About Me

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I'm a wife, a mom, a singer/songwriter, an author, a public speaker, an abolitionist, an encourager & freedom coach, a seminary student, a worship leader, a lover of life and joy, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Act Now! This Blog Has Moved.

Hey, folks!

I warned you a few months ago that this blog would soon move. It has happened!

Living Unveiled has moved to its permanent location.

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See you over there!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Learning to Walk in Freedom: Free Today Only for Kindle!

Learning to Walk in Freedom is free today for Kindle!

Front Cover

It's my and Roy's 11th wedding anniversary! So I'm celebrating by giving you the opportunity to download my book for Free!

Back cover
Read some new reviews of Learning to Walk in Freedom:

"Brenna has written a wonderful gem and a terrific resource. In almost 15 years of college ministry, I have witnessed students' struggles with addiction, sexual brokenness, and controlling habits. This book provides an inspiring and holistic approach to helping us find freedom. She aptly encourages the reader towards intimacy with the Father, study of the Word, authenticity in community, and practical changes in behavior. I'm excited to use this as a resource with students on my campus." Joseph Gavin, Chi Alpha Vermont

"I am privileged to have known the author since her college days and have seen the growth and maturity that freedom in Christ has developed in Brenna. This is a story of inspiration, rescue, and hope, but not just for the author. Like the traveler in Pilgrim's Progress or Hinds Feet for High Places, Brenna leads the reader on a journey to meet the One who can help anyone learn to walk in freedom. Join her on the journey and find out for yourself."
Mike Olejarz, National Chi Alpha Training Team

"This is a tremendous book, with so much depth and strength. It thrills the heart to read Brenna Kate's testimony in the back of the book. Her journey in five steps is an easy read. God is so good to His children. We just haven't truly let Him give us the freedom in our walk with Him, that He desires for us. This book will help the one seeking to walk in God's freedom. Thank you, Brenna Kate. I will reread the book and will be sharing thoughts from the book at a local support group. Thank you for your obedience in writing this for the rest of us. For those who have not yet read the book, you're in for a very special blessing. Again, THANKS."
Nora S.

This excerpt is a continuation from yesterday:

Later that week, as I continued to cry out to God, He spoke clearly to me concerning some of my questions and struggles. Most of all, He called me to choose to trust Him, to rest in Him, and to allow Him to teach me. He beckoned me to go on a journey with Him, a journey to further whole- ness and freedom, choosing to believe He is who He says He is.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30) 
Thus began this journey into my current understanding of true freedom. (You can read a full testimony in the back of this book.) I’m sure it’s not over. I invite you to join me where I am now.

Wherever you are on this journey, there is something to be learned from Him. Even if you’re not generally a praying person, I encourage you to pause. Pray the following for yourself as inspired by the Scripture above and prepare to dive into a new level of freedom in your life:
God, I come to You. I am weary, burdened, and I need Your rest. God, I lay down my heavy burden and take Your yoke upon my shoulders, whatever that means, because You say I can learn from You, in Your gentleness and humility of heart. Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. God, help me to receive that, and prepare me to really hear from You as I read this book. I surrender to all that You have for me as I learn to walk in freedom. Amen.
Get your free copy of Learning to Walk in Freedom today!

Cover and interior design done by Rusty and Ingrid Creative

Friday, December 13, 2013

Freedom Friday: Get Learning to Walk in Freedom for Free Tomorrow!

Learning to Walk in Freedom is free tomorrow for Kindle!

Front Cover

It will be my and Roy's 11th wedding anniversary! So I'm celebrating by giving you the opportunity to download my book for Free!

Back cover
I'll remind you again tomorrow! Help me spread the word :)

Here's an excerpt from Learning to Walk in Freedom:

Freedom is my anthem—it has been my life’s theme. The questions that come with the word freedom are questions I continually ponder. The answers did not come easily.

I became a Christian at age 23. I came to Jesus with a lot of problems: an eating disorder, same-sex attraction, emotional dependency, self-injury, self-loathing, and chronic low self-esteem. My life was controlled by and revolved around my issues and trying to get rid of them.

I felt like I was drowning.

Why, if I had become a new creation in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), did my life not feel all that changed? Why was I still dealing with the same issues? I had a crowd of people continually praying for me. I fasted for long periods of time. I devoured the Word of God and prayed my heart out, including interceding for complete strangers whose prayer requests I found on the Internet! I went to church, led Bible studies, and sang on the worship team. I was writing songs for God and serving Him every way I knew how.

And I was still drowning.

I remember the moment vividly. It was May of 2004 at a campus ministry conference. I was one of the leaders, the teachers, the ones with the knowledge—the answers. Still, I was gasping for air.


Is this it, God? 

