Growth, Jesus, mountain, plateaus, refuge, relationship, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Everywhere: There is Nowhere We Can Go, Where He is Not

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must push through the up and down; run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season!



Camp; A Wake-up Call

So, I just got back from a week at Young Life camp on Saranac Lake in New York. May I just say… Wow. Other than that, I have no idea where to begin unpacking the last 6 days. Every day consisted of crazy activities, great meals, laughs, singing until you lost your voice, and dancing until you couldn’t stand.

On the flyer, it says camp will be the best week of your life and that it’s worth every penny. But, there were definitely parts for me, as someone who is not a new believer, that just didn’t sit right or felt very elementary.

I think my main focus for writing this devotional, is going to be exploring why this week was so difficult for me despite all the amazing things happening around me. Where was God this past week? How can I discipline myself to go to God instead of myself? God is everywhere. How do I open my eyes?

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #growth #Jesus #mountain #plateaus #refuge #relationship

Out of the Depths

This morning was my first time at church in a while and we studied Psalm 130. Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord! Monday and Tuesday were the hardest days I think and I’m not really sure why. I had a mild panic attack on each of those days and overall I was quite frustrated with myself.

Why can’t I just enjoy myself? Why must my anxiety follow me everywhere? Something really cool happened in all those instances though. I was able to reach out to God within moments of feeling anxious or unsafe. As I spoke with my leader during our one on one, the only thing I really had to say was how grateful I am that God has opened my eyes to how much I’ve grown in Him; how far out of the depths I’ve come, but also how much farther I still have to go.

He is Everywhere

I believe that everyone grows in one way or another at a camp like Young Life. Relationships are built, beliefs are challenged, and our foundations are shaken by the hard truths of why we’re really there.

This past week I believe that my growth was in my friendship with Jesus. I’ve said yes to a life with Him and I’ve been saved in so many ways, but growth within that relationship has plateaued recently. I’ve come out of the valley, but I’ve been walking straight ever since. No ups, maybe some downs, but overall just a great sense of stagnation.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8, MSG

It’s as if I’ve said that now that I’m getting better, now that I am no longer in the depths, I have no need for Christ. So I’ve tried to set Him on a shelf until I need Him again. Thank God for His constant reminders of how helpless we really are and desperate we really should be. We cannot contain Christ. He is everywhere.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been in a season lately where I just feel off. Now I feel that season is coming to an end and now I am in a time of transition and growth. There is a lot coming up in my life and I think instead of running to God with my fear of the changes, I’ve turned to any and everything else.

But this past week has opened my eyes to the fact that God will be with me through the change and it really is as simple as that. Christ is in everything. He is everywhere. We cannot outrun Him. My prayer for all of you is that you can find rest in whatever it is that challenges you because God is in your midst. There is nothing you’re going through that He isn’t a part of.

Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 139:7, CSB
Christ is in everything. He is everywhere. We cannot outrun Him. May we find rest in whatever challenges, because God is in our midst. He's a part of it all! Click To Tweet

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #growth #Jesus #mountain #plateaus #refuge #relationship

unsplash-logoMiryam León
wealth, value, salvation, love, grace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Rich: Living As New Creations in Christ and Heirs to His Kingdom

We are new. We are in Christ. This means we are heirs to the Kingdom. Rich beyond measure. How then can we continue to dwell on the empty wealth of this world?



Joy or Cash?

Money. Yikes. Man’s best friend and the root of all evil. As someone who loves stuff, I find money to be quite convenient to have. Besides, in a world where everything costs an arm and a leg, why not rack up on cash? As I begin to learn the ways of the world (and money), I’ve definitely fallen to the stigma of “more is better” and most of the time don’t even realize it.

Why is it that we’ve been given everything we need, even a lot of what we need, yet we’re constantly looking for more stuff and more things? At the root of it, at least for me, personally, it’s that I am discontent with what the Lord has given me. I think I know what’s best, therefore, I strive for it; all my energy wasted. 

We are new; in Christ. This means we are heirs to the Kingdom, rich beyond measure. But how can we continue to dwell on the empty wealth of this world? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #love #wealth #grace

Daughters of the King

When you think about it, we’re all richer than we could imagine. Heirs to the biggest kingdom there ever was and ever will be. We need not ask for anything because we have already received eternal wealth.

But let me ask you this, as daughters of the one true King, what has God given us and what makes it so much better than anything earth could offer us? My darling we can’t even imagine… 

And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:11, TLB

Rich in Christ

In heaven, we receive love. Not circumstantial love that can only live off of what we do for it, but true, unconditional love greater than we could imagine.

