Be Blessed, Not Stressed

The end of the year is approaching and everyone falls into the familiar hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays. The Bible tells us in, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (English Standard Version).” If you are a believer, you know the story of Jesus’ birth and that we celebrate that birth during Christmas. You would think the season would be filled with joyous praise to our Heavenly father and the remembrance of the greatest gift to man. Matthew 2:2, in the Bible says, “Saying, Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him (ESV).” Unfortunately, this noble theme of Christmas has been transformed into a commercialized landslide of gift-giving and with that, comes a familiar mountain of DEBT! Analysts calculate that, according to the latest data, Americans will average $1,003 in debt stemming from the holidays (www.magnifymoney.com).

This is not including any previous debt from last year, current bills, or other debt one may have. To think that one or two holidays can add this amount of debt annually, is enough to cause warning and hopefully result in caution. My intention, is to suggest valid ways to battle this growing problem and help you save money during this time. Three major tips that will most likely change the debt game for you is 1. Crafting gifts, 2. Delegating portions of the dinner and finally 3. Choosing which parties and events to attend.

CRAFTING has been trending for almost two years. With the growing popularity of Pinterest and other Do It Yourself (DIY) sites; crafting and/or re-purposing items is a wonderful way to gift. Think about the likes and interests of your family and friends and find quick and easy projects that enable you to create multiple gifts at one time. Forget the old rules about gift giving that states you have to get each person a unique gift. For example, a specific Christmas DIY was the treat-filled slippers. I know for a fact that this gift is a treat for all because I’ve done it for both Mother’s and Father’s Day gift sets. I will purchase packs of small items that can fit inside the slippers and then choose the slippers for each person I’m gifting. I then fill the slippers with one item from each of the packs. I didn’t have to spend a large amount of money or time. Check out Pinterest, Weebly.com, Thespruce.com or Apartmenttherapy.com for gift giving or those lovely holiday decorating ideas.

DELEGATING the cooking is definitely not an easy feat. Can you imagine a grandmother delegating who will make her famous recipes for the holidays? Well, there’s one that has done this and it’s my MOM! Mother Jackie Johnson says, “I have one of my daughters fix the mashed potatoes, because she makes them really creamy, and she was chosen to fry the chicken because she can fry big batches and still make it taste delicious.” Mother Johnson goes on to say, that she elected “pie-fixing to daughter #3 because she is known for making new and exciting cheesecake flavors.” Our family is continuously growing and my mother and oldest sister usually man the kitchen, but with over 40 mouths to feed at times, it can get overwhelming. I’m glad they both realized that the amount of time and money is a team effort. Keep your favorite dish you like to cook and let the rest of the family help out.

CHOOSING which holiday parties, church services, or family events can also ease the strain of spending money and time while participating. If there is a Christmas program and a Christmas Eve service, it’s okay to choose only one to attend. If your family is large and you have to attend several services, members can split up and tackle the multiple programs in groups. Reducing the number of paid events you attend will lighten the load on your pockets. If a friend or organization has a charity event, opt to donate if the price of tickets are high. I’m sure they will appreciate the thoughts and efforts you have offered in lieu of attending.

Don’t let the holidays stress you or your pockets. Remember the traditional reason for the season and steer your family toward saving, rather than creating new debt for a day or two of celebration. Let us all be grateful for what we have and pray that we can start new traditions. This will, in turn, save money and stop the cycle of frivolous spending. God gave us a gift that keeps on giving everyday of our lives, why not follow suit?

Holiday Weight Loss Survival

It’s the HOLIDAY season! It’s also the end of the year. For some of us, this is the time of year we deal with massive weight gain. Let’s discuss how we can survive the holiday season without a lot of weight gain and go into the New Year healthier.

7 Holiday Eating Survival Tips:

1. If you’re going to travel for the holidays, eat healthy meals the day(s) before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve/Day. Eat healthy carbs, vegetables and protein. Stay away from desserts (as you might eat these on the holiday).

