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struggle where does the Christian woman go to ‘turn up?’


what exactly does it take to gain control over your health & your BODY?

Forgotten the


April 2014



4 steps to turn RISK into REWARD

diverse women take on life, love and the everyday realities from the perspective of the the everyday Christian woman







a place to place our struggle PASSIONS the

where does the Christian

Putting together this magazine was quite the You will always be able to open it and know woman gowilltofeed ‘turn up?’ sprint. Two months ago, I decided to ‘make a that what you’re reading your soul magazine.’ And, well, here we are. and propel you toward being the person God created you to become. I’ve always been a big fan of writing, but I didn’t want to limit the expression of just my You and I don’t anticipate enough out of this thoughts what exactly does take to towords gainon a screen on a personal life. We have been given the gift of breath I know&too many incredible people who and exploration, liberty and ambition, crecontrol over yourblog. health deserve to be seen and known, and whose ativity and discovery. We are extraordinary your BODY? use of the English language far exceeds my creatures gifted with the ability to spread own. light and share love. It is my hope and prayer that God will use the words He’s given to us So I asked some ladies to write. Naturally, to help your days to smile and your life to bethey said yes. I officially think they are as cra- come one that his reflective of the love of His zy as I am. But these are ladies who take life son. by the horns, challenge it, and expect it to deal back to them what they put into it. They challenge me to think beyond. express open- For you, ly and expect amazing. Ultimately, they exemplify what a woman of our day should be, not because they are perfect, but because they acknowledge their imperfections and diverse women take on press toward the direction of better. Prov. 22:1


Forgotten the


April 2014



4 steps to turn RISK into REWARD


life, love and the everyday realities thebeperspective Elisia Magazinefrom will always one that you’ll never be embarrassed to read in front of of the the everyday Christian woman your husband or your child or your pastor.


i work for zoe.



Practical, creative business communications, from Z to A.| ELISIA















What is Elisia?

Being a Christian woman doesn't have to be a cliche. It is quite possible that a woman doesn't have to wear ankle length skirts and black stockings to be devoted to a life that reects the cross. Today's modern Christian women are nothing less than the woman reected in the notorious Proverbs 31. We are mothers, business women, politicians and homemakers. We are artists, entrepreneurs, writers, inspirers. We love the Lord. We value life and relationships. We are women who are intentional about loving God, pursuing purpose, and ďŹ nding joy in the lifes we've been gifted. Elisia Magazine modern bi-monthly online lifestyle magazine for the far from cliche Christian woman of today. From music to politics, fashion to social injustices, food to entrepreneurship, Elisia readers will experience life from the voice of women who love God, love people, and have devoted their lives to sharing their story.| ELISIA







the struggle



s it me or is the art of entertainment

fleeting? I feel like everywhere I turn

(radio, and television to be specific) I’m

being told to “turn up!” or some song is

telling me what my body needs. Well, my body needs air, water, sunlight, food, and exercise, and I’d very much like the vol-

ume of said songs to actually “turn down.” Everything seems to appeal to the younger crowd. Coincidentally, I thought I was the younger crowd. Apparently, I›m

not. And nowadays, the definition of “a

true musician” is anyone that can dance and lip-synch to a track without getting caught. And entertainment means the

newest game app you’ve yet to figure out because you’re still stuck on level 119.



So, here I am. A 2?-year old Christian,

re-singled woman looking for something fun to do on the weekend with my best gal pal. One evening she and I were

itching to get out, so I opened my laptop

and typed “What’s happening this weekend in Dallas?” in the Google search bar.

Almost immediately we were reduced to some pop teen sensation’s concert and a

host of after-parties and lounges. Audible

sighs. Close laptop. We fought a good fight. But our frustration was no match for the

kiddos. We were defeated. And thus began my search.

What do girls like us do for fun? Where

does the Christian woman go to “turn up?”

I noticed that I don’t have a go-to fun

And there it was. I’d found it. The answer

to a lot of restaurants and/or my gigs and

sponsored ad on Facebook. For deals,

thing. And, more importantly, I don’t get

out much. I noticed that my BFF and I go

then go home. Concert going is out of the question since small, standing room only venues have reduced the experience to a game of “Which Friend Can Last in Their Heels the Longest?”

I asked other friends of mine what their Guaranteed Fun Time was, and each of

them shared their favorite carb-friendly

restaurant. Meh. I can gain weight on my own juuuuuuuuust fine.

