Raven's Reach

Raven’s has now soared to 112 countries!

On January 11, 2020 the millions of people around the world met Raven Goff through her mom Tanner’s videos on Facebook. Raven sustained a traumatic brain injury in a terrible accident that she was not able to recover from. Tanner Trujillo, Raven’s mom and her husband Anthony along with Shane Goff, Raven’s dad and his wife Brooke, shared a message of hope and unwavering faith with the world through Raven’s story.

The message is that Raven, a sweet, brave, courageous little girl, whose organs saved seven lives, continues to touch the world and save live with the love of Jesus continues to spread through her story. Tanner and Shane lived their faith out loud for the world to see that God is good no matter what. God is faithful no matter what. Even in the worst of times, God hasn’t failed us.

Through a blog I wrote, I am able to track a small portion of Raven’s reach. I wanted to give an update since my post on January 24th.

Raven’s message how now reach 112 countries. She has flown across 17% of Africa, 31% of Asia, 64% of Europe, 58% of North America, 24% of the Oceania countries, and 57% of South America.

Since my last post, Raven’s Reach has extended in Africa to Gambia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.

Complete list of Countries in Africa that Raven has reached (only pulling from the blog, not Faceboook):

  • Cameroon
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Zambia

She has reached 11 new countries in Asia, including: Bangladesh, China, Cocos Islands, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, and Syria.

Complete list of Countries in Asia that Raven has reached (only pulling from the blog, not Faceboook):

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Cocos Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine
  • Phillippines
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Viet Nam

She has reached 10 new European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Iceland, Isle of Man, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

Complete list of Countries in Europe that Raven has reached (only pulling from the blog, not Faceboook):

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • German
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guernsey
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

She has flown over seven new countries in North America: Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, El Savador, Greenland, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad.

Complete list of Countries in North America that Raven has reached (only pulling from the blog, not Faceboook):

  • Bahamas
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Savador
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Puerto Rico
  • Sint Maarten
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United States
  • Virgin Islands

She has now extended her reach to Papua New Guinea and the US Outlying Islands.

Complete list of Countries in the Oceania Regions that Raven has reached (only pulling from the blog, not Faceboook):

  • American Samoa
  • Australia
  • Guam
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • US Outlying Islands

In South America, her reach now includes Uruguay and Venezuela.

Complete list of Countries in South America that Raven has reached (only pulling from the blog, not Faceboook):

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

If you’d like to add your location to the list, or add a picture to Raven’s gallery, please leave a comment below.

For more on Raven’s story or to connect with other people touched by the #CravinRaven story join the FB group (this is not my group, I am just a member) https://www.facebook.com/groups/849282508826090/

Perfection Is Not a Currency for Love with Andria Flores

The Beauty From Ashes Radio Show is officially here! In episode 1, I was joined by Andria Flores to talk about perfectionism, and her upcoming book “type A, plans B”. Andria is an author, an editor (I’m proud to say she is my editor) and an overcoming type A perfectionist.

The introduction: The Beauty From Ashes Radio Show airs live on the JoCo Community Radio Show Facebook page (click on the link to watch the show) and can also be heard on the Tune-In app every Tuesday form 6PM – 7PM. I started the show because I believe we all have a story to tell in our own way. The show was designed to facilitate conversations with warriors, overcomers, survivors and thrivers, to spotlight their messages of hope, healing and victory.

In the What Are You Reading segment, we highlighted what Andria and I were both reading. Currently, for me, it’s the The Boundaries book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I recently started this book, that is totally stepping on my toes! It starts with a description of what your life would be like without boundaries, and then, it describes my whole life.

Andria reads for a living as an editor, so she doesn’t always get to read for fun as much as she would love, but she has recently been moved by the poem She Let Go by Rev. Safire Rose, which has a powerful message about perfectionism from the point of view of people pleasing.

Andria’s powerful message on perfectionism:

Andria has struggled with perfectionism since childhood. From an early age, she connected love and approval with performing well. Her adoption of perfectionism stemmed from the belief that if she did well at something then she was worthy of love, but if she failed at something, that indicated that she was unworthy of love and acceptance. She formed a lifelong habit of striving for perfection in every relationship in her life. Until she realized that the very thing she thought would earn hear love, was the exact same thing that was preventing her from having deep connections with the people around her.

As an adult, I realized that the thing I wanted most, to connect with other people, was torn apart by perfectionism.” -Andria

Perfectionism can work for a while, it can even drive success, it just isn’t sustainable. Andria went on to share a very vulnerable message about how perfectionism impacted her as a mother. Andria has always been a proud mother and motherhood was the one thing she had dreamed of being her whole life. Take a look at the AHA! moment at 43:04 in the video that lead to her realizing that perfectionism wasn’t an effective parenting technique, it was actually going to break the spirit of her sweet little girl. Andria sought to find an answer through prayer, studying, and life transformation.

