Gratitude, thankful, thank you, joy, provision, peace, community, strength, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Say Thank You: Remembrance and Gratitude are Keys in A Life of Joy

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of gratitude and joy.



“It’s ok to have your pity party, but then you need to move on.” This is some sage advice given to me by my husband’s grandmother when I was a newlywed. I cannot for the life of me remember what prompted this advice, but it has stuck with me for nearly two decades. Perhaps this wisdom was shared in a moment of tough love, but I received it well, and treasure it greatly.

There are still days when I have my pity parties. Things seem too difficult. I feel too tired. There are moments when I want to throw in the towel and call it quits. Days I feel all alone in a crowded space. My feelings are hurt, yet again. And before I know it, I am wallowing in the muck.

In the middle of the muck is usually when I heap on a big dose of guilt and shame. You know, to make myself the martyr of my own demise. I think I shouldn’t feel this way, I should be tougher, I should be better, I should do more. No wait – I shouldn’t do more – I should do less. I should be grateful. Meanwhile, the promise of abundant life slips by.

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

Pity Party

There are things that are too difficult. There are problems I simply cannot fix because I do not possess the means. But, hallelujah! They are not too difficult for God.

I do feel tired at times. But the things I am doing like parenting and leading and teaching are good things. They continually bring me back to my knees.

There are moments I want to quit. A life of joy doesn’t mean easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. It means peace. Things can be hard yet peaceful.

There are days I feel alone. The loss of friendships has left gaping wounds. I hide behind facades, too afraid to let people see the real me. But I am NOT alone. God continually meets my need for community.

My feelings do get hurt. Having a sensitive heart is a strength of compassion. This is how God created me, and I am confident it is a gifting He gave on purpose. But honestly, it is often my own insecurity that causes my wounded pride.

Gratitude

Gratitude is woven throughout a life of joy. And gratitude begins with awareness. By acknowledging and remembering the blessings in life, our attitudes shift from doubt to confidence.

Remember God’s faithfulness of provision in your life. And say thank you.

If we are able to solve our dilemmas on our own, we would not need to rely on the Lord. And if we provide the solution, then we receive the credit. When there seems to be no solution, God will provide. He will receive glory, and we learn to trust in a deeper way.

Remember God’s strength gives you endurance. And say thank you.

We are in continual training. Every trial we go through prepares us for further work. This is our hope and comfort. Because we know that our future is for eternity and that our life has purpose by glorifying the Father, we see value in these trials.

Remember God’s peacefulness brings you comfort. And say thank you.

Because the task we are enduring is one we are called to, part of His provision is comfort and peace. There is a difference between stretching our faith, and a struggle with the Spirit within ourselves. We have His peace within the discomfort.

Remember God’s plan for community. And say thank you.

Instead of focusing on the loss of friendship, focus on the friends we have. Invest in these people, build trust, and love them well. God does not desire us to be alone, He created us to need community.

Remember God’s love for you and all His creation. And say thank you.

Getting the focus off of ourselves, onto others, we can see that we are loved and cared for. Recognize this. Be thankful for the love other people give. Receive it well.

Move On

If you find yourself in the muck, go ahead and have your pity party knowing you will not stay there. Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Acknowledge the good in your life. Focus on what you have, love who you have, use the time you have and do it all for the glory of the Lord.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT

Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Click To Tweet

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

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Afraid, unafraid, fear, fearless, living boldly, boldness, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Feeling Afraid: Boldly Living Because God’s Love Drives Out Fear

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God’s love to drown our fears?



For a time in my life, I was afraid of the down escalator. So bizarre. I actually panicked once trying to get on it. I had to turn away, walk a loop, and then try again. I succeeded the second time. I still can’t help feeling afraid whenever I have to get on, but it’s much better now…

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God's love to drown our fears? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #GodsLove

Feeling Afraid

A bigger fear I have is cockroaches. For real. Even if there is one dead I can’t pick it up. I have to use the vacuum, or more likely I’ll leave it for my husband to pick up. One time I sucked one up with the vacuum but it was still alive, so I took the vacuum outside until my husband got home. When we were first married, he tried to “cure” me of my fear and have me pick a dead one up with a pair of tweezers that were on the end of a super fancy fly-swatter (why did we have a fancy fly-swatter?). His “cure” ended up with me in tears, begging him to not make me do it (we have come a long way in the past 15+ years).

The peak of this fear was when I was painting an apartment that we were going to be moving into while we lived in Chicago. I went to remove a smoke detector, and as I was twisting it, all this dust started to fall. When I saw that it was actually roaches falling to the floor, I had a full-blown panic attack. Thankfully they were all dead, otherwise, I probably would have busted my head as I passed out and fell off the ladder. Unfortunately, I have several stories like this. For some reason, they only try to attack me, never my husband.