I even asked elder women of faith, and

the consensus seems to be that church

was the only place I need to be. Don’t get me wrong. Church is where I need to be.

But I also don’t think that living for Christ means extracting the fun gene out of life.

came like an annoying sponsored ad on Facebook. Actually, it was an annoying

shows, theater and ideas for things to do

in your city. So, luckily for you, you won’t have to suffer through the same ex-

hausting experience my friend and I had

because I have issues upon issues of Elisia Magazine to share with you the latest and greatest in art and entertainment.

In the meantime, I’d love to know what

tickles your fancy! Mosey on over to our

Facebook page: /ElisiaMagazine and post some of your favorite things to do that we all can try. And use these hashtags to tweet the conversation.

getting the best out of life, even if it’s just

you and your Savior. Post fun activities to do by all yourself!

#WhereTwoOrThreeAreGathered – On

the other hand, fellowship is essential to

our emotional and spiritual health. Share your favorite group activities to do with

your best gal pals, or even fun date ideas! Who knows? Your favorite pastime just may appear in our next issue. And as

always, if you’ve had half as much fun

reading this, then I’ve had twice as much fun writing it.

Cherish Robinson

#YOLOSOLO - You Only Live Once … Unless You Accept Jesus. Then You Live Forever.

And in that case, you can have a great time

shop our spring/summer 2014 collection



As women we wear multiple hats at the same time. For me, I work from home for my chef husband as his business manager. My two sons feel there should be a full course meal prepared for them when they get home, oftentimes calling ahead to see what will be waiting on the stove when they arrive. Working from home, sometimes the time just flies by, and before I know it, I only have about an hour or so to get something finished. Even within such a little window of time, I try to prepare hearty meals that all my boys will love. This recipe is a family favorite that will not have you in the kitchen all evening. I hope you and your family will love it as much as we do.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 16 ounces egg noodles 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel mild diced tomatoes & green chilies 1/3 cup sour cream 8


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese Salt to taste 2 cups heavy whipping cream 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter 1 table spoon of parsley flakes 5 baked corn tortillas cut into strips Ground black pepper to taste

Poach chicken in a large pot of simmering water. Cook until no longer pink in center, about 12 minutes. Remove chicken and take out two cups of the cooking water. Set aside. Bring remaining water to a second boil and cook pasta in it. Drain. Cut chicken into small pieces and mix with noodles.

In a separate bowl, mix together mushroom soup, chicken soup, tomatoes, sour cream, unsalted butter, the remaining cooking water you had set aside, cream cheese and heavy whipping cream. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir together cream soup mixture with the chicken mixture. Place in a greased, 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through. While baking the casserole, prepare the tortilla strips by lightly frying them until crispy. Once the casserole dish is heated through, pull it out of the oven and garnish it with parsley flakes and the tortilla strips. Enjoy!| ELISIA


achel proctor








ave you ever put off doing something because you felt it was too big of a risk? I’m

sure we’ve all done it at some

point in life. With every chance we take there is a trade-off. We have to lose some-

thing in order to gain something else. And because of this trade-off we shy away from losing. I mean, let’s be real. No one wants to lose, right?

While losing can be painful, we must

realize this truth: In order to live a fulfilled life and walk in our God-given purpose, we have to be willing to take risks! And no matter how hard we try, we can never fully avoid risk.

Taking the chance to do something different requires effort, especially when the results are uncertain.

And it’s

tempting to believe that doing nothing the choice to launch my life coaching

business, I was terrified! I had so many questions running through my head.

take risks. So what steps can you take to get started?


|| RACHEL PROCTOR is awefawefaawleljfnawefnaweiofawioefoi;awenfaoewnfawi;oefn;oawiefna;wefnaw;eiofjaw;eoifna;weiofna;ewiof

Do your best to gather as much information

as possible. Making yourself knowledge-

able will take some of the fear out of your next big step. But set a time limit too. It’s

easy to get stuck in the research phase, and

doing so will land you right back where you started. Scared and unhappy.

TAKE ACTION Make the call. Buy the book. Write the “To

Do” list and cross off the first item. Action creates forward movement. Once you get going, it’s easier to keep going. And, as you

keep moving, your fear will start to fade away.


is the safer choice. When I first made

lize your potential by having the courage to

• What if I make a mistake?