I was walking around the old campus. There was a castle, and in the castle was a piano. I sat down at the piano to sing, to write, to think. (I sometimes think best while sitting at a piano.) I began to play, and this is what came out:

There must be more than this 

Over and over, I sang this to my Lord. Deep down in my soul, I expe- rienced God’s fingerprint. I knew He was real. And because I had already seen Him working in so many ways, I had to believe that there was more. I desperately needed to hear His voice tell me that all this striving, all this seeking wasn’t for nothing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Book "Learning to Walk in Freedom" Available for Kindle!

Learning to Walk in Freedom has been published!

Front Cover
Back cover

The Kindle version is now available! The paperback will take another month, but yes! There will be a paperback for my Kindle-less friends. Read what people are saying about Learning to Walk in Freedom (including the long versions of the reviews from the back cover):

“LEARNING TO WALK IN FREEDOM is just what is says—a guide to freedom. This booklet says more in its 80 pages than dozens of larger books I’ve read on the subject. It’s practical, field-tested, biblical and Spirit-taught. After working for over 20 years with sexually broken people I can heartily recommend this powerful little resource!” Russell Willingham, Director of New Creation Ministries and author of Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Healing Power of Jesus and Relational Masks: Removing the Barriers that Keep Us Apart

“Jesus said in John 8:36, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.’ That verse always gets a great reaction because we all desire to truly walk in freedom! Through 24 years of ministry and 40 years as a Christian I have observed that most Christians struggle to walk in the true freedom that Christ has made possible for us. In this book, Brenna Kate Simonds lays out five insightful and powerful points that will help any Christian expe- rience and walk in true freedom. I wish I had read this book earlier in my Christian life. It would have saved me years of wondering if I would ever be able to please God. I strongly recommend this book for any believer at any stage in their spiritual journey.” Jeff Jacob, Senior Pastor, Word of Life International Church, Ashburn, Virginia

“Brenna Kate makes it easy and approachable. It makes sense that her writing would be like her personality. With clarity, and honesty Brenna Kate shares both experience and truth providing an easily understood, and easily followed path in the process of living in Freedom.” Bob Hamp, LMFT, Author of Think Differently, Live Differently and Executive Pastor of Pastoral Care at Gateway Church, Southlake, TX

"Learning to Walk in Freedom is a small book that packs a mighty punch! The author throws light on the shadow that often exists between what we know to be truth and the reality of living in that truth. To know about freedom is one thing, but to live from a place of freedom requires the courage to engage with others and expose those shameful core beliefs that keep us imprisoned in wrong thinking and behaviour. Using her own journey away from lesbianism, an eating disorder, and other damaging behaviours, Brenna Kate Simonds succeeds in offering the reader opportunity to access their own expedition through life and use some of the checks and pointers as they pursue that promised abundant life in Christ." Jeanette Howard, Director of Bethany Life Ministries and author of Out of Egypt: One Woman's Journey Out of Lesbianism and Into the Promised Land: Beyond the Lesbian Struggle

Get your copy of Learning to Walk in Freedom today!

Cover and interior design done by Rusty and Ingrid Creative

Friday, December 6, 2013

Freedom Friday: What I Have, I Give

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you." Acts 3:6

I've always loved the story of Peter, John, and the man lame from birth at the temple gate called Beautiful. At a campus ministry training event in 2001, I chose it as my passage from which to lead a Bible study. This week, I needed to lead a class in a 5-minute devotional. Since the topic of the class is the book of Acts, this passage seemed a natural choice.

One thing I love about Scripture is how it can speak different things to you depending on where you are and what you need. I originally loved this passage because I loved the story of healing. Oh, how I wanted to see God work in that way in my life! I also love the change in Peter after receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But what it spoke to me this week was very different.

"The grass is always greener" mentality infiltrates so many areas of my life. I wish I had her house, his fame, her job, or his joy. But I found lately that envy has taken root in a surprising area of my life.

Anyone who knows me for 10 minutes knows I'm a Christian. I love Jesus, and because of that, I talk about Him. He naturally comes up in conversation. And yet, I have never actually watched anyone become a Christian.

Whenever I take those spiritual gift tests, no matter what the variety, the gift of evangelist/evangelism never even makes the top 10. Teacher? Yes. Exhorter? Yes. Compassion, music, encouragement? Yes. Evangelism? Never.

Do I sometimes feel bad about this? Yes, to be honest. In fact, 2 weeks ago in class, I asked my pastor if he thought everyone has the gift of evangelism. The answer was a bit complicated, and not the point of this post. As I read Acts 3 again this week and reflected on that discussion, this came to mind:

Thou shalt not cover thy neighbor's gifts.

I am reminded of the apostle Paul's writings concerning the body.
"If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." 1 Corinthians 12:17-18
Just as He wanted them to be.

I cannot give what I do not have, but I still have a lot to give. I may never be gifted at evangelism, and I'm OK with that. Instead of being envious of the skills of others, I will continue to declare as Peter declared, "What I do have, I give."

I wrote a song some years ago called "You." You can hear a rough recording here. Some lines from the song are particularly relevant.

