Book Review For Fearless by Cheri Fuller

fearless

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Those who struggle with fearfulness/anxiety, I highly recommend you read Fearless: Building a Faith That Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller. Not only does this book speak, with understanding, directly to your struggles, it provides practical ways to deal with them, insightful stories, and almost every page breathes the reality of God’s protection and all-knowing-ness and perfect plan into your heart.

It was easy enough to read, each chapter teaching and forcing you to take a look at your life and your fears. You discover that many people face the same struggles … see how they dealt with them … see how fear often is just our own imagination ruining our chances for an abundant life.

I learned lots of doable ways to manage my fear and anxiety – I’ve even been putting some of them into practice! And with good results, I must say. Prayer was a big thing that Fearless focused on. Just what I needed!

For all the encouragement and tips it gives, this book ultimately challenges us with this – Are you going to trust God with your day, your life, your salvation, your eternity … this moment? I finishedFearless with an desire inside to be just that. Fearless! Have the courage to do all the things I’ve been scared to do – all the things God’s calling me to. And I left with this incredible peace that, no matter what happens, God is ALWAYS. And heaven awaits.

Wow. Great book. I should have read it sooner!

Selfless?

Ever wonder how you’re doing in the serving department? If you’ve reached the “selfless” category yet? If you’re a good example to your family … a light to the world?

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I certainly have. I’m selfish. I won’t even try to deny that. I’m imperfect, messed up, and all focused on me and my problems oftentimes.

And then, all of sudden, I realize I’m ignoring and neglecting everybody in favor of myself, and I’m like, “Yikes! I need to get this selfless thing together.”

Because, I want to be obedient God. I want to love those around me. And true love is selfless (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

The problem is, selfless sounds like overwhelmed to me. I just think about all things I should be doing/ways I should be acting and I’m already worn out! I want to crawl back into bed and pretend like I don’t have to think about life anymore.

Hmm.

Perhaps we’re missing the real idea of it all. Instead of focusing on “do and don’ts”, lists, and legalism, maybe we need to simply start purposefully practicing “practical holiness” (taking this phrase from one of my favorite Youtubers, Joseph Solomon) out of love and awe for our God.

It doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. We are imperfect human beings. But the good thing is, we are loved by a PERFECT GOD. No, we will never be completely selfless and good on this earth, but our God is in the business of perfecting each of us, if we’re seeking Him and following His perfect path.

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Psalm 138:8

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Philippians 1:6

Abide with Him. Walk with the Spirit. It is God who you look to for strength … you can’t do anything on your own. He can work through your weakness. So seek Him. Strive for godliness while leaning on the Lord.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:14

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:11

Pursuing godliness is a process. It takes time. It’s a journey. It’s a work-out. One step at a time, my friends. Start with your family. Start with the little things. Focus on one thing at a time. And just rejoice in the Lord always! That’s extremely helpful in getting your attitude in the right place.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

  • Read a bedtime story to your little siblings. Maybe they need an extra cuddle. Perhaps your mom is busy and would appreciate you cleaning up the little ones and getting them to bed.
  • Refrain from stirring up an argument with your teen sister (see Proverbs 15:1). Pouring into her life in a positive way is more important than getting your point across.
  • Set down your phone/close your laptop and give all your attention to your younger brother who wants to talk about skateboards and hunting and guns. Try to add something to the conversation, or just congratulate him on his accomplishments and encourage him to pursue his talents.
  • Be patient with the little sister who’s constantly having emotional meltdowns. Maybe some of it is caused by some hurt or loneliness she’s feeling.
  • Send your friend a text or email letting them know you’re thinking about them. Take time for a long phone call or afternoon coffee with them if they need to talk.
  • Your mom is frazzled … so pitch in with some household cleaning besides your usual chores. Make supper. Clean the bathroom.
  • Your dad is stressed  … smile and say something encouraging/positive.
  • Lift up your family and friends in prayer. Faithfully bring their needs/struggles before the Lord.
  • Ask the cashier how they’re doing as you get your groceries checked out. Thank your server when you go to a restaurant – tidy up when you’re done with your meal.

Just start cultivating an outward focus in the little things. Remember not to always be thinking just about how you’re feeling, but how those around you might be feeling.

We want to change the world. But remember, it starts with you loving in your home. It starts with God changing your heart. Let Him grow you.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

There is hope for us yet. 🙂 We don’t have to change in a day. Jesus is faithful, and He is our strength. Ask Him to renew your mind and purify your heart. And just know that He loves you ever so much. Share that love with the world! ❤

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

Psalm 59:9-10

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21

To Be Complete

My friends, I have been on a journey of rediscovering my joy and passion. In the past couple years, I’ve struggled a lot … but life is coming back to me! I’m learning to put my faith in my Lord. Find my hope in my Heavenly Father.

It isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be really hard work! Some days you feel like you’re taking two steps back for every one forward. But I am growing – and oh, isn’t that a lovely thing? ^_^

If you are feeling frightened and hopeless like I was when I wrote the post below (last year), then I want you to know you’re not alone. God is faithful to bring us out of the valleys in time. There is hope in front of you. And heaven is His promise for His children.

***

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Some days, I just want to go home. I’m talking about my home in heaven.

Because some days are simply hard.

I’m incredibly blessed in many ways – not lacking in food, or shelter, or material things. I have a family whom I love very much. And dear friends, whom I can at least keep in touch with online. But that’s not to say that I haven’t had a share of emotional and mental trials.

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I’ve had days of emotional pain, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness. Where my deepest fears and hurts seem magnified into life-sized foes. When, after an exhausting battle with irrational terror, I just want to curl up in a dark corner and fade away in non-existence.

