Don’t Give Up

Have you ever been told that you cannot achieve anything? Have bullies told you that you are a loser and worthless? Have people mocked your dreams and tried to stop you from bringing your dreams to reality? Or, have you allowed fear of failure or fear of rejection stop you from moving forward?

I have!

Bullies have called me names, told me I was a loser. People who were supposed to be my “friends” mocked my dreams and what I wanted to achieve. I have allowed fear of rejection to stop me in my tracks. But, not anymore! It doesn’t matter what people say about me. Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world-1 John 4:4. No longer will I be sitting on the sidelines, but I am getting on the field, ready to play the game. I am ready to do what God has called me to do.

The same thing goes for you. Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world. It is time to stop sitting on the sidelines, being a benchwarmer…it is time to get on the field and be all God created YOU to be. It is time to look at the opponent (the enemy) straight in the eye, and tell him to get behind you because you are moving forward with full force, not looking back. With God on your side, who can stop you? What may seem impossible to you, is possible with Him! You are meant for so much more.

Sure, getting on the field will be challenging at first. When you walk in the calling God has for you, it is great and exciting, but nerve-racking at the same time because of the unknown. That is why we have faith and trust that God will work out all things on our behalf. Romans 8:28 [NKJV] says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” In junior high and high school, I played basketball. I remember the first time I got on the basketball court facing our school’s rival. I was excited to be one of the 5 starters, but I was nervous at the same time. I was usually the one who started the game. I thought, “What if I mess up?” “What if I knock the ball out of bounds?” “What if I get hurt?” Then, the referee blew his whistle, I looked up at the ball, jumping as high as I could to slap the ball to my teammate…those first 10 seconds, I was a nervous wreck…but once the game got started, I loved it.

I believe that is the same with all of us. We are excited to do what God has called us to do, and sure it can be challenging; but, we don’t have to let it stop us. God would not lead us somewhere that would bring us harm. He would not put us in a situation we cannot get out of. God would not make us do something if we could not handle it. What kind of father would do that to his child? The Bible says in Psalm 84:11 [NKJV], “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Never allow fear to stop you in your tracks. Don’t allow the naysayers, the critics, the judgers, the bullies, the hypocrites stop you from achieving your dreams. I truly believe that Jesus’ return is so near, closer than we think. Let that be your motivation to do what God has called you do. Let that be your motivation to accomplish all that you can. Don’t hide your talents and gifts from the world because of what people said about you. Jesus mentioned in a parable about the master giving his servants talents (Matthew 25:14-29). As the master left, he gave each servant a certain amount of talents. They didn’t know when the master would return. When the master returned, he asked the servants what they did with their talents. Two of them invested their talents and the third one buried it in fear, not investing at all. Woe to the third servant! Don’t be like that servant, hiding the gifts and talents that God has deposited inside of you. You are capable because God will give you the strength to achieve it.

I am preaching to myself too! There have been times where I have let fear stop me, but I am dusting the dirt off my shoes and I am going ahead full force, walking on that field! Regardless how many rejections, no’s, judgments thrown my way…I will not stop! We would not have Disney World if Walt Disney gave up because of the multiple “no’s” he received. We would not have “I Love Lucy” if Lucille Ball quit theater because she was told she lacked talent. We would not have Physics if Albert Einstein accepted his teachers calling him stupid. Do you get my point? Don’t give up. Ever. You are here for such a time as this. You are God’s masterpiece created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them-Ephesians 2:10. God has great things in store for you that you cannot imagine. 1 Corinthians 2:9 [NKJV] says, “But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those love Him.” God has great things prepared just for you!

Will you join me on the field?

 

 

 

You Are Victorious

Do you know that you are victorious? Do you know that God has a purpose for your life? So often, we can become consumed with our life and the circumstances that surround us, we can easily feel defeated. When we focus on ourselves, then it robs us of the opportunity to be a blessing to others. But, what if I were to tell you that when you face bullying, you are still victorious. That probably sounds impossible. You might be thinking, “How on earth can I be victorious when people are being mean, calling me names, saying hateful things about me?” Well, you are!

In my book, “Bullied Yet Victorious: How I Overcame Fear with Faith”, I share the bullying incidents I went through and how God helped me to overcome. I am telling you, there is power in standing on God’s Word. He is faithful, just, and true. He honors His word. God has truly protected me. There is power in prayer. God hears your prayers. Our prayers may not be answered right away, but that doesn’t mean that God is in denial. We are overcomers! Why? Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. If God is for us, who can be against us? He promises in Hebrews 13:5-6 that He will never leave us or forsake us.

