Below is the second place winning story from my story contest, Once Upon a Time! This story, "Day of Salvation" was written by Dani and her bio is at the end!
Once upon a time, I was led from my prison cell. I was roughly marched through damp, cold stone passages and then soaring hallways. Today was the day of my execution.
Like countless prisoners before me, I stepped through the double doors labeled ‘Justice’ and ‘Mercy’. Like countless prisoners before me, I was cast to the white marble floor before my King.
Tears rolled down my face, but slowly my vision focused on the feet before me. The owner of those feet knelt before me and lifted my face.
I caught my breath. It was Him – the one who my soul loved. The one who taught me how to love, how to live. The one I could die for.
I looked into His eyes – what else could I do? The limitless age of time enveloped me like starlight, but one thing only did He who me.
Two children, running through purple fields. Laughing, examining flowers. The little pond in the forest. Voices buried in my memory – “I don’t want to be executed.” The little boy took my little hands in his. “Everyone has to be executed. But I will save you. Do you trust me?”
The King looked into my eyes. “Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
Tears were in His eyes and mine.
“It is finished,” He whispered.
The guards grabbed me. They led me to the place of execution. The King followed.
My mind screamed, begged. I didn’t understand – He said He would save me! But I still trusted Him. All my life I had.
As the guards took aim, my eyes were only on my King. Tears were in His eyes. He closed them, turned from me. His heart broke with mine.
There was a noise, and a shock. Then there was nothing.
Softly, starlight crept upon my consciousness. I was suspended in time. The stars were around me, closing it. Their light penetrated my being.
And then I heard it. “Pardoned.”
I opened my eyes. My King held me in His arms. His robe was wrapped around me, His crown on my head. But on His brow shone starlight – and blood slowly crept across His chest.
“Before Time I pardoned you. Before Time I bore your wounds. Before Time I made you pure – a princess of the King.” He raised me to my feet.
“Welcome to life, my child.”
Dani is the 17-year-old Alaskan with a southern accent. Her first love is music; she sings and plays several instruments including piano, violin, viola, flute, and harp. She has competed in the National Bible Bee for eight years, qualifying for Nationals seven times. Her current dreams and goals include directing and acting in Broadway-style musical theatre and directing choirs. Some of her hobbies are baking, handcrafts such as knitting and spinning, photography, videography, throwing knives and arranging music. She writes an e-magazine for girls at:
It finally came to my attention that I had TOTALLY forgotten to post the first and second place stories from my story contest, Once Upon a Time! I am so sorry!
I am posting them both today however, and to start, this is our first place winning story! Author bio will be at the end. Congratulations, Chloe!!
So without further ado, let me present, "Her Prince is a White Lamb"...
Once upon a time...Gabriella had heard the words so many times: from her parents, the people in the village and from her own friends. They had experienced their own ‘once upon a time’ years ago…but still she waited for hers. With every passing day she wondered if maybe this would be the long awaited day when he would come riding in on his white horse and carry her away in his arms. And still another year would pass and she would go on hoping.
With a deep sigh that came from her innermost soul she lifted the basket into her arms and began her steps back to her home, wishing her parents not to be worried at her late return. As Gabriella neared the small abode in which her family dwelt, she put on her brave face as to not show how she truly felt on the inside: disappointed, anxious and sad. And maybe a little hurt that no man had wanted her.
Days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months once again…and still no prince charming came to carry her away. With each passing hour her heart became more hurt until she thought that maybe she couldn’t go on. She did her duties at home, went where commanded and came when bidden but none of it could hide what she felt on the inside of her soul.
And then the day came. No, not the one that she had been looking for and awaiting: it was much grander than she ever could have imagined it would be. She had been instructed of her mother to go into the fields and gather some flowers to grace their place for the next few days. And she was doing as told when it happened.
Gabriella had crunched down to better pick the flowers, feeling heavy and alone in her heart, when she looked up and saw someone approaching her. She saw it was a man, his steps coming in an even stride, eyes fixed directly on her. As though in slow motion she straitened herself, basket in her hands, a frown appearing on her face as she stood there; not seeming to be able to take her eyes off Him as he kept His on her.
Who can this be? And why am I so drawn to Him?
His steps brought Him to a stop in front of her and she realized that He wore a bright smile on His face. And His eyes were love, indeed. “Hello,” He spoke, the words sounding like music to her ears, His voice as though it were the sweetest of waters running, covered in love.
Gabriella breathed in deeply as she offered Him a slight nod. “Hello, sir.”
The smile on His face stayed fixed there. “I was wondering if you will allow me a few moments of your time to talk with you.”
A frown then appeared on her face. “Talk, sir?”
“Yes, Gabriella, I would like very much to talk with you if you would grant it to me.” And when He spoke her name it was with such tenderness and love. Gentleness, as though He longed to call her His.
“Sir, do you know me?”
He nodded. “I’ve known you since before you were born.”
Her frown then deepened. His words were very strange, but for some reason they did not scare her or make her uneasy. They only made her want to hear Him say more. “How have you known me from before I was born?”
He gently took another step forward as the sun seemed to shine down and light His face to greater brightness; only, she knew that the light was from His very self and not of anything else.
“Because I am Jesus.”
Hearing the Name caused her breath to catch in her throat. Jesus! The only response she could give at the moment was lifting her hand to her mouth, feeling her hold on the basket began to loosen. “Jesus,” came as a whisper from between her lips, her hand lowering from her face. “If you are truly Him, then why would You come to me? I am nothing but a commoner in the village.”
