Simple Smile: Anti-Bullying Song by Ashley Stringer

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“Simple Smile” is an anti-bullying song written by Ashley Stringer. Ashley is a fourteen-year-old singer-songwriter who has a passion to share her gift of music to bring hope and healing to those who need it most. She writes:

“This song was written when I was twelve years old. I realized the value of affirmation that would come from a smile, and the deep hurt that can occur when one feels rejected by their peers.

My prayer is that we would recognize that smiles are priceless, and when shared, they can change someones outlook. Share a smile, and be givers of hope.”

“Bullying is a physical or psychological aggressive behavior intended to harm or hurt others. The bully uses offensive bullying words in the process of victimization, states NoBullying.com. ” The general view is to make the affected person seem worthless, unloved, and uncared for.”

The Bully Project says, “Bullying today does not just happen at school. It happens on the streets of our towns, in our homes, at extracurricular activities, at camp, online (cyberbullying), and in many other places.” They’ve created a film called, “Bully” that speaks to this issue. According to their website, 3 million kids are bullied each month, and 13 million kids are absent from school every year because of bullying.  

Many youth suicides have been connected with some form of rejection or bullying, to the extent the victims no longer felt welcome in this world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on youth suicide states that suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. Read my blog Victims of Bullying.

Whether bullying occurs at home, in school, in a public venue or online, it is always victimization. It is always connected to rejection or trying to diminish another’s self-worth. And it is always wrong.

The Bible says that out of the heart, our mouths speak. Unfortunately, too many hearts, instead of being filled with contentment, goodwill and joy are filled with just the opposite and it’s spilling out and doing incredible damage. I’m grateful for people like Ashley, who understand that even the simple, under-valued things like befriending someone who’s lonely, listening and showing compassion, helping someone in need, offering a prayer, or a simple smile can literally change someone’s day, their mind, their world and possibly even their future. Just by knowing someone “out there” cares, means there is still hope. Listen to Simple Smile and Watch the Music Video by Ashley Stringer and share with someone who needs to hear it!

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

“Understanding Bullying” CDC Fact Sheet

Information on Bullying by StopBullying.Gov

“Impact of Bullying Words on the Victim” by NoBullying.com

Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide: The Lasting Effects of Bullying 

The Bully Project

Online Security Tips for Parents & Kids

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2015

Stop Bullying Now!: A resource website sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services that addresses the warning signs of bullying, how to talk about bullies, how to report bullies and cyberbullying and offers a 24-hour help hotline for victims at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

(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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Freedom Series: Abandonment to Forgiveness

Abandonment to Forgiveness is a 96-page minibook in the Freedom Series created by Michelle Borquez. This booklet shares a story and life-changing principles that turn hopelessness to hope, bitterness to forgiveness, and the impossible into the possible.

When Michelle Moore was fourteen, her mother disappeared from her life. The woman who gave birth to her, cared for her, and shared life–the mother she loved–was gone, and without warning. She’d changed her identity and vanished without a trace. Her mother left no forwarding address and no explanation. She said, “My mom was my best friend.”

Michelle’s world, as she once knew it, was turned upside down overnight. None of the adults in her life could fill in the blanks for her, and adding insult to injury, no one else in the family–her father, her aunt and uncle, her grandparents—seemed to want her either. In Abandonment to Favor, Michelle’s questions echo what every other abandoned child (or person) wants to know:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Why did the other person get to move on?
  • What am I supposed to do with all of this hurt?

Abandonment leaves a person feeling devastated along with a string of other adjectives: alone, hurt, rejected, sad, angry, bitter, unloved, and the list goes on. Whether it’s a child whose been abandoned, a spouse, friend, or another close relationship, the damage of rejection cuts deep and it takes a great toll. On top of that, the people around her couldn’t understand or relate to the deep pain she carried. When there are no answers, no reasons, no empathy–nothing–the concept of forgiveness doesn’t seem to make any sense. She writes, I couldn’t get past my past.”  And, like so many others, she learned to withhold forgiveness because it gave her a sense of control.

As she moved into womanhood and became a wife and mother, she began to look closer at her abandonment issues. What was it that she really wanted out of life? How did she want the relationships in her life to be that were present and real? She came to understand that holding on to her anger and pain would keep her focused on and locked into the past, when what she desperately wanted was to move forward. Unforgiveness squeezes out our joy and stifles our peace. She wanted freedom from that burden she’d carried around for so long. Over time, Michelle came to realize that to hold on to unforgiveness was really to hold on to a false sense of control. She falsely believed that she could control something that in reality, she had absolutely no power over. The only thing she did have power over was her own choices.

Michelle Moore, Co-author of "Abandonment to Forgiveness"

Although there was no magic bullet, no mantra, no perfect words or behaviors that could reverse or change the reality or the feelings that came from her abandonment, Michelle chose to take what happened to her and use it for good. She purposed to free herself by embracing biblical truths about forgiveness, her own worth, and allowing God’s love to flow into the devastated places in her heart and fill them with hope and promise for her future. She reset expectations, embraced gratefulness for the good things in her life, and chose to take a realistic path of understanding that she could only control the things that were in her grasp.

In the middle section of this booklet, there’s a mini Bible study by Paige Henderson where, in part, she takes readers through a list of myths and truths about forgiveness. One of the biggest myths is a little like the chicken and egg question about what comes first: forgiveness or healing? Truth: We can’t heal until we forgive. “Forgiving is truly an issue of counting the cost and deciding… that either you can stay bitter and deal with the totality of issues that come with that choice, or you can heal… and live!

In the last section, “Steps to Freedom,” Sharon Kay Ball helps define what true forgiveness is and what it is not. She says, When children are abandoned, they learn very quickly not to trust. They learn how to put walls up to protect themselves so they can survive.”  Abandonment leaves us with missing pieces, like a puzzle. When we don’t understand the “whys” that are a part of our puzzle, we tend to try and fill those empty spaces with misfit pieces (people, things, wrong beliefs) that will never fill them. Until we embrace truth, we cannot find our peace and will always be grasping for answers.

In conclusion, she walks readers through the journey to healing by way of reflection and insight, journaling, the importance of telling their story, appropriately grieving the missing pieces, and through brief but meaningful writing assignments that will help them in the healing process. 

Most women have experienced some degree of rejection or abandonment at some point in their lives. Whether it was as devastating as Michelle’s story, or not, emotional shrapnel gets embedded and it needs to come out. Ultimately, the goal is to move from victim to survivor. It’s time to get free, embrace God’s love, and move forward. “Forgiveness brings ultimate freedom” — Set yourself free!

Purchase the book: Abandonment to Forgiveness

You may also be interested in:

10 Quotes about Forgiveness  

25 Quotes about Anger

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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