Courage, Faith, My Testimony, Relationships, Trust

Letting Go

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Hello, everyone!

Today’s topic isn’t going to be a ton of fun, but I’m sure it’s one we’ve all had to deal with before. If you haven’t, you most likely will in the near future. Today I want to tell you a little about letting go, and my experiences.

Sometimes things happen, usually things that are really hard, and you want to stay bitter, stay sad… or even to keep hoping for something that deep inside you know isn’t in God’s plan for you.

Now this sounds pretty vague so far, so I will give you an example. My example.

I lived for nearly 10 years without any huge issues in life. In fact, I guess I could say I still haven’t had any HUGE issues- compared to a lot of people. But when I turned 10, someone came into my life. Not someone I had a crush on- or really liked…someone my sister started dating. This person ended up living with us for about a year…and he began to seem like an older brother to me. Keep in mind, I was only 10 or 11 at this time… I didn’t see anything wrong with this… I’d only ever had older sisters, but now I had more. I loved this guy as if he was an older brother. I loved him so much that-in my eyes- life was perfect…I didn’t realize I still needed God.

Time went on, and my sister realized the relationship wasn’t going to work, so they broke up. And in a single instant, he was gone- as in thousands of miles away gone…

I thought I had lost a sibling…in a way, I almost had… I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again in my life. And I didn’t want that. Nearly every morning I cried and cried, wondering why he had to leave. I would tell people I missed him- and they’d say “oh, me too”, but they never knew how much I missed him… I was bitter, so bitter. I wasn’t the happy girl I’d always been. My dad noticed, and he would try and talk to me every now and then, but I didn’t want to tell him. It got so bad that whenever I’d hear someone talk about this guy (we’ll call him S.E) or when I’d see a picture of him- I had to leave the room. I’d lost a family member. And there was a hole inside. I thought that the only way for that hole to be filled, was for him to come back- but really, God was the only thing that could fill that hole.

Yes, S.E moved away, but he was never really gone… He was still the main thing on my mind. He was still the main thing taking up my time… I had never opened my hand. I’d never let him go. I finally decided the only way to not be sad about it, was to be angry at him. And to try and forget him. I even put everything from around my room that had to do with him or his family in a bag, and threw it in the top of my closet. For a while, things were okay. It seemed better. But then I started desperately wanting an older brother. It was a terribly selfish desire, but I wanted one so bad that it became a daily routine to think about it. I’d let the skin heal over the first wound (losing S.E), but I’d never cleaned it. And the “infection” began showing in other ways(wanting an older brother). Some days were alright, others it was nearly unbearable. I prayed that God would somehow give me an older brother, but I knew he wouldn’t… I just didn’t want to admit that to myself.

After a while of figuring how to deal with it, I tried to move on. I prayed that God would use me. I told him that I was ready, I was ready for anything he would throw my way. Yet he knew I wasn’t. I was telling him I could move on, asking him to help me move on, but I didn’t want to let go of S.E, that very first person that hurt me. I found a quote recently, and it says: You can never cross the ocean, unless you have the courage to lost sight of the shore.

I had told God I was ready to cross the ocean, but I wouldn’t look away from the shore. It was like I was holding a rope, and I’d reached the end of it, yet I said to God, “oh yeah, I will move forward now”, but I wasn’t willing to let go of the rope, so I couldn’t move any farther forward.

Then I finally opened my ears to what God had been trying to tell me for two years- it was time. And to really let me know this, he had S.E in touch with my sister again. It brought back a tinge of hope inside of me, that he would come back… but then he was gone again..and I knew it was probably for the last time…. however, I wasn’t going to go through the same feelings that had torn my life apart before- so I said, “Ok, God. I’m ready… help me let go.”

And it hurt…it was hard to let go. But once I did (my way of doing this was to write letters to the person, although I didn’t send them, I just needed to get it out of my head) I felt so much better! And my wanting of a brother almost completely went away, as God began to reveal to me how many brothers in Christ I already have! Yes, I still feel a bit of wanting sometimes. Or a bit of sadness that I don’t have that brother I used to, or the one I wanted…but I know that without all of this happening to me, I wouldn’t be who God has made me, and is still making me…so I wouldn’t change any of it. God helped me to let go…to give HIM the rope, and let HIM deal with the shore… so that he could do with it what he wanted, and it was no longer my problem.

Now that was a long story, I know…but I hope you got the point. Yes, this was my story, and no, it wasn’t easy to let go. But God helped me to do it, so that with his help, I really can move forward now. You probably haven’t gone through my exact situation, but I bet you’ve felt similar before. Whether it’s anger towards someone that God is calling you to let go of, or if you want something or someone that you know you need to give to God…or maybe someone is on your mind…Just give it to Jesus. Let HIM deal with it! He’ll gladly take your burdens, your thoughts, and your hardships… And when you can let go of the past, he’ll help you to move into the future. When you can let go of what is in your hand, you can grab God’s hand instead. My heart is now filled with God… by letting go of the bitterness and anger I felt, I let more room in my heart open for God to come in.

It was hard for me to let go, because I had started to convince myself that that was who I was. I thought it was something people could feel back for me about, wanting a brother, losing someone so close to me…but I’m SO glad God opened my eyes on that…because I started meeting people in my life that were so happy in Jesus, and weren’t bitter as I had been..and God helped me want to be like them. And I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me now…because I’m glad God brought me through that, so that hopefully now I can understand more of what others are going through.

