According to the dictionary, a stronghold is defined as a
well-fortified place or fortress. It is also defined as a place of survival or
refuge. It can also be defined as a hide-out or a prison. Think about that for
a moment, ladies.
For most of us, our strongholds tend to be those things that
are holding us back. Things that are constant sources of our unhealthy habits
or thoughts that have embedded themselves deeply into our hearts. They are the
slings and arrows of Satan.
These slings and arrows manifest themselves in prideful
thoughts or self-deprecating feelings. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve
all said I’m not worthy. I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, you seek
negative attention just for the sake of getting attention. Maybe you have anger
issues or a bad temper. These are symptomatic of strongholds that are holding
you in prison.
Many of you over compensate with drink or food or sinful
activity. Often times, we are judgmental or unforgiving and hostile to those
who may have wronged us, and by doing so, we keep ourselves locked in the past.
Maybe you have an overly critical attitude toward those around you … your
spouse, your kids, your co-workers and even your friends. These are all
mechanisms we use to hide from the struggles and pain we are actually feeling.
The truth is, these bad behaviors and evil thoughts are all
indications of strongholds that have happened in your past. Maybe you have
trust issues because of someone whom you trusted and they hurt you. Maybe your
parents were divorced so you have relationship issues. Maybe you experienced
some trauma or were physically assaulted. These are all strongholds that you
need to face, deal with and annihilate.
To be sure, it is not easy to break free from these
strongholds. Ask yourself if these are recurring patterns? What lies have you
believed? What messages are replaying over and over in your mind? Are you
listening to them and do you believe them? Are you guilty of passing these strongholds
down to your children?
Often times, strongholds are not even bad things. They can
be fixations such as religion, food or over protectiveness of those around you.
But if you are overly obsessed, then these are also toxic. Over-indulgence in
anything, whether good or bad, is destructive.
For most of us, we need to seek help from others in order to
break the chains of our strongholds. Not an easy thing to do … to ask for help.
Remember, the enemy lies and he wants you to mistrust God’s promises. The enemy
seeks to confuse you and beat you up psychologically. He wants to discourage
you. He wants to take away the goodness and truth that God has offered to you.
The enemy wants you to turn over all control to him.
But deep down, we know we should remain dutiful to our Lord. Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the
contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments
and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we
take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
To learn more about breaking the strongholds in your life, tune into Warrior Divas, Real Talk for Real Women, Episode 14 available at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.
As women, we go through many seasons in our life journey. We
are wives, mothers, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, entertainers,
politicians. Whatever we are, we are all important. We are all charged with
becoming life givers and not just life takers.
I remember an instance a few years back as I sat in line at
the Starbucks drive through. As I pulled up to the window to pay for my drink,
I was told that the car ahead of me had paid for my order. Astonishing! I thought, “What a nice thing to do!” And because that stranger decided to
bless me, I chose to bless the car behind me. A small gesture to be sure, but
we have been taught to pay it forward, haven’t we?
Today, more than ever, we should embrace who we are, stay
strong in our faith and pay it forward with kindness. As we go through our
daily routines, you never know whose life you might touch with nothing more
than a simple smile. I remember walking into the grocery store one day when
someone I didn’t know came up to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you how nice you look today.” And that small
gesture put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. One small gesture, but
it touched my heart.
Micah 6:8 tells us to, “Do
what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly.”
To be sure, with the political atmosphere today, the shootings and the protests
it seems almost impossible to be kind. But we have the power to really show up
and step up. We can all agree to disagree, and just get along. You can make a
difference by just being present and by getting involved.
You don’t have to be a super hero to volunteer at your
child’s school or help out the PTA. Maybe you know someone in a nursing home
who would enjoy getting out for lunch sometime. Perhaps you could read to kids
at your local library. Shake a policeman’s hand and thank him for protecting
our community. Tell a soldier you appreciate his or her service. You have the
power to create an atmosphere of loving kindness within your own homes and in
doing so, your children will learn how to also be kind.
We all remember that song that said, “What the world needs now, is love sweet love.” And right now, we
all have the ability to bring more love and caring into this world we live in.