(Just for the record, our first place was new construction, which results in these bugs coming indoors. The Chicago apartment was truly infested, but we had a pest control service come and get it under control. Now we live in the country, and bugs are just a part of life.)

Real Fear…What If’s

I fear rejection. What if I put myself out there and no one responds? What if I pursue a friendship and get the cold-shoulder? What if I tell someone an idea I have and they don’t share my excitement?

I fear missing out. What if there is an opportunity and I don’t take it? What if it would have been a great thing? What if the opportunity never presents itself again?

I fear that I won’t always like my children. What if they disappoint me? What if they make choices I don’t agree with? What if I don’t want to be around them?

I fear that I will no longer be attractive to my husband. What if he doesn’t want to be with me? What if he wants a wife with bigger boobs? What if my heart gets broken?

Is there truth in fear?

There are things that happen in our lives that shape us, good and bad. Perhaps our friends, a spouse, or even a stranger has rejected us. Perhaps opportunities have passed that we regret not taking. Maybe we have developed an idea in our minds that is not realistic or attainable.

We need to get control of our thoughts and acknowledge that we have listened to lies. LIES!! They are all lies!!

We need to replace the lies with truth.

The truth is, our perfect God loves us with His perfect love. You dear momma/dear lady/dear one, are loved. Fully, completely, no-need-to-fear loved.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18, ESV

Are people going to hurt us? Yep.

Are people going to let us down? Yep.

Are our children going to disappoint us? Yep.

We are all messy humans, and we are all going to mess up and cause messes.

But our identity, our confidence, our self-worth… it does not come from other people or situations. We can live boldly because we have been loved boldly. We are fiercely loved. And in that love, fear can no longer remain.

Afraid…but GOD has loved me.

So what are you afraid of?

The truth is, our perfect God loves us with His perfect love. You dear momma/dear lady/dear one, are loved. Fully, completely, no-need-to-fear loved. Click To Tweet

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God's love to drown our fears? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #GodsLove

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
compassion, suffering, example, God’s love, Jesus, love others, redeemed, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Suffering With: Compassion’s True Nature Revealed through Jesus

Today’s interpretation of ‘compassion’ doesn’t compare to God’s intended design. The true nature of ‘suffering with others’ was perfectly exemplified through the life and death of Jesus.



When I entered my initial internship for hospital chaplaincy, I believed I was equipped both theologically and emotionally to provide the care my patients would need. After all, I was an adult who had already raised a family, taught the Bible for twenty years, and had experienced, (and had therapy for), several painful life events.

Astonishing – how wrong we can be when we believe we’re so right.

Our interpretation of compassion doesn't compare to God's intended design. 'Suffering with others' was perfectly exemplified in the life and death of Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #compassion #GodsLove #redeemed #suffering

The World’s Compassion

Chaplaincy internship involved many spiritual books assigned to us, weekly theological reflections, group meetings/assessments with fellow interns, and a weekly one-on-one with our supervisor. It didn’t take long for most of us to ascertain that, while our theological training was imperative and our life experiences significant, how these aspects came together to minister care to a hurting soul was vital.

The word compassion is thrown around frequently in our culture. It seems the word is used to pull at our heartstrings and guilt us into performing a service. Or, to give to a cause in which someone, or an entity, believes we should. You know what I mean. I imagine your mailbox is full of the same appeals as mine.

Don’t you have any compassion for these-

  • starving children
  • wounded vets
  • people with cancer
  • lost people
  • dying people in (name the country)

And if you’re a television watcher…well, the visual is worse.

Inadequate Compassion

While I was in chaplaincy, I was seeing a wonderful Christian therapist. At times, I felt overwhelmed and deeply inadequate by the needs I faced each day. My heart, my own compassion, could not handle the onslaught of pain and suffering. I remember the day I expressed this to her, and she told me, “I believe we already have a Savior to handle the world’s pain. We don’t need another one.” Ouch.

But the truth is, like so many other words in our world, compassion has been co-opted to take on a new meaning. Rather than the way, God, our Father used it, or Jesus used it, today it is used more as ‘feeling sorry for.’ With this meaning, we can throw money at the above list, or even a little time, feel warm and fuzzy, then go on our merry way.

However, in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew word is Racham, it is translated to ‘love deeply;’ it is used most often in Isaiah.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18, NIV

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Isaiah 49:15, NIV

Can we fathom this love?