2. Bring your own food. If you cook your own food for the holiday and take it with you when invited out, this will help you to stay on track and reach your goals.

3. If you are cooking for family or friends, incorporate healthy meals you will eat. You may be the only one eating the meals but that’s okay. Remember, you have goals to reach and eating any and everything isn’t going to help reach your goals.

4. If eating later in the day, fill up on fruits, vegetables and water before leaving. This will help you eat less holiday food when you arrive. If you decide to eat dessert or anything that isn’t healthy, eating fruit, vegetables and drinking water before arriving will help with portion sizes because you will become full quickly.

5. Pile on the vegetables! If healthy carbs are available, put one serving on the plate and add protein. If healthy carbs aren’t available, but you would like to eat the carbs being served, add a small amount to the plate.

6. Do not take leftovers home!!! Christmas is a month after Thanksgiving and the New Year is 1 week after Christmas. It is best to wait to eat the same or similar food again. Not taking leftovers home will allow you to get back on track without eating.

7. OR take the day (only that day) and enjoy the food, family and friends. DON’T step on the scale!!! If eating any and everything is the option of choice, weight gain is inevitable. No need to look at the scale to see how much damage has been done, just enjoy the day and get back on track the next day, and remember tip # 6.

 

5 Holiday Exercise Tips:

1. At a minimum, start walking now. If it is too cold to walk outside, do it inside. YouTube has many great indoor videos you can use.

2. Watching T.V. allows for a great way to exercise. A house or apartment with stairs is a great way to get effective exercise. During commercial breaks, walk up and down the stairs. No stairs, that’s okay; do squats, jumping jacks, arm raises (with or without weights), high knees, jog/walk in place, planks, chair squats, bicycle crunches, donkey kicks, leg raises, or push-ups.

3. On the day of any holiday, wake up and exercise. You can join me for a Facebook Live workout, do workout videos or a YouTube workout (check out Tiffany Rothe Workouts).

4. After eating your holiday meal, if possible, go for a walk. Ask family or friends if they would like to go for a walk to get them involved. If the answer is no, head out the door for some fresh air and a little exercise alone.

5. The day after the holiday, it is time to move. Don’t become lazy or allow the holiday to stop any progress made along the way. If you know you will be shopping on Black Friday and you will be out all day shopping, this can be counted as exercise for the day (depending on how long you will be out).

 

I challenge you: DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE NEW YEAR TO START!! The longer it takes to start, the more weight we have to get off. Start the day you read this article. If you are already eating healthy and exercising, keep doing a great job. Don’t let the holiday season get you off track. Remember, I do Facebook live workouts if you need the motivation!

For the new year, I would like to leave you with this. Set 3 realistic goals to reach for the month of January. REALISTIC is the key. On average you should lose up to 4 pounds a month. Don’t make all the goals related to weight loss. What is your water goal? How many days are you going to workout? How many days a week are you going to meal prep? What type of workouts will you do each week?

Holiday Blues

When everyone’s NOT waiting on the holidays….

The seasons are changing, leaves are turning colors, and we’re a few days away from Thanksgiving, and just over 30 days away from Christmas. For most, the holidays are a time of food, family, fun, YOU NAME IT! However, for some, the holidays are a reminder of what used to be. Grief grips everyone differently, and is managed in different ways. Grief is defined as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. So, whether you’ve experienced a death of a loved one, a break-up, divorce, or a distant move, you could experience holiday grief around this time of year. As the month of October ends with Halloween, and children are putting their costumes away for next year, those of us who struggle with the holiday season, begin our time of mask wearing. We smile when we want to cry, we appear to be okay when others’ joy, Facebook posts, twitter feeds, and holiday greetings really make us want to run indoors and scream in sadness! We wear the mask because of the isolation we feel…because we made the distant move, or we have experienced the grievous loss. So, here are a few tips to help you get through the holidays.

A few pointers as you prepare for the Fa La La La La of the season.