• What if I fail?

Taking a risk is a matter of perspective. If

TION: What risks have you

not the end.

avoiding these risks stopped

• What if I never get any customers? I definitely let negative self-talk get the best of me in the beginning. I was

you win, you will be stronger. If you lose,

you will be wiser. And even if you fail, it’s


How has

you from living a fulfilled life?

tempted to hold back because I was


staying where I was, I chose to get fo-

When you decide to take a step even when

best risks I ever took.

roughs puts it, “Leap and the net will ap-

put aside this week in order

is the highest act of faith, and I have person-


afraid that others just wouldn’t get it. But in a moment of truth, rather than

cused, trust God and move forward!

I can say today that it was one of the Fear of the unknown has stopped countless people – talented, intelli-

gent people full of potential – from ever making positive changes in their

lives. Don’t let yourself be one of those people. You can only discover and uti-

the outcome is uncertain, divine providence will move with you. Or as author John Burpear.” You must believe that what you need

will show up when you need it. This truth

How might your life be better if you could find the courage to act in spite of your fears? What limiting beliefs will you to act and set yourself up for

ally witnessed its power countless times in

my own life. 2 Corinthians 5:7 makes the point beautifully, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”| ELISIA


it's ok not to be ok.

O.K || Dr. G Speaks

I would like to be real with you, ladies. Is that OK?


here have been times when people have asked how I was doing and I said, “Fine.” But I wasn’t. There

have been times in my life where I would hide the fact that I was going through some things. Well, 2013 was

an extremely difficult year, and I couldn’t hide anything, even if I wanted to. So, I leaned into it. I remember

being uncomfortable and telling family and friends that I wasn’t “good” at certain times, and they loved me just



the same. I remember telling my students that I wasn’t OK and that opened up great dialogue. I remember

sharing things that I felt were silly or “not big deals.” But they affected me. And, more importantly, it was all OK. Because I knew who was and is on the throne.

I see so many stressed, unhappy, healing, weary, overwhelmed people walking around like they have to put on a happy face. Well, guess what? If you are one of those people,

you are not alone.

Many of us act as if we are always doing great. As if we have it all together and don’t need help. We fake it. We fake it because we are afraid of others seeing that we

because we don’t want to be seen as weak.

But not only does faking it and suppressing things make

it tougher to handle real issues later, it also keeps us

from something greater. 2 Cor 12:9 says, “But he said to

me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Whose strength do you want?

Yours? Or Christ’s? Even on our best days, our strength alone doesn’t sustain us. Therefore, I will boast all the

more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

In reality, we all, yes, WE ALL need support. We all have hard days (weeks, months, years) and need to lean on

Jesus. As my friend Kev says, “We may be fractured but

we are functional.” And that means it’s OK to say things like:

“I know being single is supposed to be a blessing, but that’s not how I feel.” “I know I should be thankful to be in school, but I am overwhelmed.” “I know I should be grateful that I have a stable job that allows me to pay my bills, but I’m facing so many challenges at work.” “I know my loved one is in heaven and I should rejoice, but I miss them and I don’t understand.” Yes, the real you has moments of joy, happiness and triumph. But the real you also has moments of hurt, pain

and disappointment. Now, I’m not talking about wallow-

ing. Staying stuck in your mess is a choice I don’t condone. But it’s ok to give yourself permission to say to God, “I’m not so good right now. I need you.”

When I’m going through tough times, it helps me to ask

Remember, God is with us in the valleys, and His plans

are perfect. ”All things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his

purpose.” Rom 8:28 I wonder, how you might be able to use your storm, trial, uncomfortable moment or

challenging time for your development and the development of others? Pay attention to what God is revealing.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”-- Psalms 55:22

Many of us act as if we are always doing great. As if we have it all together and don’t need help. We fake it. We fake it because we are afraid of others seeing that we aren’t as together as we want them to think. We fake it because we don’t want to be seen as weak.


aren’t as together as we want them to think. We fake it

that the Lord guide me, and to get support from loved

ones. I do what I can, and I allow God to do what I can’t. And I maybe throw in a little comedy, a Zumba class or some boxing for fun.| ELISIA


the Big Picture ON HEALTH I’m a personal trainer. So, you may be wondering, what is my philosophy of health and fitness? Is it low fat, low carb, low glycemic, eat every two hours, intermittent fasting, eat carbs only in the morning (or after a workout), high protein, lots of supplements, no supplements, slow cardio, no cardio, lift light weights with lots of reps, lift heavy weights in small reps? Yes. To all of it.





am reminded of the parable of seven blind men examining different parts of an elephant and then giving their report to one another. Leg: “It’s like a pillar.”

