Author Archive for: Ashley Cottrell

About Ashley Cottrell

Interested in reading more of her work? Check out her blog: www.ashleyamor.com With a B.A in English, Ashley Cottrell has written blogs for Virginia Bride Magazine, Bronze Mag, and has been a contributing writer for numerous other digital entities. Although a Virginia-native, Ashley resides in Puerto Rico fulfilling her passion as a freelance writer. She aims to use her gift of writing to inspire others and share the gospel of Christ. When she's not writing, you can find her nose-deep in a game of chess, Salsa dancing, or making homemade skin care products.
  • A New Believer’s Guide Welcome to the family! Yes, that’s how we greet anyone who accepts Jesus Christ into their life. You’re now a member of God’s family, saved by grace through faith, and part of the body of Christ! It’s a celebration. This new life and journey isn’t always easy, but definitely worth it. […]

    I Just Got Saved, Now What?- A New Believer’s Resource Guide

    A New Believer’s Guide

    Welcome to the family!
    Yes, that’s how we greet anyone who accepts Jesus Christ into their life. You’re now a member of God’s family, saved by grace through faith, and part of the body of Christ! It’s a celebration. This new life and journey isn’t always easy, but definitely worth it. You’ll still deal with life’s curveballs, but you can rely on the strength of Christ to help you handle anything that comes your way (Philippians 4:13). God takes care of His children, and YOU, daughter, can boldly call Him “Father.” What a wonderful feeling.
    Deciding to give your life to Christ is the best decision you could have ever made but we understand that it can be a challenging transition. Many people come to God alone, and have no idea where to start. Where is the starter-pack?! (ha ha).
    To start this faithful journey in Christ, the first thing you should do is get connected with other believers and join a bible-based church and/or ministry. If you’re in college, check out some of the college-ministries on or near your campus. Ask around or search online for churches in your city. If you’re in a remote area, see if there are small-group Bible Studies or Christian-based meetup groups where you can occasionally meet and hangout with like-minded individuals.
    Also, get a Bible in a version you can read and easily understand. Lifeway Christian Bookstore has plenty, as well as other books, resources, and gifts. If you have a smartphone, you can also download the Bible app by YouVersion. It comes with multiple versions and languages, and has reading plans, daily scriptures, and more.
    Okay, so now that you’ve got those basics, it’s time to talk about helpful resources that can assist in your everyday lifestyle. Sometimes weekly church services and Bible studies aren’t enough if we have busy schedules or deal with stressful factors that can hinder our faith. We’re human beings, and some of us struggle with things that were part of our old lifestyle before Christ. Without going into too much detail, we all could use daily inspiration, motivation, mentors, and more to help us stay focused on God, our calling, and our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
    Below is a list of music, shows, videos, blogs, website, and more that support and encourage a godly lifestyle:

     

    YOUTUBERS & VIDEO SERMONS

    Priscilla Shyrer’s “The Chat” Talk Show Interviews
    She’s a Christian actress (from the movie War Room), author, and evangelist that hosts weekly interviews on this YouTube-based talk show. Guests on her show range from preachers, to business owners, to every day individuals who share their struggles, testimonies, and how God made an impact in their lives.
    Wonderful Acts
    Alyssa is a wife, mother, and Christian vlogger who shares testimonies from her life, uplifting messages, and occasional Bible studies from her channel.
    Heather Lindsey 
    Heather Lindsey is a wife, mother, author, and founder of Pinky Promise, a Christian non-profit dedicated to helping young women stay committed to God in every area of her life. She preaches, hosts annual Pinky Promise conferences, blogs, and runs a church with her husband in Atlanta, GA. Many of her sermons, former conferences, and Bible studies are on her YouTube channel.
    Ashley Empowers
    Ashley Brown is a wife, mother, blogger, and businesswoman who hosts interviews and shares the videos on her YouTube page. Her topics revolve around faith, godly dating, and career focus.
    Allyson Rowe
    Allyson Rowe is a former pageant and miss USA contestant. She shares testimony videos and talks about honoring God through fashion, lifestyle, and career.
    Kytia L’amour
    Kytia is a former model who gave up her career to follow Christ. Her videos talks about fashion, family, and faith.
    Elevation Church
    Steve Furtick is a well-known pastor of this Charlotte, NC-based church, whose teachings transcend traditional church. His young, contemporary style of ministry and music (his church is where Elevation Worship, the music band, originated) has attracted thousands of young individuals and lead them to Christ.
    Transformation Church
    Pastor Mike Todd is also a young, contemporary Pastor of this Tulsa, OK-based church. His style of teaching and sermon topics are current and relevant, breaking down Biblical teachings in a way that relates it to everyday life for our current generation.
    Sarah Jakes Roberts
    Wife, mother, and daughter of well known Bishop TD Jakes, Sarah now evangelizes and preaches with her husband, Pastor Toure Roberts of One LA church in California. Sara shares often her testimony of becoming a teen mom at age 15 and dealing with depression, despite being the daughter of a pastor, and how she overcame those struggles. Her sermons are very powerful and inspiring for women.
    Pastor Andy Stanley
    Andy Stanley is an author and contemporary pastor known for his quick, 25-minute sermons that, despite their short timespan, are very profound and resonate with many viewers.

