I was seventeen years old when I walked across the stage in my royal blue cap and gown to receive my high school diploma, handed to me by my mom.
I was a 2014 graduate, graduating with a diploma of distinction and music honors. It definitely hadn't been easy, especially since I chose to put in the extra work to graduate early, but it was so worth it.
Since it is graduation season, I have a few graduation posts coming up in the next few weeks, but for now I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate something that shaped my life as an adult. I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the gift of homeschooling.
This is for my mom...to remind you of all the ways you shaped me for now through homeschooling me then.
This is for you, the mom who may want to look into homeschooling but isn't all that sure...I hope you find some encouragement here.
This is for you, the homeschool graduate who wants to take a moment with me to remember your homeschooling days...what a blessing.
This is for you, the current homeschooler who sometimes takes homeschooling for granted (I was right there with you some days during high school)...may this remind you of how exciting it is to be one of those crazy homeschoolers.
Here are five ways that homeschooling shaped me as an adult...
1. Homeschooling prepared me for life in the real world. Instead of hearing about the real world, or being taught about the real world, I actually experienced life in the real world. Being homeschooled allowed me the opportunity to take my school anywhere! I learned lessons in things like math, while actually doing real life math problems such as managing finances. I experienced life outside of school...and by doing that, I learned that all of life is a learning lesson.
2. Homeschooling allowed me the freedom to pursue my dreams. The first time I fell in love with writing was when my mom gave me a creative story assignment for school. I learned that I love to write. Since that moment my life has never been the same. Because I was homeschooled, my mom gave me the freedom to shape my schooling around what I loved...writing. I learned grammar and editing through writing my own books. And because of this, I am a twenty-one-year-old adult who has pursued her dreams and published five books.
3. Homeschooling gave me a love for learning. I actually enjoyed school. I was going to say I loved it, but let's not get all crazy homeschooler here (I mean, my mom probably still felt like she was pulling teeth to get me to do math some days). But because homeschooling allowed me freedom in my learning, I did fall in love with it! This has carried over even into my adult life...because you never stop learning.
4. Homeschooling gave me the freedom to learn what was most important. Okay, so this was really my mom. But my mom is the one who homeschooled me, so it works. Knowing your Bible and learning about God and developing a relationship with Him is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. My mom always put Bible lessons at the beginning of all of our school lessons for the day. This taught me an important truth for my adulthood: Jesus should always come first. And homeschooling allowed us to do that.
5. Homeschooling brought me into an awesome community. Ever met an un-socialized homeschoolers? Nope. Especially not this ENFJ, who makes friends with just about everyone she meets. Being homeschooled, I connected with the homeschooling community in my area and also with those who didn't live near me. These people are some of the most intelligent, well-mannered, mature individuals I've ever met. The community I was able to be involved in grew me and gave me friendships that have lasted even into my adult years.
What a blessing homeschooling was in my life and I'm so grateful. Also, thanks, Mom. Without you I wouldn't be writing this.
If you're a homeschooler, I'd love to hear from you below! What are some lessons being homeschooled taught you that you are most grateful for? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Please, do not take this post offensively. Please, do not leave me hate comments. I am not writing this post to say why you shouldn't go to college. I wrote this post to share why I didn't. If you didn't go to college either, then this post is also for you. I have plenty of friends who are going to college or who have graduated college and I am proud of them and their achievements. This is just my personal reasons for a path I have personally chosen.
Read at your own risk.
I graduated high school right after I turned seventeen.
Because of my mom's nurturing throughout my entire years of schooling I was able to graduate homeschool early with a diploma of distinction, as well as a music honors diploma.
On my graduation day, I can still remember the most popular question I was asked that day.
"What is your major going to be in college?"
Which was closely tied with the question:
"Where are you going to college?"
College was never really a part of my plan. I received an excellent high school education under the instruction of my mom. College was just not something I felt I needed.
But why did the world always seem to tell me it was?
Every well-meaning person I met who asked where I was going to college, was shocked when I said that I was not. My response was so against modern culture.
So why exactly was my response so against the world?
Well, probably because the world has been feeding some pretty outrageous myths about college to our generation and the generations before us. And here are just a few of them:
College Myth #1: You won't succeed without college.
Truth #1: College does not determine your success.
A lot of times in my conversations with people about college, I would hear the same thing over and over.
"But if you don't go to college you won't get a good job!" or "To pursue your dreams you need a college education for them."
Here's the thing a lot of people falsely believe about college: without it, you cannot succeed.
But the Biblical truth that I believe?
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
A lot of people didn't think that I could become a young, successful writer without college or a formal journalism education.
But here I am.
And I didn't get here--the published author of five books, a magazine editor/founder, writer for a blog that receives an average of 2,000 views a week, writing ambassador for a ministry I believe in--because of college.
I got here because of Jesus.
You can too.
College Myth #2: College prepares you for the "real world."
Truth #2: Jesus prepared me for the real world.
A common idea that I heard in regards to college was that college would prepare me for the "real world." They said college would teach me "responsibility" and that if I didn't go to college I wouldn't fit into our culture.
But what I saw in our culture?
Millions of young people in my generation going into debt. People my age taking loans out for thousands of dollars to earn a degree that a lot of people I know are not currently using in their life. The statistics of student loans and college debt are staggering. And the world's solution? Credit cards. More debt.
I also saw in college culture the trend of young people leaving the church. Instead of growing closer to Jesus, young people fell away from Him in college to fit in and party with the crowd. I watched friends at Christian colleges lose their faith just as much as those at non-Christian colleges.
What I learned?
The Bible was my road map and guide for real life. Not a college education.
The Bible taught me about debt and God's plan for money. The Bible taught me about responsibility and respect and making the most of my youth, because my life is but a vapor.
Jesus prepared me for life in the real world. Not college.
College Myth #3: Everyone has to go to college to fit in.
Truth #3: I am called to be different from the world (Romans 12:2).
Since entering high school I have felt a lot of pressure to "do what everyone else is doing" and go to college. I have received countless comments from well-meaning adults encouraging me to "be wise" and go to college like everyone else.
I pray that if I make any wise decision in my life it is to pursue the path of godliness and the path that God sets me on to walk.