I’ve experienced being thrust into confusing and difficult times … where hope is dashed … And my joy in life suddenly wanes. One day I wake up and realize I can’t see a future for myself.

Even after the intense hurt diminishes, I’m still left with a frustrating listlessness. A lack of excitement for life.

I feel purposeless. What is the point of my life? I feel hopeless. I can’t change things. I can’t make it better.

Sometimes I struggle to trust God. God, do You really, really care? I mean, how could someone like me have Your love? You who created galaxies and conquered death and reign for eternity. There are so many people who serve You so much better than I do.

Do You really see me, God, down here, afraid of everything?

Other days, I think I get a glimpse of His glory, and suddenly my soul longs for heaven, the place it was surely created for!

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There, I will know and be fully known. There, I will know that I am utterly and completely loved. There, my doubts, fears, and struggles will be entirely gone. There, I will see Jesus face to face! There, I will run to His arms and feel love, security, and peace. –And awe. Awe for my King.

There, I will be complete.

And here on earth, where the heart is burdened, it sounds particularly beautiful, the thought of being complete. The thought of resting in Jesus’ presence. Of praising His holy name in abandon.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:4

But, I suppose there’s still work for me to do here. And as hopeless and bleak as I sometimes feel my future is, God must have a plan. Because I’m still here. The world is still turning.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

So. I need to choose to trust God. To surrender to Him. Even in the hurt and the fear, I need to reach out and cling to Him, where He’s waiting for me.

Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:7-8

I must stop letting the darkness surround me and the Enemy’s lies cloud my thinking. Deep down, I know I’m letting darkness win when I stay in the hopeless place, afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid to reach out to the Lord.

No more. Because Satan does not claim the victory. I do. Through Jesus Christ and His awesome sacrifice and love! Because I am a Daughter of Light. And I can take my God’s Word and speak truth over myself.

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:8

For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness.

2 Samuel 22:29

Speak truth! Always, always, speak truth. Cling to hope. Dive into love with abandon. God is love. And He loves me. He loves you. Even when we don’t believe it, He loves us absolutely, unconditionally.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

Psalm 62:5

My dear friends, if you understand how I feel, if you’re afraid, if you’re feeling hopeless, please don’t struggle alone. I’m here for you, a sister in Christ. Let me know if you want me to pray for you, or if you need someone to talk to.

Speak truth, brothers and sisters. Live for Jesus. And look forward to heaven. –Where we will be complete.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

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** Originally published on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life, April 15th, 2016 **

Insecure.

insure

Insecurity. Shame. Self-Hate. Fear. Depression. Worthlessness.

It’s suffocating, isn’t it? That feeling that we’ll never be good enough. That we’re worthless. That life has no hope for us. Those dark lies whispered into our ears, snuffing out our light …

You will never be worthy of a godly husband. Who would want you? You’re too much work—too much of a mess.

Stop being so arrogant! Get your face back in the dirt, girl! As if God values you and has a future for you.

Your future is dark. You’ll never get where you want to be. God doesn’t really hear you. You may as well curl up in the corner and waste away.

You’re not good enough, because you don’t have a job. Look at all those hard workers out there. They’re so good. You, however, are pretty much useless to your family.

Ugh. You’re so stupid. Why did you say that? Why did you do that? When are you ever going to get it right, you idiot??

Remember all those dark and awful things you did in your past? You scum of the earth. If people really knew who you are, they wouldn’t accept and love you.

Look at you. You’re ugly. You need to loose weight. Why would that man want you? He could have so many better girls!

You’re a horrible mother. You’re wrecking your own children. Your house is a mess. You’re tired and depressed every day. You’ll never get things right. You’ll never do anyone any good.

You think your gift is writing? Actually, your stories are stupid. You’re wasting your time. You’re not serving God or others.

You are so shy, and dumb, and socially awkward. Nobody even likes hanging out with you. They don’t want to talk to you. They don’t want to sit by you. You annoy them. Just go away.

The list could go on and on. I’ve struggled with listening to most of these lies.

When I was about twelve/thirteen years old, I was convinced that I was overweight. I didn’t want to visit my family and friends out of state because I was certain they wouldn’t like me anymore. I would get depressed when around girls thinner then me—feeling this irrational shame and less-than-ness. Even to this day, I can be pretty insecure about how I look. And it’s hard to feel like you’re just not beautiful.

Around the same age, I fell into a deep and dark season of doubting God. I knew, somewhere in my soul, that He was there, but I was afraid that because of my doubting He would send me to hell if I died. And I feared the end of the world would come before I stopped doubting.

For years, I struggled with tying my worth to how hard and how much I worked. Around thirteen, I actually remember thinking that my parents probably didn’t love me that much. Why would they? I was a stupid, moody teenager who didn’t do much work around the house when it came down to it. Just some hand-washing dishes a couple times a day.

As I got older and still to this day, I struggle with ever feeling like enough for a godly husband. I have health issues, and emotional problems, and deal with irrational fear and anxiety. Who would want me? I’m nothing special. Nothing sets me apart. I’m boring, awkward, and silly.

I feel bad about past mistakes. Sometimes shame consumes me, and I feel like all my wrongdoings of the past define me. It’s who I am. I’ll never be able to leave it behind. If people really knew . . .

All this stuff . . . it just gets you feeling so low you wonder if you can ever rise again. I’m sure you readers can add your struggles to the list. The dark lies you hear daily.

We, as human beings, struggle and struggle and struggle with insecurity. And the world tries to give us tips like:

  • Just be you!
  • Have confidence in yourself!
  • Look in the mirror and say: “I love you. You are beautiful.”
  • You rock just the way you are!
  • Shake it off!!

