Founder/ Editor in Chief
It’s hard to see what’s going on around you when you have tunnel vision. I am talking laser beam focus! Well I once lived in this bubble of what I thought was perfection. As I began to explore the intensity of wanting my life to be a certain way, being the best at what I did, or obtaining certain material possessions, I discovered my desire for perfection was rooted in control. I had a vision and I wanted to see that vision come to fruition, so like most people I overlooked things that should have alarmed me.
As I dug deeper into my desire for perfection and control, I realized these were just fruits of my real issue: fear. I was incredibly fearful. This fear was paralyzing because in reality I was not in control, my fear was. My fear of not pleasing people, my fear of not trusting, and the fear of not being enough or having enough plagued me.
As my curated perfection of a life crumbled, I was devastated. However, as the glass cracked all around me I saw my reflection, the woman God created. I discovered that I am still whole even though my perfectly curated picture broke. I am deeply loved by Jesus. I no longer have to strive for perfection, control outcomes, and operate from a place of fear! My freedom came when I allowed God access to all of me.
The vision for FREED Magazine came during the roughest period of my life. The moment I had to start walking through the shards of glass scattered all around me. In the midst of great pain, I am talking soul splitting, earth shattering, cries without a single sound type of pain – I found unexplainable joy. I could not understand how I could be at peace and full of joy while my present circumstances were grave and heartbreaking. The freedom I received was a beautiful gift from Christ! I knew if God could give me freedom in that season that I needed to share the gift with others. FREED is a platform for people to be transparent and authentic in exposing their truth and how they are overcoming in spite of their circumstances. I discovered my true freedom in Christ and that even through the storms of life He loves me unconditionally.
These days I pack light and by doing so I now operate from a FREED Soul!
I am FREED from fear; I am now FREED to trust in God’s perfect plan for my life.
Change is something I have never been able to get enough of. In my adolescence, I was never afraid to search for what I thought was my true identity. As a toddler, my parents always tell stories of my need to authenticate self. I’d adamantly take off any clothes that I was clothed in without my prior approval. Believing I could dress myself best, my mom was often embarrassed to leave the house in what I had inevitably decided I was most comfortable in.
At one point, I loved my preppy look sporting a blue jean skirt and collared top. There was a time I wanted to shop at Hot Topic searching out black shirts and chains. I even had a phase of only wanting the newest Air Force Ones and a color-coordinated outfit to match.
In college, for a period of time, I decided it was my duty to stay out of chain stores and restaurants and only wear clothes from the thrift store and buy locally when possible– of course my shoes of choice were Toms. This is the phase in my search for a true identity when I met Christ. I finally had experienced the change that meant something.
Before, even as I was going through all of my many phases, my friends and family related to me the same. Often, they were unaware or unbothered by my new form of expressing my feelings and sense of self. However, after accepting Christ, friends starting calling me the “new Ausha,” family started to bring up the “old Ausha.” I had to hide myself in Christ or I would have found myself giving in to their idea of who I was supposed to be. Thankfully, I loved change and embraced my new life with open arms.
Today, I am the wife to a loving husband, a mother of two beautiful girls, and a woman who wears whatever is clean– though you could probably find a little bit from each of the styles I dabbled in at one point in my closet. Unfortunately, I still have a pair of all black Chuck Taylors, with holes and kind of an ashy black look that my husband begs me to throw away and replace, but I just can’t get rid of them. Not sure why I am so attached to them, I seem to think it’s because I am just that thrifty.
I am FREED from instability; I am now FREED to wholeness.
Community & Business Relations
I used to identify myself by what I could clearly tell people about myself. My favorite phrases are, “hey y’all” and “first of all.” I’d also make sure to include the fact that I am my parent’s favorite child. Of course they didn’t tell my siblings being that I was the youngest of four. My mother is from Guatemala and my father is from El Salvador, giving me a mixed cultural background. Unfortunately, my parents divorced when I was a very small girl and we relocated to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. A place that I still call home.
I’d also say that I’ve always been pretty outgoing from a very young age. This often has led and leads to some pretty awkward moments. I catch myself having conversations with random people at the grocery store or really anywhere I feel inclined to stop and have a conversation.
Eventually, I started to reframe my description of self around my freshman year of college. I thought I was living the life. I was finally out of my dad’s house so I was living it up! A direction that quickly led me to hit rock bottom. I fell and those rocks were no joke. That’s when I had my first encounter with God. Thankfully, my sister invited me to church one Sunday and from there I was transformed. I started going to church every Sunday and God’s love swept me off of my feet.
Without looking back, I started pursuing God with a growing intensity day after day and the more I did, the more I began to realize people stopped relating to me the same way. It came from everywhere, from family to friends. In fear, I began to hide who I was to avoid being judged for loving Jesus. I was afraid of what people might think of me because I chose God instead of the world. I got the, “So you’re into the whole church thing,” or “So you’re a Jesus lover now.” The one that gave me the most pain was the, “I miss the old Carolina.”
God placed some amazing people in my life while I was battling with my authenticity. They poured so much into my heart and loved me in my brokeness. They showed me God’s never ending love and taught me how to love others. I began to realize that God’s love surpases all understanding and it saturated me.
A friend of mine said, “Let it be the real me,” and those words stuck.
I am FREED from people; I am now FREED to love.
Desiring a busy schedule and feeling unproductive in stillness was how I once lived. Going from this meeting to that practice to this thing “fueled” me to an extent. At the time, it seemed natural to spend the bulk of my day outside of the home, though subconsciously I was making sure I didn’t have any time to myself to reflect, relax or spend time with God. As a teen, this didn’t seem to be a problem; I got to spend time with people I enjoyed being around and I felt useful as I took on many different roles within my high school. In college, that changed. My need to stay busy became so much of a distraction that I lost all focus on my values. I found myself in some dark places because all that I had suppressed was beginning to bubble to the surface. Not only was I completely distracted, but the competition was much more fierce. Where I once felt glory, I was now beginning to feel rejection.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the sports, the music and the laundry list of activities that now make up the many skills under my belt. However, I now realize my need to always be involved actually stemmed from a desire to disconnect. I didn’t want to, nor did I know how to, face head on all of the issues that kept me in bondage. Thankfully, in those darkest of moments that could have taken me down a much different path, I remembered my salvation. I’d given my life to Christ as a twelve year old girl, and finally in my early twenties recalled that I could return to Him with all of my mess.
My thinking had to change. Much time alone in between classes helped me appreciate the stillness I once despised. I had to stop everything to truly search my motivation for anything that I was going to involve myself in. I wanted to be led by Christ in all of my decisions. My stillness (with God) turned into so much fruit! Psalm 46:10 says be still and know that I am God! That’s the same God who knows His plans for my life. Plans that’ll proser me and not harm me. Plans that’ll give me a hope and a future!
My desire to remain constantly busy has faded. Although my life is still filled with activity, my moments of stillness with God are now intentionally plenty.
I’m FREED from unpurposeful busyness and now FREED to live still in Christ.