Category Archives: Brilliant Living

Live in God’s power every day. Keep going on the journey to be all He has made you to be.

Will I Survive Bootcamp?

by Jenene Stafford

Story #1: Our stories have a purpose

Last night I slept with one eye open again, if I slept much at all.

My stomach is full of knots, doing everything possible to keep my heart from pounding right out of my chest so the bed would not shake. I pretended often to be asleep. I lived in shear terror for years of what he would do to me when I should of been dreaming beautiful dreams.

The ten years of physical and mental abuse by my former husband has taken its toll on me and I can’t help but question God as to why He allowed this?

Was it not enough to survive rape, physical and mental abuse, the torture of not being allowed to sleep, being forced to sit in a corner like a bad child all night. If I dozed off to sleep my psycho husband would pinch me hard to wake me up.

The humiliation of sitting in a corner for hours or days, praying he’d allow me to use the restroom. My children would have to come and visit me in the corner in the bedroom which was only one place where he would control me and torture my body, mind and spirit.

I want you to know in this moment I despise through tears telling this tiny glimpse of a story. I don’t want to feel like I’m giving him one ounce of my attention or thoughts after all these years. I don’t want to recall the torture he put me through during these episodes of control, manipulation and attempts to break me, to brainwash me.

And yet . . .

The Lord Jesus speaks so gently to me and says, “Jenene, you’re telling this story for me, for my purpose and it’s ok with me that you’re angry about it. It’s ok if it causes you distress and discomfort, but trust me,  I have a good plan.”

Deep down I know He’s telling me the truth and why should I be surprised. I knew these stories would have to be shared. I’m surprised that I am so childishly reluctant. It must be part of the journey.

I have to take a break just to work through crying like a baby.  I’m begging God not to make me relive or rethink this past life. I know in my heart so many stories are yet to come.

Like Jacob, I know I have wrestled with God and He has given me a limp as a reminder of his graciousness. There is a battle He and I have fought together as I am still learning  tragedy after tragedy and moment by moment to understand His ways.

I fight for the God-inspired purpose. It does not come easy by any stretch of the imagination.

It is in this fight to discover the true meaning of humility, of laying everything at the throne of His grace, this battle to endure the enemy and to run the race victoriously that we become . . . Lady Champions.

I fervently pray and I wonder when will this bootcamp end.

With Much Love, Jenene

 

Fear Stops Me

by Jenene Stafford

Fear wants to stop our stories.

He is something that ultimately will end in doom, hoping to take humanity with him.

He is ultimately powerless.

But, regardless of how desperate humanity is to be a champion, the darkness wins out far too often.

It shouldn’t be.

People need faith, hope and light.

Real light . . .eternal.

The Bible says,” We are to be that light in a dark place, not hidden under anything.”

I for one want to live brilliantly today.

What voice, what face, what thought stands in the way? Fear has so many faces.

How do I go from fear to freedom?

From fear to boldness?

Am I willing to be that naked, that authentic, that exposed?

Are you?

Will you share your brokenness?

I am so tired.

I’m more tired of being beaten down by fear than anything else.

I’m tired of feeling alone, forever alone in this unusual journey.

Unfolding and revealing my story of the Truth.

Wondering who will stand with me.

I know I can’t fight fear by myself.

It will take THE TRUTH. The Truth we forget too easily. The Truth that sets you and me free.

This Truth, “I did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”

That’s the voice, I want to listen to-I must listen to.

I can’t be afraid of coming into the Light anymore.

How can we be brilliant unless we are living in His Light?

How can I be a brilliant leader if I will not take the first step?

Much Love, Jenene

(inspired by Anne Jackson)

 

 

 

Let Your Light Shine

by Jenene Stafford

Yesterday I was watching a video from a well known female coach. In her training video, she said “Please don’t take a offense to what I’m about to say, but if one more woman says she wants to be a light, I think I might scream. What does than mean anyway?”

It got under my skin.

But, I got her point and it was well taken.

So many women talk about being a light and letting their light shine, it’s sounding over-used.

Perhaps it leaves people feeling good, but it needs to be followed up with what it means.

