Celebrating Women: International Women’s Day

 

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I’ve been a long-time advocate for women and girls because I believe in the beauty, strength and value they possess. In many places throughout the world, women and girls are still marginalized, abused, treated unjustly and under-valued. Their unique gifts never opened.

To the women of the world… May you know that you are LOVED.

You are seen. You deserve to be heard. You are worthy of all life has to offer you. You are capable of greatness. You don’t ever need to compete with others, because you are enough. Your gifts and talents can never be taken from you, they are yours and yours alone. You do not have to settle for less. You have a voice. You have a place. Right here, right now. You were born with a purpose. Your destiny is calling you. You don’t need to be hard to make an impression because the gentleness of your heart is your strength. Your mind is an asset. Your heart and thoughts filled with love and possibility will guide you. Your dreams were given to you for your fulfilment and to spill out into the world. Dream big dreams. Even if you don’t believe them yet, keep dreaming them until you do. Keep your faith. Believe that God loves you and you are worthy of love. You do not need to fear. Take hold of courage and expect to find goodness in uncommon places. Look for love and you will find it because it’s already looking for you. Breathe in life, because it is short and you don’t want to miss any opportunity to see, really see, what can be. Teach your daughters the same. And whatever you do, don’t settle. You are worthy.

“I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Victims of Bullying

It takes courage to stand alone for your beliefs in the face of intolerance and judgment.

It takes bravery to use your voice when presented with lies and betrayal.

It takes boldness to speak out when everyone else’s silence is deafening.

It takes faith to keep believing in humanity when humans tear us down.

It takes strength to get up and face your demons, your critics, your enemies.

It takes heart to forgive when those who hurt us don’t even know they need our forgiveness.

It takes tenacity, sometimes, to simply breathe in and breathe out.

It takes resilience to take one more step, look in the mirror, face your fears and live to fight just one more day.

Those who keep on keeping on in the midst of unwarranted aggression, torment, fear and bullying are warriors. They are the ones who are strong enough to refuse ultimate defeat. They refuse to allow the smallness, ugliness and false accusation of bullies to define them or keep them pinned down. But, remember–not everyone can hold on.

It takes just one to stand, speak, be bold, have faith, take heart, be strong and resilient with us–so that we no longer have to be alone.

Stand up. Speak up. Together, we are stronger, and just a little bit braver.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Sparkle a Little Brighter

 

Sparkle Brighter

There’s an old expression about human existence that says “in the end, no one gets out alive.” While that’s true, we all have whatever amount of time that we do have here, to live. In other words, to “be alive” while we are still living. To choose to be present. To make a decision to bring life to our moments (thoughts, attitudes, circumstances, expectations and relationships) or at least, allow life to infuse them. Life, in part, means energy, possibility and hope.

It is no secret that life ebbs and flows. Some seasons of our journey are simply more of a challenge. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have control over our attitude or mindset in the midst of those seasons. There may be times when you feel darkness creeping in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn up the wattage. Sometimes, we just need to plant a flag in it and say, “No more!”

When you feel darkness or discouragement closing in, take time to breathe in memories of goodness and joy, and the little things that have encouraged or lifted your spirit in the past. Let yourself reminisce about the things that once made your heart smile. Look for beauty in creation. Take inventory of the innumerable blessings (whether they’re things, people, discoveries or insights) that you have to be grateful for.

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark. -George Iles

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. -Christopher Reeve

Love is the light that brightens every heart’s darkness. -Bryant McGill

When the world says, “Give up,” hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” -Author Unknown

All of us have memory vaults filled with positive and beautiful gifts, some more than others, but no one is exempt. Sometimes we just need to lift the vault handle and be reminded. Hope believes. Love frees.

So here’s a friendly reminder: when the light dims, sparkle a little brighter.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Domestic Violence is a Choice

Let’s be clear on the issue of Violence Against Women. If a man physically and/or psychologically abuses a woman, it is not by accident and it is not by mistake… It is by choice. I posted an article on this issue in 2011 titled, Domestic Violence: But He Really is a Good Person. Here’s an excerpt:

How many times have you heard a woman say these words after she’s been abused: “But he really is a good person”. She then goes into all of the things that have been difficult in his life, all of the things that have kept him down and made him a victim.

As if to say what?  He really doesn’t mean to be a bad person. Just look at his life, the cards were stacked against him. As if to say: Because of his past, he doesn’t have a personal choice in his future actions? As if to say: If those bad things didn’t happen in his life he wouldn’t be the way he is today. Wouldn’t he?