Jesus reached forward and lifted one of the flowers from her basket, holding it gently in between his fingers, raising His eyes to hers. “You are right in thinking that I want to call you Mine, for I do. But, Gabriella,” He went on as He smiled at her. “You are not a commoner. I died so that you could be called the daughter of My Father. And a child of the Most High God is never a commoner.”
Gabriella lowered her head, feeling sad that she had done something to cause Him to correct her. She had heard of Him and His Father and knew that they were very great indeed, but she had never thought much on them.
He reached out His hand and laid it on her chin, lifting her head back up again. And she saw the love again, shining bright. “I know how you want so desperately to have a man in your life.”
She widened her eyes in surprise, wondering at how He could have known that. “How do You know this thing of me?”
“Remember, I have known you since before you were born. And since then I have seen your every move and heard your every word: known your every thought and heart’s desire.”
With a sigh from her heart she nodded slowly, feeling the hurt that she had felt only a few minutes before returning to her. “Yes, I long for a man. I so want to be married, have a husband. All my friends already have one.”
Jesus looked at her softly. “But that is not the most important thing, Gabriella.”
She frowned. “It isn’t?”
He shook His head. “No. There is something much greater than wanting a husband.”
“What would that be?”
“Giving your heart to me, child, is much more important.”
Gabriella linked her hands together around the basket handle, her frowned face staring at Him deeply.
“If you give your heart to me, than you will be in My Father’s family. Serving God is the greatest thing in the world. It would not come without hardships, for serving My Father will always be met with persecutions. But know that I will always be there with you, to help you and love you.”
Gabriella felt tears stinging her eyes. “Love me?”
Jesus nodded with another smile at her. “Gabriella, I want you to know how much My Father and I love you, for I am Love. We want you to be a part of our family. All you have to do is ask and I will enter into your heart.”
She had waited so long to hear words of love from someone and now she was hearing them, in a much more amazing way than she ever could have thought or dreamed of. He said He would love me.
Jesus held out to her the lovely flower which He held, His smile never leaving. She reached her hand out and took it gently in hers. “If you put your trust in me, Gabriella, I will bring the right man to you at the right time. You don’t have to worry about him coming, just know that when the time is right for you both that I will bring him into your life and you into his. What you can do is pray for him in the meantime.”
What she was hearing was more beautiful than anything that she had heard before. All she had to do was give her heart to Him and trust Him. “And my heart will be safe?”
He nodded. “Yes, if you keep your heart with me-there will be temptations and struggles-I will hold it and keep it safe.”
Gabriella looked down at the flower in her hand, a tear running down her cheek. “I’ll think about it.” She turned to go when His hand reached out and touched her cheek softly. Through her blurred vision she looked back at Him.
“I love you, Gabriella. But know that you are not guaranteed tomorrow or even the rest of this day. But I will be waiting with open arms for you if you come.”
With a deep breath she turned and started slow steps back to the house, her eyes gazing down at the flower she still held. In her mind she could hear all the stories of her friends and their love. And then she remembered Jesus, His words of love, His eyes of love, inside knowing that He truly was love. There was no question in her mind of what she wanted in her life.
Gabriella spun around, dropping the basket from her hands as she did, her steps quickening toward where Jesus still stood. “Jesus!” She called out quickly as she ran.
Jesus moved toward her, His arms open wide and in an instant she was in His arms, her feet off the ground and Him holding her close. She was home, never to leave.
Gabriella was never the same after that and nor was her family when she shared with them her newfound happiness. They, too, accepted Jesus, causing her to be even more joyful. And in the coming years Jesus’ words proved to be true that persecutions would come, for they did. But He was always there, never leaving her side.
Yes, her prince had always been there for her. All she had to do was look up to see Him. And He was more perfect than any man that she had ever longed for. He didn’t ride a white horse for He is a white Lamb and she trusted Him with all that was within her. She was happy and complete in Him.
Oh, what a ‘once upon a time’ she had had! And her Prince and she would indeed live Happily Ever After….
Chloe Hadassah is a eighteen year old farm girl who lives in the Bible-Belt with her nine brothers and sisters and parents! She enjoys blogging at heresclo.blogspot.com and YouTubes at: Becky Coleman's Badge. She will soon be publishing her first book titled The Light, and has a website for it at givegodtheglory.weebly.com She feels God has called her to sing for His glory and right now feels led to also act/produce movies in the future. Jesus means more to her then anything in the world ever could and she longs to live fully for Him!
It’s so easy to look back, isn’t it?
Sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to look behind than it is to look forward. Because, after all, we don’t know what is coming up ahead. So maybe it’s just easier to live in the past.
I don’t know about you, but this is how I feel sometimes.
It can be hard for me to look ahead at a new season or a new future.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s because I fear change? I fear the new?
Well, I’m glad I’m not alone. I can be so afraid of what’s ahead in the new, because what if it hurts? What if it’s different than what I wanted? What if I lose what I love?
Change scares us to the core because we don’t know how it will affect our lives. Most times change is good and gives us a great, totally new way of life. But sometimes change hurts too. And sometimes it hurts so much that we don’t want it anymore. Because embracing change means letting go of what’s behind. It means letting go of something I’d much rather hold onto.
I felt like this not too long ago. I still remember exactly how it felt.
