Encouraging Bible Verses for Back to School

Hey friends! I start my first day of senior year tomorrow, and I wanted to do a blog post of encouraging Bible verses to start off the school year!

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
-John 14:27

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
-Joshua 1:9

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
-1 Timothy 4:12

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 1:6

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established….The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.
-Proverbs 16:3, 9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
-Philippians 4:6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.
-Proverbs 3:5-6

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
-Philippians 4:13

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
-Matthew 5:14-16

 
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
Psalm 20:4

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Hey lovely people! Recently, a friend asked me how I'm happy all the time, and I didn't know how to answer. Truth is, I'm not happy 24/7. I still have bad days, bad nights especially. Sometimes I'll cry in my room late at night because life is so overwhelming. And that's okay. It is okay to not be okay. On Instagram, I only share the good parts of my life, because that's what people on social media do. This week has actually been extremely hard, with college applications and friendship stress and school starting soon. I have been completely drained.

I'm not writing this post for you to feel bad for me. I'm writing it to show you that yes, I am happy a lot, but I have bad moments too. It's totally fine to not be happy 100% of your life. Things happen, we get upset, angry, sad. It's not human to be happy all the time. We all have good and bad days.

For those struggling with grief and/or mental illnesses, a lot of the days are low. Sometimes when we're down, we put on a mask to hide the pain (at least, I did). When someone is depressed, sometimes there is no apparent reason as to why they're feeling this way. Sometimes, on their worst days, they'll push people away because they feel like if they talk abut their problems, they'll be a burden. But ignoring your problems or working through them are two different things.

Whether it's using coping skills such as art, yoga, meditation, and so many other healthy ideas, talking to someone you trust about your feelings, or finding answers as to why you're feeling down, there are ways to get you through the crappy days. You have to get through the bad days to see the good ones, and I promise they're coming.

Let yourself feel. Whenever you're feeling low, it's okay to acknowledge your feelings instead of trying to block it out completely. That only causes more hurt in the long run. Remember you are not alone, and you aren't bothering others. We all have problems we need to work through, and sometimes that requires help. You are not a burden. Whenever I share what's on my heart, I feel much better, like a weight has been lifted.

Life has its ups and downs, but every moment, good or bad, shapes us into the people we are. Whether you're having a bad day or a good day, remember that you are here for a reason. People care about you. The world would not be the same without you.

Joy in Christ

Hey friends! I'm often asked where my joy comes from. I'm asked how I beat depression. How I remain so positive. I'm here to tell you that sometimes I'm not happy. I'm not always positive, but I have a loving God who has my back, and that brings me immense joy.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you know I struggle with depression and anxiety. If you just started reading my blog, you can find my story here. I was severely depressed. I didn't really have a reason, my brain just doesn't have the correct balance of chemicals. I didn't really feel normal until April. I owe this to a lot of things: my medication finally worked, I cut negative people out of my life, and I started digging into God's word. I honestly don't think I would be any better if I didn't do one of those three things. I can't pinpoint exactly what made me feel like myself again, but I know the combination of medication, positive influences, and God all contributed.

But today I'm not going to talk about my medication or cutting out negative people. I want to talk about finding joy in Jesus. You may not be happy all the time, but the Bible calls us to "be joyful always…" (1 Thessalonians 5:16). But how exactly do you do that?

Sometimes, life just sucks. There's nothing you can do to improve your situation. You just have to place all your trust in God and His life. God sent Jesus, His only son, to the earth to die in your place for your sins. So be joyful! Instead of being condemned (like we all deserve to be), you are redeemed! You've been set free! All that guilt you've been carrying? Gone. All because of Jesus.

Stop searching for happiness-humans give happiness, and humans will fail you every time. Even the most amazing people will mess up and disappoint you. But Jesus? He's perfect. He'll never let you down (listen to King of My Heart by Bethel when you get a chance).

When life gets hard, I pray for joy. I pray for patience. I pray to see others the way Jesus sees them, and it instantly lifts my mood. When we live life joyfully, others will notice. They will want to know how you stay positive.

Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.

-S.D. Gordon

Some days you will not be happy. You will be frustrated, sad, angry. But as long as you are deeply rooted in Jesus, you will always feel joy.

When I Almost Gave Up on God…

I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and I’ve been baptized into the church for eight years. I grew up on stories of David fighting Goliath, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, but I never truly grasped who God was. Even when I was baptized, I still didn’t understand His overwhelming love and presence. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably read about how I struggle with depression and anxiety (if you haven’t read it, check it out here). 

