Concerning Change | A Letter to You

We’ve spent several weeks discussing change. I’ve shared practical advice, showed you part of my story, and encouraged you to press on. Today, I write to you as though I’m writing a letter to my friend.

ChangePart4

Dear,

Don’t fear life and change. You should change, grow, and learn. Make mistakes and embrace the lessons learned from them. You should feel a bit disoriented every now and again because change comes fast and it can be hard! Find the joy in transition as your heart brims with gratitude for this beautiful and complex life. But above all, your changing heart should find inexplicable rest in your never-changing God.

You can embrace change with both hands and a steady heart because of God’s faithfulness and steadfastness. He has promised to never leave or forsake you. Let this ever-changing life pull you closer to Christ. You can depend on Him. You must depend on Him because He is the only One who can and will bring you through it.

You will only live life well when you fully and deeply rely on your never-changing God. The next time you crack under the pressure and the demands of life, feel that frailty, give it to God, and then rest in His strength.

Change can make you a better woman. Hold tight to God’s promises and rest in His never-changing character. Become more like Him. Don’t fear the transition that has the potential to bring you nearer to Christ.

My dear —

Don’t be afraid.

Trust God … fully, resolutely, faithfully.

Why?

Because God is with you and He will never leave or forsake you.

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

Justified=Just As If I Never Sinned

Starletjustified Ware Encouragement and Prayer

 At church a few Sundays ago, a man was ready to pray and he asked the question “do you know you are justified?”  He went on to define it: ‘just as if you never sinned?  He kept repeating the question and definition.  I was able to hear it over and over and ask myself: do you know this?

I have heard it before.  I accept it as truth (head) but do I believe it in my heart?  I am mulling it over and pondering.  While I was sitting at church, I prayed: “Father, I know it is true, help my unbelief.”

My transparent moment is I am working on living as if I believe completely that I am justified.  I thank God for his word especially in Romans because these verses made sense as to why I can believe.

Romans 3:24

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 4:2

If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to brag about—but not before God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 8:30

And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

I pray you are encouraged like I am and use the verses to remind you of God’s marvelous love and grace.

For the “if” in Life

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.

Song of Solomon 8:4

fortheifinlife copy

Situation #1

I know a couple who dated quite a few years. She was a virgin when they married. They have been married several years but now she wonders “what if” I would have dated more than one person. What if I would have traveled like I wanted? What if I would have followed my past dreams ? Would I have married him? I am bored, depressed, sick and tired of arguing about being bored.

Situation #2

I told you all about my virginity being stripped away from me. I have ‘wondered’ if I would have waited till marriage to have sex. I’d like to think I would because sex was really the furthest thing from my mind all the way through high school. (OK, except the thought that went through my mind when I had my first French kiss. In my mind I asked, “If I have this much energy from a kiss, what kind of energy would sex give me?”)

You likely know of several other examples from family, friends, or your own story. Here is what I want to get across. God commanded that we not fornicate (sex without marriage/as singles) or commit adultery (sex outside of marriage). Since he said it, it is for our own good. He isn’t trying to stifle our ‘fun.’ He does want to save us the heartache that comes with premarital or extra-marital relations.

Let’s start this New Year out with pure hearts, minds, actions and goals. Some of mine are to be more like Christ and to do what he has called me to do in word and deed. I will be quicker to obey Him and follow after Him harder. What about you? Don’t fool me now. Write out your goals and dreams and make sure they are what He desires for you and go hard after them.

Till we meet again,

Starlet

 

Thankful God Loves Me Enough to Trust Me

Today, as I received my voting ballot, the man said “you are so joyful.” I thanked him. The lady next to him complimented my outfit. She said “your colors go together so well. You look so nice.” I thanked her. After voting, I handed my ballot to the same lady. I said goodbye to both of them and as I walked away, they were both smiling and he said, “not too many are so …” I didn’t catch the rest but I choose to believe it was another positive compliment.

Now, sitting here working, my lovely friend sends me a text saying “I know you will like this.” (see picture) I not only like it. I LOVE it! Thank you God for shining through me!starletwarepicfornov2014article

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

I sent “God’s got us ladies even when I’m flailing all about. :~)” to a couple sisters this morning. I absolutely love God and thank him ever so much for KNOWING, LOVING, CARING, PAYING ATTENTION TO ME and allowing me to be a participant in his plans to help encourage ‘my neighbors.’ He is giving me the desire of my heart. I have prayed “Lord, please let me be sweet.” I never thought it possible because I have such a deep voice, but God!

Since he wasn’t afraid to use ordinary, tossed aside, outcast people in the Bible, I won’t be afraid to let him use me in this current day where ever He chooses. Are you willing to allow him to live and shine through you?

“Some days are better than expected and other days are worse than expected, but God is consistent and loving through them all.”
Starlet

 

Thankful

starletwarequote4I am thankful for my mother who loves me so much. When I walk into Sorenson Golden Living, her eyes light up. She does this little dance that I join in. I hug and kiss her. Yesterday, I sat at the dinner table with her and let her talk while I ate up all the saltine crackers left there by other residents. She told me to go ahead and eat them because they would be tossed if left. I did.

We moved our conversation from the dining area to her room. She asked “is Brandon still living with that lady’s son?” I said no, he is with 3 other guys. She said “Brandon needs to come back home or if he is going to be away from home, he should live by himself.” I love this woman’s mind. She is so right. Needless to say, I called my Brandon and told him what his grandmother said. So thankful she is still here to contribute to my life and his. He agrees with her thoughts of living on his own.