1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and they will be tough.
2. Decide which traditions you want to keep, and what you want to change.
3. Create a new tradition.
4. Remember that not everyone will be grieving the same way you are grieving.
5. Be honest. Tell people what you DO want to “do” for the holidays and what you DON’T.

 

Corner Prayer
God, thank you for this time of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thank you for being the reason that we give thanks and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Lord, you are the reason for the season! But, God we are reminded at this time about the way our lives used to be. The loved ones that have passed away and the relationships and family structures that used to define and identify us. Help us to remember and KNOW, that in all things, you work them together for our good (Romans 8:28). God, we ask that you comfort us and minister to the pain, anger, confusion, and sadness that we feel during this time. Lord, help us to trade beauty for ashes in this season, and give us a way to remember our “used to be” in a way that brings a smile to our face. Help us to still be a light and an example of how you comfort the broken. In Jesus Name.
Amen

All About That Base

Welcome Back Beauties!

We previously left off with, “What happens if I don’t use primer?” We talked about the importance of priming your eyelids and how priming your eyelids and setting them with powder gives your eyeshadow longevity and allows your eyeshadow to pop.

Well, there’s more. I left off at the end of my last submission discussing the importance of building a good base.

Have you asked yourself, “Do I use a base in addition to using a primer?” Probably not, but the answer is, Yes! While primer and base serve similar purposes, eyeshadow base alone will not hold your eyeshadow in place like your eyelid primer (there are a couple of brands that utilize eyeshadow base and primer interchangeably). Eyeshadow base can improve eyeshadow colors and increase its vibrancy or cause it to be deep and rich (depending on the colors used). Truthfully, it’s all about building the proper foundation to set the stage for a breakthrough…. lol. It’s that deep and that serious (insert laughing/crying emoji here). After you apply your eyelid primer and set it with a translucent or neutral toned setting powder, apply your transition color(s) and you go from there.

Mindful Tip: Do not apply your eyeshadow base to any part of your eyelid or eye that you do not want to show a dramatic change in color. If you want the mobile part of your eyelid to pop or display depth in color, apply the base to that area only. Make sure to blend out the edges of base and try not to cover or cancel out the work you spent applying your transition colors.

So, what do I use as a base!? Well, lucky for you, I’m here to help!! There are a plethora of things that can be used as base, depending on the look you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to make bright colors pop, use a white base or lighter colored base such as an NYX eyeshadow base or NYX eyeshadow base pencil. Other products that can be used for base, MAC paint pots, Tarte lid lock and some concealers. If you want a deeper, richer hue, the most common “go to” color, to make dark colors appear full, is a black base. Your base should only be applied to the parts of the eye that you want to show a dramatic difference with, i.e., the mobile part of your eyelid, your waterline or lower lash area of your eye.

The key to making colors look good is to make sure that you blend and smooth out any base color applied to your eyes. If your makeup brush is not accomplishing the desired look, it’s okay to use your finger-tips to smooth out your base. Oftentimes, the warmth from your fingertips will cause the application of the product to smooth out easily. If you’re not already using a primer and a base, give it a try. I’m sure it will improve your eyeshadow looks as well as increase longevity of your eyeshadow. After using these mindful tips and techniques, use #Nouveaubeauty for a feature on our IG page!

Always know how valuable and uniquely beautiful you are! Until next time.

Crystal Perkins Trusting God with Goals

A little over 2 years ago I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook and came across a video of a young woman sharing her testimony of God answering her prayers and blessing her family with a vehicle from a total stranger. That woman was none other than the Faithful Chics founder and owner, Crystal Perkins. After watching that video I was encouraged as a woman of faith and an entrepreneur and began following her and her brand. So, when she accepted our invitation to be interviewed for this issue of Nouveau Exposure I was ecstatic. If you aren’t following her, you need to! She truly is a faith filled chic and involves God in every aspect of her life.