When I was first diagnosed, instead of turning to God, I turned to people to heal my brokenness. By doing this, I set myself up to be let down, because people are human and make mistakes. When I grew apart from my friend group freshman year, I was more lost than ever. Fast forward to the middle of my junior year in high school. I was still severely depressed and didn’t really care much about God. I would pray to Him occasionally, but only to ask Him for things. Even then, it was a half-hearted attempt to communicate with my Creator. It wasn’t until recently that I stated really digging into His word, and thanks to a few of my friends, I finally have a heart burning for God. 

So what do you do when you don’t feel God’s presence? This was something I struggled with for a long time, and ultimately why I almost abandoned my faith. I didn’t feel God, but it was because I wasn’t really trying. To quote one of my friends who has been helping me on my walk with God, “realize God is inviting you into His heart. In order to that, you have to surrender to yourself. When you do, you have to receive want He wants for you. Life with God is not dry, not superficial.” 

Surrendering yourself is giving into God’s will for your life. Instead of trying to control everything (which will leave you ragged!!), pray for His will to be done. Pray for guidance. Even in the dry seasons, His hand will still guide you. You also need to dig into your Bible studies and learn about what God’s will is. The more you know about God, the easier it will be to hear His voice. You’ll know what it sounds like. Believe the promises God has for you. If you want to feel God, press into Him. He is there, He just wants you to show up. No matter what, He is there waiting for you. 

So when you feel like giving up on God, don’t. Just because you can’t feel Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there, you may just be approaching Him the wrong way (or not at all, in my case). Pray for guidance. Study your Bible. Talk to friends and family members about your struggles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! The worst thing you can do is keep your problems to yourself, because that’s when the enemy sneaks into your head and makes them seem ten times worse. 

I hope you feel God soon, but don’t be discouraged if it takes a while. God loves you more than you can comprehend, and He will come to you when you call. 

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13

Self Love

Think about the way you talk to yourself as if you were another person talking to you. Would you want to be friends with that person? 

Are you kind to yourself? Do you respect the body that keeps your soul safe? 

I definitely am not kind to myself, but I'm working on it. I think we can all agree that sometimes it is easier to put yourself down than to compliment yourself, only because it's the way the world taught you how to handle your flaws. 

Friends, today I'd like to share a struggle I've been going through recently. As a high school student, it is hard to learn to love yourself because every day you are bombarded with articles in magazines about how to make boys like you, how to get a bigger butt, or a lot of other "tips" on how to be attractive. Our culture has significantly impacted the way girls view themselves, me being one of them. I've struggled with feeling good about myself for quite some time now, but I'm finally at a point where I love my body and myself, because I'm pretty awesome. 

For some reason, self love is being stigmatized as being "cocky" and "full of yourself." Friends, self love, apart from loving God, is one of the most important things you can do! You can't love others if you don't love yourself. Throughout my life, I've noticed a trend in myself recently: 

  • I talk negatively about myself to others
  • I set myself up for failure by expecting every aspect of my life to be perfect all the time
  • I hurt my body by choosing to not take care of it through unhealthy eating and other harmful choices

Theses behaviors cause me to hate myself and ultimately harm my relationships with other people. No one wants to be around someone who is negative all the time. 

So how do you love yourself? Here are 10 things I do daily to make sure I'm taking care of myself.

1. Take time to journal

Journaling can be very therapeutic. Write out all your feelings. Write about the things you don't like about yourself and then tear up the paper. Write down all of your strengths. Write about your friends, family, significant other. Write about a good day you had. Just write!

2. Speak kindly of yourself

Enough with the self-depreciating jokes. They aren't funny, and quite frankly, they make people feel uncomfortable. Speak highly of yourself, after all, you are a child of God. 

3. Confront your emotions 

Binge eating, procrastinating, shopping, and drinking can all be used as a distraction from your emotions. Take a few breaths and think about the way you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. 

4. Start exercising 

If you don't like the way your body looks or don't feel comfortable, exercising can help! Not because it makes you thinner, but because you are helping out your body by leading a healthy lifestyle. Accompanied with healthy foods, exercising can help your mind be happier! 

5. Start a new hobby

Are you ever envious of someone because they're really good at something? You are just as capable of being awesome. Learn a new language, collect minerals, learn how to knit, take voice lessons. The sky is the limit on what you can learn to do now thanks to the internet and YouTube. 

6. Work on spiritual growth

This one has been tough for me. I was comfortable without God, but I was so so so sad without Him. Life can be difficult when you are following His will for you. You don't have to know the whole Bible to have a relationship with God, you just have to have a little faith. Pray about your life. Take baby steps. Find a group of friends that will encourage you on your walk with God. Get involved in a church. God wants you to be happy, and by being His follower, you will have so much joy in life that you didn't have before. That doesn't mean you won't have trials, but it does mean you will have God right there with you when you do go through hard times.

