Book Review: Savoring Single by Shelley Black + Thoughts on Waiting

Good morning, my lovely readers! Today I come to you as part of the blog tour for Shelley Black’s beautiful book, Savoring Single! I truly enjoyed reading this unique book which explores the topic of the season of singleness, and I have my personal review of it below!

Plus a giveaway!

But first, I want to share some of my own thoughts on “singleness”, being in a “season of waiting”, and all such things.

SavoringSingle1

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For those of us who have a heart’s longing to be married, the topic of singleness can be a hard one. We don’t necessarily want to read books and listen to sermons on singleness, as they often force us to feel like single is all of who we are. We tire of hearing all the questions of: “So … are you dating anyone yet?” and the onslaught of well-meaning but counter-productive comments and advice.

It can be hurtful. Frustrating. Even embarrassing. It can make us feel “behind” in life. Lacking. Missing something. Not complete. Not part of something. Not belonging. Or it just makes the painful “wait” even more painful, because we truly have a God-given desire for marriage and a family of our own.

I had a thought as I pondered this one day. You know, perhaps we’re going about it all wrong when we call ourselves “single” as if our relationship status defines who we are. And “in a season of waiting” as if once we get married, we’ll have arrived.

I don’t like “single” to define me, because it often is associated with negativity. The truth is, my identity is child of the King. Adopted daughter of the perfect Father. Beloved of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Bride of the Lamb.

Beautifully made by the Creator. Chosen by the one true God. Accepted by the Holy One, by grace through faith.

Loved. Wanted. Accepted. Beautiful. Chosen. Belonging. Complete. Secure.

I am not married, but “single” and “still waiting” doesn’t/shouldn’t define who I am. I shouldn’t feel looked down upon, not enough, or not part of something – not having yet “arrived”. I am part of God’s eternal family. I have a purpose and a beautiful life right now. I would love to be married someday, but that doesn’t mean that right now I’m lacking or my life is on hold.

…Which brings me to the next point.

Why always call singleness a “season of waiting”? Isn’t almost every part of life a season of waiting? Waiting to graduate high school. Waiting to find that community of believers to be a part of. Waiting to find the one your soul loves. Waiting to get your college education and start your career. Waiting for physical or emotional healing. Waiting to develop your God-given mission. Waiting to have the children you long for.

We’re always waiting, and learning, and developing, and growing, and seeking, and working toward something.

It’s not like once you meet the man God has for you and get married … well, the wait is over! The season of … completeness and happily ever after has come!

No. There’ll be more seasons of waiting. And trusting. Having faith and leaning on God when you can’t figure out how the future’s going to be and how everything is going to work out. Seasons of slowly making progress and working toward healthy and good and God-given goals and dreams.

And this is not a bad thing! As long as we are inviting God into this and thriving joyfully in Him, no matter what we are waiting for!

Completeness, wholeness, comes when the Bride is united with her eternal Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. When there is a new heaven and new earth. Then, the season of waiting will finally be over.

That all being said, I suppose my point is, don’t look at your “unmarried years” as such a season of waiting.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with studying and hoping and preparing to be a wife, mother, etc.

But, there are all sorts of seasons in your life, and one is not necessarily a “step up” from the other. Each can be beautiful and meaningful and powerful, if you let it be. God can do lovely, amazing things in each season. Preparing you, and wooing you, and growing you, and delighting in you, and using you in His incredible plan, and taking care of you, and making you more like Him. He is by your side in every season; and in every season, our first and deep desire should be to grow closer to Him – to glorify His name and seek first His kingdom! ❤

So thrive in Him today, wherever you are, beautiful reader.

Read Some More of My Posts on Singleness, Relationships & Marriage:

I Was Created For …

Finding Joy in the Lover of My Soul

Practicing Purity & Pursuing Righteousness in Romantic Relationships

Boys … Can We Just Be Friends?

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

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My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

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Title: Savoring Single

Author: Shelley Black

Genre: Christian Living

Audience: Older Teen & Adult Women

Published: December 7th, 2017

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A wonderfully encouraging read! I’m truly grateful that I was given the chance to read and review Savoring Single by Shelley Black. To be honest, it wasn’t the kind of book I’d usually find myself dying to read, but when I was contacted about reviewing it, the simply lovely cover enticed me. And I was curious to know if a book like this could actually help me in my season of life.

Being single has its difficulties and challenges and hard days, but so does every other season of life.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

I was somewhat surprised, and delighted, to find that it did! I think some readers have referred to Savoring Single as “refreshing”, and I so agree! It encouraged me to be okay with me and thrive in life right now. It gave me hope for the future. It did not mock my desire to be married, but sweetly reminded me that marriage is not the goal and God can do beautiful and wonderful things in my life in this moment!

We need to be loved, valued, treasured and pursued. We need to know that we are beautiful. But we need it most from Him. Knowing God and walking in relationship with Him will answer every single one of these desires of your heart.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Each chapter started with a prayer. Shelley Black shared her personal experiences and stories; her struggles and growth. There were lots of Scripture verses and references throughout.

She talked about having an intimate relationship with God, going on adventures, pursuing your passions, friendship, idols, boundaries, and sexuality. One of the main themes of the book was God’s adoration of you and His plan that you should have a close, personal, and fulfilling relationship with Him. You are His dearly loved daughter! And though He may very well have marriage and a man in His plans for you, He longs for you to know His perfect love for you and His place as your eternal Bridegroom. The truth is, we won’t be satisfied and filled until we let Him fill us.

Love according to the Word of God begins first in relationship with God. Then it flows through us and into others.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Shelley Black has a lot of practical and heartfelt wisdom and ideas, I feel. It was just … encouraging! Reviving. Fun. Thoughtful. Deep. Sweet. I enjoyed returning to the pages of Savoring Single each day.

