Getting Through The Holidays Broke

Tip: Go home on Thanksgiving instead of Christmas..screenshot-2016-12-15-at-1-09-54-am

I can laugh about this now… But I’ll be lying if I said there was no truth to this picture. In my defense, I decided to go home for Thanksgiving (instead of Christmas) this year before God revealed my purpose. Plus, I got two trips for the price of one by spending four days in Ohio reconnecting with friends I met while attending The University of Akron.

All jokes aside, when you don’t have money to keep up with the typical flow of gift giving, the holidays are rough. Despite being broke this year, here are..

5 things that remind me I’m blessed this holiday season:

1. This is nothing new


This is what I woke up to Christmas morning 2015.. Netflix and 3 hungry cats waiting to be fed. I spent 10 days during Christmas last year pet sitting them in North Hollywood, CA. I was broke and decided to try for free housing in exchange for pet/house sitting. We had a ball. A hairball that is..

For Christmas a couple of years ago, I baked two lemon cakes. Sliced, wrapped and put Merry Christmas stickers on each piece. I gave them to my family, friends, church members, old co-workers, everyone. I felt like Oprah..Screenshot 2016-12-15 at 2.58.44 AM.png

2. I remember what Christmas is REALLY about

I’m a giver at heart and Christmas is a typical reason to give. However, I must remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!3 So I try not to feel obligated to buy things for people just because it’s Christmas. I actually encourage people NOT to buy me things. My family, friends and I always have everything we need (food, water, clothes, and much more). Also, I don’t give out IOUs. If I don’t have it, I can’t give it. While in school, I didn’t constantly remind people that I’m earning a civil engineering degree, which will land me a high paying job and result in better gifts once I graduated. Now I don’t feel unnecessary pressure to fulfill a Christmas promise. On the other hand.. If I have it, I’ll give it.

3. I’m a minimalist

How do I tell my family and friends that I don’t want stuff I don’t need? I suppose through this blog. I’ve become a full out minimalist this past year and everything I own can fit in the trunk of my car. That’s how I like it. I can pack up and move anywhere within hours. Which I’ve done multiple times while in LA. One of my goals is to build and live in a tiny house on wheels. Which you may think is odd since I’ve gotten a taste of luxury living while living in Los Angeles. Nonetheless, I still prefer to live life with only necessary and multi-purpose items. If I acquire a new item, I find something old to get rid of. This plays into how I give sometimes too. I would rather give someone something they can experience rather than a material item (i.e. gift card to a restaurant or tickets to a show) because those are the types of gifts I would want. Are you wondering what this minimalist wants for Christmas?? Click here for the answer

4. I’m broke in the flesh but rich in Spirit

I may have made a third of the amount of money I could’ve made this year if I accepted an engineering offer post graduation. I may be moving from warm Los Angeles to cold Colorado Springs in a couple of weeks. However, I’m only 25 years old and I know what my purpose in life is! Not only do I know it, but I’m living it! I’m working for God while practicing the skill I went to school for. Oh and I’m going to Zambia, Africa in a couple months!! Bottomline: I could have zero dollars in the bank and zero presents under my nonexistent tree, but I can NEVER DOUBT THAT GOD IS GOOD! Que Ugly Cry

5. Ugly Cries give me strength

My mental health got worst each year I was in college. I consistently struggled to keep my GPA up, to manage my time efficiently, to lead my student organizations, and to excel at my internships. The constant stress and anxiety began to feel normal. It’s a feeling that was almost impossible to turn off during the holidays. In addition, during this time of the year, I would typically feel the shame of not doing well in a class or the guilt of showing up to Christmas empty handed. The pressure was suffocating and often left me paralyzed in fear. Jonothan Mcreynolds has a song called Pressure and it reminds me of the feeling I’ve had for the past few years. I listen to it every day because It reminds me that God relieved all my pressure! This holiday season my Ugly Cry reminds me to rejoice because with God I am more than a conqueror!1

My Prayer (Join me if you’ll like!):

“Father, thank you for loving the world so much that you sent your only son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.2 I’m grateful for this holiday because it gives me the opportunity to share the Gospel. No matter how little or much I have, please help remind me who I’m celebrating. Not myself or others, but Jesus.3 Thank you Jesus! Amen.”