For some, that is college. For some, God is leading you into a dream He has for you that may require higher education. I'm not condemning anyone and I'm not against anyone who goes to college. Please, do not think I am implying this.
I simply want to remind you that no decision should be made because "everyone does it." If you feel led to college, pray about it. Pray about God's will for your life, whichever path that may take--college or not.
You don't have to go to college simply because everyone does it.
I've always been a little different from the world and I'm proud of that. Jesus didn't fit in either. You don't change the world by looking like it.
Friends, my point is simply this:
If you have chosen to attend college, continue to serve Jesus in the college where He is leading you and continue making wise and Biblical decisions on that path.
And if you have chosen not to attend college, I hope that the worldly myths I did share about college have encouraged you in some way. May your identity come from Christ and not your education.
And to everyone reading:
Never give up serving Christ wherever He may have you.
Happy Monday! Today I am so very excited about the interview I have for you to read.
If you're familiar with Girl Defined Ministries, then you may be aware that Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird (authors of Girl Defined) released their second book, Love Defined on May 1st! If you haven't heard about Love Defined yet, then you're in for a treat.
Kristen and Bethany have so graciously agreed to chat with me and share their heart on my blog here today. They discussed their new book and it's an honor to glean from the wisdom and insight they share here.
Ready to listen in?
Bella: Thank you so much for joining me today, Bethany and Kristen! I am so excited about your brand new book, Love Defined. Can you just start off by sharing a little bit about who you are and how you started your ministry, Girl Defined?
Bethany and Kristen: We would love to share a little bit about ourselves. We are sisters, best friends, both live in Texas, and are really tall (6’1 to be exact). The two of us are only a year and nine months apart in age, which means we’ve pretty much been best friends since the day we were born. As the two of us grew older in age, and began learning more and more about God’s incredible design for femininity, we slowly developed a passion for sharing that message. Back in 2014, we had the amazing opportunity to launch, Girl Defined Ministries. God has been so amazing to us over the past four years and we seriously anticipate all that He will do through this ministry in the future.
Bella: In your first book, Girl Defined, you talked all about God’s design for womanhood. Why do you believe it is important for young women to understand their identity in Christ? And how do you believe that spills over into their views of love and marriage?
Bethany and Kristen: Sadly, God’s design for womanhood has been trampled on and almost completely rejected. Most women in our modern day do not esteem God’s Word or His design for their lives. Instead, many women look to famous feminist leaders and celebrity influencers for direction on how they should live and think. The two of us have seen what happens when we ignore God’s design for our lives and it’s not pretty. In a culture filled with eating disorders, depression, sexual addictions, and relational brokenness, we need truth-filled answers that lead towards lasting peace and satisfaction. The only way to find that hope, is to look to the Creator Himself. Instead of leaving God in the dust, we need to turn to Him for guidance. The more we, as women, define our worth and identity according to God’s beautiful design, the more joy-filled and satisfied we will become. The two of us wrote Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity to help modern women understand how to live out biblical womanhood in our modern day.
If we, as women, don’t understand where our worth comes from, we will often look to guys to give us that worth. That is a recipe for disaster though. Nobody in the world (outside of God) can give us lasting satisfaction. Instead of looking to a relationship to give us purpose and identity, we need to look to Christ. Our brand-new book, Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting love and Satisfying Relationships, unpacks God’s design for true love and shows women how to find ultimate hope and satisfaction.
Bella: Love Defined, your brand new book, is all about God’s purpose and design for love and relationships. What inspired you or motivated you to begin the process of writing this book? And why do you believe it is a message that young women so desperately need to hear?
Bethany and Kristen: The two of us grew up like any normal girl. We watched the fairy tales and we read the princess books. We took note of what we saw. Perfect love stories were built on strong feelings and intense chemistry. As we grew older, and each experienced our first real breakups, we soon realized how false Hollywood’s representation of love truly is. Love isn’t based on feelings alone, but on true agape love. A love that is self-sacrificing and committed no matter what. As we entered our adult years, we soon realized that most modern women were not thriving in their romantic relationships. Many of them were feeling lost, confused, and in need of serious direction. When the two of us were offered a contract for our second book (which is now Love Defined), it didn’t take long to decide on the topic of love and romance.
If we, as modern women, don’t understand God’s bigger purpose for romance, we will continue to struggle down the same miserable path. We will continue to experience relational brokenness and we will never live out what God originally intended. Our hope is that Love Defined will inspire women to strive towards something more magnificent and Christ-centered.
Bella: Now, I know Kristen, you are married, and Bethany, you’re currently in a relationship. But for both of you, during your years of singleness, what were some spiritual disciplines that you kept to draw closer to Christ and keep your focus on Him?
Bethany and Kristen: Yes! I (Kristen) have been married for almost seven years. I got married when I was 24 and Zack was 23. I (Bethany) am 29 and have been single up until this point. I am in a very serious relationship with my boyfriend, David and I’m extremely excited about the future. Looking back though, the two of us clearly remember the days of singleness. Those years can often feel lonely, sad, and depressing for many single women. Unless we intentionally choose to trust God and live for Him, we will often feel very discontent. First and foremost, the two of us believe that an intentional relationship with Jesus will make it or break it for single women. Learning to fill your affections with Christ and His love, is crucial. That must be the focus and number one priority. Secondly, the two of us were extremely intentional with ministering to others and serving in our church. Getting our eyes off of our needs, our loneliness, and our wants, and onto others, was huge! Having the opportunity to serve in our churches was extremely helpful!
Bella: Do you have any advice for girls who may be struggling with a crush and they don’t know how to handle it?
Bethany and Kristen: The two of us totally get how confusing feelings can be. We’ve had our fair share of crushes and it’s often hard to know what to do with those feelings. It’s so important to remember that God designed us with feelings and He designed us to find guys attractive. That was all His idea. So, what do we do? When we find someone attractive or exciting, what do we do with those feelings? The two of us would encourage any young women to do a few things. 1. Seek advice from an older wiser woman. Whether it’s an older girl in your church, or your mom, find someone who can give you good advice on the specific situation. 2. Learn and grow in your understanding of God’s design for love. Understanding the bigger picture for love and romance can be extremely helpful during the teen and single years. Love Defined would be a great place to start. 3. Pick a Bible verse and memorize it. Psalm 51:10 would be a great place to start. The next time you are struggling with your thoughts or feelings towards a guy, begin quoting Scripture to yourself. That has been super helpful for us.
