Our Team



BRIANA MALIK

Founder/ Editor in Chief

It’s hard to see what’s going on around you when you have tunnel vision. I am talking laser beam focus! Well I once lived in this bubble of what I thought was perfection. As I began to explore the intensity of wanting my life to be a certain way, being the best at what I did, or obtaining certain material possessions, I discovered my desire for perfection was rooted in control. I had a vision and I wanted to see that vision come to fruition, so like most people I overlooked things that should have alarmed me.

As I dug deeper into my desire for perfection and control, I realized these were just fruits of my real issue: fear. I was incredibly fearful. This fear was paralyzing because in reality I was not in control, my fear was. My fear of not pleasing people, my fear of not trusting, and the fear of not being enough or having enough plagued me.

As my curated perfection of a life crumbled, I was devastated. However, as the glass cracked all around me I saw my reflection, the woman God created. I discovered that I am still whole even though my perfectly curated picture broke. I am deeply loved by Jesus. I no longer have to strive for perfection, control outcomes, and operate from a place of fear! My freedom came when I allowed God access to all of me.

The vision for FREED Magazine came during the roughest period of my life. The moment I had to start walking through the shards of glass scattered all around me. In the midst of great pain, I am talking soul splitting, earth shattering, cries without a single sound type of pain – I found unexplainable joy. I could not understand how I could be at peace and full of joy while my present circumstances were grave and heartbreaking. The freedom I received was a beautiful gift from Christ! I knew if God could give me freedom in that season that I needed to share the gift with others. FREED is a platform for people to be transparent and authentic in exposing their truth and how they are overcoming in spite of their circumstances. I discovered my true freedom in Christ and that even through the storms of life He loves me unconditionally.

These days I pack light and by doing so I now operate from a FREED Soul!

I am FREED from fear; I am now FREED to trust in God’s perfect plan for my life.


AUSHA MUNROE
Senior Editor

Change is something I have never been able to get enough of. In my adolescence, I was never afraid to search for what I thought was my true identity. As a toddler, my parents always tell stories of my need to authenticate self. I’d adamantly take off any clothes that I was clothed in without my prior approval. Believing I could dress myself best, my mom was often embarrassed to leave the house in what I had inevitably decided I was most comfortable in.

At one point, I loved my preppy look sporting a blue jean skirt and collared top. There was a time I wanted to shop at Hot Topic searching out black shirts and chains. I even had a phase of only wanting the newest Air Force Ones and a color-coordinated outfit to match.

In college, for a period of time, I decided it was my duty to stay out of chain stores and restaurants and only wear clothes from the thrift store and buy locally when possible– of course my shoes of choice were Toms. This is the phase in my search for a true identity when I met Christ. I finally had experienced the change that meant something.

Before, even as I was going through all of my many phases, my friends and family related to me the same. Often, they were unaware or unbothered by my new form of expressing my feelings and sense of self. However, after accepting Christ, friends starting calling me the “new Ausha,” family started to bring up the “old Ausha.” I had to hide myself in Christ or I would have found myself giving in to their idea of who I was supposed to be. Thankfully, I loved change and embraced my new life with open arms.

Today, I am the wife to a loving husband, a mother of two beautiful girls, and a woman who wears whatever is clean– though you could probably find a little bit from each of the styles I dabbled in at one point in my closet. Unfortunately, I still have a pair of all black Chuck Taylors, with holes and kind of an ashy black look that my husband begs me to throw away and replace, but I just can’t get rid of them. Not sure why I am so attached to them, I seem to think it’s because I am just that thrifty.

I am FREED from instability; I am now FREED to wholeness.

 


CAROLINA ARAGON
Community & Business Relations

I used to identify myself by what I could clearly tell people about myself. My favorite phrases are, “hey y’all” and “first of all.” I’d also make sure to include the fact that I am my parent’s favorite child. Of course they didn’t tell my siblings being that I was the youngest of four. My mother is from Guatemala and my father is from El Salvador, giving me a mixed cultural background. Unfortunately, my parents divorced when I was a very small girl and we relocated to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. A place that I still call home.  

I’d also say that I’ve always been pretty outgoing from a very young age. This often has led and leads to some pretty awkward moments. I catch myself having conversations with random people at the grocery store or really anywhere I feel inclined to stop and have a conversation.

Eventually, I started to reframe my description of self around my freshman year of college. I thought I was living the life. I was finally out of my dad’s house so I was living it up! A direction that quickly led me to hit rock bottom. I fell and those rocks were no joke. That’s when I had my first encounter with God. Thankfully, my sister invited me to church one Sunday and from there I was transformed. I started going to church every Sunday and God’s love swept me off of my feet.

Without looking back, I started pursuing God with a growing intensity day after day and the more I did, the more I began to realize people stopped relating to me the same way. It came from everywhere, from  family to friends. In fear, I began to hide who I was to avoid being judged for loving Jesus. I was afraid of what people might think of me because I chose God instead of the world. I got the, “So you’re into the whole church thing,” or “So you’re a Jesus lover now.” The one that gave me the most pain was the, “I miss the old Carolina.”

God placed some amazing people in my life while I was battling with my authenticity. They poured so much into my heart and loved me in my brokeness. They showed me God’s never ending love and taught me how to love others. I began to realize that God’s love surpases all understanding and it saturated me.

A friend of mine said, “Let it be the real me,” and those words stuck.

I am FREED from people; I am now FREED to love.