Sometimes we can ask for some crazy things that a loving Father just knows better than to give us.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Not to say I agreed with everything or found everything to be absolutely helpful. I can’t say that about any Christian Living book I’ve read! The chapter in Savoring Single on finances didn’t resound with me as much as the rest of the book, but that’s okay. It still had some helpful points. Shelley Black definitely has a different personality than me. She’s a go-getter, all about big adventures, and seems passionate about having lots of money to use for God’s kingdom. I suspect my story’s meant to play out a little differently, but I can appreciate her aspirations and zeal, and the beauty of her own powerful, unique story!

This means we choose how He would choose, even if it costs us.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Overall, Savoring Single was a fabulous book. I highly recommend to women in the season of singleness. It was inspiring and hopeful. And I just want to share it with any sisters who have struggled like I have, so perhaps they can understand more fully that waiting on God’s timing for marriage is beautiful. And learn to thrive in life right now. Know that they are not lost or behind in the journey. And there is hope and passion and joy. And they are completely loved, here and now. There is so much beauty in store for you in this season, and every season! Love being right where God has you.

Single now or single forever God is good and the more our perspective aligns with His, the more we will live this life fully no matter our status.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Shelley Black truly is a beautiful soul and an inspiration to me. Can’t wait to share this book!

In the end of Savoring Single, it encourages you to do a study on love, and there is a list of all the Bible verses talking about love. I look forward to spending some time pondering true love! ^_^

I received a copy of Savoring Single from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Singleness. Dating. Marriage. Kids. Careers. Hobbies. Memories. Dreams. Each flow out of that one purpose to know God! Being single and not knowing Christ is empty. Being married and not knowing Christ is empty. Having kids without knowing God is still empty. Careers and hobbies without a relationship with God is still empty.” (Savoring Single by Shelley Black)

Purchase on Amazon

Shelley Black_Author Photo

About The Author

Shelley Black has journeyed through being single longer than she expected and has since found joy, hope and purpose from a once begrudged season. She now challenges the status quo of what it means to be single as a modern-day Christian female, with a passion to infuse hope and restore joy to every single-girl heart. Shelley is a loving momma to her pup Lucy, is one proud “T” to six nieces and nephews and serves her local church in North Mississippi as the worship leader. Find her at SavoringSingle.com and across social media at SavoringSingle.

Official Website

www.savoringsingle.com

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

Feb 1st ~ Original Post by Abby – www.worthmorethangoldsite.wordpress.com

PARTY – Live Chat on Instagram at 7 EST.

Feb 2nd ~ Original Post by Jessica  – jessicasummeroverstreet.com

Feb 3rd ~ Spotlight post and Giveaway – madigrace.org

Feb 4th ~ Original post from Shelley – http://www.southkakalakigirl.com/the-blog

Feb 5th ~ Book Review by Isabella – www.jesusisworthitall.weebly.com

Feb 6th ~ Original post from Shelley – http://www.thedifferentgirl.com

Feb 7th ~ Original post from Amanda – https://blogsbychristianwomen.com

Feb 8th ~ Book Review and Author Interview – www.purelyunorthodox.com

Feb 9th ~ Spotlight Post & Giveaway – https://www.sylviacney.com

Feb 10th ~ Original Post by Sarah Beth – www.lovesarahbethblog.wordpress.com

Feb 10th ~ Original Post by Kaityn – www.theshoe19.blogspot.com

Feb 11th ~ Original Post & Book Giveaway  www.delightinginhimblog.wordpress.com

Feb 12th ~ Book Review and Original Post from Shelley – amongthereads.net

Feb 13th ~ Original Post by Kara and Giveaway – savedbygrace7.blogspot.com

Feb 14th ~ Author Interview –  www.writingsfromagodgirl.wordpress.com

Feb 15th ~ Book Review from Heidi – www.thecaffeinatedbibliophile.com

PARTY – Author Interview on Google+/YouTube at 7 EST.

Feb 16th ~ Original Post from Katie – www.kjsonline.wordpress.com

Feb 17th ~ Original Post by Moriah – growthbygrace.wordpress.com

Feb 18th ~ Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway – https://ohsopriceless.wixsite.com/blog

Victoria – Spotlight – https://rufflesandgrace.com

Feb 19th ~ Original post by Shelley – uniquelymarieblog.wordpress.com

Feb 20th ~ Book Review – youaresaltandlightblog.wordpress.com

Feb 21st ~ Book Review – ordinarygirlextraordinaryfather.blogspot.com

Feb 22nd ~ Book Review – https://themostlytrueadventuresofemily.wordpress.com/

Feb 23rd ~ Original Post by Lydia – spoonfulofsurprises.wordpress.com

Feb 24th ~ Original Post by Mandie – calledtoliveradically.blogspot.ca

Feb 25th ~ Spotlight post and Giveaway – http://livkfisher.blogspot.com/

Feb 26th ~ Book Review – Ainsleyhope.wordpress.com

Feb 27th ~ Guest post from Shelley and Giveaway – http://englishmysteriesblog.blogspot.com/

Feb 28th ~ Original post by Shantelle, Book Review and Giveaway – https://ladygracesite.wordpress.com/

March 1st ~ Original Post by Chloe – Sweetnesswithchristweb.wordpress.com

March 2nd ~ Spotlight Post and Giveaway – www.livylynnblog.com

LivyLynnBlogTours

Hosted by Livy Lynn Blog Tours! Are you a Christian author? Let me plan your next blog tour!
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Bible Study on Love

Hello, dear friends!

Some of you all probably saw my post where I mentioned that I started a Bible study! I am very passionate about community and connection. And I’ve long had a heart for older teens & single adults … because I know the struggles and insecurities and loneliness I felt then, and now, and I want to reach out and encourage! And seek the Lord together with other young adults! And grow together!