I remember how it felt to come out of a season in my life that I didn’t necessarily want to leave. This season had become my normal, it was comfortable, and I loved it. It was good. So when I came out of it, I still held onto a piece of it. That was my way of looking back, instead of ahead. I held onto a piece of this part of my life because I was too afraid to let go. I honestly didn’t know what life would be like if I did let go.
But God loved me too much to let me keep looking back. He had a brand new thing He wanted to do in my life and the only way for me to step into it, was to let go. So He took away from me what I thought I wanted most, so He could reveal to me what I never knew I needed.
Maybe He’s done that for you too? Then let me encourage you, dear heart. During this time, God gave me a verse that changed everything for me.
“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19 NKJV)
Behold, I will do a new thing.
And again He says…
“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” (Revelation 21:5 NKJV)
He is making all things new.
So this is His promise to me. And His promise to you too, my friend.
He is making all things new. He is restoring what you’ve lost. God will not let anything you have gone through go to waste, but He also does not want you to stay where you are at right now. He wants you to keep looking ahead, to keep looking towards the new He has for you.
You see, the God who made you has an incredible plan and dream for your life. And yes, it will include change. It may include change every step of the way. But the God calling you into the unknown, into this place of change, is the same God whispering to your soul that He is making all things new and that He is doing a new thing in your life.
Don’t allow your fear to keep you from stepping into the future God has planned for you. Even if that means letting go of things you love, even if it means letting go of good things. Keep embracing the new thing God is doing in your life, and keep reaching for the something greater He intends to give you.
Look forward, sweet friend. His new thing in your life is going to be amazing, I promise.
I’m cheering you on.
Have you ever wondered if you measure up to what God wants you to be and to do?
Well, I have.
In my earlier teenage years I went through a season that was difficult for me, because I was constantly striving. Constantly doing. You feel me yet? I constantly tried to follow a list of rules to be a vision of "perfection," constantly trying to obey and never mess up. I constantly tried to earn what I thought was God's favor. I knew He loved me no matter what. But even if I didn't say it out loud, in the back of my mind there was this idea that I needed to do more to earn His favor or delight. And it left me utterly exhausted. Because following a list of rules I'd created for myself still didn't ever make me feel like I measured up.
And I bet you feel it too.
It comes from a system that has become more obsessed with religion than with a relationship.
Yes, I said it.
Religion has actually become a problem in a way instead of a solution or an answer.
Because instead of religion creating a safe place where people could be loved and healed, it has turned into a place where people are judged and held up to a list of standards they can never achieve on their own.
But the truth? We weren't ever called to religion to begin with.
I am a Christian. Saved by grace, redeemed with love, and cherished forever by a King that left His throne to rescue His princess. I am loved infinitely by the God of the universe.
But I am not religious.
Because there is a difference.
Religion has become a list of do's and don'ts that has clouded our thinking. It convinces us that if we follow this rule or that rule, or we don't break this rule or bend that rule, then we'll receive God's favor. It tells us that if we do all these things then God won't be mad at us. It gets us trapped inside of a cycle that constantly has us doing more and more to try to earn what we could never earn on our own. And the biggest problem? Religion has created a feeling of judgment in many Christian circles. Why? Because it makes us think that by doing all these religious things or following all these rules, we're somehow better than others. And sadly, it can cause us to judge those who aren't following the rules we're following or judge those living, speaking, and dressing differently than us.
Trust me, I know. Because I lived it.
I lived that religious life that was all about do's and don'ts and chastening those who didn't look and act and dress just like me. And you know what? It didn't work. In the end, it left me more empty than when I started. And in the end, it left people judged who should've only been loved.
Because here's the truth.
Being a Christian is not about a religion at all or a list of rules. Being a Christian is about a relationship.
Being a Christian is this great love story that will change your life. Trust me, I know this too. Because, by God's grace I've lived this too.
You see, Jesus is calling you to a great adventure with Him. Jesus is calling you to be loved deeper by Him and to love others deeper with His love. That's His greatest commandment. To love others as He loves us. And as we sink deeper into His love, we're able to go into the world and love others despite our differences, despite our disagreements. Because love covers all.
I don't want you to mistake what I'm saying however. I'm not saying that being a Christian is a free ride where you can live however you want and do whatever you want. Sin has consequences. We are called to live a life following Jesus (Romans 6:15). But those rules you try so hard to follow? Examine your heart. Why are you doing them? Because you love God and you want to follow what you feel He is asking of you? Good. But if you're doing it for any other reason, listen close. Those rules are not going to earn you His favor or His love. Friend, you are loved completely and infinitely right now. Right in this moment. God loves you as much on your best days as He does on your very worst days. God loved you wholly on the day He found you and rescued you. Nothing you do can change that. Because His love does not depend on your performance.
You're free, friend. You're free to stop trying so hard. You're free to just rest in who He is and what He has done. You're free to just sink into His love and let it change every part of who you are.
Let go of this try hard life you've created for yourself. Stop judging those who don't look and act and dress like you. Just love them. Because the honest truth is that God loves them like crazy too.
So no, religion isn't the answer to the emptiness in your heart and life, because religion can't fulfill you.
Only a relationship with Jesus Christ can fulfill you and fill your emptiness inside.
So fall in love.
Let go and step into the love that's been waiting for you all along. Who can fully understand His love?
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
He loves you. A crazy, beyond your wildest imagination, unconditional kind of love that will blow your mind.
