Archive of ‘Dear Friend Series’ category

Letter to Old Friends from New Self

Dear friends from high school,

A lot has changed since high school. It has been almost 4 years! Can you believe it? I wanted to write a letter to you all and apologize. I openly proclaimed to be a Christian, yet my life said differently. I called myself a Christian because I went to church every Sunday and tried to be a good person – later I realized these two things did not make me a Christian. I gave Jesus a bad reputation because I was not living out Christ’s love. Instead of living for Jesus, I was living for myself. I made decisions based on what would benefit me, please me, and promote me. Everything was about me.

I had everything wrong, and as a result was a horrible example of Jesus’ love and life change because I had yet to experience it. Here are some examples of how my life did not reflect Jesus:

  • My high school boyfriend told me I was a “bad Christian” because my thoughts on boundaries constantly changed.  (Read the story.) 
  • During our relationship, I would push physical boundaries and try and get as far as I could without having sex. I had no idea that even making out can lead to further thoughts, actions, and sin when outside of marriage.
  • I had no idea why I shouldn’t date a non-believer, so I dated them.
  • I didn’t care what the Bible said – I did what I wanted because I was king. I was in control. The Bible as authority had no effect on my life.
  • To gain approval, I was a different person around different groups of friends.

Jesus needed to break me in order for me to realize that I was not living a fully surrendered life. As painful as my freshman year of college was (Read the story), I can look back and be thankful because that was a turning point in my life. I decided to stop living for myself and live for Jesus.

I had experienced Jesus, but not fully. I did not understand important aspects of him: the freedom he brings, the life change, the love that constantly pursues, the feeling of worth, and the countless other blessings he pours on us. Since I did not truly understand Jesus or have a personal relationship with him, I sought approval and satisfaction else where. I changed who I was to gain approval.

Friends, Jesus has changed my life. Do you remember the Joy that needed the love from a guy? The Joy that obsessed over a certain boy? The one who took me years to get over? Do you remember that Joy? I remember her. She was never satisfied with life. She thought this boy would complete her. She thought this boy would give her worth, beauty, love, and completion. She did not know that only Jesus would give her all that she needed.

I called myself a Christian, yet I never spent time with God reading his word. In college, I learned it is impossible to experience life change or be able to love others when I’m not getting filled with God’s word.

I’m sorry for being a bad friend. I’m sorry for giving bad advice. I’m sorry for pressuring you into doing things you might not have wanted to do. I’m sorry I invited you to church, but never shared the gospel with you. I’m sorry I cared more about myself and what others thought about me than you and your salvation.

Jesus has healed my wounds. The wounds from desiring to be loved, from being emotionally abused, from never feeling good enough, and from so much more. Jesus loves me. This love is like no other love. And he feels the same towards you. Jesus loves you.

Thankfully, your salvation is not based on what I did or didn’t do, it is based on what God has done. God can redeem these situations and he can change your life. I’m so thankful for each one of you, if we are still friends or not, because you all impacted my life in some way. I pray that Jesus would come into your life and change your heart the way he changed mine.

Love, Joy


For other posts in the Dear Friend Series, click here.

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God’s Love Letter to You

God's love. joypedrow.com

You know those nights where you feel so unloved and alone? When you wish you could have someone to hold you and tell you they love you? The love we experience on earth will never compare to God’s love for us. Our hearts have been made to cry out for a love that can only come from our creator.

A guy may seem like the best fix, but only God’s love is a lasting solution. This truth is written all over the Bible.

Did you know that the Bible is God’s love letter to us? Isaiah 43 is a great example of a love letter from God. When I study scripture, I like to read it and then write it out in my own words. This helps me better understand what I have read. For this particular chapter, I read the passage as if God hand wrote me a love letter in beautiful calligraphy. I wrote it in my journal in the exact same way. You can do the same thing. (more…)

Who does God say you are?

Who does God say that I am?

Dear friend, God says that you are:

  • Forgiven.
    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” -1 John 1:9.
  • Justified.
    “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” -Romans 3:24.
  • Set free.
    “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” -Romans 8:1-2. (more…)

10 Tips for an Effective Quiet Time

How to have a quiet time. JoyPedrow.com

During busy seasons of life, spending time with God can be forgotten and easily pushed aside. Here are 10 ways to help you have a more effective quiet time.

  1. Find your spot. Find a quiet spot, or a spot where you can focus.
  2. Only bring what you need. Bring your Bible, journal, pen, and maybe a devotional book. Leave your computer at home because it can easily become a distraction.
  3. Plan. Plan it into your schedule. Set a specific time and length each day.
  4. Start with prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom to understand the scripture you read, and to help you focus on him.
  5. Journal. Write down what God shows you. As you read scripture, God will teach you things. Write them down so you do not forget them. Write the verses out. This will help you learn the verse, and be able to look back later when God feels distant. (For more about journaling, read Why journal?)
  6. Praise God. Worship God for who he is.
  7. Thank God. Thank God for who he is and what he has done.
  8. Confess your sins. Ask God to reveal any sins that are hurting your relationship with him.
  9. Write things down. Write out your prayers and answered prayers. You can look back and see how God was faithful.
  10. Close in prayer.