Now instead of just talking about me, I want to share some verses and quotes with you, so that you can see what God is telling you to do, and to maybe save you some of the pain that I went through.

Finding Rest

When we’re constantly thinking about something we want, or crying about something of the past, we have no rest. God will give you rest, if you’ll hand him your burdens. God is the one ‘person’ that will ALWAYS listen to what you have to say, and ALWAYS take the burdens and scars you give him. He will give you rest, if you will give him your stress. Whatever it is you may be holding on to, no matter how big or small, no matter what shape or kind… give it to God. I skipped this step altogether..and I had no rest… So Trust God…and trust that he will give you rest.

  • “It hurts to let go, but sometimes it hurts more to hold on.”

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.

Getting Past It

It can often be SO hard to let go of what we’ve felt and kept for so long. Whether it’s longing, hope, bitterness, revenge, or something different. But we MUST get past it, and in the right way. The option I went for with getting past it, was trying to just be angry. And then forgetting. I didn’t ever resolve it, I just tried to move on without letting go…and that hurt worse than if I would have just let go. God is doing a NEW thing in you, he wants you to be able to move on..and you must let go to move on…

  • “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Looking Forward

After you’ve gotten past it in the right way, keep looking forward. You’ll have things that come up that remind you of that pain, or anger, but you must continue forward on the right path. Don’t move to the right or left, just keep moving forward into what God is using you for now.

  • “Let go of the past so that God can open the door to your future.”

Proverbs 4:25-27 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

Not Looking Back!

Just another stress on moving forward. You have to strive more to reach a goal, instead of dwelling on the past ones you didn’t reach. If you are in a race, and you stumble during the first 30 feet- if you want to win, are you going to be constantly thinking about that mistake, and be looking back? No, you have to concentrate on what is BEFORE you to win the race, and let go of the mistakes you’ve made. Now if you’re reminded of whatever hardship you’ve had come up, it’s not a sin to pray and ask God to continue to heal your wound…but don’t dwell on the past.

  • “To heal your wound you need to stop touching it.”

Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Giving it to God

Yes, you must give it to God in “step one”, but you need to go even farther. Give your WHOLE LIFE to God, so that he can keep the same things from happening. When your mind is set on God and his word, instead of selfish needs, anger, sadness, and such, you will be SO much happier!

  • “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” Dwight L. Moody

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things

Reaching For What’s Ahead

When you let go, God will bring you so much more. He will not only provide you with the happiness you didn’t have, but he will be able to continue revealing his plans for your life and the impact he wants you to have on others. When you can let go of one chapter in your life, he’ll bring you the next chapter. And when you’re reading a book, you don’t just want to stay in one chapter the whole time! God is already bringing me a new chapter to my life!

  • “When you finally let go something better comes along.”

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

There are also ways to turn your sadness you may feel into the opposite when you’re reminded of it! For example, sometimes I’ll see my friends having fun with their older brothers, or see a picture of S.E doing something with his younger siblings. Sometimes it still hurts pretty bad…but I’ve turned that sadness around so that when I’m reminded of wanting an older brother, I can be reminded to pray for my future brother-in-laws, and be thankful for the amazing siblings I have! Or when I see a picture of S.E, I can just pray for him, and that God would continue to protect him and use him the the lives of others.  That’s my way to keep from becoming bitter.

You may know someone that you really loved, but realized it wasn’t a love that God wanted you to have. So you had to let go…and sometimes when you see them, and feel that pain again, you can try to pray that God will keep working in their life and bring someone to them that’s right for them…even though it’s hard to do that.

I hope this post helped you to think about whatever you may be going through right now. And if this doesn’t seem to apply to your current situation, just be reminded to give all of your cares to God, because he cares for you. He’ll always be there. And he’ll always give you rest, help you to move forward, and help you let go.

I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to write out my prayer for anyone reading this:

Dear Lord,
I thank you for what you are doing in each and everyone of these girls’ lives. I pray that whatever they may be going through right now, that you would heal their scars. That you would take their burdens like you’ve taken mine. That you would lift the weight off of their shoulders and give them the strength that only you provide. I pray that you would comfort them through whatever their going through, and help them to know that they are NOT alone. Help them to turn to you in every situation, and help them to let go of earthly things, so they can look to you instead.
In your precious name I pray,
Amen.

Thanks so much for reading this post, and have a wonderful day! I’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments! And please don’t be scared to ask for prayer on whatever you may be going through or trying to let go of. I would LOVE to talk to you, whether through our Contact Page, or just in comments! I love you all so much, and I pray that each one of you will be able to get something out of this post and turn to God for help ALWAYS! Thanks again for reading!

K.A. signoff

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Beauty, Courage, Friendship, Purifying the Mind, Body, and Spirit, Relationships

Your Inward Beauty…

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Hey there, girls! How are you all doing?