In heaven, we receive peace. Not the peace we find when we lay in our bed after a long day, not a peace we have to work for. But a peace for the soul. No more restlessness, no more tossing and turning. I honestly can’t imagine that peace, but I am sure as heck willing to give everything I have to be with the One who gives it.

How do I do that though? How are we supposed to be poor in spirit so that we can be rich in Christ? And how do we non-reluctantly give up every single thing we have and know and pursue Christ? What does that even look like? 

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

James 2:5, ESV

New

Many of us have heard 2nd Corinthians 5:17. We are told that in Christ, we are new creations. While reading over this, I thought in the context of my questions… new creation can be taken literally. New. Not what we were. Not what I was. This means there must be a change. A change so vast that the word new can be applied to us.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV

When I look at my life since I’ve given it to Christ I honestly don’t look a whole lot different. I still find myself caught up in a lot of what I used to do. For me, I believe living for Christ will start by no longer living for myself. I can’t continue living the way I was. I am new in Him; rich in Him. I know this, but what am I doing to change it?

My encouragement to you is to find what you’ve been holding on to, or what it is you refuse to change. God I pray, please help me rid me of myself. Help me live for you and not the world.

Our wealth lies in God's overwhelming generosity. Through Him, we gain immeasurable grace and love. Above all, we gain the precious gift of salvation. Click To Tweet

We are new; in Christ. This means we are heirs to the Kingdom, rich beyond measure. But how can we continue to dwell on the empty wealth of this world? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #love #wealth #grace

unsplash-logoVanesa Papučíková
busy, chaos, focus, busyness, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Scatterbrained: Focusing on God Amidst the Chaos

Where is God when we’re busy? Where is God when we cannot focus? Is He our focus? Well, personally I’ve lost focus in every sense of the term, but just received the sweetest reminder. I hope all who read this and need to hear it can learn to rest in it.  



Scatterbrained

Oh. My. Goodness. I seem to be all over the place. I have zero focus because there’s SO MUCH GOING ON AND I HAVE HORRIBLE TIME MANAGEMENT. So, scatterbrained.

Also, my priorities are playing hopscotch. I’d rather take a nap or eat than study for my finals or get in God’s Word. Y’all, I am so overwhelmed. Right now, I need to learn how to pull God into the midst of my lack of focus. I need to discover what it’s like to be busy, but still make time for the One which all things should be done for and through. 

It seems the norm is to be extremely busy. In our scatterbrained state, we can often miss God in the midst of the chaos but He is there. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #chaos #busy #busyness #peace

So Busy, Oh My Goodness

We all have busy seasons. This is by far my busiest. I’m finding myself being overwhelmed and scatterbrained instead of resting. During this season all I can focus on is what has to be done. I just applied for my very first job. This school year will be over soon, making me a senior in high school. I have GOT to get a license. And, eventually, I’m going to need to figure out what I’m doing with the rest of my life.

There are several other things making it hard to stop and take a breath. It has forced me to ask why God isn’t a part of this season. Have I pushed Him to the side because I’m simply “too busy”?

This morning, I met with a close brother of mine. He has helped me more than he knows the last couple of years of my life. He brought something so insightful to my attention. Here’s a little story time involving me, myself, and my day…

Storytime 

So, yesterday I had school. I went to photography and finished a project. Then I went to my geosystems class to work on another project. As my third class of the day came around, I started to feel bad.

Over the next half hour, the feeling in my stomach escalated until I was feeling so bad it hurt to function. I asked to go to the clinic and asked my mom if she’d be able to pick me up. I wasn’t sure what was up, but I was on the verge of throwing up and there was NO way I was going back to class.

Long story short, I ended up having one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in months. Honestly, I was quite frustrated. I just celebrated a year since I was hospitalized and a year of no self-harm, but I’m still having unexplainable panic attacks?

Well, that’s no doubt God’s reminder that there’s going to be more than just a singular valley in our lives. But what my good friend Edward pointed out, in that debilitating state, God was giving my mind rest from the chaos I’ve been experiencing. 

God Makes The Right Choice

Like myself, Edward struggles with some physiological ailments that prohibit him from doing things. However, as we talked this morning, he was explaining to me how if we were at a crossroads between spending time with God or getting something done, we’d be faced with a question as to which route to take.

These debilitating moments are God taking that choice away and forcing us to run to Him. It’s so amazing to see the ways God reveals Himself, even in moments like severe panic attacks. It never fails to baffle me how God truly can take anything and make it good. We accuse God of being behind the good, but absent in the bad and that is simply not true. God is making good from that bad. I love being able to experience God like that. It’s amazing that we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to know Him and not just know of Him.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.’

