URGENT Prayer Request

I’d like to ask y’all to please lift up this family in your prayers. They are in a very dire situation, and I’m sure that they would covet anyone’s prayers at this time.

Lainey

Beezus the Bear

Hi beartastic friends! A lot of people were worried about Sam and I soooooo I have little bit about my family.

The first thing is about Sam’s mom. Sooooo you will probably be seeing a lot of craft pics that we have done because when Sam and her mom get stressed they make A LOT of crafts!!! Sam wanted me to explain a little bit about our family. Sam is going into the seventh grade. Her sister is in collage. Sam’s father got Parkisns disease when Sam was still a baby soooooo 12 years ago. He’s getting worse and worse. He probably has about 4 or 5 years left. He’s only 44. Sam’s mom has cancer now so the doctor says the longest she has is a year. After around 4 to 5 years Sam will have to like with her grandparents. Sarah can’t take care of both of us…

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Tending the Orchard

I’ve always been a dreamer.  I can remember hours upon hours of time spent daydreaming of what my life could have been like and how it will be.  But I’ve learned quite a bit since that time.  I’ve learned that all of life isn’t a fairy tale in a happily ever after sense.  Often times it hurts, and other times life feels more perfect than any story could portray.  Even though I may not daydream as much or about the same things as before, I’m still a dreamer.  I have so many hopes for the future, of things I want to accomplish and things I want to do.  But like I said, I’ve always been a dreamer…and rarely a doer.  I’ve started projects, I’ve had great ideas, I’ve had multiple opportunities, but have I finished them?  Have I gone through with them?  Have I taken and gone for them with everything that’s in me?  No.  I’m going to be honest, y’all.  This is one of my countless struggles, and possibly the one I’m most ashamed of.  But I know I can’t live life like this, and I know that it’s not the way that the Lord wants me to live.  My life isn’t my own.  It’s never been.  Every moment and every breath I breathe belongs to Him alone.  I have the responsibility to live the life of a doer who diligently pursues the calling of God on her life.  Which brought me to this thought last night…

When God created us, He gave us each special gifts, abilities, and purposes for the time we’re here on earth in order that we might glorify Him.  I like to think of these things as seeds.  I imagine that God has given me a piece of land which represents my life, and it’s my responsibility to plant those sends, to tend them, and to nurture them.  One of my seeds is compassion.  It’s my responsibility to show love and grace and to not only have compassion for those who appear to need it the most, but to be selfless in my deeds towards those around me in my everyday life.  One of my seeds is music.  It’s my responsibility to practice and put forth the time and effort to use this gift to it’s maximum capability.  One of my seeds may be pursuing a field of ministry.  It’s my responsibility to prepare for it and to seek the Lord’s will and guidance leading up to that time.  My responsibility is to water those seeds and also to pull up the weeds that try to choke them.  The weeds are the devil and my flesh tempting and trying me to stray from what God has for my life.  And if I neglect those seeds, if I don’t invest in them, if I don’t water them and I let weeds take over, they’re never going to grow to one day bear fruit-they’re going to die.  I want my seeds to grow to be an orchard full of fruitful trees.  This journey won’t be easy.  I’m going to face harsh seasons, an endless army of weeds, and I will probably have to do quite a bit of pruning in order to make my trees stronger.  But I don’t want to sit back any more.  It’s time to start tending my orchard.

Can you relate?

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5 Lies About Your Identity That the World Desperately Wants You to Believe

In a world like ours, teen girls are faced with so many opinions, declarations, and lies about our identity.  The struggle is SO real for us Christian, teen girls who are striving to lead a life that honors the Lord.  But just how are we supposed to survive in such chaotic deceit?  By learning how to discern the difference between the lies and the truth.  Today we are going to do just this to five lies about your identity that the world desperately wants you to believe.

#1  You’re not gorgeous.

These days, gorgeous pretty much means having a perfect body.  From the color and style of your hair, to the length of your nose, to how thin you are.  Now they can even measure your beauty.  Using a ratio.  Yep.  You read correctly.  I was shocked too when I read a post and watched a vlog on a Christian site called Girl Defined where they explained how it works.  They take measurements of say your forehead, the space between your eyebrows and your nose, your nose to your upper lip, and your bottom lip to your chin.  Your measurements and how close you are to the ‘perfect ratio’ is how they define how gorgeous you are.  Ridiculous, isn’t it?  However, there is some good news; we’re not defined by a math equation.  Psalm 139:14 says,

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully [emphasis mine] made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

I don’t see anything about a ratio in that verse, do you?  Of course not!  The Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God-we are His works of art!  You don’t have to live up to a number on a tape measure or a scale because you’re gorgeous and priceless just the way you are!