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So I’d been dreaming about starting a Bible study. Either for teens or people my own age. Or both! I just didn’t know how to take the first step. I’m an introvert—with big dreams and heart desires! But an introvert, nonetheless. Quiet, mostly in the background, sensitive, and not quick to reach out where I’m not sure I’m wanted. Plus, I’m just a young woman. Living at my parent’s house. And, well … *glances about* … are there even people around anymore? 😉

God is good, though. I talked about my desire to start a study with some people. My mom, my aunt, my sister, my doctor, a friend/one of the moms from my family’s Bible study group, and they all encouraged me in it!

So, I decided I was going to start it! At the end of Savoring Single, a delightful Christian Living book on singleness that I read recently, there is an enormous list of Bible verses talking about love. I decided studying God’s love would be a perfect place to start.

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My seventeen-year-old sister and two friends (seventeen and fifteen) make up my group. We’re planning to get together once a week. We talk. I pray. We read Scripture. We discuss. I give out a list of verses to read for next week’s study. Pray again. Eat food and fellowship! ❤

The first week, we read these beautiful verses:

Ephesians 2:4-7

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

John 14:21

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 15:9

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

John 17:22-23

22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Romans 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

1 John 3:1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

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The following week, we discussed these verses. This time I was actually prepared beforehand, and took notes on these verses up until our next Bible study.

John 14:23

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Notes: When we love Jesus and follow His Word, He makes His home with us. Truly following the Lord means we have communion and companionship with Him. We are not alone, but He is with us in every detail and decision of life.

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Notes: We need to be rooted and ground in love! (What does this look like?) Paul is praying that we would be able to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge—that we may be filled with the fullness of God. Knowing Christ’s love equals being filled with the fullness of God. God is love!

Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Notes: As Christ-followers, we are called to walk in love. This is probably the most important way we can reflect Christ (see Ephesians 3:19 & John 13:35). What are some ways that we can, daily, “walk in love”?

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Notes: In God’s love we have everlasting consolation, hope, and comfort! He also establishes us in every good word and work. When I dwell in God’s Presence and love, I do truly find comfort, overwhelming hope, and a faith that He will establish me in the path He has for me. He is able! And He loves me. Therefore, He is worthy of my trust.

2 Thessalonians 3:5

Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

Notes: How can we direct our hearts into the love of God? Perhaps praying for it: “Lord, fill up my heart with Your love! Help me to love You, and Your people, well.”

1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Notes: Truly following Jesus Christ and believing His Word is truth is the evidence that we know God’s deep love for us and want to love and serve Him because of that. If we don’t obey His Word, we don’t really understand His love and love Him.

1 John 3:16

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Notes: We know love because Jesus first loved us! We couldn’t know true love without Him. This is why it’s so important to press into and understand God’s love for you, personally! Then you can go out into the world, imitating Him and pouring out your life in love for others!

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So that’s what’s happening so far in this very new path I’m walking. 🙂 Perhaps you want to join us in reading and meditating on Scriptures on love! ❤ Feel free to write your thoughts and notes in the comments below!

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His Word is Truth

Good morning, fellow mortals!

How is life going for you? I’m glad you stopped by my blog and pray you are encouraged and challenged—especially by this post.

I wanted to take some time to address a crucially important topic today.

2 Timothy 2:22-26

22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

His Word

God’s Word.

Truth.

Who is the lord of your life?

As Christians, who do we follow?

What defines right and wrong for us?

What shapes our ideals and convictions more—the culture or the Bible?

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Dear friends, I’d like to present a question: Are you a fan of Jesus Christ? Or a follower of Jesus Christ?

1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Fan or follower?

Let’s face a hard truth. You cannot be enraptured by the world, believing their “truths” and living their lies, and walking the way you feel is right … and still know God. Even if you’re a big fan of Jesus.

Christians are followers of Christ.

So, are you a Christian? Do you know what it means to follow someone? This doesn’t mean listening to the Christian radio, raising your hands in church, and wearing an “I love Jesus” T-shirt (though those aren’t bad things!) … it means imitating Jesus Christ. Walking in the ways He showed us.

Letting Him live through us.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

John 13:13-17

13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

John 14:21

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

How do you know how Jesus lived? You read His Word. Read your Bible. Immerse yourself in its truths.

Who do you think knows better? Your college professor or the Creator of the universe? Hollywood or the Author of love? The culture or the Maker? Media or the God of justice? That brilliant author you’re reading by or the Beginning and the End? You or the Lord of Lords?

1 Timothy 6:3-5

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

If you truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and your Savior, then you must believe that the Bible is absolute truth! You cannot take away or add to the Word of God without mocking, discrediting, disbelieving, or making God out to be a liar.

1 Timothy 6:20-21

20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

If we want to love God, we need to obey His Word! We need to be reading the Bible regularly and dwelling on its words. The Bible needs to be our road map. Our instruction manual. Our guide. Our absolute. Our truth.

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

We can’t rely on our feelings, our media, or our family and friends to determine truth for us. We must go to God and His Word which He gave us!

2 Timothy 3:13-15

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

There are people and resources in this world that can help us understand or recognize truth, but we must always have the Bible as our foundation and line everything up against what it says.

John 14:23

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Listen. It is by grace that we are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ! Trusting that He is God’s Son and that His blood sacrifice paid our debt is what brings us into right standing with God and promises us eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8-9

 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.

Romans 10:9-13

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But don’t cry out to God and then just go on with your old way of life. There is an Enemy prowling out there who seeks to kill and destroy. You need to know God and obey His Word. Because it is all too easy to get sucked into Satan’s lies.

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Examine your heart. Do you follow Jesus Christ? Do you believe His Word is truth?

If you do believe that the Bible is truth, do you spend more time immersing yourself in truth or in lies?

What do you spend more time listening to? Christian songs that have truth in their lyrics? Or secular music that feeds you lies, mocks God’s design, and glorifies sin and self?

What about what you read?

What you watch?

Philippians 4:7-9

the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

What kind of people do you hang out with most?

1 Corinthians 15:33

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

What kind of talk do you engage in?

