Marine or Missionary?” I didn’t dare tell anyone what was going on because none of my friends at the time would understand.

I chose the Marines. I rationalized that decision because I figured the following:

• I don’t want to be poor.

• I don’t want anything to do with God

• There’s nothing exciting about being a missionary except traveling

• I’ll get to travel in the Marines. And fight (which I felt like I wanted at the time).

I had a longing to travel. I still do. It’s a desire that God placed in my heart before I was ever born. Even at eighteen I knew that traveling the world had to fit into what I did.

Unfortunately I had gone into “emotional survival mode” due to a variety of circumstances that surrounded my life at the time. When I was making this major life decision I was disconnected from my heart. I couldn’t clearly see/feel what I was called to. So I picked the most “logical” decision. The problem was that I made a logical decision out of a place of pain.


Pain will often sabotage our ability to connect with certain areas of our calling.


The beautiful thing is that God isn’t phased by our poor decisions. Remember, He’s the master of working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). His unconditional love is willing to wait for us to choose to move toward His plans. 

I completed four years of active duty in the Marines. It’s something I am proud of and don’t regret at all. Looking back at my “logical” reasons for joining you can find some humor. Even though I was active duty from 2000 to 2004, I never once deployed. That’s right. I joined to travel but never actually did it! In hindsight I realized it was God’s protection and what I like to call His sense of humor.

It was only after I got out of the Marines and whole-heartedly gave my life to Christ that I ended up experiencing what I had longed for. Six months after my contract ended I found myself doing mission work in Mozambique with Iris Ministries.

Traveling is only one piece of my personal puzzle which is forming a beautiful picture as I find (and focus on) one piece at a time.

Going back to the Psalms 37:4…it starts with “Delight yourself in the Lord.” We can only adequately connect with our core desires once we have positioned our heart in affection towards God.

You may not be hard-hearted like I was, but pain can cause us to rationalize decisions that are counter to God’s plan. You will never be able to fully suppress your calling regardless of what your life may look like right now. God can and will work everything for good. It’s what He does. 

Finding the lost pieces: There is hope. You can pray and ask God to highlight areas of your life that may have fallen dormant. He’s excited to show you. Not to shame you, but rather to point you in the direction that will make you come alive.

You can (and should) be proactive when God begins to bring these areas to the surface.

1. Repent: The turning point for me was when I dropped to my knees and asked for forgiveness. It changed the direction I was headed and pointed me toward His calling.

2. Reflect: Take time to think about the subtle moments that you felt your heart leap or can’t get rid of a life-giving thought. Try to identify certain themes in your life where you feel God’s pleasure. Write them down and begin to pray for God to highlight areas that you can begin to re-engage with.

Move On: There comes a time where you have to close that chapter of your life. God values our history, but doesn’t want us to live in it. Once you have started consciously moving towards your calling, don’t look back!




Dreaming About My Husband: Is it Really a Good Idea?


I am wondering if it’s not so good to imagine my husband, our honeymoon night and stuff like that. It just stirs me more to live for purity with the future in mind.




This is something that I think a lot of girls think about and something that plenty of us struggle with. We as women tend to be more futuristic about who we will marry. We are exposed to so many “fairytale” stories and movies, that we long for our very own story as well.

I think that having vision for the future is definitely important and it provokes us to make choices that will ultimately get us to where we are going. When in a season of being single, envisioning your spouse can give you hope and strength to endure. A quote we hear from one of the pastors in our culture is vision gives pain a purpose. Being single may or may not be painful but any process to get what we deeply desire isn’t always easy. Having vision keeps you hopeful. Check out the link below and read how Webster’s dictionary defines “vision“. One definition is this: “The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision.”

On the contrary, there are ways in our thinking where we can easily slip into fantasy. We begin to create situations and scenarios in our mind that conjure up emotion and even sexual fantasy. This can be dangerous for us to do. It can become a place of comfort that we resort to, to escape reality. This can become one way in which we awaken love before it’s time. Like I mentioned before; dreaming about the future is a beautiful thing and keeps your desires in front of you. However, consider that it may not be very beneficial for you to be stirring up feelings you cannot currently fulfill.