The world is becoming more “spiritual” and letting their light shine so how do we set ourselves apart as Christians?

You are a light of the world- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

One thing for sure, Jesus made a declaration!

He didn’t say I think you should be a light, He said, “You are a light.”

So be encouraged! He was letting us know that being a light is a position of authority and favor. This is what it boils down to for me:

  • We bring light to all the platforms God makes available to us
  • We impact the world through good deeds
  • We glorify the Father in Heaven by being recognized for good deeds
  • No one will know you credit your successes back to the Father unless you verbally give Him the credit as someone following His example
  • (Matthew 5:17-20) In context, you better make sure you’re living righteously and not just trying to look good, but keep your heart and motives pure (unlike the teachers of religious law and Pharisees.)

Live Brilliantly Today!

Jenene

Permission to Speak Freely

I sent this email below to Anne Jackson just a few minutes ago. Don’t know who she is? She’s an author of an awesome and raw book called Permission to Speak Freely. She poses the question, “What is the one thing you feel you can’t say in the church?” It’s a brilliant question. In posing the question, she asked people to send in their artistic confessions and she says her responses were “beyond anything I could have imagined”.

I was moved greatly by her courage and her story. The Lord has been encouraging me to write my own book and include other women’s stories of what they’ve survived- only by the grace of God. I am finding women hesitating, holding back and considering sharing their story.

My email to Anne Jackson:

Hello Anne,

 I am not expecting a response to this email, but I had to share with you how inspired I was by your book Permission to Speak Freely. I basically had to get that off my chest. I want to honor you for your boldness and authenticity. What a breathe of fresh air! The Lord has asked me to do a campaign called “Share Your Story” for a book He wants me to write. I am looking for women to share their stories. On the web page I have an option of, yes, no, considering. I am finding a lot of women choosing the considering option. So, in reading your story, it just made me think, “how do I get women to share the story that God is calling them to share?” How do I find the women who are bold enough that they will tell their story even in the face of their fear of rejection or judgment?  I love your rawness and I believe it’s time for this. It’s time to be raw so we can brilliantly share the love of Christ. May the Lord bless abundantly you for the courageous work you are doing.

Now That’s Good News

by Suni Bradford

I recently attended a festival that was designed to share with people the truth and love of our Savior. The message of His desire to have a personal relationship with us.  I wondered how many had heard the message of hope before.  Perhaps, they hadn’t felt the call or perhaps before they never responded. They may have been embarrassed and still others felt the strongest most overwhelming call of their lives.  They felt it emotionally as well as the physical pull from God.  The message which said, “I am love, come to me”. I remember that feeling very clearly when the Holy Spirit first spoke to me.

I got to experience a daughter, who was already a believer see her father come to Christ. She shined as you could see the joy radiating from her.  I had to ask them if I could take a picture of them.  I used her camera so she could see and remember this very special day.  Incredible.

The unselfishness and sincere desire to share the love, hope and life we all can have in Jesus Christ was beautiful.  From the great man that had vision, to the performers along with all of the many people that volunteered and served in one form or another to make this life changing event happen.

As I watched and listened to all the chattering of excitement, laughter, singing to praise music and the fabulous smell of kettle corn, I felt such joy and so blessed to be part of this great family. The whole experience was a reaffirming of His greatness. I could feel the energy in the air by the lives given over to the amazing God and by the reviving of a believer’s faith.  The wave that rolls out around all involved can be an accepted and welcomed drenching. Or it can feel like you’re on an abandoned ship.  Jesus stilled the waters before and He’ll still them again.  Fortunately, we may be attacked for our choice to change and live a different life.  It may make friends or family members uncomfortable as they do not understand this “God” we have found.  It takes great courage and I can guarantee that this new life is worth the risk.  So, be brave little engines and live boldly today.

The saying be brave little engines come from a cartoon called Thomas (the tank engine) and the toy workshops, theme song.  The first verses goes like this.  There are times to be brave and times to be strong, when you are lost and all alone.  You might be somewhere strange and dark, but long to be safe at home.