#2 You have to have a boyfriend.

Ok.  So yeah, most girls would like to eventually have a boyfriend because most girls want to get married someday and have a family of their own.  But the pressure to have a boyfriend even in your preteen years is absolutely terrible.  Girls, you are not defined by another human being.  I know it can sometimes feel that way.  And often we think way too much of a guy’s opinion of us.  But you don’t need any guy’s opinion.  You don’t need any guy’s approval; the Lord has already given you His approval!  He thinks you’re to die for-literally.  

Ephesians 1:4

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

God chose you for Himself even before He created the world!  Now who needs more approval than that?  And what’s more, the whole point of being in a relationship is not just to have the admiration of a guy.  It’s to find a guy who loves the Lord as much as you do and who encourages and challenges you in your walk with Christ!  Wait for someone who will rather you have a date with Jesus every day before you even think of texting him.  Use this time of your life to chase God rather than chase a guy (and this is difficult, I know, which is why you can only do it through prayer, reading scripture, and discipline), and the Lord will send you the right one in His timing.

#3 You need to have complete control over your life.

Independence.  Get away from your parents, the barriers, the accountability, and especially God.  Get a life.

How many stories have you heard of teens who fall head-over-heels with this lie and their lives were completely ruined because of it?  I’m sure you can think of numerous.  The world seems to think that being independent is pretty ‘cool’.  Doing whatever you want to do, going wherever you want to go, and always pleasing yourself.  At least that’s what they think.  After a couple of years of independence they wonder why they still feel something missing.  Why they feel so alone.  Why they feel so discontent, or why having everything is never enough.  The missing piece to the puzzle isn’t so puzzling.  It’s actually just one word and the number one thing on their list to get away from: God.  What they never realized is that they were leaving behind the one vital necessity to living life.  Without the love of Christ, you have nothing.  You are nothing.

One of my favorite songs is In Christ Alone…

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

Beautiful, isn’t it?  I wish the whole world could hear this song and realize that Christ alone is all they’ve ever needed.  You don’t need independence.  We only need the saving grace of God.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

#4 You need to ignore all the other voices and follow your heart.

Now you might be a little puzzled on this one.  You may be thinking “Wait a second…shouldn’t I be following my heart because since I’m a Christian, Christ is in my heart?”.  Well, yes, in that sense.  But this is not what the phrase, ‘follow your heart’, is implying.  It really means, ‘follow your feelings’.  You see, even as born again believers, we still have a sinful flesh and nature.  Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you’ll never sin again, but it sure would have made things a whole lot easier, wouldn’t it? 😀 But that’s not the case.  Your flesh still desperately wants you to ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and to live for the world.  When faced with temptation, it’s that little voice that whispers “Maybe it’s not all that bad.”, “No one is watching; I can get away with it.”, or “Just this once.”.  Listen to the one that says “You know that’s wrong.”, “God is always watching.”, and “One time is enough to wreck your life.”; that is the voice you need to try to always heed.  And I say try because we’re not perfect, and we are going to sin, but you can avoid a lot of trouble and heartache if you follow God instead of your heart.  If you’re unsure of a decision, pray, study God’s Word, and seek counsel from a parent, mentor, pastor or youth director; I promise you won’t be sorry!

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Proverbs 1:33

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

#5 You have to be a feminist.

Our culture is so twisted on this thing called feminism, and it’s absolutely disgraceful. First off, we don’t have to be a feminists in order to embrace and love being females.  We don’t need put down and disrespect males.  We don’t need to abort our children because it’s ‘our body’.  We don’t need to claim that our rights are being neglected because realistically, we have just as many rights as males.  We are the next generation of women, and I don’t wish for it to be a generation where women take the role of ‘head of the house’.  That’s not the purpose God intended for women.  We were made to respect and honor the males God has placed in our lives.  We were made to grow up to be mothers who love our children and raise them to honor the Lord and strive to help point them to having a personal relationship with Him.  We were made to be meek and gentle, but also bold and strong when the time comes for us to be so.  We are the next generation, and I wholeheartedly believe that we can be females who conduct ourselves according to God’s design (Proverbs 31).