So if you can’t tell by the title, this post is about letting your inward beauty shine just as strong or stronger than your outward beauty. As a teenage girl, I know sometimes I get caught up in my looks too much. My OUTWARD looks…

But I came to realize that I wasn’t actually looking for attention on my outward appearance. You see I was..and still sometimes am, but it didn’t give me the kind of satisfaction that I wanted when someone told me that I looked pretty…

Okay, so let me explain a little bit- don’t worry, I’ll try to make it short and not boring. So, I have long hair. Thick too…. and I get quite a few compliments on it. Now I like that, don’t get me wrong. But I was with someone for about a week and when it came time for us to write on things and say how we felt about each other, she said my hair was pretty. It shouldn’t have, but that kind of HURT. Not because she complimented my hair, but because she DIDN’T complement my INWARD actions. I wanted to hear “You’re a wonderful person. You’re loving, kind, and energetic.” Instead, it was “you have pretty hair.” Don’t get me wrong, that was really nice of her to say, and I’m glad she did… because it helped me to realize what I was truly looking for. I didn’t want attention on my outward appearance! I wanted people to think of me and how I really was, not how I looked. I know sometimes we get so caught up in our outward appearance that we forget about how important it is to have inward beauty. Let God’s beauty shine through you!

Look, I’m a teenager! I get it!!! So… I’ll share something kind of personal with you girls so that you know just how much I get this…

I had a boy tell me I was beautiful recently. I’ll admit it made my heart flutter a little bit. It’s not easy for me to confess this. I know I’m way too young to have a boyfriend, and I DON’T want to date yet!!! But there is a feeling that comes with someone – especially a really cute, nice boy- telling you that you are beautiful…and you know they mean it. I’ll also admit that I thought about that for a while… it made me realize just how much I HAD been wanting to hear something like that… But… I would much rather have someone like me (a boy) because he likes how I am on the inside, not just how I am on the outside, so I learned not to keep dwelling on it. Because it’s not that important. Also though, you need to know that it’s not a sin to like a boy. To think he’s cute, or to have a crush on him! Now if you let it get too deep, then yes, it very well can be a sin, but simply thinking someone is cute isn’t a sin. I used to think it might be…but I’ve since realized that it’s a natural girl behavior… SO don’t worry a ton about it… now on to the next topic…

Am I saying we have to appear ugly to everyone so that our inward beauty is able to be seen? Not at all!! But we have to be careful on how evident it is that we want to be seen with amazing outward appearance. It’s not bad to be pretty! But if your outward beauty outshines your inward beauty, then… you might want to examine yourself a little more closely…

Girls….you’re all so beautiful. You might say “how would you know? I don’t even have my face in my profile picture!” I know because you are reading this right now. I KNOW, because you follow this blog. I KNOW BECAUSE YOU LOVE JESUS CHRIST! I KNOW BECAUSE YOU WERE MADE BY GOD!!!! And the SAME ONE WHO MADE THE STARS, THE NEWBORN BABIES, AND THE SAME ONE THAT FORMS EVERY SUNRISE AND SUNSET

MADE YOU.

He made you! So you are BEAUTIFUL! Girls… be beautiful on the inside..AND THE OUTSIDE! This isn’t a lecture, it’s an encouragement.

Now, some helpful tips on this… (tips, not orders)

  • Watch what you wear

Now I know this one is hard sometimes… Now I’m not saying you have to dress like a hobo…but you can be cute without wearing clothes that show too much skin, or the exact shape of your body. Now if you believe that this is fine…that’s alright. I won’t judge you…but girls, this world is a crazy place..and it’s better to be safe than sorry. What I always tell myself when I think about this, is “Do I want my future husband to be attracted to me because of how I’m dressed or how I look? Or do I want him to notice my smile, my laugh, and my actions?” For me, definitely the latter.

  • Watch what you surround yourself with

This one is a struggle for me sometimes. I have to remember that looks aren’t all that matter. If you have friends that all dress a certain way, or criticize what you wear, it’s hard to stay modest and focused on your inward beauty. I find myself wanting to wear things that I think make me look skinnier or curvier (as weird as that sounds), but then I remember how much I love my friends that don’t dress like that too. Because of who they are on the inside. The people I look up to the most, I look up to because of who they are, not because of what they look like, or because of their clothes. So I remind myself to surround myself with people that are more focused on God, and inward beauty, and surround myself less with people who are focused too much on outward appearance.

The reason I put “Watch WHAT you surround yourself with”, is because there are things other than people that can be unhealthy. For me, one of those things is romance books. When I read too many, I start thinking only about guys, and hardly at all about praying, God, or reading my Bible. Also when I listen to certain songs, it can make me really sad or almost lonely, and cause my inward beauty to become less. Now I’m NOT saying that it’s bad to have friends that don’t ALWAYS focus on inward appearance. That’s not bad! You must be friends to them too! But you need to surround yourself with positive influences too, people to keep you accountable. In the same way, I’m not saying books or songs are BAD, you just have to limit yourself and ask yourself “Is this healthy for me?”.

  • Strengthen your walk with God

I can’t possibly stress how important this is! Girls, when you have a strong bond with the Lord…it literally makes EVERYTHING SO MUCH EASIER AND MORE FUN! You will be overflowing with God’s joy without even TRYING! This one is super important! And praying, reading your bible and such all go along with this too!!

  • Feel free to talk to us

We care about you! I – we – can relate to what you’re going through..and even if we can’t, I can promise we’ll pray for you as you’re going through whatever it is. It’s hard, yeah, but with someone to talk to, it can be SO much easier..