Trust in yourself, because you can be a community builder! Remember, great
communities require remarkable leaders. But first you have to decide what that
community is for you. Do you want to get involved with your City Council? Maybe
you would like to host a weekly book club? With social media today, perhaps you
want to start a meaningful blog. Bottom line, you just have to decide what kind
of community you want to build and then set out to build it.
Ladies, we can all help people in small ways. We are all
just ordinary people with the ability to do extraordinary things. Find your
passion, be present and become involved. You never know whose life you might
touch or who you will inspire. Explore different ways to connect with
organizations or community groups where you can make an impact.
To discover more about how to move forward in your community, tune in to the Warrior Divas episode with Angie Leigh Monroe and guest host Trasa Coburn at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.
In Matthew 5:8 it says “Blessed
are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” But let’s be honest right
now. As human beings, we do not always live up to that standard. I certainly
don’t. Through everyday life, we often find it simpler to be judgmental of
others rather than to be right. We jump to conclusions before we actually have
all the facts. We unfairly judge others and more importantly, ourselves.
you want to be respected by others, it is important to respect yourself.” ~
Fyodor Dostoevsky How many of us forget to respect
ourselves? I’d venture to say that most of us get lost in the day-to-day
stresses that lead us down the path of self-condemnation, regret, and we become
immersed in our own emotions. We listen to the lies of the enemy.
We forget about the gifts God has given to us. We lose sight of our true calling. We hear
that voice inside that says “I’m fat!” “I’m ugly!” “No one loves me!” “My boss
hates me!” “I can’t do anything right!” “My kids don’t listen to me!” “My husband
ignores me!” And on and on it goes until you become lost in your own
persecution. And in doing so, we become women who are gossips, uncompromising
and hypocritical. In short, we are unhealthy with no real sense of purpose or
In truth, I have been lost in that place. I bet at one time
or another, most of you have too. We turn our backs on one another. We don’t
support one another. We don’t inspire one another. We forget to pray to our
Father in heaven and in doing so, we forget to pray for others. We wallow in
self-pity. We have forgotten how to forgive ourselves and how to love
To be clear, none of us is without sin or unblemished.
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is
deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” But we have the ability
to turn to our Father in prayer to find peace and happiness … to live in
holiness. We can seek out those women who inspire us, encourage us and speak
truth to us. We can focus on all things positive in order to take those steps
toward a pure heart.
Taking baby steps toward forgiving yourself first and
seeking out those women who will lift you up in joy will work miracles in your
life. Think of your heart as a water glass that needs to be filled. And then
seek to fill it up with mercy, forgiveness, hope and love. Love for yourself
and for those around you. In doing so, you will see the beauty that surrounds
you as you seek to discover your destiny and what God’s purpose for you truly
I know that for most of us, this is not an easy task. The
road to finding one’s self and a pure heart is long. There are many pot holes
along the way to stumble into and sometimes, it becomes difficult to find a way
out. It is often easier to just slip back into old patterns of
self-recrimination and doubt. We’ve all done it! After all, bad habits are
really hard to break, right? And sometimes, we are just too tired to want to
But remember the goals you have set for yourselves and forge
on. Climb out of that hole and start refilling that water glass (your heart).
Seek to raise others up with your words of kindness and inspiration. In doing
so, you will also lift up yourself. Do not become discouraged in the hard
times, but rather seek to find the reasons behind them and the lessons they are
meant to teach. As it says in 1 John 2:8, “Yet
I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the
darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” Let us all strive
for the light of day and the purity of our hearts.
To find out more about becoming Pure of Heart, tune in to
Warrior Divas Episode 12 at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.
We all know
women who are fanatical runners or joggers. We know ladies who are dedicated to
working out every single day. Zumba class, Pilates, jazzercise, yoga! Some of
them eat organic, some are vegetarian, vegans or they are on forever diets. Fad
diets, Atkins, South beach, Keto, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean Diets, Paleo
Diets! These women, of course, are attempting to address their physical
But we all
know fitness goes far beyond the physical, and some of us are simply not wired
for the gym. And even if we were, there are so many other factors that affect
how we feel about ourselves. Putting the physical aside, think for a moment
about your spiritual and mental sides, because these components greatly affect how
we feel about our outward physical selves.
Emerson said, “Though we travel the world
in our search for beauty and nobility, we will not find it unless we carry it
in ourselves.” To be well-rounded
women, we must be willing to become introspective. We have to be willing to
take a reflective look inward to scrutinize our own views and emotional states.