 

I hope this post has helped you to identify a few of the lies the world wants you to believe and has encouraged you to seek the truth.

In Christ Alone,

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Interview With Livy Jarmusch

Hello!

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an inspiring young woman named Livy Jarmusch, the founder of Crown of Beauty Magazine.  I have been reading the blog and magazine for a while now, and it has been such a blessing to me.  I’m always thrilled to find new sisters in Christ uniting together with the same purpose across the web.  It’s a constant reminder that we are never alone.  There is hope yet for our generation!  Enjoy the interview, and may the Lord bless you all. 🙂


Why did you start COBM, and what is the mission of the ministry?

It doesn’t take much looking around to see that we are living in the middle of a completely broken generation.  So many young women struggle to believe that they are beautiful and loved, and I hate the fact that my sisters in Christ are being lied to by the enemy.  I had several close friends struggle with these issues, self-image, and eating disorders, and it just ripped my heart apart.  I started Crown of Beauty with the purpose of just that: returning to the Cross of Christ and reminding girls to find their value in the sacrifice that Jesus made for them.  God has really given me a compassion and desire to bring the truth about our royal identity in Christ, and our mission is to encourage and uplift our sisters to know and embrace these truths!  

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Visit Crown of Beauty to read the GLOW and several other amazing issues!

What is the best part of running one of the most popular Christian e-magazines for teen girls?  What is the most difficult?

The best part, I would have to say, is just all the amazing friendships and heart-to-heart connections formed with Sisters in Christ all across the world!  I have met some of my closest friends through Crown of Beauty, and even if it’s just something small like a DM on Instagram, or an email from a sister in India…it’s amazing to see how the Lord is bringing His daughters together to encourage and uplift one another.  I love that we can all spur one another on to keep fighting the good fight, and remember that we’re not alone!

I would have to say, the most difficult part has been, the process.  I’ve been running this website/magazine for four years now, and God has taught me so much through it all.  But at the beginning, I was really wanting things to happen quickly.  I’ve always been a huge dreamer, and there were different milestones and accomplishments that I thought I could reach like, overnight.  Even though waiting, being patient, and trusting the Lord in the midst of the unknown isn’t very fun for our flesh, our Spirits grow SO much through experiences like that.  In the Kingdom of God we cannot despise the day of small beginnings, because everything starts as a tiny little seed!  When we are faithful in the small, and focus on just touching one person at a time, and being faithful right where we’re at, God begins to expand our influence and our reach.    

Can you tell us your salvation testimony?

My salvation testimony isn’t your traditional, “I was saved on this date, at this time, in this year” kind of a testimony.  I grew up in a Christian home, and God drew me to Himself at a very young age.  As a three-year-old, I remember flipping through my Beginners Bible picture book, and just feeling drawn to this amazing God.  I was wonder struck by the fact that the same God who made everything, sent His son Jesus to die for my sin, and then rose again, and now wanted to live inside me and do life with me!  Some might say that a preschooler is too young to understand these things, but God can call anyone to Himself, at any time, at any age!  So, I started walking with God when I was little, and I haven’t stopped since!

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What is your favorite verse and why?

It is so hard to choose a favorite Bible verse, because I feel like it changes all the time!  God’s Word is living and active, and He is always revealing new truths to use through the Scriptures!  But, my favorite verse, for a while now, has been Romans 12:-2.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.  His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

The call to renew our minds in His Word is amazing.  Memorizing scripture, reading His Word each day, talking with God, praying about, and writing down the things He shows us in His word is life changing.  We are transformed by His Word and His presence, going from glory to glory and grace to grace with each new day, being transformed into the image of Christ, and that is just SO exciting to me!  I love that we don’t have to listen to the lies of the enemy, and once we decide to stop conforming to the patterns of the world, and commit our hearts and our ways to His Word, the truth changes us.  Getting God’s perspective on each and every situation we encounter, transforms who we are, and gives us the power to walk in His “good, pleasing and perfect will.”  And seriously, what could be more exciting than that?!  Knowing the truth really does set us free!

 When did you start writing?  What drew you to it?