I think that the people that have accepted Christ, were being very brave and strong as they felt lost and alone and they heard God.  Even if they were in a huge crowd they heard His call. When we feel we are in a dark place, God offers us a safe home and He is always there waiting with open arms.  Now that’s good news.Congratulation and welcome to our family.

So again,  be brave little engines and live boldly today.

Love to all,  Suni

The 30-Day Challenge To Let Go

Hi Ladies,

The Lord challenged me 18 days ago to do a 30-Day Challenge to let go and let God. If I judge myself I am failing miserably, but I am trusting God to provide at least 1 major breakthrough. Actually I’ve already had sooo many!  I felt He challenged me to use dance/movement as my challenge. In my case I needed to slow down to be present enough to let Him work through me, so my dance is all about slowing myself down, otherwise it would not be a challenge.

I realized that the challenge is seriously about letting go of myself so God can work through me. Basically, I really want to get out of His way so my divine purpose will be fulfilled. The videos I’m posting on Youtube are a way for me to physically see Him inside my movement. How much of the movement is about me? How much of it is Him using me?

Am I truly spirit led as I claim to be? I think the authentic answer is sometimes I am. However, what I’m learning through this journey is that lots of distractions get in the way. Being present is really easy when there’s nothing in the way that would have us resist, therefore, I guess you could say there’s no challenge in that.

If you go to our Youtube channel you’ll see the progression, stumbling blocks and the journey that we’re going through. Here’s Day 7. You can watch the others if you want you’ll see them labeled. I also, put one of the videos below. This one is about pushing through all that attempts to stop you.

The goal is to let the Lord move us forward. I believe it is no accident that the Lord has directed me to dance (a practice in presence and being, Cindy to lead music (leadership and being) at church and Suni to make time to write (time management).

The goal of all of our challenges is to grow, let go, be present and be the woman God created us to be. To flourish, to fly, to be abundant, to love fully, to share our stories and vulnerabilities is all for a divine purpose greater than ourselves.

If the Lord is challenging you in a particular area, just be God’s “yes” Girl. Just do it, let Him challenge you. Don’t fight the process. Enjoy the journey! We’re right there with you.

Live Brilliantly Today!

Choose to Do God Things, Not Good Things

by Jenene Stafford

Hi Ladies,

Today Suni and I were having a conversation and as I was giving her a little personal coaching, this divine moment showed up and this statement flew out of my mouth.

I said, “Suni, you can spend your life doing good things or you can spend your life doing God things. It’s your choice.”  Suni was so excited, she said, you’ve got to create an ebook or product with that title.

Needless to say, I give God all the credit because He inspired the thought. Anyway, she left a few minutes later and I spontaneously created this video.

Since I know that all of us in our heart of hearts want to live our divine purpose and walk the God-inspired path for our life, I put this video together to help.  I pray it will inspire you to have a breakthrough in the area of purpose.

 

The Joy In Being A Loved Child

by Suni Bradford

Even at the fine age of 48 I love going to visit my Mom & Dad.

As I headed up I-5 to Redding, California, the joy and anticipation of a weekend of fun, visiting and rest was a treat. I cherish the opportunity to spend time with them.

Many times when I tell someone I’m headed to Redding they respond with “oh, that drive is so boring”.  I really enjoy the drive,  it’s usually a time I look forward to, time filled with solitude, reflection, anticipation and praise.

There had been a very light shower earlier in the day, which is almost always a promise for a pretty sky, and it was.  The sky was a crisp teal blue with huge white fluffy clouds, the sun would shine behind the clouds as if peeking through, creating a vibrant display of rays.

The scene reminds me of God’s greatness.

I can envision His gloriousness emanating from the clouds.   His welcoming arms reaching out to me.

Beautiful….

There were many eye pleasing landscapes that I could go into as well as the awesome time I had with my parents but what I really want to share with you is the love God has for His children and how this love can change everything.

Our Heavenly Father wants to be just that “Our Father”.