However, self-questioning and scrutiny can be stressful, painful and fearful.
Each of us
have elements starting from childhood that form how we feel about ourselves. Maybe
you were a bit over weight as a youngster and someone called you fat. Maybe
your parents were divorced, and you yearned for a complete family like
everybody else. Maybe you felt alone, afraid, abandoned. Maybe you felt over
looked and insignificant. I can remember someone making a nasty comment about
my acne and to this day, I am self-conscientious about my face.
we push these things down deep inside because we don’t want to face our fears.
In truth, we are in pain, and we are afraid to ask the tough questions. We
forget that God made each of us in His image. He intended for us to succeed, to
thrive and to be happy. We choose self-condemnation, and we put up emotional
walls to protect ourselves. Some of us beat ourselves up at the gym while others
become emotional eaters. Food brings them comfort. Some women pretend to be
happy on the outside when in truth, they are dejected and lack spirit.
used to say, “Stop making mountains out
of mole hills.” We all tend to do that from time to time. We turn the
smallest things into absolute tragedies. We forget to have faith, and we choose
negativity. We self-judge ourselves … we lose our peace.
personally, having been married for so many years, I am starting to realize
that I have become complacent; I have lost my own identity and my own voice. I
have forgotten that I am responsible for myself and my own happiness. I cannot
change someone who does not want to change. I have, in ways I didn’t even
recognize, lost my own voice and my own identity. And somewhere along the way,
I lost my purpose. And in truth, my body is rebelling.
there are many women who have lost their purpose. We spend so many years being
wives and mothers, and we take care of everyone around us and one day, it hits
us that we didn’t take care of ourselves. We didn’t nurture our own bodies,
minds and spirits. We have become so emotionally deficient that we have
forgotten that love and the Faith of our Father has to be the one guiding light
toward our spiritual understanding.
Self-examination isn’t easy. Neither is learning how to stop suppressing your own feelings and needs. Ask God to come into your life and ask Him to help you control your fears and show you the path to peace. Psalms 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Our inward tempests are far more perilous to our souls than the external ones. It is up to each of us to put one foot in front of the other and figure out where we want to go.
To find out more about what you are craving and how to get fit both inside and out, tune into Warrior Divas, Episode 11 at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.
You know, as
women we often get side-tracked with our everyday lives. Raising children,
helping our husbands climb their own corporate ladders and working at our own
jobs. Taking care of our parents, helping out the PTA, volunteering at church.
Supporting your child’s sports activities, cooking, cleaning, and going to Girl
Scouts and Boy Scouts and piano lessons. We are like those squirrels in our
yards that never seem to have a real plan or direction.
know what I’m talking about here. We tend to put our own hopes and dreams on
the back burner for those we love and care for. We are busy. We are so immersed
in everyday life that we forget about the things that really motivate us. We
forget about our own goals and what our own purpose is. We stagnate.
In short, we
are not in alignment with what our true purposes in life may be. We have
forgotten what truly motivates us. This is the point where you can ask yourself
what really motivates you. Ask yourself if you are the person holding yourself
back from your goals. Do you surround yourself with friends who hold you back
or push you forward toward positive growth?
have a yearning deep inside to start your own business or write a book or sell
crafts. Years ago, I wanted to start my own advertising agency, but I was
scared and doubted myself. But along the way, I discovered that my goal had
value. It was important to me. It was a powerful goal, and it motivated me to
find a way to make it happen.
In truth, it
became a high priority for me. It was worthwhile to me. It was something that
became an “I must do this,” or I will feel like a failure
situation. It was a dream that became my major desire and goal. I was focused
on accomplishing my goal. And I focused on my own talents, the talents of those
I wanted to join me in this venture, and created a plan to obtain the resources
I needed to make this happen.
always simple to get started on the right path for your own success. It can be
stressful. It can be overwhelming. It can make you want to just go to bed and
cover up your head. But, it is a journey worth taking, because life is too
short for us to ignore our hopes and dreams. You can align yourself with those
who will help you and push you forward when you just want to give up.