As soon as I learned how to properly scribble the alphabet, I was writing!  Haha.  In Kindergarten I told my teacher that I wanted to be an author.  I was always making up stories in my mind and acting them out with my Barbie dolls.  I had a very active imagination as a child, and I guess I never grew out of it!  I think it’s so cool how when God gives us hobbies, and dreams, and desires, and things that we enjoy doing as young children, oftentimes end up being those very things we were called and created to do as adults. 

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Secrets of Royalty looks like an amazing book!  Can you give us a brief description of it?  What inspired you to write it?

Secrets of Royalty is about a young woman who is captive in an enemy camp, called the Worthlessness Camp.  It’s a place that nobody would ever want to live, but she is trapped there.  In her most desperate hour, the Hero rides onto the scene and delivers her from the enemy’s hand.  Jesus is the mighty Prince who rescues her from her terrible fate, and brings her into the Kingdom of God.  There, she must undergo trials and experiences that will help shape her heart and understand who she truly is: a Princess.  This story is a picture of each young woman’s relationship with Christ, when God rescues us from the pit of Hell, and transfers us into His Kingdom.  The experience of this pauper turned Princess is something every girl can relate with, as we’re each on our own journeys of abandoning the enemies lies and coming into the fullness of the truth of what God says about us.

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Buy your copy of Secrets of Royalty  on Amazon

The inspiration for Secrets of Royalty actually came from a dream I had as a teenager, (which I talk about in the book) about rescuing this generation from that place of worthlessness.  The enemy has such a wicked plot going on right now, and I believe this book helps expose any lies that you might be believing about yourself, and help bring you into that place of truth.  The second half of Secrets of Royalty, is actually a 31 Day Devotional which digs deeper into these topics.  In the same way that Esther had to undergo beauty treatments before she was brought to the king, God wants to transform our hearts through the power of His Word, and help us walk in the fullness of who He has created us to be.  I believe that Secrets of Royalty helps young women do just that, and I love to think about the devotional part of this book as daily, inner beauty treatments!  

What advice would you give to a newbie writer with the dream of becoming an author?

I would say a few things, actually.  The first being, write as much as you possibly can!  Write every day, write about what you love, and if you’re struggling with writers block, just throw away all the rules and return to the simple joy of having fun with your stories and ideas!  Turn off the inner critic.  Something I have to do, is make sure that I’m not in “editing mode”, while I’m writing the first draft.  The whole point of the first draft, is to have a blast.  Bringing in the critical side too soon can quench your creative spirit and make the project seem like a chore and a burden rather than a blessing.

Also, don’t be afraid to share your work.  I know that’s one of the biggest fears authors face, letting others read your words.  It can be terrifying.  Like, you just poured your heart and SOUL onto the paper, and if someone has a critical response, it can feel like they’re directly attacking you and rejecting you as a person.  But as an author, it’s really important to remember that your identity does NOT come from the words that you write.  Your identity is in Christ, and you write because you love Him.  If others don’t embrace what you right, or if you get negative feedback, or even just suggestions for growth…don’t take it personal!  Writing and releasing can feel really vulnerable, but it’s a risk with taking.  Your pen can encourage and liberate so many people, so don’t be afraid to share the gift God has given you!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own ministry, blog, or e-magazine?

pressroom2My advice?  Do it.  Just go for it, girly!  There are so many excuses, fear, busy-ness, question-marks, insecurity…but starting a blog, or any other kind of online ministry is an amazing journey to embark on with Jesus.  If you don’t know where to start, pray!  Ask the Lord for His direction and ideas.  Another great idea, is to ask those who are doing what you would love to do, for advice.  I’ve had multiple young women email me, asking loads of questions about how to start a blog/website/or magazine, and several of them have actually stepped out and done an amazing job with it!  So don’t be afraid to start right where you are, with where you’re at.  And if you don’t know what to do, don’t be afraid to ask!  I love sharing things that God has taught me through the process, and I (as well as many others on a similar path) are only just an email away.

What lie do you believe Satan uses the most in attacking teen girls in today’s society?  What advice would you give to someone who was struggling in that area?