Suffering With

The Greek word splanchnizomai, “to be moved as to one’s inwards”, is used most often when referencing Jesus’ compassion.

That one is a bit more difficult to grasp. Imagine your child with a raging fever and your willingness to take his/her place just to ease the pain and suffering.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:35-36, NIV

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 14:14, NIV

As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’

Luke 7:12-14, ESV

‘Pain-Avoiders’

Henri Nouwen describes it well in a book he co-wrote with two others.

The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, which together mean “to suffer with.” Compassion means to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion into the condition of being human.

It is not surprising that compassion, understood as suffering with, often evokes in us a deep resistance and even protest…It is important for us to acknowledge this resistance and to recognize that suffering is not something we desire or to which we are attracted. On the contrary, it is something we want to avoid at all cost. Therefore, compassion is not among our most natural responses. We are pain-avoiders…

Henri Nouwen, et al, Compassion, A Reflection on the Christian Life  

Full Immersion

Dear friends, sisters, is it not much easier to remain at a safe distance from sufferers than to be in “full immersion” with them? Wouldn’t we rather tweet: “I’ll pray for you!” with an added heart emoji than go sit in silence with a depressed friend?

Let’s be painfully honest – it takes little effort to say, “Let me know if you need anything,” but to take the initiative to keep her kids one day a week? Seriously?

I find it much more challenging to experience the powerlessness of someone in grinding poverty than to go to my intellect and tell her about job opportunities. I prefer to inform her of the stage of grief she is in than to weep and mourn with a sister who is mourning.

Because truly? While the practical answers are necessary, they are not what Jesus meant by compassion.

Jesus’ Example

There was a time when I was very good at doling out useless offers and banal, spiritual phrases. Then cancer hit my family, (my dad, Gary,) and chronic illness, (me, mom.) Gary and I began hearing those words and good intentions coming our way. It didn’t take too many instances for God to reveal to me how insincere I had been.

When I had cancer three years ago, the same thing occurred with people I believed were close to me. While the experience was hurtful and disappointing, it helped me realize anew how little we understand suffering with each other. Even in the Body of Christ.

God, in Christ, loved us to such a degree that He stepped down to earth to redeem us. He was tempted and suffered in every way as we do, (Hebrews 4:15; Isaiah 53:5-6). Jesus is our supreme example of compassion, suffering with. He will enable us to do the same with others if we will ask.

Let me warn you…it hurts.

…but the rewards are eternal.

Jesus is our supreme example of what compassion looks like: He stepped down to earth as a human, suffered as we do, then died and rose again to redeem us all. Click To Tweet

Our interpretation of compassion doesn't compare to God's intended design. 'Suffering with others' was perfectly exemplified in the life and death of Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #compassion #GodsLove #redeemed #suffering

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
love, light, God's love, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Buckets: Being Filled and Filling Others with The Love of Christ

When the Lord fills us with His love and light, our buckets are full to overflowing. With full buckets, we can fill others with Christ’s love.



I was sitting in the gymnasium at my kids’ elementary school as 200 squirmy students sat on the floor, their teachers perched slightly above them on metal folding chairs. The atmosphere was charged with palpable energy, excitement, and anticipation.

They were all waiting for a guest performer to take the stage. The man was Red Grammer, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and performer who the CBS Morning Show described as: “a superstar to the young and a hit with parents too!” And we were all about to find out why!

When the Lord fills us with His love and light, our buckets are full to overflowing. With full buckets, we can fill others with Christ's love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #hope #light #love #GodsLove

Moved to Tears…

As Mr. Grammer began to sing his first song as if on cue, all 200 students chimed in:

Everybody here has a bucket. (Yes!) Everybody’s bucket holds light. (Right!) Add a little light here, add a little light there, till everybody’s bucket shines bright.

It was an incredible moment to behold. I don’t know what it is about a bunch of children singing together, but it gets me every time. As I looked around the room, I could see I wasn’t the only one who was deeply touched by what I was witnessing–many of the teachers and staff were wiping tears from their eyes too.

As I sat there in my chair, tears streaming down my face, I tried to soak up every ounce of the beauty that I was beholding. Moments like these don’t happen often enough. Moments when time just sort of comes to a stop. It’s as if a divine hand pushes an invisible pause button on all of our worries, anxieties, and fears. And we’re invited to simply take in the moment. And in the middle of that busy, secular public school, I experienced a divine moment.

