Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Broken into Beautiful

Today's devotional was great! It was by Gwen Smith and it was called "Broken into Beautiful" (which she wrote a beautiful song to go along with it which you can find on YouTube). . Today she talked about how she was once broken. She was a Christian girl but made some mistakes and got pregnant in college. They didn't know what to do so she got an abortion so they didn't have to face their problem...but she quickly realized that what she had done was even more of a problem now within her. Her decision haunted her for years!! But she finally turned back to God and let Him heal her pain. And she came to see that He turned broken into beautiful!

I have never had something like that happen and I pray I never do--but there are so many things in my life that I did many many regrets. Everything from bad relationships to depression in my life! But I've given it all over to God to heal within me and He has in such great ways! He's taken me from broken into beautiful! Even just since the New Year I have grown immensely in my walk with God! Though I regret a lot of things that I have done in my life--I wouldn't take them back for anything in the world because they have helped shape who I am today! God is sovereign, merciful, and loving! He wants nothing but the best for His children and wants them to grow into men and women after His own heart and sometimes it takes learning from mistakes to get you to that point! I praise the Lord for where He has brought me and what He has brought me out of! Even when it seems like He doesn't--God DOES know what He's doing and His will is perfect for your life. Yes, sometimes we mess up His plan but in the end it all works out for good.

I'm actually writing a devotional book for teen girls. It is called "Why Me, Lord?" It's been a work in progress for quite sometime but I hope to finish it before I graduate. My desire for it is to help girls to see that even amidst all the trials of life--and the mistakes of life--that you can make it through and become a woman after God's own heart! I took everything I have experienced in my life personally and applied Scripture to it to show how to deal with it biblically! I hope I can finish it and that it can share my own story and be an impact to others that may be going through the same things!

"Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame" Psalm 34:5

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Think on These Things

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

This verse was the theme verse of my devotional today. It's simply a list of the things that we should be letting our minds think about. Our thought life can be a huge struggle for some of us. And it might not just be talking about an impure thought life! But what are we thinking about? What are we setting our minds on? Is it impure? Or angry thinking? Or backstabbing insults about the girl or guy that you just can't stand? Or is it just negative thinking that you will never get what you want or nothing good ever happens to you? All these types of thoughts continually enter the human mind. Mary Southerland pointed out that the mind will always be thinking of something and Satan will try to fill it with wrong or evil thinking.

Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is"

Our true self comes out with what we're thinking about. God wants our thought life to be centered on Him and things that will honor and please Him! Things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable just like the passage points out! It can be hard sometimes when things aren't going the way you want them too or you're just having a bad day and are fed up. That's why we need to ask Christ to give us a mind that He honors. "When we choose to surrender the control of our mind to God, He will honor that choice and give us the strength and power to think right. And when we think right - we will live right." So...think before you think!

These past two weeks back at school have been full of its ups and downs for me. For the past couple of weeks I have not wanted to be here at all. I think I'm really just ready to graduate and move to the next chapter of my life, but God's slowly teaching me that I need to have patience and be joyful and content where He has me right now. I've had some relationship issues that I've had to work through due to some transitions/changes and that was not easy either. But God has blessed me with wonderful friends that have made these two weeks a lot of fun too! I always think each day how blessed I really am. God has given me amazing friends, family, 2 great churches and pastors, BBC and it's great professors...and He's provided with many of my financial needs. My financial needs are not totally gone yet...I am still in the red but He's definitely been providing. PTL!

Another big struggle that has been hard these past couple of weeks is my relationship status. I'm 21, single, and never dated before in my life. That's hard because I do want someone special in my life and I am horrible with patience! But I do know that God has someone amazing for me! I just need His strength to give me the patience and trust that I need until He brings that person along. A lady I was talking to from church told me that her pastor once said to her, "You're 2/3 married. I'm willing and you're willing. We just have to find a young man who's willing". LOL...that made me laugh a bit, but I know God is sovereign and in control. He has a plan and it's perfect! And I want nothing more in my life than God's perfect will to be done!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Standing Firm in the Storms of Life