     

    BLOGS AND WEBSITES

    Christian En Vogue Magazine
    We’re biased! (ha ha). Of course we’re adding our website to the list. This is the Christian-based online magazine that covers fashion, lifestyle, music, and inspiration for women of this generation.
    Desiring God 
    This is a great online ministry that has blog posts, book recommendations, sermons, answers biblical questions, podcasts, and more.
    Godly Dating 101
    This married couple’s website started as (and still is) an inspirational Instagram page that encouraged healthy dating habits that honor God. All of their articles are now their Instagram posts, but more in-depth and conversational.
    Mama of Three Boys
    This blogger is a wife and mother who talks about family, faith, marriage, and motherhood as a Christian.
    Dave Ramsey 
    Dave Ramsey is a Christian businessman who talks about healthy money habits, tackling debt, building wealth, and being smart with finances (all while honoring God).
    Beloved Women
    This blogger is a wife and mother who centers her posts around faith, motherhood, women topics, marriage, and more.

     

    BOOKS

    The Purpose Driven Life
    A New York Times best seller, this inspirational book, by pastor Rick Warren, talks about discovering your purpose, why God created you and what to do with your gifts.
    Total Money Makover by Dave Ramsey
    Dave Ramsey is also a well-known author, especially due to this book. It about finances, living debt-free, and building wealth all while still keeping God first in your life.
    Pink Lips & Empty Hearts
    This is the first book written by Heather Lindsey (other books by her are on her website page too) that talks about the struggles young women go through in ungodly relationships and how to overcome bad relationship habits as they grow closer to God.  
    Barnes & Noble Bookstore (the faith/Christianity section)
    It has a great selection of Christian-based books, notebooks, and Bibles.
    Lifeway Bookstore
    You can literally just go there and get lost inside! Plenty of books, Bibles, audios, gifts, and more.

    MUSIC

    Whether on YouTube, Pandora, iTunes, or Spotify, you can find amazing Christian music to get you through the day!
    Contemporary Christian music
    Hillsong
    Bethel Music
    Jesus Culture
    Elevation Worship
    Lauren Daigle
    Kari Jobe
    Soulful Christian Music
    Marvin Sapp
    Israel Houghton & The New Breed
    Kirk Franklin
    Travis Green
    Kiara Sheard
    Tasha Cobbs
    Tamela Mann
    William McDowell
    Fred Hammond
    Todd Dulaney
    Jessica Reedy
    Tye Tribbett
    Christian Rap/Hip-Hop
    Lecrae
    Trip Lee
    Andy Mineo
    Tedashi
    KB
    Bizzle
    And there you have it: The New Believer’s Resource Guide This is an amazing new journey that you shouldn’t walk alone. We hope this was encouraging, resourceful, and a great start.

    A New Believer’s Guide

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  • If you think the “Proverbs 31 woman” was just a quiet, stay-at-home mom who loved knitting and baking cakes for her husband, think again (and this is nothing against stay-at-home moms or women who love to cook for their men!)   The woman addressed in Proverbs 31 has a lot going on. She plans (v.15), […]

    4 Tips for the Business-Minded Woman

    If you think the “Proverbs 31 woman” was just a quiet, stay-at-home mom who loved knitting and baking cakes for her husband, think again (and this is nothing against stay-at-home moms or women who love to cook for their men!)