Jeremiah 29:11-13, NLT

Rest In Peace; His Peace

I apologize for my thoughts being all over the place. My main point is to look for God in everything because He is there. I was so scatterbrained, but God stopped me and revealed Himself. That is so amazing!

If you find yourself in a busy season, I implore you to rest in God’s hands. But don’t just say that to say it; believe it! God has you and nothing can change that, no matter how busy you are. 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33, NLT
If you find yourself in a busy season, rest in God's hands. But don't just say that to say it; believe it! God has you and nothing can change that, no matter how busy you are. Click To Tweet

It seems the norm is to be extremely busy. In our scatterbrained state, we can often miss God in the midst of the chaos but He is there. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #chaos #busy #busyness #peace

unsplash-logoTim Mossholder
empty, God’s word, God’s love, flawless, purpose, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Empty: Supplying Everything We Need from Our Limitless God

If you constantly run, you’ll grow tired. If you’re always running out of gas, but never filling back up, you cannot go anywhere. Why choose to be empty when we can choose to overflow with the love of God?



Running On Empty

Lately, I’ve been living from moment to moment. What’s next? What am I looking forward to? I don’t need to tell you this, but it’s exhausting. Always looking forward to whatever’s coming up instead of living for Christ, is no life at all.

I know how much it sucks to feel empty. Why then, do I continue doing the exact same thing? That’s insanity! We cannot live off of momentary pleasure. Instant gratification ultimately leads to death…

Where do we go once we’ve reached a goal? We make another one. Then another and another. We’ll run out. But with Christ there is no end; we can’t “use Him up” or reach His end because He has no end.

If you constantly run and never fill up, you'll grow tired. Why choose to be empty when we can fill from our God who never runs out? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #empty #flawless #love #purpose

Free Refills

We’ll never be able to wrap our minds around the vastness that is Christ. God is so infinite and wide which includes His love, mercy, and plan for us. We will not just be filled in Christ, but we will overflow! Why live on empty if all we have to do is believe and love the One who first loved us?

It’s so simple, so straightforward. Accept Christ, you’re saved. Love the God who turned His back on His Son to bring you home, you’ll overflow. Why is it then, that I choose to turn my back? Who am I to walk away from Christ?

Well, I’m no one. But God has given us the choice between Him and our own plan because He loves us so much. How, though, do we choose life over death when death is so enticing?

Choose Life

The hardest part of this, for me, is actually doing it. What does it look like to live for and like Christ? I haven’t been in the word for one. I guess I don’t realize how utterly vital it is to be reading the literal word of Christ. How can you be in relationship with someone you know nothing about? You can’t!

Another thing that makes it impossible to be in relationship is not TALKING TO SOMEONE! We have to be in constant communication with God otherwise we grow distant. Emphasis on we. God knows us and wants all of us so we cannot blame any faults or shortcomings on Him. He’s so graciously given US the choice to live and live with Him. There is no flaw in Him. He is full; He is not empty and He will never leave us empty.

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Romans 6:4, NLT

Flawless

If you’ll allow, I’d like to go off on a little tangent…

I mentioned there is no flaw in Him. That means the things He creates are flawless as well. You are flawless. Tainted by sin yes, but you are no mistake. No accident.

This is something else I’ve stumbled upon in these season of emptiness…

Self-esteem. A battle I’ve been fighting for a while is finding the balance between, well, I am a sinner, but I am also saved and a part of Christ’s perfect plan. So, I really can’t question any part of myself. God made me the way I am on purpose. God made you the way you are, on purpose.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20, NLT

Full

What a beautiful picture. Nothing to prove and nothing to lose because He lost it all so we could win. So He could win. We don’t have to spend our days waiting for the “next big thing” because He is always filling us up. We overflow. With Christ, we are no longer empty. With Christ, we are full.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

2 Corinthians 5:15, NLT

We don't have to spend our days waiting for the next big thing because He is always filling us up. We overflow. With Christ, we are no longer empty. With Christ, we are full. Click To Tweet

If you constantly run and never fill up, you'll grow tired. Why choose to be empty when we can fill from our God who never runs out? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #empty #flawless #love #purpose

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
anger, love, gifts, spiritual gifts, messy, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Fools: Do Not Be Lost Among Anger, Be Found in Christ

The way we fill ourselves reflects in how we live. Filling ourselves with Christ will produce great things. But filling ourselves with flesh will ruin us. Will we be like the fools and fill ourselves with things we know cannot sustain? 



Messy Room, Messy life

I’d like to take you through my most recent run-in with teen trouble and disobedience. I am still currently working through it. Please pardon my spotty storytelling and unrighteous anger that may seep into my words.