So today is my little brother's 12th birthday--we all said he can no longer have anymore birthdays after this because we don't want him to grow up :) lol. Time really does fly! He came rushing in my room early this morning (probably around 7:45) very upset and crying because my 18 year old brother, Sam was having another one of his Grand Mal Seizures! Thankfully he has them in his sleep so he does not hurt himself or others but Matty was very upset. Not really a great way for him to have to start his birthday! But he's had a great day other than that, I think :) This break for me has been kind of stressful...I'm thankful for a break from school but didn't really plan for all this stuff. It started right when I got home and had a doctor's appointment for my wrists. They told me I would need an EMG and possibly surgery for carpal tunnel. (Although I just had my EMG yesterday and it didn't hurt at all...actually felt kind of cool...and I don't have carpal tunnel...something with my tendons that I may go to an Orthopedic Specialist for) I thought, I'm 21 and already have carpal tunnel?! Go figure... (and I'd have to pay for all the appointments and procedures...with the money I didn't have) Then after that I had this great opportunity to babysit an 8 month old from our church for 2 weeks, $500! I'd live with my grandparents and it was good pay. We were all set and then the mom called and said she hired someone else...I wasn't too happy about that especially since I hadn't gotten any work hours in yet. Then my phone bill was a lot higher than anticipated and found out they charge for the first two months on your first bill...and I didn't have that money! Our family also had some problems with my sister for a little while and now my brother is having seizures again. I really didn't know how much more I could take.

I just sat down to do my devotions for today and my heart was definitely in need of something encouraging...and God knew that and showed it to me :) My devotional today was by Mary Southerland. It was called Standing Firm in the Storms of Life. I read the title of that and was like "Thank you, God...I know this will be great for me!" And it was! Mary Southerland said that storms will come into our lives, there's no avoiding that! But, these storms are not punishment but rather opportunities to trust in God. I must say I've tried to say I'm trusting God but in my heart and mind I'm really not. The saying is true..."Easier said than done!" But she has laid out a way to be able to face our storms in a way that honors God. 2 Corinthians 6:6 She gives the first three ways in the first part of her devotional (I think the second part should be tomorrow): 1) Live a pure life. 2) Seek understanding and 3) Learn to be patient. That last one is definitely hardest for me so I will definitely have to work extra hard on that one! Southerland ends it with something really great, "Trials are a test, a measurement of growth. Patience gives God permission to work and even expects to be tested. We go to great lengths to avoid trials and shelter ourselves from the storms of life. The result is spiritual immaturity. God will not build our character without our cooperation and He will not work in us without our permission. We must surrender, invite Him to work and then by faith, patiently embrace that work in our life."

I know God will get me through all these trials if I have trust and faith in His strength alone! He's already answered some prayers by my EMG going well and not having carpal tunnel! I know He'll provide all the money I need for my bills (Philippians 4:19). He always has and He always will be faithful to those who follow and obey Him. I will always love this song and verse and cling to their very words.

Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Beginning

Well, today is January 1, 2011! Happy New Year! I've actually made it through another year alive :) 2010 was definitely a rough year and left a lot of room for growing! I can say that in some of those situations I grew and some it took a little longer...but in each and every one God brought me through and showed me that He is in total control of my life and has a great plan in store for me...whether I see it right now or not! Most people's immediate reaction in a hard situation is..."everyone feel bad for me!"...and I can't say that I didn't have those thoughts at some of the times during some hard times but I quickly can realize that there are so many people that have it so much worse than me that all I can say is, "Thank you, God, for this situation and that it's not as bad as it could ever be!"

Yes, I have made my list of New Years resolutions which I really hope to stick to. Some of them are the typical...lose weight, exercise more, get better grades...and some of them are even typical Christian through the Bible in a year, do my devotions everyday, have a better prayer life...and those are really good and important resolutions and should never be underestimated! However, I heard a great challenge on Wednesday night by Chris Kehoe where He pointed out that we cannot lose focus...we still need to keep our focus on the cross and the importance of it. So often I know I lose focus of that! Then I also read a chapter in my devotional book that I got for Christmas, Devotion Explosion, by Christy Bower. The first chapter was called "An Appointment with Disappointment" and she points out that we all tend to make devotions a duty in our lives and we feel guilty over missing them--we failed our Christian duty. But doing our devotions, prayer, and our overall devotion should not be a duty to us but a desire within us...something that we do not have to force ourselves to do! 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing" and that sounds so extreme to us...praying all day, nonstop?! But really it is such a great and healthy thing and will give us a more healthy and intimate relationship with God. It's just like having an ongoing conversation each day with God--it never bothers us to talk to our friends all the time...just do it like that!

I know this year I want to strive to have that intimate relationship with my Father. I know it won't be easy all the time but it's something I'm committing to do today on January 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm. God will give me the strength. I want God's will in my life more than anything and though sometimes it's hard to wait...yes, patience is the biggest thing I struggle with!...God will bring me through any struggle, trial, or temptation with His great and mighty strength! I choose to depend on Him and give Him total control of my life. I will continue to cling to my verse that has helped me through a whole lot in 2010!

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.