7. Let go

Do you have a grudge that you're holding against someone? It's only hurting you. Learn to forgive and your life will be so much better.

8. Be patient with yourself

You're human. You are going to make mistakes. Self love is a long journey and it takes A LOT of patience. 

9. Forgive yourself 

You know that stupid thing you said back in 8th grade? No one else remembers it. Let go of what you can't change and embrace your awkwardness. You're doing the best you can. 

10. Be real

Don't try to sugar coat anything. If you're going through a hard time, talk it out with someone. Keeping your feelings bottled up is not healthy and only leads to bigger problems. Love authentically. You'll thank yourself later.

Because the Bible calls you to "love your neighbor as yourself," you can't love anyone else until you love you. Together with our love, we can help each other, heal the world, and help ourselves. Love yourself, you're the best you around. 

Rejoice in Suffering

So this church I’m visiting (I’ve been trying out different churches in my community to find the one I like… I think I’m going to keep going to this one) had a message today on suffering with Jesus. The big idea of the sermon was, “you can suffer alone and be bitter, OR you can suffer with Jesus and be blessed.

I’m going to share a story about a time when I was suffering and didn’t rely on Jesus and how that affected me. 

My sophomore year of high school, the psychiatrist I was seeing for my depression decided to put me on a higher dosage of medication, but it was too high for my body to handle. I started to hear voices in my head (due to the change in chemicals in my brain from the medication), and they told me some really scary things. Eventually it got so bad that I resorted to self harm. I was hospitalized for a week, and as a result, I became bitter towards my psychiatrist. 

I couldn’t forgive her because of the suffering I had experienced, but that’s because I didn’t understand the power of God. He wants us to forgive, He wants us to love even when it it undeserved, and I didn’t understand that. 

In Matthew 22:29, Jesus says, “You’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God.”

Jesus is right, I didn’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God. I let bitterness take hold of me and cause me to suffer more than I already was. It wasn’t until recently, a year and a half later, that I was able to forgive her. She didn’t know my body would react the way it did. 

But the suffering still continued. 

When I got back to school after being in a mental ward at a hospital, the kids at school were unbelievably rude to me. I would go home every night crying because of the things they would say to me, but I still didn’t rely on Jesus for help. In reality, God was blessing me because now I have a testimony and a story that inspires other teens like me. 

Matthew 5:11-12 tells us that, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”

God blesses your suffering, you just have to believe it! 

I hope the next time you are in a rut, you can genuinely thank God for what He has in store next for you. Suffering comes and goes, and it’s bound to happen to everyone, but it’s how you choose to suffer (with or without Jesus) that makes the difference. I hope you choose Jesus. 

Ways to be Happy

Hey, friends! I wanted to share with you my tips on how I become happy and stay happy. 

Stop trying to control everything

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." -Proverbs 19:21 

Friends, stop worrying! If they are God's plans, they will not fail. If they aren't His plans, then they aren't the best thing for you. You can plan and plan all you want, but if it isn't God's will for your life, it won't happen. Let go, and let God. 

This brings me to my next point, stopworrying

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." -Philippians 4:6 

Guys, I cannot stress this enough, God's got your back! Don't worry (too much) about things going on in your life, God will provide if you ask. 

Exercise.

Excercise is good for the soul. It's scientifically proven that exercise releases endorphins that make you happy. If you make it a priority, meaning more than once a month ;), you'll feel so much happier and will actually have more energy. Not to mention the health benefits! 

Don't complain.

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:18

Let's be honest, what does complaining get you? Absolutely nothing. So why put off negative vibes when you could be praising the God who created you? 

Pray.

One of my biggest stress relievers and go to "make me happy" is praying. It helps so much. 

Make a gratitude list. 

It's so refreshing to see a list of everything that you're thankful for, it really puts all your bad times into perspective.

Stop trying to impress others. 

"We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts." – 1 Thessalonians 2:4 

People's earthly opinions don't matter, it's what your Father in Heaven thinks of you that matters (ps, He loves you). Once you stop trying to impress others, so much pressure is released off your shoulders! 

Try to laugh every day. 

Laughter is good for the soul, it just is. Read jokes or watch a funny TV show, whatever's it is that makes you laugh, do it every day. 

Forgive everyone. 

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." – Ephesians 4:31-32

Guys, it literally says in the Bible to forgive, multiple times I might add. I know it's hard to forgive that guy who cheated on you, or that girl that spread rumors about you, but if God can forgive your sins, you have to forgive theirs. God forgave them. In order to live a happy life, you need to let go of all the anger you have towards someone. Usually, being mad only hurts you and the other person isn't affected. 
I hope my tips helped! Make sure to tell me in the comments what you do to stay happy. 🙂

Mental Health Awareness Week

Depression is no surprise to God, and it does not cancel His purpose for your life. You may be struggling, but you are not your struggle. You still are who God says you are. And this does not make you less of a person. You’re just as valuable and your story is not over.