Wow, that’s a really broad question, I feel like I could preach a whole message on that topic!  Haha.  But for the sake of trying to be brief, one area that I really see being attacked is our beauty.  The world is constantly showing us false images of beauty, paper-thin supermodels and air-brushed faces on magazine covers…we all know that those images are not real, yet the temptation to compare ourselves or conform to this world’s standard of beauty is really intense.  We know that these things don’t matter.  God says that He looks at the heart, and that things that are seen are temporary but things that are unseen are eternal…yet we still all struggle with this desire to be truly beautiful, accepted, and loved. The answer to this battle can only be found in one place: at the foot of the Cross.  The sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and the blood He poured out, tells us just how precious and priceless we are in His sight.  The truth is, every woman is absolutely gorgeous, because she has been made by a glorious God!  Whenever we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, we’re telling God that He messed up.  That His masterpiece isn’t enough. He wants us to know just how valuable we are to Him.  There was no price that He wasn’t willing to pay in order to redeem our souls and bring us to where He is.  He loves us THAT much.  He doesn’t want to be separated for us, not even for a moment!   For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.  What kind of joy was Jesus looking forward to?  The joy of being with you!  His love for you outweighed all the pain, suffering, and torture He endured.  In His heart, He believed you were worth it.  And He still believes that you’re worth it.  If you’re struggling to embrace every part of who God has created you to be, ask Him to reveal just how much He loves you.  Because once you truly understand that you’re adored by the King of Kings, everything changes.  

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Anyone can tell by Livy’s sweet smile that she is proud of her royal heritage in Christ! ❤

If all the girls in the world could hear you for one minute, what would you tell them?

This is what I would say…
Your uniqueness is a direct expression of a Magnificent Creator who has poured His glory and His grace into you.  If you doubt that you are loved, look to the Cross.  If you doubt that you are beautiful, look to the Cross.  Jesus wouldn’t have wasted His time redeeming you, if you were not valuable to Him.  Can you hear the song He is singing over you?  Can you hear the words He is whispering to your heart?  “My dove, my beautiful one is unique, and she looks just like she’s supposed to look like.  Her voice, her personality, her mind, her laugh…I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s how I want her to be!”  Sister, God is crazy about you.  He is always with you.  He is always paying attention.  You don’t have to strive to impress him, or struggle your way into His love. His grace is enough.  His love is enough.  You are His beloved Princess daughter.  All you have to do, is crawl into His lap, allow Him to wrap His arms around you, and rest in His perfect love.  

And just out of curiosity and because I know how much you love Disney, who is your favorite princess? ;D

I’m SO happy you asked me this question!  Haha.  My favorite Disney Princess is Cinderella!  I love her story, because she had a heart of gold, and despite the cruel mistreatment, justice prevailed and all of her terrible circumstances worked out for good.  I feel like it’s an amazing example of Romans 8:28…God turning your pumpkins into carriages, and your curses into blessings, and everything the enemy ever meant against you for harm, for good!  Cinderella’s story is such a fun celebration of happily ever after, which we will experience in eternal life from our relationship with Jesus, if we endure ‘til the end! ❤   


Image credit via Livy Jarmusch and Crown of Beauty Magazine

Shared Post From BecomingEmma.Com

Hey Y’all!  I came across this beautiful post this morning and thought it may be an encouragement to several of you(especially our older readers;)).  I’m sure it will bless you!

An excerpt from my personal journal entry in April 2015: “This has just been a tough week. I have just felt really empty, lonely, and lost… It may be hard right now, but I’m thankful for broken weeks like this because it creates a void that I have to come to God to fill.” Lonely. I…

via Waiting and Dating: Why God Matters — Becoming Emma

A Baby Changes Everything

There was once a thirteen-year-old girl.  She was pleasant, kind, gentle, hard-working, and beautiful.  She wasn’t perfect, but there was something different about her.  People avoided and rejected her; even her family was ashamed of her…she was pregnant.  This pure, God-honoring, engaged girl was pregnant.  Everyone was shocked.  They stared and threw her insults, but she took them with grace.  Because she knew, even though no one else did, that she was innocent.  One of the things that hurt her the worst was seeing the hurt and confusion on her fiancé’s face.  He could have had her stoned, but he didn’t.  People didn’t understand him either-especially when he decided to go through with marrying the girl!  They didn’t know that an angel had came to him in the middle of the night and told him what his fiancé already knew.  She carried the Son of God.

