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Why Healing Hurts

By JoCelyn Medina

The past few months have been crazy, challenging, hard, joyful, and fun all at the same time. A lot of life changes happened in a short amount of time, and the transition process has been more difficult than I thought it would be. Going through change is never easy, but there is always good and beauty on the other side if we trust the Lord through it.

In the past few months, I started a new job, closed on my first home, moved in with two of my best friends, broke up with my boyfriend, and watched my grandpa pass away.

Looking back, I can see how the Lord has been carrying me through each day, because everything that’s happened is way too much for me to handle on my own. Some days are harder than others – some days my heart feels heavier, but other days are much lighter and more fun.

We are constantly going through different seasons in our lives, and some are much harder than others. Sometimes we will just want to give up and do anything we can to avoid the pain, but friend, what good will come of that? There are so many things in this world that can offer us temporary relief, but I know from experience, that all of them will just leave us even more empty.

When we allow ourselves to feel pain and walk through difficult things, we are allowing ourselves to experience true healing because we are allowing the Father to speak into those hurt places in our hearts. There is no way to truly and completely heal from any type of wound without feeling pain first. Even though it’s harder, I promise it is so, so worth it!

If there is one thing I learned from allowing myself to walk through extremely difficult healing, it’s this:

The depth of pain that we allow ourselves to feel is directly connected to the depth of joy and freedom we experience. When we try to numb or avoid pain, we are depriving ourselves of the JOY and FREEDOM the Lord desires to give us.

The older I get, the more I realize how much the refining process hurts, but I also realize that God is refining me to be more beautiful than gold. I realize that sometimes the Lord calls us to do things we don’t want to do – and even though we can’t always understand why (and we may never fully understand) – all we can do is trust that it is ultimately for our good.

Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.”

Do you believe this? It’s easy to doubt this promise when things get hard, but how can we ever think that such a faithful and loving God would ever fail us? He never has and he never will. He is always faithful.

He is painting such a beautiful picture that we can’t fully see. We may see little glimpses here and there, but there is so much more to it than we realize. Our lives are such a small piece of the extravagant masterpiece that he is working together.

Sweet friend, if you are going through something difficult in your life, I hope you can keep this perspective, be encouraged by the truth, and trust the Lord through it! He’s got you!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

To Every Girl Who’s Ever Been Hurt By A Man

Post by JoCelyn Medina

I’m a 25 year old single female. I’m energetic, outgoing, adventurous, and have high hopes for the future. I probably seem like a normal young adult at first glance to most people, but my life has been much different than most 25 year old women. I’ve gone through things and seen things that a lot of people haven’t. Ten years ago, I would’ve never imagined my life to turn out the way it did. Sometimes I wish it would’ve been different, but when I remember all the good, beauty, and redemption that has come from all the pain I’ve been through, then I remember that it was all worth it. I wouldn’t change any of it even if I could.

I want to share a part of my story with you. Particularly, the part about what the Lord has walked me through this past year of my life. But I need to give you some context first.

Five years ago, I was deeply hurt by a man that I loved very much, and who I thought loved me too. I know what its like to have my heart broken, and I’ve experienced deep pain. The kind of pain that hurts so bad it pierces into the depths of your heart and soul. The kind you can’t escape because it’s inside of you and nothing can remove it or make it go away. The kind that shouldn’t be numbed, ignored, or avoided because true healing only comes when you go through it. I was hurt, rejected, used, and abandoned by him, and I’ve been walking through the healing process for the past 5 years of my life.

It’s been a messy, hard, and beautiful journey. About a year ago, I realized that my heart had become hardened and bitter towards men. I developed a negative and degrading attitude towards them and wanted nothing to do with dating anyone ever again. My heart was hurt so bad that I thought I could never be with a man again.

And then I went on this thing called the World Race. An 11 month journey to 11 countries around the world with a bunch of other Jesus-loving young adults. We lived in community 24/7 throughout the trip and I was placed on a co-ed team for 6 months.

