How to Have God-Honoring Relationships with Your Family

Relationships can be super tricky. Whether they are friendships, family relationships, or romantic relationships, I’m sure you have faced some struggles with relationships at one point or another.

I wanted to do a series on how to have God-honoring relationships with those around us – family, friends, and romantic relationships! The goal of this series is to encourage you to build all your relationships around Christ and His Word.

Today’s post is going to be all about your family. Let’s dive in!

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Why Jesus is More Than the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Life is hard.

I don’t have to tell you twice. You might feel the weight of that sentence every single day. You’ve likely felt the pain of a breakup, job loss, move, loss of a loved one, abuse, difficult friendship, betrayal, financial insecurity, injury or sickness, or difficult transition.

You’ve likely felt lonely, depressed, frustrated, angry, irritated, worried, and scared at some point in your life. Perhaps you feel those things every single day, and maybe you can’t recall the last time you were truly happy.

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Thursday Thankful Things

I have not done one of these posts in a LONG time! Life got busy, and while I was posting them every other week, that kind of got pushed away. However, I’m hoping to at least do these posts once a month because it’s so fun chatting about what we’re thankful for!

This Thursday I’m thankful for…

– Hikes + God’s creation

– Pretty sunsets 😍😍

– Cute lil’ succulents 🌼🌱🌻🌵

– Classic books like Little Women

– THIS. BOOK.👏👏

– Praise + worship time at church♡

– Watching Little House on the Prairie

– Baking DELICIOUS chocolate chip cookies

What’re YOU thankful for today? And do you like seeing these posts? Comment below!!

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame. // Psalm 34:5

Why Suicide is NEVER the Answer

Each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide. (source)

So often these days we see people losing hope and making the terrible choice to take their own lives. Life is no longer valued like the gift it is. Suicide is portrayed as a GOOD thing and as an “escape” from life’s troubles. In the media, suicide is shown as something that is a good solution to depression and that has good results. This breaks my heart.

I don’t know if you have ever been affected by suicide – whether you’ve had a loved one commit suicide, or have thought about it yourself – but I want you to know something: suicide is NEVER the answer, and here are a few reasons why.

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Encouragement for Those Who Struggle with Depression

Depression. It turns even the happiest person into someone clouded over by darkness. It breaks my heart to think of all the precious people being deceived by depression today. So many people think that life is not worth living anymore because of this lie that has invaded their brains.
I personally have never been affected by severe anxiety or depression. However, I have had some anxiety, and it’s definitely not fun.
One thing I’ve noticed is how anxiety is always a false feeling. It comes in as a small thought or thoughts that then grow and become something I’m anxious about. None of it is even true, but it seems like something worth worrying about.
Depression can also be this way. It can start out as a small thought, such as “I’m not very pretty” and turn into “Nobody would ever love me, I might as well not be alive.” Obviously, it can come from worse thoughts, but that is just a simple example.
Depression can come from having a broken family, bullying, or just doubtful thoughts that have grown in your mind. Whatever it comes from, it’s always the same thing: a lie from the enemy. Here are some lies that depression feeds us.
Friend, I don’t know if you’ve ever faced depression or anxiety, but I’m writing this post today to tell you that these things are both lies from the enemy, the father of lies. DEPRESSION IS NOT FROM GOD. You weren’t meant to live held down by this- our God is a God who delivers and sets free! He has made you for more than this depression. He set you free and you are free indeed!
If you have depression, or even anxiety, AT ANY LEVEL, here are a few things to remember:

  • Talking it out is necessary and so beneficial

We were not meant to live this life alone, facing mountains by ourselves. Please, go and talk to someone about the things you are feeling – a trusted adult, especially a parent if that’s possible for you. This will help you SO MUCH to get the things you’re facing off your chest and talk through them.
I know it’s hard to go talk to someone about it, but believe me, it’s worth it. It will not be easy, but it will help. This is a huge step in getting better. You might not want to share this, and you might not want help, but we all need help sometimes and that is perfectly alright. Talking through your thoughts regularly with a parent or Godly counselor is so beneficial and needed.