Here are some questions you can be asking yourself:

Do I find myself fantasizing about the future and have trouble focusing on the now?
Am I longing for my spouse so much that I feel anxious?
Do I stir up myself sexually thinking about being with my future spouse?
What can I focus on now that will get me to where I envision?
What does it look like to embrace my season of “singleness”?

It is so important to dream and have vision for your future.
A man without vision perishes. On the flip side you don’t want the future to consume your thoughts so much that you cannot embrace what’s in front of you. Consider Nehemiah, he chose to focus on the “wall” in front of him and built that “wall” even when criticism and opposition came. Nehemiah had vision and God strengthened him to be faithful with what he had before him.

It is an incredible thing to long for God’s best and have an idea of who he will be. The truth is God does have the best for you. It will be wonderful. Use this time you have now to picture the kind of woman you want to be and be proactive in going after those things. Some examples could be:

Growing in your spiritual walk
Writing out a dream list: I want to be known as a woman who…
Discovering what your love languages are; how you best receive and give love


Here are some great resources for you. We encourage you to check these out:

1. “The Stirring” is a young adults church in our city and the pastor rocks messages on being single, dating, marriage and sex. These podcasts are my absolute favorite. The series is called Under the Chuppah

2. “Captivating By Stasi Elderedge, a book on unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul. Read the following excerpt by clicking on the link.

3. “The Five Love languages (Singles Edition) By Gary Chapman. It is important as singles to know how we emotionally and physically best receive love. This book will equip you in your relationships to love the way your wired and how to love the one your with well.

4. Moral Revolution will enable you to keep hope and vision for the man of your dreams alive, while giving you tools to managing your desires, navigating your heart and equipping you to be the woman he desires.

5. The Naked Truth About Sexuality will give you perspective on why’s and how’s of the waiting process, helping you understand and celebrate God’s design for sex and marriage.

You have the Spirit of the living God inside of you. You have what it takes to manage your thoughts. We are super excited for the journey God is taking you on. You will be rocking your purity and dreaming about your future, while keeping your heart alive by monitoring your thoughts. We speak blessing over your life and much grace for the process.

She is 16

She is 16 years old.

This is her first real relationship.  She’s dated some boys before, but this one has lasted through five months, two dances, Christmas and spring break, and it was a big deal to her. He also told her that he loved her; she has never been in love before.  All of her friends told her it was the “real and forever” kind of love. She had the classic teenage complaints about her parents.  She felt like the idea that she was in love would be silly to them.  She always felt like they never truly understood her.


This is not the first heart-to-heart we’ve had.  She has been in our living room a number of times, and she has always come to us when she needed direction. Her relationship with her parents was good and they had always encouraged her to come to us, her youth pastors, for spiritual advice. But when she sat down, I knew this one was going to be different.  She had never been this serious about a boy before.  We had met him when he’d come with her to youth group activities and over to the house when the kids hung out.  He was a nice guy but didn’t connect with her deep spiritual beliefs.  He said he was a Christian and went to church, but never really had much else to say on the subject.


As she sat there, I could tell she was nervous.  I could tell that she had something weighing heavily on her heart, but she was dancing around the subject.  In my straight-to-the-point, no-time-for-games, loving way, I asked her, “What is really going on? Why did you want to talk to us?” She was used to this type of conversation from us; the kids actually seemed to appreciate when we talked to them like adults.


“He wants me to…” She paused slightly. “Sleep with him.” Her head dropped and she stared at her feet in silence.
“Ok?” I probed, breaking the silence. “What do you think about that?”


Her head popped up, wide eyes full of surprise. She looked like no one had ever asked her that question before, like she hadn’t expected it. She began to tell us what her friends were saying, and that everyone was doing it, and that if she didn’t do it, she was worried he would dump her.  Some of her friends had lost their virginity and they kept telling her how great it was.  This went on for a few minutes.  Then I asked her the question again, “That’s what your friends think, but what do you think?”


She paused. “I know that God designed sex for marriage. I know that there is so much more connected to it than what my friends say. I know I have always wanted to save myself for marriage, but I’m so confused. He says he loves me and that the only way to show him how much I love him is to sleep with him.  But sex is such a big deal!”


She reviewed all the things that her parents had taught her and what we had said about how God designed sex for marriage and how beautiful it was in that context. She told us about the consequences of sex before marriage, STD’s and pregnancy– all the answers she thought were right.  “I am still so confused!” she said with exasperation, bursting into tears.