And nothing can take that away.
Hello friends! Today it is an honor and a pleasure to announce to you the winners of the story contest I hosted, Once Upon a Time. Who's as excited for this as I am? :) I'm sure you all have been waiting to hear and I've been anxious to tell!
All the judging done for the Once Upon a Time story contest was done by my sister, MacKenzie Morganthal. Kenzie had no idea who had submitted stories, and she read each story without knowing the author of it, just for the fairness of the contest.
Also, a super exciting announcement I have is that because of the amount of stories submitted, we decided to add a second runner up! :D So there will now be the grand prize winner, a first runner up, and a second runner up! Here is a quick recap of the prizes for each winner:
Grand Prize: Winner's choice of 1 copy of either of my three books, "I Dare You," "The King's Princess," or "Worth it All." Winner's story featured right here on my blog and also featured in my monthly e-magazine, The King's Princess!
First runner up: The first runner up will have their story featured on my blog and will also receive a PDF version of my first book "I Dare You."
Second runner up: The second runner up will have their story featured in my e-magazine, The King's Princess!
First of all, I just want to say how excited I am for each one of you who entered the contest and how grateful I am! Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us! Each story was beautifully written and I was blessed to have the opportunity to read each one as well. You all did a fantastic job and you are truly all winners in the end. Thank you for writing and sharing your hearts!
And now, without further ado, let me present to you the winners of the Once Upon a Time Story Contest!! :D
Second Runner Up:
Olivia Bell with her story Amazing Grace in the Midst of Poverty!!
First Runner Up:
Dani Miller with her story Day of Salvation!!
Grand Prize Winner:
Chloe with her story Her Prince is a White Lamb!!
Congratulations Chloe, Dani, and Olivia!! I am thrilled for each of you! You will each be receiving an email from me later this evening! :)
And congratulations to each of you girls who entered the contest, you all did amazing! :)
Thank you, everyone! Much love! ♥
Life is a journey.
It's this wild, crazy adventure God is beckoning us to walk with Him. There are ups and down, mountaintops and valleys. And along the way, we all look back at some point and marvel at how far He has brought us. At some point we all wonder how things would've been different if we knew then what we know now. Yet what you know now can't change your past, it can only change your future.
But today, somehow, I hope what I have learned from my journey can help you in yours. So that somehow you can know now what I wish I would've known then.
Nine years ago today my life changed forever. The God who created me and birthed me into existence whispered to my heart so strongly that it took my breath away.
March 9, 2008 I laid in my bed trying to go to sleep after attending the yearly missions conference at a new church we had begun to attend.
I was so young. I didn't even fully understand a lot of what I'd been hearing at that conference of the missionaries far away and the people who had nothing. I was almost eleven years old.
That night my heart was so unsettled. I was so restless. I didn't even know why.
In that moment, I felt the presence of God with me in a way that was so strong I hadn't experienced it like that before. His whisper in my heart was so clear to me that I knew it wasn't my imagination.
Go and tell them.
Honestly, I was terrified. What? What did this even mean? I can't even fully explain this moment to you, nor do I expect you to understand it. If you don't believe me, that's fine too. I'm not sharing this with you to gain your approval. After years of searching for approval, I've realized that what you all think or believe about this doesn't actually matter at all.
No, I'm sharing this with you because that day God called me to a country that my heart has fallen in love with. God has called me to the beautiful country of Uganda. And the funny part? I've not actually even gone to Uganda yet. Yet somehow, that's the most beautiful part of my journey.
These past nine years have been quite the ride. There are so many things I wish I would've done differently, so many times I wish I would've trusted God deeper. But that's also part of the journey. Learning as you go.
I don't know what your story is. If you've been called to foreign missions or not. But whatever your story is, I do know this. All of us need to learn better what it means to trust God with all of our hearts.
So today I invite you into a brief letter of what I would've told my younger self nine years ago...and maybe it'll help change your life too.
Dear Younger Me...
Today your life will change forever. March 9, 2008. You don't fully understand this right now. You don't understand how it will change things in the years to come. You don't know the lessons you will learn and the adventures you will be taken on.
The mountaintops and valleys of this journey will be intense. I know that. It'll be hard. It'll be crazy. You'll want to give up. And even if you don't believe it at this moment, you will give up in the months to come. You will turn your back on this dream from God and convince yourself it never happened. Because the truth is, you're scared.
So listen close, please.
Just because you're scared doesn't mean that you have to walk away. This fear is the enemy's way of holding you back from the dream God created you for. Don't let him win this battle. That day when you feel like giving up, don't. That day when you feel like pretending none of this happened, don't convince yourself of that. Because it did happen. You were called. And God is your strength so you never have to give up.
I know you have dreams in your heart that are so much different than this one. Dreams that you've held close for as long as you can remember. And I know it'll hurt to give them up. I know it'll feel like it's breaking your heart to let go of your dreams for His. But the secret that you don't realize right now? The day you let go and give your dreams to Him, He'll open your eyes to realize that His dream for you is everything you've ever wanted, because He is everything for you. And you know what else? You'll fall in love. Yes, your heart will be captivated by the people of Uganda that you will begin to love so deeply. Your heart will stay in this beautiful country that you've not yet had the honor of seeing with your eyes. But more than that, you will fall in love with your dream Giver. You will fall deeper in love with Him, because you will begin to realize that your dream is more about you and Him than anything else.