God works in funny ways sometimes.

As I lived in community with men, I observed them carefully and watched the way they treated others. It was during that time that God began to soften my heart towards them again. I began to see them as humans who struggle just like everyone else in this world, and I finally started having grace for them.

At the end of the day, we are all human. Whether you’re a man, woman, transgender, gay, straight, religious, or non-religious. It doesn’t matter because we are all human and we have all been deeply hurt at some point in our lives.

God helped me see that it’s not men who hurt women, it’s people who hurt people.

As I began to really get to know the men I lived in community with, I began to see how deeply they had been hurt also. I saw how genuine and caring they were. I saw their love for God and realized that there really are men out there who truly and wholeheartedly love the Lord.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle a lot. There are certain things that will trigger things from my past to come back and it’s really hard. It’s a constant battle for me to have grace. But it’s a daily choice for me to fight against lies with the truth of God’s word.

In this life, we will always go through hard and painful things, but that doesn’t mean we should ever stop fighting or give up, because it is so, so worth it when we get through it. When I look back at my life the past five years, I see God’s faithfulness, redemption, and goodness. He has healed my heart so deeply and intimately. He has strengthened me spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. He has been with me every step of the way and made me whole again.

The depth of pain we allow ourselves to walk through is directly connected to the depth of joy we experience. If we try to avoid going through pain, we are depriving ourselves of the depth of joy and freedom the Lord desires to give us. I have come out on the other side and I can tell you wholeheartedly that the deep joy and freedom I’ve experienced is so worth all the pain I went through.

So whether you’re a man, woman, transgender, gay, straight, religious, or nonreligious, remember that we are all people and we have all been hurt. Remember to have grace and fight for the truth. Don’t ever stop fighting, dear friend, and don’t be afraid to go through the hard part because that’s the only way to get to the beautiful part.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Quick Tips on Loving Others :)

Post by Suzanne Roxanne

In my first blog post I said I would provide a few practical insights about effectively standing out as followers of Christ. Below I have provided three short insights and prayers I believe will benefit all of us. These insights have allowed me to search my own heart and I hope they will do the same for you. I also hope that as you consider these insights you will be honest with yourself before the Lord. When we evaluate our own attitudes we can become insanely effective because Jesus does great things with a humble, honest heart!

Insight: People can feel when you truly have love in your heart for them. It’s almost like a sixth sense all humans have. Real, godly love is attractive and will often be deeply felt by the receiver. In contrast, people can usually sense fake kindness so we must pray for God’s love to consume our hearts for others.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please give me an outpouring of love that draws and attracts non-Christians to You. I pray my love is genuine so that I am not faking kindness. I believe You will provide this kind of love in my heart for other people!

Insight: People can sense critical attitudes. Whether it is a judgment about the way someone looks or their behavior, everyone can sense when someone is looking down on them. Isn’t it an awful feeling to be around this kind of person? Critical attitudes put a distance between two people very quickly. So put down any critical attitude if you want to be effective.  God doesn’t force anyone to change and neither should you. Instead, the Lord nudges us and shows us over time various things that need to change in our lives. When we are in relationships with non-believers we must also keep in mind that they have not submitted to God so they do not have the Holy Spirit teaching them like He teaches us. Therefore, we should be extra understanding and patient. Even if you do speak the truth to someone out of obedience to God it should always come from a place of love, not criticism.
Prayer: Lord give me wisdom when interacting with non-Christians. Help me respect them. Please give me wisdom if there is something you need me to tell them. Please check my heart for any critical attitude I might be harboring. I pray that first and foremost, You will guide me in telling people about You with kindness and love.
Insight: People can feel religious superiority. Even if you follow Jesus, you are still a human on the same playing field as anyone else. The only difference is that you have accepted the fact that you need Jesus. That doesn’t make you better than anyone, it just makes you saved by an awesome God. We are ineffective when our hearts are not right and when we talk to people with an attitude that we have it all figured out. In reality, all a Christian is doing in life is sharing the hope found in God in the midst of being broken. Look at it that way to avoid acting superior to anyone.
Prayer: Lord, please check my heart. Help me see if I am being prideful or disrespectful towards others. Please do not allow a prideful heart to make me ineffective. Break down walls between me and other people. Remind me I do not have it all together. Thank You, Jesus.

