Encouragement for Enduring Trials & Tough Times

I don’t know about you, but whenever a small trial occurs in my life, I tend to have the worst attitude.

If I feel under the weather, or I don’t get my way, or if something goes a *little bit* wrong, I will start whining and complaining. I can’t even seem to have joy in the smallest and most menial of trials. Can you relate?

God’s Word encourages us to count it all joy and endure trials with a God-honoring attitude and praise to Him. This makes us stronger as believers, but it definitely isn’t easy to endure tough times with the right attitude. In today’s post I want to share some encouragement for when we face tough times and trials.

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3 Tips for Finding Contentment in Christ Alone (Purity Series pt. 5)

For the other posts in this series, click here.

Contentment in God alone can be tough to focus on in your daily life, ya feel me? We have so many distractions, and guys can easily be one of them. It’s easy for us girls to be so focused on guys or things of this world, that we place our hope and contentment in things other than the Lord.

The truth is, only God can satisfy our hearts. When we place our hope in other things, we’ll always be dissatisfied.

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5 Tips for Having God-Honoring Friendships with Guys (Purity Series pt. 3)

For the first 2 posts in this series, click here.

Guy friendships can be complicated – it can be tough to know how far into the friendship we can go before travelling down a road that could lead us to having unwanted feelings for each other/being in sinful or tempting situations.

I believe guy friendships are wonderful & important. However, I also believe there’s a balance that we, as Christian girls and young women, need to strive for. We shouldn’t refrain from guy friendships altogether because they’re too complicated, and we shouldn’t have super tight-knit guy friendships who we share everything with, because that can lead to intimacy that neither of us intended for.

What is this balance? Well, it’s different for everyone, and please don’t think I’m trying to force you to legalistically follow these boundaries. In this post, I want to dig into a few ways to have God-honoring friendships with guys. Let’s go!

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4 Tips For When You Have a Crush

Ah, crushes. They affect us whether we are 13 and just noticing boys, as well as when we get older. When we reach the teenage years or so, we begin to notice guys in a new light – we see certain qualities about them that we admire, and crushes can easily develop.

It can be hard to tame the longings and desires of our hearts. So…what do we do when we have a crush on a guy? Here are a few tips!

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What I’ve Learned From Keeping the Sabbath {With Testimonies from Others}

Whenever the topic of keeping the Sabbath, aka Shabbat, on Saturday comes up, many people will say that it’s legalistic. It’s a very controversial thing in the church, and many think that we should be able to choose our Sabbath day, or that Jesus is our Sabbath. However, these things aren’t Biblical, and I have found such rest and joy keeping the Sabbath.

Today I want to share with you a few things I’ve learned from keeping the Sabbath, as well as share some testimonies from some good friends of mine who keep Shabbat. Thanks to them for sharing their answers with me!!

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How to Gain Control Over Your Phone

I always saw these teens on their phones and would think, that’s such a waste of time.

I heard about people checking their phones in the morning before Bible time and thought, that’s so wrong.

Then I got a phone, and I understood. I’ve done both of theose things – spend too much time on my phone and look at it before I opened the Bible for private time and prayer.

Phones are a huge temptation and one that likely 99.9% of the people reading this post struggle with in some way or another…even in the smallest way.

Maybe you are addicted to social media.

Maybe you feel left out and sad because of comparison from social media.

Maybe you go on your phone too much, just to fill time or when you’re bored.

Maybe you love your phone more than God, even if you don’t want to admit it.

I want to encourage and challenge you today, to control your phone, rather than let it control you. I will admit, I am seriously so bad at this, but I wanted to challenge all of us to a new standard, and to honor God in our phone and social media worlds. By God’s grace, I’m getting better at it, and so can you. Here are some tips…

  • Keep your phone in another room at night

This is literally SUCH a simple thing, but it’s effective and very helpful! Turn off your phone at night, preferably an hour or two before you go to bed (I don’t do this, but I should), and leave it in another room. Then, in the morning, you can have your quiet time with the Lord before you check all your notifications and are swept into the world of your phone.

  • Don’t look at your phone while you’re out with friends/family

When you’re out with friends and/or family and are looking at your phone, this can make them feel like you don’t care about them. Furthermore, the strangers around you will likely see you and think you’re like everyone else – addicted and consumed by your phone.

However, if you choose to leave your phone in your lap, bag, or on the table, and focus on those you are with, this helps you invest in those around you and be present in the moment. It also shows those around you, those you know and those who you don’t, that you genuinely care about others. You could miss some amazing opportunities by always being on your phone!

  • Take regular social media breaks, and extended ones when needed

Last summer, I left Instagram for the whole month of August, and it was tough. But you know what? It was also amazing! I was able to think less about my phone, and more about those around me and life. I also took a break through most of December which was good as well. The first time doing it was for sure harder, but it was rewarding!

My friends Abby + Abigail have this awesome ministry (sorry guys, it’s for girls) that encourages people to seek God over social media. They take monthly breaks and have group chats for those who are taking the breaks to text in. I’ve never been in the group chats, but I usually take the breaks every month, and it’s been great! It’s nice to have that one week a month to be off social media.