– Only God Can Do It –

Crystal’s testimony of God bringing her through trials and tribulations may sound a bit cliche,` but it is the truth. Several years ago she had lost her father and grandfather and her family began experiencing hardship after hardship from losing employment to losing their home. On top of that her marriage was on the verge of divorce. Crystal and her husband have known each other since 9th grade but married life wasn’t coming to them as the union they hoped it would. Things were rocky. One day she was driving and talking to God and she heard God speaking to her saying he was going to restore everything that she lost and what he required of her was not to give up and to share her testimony with everyone she came in contact with. At the time she couldn’t see it happening because she and her husband were a dark space in their lives. In Spite of that, she pulled over immediately and called her husband to share with him what God had given her saying, “We can not give up, God wants to use all of this for his glory.” They made the choice to fight for their marriage.

Their fight wasn’t physical or mental, it was spiritual. Counseling sessions didn’t really work for them. They realized that they had to find themselves in Christ before they could work on healing their marriage. As they learned to pray with each other and open up the line of communication between them by offering vulnerability they began to see a change in their marriage. These changes taking place in their individual lives and their marriage was the foundation for God to begin to bless them and open doors that he had promised.

– Faithful God –

Faithful Chics Boutique Arkansas Location

Crystal eventually began Faithful Chics while working as a counselor for those who were blind or visually impaired. Her days typically consisted of her having her time with God, going to work, coming home to prepare dinner, spending quality time with her daughter and husband and as they shut down for the night she was working on anything related to Faithful Chics from design and planning to packaging and shipping. While her days and nights were long and full, she loved her job and she loved her business/ministry.

One of her coworkers shared a word with her that God revealed to them that her ministry was growing so fast and she was going to have to make a decision soon about pursuing it full time. After some time God began to reveal those same things to her and before she knew it she found herself at work one day hearing the voice of the Lord say that she could not return to work the next day. With tears in her eyes and an obedient spirit she began packing her personal items and went to let her boss know that she would not be returning after the day was over. She received her confirmation during that conversation. Her boss let her know that at the time when Crystal began working for the organization they were losing faith in God and it was ignited seeing Crystal’s faith in action and witnessing her relationship with God. While Crystal thought her assignment was having the job to be there for her clients and the favor of being able to grow and operate her business while working, for her boss it was to inspire them to renew their faith in God.

The next morning after leaving her job she logged into her website for Faithful Chics and said “Here I am God.” Two weeks later she received a call from a new outlet mall in her area in Arkansas. They found her company on the internet, loved her brand and wanted to offer her space at the mall. She opened a kiosk located outdoors during early fall of 2015. She prayed to God for an indoor location due to the weather changing and God allowed her to have her first indoor location by November of 2015. Later her company left indoor location at the mall for her own storefront location by January of 2016 known as the Faithful Chics Boutique. Crystal remembers thinking “If I would have stayed at my job, I would have missed out on all of this.”

Her ministry and business began growing and thriving. Faithful chics boutique was not your average store. Part of the policy to open the store was to pray and worship before the doors opened. The boutique became a sanctuary for customers. They were welcome to come there and be free to talk about their struggles, be emotional, pray, worship and more. Crystal was witnessing the promise God gave her from years prior coming to past.

-On to the Next –

When it comes to what God has in store for the Perkins family you should always be waiting for more. By spring of 2017 Crystal announced via social media that God had given them the assignment of uprooting from Arkansas and moving to Georgia. It wasn’t a real surprise to Crystal for God to have them do this. God had already shown her in visions that a move was going to occur and as she put it, “Every time he [God] gives me a vision about something, it happens.”

 

Perkins Family

 

Because of her faith and obedience she was ready to move. She admits that it was hard to leave family and let go of the boutique. She prayed and prayed for God to make a way for the store to remain open. It wasn’t for the financial benefit of having a physical store versus an online presence and pop up shops but for the customers who loved the environment of the store and all that it offered as a sanctuary to them. Finally God answered her saying if she could not let go of the boutique then it had become an idol to her. After that she stopped trying find ways to keep it open and followed God’s instruction. It was an emotional process leaving everything that they knew, but she and her family came to terms with separating from everything they loved about Arkansas to establish residency in the Atlanta, Georgia.

