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From Medicine to Social Work

From as early as I can remember, becoming a medical doctor has been spoken over my life. Maybe because I have always been a successful student or because it’s one of the stereotypically recognized fields by Nigerians; but whatever the reason, it’s a noble profession. So I dedicated myself to becoming the best medical doctor possible, even though I would soon lose interest in it. The truth is, I never wanted to be a doctor. If you had asked 4-year-old me, “what do you want to be when you grow up”, I would have told you, “I want to be a mother and stand up for people”; but stronger than that, were my insecurities and people-pleasing nature. It felt good to be the child everyone was proud of and I didn’t want to jeopardize that; I also didn’t believe I was worthy enough to have dreams of my own. I thought that I could adapt everyone else’s excitement and desire as my own; so medicine it was…

In 2015, right before starting college, I had the privilege of hearing a few testimonies from the young adults at my new church. They spoke about how good it felt to have God be a part of every single area in their lives, including where to go to school, what career to enter, and what jobs to pursue. They really inspired me because I felt like I had been living a purposeless life and I wanted, no, I needed a change. I remember telling God, “I want to give a testimony like that one day; I want You to have that much control over my life”. My request that day set in motion a 3-year shift in my life’s trajectory. I would still matriculate into Rutgers – New Brunswick with the end goal of medicine; however, there was now an uneasiness I could not explain, or suppress. I resisted the feeling because I certainly didn’t think the answer was related to me being a medical doctor, or not. Thankfully, God continued to chase after me, despite me fleeing on account of ignorance and dysfunction.

By the end of my freshman year, I was simply pursuing an MD because I wanted the title and the pay that follows. I had actually decided to get my MPH (Master of Public Health) so that after medical school I could do what I thought was more comformed to my passions. I knew it wasn’t quite right but felt this was a bearable compromise. Eventually, I reverted to solely medicine. I was afraid people would think I got my MPH due to incapability. Fear convinced me others would think I had poor undergraduate grades and needed the extra boost. The thing is, 2017 Chiamaka still needed eveyone’s approval. My junior year, while in the ODASIS MCAT class, I had an epiphany———I didn’t care about becoming a medical doctor. Yet again, fear and a people-pleasing nature assured me I couldn’t drop out of the class. In April 2018, I successfully took the MCAT which meant it was no longer a matter of ability. I needed to determine if I could part ways with my proclivity for outside validation.

One night, as I attempted to write my personal statement, I realized I was having a panic attack. At first, I didn’t recognize it for what it was because I had not had one in four years. I should have been estatic at the thought of being in medical school in a year’s time; instead, I knew despair. I was tired. Tired of lying about what I was passionate about. Tired of doing what everyone thought I should be doing. Tired of being unsatisfied and disappointed in the life I was living. I asked God one thing that night, “if not medicine, then what”. He answered me and we began the journey that would eventually lead me to being accepted, on a scholarship, into the number 3 school for social work in the nation (University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration). Don’t get me wrong, God did not say social work that night, for reasons including my lack of trust in Him, need for others’ validation, and my weakness in the face of opposition. He actually told me, “remember what we planned freshman year”, which did not include social work, but over the course of the next year, He would gradually bring me face-to-face with purpose. 

I did not leave medicine because it was difficult. Honestly, and not to boast, I had no doubt I could be a doctor. It was torture because I didn’t care. I had a high overall GPA and a high BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math) GPA. I had a good MCAT score, on my first try. I even had letters or recommendation. And yet, something was out of place. Crying out for God in the summer of 2015 set in motion things I was, initially, too blind to sense. Through this journey, I learned how to hear His voice and trust in Him. God has taught me that true success, true fulfillment, really is obedience to Him. I am now certain, HE IS FOR ME. I may not have all the details planned out like I did with medicine, but I wake up excited, every day, for this new chapter. I rise faith-filled, despite creeping fears, anxieties, and unknowns, because I have yet to see the day my God isn’t faithful.

I hope this encourages anyone who is/has been wondering what their purpose might be. It really can be found at the feet of Jesus. Pray and expect your prayer to be answered, regardless of what it looks like.

With love,

ChiStyles

Ps. There will be an IGTV video to elaborate more on this testimony. So head over to my Instagram and follow if you want a little more detail. The video will be out Tuesday at 12pm. 

Featured photo by sl.vizion

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From Me to You: A Strong One’s Perspective

Hey You,

I don’t really know where to start with this particular post. There’s no real topic so I don’t have guidelines…I just know I want to get some stuff off my chest. 

Okay, let’s start with why I have been gone so long. I struggle with consistency, particularly self-imposed consistency. I didn’t grow up with it and since I’m still battling the fear of disappointment and hurt, I’m rarely ever consistent with the GOOD things in my life. It’s like this, if I give my best to a thing or a person & it all falls apart then I can pass off blame which makes me bitter & less trusting. But if I don’t even try then I’ve got no one else to blame but myself; the sting is less…or so my mind says. My blogging isn’t the only thing that suffers. I would say my relationship with God takes the biggest hit.