The summer is only half way over, so don’t give up! Pursue Jesus and purse spending time with him. I’ll be right there with you. =]

 

Join me in finding joy in the journey.

                       

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7 Ways to Know God’s Will

How to know God's Will _ JoyPedrow.com Have you ever found yourself between two choices and said, “God, which one do you want me to pick?” Many days I have longed to know God’s will. I believe this is a question many ladies have for different situations. We want to know: is he the one, what is my next step, should I take this job, should I live with them, am I doing what God wants…etc

Guess what friend, God’s will can be known!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” –Psalm 32:8

How often do you question is this God’s will? Here are 7 ways to know God’s will:

  1. Spend time daily with God in the word. The only way to understand and know a person is to spend time with them.
  2. Journal. Write down how God speaks to you during your quiet times. Journaling is a great tool, here is why: why journal?
  3. Seek God’s will and do it. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17.
  4. Do not conform to the world.I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:1-2.
  5. Confess your sin and repent. If you are living in sin your heart could mishear God’s voice, or to even hear it at all. Read 1 john 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13
  6. Pray. Pray that God’s decision would be your desires. Pray for the specific things. Read Psalm 37:4, Philippians 2:13, James 1:5-7, and Mark 10:51-52.
  7. Process. Ask yourself these questions to better understand if God’s will:
  • What do you want to do?
  • Why do you want to do it?
  • What are your motives? Read Proverbs 21:2.
  • Is it going to benefit you spiritually? Emotionally? Physically? Socially?
  • Will it bring God glory? Read 1 Corinthians 10:31.
  • Will it cause another to stumble?

I hope these 7 ways help you better understand God’s will for your life. If you still have no idea what to do with certain decisions, remember that our God has a perfect plan for your life. God has this covered, so begin to trust him. When we have no idea what to do, it is easier to turn to our friends and loved ones for advice, instead of talking to God about it. Go to God first, others second. God’s opinion matters most.

JoyPedrow.com

Why journal?

Why journal? _ JoyPedrow.com Dear friend,

Journaling has changed my life. If you asked me to pick one thing to take to a deserted island, I would bring my journals. My journals tell a beautiful story of how God changed my life and continues to work in my heart.

I journal about everything!
Prayers, moments of sadness, moments of complete joy, scripture that touched my heart, lessons God has taught me, notes from sermons, and so much more.

Here are 7 ways that journaling can help your walk with God. Journaling can help you:

  1. Focus in prayer. I love writing my prayers to God in letter form. Often when I pray to myself, my mind drifts away and I lose focus. When I write out the prayer, I’m able to stay focused on God.
  2. Trust God. You begin to trust God more when you see that he is faithful. Rereading old journals is one of my favorite activities! I will read a prayer from two years ago and realize that God answered it. When that happens, I sometimes write the date next to the prayer so I will remember God is faithful. This is great evidence that God cares, listens, and answers for days when I doubt him.
  3. Believe God loves you. The Bible is a love letter to us from God, so why not write it like one? I will take a passage and write in my journal, “Dear Joy…. (insert scripture) Love, God.” These letters help me further believe God’s love for me.
  4. Understand scripture. I learn through writing, maybe that is why I love journaling so much. Writing the verses out in my journal helps them seep into my brain.
  5. Stop thinking. Before bed, countless thoughts roam through my head. If I don’t write them down, I won’t be able to fall asleep. Journaling takes the thoughts off my mind and helps me fall asleep.
  6. Teach others. I write down everything, pretty much, especially when I’m going through a struggle. Then when a friend goes through something similar, I can pull out my journal and share with her verses or sermons that helped. This is a way to encourage her and teach her.
  7. Remember. I never want to forget the amazing things God does in my life through the years. My journals become a yearbook of all the beautiful memories between God and I.

I hope this post has encouraged you to start or continue journaling! Sign up for the monthly newsletter to stay connected! —->>> Sign up today!

 

 

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Dear Daughter of a King,

Finding acceptance and love.  

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)

Dear daughter of a King,

How often do you long to feel beautiful, accepted, and loved? For me, this happens almost daily. I have to repeat these truths from the verses in 1 Peter. I tell myself:

  • “Joy, you are chosen, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s special possession. God pulled you out of darkness and into his light. You are a part of God’s people and now have his mercy!”

Take a minute and tell yourself these 3 truths. (more…)

5 Ways to Love Your non-Christian Roommate

Ways to Love Your Non-Christian Roommate

Dear Roommate,
When paired with a random roommate in college, learning to live together can be challenging. It can be even more challenging if you both have different beliefs and lifestyles. If this happens and she is not a follower of Christ, here are 5 ways to help show her the love of Jesus in a kind, non-threatening way.