 

The transition itself was easy. Crystal has experienced God’s provision for the vision over and over. He hasn’t failed her yet and she doesn’t doubt for one second that he will. While they don’t have a physical store in Georgia at this time God has provided for them in other areas from blessing them with their place of residence to their ministry and business continuing to thrive. At this time their residence is the operating site for Faithful Chics but they are bursting at the seams and currently praying for the best location to launch their boutique in a new city. She believes a physical location is in their future within the next six months to a year. In the meantime Crystal has launched a new opportunity for individuals to become licensed to sell Faithful Chics apparel. Along with the licensing they will be receiving one one one coaching sessions with Crystal and tools to help them become successful entrepreneurs. She and her staff received and reviewed over 200 applications and recently contacted the first group that was selected for this experience. Be on the look out, you may have a licensed seller in your area to see for all of your Faithful Chic Apparel.

 

Crystal has not allowed herself to be defined only by the label of her company Faithful Chics. She is branching out and becoming a serial entrepreneur by launching her latest business, God and Goals. God and Goals is a consulting company founded by Crystal to show other entrepreneurs how to move forward in business with hard work, perseverance and faith. She didn’t start doing this out of thin air. She began doing faith and purpose consultations a couple of years ago. But God began to pour into her and show her how to develop God and Goals. Her desire is to teach others to keep God at the forefront, pray over their business and seek God with decision making. God and Goals is the tool to allow her to accomplish that desire. There are services for the general public to sign up to receive and membership perks as well. Services not only involve consultations, but also include branding and marketing assistance, workshops, brand audits, and access to apply for scholarships and grants.

 

There is a special customer that Crystal has been serving lately and that is her beautiful daughter. Crystal’s daughter Kennedy (8 years old) has already come to her parents on her own with a business plan and a mission. She has witnessed her parents apply faith and hard work for their businesses and she is taking notes for her own endeavors. It will not come easy. Her parents are teaching her to that the development of a brand and business takes time. She recently did chores to earn funds to have a logo created and moving on to the next step. Talk about legacy!

– Penny For Your Thoughts –

Crystal did share a few words of wisdom with us for someone who may be going back and forth with making the decision to launch a business. “There is never a perfect time. The right time is when God confirms that it’s the right time.” She has learned from experience that life is never going to stop and when God gives a vision and confirms it, it is time to fulfill it. “You need to literally drop everything and be obedient. I obey God flat out. I don’t try to negotiate with God. I do it.”  if you only take one thing away from reading this, Crystal hopes that it’s to make sure that your dreams/goals are aligned with God’s will. Remember in all the hustle and bustle of making business decisions to keep God at the forefront of all decision making. And last but not least, stay humble.Increase, influence, prosperity comes in stay hungry, don’t get so comfortable that you feel like you have reached the final level of success. You should never stop growing, never stop grinding and never stop working hard.

New Duo One Reason

Name a male gospel duo that has hit the scene since Dawkins and Dawkins. I’ll wait. (insert crickets) That’s right, you probably can’t name any. Well, now you can add One Reason to your list.

 

Lamarr Lyons and DJon Johnson have had a whirlwind of a year in 2017 and they aren’t letting go of that momentum. Together they have close to 20 years experience in the gospel music industry. Lamarr began singing background at the age of seven from choirs to gospel and country artists as well as arranging music. DJon connected to the music industry at the age of 16. He gained experience doing background vocals and assisting with production.

 

Lamarr and DJon began working together in 2016 singing background as well as writing, arranging and producing. Earlier this year they found themselves working on a song for an artist and God began to deal with them both about embarking on a new journey and recording the song themselves. How many of you know when God gives a call, you should be obedient and answer with yes?! Lamarr and DJon gave God a yes! They purposed to keep it real with their lyrics, break boundaries with their sound and produce music that will change your life as well as please the ear. They agreed to record the song, and just this past summer they released their debut single, “You Are.” This song has not only played in the United States, but has streamed internationally in countries such as the United Kingdom and Nigeria.