As Mr. Grammer continued on with his performance, his 200-member backup choir followed suit. They added choreographed hand gestures and signs to match the lyrics–which their amazing choir teacher had taught them. There was a sweet ballad called “See Me Beautiful,” about asking others to try to see the best in us, even when we might be at our worst. Then, a fun tune called “I’ve Got A Lid” about protecting our hearts when someone comes to “dip into our bucket” with harsh words or actions. Followed by a call and response number called “I’m All Filled Up”–with happiness, good thoughts, and love. And the hits rolled on…

In A Nutshell…

Although Red Grammer is not a Christian artist, the simple messages of his beautiful songs cover the gamut of scripture. The overarching theme on his Circle of Light album is “bucket filling”–the simple notion that we all have buckets that hold love and light. Sometimes our buckets are empty; other times they’re full.

When someone’s bucket is empty, s/he might “dip” into others’ buckets by tearing them down. But we all have “lids” that we can use to protect our own buckets from dipping. We can always help to fill up others’ buckets by sharing love and light with them. So, essentially bucket filling represents the basic tenets of the Christian faith in a nutshell!

Love and Light…

First, our buckets are filled with love and light. As believers, we know that God is love:

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16

God’s son, Jesus, is the light of man:

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:4

Bucket Filling and Dipping…

Next, God fills our “buckets” (our body, soul, and spirit) with His love.

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

Sin empties our buckets and causes us to hurt or “dip into” others to find fulfillment.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

Psalm 38:3-4

Using Our Lids…

Finally, we must use our “lids” to guard our hearts and minds against attacks by the enemy and worldly sin that so easily ensnares.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Ultimately, our job as believers is not to judge or fight our enemies, but rather to see them as our brothers and sisters whose “buckets are empty.” As believers, we are called to help “fill others’ buckets” by showing them the love of Christ.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.

Luke 6:27
Our job as believers is not to judge or fight our enemies, but rather to see them as our brothers and sisters whose 'buckets are empty'. We are called to help 'fill others' buckets' by showing them the love of Christ. Click To Tweet

A New Family Ritual…

That night after the concert, as our family sat around the kitchen table, all of our buckets were full. My husband had helped set up the sound equipment for Mr. Grammer. I had helped emcee the event and both of our kids had attended the show. As we sat there eating–in typical mom fashion–I suggested that we go around the table and share one way that we had filled someone else’s bucket that day and one way that someone else had filled our bucket.

It was so sweet to hear how our kids had been touched by their friends’ kindness and how they had helped others throughout their day. Each of us enjoyed this activity so much that it has become a new family ritual at dinnertime. Sometimes things are so simple that they just work. And this concept of bucket filling has given our family a common language to consider how we are treating others and how they treat us.

Power to Change The World…

The final line in another of Red Grammer’s songs goes:

Filling up a bucket seems like a small, small thing. But it has the power to change the world!

Amen! I am so thankful we serve a loving God who wants nothing more than to fill to overflowing the buckets of all of His children.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:13

How have you filled someone’s bucket today? How has someone filled your bucket?

When the Lord fills us with His love and light, our buckets are full to overflowing. With full buckets, we can fill others with Christ's love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #hope #light #love #GodsLove

All scripture references are from The King James Version of The Holy Bible and all song lyrics and bucket filling references are drawn from Red Grammer’s performance and his Circle of Light album. For more on Mr. Grammer, visit: https://redgrammer.com/
unsplash-logoHeli Ruiz
God's love, individuality, confidence, hurt, worth, encouragement, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

You: Finding Individuality and Worth in God’s Love

We often look inward or outward for our own self-worth. Instead, we should look upward to the One who created us and loves us. You are worth it!



I want to talk to you. Specifically you. A lot of stuff rolls around in that brain of yours, and even more courses through your heart. You have doubts. You need affirmation, or reassurance, or comfort.

We often look inward or outward for our own self-worth. Instead, we should look upward to the one who created us and loves us. You are worth it! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #individuality #hurt #worth #encouragement

People Have Hurt You

You have a strong heart, but it is fragile. A friend has wounded you with her words too many times without apology. Your husband puts his career or his hobby ahead of your relationship. A boss has humiliated you in a team meeting. A stranger made derogatory comments about your body.

Your child said that she wished you were not her mom. Leaders at church overlook your contributions on a regular basis. An old boyfriend threatened you. An acquaintance hit you–someone who should have been safe. Someone you trusted stole your right to consent right out from under you.

You Have Hurt Others

You know how you want others to treat you. Your intentions were right, but you have found yourself on the losing side of your own history too many times. Reprimanding your kids for their negative tone of voice while you yell at them.

You insulted your husband in retribution for the ways he hurt you. Canceled plans on a friend for the third time in a row. You told a friend someone else’s secret–and they found out that you did it. You missed an important deadline at work simply because you were unmotivated. Anger gained a foothold in you, and you pushed a colleague much harder than you intended, and they fell.