Tail: “It’s like a rope.” Trunk: “It’s like a tree branch.” Ear: “It’s like a hand fan.” Belly: “It’s like a wall.” Tusk: “It’s like a pipe.”

Not unlike those blind men, health and nutrition experts all seem to come up with research to support their own theories. Objectivity is elusive. To confuse things even more, hot bodied celebrities and fitness gurus sell books, e-books and supplements assuring you that if you follow their plan you will finally get the results you seek. Truth be told, you can probably find a diet for anything you want to support. (I once came across The Drinking Man’s Diet. No lie! I haven’t found The

THEBIGPICTURE YOUR MINDSET IS ALL IMPORTANT. The best fitness results come from seeking health first. Let the hot body be a nice side effect. In fact, there are some impressive studies indicating that weight loss motivated by health and lifestyle factors far exceeds dieting just to lose body fat for its own sake. THROW OUT THE SCALE. One of my favorite authors, Jason Seib, has aptly written that the number on the scale is just that: a number. It will show one thing on earth, another on the moon, another underwater. The scale is just a number. Rely on measurements, body fat analysis and how your clothes fit.

ACTIVELY DE-STRESS YOUR LIFE. Get enough sleep, and go to a doctor that can evaluate your hormonal health. Stress and its accompanying cortisol production hampers the loss of body fat.

Cheeseburgers and French Fries Diet yet, but it’s probably out there.) I have researched nutrition and fitness to a fanatical extent for years, and the following tips represent the best information available based on the latest research and the most cutting edge science of today.


FIND A FORM OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY. I have my opinions about optimal exercise, which I will share in future issues. But, in general, the best exercise you can do is one you like enough to stick with. For most people, group exercise is best. I have had few clients that can motivate themselves to stick to a gym workout on their own, but they are exceptions. If you can afford personal training, that will provide the accountability that most people need without having to sweat in front of a room full of strangers. GET SOME SUN EVERY DAY IF YOU CAN. Most Americans are vitamin D deficient which leads to a number of degenerative diseases. Supplementation has not been shown to be as effective as sunshine. BUY YOUR FOOD ON THE OUTSIDE AISLES AT THE GROCERY STORE. Don’t eat it unless is grows in the ground or has a mother. Avoid processed foods like the plague. Skip the fast foods too.

Now, is this everything there is to know about health and nutrition? Of course not. But if you stick around, I’ll help you see the whole elephant.| ELISIA


life & family

Love I CHOOSE the

Mekeisha Steele



“ I love me some me!” Many of us associate these words with the infamous and often obnoxious, Terrell Owens. While some berate, belittle, and criticize this former NFL player for his antics on and off the field, few of us are willing to own up to what he so easily admits. The truth is that most of us privately struggle with loving ourselves just a little too much. I’ve even heard someone refer to it as Secret Self Love. And we want it to be a secret. We don’t want others to know how much we really do think about just how special we are. Even when we’re considering getting married and raising children, men and women alike enter these obligations expecting to have someone to love them and take care of them. We want to be waited on hand and foot instead of being grateful for the opportunity to serve someone else. From the moment we wake up until the time we lay our heads down for rest, demands for our attention and time are never ending. Between work, dropping off the kids, picking up the kids, practice schedules, after-school meet-

tions, requests, and demands are placed in front of me, I constantly have to stop and think about what my response will be. I’ve worked all day, but one of my children needs assistance with their math homework. What is my response?

From the moment we wake up until the time we lay our heads down for rest, demands for our attention and time are never ending. ings, weekend activities, tournaments, games, family gatherings and second (or even third!) jobs, putting our own desires aside to be there for someone else yet again when we finally get home to relax isn’t always appealing. Haven’t I been working for somebody else all day? we think. Can I catch a break!? I’ve got news for you, honey. Life doesn’t come with breaks. But fortunately for us, there is a way to free ourselves from Secret Self Love in order to experience contentment, joy, and peace. And it’s as simple as changing your mind. Instead of thinking, “Oh, no. Who else do I have to do something for today?” we can stop and ask ourselves, “How can I look at this task as a way to deepen my daily walk with the Lord?”


