I can still remember the day I turned sixteen.
Sixteen was always the age that seemed so glamorous. Most young people eagerly await the opportunity to turn sixteen for many reasons. Driving would probably be at the top of that list.
Now that I am twenty-one, I look back on my sixteen-year-old self and I have many things I wish I could tell her about life and following Jesus.
So whether you’re somewhere around that age of sixteen or not, I hope these truths I would tell my sixteen-year-old self can encourage you too.
When I was eight years old, I decided that I was going to be a published author someday.
Looking at it from that angle you might think, "Well, all kids have crazy dreams when they're that age. When I was eight I wanted to fly to the moon!" And I certainly had my share of those "fly to the moon" type of dreams.
But writing was different.
Writing was something I was actually good at doing and loved doing. It was a gift. A gift that God had chosen so graciously to give me and when He placed it in my hands, He also placed the dream in my heart.
And now I'm going to say something that may or may not surprise you.
You have a gift too.
Yep, you. The you that is reading this right now and may be scrunching your brow as you scoff, "Me? Yeah, right. I definitely don't have a gift."
But you do, friend.
Maybe like me, you've known this from a young age. Maybe you've known for as long as you could remember that you were gifted to write or to draw or to speak or to lead or to encourage. Maybe you've known for years what God created you to do and the gifts He gave you to do it.
Or maybe you still have absolutely no clue what your gift even looks like. And that's okay.
Because whether or not you recognize that you have a gift, there is still a gift from God inside of you. We all have one. He has given each and every one of us talents and gifts in a way that no one else has or can do. He is going to reveal His gift to you in His timing. My sister was nineteen when she discovered that the gift God had given her was teaching kids. But what I love about her story is that she still served God in all the other ways He led her to, even before she truly knew and understood the special gift He'd given her.
But what do you do when you already know some of the gifts He's given you?
When I decided that I was going to write and be a published author someday, I knew that was one of the gifts God had given me to impact my world for Him. I knew this gift was meant to honor Him.
But I had it all figured out my way.
I thought I knew exactly how it was going to happen. I was going to write a novel (because it wasn't until I was fifteen that I started writing non-fiction) and I was going to become traditionally published and sell millions of copies of my books and that was how I was going to give my gift back to God.
Well, God had very different plans.
As the years went by I began to see that He had a completely different writing genre in mind for me. Not only that, but He had a different publishing plan and a different idea completely of what this gift He'd given me would look like in my life.
Yet I was tempted to hold onto my idea of things.
Because isn't that so easy to do when we are given a God-gift and we come up with our own plan of what to do with it? It's so easy to hold onto our way of doing it.
If you hold so tightly to the gift and dream He has given you without giving it back to Him, you will never be able to reach the full potential of the gift He's placed inside you.
It might hurt to give it to God and it might not be easy and oh, yes, it might require letting go of the plan you had for things. But it's going to be worth it. Only in giving your dreams back to God can you understand fully why He gave them to you.
So take those gifts and dreams He's placed inside your heart and put them back in His hands. Ask Him how He wants to use them in your life. Ask Him what it looks like to live those gifts out His way.
And then obey.
It's as simple and sometimes as difficult as that. But it's worth it.
Oh, trust me, it's so worth it.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving today celebrating with your family and thanking God for all the wonderful gifts He has given you in the last year.
Since it is Thanksgiving, today's post is short, but I couldn't let the day pass without saying...thank you.
To you who has read my blog posts from the beginning.
To you who opens every email I send and clicks on the links.
To you who just began following my blog.
To you who comments when you can and brings a smile to my face.
To you who supports me in such a big way by reading what I have to say, even that seems small to you.
To you who bookmarks my blog and checks back to see when I post.
To you...reading this right now.
I am so, so grateful for each of you wonderful people who joins me here each week to read my ramblings on life and following Jesus. You are my friends and I am thankful for your support.
Don't eat too much pumpkin pie.
Drop me a comment below with just a few things that you are grateful for on this Thanksgiving! (And yes, pumpkin pie can totally be included in that.)
It is officially the week of Thanksgiving 2018! It feels hard to believe. I don't know about you but I'm still wondering where spring went.
With Thanksgiving being this week, Christmas season is almost officially here. The most wonderful (busy) time of the year. Yes, busy. Because whether we like to admit it or not, these holidays can really seem to fly by and get us running here and there and everywhere.