SO pretty much what I was trying to get across on this post was:

  1.  Let your inward beauty (aka God) be brighter than your outward beauty (aka clothing, looks).
  2. Strive to be noticed for your faith and attitude (in a good way) rather than for your looks and clothes.
  3. Look, you can still be a girl. And be pretty! Let God shine through you too though!!! He wants people to see him through you! And pretty soon, your inward beauty will OVERWHELM AND BECOME YOUR OUTWARD BEAUTY!
  4. Girls, believe me when I say this, even though it might not seem like it- there is DEFINITELY more to being a teenager than drama, looks, and boys.

I will now end with some verses for you all to ponder:

1 Samuel 16:7b

For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

I love you, girls! SHINE FOR GOD!!!!!!

And FEEL FREE TO TALK TO US!!!!

K.A. signoff

 

Faith, Friendship, My Testimony, Relationships, Your Walk With God

Religion or Relationship?

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If you said I was born into a Christian family, that would be true.

But could you say that I was therefore born a Christian? Absolutely not!

When I was young, I “became a Christian”. Once I was nine or so, and actually understood (mostly) the faith, I renewed my salvation and faith. Now I don’t mean that as in “I believe that you have to re-say the prayer every three years to stay a Christian”, I just hadn’t fully known what being a Christian was. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s not enough to believe just because your family does. You have to seek it out yourself. You can’t simply believe it because “they” do, you must “own” it, in a sense. You must truly be able to say “this is what I know and believe to be true.” You must call your faith your own and really have it belong to you. This is hard to describe, so I hope you get the point. You can’t just believe because you were “born with it”, you have to truly KNOW it and KNOW God as YOUR savior and YOUR BEST FRIEND.

Maybe this is your story too. If so, have you ever really asked yourself in your heart if God is more to you than a dreamy figure that’s up in the clouds? Have you ever REALLY considered it?

It’s not a presentation to God, it’s a conversation.

It’s not always a prayer, but a talk.

God is there for you.

He can be just as real to you as your family you EAT WITH every day!

But you have to let him be.

He’s not an impersonal figure that’s billions of light years away,

He’s a best friend that’s by your side every second of every day of your life!

That is, if you let him…

And I’m not talking about the whole “inviting him into your heart and life to become saved” prayer. (I’m not at all trying to make fun of any of this by putting it this way, I just want to get my point across)

I’m talking about the prayer that says:

“God, I’m here. Right now. And I want you. God, lead my life, take the wheel. My choices are leading me astray, so I want you, God, to decide what’s best for my life. I don’t want you to belong to me- I want to belong to you. I don’t just want you in my heart, I want you pumping through my blood, showing on my face, revealing yourself in my actions. Make my life yours, and make your power my power. Help everyone to know that I am yours… forever. In your name, Amen.”

When you say this, and really mean it, (not exactly those words, please make them your own if you are going to pray this) and bathe yourself daily in God’s word and talk to him ALL DAY LONG….

It makes life so much easier. And so much more fun! And it helps others not to see you as “The judgemental goody-goody that acts like a christian”, but the person who’s identity is wrapped wholly around their faith. Is it hard to get started in reading your bible and praying every day? Come to us (and other bloggers) for encouragement! I promise you’re not alone! You’ll find encouragement here from us! I’m MORE than willing to lend an encouraging voice… and shoot up some prayers for you! I also have troubles sometimes being as close to God as I should be!! I’m not perfect, far from it actually!

When you really search it out, you’ll realize that instead of being a “good influence” on others, or straining yourself to act godly around certain people, you can let it be your personality. It’s not only so much simpler and better for you, but it will help others (even if you don’t always know it) to see you as more of an “authentic” Christian, and less of a fake. What you’re shooting for, is to relax and be yourself, and have fun, and be the same godly person that you are when you’re at church or reading your Bible. I know multiple people like this… they don’t even realize that they’re like that!!! They are SO easy to be around, and is SO obvious that they are a TRUE LOVING CHRISTIAN! Even if you met them at a concert (or somewhere other than Church), you can tell!!! I love that so much in a person!  And those few people (Thanks, G, F, K and C ..and J…) are DEFINITELY people I want to be like! Constantly happy, not judgmental, and have the love of God shining through their being!

Get whatever you’d like out of this post, and don’t let it discourage you in the least! Let it be an encouragement to all of us!!! There will be hard times figuring out what you as a person believe, and what you want to know, but one of the main keys?
BE EXCITED!!! It may sound crazy, but when you think about it, this time in your life- of figuring out your identity, and what you truly believe and how you want to act in your life (also how others see you) – is WONDERFUL! Yes, it can be scary, but really, you’re shaping WHO YOU ARE! You’re shaping this WONDERFUL relationship with God! And maybe you don’t know someone like I was talking about. Maybe you’ve never met someone like that… if not, I want you to check out this youtube channel, and video. This is an AMAZING young lady by the name of Emma Mae Jenkins. I encourage you to watch some of her videos. You’ll love them!

I made this post as much for myself as for you girls. I’ve really been questioning a lot of things lately… and I know for one thing- I want that relationship. That brings me to the title- Religion or Relationship? So why did I call it this? Because I believe as strong Christians who love God, we need to have that bond, that strong love and connection between God and us. And I’m going to show you the definitions of these two words real quick:

Religion: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

Relationship: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

So are you just merely believing in God and not letting your faith go any further? Or are you CONNECTED to God? I’m not trying to get on to anybody, as it’s an ongoing trek of dedication to have a connection. But I’m willing to go through that, because I LOVE my God, and I want him to be closer to me than any human in the universe could ever be.