I leaned in toward her and asked one question — four simple words. Four simple words that would change her life for the next 8 years:

“What is God saying?”



I am 17 years old.

It’s been two months since he broke up with me. Two months since I told him that I wanted to wait till marriage to have sex. Two months since he tried to pressure me into sex. Two months since he said, “If you really love me, you will sleep with me. Waiting till marriage is so old fashioned.  Everyone is doing it. It’s what teenagers do!” Two months since I heard the voice of God so deep in my heart say, “Wait. I have so much more for you.”

These two months have not been fun for me.  “Not fun” is an understatement. He said he loved me, but I saw quickly how conditional that love was. After our huge fight, where he called me a lot of horrible names and told me I owed him, he stopped talking to me. Just like that, it was over. It’s amazing that someone can say that they love you and then when you don’t do what they want, how quickly that “love” goes away. The next day his friends began to share with me what they thought of my choice. I never knew how creative high school boys could be with words and gestures. If I hear the word “prude” one more time, I might go crazy.


My friends haven’t been much better. I really have uncovered the meaning of true friendship.  Some were there to dry my tears as I went through the break up, some just stopped talking to me after I made my choice. Some joined in with the name-calling.  I think the girls are worse than the boys. Usually, I can go into the girls locker room to escape what the guys are saying, but that doesn’t stop my old friends once I’m in there.  Most of the time, it’s said in whispers or behind my back, but it cuts deep. Those that wanted me to do it in the first place seem to be the ones that left the quickest.


My birthday is today.  My best friend is still around and is still supportive. Tonight we are going to see a movie and go out to eat with my family.  The hardest part is how lonely I feel.  Two months ago, I thought that I would be spending this day with him. Two months ago, I thought that I would be spending all my birthdays with him. After all, as my “friends” said, love is forever.


So no, these last two months have not been easy.  They have sucked, actually. But I don’t regret my choice.  I know that day, when I sat in my youth pastor’s living room, I heard God.  I heard that He has a plan for me and that I should wait.  Every day since then I keep asking Him the same question: “Did I make the right choice?” That is when His love fills me and He reminds me to wait, because He has so much more for me.


She is 24 years old.

From the caller ID, I can tell it’s her.  I still have the silly contact picture we took of her when she graduated from high school.  The one with her tongue sticking out of her mouth, silly string on top of her grad hat and life in her eyes.  She calls me from the other side of the country.  She has graduated from college and has begun to follow her calling, her destiny.


She’s no longer the unsure teen who sat on my couch; she’s now a young woman, vibrant and in love, calling me to talk about wedding plans.  She has asked that my husband perform the ceremony.  She is giddy and talking a million miles an hour.  But I sense there is something deeper lingering, something reminiscent of all the times she came to us for direction throughout the years.


“Three months until I’m married!  I am so excited!” she squeals.  We discuss the place where the wedding is being held. She met her fiancé in college, at her church.  He shares the same values and beliefs she does.  He actually grew up in a small town only thirty minutes from us, so the wedding will be here, at our church.  She always wanted it that way.


As her excitement winds down, what she really called to talk about comes to the surface. “We are struggling,” she says, finally.


“What do you mean, ‘you’re struggling’?” I ask.


“We are so close to the wedding, but honestly it’s so hard to… you know….” her voice trails off. I’m sure her eyes have fallen to her feet and her face is flushed; some things never change. She and her fiancé are both virgins.  He had victory in his purity all through high school and college as well, though his frat brothers hadn’t made it easy.


“Ok? So tell me what’s going on.”


“Well, we both know that God wants us to be together. It’s just that knowing that, it’s so hard to wait. It’s hardest when we are alone and…he…he is just such a good kisser!”


I have to admit, I laugh at that.


“Both of you made an agreement when you started dating, one where you asked us and your current pastors to keep you accountable. Has something changed?” I ask.


“No, that’s why I am calling you. How do we do this?  How do we keep ourselves off each other?” she asks, obviously very frustrated. I stifle a laugh.