 

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”” –Hebrews 13:5-6 [NKJV]

 

In the eighth grade, I was severely bullied by a classmate who also happened to be a teammate. We were on the same basketball team. Lilly had so much going for herself. She was smart and athletic, the teachers and coaches absolutely loved her. However, she began to follow the wrong crowd at school. She began to believe the lies that were said about me, she joined in on the bullying, and became the main bully. For example, in math class, Lilly sat behind me and whispered to me, “Your hair looks so perfect, I hate it. Snip, snip.” She pulled out scissors from her backpack and placed them on her desk. She began moving her scissors in an up and down motion as if she were cutting my hair. I didn’t trust her! I turned around in my seat, watching her. “Snip, snip” she said. “Ashley, turn around and face the front of the class,” the teacher said. As soon as I turned around, I felt my hair move and the class began snickering. “Snip, snip” Lilly said. I don’t think she actually cut my hair, but the psychological torment was hard to handle. Five days a week, I had to face this girl. She was mean and ruthless to the point one time during basketball practice she punched me in the nose.

I say all of that to say, that I overcame those harsh words that were spoken over me. I overcame the attacks and managed to persevere. One of the greatest lessons I learned is that it doesn’t matter what people say about me, what matters is what God says about me. Same thing goes for you, it doesn’t matter what people say about you. What matters is what God says about you. While people are calling you names, God is calling YOU His child, blessed, priceless, worthy, valuable, beautiful, overcomer, and victorious. The reason I titled the book “Bullied Yet Victorious” is because even though I was bullied, I was/am victorious because of Jesus Christ. God’s purpose for my life is far greater. I am a victor and not a victim. God’s approval is worth more than man’s approval.

Know this today, that regardless what you are facing, God has an incredible purpose for your life. Dare to dream big. Don’t allow what people say about you stop you from fulfilling the purpose God has on your life. Don’t allow fear to creep in but boldly declare His word, that He “has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind”-2 Timothy 1:7 [NKJV]. You are a blessing looking for an opportunity. You are more than a conqueror. Dare to believe what God says about you. Be confident, throw your shoulders back, and know that you are here for such a time as this. You are victorious! 1 Corinthians 15:57 [NKJV] says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

You are victorious!

 

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Character>Appearance

Does Character matter more than appearances? Think about it. In America, I believe, we have become so focused on people’s appearances, we judge others without actually getting to know them. We judge people based on their skin color, their size, their hair, their clothes, their speech, their money, or their abilities. And shockingly, Christians do it too! That’s right, I said it. At some point in our lives, we have all judged someone based on their outward appearance. But, what if we stopped judging people based on how they look, and started to see their character? What if we stopped listening to Hollywood as to what beauty should look like? What if we chose to look for the good in others? What if each day, we chose to be kind and be a blessing to someone else?

When I was a senior in college, I had to write a senior paper. Since I was a Communication major, I was required to write something communication related that tied into what I wanted to do with my life. Therefore, I wrote about how bullying effects the way students communicate and why churches need to be involved. While I was doing research, I came across a story where a boy was bullied because he wasn’t wearing the “popular” shoes. Apparently, he didn’t have current, trendy shoes; therefore, students bullied him. Isn’t that tragic? Unfortunately, that is not uncommon. A boy was bullied because he didn’t have the right kind of shoes. Isn’t he more important than a pair of shoes? Of course! Life is so much more than the clothes we wear or the shoes we put on. What if those students looked at the boy’s character rather than judging him solely based on the shoes he wore?

In the Bible, there is a perfect example that specifically mentions it is about the heart and not the outward appearance. In 1 Samuel, there was a king named Saul, who started out following the Lord and then decided to turn away from Him. While he was king, God told Samuel to look for another king. Samuel obeyed the Lord, and went to Jesse’s house to see his sons. Jesse’s sons were masculine and looked like they would be fit to be king, but God told Samuel no…none of these men were the one. In 1 Samuel 16:7 [NKJV] it says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”” Therefore, Samuel refused to leave until he saw all of Jesse’s sons. “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one…”-1 Samuel 16:10-13.