I am a full time wife and mother. And when those expecta-

I just finished doing laundry, but now my spouse wants to go outside and clean out the garage. What’s my response? I originally scheduled a little “me time” after a very long week, but my son reminded me of a previously planned family engagement. How do I respond? I know it sounds exhausting, but think about it for a minute.


The Lord allowed us to be on this earth in order to make a contribution. We are His Creation and here to reflect His image. As wives and mothers, he’s already placed us in a position to serve and equipped us with the necessary skills to do so. The life we have been given is a privilege. One that can easily be revoked. Are you going to see it as the gift that it is, or is your life just a list of things to do that constantly get in the way of you loving you?| ELISIA


LETTER MARRIED MAN what makes a man get married



by Charles Bowman

I WILL NEVER GET MARRIED AGAIN. Women are crazy and the drama never ends. I am going to

focus on co-parenting my daughter and try to make some money.

That’s what I told people in my single years after my divorce. The truth is that I just didn’t know what I wanted. A female friend asked me what my current wife did differently from the other women I’ve dated. My answer is that she gave me a different perspective. We had dated in high school, but when I went off to college I went a little wild and we broke it off. We didn't talk again for over 20 years. In that time I kissed a few girls, got married and divorced, and kissed a few more. My relationship with my ex-wife took a lot out of me. The constant arguing made me bitter, and I vowed to never get married again. Not because of anything she did. I knew when I said “I do” that I was making a mistake. I was not ready for that level of commitment and responsibility. But she was pregnant and we got along ... most of the time … so we got married. I tried hard in the beginning, but when the baby came I completely forgot to be a husband. The more I focused on being a father, the more my relationship whittled away into something unrecognizable. On my birthday, several years after my divorce, I received an email. It was my high school girlfriend. We talked via email and the occasional phone call for over a year. I didn't know it at the time but we were building the foundation of a good marriage one conversation at a time. One day, after a few more months of talking, she told me that she was an independent woman. I rolled my eyes. Right until you need some help with your light bill, I thought. Past experience had taught me not to believe that a woman could or would take care of herself without expecting anything from me. She would prove me wrong.

As men, our willingness to share automatically shuts down when money gets scarce. My last is my last. But not her. She shared with me when she almost didn’t have it. She was never selfish. I knew then that she was truly special.

Around this time I started having a recurring dream. A voice kept telling me, “You are going to get married on a Wednesday.” I laughed and told all my friends about it, but I bought a ring and rode around with it in the console of my car just in case. It was January when I bought the ring and “Wednesday” came in October. Over those nine months she completely changed my character as a man. I knew she didn't want my money. I knew she genuinely cared about my wellbeing, and she considered me a priority in her life. When she took away all of the things that made me want to protect myself out of fear, I was left with nothing to do but love and cherish her and our children. I hear women say all the time that that don't need a man, even when their man is in the room. Not my wife. She says, I need my man. I don't need his money but I need him. And that's how she treats me. Day in and day out she shows me that I am important to her, so I spend every free moment pouring all the love I have into her. Those four words – I need my man – make me better. When I'm not with her, I

am trying to figure out a way to get back to her soon as I can. In previous relationships when I heard, I don't need a man for anything, that said to me I don't need her either and I was free to keep a spare.

I hear women say all the time that that don't need a man, even when their man is in the room. Not my wife. She says, I need my man. I don't need his money but I need him.

She had two children, and it was a long time before I met them. (I was getting checked out. I couldn't meet the children until she was sure I would be around.) Her daughter had epilepsy and the medicine that controlled her seizures cost $1400 dollars a month. By the time I learned this information, we had been dating exclusively for a while, and once I knew the cost of her medical expenses, I offered to help. Her answer forever changed my view of women. She simply said, I don't want your money. The Lord will make a way. He always has. I pushed, but she continued to refuse. For months I watched the woman I cared about struggle to buy medicine for her daughter and take care of her family. And even though money was tight for her, she still figured out a way to buy me a small gift when I came to visit and assured me that they had what they needed.