Bella: I love ending interviews with a fun question, so if you could invent any ice cream flavor in the world, what would it be?
Bethany and Kristen: Ohhhhh what a fun question!! Hmmm I (Bethany) would totally go with Gold Glitter Ice cream. I love sparkles and glitter and can only imagine how yummy that would taste. I (Kristen) love the idea of glow-in-the-dark ice cream. I’m thinking glow-in-the-dark ice cream that tastes like cotton candy. Pretty much a winner ;)
My Thoughts on the Book...
Love Defined is a breath of fresh air for women desiring to do love and romance God's way.
Hollywood and media constantly bombard us in today's world with their false ideas of love, romance, and boys. When we're constantly being told what the world says is right, we can find it difficult to view love from God's perspective.
Love Defined provides a fresh perspective for women who want to honor Christ with every area of their lives. Kristen and Bethany write in a friendly, down-to-earth way, sharing relatable and easy to read stories throughout the entire book.
I would recommend Love Defined to any young women looking for a different way of viewing love and romance--anyone who wants to gain an understanding of how God views these things.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*
Kristen Clark is married to her high school sweetheart, Zack, is the cofounder of GirlDefined Ministries and coauthor of Girl Defined and Love Defined. She is passionate about promoting the message of biblical womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she’s just a fun-lovin’ Texas girl who adores all things outdoors and eats dark chocolate whenever possible.
Bethany Baird is a Texas born and raised girl doing life with her parents and seven siblings. She is the cofounder of GirlDefined Ministries, coauthor of Girl Defined and Love Defined. Bethany is passionate about spreading the truth of biblical womanhood through blogging, speaking, and mentoring young women. To her family and close friends, she is simply a tall blonde girl who loves hosting game nights, is obsessed with smoothie bowls, drinks way too much coffee, and can’t get enough of her little fluffy dog.
Thank you for spending time with us here today, Kristen and Bethany! <3
Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to the blog today! I am inviting you with me into a small fictional world--a place of adventure, romance, and fun--the place called Tarsurella.
I'm so excited to be the next stop on Livy Jarmusch's blog tour for her brand NEW novel, "The Rebellion" that released on May 8th! If you've read her first book "The Coronation" then you are probably rejoicing in excitement with me. And if you haven't but you've been following my blog for awhile, then I'm sure you're familiar with my Tarsurella obsession. (Can anyone say, "I'd so much rather be in Tarsurella right now?")
Livy and I have a special treat for you to start things off on this tour stop! Jane Akerly, a brand NEW character to Tarsurella, is introduced in this incredible sequel to "The Coronation." Jane is spunky, determined, and lives with her head in the clouds. I love her character.
So Livy and I have put together a fun fictional interview with this fictional character, Jane. Ready? Let's take a listen in on their conversation....
Bella: Jane! It’s so exciting to have you drop by our circle of friends here at Worth it All. How about you start by sharing with us just a glimpse into your life and one or two of your favorite things?
Jane: Hello! Thank you so much for having me. This is my first interview, so I'm not entirely sure how this is supposed to work, but I'll do my best and try not to bore your readers. *Laughs nervously*. Well, I am from the rather plain state of Ohio where I attend High School and spend most of my time wishing I wasn't in school. My favorite past-time is writing, so most of my afternoons drift by as I dream up new characters, and try to get words on paper. My life is actually quite mundane and ordinary, so I'm a little surprised you wanted to interview me in the first place...but I suppose my favorite thing in life is writing. I really enjoy storytelling, and it would be fun to maybe someday pursue it professionally. But who knows.
Bella: Who are some of your closest friends?
Jane: I'm a bit of an introvert, so I don't have a lot of friends. But my closest pal is Charlie Tyson. He's a year younger than me, but his IQ level is startling. Though I'm not sure he technically qualifies to be categorized beneath the title of a "Genius", he pretty much is. He and my Dad enjoy discussing the progress on all of their nerdy scientific inventions for hours on end, and anyone who gets along so well with my Father, is definitely friends with me. Charlie can be a bit of an odd-ball a times, but so can I. And my Dad? Well, he's stranger than the two of us put together, so I think we make a pretty fun trio!
Bella: What was your first impression of Tarsurella?
Jane: I've been wanting to go to Europe since the day I learned Europe existed! It's been a lifelong dream of mine, to visit my favorite countries, and Tarsurella is certainly in the Top 5. But my visit to Tarsurella was rather abrupt and unexpected: nothing like I would've preferred or planned. Everything happened so quickly, and honestly, it was a blur. Everything felt like a terrible nightmare from which I couldn't shake myself awake. I wish I wouldn't have been so exhausted and emotionally drained; I might've taken more mental pictures and strived to enjoy it. But I hope to go back some day. With my Dad.
Bella: If you could spend a day with just one member of the royal family who would you choose and why?
Jane: My interactions with the Royal Family were very brief, but they were all so kind. Spending a day with any of them would be an absolute pleasure, and wow, what an honor! It's very difficult to choose, but I think I would have to say Princess Chasity. We seem to have a lot in common. She loves reading as much as I do, so I think we could have a great time together.
Bella: And finally, if you could invent any ice cream flavor in the world what would it be?
Jane: Ha! Charlie and I actually tried to invent a new flavor, several years ago. We had spent a few too many hours watching the Food Network and we were unrealistically inspired to take on a great and impossible task. Charlie thought we could create the first ever Breakfast Blend, with tiny chunks of waffles, maple-syrup candies, bacon, and - ugh, I have no idea how I allowed him to talk me into it - eggs. It was ATROCIOUS. We had never attempted to bake anything before (meals in our house usually consist Ramen Noodles, cereal, and Japanese Takeout!) let alone invent something brand new, and it was just....ugh, I shudder at the memory. So very clearly, I am not the person to be asking about creating a new ice-cream flavor! We'll just leave that to the experts. ;)
Bella: Haha, understood! Thanks for joining us today, Jane! <3
Join the rest of the blog tour at these locations:
May 1st – Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Treasure Hunt, Author Interview & Book Giveaway
May 2nd – Spoonful of Surprises
May 3rd – Writings from a God Girl
Victoria’s Book Nook
Author Interview & Giveaway
The Calico Books
May 4th – GirlZ 4 Christ
May 5th – Riley Aline
Left Handed Typist
May 6th – Taylor Bennett
Interview with Princess Chasity
May 7th – Novels Dragons and Wardrobe Doors
Letters from Annie
Realm Explorers (Learn about Tarsurella!)