We begin to discuss the boundaries they had set for themselves; what’s okay and what’s not okay to do.  Then, I ask her some hard questions.  Where were they when they found themselves in these situations? Had they gone too far? How far is too far for them?  They hadn’t had sex, but they had gotten close and it was usually when they are alone in his or her apartment. We explore that a little further as well.


“Well, I guess we shouldn’t be alone in each others apartments anymore,” she concluded with a sigh. “It’s just so hard!”


Then I asked her that same question that I had asked eight years ago:


“What is God saying?”


Three months later, she walked down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be husband in the whitest of white wedding dress. They had won the battle! They had made it! She had been through it all. She had lost boyfriends, friends and her popularity, but she had made it and no one was going to take that away from her. God truly had so much more for her!


– Johanna Wilson, Volunteer


The Invisible Effects of Sex Before Marriage?


What are some of the effects of sex before marriage?



We know what you’re probably expecting from an article like this– Yes, sex before marriage can lead to unplanned pregnancy. Yes, it can lead to sexually transmitted infections. Yes, it can increase the risk of identity issues, depression, and broken relationships. But, there’s so much more to talk about than that, particularly some of the invisible effects of sex.

First let’s start by understanding this: we can’t stop our bodies from doing what they were created to do. What were they created to do? Bond. We were created to connect with another human being in such a way that we would become one unit, together, for life.

Why does this happen?
Because our hormones cause us to glue, so-to-speak, with our partner. No amount of consent or informed decision making can change that. There’s a bonding that occurs that supersedes a mere skin-to-skin connection. Scientifically, we know that sex engages us hormonally, neurologically, psychologically; it forms intense bonds mentally, emotionally, and physically, especially when we do it over and over again.1

How does this happen?
Quite simply, any kind of sexual activity that takes place releases chemicals in our brains. For women, it is primarily the hormone oxytocin, and for men it is vasopressin. Oxytocin allows a woman to bond to the most significant people in her life. It eases stress, creating feelings of calm and closeness, which leads to increased trust. It also causes her to want to nurture and protect the one she’s bonded to. Vasopressin is very similar to oxytocin, except that it is primarily released in the brain of men. This hormone causes a man to bond to a woman during intimate contact. Some call it the “commitment hormone” or “monogamy molecule”. This hormone generates a desire for commitment and rouses loyalty. It inspires a protective sense over one’s mate, and can create a “jealous” tendency.2 There is a third set of hormones called endorphins released during sexual activities, and they affect both genders. Endorphins are what we call happy hormones. They are highly addictive and cause us to want to experience the rush again and again and again.
What makes things even more interesting is that these hormones are  values-neutral.3 Whether it’s a one-time encounter or a lifelong commitment, we bond the same way. It also crystallizes these emotional memories in our minds, making these encounters and experiences difficult to forget.

Now, in a marriage, these hormones are extremely motivating and helpful. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that some days marriage would get hard. He knew we would need some help choosing each other day after day, over and over again. He knew that some days we wouldn’t like our spouse very much. We would argue. Bills would come in. Babies would get sick. In-laws would come to town. Emergencies would happen. Stress would overshadow the relationship. So, He installed an over-ride system (hormones) that would cause us to stick together through thick and thin, in good times and bad, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. It would cause us to feel devoted, loyal, possessive, and willing to endure trials to keep what belongs to us. What an intelligent Designer we have.

So, what happens when we have multiple sexual partners?
Scientifically, we know this: As we bond and break, bond and break, bond and break, we lose our ability to properly bond.4 When we’re ready for that new, serious relationship or marriage, something is missing that prevents us from fully bonding; we don’t feel that connected or committed. Our feelings may seem to diminish. When we see someone else a little more exciting, more appealing, more perfect for us, we’re ready to move on in a heartbeat. The condition of being “crazy in love” suddenly disappears. We may say we don’t feel all that excited anymore. We may even lose faith in falling in love again.
This is why it is important to protect our purity; spirit, soul, and body. We must understand that ability to be pure and save ourselves is not just a religious ideal. It’s not just about giving your valuable v-card to someone. That’s not the point. The point is to keep our stickiness intact so that when we find the right person, we connect with them for life.


*For more information, check out Hooked: New Science On How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children by McIlhaney and Bush.