  • Spend time in prayer and read the Word

Turning to Jesus whenever we are anxious or depressedd is SO FREEING. Friend, please go to the Father and lay your burdens upon His shoulders. HE KNOWS. HE CARES. & HE IS WAITING FOR YOU TO RUN INTO HIS ARMS AND FIND REST.
Share your troubles with Him and lay them all down. Ask Him for the grace to overcome what you face and to see the beauty in life. Find some verses on joy and hope and study them, meditate on them, focus on them. Put Truth into your mind and let it melt all the lies away. You might be facing a mountain, BUT YOU DONT FACE IT ALONE. Going to God daily and laying burdens down, and putting Truth in your mind, helps immensely.
Psalm 3:3-4 says: But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. I cry to Yahweh with my voice, and he answers me out of his holy hill.
Selah.
I’m here to tell you there IS a way to overcome depression. There IS a Light in that tunnel that you are in right now. Joy isn’t coming, IT IS HERE. Jesus came to this earth as part God, part human, and therefore, experienced much hardship. Come to Him.

  • Choose joy in the JOURNEY

God is your deliverer, but deliverance is definitely a process. Thoughts of anxiety and depression may still creep in from time to time, but what’s amazing is that the Father is with you in those times as well as every other moment. He is in the journey, going with you and strengthening you for all the mountains you face.
As you are in the valley and climbing up a mountain, you are gaining strength for the next mountain you face. Your test will soon become a beautiful testimony you can share with others. Choose joy in the beautiful journey He is orchestrating for you. Breathe in the beauty of each day, and enjoy the ride. He is with you, helping you and equipping you. Though it might feel long, keep trusting in Yahweh (God) and standing on Truth.
I am praying you find a way out of depression and anxiety. There is a Light. You do not have to live in this. Jesus is a fountain of abundant joy. Run to Him, friend.
To end this post, here is an amazing passage to meditate on when you feel depressed or anxious:
Psalm 40:1-5 // I waited patiently for Yahweh. He turned to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. He set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand. He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in Yahweh. Blessed is the man who makes Yahweh his trust, and doesn’t respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, Yahweh, my God, are the wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are toward us.
They can’t be declared back to you. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Other posts on depression/anxiety/finding hope in the Lord:

Dealing with Doubt

5 Ways to Overcome Fear, Doubt & Worry

3 Things to Remember When Someone Hurts You

Trusting God in All Times
// A post on suicide coming soon.
If you know someone with depression or anxiety, please share this post and/or some encouragement with them. Spread light, spread love.

How to Live Life Wisely and to the Fullest

Life is short. It’s not something we like to think about, but it’s something we should all think about and even discuss more often.

I think that if we all knew when we’d die, we would live differently. My question for you, today, is: how are you living the life you’ve been given? Are you living in a way that God would say, “well done, good and faithful servant?” Are you living and doing things that you will later regret, or using each day to the fullest?

In this world, everything is catered to our needs and is so “instant.” Even this blog post is being viewed by you on some sort of mobile device, where you could easily close the tab and forget about what you are reading.

However, I want to encourage you to slow down for a minute. Think about what you are reading and how you are living. Truly READ this post, slowly. I want you to take this to heart, and not simply skim through it. With that said, let’s dive into how to live our lives wisely.

You nor I are promised tomorrow, and the people you encounter each day aren’t either. This should be enough to challenge you and make you think about the time you have.

It’s honestly kind of scary to imagine our lives ending today or tomorrow, but maybe we should think about it. I’m not saying we should expect to be killed or randomly die at the drop of the hat, and fear each coming moment. That is way extreme.

What I am saying is that we need to meet in the middle of the two worldly extremes.

The one extreme doesn’t even think about the brevity of life, but lives each day not considering how their time is valuable and others’ is as well.

The other extreme realizes death could come at any minute, and fears it. It constantly worries and wonders when their time is.

Now, as you can tell, these 2 extremes are rather, well, extreme. The medium that I want to present to you today is this: to realize your life could end soon, but not letting that worry you. Rather, that knowledge pushes you to live in a different way.

We are all given one life, and it is a gift. We can waste it, by not thinking about how our lives are short, or by worrying about death. We need to realize that we are not promised tomorrow. We need to humble ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We need to realize that there is beauty and value in each moment and each person.

