~Parental guidance advised for younger readers due to the subject matter~
I still remember the day I first heard about human trafficking, modern-day slavery.
, For as long as I can remember, I have been furious about the fact that slavery existed in the history of America. It disgusted me to even think that at one point in time it was legal and acceptable for one human being to think they had the right to own another human being. I was infuriated by the thought. How could someone be so evil?
Yet as a young girl I believed that slavery had been abolished. I believed that it was gone and that it was finally a thing of the past.
But I was thirteen years old when I found out that I was wrong.
I still remember that day as clearly in my mind as if it were yesterday. I can see it vividly in my mind and remember exactly how I felt.
I was reading a book when I found out that slavery still existed on the earth today and that, in fact, there were more slaves existing today than ever before. As the words sunk in for me, I remember feeling as if I could not breathe or as if someone had punched me in the stomach. That moment, my heart began to break and I was furious.
So many thoughts ran through my mind, so much confusion. How could this have been happening and I didn't know sooner? How could this be real? I needed to know more. And I needed to do something.
It was December 2010 when I first found out about modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and that snowy winter night I vowed to fight this crime for the rest of my life and not give up until it was abolished.
That night sent me on a quest to find out more about human trafficking and learn as much as I could. Awareness and education is the first step to prevention and action. This December will be six years since I first called myself a modern-day abolitionist, and I am still proud to call myself such. Of course, I know far more about human trafficking now than I did six years ago, and it still breaks my heart.
I hate human trafficking more than any other crime or wrongdoing on the face of this earth. I despise it. It is the most horrific form of evil I have ever heard of. It makes me just as angry today as it did six years ago.
Human trafficking takes many different forms. Domestic servitude, child soldiers, prostitution, etc. Sex trafficking infuriates me most of all, and to know that this dark evil exists on the face of the earth today, and especially in America, tears my heart into pieces.
No matter what form human trafficking takes on, it is all telling the same disgusting lie.
That a human life does not matter and does not have the same value as another. That a human life is cheap and can be bought and sold for pennies.
And that is the most disgusting, vile lie I have ever heard. A lie straight from the devil that has deceived this world for far too long.
And that is why I hate human trafficking so much.
Because it deceives its captives into believing that their life is not valuable and that their life is not worthy of love or freedom. But see, I know the truth. I know the truth of God that says every life is valuable. Every life is loved. Every life is precious. And every life deserves the freedom of living this truth.
To think that a human being could be so evil and horrific as to sell or buy another human being, completely blows my mind. I don't understand how someone could do something so extremely evil. My heart breaks over this.
I hate human trafficking with every ounce of my being and I have chosen to dedicate my life to joining the fight of eradicating it and bringing the evil perpetrators to justice.
In my heart I believe it should be the call of every Christ follower to say "No!" to human trafficking and to stand up and fight it. As Christians I believe it is our duty to spread the truth that life is precious and valuable and it should never be bought or sold. Jesus died for every life because every one was precious in His sight.
Let this be our battle cry to come together and fight this modern-day slavery. To fight these disgusting lies that are told, and spread the truth to the precious souls caught in this evil trade.
Pray hard. Get educated on slavery. Learn the signs of human trafficking. Get connected with an organization fighting human trafficking. There are dozens of amazing groups out there--International Justice Mission, A21 Campaign, Love146, Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, to name a few. Give of your time, money, or talent to help in this fight.
I don't care what it is, but please, please do something. We can't let this evil lie to our girls, our men, our women, our children, anymore. Let's fight it.
Until we are all free.
I have a love/hate relationship with to-do lists.
I don't really think I could function without them, yet they make me upset at the same time.
Every day I quickly scribble out a list of things I need to get done in the next 24 hours. Sometimes as little as three things, sometimes as long as fifteen things. I write it all out to make sure I don't forget. And I have the satisfaction of knowing that everything's written down so I won't forget about completing it.
Yet every day I fail to measure up to this standard I have set for myself. This standard that says I won't be happy or I won't be good enough until I get everything done on my list and feel accomplished. I fail to cross every item off on my lengthy to-do list and consequently feel that I have failed at my day.
Maybe things came up and changed the plan for the entire day. Maybe I got distracted (Is there such a thing as Pinterest addiction therapy?) and ended up wasting some of my time. Maybe I forgot the to-do list and ended up getting other things done, but not crossing off every item on my list.