Books for Christian Girls
May 8th – THE REBELLION RELEASE! *PARTY DAY!* Fun on www.livylynnblog.com & Instagram
May 9th – A Day in the Life
Musings of a Creative Spirit
May 10th – The Pen of the Writer
Treasure Hunt, Author Interview & Giveaway
May 11th – Among The Reads
Review & Giveaway
Review & Author Interview
May 12th – Audrey Caylin
May 13th – Isabella Morganthal
Interview with Jane Akerly
May 14th – Once Upon an Ordinary
May 15th – I’m Going On an Adventure
SKG FUN Magazine
Interview with Jane Akerly
May 16th – Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Treasure Hunt & Book Review
May 17th – Liv K. Fisher
May 18th – Inspired by Mandy
May 19th – Cup of Thoughts Blog
Ruffles and Grace
Author Interview & Giveaway
May 20th – Kara Swanson
Treasure Hunt & Giveaway
The Peculiar Messenger
May 21st – The Different Girl
Book Review, Character Interview & Giveaway
May 22nd – Among the Reads
Treasure Hunt & Character Interview
Salt and Light Blog
Review & Giveaway
May 23rd – Jannette Fuller
True and Pure
May 24th – Unicorn Quester
The Artful Author
May 25th – The Library in My Room
May 26th – Read a Good Book with Me
Review & Author Interview
May 27th – Hot Chocolate Confessions
Treasure Hunt, Book Review & Interview with Princess Bridget
May 28th – Harder Family Adventures
Word Play (For Writers and Readers)
May 29th – Uniquely Marie
May 30th – Christ is Write
Purely By Faith
May 31st – Stories by Firefly
Livy Jarmusch is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she's not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies.
Connect with Livy here:
~A note to Livy, from your sister in Christ, Bella~
Not only do you stand beside me as we cheer young writers on in their writing goals, but you are my cheerleader. Words can't describe how proud I am of you. Congratulations, sis, on your new novel. You're one of my favorites. <3
Your best friend's birthday is coming up and you want to surprise her with something unique, but you haven't found anything special enough. Or maybe it's Christmas time and you have absolutely no idea what to get your one friend that will show her just what she means to you. So what's a girl to do?
Well, I have created this post to help you solve those problems. I am a little bit of a Pinterest addict (admitting it is the first step to recovery, I'm told), and I adore gathering ideas on there for fun DIY gift projects. I'm going to share with you 10 ideas here that I think will make any friend feel super loved. Ready? Let's do this:
1. Open When letters. My personal favorite. I've done several of these for friends after I was given them as a gift by someone very special to me. Open When letters are a wonderful way to let someone know that you care, and this gift lasts even longer than their birthday or special occasion! I generally create 10-15 cards and each one has a unique reason for them to "open when." Here are some fun ideas to get you started:
*Open when you are feeling sick... (some ideas to include inside the letter: kleenex or tea bags!)
*Open when you go on your first date...
*Open when you are missing me... (include a picture of yourself or the two of you together in this one!)
*Open when you graduate... (even if your friend isn't graduating this year, it's graduation season now so you can snag some pretty cool grad stickers at the Dollar Store or WalMart!)
*Open when you need someone to listen... (stick inside an index card with your telephone number on it!)
2. 365 day jar. I created one of these once and it was a blast. Basically you'll need a pen and little packs of sticky notes that you can get at the Dollar Store, and a little glass jar. I got different colored sticky notes and assigned different meanings to the different colors. For example, maybe the blue sticky notes I wrote fun "remember when's" on. Or the purple sticky notes I would write encouraging Bible verses. Or the orange sticky notes I would scribble down fun ideas to do together someday as friends. Be unique and creative! Once you've got the jar filled with 365 folded up sticky notes, your friend now has a little note from you for every day of her coming year!
3. Flowers. Most girls love flowers. It's just a fact of life. If most of your friends live far away, call a local florist and pay them over the phone to deliver a bouquet of flowers to your friend's doorstep. A friend of Kenzie's did this for her on our twenty-first birthday and oh, was she surprised! Disclaimer: Getting flower bouquets from a florist are expensive. Like crazy expensive. I only actually did this for a friend one time for a very special occasion and her mom paid half too. A fun idea I came up with instead is to get flower seed packets (you can get them at the Dollar Tree) in my friend's favorite color or flower and send those in an envelope. Sometimes I will even remove the seeds from the packet and put them in a plastic bag, so that way my friend has no idea what kind of flowers they are and she will have to wait till they bloom to find out! This is a fun and more affordable alternative to a florist. :)
4. Scrapbook. A scrapbook is a wonderful way to remind your friend of all the memories you two have shared together. Include little notes, mementos from adventures lived together, and of course lots and lots of pictures. Candid pictures always make the best memories for scrapbooks. :)
5. Screenshot memories. I don't know about you, but ever since I got my own phone and learned how to take a screenshot, it has provided me with lots of memories. I personally find my sister and I to be hilarious (we could be our own comedians) and some of the conversations that we have had through text messaging would not be understood by any third party person. But our text conversations are memories that we share and I usually will screenshot most of the funny ones so that I have that image in my camera roll to look back on and laugh. For Kenzie's birthday gift I printed out the pictures of all the screenshots and put them into a photo album. It's a priceless memory and reminder of the fun conversations we have had! Of course if you want to do this with a friend, this would only work if you text each other or message each other on a phone.