You will make mistakes. You will think you know exactly how this dream is going to turn out. You will believe that you know the timing of everything. And you will proudly and excitedly tell every person you can about the calling God has placed on your life. Dear heart, not everyone will believe you. They will laugh, they will shake their heads, they will tell you that you are wrong. Some will even not believe that God could've spoken to you in that way.
Their opinions, dear child, do not define you or what God has called you to do. Their opinions honestly do not matter. Yes, some of them will have great advice. Yes, some of them will have good intentions. But don't you let them convince you for one moment that you were not called. Because you were. Girl, you've been given a gift. Not everyone is called to the foreign mission field. But you were. He chose you! He doesn't need you, but He wants you. He wants you to experience this adventure with Him. Embrace it with all of your heart.
Oh, yeah, and about the waiting?
It's going to seem like forever. Because I know in your young mind you are fully convinced that when you are eighteen years old, you're going to go to Uganda for the first time.
Here's the truth, dear.
You won't. You won't see Uganda when you're eighteen. You won't see Uganda when you're nineteen. And honestly, I don't know when you will. Maybe it'll be when you're twenty, or twenty-one, or maybe God won't send you until you're thirty.
I know you will wonder why in the world God called you on March 9, 2008 when nine years later, He still wouldn't have sent you. You will be so confused.
But here's the secret you won't learn till much later.
God calling you to Uganda was not as much about the destination of getting there as it was the journey of following. And in the journey of following you will grow. You will learn. You will fail. Yet you will become so much in love with Jesus that the waiting won't seem as hard after awhile.
Here's what you must remember. You were called. Nothing and no one can change that. Not even the waiting. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your eyes on His timing. And when the time is perfect, because His timing always is, He will smile so gently on your heart and you will know. You will know that it's time to go. Just keep waiting. Those who wait on Him will renew their strength and mount up on wings like eagles. Don't give up.
And another amazing part of this journey? God will give you the chance to do what you've always dreamed of doing. He will give you a story and a message to share in a book that He is going to use to change peoples' lives. I know you can't imagine that right now, but that's the beauty of this journey.
It's so much greater and more beautiful than you ever could've imagined.
Keep on believing, dreamer girl.
Don't you ever give up.
An Older Me
If you're anything like me you love pictures. Of course, you might not be as obsessed with taking them as I am, but nonetheless, you probably love having them.
A picture can speak where words seem to fail. A picture can bring back floods of memories, of nostalgia, of images from long ago. A picture can tell a story.
And again, if you're anything like me, you've looked back on a picture and wondered where the time went. Maybe it was a picture from years ago, or maybe a picture taken only several months earlier, but either way it can seem like the time went by so quickly. So much can happen in between the snapshots we take with our cameras. So much can change in our lives or in us. And before we know it we're looking back on a snapshot taken years ago and we can't even believe it's been that long.
Time just goes too fast.
The older I get, the more I realize this. In two months I'll say goodbye to my "teenage" years, even though it seems just yesterday I entered them by turning thirteen.
And looking back, I wonder if I've taken more snapshots than just with my camera.
You see, the way to slow down time is to take snapshots from your heart.
A snapshot is usually a quick picture taken, that's sometimes not even planned. Have you ever seen a beautiful view or your friend laughing and grabbed your camera quick to capture that precious moment? You knew it was something worth remembering and you wanted to capture it before it was gone.
That's what we need to be doing with our lives.
We need to be jumping into every moment ready to make it something special that's worth remembering.
When we see those lonely, hurting hearts crying out for help, stop time for just a moment to sit with them and let them know they aren't alone.
When your siblings want you to join them on a picnic adventure under the hot summer sun, go dancing barefoot with them in the green grass. Make it a snapshot worthy moment for your heart to remember.
Allow every moment you step into to become beautiful, by your smile, by your heart. Allow your hands to reach, your words to speak, and your feet to go. To do whatever it is God is asking of you that will slow down each moment and make it a snapshot your heart will remember forever.
Each moment is a gift and each moment is passing you by faster than you could ever imagine.
Don't let even one moment go to waste. ♥
Hello lovelies! I meant to get this posted sooner but, as you may or may not know, I've had the stomach flu pretty badly, so I haven't been up to much posting (which is why there was an absence from the Weekly Princess Inspiration over at www.thekingsprincessmagazine.weebly.com) :( I'm still not feeling the greatest, not 100% better, so prayers would still be appreciated. :) <3
Anyways, just quickly before I lose my energy for the day, I just wanted to drop this quick post to remind everyone of the contest deadline for the story contest I'm hosting, "Once Upon a Time"! The deadline is quickly approaching and the last day to submit entries is this coming Tuesday, February 28th, 2017! So if you want to enter but haven't yet, make sure you get it in before this date! :D
Can't wait to read your stories <3
Have you ever stood in front of the ocean, shielding your eyes, squinting, to see how far it goes?
But you never find the ending, do you?
The ocean is one of my favorite places in the world. Hearing the thunder of waves crashing into the sand that squishes between your toes and feeling the cold water hit your ankles. These are things I love.
And so many times I've stood in front of the ocean and looked out, trying to see as far as I could. But I've never found the end of the water. It seems to go on forever.
And you know the love of Jesus?
It's like that.
His love is strong and beautiful. His love goes as far as what you can see and even beyond that. His love really does go on forever. There is no beginning and no end. He has and will love you forever.