Thanks for reading my blog!! I’ll be starting a series on Life-Work Balance (not to be confused with Work-Life Balance) this Thursday (12/22)! Wishing you an early Merry Christmas and I hope you remember that God loves you!!

  • Follow me on social media @UCUnfiltered
  • Browse my website and read my first two blogs:
  • An awesome way to join/support my mission is to become a Blog Review Crew member! Click here for more information and how to sign up.

Special thanks to Blog Review Crew member: Meredith Kaltenecker, blog editor

With God’s Love,
Jamara Beard ❤

Bible References

1. [Romans 8:37]
2. [John 3:16]
3. [Luke 2:1-20 ESV The Birth of Jesus Christ]

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Series Intro: My Struggle To Life-Work Balance

Screenshot 2016-12-13 at 5.50.26 PM.png
I hope I don’t get in trouble for this meme lol

Blog Sub-Category: Breaking Cycles

I have lived in LA for 15 months and I seemingly have nothing to show for it. I haven’t been ‘stackin’ my paper’, networking with celebrities, partying my 20s away, etc. Instead, I’ve been focusing on my personal growth and confronting my strongholds. This is the first time in my life my relationship with Christ has truly been my number one priority. God has blessed me tremendously because of it by revealing to me why I was created.

I worked SO hard to understand and love who I am that I refuse to not be that person every day! I’m going to love, laugh, share (not force) my faith, organize, problem solve, etc. because these are the things that make me ME! If I can’t be myself at work, where I spend over a third of my waking hours, how can I truly prosper in life? God promises me in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” While standing on that promise, I’m going to share with you what ultimately motivated me to create this blog: my struggle to work-life balance. However, I’ve more appropriately renamed it: Life-Work Balance (meaning My Life At Work).

Yup, I want to make it crystal clear moving forward that MY LIFE and personal success will always come before MY WORK and professional success. They aren’t even on the same level. My job is only a part of my life. So while my Life is my personal ministry (which is being developed through this website), my internship with Engineering Ministries International (EMI) is my Work during this season. EMI will bring the work balance to my Life. With EMI I can use my current skills to serve while I’m developing skills that are useful for my life. I know God called me to work with EMI because it is an environment uniquely designed for me to personally and professionally succeed.

I believe that personal success in the workplace is when I can confidently love myself and be myself in an environment where I am valued and respected for who I am.

Understanding how to value my personal success in the workplace was a long and painful process. Therefore, this series will contain the following cycles (not necessarily in this order) that I had to mentally break through in order to reach personal success in the workplace and attain Life-Work balance. As I discuss each topic, I will update this list with the corresponding blog link.

Broken Cycles

  1. Misunderstanding value in the workplace.
  2. Breaking the normal life mentality.
  3. The idea of what work has to look like.
  4. The idea that I have to be whatever my boss wants.
  5. The idea that happiness, joy, respect, etc. is not required in the workplace.
  6. The idea that Work-Life Balance, Affirmative Action, etc. are sufficient alone.
  7. Thinking I have to prove something/ I owe someone something.
  8. The general understanding of what success is.
  9. Thinking I have to learn from or follow the path of other ‘successful’ people.
  10. The best way to help people is to first ‘make it’.

These ideals were often reinforced by others around me. As I identified and attempted to break through each cycle, the spirit of the enemy(Satan), kept telling me I was a loser, weird, stupid, difficult, etc. I broke through about three of my cycles before I had a mental breakdown from riding the fence. I was trying to professionally succeed before I was personally successful. I was trying to ‘fake it until I made it’ and ended up falling flat on my face! BUT GOD! That low point was exactly one year before God called me to this ministry. Now I am stronger, wiser, and throughout the next several weeks I will boldly share how I overcame these mental hurdles.

My Prayer

“Father, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to focus on you and not worry about the things of this world.1 You have shown me every day this past year that I have NOTHING to worry about. You are Jehovah Jireh (my provider) and consistently provides everything I need.2 You are Jehovah Shalom (my Prince of Peace) and provides comfort in the midst of discomfort.3 You are Jehovah Rapha (my healer) who is able to heal every emotional and mental state that doesn’t reflect who you are.4 I am forever in awe of your power and grace. Amen.”