Ephesians 4:29

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

You’re only making it harder on yourself when you love loving the world instead of drawing nearer to God by surrounding yourself with His words, His truth, His people, His beauty.

Not everything is beneficial. Do yourself a favor and throw off some weights that are hindering you from running the race effectively.

1 Corinthians 10:23

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

Hebrews 12:1-2

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.

Going back to the main point … His Word is truth. If you believe in Him, you must believe this. And then you must fight for it. Put your faith in Him for He is worthy of your trust.

Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Be serious about this. Be serious about your claims of Christianity, and faith, and truth. GOD IS LOVE, but HE IS ALSO HOLY. He is gracious, compassionate, and full of tender mercies. But, just the same, He will not be mocked.

Proverbs 1:20-23

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

He is God. You are not.

This is a beautiful thing when you place your heart in the hands of the one true King and let Him lead you. ❤

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Finding Joy in the Lover of My Soul

Happy Valentine’s Day, darling readers! I thought I’d talk about that today since I missed posting on the actual day.

Lover of My Soul(picture found on pixabay.com)

So, how are you feeling? I know the day celebrating love can be hard for some people. Maybe you’re going through a rough time in your marriage. Maybe you’re in a season of singleness.

I, myself, have no “special someone” in my life at this time. But I quite enjoyed Valentine’s Day this year. 😀 It was fantastically beautiful.

The days before Valentine’s Day were good ones for me. Sunday, my family and I went to Bible study at our dear friend’s house, as usual. I got some laughing in, which is always fabulous. I don’t have anyone in my age group at this particular Bible study, but I enjoy doing a study and chatting with the moms, and also hanging out with my seventeen-year-old sister and her friends. So that’s lovely. *feels joyful just thinking about it*

Proverbs 17:22

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,

Monday, a friend’s children were over at my family’s house for the morning/afternoon. I went to a doctor appointment, and then stopped at the library. Back at home, I did some housework, then worked on a blog post for a few hours.

Tuesday, we did wood! My dad split while most of the rest of us stacked. I wore my “work pants” which are splattered in paint and such from hours of remodeling work on the house last summer. They quickly became splattered in mud. Friends, it was a sunny day, but very muddy. My boots kept getting stuck, and I had to wrench them out of almost ankle-deep mud time and time again, haha. My gloves were also soaked in mud. Stacking wood is … interesting. Trying to find just the right place for each piece of wood, fitting it together like a puzzle. About the time that the pile of wood was reaching my height, I started feeling tired and it was taking a bit of effort to heave wood into place, haha. But it was then that I needed to go inside and get ready to drive my sister somewhere.

wood-1884339_1920(found on pixabay.com)

My sister and I spent an hour or so at this friend’s house … me writing and minding my own business while my sister and Mom’s friend talked about photography and editing tips.

Wednesday, February 14th, I attended a Valentine’s Day party with my mom and siblings. I just went along because … you know. Family and friends! I very much enjoyed visiting with some of the moms there. Good fellowship. They encourage me. ❤

I worked on blog stuff, cleaned, and made a gluten-free chocolate cherry pudding cake! I enjoyed a special supper with my parents and siblings, and wrote down things I love/admire about each person.

I went outside with some of my younger siblings and my seventeen-year-old sister, fifteen-year-old sister, eleven-year-old sister, and I danced and sang in the cool night air. I felt so free and joyful, and belonging to the Lover of my soul! ❤

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I am happy loving on family and friends right now. Yes, sometimes I do feel moments of deep longing … for romantic love, for marriage, for a man who’s my best friend. But, I think I’m finally learning to be content where God has me. To embrace the path He’s leading me on. Is my desire for love, for closeness, for romance, for a lifelong relationship gone? By no means! Being a wife and mother is still one of my deepest dreams. I still am intentional about studying marriage from a Biblical perspective, and praying for & writing letters to my future husband.

To be honest, I think that’s helped!

First, cultivating a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Being closer to Him—feeling His love and Presence—, experiencing the sweetness of prolonged prayer time has filled up a lot of my lonely heart. The more important my relationship with Him becomes to me, the more fulfilled I am as I open my heart and He draws me nearer.

When I immerse myself in the truth that I am chosen and loved by Him—complete in Him—it heals a part of me that feels I’m not chosen and wanted by an earthly man.

1 Peter 2:9

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;

2 Corinthians 6:18

18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

Psalm 62:5-8

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

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

I am part of Jesus Christ’s eternal Bride. How amazing and beautiful is that? My dear sisters and brothers who feel “single”, “alone”, and “unwanted” are your identity, dwell on that for a while. You belong. He is by your side. You are chosen.

Ephesians 5:25-27 & 32

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Psalm 34:4-5

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.

Ephesians 2:10

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

Isaiah 49:16

16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;

Isaiah 62:5

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

Beloved.

Beloved.

Beloved.

If you belong to Christ, know that you are His beloved.

rose-2417334_1920(found on pixabay.com)

The next thing that helps me is fellowship and community. Just feeling like I have a place where I very much belong, even as an unmarried, adult woman. Connecting deeply. Sharing. Giving of yourself. Having a purpose. Being mentored. Conversation. Laughter.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Thirdly, as I mentioned above, writing letters to and praying for my future husband is helpful. Perhaps it helps me keep from getting “boy crazy”. It gives me something to focus on and pour my desire for marriage into.

When I came to a place where I did not want to get married unless the man enhanced my relationship with the Lord—unless he is desiring to and actively pursuing Christ, and his deepest prayer for me is that I grow closer to Christ—writing letters and praying started becoming a lot more purposeful and joyful. If I am to marry, he will truly be a man God chose for me. If I am to marry, God sees that man even now, and so I want to pray for him. And I smile at the thought of him reading the letters, knowing I was thinking of him even now. Waiting for him. Truly waiting.

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So, press into the Lord, even as He’s pursuing you! Find a community to be deeply a part of. And write to your future husband, if you want! Maybe it’ll help you be content waiting for him, rather than getting distracted by every cute boy who happens across your path.