This passage of Scripture is so encouraging! God told Samuel that He doesn’t focus on the outward appearance like man does; rather, He looks at the heart. It is about the heart! David was known for loving the Lord so much. He is also known as the young man who went up against a giant and killed him with his slingshot and a stone. But, before becoming king…he was a shepherd. He watched sheep. Talk about starting in humble beginnings! Someone who was absolutely ordinary, God turned extraordinary. God used an ordinary man in extraordinary ways. “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

What if we stopped being so focused on our own appearance, and checked our heart? Is our heart after the things of the Lord or the things of this world? Or, what about other people? Obviously we cannot see people’s heart…but we can tell a lot about a person based on their character. What if we chose to look for the good in others, look at the person’s character rather than outward appearances?

Today, I want to challenge you to think and watch your words before labeling someone based on how they look. Remember, beauty doesn’t make the person. It is their character. Choose today to make a difference and be the change. Show others God’s love and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Character>Appearance

 

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You Are An Overcomer

Growing up, my parents taught me to keep my focus on Jesus. When circumstances and obstacles came my way, they encouraged me that Jesus was with me. When I was bullied, I strived to keep my focus straight ahead and remember that God has a purpose for my life. My life is truly a testimony of perseverance. I share my story of overcoming bullying in my book, “Bullied Yet Victorious: How I Overcame Fear with Faith.”

In times of struggles, we can either focus on the negative or look at how we can grow from it. During the time I was being bullied, it was a faith building time for me. It was a time where I chose to believe what God says about me and stand firm on His Word, trusting that God is with me. I relied on Him during my time of trouble. However, more importantly, God helped me to overcome. Whatever you are facing today, know that you can overcome too.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, overcome means: to get the better of; to prevail. To dig deeper, I looked up the meaning of prevail. Prevail means: to be victorious, triumph; to succeed, etc. How is it that we are overcomers? We are overcomers because of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us. We don’t have to walk in this world alone. We don’t have to be fearful or face struggles alone, for He is with us wherever we go. John 10:10 says, “The thief does not come expect to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” We have life because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. God loved the world so much, He gave His only Begotten Son to die for us on our behalf. He bore our sins and shame. Even though we don’t deserve His mercy and grace, God’s mercies are made new every morning according to Lamentations 3:23. We are victorious because of Him. We don’t have to believe the labels people put on us; rather, we can believe what God says about us which is: blessed, precious, worthy, valuable, priceless, beautiful, smart, overcomers, and victorious.

You can prevail. You can overcome. You can triumph and succeed. Believe me, I have been there and here I am today encouraging you. Regardless the circumstances that surround you, you are victorious. God is with you and He will bring you through. Maybe you are worried about finances due to the economy…trust in Him that He will provide and bring you through. Maybe you received a negative doctor’s report…trust in Him that He will heal you. Or, maybe you are dealing with bullying at school…trust in Him that He is with you, even when you feel like you are alone. As a Christian, we are victorious because we have God Almighty on our side. I mean think about it, the Creator of the Universe has you in the palm of His hands. Is there anything too big for Him? Of course not! Therefore, your struggles, pain, hurt, obstacles, regret, circumstances…whatever you are dealing with, God can help you to triumph over your problems. He can bring you through!

Our world is so fast paced, it can seem overwhelming at times and lonely. But, know this, that you are not alone. If you are struggling today with loneliness, fear, bitterness, depression…you are not alone. God is with you, He hears your prayers and cries. I heard a pastor once say that God never wastes a hurt. He knows what you are going through and even when it seems tough, God will make all things work together for your good. He did for me! I was bullied and it hurt. However, I chose to stand firm on God’s Word and believe in Him that He would bring me through. This I know, my hurt was not wasted. God turned things around on my behalf. What the enemy meant for harm, God turned it around for my good. Now I get to share my story and testimony of God’s goodness and help others. Know today, that God is working on your behalf. He will make all things work together for your good. Stay faithful and hopeful, your brighter days are head. You are an overcomer!

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Enough is Enough!

Every day 160,000 students stay home in fear of bullying. When bullying occurs, 4% of adults intervene, while 11% of peers intervene. However, a whopping 85% do NOTHING! When people see bullying, 85% do NOTHING! Are those not tragic statistics? I am firm believer of the saying “10% of a problem is 90% how you handle it.” When people just stand there and watch the bullying occur, they are (I believe) contributing to the problem rather than handling it. They are just as much to blame. This even includes the church.