“When it all began to unravel for me, I realized pretty quickly, that I even had a perfectionist relationship with God.” – Andria

After the collapse of the white picket fence life, Andria maintained a white picket fence image for several more years. Even her mom, the closest person to her, didn’t know what was happening. A passing comment that Andria’s mom made about her being “one hell of an actress” led to a realization that even though she acted out of devotion to her marriage, family and faith, she had been playing the role of supporting actress in her own life.

“It never occurred to me that working so damn hard to be perfect, had actually made me plastic.” – Andria

Andria went through a journey of self discovery, traveling through the mess that brokenness and shattered dreams had left behind. As a natural planner caught completely off guard by sudden chaos, Andria found that you have to walk through the ugly cries, snotty noses, and a few cuss words to go through establishing new boundaries and figuring out who she was without the burden of expectations. She finally opened up to God in the realest way. She poured her heart out to Him, and unburdened all of the things she has held inside for so long.

“I knew that God was saying finally. I have been waiting so long for you to just be real with me.”

God continued to heal Andria as she found new ways to be honest with herself and those close to her. She gain the strength and courage to not only overcome perfectionist thing, but to open her life of in vulnerability to be be truly loved for the amazing person that she is.

At the end of her writing, Andria had an unexpected revelation… that she actually didn’t need a plan B at all. Jeremiah 29:11 said that God knows the plans He has for us, and she just needed to be open and curious about what those were.

ACTION ITEMS FOR FELLOW PERFECTIONIST

  1. Get honest with yourself and acknowledge that you are a perfectionist, and the ways that might fail you (it’s not all bad)
  2. Don’t take yourself so seriously
  3. Breathe, take a minute to inhale and exhale before making your next decision

For a sneak peak at Andria’s upcoming book release, download a FREE e-book “type A Parenting” on Andria’s website www.andriaflores.com

Raven's Story Was Told

Today was the Celebration of Life for sweet Miss Raven Goff. Her story was told, and it was told in the most beautiful way possible by the people who loved her the most. The words that come to mind are: eloquent, grace, strength, courage, awe, brave, and inspiring.

As the family walked in, the song, Reckless Love by Cory Asbury played. The Celebration started with those sweet words, “Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me. You have been so, so good to me. Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me. You have been so, so kind to me.” I think that is the most beautiful part of this story and this message, that even in tragedy, God has been glorified, and His goodness has been proclaimed over and over.

Pastor Rick of Pathway church had the perfect mix of love, humor, and hope. He gave a powerful message about Raven’s story and how she helped the world to forget all of the things that separate us, even if only for a moment.

Tanner Trujillo and Shane Goff stood on stage with thousands of people watching and they told their love story. It was perfect, because it was real. They spoke of their divorce without the venom or anger that we associate with that word. They spoke of working hard to be in unity for the sake of their child, yet another message I hope the world sees and hears.

As Tanner stood near the podium, she watched Shane with the fierceness and protectiveness that only a mother could. She stood by him in unity, #TeamRaven all the way. Protecting her daughter’s message from speculation or rumor. As Pastor Rick said, there are no sides, it’s about Raven’s Side. It’s about Team Raven. Tanner displayed unconditional love and respect for her child’s father, while honoring both of their current spouses and families. Throughout the service Raven’s family, biological and bonus, were honored. This is how it should be. This family’s willingness to fight for love and fight to glorify God together, that is what is reaching the entire world.

We naturally reflect on the story and it triggers memories in our own life, perhaps times of loss. For me, I think back to losing pregnancies. I lost a child before I knew him, I was twenty weeks pregnant. I was mad at God about it. I quested everything, because it didn’t go how I planned for it to go. I had a total of five miscarriages, and each time I don’t think I handled it with very much grace and dignity. I appreciated Tanner and Shane showing their emotions and deep wounds that this has left. In total strength, Tanner expressed how much she feels and battles and the human side of it all. She did it with strength and grace, like she always does. However, I connected with her, knowing that keeping her eyes on Christ and resting in His faithfulness is exactly what’s holding her together.

I think what stood out to me most was how the service ended with Elevation Worship’s song, Do It Again. It was the perfect reminder that no matter what you are facing, God has not failed you, He hasn’t left you.

When nothing else makes since, this one thing we can rely on, God is good and He is faithful. Even when we fell alone, He hasn’t left us. Even when we don’t understand, He is at work. Even when it feels like we have lost it all, He has never failed us.