You Doubt Your Worth

As you sit in the midst of all the hurt you have inflicted and the hurt you have incurred, you wonder about your own value. You worked hard at school, and yet your job is not as important or high paying as you had envisioned. You have failed at every diet you have ever tried.

Other people have talents and accomplishments that hold so much more weight than your insignificant contributions and pursuits. If your relationship ended tomorrow, you could not imagine anyone else seeing you as valuable enough to love — certainly not for a lifetime. You feel mediocre, invisible, wholly insignificant.

So, How Can God Really Love YOU?

Once you have convinced yourself of this, it becomes really hard to believe with every fiber of your being that God can love YOU. Yes, as John tells us, we should:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

1 John 3:1, ESV

But, God loves everyone — which is good, and right — but it is easy to take that knowledge and turn it into a love that is such a corporate entity that it can easily pass over you as just one in the crowd. God sent Christ to die on the cross for us so that our sins were redeemed. But there are so many believers. Wouldn’t it be easy for God to overlook you? Love you, yes, but love everything about you? How could He when the math you’ve done does not add up to you being worthy of his intimate, individual love?

But, He Did Make You with Inherent Worth

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16, ESV

God didn’t make you like a manufacturing company makes little green soldier toys. He made you intimately. He formed you, knitted you together, wove you intricately, and He saw you. You weren’t one of many. He designed you to be uniquely you.

He loves you for who you exclusively are. Individually. He sent Jesus to be an example for you. He sent Jesus to the cross to pay for those very things you have done that you think make you unworthy because He loves you. You hold weight in His kingdom, in His eye, in His heart.

You cannot determine your worth by your own perception or allow the body of believers to assign you value. Don’t let the world tell you how much weight you hold. God has already made that determination. He designed you for a purpose, and you are living that out right now on this earth. Your battle scars and new wounds do not invalidate you as a person of Godly purpose. Your sins do not disqualify you. God loves you.

You.

God didn't make you like a manufacturing company makes little green soldier toys. He made you intimately. He formed you, knitted you together, wove you intricately, and He saw you. Click To Tweet

We often look inward or outward for our own self-worth. Instead, we should look upward to the one who created us and loves us. You are worth it! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #individuality #hurt #worth #encouragement

unsplash-logoJanine Joles
God’s call, God’s love, righteousness, communication, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Abandon: Answering God’s Call to Surrender Our Lives

God would call us a thousand times if He has to. May we not ignore His call and surrender our lives to live for Him with reckless abandon.



A few weeks ago, while driving to the beach with our oldest granddaughter, we drove Gary, my husband a bit mad with blasting chick music. Since she and her sister were young, the three of us have jammed to the likes of Adele, Sara Bareilles, and of course, Taylor Swift. I even remember dancing around my family room holding their baby brother a few times… He’s now eleven!

Nevertheless, Gary surreptitiously turned down our tunes with his steering wheel control, (he needed earplugs, I suppose,) but when I noticed, I cranked it back up so that Anna and I could belt it out, singing with abandon to our old favorites.

We didn’t care who might be watching in passing cars or how we sounded, (although she is an accomplished musician who performs publicly). The two of us were just, well, jamming our hearts out.

God will call us a thousand times if He has to. May we not ignore His call and surrender our lives to live for Him with reckless abandon. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #communication #surrender #righteousness #Godscall

Hello…

One of the all-time favorite songs that my daughter and granddaughters have joked around with, in the past few years is Hello, by Adele. It’s so melancholy that we naturally feel the need to overdramatize it when we mock-sing it.

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years
You’d like to meet, to go over
Everything

They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing

Hello, can you hear me?
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

[Pre-Chorus 1]
There’s such a difference between us
And a million miles

[Chorus]
Hello from the other side
I must’ve called a thousand times to tell you
I’m sorry, for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Adele, “Hello”

I know this has happened to you…

Earworm

Since our trip, this song WILL NOT LEAVE MY MIND!!! I can be vacuuming, applying makeup, planting flowers and what wafts through my head? “I must have called a thousand times…

Oh, my sweet Lord! How can I rid myself of this song, which I used to enjoy, but has now become a pesky irritant?! My addled brain has gotten stuck in a groove that just might cause permanent damage!

Finally, recalling that God has a record of speaking in various and, to us, unusual ways, (Numbers 22:28, through a donkey; Exodus 3, through a burning bush) I finally stopped fighting the words in this song and began to listen. What in all that is righteous and good are You trying to say to me, Jesus?! Because, slow as I am to hear, SURELY You are speaking through this song.

