CARMEN MILLER OF WHOLE MAGAZINE WANTED TO BE REAL IN HER WRITING AND OFFER WOMEN HOPE TO BE WHOLE.
Carmen Miller is a woman who knows what it is to be broken. Her testimony includes teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and infidelity. Her heart is to lead other women to wholeness through Christ. She does this via Whole Magazine, a women's ministry she founded.
Carmen had been blogging on her own personal blog for about two years. Although it was a Christ-centered blog, she felt it was missing more; more realness, more pain, more rawness. She began to pray and ask God how that would look. She wanted to share things that she'd endured; trials she'd overcome, and how God’s grace had brought her through all the messiness of life. More importantly, she wanted to share with other women that her life is still messy at times.
She was a writer, but also an avid blog reader. She remembers reading many posts and thinking, “Wow, what’s wrong with me? What am I doing wrong, 'cause this woman’s life seems perfect!” Obviously, she knew deep down that wasn’t the case, but she realized that so many of these blogs lacked that real-life story. Yes, we love Jesus. Yes, we are Christians, but we still have messy, broken, and crazy lives. She began reading Matthew 9:20-22:
"Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, 'If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.' Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' he said, 'your faith has made you whole.' And the woman was made whole at that moment."
She thought about how the rest of the day went for this woman. Life wasn’t going to be easy for her; not as a woman living during those times, but she had something she hadn’t had in twelve years: She had hope. She was healed.
Carmen wanted to give the hope that, although we are not perfect, we serve The Perfect One. After continued prayer, God gave Carmen the vision almost immediately, including who she would reach out to and ask to write. Whole Magazine officially launched in the fall of 2012 with over 40 writers from all over the world.
Carmen responded quickly to the Lord and His calling. She began to write the vision and make it plain (Hab 2:2). He began to pour ideas, even so far as to how the website would look. Carmen shares that it was wonderful and scary all at the same time.
When asked what lessons the Lord has taught her through this, Carmen shares that there are so many lessons and she is still learning! The biggest lesson she learned early on was that her ministry wasn’t her readers, but her writers. These were women who were sharing their lives daily- sharing their hurts, pains, and joys. Some of them had experience writing and others never had written, but had such an immense passion to share what God had done in their lives. So they began a writers group where amazing Christian authors provide writing tips and more to help them get better at writing.
Carmen also learned that she couldn’t do it all on her own. She tried for months to juggle writing, editing, publishing, managing social media, promoting, etc and she got burned out. Whole was like her baby, but God told her that she had to recruit help and delegate tasks. So many women were excited to help.
When asked what advice she would offer to other women in HEARING the Lord's calling, she offered: "
"Saturate everything in prayer. What sounds like a good plan, may not always be God’s plan for you. If it is His will, He will provide the people, tools, and resources you need. Pray, and let Him make it happen. Then listen. He will speak through His Word, or through others. We all have a calling and a purpose and the more we sit at the feet of Jesus and remain in His presence, His plan will be revealed." ~ Carmen Miller, Whole Magazine
You can support Whole by sharing articles on social media, download their FREE mobile devotional app. Also, they are not a 501(c)3 and all of their costs for the website, app, and design software comes out of Carmen's pocket. Carmen and her team also ask for prayer. And, if you feel led to sow, you can do so here. Be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.
Along with Whole Magazine, carmen also fronts another ministry that she co-founded with her husband: God Over Porn. Together they are working to address the very real issue of pornography and the damaging and tragic effects it has.
Carmen is one of many examples we've shared during the SHE HEARD Devotional Series here on Deliberate Women of women who have stepped forward boldly to answer the call God placed on their lives. Carmen, like the others, simply made herself available to the Lord and responded in obedience where He led.
All of us can do that.
We are all called to be women who HEAR the Lord and obey. May we recognize the Lord's voice, may we follow Him without delay, and may we trust Him to multiply our efforts as only He can for His glory.
Do you have a story of your own (or someone else's) obedience and of HEARING the Lord that you'd like to share? Contact us HERE.
GOD'S PLANS DON'T ALWAYS MAKE SENSE.
She was fostering to adopt her third child, had a wonderful job at her local church and life was busy. It certainly didn’t look like the perfect time for God to call her to start a ministry.
God’s timing doesn’t always make sense.
However, Leslie clearly heard God’s call to begin a home for girls who had been trafficked. “It all started when two pieces of my life came together – fostering/adopting alongside of volunteering at Abundant Life Ministry Center. Those two were happening at the same time in my life, and they truly opened my eyes to human trafficking. It was clearly brought to my front door when we were asked to bring a young girl into our home in Pennsylvania who had been sold by her birth mom for drugs. So that’s when everything for me hit. That was the day that had the most impact.”
At the Abundant Life Ministry Center, her eyes were opened to how vast an issue human trafficking is and how many women and girls have gone through this in their past or are currently going through it. She saw the need for women who have experienced this to have support and encouragement. These women had people who walked through the struggle of the aftermath with them.
“I felt the Lord say the word HOME to me.”
She didn’t know at the time what that would look like or meant but when she spoke with other women who had ministries for helping these women, she began to get a vision for Hopewood Haven.
When she felt the call, she knew she was to do it. There was no question. “I knew.”
She has had moments along the way of questioning God. She didn’t know if she was equipped, but through that, she was clearly able to see God’s hand.
“We know that it was God who birthed this ministry and put everything together because of all of the true miracles that happened…and not of my doing. He is always faithful to bring someone alongside who has the gifts and talents, and He just moves. It’s amazing.”
Her life has dramatically changed since saying, “Yes” to God. Her family moved to South Carolina, where God was making it clear to her the ministry needed to be. Her faith has strengthened. “When there is no other way, God makes a way. He is faithful. Every time we think we won’t have the money for this or we need more volunteers or have this great need, God is always faithful. He brings you just what you need at the exact moment you need it every time.
She also has a new outlook and a new perspective on ministry and has felt the amazing support of those in a similar ministry. I have several women that have organizations like ours who I see as mentors and have mentored the process. As I have called them with something, they have heard it all before. They are the same things that they have gone through. It is encouraging. It is really tough, and there are so many naysayers and people who say ugly things. They stir up strife. It is truly a battle.
The enemy does not want these girls who come in to have freedom. He doesn’t want people to know that this atrocity is going on, so he is going to do everything in his power to get those who are in ministry to quit. The battle is real.”
“Prayer is truly what we covet the most. Prayer for the direction of our girls. Pray that they find the Lord through it all. Prayers for our volunteers and our board. All of it needs prayer.”
Written by Ginny.