     

    The woman addressed in Proverbs 31 has a lot going on. She plans (v.15), she invests (v.16), she works hard (v.17), and knows how to make a profit (v.18).

    She was a boss.

     

    And like her, many women have business mindsets. Maybe you feel led to start investing, or to turn your love and passion into a profitable business, or to get that promotion at work and take on a managerial position. Whatever it may be, don’t ignore that feeling. . .God could be calling you to do so. Don’t think that just because you aren’t teaching Bible Study or singing on the worship team at your church that you’re not using your gifts for the Kingdom or honoring God. Many important biblical figures were still walking by faith in their day jobs. Remember:

     

    Jesus was a carpenter.

    Moses was a shepherd.

    Peter was a fisherman.

    David was a soldier (then a king).

     

    And let’s not forget about the women:

     

    Deborah was a judge who led the nation of Israel (Judges 4).

    Sheerah was an architect (1 Chronicles 7:24).

    The woman of Abel Beth Maacah was a wise negotiator (2 Samuel 20:13-22).

    Candace was a queen from Ethiopia, in charge of her country’s treasures/finances (Acts 8:27).

     

    And you are. . .still trying to figure out how you can serve God and slay in the corporate world simultaneously. Let me break it to you, sis, you can. And here’s how:

     

    1. Be Intentional & Influential

    As Christians, everything we do must be intentional. We must remember who we do it for (God), and why we do it (to represent Christ and advance God’s Kingdom). When Jesus called Peter and the other fishermen to follow Him as disciples, He was intentional in His approach and strategy. Jesus gave them instructions to help perfect their fishing method:

    Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” [Luke 5:4-7]

    And when the fishermen discovered Jesus knew what He was talking about (catching more fish than they’d ever caught), He became influential.

    From your business proposal to business cards, and even down to the outfit you wear to work each day, be intentional. Show your peers, future clients or business partners, you know what you’re talking about, that you’ve invested time, sweat, and tears into what you’re doing and that it will benefit them in some shape or form. Build their trust in you and what you have to offer and follow through on those promises. In this manner, you are representing Christ by showing integrity in your work.

     

    2. Be Humble & Open to Feedback

    Never throughout Christ’s ministry did He ever say He was there on His own accord. Jesus always acknowledged His Father, our Lord God, as the One providing His Words, miracles, wisdom, and reason for being. The disciples, as well, always acknowledged Christ in their teachings and missionary work. In that same manner, you will never meet a CEO who doesn’t enjoy reading and learning from other entrepreneurs. You will never see a successful company without a board of directors. You will always here an honoree acknowledge their teacher, mentor, or role model in their acceptance speech.

    Be teachable, understanding that there’s always room for growth and knowledge. We learn from others every day, no matter the age or experience. Every follower needs a leader, and every leader was once a follower. Ask questions and talk to other entrepreneurs or colleagues who were once in your shoes. Be open to receiving feedback and take notes on areas you can improve. The Lord honors humility, and doing so even while in the corporate world shows godly character.

    “For those who exalt themselves with be humbled; but those who humble themselves will be exalted.” [Matthew 23:12]

     

    3. Guard Your Heart

    Not everyone is going to understand or be on board with your vision. . . and that is okay. What’s not okay is when they try to deter you from what you know God placed on your heart to do. Avoid those type of people and negativity. If who you are associate with does not inspire you, encourage you, or assist you in building towards your goals, then they’re a hinderance. When the Word of God instructs us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), it’s referring to all areas of our life. Whatever you allow into your thoughts, spirit, and environment can influence your decisions, good or bad. This is why scripture specifically says “Above all else, guard your heart…” Be protective over the vision and assignment God gave you, including your job or business.

     

    4. Network Like There’s no Tomorrow

    Last, but not least, you must understand the power of networking. Any business owner or entrepreneur will tell you the importance of having connections and collaborations. If you want to build, you cannot do it alone. Whether you’re at a job conference, cocktail party, or simply waiting in line at Starbucks, striking up a conversation with a stranger just may be your next big break. Build professional relationships with other business owners, associates, fellow alumni, and friends. These are your resources, ears to the job market, prospective clients, business partners, and more.  