Many have had earthly fathers that have failed them. God, the Father will never fail us.  James 4:8 tells us clearly that, “God the Father is loving, compassionate, and full of mercy.” He longs to hold us in his arms and to heal, comfort and encourage us. He wants to be our loving daddy. We are assured of his response to us as his children: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  And again in Lamentations 3:22-23, “We can know that He wants to love and care for us everyday.    The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”

The Bible is full of scripture regarding His love for us.
Paul prayed for the people in Ephesians 3:18-19, “I pray that you will be able to understand how wide and how long and how high and how deep His love is.  I pray that you will know the love of Christ. His love goes beyond anything we can understand. I pray that you will be filled with God Himself.”

Whether you have been a believer for some time or your just wondering about what He is all about.  Open your heart and mind; be ready to be loved by the greatest Father ever.  Sounds like a greeting card but it’s true.  Rest in His arms and hang on for the best ride of your life.

Love, Suni

P.S. Mom’s we know you love us too.

A Matter of Perspective

by Suni Bradford

We were on a well-deserved weekend trip in the bay area. We were strolling along the pier enjoying the sea air, the sound of seagulls and knick-knack shops, when we stumbled upon an art gallery nestled back in a corner. There were many different types of art. The collections were directed to all types of tastes and personalities. There were beautiful, creative and then there were the pieces that I thought were very bizarre and some downright scary. I have pondered on what the artist’s thoughts and feelings were at the time they created their works of art. How they must get out a lot of different emotions out through this form of release.

What a fun way to praise and relieve stress. I can see it now.
Praise music cranked up
Easel, canvas & paintbrush
Paint & painting apron

Think of all the money they save on therapy! I’m just kidding, not everyone needs therapy, that’s what we have girlfriends, mentors and prayer partners for.

I know that I’ve had beautiful, creative, bizarre and some downright scary emotions and perspectives on things in my life and my surroundings. I have been resistant to change, in some areas through the years. Actually I’ve been downright stubborn and lazy about it, I’m not sure why because resistance usually doesn’t feel good (unless I’m on a healthy eating plan and resisting a brownie).

Realizing that I do at times need a paradigm shift in some of my thought patterns. I’ve found the best way to do this is, talking to God, listening to God and reading His word. I am a sinner that fights with impatience and intolerance when things don’t go my way. Sounds like a spoiled brat, huh? Anyone else?

A video on youtube named Paradigm shift by Fellowship Bible Church Littlerock, AR. hit a little to close to home because it pointed out to me my selfishness and self-centeredness. www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlRK1vqcuvg

I feel comforted that God has the bird’s eye view of our lives and He has planted the desire to be transformed into His likeness in my heart. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Now it’s up to me to get it into my mind. To change my perspective will be a constant discipline but the payoff comes when having compassion and loving others comes a little more natural. Take a look at Philippians 4:8, as Paul’s gives us direction as to our thoughts 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I pray God is pulling on your heartstrings as well to live intentionally in thoughts and actions today.

Love to all, Suni

His Great Gift

by Suni Bradford

Do you remember the phrase “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” ? It has always made me laugh, then the thought came to me that Whimpy from Popeye (a cartoon I love to watch as a child) was developing debt. Did Tuesday’s debt ever get paid?  They never showed that, did they?

We can get in trouble with our financial debt by wanting something today and not having the means to pay it tomorrow.  Interest used to motivate us to pay those debts sooner but today interest seems to be an accepted expense. I sometimes think of how different our views about debt would be if we were educated early.  Many of us have been forced to claim bankruptcy either because of poor choices we have made or because of circumstances beyond our control.  This can be overwhelmingly stressful.

At the time I found Christ, I did not have much financial debt but I was emotionally bankrupt. Jesus Christ fully paid for my debt, debt of sin that is.

Salvation is a gift so freely given.  The gratitude I have for Christ’s saving grace makes me want to service Him today and forever. I want to give him recognition for saving me for without it I would still be walking around with a lack of direction and hollowness inside.  I want to share this free gift with others so we all can feel the weight of sin lifted.  The joy that is evident in someone that has His great love inside them shines through, with my hope being that others feel the warmth from that great light and it will draw them to their Savior. Let us not worry about tomorrow but shine today.

A portion of scripture that gives me peace and a since of great value is Matthew 6:25-33

25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Ladies I pray you have a blessed day and shine like stars.

Suni