Seriously, being “single” is so much better than having someone when you know he isn’t God’s will for you. You have freedom to passionately run after Jesus Christ and the path He’s set before you, instead of struggling more than necessary because you’re walking a path He hasn’t give you peace about.

John 15:15

15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

cherry-blossom-1260646_1920(found on pixabay.com)

I finished off Valentine’s Day by having heart talks with my sister. Then I sat in the living room—the whole house quiet as my family slept—and wrote a letter to help me work through emotions and feelings from years ago. The letter will probably never be mailed. But writing it brought peace to my heart. And then I went off to bed and slept restfully.

February 15th, I wrote a letter to my future husband. And then I wrote to my beloved Lord. ❤ It ended up being a rough day, in some ways, but God carried me through. Praise Him!

Psalm 71:1-3 , 5-6 , & 22-24

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.
By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.

22 Also with the lute I will praise You—
And Your faithfulness, O my God!
To You I will sing with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You,
And my soul, which You have redeemed.
24 My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long;
For they are confounded,
For they are brought to shame
Who seek my hurt.

Oh, and I started a Bible study! Pray for me, that God will work in and through me! And pray for the wonderful young people who are part of the study. I’m excited to seek the Lord together with them! 🙂

Lady Grace ❤

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Paths and Provisions

Good morning, beautiful readers!

I’m going to share a little bit of my heart with you today. To be honest, this isn’t the easiest thing to share. It’s something that’s caused me no small amount of shame, anxiety, insecurity, and troubled thoughts. But it’s been on my mind a lot lately … so I thought perhaps it was God prompting me to share.

Philippians 4:4-7

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.

This post is going to be about work, money, jobs, independence, responsibility, and trusting God to provide. That sort of thing.

paths and provisions(picture found on pixabay.com)

I never was very career-minded. In fact, I tend to be a dreamer – I believe it’s part of my personality as an INFJ. From a young age, I loved reading and writing—all things books, really—and by ten-years-old, decided that I wanted to be a published author when I grew up. So I pursued writing. I wrote all the time. I filled up numerous journals and notebooks, and even took to typing out my stories and thoughts on the computer. I had stacks and stacks of handwritten stories and many documents saved onto the computer.

I did some babysitting here and there once I turned twelve. At around fifteen-years-old, I got a sort-of summer nanny job. Once I week I took care of a little baby (perhaps six months old?) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

baby-623417_1920(found on pixabay.com)

It was around that time that my mom, my siblings, and I started cleaning our church once a week. We did that for a couple years.

At sixteen, I got my first “real” job. It was at Dairy Queen. They needed good workers, someone from my youth group recommended me, and so I was like, “Sure, why not? It’s probably a good time to start working part-time.” I hadn’t been actively searching for a job, but I was eager enough to accept the position.

Working at a fast-food restaurant turned out to be a rather intimidating experience for shy, insecure, introverted, teenage me. My voice was always too soft, even though I felt like I was shouting. All the details I was expected to learn overwhelmed me (though I actually caught on quickly enough). I felt uncomfortable wearing the required black slacks and stuffing my thick, waist-length hair up beneath a baseball cap. But, I did learn some things! And for that, I am thankful. It wasn’t horrible, but it was very stressful for me. Three mornings a week I skipped breakfast (because my stomach hurt from anxiety/stress) and hurried off to work. Around lunch time, I would start feeling tired and dragging, so I’d reluctantly drink a glass of soda (I’m kind of a health nut, so I disliked the idea of drinking a sugary drink three times a week!). Then I’d get home, probably eat a late lunch, and sit down and put my feet up because my legs and feet ached so badly. And then do some schoolwork.

I cleaned bathrooms (which caused some serious anxiety for my germ-freak self, especially at that time, ha!), spilled a strawberry sundae on my shirt when I was carrying two full trays into the dining area, fumbled through drive-through duty for the first time when the manager abruptly put the headset on me, and messed up a few times as I went through the general learning process of doing something new. I blushed and stuttered when boys flirted with me now and then. I got yelled at and grumbled at a few times, and my super-sensitive self blinked back tears and was sure my manager and the restaurant owner rather resented me.

Perhaps everyone feels this way, but my first job was really stressful for me! Not because it was actually so horrible, but because every little thing seemed magnified and overwhelming in my mind.

I only worked there about three and half months before turning in my notice so I could go live in my “home state” (place I was born) with my relatives for a month, and then just put all my focus back on school work and writing.

coffee-2306471_1920(found on pixabay.com)

So really … that was my only official job.

My family moved out of state the next year (2014). About a year later, July of 2015 (I think), I moved back for a couple months with my older brother. Then moved back in with my family. Then the next year, April 2016, my older brother and I drove to my “home state” and I ended up staying there for 9-ish months.

I’d planned to stay permanently, but just wasn’t really finding my place there. And I missed my family. Especially when some of my six younger siblings would write me letters saying how much they missed me, and how I was the best big sister, and how they wished I would come home. It nearly wrenched my heart out, haha! My anxiety had already worsened in the last couple years of moving around, but that year it was pretty bad and I also struggled with some depression. It definitely wasn’t all bad, though! My aunt & uncle, grandparents, and cousins loved on me, and I got to meet new people and experience neat things. But when my older brother and I flew back home in January 2017 for a late family Christmas, I ended up staying. My parents bought my brother and I plane tickets out there for my mom’s Christmas present (*smiles*), but they never bought me a return ticket like they said they would, so I’ll just blame it on that, haha. Summer of 2017 was spent, almost to the very last hour, remodeling the house my parents bought and everything having to do with that.

Anyway. Since my brief time at Dairy Queen, I’ve written up a resume, filled out many applications, gone to multiple interviews, and almost got at least three different jobs (two of them were at libraries! *smiles*). For various reasons, I didn’t end up getting them.