We need to humble ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We need to realize the beauty and value in%2

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

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

You might be wondering just HOW you can make the most of each moment & “redeem the time.” Here are a few tips.

  • Humble yourself & submit to God.

We cannot live for God by living in pride. We must deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow in the example of the One who died for us, DAILY. Come to Jesus with all that you are, all that you want, all that you have, and lay it all down. Ask Him to enable you with a correct mindset on the brevity yet beauty in life, and to live each moment to the fullest.

Luke 9:23 // He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

  • Have grace on yourself.

As you strive day by day, by the grace of the loving Father, to use each moment for Him, you will mess up. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all face temptations. As you stumble, as you are tempted, it is your choice what you will do from there. Will you let that knock you under the waves, or will you rise above and continue to strive to use your time wisely? It’s up to you.

Philippians 4:13 // I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

  • Practice being present

This sounds like a super odd, yogi term, but what it means is this: being alert and aware, and not caught up in worldly things, so that you can live the moment to the fullest. It means observing how you are acting and seeing if you are honoring God.

Say you are in a restaurant with some friends or family. While you could hop on your phone to check your Instagram DM’s you could instead choose to stay off of your phone the whole time. This helps you to invest in those around you, and also makes you stand out from the many people on their mobile devices around you.

I want to encourage you to open your eyes and ask God to help you see any times or ways you aren’t honoring Him. It might be hard to walk away from those things, but believe me when I say it is so worth it.

Matthew 5:16 // Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

So what are you doing with your life? Are you honoring God with it? Are you realizing the brevity yet beauty of each day? Time is short, but life is beautiful. That’s something we must never lose sight of, friends.

Comment below & let’s chat!

  • While reading this post, did you think of anything that needs to be changed in your life to help you to live for the Lord and use your time wisely?

  • Which of the three steps spoke to you the most? Why?

  • How will you start using your time more wisely, today?

Tips on Studying God’s Word

Studying the Word of God can be very daunting – with 66 books, 31,102 verses, it can be overwhelming. In this post I want to talk about some simple ways to dig deep into the Word of God.

If you have never read the Bible before, I encourage you to find a plan to go through. Now, this does not necessarily have to be a “read the Bible in a year” plan. You can find a plan and go at your own speed. I read the Bible in a year plan, and it took me probably about 14/15 months. And that’s ok! We all read and learn at different speeds, and learning slowly can be good.

Lots of people think speed is key in reading the Bible, but it’s so important to simply READ and STUDY the Word. Don’t put pressure on yourself to stick to a plan and never make mistakes. Be commited to getting in the Word daily, and don’t stress too much about going super quickly. Finding a plan can help with being commited and intentional.

Taking notes is a great way to retain what you’ve learned, even if you don’t write much. This really helps me to actually think about what I’m reading, instead of just reading it and going on with  my day. It’s similar to writing a book report – it helps you take what you read and form your own thoughts based on that.

If you read the Bible regularly but just want to find new fun ways to study the Word, I encourage you to try the SOAP method! When I went to a Bible study a few years ago, this was the first ever “method” of studying Scripture I tried! The great thing about SOAP is it’s not a rigid and complicated method – it’s quite simple!

Basically, SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. What we did was our leader chose a portion of Scripture (usually five verses or less), and we took time to write down our thoughts, aka observations, about the passage.

Next, we came up with some ways to apply these things to our lives and make the Truths practical for us to live out, and lastly, we took some time to pray, and we were done!

This is such a simple way of studying the Word, but I love it. It helps me to come up with my own thoughts on the passage and connect them to how I can live it out day to day.

If you’re trying this style of studying Scripture by yourself, you can pick some verses and write your thoughts and applications down, and then write down or say a prayer to God to help you live out what you’ve learned.

Lately I have been reading through the Old Testament and picking 2-3 chapters a day to read and then write observations down about them, sometimes also doing applications. I’m not super good at doing applications, because frankly, sometimes I rush and don’t think about doing that, but it’s very helpful when I do.

Another thing I love doing is highlighting in my Bible. If you were to look at certain parts in my Bible, it would look like a rainbow of highlights, underlines, and the occasional notes! I love doing this in my Bible because it makes the verses pop out and come alive.

