In sharing my story in such a raw way, I want others to be empowered to do so! Yes, my story is not pretty but here it is. I don’t have to wrap it up in a bow to tell you my story. This is it in its raw form and we’re going to sit in this uncomfortable silence and uncomfortable space because this is what happened and it’s the truth. It wasn’t pretty then and it’s not pretty now. But the BEAUTY comes from the freedom you find in sharing it. That you’re no longer in that space, you’ve acknowledged it and you’re moving forward!

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Leah JoaninoComment
A Story on Forgiveness + Restoration

A lot of people think the process of forgiveness is hearing an apology first and then accepting it. That’s false. It’s entitlement. Pride is dangerous. Are we truly forgiving if we are only willing to accept what we hear and/or what we see? Forgiving is pardoning yourself from bitterness.

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Vanessa LyComment

While it might have only been one night that we were able to get her away from the bar, it will be a night that she will remember and realize that she is seen for more than her body. That there is such thing as love without agenda or manipulation. She is a gem. So precious and so special. A price tag cannot be placed on a gem so beautiful.

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Shannon WeyComment

Being single is hard. It’s hard to celebrate others fully without questioning my own history and future. It is hard to be confident knowing God will provide in His timing when you feel like you’re running late for a train that everyone else is already on

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Andi LongComment
Rejecting Rejection

It was not long until I started to believe this was true and I began to reject myself. I no longer saw my worth and my value. I yearned for acceptance: to be seen, to be known, to be loved. As a result, I felt I had to perform and be the center of attention just to be seen! This later drove me to people pleasing, unhealthy friendships, bad and emotionally abusive relationships. I ended up compromising and seeking affirmation from men because I was trying to prove to them that I was worthy of love.

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Keysia Curry Comment

"My faith is what keeps me always ambitious to create more. If God gave me a voice, talents, and beauty in His likeness, then it is my responsibility to make use of such gifts, spreading a message of love and tolerance. I look to the scripture of the Parable of the Talents, where stewarding what you have been given is of utmost importance. Though it is easier said than done, I don't ever want fear to hold me back, I want to look back and know that I utilized all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me, for something greater than myself."

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"Out of Control"

Our first response is to try to scramble around, pick up the pieces and cling desperately to anything we can possibly control. Maybe if I look good and my life looks good, no one will see the ugly reality. I was good at this, an expert even. I obsessively sought to control everything from food intake to relationships to my personality and appearance. When life seemed out of control, I felt like if I could at least control something then I would come out on top. It got to a point where I began to get recognition from people for being and always looking put together.

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"Answer the Call, Set Her Free!"

I didn’t know what to expect and honestly, nothing could prepare me for the things I witnessed there. The open corruption of this place was unlike anything I had ever seen before! I would watch police officers pull up to the girls wanting to buy sex. People were openly having intercourse on the streets. I would see young, pregnant girls standing on the street corners who didn’t look a day over 13 years old.  People were robbing each other and pulling guns on each other. My heart broke so deeply.

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"Hear from Leah Joanino"

I love being a woman. I love being a daughter. I love being a sister. And one day, I will love being a wife and a mother. I love women and all that we are created to be! I am surrounded by so many amazing women in my life who inspire me and challenge me to be the woman God has called me to be. I will always stand up for women. I will always speak truth about who we are. Every truth spoken about us matters. We can’t speak the truth enough. There are too many lies out there about how a woman should talk, act, and live. There are too many false expectations and false narratives of what it means to be beautiful.

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"Beauty in our Brokenness"

I decided it was time to feel honestly and deeply. I found myself hurt, disappointed, confused, angry and frustrated at a circumstance that did not unfold the way that I had hoped, expected and, even prayed for. Too often, we are so quick to dismiss the feelings that don’t feel good. I learned and I am still learning that God gives us permission to be emotional beings. We can be honest, messy, raw, and undignified before Him. He can handle it all. He prefers that more than when we gloss over our pain. 

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