Yes, I love the to-do lists because they keep me on schedule and help me stay focused, and they are a good thing. And yes, I hate to-do lists at the same time because I can never measure up to completing them and they cause me to feel like a failure when I don't.
Maybe you have the same kind of relationship with lists. Because I think the problem with our lists is that we measure our worth next to them. We measure our worth based on how much we can do and how much we can accomplish. We tell ourselves we're fulfilled if we complete everything we want to, and we convince ourselves that we're not enough if we fall short.
But the thing is, we'll never measure up to the standard the world has set for us, we'll never even measure up to the standard we have set for ourselves, and we certainly won't measure up to the standard God has set for us. We will always come short.
But that's where grace comes in.
And He gives us more than enough.
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9
His grace is sufficient to meet our every need, our every weakness, our every inadequacy. For every place where we fall short or don't measure up, His grace covers it.
The world has put us in the mindset that to be loved, to be accepted, we must do more and be more. We must accomplish the most and do, do, do. Yet God teaches the opposite. He did it all so that we could simply rest in what He is giving to us and find our worth in what He thinks and says about us. In Him we are enough and we do not have to strive to reach the measure of perfection that we can never attain. He tells us that to be loved, we must simply accept His gift. To be accepted we must simply choose Him. We don't have to do anything.
When we allow ourselves the freedom to rest in His grace that covers us abundantly, we no longer have to hate those to-do lists that we can never seem to finish. We don't have to hate those lists of dreams or plans that we can never accomplish. Because finishing them doesn't define us or give us our worth. Having that freedom gives you the chance to instead focus on loving Jesus better and doing the next thing He is asking of you, whatever it is.
And if you finish your to-do list at the end of the day, great. If not, that's okay too.
Focus on doing what God has for you and finding freedom in His grace, and the rest will fall into place.
I have some exciting news for you lovely readers this evening regarding the book release of my brand NEW book "Worth it All: Running the Race of a Lifetime"!
On October 23, 2016 I will be having the official cover reveal for my book!! I am so excited to share this special cover with you all! :) The cover will be revealed at 9:00pm (EST) on the 23rd, here and on my social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter).
On October 30, 2016 the official fun begins!! :D "Worth it All" will be released and available for purchase at midnight! The social media parties begin at 2:30pm on Twitter, so if you follow me at @authorbella2015, join the fun over there! The fun here at the blog begins at 6:00-7:00pm, so don't forget to come here for some fun, including a Q+A, book sneak peek, and giveaway! The Facebook party is from 8:00-9:00pm, so if you're on Facebook join me for a Facebook live, including a reading from my brand new book and a giveaway!
The week following book release day, my blog tour for "Worth it All" will be kicking off on Monday, October 31st! More information about the blog tour still to come! If there are any bloggers still interested in being a part of the blog tour, please contact me by next Friday! :)
Thank you all SO much for your support! You mean the world to me! I'm so excited about this special book God gave me to share about my personal journey with the National Bible Bee!
Mark your calendars and let's celebrate what He has done!
To God be the glory! <3
(I might bring cupcakes here too, just sayin'...)
Being a world changer is hard some days, isn't it?
And don't look at me and assure me that you wouldn't know, because you aren't of the world changing type.
Because, you see, I know the truth.
As I lean closer to you, I whisper that I know about your true identity.
To be honest, God made you a world changer from the start. He knew the ways you would impact this world and He created it to be amazing and bring glory to Him. He hand picked the people you would change and the people you would love for Him. All along, He wanted to change the world with you.
But you know, changing the world actually looks a lot different than what most people tell us today. And maybe that's why you didn't even know you were a world changer at all. Because most people think of world changers as that businessman at the top of the corporate ladder, donating some of their millions to help people in poverty. They think of it as the one seeking a cure for cancer or the one protesting for what they believe. They think of it as the one on foreign soil, their hair dirty from working hard to fight for the people they are serving. They think of it as the evangelist at the pulpit speaking in front of thousands. They think of it as the best selling author of fifteen books or the band touring all over the world impacting youth. They think of world changers as the people who are famous, have it all together, rich, or who are doing some great, honorable thing.
And it's true, they are world changers too. And it might be easy to notice that they are world changers because they are constantly in the spotlight where everyone can see them.
But they aren't the only world changers.
And so this article isn't for those who are doing the big, great, magnificent things you wish you were doing. Although I am not minimizing what they are doing, because I am proud of them too and they are making a huge difference.