My room is always a mess. And when I say mess, I mean you’d think everything I’ve ever owned was on the floor. It gets pretty bad. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember and the battle between my parents and I has raged on just as long. As a defiant human being, as we all can be, I’ve never fully come to drop the belief that it’s my room so why should I have to keep it clean? It isn’t negatively affecting them, is it?

Well, let’s just say we all hit our breaking points this past weekend. My sister Natalie and I share the basement as our room and hear the phrase “Clean your room” just as often as we hear our own names. However, and saying it aloud is revealing to me how selfish it all really is, we’ve become entirely numb to the constant reminder…

The way we fill ourselves reflects in how we live. Christ sustains but filling up with the things of this world proves we are fools. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #anger #love #gifts #messy #scripture #devotional

Storytime

Early this weekend my dad told Natalie and I that for the next two weeks before we all part ways for spring break, we will not be allowed to go to any Young Life events aside from Club…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Young Life, Club is where we have fun, sing songs, and try to introduce our uninterested friends to life with Christ. Campaigners are where the inner circle of believers grow in faith together and brainstorm how to get our friends to come to Club. I also have a small group Wednesday mornings that I’ve been prohibited to attend.

Keep in mind that I have a very uneventful social life, so losing these privileges was, well, no fun.

Last night, there was massive miscommunication. Natalie and I understood that if we cleaned our room and bathroom then we could go to Club. What we completely missed was that we weren’t allowed to go at all.

Both of our parents were out of the house, but we were unaware of their absence. So while walking out we announced our departure and took the lack of a response as a green light. Long story short we were picked up before the event even began and the uncomfortable conversations began. This devotional will be brief and I’d like to include last night’s journal entry…

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:9, ESV

Angry Entry

Our world is full of fools. Unfortunately, we cannot exclude ourselves from them. We are the fools. We act foolishly when our foolish plans are foiled. I wanted to go somewhere but my foolish self is resorting to tears and anger. Some not so unfamiliar “friends” of mine. I don’t handle emotions well.

God has blessed me with a heart three sizes too big, but with that increased love also comes increased sorrow. I overflow no matter the emotion and much of my inner turmoil over the years is because I go to isolation, anger, and sadness instead of God when I boil over. Clearly, I did not go to God first tonight.

That was me referencing the first half of my entry which included a lot of my anger towards the situation as I began to simmer down…

Humbled Entry

But God, forgive me for being angry with my parents even if I completely disagree with their choices. And Lord PLEASE help me with everything I feel. Take it. Ease it. Calm it. Calm this storm in me before I drown. Hm. I say that, but I know you will not let me drown. You will give me the strength to swim.

My heart is so anxious, so angry, so sad. I long for something I think I can find among flesh-wearing beings. I will not find it. In all honesty, I can’t name what it is I think I need. What is it I’ve convinced myself I can’t live without? Love? Friendship? Attention? God give me what it is I search for and help me not be angry or discontent when I don’t get it when I want. And open my mind to the possibility that I have no clue what I truly desire. Do not let me lose sight of you and remind me of who I am when I am among the fools. 

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Proverbs 28:26, ESV

Fools Full of God’s Love

It’s hard for me sometimes, despite my struggle with self-esteem, to remain humble in the way I do things with this blog and life in general…

Wow; people love my posts. Wow; I’m singing the national anthem in a parade this weekend. Holy guacamole I won the talent show at my school of 5,000.

But who am I to claim these gifts as my own? Who am I to not constantly be thanking God for these talents and ways I can reach other people’s hearts? It’s times like these when I experience embarrassment, hurt, and a lesson learned… I remember how small and needy I am. But what an incredible thing to have a God who fulfills my needs, quenches my thirst, and fills the gap between me with His infinite love.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:16, ESV

When we remember how small and needy we are, we must also remember we have a God who fulfills all our needs! He quenches our thirsts and fills our gaps with His infinite love. Click To Tweet

The way we fill ourselves reflects in how we live. Christ sustains but filling up with the things of this world proves we are fools. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #anger #love #gifts #messy #scripture #devotional

Patrick Tomasso

Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Plateaus: Trusting that God is Always at Work in Us

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation, but all they are is room for growth. Why are they room for growth? Because they represent an opportunity to change. 



We all hit plateaus. We all have days, weeks, even years of no movement. Are you standing still right now? I am. In several aspects. Spiritually. Relationally. Mentally.

Plateaus

I recently wrote a memoir about my struggle with anxiety for an English assignment. I used an analogy that these challenges we face are like injuries. The healing process builds thicker skin. In our case, stronger faith. It is another disguised challenge put in place to strengthen us.