And some of this stuff could have some merit. (Most of it sounds silly in the light of our monstrous burden of insecurity). But while it can have us soaring high for a few days, it never seems to keep us on the top of the mountains, because the world also tells us:

Skinny is beautiful. Don’t you see the models? They have thigh gaps, tiny waists, and long, thin legs. You need to be that way, and here’s how you can do it.

Stop being so meek and modest. You must be sexy, brash, and bold if you ever want love.

You don’t go to college? Don’t have a job? No boyfriend? Excuse me, child? You’re messed up – got it all wrong.

What?? You’ve never been kissed? Believe in saving sex until marriage? What is your problem? You’re definitely never going to get the beautiful marriage you think you will. You’ll probably end up an old maid.

And yeah. We fall back in the same old insecurity. Because we’re “too fat”, or we’re “too thin”. Or we’re different—we stand up for purity and modesty and godliness, and people think we’re ridiculous. Or we see all the perfectly clean houses and happy, loving mother-children relationships of our friends on Facebook, and feel like a failure. Or we have high standards for romantic relationships, and feel worthless because we’re not dating yet—nobody’s even asked.

And we feel like everybody is telling us: “Yeah right. In your dreams. You’ll just never get it. You gotta be better. You’ll never be good enough.”

“You. Will. Never. Measure. Up.”

Suffocating.

And then we look in the mirror and try to tell ourselves, “I love you. You’re beautiful. You can do it.”?

Forget it!!!

Who believes that in the midst of the world’s nasty taunts and the Enemy’s even uglier lies that bombard us?

Are you tired of trying to believe all on your own? I certainly am. So if you are, then join me. We need a new plan of confidence and finding our worth.

It starts with:

Look to your Creator and His Word.

  • God made you.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 1:26-31

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:13:16

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The Almighty God created you. He crafted you and your inmost parts. He designed your talents, your desires, your dreams, you future. He made YOU a temple of the Holy Spirit when you accepted Him.

People, this is huge! Imagine an unimaginable, holy, high Being taking dust gently into His big, loving hands, and precisely and purposefully forming YOU.

Readers, God made you.

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  • God saved you.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

Colossians 1:13

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:8-10

13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:13

The Creator of the Universe, the one true God, the mightiest and holiest Being … He sent His ONLYBELOVED Son to die for you. He was bruised, and beaten, and killed so that YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE. And not just life, but abundant life! And eternity!

The Bible says the greatest love is laying down your life for someone else. Wouldn’t you agree?? Well, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did that for you. If you have accepted this amazing gift, then God has granted you salvation.

Readers, God saved you.

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  • God does not condemn you.

They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.

Psalm 34:5

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:11-12

Sometimes, what makes us insecure, is the shame of past sins. The guilt of failure. The fear of never being good enough. But the truth is, you don’t have to be ashamed. Your wrongdoings of the past, are gone. Wiped away. You are free!

36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

John 8:36

Furthermore, there’s now no more condemnation. No one can point a finger at you and say, “Well, they did this that one time . . .” No.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:1

God is not a stern taskmaker, or a cruel father, or a condemning judge – waiting for you to mess up so He can strike you. No! He loves His creations! He desire that they be saved and cleansed and filled with joy and hope in Him!

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12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Matthew 18:12-14

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Luke 13:34

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Luke 15: 20-24

Do you still carry the sins of your past like a secret burden? Does it tie you up in knots of shame and insecurity? Do you feel like a failure? Do you think God is angry in heaven, shaking his finger at you because you just can’t get it right? Read the above verses, my dear! Those who look to God, their faces are radiant! They are not ashamed! If you have simply accepted the gift, you are forgiven, you are free, you are new – there is NO condemnation for you. God is not waiting to shame you, He is waiting to gather you up in His arms and help you!

And those past sins, they are no more.

Readers, God does not condemn you.

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  • God sees you.

13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

Genesis 16:13

Oftentimes, we acknowledge that God created us. We accept His gift of eternal life. But we don’t actually feel like He values us. Wants us. We feel ashamed or arrogant to claim God’s love and care. I mean, me? I’m just a little nobody in the grand scheme of things. God allowed me to be born, but now leaves me to muddle through life on my own. Nothing could be further from the truth! Here the Truth, dear readers:

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

Isaiah 40:11

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Psalm 139:1-5

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

John 10:27-28

The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;

Deuteronomy 33:27

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Romans 8:16

We are His children. He is our shepherd! He lovingly carries us close to His heart. He knows us. Our needs. Our pain. Our desires. Our thoughts. Our dreams. Our gifts. Our future.

And not only does God know us. He cares about us. Every detail. Even little things that we think God wouldn’t notice or be bothered with. You are never alone. Jesus saw the needs and hurts of those around him; He saw their hearts and He cared.

13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

Luke 7:13

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

John 14:1

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

When we stray, He woos us back. When we call out to Him – even in our dirtiest, blackest form – He saves us. He cares about our needs, He cares about us. And He will not allow anything to take us from Him.

42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:42-43

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

Hosea 2:14-15

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

2 Timothy 4:18

You are of much value to God. In your distress, your fear, your sorrow, your insecurity, your anxiety, your hopelessness, your pain, He is there.

Readers, God sees you.

8b566c055453329880c5fe5ac7059252(found on Pinterest)

  • God has a plan for you.

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

Isaiah 43:1

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Ephesians 1:15-21

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:1-3

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:9

Look to Jesus! Know there is hope, and purpose, and destiny for you! God chose you! He has a future for you! He has a specific plan for your life; you have a purpose on this earth. You are needed. Your gifts and talents are meant to be used. God has called you to abundant life, hope and joy, and eternity!

