Meet Carissa Hardage

I am so thankfu10989646_10205798567515184_1674128146800466306_ol you have stopped by to check out My Journey of Faith Online Magazine!  This magazine has been a grassroots movement created from a small idea held by My Journey of Faith Ministries Founder Sandra Hardage, who also happens to be my Mother-In-Law and spiritual mentor. We share a common belief that something beautiful and powerful happens when women are united in encouraging one another as they fight to stay on this journey of faith in Jesus Christ.  The magazine is built around Hebrews [3:13], which says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  When we walk alone on our journeys it is very easy to become deceived, to begin to believe such things as, “I am alone” or “No one can understand,” or what is often my own stumbling block, “If anyone knew what my real struggles are…”

The great lie of sin is that it should bring us to shame, self-condemnation and silence. But our hope here at My Journey of Faith is that we reveal the truth that says Sin has been conquered, covered and atoned for by Jesus Christ on the Cross. “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart hat God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.'” (Romans 10:9-11) There is no shame left for any of us, nothing that can keep us from raising our heads high. And I’ve noticed that nothing lifts up a face hanging in shame, guilt or sadness like the precious words, “I understand” or “It’s going to be okay” or my favorite, “I’ve been there.”  This is what this Magazine is all about, telling our own stories in order to share the Gospel and to bring hope and encouragement to others.

My heart for women began very early in my life as I grew up in a home that was difficult and at many times lonely.  Raised as a Baptist preacher’s daughter in the South I was entrenched in legalism, which at times resulted in violence and a harsh living environment. Through my childhood, as my parents divorced, my family became blended with another, and my father passed away, I found myself constantly seeking solace in my friendships. Even now, as a adult, there are few things more healing for me than a deep conversation with a dear friend. My tendency to dig into peoples lives and my love of hearing the stories of others led me to decide what to do with my life, so in 2003 I received a degree in Psychology from the University of Central Arkansas and in 2005 went on to receive my Master’s Degree in Social Work, specializing in Clinical therapy. Once my precious children came along, I decided to focus my time on them, spending the past seven years as an at home mom.

DSC_0405Through the years my husband of 13 years and I have experienced ups and downs. We have relocated several times, grown together in the Lord, and experienced the sometimes harsh circumstances life throws our way.  He is my best friend and biggest cheerleader, and with his support and encouragement I made the decision to begin Seminary.  I have had the opportunity to lead Bible studies, mentor young women, lead discipleship groups, and even work with children, but through each of these experiences and through my time at the Magazine, I have consistently had the same passions…encouraging and building up other women, and studying God’s Word. This led me to Dallas Theological Seminary, where I am currently in the process of earning my Master’s of Arts in Biblical Studies.  It has been the most challenging and fulfilling experience yet, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me and my family!

You can read more from me at my personal blog, Faith and the Fig Tree, and if you would like more information on how to be a part of My Journey of Faith you can contact me at our email, mjofmagazine@hotmail.com. Thank you again for sharing in our journey!!