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

Do It Again, Elevation Worship

The service can be viewed in its entirety at https://pathway.church/media/livestream/

A Glimpse of What God Has In Store

Yesterday I wrote a post about Raven Goff, just wanting to express how much the story meant to me. I posted a link on the Cravin Raven group, which the last time I saw the member count before posting, it was around 1200 people. I thought 20-30 people would see the blog, but really just wanted to express how I was feeling. After I shared it I noticed that it started getting likes and shares within the group, which had grown to THOUSANDS of members by that point. When it got 500 views, I thought, “God wouldn’t that be cool, if 1000 people saw it?” I went back to working on the book and checked an hour later. Over 1200 people had viewed the post. As someone who is just starting out in the social media and blogging space, I was overwhelmed. I have been praying for the impact on the ministry that God has put on my heart. I whispered, “God, are you preparing me? Are you trying to tell me that a thousand people will be reached by the message you have given me?” He told me to just wait. I went back to working on the book. When I logged in a couple of hours later, I was blown away.

I was speechless, almost THREE thousand people had seen my little blog. Again, I went to God in prayer, “God, are you saying that three thousand people will be reached in this ministry that you placed on my heart? Are you preparing me for three thousand people?” I absently thought, what if it hits 5000?

Then it did hit 5000. I began to feel the more humbled than I had ever felt in my life. What an honor to be a small part of such a powerful message. I went back to God in prayer, “God, I didn’t see this going this far. I am so sorry, I put my own limitations on you. I feel you preparing me.” Again, He said, “Just wait.” My son checked on me before going to bed, it was sitting around 8000 and said that there would be more than 10,000 by the time we woke up, but I brushed it off. I said, “No, son, I think it’s done.”

But I woke up to almost 11,000 views on the blog. Raven’s message continued to soar, and God continued to increase my faith little by little. It wasn’t about how many likes, shares, or blog hits. God was using the blog to help spread His message of hope and beautiful grace. He was also using the blog to show me that God’s thoughts and His plans go far beyond the distance of my imagination and are not trapped by the confinement of the walls in my mind.

See, not only have 15,000 people viewed that one blog post, when before I had never had more than 50 people read my blog, I am not most thankful because of the readership, I am thankful because God increased my faith. I am thankful that God showed me just a glimpse of his plan for Beauty From Ashes Media.

I launched the first episode of the Beauty From Ashes Radio Show today, and it was a success. It was God’s success. Guys, what could I have ever done to deserve a God who would not only forgive my past, but fully restore me? I could have never earned a love so great. The coolest thing about God, I think, is His perfect, unfailing love, and how He chooses each of us to love Him and to love each other.

Last Week I Watched a Family Do the Unthinkable

Burleson seems to have grown in leaps and bounds since we first moved here when I was six years old. I remember that year so clearly, because it was the year that I had Karen Sanders as my first grade teacher. It was the year that I met classmates that I am still friends with today. In the last thirty-something years, the town has changed. Restaurant chains have moved in, there are plenty of places to shop besides Walmart now. There are new churches, and double the number of schools as when I went to Nola Dunn. I-35 traffic is infuriating and speaks to the growth in the community. However, this town has never felt smaller and more close knit than last week when the whole town rallied together to pray for Raven Goff and support Tanner Trujillo and Shane Goff as they made the ultimate sacrifice. They are a huge part of the community and while I didn’t know them, I know their church, I know their friends, I know their work colleagues and workout partners, I used to work at the school Raven attended… it was all so close to home. Literally millions of people all over the world have been touched by this story and they all have a piece of our little town with them now.

The Bible says it rains on the just and the unjust. I remember when Stephen Curtis Chapman spoke about losing his daughter and he said you start to buy into the hype that this couldn’t happen to you, you have done so much for God’s kingdom. Then he said, “But why not me? I am human and live in the same fallen world as everyone else.” I thought that was the coolest perspective, filled strength and humility.

With similar strength, the world watched Tanner’s updates from her daughter’s hospital room. After a tragic accident, Raven was declared brain dead. Tanner and Shane made the impossible decision to donate her organs. They chose to donate every organ that could be used. In a video I will never forget, Tanner sat next to her six year old little girl who was on life support. With a complete blanket of peace, Tanner shared an update on the organ donation. In this tremendous sacrifice, keeping Raven on life support for two more days after her official time of death as they waited for the organ matches to align for one perfect surgery where Ravens organs would be harvested and sent to save the lives of other children.

In that moment, when most of us would have completely shattered, Tanner said something that will stick with me forever. She said, “God is so good. He is so much sweeter than I could ever be bitter.”