-Brittney Moses

Hello, lovely people! 

Today I will be sharing my personal experience on a sensitive topic: mental health. May 7-13 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness week, and I thought it would be important to share my story. 

Depression runs in my family, and I’ve been living with (diagnosed) depression for almost four years, but I had depression long before I was diagnosed. When I started taking medication in August of 2013, I started on a small does because I was still in eighth grade and too little to take a high dose. After lots of trials, two medication changes, and lots of dosage changes, I am finally feeling good and am able to enjoy all life has to offer. But healing didn’t happen overnight. 

My sophomore year in high school, I was hospitalized for severe depression at the beginning of the second semester. I spent a week in a mental hospital. The psychiatrist at the hospital didn’t listen to my parents, or me, and decided that the best medicine for me would be to join a sport. My parents challenged her, and I was put on a new medication. Even though the medication eventually helped, I still wasn’t 100%. It wasn’t until October of 2016 that I found a psychiatrist that actually knew what they were doing, and I was finally put on the right medication. 

This is just a summary of the trials I had to go through in order to find the right medicine. Last semester, I spent two weeks at home because of my depression. I had lost the will to live, and didn’t feel like trying anymore. Don’t confuse being depressed with being lazy, it’s normally on my rough days that I’m trying the hardest. 

The reason I decided to share this is because mental health needs to be talked about. There needs to be more conversations with teens about suicide, depression, anxiety, and every other mental illness that goes unspoken.

Depression in the media is stigmatized and portrayed as “not a real illness,” but bipolar disorder is just as real as a kidney stone. The popular Netflix show 13 Reasons Why shows the main character Hannah Baker reaching out for help, but the counselor she talks to brushes her off. Friends, this does not happen in the real world; people will help you if you ask. Teens, and everyone else for that matter, need to realize it is okay to talk about the problems they are facing and that it’s okay to ask for help. 

You can get better. You will get better. Please, please ask for help. 

Mental health is important to talk about because there are so many negative connotations surrounding it. The media has started to educate people on depression and other illnesses, but there are still inaccurate depictions of mental illnesses. 

Start the conversation. Below I will list some resources for y’all to use. Let’s beat the stigma around mental illnesses once and for all.

Please, share your story! Let’s get the conversation started. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264), https://www.nami.org

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: 1-240-485-1001, http://www.adaa.org

National Institute of Mental Health: 1-866-615-6464, http://www.nimh.nih.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Mental Health, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth

American Psychological Association: 1-800-374-2721, http://www.apa.org

American Psychiatric Association: 1-703-907-7300, http://www.psychiatry.org

Summer Bucket List

Summer is quickly approaching, and I have quite a few things I hope to accomplish this summer. I’ll be a senior in high school next year, and I want to enjoy this last summer as a high school student before I head off to college next year. 

  • Visit the zoo
  • Go hiking
  • Go to a concert
  • Make popsicles
  • Workout (almost) everyday
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Have a pj party
  • Host a successful bible study
  • Make a summer scrapbook
  • Have a picnic
  • Make s’mores
  • Watch a baseball game
  • Take a day trip
  • Paint pottery
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Make a new friend
  • Complete a diy project
  • Tye-dye shirts
  • Eat from a food truck
  • Ride a rollercoaster
  • Have a movie marathon
  • Go to the drive-in
  • Dance in the rain
  • Have a sunrise breakfast
  • Play mini golf
  • Go to an aquarium
  • Host a BBQ

Share below what you would like to do this summer!

Hello world!

 

For my first post, I thought I’d tell you a little about me! Here are five words I would use to describe myself.

Loved

“But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

God loves me so much, just as He loves you. God sent his only son, Jesus, to die for you because of how much He loves you.

I know that I am also loved by my family and friends

Creative

God has gifted me with artistic abilities. I like to write, draw, paint, Bible journal, and play piano.

Kind

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God…” 1 John 4:7

I love because He first loved us, and loving others is one of the most rewarding things on the planet. Complimenting someone and making them smile is one of my favorite things to do.

Forgiven

“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

Christ died on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven! No matter how big or small the sin, it is forgiven, blotted out, erased, forgotten by God.

Flawed

Despite my best efforts, I still fall short and mess up sometimes. I’m still a normal teenager who is disrespectful to her mom, who gossips from time to time, who disobeys her parents. But God’s grace covers all of my sins, and I am so so so thankful for love and forgiveness.