I must have called a thousand times

Those words played a loop in my head. Often, I ask God to speak to me about specific situations or decisions that need to be made. At times, I find myself pleading for direction. The truth is, He is speaking all the time. If there is a problem with communication, it’s on my end.

Are You Home?

Statistics reveal a lack of communication is one of the top complaints in couples seeking marriage counseling.

God has the same issue with us… He calls; we don’t answer…or pretend we didn’t hear: “Was that God or the devil?

As Adele said in her song, “When I call you never seem to be home.

I wonder if we don’t “meet (with God) to go over everything,” (Adele, verse 1), because unconsciously we fear He may require something of us which we aren’t willing to give. Or, perhaps He may want to tear down that invisible wall we erected around a deep wound, inflicted years ago.

Even the thought of God asking us to take these actions is too painful to contemplate, so we don’t answer His call…or abandon our will to the Father. We settle for His gifts and working for Him.

Abandon

In Mark 10:28, ESV, Peter proclaimed boldly:

“See, we have left everything and followed you.”

As a young man, Oswald Chambers wrote:

Our Lord replies in effect, that abandonment is for Himself, and not for what the disciples themselves will get from it. Beware of an abandonment which has the commercial spirit in it…Abandonment is not for anything at all. We have got so commercialized that we only go to God for something from Him, and not for Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want You, I want myself; but I want myself clean and filled with the Holy Spirit; I want to be put in Your showroom and be able to say – ‘This is what God has done for me.’” …Abandonment never produces the consciousness of my own effort, because the whole life is taken up with the One to Whom we abandon.

My Utmost for His Highest

Oh Beloved, in moments of total honesty, stripped bare of our false piety and bangles of good works, can we truly accuse our Father of wanting to harm us? How can we entertain the notion that we can’t trust His goodness when He loved us enough to hold nothing back from us, not even His only Son?

Missed Call

Many years ago, Gary and one of our sons went to Russia on a two-week mission trip. We were never apart for that long, so I did not want to miss the one phone call he was going to make while they were gone. The other two kids and I were getting out of the car from church when we heard Gary leaving a message on the answering machine, (I told you it was years ago).

I was frantic to get in the door to catch him but was too late. Needless to say, I was very disappointed and cried. My oldest child thought I was being a bit dramatic, but I didn’t care. This was my Beloved. I loved and missed him; I needed to hear his voice. (He called again later.)

Apple of His Eye

Multiply that a gazillion trillion times and that is how the Father loves us. We are His Beloved, the apple of His eye.

For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you – for whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye…

Zechariah 2:8, NIV
»«

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings, From the wicked who oppress me, from the deadly enemies who surround me.

Psalm 17:8-9, NKJV

I pray we won’t miss the times the Lover of our souls calls us to abandon our lives to Him in a fresh way. May we not expect Him to ‘call a thousand times,’ although He will. May we run to Him like a gazelle each time He whispers our name, and joyfully obey whatever He asks.

Do we not meet with God because we fear He will ask something of us? Or maybe He wants to tear down the walls we’ve built around pain? His call is for us to abandon our will for the Father’s. Click To Tweet

God will call us a thousand times if He has to. May we not ignore His call and surrender our lives to live for Him with reckless abandon. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #communication #surrender #righteousness #Godscall

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
freedom, God’s love, identity, loved, truth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Loved: Knowing God Desires Us for Who We Were Created to Be

We believe so many lies. One of the easiest to believe is that we cannot be loved. But God desires and loves us for who He created us to be!



I’m a pretty good driver. The only accident I’ve ever been in was entirely not my fault. I’ve never received a ticket. Never even been pulled over. So I really believe God intervened the night I ran over a raccoon and hit a deer within a 20-minute time span.

The few months leading up to that life-changing drive were some of the worst months of my life. I was working as the middle school director for a summer camp. A job I loved but caused me to endure some vicious slander from a young woman I lived with at the time. A sister in Christ.

Her verbal attacks made me believe maybe I wasn’t a good leader, a good friend, a good follower of Jesus. Her accusations wore me down emotionally and even spiritually.

We believe so many lies. One of the easiest to believe is that we cannot be loved. But God desires and loves us for who He created us to be! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #freedom #identity #loved #truth

Attacked and Abused

Then our summer staff came to camp. I always enjoyed the weeks of training new staff and seeing how God brought us all together to teach His truth to campers. What I didn’t enjoy, though, were the two young men who flirted rather heavily with me. Two young men with girlfriends, I might add.

I remember the disgust I felt as I attempted to dissuade their flirtatious interactions. Here they were, men who claimed Christ as their Savior, using me for some fun without care for my feelings or, of course, their girlfriends’ feelings. 