Readers, God has a plan for you.

***

So . . . after all that . . . (which was really quite beautiful, don’t you agree? The Bible never fails to surprise me, amaze me, and touch deep into my soul) what is the conclusion? How does that solve the issues of our painful insecurity?

Well.

If God made you. Saved you. Does not condemn you. Sees you. Has a plan for you . . .

That means you are worthy. Valued. Forgiven. Cherished. New. You are royalty. You have great hope. You have an incredible inheritance.

Why?

Because of Jesus Christ. Because of this amazing Father God who looked down and said, “I want to save these people, because I love them“. We are enough because Jesus loves us!

If I throw off the world’s sneers and Satan’s condemnation, and look up into the glorious face of Jesus, I see that I am beautiful (He created me in His image), I am valued (He chose to save my weak, doubting soul), I am forgiven and clean (He does not condemn me), I am cherished (He sees me), I am royalty, I have hope (He has plan for me – on earth and in eternity).

True Beauty...(found on Pinterest)

If I look to the world or to myself, I will never be secure. I will never be confident. I will never be good enough. I will never be clean. I will never be hopeful.

Because it’s all about Jesus! It’s all about my loving Father! It’s not about me. And that is perfect. Because when I stop looking at myself, and start looking at Him, all I see is His love.

And I’m convinced, somehow, deep down, that I am beautiful, secure, loved, strong, HIS.

And I see that others are too. And suddenly, I want to tell the world to stop looking for self-confidence and start looking for Jesus! Because I have found this incredible security, and I want you, my dear reader, to find it too! *big hugs* ❤

Now all I have to say to you is …

19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God.

1 Chronicles 22:19

13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

** Originally published on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life, June 16th, 2015 **

I Was Created For …

i was created for

My friends, I have been listening to a phenomenal sermon series on relationships, marriage, sex, singleness, and spirituality called From the Beginning: Relationships That Give Life by J.D. Greear. It is so beautiful and completely perfect for this season of life I’m in right now.

from-the-beginning-series-artwork-539x303From the Beginning: Relationships That Give Life

I just listened to the second episode. Some things I have taken away from it thus far …

– I was created to be a nurturer.

– I was designed to be in community.

– I was created to be immersed in God’s family.

– I was designed for heaven.

– I was created for God.

I was not created “for singleness” or “for marriage”. Though I am single right now, and God is blessing me, growing me, and preparing me to be with Him. And I am excited about the possibility of being married one day, where God can continue to bless me, grow me, and prepare me to be with Him! ❤

I’ve long since desired to be married, and have been dreaming about it ever since I was a little girl. At times in my life, it has become an idol. It has taken forefront in my mind and seeped all the joy out of my life because I lacked it. I have believed that it would fulfill me. That I would finally be complete. That I would at last have a purpose. A job. An identity.

But God has showed me otherwise. I believe He has continually asked me to surrender this desire to Him, and, quite reluctantly, I have learned too. Sometimes I snatch it back in panic, and have to surrender it again and again!

But the point is, He brought me to the realization that the desire for marriage can be an idol for me, and He has been teaching me how to lay that idol to rest.

Still, as I learn and find more deeply Jesus Christ as my everything … I struggle.

And this series, From the Beginning, spoke to those struggles. That fear of being alone. That craving to have children. That instilled need to nurture. These are normal, natural, God-designed things, I believe – and I don’t have to be married for them to be fulfilled!

Number One: I need to find my true Hope in God.

Number Two: I need to be, deeply, a part of the church family. I need to have mentors. Be a mentor. Nurture children and those younger than myself. Be an example and confidant to teen girls. Be a friend. Be a companion – a listener. Serve. Gather wisdom from those wiser than myself. Share with others what God has taught me. Laugh. Work together. Eat together. Do life together.

I would like to be married someday, but right now, I don’t have to be alone. God’s family should surround me and be there for me – and I be there for them.

I would like to be a mother someday, but right now, I don’t have to have empty arms and no one to nurture. I should open my arms to the lonely children, open my heart to the impressionable younger girls around me.

My identity is found in Christ.

I am who I’m supposed to be simply as a child of God.

Although marriage is a beautiful gift, I am not missing out on anything right now as a single. I am not less of a person. I’m not “yet to be complete”. I’m not lacking in experience or not part of a family.

Because though biological families are wonderful and dear, GOD’S FAMILY IS MUCH DEEPER. It is much closer. Much fuller. Much more beautiful and meaningful and forever.

And I am a part of that family. I am a part of something right now. This is what I was created for.

Wow.

How freeing, how joyful to know this! 🙂

My identity is not found in marriage. I am not alone. I am not unable to nurture. “Marriage” or “singleness” is not the goal – growing closer to God is.

And if marriage is in my future … Lord, I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see how You unfold my love story. If motherhood is in my future, I can’t wait to hold those tiny, sweet-smelling, downy-headed babies.

But right now in this moment, I know who I am and that my hope is in my Lord, and I can find such deep fulfillment in being intricately part of His family. Loving. Serving. Listening. Laughing. Nurturing. Mentoring. Talking. Being loved. (And if marriage comes my way, this is still every bit as true and needful!)

May you rest in His joy and His perfect path, my dear ones. ❤

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Pray?

Do you ever contemplate prayer?

pray

I think I’m a dreamer sort of person. I get caught up whimsical imaginings. I think deeply. I feel deeply.

I was watching the last episode of a movie series, which ended with a wedding. Beautiful bride. Feminine, lovely wedding dress. Happy, tearful parents. Loving groom. All the family and friends were there. They were all together – singing, dancing, and just displaying such a magnitude of rejoicing, I could have cried. The love, the joy, the reunion – the pure celebration – it made me think this is what a moment in heaven must look like.