How, then, do we make it easier to face? How do we look beyond the disguise and see what God is revealing and showing? That’s a tough one. I think in the simplest terms we must trust. Trust that God’s not done with us. Trust that when God says He doesn’t leave us where He finds us, He means it.

How do we remain hopeful that there will be another uphill? To be truthful, I have no idea. But, I would love to journey through it with you. Let’s find the answer together, as I march through my own personal plateau…

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth

True Confessions

For about a month now I’ve been having a constant “off day” if you know what I mean. I’ve had a couple of rough panic attacks and long-lasting moments of anxiety. Smelly teenage boys have somehow wiggled into my priority list and I cannot focus for the life of me! For example, in the midst of that last sentence, I looked up for really no reason at all and got completely distracted by a cloud floating by through the window.

Where is the self-awareness and realization that something outside has crept inside?

I still experience anxiety to an extent, but this elongated unassuredness has certainly shown to be more than an episode of my chemical brain structure. I’ve also begun to show unhealthy eating habits, and I can’t seem to stay awake for a whole day despite the 8+ hours of sleep I get every night. What the heck?! It’s quite frustrating. Compared to who and where I was seven months ago, I was in tip-top shape. So why the change?

Always Moving

I took for granted the high ground I’d worked so hard to reach. I lost focus on God’s role and I lost sight of the bottom I’d once stood on. And I only allowed myself to see that I was going nowhere. Something I need to remind myself of, and that I’d implore everyone to remember is, when you hit these seasons of flat ground, you’re still moving forward. You’re still going.

What’s going on in your life that you’ve unintentionally neglected? Or deemed not as important? For me, I need to take care of myself more (in light of how God sees me). I need to allow myself room to feel things I think I should or shouldn’t feel. I’m trying to suppress feelings I don’t want to feel. Then they pile up waiting to be felt. If I were on the flip side and someone came to me with this challenge, how would I respond? Would I offer grace? Of course! Then why is it so hard for me to accept?

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV

All the Feels

I’m piling things up instead of dealing with them. Instead of appreciating the place I’m in, I’ve taken it for granted and now I seem to be in another valley. Ladies, feelings are a piece of work. But what does God have to say about all these feelings? Let’s look back at the Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9, NIV

Well, that’s a bit intense. The verse is intense, but what is the context? Where do I find myself in the midst of God’s promises and Christ’s hope for me? Not the whole world, but me. Is what I’m going through just a couple bad pieces of fruit or is the root system bad? How do I reach out to ask for help? God understands my heart. He understands my need for crying out and people to cry out to.

Reach Out

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6, ESV

In harmony. I love that. Different notes working together to make one beautiful sound. Millions of image bearers working together for one glorious King. How then do we hold back our struggles? We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles. When you hit these plateaus, because you will, and when you walk through these valleys, because you will, who are you reaching out to? Are you surrendering to your pride to receive help? Please, reach. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the community God’s placed me in. Reach out.

We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles with. In harmony. When we hit plateaus, all we need to do is reach out! Click To Tweet

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth
Ronald Baars

love, relationships, God's love, pure, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Intentions: Learning to Desire God’s Pure Love Above All

Desiring a partner is natural, but we must examine our intentions before we enter into relationships. We must learn to desire God’s love above all. 



Boys, boys, boys. Oh boy. I’m sure it’s no surprise that I, a teenager, am writing about boys. But let me ask you this, am I the only age group who longs for a friend who’s more than a friend?

Eve was made for Adam as a partner and friend so don’t we all, as females, naturally have a desire for a counterpart? My personal struggle confuses the desire for another half with my delusional “need” for one.

Lust and love are vastly different yet look exactly alike. Loneliness and true longing are like night and day, yet wear the same colors. I find it difficult to see the differences between all of these so please join me as I work towards Christ’s desires for me rather than intentions of the flesh.

Desiring a partner is natural, but we must examine our intentions before we enter into relationships. We must learn to desire God's love above all. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #love #devotional #scripture #pure #relationships

A Perfect Plan

First, I’d like to tackle what God says about this. I feel it’s only smart to start with truth and unravel lies and misconceptions from there. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states that two are better than one. If one falls the other will be there to help them up. Genesis 2:4 talks about a man holding fast to his wife. We were made for this. We were made from and for love.

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

Proverbs 31:10, KJV

Another verse I’ve loved digging into. We are a prize. Not a just helper; not a servant; a prize. We are precious and destined for love. We are helpers, not slaves. It’s easy to accept society’s view of women when we, as an entire gender, are a part of this society. The society that tells us what and who we are. However, God says I am a prize, you are a prize, and we are all precious.