So if I could chose which I want, it would definitely be Relationship. And that IS my choice. Because I believe that when you are connected to God, then it is so much nicer to be firm and steadfast in what you believe, which makes it easier to tell others about your faith.

I’ll end with some verses:

Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Deuteronomy 5:33 – Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and [that it may be] well with you, and [that] ye may prolong [your] days in the land which ye shall possess.

Colossians 2:6 – As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks so much for reading!

And remember, if you ever need prayer or encouragement, we’re here!

K.A. signoff

Joy, Thankfulness

Thankful for the Little Things

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Sometimes when we get back into the school year, and are so overwhelmed with busyness that we lose track of the important things in life. Sometimes we’re so busy that we forget to take time to look around and observe. We forget to be thankful. Now, don’t think I’m trying to point fingers here, I’m sure I’m just about one of the worst with this, as I always tell myself I don’t have time to do these things. School is important, and so are a lot of those other things, but sometimes we need to take some time to breathe, and to observe.

You might notice I’ve said the word observe multiple times here… what do I mean by that? Well… I mean that you have to notice the little things. And be thankful for them. You don’t have to take a ton of time doing this! But it’s not as hard as we make it!

As you walk out the door, notice the bright blue sky.

As you get in the car, be thankful for a running heater!

As you step out of your car, notice the beautiful fall leaves falling from the trees!

When you eat lunch, be thankful that you have a lunch to eat.

And as you crawl into bed, be thankful for those warm covers.

As you glance at yourself in the mirror, be glad that you have a reason to smile.

When you wake up, be thankful to God that you have another day to live and breathe and worship him!

During church, be glad that you have the freedom to be a Christian!

When you sit and cuddle with your pet, be thankful that you have companions and friends in life!

Now all of these aren’t just “little things”, but there are plenty of obvious, AND plenty little things – all of which we should be thankful for.

You might already do all these things, but I’m sure each one of us could use a reminder every now and then.  And what better time for a reminder than when we’re less than a week away from thanksgiving!? So, as you rush around your busy life, take time to be thankful, even if it’s for the littlest things, and take time to shoot a silent prayer of thanks up to God for all that you have. And, hey, if you’re feeling extra grateful, why not share some of that with a friend by commenting on how beautiful of a day it is, or how happy you are? Sometimes just one happy, grateful person, can make a whole crowd of people thankful again! You might just light a spark. 😉

No thankfulness post is complete without a few verses, so I will leave you with just that.

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

1 Corinthians 16:8

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(All verses are KJV)

This was kind of a short post, but I hope you enjoyed it!

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Faith

Filled Up

filled up

Would you rather be full of God, or full of Satan? The answer is simple: full of God. In order to be full of God He has to be our complete focus, the one we turn to for making every choice and every decision. When we put Him first in each situation and go to Him for counseling when we need advice, His presence grows inside of us. I personally don’t believe you can lose your salvation, but I do believe that you can lose a strong bond with the Lord when you are a Christian. I’m sure all of us have seen people that we think are Christians but don’t have a strong walk with the Lord, and people that we KNOW are Christians and we KNOW have a strong walk with the Lord. Even if both are Christians, some may not be as attuned with God or as willing to put Him first as others.

What I’ve recently realized is that all the space that doesn’t have God in it can be taken up by Satan’s influence. When you are completely filled with Christ, there is no room left for Satan’s lies anywhere in your heart. But when you slack off and your heart isn’t as full with God, there is room for Satan to step in. So if you have a lot of God in your heart but aren’t completely full with him, then Satan can still come in and take over part of it until you surrender it to God–ONLY God, and no others. When I say Satan, I mean more of our human flesh. As a human, there are things we may say to one another without realizing that it hurts them, and there are things we may do to others that make us feel good, even when it’s mean. When someone disagrees with us, our first instinct is to stick up for what we said in the first place (which starts arguments). When someone says something rude, we want to shoot back something meaner.

This is our flesh that does this. God is not like that. He doesn’t do that. Satan uses our fleshly instincts to go against what God wants. But when you let God enter your heart and you invite him to come ALL the way in, when you pray daily and read your bible, he will enter more and more until there is no room left for Satan to use you or for sinful instincts to take over. It’s just God in there. When you really let God in so that he can handle your life, it’s so much better. And it doesn’t stop there. He can continue to fill you until his presence is overflowing out of you. When you fill up a cup, it stays full. But if you just keep dumping water in, it will overflow! That’s what we want God to do. To fill us up so much with him that it overflows to everyone around us: his love, his faithfulness, his trustworthiness, and his joy!

That way, people that look at us and see God overflowing from within us, and not anything else. I truly realized this when I got back from my missions trip to Mexico. It was actually more like a youth camp, and we were in TX most of the time. But it was SO amazing, because being around the people I was around just brought so much joy to me! They were always smiling and happy, and I just KNEW they were like that because God was inside them. And when I was around someone like that and I could see that God was like that in them, I really wanted it for myself.