And maybe that's why I love the ocean so much. Because it reminds me of His great, unending love. It reminds me that the one who created something as beautiful and powerful as the ocean, loved me enough to make one of me too.
But you know what?
Sometimes we forget His love.
Because the world is so distracting, isn't it? Sometimes it distracts us so much that we turn away from the greatest romance of our lives because the world has caught our focus instead.
We get caught up in the love of this world. The temporal, fading love this world offers us that will never last. The love we see in Hollywood and the love we see in the media. We reach for it in every way we can, thinking it'll make us complete. By dressing to impress, flirting to get attention, and going from one boyfriend to the next, searching. Searching for that endless love.
We get caught up in the dreams of this world. The cheap, plastic dreams that promise if you get a good education, a good job with benefits, and climb the corporate ladder, then maybe you'll make your mark on the world. We reach for it by constantly wearing ourselves out working so hard to make that next sale, make more money, get that big job. Searching for something to satisfy.
We get caught up in all of it. All of these things that we think will satisfy us. All of these things that we think will fulfill us. We get caught up in it because somewhere along the way, we got distracted from the Lover of our soul that whispers His love to us in everything.
That rainbow after the storm? It's His promise to you. That hot summer day where the sun kisses your cheeks and makes you feel free? It's His whisper of joy found in Him. That ocean stretching farther than you could ever see? It's His promise of unending love.
So here's my question for you, dear heart.
You know the truth. You know His love. You know how much you mean to Him. You know that He is the true Lover of your soul. You know that He is crazy about you. You know that nothing you ever do will ever make Him walk away. You know that you make Him smile. You know that His love is everything you will ever need.
So is He everything that you want?
Are you willing to make Him all that your heart desires, whatever that means?
Maybe it means letting go of your earthly ideas of love to grasp a hold of this crazy, radical love He is offering to you. Maybe it means walking away from a dream of this world to take a hold of His great and holy dreams for your life. Maybe it means losing things close to you to stand with Him. Maybe it means being rejected by the world so that you can find your acceptance and identity in Him.
Here's what I promise you.
He is all you will ever need. He is everything.
Run back to Him, dear one. Whatever has distracted you or taken you away from Him, run back to His arms. Remember that He is your true Lover.
Let Him be all that your heart ever wants.
And next time you stand at the ocean? Let those crashing waves remind you that His love never ends.
His love is everything.
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
So, I'm a bit late getting this post up (ah, this week just flew by!), but I have some super exciting news to share with you anyway! :D
I've had the honor of joining the writing team for Christ Centered Girls magazine as some of you may know (www.christcenteredgirls.wordpress.com) and I absolutely love this ministry! The founder of CCG, Kylie Jacobs, is an absolute gem! To find out more about CCG, feel free to check out their website! :)
But the exciting news I have to share with you is that CCG just released a brand NEW issue, the February/March issue!! It's such a fun, uplifting issue and you should totally check it out! :) You can view the issue at this link (don't forget to submit your email address to receive future issues straight to your inbox!):
This issue features interviews with The George Twins, Carmen Justice (formerly from 1GN!), and Christi Given! All of these interviews were super fun to read through. :)
This issue also features lots of fashion/beauty advice and some delicious smoothie recipes! The DIY Valentine's Day gift ideas were also a blast (I know Valentine's Day is over now, but you can still use them to surprise someone special!)! Kylie also has a special article featured on staying pure which is super encouraging! There's also an article on faith/fear which is encouraging as well! And much more!
So, as you can probably tell, I'm excited and think you should check this out! :)
Yay, for the new CCG issue!! ♥
Okay, so here's the truth.
Most single people, especially single girls, dislike Valentine's Day.
Can I even go as far as to say that some singles even hate Valentine's Day?
They dread the cut-out hearts, the roses, the cards, the heart balloons at every store. Their heart aches to see the couples walking hand in hand through the park or sitting laughing at the mall as they share a milkshake. I mean, let's face it, even Snapchat has caught the "love bug," and has filters all about hearts and pink.
So what's the single girl to do on Valentine's Day?
Hide out in her room until all the roses and chocolates disappear off the grocery store shelves? Avoid going to the mall or parks to avoid seeing the cute couples? Even turn away from love altogether?
Well, girl, let's get one thing straight.
You don't have to hate Valentine's Day.
That's right. You heard me.
As a single lady, you do not have to hate Valentine's Day. It does not have to be your most dreaded day of the year.
In fact, I'm going to even go into the unknown territory of assuring you that you can party and celebrate this day just as much (if not more so) than any couple can!
Now before you stop scrolling through this post and claim me as a weirdo, let me explain.
You see, you're a princess.
If you've been following this blog or my magazine ministry at all, you know I strongly believe in the royal identity of each and every one of God's children.
As children--daughters--adopted into the family of the Most High God, our identity has changed too.
We are no longer the sinner orphans with a future of death and shame. We are His redeemed princess with a future of life and hope, because of Him.
Girl, get excited!!
Do you have any idea what this means?!
We are His PRINCESS! His chosen one! His loved one! And He is our Prince Charming! He is our one true Love, the only Lover who could ever satisfy our soul.
You know that desire inside of you to be loved? That desire you've sought to quench in every way you can think of? Boys, money, popularity, internet. And you know how you walk away every time feeling more empty than before?
It's because those things were never meant to fill you, dear one.