1. McIlhaney, Joe S., and Freda McKissic Bush. Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2008. Print. 45.

2. Ibid., 41-42
3. Ibid., 33
4. Ibid., 43

Trust Is Key

A while back I dated a girl who was extremely insecure and for some reason I took on the responsibility of “fixing” her. I made it my goal to make sure she knew how incredibly beautiful and lovely she was. The problem was, I was very insecure myself and we had both put each other in a place that only God should have had in our lives.


No matter how much I tried to love her, she struggled to receive it because she didn’t think she was worth it. And to add to that, I had some trust issues that weren’t helping matters. I recognized that there were various things damaging our connection, but I never addressed them because I was afraid of hurting her feelings. I also realized I had gotten into the relationship for the completely wrong reasons. It was unhealthy, co-dependent, and smothered by insecurities. I began to build a case and get frustrated, and she didn’t seem be getting any less insecure. With insecurity comes a lack of trust. There was such a low level of trust that we didn’t feel safe, which makes sense, because when you don’t know who you are, it is impossible for someone else get to know the real you.


Trust takes time to build and should increase as the relationship progresses, but there was very little in this relationship. Not only were we individually not whole; we didn’t trust one another enough to protect the other’s heart. The relationship became stagnant and did not develop. For a relationship to work, you need to fully trust that you are seeing the real person and that you like the real them. I learned this the hard way by entering a relationship with little trust already built. Since learning my identity, not taking on other people’s responsibilities, and choosing to trust, my life looks, and is, so much healthier!


Ashley-James, 24, California, US

A Life Sentence

Have you ever noticed that wedding bands look a lot like tiny handcuffs?

I’m being funny. But, you have to admit, it’s an accurate description of the covenant they represent. Not the prison part…the never-leaving, never-forsaking, “death-do-us-part” part. Unfortunately, many marriages feel like a prison, because too often, our un-renewed selves get in the way of true love.

When we got married, my husband and I read these vows to one another (our own adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8):

“By the grace of God, by His mercy and His truth, I tie my love to yours.
I vow that my love will be patient and fully kind.
Jealousy shall not taint it, nor arrogance abuse it.
My love, by the grace of God, will hold you blameless;
no account against you will I keep.
My heart will rejoice in truth; it sees you with perfect eyes,
putting you first, before myself.
My heart will bear all things, believe all things and hope in all things, knowing that Love never fails.”


By the time we were fixin’ to get hitched, we were fully aware that the only way our marriage would succeed was if we fully submitted to God’s image of love. We knew that we had to get out of our own way. We knew that we couldn’t do it in our own strength. We knew we needed His. So, we made a point to acknowledge that God was the center of it all.

Since then, we’ve seen first-hand how God has honored and breathed on our promise and given us the grace to see every part fulfilled.

We’ve seen true Love, in action. Just like we vowed we would.

That hasn’t looked like “getting it right” every time, but every time there is an offense or a mistake, we believe that the other didn’t do it on purpose. We hope that it’s going to get worked out, and that things will be better than ever. It means that the slate is always clean after the mess is cleaned up. It means that even after the worst offense or shortcoming, he is my Prince Charming, and I am his “Belle,” because that’s who God says we are. So, we treat each other that way. In the process, we practice choosing to be patient and fully kind, knowing that neither has all the answers. When one of us succeeds, we both celebrate! And most importantly, we stick together.

You see, we may have slipped on the “cuffs,” by our own choosing, but God now holds the key. And, though there is no escaping this inescapable love- a bond as strong as death (see Songs 8:6) – it doesn’t feel like a life-sentence…

Our sentences now continually bring us life.

Real Love Satisfies

When I look back on my life, I see that when I was in relationship with someone, I was focused on how much could I get, and how much would they give. After I took all I could out of them, I got bored with my partners, but I would stay with them out of guilt. I said I was staying because I loved them, but my love was conditional on how much they gave me sex, attention, or sacrifice, and how much they didn’t inconvenience me. I would go out my way for them and fight for them, but only if I was getting what I wanted in return—sex and other things.

After allowing God to reveal real love to me—real *unconditional* love—I have been unable to think of myself. It is no longer about how I can get something from someone; it’s all about my partner and how great I can make her, how amazing can she be, how can I help her achieve her goals. It’s about laying down my life and dreams to fulfill hers, and *letting* her do the same for me. It’s about dying to myself, and together raising each other up.

