Charlotte, You Have My Heart

Charlotte, You Have My Heart

My home away from home.
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This is going to be ironic because my last article was about being hurt, which is honestly an ongoing battle, but after a few weeks of refreshing my mind away from the lull of social media, I am feeling more at ease now instead of on edge.

I'll tell you why.

This past weekend, I went to a place that has felt like home for the past year even though I had never physically been there. I went to a place that brings light to dark days and situations. I went to a place that introduced me to the best relationship in my life.

Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina is my home away from home and I finally made a weekend trip to go visit and attend a Saturday night service.

Let me just tell you, Pastor Steven has been preaching on a series called #SavageJesus and Jesus is the bomb - even more so than I thought.

Sorry, I just had to get that out there.

But let me tell you what I learned from this sermon.

Pastor Steven was preaching in Mark 1:40 about the leper.

Lepers in that time were not allowed to go anywhere near "clean" people. If they did, they had to shout "Unclean" before even making it there.

Well, the man with leprosy was so tired of feeling unclean that he would rather risk trying to see and talk to Jesus than continue his life in isolation.

The leper made it to Jesus and asked Him to make him clean. Of course, Jesus did, because He's a loving Savior.

But this is what I took away from this sermon.

In the wise words of Pastor Steven: Jesus can't heal what you don't reveal.

This relates back to my last article; I felt hurt, sad, lonely, confused. I felt like my walls were caving in and I was being smothered by everything around me. I felt helpless.

Until....

I revealed my hurt, my sadness, my loneliness and confusion. I admitted that I had no clue what I was doing and I was tired of trying to figure it out on my own; I couldn't do it anymore.

So, I gave it to God. I had no other choice.

And then Pastor Steven put it into the perfect words: He can't heal what you don't reveal.

And when I revealed my hurt, I felt God take it all in His own hands, like a breath of fresh air.

Thank you, Elevation, for being the guiding light towards my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. It was the best coincidence I ever had by coming across you on YouTube. God put you in my life at the right time, when He knew I needed guidance, when I needed healing.

I can never say thank you enough to the clearness you have brought into my heart and mind.

Cover Image Credit: Mandy Parsons

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To Everyone Who Hasn't Had Sex Yet, Wait For Marriage, It's The Right Move

If you have not had sex yet, wait.

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Premarital sex is not a new concept, no matter how much people like to pretend it is. You can trace scripture and historical texts back thousands of year to see that lust and fornication have been a problem since… well, since we humans have been problems.

They tell you in sex ed that sex causes you to form a bond with someone. They throw some big chemical names at you that are apparently in your body and cause that emotional attachment to happen, then you move on (or back to) how important condoms are and why STDs are so scary.

As a middle schooler or teenager, you can't understand what it means to become permanently connected to someone as a result of a quick, physical act.

If you haven't even had your first kiss, you really can't imagine what it's like to develop such a complex and intimate connection with someone because you have yet to feel the butterflies in your stomach from a kiss. So you really don't know what it's like to have a whole different type of feeling in your stomach.

You never forget your first love. It's one of the most cliche things you consistently hear, but it's true. Ask anyone. I guarantee your parents can still spurt out their first love's name in a few seconds. And most people never forget their first time. I know all my friends can recount that often awkward and slightly terrifying moment as if it happened an hour ago. When you mix those two, especially if you are in your teens, oh boy.

You never forget that. No matter how hard you try.

Everything you hear about sex is true: it's amazing, fantastic, life-changing, etc. There's a reason people have done it as frequently as they do, for as long as they have. But every time you sleep with someone, you leave a piece of yourself with them. Every time you choose to take that final physical step with someone, you cannot go back and collect that piece of your dignity and soul that you left with someone.

So, imagine what happens when you break up with someone you've slept with. Or that you just hooked up with. You have given someone a little slice of yourself forever. And you can never get it back. And imagine what happens when you do that multiple times. You give a piece of yourself to five, 10, 15, 20 or more people. Then you meet the person that you want to spend forever with. And you no longer have that whole part of you. You've given pieces away, and you can no longer give those to the love of your life.

So, save those pieces for your future spouse.

If you have not had sex yet, wait. If you have, consider not giving more pieces of yourself away to people who are not your spouse. Sex was created to be between two spouses, nobody else. So we need to try to maintain its integrity.

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This ‘The Bachelor’ Bracket Is Everything You Need For The Season 23 January Premiere

Print yours now!

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Colton Underwood's season of "The Bachelor" premieres on January 7, and we couldn't be more excited! And since Chris Harrison has yet to declare Colton's journey "the most dramatic ever," why not take the drama into your own hands and kick the fun of watching up a notch?

Grab your girls (and guys!) and start a competition of your own with our printable "The Bachelor" bracket. All you have to do is print it out and fill in your predictions before the season starts. Then, after you watch each week, add up your points according to our scoring guidelines.

If you're looking for some insider information about the 30 women competing for Colton as you fill in your bracket, we've got you covered:

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