 

It has not been a fairytale full of rainbows and sunshine. They definitely went back and forth on going forward with moving together as One Reason versus continuing alone on the paths they were already on. Eventually they did make the choice to work together. The connection between the two of them and the balance that each one brings to the other from a creativity to personality is what makes everything come together so well. Have they had challenges? Yes. Has it been easy? No. Do they work through those moments? Of course! They both learned something from this new endeavor. DJon’s advice to others, “Don’t ever second guess what God is trying to tell you to do.” He believes that God doesn’t intend for you to be defeated. God’s direction is a set up for something greater. “What you think you aren’t qualified for, is what God can give you the tools to accomplish,” said Lamarr.

 

They haven’t dropped the ball. They have been very busy. Check out their crazy and comedic moments on their YouTube show OneReasonTV. They share from their adventures in L.A., performance appearances and more. Keep an ear our for their mixtape, “Loyalty”, set to release just before the holiday.

 

Nouveau Exclusive with Married at First Sight’s Sheila Duhon

Love Through the Eyes of God

by: Anise Marshall

 

The drowning sound of a beating drum grows faster, now louder. You clench the neck of your pajama shirt to discover the unrelenting pounding was the sound of your heart. The struggle to saturate your waterless mouth prompts you to reach for the night stand, only to find a phone that won’t stop ringing. Sit up, close your eyes once more, and use the cusp of your wrist, to clear the gooey mascara and lashes from your eye lids. You stretch your hands through the air, place them on the ball of your frigid, yet saturated cheeks and slide them to the back of your neck. Breath in. Then out. My mornings won’t always be like this, you think. It is 4:30am. Time to go to war.

 

Sheila Duhon has fought so many battles in her life and discovered, not too long ago, that a prayer room has been her gift from God. We’ve all had those morning where it has been difficult to wake up because of an overwhelming anxiety about something hard, something exciting, a bad feeling, a desire to change your relationship with Christ or even divorce. She has had to dabble in a bit of all these emotions for the past few years and it has truly transformed her relationship with God.

 

 

Sheila, as you are aware of, decided to trust God and “Get Married at First Sight.” Married at First Sight’s intent, was to create compatible couples based on scientific matchmaking with a team of specialists. The team, that they describe as experts, consists of a sociologist, relationship and communication expert and a marriage counselor, who happens to be a pastor. Not only do the couples meet for the first time at the altar, the struggle for their marriage is recorded to document their own unique journeys. They have several weeks, that are constantly being documented, to decide if the marriage will work or if they will separate. This seems to capture a unique struggle and success along the way as each couple goes through their own personal journey. Trusting God, for most of us, does not always imply that things will go the way you thought. Isaiah 55:8-9 in New International Version (NIV) says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Her hope was that this would be the beginning of something great. She truly thought this would be “it,” because marriage was always what she desired and she prayed for. Sheila described it as a covenant that weighed heavily on her heart.

 

In a world that loves, lives and thrives on negativity, it can be very challenging and intimidating to be the lighthouse God intends for us to be. Sheila took on that duty when she said, “I DO.” From the very beginning of the show, she made it known that her faith in God was what she wanted to be the base of her marriage. She uses her platform to share the gospel of the Lord. Sheila’s marriage did not take the turn she hoped for, but we will get to that later in her story.