Thanks for reading my blog!! A new part of this series will be posted every Thursday! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and I hope you remember that God loves you!

Special thanks to Blog Review Crew member: Meredith Kaltenecker, blog editor

With God’s Love,
Jamara Beard ❤

Bible References

1. [Matthew 6:33]
2. [Philippians 4:19]
3. [Isaiah 9:6]
4. [Psalm 73:26]

The Church That Helped Design Me

When I reference my unique design, I simply mean any part of my life up until about 18 years-old. Prior to that time, I didn’t have much control in my upbringing. I was born a female. I was born African-American. I was born with curly hair. I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Etc. This is a quick reflection about being raised in the church.

Elim Christian Fellowship of Buffalo, NY was the church that raised me. I remember my grandma, church greeter for almost two decades, would pick my brother and I up every Sunday morning. I would hear her car outside before she got to the house and before the sun cracked the sky. Since she was my ride home, I would stay for Both Services. If I went to sleep during service, I was sure to get a good poppin’ and would have to put extra money in the offering. Needless to say, I didn’t go to sleep often and I’m blessed to have a God-fearing Grandma <3.

I was heavily involved in my church up until I moved to Ohio for school. In many ways, Elim has clearly shaped me for my mission; Ways I will share in blogs to come. Aside from what I’ve done in the church, I realized during my visit home for Thanksgiving that two things were unconsciously shaping me my entire life.

1. Our Rally Cry

After almost every service, sort of like the benediction, we would say Acts 17:6. The Bishop would start by saying: “And these are they who came to turn the world..”, Then the congregation will join in saying: “Upside Down!”. So when you look at me in disbelief when I say: “I’m an Evangelical Civil Engineer” or “I’m trying to break cycles of poverty”, understand my church has been hyping me up for almost 20 years! 😉


2. Our Mission Statement

Nostalgia crept up on me as I was walking into the church a few weeks ago. I looked at the church van and read the beautiful logo I’ve seen so many times. It reads: ‘Equipping The Saints To Evangelize The Nations. Immediately my face contorted, I rapidly shook my head, and paced in a mini circle… I was having an Ugly Cry! A month prior, God told me that the last 25 years of my life uniquely equipped me for my purpose. A month prior, God called me to become a full-time evangelist (actual title I use). A month prior, God told me to work with Engineering Ministries International (and I’m currently preparing for my first missions trip to Zambia, Africa as a Civil Engineering Intern)!

I thank God for making Elim Christian Fellowship a part of my unique design! Thank you Elim!

This blog was very uplifting. However, most of my Unique Design blogs will highlight how my design should make it difficult for me to live out my purpose. The devil probably rejoices when I view my design (and the design of others) as a negative/failure/flaw/etc. My Ugly Cry reminds me daily that I’m designed in God’s image,1 for a purpose,2 and Jesus died so my past (or the past of my ancestors) no longer has the power to control me!3 And guess what… That applies to you too! Yeah you!

My Prayer (join me if you’ll like!)

“Father God, I thank you for fearfully and wonderfully making everyone in this world. I thank you for knowing and designing us all for a unique purpose. I know you didn’t mess up creating anyone or anything.4 God please fill my heart with the peace of your spirit and knowing that the sins of my past can no longer control me.5 I thank you for loving me sooo much that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins.6 I thank you for reminding me through Ugly Cries that Jesus’s pain was for a purpose. I thank you for reminding me that my pain has a purpose. I’m forever in awe of your unfailing love.7 Amen”

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog! On Tuesday (12/20) I will post a special holiday blog titled Getting Through The Holidays Broke. Make sure you are following my blog so you don’t miss it! Follow me on social media @UCUnfiltered

With God’s Love,

Jamara Beard ❤

Bible References

1. [Genesis 1:27]
2. [Jeremiah 29:11]
3. [Romans 6:6]
4. [Psalm 139: 13-16]
5. [Romans 8:2]
6. [John 3:16]
7. [Psalm 13:5]

Why I Ugly Cry

*Now, I know this is kind of lengthy; but considering that my blog is called Ugly Cry Unfiltered I believe it’s justified ^_^.

My Ugly Cry:

“Is the result of an emotional equilibrium balancing pain and joy. I remember my past experiences while simultaneously knowing that they equipped me for a greater purpose still to come.”