6. "I love you" photo frame. I LOVE this one. All you need is some signs, a camera, a photo frame, and yourself! Hold up either a sign that has an "I" on it, or a cardboard cut-out of an "I" and take a picture. Next do the same thing with a heart (either a sign or a cardboard cut-out). And finally do the same thing with the letter, "U." After printing all 3 photos out, get a frame that has space for three photos and put each picture inside the frame. Your friend will have not only a picture of you, but a picture of you telling them that you love them!
7. Pizza night. I did this for a friend once and it was fun. Maybe it's your friend's birthday or maybe they're just having a rough week. If you don't live nearby call into a pizza place near them and order a pizza to deliver to their house. (Always be careful however giving your credit card info over the phone and ask your parent's permission first.) If you live nearby, pick up the pizza yourself and stop over at their house!
8. Sad Jar. Let's face it. We all have our sad days. And sometimes we can't always be there for our friends when they are feeling sad. That's where the sad jar comes in! I've made this two different ways. First, I've filled it with different pieces of candy and placed instructions on the side of the jar that went something like this: "When feeling angry, pick out a snickers bar and eat it. When feeling lonely, choose a Hershey's kiss. When feeling just plain sad, grab a handful of M&M's." Another way that I have done this for those of my friends who may not eat candy like that, is by filling the jar with sticky notes that say different things to cheer them up.
9. Gift puns. I wasn't sure how to word this, but however you word it, they're fun! Here are some examples of what I'm talking about: wrap up a highlighter with the phrase "You are a highlight in my life." A box of tea that says "You are tea-riffic." A measuring tape that says, "You are loved beyond measure." A pair of socks that says "No one can fill your shoes." Reese's pieces that say "I love you to pieces." An apple that says, "You are the apple of my eye." A notebook that encourages, "There isn't enough paper in the world to write all the things I love about you." Be creative and have fun with it!
10. Fill a journal. This is really special. Buy a pretty journal and begin writing in it for your friend. Tell them what they mean to you. Write a little bit each day, maybe sharing whatever you're doing that day. Write down Bible verses or your favorite song lyrics. Share memories, maybe even tape photos into the journal! Once it's full (or even just half-full, and let the rest be place for them to write), wrap it up and give it to your friend!
Our friends are a great gift and it's fun to give back to them in a small way. <3
Share your thoughts in the comments! What are some DIY gift ideas that you have?
We all crave it.
We all crave a friendship where the two of you are more like sisters than friends. We all crave that friend who will accept us for all of our flaws and weakness, see the real us, and still stick around. We all crave a friend who will call us "bestie" and be willing to take crazy selfies with us, even if they aren't in the mood for it.
And while we all hope that someday we'll find a friend like this, a lot of us place all the expectations on our friends and not on ourselves.
Instead of evaluating our friends by our "best friend checklist," we should be evaluating ourselves by the same standard.
Are you the kind of friend you want to have?
Friendship starts with you. It starts with me. If we are not being the kind of friend that we want to have, then we are not being a true friend.
But sometimes it can be just downright hard. Because the truth is that friendship--like any other relationship--can be hard. So how do you start to become the BFF you want to have?
1. Remember that no one is perfect. We all know that our families are not perfect, because we live with them and we see the not-so-perfect side of them every day. But our friends? Sometimes we can forget that they make mistakes too and that they have bad days where they're a little bit (or maybe a lot) grouchy. And here's a news flash: You are not perfect either. Remember that in your friendships each of you are human and each of you will fail each other and hurt one another at some point in time. Which leads me into the next step to remember...
2. Keep communication open. Sometimes this means talking through whatever happened between the two of you. Sometimes it simply means admitting that you were wrong (yes, you!) and apologizing for it. Don't be afraid to communicate to each other when you feel hurt. And always be open to listening to your friend when she is communicating to you how she feels. Sometimes we can hurt each other without realizing it. Just because we didn't intend to hurt another person, doesn't mean that we didn't hurt them. Be ready to listen to your friend when she's communicating her feelings to you, and always be ready to apologize and also forgive.
3. Be available. In this fast-paced crazy world, the gift of presence is something that we really don't see a whole lot of anymore. Everyone is "too busy." Everyone has somewhere to go, something to do, Snapchats to open, or Instagram posts to scroll through. One of the most important ways that you can be the friend you want to have is by being available for your friends. If they text you, respond. (I know, I know, I'm literally the worst at texting. I seriously love you guys so much and I'm trying to do better. Please, have patience with me.) If they're hurting and need someone to talk to, pick up the phone and call them. Give your friends the gift of your presence. Also, note that I am not saying your friendships have to consume all of your life, because there are other relationships that you need to be present for as well, like your parents and siblings, and most importantly God. There is a balance here. But do your best to keep that balance and be available.
4. Make them laugh. Don't be serious all the time. I don't know about you, but even though I'm twenty-one, I hate to be serious and act like an adult all the time. I have absolutely no problem singing as loud and as off-key as I possibly can or racing to the swings at the park or having fun. We can make life too serious, can't we? And life is too short to be serious all the time. So make your friends laugh, do silly things together, make memories.
5. Surprise them. Doesn't it make you really excited when you get a surprise envelope in the mail for no reason? It's not your birthday or anything, but a friend decided to send you a card or a just-because gift and they brightened your mailbox with their thoughtfulness. Surprise your friends. If they live far away, send them a card or a little something to let them know you thought of them. If they live nearby, show up at their house with pizza and a movie, or invite them to coffee on you. Be thoughtful. Treat them how you want to be treated.
6. Pray for them. I saved the most important step of all for last. Friends who pray for you are some of life's most beautiful blessings. Pray for your friends. The honest truth is that your friends aren't always going to tell you about every battle they face. Make sure they're covered in prayer anyway. Ask how you can pray for them specifically, but if they don't want to share, just pray! The Lord knows what is going on in their life.
Friendship isn't always easy, but it is a beautiful gift from God.
No man is an island. No one was meant to do life alone. God created us for community. Encourage your friends in the Lord, pray for them, be available to them, communicate to them, and be the best friend that you would want to have.
And thank God for your friends! Feel free to share some things you are thankful for about your friends in the comments below. Maybe even give a shout-out to some of your BFF's and share the post with them! <3
The day you turned thirteen, you thought that twenty-one was so far away.
You thought that surely by then, by twenty-one, you would have this whole life thing figured out. You would be a pro at this thing called adulting.