My November and December rarely slow down and sometimes I can just want time to stop running at the speed of light so I have time to actually enjoy my holidays.
You too? Well, good you've come to the right place. You might not be able to slow down time, but here are just a few suggestions I have for how you can step into time this season and enjoy every moment as Christmas and New Year's draws nearer.
1) Reflect on what it's all about. Why are we celebrating Thanksgiving? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Reflect on what you have to be grateful for and thank God for it. Reflect on the love God sent down to us on Christmas and how you can show that love to others during this bustling season.
2) Journal. It doesn't have to be long, elaborate entries. Even just a short few sentences jotting down what you're thankful for or what you're loving about this season so far. Just something to slow you down for a few minutes.
3) Do something you've never done before. What's something that's a part of this season you've never done before? Maybe go through a nighttime corn maze or take a sleigh ride in the snow. Just make it something unique and fun that you've never done before!
4) Participate in a family tradition or create a new one. My family and I have special Christmas traditions that we do every year. What's your tradition? Keep up with it this year, even if you're busier than usual. If you don't have one, start a new one!
5) Give back to others. How can you show God's love to people during this busy season? Maybe it's something as simple as smiling at a store clerk who has had a long day with lots of crowds. Maybe it's putting together an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox. Maybe it's going to the dollar store and putting together a Christmas gift bag for the homeless people on your street corner. Maybe it's bringing canned goods to a local food bank. Whatever it is, give of your time this season to love others and serve Jesus.
6) Send Christmas cards. This seems to be a lost art anymore and it makes me sad. Heat up some hot cocoa, sit in front of the TV while watching your favorite family Christmas movie, and fill out some cards. You don't have to write one for everyone you know. Even just one or two is a great start. But fill out the cards and drop them in the mail to surprise someone you care about.
7) Spend extra time with Jesus. Sometimes in the midst of all the chaos and parties and presents and shopping, we can become frustrated by all the hustle. Lessen your hustle by stepping into extra alone time with Jesus. Read your Bible for an extra few minutes than usual, pray in the car instead of listening to music, whatever you need to do to put Him first.
8) Spend time with family. Family is so important, y'all, especially this time of year. Don't get so caught up in the rush that you forget to spend time with family, even if it's something as simple as decorating a gingerbread house or drinking hot cocoa around the TV.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, friends, and a wonderful official start to the Christmas season. Let me know some ways you slow down during the holidays by commenting below!
I wanted to pass my driver's license test on the first try.
I mean, who wouldn't want to do that? And I knew plenty of people who had. Plenty of my friends and even my sister had passed their test and got their driver's license their first try.
After all, how hard could it be?
Parallel parking was sure to be the most difficult part, but I had practiced that so many times and I knew I could do it.
Yet when that day came to take my first driver's license test, I was scared to death. I was so nervous I'm surprised I wasn't hyperventilating. (We all know I gotta be dramatic about everything first.)
And I failed. I failed parallel parking and failed the test.
I was so disappointed in myself. Yet in the disappointment there were a couple of things I learned that I hope will benefit you no matter what you're facing.
It's okay to fail.
Failing at something does not make you a failure. Failure is simply an opportunity to be courageous enough to try again.
No matter what it is that you're trying to do, it really is okay if you fail at it the first time. For really it's only a failure if you let it keep you from trying again.
Yeah, maybe you won't succeed your first try. Maybe you won't succeed your second try. Or maybe you'll try hundreds of time and "fail" every time as Thomas Edison did before finally succeeding with the light bulb. But every unsuccessful attempt at your goal is bringing you one step closer to your success.
I can do anything with God on my side.
"For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall." (Psalm 18:29)
This is one of my favorite verses. Try reading it again, but this time replacing the words "leap over a wall," with whatever situation you are facing at this moment.
For me, I said, "For by my God I can succeed at my driver's license test." Maybe that's yours too or maybe it's something completely different, but allow this Scripture to become real to you.
By our God we can accomplish anything. Perhaps not in the way we intended or in the time frame we intended, but in His strength we can accomplish everything He has planned for us.
Sometimes you just have to do things afraid.
When I went in to retake my test and try for a second time, I was even more nervous than the first time. I was so afraid of having to tell everyone that I failed again if I couldn't pass the second time.
And sometimes, you just have to do things even when you're afraid. You have to face your fear, trust God, and just do the thing anyway.
It's not easy and yep, it takes a lot of courage. But it's worth it in the end.