I know there are songs to be sung,
And there are wars to be won
And there are wrongs to be undone

I know there are songs to be sung, 
And there are wars to be won 
And there are wrongs to be undone 

And I don’t have that much to give
But there’s no other way to live


God, I do not have that much to give - but I know that living a surrendered life is the only way to truly live for You. And so what I do have, I give.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation: Gratitude

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Choices conference in Hershey, PA with some ladies from my church.


I was most excited to go to this because Sara Groves was going to be there.

From http://www.campforestsprings.org/blog/sara-groves-in-concert
She led worship at each session, and then she'd sing a couple of her songs after. It's a surreal feeling to sit and listen to songs that you have memorized from listening to them in your room, in your car, on a run. Songs that have carried you through trials and victories, through post-partum depression and questions about whether God is really who He says He is. Songs that have walked with you through major marriage struggles, loved ones dying, songs that have run with you as you trample on child sex trafficking for 26.2 miles and all the training before.

Songs that have brought much healing to your life.

I sat through those songs at that conference, just grateful. My life with Jesus flashed before my tear-filled eyes, and I was once again amazed at all that He is and all that He has done.

Are you grateful today?

I've written a lot about gratitude here.  If this is something you struggle with, now is a good time to read some of those posts.

Lord, help us. Help us in the midst of grief and celebration to cultivate gratitude. Your Word implores us to rejoice always, and so help us to choose joy, to choose thankfulness. Keep our eyes open to all the things God has done and will continue to do. In the words of Sara Groves, "He's always been faithful - He will be again." Thank You, Jesus.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Freedom Friday: The War for Your Identity

I've been thinking a lot about spiritual warfare.

Part of the reason for this is I've had several opportunities to share Freedom Step 4 from my book  Learning to Walk in Freedom lately with groups of people. Freedom Step 4 is Think Like a Free Person. Freedom Step 4 states that most spiritual warfare takes place in our minds.

As humans, we walk through different types of spiritual wars. There is a war for our souls. There is the first battlefront. Jesus said "What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Mark 8:36). Satan tries to convince us that there is no God, and even if there is, we don't need Him. We can be successful in life through accomplishments, strong relationships and power or wealth.

Once we come to believe in Jesus, there is a second battlefront. This battle concerns the obstacles we face, and our struggle with sin patterns in our lives. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full," said Jesus, as recorded in John 10:10. Jesus didn't want us to know Him simply so we can go to heaven when we die. He desires that we live life to the full, throwing off the "sin that so easily entangles" as mentioned in Hebrews 12:1-3.

And yet there is another battle, one that is far more insidious than the others.

It is the battle for our identity.

Even after I laid down my sexuality at the cross and chose to walk in obedience in that area, even after I stopped starving myself and began to be more at peace with food (a much longer and more painful process), even when the urge to self-injure had mostly subsided, I was still left with - well - me.

I still experienced quite a bit of self-loathing, insecurity, worthlessness, depression and deep core beliefs that maybe God really wasn’t who He says He is. I was still left with all the ways my thoughts and perceptions and speculations affected me.

God led me through a process of learning to recognize the lies I believed and how they impacted me. He taught me how to go to war against my false beliefs and make them obedient to Christ.

Yet the battle continues.

I no longer struggle with self-loathing and worthlessness to the degree I did in the past. Now, I struggle with self-limiting thoughts.

Those self-limiting thoughts that say things like, What have I gotten myself into? I thought this dream was from God, but nothing is turning out the way I planned. I should be safe and keep my hopes reined in. 

But here's the thing. You're not really limiting yourself; you're limiting God.

Years ago, I set part of Isaiah 49 to music with an intro I added. I sang this today as I went to war in worship and praise for some friends who need Jesus to show up in a mighty way. This is sung from God's perspective.

I gave it all up for you 
So I wouldn’t have to live without you 

Zion says, “The Lord has forgotten me.” 
Oh, they say, “The Lord has forsaken me.” 

Can a mother forget the child 
who is nursing at her breast? 
Will she have no compassion 
on the baby that she has given birth to? 

Though they may forget you, 
I will never forget you! 

Look; you are written on the palm of my hand! 
Father God and His Son Jesus gave up everything for you. And yet we tell ourselves we will never be able to walk out the dreams God has put on our hearts. We tell ourselves we are too weak, too insubstantial. 

Those are lies from the pit of hell.

Where do we find our identity? Where do we find our worth? We find it as declared in the cross and nowhere else. 
 Jesus fought the battle for us so that we could walk in the fullness of all He created us to be.

Where do we find our potential? In the God who is able to raise from the dead.

Peter, when addressing the crowds on the day of Pentecost, stated, "But God raised him [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (Acts 2:24).

That is what God is capable of doing. In your life.

"We deem ourselves too inconsiderable to be used even by a God capable of miracles with no more than mud and spit. And thus our false humility shackles an otherwise omnipotent God." William J. O'Malley, SJ

We need to stop limiting God by believing the lies the enemy has told us. We need to go to war for our identity.