If you would’ve looked at my life in January of 2015, you probably would’ve said I was on the path to, what society deems as, ‘success’. I was a 24-year-old black Christian female from Buffalo, NY. I was getting ready to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and become a regional leader for a national engineering organization. I was considering a full-time position at a nuclear power plant with the title: Nuclear Engineer II. I was considering attending graduate school for my MBA or structural engineering. It looked like all my dreams were coming true and I was about to live ‘the good life’. A life many people from my background don’t even imagine living. Right out of college I was going to have a great job, do meaningful work, have status, and more money than I had ideas to do with it. Everyone would classify me as a good role model and positive statistic just based on my resume. I should’ve been happy. I should’ve at least been content. Someone is reading this confused why I’m implying I wasn’t.

While everything looked great on my surface, I was dying on the inside. I began to realize that during the last several years, I struggled through two separate battles. One battle was to get the education to qualify for a ‘successful’ life. However, I want to discuss my personal battle. The battle to be me. This battle was harder and resulted in many more failures. This battle challenged my morals, character, integrity, fears, hopes, dreams, insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, etc., like never before. Two years ago I began to realize two things about these struggles that ultimately moved me to act.

  1. If I was going to truly be happy in life, my personal battle had to be more important to me than my professional battle.
  2. Secondly, there was almost a direct correlation between both battles. The more I won professionally, the more I struggled personally.

The path to ‘success’ I was on would have led to money, power, status and held my soul for ransom. The world reminds me daily that being black, even with my education, may get me killed. The world reminds me daily that because I’m a woman, even with my education, I still may not receive the value and respect a man does. The world reminds me daily that because I needed and benefited from affirmative action, I better focus on winning my professional battle. The world reminds me daily that my Godly heart may hinder my ascension up the corporate ladder. I realized that I was going to always struggle to personally succeed if I really wanted to diversify and unite the world through corporate America. I began to question everything I was told, thought I knew and thought I wanted in life.

  • Why do I have to sacrifice my personal success to excel professionally?
  • Do I have to compartmentalize my life?
  • If I choose to honor God with the money I make, does it matter if I honor God while making the money?
  • As an entry level professional, do I really have to settle for any job I can get?
  • What if I’m challenged on my job to do something God wouldn’t be pleased with?

God revealed a lot of these answers to me the summer after I graduated. My desire to fully understand what my purpose in life prior to entering the work field was so strong, that I intentionally positioned myself to receive, understand and walk in my purpose. I disconnected from my norm and began to seek God through teachings and situations that would force me to grow. This looked like: relocating to Los Angeles, finding flexible employment, praying for transformation through every sermon/encounter with God, etc. While in LA, I asked questions I never knew I needed answers to.

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What does success mean to me?
  • Why am I the way that I am?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • Is Engineering Ministries International’s (EMI) mission my mission?

Believe it or not, God answered all these questions and a lot more. I’ll be interning for EMI as a Civil Engineer in their Colorado Springs, CO office starting January, 2017. To support my missional work click here. I’ll spend 2-weeks during the internship in Zambia, Southern Africa. God also gave me my own specific purpose and mission in life. A mission I’m uniquely designed and qualified for. A mission to help end cycles of poverty through service, empowerment, embracement, and exposure while armed with God’s love and wisdom. God revealed all this while at the 2016 EMI conference through a series of ugly cries. No seriously, my face was scary and tears soaked my face at times. My ugly cry is the result of an emotional equilibrium in my body. I remember my past experiences while simultaneously knowing that they equipped me for a greater purpose still to come. I was ugly crying so hard, that the tears looked like stripes on my face. While admiring my ugliness, God reminded me that ‘By His stripes, we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus’ death is a happy ugly cry effect! Jesus didn’t die for Himself, He died for our sins. However, we can rejoice because we are no longer slaves to sin! Thank you Jesus! God promised to give me strength and confidence to live out my mission every day. My Ugly Cry bracelet (which is intentionally brown like my skin) reminds me of that promise and I wear it every day.

So I am here, Ugly Crying with confidence each day as I live out the many promises of God. I invite you to explore my website and join my mission to help end cycles of poverty while armed with God’s love and wisdom.

With God’s Love,

Jamara Beard ❤