Intentions

It’s a natural thing to want a boyfriend. So why do I abstain? This is something I struggle with quite often. Boys are cute and funny, but how much of my desire for one is righteous? Do I want a boy because I’m made for that companionship or because he’ll make me happy? Because he will fulfill the needs of my flesh, not my soul?

My main reason for withholding, aside from my age and stage in life, is because I often find myself caught between the right and the wrong reasons. My intentions are less than holy. Now, of course, we have to take into consideration the fact that a large majority of teenage boys have the mentality and brain capacity of my eleven-year-old brother. But how long can we, how long can I, make excuses for my own shortcomings and confusion?

I think it’s good to realize a lack of righteous intentions, but I find myself stuck on this plateau. Step one… I recognize I have a desire for a boyfriend. Step two… realize that I often want one for the wrong reasons. For fulfillment of the flesh and not Christ’s plan. Step three… well, I haven’t gotten this far. Before I journey into how I am to move forward, I’d like to bring out some old memories and share them with you.

Story Time

Freshman year of high school was when dating became a real thing for me. We were past the stage of telling a boy I thought he was cute. Although, I’m afraid I must confess that I hid these “relationships” from my parents for quite some time.

The first boy was sweet and funny but highlighted my lack of maturity it took to actually have a boyfriend. The second one didn’t talk to me for a week when I decided that’s not what I needed in my life. The third one came around when I was spiraling into depression and self-harm. He was mentally and sexually abusive and cheated on me several times with a number of girls. I wouldn’t discover this until after the second time I dated him. After I was able to convince myself I deserved more I ended up going back to boy number two from freshman year. He then sexually harassed me and we didn’t last more than a weekend.

After all of this, I was tired of boys. I was tired of accepting less than I deserved. Then comes along another one towards the end of my sophomore year. He and I started spending more time together and he then broke it off with his at the time girlfriend. We got very close, very fast. And if he hadn’t ended it due to my mental issues being “too much” (turns out he just wanted to hook up with my friend), he would’ve been my first love. But instead, he was my first horrible heartbreak.

True Love

All this being said, I struggle greatly with the aspect of love because I’ve been fooled into thinking I’d found it several times. I know I’m not the only one out there who’s had their heart played and their worth questioned. So, going back to step three, I implore you to keep looking.

This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us.

1 John 3:16, MSG

Christ didn’t endure all the hate to just give up. No, He still went to the cross despite all our false perceptions of love and now we can find real, true, undying love. Search for Christ. Find Christ. You’ll find love in Him. Through Him, you’ll find a Man who’ll encourage you in truth, not the desires of this broken world. Dance with God. He’ll let the right man cut in.

Jesus still went to the cross despite all our false perceptions of love. Now, we can find real, true, undying love. Search for Christ. Find Christ. You'll find love in Him. Click To Tweet

Desiring a partner is natural, but we must examine our intentions before we enter into relationships. We must learn to desire God's love above all. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #love #devotional #scripture #pure #relationships

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esteem, identity, proven, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Proven: Who are We? We Are Spoken For and Justified

What is our go-to response when people ask us who we are? We are Christ’s. That’s who we are. We have nothing to prove because we’ve been proven. 



What defines us as people? Is it our social status? Our hobbies? Our jobs or grades? Personally, I’m going to have to say no. I think we all know, at least somewhere in our heads, these things do not define us. We hear it all the time…

You’re more than their opinion of you. – or – You aren’t the clothes you wear.

What are we trying to prove by presenting our best, outward selves? We are not defined by material things, but what are we defined by? There are so many things each of us could say if someone were to ask Who are you? Let’s journey through my most recent identity crisis. My hope is that what I’ve learned will bring a new, possibly clearer view of who and whose you are.

What is our go to response when people ask us who we are? We are Christ's. That's who we are. We have nothing to prove because we've been proven. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

A Trip To Finding Myself

Some of you may be familiar with Young Life. For those of you who are not, the best way I can describe it is to call it a school-based youth group. Their main focus is to penetrate the teenage mind and introduce Christ to the terrifying mob often referred to as high schoolers.

The weekend of December 7th, I went on a retreat with Young Life and had a radical, unexpected transformation. Towards the end of the weekend, the speaker told all 400 of us the story of Christ’s resurrection. I’ve heard this story all my life and in all honesty, I hadn’t genuinely expected to get a lot out of the weekend aside from good reminders. I was so wrong.

Not Listening

For every-single-one of the 17 years I’ve been on this great green earth, I’ve been comparing myself and setting unrealistic standards for how I live my life. This is a natural thing all human beings experience. My problem is that I preach the answer to anyone and everyone undergoing the same issue. I’m always saying things like…

Stop looking at yourself through their eyes. 

You are yours before you are anyone else’s.