The few weeks leading up to that fateful drive, my days consisted of listening to a fellow Christian attack my character and attempting to ward off flirting games.

I was sickened. I felt used and abused. 

The Ugly Anti-truth

From then on, I allowed Satan to take their words and actions and twist them into an ugly version of truth. This ugly anti-truth didn’t stop at crushing my character, though. It placed the words and actions I was receiving from sinful humans over God’s character. Before I realized what had happened, I began to struggle with believing the truth that God fully and uniquely loved me.

I knew Christ loves all people equally, but I struggled. If He truly loves us all the same, how was I special to Him? How was I unique to Him? How could I be loved by Him?

I prayed over this lie. My friends did, too. I sought wisdom from others. I saw Satan’s schemes for what they were. Yet I couldn’t move past the thought of, But what if he’s right? 

Freedom

It was on that drive when I found freedom. God revealed His answer to my prayers. I had tears threatening to spill as I drove home from Bible study. I cried out to God, asking Him why these fellow Christians were treating me like an afterthought. Why wouldn’t He remove this lie from my heart about who He was and how He loved me?

And that’s when I hit the raccoon. He had run out in front of me so quickly, I had barely seen him… I felt the thud, and I just burst into tears. This was not what I needed.

But as I wept, I decided enough was enough. So I numbed myself from the pain of my attackers. I took all my emotions and pushed them as far away from my heart as possible. I wiped my tears, set my jaw, and would fight back by simply not caring.

And that’s when I hit the deer. I remember looking at my speedometer for half a second. When I looked up, he was just standing there, right in front of me…

Overwhelmingly Loved

As the impact — physical and emotional — of what just happened tore through me, I once again began to weep. I cried out again and again, Why?? Why now? But instead of silence and my continued sobbing, I heard God’s answer…

He reminded me of the many ways He physically protects me. My love language is touch, and He had kept me safe from harm my whole life. There were different scenes that played out in my mind’s eye of moments when I should’ve been seriously injured — the current one included — but instead, I had not a scratch. 

For reasons I know as the Holy Spirit, my mind was released from the lie that God doesn’t love me perfectly and exactly the way I need love. The evidence overwhelmed me. 

His love overwhelmed me. 

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 41:9, NIV

The Only One

God reminded me how He knows every part of me, even the ugly parts, yet He still loves me. While human love will never satisfy, His will. While human love will always love flawed, His love never will. In fact, He rejoices over me.

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17, NIV

You might be facing this same lie or a number of other ugly anti-truths. But know, God has chosen you and not rejected you. He has engraved you on the palms of His hands. And if you were the only human on earth, He still would’ve sacrificed Himself for you. That’s how much He loves you.

No matter what others say about you or how people treat you, the perfect, unique love of our Savior is ready to wash you clean from your wounds. He is the only One who sees every aspect of you and loves you more than you can imagine.

Rejoicing in Truth

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV

His love surpasses our understanding and knowledge. Yet we can rest in the truth that His love is not measured in human standards. How we love one another should reflect God’s love for us, not the other way around. 

So whatever lie you face this day, continue to give it to Jesus. Continue to hold it up to the truth of Scripture, knowing He rejoices over you with singing. 

And my prayer is that it won’t take hitting a raccoon and a deer, for you to know the truth that will set you free.

God's love surpasses our understanding and knowledge. We can rest in the truth that His love is not measured in human standards. Click To Tweet

We believe so many lies. One of the easiest to believe is that we cannot be loved. But God desires and loves us for who He created us to be! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #freedom #identity #loved #truth


Emily Saxe was born and raised on the east coast but currently resides in Indiana with her husband. Working as a full-time freelance writer and editor, her heart and her pen are drawn to stories of faith as she helps people share how God is working in their lives. Everyone has a story to tell, and Emily loves helping to give people a voice to share their own story. Read more of Emily’s articles on her website, To Unearth. You can also find Emily here: Pinterest Instagram Facebook

unsplash-logoAnita Austvika
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
God’s Word, love, God’s love, salvation, holiness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Foundation: Distinguishing God’s Word As the Final Authority

Giving Scripture the last word lays a solid foundation in our lives that cannot be moved. We must be alert to follow God’s Word and encourage each other in it daily so we do not become deceived (Hebrews 3:13).



One of the many conversations in our home right now is learning how to spot false gospels. In many circles today, the message of the cross has been altered to make it more polished, palatable, and attractive. But when the gospel is watered down, it is no longer the gospel. And it is alarmingly easy to veer off course. For example, take the phrase “God gives you what you need.” Think about that.