At first I thought a month+ long break was crazy, and monthly breaks were a bit over the top, but I believe they have helped me. I encourage you to take regular social media or even phone breaks to refresh and recharge and help remind yourself what really matters. Also, to sometimes take extended breaks to refresh and refocus. I believe you will benefit in amazing ways from these times away from social media/your phone.

If you’re not on social media, you could take a phone break, and/or delete other distracting apps off your phone, such as games or such.

  • Remember what will matter in light of eternity

This might sound brutal, but when you die, what will matter – what posts you liked/shared, or what you did for the Lord? When you strive to keep the right perspective on life, it helps everything else work better.

Strive to post Godly things on your social media (for more on this topic, see this awesome guest post on my blog), and, more than anything, use your phone in moderation. I know the struggle of being on your phone too much…which is why I love the simple options on my phone of being able to turn off wifi and the phone itself. Obviously, this is so simple, but it can help. Stepping away from your phone and living is something we must all strive to do daily.

Stepping away from your phone and living is something we all must strive to do daily.

I hope and pray these words have encouraged you today. If you struggle with phone or social media addiction or other issues, please go to God daily in prayer. I know that He will help you overcome by His strength and for HIS glory. //

Only one life, twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

– C.T. Studd

Only one life, 'twill soon be past.

James 4:14 // Whereas you don’t know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

Ephesians 5:15-16 // Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Colossians 4:5 //  Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

Let’s chat!

  • Do you struggle with phone addiction, comparison, or any other issues regarding your phone?
  • Which of the three points stuck out to you?
  • How will you start walking in victory and gain control over your phone? What changes will you make and steps will you take?

More posts about phones/social media:

5 Ways to Use Social Media for the Glory of God (guest post by Zachary Pierpont)

The Good + Bad Sides of Social Media

The Truth Behind Selfies

Porch Swing Girl Book Review

A few months ago I read Porch Swing Girl, and it was such a fun book! Taylor Bennett allowed me to be a part of her launch team to pre-read the book and leave reviews, which was a big blessing! Thank you Taylor! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and wanted to share my thoughts about it with you today. I was not required to leave a review on my blog, but wanted to share to get the word out about this awesome new book!

~ Summary ~

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“Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old
Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston
before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But
plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.

With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and
Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive
lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy
a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged.
Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to
help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted,
Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket
home. And time is running out.”

To be honest, when I started this book, it was a tad bit slow for the first couple of chapters. I thought, “This seems pretty boring, I hope it will pick up soon.” As I read on, and more characters were introduced and more things happened, I was more interested and started to really enjoy this book! It was well worth the read, and the slightly slow beginning.

The story starts with Olive, her sister, and her dad all in Hawaii with Olive’s grandma after the death of Olive’s mom. It starts in the middle of all the mess they are going through, and gradually shares more of what is going on in Olive’s life.

Her dad leaves her and her younger sister in Hawaii with their grandmother while he goes back to their home in Boston to sell the house. This makes Olive terribly afraid, which results in her trust in God diminishing and her attitude being rude. She desperately wants to get back home, but is unsure how.

A continual theme in this book is trusting in God, especially in unknown and difficult times. Olive learns, slowly but surely, how to trust in God again after the death of her mother. She struggles to understand why a loving God would allow this to happen to her, and wants to get back home to be with her father. However, she learns to have faith in God and enjoy where He has placed her, with the help of some true friends.

Olive makes friends with a girl named Jazz, as well as a guy named Brander (my personal favorite character ;)). It shows how sometimes we have to give up things for our friends, as well as how friends need to look out for one another. I really enjoyed reading this book and seeing the realistic and God-honoring friendships displayed.

This book was great overall. As I’ve said in other book reviews, I’m not really a big fiction person. For one thing, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to read fiction books. For another thing, I have a hard time finding Christian fiction for young women that is well-written, has a good plot and good characters, and also is focused on God. This book has all of those aspects wrapped up in one beautiful story.

When I pre-read this book, I didn’t realize that it was part of a series. As I was reading it, I found myself wondering if there would be another book, because I really hoped so! When later skipped and looked at the last page, I saw that there was a preview at the sequel! No joke, I was pretty happy to see that.

I definitely would recommend this book to teen/young adult girls. It was a great read!

Get Porch Swing Girl!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 


About the author:

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Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of contemporary YA fiction. Homeschooled since kindergarten, she is a proud homebody who suffers from the rare–yet always severe–case of wanderlust.

Although she dreams of traveling to many different places, her favorite destination thus far (aside from her charming hometown in Oregon) is Lahaina, Hawaii. Taylor was so enamored with this tropical town that she became determined to write about it, hence her debut novel, Porch Swing Girl, the first in a series of books set in Hawaii.

A lover of literature since birth, Taylor found her love of writing fueled under the instruction of Andrew Pudewa and the other teachers at the Institute for Excellence in Writing, where she now works as an editor for their magazine.

When she isn’t writing, Taylor enjoys cooking, drawing, and taking long walks in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Check out Taylor’s website here!