To all those who no longer have your mom or dad here to love on, please know this wasn’t written to make to you sad. I wanted to share how we can be thankful for the things our parents instilled in us, taught us or would have taught us if they were in a better place.

God is the ultimate father and he knows our every need. Let him love you like no one else can.

Till we meet again, God bless.
Starlet

 

“Thanks” Giving

1 Thessalonians 5:18: 18 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Give thanks in everything, really God? What about when my child/parent/sibling dies, my husband/wife cheats, my son/daughter has a baby out of wedlock, my car dies on the way to an interview, a health issue arises or I have no money? Yes, loved one, even then.

starletwarequote3

We have to allow our minds to be renewed (Romans 12:2) in order to give thanks in EVERYTHING. In the past, I would gladly accept the good but ask WHY when the bad came. I thank God I don’t have to have all the answers anymore. I trust God has the best in mind for me and he knows my future. I don’t get it right all the time but hallelujah, better.

This song by Don Moen came to mind as I write “give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the holy one, give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his son and now let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us. Give thanks.” God set the precedence. We can rest in the fact he isn’t telling us to do anything he hasn’t already done well. He gave his one and only son to die for our sins. He is the ultimate in giving thanks in everything!

Thank you for reading again this week. I pray you are encouraged by this word. What are you thankful for? Tell me about it below or email me at Starlet@TakielaBynum.com.

God bless you,
Starlet

 

Starlet on Encouragement and Prayer

Depression, who knew how it affects a household? I certainly didn’t. I wasn’t prepared. I don’t know the statistics and I haven’t done any research. I can only offer my experience with family including most recently, my dear husband.

starletwarequote2In 1985, George started at the same restaurant I worked. He had recently returned from serving the USA in the Marine Corp. He was strong, handsome, hard-working, confident and friendly. I told my best friend George everything including what ‘J’ had done. He wanted to beat ‘J’ and report him. I didn’t choose that route. He supported my decision.

George and I dated about a year, no sex and no pressure from him for it. I remember telling him “I don’t want to have sex because I believe it would mess up our friendship.” He honored my decision. George wasn’t ready to commit after a year so I ended our relationship. He informed me years later he was devastated so he drank heavily, did a few different drugs and was very promiscuous.

Fast forward 20 years, we reconnect and marry after only six months. A month into our marriage, George confessed several devastating acts he had committed. I told him he needed to get help. When he went to the doctor, VA counselor, and Pastor, he was diagnosed with depression. He was prescribed an anti-depressant which has helped greatly.

These 7+ years have been rough but my George is still handsome, strong, confident, funny, hard-working and alive. We know we are not alone as many suffer from depression and are living great, prosperous, Godly lives. I love my dear husband and I even like him today. We continue to work on our relationship, communication skills, and becoming one.

At the Women of Faith conference this past weekend, I listened to their encouraging testimonies. I related most with the speaker who said she still takes medication for her depression. She is an author, speaker, mother and wife serving God proudly.

I pray you believe that God depression looses all power, under the authority of God.  There is hope for those hurting.

May you be encouraged because you are enough, 
Starlet

Two Times, Same Message

Proud to announce the new columnist at Leading Young Women to Hope! She is the IPD (Intercessory Prayer Director) of  the LYWH Ministry!

Introducing to some and presenting to others, Starlet Ware:

LYWH Starlet1I, Starlet Ware, declare over myself that I am emotionally well!  Most days I look totally together. I move through life praying for people, speaking kindly, and helping whomever I come in contact with. I can even counsel wisely. I love those days and interactions because I feel loved, needed, and used by God.

However, the days/moments I lash out and have temper tantrums are not productive, but at that moment, I don’t care. I want to scream at the top of my lungs, rant, wave my hands and lash out at whomever I believe has hurt me (usually my husband). Today, as I write this is one of those moments.

What was my journey to emotional wellness? Well, let me tell a little of my story.

I graduated from high school at 18 years of age, 1984. I went to work at a fast food restaurant owned by a family member. I happily worked, enjoyed my co-workers, and most customers. My mother came to have coffee daily. She’d sit and talk to us as we worked.

One day, my mother told me to “watch out for that man.” I didn’t know why but she emphasized it. I went on working. Time past and then the owner of the restaurant approached me and said “watch out for ‘J,’ he likes you.” Two times, same message. I couldn’t miss his over 6’ frame but I didn’t know what I was watching for.

Two occasions made me know why I was to ‘watch for him:’

  • Business was slow so we were told to clean, restock, and get ready for our next wave of customers. I ran downstairs to get supplies and as I ascended the stairs, ‘J’ descended. His large frame blocked the small stairwell. He embraced me and kissed me! I was stunned but continued upstairs and put the supplies away.
  • Days came and went. Another cleaning, restocking, and readying the place, I ran downstairs for supplies. I heard someone else descend while I was in the storage room. Arms loaded, I go to the door and find it locked. I call for help but realize ‘J’ is the one responsible. He came to the door, taunting me. I was irritated, frustrated, and wanted him to quit playing. He finally unlocked the door and as I went to go around him, he pulled me close with one arm and slid his other hand… well, you get the picture.

With two warnings and two different work incidents, my virginity was stripped away.

I wish I could say I reported him, told my mom or cousin. I did neither. I felt dirty. I went on having sex with him for about a year till I came to myself. I remember the breakthrough, freedom of no longer sinning against my body. Thank God for mind renewal.

Until age 38, I had only told one person in addition to the co-worker, about my experience. I will tell some more of my journey next week. Thank you so much for reading. I pray this has been an encouragement to you and may you be able to tell your story and get your emotional wellness every day. God bless you!