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That led to another thought. Will the actors and actresses portraying this beautiful scene experience heaven? Has anyone shared the ultimate Hope with them?

I have thought of this before. Actually, it burdens my heart a fair amount. I’m not one to get all into movie stars and their lives, but occasionally I watch interviews with the cast of my favorite movies/TV series (such as The Chronicles of Narnia movies). I think: Do they know truth? as I watch Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, and William Moseley bring to life such faith-filled movies like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.

I ponder how the world, in general, obsesses over movie stars. They watch all their movies. Look up every interview. Know their favorite food. Cheer on their latest romance. Would give almost anything to meet this amazing star in person.

But do we care about their souls?

Do we see them as people who need Jesus just as we do?

Do we pray for them?

Or do we flippantly think they are just here to entertain us?

It seems to me as I watch people like Georgie Henley (Narnia films), Skandar Keynes (Narnia films), Erin Krakow (When Calls the Heart), Lily James (Cinderella), etc. in interviews – see them in candid shots – that they are nice people with much potential. That they are striving for something. Looking for something. They have emotional baggage, fears, and hurts. As I read interviews, they give a glimpse of their hearts, and that glimpse is often enough to show me that they’re empty and searching for something to fill them up. But perhaps scared to be filled up with the very best.

Most of them, if not all, don’t know God. They haven’t accepted the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

They are lost. And all we care about is how they bring us great movies.

So what could we do to reach out to them?

Well, why don’t we just say a prayer for them? Perhaps God will bring someone into their lives. Reveal Himself to them.

Truth is, God is in control. We cannot ruin or change or make His plan happen. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing unexpected happens in the Lord’s eyes. He is always on the throne.

But let’s love and care enough to think about people’s souls.

There’s something special about prayer that we can’t understand.

What people are searching for is God.

And the prayer of the righteous is powerful.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:16

So don’t underestimate the power of prayer! How it reaches into the world. How it draws you closer to the Lord.

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I think we need to reevaluate our prayer lives. This is a battle. It’s time to be warriors.

***

What Can You Pray About?

  • That God would draw you nearer to Himself
  • That He would show you how to be a light to the world
  • For that family situation that just seems like it couldn’t possibly resolve itself
  • For a mentor to be brought into your life – to disciple you
  • Your future
  • Your future spouse
  • A family member/friend who is wandering away from God
  • Someone who is sick
  • Peace and comfort for the hurting
  • The sad-looking girl you saw at the mall
  • Your church family
  • For peace and strength in times of fear
  • For healing
  • For joy

So many things. And you know what, God sees them all. He cares.

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.

Psalm 17:6

So pray.

Earnestly. Boldly. Expectantly. Faithfully. Sincerely. Humbly. Hopefully. Trustingly.

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13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

James 5:13

24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mark 11:24

But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

Proverbs 15:8

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Matthew 7:11

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Colossians 4:2

17 pray without ceasing,

1 Thessalonians 5:17

10 Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 46:10

Pour out your heart before God, and trust that He will answer you.

I know sometimes it’s really hard. One thing that helps me is praying aloud. Keeps my thoughts focused. Puts my heart into it. Also, go somewhere where it’s peaceful and quiet. I’ve been going on long walks. 🙂

But even then, sometimes it’s still hard to trust that God is really listening. That He will answer. So pray for deepened faith. Pray for it!

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24

My friends, a deep prayer life is a beautiful thing. Recently, things have been happening in life that have pushed me to spend more time in prayer and seeking God’s will. Those long walks of talking to God are so good! I’m learning to truly pour out my heart to Him – all my fear, worries, hopes, dreams, anxiety … Lay down all my idols before Him … Praise Him … Ask Him to continue making Jesus Christ my true Hope.

Sometimes the walk consists of me really wrestling in prayer, crying out to the Lord in the anxious state of my heart. Just being honest. Feeling raw and weak.

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Psalm 4:1

Many times I find myself wallowing in fear, so I run outside and start my walk and my talking with God!

And guess what? At the end of those walks, there’s a peace I didn’t have before. Sometimes that peace goes away real fast … and then I have to start praying again. Giving it to God again.

(Something I’ve been reading about in Fearless: Building a Faith that Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller, actually!)

But the point is, these long talks with God have blessed me. I’m glad I started making a point to pray everyday. Otherwise, I don’t always get to it everyday – and what a loss!

12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Romans 12:12

I’ve been earnestly praying about things that have plagued my heart for years. Things that oftentimes in the days past, I’ve been tempted to give up on.

When I set aside a time for prayer, I can continually bring these things (hurts, burdens, hopes, desires, scars) before my Heavenly Father and just have this deeper assurance that He sees and He knows and He is faithful to answer me and work in my life and the lives of those around me.

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

1 John 5:14-15

And I can praise Him! Remind myself of who He is. Wow. What an awesome, holy, good, mighty, faithful, loving God we serve!

Take time for prayer.

If you don’t know where to start, read and pray through some of the Psalms. I pray that you will be blessed, readers! ❤

11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!

1 Chronicles 16:11

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

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Touched by Music

Hey, ladies! What do you think about music? I, myself, am not one who always needs music playing. In fact, sometimes I go for months without listening to anything. On the other hand, I can go through seasons where music is one of my biggest comforts and helps to de-stress. I smile, and cry, and sing along, and worship, (and sometimes dance), and just really ponder the lyrics and how they speak to my current situation – whatever that is.

touched by music

Right now would be one such season. *smiles* I haven’t been sleeping very well, so those moments where I’m laying awake in the wee hours of morning, I take the opportunity to pray, and put on my headphones and listen to song after song. It touches my heart in an interesting way that can simply be so comforting.

So, all that being said, I want to share some of my favorite songs (at this time in life) and the lyrics that speak to my soul.

***

Even If by MercyMe

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may

*

Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells

No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love

On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain, I didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley,  I know I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!

*

My Hope Is In You by Aaron Shust

My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord

I will wait on You
You are my refuge

*

Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin

You’re a good good father
It’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am

I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

*

Beloved by Jordan Feliz

Head full of questions, how can you measure up?
To deserve affection, to ever be enough
For this existence
When did it get so hard?
Your heart is beating, alive and breathing
And there’s a reason why
You are essential, not accidental
And you should realize …

You are beloved

*

To Live Is Christ by Sidewalk Prophets

For me to live is Christ, to die is gain

*

Just Be Held by Casting Crowns

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart

*

The Motions by Matthew West

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

Start a Fire by Unspoken

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need

*

I Am Yours by Lauren Daigle

I see Your fingerprints
The work of Your hands
It’s all in Your hands
I see the evidence
Leaving nothing to chance
The world’s in Your hands …

So I rest in Your promises

I hear the voice of love
Calling me home
To where I belong
It cripples every fear
And the ones who will kneel
Walk away healed

So let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me
Let the mountains fall
You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

*

More of You by Colton Dixon

I made my castle tall
I built up every wall
This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
I want You and no one else
Empty me of myself
Until the only thing that’s left is …

More of You
Less of me
Make me who I’m meant to be
You’re all I want all I need
You’re everything
Take it all I surrender
Be my king
God I choose
More of You
Less of me

*

Ever Be by Aaron Shust

Faithful you have been
And faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me
And it’s why I sing
Your praise will ever be on my lips
Ever be on my lips

*

This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You laid down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

*

Thy Will by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family

I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So …

Thy will be done

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store

*

When the God-Man Passes By by Casting Crowns

When the God-man passes by

The blind will see and the dead will rise

Redeemed will dance and broken wings take flight

You can come just as you are

Let Him have your broken heart

You have never run too far

There is freedom in His scars

*

Soul on Fire by Third Day

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I’m longing for Your ways
I’m waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire

*

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be

*

Live Like You’re Loved by Hawk Nelson

And live like you’re know you’re valuable
Like you know the one that holds your soul
Cause mercy has called you by your name
Don’t be afraid to live in that grace

So go ahead and live like you’re loved
It’s ok to act like you’ve been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who He made you to be

*

Sparrows by Jason Gray

If He can hold the world He can hold this moment
Not a field or flower escapes His notice
Oh even the sparrow
Knows He holds tomorrow

Lean in and it’s hard to miss
Everything can change
When you make it His
Oh He wants to carry it
Carefree in the care of God
When you let it go
You’ll find that He’s enough
Oh you never leave His love

There’s not a single star that’s out of place
There’s nothing broken He can’t remake
If you long for hope when you’re afraid
Oh look at the sparrow
Look at the sparrow

*

Never Too Far Gone by Jordan Feliz

You have run down every road
And you’ve lost your way back home
And you feel so dirty; you know you’re unworthy
Feeling undeserving of any love, but
There’s no distance too far, that I can’t reach you
There’s no place that’s so dark, that I can’t find you
Anywhere that you are, if you need proof
Take a look at these scars, and know I love you

*

Breathe by Johnny Diaz

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need …

Is to take it in, fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

*

You Are Loved by Stars Go Dim

When it feels like something’s missing
If it hurts but you can’t find healing
Just look up, know you are loved

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

So here’s where I attempt to write a post about dating/marriage … something along those lines. This subject has been on my mind and heart lately, so I just want to share some of my thoughts.

thoughts on dating and marriage

To be honest, I’ve never dated before. Never been in a romantic relationship. I’ve had crushes on a few young men though the years, but nothing ever came of it … I doubt they liked me back in the same way! So I’m passed that “sixteen and never been kissed” and am now an even older “never been kissed” phenomenon. *wink* Okay, okay. It’s not that amazing; I actually know quite a few young women who are “older” and haven’t been in a relationship before either. But it’s just that in this day and age … where you get your first boyfriend at thirteen-years-old … yeah. I sometimes feel like a spectacle of some sort.

Yet, there is a reason that I’m still quite unattached, and I know what it is (not counting the fact that I was homeschooled, and am rather insecure and of an introverted nature). I see problems when I look out at the world and their system of finding true love. I see heartbreak, and scars, and pain, and foolish decisions, and regrets, and hurt, and confusion, and divorce.

I’ve been watching this all go on, guys. I’m just waiting. And while I wait, gathering wisdom on the subject, I hope.

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***

  • Dating is not “for fun”

I’ve never dated before, because I realize that dating is not something one should do for fun. Rather, dating/courting is to purposefully get to know someone, with marriage in mind.

When you “date” when you’re twelve to seventeen years old, you’re generally just fooling around. You don’t actually expect to marry that person someday. (There are exceptions, of course – especially in my parents’ background, where a lot of young people get married between the ages of seventeen to twenty; I’m just speaking of the average dating teenager who isn’t planning on getting married anytime soon).

So you’re getting emotionally attached … physically involved … and yet nothing is going to come of it. You’re not only giving pieces (in a sense) of your heart and body to some person other than your future spouse, you’re playing a dangerous game of “falling in love”, then breaking up when an issue comes up. “Falling in love”, then leaving when there are rough times that you don’t feel like working through. I mean, you’re a “child” playing at what adults do. And it’s not safe. As pastor/speaker Matt Chandler’s wife, Lauren, says: Dating (for fun, with no real direction or purpose) is like practicing divorce.

Also, I’ve read surveys on how many girls lose their purity by the time they’re out of high school when they start dating around thirteen and continually get into dating relationships from then on. Most studies said it was well over 50%. That is heart-breaking, people. *tears* Dating is not for teenagers, but for mature individuals seeking marriage.

“Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.”

~ Jefferson Bethke

Hopefully by the time you’re an “adult”, you realize that dating is serious. Flirting, playing around, toying with someone’s heart, giving away your kisses … I think you’re just setting yourself up for future hurts and issues to work through. Not to mention, that’s not being very faithful to your future spouse. Want to talk about true love? That kind of amazing, fairy-tale true love? Well, maybe that can happen if we start loving our future spouses here and now instead of flippantly seeking out temporary pleasure and fun at every turn.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2

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Let’s be serious. Let’s turn over the pen of our love story to God. Shouldn’t He be involved? Of course! God should be involved in every detail of our lives, especially the huge aspect of our love lives.

Date with intention, people. Not for pleasure, but to see if a solid friendship could blossom into a lasting, God-honoring romance. Seek God’s guidance. Wait possibly. Don’t date if you can’t see the relationship leading to a godly marriage.

I think this video (link below) talks about such things and lays it out pretty well. I would encourage you to watch it. *smiles*

Christians and Dating // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

“You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he’s the right one.”

~ Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott

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  • How Far is Too Far?

So what about when you believe you’ve found the one. You’re currently dating/courting, and falling more in love each day. How far is too far when it comes to the physical side?

Some people say you shouldn’t really touch at all. Others say holding hands is fine. Or light kissing. Some say kissing should wait until after engagement, or even until you’re at the altar. But still others say “making out” is perfectly appropriate at times.

I myself tend to lean toward saving your first kiss for your wedding day. Kissing is very special … end of discussion. I say save as many firsts as you can. Save it, value it, make it meaningful. It helps keep temptation at bay, and ensures you’re only kissing your spouse!

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However, some people just say I’m conservative and whatever else.

So here’s the best answer I’ve heard when it comes to the question, “How far is too far?” It comes from Youtuber, Joseph Solomon:

“Whenever you start to lust.”

Christian Singles: How Far Is Too Far? // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

So. Be honest with yourself. And ask your significant other to be honest with themselves. And then set some firm boundaries. Because entertaining lust can lead you to some places you never set out to go … and lust is a sin in and of itself.

So, to the Christian individual who wants to know how far they can go without sinning … there it is. And also, make sure you’re respecting not only your own boundaries, but your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s.

But here’s another thought I’ve come across: Should you, as a child of God, be asking how far you can go without sinning? Or should you ask how far you can go to honor your God and your “neighbors”?

18 Flee sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:18

Focus on friendship. Focus on really getting to know the other. Serving them. Growing closer together in the Lord. Most of the physical stuff is really best left to marriage. And it’s beautiful when you keep it safely there.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Song of Solomon 8:4

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  • No daydreaming

Okay, so you’re not in a relationship, but dutifully praying for your future husband/wife. And while you’re sincerely praying for that unknown person, so-and-so pops into your head. Then you’re like,“Wait … I’m supposed to be praying for my future spouse right now, not so-and-so”.

It’s kind of funny, but kind of not in the same breath. Because let’s face it; daydreaming doesn’t help anything. Most of the time it leads to discontentment, fretting, or even emotional attachment. Way to totally fall in love with someone who probably doesn’t exist, rather just bears the name of the person you “like”.

I’m not sure how men are, but, from a woman’s perspective, it is really easy to get caught up in daydreaming and all that silliness. And for a while, it can seem like just that – harmless silliness. But usually our hearts end up getting a little cracked.

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So let’s try to be patient and purposeful! Here’s some things to try:

  • When your mind wanders to daydreaming, try praying for someone who needs your prayers.
  • Daily give that person and your admiration of them over to God – surrender.
  • Pray for and write letters to your future spouse.
  • Pray for the distracting person separately, if you want to pray for them.

Instead of pining over someone who might not even be “yours”, try to gain wisdom about what makes a godly marriage and how to be a godly woman/man. Seek God, and strive to grow closer to Him. Those who are lonely, your soul is crying out for God! A spouse cannot fill that emptiness.

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Fight for your future marriage. Look around. Satan is avidly working at destroying marriages – perverting what God designed to be beautiful and sacred. So start fighting for your marriage even now, before it’s started.

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  • Marriage is not the goal in life

One way to keep yourself from idolizing marriage or a romantic relationship is to realize that marriage isn’t the goal. That a spouse isn’t going to fulfill you/make your life perfect.

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Marriage is a gift! Surrender that desire for marriage to God, and see where He goes with it! Trust that God has the best plan—no matter what. Because, in truth, you aren’t in control. And the sooner you give up that illusion, the happier and more at peace you’ll be! Just realize that God is in control, and choose to trust that He knows and sees what we can’t, and He loves us oh so much, and He delights in us.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Live your life. Serve others. Use your gifts. Go wherever God leads you. Don’t wait on marriage to start living. Finding a partner in life is a gift, not a goal.

Don’t waste your life. Don’t feel inferior because you’re not married. Surrender and seek the Lord! He has a plan for your life – follow it! ❤

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

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  • Godly Action and Pursuit

I don’t want to sound like I’m against marriage here, or Christian couples getting married young even. Marriage was designed by God, created to be a very good thing that not only is a gift to us, but glorifies Him and shines a light to the world! Marriage is a very beautiful thing. An honor. A sacred covenant. Loving and serving a spouse and raising children to know and serve the Lord are extremely important jobs!