Yet, this article is for you.
It's for all my world changers out there that the world may never recognize.
It's for the world changer who doesn't even know that they are a world changer.
The one loving on their family, investing in their siblings, honoring their parents, even when it's hard. The one giving a smile to the person across the room or holding the door for an elderly guest. The one bringing cookies to a nursing home or handing their ice cream money to the man on the street corner. The one being friends with the lonely girl or guy in youth group or school. The one whose heart breaks through their tears for the people who don't know God's love, so they pray fervently for them behind closed doors. The one sharing their story with others through writing, drawing, lyrics, or creativity. The one doing what seems impossible or ridiculous because God has asked them to do it. The one who will probably never get much credit here on earth or the one who probably will never have crowds of thousands screaming their name. But the one who will reach Heaven's shore and hear the words "well done."
To you, dear world changer, I give the encouragement that you are a masterpiece of God and every time you do these seemingly small acts of world changing love, your Creator smiles. Because this is what He made you to do. To change the world with your every smile and by simply being you and by saying yes to what He asks of you.
So don't ever stop saying yes. Say yes every time to Him.
Don't you ever give up. Don't you ever think that what you are doing doesn't matter. Don't you ever wish that you could be one of those famous people changing the world in big ways. Because you are changing the world in exactly the way God wants you to.
You are a special diamond that is shining the love of God to everyone you come in contact with. Don't ever listen to the ones who tell you that you aren't enough or that you can't possibly make any difference. Because you are. You are making history and you are changing the world.
Never forget who you are.
This world needs more of you.
Keep being amazing.
Moments ago, I was sitting here listening to a song and as I listened the words became alive. The song was about not being ashamed to speak the Name of Jesus Christ. As I listened my heart burned to write.
So here I am.
And I just wanted to break into your Sunday afternoon today to tell you about a Man I am crazy in love with. A Man who has rescued me and loved the darkest parts of me.
We live in a culture that looks down upon those who believe in the Name of Jesus and despises those who speak that beautiful Name.
Don't believe me?
Well, take a look around you. Public schools and colleges are hostile to Christianity, removing references to God from classrooms and removing Bibles from campuses. Those students brave enough to speak His Name are every day attacked for their faith in God.
Social media and the internet are hostile to Christianity too. People are bullied or made fun of online for speaking truth about God into their tweets, posts, etc. Some websites even take down blogs or posts or videos for talking about Jesus too much. Excuse me? I don't think that's acceptable or should it be tolerable.
Everywhere you go there is confrontation for what you believe. The world has taught us to accept and commend most all religious differences or social differences...except for Christianity, the one religion that is condemned and attacked daily. Could it be because Christianity is a relationship with a true, living God, and that threatens the comfort zones of some people? In other countries people are even killed or tortured for their faith in Christ, for professing the Name of Jesus.
In America you're probably not going to physically be tortured or killed for proclaiming the Name of Jesus, but you will be attacked, despised, and accused for speaking of Him. And sadly, so many people have listened to the lies that this world and culture has fed us. The lies that we need to shut up and not speak about what we believe. The lies that we need to keep quiet and not declare our faith publicly. So many Christians have become silent and it's hard to tell a Christian from an atheist anymore because they don't speak up (except the atheist will probably declare what they believe because it's their right. And it isn't ours?).
But let me tell you boldly, I will not be ashamed to speak the Name of Jesus. When He died on that cross for MY sin and did it loving ME, He didn't do it in His bedroom with the door closed. He did it on a hilltop in front of thousands. So neither will I choose to live for Him behind closed doors. I will speak His Name to thousands and if that costs me popularity, friends, money, or yes, even my life, then that is just the price I will pay.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" (Romans 1:16-17 NKJV)
I am not ashamed of Jesus or the gospel. And this is what I believe...
I believe in God the Father who loved me (loved YOU) so much that He sent His one and only Son to Earth to take on a human form like us, but to live a perfect life, so that He could die in OUR place and take the punishment of OUR sin on Himself.
I believe in Jesus Christ, my Hero, my Savior, my King, my Lord, my Redeemer, my Prince, my True Love, my Everything, who lived on this earth in human form and CHOSE to die a horrible, brutal death to bring me and you salvation and freedom, so that we could fall in love with Him and spend the rest of our lives with Him.