I knew I was a Christian, and I prayed, but I hadn’t fully devoted myself to Christ. I prayed quite a bit actually, and when I came to troubles, I looked to him for help. But I wasn’t taking time to thank him for everything as well. And I wasn’t looking for the little things in life that are amazing. I never made time to read my bible, and I’m ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. I KNOW and realize how important that is, and that it HAS to come first every day, or else God will not fill you up and there will be room for worldly things: what Satan wants you to do and what your human flesh is telling you to do. So sometimes you have to get away from all that (even somewhere away from home literally–for me that place was Mexico) and get your eyes fixed on GOD and what HE wants to do in your life. And then he will fill you up.

Have you ever been worried to be around someone who wasn’t godly, because you didn’t want them to rub off on you and make you rude to others like they were? I have! But at the same time you really want to be a good influence on them? I get scared sometimes that it might flip flop and they would be a bad influence on me! But when you stop worrying about all that, and strengthen your walk with God and let him take care of it, then he will be SO full inside your heart that there won’t be any room for worldly things that try to work there way in there. So when you feel like you have a strong walk with God, and you feel temptations pulling at you, you have to just say “NO. God is leading my life. He is the master!”

I’ll leave you with a couple Bible verses I found. One I came across just this morning!

Romans 15:13 “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.”

Proverbs 27:7 “The full soul loatheth a honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

So when we’re not full, we mistake bad for good. That’s what I get out of that last one. The first one is kind of straight forward. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this post! And I’m not saying I’m perfect with this yet. I’m still trying to work on it. I really want to make sure I’m being a godly influence on others. And when I say go to God first, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to other Christians and talk to them. God gives us people like that because he knows that sometimes we need another person to talk to. Anyways, I hope you liked it! Thanks so much! And have a blessed day “filled” with God’s love! 🙂

K.A. signoff

Beauty, Courage, Kindness, Love

You Matter

you matter

Hello everyone! K.A here today with you! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. Life gets busy, things happen, you forget… you guys know how it goes! This probably won’t be a super long post, but I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement today.

All of us go through a time when we feel like no one cares. Like we don’t matter to the world. Everything around us is a blur, and even though we love the people we know, it seems like they’re so far away, and you wish for things you don’t have. There are so many “ifs” filling your life that every time you try to run away, you’re faced with a different one. Should I go to college? Will I get married? You know what you want in life, but what if you have this or have that? What if you want to be a stay at home mom, but you really want to have a job as something else? There are so many options today, so many things spinning around and around you, putting a fog between your questions and the answers. We all go through this time in our lives when we’re figuring things out.

We are looking for someone to tell us everything that is going to happen, and exactly what turns to take in the years ahead. Well, sorry, but it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes, there isn’t a clear answer for the things ahead. Sometimes, we have to rely on God to help us know what we need to do now, and deal with the future when it becomes the present. When you just need someone to talk to, to cry out to and spill your problems to, there are people there. You can talk to your parents, animals, and even your journals. But no matter how far away he might seem, God is always right there next to you waiting for you to give him your burdens. You can even come and talk to any one of us here at YLFC. There are so many people in the world that love you. Even when you don’t think anyone cares, we do! I love you, and more importantly, GOD loves you. There are so many doubts that are killing people’s good thoughts about themselves. You don’t want to be prideful, but it doesn’t help to tell yourself that you are the ugliest being on the earth, either. I know what it’s like.

There are so many critics in the world today. But you know what? GOD LOVES YOU LIKE YOU ARE!! Every one of us was made special by God’s own hand. I heard a song recently that said “Those hands that carried the cross are now the hands that carry us.” (Held in your hands, by Rush of Fools. I don’t know that I’ve heard the entire song).

God loves you. He made you with His hands. He formed you, and he loves you. The hands that made this world are the hands that made YOU! He made you different than any other person in the whole wide world. You are special. Whether you feel like you’re in a deep pit, and no one notices, or you feel like you’re invisible to the world around you, you are never invisible to God. He doesn’t care if you wear the latest fashions, he doesn’t care if you’re a blonde. He loves everyone, the perfect and imperfect alike.

Matthew 18:12-14 says:

12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:4 says:

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

See? He loves us. When you don’t feel like anyone notices you or anyone cares about your future, when you’re lost and confused and can’t think about anything but how no one loves you no matter how hard you try, remember that God loves you. And He is so strong and courageous that he can give you the power to fight, and he can easily get you through whatever you’re going through. God will help you know where to go in time, and He’ll give you hope for the future! Meanwhile, get in your Bible! You’ll find more evidence of his great, great love for us sinners. Jesus loves you!!! You MATTER to Him. God will reveal what you need to know in time. But for now, let Him fight the war in front of you. He gave you this life so you could enjoy it, but also use it to live for and glorify HIM!

YOU MATTER.

This is one I just heard yesterday. It was really good, because I could really relate to it with some of the feelings I’ve had lately. I hope it helps you. This one nearly makes me cry. It’s not the type of song I would usually listen to a lot, but I really like this one!

Another one I heard yesterday on the radio. It’s a very good reminder that God is right there, and He cares about you!

One last one for you all. You are More. I’ve liked this one for a while. It’s definitely worth listening. And another slightly sad hanky-jerker. You don’t have to listen to any of these, I just thought I’d put them on if you did.

Oh wait, there is one more. 😉 Whoops. Here you go:

I just came across it and had to put it on. Our music group has sung this before for people. It’s a really good song.