But I’m just gonna come out and say it, I don’t listen to anyone when they tell me the same. Not my family, friends, or even myself. We’re told that without Christ nothing is possible and that we do not have to heal ourselves before going to the doctor. I’ve never been able to apply that.

Spoken For; Proven

The speaker told us all to get out and talk to God. While sitting all by myself in below freezing weather for 15 minutes, I had a life-altering moment…

I am spoken for, I am justified, I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. Not people in my 6th-period class, not the people I went on that retreat with. I don’t have to prove myself to my church or my family. I don’t even have to prove myself to myself because I have been proven in Christ.       

Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

John 7:28-29, NIV

We are spoken for, justified, chosen. We don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone, not even to ourselves. We have been proven in Christ Jesus. Click To Tweet

Not Alone

I am not here on my own. What a great reassurance that we are not alone! When I find myself using earthly things to define myself, it gets lonely. That’s like trying to trust our entire lives in a human being’s hands; we will fail. It is human to make mistakes. We have to put everything in Christ. Our trust, our love, and our identity.   

Who are you? What are you letting the world say about you and how much of it are you believing? 

Who am I? Well, I’m Anna. I’m 17 years old. I’ve not yet reached the glorious height of 5 feet tall, I’m from Kentucky, and I love music and art. Above all else, I am a daughter of Christ. I have been chosen and I have eternal life with the Holy One.

For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:4-5, CSB

What is our go to response when people ask us who we are? We are Christ's. That's who we are. We have nothing to prove because we've been proven. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #esteem #identity #devotional
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faith, salvation, truth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Save: Having Courage to Share the Truth of God Through Rejection

Sharing the message of Christ can sometimes feel like a lost cause. But, only Christ can save. We must have the courage to share His Truth. Even through rejection. 



Being a teenager, or really any age, in 2018 should be considered an extreme sport. Several gold stars should be awarded to those who are surviving this challenging age. From social media to the ever-present peer pressure and skyrocketing mental health rates, it’s no wonder the church is being pushed further and further to the sidelines!

Sharing the message of Christ can feel like a lost cause. But, only Christ can save. We must have the courage to share His Truth. Even through rejection. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Save the Doubt

There’s nothing new under the sun, but I hope I’m not the only one who feels the gap between the church and those who are not yet a part of the family has grown exponentially in the past few decades. Everything is about doing what feels good and living by your own schedule. ‘You do you’ is classic phrase amongst youngsters today.

With all this being said, why then should anyone have to step away from their ‘kingdom of self’ to live in the kingdom of the one true King? It’s becoming easier to justify rebellion against Christ. Where was your God when this happened? Or maybe How could there be a God amidst all this brokenness?

All fair questions. Some we even ask ourselves. Why would God let this happen? Is this what unfailing love feels like?

As the excuses grow, so does the difficulty of sharing His perfect truth. How do you carry someone to their savior when they’re blind to their need of saving? How do you convince someone Christ is the answer when all they believe in is themselves? Oh dear, I seem to be rambling now… Let’s see where we can take this…

The Walking Dead

Over the summer we moved schools. So, I’ve met several new folks in recent months. And being a high schooler in a ‘You are yours before you are anyone else’s’ world, I’d say the vast majority of these folks want nothing to do with Jesus, God, or anything else tied to Christianity. This makes it extremely difficult to share life with someone who doesn’t know they’re dead.

By God’s good, good grace, He has given me tremendous courage over the last few months. I’ve learned to not be afraid of being slapped down by those who want no part of me due to their lack of interest in Christ. I have been able to hold conversations about the good news with those who’d rather listen to anything else. The assurance that it really is okay if that guy in my math class thinks I’m annoying is so freeing. And it’s okay if the girl I sit next to in history class won’t speak to me again because I attempted to share Christ. I’ve allowed God to speak through me and plant the seed.

I think for me, personally, I selfishly want to be the one to save these lost people. To revive and save the walking dead. But in reality, I was no better. I was just as lost and I’m just as in need of a Savior. I try and remind myself of this when I lose a friend due to my faith. It may suck, but God is humbling me and reminding me that I cannot save anyone. We are not necessary for the fulfillment of His divine plan, but by His great love, He allows us to be a part of it.

It's humbling to remember that WE cannot save anyone. It's through Christ alone and by His great love, He allows us to be a part His divine plan. Click To Tweet

24 Words

How can we doubt the One who knows all things?

It’s easy to tell yourself there’s no use. Why should I try to convince someone of something they want no part in? Oh, they’ll never change their mind, or perhaps, I’m wasting my time on him or her. But, let me ask you a question regarding the story of Paul. If God can take a man who was literally killing people for confessing Christ and turn him into a man suffering greatly for the Christ he once hated, how then can we question the Lord’s ability to transform the heart of a stubborn coworker? Or maybe an annoyingly headstrong classmate?