You thought twenty-one seemed so grown up and by then surely...surely you would be everything you hoped to be.
Life doesn't always happen how you think it will. Your five and ten year plan that you wrote out so carefully is going to look so different in those five and ten years. Life is a whole lot different than you thought it would be.
But different is a whole new beautiful. And, oh, it really is beautiful, dear.
For what you will learn is that you certainly won't have it all together by twenty-one. And you for sure won't be a pro at adulting. But you are growing. You are getting there. For life is not a three-step process to everything you ever wanted.
Life is a process with more steps than you thought it would have. But every step brings you closer to who you were created to be. To who He created you to be.
Don't get so caught up in making everything happen at once. Don't become so concerned with making sure you have it all together by a certain age.
Oh, and some pro adulting tips? Don't become so concerned with "growing up" that you lose your child-like wonder. If you want to sing and dance in the grocery store aisles, go for it. If you and your best friend want to stay up till midnight Skyping and singing VeggieTales, do it.
Life really does go a whole lot faster than you think it will.
I know twenty-one feels so far off when you're thirteen and you've only just begun to experience this season called "the teens." But it really will go a whole lot faster than you think. So don't keep waiting for someday to go do all those things you always said you would do. Don't wait for tomorrow to tell someone you love them. For before you know it you will look back and years will have passed you by and this...this is your life. Don't waste even the smallest of moments.
If I could remind you of something as a teenager, it would be this: Don't worry what the world thinks about you. Do not care what they say. Prove them wrong. Prove them wrong and show them that a sixteen-year-old girl really can make a difference standing up for a cause she believes in. Prove them wrong and show them that a fourteen-year-old doesn't have to spend all summer playing video games and chasing cute boys, but instead she could seek what is greater by spending time with her Savior. Prove them wrong and show them that you have higher standards for yourself than everyone else and you know you were made for so much more than they try to tell you.
The world thinks that by a certain age, you have to do this or that. By thirteen you'll hear the question, "Do you have a boyfriend yet?" By sixteen you'll hear, "Do you have your license yet?" By eighteen you'll be questioned, "Are you going to college?" And by twenty-one it'll be a mixture of all three.
Don't be afraid to be different from their status quo. Success is not measured by them or by ages. Success is measured by God. By thirteen have you given your life to Christ? By sixteen have you followed His path for true love even though it is hard? By eighteen have you glorified Him with every gift He's given you? That's all that really matters in the end. Don't believe otherwise.
As you grow, you are also going to discover that your plans don't always turn out how you think they should.
I know you're a planner and you plan everything from your daily schedule to exactly what you want your life to look like by twenty-five.
But, sweet soul, God's plans are different than yours. In fact, they're so much greater. You're not going to understand them at times. And sometimes? Sometimes they really are going to hurt. But do you trust Him? Do you believe that His love for you is greater than anything you don't understand?
Don't let disappointment break you. Don't let hurt or the pain of this world turn you into someone you are not. Jesus is your shelter. I know at times it may feel like the storm is going to destroy you, but take heart...He still calms the waves and wind.
There are going to be times when you feel left out and abandoned and those feelings are going to hurt. Girl, friendship can be hard. Don't push people away because of it. Remember those feelings and turn around and love people harder. Always include people, because you will remember how it feels to be left out.
Don't miss the opportunity to love on your family and friends, the people God has blessed you with. Tell them you love them daily.
And about hugs: You can never give too many hugs.
You're not going to expect the physical limitations you will face as you get older. The way you will be sick and have to miss out on some things you really want to do. You do not have to prove your health struggles to anyone. Take the time to take care of yourself. It's going to be okay. His grace is sufficient in all of your weakness.
And if there is one last piece of advice that I could give you, it would be this:
Jesus is worth it all.
It is gonna hurt. And oh, it's going to be hard. The truth is that you are going to want to give up. But He is still worth it. Don't forget that. Hold that truth close and cling to Him. Don't let go.
Don't give up, dear. Fight for truth.
Love God and love His people. That's what it comes down to.
Live this messy, crazy, beautiful, amazing life. Don't waste it. Live it.
You'll be so glad you did.
An older me <3
PS: As a kid, whenever you saw a dandelion you would blow on it and make a wish. Don't forget that. Never lose the courage to dream and make a wish. God is still in the business of making dreams come true.
Hi, y'all! Popping onto the blog today to share with you a book I recently read and reviewed. Here we go...
In Bloom written by Kayla Aimee encourages the reader to trade their insecurities for God's confidence that cannot waver based on what people think or say about you.
First, let me just say that Kayla's writing style is unique to anything I've really read before. She's witty, funny, and sarcastic in a way that makes you laugh alongside every story she shares. She's relatable and does share many encouraging thoughts throughout her funny stories and tales of motherhood and growing up. I personally enjoyed her stories of her little girl the best.
Although funny, sometimes her bunny trails of sarcasm could leave me confused simply because I didn't understand some of the people or culture she was referring to. I got the basic gist of what she was saying though so I still enjoyed it. Heads up, there was a reference to Harry Potter two or three times (basically just a quote and then a brief mention of it), which I was not a fan of. I understand that lots of Christians watch Harry Potter (and if you are one of them, please do not think I am judging you in any way at all), but I personally don't agree with it and because of that I wished those parts had been left out of the book.
I really wouldn't recommend this book for younger teenagers/kids, simply because of some of the mature things she talked about.
However, if you're struggling with insecurity and looking for someone to encourage you in God-confidence, this book really was great overall. I applaud Kayla for sharing her unique voice in her writing and being herself, regardless of how she may be received by her readers. That's unique, as I've said before, and something this world greatly lacks.
If you're interested in checking out the book, view it on Amazon below. :)
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*
"The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever."
Have you ever watched a commercial or seen an ad about a certain product or business and became convinced that it was everything they claimed it to be?
Maybe you saw a commercial for a new restaurant opening up in your town and the cheeseburgers looked AMAZING on your TV screen (Let's also be honest here and say, what cheeseburger doesn't look amazing?). Your stomach starts to growl, and so excitedly you head to the restaurant and order the cheeseburger. But when it comes to your table it looks and tastes nothing like you had expected. The advertising had deceived you.