I hope this gave you an extra hope for tomorrow. You do matter, and God cares about every one of you out there. I hope that you’ll remember that there are other people going through hard things, too and that you would give them an extra hand up. Tell them that they matter too, and that they are loved by God. Help them know they’re not alone. I love you all. Don’t feel scared to talk to any of us here at YLFC. We’re always here for you guys. We want to talk. You are all so precious to God. Remember that. Remember to lift others up with your words this week. I love you guys so much.

K.A. signoff

Beauty, Faith

It’s Your Choice…

It's Your Choice

Something I’m sure every one of us knows and has heard a thousand times is that every fingerprint in the world is different. There are no two that are the same. Even for identical twins. You’ve probably all heard that from a young age in your science books, or from your parents. I know I did. But that’s not all God made different. It’s not just your fingerprint, your eyes, your hair, or your scars that are different. It’s your heart. It’s your personality, your characteristics. God made each one of us SO different.

I’ve gone through many times of saying “Why can’t I look like her?” or “Why can’t I have as pretty of a voice as that person?” I’m sure we’ve all compared ourselves to others before. We’ve wished that we could be like them. But, there’s one thing that will never ever change through your life. It doesn’t matter what the choices you make are, where you go, what you do… you will always ALWAYS be you. Just you! You may make yourself act like others or look like others. You may have surgery changing you to be different. But that never really changes you. Even if you go to try and be like someone else, God made you just the way he wanted you! That’s who you’re supposed to be!

You have the choice to make you into whoever you like. But people see you as you. If you choose to be a doctor, that’s what people see ‘You’ as. If you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s what people see ‘You’ as. You can form yourself, you can decide to an extent who you want to be. But God made you different than others. Sure it’s hard not to want to impress people, to make them think you’re amazing. I’m a teen (almost). I know what it’s like! You want to be cool, you want people to notice you and how responsible you are, or how much you have to show off. Our flesh can’t help but want that.

To a certain extent that’s not a bad thing, but you have to keep control of it. You have to keep from blending in with the crowd too much. It’s okay to stand out every now and then. Don’t you think Noah stood out? He thought water was going to fall from the sky! But he TRUSTED GOD. He didn’t go with trying to please others. To act like he knew better than to trust God! He did what he was told. He stood out, but wasn’t it worth it? Sure, you might not be in the middle of the flood, but you have choices you can make to for yourself.

In the midst of trying to please your flesh, remember that God is always more important and he doesn’t love you more when you wear make-up. He doesn’t prefer you when you have some amazing hairstyle. I’m not saying this stuff is bad, but sometimes you have to zoom out and remind yourself that God doesn’t think you need all of this. It’s not bad to want to please others, or to want others to think of you as responsible. Those are good qualities. But you have to make sure that they don’t go to limits of doing things that you know wouldn’t please God, just so that you could please others. Cause in the end, it’s not worth it. You want to serve God. You don’t have to go down the same path as others. You can take the narrow road. God made you just the way you are, and just the way he wants you to be.

God made each one of us different for a reason. Not just so that we could spend 24 hours a day trying to be like everyone else. So, what I want you to get from this is when you form your character, when you’re making your personality, rely on God to help you. I’m not saying that friends are bad, and it’s bad to rely on your sibling and parent’s help. No, not at all! But when you feel your conscience saying that you’re around bad influences, listen to it, and most of all, listen to God. He loves you. No matter how pressured you feel to be someone you aren’t, don’t give in, and remember that God loves you, and he wants you to follow and love him.

And if you do, then you’re already on the right path. Sure there’ll be struggles, don’t doubt that. Just because you have God by your side doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get the thorns in the rosebush. But you’ll have him by you to help you every step of the way. It’s your choice who you want to be. What do you want to be? What are you going to choose? Who are you going to make yourself into? Are you going to go with the flow of others, or are you willing to take the risk to stand out? Are you going to choose the hard right over the easy wrong?

It’s your choice…

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My Testimony

My Testimony – by K.A.

pexels-photo-154015-2

Hello! Today, I’m going to tell you my testimony. I haven’t ever shared this on a blog, and I don’t share it with others very often, but I’d like to share it with you all now.

When I was little, I believed that if you were young enough, you would go to heaven even if you weren’t a Christian. You know, when you didn’t know how to become one yet. When you didn’t understand it. Well, I remembered on my 8th (or somewhere around there) birthday, and I was SO scared. I didn’t want to be 8 yet. I had decided that was probably the age that if I died I wouldn’t go to heaven anymore, unless my salvation was true.

Of course, I know now that if I was old enough to understand that much, I was probably to that age already. Sure, I had prayed the prayer, but I didn’t feel like I was a Christian. After I was that old, I lived my life in constant fear. Every time I hollered for someone and they didn’t answer right away, I freaked out and thought “The rapture happened, the rapture happened! I’m here all alone!!!” I was always scared. I could never actually concentrate on anything, because I was so scared that the rapture would happen and because I wasn’t a true Christian that I would be left here all by myself. When I couldn’t find my sister where I had seen her last, I panicked. All the time I was scared.