    Embrace areas you are strong while accepting areas where you are weak. Some people have the gift of gab—let them assist in your PR and outreach. In exchange, you can offer your services for their benefit. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to networking. Any opportunity is beneficial, whether you’re out volunteering with a large non-profit, or catching up with a former colleague over coffee. Make the most of your connections.

     

    And sis, remember this: as long as you’re obedient to what God is telling you to do, you’re giving Him glory. The success of your jewelry business may fund a new community rehabilitation center; your new management position may lead the company into opening a new department that provides dozens of new jobs to individuals who were once unemployed; your digital magazine may help hundreds of women feel beautiful, confident, and encouraged to draw closer to God (shoutout to Kesha, the founder and editor of Christian EnVogue!). You never know how God will use you. If a business-mindset is what you’ve been given, use it.

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  • There’s a very sensitive word that many people use too loosely in casual conversation. In fact, it’s so common, sometimes it just slips out when we don’t intend it. The one word used as a place-filler that sounds awkward if not used in the right context. You know, the “F” word. Friend. The colleague from […]

    Are You Using The Word ‘Friend’ Too Loosely ?

    There’s a very sensitive word that many people use too loosely in casual conversation. In fact, it’s so common, sometimes it just slips out when we don’t intend it. The one word used as a place-filler that sounds awkward if not used in the right context. You know, the “F” word.
    Friend.
    The colleague from work. Your roommate. A classmate. Even that one person you’ve known for years who has been there during major milestones in your life. This person, or people, entered your life for a reason, right? They’ve came to every birthday party, sit with you during your lunch break, and have even pulled all-nighters with you for your college exams. You share laughs, have fun, and are completely comfortable around them. They know you.
    Yet, there was that one situation at work when you got that promotion and your friend didn’t congratulate you. Or that other time when your car broke down and no one came or offered to help. And that year you were dealing with a death in the family, yet never received a phone call from anyone.
    There are many people in our lives who we’ve accepted as and consider “friends,” who definitely have been there for the good times, yet lack those friendship traits and qualities when you need them the most. Sometimes we place expectations on people close to us who were never meant to be there. It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s just that they’re not truly your friends.
    Jesus had many “followers.” Hundreds of people traveled to see Him, listened to Him, and received healing from Him. He had twelve disciples who ate, slept, and spoke with Him daily. There were people who were literally there for every teaching, witnessed every miracle, and who knew He was the Son of God. But some of their hearts were far from His.
    [Proverbs 18:24] “There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
    If you pay close attention to Scripture, there were only three out of the twelve disciples who Jesus spent the most time with, who He asked to accompany Him when He was deeply distressed [Matthew 26:36-46], and who He allowed to see Him in His truest form [Matthew 17:1-8].
    Everyone can’t be in your circle. It’s natural to feel a type of loyalty to those who’ve been in our lives for a long period of time, but that doesn’t mean they’re our friends. Some people are only meant to be in your life for a season, vice versa, or to serve a purpose that only God knows. But people who disappoint you and drain you emotionally, financially, and even spiritually are not meant to be in your circle. Real friends will support you, correct you in love, and be there for you at your lowest. Christ said it best:
    [John 15:13] “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
    Aside from your spouse, your inner circle needs to be people who love you, align with your purpose, truly know the calling on your life, and pour into you as much as you do for them. Anyone who uses you, frustrates you, and distracts you from your purpose is not a true friend. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to them or withhold sharing the Gospel with them, it just means that you’ve placed expectations on them that they will not meet.
    I encourage you to reanalyze the relationships you have with people close to you and determine their role in your life. Ask God to reveal to you their character, intentions, and reason of being. Even if you discover you only have one true friend, you know it’s someone you can truly count on.
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  • Last year was rough. Literally. It may have been because of all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. It may have been because of all of the political controversies and war threats. It may have been because of the outrage of sexual assaults and misconduct cases making headlines. Or… It may have been the […]

    Leveling Up All 2019

    Last year was rough.
    Literally.