I wrote these quick insights and prayers because I know Jesus was the best person to hang around. He was gentle and I bet His presence was calming. Jesus definitely upset some people, but not because of how He spoke. It was what Jesus said that offended people. We might upset someone with the truth, but at least we can know that we spoke with the right attitude and behavior.

 

 
(All copyrights are owned by the author and infringers will be punished under applicable law)

 

Every Act and Every Smile, It All Matters

Proverbs 15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.”

Post by Suzanne Roxanne Fortner

I will never forget the best compliment I ever received. The compliment came from a woman named Donna and she walked up to me one day and said, “You’re a Christian aren’t you? I was thinking about it and I realized that you had to be. It’s the way you act and treat people that gave it away.”

To this day Donna’s words still warm my heart and encourage me. Donna’s words remind me that everywhere I go I show people what a follower of Christ looks like whether I am doing a good job or not.

When Donna approached me I was in one of my last semesters in law school and I was exhausted. Most people in law school are tired unless they are super human. As usual and in keeping with my personality though, I was enthusiastic about school and my peers. A little exhaustion never faded my spirit. So there I was enjoying another semester except I was starting to wonder if my days had any purpose. I knew I had the end goal of graduating but I felt like every day was blending together. I was in need of either a break or inspiration. Law school was turning into a mundane task and that’s not how I prefer to live.

Early on in law school I realized how heavy of a burden law school was going to be, so I knew I would have to be aggressive about my walk with the Lord. I knew I needed to put Jesus first no matter how busy I got. And that was the best decision I made in those three years. Donna was proof of that.

You see, Donna’s words made me feel like every day in school had been worth it. I still had a long way to go but Donna reminded me why I was there in the first place. I was there to be a light for Jesus. Sure, one day I would be an attorney but that was never really the ultimate goal of my life. My goal will always be to shine for the Lord and bring Him glory exactly where I am. I was reminded of this valuable truth as I realized that no matter where we are, the people around us need to hear and see the light of the gospel in our lives. And Donna’s words reminded me to stay alert of this fact.

The truth is, the gospel is the best thing that has ever happened to this world. Jesus dying for us all is the reason anyone has hope. And that hope should be shared. If you really believe in Jesus and the message of the Bible, then wouldn’t you agree that our hope is something we should be sharing in whatever way we can? When I think about the reputation a lot of Christians have my heart breaks because sharing hope can only be done when our actions and words standout.

A lot of the time Christians are viewed as critical and negative when there is already enough hate, harshness and pain in the world. Why would we add to that when the very message of Jesus is kindness? What in the history of the world has ever been more kind than when Jesus laid His life down for a bunch of people that didn’t deserve it?

Sadly, Christians are often the first ones to speak about everything they don’t like. Obviously, when we speak the truth we won’t always be popular but even when we do speak the truth we should say it with wisdom. And we should conduct ourselves in such a way that people can say whatever they want about us but they can’t deny how kind and consistent we are.

When I ask myself why Donna said those words to me I realize her perception of me was based on my character. And thankfully my character had been refined by the Lord by the time I met Donna. A few years prior to law school, the Lord had walked me through a serious refining process. During that time He taught me that my words and actions speak to people’s souls. The Lord showed me that it is my behavior, both verbal and nonverbal, such as the look in my eyes or even the tone of my voice, that ultimately serves as the avenue through which the Lord touches people’s lives. People notice.

If you walk into work or school each day with a grumpy attitude or critical words, why would anyone think twice about where your hope comes from? You don’t look like you have any hope acting like that. So be kind, be bold, and be bright because the gospel deserves your best.