I have learned that love means “not doing” as much as it does “doing.” If you can maintain your sex drive toward women, and then toward the woman of your dreams, not sexualizing them for your emotional and momentary gain before marriage, then you will be able to give her anything and everything. You will be able to focus all your love towards her. Sex is not love. Sex outside of love says “satisfy me,” where as sex in marriage is an expression of love that says, “Let me satisfy you and your needs.”

Parker, 25, California, US

Silencing Shame


Have you ever heard that little voice in your head say…?

“You don’t fit in”

“Nobody likes you”

“You’re stupid”

“You’re the only one who has made this mistake”

“How could God love you? I mean He really knows everything about you”

“You’re not lovable”

“You will never fulfill your destiny”

Have you ever felt like…?

“Everyone is against me”

“I’m not as good as others”

“I just can’t do anything right”

“Maybe if I just try harder, then…”

“I’m all alone”

“I hate myself”

“I’m worthless”

If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, shame could be speaking to you.



When Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, guilt was an appropriate symptom of their disobedience. Guilt is built into our conscience to let us know when we have done something that threatens our connection with God.

Guilt is actually a good thing. It’s like a warning light on a car’s dashboard that lets you know when something needs attention before the engine blows up.

Guilt is from God

Shame is from Satan

Guilt says, “You did something wrong,” like when the apostle Paul said, “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Guilt is about what we’ve done.

Shame goes further: It speaks to who we are.

Shame is the sense of feeling unworthy. It’s a core (even subconscious) belief of unworthiness.

Shame says, “You are wrong.” “You are a sinner.” “You are bad.” “You are not good enough.”

Shame asks, “Who do you think you are?



If the devil can convince us that we do not have a supernatural identity as children of God, then he can derail us from our supernatural destiny.

When Jesus was baptized, he heard the Father say, “This is my son…” Identity. Interestingly, Jesus did not preach one message, heal one sick person, or prophesy until he first heard of his true identity. We can only fulfill our supernatural destiny to the degree that we believe our supernatural identity.



After his baptism, Jesus was led out into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Two times, the devil assaulted Jesus’ identity when he challenged him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” And then, “If you are the Son of God, jump off of the Temple’s roof.”

The devil was attempting to tempt Jesus into performing to prove his identity because he knew that if Jesus took the challenge, it would demonstrate that he did not really know who he was. Moreover, he would have to spend the rest of his life proving his identity over and over. Knowing our true identity prevents performance for approval.



Shame always seeks to seduce its prey into perfectionism. When we listen to shame, we will never feel secure in our identity. We will always need to do more to prove that “we are O.K.”, while never actually appeasing shame’s appetite for approval.

The pursuit of feeling worthy by being better, more successful, thinner, smarter, wealthier, accomplished, or even in “good” busyness, is a futile attempt at cultivating a godly sense of worthiness.

The apostle Paul states in Ephesians 2:10 that, “We are saved by grace, not of ourselves; it is a gift of God, so that no one can boast.” That means you cannot earn worthiness. We are worthy of God’s love because of His grace – nothing more.

Additionally, we were God’s treasures before we ever became Christians – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” When God created Adam and Eve, He said that they were “good;” they had intrinsic worth – worthiness – His treasures.



1. Learn how to recognize God’s voice from the devil’s voice.

Ask yourself, “Is what I’m hearing the truth or a lie?” Try writing down all of the times shame speaks to you during the day. You may be surprised at how often shame is speaking.

2. Learn how to be vulnerable.

Shame loves secrecy. The truth will set us free. Being open and honest requires great risk, but also reaps great reward. Begin with yourself, God, and then reach out to someone who can give you good feedback. Telling someone that we have been listening to shame releases us from the power of secrecy, and silences shame.

3. Learn to recognize your feelings.

Empathy is the antidote to shame. When we are able to discern and identify our feelings and the feelings of others, it creates a pathway to finding out what we need from God, others, and ourselves. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” “What do I need?”

4. Learn to take every thought captive.

You are going to be tempted to believe and act in negative, hurtful, and dysfunctional ways to the shame messages spoken to you. Shame is silenced when we take ownership of our mistakes, accept our limitations, deficiencies, and limitations, as well as interpret other people’s motives correctly. Take responsibility in submitting shaming thoughts and feelings to become obedient to Christ’s perspective (2 Corinthians 10:5).