Some people are concerned about the highlighter bleeding through the pages, and unfortunately, there’s not really anything you can do about that, unless you like gel highlighters. I don’t really mind the bleeding, since it’s my Bible for studying and use, and it helps me dig deep into the Word.

Something you can do if you don’t like highlighting, is taking notes on the passage on a sticky note and sticking it on the page. Or, you can simply write one verse you liked, such as “Psalm 46:3” on a sticky note and put it in there to remind yourself of a verse that stuck out to you that day.

Those were a few tips on studying the Word! I’m not an expert on any level on this, but I wanted to share some ways to dig deep into the Word with you all today.

Comment below and let’s chat!

  • Do you study God’s Word on a regular basis?

  • If so, what are you currently studying in God’s Word?

  • What’s your favorite way (or ways) to study and dig deep into the Word of God?

 

3 Things to Remember When Someone Hurts You

Giving grace to others is not an easy thing.

People say and do things that are unimaginable and cruel.

People leave, people reject, people HURT.

Yet, God calls us to FORGIVE. Wow, is that radical.

In my life so far, I have yet to have someone be very mean to me or bully me, praise God. However, I know that this is something many people face and want to address it in today’s post. What can we do when someone hurts us? When that friend we thought was loyal leaves? When someone speaks about us behind our backs?

Here are a few things to remember when someone hurts you:

  • We all sin & fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

It seems like we are always putting down the people who cause harm – whether it be the shooter in a shooting, the man who terrorized a young child, or simply someone who does not seem to like us.

What we fail to realize is that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. NONE of us have it all together, and the people that cause harm are sinners in need of Jesus, just like we are. If someone has hurt you, I’m not saying what they did was right on any level – it was sinful and WRONG.

What I am saying is to remember where we all came from and what Jesus did for ALL people. He died for you, for me, and for the biggest bully or terrorist out there. You are a sinner saved by grace, and no sin is worse than another.

The only reason we can become saved is because of Jesus dying on a cross and redeeming us, bringing us into a marriage with Himself. That is the only reason we can love, the only reason we can forgive. We are all sinners, the only good in us is HIM.

Romans 3:23 // for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 

2 Corinthians 5:21 // For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

  • God loves you IMMENSELY (Ephesians 3:18-19)

Oh my goodness, I wish that we could all know the depth, height, and measure of the Messiah’s love, but it simply isn’t possible – He loves us THAT MUCH. God cares for you beyond measure, and no person can ever change that, because they aren’t that powerful. The lies of this world might hurt, but what God says about you is Truthful, while what the world says is not. He loves you abundantly, and that will never change.

When you feel unloved because of something someone did or said that hurt you, study God’s Word and meditate on verses like the two below on God’s love for you. Renew your mind in the Truth that the Father’s love is never-ending and never-changing.

Ephesians 3:18-19 // may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Jeremiah 31:3 //  Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.

  • God also loves others (John 3:16 & 13:35)

Once you know how much God loves you and catch a glimpse of His wondrous love, you can then realize just how He cares for others. He is Love…and He loves even the person that hurt you.

The person that caused you to hurt is most likely hurting, and I encourage you to strive to show the joy and love of the Father to them whenever possible. When we think about how much the Father loves US, then we are reminded how much He loves OTHERS. When we read verses about the Father’s love, we realize His amazing love for all His children.

I’m not saying you have to become your bully’s best bud and pal, but you CAN shine Jesus to them. God loves you and sent His only Son to die for you – that’s something others need to know too!

As I was looking for verses on God’s love for all, I realized something about John 3:16, the verse Christians always memorize and quote. It says that God loves the WORLD. That means you, me, and every single person. He loves the world. He loves us all. How beautiful is that?

We will be known by the love we share. When you show love to the person that hurt you, you are being strong. When you show hate to the person that hurt you, you are showing weakness. It takes a strong person to stand up and love. What will you choose?

John 3:16 // For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 13:35 // By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Please remember the Father’s love for you. People are going to hurt people, but His love will always be steadfast. He is the One thing that remains. Because of this steadfast Savior, we can go and love others. We can shine His glory to all – even those who hate on us – because He is our confidence. Don’t be confident in this world, but find your strength and foundation in Him alone.