Something Hard

Sheila’s worst fears, throughout her life, was not living to her full potential and prior to the ending of her marriage it was not being the wife that God wants her to be. Do you know that God will test your fears even when they are the desires of your heart? According to the Bible, James 1:2-4, says:Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Sheila’s Thoughts

“Marriage exposes you. It is a journey where you have to decide to roll up your sleeves, even when you’re not excited about it. Every day is not happy. You have to enter a marriage with a wholeness from the beginning so that you are not expecting someone else to feel a void. Getting married, the way we did, presents so many struggles already, so being added in the public eye makes it even more difficult. We had to face something most couples don’t have to experience in the beginning, and that’s being in the public eye. We both, I think, underestimated the spiritual attack against our marriage. We would, most times, default to prayer. Some weeks ago, I created a war room (This is a room dedicated to awakening your inner prayer warrior). I created it because I wanted to have intentional prayer with God and sacrifice my time to show God how serious I was. I needed this to fight for my marriage and for me. It was about figuring things out—because we were in different places in our lives, we were dealing with different issues. We brought in expectations, previous hurt and different insecurities. I knew that if I wanted to be who God called me to be, I needed to address my relationship with God.“

Something Exciting

Sheila woke up, much like what we described at the beginning of the article. This was a new and exciting part of her journey. She was getting married to someone she had never met. Sheila was raised in the church and describes the beginning of her life as being a “pew baby.” Her thoughts of marriage were a covenant that she held close to her heart. She prayed for her husband before the show and even had experiences in the church that led her to believe that being married would be a good thing. She recalls a time before her wedding where she had been prophesied over. “God says your relationship will be the real thing. He will bless you,” she recalls the prophet saying to her. She stood in her wedding gown, ready to marry a stranger and felt at ease and at peace with it because she knew that it was what God had gifted her. She was not sure of the way her marriage would unfold but constantly told herself, “Lord I trust you!” This is the very “anthem” that has gotten Sheila through the good, the bad and the ugly. “I was beyond hopeful. My whole thing was that I felt at ease. I was nervous when I got married because I knew that with prophesy, it also comes to warn. I decided, though, it is well with my soul.”  She described her wedding as the most beautiful, authentic and sincere thing that she had ever been a part of.   

A Bad Feeling

4:30am. This was the time Sheila set aside for her prayer. She was committed to this. Her marriage had become so difficult to handle. Yes, she relied heavily on prayer, but she could not sleep. While Sheila was taping for the show, she had a scene where she called her husband out of his name. She called him, in less disparaging terms, a female Dog. It was a moment of weakness and, as Sheila would describe, “walking in my flesh.” She hated that she had publicly disrespected him and says she will forever regret that moment. “You can’t undo but you can choose to not repeat.” (This was something that she would have to revisit and decide on days later.) “The bad and ugly are me. The good, that’s GOD! Even with the show, it showed that God is who He says regardless of our shortcomings. When you truly surrender, God can do things we can’t.” She still recalled the prophecy that she was truly starting to think was a warning. “I think God paired our souls. It was bigger than us. It helped us to be the people God called us to be. We will persevere no matter what. I have to keep going and praying because I meant forever on that altar.”

A Desire to Strengthen in the Lord

Psalm 9:9-10 says “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 34:10 “Even the strong young lion sometimes goes hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:17 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” These are a few scriptures I could see being along the corners of Sheila’s prayer room. “God, I want to live the life You have for me.” Sheila uses every platform she has had access to to share the Love of God. “Anything I post, is not only meant to encourage others, it first encourages me. This is why I share my struggles and my joy with everyone, so they know that it is authentically me.” Sheila expressed her desire to be close to God no matter what path that has for her life. She has adopted the mantra, “It is well with my soul.” She says it is this saying that helps her draw closer to the presence of the Lord.     