And now I’m here. Twenty-one. No job. No car. Unsure of where my path is winding.

Luke 12:6-7

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I did buy a car while I was living in my “home state”. But it was not fit to drive the many miles home, so I have it no longer. And I’ve been blessed with many babysitting and cleaning jobs during my “unemployed” years!

Nevertheless, I feel this sense of shame and this feeling that I’m wrong. I feel both “behind” in life, and trapped because I didn’t get started at the “right time”. Sometimes it feels like I’m struggling to keep my head above the waves of doubt, fear, and a lack of confidence.

…I never gave much thought to jobs and careers. (Though I did take a couple college classes in my last year of high school.) I was too busy thinking other deep thoughts (haha). I did expect to get a job. But I’m a dreamer, and my head and heart were filled with ideas and plans and passions for writing novels, starting blogs, doing Bible studies, connecting deeply with people, touching lives, and impacting the world. Not to mention, I’d always expected to get married young. My mom had. My grandmother had. My great-grandmother had. Most of my friends and cousins got married between the ages of eighteen to twenty-one-years-old.

flower-3122500_1920(found on pixabay.com)

So in all my plans and ponderings, I’d seen myself being married at eighteen or nineteen. At least by twenty-one! (Ha!) I saw myself loving and serving my husband and raising children with him to know the Lord. I saw myself running my household—cooking, cleaning, baking, homeschooling, etc.—and writing stories as an adored hobby. And sharing my book collection with other avid readers. To this day, I still often picture myself doing these things, and also keeping up this blog and opening up my home to people – making meals for friends and starting Bible studies for teens and single adults. I dream of joyfully keeping a home and ministering to people from it.

Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 31:10-13, 15, 17, 20-22, & 24-31

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.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.

And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.

17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Titus 2:4-5

that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands,

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

That’s obviously not to be. Not right now, anyway. I’m in a different season of life right now. And I struggle to figure it out! I don’t believe my dreams were bad or wrong, and I still have hope for them! But right now, I have to find out how to live as I should as a Christian, unmarried adult woman in America.

Psalm 84:3-5

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

 

Should I have done things differently? Should I have stifled my dreams? Should I have tried harder to find jobs? Not moved around so much (as an adult, that is. I didn’t have much of a choice when my family moved!)?

I don’t know. People make me feel like I should have, like I did something wrong. Like I’m lazy and irresponsible and immature.

And it’s hard. It’s hard to think of people thinking badly of me. It causes all sorts of anxiety. (Yes, I struggle with insecurity, being a people-pleaser, and a lack of confidence. You probably know that if you’ve read this blog! I’m not trying to whine, just be honest. And I’m learning! God is teaching me to find my confidence in Him.)

Have I done things wrong? Yes. Am I imperfect? Without a doubt. Have I not managed my time wisely some years? Absolutely. Could I have done things differently? Probably so.

But I did what I did.

That’s what happened.

That’s how life went.

And God used all those years to teach and grow me, and do things in my life and the lives of those around me.

It’s not wasted.

Even if I made mistakes and messed things up and took forever to learn certain lessons … He was with me even then. He was working in my life.

The past is the past.

I can’t change it.

It may or may not have put me “behind” in this life as I learn more of what it means to live as an adult.

But, do I trust God? Do I trust Him to provide me with a job, and a car, and a ministry, and everything I need in His timing?

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Do I trust that He is able, even if I haven’t been technically employed for a long while? Do I trust that He can redeem past mistakes and errors?

Joel 2:25-27

25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

Do I trust that He can use, is using, me now, even while I don’t have a job?

Philippians 4:10-13

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Do I trust Him, even when people talk negatively about me?

Even when people make me feel worthless and stupid?

Make me feel like I’m unwanted and not belonging anywhere?

They don’t know my story. That don’t know the anxiety and depression and other health issues I’ve dealt with, and how that’s hindered me. They don’t know my heart. They don’t know that I desire and I’m trying to love and serve God and people in the ways I know best! They don’t know how I strive to fill my days with some sort of purpose … cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, helping out with the children, seeking God in prayer and His Word, helping a little with teaching school, and writing these blog posts. Driving the older kids places. Editing my stories. Grocery shopping. Organizing and sorting through things. Trying to encourage people and start being a mentor-of-sorts to my younger sisters.

Psalm 84:10-12

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

12 Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

 

I have’t always done well. I haven’t always strove to have a helpful and serving attitude toward my family. I haven’t always been thankful. I haven’t always tried my best and done everything as unto the Lord.

I know there are people who deal with anxiety, depression, different health issues, and all sorts of things and still have done better than me in life. They’ve had their steady job for years. They have a car. They have a house. They know where they’re going in life.

I’m not trying to justify everything about myself, and my life, and my choices. I think I tend to try to paint everything in as positive a light as possible, perhaps because I hope there will be someone out there who believes in me. I list out all these things and ramble on so, maybe because I’m trying to convince myself that I’m okay.

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That I haven’t ruined my life. That I’m not a failure.

But I can’t find that confidence in other people. And I certainly can’t find it in myself.

2 Corinthians 10:7

Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.

I must find it in God.

I can only find it in God.

Because, you know what? Loved by Him is my identity. And He is worthy of my trust. He is so able to work everything out for His glory and my good. He can redeem my past mistakes. He is still working on me, and He does not forsake me. Sometimes I look back and think, “Oh my, I’m making this ever a process!” But He is ever faithful! Sanctification is a process! ❤

Romans 8:8

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

And I am an individual person with my own, unique story. I need to stop comparing. Stop trying to measure up. Stop trying to take everything into my hands and think I have to control and take care of it all.

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

My faithful Provider is taking care of me.