I don't know what your situation may be. Maybe you're going for your driver's license test and you've already failed once. Or maybe it's something completely different, but you've been down from the disappointment of failing. Whatever your situation may be, remember this: Failing doesn't define the outcome, but your response to it can.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. He's on your side.
Happy Tuesday, Friends. This week is a little bit crazy for me and so I hope you're alright with me posting an older post I released on God-Sized Dreams Blog last year. <3 I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
I was born a dreamer.
My personality is naturally extroverted and I’ve always been that enthusiastic, outgoing (sometimes crazy), believer-in-the-impossible. All I had to do was imagine a new idea and I would go after it wholeheartedly, even if it wasn’t guaranteed to succeed. Thankfully, not all of my childhood ideas did succeed. (Especially the ones involving cooking, because let's all face it: I'm no Rachael Ray.)
Growing up, I dreamed of writing. I dreamed of serving Jesus in the foreign mission field. I dreamed of changing my world.
When I look back on the girl I used to be, I can’t help but smile. Even so, there are many things I wish I had known then that I know now. So many things I wish I could tell my twelve-year-old self.
But since I can’t, my hope is that somehow I can encourage you with the things I’ve learned over the years, and that somehow they’ll help you in your own wonderful adventure of dreaming.
Pursuing your dreams means risking failure.
I’ve always been a little bit of a perfectionist. Okay, maybe I’m a lot of a perfectionist. Either way, I hate failing. And because of this I almost didn’t publish my first book.
Writing was my life and being published was my deepest dream. But the honest truth was that I was terrified of failing. I was so scared that no one would like my book that I almost didn’t publish at all.
Looking back, I would’ve missed out on such a wonderful adventure if I had let my fear of failure hold me back from the dream God had for me. Pursuing your God-given dream means risking failure. You might not know how it’s going to turn out, and that’s okay. He knows. He knows exactly how everything is going to turn out, and trust me…that is enough.
Not all dreams are meant to come true.
Maybe the hardest part of dreaming is knowing that our dreams might never happen.
I still remember a season of my life where I held onto a dream I’d had for a long time. It seemed silly to some, but to me it was everything I’d hoped for. And then one day…it was gone. Circumstances in my life prevented my dream from coming true. I was devastated as I asked God why. My dream was good, so why did You take it away? I questioned.
Friend, sometimes our dreams don’t come true because God had a much better dream in mind. His dreams are always better in the end. The death of our dreams hurts. But what I had to learn during that difficult season of my life was that we cannot embrace the new dreams God has for us, unless we allow some of our old dreams to be buried.
God’s got something better coming for you.
You’re never too young and never too old to dream.
When I was fourteen, I used to dream that someday I would change the world. I wanted my life to count. But the problem was that I considered myself to be too young.
Sometimes I think as dreamers we put age limits on our dreams. “Well, I’m not this certain age yet so I couldn’t do that dream.” Or, “I’m too old to pursue this dream now, so I might as well give it up.”
Those are lies.
God’s dreams for your life do not have an age limit. You are never too old or too young to pursue God’s dreams for your life. Think about Esther. She was most likely a young teenager when she became queen, and God did great things through her. Maybe this is your “for such a time as this” moment. Embrace it.
Friend, if you’re pursuing your God-given dream, keep going. Go after the dream God has placed in your heart. It won’t always be easy and sometimes your dreams may have to die before you reach the end of your journey. But it’s worth it in the end.
November is the time of year when we turn our thoughts towards giving thanks and Thanksgiving.
And it's oh, so easy to begin listing out all of the wonderful blessings God has given us. It's so easy to start saying, "Thank You, God, for _________" and insert an abundance of gifts He's given. From family, to friends, to food, to a home, to a car, to dreams come true, to all of the wonderful things He loves to give to His children. Just in my last blog post I wrote about some of the little and big things I am so thankful to Him for.
But what about the things we didn't necessarily ask for or want?
What about when we pray for something and He says, "no"? What about the things that hurt and that we certainly don't want to be grateful for?
At the beginning of this year, I asked God for something that was good. This was something I prayed for constantly, something I wanted desperately, something that allowed me to serve Him. It was good and in my mind I couldn't come up with any reason why God wouldn't give it to me. So I prayed and prayed. I believed. I had full confidence that God was going to say, "yes." If you had asked me if I had faith as small as a mustard seed, I would've told you that my faith was even bigger than that.