  1. Include. Invite her into your group of friends. If you’re planning a dinner out, ask if she wants to come. If you’re going to a game night, invite her! Invite her to church, college ministry events and meetings, and even just to hang out on campus! When she feels included and begins to make friends with other believers, the more she will get to experience Jesus’ love.
  2. Help. Go out of your way to do her chores, vacuum her side of the room, clean the bathroom, or take out the trash. Most people are not fans of chores, so she’ll probably be surprised and thankful for the help. She may even ask why you’re helping her. Perfect opportunity to share the gospel.
  3. Pray. Be intentional about praying for her. Pray that she would come to know Jesus. Pray that Jesus’ love would shine through you. You can even ask her if there is anything she needs prayer for. This shows you really do care.
  4. Listen. In college not everyone has someone close by to listen to their problems, especially freshman. When she seems upset, ask her what is wrong and then take the time to listen. Don’t feel the need to spill out Bible verses, just sit and listen. If she asks you for help, then offer loving advice.
  5. Be authentic. Be yourself. Don’t change who you are out of fear that she won’t like you. For example, do not avoid reading your Bible because you think she might find it weird. Maybe she will see you reading it and ask you why. Being authentic with her can create many opportunities to share the gospel!

Remember that Jesus loves her just as much as you. She is also the daughter of a King, she just may not know that yet. You two were paired up for a reason, and maybe that reason is so she can come to know Jesus.

Love, Christian College Gal

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3 Ways to Grow During Summer Vacation

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Dear Summer Vacationing College Student,

Congrats on making it through another year of college!

Now you get to rest up! Enjoy your break, time away from school, and rest! Not only does summer provide rest, but it can also challenge your faith and obedience to Jesus. During the school year, you have your routine. You wake up, drink your coffee while reading the word, get ready, and go to class. But during the summer, you might not have a schedule, and it becomes easier to forget about spending time with God. Summers can also be spiritually isolating because you might be going home to non-Christian family and friends, and you’ll be away from your church and Christian community. All of this can make growing in your walk with God a challenge, but take heart because you can make decisions now that will allow you to continue to grow during the summer.

Why is it important to continue growing in your walk with God during the summer and not just take the months off?

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:10-11 (NIV)

Joy (not me Joy, but the adjective which is a settled state in the mind of contentment, confidence, and hope) can be complete! This means that we can have contentment – we will no longer think something else will satisfy us more than Jesus, confidence – we will no longer doubt God’s love for us, and hope – we will no longer question the point of our sufferings. We will have complete joy when we keep God’s commands and remain in his love. And how can we do that? By continuing to grow in our walk with the Lord, spending time with him, and getting to know him more.

Now that you know why this is so important, here are 3 ways to grow during summer vacation:

Daily time with God in the Word. The number one priority in your day and life must be fellowship with God. To get to know someone, you must spend time with them.

  • Plan into your day 30-45 minutes or as long as you would like to read the Bible, pray, journal, and worship. Set a practical realistic goal. For example, if you know you only have time for a 20 minute devotional, then don’t plan an hour quiet time. You’ll end up feeling disappointed.
  • If you don’t know where to start, look for an inductive Bible study on a book of the Bible or download the YouVersion Bible app. This app will send you a notification each day to read the day’s verses.

Fellowship with believers. It is important to have Christian friends doing life with you. They can encourage you and provide Biblical truth when you need advice. It can be hard if you are going home to a place with no other believers, so you have to be intentional about seeking fellowship. Here are some ways to do that.

  • Get involved in a church while you’re home, maybe they have a college age summer Bible study.
  • Keep in touch with Christian friends from school. Partner up and decide that you will intentionally ask each other through the week how your quiet times are going and how you’re doing.
  • Read books by influential Christians. Right now I’m reading a book by a Crulebrity Chad Young called Authenticity.
  • Download church podcasts or apps to listen to their sermons. I’m home in Pittsburgh for the summer, so I downloaded my church from Tampa’s app so now I can listen to the sermons without being there. It helps me to feel connected!

Discipline. Discipline is the ability to order your life around the goals that you determined to accomplish or achieve.

  • Set spiritual goals for yourself for the summer.
  • What would you like to see God do in your life this summer?
  • Make a plan and stick to it. These decisions you make today can impact your summer and your eternity.

I want to encourage you all that you are not alone. I’m right there with you trying to figure out the transition back home for the summer and to make sure I continue growing. If you have any other ideas or found something that has worked for you comment below!

Love, Christian College Gal

 

For other Dear Friend Series posts click here!

Most of these ideas were pulled from my favorite resource Cru Press Green. Click here for the complete Cru Summer Survival Guide. I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!