Over and over we have seen statistics and read stories about women who have been caught in the storm of violence perpetrated by a husband or lover—someone she knows intimately.  They sit on their friends’ couches, in their therapist’s office, in a bar, or at a police station, with their bruises, cuts and outward scars. They say things like: “But he really is a good person.  I know he didn’t mean to do it.  He loves me.” Read Full Article

Every woman, every person, deserves to live their life to its fullness. Free from fear, free from torment, free from abuse, and the list goes on. Everyone deserves to love and be loved fully and freely. Take the first step to love yourself enough to be free. You are worth it!

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – ”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Hold On, Pain Does Not Last Forever

We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there. -Harold Kushner

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Shine Your Light

 

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

 

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Freedom Series: Fear To Courage

Unhealthy fear is a liar. If not stopped, it will always seek to bully us into believing lies about ourselves and about others, ultimately morphing our reality. It is a thief. It robs our peace and joy, and in many cases, the faith and courage to follow our dreams and live healthy fulfilled lives. But the worst part about unhealthy fear is that it can become a slave master. Its single focused goal is to destroy the truth and any potential goodness in our lives by disempowering us and holding us captive.

From Fear to Courage is a 96-page minibook that is part of the Freedom Series created by author and popular women’s speaker, Michelle Borquez. Women desperately want to get to the other side of fear, shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness, or any other issue that keeps them from finding their ultimate freedom in life, but often they don’t know how. The book’s authors use biblical truths to guide readers out of their unhealthy fears into a place of understanding, healing, and freedom.

Have you (or someone you know) kept a secret that has bound you in chains, choked off your voice, drowned your hopes, or silenced your dreams?

In Fear to Courage, Kim Vastine shares her personal story of shame, betrayal, loneliness, and anger brought on by childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by an uncle, someone she “should” have been able to trust. Instead, she was lied to, stolen from, and enslaved to her abuser.  Fear became an unwanted and demanding companion. She uses words like torment, pain, fear, and grief to describe how the abuse made her feel.

Adding fuel to the fire, yet another family member compounded her abuse profile. Speaking of her father’s volatile outbursts that would leave the family, “cowering, sobbing, or desperately striving to seem invisible,” she concluded, “as bad as it was physically, emotionally it was worse.” And just when you wonder how much more a child can endure, she tells of yet another abuse in a place she “should” have felt safe and secure.

The images and memories of abuse branded in her mind helped formulate how she saw the world, God, and herself. My voice was silent, but my heart cried out for justice.” Like flecks of emotional shrapnel searing through the skin, unless extracted, they remain embedded in our minds and spirits. In her case, she learned to mask her negative emotions in deceptive and unhealthy ways.

Paige Henderson writes, “When fear dictates, love is silenced.” This booklet invites women to take the critical journey “moving from life-crushing fear to life-changing courage.” None of us can survive without hope or apart from love. She helps readers put fear into perspective. To understand the awe-inspired “fear” of God and positive healthy choices, as opposed to unhealthy fear that distorts truth, steals our voice, and robs us of our intended destiny. Love is more powerful than fear, but as long as we give fear a place, we give it power.

Then she uses examples from the Bible to show the consistency (predictability) of human nature in our reaction to fear: hiding or running in the opposite direction, and then speaks to trust and identity issues and how they inform us on how we relate to ourselves and the world. The heavy burden of abuse and its fallout are real, but remember, we are not alone in the battle. When childhood abuse occurs, children are left to define their trauma through their own experience and feelings, never grasping what it all means and where they fit in the overall scheme of what has happened to them. (Underscore, to them.)

Abused children typically draw conclusions based on false thinking, and as they mature and advance into adult relationships, they act out what they believe. Although a woman’s body matures and changes, for those who have suffered from childhood trauma, their wounded little girl remains still very much a part of them. That little girl is desperate to be loved, feel worthy, and to be seen and heard. She needs healing.

Henderson talks about the significance of fortifying our lives (how we think, feel, and act) in the way we build our life foundations.  How important it is that we build wisely, and with truth, because eventually, we act on what we believe. We live out our lives, based on what we believe to be true. Using a simple Q&A format, she encourages readers to pause and reflect, and then record their thoughts and feelings. The process helps define the root causes of fear and the difference between healthy and unhealthy fears and their effect.

Armed with a healthy understanding about fear, love, and the importance (and power) of taking personal responsibility for our ultimate wholeness and freedom, Sharon Kay Ball rounds out the book with a section called, “Steps to Freedom.” She discusses the devastation of sexual and emotional abuse including disempowerment and trauma. Readers are then given steps to help in the process of healing those broken places.

Victims of abuse will learn how to un-pack and re-pack, so to speak, their belief systems (about truth, themselves, and others), so they can move from fear to courage, and from victim to survivor. That means taking the power away from the perpetrators, and reclaiming it for ourselves. She reminds us that, “secrets only carry power when they are kept secret.” And discusses how to get past self-blame, the importance of not stuffing bad memories, and how to process anger in a healthy way. She also underscores the value of journaling and working with a professional therapist if necessary.