Now, as I write this, I am sitting in my truck in front of her salon looking through the window and thinking about how much I love her. I don't have a spare or a backup plan. I'm all in. I believe that over his lifetime a man finds only one true love. And when does, there is no compromising because that’s exactly what he needs to be whole. For me, she was it.| ELISIA


mommy of boys

...cause’ I’m acutally a


all the corporate success in the world couldn’t replace what now motivates this mom

Cheryl Rischer


am daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, an educator, an administrator, a child of God and mother of

two fabulous boys. I’ve gone to college and then to grad school. My first year of teaching, I was recog-

nized as teacher of the year. During my second year,

I was selected to participate in a program that would pay for me to get my master’s degree and fast track me in to an administrator role. When I graduated

with my master’s, I had a 3.9 GPA. Most people would say that things come quite easily for me. I would say

that I work hard. My life as a mom has been no differ-

ent. It is my role as mommy to two boys that humbles, challenges and excites me all at the same time.

Although my resume is an impressive read, there

have been many times in my professional career that I have walked in doubt, sat in confusion, stood by my beliefs and laid it all on the line. I have occupied the

felt greeting that awaits me at home is what allows me to survive the chaos that makes up my day.

Over the years, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Regardless of how difficult my days may be, it is the end of the day when it all becomes clear. It is the cheer of

this crowd that reminds me of the important things

in my life. It is the smile on their faces that brings me greater joy than that corner office. It is the excite-

ment in their voices when I hear them say, “Mommy’s home!” that I am reminded of my importance. When I get home, my oldest child says to me, “Mommy,

with every step you take, the world gets brighter and brighter.” If you know of that joy, you too must be a

mother of boys. And if not, don’t hate me because I’m a Rock Star!

corner office with the picturesque view. I have man-

aged money better than others have, and I’ve worked hard to prepare myself for opportunities to come.

There have been times that I have felt as though my

workload, and sometimes even the of people I work with, would break me. However, it is the unfailing

love of my two boys that helps me to realize that it is

not a title, a salary, a corner office or reserved parking that define who I am. They do. My boys are simply what I do.

You see, no matter how difficult my days have been, there is nothing that compares to the roar of the

crowd, the cheers and the celebration that I experi-

ence when I arrive home and walk in the door every day. The chants can be heard throughout our home

as they applaud and rush to me for a hug as if I were

a rock star. Time after time, this greeting is what I’ve


needed to put my day in perspective. Because of them I can get through a tumultuous day and come out unscathed. Regardless of the activities of my day, there are two boys waiting for me at home that are truly

excited that I am have (finally) arrived. There is not a single day that I can recall where I was greeted that

way at the office. The anticipation of the warm,| ELISIA


For the past four years, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

has been collecting dust on my book shelf. The highly intriguing title is an in your face guide on how to quit making “girly”

mistakes and take control of your professional pursuits. While

most of us already know that “apologizing” (#60) and “flirting” (#24) are basic do not do’s of the business world, Dr. Lois P.

Frankel hits home with a mistake that many of us unconsciously commit. Before I tell you what it is, let me take you on the journey of how I finally corrected my colossal mishap.

As a teen, I aspired to play in the WNBA and eventually transition into a career as a sideline reporter. All of you would have

been asking, “Pam who?” as I killed it with the best interviews ever. Fast forward to college when I wasn’t playing collegiate ball and the journalism dream began to fade. Too much em-

phasis on writing and not enough on talking! I took an interest in interpersonal communication, and my own manifestation

of Jeremiah 29:11 began to unfold. Now, everyone knows that when you graduate with a communications degree, you don’t really know what you’re going to do with it. I may not have known, but God did.

Eventually, I stumbled into a career of training and development, and I realized that I really dig helping people develop




The Corne

skills that will enable them to be successful. However, notice that I said “…stumbled into.” At the time, there seemed to be no structure to my career and the decisions I was making. I knew I liked helping people and I knew I liked to talk, but what was my pur-

pose? What intentionality was I putting behind these decisions? I had Failed to Define My Brand – Mistake #45.

The problem with failing to define your brand is that while you

may be doing great things, you are unable to fully realize the value of your contributions. Failing to define your brand limits your

decision making and ultimately inhibits your intentionality. With no brand, you’re allowing your career to happen to you. Worst of all, you haven’t intentionally thought about how your brand will help you fulfill God’s purpose for your life.