Or maybe you saw a magazine in the checkout line that shouted it had all the answers to give you the most flawless complexion you've ever seen. But it definitely did not hold up its end of that bargain.
It's easy to look around and see that we live in a world of fake news, deceptions, and lies. Sometimes it can get just a little bit frustrating looking around at all of this and trying to find the truth in a world that disguises falsehood as truth so easily.
So tonight I want to encourage you to remember that...
The Word of God is truth in a world of lies.
God's Word is our anchor of truth when we need direction.
The truth that lights our way when we need to know what to do.
The world may tell us how to find "true" love or what to do to be accepted by everyone. But God's Word tells us what is really, truly Love and His Name is Jesus. God's Word tells us how to discern truth from lies. His Word instructs us in wisdom when we lack it.
Perhaps you are feeling suffocated tonight by the lies you have believed. Maybe lies about God. Lies about yourself. Or lies about your future. Maybe the enemy has whispered lies in your ear like, "God doesn't really care about me," or "I don't have a purpose," or "I can't handle everything weighing on me tonight."
These lies can feel so real. Just like that cheeseburger in the commercial looked so real.
But they're just a deception.
Because the Word of God tells you the truth, that God doesn't just care for you, but He adores you and loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you (John 3:16). You don't just have a purpose, you have a purpose planned by the God of the universe (Jeremiah 29:11). You can handle every weight on your shoulders tonight by placing it on His shoulders, because you can do all things through HIS strength (Philippians 4:13).
Rest in the truth of God's Word.
You'll never find something more reliable. And when the lies of the world threaten to take you down? Stand on His truth.
He won't let you fall.
Thank you so much for studying Psalm 119 with me! What was your favorite part of this study? What was something that stood out to you in these Scriptures today?
I'm sorry this post didn't get up last night, y'all. I had it scheduled but didn't actually write it because of a headache. So here it is today :)
I've talked so much about Scripture memorization this past month, that I wanted to take some time today just to share some verses with you that I think everyone should have hidden in their hearts! Ready? Let's go...
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:6-7
"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."
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints."
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 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."
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."
1 John 3:1
"But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you."
"Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word."
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen."
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 'I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.'"
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
How many of these do you have memorized already or plan to memorize this month? What are some verses you think everyone should memorize? Share in the comments!
"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path...The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
Psalm 119:105, 130
Have you ever been afraid of the dark?
I remember growing up I would never go into a dark room by myself. Even now I am not a fan of dark places. I much prefer rooms with the lights on or walking outside when the sun is shining.
We appreciate the light because in the light we can see. We can see what's around us, we can see where we're going, and we can even see dangers that we might not have seen in the dark when it's sometimes hard to see anything at all. Light is necessary to life.
And this week I wanted to talk about how...
The Word of God is a light for us.
God's Words are light in our spiritual darkness.
Here are just a few ways that the Word of God lights our path:
1) By showing us our sin. The Bible shows us our sin and our need for a Savior. Before Christ we were living in a spiritual darkness. Before the knowledge that we needed Him we could not see, we were blinded in the darkness. God's Word is like the light switch that flips on and reveals all of our dirty stains and then illuminates the gift of Jesus on the cross.
2) By helping us understand how He wants us to live. After we accept Jesus into our hearts, how are we supposed to live? What message should our lives be giving to others that shows we are different from the world? God's Word is the light that illuminates the path of godliness we should be walking.
3) By re-kindling our desire for Jesus. Have you ever felt like Bible study was simply a chore or like Jesus was far away? By staying consistent in the Word of God, it becomes a light that points you back to your love story with Jesus and re-kindles that desire to spend time with Him.
When we stay in God's Word we don't have to feel like we're walking in spiritual darkness. Through the pages of our Bible we find light for our path and words that give light and understanding to our hearts. Cling to Him.
Do you remember a time in your life where the Word of God felt like a lamp shining and giving you wisdom or direction? What did you learn from these verses? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
I have talked a lot recently about how important Scripture memorization is and why you should memorize. I've even talked about what a lot of us miss when memorizing.
But the big question I'm sure you are all wondering is this:
How do I memorize? What are some methods that work for effective Scripture memorization?
If these questions are tugging on your mind, do not fear! You have come to the right place. Today I am going to share with you 4 methods that I have used for effective Scripture memorization. And, let's dive in...
1. Rote memorization. Honestly, this is how I memorize best. I used this method for just about every passage I memorized for Bible Bee. This worked best for me and that's why I stuck to it. Now I understand that rote memorization isn't everyone's cup of tea and if it's not for you I totally get that. However, it is proven to be effective and if you're having a hard time with other memorization methods, at least give this one a try. Basically take the first phrase and repeat it over and over until it's memorized, continually adding more of the passage to it. Repeat this until you have the whole verse/passage memorized. And don't forget to begin and end with the Scripture reference! (A learned Bible Bee skill that I think is helpful so that if you are ever asked where a certain verse is located, you can help point people in the right direction ;))
2. Dramatize your verses. I have used this before and generally this is super helpful for me because I'm a naturally dramatic person (ask anyone). I love to sing and as I believe I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I would memorize verses growing up to the tune of certain songs. Take the verse you're memorizing and sing it to the tune of your current favorite worship song/hymn. Because I have a creative arts ministry where I perform songs in sign language, signing is a big deal to me. During Bible Bee, I learned some of my verses in sign language, which helped me remember the words even better. If you have siblings, act out a certain chapter or story in the Bible. Be creative and have fun with it.
3. Draw pictures to go along with your verses. Let's be clear here. Drama and music I am good at. Drawing and art? Nope. Not. One. Bit. However, one year in Bible Bee we had several verses from the Gospel of John. And the problem was that they all seemed to start the same way or similar. My usual methods for memorizing were not working to help me keep these verses word perfect. To switch things up a bit, I wrote out the verses on index cards and drew pictures to go along with them on the back. Using colored pencils and everything. Totally out of my comfort zone. Anyway, it worked. The pictures helped me distinguish which passage went with which reference. If you're artsy, this could be a method that works best for you. And if your stick figures could use a little bit of help, don't let that discourage you. My stick figures won't be displayed in an art museum anytime soon either.