What I am about to say may sound harsh, but it is something that needs to be said because I am sure there are those of you reading this who have thought or felt the same way. It is time for the Church TO BE THE CHURCH. Enough is Enough! It breaks my heart when Christians bully and churches allow it. Are we not supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Did not Jesus say He “did not come to be served but to serve”? Why then are there Christians who act like they need to be served? Why are there Christians who usurp their will upon others? Why are there Christians who feel like they can label people? Jesus said he without sin cast the first stone. No one is greater than another in the sight of God. God shows no partiality. Galatians 5:26 [MSG] says, “…we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” James 2 is very clear on partiality, that we should not look at someone who has fine jewelry and favor them, while we snub those who don’t look the same. James 2:2-4 [NKJV] says, “For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You stand there,” or “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Time and time again, I have seen this very thing happen in churches. The worst part of it is, I have seen pastors show partiality, and participate in the bullying or excusing it, “sweeping it under the rug” so to speak. All throughout my life, I was bullied by “Christians” in the Christian schools and church. It broke my heart because I didn’t understand why people would treat me so hatefully. I share my story in my book, “Bullied Yet Victorious: How I Overcame Fear with Faith.” In high school, I was bullied at a church. To make a long story short, two women spread vicious rumors about me that spread like wildfire in this church my family and I attended. Sad thing is, I was 16 at the time and these women were 36 years old. To make matters worse, the youth pastor believed the lies and would not give me an opportunity to defend myself. My parents decided that it would be best if we left the church because we were not going to continue staying at a church that professed “Christ”, yet accepted the lies spoken over my family and me. After we left the church, my mom received an email from the pastor’s wife (pastor of the church) asking why we left. My mom emailed her back telling her what occurred and how two women spread vicious lies and gossip across the church. My family and I were flabbergasted when we received the pastor’s wife’s response. She sent us a very hateful email, not believing us because the two women who spread the lies…were her best friends! For the longest time, I struggled going to church and looking at people in the eyes. I was traumatized by what occurred, but somehow, I knew it was not God’s fault. I didn’t know why I was going through that trial, but now I do. I don’t regret going through what I went through because it gives me the opportunity to share my story with you. It blows me away how God gives beauty for ashes.

One summer, I was at a church in Dallas. One of the youth pastors spoke and talked about showing kindness. He told us that one summer he was leading camp and encouraged students to make a difference. He said one boy came up to him crying because he was being bullied by other peers at camp. The other boys accused him of being “gay” because he was happy, smiling, and full of joy. I was saddened when I heard that story. The youth pastor went on to say the boys began spreading that accusation on Instagram by posting hurtful things on this young man’s account. However, NOT once did I hear the pastor say what he DID to stop it! The young man was not gay, he was just happy. Is it wrong for a young man to be happy and joyful? Of course not! I don’t know who those bullies are, but to put labels on others are wrong. I am so tired of people professing to be “Christians” and go to church singing “Hallelujah” and turn around and start bullying. Where is Jesus in all of this? Churches treat bullying like it’s a taboo topic, but maybe if they actually talked about bullying and how words hurt….just maybe it would stop in the church. The church needs to stop putting its head in the sand!

This is the problem, Christians are taught to “turn the other cheek” because Jesus said so. But, I also believe that if Jesus were here on earth right now, he would intervene by addressing the situation. After all, he intervened when the religious were about to stone a woman accused of adultery. I can’t imagine Him standing there seeing bullying occur and walking by, not saying anything. Therefore, I do not think it is right for Christians to just stand there and do nothing. When bullying occurs in the church, it wounds people. People can become bitter, resentful, and even lose faith. And guess what? That will lay heavily on the church.

In 1 John, John is constantly telling us to “love one another.” Why then, is it so hard for Christians to love one another? We are the Body of Christ! We can’t exclude or cut out a member, just because he or she may look different or act different. We are all working toward the same common goal. That goal is sharing the hope and love of Jesus Christ.