The only One who can ever fill your heart is the One who knows your heart better than you do. Jesus, your Prince Charming, is the only Love that can ever make you complete.
His love is all that can satisfy.
So, dear beautiful girl, won't you let me take your hand and look deep into those gorgeous eyes of yours as I tell you something very special?
You are amazing. Having a boyfriend does not define this. Whether you have a boyfriend on Valentine's Day or not doesn't define your worth. You are worth so much more than that. You are beautiful. And if any guy has ever made you feel less than that, do me the honor of turning your back on him and letting him know that Jesus thinks you're heart-stopping gorgeous, because that's just how He made you. And, darling girl, you're loved. Loved, loved, loved. So much more than you could ever imagine. So much more than you can comprehend. And so much more than you even know that you need.
He's crazy about you.
And honestly? His love is all that matters on Valentine's Day, because earthly love could never come close to His love for you.
So won't you join me in changing the world's mindset on Valentine's Day?
Why don't we make this Valentine's Day the best of them all?
Here are just a few ideas...
1) Spend your day with Jesus. Read His love letter to you, the Bible. Write your own love letter to Him. Sing worship songs at the top of your lungs. Declare His goodness from the rooftops (not literally, I don't want you to fall or anything)!
2) Give love away. Because Valentine's Day isn't supposed to be an exclusive couples holiday (sorry, couples, but it's actually not just about you). Give flowers to your mom. Send chocolate to the girl who feels forgotten. Hug a friend who feels lonely. Smile at the person down the street.
3) Tell someone about Love that will never leave. It's inevitable you probably know someone with a broken heart on Valentine's Day. Maybe their heart wasn't broken by a boyfriend or girlfriend exactly, but maybe it was broken by a hard situation. Won't you tell them about Jesus' love? His love isn't meant to be kept to yourself. It's meant to be given away.
4) Party! Oh, girl, live it up today. Buy that chocolate (you know me, get it fair trade!), splurge on that dress you've been wanting, get those flowers! Oh, and who doesn't love celebrating with some pizza?! Get those friends over and celebrate! You're a princess! Your Prince Charming adores you! Celebrate His love. ♥
Girls, let's make this the best Valentine's Day ever.
Let's show the world that Valentine's Day is, yes, all about love, but we know the greatest Love that could ever be. Let's introduce the world to His love tomorrow.
Oh, and don't forget that chocolate. (I've already eaten a whole bar of it).
Happy Valentine's Day, fellow single princesses. ♥
Girls!! I have some super exciting news! :D
As most of you lovely readers probably know, since last August I've been interning with an AMAZING magazine ministry called Crown of Beauty. I had the privilege of helping with our latest issue, the GLOW issue that came out last month! If you haven't had the chance to check that out yet, I highly encourage you to do so, it had some incredible articles in it!
Crown of Beauty founder, Livy, asked me if I would be interested in heading up the next issue of the magazine and I am so thrilled to be on this adventure! Me and my team are excitedly working on this issue, the BRAVE issue! (Super, super excited that the issue theme is bravery!)
But we want YOU to be excited too because we have a fun, special way for you to get involved in this issue! We are having a Cover Girl contest and all the details you will need can be found right here:
If you are a young lady who wants to share your story of a time when you had to be brave and show courage despite your fear, we'd absolutely love to hear your story! But hurry and check it out because the contest won't be up for very long!
Below I have the video I made for Crown of Beauty, sharing about how I got connected with them and a little bit more about our contest! Check it out :)
Okay, so to be honest, writing the dedication for my books is one of my favorite parts. No, not because it's the least difficult part. You see, writing the dedication isn't that easy for me.
Since I was eight I've been writing stories and "books." I was twelve when I finished my first actual book (yes, it was a real book! 100 pages, haha!). At this point, I began writing dedications for each of my books to come. All 13 of them. But the three books I've published have been the most special to dedicate.
I dedicated my first book, I Dare You, to my twin sister. And rightfully so, because she inspires me and encourages me to always pursue my dreams. She was the writer I always wanted to be like. My second book, The King's Princess, was dedicated to the faithful subscribers of my magazine, because that book would've never happened without their support of the magazine! My third book, Worth it All, was dedicated to my Rachel, and I wouldn't have dreamed of dedicating it any other way. No explanation needed there.
You see, the dedications in my books are so special to me because these books are my heart and soul. My books contain pieces of my life and all of my stress, tears, and joy poured into writing them. The person I'm dedicating the book to has to have played a vital role in my journey of not only writing, but also in my life. (So if one day I dedicate a book to you, know how special that is ;))
Yet if you have any of my books, you also know that in each one of them the dedication is also to my King, my Jesus. :) I have chosen to dedicate every one of my published books, and all the ones to come, to Jesus first. Because without Him I am literally nothing. Without Him there is no point in the book or even in living.
The other day as I was looking at my dedications and thinking of how much they mean to me, this thought crossed my mind...
What if we lived our lives like a dedication?
When you're dedicating something to someone you're telling them that you're giving it to them, you're honoring them with it.
So what if we lived our lives like a dedication to Jesus?
What if we chose to give Him every part of our lives and honor Him with it?
Living a life of dedication to Jesus isn't always easy. It'll cost you. You won't always understand His plan. You won't always have mountain top experiences. You will walk through the valley and the fire.
But just like writing a book that causes lots of stress and tears throughout the process?
It'll be worth it in the end.