“When fear enslaves us, it paralyzes us and keeps us from having the courage to live out our purpose in life.” –Michelle Borquez

This booklet begins with Kim’s story about sexual and other abuses. Maybe your fears have different origins. But the fact remains: fear is a liar and fear is a thief. Eventually, unhealthy fear becomes a slave master, and until we replace it with truth, it will keep us where we don’t want to be, in a perpetual internal prison.

It’s time to let go of fear and claim your freedom. Commit to the process because you are worth it. Give yourself permission to take the journey that will eventually lead you out of the cage and into your freedom.

Purchase the book: Fear to Courage

You may also be interested in:

Fear is a Liar

20 Quotes about Pushing Past Fear

Live Fearless, Live Free.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Live Fearless, Live Free.

It has been said that fear is the prison of the heart. Look up, Push forward, keep going, don’t look back, because fear is a liar… and you’ve got better things to do with your life. Don’t give it power, don’t let it hold you down. Keep on dreaming, keep on hoping, keep on praying, keep on believing, keep on living, keep on keeping on, even in the face of fear. Live fearless. Live free. 

The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be. –Unknown

As fear is a close companion to falsehood, so truth follows fearlessness. –Jawaharlar Nehru

We have to be fearless, we have to take chances. We can’t live just being afraid of what comes next, that’s not what living is about. –Unknown

The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing truth really will set you free. –Oprah Winfrey

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. –Arthur Koestler

When we love, we are courageous; and courage has nothing to do with being fearless, it’s about being willing to experience fear, even dread, to do what we must, without guarantee of outcome. –Vanna Bonta

Fear cannot take what you do not give it. –Christopher Coan

There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly you. –Anthony Rapp

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. –Dorothy Bernard

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to to be fearless when facing them. –Rabindranath Tagore

Be fearless, create your own world with courage. –Unknown

I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly. –Oprah Winfrey

The ground of fearlessness is fear. In order to be fearless, you have to stand in the middle of your fear. –Larry Rosenberg

I am afraid yet fearless. For fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but the bravery to do it anyways. –Unknown

Do you think courage means being fearless? Or daring? Courage, real courage, is taking three steps when it terrifies you. –Catherine Anderson

Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it. –Veronica Roth

Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. –Taylor Swift 

He who fears something gives it power over him. –Moorish Proverb

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear is a poser masquerading as truth. -April McCallum

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless. –Gandhi

There is much in the world to make us afraid. there is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not. –Denis Waitley

I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. –Erica Jong

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. –John Wayne

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.Louis E. Boone

Look at hopelessness in the face and say: “We are simply not meant to be together.”  Hold courage’s hand and walk away. –Dodinsky

You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it fearlessly. –Steve Maraboli

How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. –Judy Blume

Here’s to all of you who live bold and brave, not because you aren’t afraid, but because you choose to push past your fears in order to live your life more fully, more freely, more alive.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Risks Worth Taking

Life, hope, love, all risks worth taking…

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom
Only a person who risks is free.” -Author Anonymous

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Bridges in Our Lives

I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madam C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.” –Oprah Winfrey

The same could be said by each of us about the people God has placed along the path throughout our life’s journey. Reflection makes us grateful.

Who were the “bridges” in your life?  What specifically made them a bridge for you? What words would you use to describe them? What words would they use to describe you? What are the lasting imprints they left on you? How will they be remembered in the archives of your story?

Some people stay in our lives forever, but most come and go through different seasons. Often the ones we remember most are the ones who gave us just the right encouragement or advice at just the right time. Maybe they didn’t use many words, but modeled for us what it meant to be brave, bold, creative, discover our voice, or follow our dreams. Or, maybe they were the ones who simply “showed up” when no one else did. Maybe they held our hearts, helped us heal, forgive, understand, or just listened.

Whatever our story, they were there. And, they were there for us. Because of them, we knew that somehow it was going to be okay. When we didn’t quite have enough of our own, they shared with us their courage, faith, love, and hope.

I’m so grateful for the people who were “bridges” in my life. I count them as blessings… like flowers in my internal garden that stand just a little taller and are just a little more fragrant than all the others. And in turn, they made me stand just a little bit taller and a little more fragrant. They lift our heads, our voices, our aspirations, our belief in God, and in ourselves, while quietly helping us not to settle, but believe there is “more to be had”.

It is important to reflect on the people who were bridges at significant and pivitol times in our life because it keeps us grateful. They are valuable and irreplaceable parts of our story. Likewise, it is important to be vigilant so that we don’t miss the opportunity to be a bridge in someone else’s life. Our blessings are meant for us at very specific times along our journey, but they are also meant to be shared and passed along to others on theirs.

Are you a bridge in someone else’s story today?

 
Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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