Choose to be kind to the person that hurt you. Choose to smile at the biggest bully. Choose to keep loving the friend that left. Only love will truly make a difference in the end. //

 

 

 

The Importance of Loving Others

Reaching out and showing love is what we are all called to do as Christians and servants of God. However, we oftentimes miss the opportunities that are right in front of us.

The girl that sits alone at lunch.

The moody person checking you out at your local grocery store.

The old lady that looks downcast that passes you at the store.

That co-worker who always seems out of it.

These are just a few people that any of us could come in contact with and show love to. The question is, do we?

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// The Dangers of Peer Pressure + Going With the Flow //

The past month or two I’ve been seeing lots of chain posts on social media and it’s reminded me of something that is very dangerous – peer pressure + going with what is socially accepted or deemed as “normal.” Most of the time these days people don’t see the danger in going with the flow in the little things, and that is why I want to share today why peer pressure and going with the flow is a very dangerous road to take.

Years ago, there were “chain letters” or “chain emails.” Basically, it was a message in some form that said you had to send this to someone else, or forward it, or you would be “cursed.”

Nowadays, there are lots of Instagram/Facebook/other various forms of social media posts saying things that are similar – you have to repost if you see it, if you’re that person’s friend then you’ll repost, if you actually love Jesus than you will repost or post a Scripture, or if you get a question that is on the post wrong you’ll have to repost. Sometimes, these posts won’t even say you have to repost, until you get trapped and find out.

You might be reading this and thinking : So, what’s wrong with these things? Well, on the surface, there’s really not much seemingly wrong – they’re just fun posts, right?

Wrong. They can be time-wasters, and things that truly don’t even matter. I believe that if we truly are someone’s friend, or a lover of Christ, whether or not we repost or post something someone else told us to post won’t matter. How we are living matters, not if we repost something saying we love Jesus. I believe that if someone truly loves God, all of their life will show it – whether it be relationships with others, or what we post on social media – all should honor God. Whether or not we post a chain post that’s going around will not get us “brownie points” with God, and if you have real friends, it should not matter whether or not you repost something. That’s peer pressure, and true friends don’t pressure each other to do things like that.

I was just talking to some friends the other day, and we were sarcastically saying we should all try to be “normal people” when we are older, and how that is the biggest and greatest life goal to have. It was a joke, of course, but it got me thinking. When someone says that they want to be normal, what even is “normal?” In our society, normal changes every single day. Furthermore, there isn’t really a normal person we can compare ourselves to and try to measure up to, because WE ALL ARE UNIQUE HUMAN BEINGS. None of us are “normal” because normal has never existed. Jesus wasn’t even normal – He was unusual and radical, because He’s God’s Son. I think it’s sad that our culture gets so caught up in trying to be normal and accepted, when that doesn’t even exist.

It might sound harsh, but you will never be normal, and you will never be accepted by everyone. But you know what? That is perfectly ok. Disclaimer: I’m not normal either! In fact, I’m far from it! I’m pretty odd. We are all sinners who have been saved by an amazing Savior, so we can live a life for Him. As much as we wish for it, none of us will ever be perfect.

What matters more than following others, and posting chain posts, is following Jesus, and striving to be holy, as He is holy. HE is our ultimate example. Normal doesn’t exist and never will, which is why we need to look to Yeshua Jesus as our example to live by. He came and fulfilled the Law and showed us how to walk, so we might walk as He walked.

1 John 2:4-6 // One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him. But whoever keeps his word, God’s love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him: he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.

Even if you are doing something as simple as posting chain posts, I encourage you to check your heart and ask yourself, do I let others dictate how I live? Chain posts may seem innocent, but many do them with the wrong motives.

Or, maybe you let others influence how you dress, what you say, or even your actions. I encourage you to spend some time in prayer and ask God to show you any areas of compromise to peer pressure in your life, and for Him to give you the boldness to walk like the Savior, and not like the world.

To close, I want to share some verses on living a life for Jesus. May you be encouraged to live like our Savior, and not like this world.

1 Peter 1:13-16 // Therefore prepare your minds for action, be sober, and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ— as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior;  because it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 // For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. Therefore he who rejects this doesn’t reject man, but God, who has also given his Holy Spirit to you.

Romans 12:1-2 // Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Matthew 7:13-14 // “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.