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9:5-6, NIV

Twenty four words. That’s all it took. This man who was imprisoning and murdering people for their faith heard 24 words from the Lord and was transformed into a man who would suffer greatly for Christ. This is the primary story I remind myself of when I’m lacking trust that a work can be done in someone.

We must constantly be on fire for Christ and for Truth. This fire and the courage to continue comes only from Christ…

And then he told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.

Mark 16:15, TLB

Sharing the message of Christ can feel like a lost cause. But, only Christ can save. We must have the courage to share His Truth. Even through rejection. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

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Need: Realizing the Difference Between God’s Love and the World’s

The world has a vastly different picture of what “love” looks like. We tend to love things and people because we need them. But that’s not God’s love. 



What is the very first thing that pops into your head when you hear or see the word love? Your family? Friends? How about your favorite food? Like Celine Dion sang, let’s talk about love…

When my siblings and I want to go out, whether that be to a football game for school or spend the night with a friend, my dad always asks for the 5 Ws. Who? What? Where? When? Why? I like to apply these questions to all aspects of my life. In this case: love. I’d like to specifically focus on who, what, and why.

What Is Love…?

“Baby don’t hurt me”…I don’t know about you, but that question kind of intimidates me. One reason being, my experience with “love” is not something I like to look back on. Perhaps you can relate. Google defines love as an intense feeling of deep affection. However, the Bible says something vastly different. We can find most of what we need to know in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, but I want to focus on the first part…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV

Keeps no record of wrongs. That one is especially tough for me. To justify my feelings of hurt and sadness towards someone I love, but has wronged me, I like to bring up past injustices they’ve done against me. This allows me to build myself up and attempts to cut them down. This is just not right. It is not “love”.

Although people tend to mistake kindness for weakness that is never an opportunity to harden your heart, but rather to open it further. I cannot hold someone accountable for their sin when I, myself, am just as full of it. Who am I to judge? God is the only judge who can rightly bring judgment upon us because He has done no wrong.  

 The world has a vastly different picture of what "love" looks like. We tend to love things and people because we need them. But that's not God's love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Who?

Well, I love my family, my friends, my neighbors, the cat that we may or may not adopt… We love lots of people. But we also may not love a lot of people…

How about the lady with 16 items who’s in the 10 item check out line holding everyone up because she can’t seem to find her checkbook? What about the man or woman who broke into your home and stole some of your valuable belongings? God says to love our enemies, but does that include those who have greatly wronged us? Yes; it includes all because we too have wronged others. Who are we to withhold love when it’s so freely given to us by the One who knows no wrong?

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you… But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:27-31 & 35-36, NIV

What?

Sometimes the things we love aren’t things we’re super proud to admit we have love for. Like shows we watch but probably shouldn’t. Or maybe a song most people make fun of but you listen to all the time. I find myself caught in making fun of, or participating in gossip about a certain person, but then an hour later we’re hanging out like we’ve been friends forever.

For myself, I have to question why I feel shame towards loving or liking these things. Who am I trying to please? Whose approval do I hope to gain from pretending not to take part in things that others may not enjoy? Also, we run the risk of replacing God with these things, and even people by giving them more space in our hearts.

Why?

The answer to that question varies greatly from person to person. Honestly, we’ve desensitized ourselves with the word and the concept of love. “I love these Cheetos” or “I love fun socks.” We use the same term to describe things and people. We relate human beings to foods we eat. Relational love is vastly different from that of our material love.

Another way we fail in Love 101 is that we love for all the wrong reasons. Why do you love that person? Well, they make me happy. What do you love so much about those shoes? Oh, they make me look so cool and everyone’s wearing them!

We love things because of what they do for us and when they no longer satisfy us, we’re done. Knowing this, how and why should we even bother with love? We must simply look to Christ. His love is unfailing, never-ending, reckless, jealous, pure, uncontainable, and unfathomable. Love, true love, is unconditional.

Our Greatest Need

Our idea of love has been so soiled and distorted. We tend to love things out of necessity, rather than them being necessary because of our love for them. We shouldn’t love because we need, we should love because we are loved. Our greatest need isn’t to be filled by delicious Cheetos or fancy shoes or even a special person. What we need is God’s love, and it’s ours for the taking through Jesus Christ. 

Our idea of love has been so soiled and distorted. We tend to love things out of necessity, rather than them being necessary because of our love for them. Click To Tweet            

 The world has a vastly different picture of what "love" looks like. We tend to love things and people because we need them. But that's not God's love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional