Faith

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

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

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. 🙂

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.