There were other images throughout the story that solidified God at work. From Shane’s broken cry of worship after losing his beautiful daughter, to Tanner’s perfect peace and composure that God promised us all. To Tanner’s biological father and bonus father talking about not using the word “step” and how they are a united family. We have learned so much from this journey.

Lord, may I trust you, as much as Tanner. May I worship you with that kind of unconditional love that Shane displayed. May I always see your beauty even in my own tragedies. This, surely is your most beautiful creation from the ashes.

Confessions from a serious caffeine addict

I am currently on day three of a 7 day fast, in which I chose to give up one of my favorite substances on the planet: caffeine while only drinking water, and a little bit, I feel like I’m dying. The headache has been awful, and the brain fog is absolutely ridiculous. I am about fifteen minutes from a nap most of the day.

All that being said, I am actually glad I chose something that is so much a part of my every day life. I woke up and stumbled to the coffee pot each morning, then drank unsweet tea throughout the day. It was like a constant caffeine IV drip (although I’m not opposed to the idea).

The cool thing about fasting something I crave so much is that it is a constant reminder that I am doing this intentionally. I am believing for some really big things in my life. Fasting is supposed to be a time of prayer and focus. Every time I think about the headache or wish I could have coffee, I am reminded to refocus in prayer. It’s actually the most successful fast I have ever done – and the hardest by far.

I also chose to give up my time waster games that I used to play in my down time on my phone, focusing that time on writing, editing, reading, and podcasts. That is another part of my habits, but I felt like it was pulling on my time and attention. As I did my time budget for this month, that was the obvious choice, since it was an activity that didn’t get me closer to any of my goals.

It’s funny that the things that we think we can’t live without are the things that propel us forward when we separate ourselves from them. I believe in intentional focus. I believe in the power of prayer. I also believe that God honors our sacrifices. In his book Soar, Bishop TD Jakes posed a question, “What are you willing to give up for success?” That resonated with me. If it costs me everything to go where God has called me to go… will I still follow His voice?

Confession: I get terrible stage fright

This morning I spoke to a room of around 40 job seekers. I only talked for around ten minutes, and I knew what I wanted to say to them. I felt prepared, but as I stood in front of that room and talked, I could hear my voice shake and felt my hands and knees trembling.

Everyone gave me positive feedback, and I felt good about what was said, but I still get this terrible feedback that I have had for as long as I can remember. When I was in the youth group, I sang a solo one time standing on risers, They had to move me off of them because I was shaking so badly that the whole temporary stage was shaking, and the mic stands were shaking!

I don’t really know what makes me so scared, and I am not sure how it plays into those dreams I have of speaking in front of a room filled with women. I can see some of their faces as I share a specific message that God has laid on my heart. I can feel their hands in mind as we pray together. I can see their tears sliding down their cheeks as God heals their hearts. I know it is part of what I was designed to do, but I’m still scared.

I think what I am learning in this chapter is not that we have to be completely without fear, but that we cannot be stopped by it.

I think that it’s normal to feel scared, you just have to find a way to push through and do it anyway. Part of the victory is in overcoming everything that was thrown at you that could have made you stop… but you didn’t. Chase your dreams relentlessly, even when you’re scared.

Confession: I still struggle with anxiety

Anxiety has been paralyzing a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I still struggle with it sometimes. I am getting used to the newness of being out of my comfort zone, but it still makes my heart flutter to think about doing something that I feel unprepared for. Like writing, speaking, or opening my life completely up to strangers.

Today God used me to speak to someone…and it felt amazing. I have been so scared of that still voice inside forever. For years I have been lead to speak to people, but I was always afraid I would say or do the wrong thing. What if I missed it? What if I got it wrong?

Completely, blindly obeying God is one of the most beautiful experiences this control freak has ever felt. I think the biggest lesson in this chapter of my life is that if I will just stick with God and follow Him, and LISTEN, I can rest assured that He will not lead me anywhere that He will not bring me through.

Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t struggle or have hard times, because those are a guaranteed part of every journey we face. However, there is peace in knowing that God’s got my back. I am learning to trust. I am learning to trust Him, and I am learning to trust Him working through me. Maybe this is what it feels like to get out of the way… maybe.

And so, it begins

Today, January 12, 2020, I sent my first draft of my first three chapters to the editor. The process begins now. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I can hardly believe this day is here, but here we are, the girl behind the keyboard, typing away as she feels led.

Writing has been such an inspirational, healing journey, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to share it with all who dare read.

No matter what dream you are chasing, if you will keep moving forward, you will get there. It doesn’t matter how small the steps may be, keep taking them. If you fall, get back up and keep moving. If you quit, start again. Chase your dreams, because only you can make them happen.

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