4. Use an online program. Ever heard of Memverse? I first joined Memverse in 2013 for Bible Bee. (www.memverse.com) Memverse allows you to type in the verse you're memorizing with the whole verse in front of you and slowly they'll drop words out until you're typing the whole verse from memory. It's super fun and easy and really helpful for memorizing. ScriptureTyper (www.scripturetyper.com) is very similar. I didn't use it as much as Memverse but both are good resources.
So there you have it. 4 methods I have used and have seen their effectiveness in my memorization.
And just a quick bonus memorization tip: don't do it alone. Have friends memorize with you. Quiz each other on passages, discuss the meaning and context, check in to see how memorization is coming along, encourage and support each other. Gather your team and get to memorizing.
Hide God's Word in your hearts. It'll be so worth it.
I lay awake in bed, tossing and turning, yet again. Attempting to find a position, where my legs would stop spasming and my back would stop screaming out in pain. My eyes were wet with tears from the shooting sensation coming from my nerves. My pillow soaked sweat and tears as I moaned the only utterance possible, "Please God." Those two words held more weight and meaning than many other prayers I had ever prayed. It was a groan and asking for relief, for rest, for comfort.
This has been my reality for many years. Sleepless nights, wondering if God is near. Asking for comfort.
Nonetheless, even in those moments of weakness, the Lord has taught me many things on His character within my weakness.
Even when I am too weak to pray, He is interceding for me.
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Rom 8:26 (NKJV)
In our weakness, He is proven strong
"And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12: 9-10 (NKJV)
You don't have to be the strong one. Christ is the one with the strength. You can be weak. I personally struggle with allowing myself to be weak, rest, and ask for help. I often have the mentality of, "fake it till you make it." However, this thought is not healthy and goes against the way that Christ has created us. Would we all learn to lean on Christ for our strength?
There is a purpose behind our pain
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. " (2 Cor 1:3-4, emphasis added)
Reader, I know that you might be walking through a difficult season. Your health may be failing you. Your marriage may be down in the dumps. Maybe you hit rock bottom. However, Christ is in the pain with you.
He is carrying you.
Eliza Downer, a teacher by day and writer by night, can often be found enjoying creation or sipping a cup of coffee. She currently resides in Colorado with her parents and 11 siblings. To read more of her writing, visit her website here: Window Into My World.
Yep, I know it's not a typical day I post here.
And honestly this isn't really your normal post anyway.
This is simply my overflow of praise for my Hero, Jesus.
You see, last night I had a book signing. I met several people and had a wonderful time introducing my books and talking passionately about why I write what I do.
At one point, after sharing several of the projects I have worked on over the years in writing and where God has me now, someone I was talking to made the comment that I had gotten a young start and looked to be very successful already.
The first phrase out of my mouth was, "To God be the glory. I feel very honored to have been given this gift with which I can glorify Christ and inspire other young ladies to glorify Him as well. If I have glorified Him at all, that is my greatest joy."
And oh, y'all.
I meant that with all of my heart.
I post on here so regularly and write so frequently, that sometimes I just feel this need to pause and bow. To step out of the light and let Him shine. Because here's the thing:
No success that I have is without Jesus Christ.
And any success that I have is pointless if He is not glorified.
I tell you this, because I want you to get this and understand this. You may or may not be called "successful" according to the world someday. Maybe you'll be cast into the world's spotlight and hear your name on TV. Or maybe you'll wonder if anyone really knows who you are.
I don't care what your "success" is according to the world. I don't care what mine is.
The epitome of success is when the spotlight is off of you and it is shining so brightly on Jesus. The epitome of success is lifting Him higher. Will you lift Him up with me?
It is not my desire for you to read what I write and remember my name. Please, if you read anything I write and someday years from now you look back and remember the words, I want you to remember His Name. I want you to remember Jesus Christ. And if I have had any honor in leading you closer to Him and making Him famous, I consider it a success.
With that being said I wanted to share a song with you (that I claim no rights to at all) that has brought me to my knees as I pray that I would lift Him higher every day.
To God be the glory.
And finally, it is my desire to serve you in whatever way I can. My schedule is all sorts of crazy at the moment, so if I am slow in responses to emails or comments, please forgive me.
However, if there is any way that I can support you in your writing journey or your faith journey, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you think that one of my books would encourage you or is something that you need right now to get you back on your faith track, but you don't have the money to pay for one, please email me. I'd love to send you free digital copies of any book or resource I have created that may point you to Him.
"Remember the word to your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life."
The word itself is almost soothing.
When going through a rough time, we all long for comfort. When experiencing loss or tragedy, we ache to be comforted.
Perhaps, like me, you've been blessed with incredible friends who are quick to comfort you when you are sad, or cheer you up when you are feeling down.
But if we're honest, we need more than that.
We all crave a comfort that only God can give to us.
And that's why this week I want to remind you that...
The Word of God is a comfort to our hearts.
I can remember specific moments in my life where I was hurting so deeply that nothing anyone said could comfort me. But when I opened the pages of Scripture and read promise after promise from my King, my heart was eased with a comfort that I couldn't even explain.
A lot of times when we're sad or hurting, we try to fill that pain or void with other things. We try to avoid the problem or we try to numb the pain.
The problem is that we're only adding to the hurt.
Nothing else can bring us comfort like Jesus and His words to us in the Bible. The Bible is your direct communication from God and allows you to hear His voice at all times.
When you're sad, run to His Scriptures.
When you're hurting, go back to the verses that have reminded you of His faithfulness time and time again.
Sometimes when I am facing impossible circumstances that have me weighed down, I enjoy reading Exodus and seeing all the miracles that God performed for His people to rescue them because He loved them and had chosen them. This reminds me of His faithfulness to His people in the past, and how He is so faithful to me now today as well. It comforts me.
Psalm 119 itself is a huge comfort, reminding us of the matchless treasure of God's Word that we have available to us at all times. We have access to the Bible anywhere, anytime. What a comfort that is!
Remember that He comforts. His Word comforts.
Run to Him.
How have you seen God's comfort in your life? Do you have a favorite verse from this passage in Psalm 119? Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the discussion!
Isabella Morganthal (21) 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.