22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 12:4

14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14

So single women, I charge you to follow God’s path for your life, seek to learn how to become a godly woman. If you desire to get married someday, pray specifically and deeply for your future husband … ask God to prepare you to be the wife your man needs!

Not that we’re all guaranteed to get married. I could be meant to be single. I could die before marriage ever comes into view. Jesus could return before I become a wife. I don’t really know! And that’s okay. But as of now, I just feel a burden to pray for my future husband, and to learn what it means to be a godly wife. I find myself praying that God would mold me into the woman my future husband needs. I find myself asking God to urge him to pray for me. *smiles* Because I totally need to be held up in prayer also! I have struggles, and fears, and all that too.

So surrender your desire for marriage to God, and trust Him. But if you continue to feel urged to pray for your future husband and learn about being a godly wife, then go for it! Fight for your marriage!

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12

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Yes, do not pursue, ladies! That is what God calls the men to do. Not us. I’ve seen how masculinity and femininity have been so mixed and messed up and it’s not doing the world or our marriages any good. Men are the leaders. They’re meant to initiate – and women respond. Men pursue.

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22

Did you get that? He who finds a wife. Not she who finds a husband. Haha. But seriously, stop. Stop the flirting, the hinting, the pressuring. Don’t ask guys out. No. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the man to pursue. If he’s a godly man, and he’s found a godly woman in you, and prayed about, and feels the Lord is leading you together, then he will intentionally and gently pursue you. Did you hear that? Let the men lead.

Here’s a video if there’s any men reading this post who want to be preached to about pursuing. I found it interesting myself. *smiles* (click link below)

Pursue Her: A Message to Christian Men // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

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So there are my thoughts! I do not follow them all perfectly. I’m not perfect! But I’m striving to trust God with my future … pray for my future marriage (if that’s indeed in God’s will for my life) … wait on a godly man … become a godly woman! Fall more in love with my Savior, and see more perfectly His design each day! ❤

Join me, single women! (And single men, if you’re reading this! *smiles*) Let’s be the exceptions. Pray sincerely for our future spouse. Fight for our future marriage. Strive for godliness. Live God’s design … not the world’s!

And even if you’ve been living the world’s design … you’ve messed up … Don’t worry; you can still start anew and start living God’s design! I’m far from having done it all right as well – but each day is a new day! Surrender to the Lord and strive to walk His path! He is faithful!

I hope this was encouraging/helpful. I love you all, my sisters and brothers in the Lord! Remember to fight for godly, beautiful marriages that shine our God’s incredible light! ❤

 

** Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life July 24th, 2015 **

Hello!

hello

Hi, lovely readers! I know I haven’t been on here forever, and I am sorry about that. Life gets busy. My mind gets cluttered. I hadn’t been taking as much time as I should have been to quiet my thoughts and spend time with the Lord. And … I simply didn’t feel like I had anything inspiring to share with you.

But, you know, a thought came to me. We all struggle. We all fail. We all don’t do the things we should, sometimes. Don’t feel as near to the Lord as we want to. Don’t feel spiritually mature and able to impart wisdom … Yet, we should be sharing our experiences, nonetheless! We should be leaning on each other and encouraging each other in turn.

Even if I feel weak, I can tell others (my younger sisters, for example) about times in my life when God answered a prayer, revealed something to me, gave me peace, had someone else pray for me when I really needed it, gave me a glimpse of heaven and His glory – and that can encourage them. And actually, myself too, in the process of remembering!

Remember God’s goodness. Tell of His goodness. Praise Him!

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As for doings in my life, I recently started re-reading Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird. I’m doing it as a Bible/book study with two of my younger sisters (fourteen and sixteen years of age), since it’s one of the best Christian Living books about Biblical womanhood that I’ve read! I read a chapter to them every couple days, and discuss the questions at the end of each chapter.

It’s been really good. These author sisters have some wisdom and insight to share!

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On my own, I’ve been reading Fearless: Building a Faith that Overcomes your Fear by Cheri Fuller. If you’ve read any of this blog, you know I struggle with anxiety/fear. So I’m really excited about this book, and it’s been wonderful so far! So much about prayer in there.

fearless

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Also just started His Princess: Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd today. This will be a re-read. It’s a simple little book with devotional-type things to read each day and a verse from Bible.

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For Bible reading, I decided June was as good a month as any to read through Proverbs again! Can’t wait. Proverbs is so good!

I’m also doing a Bible study with my mom and some other ladies, so I’ve been reading short bits from the Bible each day having to do with love. That’s been going well, too. ^_^

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Well, that’s quite a bit of reading, I admit! But since I don’t have many novels on hand just now, I decided I should catch up on my “Christian Living”-type reading!

And I just need to work on enhancing my Bible-reading and prayer time, so yay for Bible studies, devotionals, and Proverbs! Also, warm days in which to walk and pray. ^_^

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How are you doing, my friend? What are you currently reading? Anything going on in your life that I can pray about for you?

What does the Bible say about Fear?

Do you struggle with fear? Anxiety? I know I do. So what does the Word of God say about fear?

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Psalm 34:4

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:24

“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Psalm 23:4

“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.”

Romans 8:38-39

“For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rules, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Psalm 94:19

“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.”

1 Peter 1:5

“You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Psalm 27:1

“The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom should I be afraid?”

1 Peter 5:6-7

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”

Psalm 56:3-4

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgement.”

Psalm 103:17-18

“But from eternity to eternity, the LORD’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13

“For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you.”

Romans 8:15

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ”

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear …”

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