Mary was a sinner just like you and me.  But even at her young age she gave her all to Christ.  Are we like Mary?  Willing to lay down all our dreams, desires, and plans to give our lives fully to Him?  Does your salvation change everything; how you act, talk, dress, live?  Is He the deciding factor in your life?  Giving your life to Christ is the best gift that you could ever give Him on His birthday.  Are you willing to pay the price?  Check out the song, A Baby Changes Everything!

Merry Christmas!

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Gifts from God: Uniqueness

Peer pressure.  I’ve always wondered if I struggle with it.  I think that I act like myself, but there are times I question.  “Am I doing, acting like, or wearing this because I like it, and it’s who I am, or because I’m just trying to impress my peers?”

I’m going to make a confession.  I really struggle with self confidence.  In fact, I’ve also struggled with things like obsession, doubt, believing that I truly am beautiful because the Lord made me in His image, and several other things.  However, one conclusion I’ve discovered in my on-going battle with self confidence is the fact that the approval of peers will not satisfy you.  At ALL.  I’ve always known that Jesus is the only person who can give me confidence, but I’ve been guilty of thinking that the approval of friends, acquaintances, AND confession time again, guys, will make me feel a little better about myself.  However, I found out differently as a result of some experiences at church camp this past summer.  To make a long story short, a guy was trying to flirt with me, one of my best friends said that a guy was staring at me with his mouth wide open(who was probably around four years older than me…creepy awkward…), and all the guys from ages 12 to about 15 took a vote on the prettiest girls at camp; I was number four-under my bestie who is one of those naturally “drop dead gorgeous” girls, and two girls who were obsessed with their hair and makeup.  Most girls would flip if that happened to them, but guess what?  I went right back to feeling like a flop.  Those guys’ approval didn’t do anything to my confidence.  Sure, it felt good for a day or two, but after that?  Not at all.  I was back to a deflated attitude of esteem.

However, I praise the Lord for that experience because He proved me wrong-that only HE can give me the satisfaction and approval my soul craves.  It’s good to get a “Jesus spanking” every once and a while, and I’m so glad He gave me one.  Why?  Because I’ve discovered that it pays to be yourself and to be the beautiful person God created you to be.  The Lord made each one of us UNIQUE; whether it’s one-of-a-kind personalities, or out-of-the-ordinary physical features.  There is no one else like you in the Universe!!!  Think of how special that is!  Buuut, like I often do, you may reply “Yes, I know that, but just knowing doesn’t cut it.”

1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV)

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Yeah, maybe not at first, but that’s when I have to look at my heart.  The closer I am, the closer you are with God, the more confident I/you will be!  When we are close in or walks with God, we won’t see all of our flaws and imperfections.  Instead, we’ll see all the good because we want to find ways to honor God and give Him glory for all that He has blessed us with.  Just like 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…man looketh at the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”  The more Christ-like we become, the more we will apply the latter part of that verse.  And once you believe that, others will too!  You’ll look at others the way Christ sees them, and because of this action, they’ll see Christ in you.  Now isn’t that beautiful?!  Uniqueness truly is a gift from God, and I believe that we all can learn to use that gift the way God designed. 🙂

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7 Ways to Show Gratefulness on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only two days away, and for most of us that means turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, fun times with relatives, and Black Friday!  Of course this is all well and good, but it appears that more and more people are forgetting what the holiday is all about; being grateful for God’s blessings on us, and for The Ultimate Sacrifice on Calvary.

I’ve put together a list of 7 ways you can show an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving!

Send a group text to your friends

Hop on over to your fave editing site(I love Canva), and edit a pretty fall photo with the words “I’m thankful for you”, or something to that effect.  Show your besties some love!!  After all, they are pretty amazing. ;D

Be a turkey on a platter

Ok, not literally, lol!  Though you may feel like one after Thanksgiving dinner! XP Have you ever heard of Elf on the Shelf?  Well, this is a Thanksgiving version!  Instead of going around like the Elf and making mischief and messes for your parents to clean up, sneak around the house and clean things up when your parents aren’t watching!  This will be an awesome way to show your parents how much you appreciate all they do for you-especially when those Thanksgiving dishes disappear or the guest bed room is suddenly spotless! 😀

Make a list of the things you’re thankful for

Make a list of the things you’re thankful for(physical, spiritual, etc.).  This will be a great way to “count your blessings”!