I want to encourage those of you reading this, if you were ever bullied by the Church, I apologize. Hurting others is not the heart of God. I apologize to you if you have been bullied or hurt by the Church. God has you in His hands and He has an amazing purpose for you. A counselor once told me, “Don’t put your trust in people, for people will fail you. Rather, put your trust in God because He will NEVER fail you.” If there are people who have put negative labels on you, don’t listen to them. Who are they anyway? It doesn’t matter what others say about you; what matters is what God says about you. You are a blessing. You are priceless. You are valuable. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are an overcomer. You are victorious. God has a way of turning things around on your behalf. What the enemy meant for harm, God turns around for our good for those who love Him according to His purpose-Romans 8:28. One of the greatest things you can do is pray for those who have bullied you. Ask God to heal your heart, to help you forgive those who hurt you, but more importantly, for Him to change the hearts of those who have bullied. God can do it! He helped me to overcome bullying. I know He can help you too!

The church is a place for worship, praise, healing, help, guidance, and fellowship. How does bullying fit into this? It doesn’t. Enough is Enough!

 

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Tormentors Have No Hold On You

Sunday morning before leaving the house to go to church, I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping on coffee and reading the Bible on my phone. While waiting for my parents to finish getting ready for church, I had time to read Psalm 56. As I was reading the passage, I noticed that Psalm 56 was titled “Prayer for Relief from Tormentors.” In case you are wondering what translation I read, I read from the NKJV. When reading Psalm 56, it made me realize just how applicable this passage is today.

“Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up, fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust, I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? All day they twist my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather together, they hide, they mark my steps, when they lie in wait for my life…In God (I will praise His word), in the Lord (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:1-6, 10-11 [NKJV]

King David was crying out to God, asking Him to deliver him from his tormentors. Even though there were people after David and they wanted to take his life, he remained confident in the Lord. When reading this passage, it reminded me of bullying. Do not bullies hound their victims all day, twist their words, think evil toward the victim, mark their steps, and gather together? If you are dealing with bullying, I believe you can learn something valuable from this passage. Or, if you are dealing with difficult people in your life, maybe you can benefit from this too.

Regardless of what the people were doing, saying, or planning to do toward David, he kept his faith in God. Even though the circumstances around him appeared overwhelming, David kept an attitude of praise and trust. David praised God’s word.

Often times, it is easy to talk about the problem. And yes, when bullying occurs it is good to talk about it. But, have faith and trust in the Lord. David trusted that God would bring him through. Do you trust God to bring you through too? I have heard the saying that when a door closes, continue to praise God in the hallway until the right door opens. I believe the same thing should happen even when life isn’t too peachy. Praise God and thank Him that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Praise Him and read His word…get to know what God says about you. What God says about you is far more valuable and precious than what bullies say about you.

David kept his focus on God. In the good times and the bad times, David praised God and kept his focus on Him. Are you praising God in the good and the bad times? Are you keeping your focus on Him? I know that this is easier said than done, believe me, I know. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and focus on the problem, rather than focusing on God. However, overtime, I learned that I don’t need to tell God how big my problems are but to tell my problems how big my God is. Don’t think one moment that God doesn’t care or has time for you. He shows no partiality. Whatever you are facing, He wants you to know that He is there for you every step of the way and to call out to Him. He wants to hear from you and trust in Him. What does trust mean? According to Webster Dictionary, trust means: firm belief in the honesty, reliability, etc. of another; faith; confident expectation. People fail all the time and it can be so hard to trust people. However, isn’t it reassuring to know that God will NEVER fail us? We can trust on the reliability of God. Why? Because He is the Creator. He created you and has a purpose for you according to Jeremiah 29:11. He has wonderfully and fearfully made you according to Psalm 139. He has sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. Why would you not want to trust Him?

Whatever you are facing today, remember to be like King David. Regardless what you are going through, praise God and trust in Him. When people go after you, twist your words, mark your steps, or gather together to plot against you…remember, God is greater. Keep your focus on Him because tormentors have no hold on you!

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Bullied Yet Victorious

Have you heard about the book “Bullied Yet Victorious” or have you seen the commercial? There are many people who do not know that I have written a book. I would like to use this opportunity to share the reason and purpose I wrote, “Bullied Yet Victorious: How I Overcame Fear with Faith.” But, first I would like to tell you that this Saturday, February 22nd, I will be having my first book signing event at Firewheel Coffee in Garland, TX, from 1:00-3:00PM.