I probably prayed “the prayer” a thousand times, just trying to get myself to think I was actually a Christian. I guess I thought I would KNOW when I was a Christian, and that in itself would be an immediate feeling or something. I asked my mom about it, and she showed me some verses about assurance of salvation. Over time, I realized that I wasn’t fearing over those things anymore, that I was no longer living my life in dread, fear, and anguish. I wasn’t constantly worried of those things, and after a while, I knew that if the rapture happened I was going to be right there with the rest of my family in heaven.

I used to be scared that I wouldn’t ever have assurance, that I would live the rest of my life hiding from the rapture instead of looking forward to it. Now, I can rest assured that I’m a Christian. I know that if someone were to ask me if I was, I would be able to truthfully say I KNOW where I’m going when I die, and I know it’s heaven! Now, I am willing to stand up for my faith. I’m not entirely sure what helped me gain assurance. I know it was God, but I think it was also the Bible, my mom, and time helped as well.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you struggle with assurance of salvation, I hope this was a help to you!

K.A. signoff

Courage

In the Mirror

in-the-mirror

Whenever I go into the bathroom, I can’t help but look in the mirror; mainly because it’s above the sink…but also because I want to observe myself. It may sound weird, but I sometimes look in the mirror for rather long periods of time, just staring at my reflection. I look into my own eyes and wonder what God sees in them that He wants to use. I wonder how I can make a difference because I KNOW I can. I want to serve God. I don’t want to waste my life. I see my Bible sitting on the piano and say “I can just read it tomorrow”, and go about my life. I don’t want to be the person saying that I read my Bible, but can’t say all the books of them in order. I don’t want to be the Christian that doesn’t read her bible more than once every week. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say “where did time go?” I don’t want my last moments to be in regret.

I want to change the world. I want to live for my Lord and Savior. I want to make a difference. But wanting something and actually getting it are two different things. You have to work for it. If you want to make a difference, then sitting in your house hiding isn’t going to do that. You have to get out and do it. Sure, there’s a time for having fun, but there’s a time for getting something done. I’ve already lived 12 years without making a much of a difference at all. Well, not that I’m aware of. I want to step out. I want to be the change. I want to make a difference. Anyone can do it, but not anyone will.

Maybe you’re like Moses, telling God He’s chosen the wrong one for the job, that He’s made a mistake, that you maybe don’t think you’re good enough. Well God doesn’t make mistakes. Jesus can use any one of us Christians He wants for the job. And if He’s chosen you, then who are you to tell Him He’s wrong? God loves you. He died for YOU.  If you won’t even go out and tell the world what He did – If you won’t even go and make any difference for Him, because you’re too scared, then what kind of Christian are you? Are you going to be the Christian who doesn’t ever read your Bible, but goes to church on Sunday? Are you going to be the Christian that reads your Bible every single day, but never goes out to make a difference? Or, are you going to be the Christian, who reads your bible, prays, and tells the world about the good news? It’s your choice. God gave us those choices.

You can make a difference now. God chooses some for the bigger things. But not everyone is going to do the big things. You don’t start with the big things. You have to start small before you can go big. Every famous person in the world started small before they became big.  Some of them never even became famous. A tree starts small before it gets large. You have to be that sapling that grows into a huge tree.

When I think about these things, I want to change the world. I want to change lives. I know God put me here for a purpose. It doesn’t start with changing the world. Changing one person, then two, three, four and on and on! It’s not going to seem like you’re changing the world. And you can’t, and won’t, change the world. The world can’t change. But the people in it can. When I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference, I put it off. I don’t want to be the person that does that anymore. I want to change. And I’m going to change. I’m taking the steps into change. I want to live my life for Jesus and make Him proud. I don’t want to be one of the people He looks upon and says aren’t ready to serve. I want to be one of the ones that catch His eye. One of the ones that He smiles upon. I want to praise God in everything I do, and I want to help others to do the same.

Ou pastor gave the example (he taught about sharing the Gospel with others – after I had already written this post the first time through): If you had 100 dollars, and you gave 50 to your friend, you would only have 50 left. But with the Gospel, if you have information, and you give it all to your friend, you still have the same amount as you started with. It would be like having 100 dollars, then giving 100 to your friend, and still having 100! then they can give 100 to their friends, and it will just multiply, bringing so much money all around. But the Gospel is worth SOO much more than money. So share the Gospel with YOUR friends, so that they can share it with theirs.

Anyone can be the change. Anyone can make a difference. Anyone can change lives. But not everyone is willing to take those steps. It’s scary, I know, but I want to do it still. Don’t you think if it were you, it would have been hard for you to get on that cross and die for SO many people, knowing everything that was ever going to happen? Knowing that some people wouldn’t even care what you did? Well, Jesus still did it. Next time you look in the mirror, remember that God put you here for a reason, and know that you can change lives. When you look into your own eyes, see eyes that are observant, loving, and kind. When you look at your face, see someone who is loyal, brave, and wanting to serve. When you look at your mouth, see a mouth that is edifying, careful with what it says, and caring for others. When you look at your hands, see hands that work for the Lord, hands that are used to flipping pages in their bible, and hands help others in what they do. And when you look at your attitude, see an attitude that respects others, loves the Lord, and wants to use their life to glorify him in everything they do. You may not feel like you’re worthy to be chosen to change the world, but it comes with time, thought, effort, prayer, and a lot more. When you see yourself in the mirror, tell the person staring back at you that they can change the world. Because they can, if they have the desire to.

Mat 22:37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

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