 

THE DIVORCE

“Sometimes the fouls in life, all of the wrongs that have been done to you in your relationships, if you just trust, the vision will come back and lead you directly in your purpose.” Sheila looked back over her marriage with her husband and decided that bitterness was not a characteristic she wanted to radiate. “Hurt people, hurt people.” She decided that she no longer wanted to make the same mistakes she made in the past. She admits, though, when she found out about her husband’s infidelity and unwillingness to salvage the marriage she wanted to discredit him.  She knew that belittling him, from past experiences, wasn’t the answer. She would never diminish him again. Instead, she decided that she would just publicly end their marriage. When looking back on who she became in the marriage, she described a woman who sounded broken but healed. “I must say, I was extremely guarded and I would retreat and throw up walls with anger. I made a decision that I would not love him based on how he made me feel. I would love him through his flaws regardless of the situation. The events happened. I loved him and still do. I refuse to say bad things even if he no longer wants the marriage. My great grandmother told me that ‘love is an action word, even through divorce.’ I legit got married for forever. I have been fighting since the alter and honeymoon. I have made mistakes of saying things in the past, but it was my husband that broke those vows. I love me and I am excited about my future. I am who God says I am and I am ready to walk into the calling on my life. It’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.”

 

When asked what advice she would give to women battling with infidelity in their marriage, Sheila had this to say: “ I think it is important to fight for marriages. Divorce is not the remedy for everyone in every situation. If you have two people who are willing, you can come back from infidelity, but it takes two to bring it together. I don’t doubt that God will allow you to come back from situations. Everyone’s story is different. I don’t look at my failed marriage as failing God. We are supposed to experience things. Free will sometimes voids out our desires. Marriage is still worth fighting for. I think my husband is a good person and has great potential, but we were in vastly different places. My husband was younger than me. People make mistakes. My husband just should have made better choices. One mistake does not paint the portrait of a person’s whole picture. Our marriage…our story, was raw from the very beginning. Although it is not ideal, it is still a story that people can learn from. Even if you are hurting, build your husband up and take it to him. Don’t be guarded. I am not in a place of bitterness I am holding on to my hope. I am not living in the ‘what if’s’ and owning my moment…hoping tomorrow will be better than yesterday.”

 

When asked about continuing her relationship with her husband’s brother, Tyrique, Sheila only said that she would respect the boundaries set by him and that he would always be a brother to her. Sheila feels that learning about the infidelities in the marriage made her stronger for the next chapter in her life. “This marriage exposed my weaknesses and fears, previous hurt and forced me to deal with it and dig deep. I am in counseling and I think it’s helping me to be the best person I can be. I’ve done this through my brokenness. You don’t know how strong you are until it’s your only option. I know that I am worth it. I won’t let anyone dictate my value. I am still the daughter of a king adjusting my crown. The Bible says that people without a vision will perish. We depend on things to help fulfill our vision. Sometimes God will strip you of the thing you thought your vision was intertwined in. God showed me that this is well with my soul. My vision is not what I said, but is on God. I am yielding to the will of God. I am finding comfort in GOD. “ When asked if any of the “experts” reached out to her when she publicly ended her marriage, Sheila informed me that Rachel, the relationship and communication expert, was the only one who did.

Hopes for the Future

“I am excited for my future. Although there is a new sadness there and it will be an adjustment, there are still so many things that I have to look forward to. I’m excited for my book, career and looking forward to meeting the love of my life. God does not make mistakes. I want to travel and have children. I still will NEVER denounce the name of God. just like Job who had been through so much, I still choose to believe that God has a purpose for my life. I have started a blog and it’s amazing! I am also writing a book that I started when I was 18. I am really excited to finish writing and publish within a year. It’s about a girl who grew up in the church and grows into a woman who is finding her place in this world. It is not an autobiography.”

 

Nouveau Exposure magazine is for women who are bold believers and bold achievers. When Sheila was asked about the things that make her a bold believer and achiever, she simply said: “I am bold in my faith because I realize all good things come from the Father and I can only achieve that with Him. It is easier to be bold in your faith when you haven’t been through anything. The standing of the test comes from trials. Regardless if people like me, and follow me on social media, my only request is to first follow God!” Sheila Duhon sends out so many encouraging posts via social media. Her most popular following is on Instagram at handle @happyfromwithin. She engages with most of her followers and is an inspiration to all that she meets! 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” I encourage you all to love despite circumstance and know that your steps are ordained by the most High!