have the ability to think beyond where we are and achieve our highest dreams. We
can and should think big. Think beyond today. Look to the future. What does
that look like to you? Are you truly inspired and focused? Do you have people
in your life who push you toward greatness? Do you have the assets you need to
actually achieve your goals or start your own business? Do you have the correct
strategy to achieve your professional, financial and spiritual goals?
and getting on the right path to success is so much more than just wishing
something would happen. You actually have to stand up, dust off your boots, put
on your big girl pants and make something happen. You have to set attainable
goals. You have to write down your plan and stick to it. You have to surround
yourself with friends who will see your potential and help you get there.
today if your dreams, your goals are worthwhile? Are they motivating? Does it
spiritually move you? Are you actually setting goals that have the highest
importance in your life? Will it be important to everyone? Are your goals smart
and will they benefit others?
important to align yourself within all the areas of your life. Find a way to
move along a path that sets you up for the accomplishments you are seeking.
Figure out what it is you are truly called to do. Find your purpose. Go where
you really want to go. Set yourself up for success. The biggest danger you face
is falling into lethargy and doubt. Believe in your dreams! Believe in
yourself! Do not be lukewarm when it comes to your goals! Aspire to those
things that motivate you and give you purpose. Let your heart sing!
everyday have a plan to move forward and lift up yourself with self-confidence.
And rely on your faith to move you forward to do what you are truly called to
To learn more about how to set yourself up for success, tune into Warrior Divas, Podcast 10, Align, Activate and Calibrate.
have all been in situations that can define us, label us, transform us, break
us, humble us and even lift us up. Life is such that it loves to throw us curve
balls. And as women, we have to not only recognize our place in the universe,
but we have to learn to understand it.
we learn how to please others … our parents, our grandparents, our teachers,
our coaches. We believe in fairytales and unicorns. We grow up looking for
prince charming and the wonderful castle he lives in. But alas, along the way,
we find out that life is not perfect. We learn that our homes are not perfect.
There is no perfect job, no perfect child, no perfect family and no perfect
parents. And to be sure, we are all far from perfect.
life never seems to turn out the way we think it should. We tend to get
overwhelmed with insignificant things. We become judgmental and self-centered.
We can become smug and irrespective of our spouses. We begin to feel superior,
and we forget that there are times when we should walk away without speaking.
is, however; we often let pride get in the way and we attack. As women, we frequently
put up with mental abuse, and then we turn around and throw it right back. What
many of us forget is that in order for peace to exist, it is often more prudent
to make no noise at all. As women, we all have a dynamic power within us to use
our voices when prudent and then to do what we are called to do.
We all have
gifts inside that the world is waiting to see. These gifts, your callings are
preordained. You just need to dig deep inside and find out what is really
inside of you. Understand that you can do better; you can be better. You can
set your boundaries, lift yourself up and in doing so lift up those around you.
what you think your greatest gift is. What are you genuinely passionate about?
Do you want to paint? Do you want to teach? Do you want to write? Do you want
to be a nurse? Do you like to cook? Whatever
you are yearning for, do not dismiss it. Do not stop growing and evolving into the
strong, independent woman you are destined to be.
women, we have everything we need inside and out to become awesome mothers and
passionate partners to those we have married. We can care for ourselves and for
all things around us. We have all been tired, worn out, damaged and sickened.
But the great thing is, we have the ability to slow down and seek the change we
need to make a lasting impression on this life we live.
have the ability to put yourself on the path you were destined to follow. In
truth, once you reach down inside to find your true calling, you will realize
that the things in your world will never be the same again. You will never be
the same again. In truth, your gifts belong to the world. To be sure, the task
before you is great, but the benefits you gain will be even greater.
You have a
choice to live in a trapped existence or to thrive in glory. You can choose to
live in passion, live with purpose and live in love. Recognize that where you
are must change. Seek out the ever-changing world and live in joy. Choose to
dig deep inside yourself and bring light where there has been darkness.
Surround yourself with peace. Remember that everything you do is infinitely
As women, we
can recognize our own problems and troubled attitudes. We can learn to accept our
problems as assets. Because through adversity, we can find opportunities. We
can seek God’s guidance to bring us through our darkest hours. We can persevere,
learn to give grace to those around us and achieve victory for all of the
tomorrows ahead of us. What we give to the world will inspire and encourage
those whom we work with, live with, and love.
more about recognizing what’s within you, tune into Warrior Divas, Podcast 9.