I believe in love stories and happily ever after because that's what He gave me. A great love story with the Creator of all, the Creator of me. The perfect Prince Charming who adores me rescued me and called me His beloved. He has invited me to spend the rest of eternity with Him and to love and be loved by Him forever. If that's not a happily ever after ending, I don't know what is.
So no matter what I face or what accusation comes against me for speaking this beautiful Name that has rescued me from the darkest parts of me, I will still speak the name of JESUS. The Name that saved me and redeemed me forever.
"Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12 NKJV)
There truly is no other name that can save us the way the Name of Jesus can.
So, my precious Prince, my Jesus, I will never be ashamed to speak Your Name, whether I live or die. Your Name will forever be on my lips.
If you're with me and you believe that we as believers need to stand up and shout the beautiful Name of Jesus with our lips and our lives, then I encourage you to tell others that you are not ashamed. I'm not asking you to share this post or tell others to read it. Instead, write your own love post for Jesus, telling the world how much you love Him and what His Name means to you.
Together lets show the world that we are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That we will never be afraid or ashamed to speak the Name of Jesus.
Christians, let's be bold.
Life is hard.
The monotony of everyday routine can get us trapped inside a cycle of “just getting by.” The unexpected changes of life can cause fear in our hearts. The bad things that happen can keep us held down inside a prison of pain. It can be so easy to get caught up inside all the hard parts of life that we think there is no way out, or there is no beauty that could possibly come from the ashes.
I know, because I felt this way only three years ago.
Lots of changes were going on in my life at the time and it was a whirlwind of one thing right after another.
And then we were told that my twin sister needed surgery.
So many emotions flooded through my heart. Even now I can still remember the fear and the hurt—the questions of, “Why, Lord?”
The explanations given by the oral surgeon were hard for me to process. My sister’s wisdom tooth had been pushed up underneath her eye due to a large cyst in her sinus cavity. Surgery was required to remove the tooth and cyst, but only after several months of a painful irrigation process.
Throughout the process, my sister chose to trust God in the midst of her pain, in the midst of the uncertainty. She wrote an article that was published in several magazines, declaring her faith in God to work everything out.
Yet I still wrestled with trusting God when I stood in front of that hospital building on October 8, 2013, holding onto my sister’s arm. This was my best friend, my other half, my twin sister. Why was this happening to her? God, where are You? Why did You let this happen?
Looking back on that moment, I have to smile at my own foolish, untrusting heart. Did I really think I could have written things any better? Obviously, I could not have. For I did not see the whole picture.
I did not see the miracle that was taking place right in the middle of the pain. I did not see yet the way my sister’s story impacted dozens of other girls that were encouraged by her testimony. I did not see yet the way my sister would receive letters from other girls, thanking her for inspiring them.
But isn’t that how it is a lot of the time?
When we’re right there in the middle of it—all the pain, the mundane, everyday life, the uncertainty, the suffering—it is so hard to see how any good could come out of it. How could there be healing in the loss of someone you loved? How could there be any hope in the midst of a lost job? How could there be any joy in the monotony of dishes and laundry?
How could there be a miracle in the middle of the pain?
But there is. I promise you that.
There is a miracle in the pain, because we are not writing the story. The God who loves us and holds us through all of the pain, is writing a story so much more beautiful than we could’ve ever imagined.
“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.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV)
All things work for good. Maybe they don’t turn out how we wanted. Maybe they aren’t what we imagined or would have preferred. But they turn out good, because He is good. And His purpose for us is good. The story He is writing is good.
And because of that, there is a miracle right in the middle of the pain you are facing today, whatever it is.
Let’s purpose to search for it together, shall we? The miracle in the midst of the pain.
Hello lovely readers!
This evening I have another special YouTube video for you all! :) I apologize that it took so long! I filmed the video several days ago but ended up sick, so I'm just getting around to posting it :) It is a pretty lengthy video (I'm talking about Bible Bee if that explains anything...) but I hope you still enjoy it! I share from the fifth chapter of my book "I Dare You" and discuss my journey with the National Bible Bee!! Fellow Bible Bee-er's, this one is for you! <3
Don't forget to like, share, and comment on the video! ;) So grateful for all you amazing people who keep coming back to watch and read what I have to say <3 I am deeply honored and humbled by God's goodness!
In the video I also share about my brand NEW book "Worth it All" that is releasing on October 30, 2016! I am so excited! The book is available to pre-buy now so order your signed copy today (retail price, $14.99)!
Much love! To God be the glory!
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.