Do I deserve it? Of course not. But He chose me. He wants me. He delights in me. Because I’m His daughter now. And I need to hold onto faith that He will lead me on the path that He has for me and provide for me along the way. I need to grow in faith that He will give me His strength to take the steps needed, even when I’m anxious, tired, not feeling well, or worried I’ll lose my purpose and not be impacting people for His kingdom if I work at a fast-food restaurant serving people unhealthy food, (haha, I seriously worry about this all the time. I have the INFJ personality, and I try to find purpose and meaning in EVERYTHING. It can be exhausting, yes.)

So, He can do ANYTHING! He can do things beyond my wildest dreams and hopes! He uses MY WEAKNESS to display HIS STRENGTH. He has been pursuing me and taking care of me since the beginning of my life – since before!

Ephesians 3:20-21

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.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 139:13-16

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.

I trust Him.

My friends, I am so imperfect! But my God is so perfect. Look to Him, not me. And I hope, if you can relate to me in this, that this post was an encouragement to you and blessed your heart. God loves you, precious soul. He’s taking care of you. You can trust Him with your life. Every detail. Surrender your plans and let Him lead.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Much love,

Lady Grace ❤

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

 

the journey

Hello, lovely readers! How are you doing this fine Saturday?

It’s actually Friday right now, as I write this. I just sat down with a snack and my laptop after a morning/afternoon of “weekly cleaning”. I have a bit of an idea for the topic of this post, but I’m not entirely sure what all I’m going to write. We’ll see how this goes. I’m trying to stay on my blogging schedule! 😉

flower-3139424_1920(picture found on pixabay.com)

So, I’m a writer. Thus, it might not surprise you that I journal my prayers. I haven’t always done this, but I started my first prayer journal at around eleven or twelve-years-old. Journaling my prayers was sporadic from there on out. In the year of 2014, February 25th to be exact, I started writing down my prayers in a new journal—a pretty blue one that I received from a cousin for my seventeenth birthday. That was a year of a lot of seeking on my part.

Jeremiah 29:13

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

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I set you apart;

This song pretty much sums up the passion burning in my heart:

“I know that I am far from perfect
But through You the cross still says I’m worth it
So take this beating in my heart and
Come and finish what You started
When they see me, let them see You
‘Cause I just wanna be different,”

But anyway. For a span of a couple months, I wrote and wrote and wrote in that journal. I prayed for a more intimate walk with Jesus Christ. I prayed for my friends and acquaintances at youth group and Bible study. I prayed a lot for my brothers in Christ that year—I think because one of my friends had a heart to see them grow into men of God and that influenced me. I prayed for singers I knew of who were going through personal loss. I prayed for my family. I prayed for authors I loved. I prayed for friends who were entering romantic relationships. I prayed for growth and blessing in my parent’s marriage. I prayed for deepened faith. I prayed for healing and I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for my grandma who’d lost beloved family members. I prayed for boys I was interested in. I prayed for my future husband. I prayed for the strength to surrender my deep desire for marriage and babies. I prayed about my story, Silver Rose, asking for God’s guidance and wisdom concerning that—for His will to be done and glory be brought to Him!

DSC_0053(My blue prayer journal!)

I don’t recall why, but I stopped writing down my prayers in that blue journal for awhile. 2015 and 2016 were kind of rough years for me. I went through some depression and feeling lost. I started writing in a different journal (which I’d received as a graduation gift from some dear friends), and recorded my prayers there periodically.

At the end of 2017, I picked up my blue journal again, which was a little over halfway filled. I’ve started writing down my prayers again often, and it’s been a joy! It helps me keep focused on praying and it truly is a sweet time with the Lord.

Psalm 84:1-4

How lovely is Your tabernacle,
Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You.

Psalm 63:1

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

So, all that to say, I finished my blue prayer journal! It’s all filled up with prayers from my heart! (And also a few letters to my future husband). It’s certainly a treasure to me.

Sometimes I read through it from the beginning and marvel at the prayers that God answered! The places He’s grown me. The ways He has spoken to my heart.

20151010_125038_HDR(2015)

I relate still, so much, with the seventeen-year-old me.

Blue Prayer Journal: February 25th, 2014

I want to be set-apart for You, Lord. I want a relationship with You that is beyond any human relationship. I want to shine for You wherever I go. I want to know without a doubt that I can run to You when my heart is broken. I want my life to brim with meaning – I want to live in obedience and love with abandon.

However, life has a way of pulling me down. Satan has a way of whispering lie after lie into my ears in vicious attack. I get weary of a “every-day-is-the-same” life. I get weary. I don’t want to try anymore.

But, Lord, I do believe there’s something greater. And that’s why I’ve started this prayer journal, and have been trying recently to read my Bible more. I’m striving for a life in the center of Your will, Lord, so I plead that You will give me the strength, because I certainly can’t do it on my own!

Yes, I relate to her. But I also see how different I am from the me then. Different in subtle ways, that I might not realize at a brief thought. But as read through my prayers then, I realize …

My God has been so faithful to me.

He has answered my prayers. –My heart’s desire to know Him more. He has grown me and drawn me nearer to Him!

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

God has carried me through years of overwhelming anxiety. The days when I thought for sure my mom and siblings had gotten in a car accident because they were a few minutes late. The nights where I tried to stifle the gut-wrenching sobs that came from a place of unexplainable grief and fear squeezing my soul. The frightening hours of questioning everything I knew. The long, intense moments of drowning in a mistrust of God. The feeling of yawning emptiness inside. The disappearance of my passions, my desires, my excitement for life, my hope. The fear of death, the fear of disease, the fear of the unknown, the fear of not being wanted.

I feared the end of this life, but I was too scared to live.

Anxiety/depression is still a very real struggle for me. Some days I battle it all day. But I fight. Because I know my God fights for me. Because I know the victory is His, and I am His. So the victory is mine.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

10491171_506556402807978_2598662001276211571_n(The year of 2014 shortly before my family moved. I painted my little sister’s toes and mine the same sparkly pink. *grins*)

My friends, I have found my hope again. As I deal with anxiety/depression, it’s becoming more and more natural to turn to God – my Protector – right away. And even though I’m still trying to find physical healing and get help for this mental struggle, I do find victory! I don’t know how to explain it.

