Francis Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “A new world…breathing dreams like air…” I certainly felt like I was breathing my dreams like air this past weekend.

And it was wondrous.

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About three years ago I wrote a blog about a woman named Ellie who was tormented by nightmares of her childhood sexual abuse. I ended this particular blog admitting that Ellie was me. A whirlwind of comments and private messages followed. Women I had never met before began opening up about their own trauma. I was immediately moved to continue sharing Ellie’s story. Ellie (although originally stemming from my own suffering) became a name to bear the burdens, the scars and secrets, of ALL women.

This past Sunday I celebrated the first installment of my Ellie’s story trilogy called Unveiling Ellie.

With the help of an amazing friend, Zaibel Torres of ZaiPhotography, a special edition was created. As you flip through the pages of this version of Unveiling Ellie you will see 17 women of different ages, races, shapes and sizes. Each one representing Ellie.
Why?
I want women to open this book and see someone that looks like them, someone with the same scars and secrets. I want to provide hope to the hopeless and light in the darkness. I want others to know that they are not alone.

Becoming a publishing author has been a dream of mine since childhood and seeing that dream come true still feels so surreal. Maybe that’s because I created more than just a book. I created a movement. You see, we are all Ellie.

If I’m honest, I tried to cancel this celebration, twice. But my husband said and I quote, “You’re not stopping me from celebrating my wife dammit!” I will always be thankful for those words because it was indeed a ravishing gathering.

So much laughter. So much love. So much joy. So much breakthrough.

Unveiling Ellie is my ode to every woman, everywhere who has ever felt she needed to keep her scars and secrets hidden from sight.

Order your own copy of Unveiling Ellie today.

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xo,
Kimberly Cruz-Lopez

P.S. Please enjoy this beautiful promo of the second installment Ellie Exposed courtesy of another dear friend of mine AJ Lovelace

Last Saturday I hosted my very first Reflection Connection Sisterhood gathering and it was sensational!

First and foremost I’d like to thank the lovely ladies who came and celebrated sisterhood with me. Without each of you, this event could not have been possible.

32349518_2016854328563044_373811198707105792_oReflection Connection is about inspiring women to shift the way we speak to ourselves and forming friendships with other women who will remind us how incredibly remarkable we are. It’s about gathering women of all ages and races and circumstances, examining ourselves, finding commonalities and creating bridges to restoration.

This was our message for Reflection Connection 2018…a282cfa919620b121dacdb00fa8f98fdProverbs 15:4 tells us that a “soothing tongue is a tree of life.”

Trees of life symbolize many things; a fresh start, positivity, growth, and strength. The Bible compares our spiritual journey to trees several times. For example, in Proverbs 13 it says, “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles but [SHE] who gathers gradually by honest labor will increase [HER] riches. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Let’s read that last part again…
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Deferred – to put off – to wait – to postpone
What does God desire for YOUR life and are YOU honoring His expectations or are you putting them off?

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Let’s bring it back to elementary school for a moment and talk about the parts of a tree.
One of the first things we notice when we see a tree is its beautiful crown; the crown of a tree is made up of leaves and branches. The leaves are the part of the tree that converts energy into food – some kind of tree sugar – this sugar is stored in the branches. The branches provide the support the tree needs to distribute the leaves evenly and efficiently (based on the environment that particular tree is in). The trunk of the tree is the base, it provides the shape and holds up the crown. Last but certainly not least are the roots. The roots are only part of the tree that grows underground. Trees have tons of roots and the size of their roots are usually as big or even bigger than the tree itself. The roots are the strongest part of the tree. The roots are the support system.

During Autumn the leaves start to fall off and by winter the trees are essentially naked, bare, exposed, with nothing to cover them, nothing to keep them warm during the winter. But it is during that time, during that season that the roots of the tree dig deeper into the earth. They grow in search of the nutrients they need to survive.
We are like trees. The seasons we find ourselves naked, bare, exposed, lacking protection from the cold, the bitterness of the world, the schemes of the enemy – that is when our faith should increase, that is when we should relentlessly search for the nutrients we need to survive, to dig deeper, to grow closer with God and when Spring comes again, our growth will be evident, our crowns bigger and brighter than they were before. With each season we grow – sometimes that growth is hidden, sometimes that growth is slower than the others around us but just like trees, that growth cannot be forced to happen before it’s time.

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The good news is, we know that beautiful crown is coming.
In Revelation 22 it says, “The angel showed me a river of water, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing [not one but] twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations.” We are trees of life, called and created to bear fruit, to use our leaves (our gifts, our hurts, our joys, etc) to help heal others. BUT FIRST, we have to heal ourselves. We need to train our minds, we need to stand in the mirror and say, “This woman looking back at me is all I need because God is in me and because God is in me I am wonderful, I can capable, I am powerful. I can and I will” and adjust our crown as we say it.

We already know that beautiful crown is coming but we can’t have a crown without roots. We all want the bright, beautiful leaves but we gotta get deeper into the dirt first.

Which brings us back to our focus scripture, “a soothing tongue is a tree of life.”
Our words are powerful – our words kill or give life – they can be poisonous or prosperous – the choice is ours.

What words are you choosing?

What words have you chosen? What do your words reflect? How do you speak to others? How do you speak to yourself? If I’m being honest, I have spoken very unkindly to myself, even just this morning. I won’t hesitate to say harsh things to myself and yet I wouldn’t dare to say them to others. We as women have a tendency to self-sabotage. But why? Where do these toxic words and thoughts stem from?

Take a few moments to reflect
What words have others called you? What words have shifted how you see yourself? What words sting a little more than others? What words come with a negative connotation? What words have marked your life?

Now take a few moments to connect
Who else is affected by that exact or similar word? Why does it affect them? What’s their story? Can your commonalities provide the coverage they need? Can you help each other heal?

Watching these lovely ladies, who were essentially strangers to each other prior to this event, openly share some of their stories while simultaneously encouraging each other was exceptional. There is so much strength to be found in sisterhood. I believe that now more than ever.

See you at Reflection Connection 2019 

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When the roots are deep,
there is no reason to fear the storm. 

 

Subscribe and stay tuned for a Reflection Connection worksheet later this month

 

* I do not own the rights to the tree coloring sheet *