5. Learn how to listen through the ears of faith.

Ask yourself, “What does God want to say to me about my identity right now?” “What does He think about me?” Additionally, begin reading Scripture from the perspective that God is for you, that you are a good man or woman, that you are a saint saved by grace, an overcomer, the apple of His eye.

6. Learn to be grateful.

The fact is that you are wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). Being grateful for how God has made you in all of your limitations and imperfections will help you to replace shame with acceptance and love. Every time you hear shame messages left on your mental voice mail, erase them with gratitude. Thankfulness prepares the way for breakthrough.

We hope this post helps you silence the shame messages that have been sent to you.

Be looking for some more important practical tips on how to silence shame coming soon!



7 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Over Your Ex


We’ve all been there. It starts off with a, “Hey! We really need to talk.” Then a few minutes pass and you’re confronted with this awkward pseudo-question, “But I hope we can still be friends…?”


This isn’t another post about, why things didn’t work out. You’ve probably had enough of that already. No one plans on getting dumped. No one even expects it! But if you’re scrolling through Facebook broken-hearted, and trying to cope, we want you to know… we feel you. Here are 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Over Your Ex.


It’s okay to cry. Some of us are afraid to let it all out because we want to believe we are still in control. Like there’s an unsaid competition to see who takes the breakup the hardest.

Listen: no one wins.

Breakups are messy inside and out. Crying isn’t admitting defeat; it’s allowing your heart to process. Think about it this way: someone who was once a part of your life has just decided not to be. Yikes! That’s a pretty heavy blow for anyone, and that’s something that is out of our control. If I was hit by a car on Thursday, I wouldn’t be at work on Friday pretending like nothing happened. So why is it, that culturally, we are forced to get up and walk off our heartbreak?


Okay, okay. We’re not telling you to commit a felony (especially if your ex went to law school). However, we have to recognize that burning is a metaphor for something deeper. It’s a way of reinforcing the fact that it’s really over. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a relationship with the ghost of your ex.


Being in a relationship shouldn’t change you, right? I mean if someone really loves you they should love you for who you are; the good, the bad, and the ugly… Right? So then why do we change? Where do we go wrong?

The truth is, relationships are not about change but exchange.

When we decide to be with someone we undoubtedly invite them to influence us. That doesn’t mean they control us, but instead we allow ourselves to be re-positioned when the need arises. We all want love to flow through our relationships, however, sometimes we can become the hindrance to that goal.

So then, are you still functioning like you’re in a relationship? If so, remember who you were before you got into a relationship and simply readjust.


We all get tempted to talk to our ex’s friends. Sometimes it’s because we legitimately have a lot more in common with them. Other times, it’s simply because they’re cuter. Whatever the case:

Just don’t do it!

This isn’t Nike, and Kevin Durant is not your friend…

Nothing is more tempting than talking about your ex when you’ve just broken up. Talking to your ex’s friends can easily become a way of accessing their lives when your ex has already decided not be a part of yours. It’s low! Even if you’re not trying to get information and you legitimately want to get to know an ex’s friend, give it a few weeks. Intentionally seeking out an ex’s friend after a breakup can be misinterpreted easily, and nothing can be a bigger put-off.


Believe it or not, rebounding isn’t going to get rid of the pain and disappointment you may be feeling.

Instead, reconsider your relationship.

Take the good things and celebrate them. Take the bad things, reassess them, and take responsibility for your part. That doesn’t mean you have to send a massive text-apology to your ex, or you need to call them up. Just forgive yourself! Then give yourself the freedom to move forward.


Take some time to not think about your breakup. Go have fun! Enjoy your friends, family, and the outdoors. Try taking a new class, going to a concert, or starting a new project. Whatever the case, give yourself permission to be happy again.


Stop reflecting. Stop reassessing. Stop wondering what your life would have been like if you were both still together. You deserve to be happy.

If you can’t stop thinking about your ex then talk to a close friend or mentor about it. You are the deciding factor when it comes to the kind of man or woman you want to be, and no past relationship has the right to control your future. Go! Take some risks, make good choices, and be free from your ex.

Victor Morales (Intern)