God didn’t take the struggle away. But I feel He’s stepped right into the midst of it. When I surrender and open up my heart to Him, it’s like He lovingly says, “I’m right here, daughter. I have you. No matter what happens, you are going to be alright.”

Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Oh, He is good!

So, so faithful. It was just a week or two ago that I felt like I was within the clutches of despair bordering on terror. So I started praying. And as I prayed God’s truth over myself and reminded myself of all that I am in Him, tears welled up in my eyes and the sweetness of it swept over me. Peace descended on me.

I am His.

His daughter. His princess. His bride. And no one can take that away from me. He chose me. No one can take His love from me. No one can take me from Him. I am loved. I am secure.

Isaiah 54:4

For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

Isaiah 62:5

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m so imperfect that sometimes it terrifies me! But then I have to remind myself that I’m His and secure in Him. And He is growing me … what a beautiful thing! He is completing the work He began in me. In my weakness, HE IS STRONG.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Reading through my prayer journal shows me God’s hand in my life. It encourages me when I doubt that I have changed/grown.

And it reminds me that God doesn’t see time as we do. Sometimes I look back and feel as though I’ve wasted my whole life. I’ve done nothing. I’ve been nothing. I’ve not impacted or made a difference for anyone. It’s all meaningless.

But all those years God was pursuing me. Working on me. Helping me through my struggles. Preparing me! Who knows … perhaps for amazing things He yet has in store for this earthly life of mine.

KODAK Digital Still Camera(Me and baby brother in 2014)

DSC_0210(2016)

Perhaps I’ll have the beautiful role of a wife and mother someday! Maybe I’ll get to publish my fantasy novel, and other stories. Perhaps I’ll get more followers on my blogs or Youtube channel and it can be my main ministry.

And right now I have the chance to touch the lives of my siblings and parents! And friends. I can take small steps to start mentoring younger sisters in the faith. I’m thinking about starting a small Bible study for older teens.

And I’m excited. Whatever God wants to do in and through me, I have faith that He can do it! Daily, I’m striving to surrender my passions, dreams, gifts, hopes, desires, ideas, and personality – myself! – to Him.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Ephesians 2:10

1For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

I want my life to make much of His holy and good Name.

And so I seek Him and wait in expectation. ❤

Blue Prayer Journal: February 8th, 2018

Gracious Father, to end this prayer journal, I want to first thank You for how far You’ve brought me since I started it! I still struggle, but I can see how You’ve grown me and assured me of Your love … and that is beautiful. ❤ I love You, Lord! Show me how to love You, and Your people, well!

Now it’s your turn! After that rather lengthily amount of rambling about my journal (I’m impressed if you made it through!), I’d like to hear your thoughts.

HAVE YOU EVER USED A PRAYER JOURNAL?

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS GOD HAS WORKED IN YOUR LIFE?

DO YOU KNOW THAT GOD CAN STEP INTO THE MIDST OF YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLES AND FEARS, AND USE YOUR PASSIONS AND GIFTS FOR HIS KINGDOM? ❤

Pages of My Journal: A Letter to My Future Husband

A letter to my future husband

Dear Future Husband,

I want to see you through God’s eyes. I was doing my devotional, and today’s happened to be talking about marriage. At the end, it had a challenge: commit to praying that you can see your spouse through God’s eyes. I thought: Maybe I can do that now. Perhaps I can pray, over and over, that I’ll be able to see you as God sees you. That as soon as I meet you, I will see a child of God. The Lord’s adopted son. A human being with a priceless, precious soul. A potential friend with hurts, struggles, hopes and dreams that maybe I can speak to.

If God sees fit to bless me with a spouse, a husband, you … then I want to treat you as a gift. I want to start cultivating a heart, right now, that is thankful for you, that esteems you, that cherishes you.

I hope and pray that you will be, in every sense of the phrase, my best friend. That we not only have a firm and solid foundation of brother and sister in Christ, but we also have the committed and dear foundation of true friendship. That romance can blossom from that, and we will always stick by each other.

I think this is something I worry about. Perhaps because, in some marriages, it seems that after the infatuation fades, the husband and wife are more enemies than friends. Competing, comparing, and keeping score. I don’t want that. It’s a worrisome thought.

But I trust my Lord, Jesus Christ. I trust my perfect Father. I know He’s working on my heart, and yours. I know He has a good and beautiful path for us. And I know that a romance with Him is what truly sustains. No matter what, I will follow Him. ❤

Yours faithfully

Proverbs 31:10-12

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 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Psalm 139:23-24

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.

Pages of My Journal: Psalm One Prayer

Psalm One Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this day, and Your loving care of me – and all Your children! Thank You that we can come to You without hesitance, at any moment.

O Lord, help me to be the joyous woman who delights in Your instruction. I pray that You would teach me to mediate on it always! My good Father, make me like a tree planted beside streams of water. Have Your way in my life; work out Your beautiful plan for me, that as I abide in You, I bear fruit in whatever season of life You lead me to! Don’t let my soul and spirit wither, and my heart fail, but may I find Your strength even in my overwhelming weakness. May Your will be done, O Lord, and may I prosper in all that I do in Your name, for Your glory. Lead me and show me what You would have my life look like. How to use my gifts, talents, passions, and personality for Your glory and for Your honor. You made me and You know me, Father. Lead me on the path that You prepared for me, please.

Keep me far from wickedness and evil. Lord, don’t let their glamour entice me. Keep me rooted in Your word – help me to hide it in my heart. Help me, O gracious Father, to not just flee sin, but pursue purity.

I am Yours. You clothe me in righteousness. Watch over my way and keep me near. Help me not to falter, but open my heart to Your plan.

All this I ask and pray in the precious and holy name of Jesus Christ,

Amen.

Psalm 1:1-6

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.