I’ve written another short post with practical insights and prayers about being more effective when it comes to showing others that we are different! I plan to post this tomorrow 🙂 I hope this helps all of us remember to shine with our brightest potential.

 
(All copyrights owned by the author. Infringers will be punished under applicable law.)

Intro Post by Roxanne

Hello!

Thank you so much for checking out our blog spot! JoCelyn and I are super excited to be spending this time with you. We have already started praying for you and we ask that the Lord blesses your time here.

My name is Suzanne Roxanne (Roxanne) and I am a 26 year-old attorney and actress in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When JoCelyn approached me to start a shared blog I jumped at the opportunity. JoCelyn is one of the best women I’ve ever known and she has been blessed with a ton of wisdom. She is also hilarious and fun.

My blog posts are going to offer you a variety of fun. I plan to write devotionals but I also want to switch it up and write some other stuff too. I have already interviewed a few godly people in my life that I believe have great wisdom to offer. In some posts I might tell you a funny story or share something God has done or is doing in my life. I believe there is power in words and I sure do love writing so why not encourage you, my friends, through this blog space in a variety of ways?!

I also plan to write some blogs for you that include travel tips and fashion thoughts! Mostly because I love traveling and I love fashion and I believe God gives us all passions that intersect so we can enjoy life together.  While you’re here I want to encourage you to read my first official blog post (“Every Act and Every Smile, It All Matters”) which talks about shining for Jesus exactly where we are in life. It’s a pretty cool insight that the Lord gave me so I hope you check it out. Thanks so much for stopping by and I can’t wait to share all the goodness we have headed your way!

 

The Beginning of a Beautiful Adventure

Post by JoCelyn Medina

Hi friends! I’m so excited to share this little space of the internet with you. I have so much to share with you and I can’t wait! I want to start by sharing a part of my story with you, and tell you why I was so inspired to start this blog because it is truly a miracle that I’m sitting here writing to you today.

Four years ago, I was in the most painful part of my life. I was twenty-one years old at the time. I was in a pit of pain and heartache, and I felt like no one else in the whole world could understand what I was going through. I felt helpless, rejected, used, worthless, heart-broken, unwanted, unloved, and confused. It was so hard and so painful, and I didn’t understand why. Even though I loved the Lord, it didn’t make the pain any less or the circumstances any easier. It was just hard and I couldn’t change that.

Fast forward four years. I graduated from college, I lived out my dream of doing mission work around the world for 11 months, found true community, made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, have a family that loves me unconditionally, grew and matured in so many ways, and I have experienced the deepest, most unexplainable JOY.

I am healed, redeemed, chosen, loved, whole, wanted, and worthy. All because of Jesus.

If you would’ve asked me four years ago, I would’ve never thought I would be where I am today. I truly didn’t think I could be this happy again. It seemed so impossible, unreachable, and hopeless at the time. But what is impossible with man, is possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)

Don’t get me wrong, I still go through hard things, and my life is so far from perfect. I still struggle and I still fight against the lies that attack me sometimes, but I now know the TRUTH and my identity is deeply rooted in the Lord. I know that going through struggles is all a part of the learning and maturing process. Everything we face in this life is teaching us, maturing us, and helping us grow as long as we keep our hearts open to the Lord.

So today, I’m here to tell you that if you are in a hard place, I’ve been there too. You are not alone, and there are other people going through hard things too. I want you to know that there is HOPE, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the pain won’t last forever. Things will get better!

I was inspired to start this blog because I can’t help but talk about the Lord’s redemption and healing in my life. He has been so beautifully faithful in my life. I have a burning passion to share what he has done and encourage other people through their struggles by sharing mine. There is something so encouraging about talking to someone who has gone through what you are going through and has come out on the other side. I promise you dear friend, the deep joy and freedom on the other side is SO worth it!

I am so excited to walk through this journey of life with you, get to know you, and share more of my story with you! Here’s to an awesome, exciting, and unknown adventure together!