So I dare you this week to focus on how you can live this dedicated life to Jesus. If your life was like a book to the world, would it be obvious to the readers that the dedication was to Jesus?
Make Him your all-consuming passion and your all-consuming desire. Make everything you do something that brings Him honor.
Dedicate it all to Him, because He gave it all up for you. ♥
Calling all my writers out there!
Once upon a time...
The way every great story or tale usually begins. The way all of the fairytale princess movies have started out, until they famously end with "happily ever after."
It can be so easy to read these great tales and sigh as we close the book, wishing that we could have our own "once upon a time" tale of heroism, adventure, and romance.
But the truth?
Your once upon a time has already begun. Your great tale of heroism and adventure is awaiting you. Every day with Jesus is an adventure and the greatest romance of all time as you fall deeper in love with the great Prince who died for you. Your story is being written by the greatest Author of all time and your "once upon a time" began on the day your first cry entered this world.
Yet the story that fills your pages is up to you every day. Will you choose His path? Or your own? What will your great "once upon a time" tell?
Dear, writers, I have a special announcement for you! Today I am announcing my first "Once Upon a Time Story Contest"! The contest ends February 28th, 2017, so check out all the details today! :) If you're a writer who enjoys writing fiction, this is just for you! Ready for the details? Here we go...
Begins: February 1, 2017
Deadline for entries: February 28, 2017
Winner announced: March 18, 2017
Maximum of 2,000 words. Fiction story can be anywhere between that word count, but cannot exceed that amount.
Type your story in a Microsoft Word document in Times New Roman font and font size, 12.
Only include story title and story content in your first document.
In a separate document include story title, your first and last name, and your age. You may also include a short bio and picture for the blog to be used if you are chosen as a winner.
Our judge will not know the authors of the stories when she is judging, which is why we need two separate documents. Do not include your name in the document with your story, but do not forget to include the story title!
The story theme is what I wrote above! Use this to launch your story ideas and plot. Whether you want to write about princesses, or your very own once upon a time adventure, use the above paragraph to create inspiration!
Please submit all entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, contact me using my email address or the contact form here on my blog!
Grand prize: Winner's choice of 1 copy of either of my three books, "I Dare You," "The King's Princess," or "Worth it All." Winner's story featured right here on my blog and also featured in my monthly e-magazine, The King's Princess!
Runner up: The runner up will have their story featured on my blog and will also receive a PDF version of my first book "I Dare You."
Are you ready, dear writers? Get set...go!
Our Special Guest Judge for the Contest!
Our special guest judge who will be judging the stories for the Once Upon a Time Story Contest will be...MacKenzie Morganthal!
I'm so grateful, Kenzie agreed to judge for this contest! Kenzie has been a writer for over ten years and has authored her first debut novel, Not Abandoned which released on May 30, 2015. She has lots of wisdom to share regarding writing and I know she will do a great job as a judge for this contest!
Thank you, Kenzie!
I think one fear that dictates so much of our actions and responses is this feeling of being left out.
Just think about it.
We dress a certain way to fit in with the popular kids. We act a certain way to get attention. We speak a certain way to gain more friends. We wear ourselves out constantly performing for others so that they will like us and invite us to be a part of who they are.
Because inside all of us there is this fear of being left out. Because the fear of being left out boils down to the fear of being alone.
And no one wants to be alone.
Maybe that's why rejection hurts so badly. Maybe that's why a friend's betrayal cuts too deep or a parent's absence wounds a little too much. Maybe that's why your heart burns a little when your friends all go to an event together and leave you out entirely. Maybe that's why your feelings are bruised when your friends ignore you in conversations.
Because being alone and left out hurts like crazy. And being alone makes you feel forgotten.
Maybe, just maybe, that's the hidden fear behind it all.
The hidden fear behind your eyes when you are afraid that if you do not measure up, everyone will leave you alone. The hidden fear that when your friends start having conversations without you, you will be left out.
Because we're afraid of being forgotten.
When the people in our lives can seemingly go on, leaving us and our hurts, out of the equation, we feel hopelessly forgotten and alone. That feeling you got in the youth group when all the girls whispered behind your backs and left you out of the group, is now a hidden wound in your heart that yells "danger!" anytime someone else begins to ignore you.
But are you ready for some truth to rain into your Saturday evening tonight?
Because there is a truth so great that it can absolutely shatter to pieces this fear of being alone, this lie of being forgotten.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely, they may forget, yet I will not forget you." (Isaiah 49:15, emphasis mine)
Do you see the truth here, sweet reader?
As seemingly impossible as it may be for a mother to forget their child whom they gave birth to, this verse says that surely they may forget.
But Jesus is leaning in close and whispering to the wounded places of your heart and soul...
I will not forget you.
He promises to never forget you and here is His promise that He gives right after in verse 16, so you can be sure...
"See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me."
He says that He has inscribed us, inscribed your very name, on the palm of His hand! How can you not trust and believe in His promise that He will never forget you? He has given you a sign.
So this, my friend, is my encouragement to you next time those hurtful feelings of being left out resurface in your memory.
Though your friends may leave you out. Though your family may forget you.
He never will.
Not for a moment. Not ever.
You are wholly known and wholly loved by Him. His presence is always with you, so you are never alone. His thoughts are always about you, so you are never forgotten. And He always extends His hand to you to be with Him, so you are never left out.
Lift your head up, dear one.
You are remembered. ♥
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.