In the summer of 2011, before I started my junior year in college, I was sitting in my room thinking about the bazar bullying incidents I endured growing up. As I sat there recalling what occurred, I grabbed my computer and began to type away. I began writing the incidents as if I were talking to someone and within a few days, I finished my book. I read it to my mom and she recommended I get it published. In my junior year, I was on the search for a publisher to accept my manuscript. I knew what I wrote would encourage the reader. I knew that I had been given this book for a reason. As the search continued, I began to get discouraged because publishers were not accepting solicited manuscripts. I was disappointed because I knew this was a dream God had given me, yet I wasn’t seeing doors opening.

In the summer of 2012, I received an unexpected email from a representative at a Christian publishing company. The rep requested that I send him my manuscript and notified me that within a few weeks, they would inform me of their decision. It was less than a week when I received an answer…”Congratulations, we would be honored to publish your book.” I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it! Finally, someone was interested in my story! I was stepping closer to the dream God had given me.

In the summer of 2013, my book was nationally released-on July 23rd, to be exact. The first challenge I faced was finding a publisher. The second challenge I am facing is spreading the word-getting the word out about the book. I didn’t realize how tough it would be! However, I choose to believe that every day is a step closer to fulfilling the dream God has given me. Whatever challenge that arises, it just makes us stronger! God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect! We may not understand it, we may not see things happen right away, but we have to trust in His PERFECT timing.

If you are wondering what my dream is, I will tell you. I was bullied all throughout my life. When people see me, they have a hard time believing it because they say, “You don’t look like a bullied victim, you look like the popular girl at school” or “Why should people listen to you? You look like someone who has been raised with a silver spoon in your mouth.” Both statements are false and judgmental. I didn’t realize that to be a victim, you have to have a “look.” I am not a rich person, my parents never raised me with a “silver spoon in my mouth.”  Sadly, the bullying took place in the Christian environment-Christian schools and church. I was a straight ‘A’ student, athlete, involved in extracurricular activities, and involved in church; yet, I was bullied. However, I love what Romans 8:28 [NKJV] says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” What the enemy meant for harm, God turned around for my good.

Bullying hurts. Bullying is real and it can happen to anyone. I am living proof of that. However, I learned that it doesn’t matter what bullies say about me. What matters is what GOD says about me. In the Bible, He says I am blessed, overcomer, worthy, beautiful, smart, priceless, and victorious. There is truly hope in the Lord. I wouldn’t have not been able to face bullying if it were not for relying on the Word of God and realizing I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength according to Philippians 4:13.

I wrote “Bullied Yet Victorious” to encourage teens who have faced bullying or dealing with bullying. I share my personal encounters starting in the second grade (I was bullied by my teacher/principal) all the way to college (I felt like I was living in a movie my freshmen year of college). I encourage the reader to dream big and know that God will help them through. This upcoming generation needs help and their self-esteem built. Every time I hear on the news that a teen was bullied or a teen committed suicide due to bullying, it breaks my heart. IF only someone would have helped. IF only someone would have stood up and told the victim, “Don’t give up, you have a purpose. It doesn’t matter what bullies say, they don’t define you. You are more than what they say. You are victorious. You are an overcomer and God loves you very much.”

That is my dream. That is my message. Bullies don’t determine your future, God does. Bullies come and go, but God is everlasting. Don’t let the words of bullies get you down. You have a purpose according to Jeremiah 29:11 and wonderfully made according to Psalm 139:13-16. You are a blessing!

My dream is to write more books; but, while on this journey, encourage teens they have a purpose. I believe God has given me this book as a platform to testify His goodness and uplift, encourage the broken hearted. My heart’s desire is to speak at conferences, youth groups, and churches. I  want to challenge churches to be the church…bullying should not even be happening in churches. I don’t believe that is what God intended for the church. In my opinion, bullying can hurt worse when it happens at church. I was devastated and didn’t want to go to church for a long time because I was bullied by church members my junior year of high school. I didn’t blame God for what happened, but I couldn’t believe how people who professed to be “Christians” were so mean and hateful. Bullying in the church can cause serious damage. In 1 John, John constantly mentions how we should love one another. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength…and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Why then, is it hard for some “Christians” to truly show the love of God?

If you have been bullied or dealing with bullying, I want to encourage you that you are meant for so much more. You have been created for such a time as this. God has a wonderful purpose for you. You are priceless, worthy, smart, beautiful, overcomer, and you are, victorious. You are Bullied Yet Victorious.