So when the "no" came, it crashed into my heart so much harder than I imagined. It was painful, it hurt, I cried.
And over the last year, that hasn't been the only time God has said "no" when I have fallen to my knees and prayed so hard that He would just say "yes," this time.
When November came around and my thoughts turned to Thanksgiving and this month where we celebrate thankfulness, I began to think about the "no's" God has given me over the last year. I began to wonder...could it be possible to thank Him even for these?
I surely don't feel like it. And if I'm completely honest with you, I don't even understand why I'm being grateful for something that broke my heart when I still don't know the reason behind it.
Maybe you feel the same way?
Maybe it's easy for you to be thankful for all the wonderful things God did for you in the last year. Maybe when Thanksgiving rolls around, you'll be able to quickly list all the things you are grateful for from 2018 and beyond. But the hard parts of 2018? The hard parts of the last year when God said "no" and you didn't understand and you felt broken? Maybe those are so much harder for you to even think of being thankful for.
Let me tell you something, friend: Even His "no" is covered in grace. Even His "no" is covered in goodness.
You do not have to understand why He said "no" to thank Him for giving it, because even when we don't understand why, we trust that He is good always and even His "no" is for our good in some way.
I know it's a totally different way of thinking from what we feel. It's even totally different from what the world may tell us. It's totally different from what we sometimes want to do. Because when He says "no" we sometimes want to sulk in our hurts and stay there and just question why in the world He would do that.
Yet no matter what His reason is, it's good. And because it's good and He is good, I can thank Him for the good He has coming even when right now doesn't feel good.
So thank You, God, for the hurts in the last year that I know You're using, because I believe You don't waste anything. Thank You, God, for the "no's" You've given this past year, because I believe You saw what I couldn't see and You covered each answer in goodness beyond what I can see. Thank You, God, for the things that didn't turn out how I planned, because I believe that Your plans for me are good and perfect and every answer You give is directing me into the future You have for me.
Are you brave enough to pray that this Thanksgiving season when we remember to thank God for all the blessings He's given us? Are you brave enough to thank Him for the answers you didn't want and the hurt you would've rather left out? Are you brave enough to say "Thank You" even when you don't understand?
Let's be brave enough together, friend. He's so good.
Today I am participating in the Thankful Things Blog Tag from Grace over at Grace Notes. I don't typically participate in blog tags, however this one is coming from a dear friend and I love the idea behind this...spreading more thankfulness across the Internet. :) I was just about to sit down and craft an article on being thankful, so why not just jump right into some of the many things I am thankful for?
To view Grace's original post, visit here.
-- Thank the person who tagged you, linking back to their blog. (Thank you, Grace!)
-- In your post, write about/include pictures of as many things you are thankful for as you want.
-- Include these rules.
-- Include a Bible verse about thankfulness.
-- Tag as many people as you can, thanking each of them for something you appreciate about them.
So without further ado, I am thankful for...
The matchless Word of God.
God's beautiful creation.
Being an author and watching God make my dreams come true.
National Bible Bee.
The Greatest Showman. (Of course)
Coffee shop dates with friends.
Candle lighting ceremonies.
I could surely go on forever as I count all of the many blessings God has given me, but above all I am so thankful for His love. Without Him I am nothing.
And I am thankful for each one of you who read this blog. You mean so much to me, beyond what I could say.
I am not officially tagging anyone, but if you read this post and like the idea and want to participate, I'm telling you to go for it. ;) And then comment with your link so that I can read all the things that YOU are thankful for! <3
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."
1 Chronicles 16:34
Happy November 1st!
I'm not entirely sure where October went, but with the fresh start of November came the exciting announcement that....a brand NEW issue of The King's Princess was released!
The King's Princess is a (now) bi-monthly e-magazine that I started as a monthly mag in January 2013 for young ladies. The magazine is geared mostly towards ages 8-18, but ladies of all ages have enjoyed it. For almost a year, The King's Princess has taken a sabbatical, almost a year of rest.
But now we are BACK! And we are more excited than ever to introduce new team members and continue serving you as we encourage every girl to live as a daughter of the King of Kings.
The November 2018 issue introduced our new magazine intern and many new columnists, as well as some new columns starting now and coming in our big issue of January 2019 when we will be celebrating six years of putting out issues.
Do you want to start receiving issues directly to your inbox bi-monthly? Click the link below! We'd love to have you join our princess family. <3