Make a Thanksgiving playlist

Look back over your list of spiritual things you are thankful for, and make a playlist of praise songs that include those things!  Are you thankful for the Ultimate Sacrifice(check out Forever by Kari Jobe)?  How about the promise that God will always work things out for our good(Blessings by Laura Story)?  Or maybe you’re thankful for God’s care and hand of protection on your life(Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin)?  I’m sure there is a song out there for everything you are thankful for!!

Be a tree of thankfulness

Be a tree of thankfulness and spread some leaves of gratitude!  Use a template or stencil of a leaf to make some out of festive scrap-booking/craft paper.  Then write little notes on them for your family and friends telling them why you are thankful for them, and put them in places where they are sure to find them!  These little notes will make their day. 🙂

Help the less fortunate

There are SO SO SO SO SOOO many people in the world who’s lives will never be near as plentiful as even the poorest of our country.  Through a non-profit organization like Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision, you can donate money to give water, food, clothing, farm animals, seeds, medical supplies, etc. to those in need.  What an impact we can make in others’ lives!

SMILE

Sometimes the best way we can show a grateful spirit is just to smile!  People are hurting.  People who have lost all hope of a better tomorrow and a bright future-especially on account of all the emotional turmoil going on in our country right now.  Most don’t see a need or a reason to smile.  When they see your happy face and a heart overflowing with gratefulness, it will give them cause to wonder what the source of your joy is.  It may not seem like much, but you never know how far the simplest things in life can go! 🙂

I for one am SO grateful to have the opportunity to get to know and hopefully be able to encourage you all in your spiritual journeys, and also for the greatest blessing…a Heavenly Father who loves us all so very much! 🙂

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Are You Overly Obsessing?

The definition of obsessing according to Google is this:

[To] Preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent:

Obsession in relationships is so common these days.  Even to the point of people being overly obsessive.  Most think obsession is fairly innocent and a common occurrence that goes hand-in-hand with infatuation.  But is it actually as innocent as it seems?  Well, over time obsession can grow to an extent that is far from healthy.

One reason is that it can effect your friendships.  I read this on Project Inspired  once, but I shrugged it off.  However, over time, I’ve found it to be true.  Gushing about guys around your gals is probably something that we’ve all done at some time or another, but those “little gushes” can turn into feelings of distance, annoyance, and even jealousy.  Anyone who has gone down that road will tell you to avoid it.  The best way?  There is a time for talking about boys, but also make sure that you are as enthusiastic and interested in their hobbies, dreams, lives, and most importantly, their relationships with our Heavenly Father.  We should be so obsessed with God that no other relationship can compare to ours’ with Him.

Secondly, it can effect THE relationship.  Some guys prefer the flirty girls, but a good Christian guy doesn’t want a girl who is batting her eyes at every “blessed” male out there.  A good Christian guy is going to be looking for a girl who is so lost head-over-heels in love with God that he has to deepen his relationship with Him before she’ll even give him a second look.  Also, I think we owe it not only to our future husbands, but to God, to be this way.  Think of it like this…

You’re dad made you a gift that was beyond all of your wildest dreams.  He told you that he had made it, but that it  wasn’t the right time to give it to you.  You were ok with that for awhile…but you soon grew tired of the waiting game.  You started looking online and in stores for that perfect “something”, and you started obsessing over them.  Time and time again your dad saw this.  It hurt him because you were not satisfied enough with his promise to wait for something that he had made perfectly and only for you.  You may not have bought those “somethings”, but you were still being impatient and maybe even selfish because you didn’t want to wait.

That gift is your future husband.  Those “somethings” are all the other guys out there.  Check the inventory every little while, but don’t even wish for someone you know the Lord would not have “him” to be.  Save your affection and obsessions for the One.

Lastly, it can effect your reputation.  What are your thoughts to girls who are overly obsessive or flirty?  What is their reputation?  Do they show love for God, or do they seem rather distant?  Don’t be the girl with this reputation.  Be the girl who God’s love radiates from; be a girl after God’s own heart.  Be the girl who every guy can look at and see a virtuous woman in the making.  Be the girl who is not looking for Prince Charming but instead exclaims with confidence, “My Prince Charming has already come!”.  Set your focus and base your life’s decisions on God, and you will be 100% satisfied.  Guaranteed!

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