A few weeks ago my sis in Christ Shaniqua Zastrow (of Real Love Rules blog) asked me to take part in the vision YHWH gave her for a movement of 10 women who would be featured with their testimony for a series called “The Testifying Ten”. I was honored to be asked to participate and terrified at the same time. As humans, I think its always hard to tell people your story because you have to admit all your dirty laundry. I wanted to be extra raw and uncut by the leading of the holy spirit. It took me seven hours to type. SEVEN. And I literally cried throughout the entire thing. But obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I knew that I needed to be as transparent as possible and it was going to be way beyond my comfort zone. You can read the entire post here. The response I received was so overwhelming but in a really good way. I never, ever thought that my story would encourage people but I’m so happy that it has. I’m just a nobody that YHWH chose to use to carry out His will. So the glory goes ALL to Him. I can’t even tell ya’ll how much I was blessed by this entire situation.
YHWH does not want us stuck in the mediocrity of our comfort zones.
I’ve always struggled with low self esteem my entire life. Self esteem is defined as in the having of confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect. Because I grew up without a dad and had a mom who had no idea what it was to love herself; my perception of who I was was skewed. This carried out into all areas of my life. I’ve always been shy. Settled for many things and situations in my past. Always scared to ask for what I truly want. For a long time, I didn’t even pray my prayers with authority. I would doubt YHWH and never believed I was good enough to receive all that He had for me. Man, I was so wrong. Its hard as humans to comprehend just how much He wants to bless us. So much so, that often we get mad at the fact that we will hear a straight up NO from YHWH. Like, but YHWH I really want this job! You think it’s the perfect one for you. You don’t get the job. Now you’re mad at YHWH because He didn’t come through with what you thought was perfect for you. His plans are always greater than ours. When I learned to sync myself to His flow, I stopped stressing because I knew Christ would come through. I controlled my own destiny for so long while I was in the world, that it’s a relief I can count on Christ now for direction. If we settle for what we think we want, it’s telling YHWH we don’t want His very best. And I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’m trying to love everything about my life.
I’ve always been curvy but never really knew how to handle it. Society says we are pieces of meat with the way media portrays us women. I have never looked like the girls in the magazines. Heck, I didn’t even look like the girls around me. So I was always self conscious about my body and the way that I dress. It seems as though I could wear a garbage bag and I would still get stares or I would still get judged. As I got bigger during my weight gain, I lost control of who I was. I did not know how to dress for my body. So realistically I used to dress like a bum the majority of the time. I felt that as long as I was presentable, it was okay. I did not feel good about who I was at all. And I knew Christ did not want me here. He took me on a journey to find what loving myself the way He loves us is truly about. The bible says, in 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. My heart was transformed so why wasn’t this translating into the physical? I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin. How could I have been such a bad caretaker of the body I was leant? I wanted to believe that I was as beautiful and as valued as as YHWH says I am.
Who YHWH says we are:
- Royalty – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
- His Masterpiece – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Yehoshua for good works, which YHWH prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
- Citizens of Heaven – But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Messiah Christ Yehoshua. Philippians 3:20
- Children of Light – For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5
- Wonderfully Made – I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
- Handpicked and Chosen by YHWH – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16
- Strong – I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
- Set Apart – “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
- Confident – And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14
- At Peace – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to YHWH. And the peace of YHWH, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
- Wanted – He predestined us for adoption as sons through Yehoshua Christos, according to the purpose of his will Ephesians 1:5
- One with Him – I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
- Forgiven – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
- Free – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son Colossians 1:13
- Safe and Protected – Put on the whole armor of YHWH, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
- Heirs of Christ – And if children, then heirs—heirs of YHWH and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:17
- Provided For – And my YHWH will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Yehoshua. Philippians 4:19
- Cared For – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
- Always Good – And we know that for those who love YHWH all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
- Bold – In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. Ephesians 3:12
- Authoritative – And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. Mark 16:17-18
- Demon and Giant Slayers – Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19
And above all..
Unconditionally Loved – For YHWH so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
As a mother, it’s important to me to make sure not to stifle my son’s free spirit. He teaches me so much about being fearless. The way he just trusts. There’s no hindrance there. How can we preach the life Christ has allowed us to have to our kids yet not follow it ourselves? When you know who you are in Christ and who HE says you are, life takes on a brand new shape. You are no longer a slave to others and their preconceived notions of you. I now have courage to do all things YHWH has called me to do. I am delivered of so many things, you guys. I have the boldness to prayerfully jump into where Christ wants me. Life is meant to be lived abundantly. What are you so afraid of? The fear of change or the fear of staying the same?
“With Christ I must take only one step at a time and wait for Him to illuminate the next. It’s like jumping off the high dive and then checking on the way down to make sure there’s water in the pool. With Christ, however, I am assured that there’s always water in the pool.” – Judy Baer
Photographer: Naj of Driven x Style
Edits: Shaun Martinez
Location: Weehawken, NJ
Crop: $5 eBay
Harem Pants: $5 Wetseal
Denim Jacket: $10 Old Navy
Sunnies: Vogue Eclipse $25
Hair: Shears of Gold