Giving Scripture the last word lays a solid, immovable foundation in our lives. We must be alert to follow God's Word so we do not become deceived. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #godslove #godsword

Pause for A Moment…

Where did your mind go when you read that? Perhaps you thought of the meme you’ve seen floating around that guarantees God will never give you more than you can handle. That is not in the Bible. I looked. The only pledge that comes close is 1 Corinthians 10:13 where we are promised not to be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that God provides a way of escape so we can endure. Or perhaps you thought of Philippians 4:19 which says God will supply all of our needs.

I don’t know about you, but I can quickly become discouraged by phrases that have been taken out of context or have had the gospel stripped from them. Without understanding who God is, and what assurances He has shown throughout Scripture, what does God gives you what you need even mean?

When I heard someone say that several years ago I smirked and thought, I know that’s what the Bible says, but it doesn’t feel true in my life. I felt forgotten, overlooked, and cast aside by God. However disappointed I was with myself, I believed I was living the life I had created. But that was a lie. I wasn’t relying on truth. My feelings were my final authority; not the sure foundation of God’s Word.

Without Love

This past weekend, my husband Sean and I were able to attend a free marriage enrichment seminar offered through his work. We had a wonderful time away together and I am very grateful! But my point in mentioning it has to do with the curriculum we went through.

I was familiar with the original material, but the version taught at the seminar had been, as the instructor called it, “de-Jesus-ed.” The only note I took the whole weekend was in response to this statement—”We all need love.” I wrote:

Why [do we need love]? How do people without the God of Creation, who is LOVE, find an answer to that question?

I know we need love because I believe what the Word of God says. Because I know Him, I believe the need for love is also satisfied in Him. Without the hope of Christ, people are left to the exhausting and futile task of manufacturing love.

I imagine many perceive the gospel to be ethereal. Spiritual but elusive; like an ungraspable vapor. Yet we have been given the Word of God to instruct, guide, and embolden us to stand firm, to live lives worthy of the gospel! But we have to open it up and read it! And as David did, we must ask for help over and over again…

Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.

Psalm 119:34, HCSB

Costly Message

In the midst of a texting conversation between me, Sean, and our two teenage daughters, Sean sent Galatians 5:13 and Psalm 5:3 as ways to pray for change in the hearts of their friends, and for God to work in their school. He challenged the girls not to pray flippantly with empty words, writing: “Don’t drop BS to the void. Speak God’s Word back to Him with hope.” Then he shared some of Jesus’s words from the gospel of Matthew.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:21, HCSB

I admit I have read this passage before and thought that seems harsh. Strict? Yes. Unreasonable? No. Why? Because He is God, and there is only one way to Him, and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

God is bigger than me. He is bigger than you. God is the Savior of the whole world, and salvation is freely given. But it costs everything because it cost Jesus everything. Every single day, as a follower of Jesus, I must die to what I think is best for me or fair. Daily the Father calls me to admit the ways I choose my own self-exalting, ethereal ideas above what He has clearly put forth in His Word. In His mercy, He shows me His way is best for me.

What is Needed

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4, HCSB

God has absolutely lavished His love on us in Jesus! Through the life of Christ God has given us all that is needed for this life. In Jesus, we have what is needed to live godly lives because we have the gift of God’s Word and His indwelling Spirit for those who believe.

Final Caution

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the mass majority of you know on some level that Jesus loves you. It is a comforting and powerful statement. For years I lived off of that phrase alone. Even if [fill in the blank] doesn’t love me well, I know Jesus does. Then last summer I read how raising a foundation on this methodology can be deceptive.

This approach subtly turns Jesus into the One who meets my needs and fills my emptiness—as I define them. It turns God’s love into something that only serves me. Repentance for our rebellion and sin against God is minimized or even ignored while God’s love for us is maximized. We turn Jesus into someone whose goal in life is to make us feel good about ourselves…[Jesus] is the Holy One who comes to cleanse us, fill us, and change us…He loves us too much to merely make us happy. He comes to make us holy.

How People Change, by Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp

God’s love does fulfill every single one of our needs! The best way to fully believe that with conviction, is to read and pray His words. Then we can be confident that though sin does separate us from God, He made a way for us to become holy. Praise Jesus!

Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14, HCSB

God's love does fulfill every single one of our needs! To fully believe that with conviction is to read and pray His words. Sin does separate us from God but He made a way for us to become holy. Praise Jesus! Click To Tweet

Giving Scripture the last word lays a solid, immovable foundation in our lives. We must be alert to follow God's Word so we do not become deceived. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #godslove #godsword

Has Fakira

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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