Which reminds me, stuff number 2 that I want to get off my chest: this walk is hard. So darn hard. It’s even harder when you can’t seem to translate all your knowledge of God into practice. In Jesus I’m holy, right? Then why can’t I seem to fight off lust? Why does masturbation lock eyes with me, coming closer & closer as the sun goes down? In Jesus, I am righteous, right? Then why does my heart & mind yearn for such evil sometimes? In Jesus, I am a child of God, part of a brethren, right? Then why do I feel so alone, all the time? It’s not that I don’t have people who check up on me, on the contrary. Sometimes there are so many unopened text messages in my phone that I become overwhelmed. It seems the more love I’m shown the more alone I feel. Make it make sense…

Stuff number 3: I am very self-aware, always have been. I am hyperaware of my brokenness, maybe even more so than I am of The One that can mend me up. I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems like the more I get to know Him, the more I know my own brokenness. That only discourages me. I spend most of my days wandering why I can’t seem to be a good daughter, on earth & in heaven. Why can’t I be a good friend? Why can’t I acquire a simple job? Why can’t I just look in the mirror & see that I’m beautiful, period, no ifs, ands, or buts? Why do I continually deal with one health issue after another, no matter how hard I try to live a healthy lifestyle? Why can’t I do anything well? The more I am overwhelmed with these thoughts, the less consistent I am with seeking HIM. But funny how vise-versa is just as true: the more I seek HIM the less I am overwhelmed by these thoughts. Though they come, they leave quickly, because they’re not at home.

the more I seek HIM the less I am overwhelmed by these thoughts. Though they come, they leave quickly, because they’re not at home.

There is so much more I could unpack, but I’m feeling lighter already, so let’s wrap it up. This post is not a suicide note, nor is it a cry for help. I’ve been there before; I’ve written those before. I am delivered from that and what my Jesus does is final… This is me trying to demonstrate the words of the Jonathan McReynolds, “may your whole life prove that God is good”. The entirety of my life won’t always look as beautiful & serene as a field of sunflowers turned face up to the sun, at least not to the natural eye; however, GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD. When I give in to the lusts of the flesh, the evil in my heart, His arms are still wide open. When I perform for His love, like I do with everyone on earth, because I haven’t fully grasped sonship, He still delights in me. When I can’t see the beauty in my days, He still calls me beautiful. God is good & I can see that more in my battles. I just want everyone else to know that too.

If you feel like I do sometimes, please be encouraged. Speak up to those you trust or share with strangers like I do on my blog, but don’t deny it. Acknowledge it in the “sure this might be the case now, but not forever” way. It is good to be strong, but there is good to be found in your weakness as well. You are never in this (life) alone, despite how believable the lies of the devil may be. Also please share if you believe this can help others. 

With love,

Chi, ChiStyles

God is Good – Jonathan McReynolds
Song is also available on Apple Music
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Twenty-Two…

I know it seems like I’m always testifying of the goodness of God, well because I am… Bear with me because I’ve got another one 22 years in the making…

Growing up, birthdays were not a big deal and like any regular day, there was no cause for celebration. I know, now, that it was because of my parents’ upbringing and finances. Afterall, my mom had 4 children while we still lived in Nigeria and we were not, by any means, well-off. Roughly two years after moving to America, self-hatred & depression set in, I began to dread my birthday. One, I hated myself, my existence, and August 5thstood as a sore reminder of my not so glamorous life… Second, prior to when I stopped believing God was good, I would ask Him for the next year to be better than the last. I would plead for the pain to be gone, for Him to send friends that love me, for something to be different, anything… Instead with every new year, things seemed to get worse.

Fast forward to the summer of my 17th birthday, right after giving my life to Christ again, I was delivered from depression and self-hatred; however, it would take me almost 4 years to accept in and walk in it. Based on my then understanding of deliverance, I assumed I would start to cherish my birthday; however, roughly 2 weeks before my birthday, I would become overly angry. Then on August 6th, like a flip of a switch, I would be back to my normal countenance.  I learned to cope with the pain I was unwilling to deal for 14 out of 365 days. BUT my God does not prescribe solutions to help us cope, He makes it so that things never existed in the first place. He completely flips the script, here’s how…

In April, God began to expand & solidify my community which made my 14 day struggle an every day one. I was now a part of many group chats created for the sole purpose of surprising someone or getting someone a birthday gift. Through this, my insecurities about not feeling good enough and my jealousy of people who were surrounded by the love of others were put in the spotlight. Eventually I would not be able to run from them any longer. The first time I was asked to contribute to someone’s birthday celebration, I thought… 

first of all, I just joined y’all group…

go ahead & help them but watch when it’s your turn, no one will care…

don’t help, you don’t gotta because you don’t really know them that much yet…

Keep in mind, I absolutely adore the young woman the celebration was for, but good things, GOD things, will always reveal the evil, sin, flesh, and dysfunction, within. I had a choice to make, between being a slave to my insecurities and pain, or acting in opposition. I chose the latter. Every time a new chat was made, it would hurt, but I chose to fight.

One day, in a particular group chat, a brother in Christ said something, jokingly, that triggered me. Instantly, I couldn’t stop the waterworks. In that moment, I stopped making plans to have the birthday/graduation party I thought I wanted. I could no longer hide my pain, even from God; but now He could work on it. About a week later, I had an official conversation with God about the state I was in. He told me, “if you truly want to have a party, then do, but I don’t need one to show you you’re loved”. I chose to let God handle this one. Ten days later, I got into a car accident. The day after that, I became sick and was sick for 3 days. It was like even though I was trying to keep a positive attitude, everything else around me was trying to tell me, “no you were right, your birthday is just a dreadful time”. After speaking with a few friends, I decided to hold fast to the promise God gave me. When I tell you He came through, I mean HE DID HIS DARN THANG. 

On August 5, 2019 God blew my mind. I was surrounded by friends who would sing the day in with a “happy birthday”. Text messages and IG messages were so many, I was having a hard time responding to everyone. I even received money on CashApp, something I really cherished because I couldn’t work this summer. I got random birthday calls. The usual pain surrounding my birthday wasn’t there, even leading up to the day. My older brother was so kind to me. Last but not least, I had my first surprise party. I’ve always wanted people who say they love me to throw me a surprise party, but I never told God or anyone else. 

Not Everyone that came out is pictured because some had to leave! Shout out to emmanphotography.com for the pictures!

I say, “thank you God”. Thank you to all the people who wished me a happy birthday. Thank you to the wonderful people that put together the surprise dinner party and everyone that showed up. Thank you for just making me feel loved! You all helped break strongholds you may not have been aware of! I love you all!

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Guard Your Heart…?

First I want to say, Happy Anniversary to me and everyone that has been reading my posts for the past year! I didn’t even know that this was going to be the exact date, like I am so thankful and blessed! Initially I used to see this part of my calling as a burden but sharing with you all has contributed to my deliverance process and so I say thank you! I really love y’all, like forreal forreal! 😭💙

Second, Happy Father’s Day to everyone’s daddy! Now for all those who this day is often sad and triggering, You are NOT fatherless! You have and will always have a Heavenly Father so you will always have a father’s love. I pray the joy of The Lord washes over you right now like a flood overpowering all the lies of the enemy!

Let’s jump right in to today’s post…

There are many common misconceptions associated with Christianity and Bible scriptures, particularly those that have been integrated into popular culture. One of these misconceptions include Proverbs 4:23. It says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it springs the issues of life” (NKJV). In another translation, it says to guard your heart above all else. Interchanging keep with guard is actually pretty accurate because in Hebrew, which is the language of the Old Testament, keep is Shamar. Shamar also means, to guard, protect, keep watch, and etc.

Oftentimes, this verse has been interpreted as permission to defend ourselves when someone does us wrong or closing our heart off to people, pain, and hurt. Essentially we can take it as far as putting barriers around our heart. We have taken words and completely separated them from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe that Proverbs 4:23 is telling us to be the defender of our hearts because The Bible does not contradict itself and in Philippians 4:7, it says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. In Romans 12:9 it says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (NKJV). In addition, Matthew 18:21-22 tells us to forgive 70 X 7 times and chapter 5 verse 39 tells us how to react when someone wrongs us which is contrary to closing off. We are God’s sheep so let us allow Him to be our Shepherd, because a good shepherd KEEPS his/her sheep.

You might be thinking, okay, so what did God intend for us to do after reading Proverbs 4:23? The entire chapter of Proverbs 4 can be summarized as a father giving advice to his children, specifically on good things to follow, indulge in, and live life by. With that context being established, let’s reread verse 23 and see that The Lord was trying to tell us more to be mindful if what we indulge in during our life span, because all those things will serve as seeds sown in the soil of our heart and we will reap the appropriate harvest.

For instance, taking in shows and movies that have high amounts of sexual scenes is one way to plant the seed of lust into our hearts and the rotten fruits will be represented as inability to have healthy intimacy or not being able to control ourselves when it comes to the impure way we view God’s children, our fellow siblings in Christ. Another example would be telling a “white lie” (no such thing by the way) just a few times. Before you are aware of it, you are reaping the fruit of deception as part of your everyday life. When you withhold encouragement and/or compliments due to insecurities, you reap a bitter, jealous heart and relationships with no trust or transparency.

On the opposite side, if you tithe even when you have little, you reap the fruit of financial protection and stability straight from the hands of The Lord and increase in a giving heart, a heart that finds joy in obeying God. When you continue to do the same level of work even on the days your supervisor isn’t watching you, you reap integrity, becoming a person God can trust. When you make it a habit of praying for those who have hurt you, you reap a forgiving heart and wherever you go, you are a peacemaker. God is telling is to be watchful and mindful of what we partake in or consume because Luke 6:45. It’s kind of like “you are what you eat” or “you can only give what you have”. You can’t pour water into a cup, yet what you drink is wine (unless you’re my main man, Jesus lol). You cannot pull out of something what isn’t already in it.

During this past week, The Lord showed me a lot concerning the contents of my heart. He showed me that prior to the fast, my harvest wasn’t all good; there were some rotten fruits amongst it; and when you put rotten fruit with good fruit, the good becomes contaminated. As I exit my plowing season and enter my planting season, God wants to make me aware of what seeds I choose to sow this time around. I count that a blessing and an honor that God is so concerned about us that He involves is in His plans for us. And His plans are GOOD (Jeremiah 29:11). No longer can I use the excuse of I didn’t know better, because I now know Him. And so I ask all of you as well, what seeds are you sowing in the soil of your heart and will you be honestly pleased with the harvest when reaping season comes? God loves you all! I pray your planting season is one to produce a good harvest!

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Walking Through The Valley

In a month, I will be celebrating 1 year of blogging and one of my first posts was about my hair journey. Although I did not lie, I was not entirely honest concerning my experience or where I am currently. As I stated in “Hair: What’s the Big Deal Anyway”, I grew up wearing the typical hairstyles Black girls wore. I’ve also had braids and worn wigs and weaves. I’ve worn my hair in a natural afro and permed it. I’ve texturized it and straightened it. I’ve done everything you could possible think of doing. During my sophomore year of high school, I cut my hair into the hairstyle pictured below, except the top was curled and I was basically bald on the sides and back. My mother was not a fan and ended up cutting the rest of my hair off. That was a traumatic day for me.

Google images

In the past, I had been mistaken for a guy on multiple occasions. I had experiences with bullying, both cyber and in person, where I was told that I looked like a guy and that was why I was ugly. This was happening while I had hair; I couldn’t fathom what would happen if I didn’t. I remember being afraid for school to start back up because we were on winter break. I called the only friend I had at that moment crying and he helped calm me down, managing to convince me that everything would be okay. I walked into school and braced myself for what I expected to be the worst day of my life. It wasn’t. The reception was amazing and I remember thinking, if this is what it took to be called pretty I would have been bald a long time ago. Eventually, I grew my hair out for a year before cutting it again. Over the years, my haircuts became shorter. I had finally arrived, falsely, at self-love. You see love is unconditional but mine had strings attached. It was always, I was beautiful IF… I was beautiful WHEN…

Currently, God and I are revisiting self-love. This season started 2 months ago and has been tough. Earlier this year, I was telling my 13 year old sister that her beauty has nothing to do with her hair. I told her that, until she believes the fact that she is beautiful regardless of hairstyle, outfits, skin tone, etc. nothing will ever be enough. As I was saying this, the Holy Spirit asked me, “what about you?”, but I brushed it aside. A couple weeks later, God reveled to me that I had (speaking prophetically) a fear of hair. I had subscribed to the narrative of the enemy, that my beauty is only present when my hair isn’t. He told me to grow my hair out. I remember being petrified, because even though I knew God was right, I didn’t want to go through learning to love myself again. I thought I was finally in a good place and I just wanted to stay there a little longer; however, I knew that I would be hurting myself if I didn’t listen to Him.

I cut the remaining dye off my hair and I have not touched it in 2 months. At first, I was doing well, because my hair was still pretty short at the time. Then on May 7th, I woke up, showered, washed my hair, looked in the mirror, and I saw it. In that instant, I saw every lie of the enemy. That I was ugly, that I looked less feminine, and that I wasn’t presentable anymore. It hurt; however, I was in a hurry so I couldn’t address my feelings. I went about my day, but so many little things were not going the way I planned and towards the end of the day, when I got into my car, I broke down. I started talking to God and tried acting like I didn’t know the root of my pain and frustration, but the beauty of the Holy Spirit is that He reveals the truth. He showed me that the issue wasn’t all the mishaps, but that I felt ugly. I voiced my pain, releasing it and He comforted me. I would love to say that’s where it ends, but I no longer operate in deceit.

I’ve had more bad days than good ones. When I don’t have makeup on or I don’t gel my hair and edges down, I genuinely can’t look at myself and see beauty which is most days because natural is my look of choice, unless for special occasions. When I don’t feel like I look good, I tend to overcompensate with clothes. I become less social because I am trying to hide. I don’t want to be seen. I share this because God told me to and because I believe there is a lot of God’s goodness to be encountered while in the valley, not solely on the hills. This season isn’t over yet, but I am doing better. I still struggle with calling myself beautiful, but I’m at a place where my actions aren’t in alignment with lies. I don’t overcompensate with my outfits anymore. I let my personality shine and I don’t hide as much. I am getting to know God more as my encourager, my comforter, and my father. I am working towards no matter how I feel, I can live by what I know. And what I know is, since I am the daughter of a beautiful Father, I am 100% beautiful. Point. Blank. PERIODT. POOH (lol I’m corny).

For everyone who feels led to compliment me after reading this, I thank you in advance. If the Holy Spirit sends you to encourage me, please do because His timing is spot on, but do not feel obligated to give me a compliment based on this post. I’m still slightly swayed by other people’s opinions of me and I don’t want to leave this season deceived into thinking the way I see myself is mine or God’s when it’s really the accumulation of the way others see me. I love you all and I pray you are always encouraged and blessed through the Lord using me.

Lastly, I would like to thank a sister-friend of mine named Jackie. If you’re reading this, the hair products you recommended for me have really helped in making my hair soft which has made this journey a little smoother. Ps. Check out her makeup page @_thebeautyguru!

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When I Met My Father

I rang in 2019 with sexual sin and instead of being convicted, I felt condemnation (see previous blog post). This, coupled with isolation and watching my fellow seniors have future plans while I didn’t have any for post undergrad, caused me to be in a dark place from January to the first week of April. I honestly didn’t want to live anymore, convinced there was no point to my life. Three months, 1 week, and 3 days later, I went on my first A Life Retreat from April 11th to the 14th.

We arrived at the retreat site on the 11th at night so I was just expectant for the next day, but I was trying not to be excited because I didn’t want to be brokenhearted if Jesus passed me by. On the 12th, during the last session for the day, many of my peers were getting delivered. I was praying for their deliverance while hoping for my encounter with Christ; however, something shifted in me and I became jealous. I remember thinking I wish I had some demons in me so that God will finally pay me some attention (we could unpack another day so this post isn’t 5 pages long). I began to doubt God, I stopped praying and was looking around with a cynical smile on my face.

After the leadership team dismissed us, I went to sit down, angry and dejected. Someone asked me if I was okay; I lied, answering yes. Another person asked me; I lied again. A third person asked, and I finally told the truth saying, “no, but it’s whatever”. She asked if she could pray for me and I said, “you can do what you want but it’s not going to change anything”. I reasoned, if God won’t show up for me when I prayed for myself, why would He show up when someone else does. With persistence, she began to pray for me, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was just thinking she will be done soon and go her way. She didn’t end quickly so I began hearing the words of her prayer. She was saying, “God loves you”; I was chuckling, thinking yeah, right. As she continued to pray those sweet words over me, telling me what God was saying and thinking about me, I began to speak out loud what was in mind, telling her that she was lying. After some back and forth, some A Life leaders came over and began to pray for me and after a good fight, deliverance took place. I became free from the stronghold of the spirit of doubt.

The next day, I was hypersensitive to the voice of God. In the beginning of the first session, I heard Him tell me to put my shield down and what I saw behind it was incredible. I had detached a part of myself that was much younger than the current me and I would transfer all the blame of my past onto her. Everything I hated about myself I put on her (this younger version of me). God told me I was supposed to unite with her, but I didn’t want to. I told myself I was shielding her to protect her, but actually I was trying to hide her in order to hate myself less or to avoid judgement. I couldn’t move forward until we became one. After another deliverance session in which I was able to forgive myself and reconcile all parts of me, I felt empty, but in a good way. While on break for the day, I remember thanking God for freeing me and asking Him to fill me back up.

Throughout the last session on the 13th, He showed up and showed out for His little girl. I saw multiple visions of how much God loves me. I don’t really have an intimate relationship with my natural father so what happened that night was pivotal in my life. In my first vision, while I was praising and worshipping Him, God told me to rest my head on His shoulder while He told me how much He loves me. Then He told me to lay my head on his lap and at this point I’m crying because He’s also telling me how He feels about me and how beautiful I am. He showed me angels, multitudes, and told me I could put my weapons away because I’ve got protectors and defenders. He told me that they had always been there even when I could not see them and He did all this while hugging me. There was so much more that God told me and showed me, but I’m focusing on these few because it tackled the daddy issues and brother issues I had.

My life has literally not been the same ever since April 13th, 2019. I don’t even know how to put into words how my life has been, how I have felt, how much love I have in my life. I just want everyone else in the world to feel what I feel, to know what I know, to encounter WHO I encountered. I also want to thank the A Life leadership team. Just in case any of you are reading this, “thank you. I can only imagine the amount of time you had to spend in your secret place with The Most High so that you were able to war for me, and the other A Lifers with Him in the open. May our Father replenish and reward you for being dedicated to people to see them saved and FREE. I love you all.”

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There is Therefore Now NO Condemnation

I was born in church. I was born into the Catholic church specifically and grew up in it. I rode on the spiritual coattail of my mother until about age 9 when depression seriously took a hold of me. I never stopped believing God existed, but for the following 9 years, I slowly stopped believing He was a good God and that He cared about me so why should I bother with Him. A few days before my 17th birthday, I gave my life back to Christ and received salvation for myself because I saw certain things that made me think, oh, maybe I can give Him another try lol.

A year later I entered Rutgers University – New Brunswick, and with the help of an on campus ministry called A Life, I began to get the foundations I needed in order to build my own personal relationship with Christ. Still, I would not fully give my life to Christ until the summer of my 21st birthday, this time I was willing to take the walk without looking back. Fast-forward to entering into the year 2019 having been weak when it came to resisting sexual sin, I felt condemnation for the first time since the beginning of my own relationship with God.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”

Romans 8:1 NKJV

Many people know and/or can quote Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (NKJV). The Bible also states that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17 NKJV). The New Testament is written the Greek language and the word condemnation translates to katakrima which means “the punishment following a sentence…penal servitude”. Essentially, condemnation is the judgement term one would have to serve after he/she has been sentenced. Condemnation makes you hyper-aware of your sins, which isn’t so bad in the large context of things, but the problem is it doesn’t just stop there. It also covers the truth and the hope of salvation——-the only thing that has overcome our sins. Condemnation makes us internalize our sin, like it’s who we are. Imagine being in a really dark room and all you can see is this never-ending sea of darkness. At first, you attempt to find a way out by walking forward, but no matter how far you walk, you can’t seem to find light. Eventually you get tired, give in, and make a bed in the darkness. That is what condemnation is and looks like.

I had stopped communing with the Holy Spirit and so I couldn’t hear His voice as clearly as I used to. His voice was lower than that of the devil in January 2019, the enemy knew this and took advantage of it. I saw myself 2 ways. I looked at myself and saw filth. I tried to wash away the filth, but no matter how hard I scrubbed, how much soap/body wash I used, nothing came off. Sometimes I would look down and think I look dirtier than before. Another time, I saw myself in an extremely deep hole in the ground. I looked up searching for a glimpse of light but saw nothing. Eventually I gave up and settled into a state of defeat for a month. By this time, the devil had me right where he wanted me and it didn’t matter that I went to A Life meetings every week, I couldn’t hold on to God. Even at the meetings, His light wasn’t illuminating the hole. His blood wasn’t washing me clean. This wasn’t because He was unable to, but because I couldn’t keep my focus on Him, I couldn’t set my heart on His love. All I saw was my sin, my filth, and my faith dwindled.

Eventually you get tired, give in, and make a bed in the darkness.

This is why I honestly believe God wouldn’t condemn us while we are still alive, before we go to meet Him permanently. Being aware of your sin nature is important because we are to repent from our sins so that we can be forgiven. It is impossible to turn away from something bad if we are not even aware of the bad thing. It is, however, not a good thing to take our sins on as part of our identity or to glorify our sins above our salvation, because we know that although we were born sinners, we are a made a new creation by being in Christ and we are no longer slaves to sin (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 6:6). I cannot see how or why God would use condemnation if it separates us from Him after sending His son to die for us (Romans 8:32 and John 3:16). The only way to be in Christ is through faith and belief in Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection (John 3:18, Ephesians 2:8, and Romans 10:9).

It is, however, not a good thing to take our sins on as part of our identity or to glorify our sins above our salvation, because we know that although we were born sinners, we are a made a new creation by being in Christ and we are no longer slaves to sin

We may fall or stumble, but when we are in Christ, we can rest assured that we are not punished nor should we punish ourselves, and the devil has no jurisdiction over us to dole out punishment. I’m so thankful that after 3 months, I am finally able to grasp the true meaning of Jesus’s sacrifice, my salvation. I am thankful that during that time, nothing, not my incorrect perception or inability to see Him, could separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39). He pursued me in various ways until I could finally walk back into the light, and by His strength and my growing faith, I will continually be engulfed in His light until the end of my days.

We may fall or stumble, but when we are in Christ, we can rest assured that we are not punished nor should we punish ourselves. and the devil has no jurisdiction over us to dole out punishment.

If you would like to know more about Jesus or just need someone to talk to and walk this Christian walk with, please feel free to email me or DM on my Instagram or on my Facebook! This blog post can also be found on Odyssey.com also written by me.

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Adelano, An Inspiration

Hey ChiStyles family, my name is Adelano. On social media I go by @yoru_prince.  I’m a 24 year old grad student at Kean University obtaining my Masters in Public Health Administration after receiving my B.S in Applied Kinesiology at Rutgers University. I am also a growing influencer with a passion for quality clothes and media spanning across music and the arts.

When did you start getting into fashion?

Since I was young I always had an allure with dressing well, although growing up in a Nigerian household you have very little influence on your style especially when your the middle child of 5. Fast-forward 2 decades later to my junior year in college when I’m starting to really find myself in all aspects of my life. I remember hanging around my close friend Kevin Coleman (@bykevincoleman), who is a dope designer and stylist.  Being around him constantly made me reflect on my own wardrobe and how it used to take great prominence in my life. It was in these days that I reinvented my style with a few dollars I had saved  and a lot of thrift stores and online startups. It’s funny because even through our styles are very different he was part of the reason I was able to re-discover my own look.

Why do you like fashion so much?

I like fashion because there’s no real wrong answer. When I say that, I mean we all have fits and looks we like, don’t like, couldn’t pull off, just wouldn’t wear. Despite all these different categories there’s no outfit I believe is wrong to wear. I personally believe there are outfits that are wrong for you. So the ability to express yourself with no real wrong answer is empowering to me.

What does style/fashion mean to you?

My style and fashion to me is the look I create. People who have style are people who look for pieces to their own puzzle. I don’t necessarily have to like someone’s outfits to know they have style. Their style is theirs and they live by it, they create looks through it. So I envision style as a persons’ construction or setup of the way they like to customize clothes for wearing.

What’s your favorite thing about fashion?

Some of my favorite things about fashion are:

  • It will never run out of style.
  • Seeing people create looks that I wouldn’t think to make or even fathom on first look.

How would you define you personal style? 

A 90s base inspiring and currently adding high fashion accessories.

Who are some of your fashion/style inspiration? 

I don’t really have any fashion or style inspirations but someone whose fits and visuals of them I think are dope is joeybada**.

Do you agree that you’re good at rocking streetwear?

I believe I’m decent, I have a lot of room for growth which is exciting, motivating, and kind of frightening. Because I know there is work to be done so I can achieve the potential that is in my mind.

Do you have any tips for others interested in streetwear?

Tips, hmm, I don’t really think I’m in a place to give tips as I’m still learning; although the one thing I will say is, be yourself, wear what you like, make it your own, and make it nice.

If you believe in God, what has fashion revealed to you about God? How do you honor God with your style/fashion?

Fashion has revealed the extent of creativity God has allowed us to reach and it is mind boggling. The way people think and create clothes, looks, runways, lines, and aesthetics is something incredible.

I try to honor God with my fashion by keeping him relevant in the platforms he has blessed me with. Stages like @creating.while.christian with my boy @iambkem a dope creative. Posting scriptures, and biblical readings I find interesting and entertaining on my mediums. I am imperfect so I don’t always succeed, but I know without a doubt that the blessings that fashion and the spotlights that have come with it, are all from God.

I would like to thank ChiStyles for the opportunity to be a part of this blog.

You all can follow my journey on @yoru_prince on all media.

And also tune in to a show I co-host called @creating.while.chrisitan on… Instagram and YouTube!

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Letters to my True Love

Jesus,

This would have been perfect for Christmas, but writing this on Valentine’s Day is just as fitting if not more. There is a lot that I feel, so much I could say, I don’t know where to begin. I’ll just begin by saying thank you!

Thank you for being so humble. I mean You really left Your palace, Your throne, the place where You were loved and revered daily, for people who couldn’t even see You for who you are, talk-less of loving You (Philippians 2:7-8). 

Thank you for your sacrifice upon the cross. The shame You took upon Yourself for my sake and that of the entire world. You became the cursed man hung from a tree so that I could become the blessed [wo]man living freely (Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24). 

Thank you for coming so that I don’t have to be condemned by the world based on my sin. Where the world looked upon me with disgust, You embraced me with love, calling me daughter and washing me white as snow (John 3:16-17).

Thank you for being the broker of my life. When you saw I needed a new life, You asked what’s the price and You became the price (Matthew 20:28).

Thank you for wearing Your heart on Your sleeve… No. Thank you for giving me Your heart before I had one to offer in return (1 John 4:9-10). You took a gamble, not knowing if it would yield any returns, and did it without regret.

Because of You I can say no more.

No more pain. 

No more anger.

No more needing man in order to receive forgiveness and salvation (Hebrews 4:14-16).

No more feeling like life just happens to me and I’m a spectator in my story. For I have power, authority, and a purpose (Matthew 16:19 and Ephesians 2:10).

No more feeling like my past would always follow me and I could never be the woman I know I can be (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

No more being controlled by sin. No more masturbation. No more porn. No more lying. No more living a deceitful lifestyle (Romans 8:2).

The world tells me to learn how to make the most out of life with sin and pain and illness. But You tell me I can live life to the fullest without any of it (John 10:10).

This isn’t half of what’s in my heart, Lord. You already know all of it but You more than deserve my PDA. I love you and I will always love you.

Your dearest daughter,

Cynthia Chiamaka Onuoha

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Dami: Layering Queen

Hey y’all! (gosh this is so exciting) My name is Oluwadamilola Ilesanmi but my peers call me Dami like mami. I am a biological sciences Senior with a minor in music at Rutgers University New Brunswick. I am taking over Chi’s blog today so sorry if I am not as eloquent of a writer as she is.

When did you start getting into fashion?

I officially started getting into fashion my sophomore year of high school. Back then, I was really into the “Preppy style”. Wearing collared button down shirts underneath my cashmere sweater was staple for me.

Era of 2013

Why do you like fashion so much?

Fashion just matches my personality so well! I’m very in your face and a class clown so I might as well look good doing it. The whole idea is just about being yourself which is huge for me because I feel like we live in a society where conformity is expected. Fashion says no to conformity and that’s always a plus for me. I have always had a strong sense of self and a strong personality to match in terms of not easily falling for things like peer pressure and conformity. I was comfortable in who I was and it allowed me to go on the journey of truly discovering and carving my fashion/style to what it is today. My style from sophomore year of high school to senior year of undergrad has most definitely changed; however, not because I changed, rather, because I became more comfortable with showing others who I am. In addition, having my own money helped with that as well.

What does fashion mean to you?

Simply put: not caring. I’m not going to front and pretend like when I’m thinking of my outfits I don’t consider what others would think. I most definitely do, but then WHO CARES. Sometimes you have to take a step back and just say WHO CARES. WHO CARES if it’s not “trendy”. WHO CARES if it’s “extra”. WHO CARES if it’s not “name brand”. Coming from Newark, kids were pressed with name brands and used to get on me back then because I didn’t have an Aeropostale shirt (which were ugly then and are ugly now) or name brand shoes like Nike . Just because something is trendy or is associated with a popular brand doesn’t mean it’s actually nice (unpopular opinion). Most times people are buying the name not even the actual product. One time I wore these really nice all white DC shoes, at least they were nice to me, and one of my friends was getting on me because they were DC shoes and no one ever really wears that brand. The first thing I asked him was “If they had three stripes like adidas or the check sign like Nike would they be nice?” and he agreed that they would. Don’t get me wrong now if I had the money to buy luxury brands like Supreme and Prada I would indefinitely but I don’t yet and I’m not going to pretend like I can. Sorry for my little rant but I think it’s important to educate the masses. Comment your opinions down below! Do you agree or disagree?

What is my favorite thing about fashion?

My favorite thing about fashion is that it is always evolving. I am someone who gets very bored very easily so I am always looking for the next big thing and always praise designers who aim to push the envelope and think bigger.

How would you define your personal style?

I definitely have a style that I gravitate towards but it is not definitive. My style consists of a lot of black, white, variations of black, and the faintest hint of color if I’m feeling whimsical. I guess the best way to describe it is “grunge”… actually the best term is “street style” especially now that winter is in full swing. Its really funny because my style has grown “darker” in a sense (but not my soul because I am a child of God). I went from full blown “preppy” to then trying to make “preppy grunge” a thing then straight to “grunge/street style”. It’s definitely not something you see every day especially in a small state like NJ and many people may not like it or think its weird but it’s me and I’m comfortable in it so WHO CARES.

Who are some of your fashion/style inspiration?

I’m primarily inspired by British/Parisian men street style wear. I watch PAQ YouTube videos which is a group of guys based in the UK that do challenges and activities all pertaining to fashion and style. I highly recommend watching them. They are hilarious and comment down below who your favorite is! Mine is Dexter because he wears all black 24/7, 365 days. I do follow a lot of smaller female fashion influencers who have style similar to my own. I don’t really have a celebrity inspiration because no one ever gives credit to the fact that a lot of celebrities, if not all, have stylists who are the brains behind the masterpiece. Lastly, PINTEREST! PINTEREST! PINTEREST! Pinterest is great because it organizes your feed based of what you search and I search a lot of things based of street style and fashion in general so that is what shows up on my feed.

LAYERING

Chi brought me on board to talk about layering and to give you some of my tips and tricks on how I layer while staying true to my style. I just recently discovered layering because I was determined to maintain my style during the colder months. The cold weather can be really discouraging but I didn’t want to give up my sense of style. I used to hate winter because I didn’t know how to dress for it until I finally understood the concept of layering.

Layering is not something new I’ve always heard people tell me “wear layers” but that is easy to do when you are not worried about your style and just want to keep warm. This was around the time I became obsessed with men’s fashion. I discovered that guys are great at layering! I saw a post in which a guy would wear a hoodie and then put a shirt on top of it then wear a jacket. There was another post that was similar but instead of a hoodie it was a long sleeved sweater. I thought it was genius. So I wanted to try it for myself and that’s how I became more comfortable with layering.

I have developed my own personal style and technique when it comes to layering and I am sharing it with you using my pictures down below.

Note: I had a jacket on before but I took it off for that sake of the picture. Even though it may not look like it there is a process under what you see. I get cold easily so I practice extreme layering. I have on a tank top, then I put a black, long-sleeved sweater on top of it that I got from Uniqlo because it was a turtleneck and you can kind of see it peaking through. Then I put on a crew neck black long sleeved shirt that I got from Dolls Kill with these really cool flames design on the forearms, which you can see. Then I put on this orange shirt that I got from a flea market in Miami. For pants, I have leggings underneath it then simple black cargo pants purchased from Nasty Gal. Lastly, I wore suede Puma shoes that matched the flames on my forearm and a bucket hat with flames on it because you never have too many flames. I was extremely warm throughout the day but I was still able to get my style across.

Here is the same idea as the previous picture. I am wearing a hoodie that I got from a high school trip then a graphic t-shirt on top of it from Dolls Kill then these cool pants that I felt tied together everything that I bought from Depop. 
This is a much more “feminine” look if you are not into the whole oversized men’s look. If I took off the jacket you would see that I am wearing a sweater that I got from Uniqlo with a snake pocket t-shirt that I got from Zara then I put a jacket on top of it that I got as a gift. For the bottom half I wore white casual pants from Kohl’s and my Fila.
Here I am wearing a sweater from Uniqlo with a Monster shirt that I got from Goodwill and thrifted pants that I got from ThredUp. 

It’s been an honor talking with you guys. Thanks to Chiamaka for letting me borrow her platform. I hope you contribute to my little tangent earlier in the comments down below. Don’t be afraid to follow me on Instagram @stay_xtra, to see more posts. It’s fun and most importantly it’s free so you shouldn’t have an excuse.

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Dear 2018

2018,

January…

Man you really did a number on me. 

February…

You started off with me on my back, contemplating if my deliverance from depression was permanent. No motivation. No joy in my heart. 

March…

I was anxious for everything and hated every aspect of my life, but I smiled, I even laughed through it all. On my Instagram page, I boasted of Romans 8, but didn’t know what was in that chapter. 

April… 

God, I hate You. It’s Your fault. The depression. The never-ending sea of anger. The discord in my family. The pain. It’s all Your fault. Why didn’t You love me better? Why didn’t You love me stronger that the hurt? I know life is better with You in it, but God, I don’t want to see Your face right now.

May — Honduras

I gave up on God. I believed He had failed me. Truth is, He had never failed me, but I was always one foot in one foot out with Him and everything else in my life; however, I was not about to admit that (pride). So I welcomed rebellion, made love to self-pity, and nurtured a cold heart. 

June…

I embraced my usual sin; the one that comforted me for so long—lust and all its numerous faces. I didn’t receive the familiar comfort in return. But God, I’m still not ready to choose You. Maybe next month?

July…

Delivered. Actually delivered this time because I decided to be bold enough to believe in a clean start. I am a terrible person, but I am loved regardless. I don’t have to work for that love; I sure don’t have to earn it. God, I think, maybe I like You. 

I’m happy, I’m planning yet another trip. By the end of next month, I would have officially traveled more times in one year than I had in my 21 years of life.

August — Chicago

Twenty-One! New year, new me (finally).

September…

Peace. It felt odd rolling off my tongue. Peace. P-E-A-C-E. Five letters, put together, wrapped up into the best gift I had ever received. No nightmares. No anxiety. Twenty-four hours feels like enough, maybe more than. Okay, God, I love You; although, I’m not sure that means much. I don’t know how to love. Not real love, but I will learn.

October…

Peace. Maybe I should give it back. It seemed a little too good to be true.

November…

God really wants me to have peace and this time no returns. My heart is smiling. I’m happy happy. They call it joy. I call it joy. Thank you God.

December — Nigeria

Another trip! Three times in one year, I mean but who’s counting. 

2018,

I won’t lie, you almost had me there. But God. Two words, but God, new life. I traveled. I smiled and laughed from the bottom of my heart. I made friends. I did things I had wanted to do for a while; but what I will remember 2018 for is that I was loved. The type of love that prompts you to give your all right back. Love that truly casts out all fear. And in 2019, I vow to make sure other people can experience this love. I vow to be His vessel until the day air leaves my lungs.

2018, goodbye. 

2019, what’s good homie!