Well, recently I got with the program. I no longer go to work

aimlessly. Instead, my actions have purpose and my decisions are intentional. Best of all, they fulfill what I know God has called me to do:

er Office

“To live life fully and compassionately with an open mind and heart and with a certainty that my contributions will always leave circumstances better than they were before.”

In order to reach this point, I had to ask myself the following questions:

1. What impact do I want to have along my professional journey? 2. What qualities do I want my name to always be associated with?

refine your personal brand. Don’t wait – start pursuing your professional purpose now!

Cultivation and Empowerment Opportunity (CEO): Develop your personal brand statement and then try it on for

size. Say it out loud to five people in your trusted circle and allow them to give you feedback. Does it fit? Are you missing some-

thing that they see as important to your brand? And above all,

does it reflect God’s purpose and your personal journey? When it does, embrace it and begin living it! MEMO: Meet me here in The Corner Office as we continue to navigate the corporate life while fulfilling our spiritual purpose.

3. What are my core values? 4. What are my personal goals and how do they align with God’s purpose for me? Answering these questions for yourself will help you define and| ELISIA



This is


s we launch Elisia, this first issue

is mostly my testimony to share a little bit about me, that I will use

as a platform to move forward. A few facts

about me…I was born in Odessa, Texas—at the height of an oil boom. I started off my

little life eating cheeseburgers for breakfast at my uncle’s Kettle restaurant and they are still a weekly staple of my life. When I was

five years old, we moved to Highland Park, a suburb of Dallas. I graduated from Highland

Park High School and went on to the University of Georgia, where I joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Four years ago, I completed grad school with a 4.0 in Clinical Psychology and I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psy-

chology with a focus on Social Neuroscience. I own and run a technology solutions company with my husband, Mark, and we have a

beautiful daughter. I am active in my church

and serve on various committees that seek to

serve in prisons, homeless prevention, education, and other outreach opportunities

Many of these “facts” are on my resume and that piece of paper can appear impressive.

while these “facts” are technically true of me and my life, they tell you NOTHING of the

deep pain, emotional and spiritual, I’ve fought



through in my life. They tell you NOTHING of the loneliness, despair, insecurities, doubt,

fatigue, depression, worry, debilitating fears, unknown physical issues, infertility, anger, and anxiety I have had to battle. They tell

you NOTHING of walking through divorce,

death, suicide, money issues, and surgeries.

Those “facts” tell you NOTHING of the nights I’ve knelt in my closet and cried out, “LORD! Are you AT ALL who you say you are?! Do

you even CARE about my pain and what I’m going through? I BELIEVE your Word, yet

EVERYTHING I feel on a daily basis doesn’t

seem to match up with your Word—I’m SO CONFUSED!”

My resume tells you NOTHING about the grip sin and death had in my life, even though I have proclaimed Christ as my Lord since I was a little girl. This is a battle I still fight

daily. Yet, I see the purpose of the struggles— to detach my desires for the things of this

world and attach my desires to Him, and Him alone. And every single time I’ve called out

to Him in my car or on the floor of my closet, shaking my fist at Him like an overdramatic

movie scene, He has answered me. He hasn’t scolded me as I would scold myself but has

built my faith through those times of despair

and reminded me that we are foreigners in

epiphanies I have, occur sitting in the pews

anger, irritability, frustration, sorrow,

is attractive or it wouldn’t be a temptation.

genius—but I will always do my best

Although, a shift has occurred inside me

a foreign land. This is not our home. As long as we are clothed in this flesh, a life of sin

The things I seek out to fill the voids in my heart—approval, beauty, consumption (of

just about anything, really), youth, money, power, adoration, good health, clothes,

SHOES & HANDBAGS!, good performance,

accomplishing my “to do list,”—are attrac-

tive to me. In fact, I often unconsciously seek them out and it’s not until the Holy Spirit

brings illumination that I have my “Ah ha!” moment. And then what? I recently heard

in a sermon, “It’s easy to name the idol, it’s

difficult to deal with the depth of the grip of the idol.”