    It may have been because of all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
    It may have been because of all of the political controversies and war threats.
    It may have been because of the outrage of sexual assaults and misconduct cases making headlines.
    Or… It may have been the fact that all of these things were happening at the same time you were experiencing rough patches in your personal life and spiritual walk.
    Regardless of what’s to blame, there’s no need to throw a pity party (because we don’t do that honey.) The year 2018 was definitely one for the books, but don’t count it as a loss—count it as a lesson.
    And as with any lesson, we learn, take notes, and apply that wisdom for the next lesson. This year is that next lesson. Let’s make 2019 the year of the comeback.
    Let’s level up.
    Now when I say “level up,” I mean taking the necessary steps in self care so that we’re physically, mentally, and spiritually prepared for God’s purpose. Do you think just because you had a rough year, God would give up on you and not use you to fulfill His Will? Think again, sis. Ask Moses, David, Jonah, Ruth, Peter, and Paul. They will all tell you the same thing:
    The struggle IS real.
    And so is our God. In fact, the Lord instructs us to come to Him when we feel all the heavy burdens of life or feel like giving up.
    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28]
    He knows that sometimes you’re too tired to think. He knows that mental strain and depression can trigger old, unhealthy patterns and leave you desiring your worldly habits of comfort. He knows that life can hit you like a punch in the gut and leave you breathless, dizzy, and unfocused.
    So that’s why we have to be intentional about self-care. Remember that one time when Jesus left all his family, friends, and followers to go pray? (oh wait, He did that PLENTY of times):
    But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” [Luke 5:16]
    It’s completely okay to take a breather, step away from your usual duties and take a break to regroup. In church, the common term is a “sabbatical” leave. In corporate world, it’s considered “taking a vacation.” Most mothers call it “sending the kids to their grandparents’ house for a week.” Last, but not least, a psychologist or therapist will refer to it as “personal time.” You need time. Time to rest, time to mourn, time to think, time to reflect, time to forgive; time to heal. The Bible sums it up as this:
    To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven…” [Ecclesiastes 3:1]
    So shut off every bit of noise and distraction for a period of time, kick everyone out the house or lock your bedroom, ask God for clarity and direction, and just. . . be still.
    Breathe.
    Listen.
    Repeat.
    And then. . .come back.
    And when you do, you don’t just come back….you be the comeback. Remember who you are and whose you are. Remember the purpose and burning desire God placed in your heart to follow or accomplish. You look 2019 in the eye and say “I’m ready now.”
    This is it. Time to level up. . .for real. Time to tackle those problems from last year with informed decisions and solutions. With that said, use these four sectors of life as a starter kit to get back on track for the year.

    FAITH

    Start a Fast
    – You can do one on your own, or collectively as a group or with your church for support
    – Research the many benefits of fasting and abstaining from certain foods and physical restrictions, such as regulating your digestive system and increasing self control
    – Study the types of fasts and how which one may better suit your needs
    Complete a Bible or Journal Challenge
    – Download the YouVersion Bible app and follow the “read a bible in one year” guide
    – Journal every time you pray or spend time with the Lord, aiming for every day of the year
    Join a ministry, support group, team, etc. for accountability
    – Surround yourself with positive people who care about your well-being and encourages you to keep moving forward

     

    FOCUS

    Create a Vision Board
    – Throw a vision board party and invite friends over to share ideas, crafts, and laughs while doing so
    Declutter & Organize Your Home
    – Sometimes it’s easier to think and maintain a good mood when it’s easier to navigate through the home
    Mute or Delete Distracting Apps from Your Phone
    – Whether it’s SnapChat, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Candy Crush, group chats, or more, cut them off

     

    FITNESS

    – Start a digital workout plan or join a local fitness group
    – Try something new such as a dance class or signing up for a 5K run that’ll get you motivated, pumped, and tired by the end of the day

     

    FINANCE

    – Buy a budget planner/organizer to track your spendings and savings
    – Follow some budgeting and finance gurus’ social media (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, & blogs)
    – Read books by finance gurus such as Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki, etc.)
    – Open a savings account (automatic if possible) that will make space for all of the additional money that you want stored in a safe place in case of emergency
    Ready? You should be. This is your year to come back stronger, wiser, and closer to God. You got this. Level up.
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