I always know when the Lord wants His

saints to deal with a particular subject, because I see the same message every-

where. Many of the profound theological

of my church—it will be impossible to give proper reference to my pastors for their to give them proper kudos! One piece of

imagery they’ve been talking about is the

concept of the iceberg. It’s easier to name our idols or a particular sin, because they sit above the waterline, as does the tip of the iceberg. What we don’t have a grasp

on, is how deep the roots go or how far the iceberg persists beneath the surface from a particular idol or sin. Our pastor talked about this recently and mentioned that

when God is dealing with us on a particular idol, it is an irritant. What does that mean? It means that in our flesh, we seek out cer-

tain items to fill the holes in our hearts and

“it” even appears to work for a time—sometimes, a long time. But when Christ starts to uproot a particular idol, it’s irritating. That irritation may show it’s stripes through

The enemy would love nothing more than

were able to see clearly the perversion of sin

to give it up and “be better.” We CAN’T be

world. Therefore, He didn’t desire the things

for us to call out a particular idol or sin

and then spin our wheels focused on trying

better. And isn’t that discouraging? Our enemy would take delight in watching us

emotionally defeated by shifting our gaze to how powerless we are to be better. And it’s so subtle! Remember, he’s craftier than all

the beings of the earth—Satan doesn’t come to us looking like a Hollywood horror film

with blood and guts oozing like a zombie—

he comes to us clothed in all the splendor of this earth. He said to Jesus, “Look at all the splendor and glory of the earth I’ve been

given domain over and I will give it to you. I will give you all the kingdoms of this earth

if you bow to me.” I bet it was beautiful up

there on that mountain looking down upon the kingdoms of the earth. But Jesus wasn’t looking at them through physical eyes. He

was seeing through spiritual eyes. Eyes that

upon the physical realm—it’s what He

came to overcome. His desire wasn’t of this

of this world. May the Lord begin to shift our gaze to Him and Him alone, that the things of this earth would grow strangely dim.

We have nothing to offer our Savior except filthy rags, but be encouraged! He KNEW

that and still came in the flesh to be what we could not be. While we were His enemies, He came in love, to rescue the ungodly. I

want to kill my enemies—not love them! He blows me away…oh that He loved me first, I have even a chance for moments of true,

Godly, Heavenly love in the land of the living. Because I know what’s truly inside me, it’s

critical for me to hunger and focus on Christ and His Word and His truth and hide it in

my heart if I am to persevere the craziness of the days.

depression—any number of ways. I must

confess, that I’ve been VERY irritable lately! with this insight—now I’m actually experi-

encing joy at the irritation because Christ is bringing light to what He’s up to inside me. Our pastor also brilliantly said, “Naming

the idol is only the tip of the iceberg. TURN TO GOD HIMSELF to be free of it. You see, religion causes us to focus on the idol.

Focusing on the idol is not the way to be free of it. Religion causes us to say, ‘I’ll be better about this.’ But that doesn’t work. Gaze on

the beauty of Christ.” Christ HAS to be at the

center of our focus or else we are focused on something worldly like selfcontrol or reli-

gion to overcome something that is spiritual. It’s the equivalent of trying to use oxygen to put out a fire and then not understanding why the fire won’t go out.

“Dear Lord, give us passion

for your purity with a true, Heavenly desire to give to

you the iceberg hidden un-

der the water level—it’s what you came for. Save us from ourselves and bring your people the abundance you

long to share with us—make us willing to see as you

intend us to see! May your righteousness infect our

deepest being and pour out

into this world through our

mouths, hands and feet. In Jesus Name!”| ELISIA



This is


“I am currently a single mother of three children; my daughter, a 20 year old sophomore in Texas and my two sons Nicholas and Martin both 12 and 10 years old. I currently live about 24 hours away from where I grew up among people who are not of my tribe. I would have never thought, that at my age, I would be living and working in Kigali, Rwanda but here I am, doing the best that I can day by day through God’s grace. My daughter says that she has come to understand Jesus’ love for her through the love that I show her. I’m beyond humbled by this but what she doesn’t realize is that as she and her brothers look up to me, I am looking up to God as well. The past 20 years of my life had some hard turns but they have most certainly been many sweet moments. Sweet enough that I know my week will start with hallelujahs ringing in my soul.” Written by Grace’s daughter, Chantal Mwiza

#WhatsYourStory 26





FELECEIA BENTON // editor-in-chief ARIAN AUGUSTUS // managing editor SYDNEY CORNELIUS // graphic designer ERICA EDWARDS // accounts manager

Elisia Magazine // Issue ONE  

Elisia Magazine is a bi-monthly digital lifestyle magazine that's driven by the content of a group of talented, focused Christian women. Fro...

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