Archive of ‘Your Story’ 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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5 Ways to Make Jesus the Center of Your Story – Engage24

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On day. One mission. To tell others about Jesus. I am engaging on 10.14.14, will you? `

The Bible tells us that God wants us to engage with Him and then to engage the world with the gospel of Jesus. There is a movement happening across the world, and I am so excited to be a part of it! Engage24 is a specific time set apart for engaging the world with the good news of Christ.  While Engage24 is intensely focused on a single day of evangelism (10.14.14), the mission is to promote a 24/7 lifestyle of evangelism and engagement with the gospel.

Engage24 is a 24 hour period when college students purposefully engage their campuses with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal is to see every believing college student share the Gospel with at least one person that day.

On my campus, the University of South Florida, my campus ministry Cru is taking part in Engage24. We are wearing shirts that say ‘Tell Me Your Story”. The girls below are some of the girls in our ministry who rocked the shirts!

Tell Me Your Story Collage Our hope is that students at USF will see hundreds of students wearing the shirt and then will ask one of us what it is about. Here is our reply, “Today is Engage24, and we want to engage with the students by listening to their story. We would love to listen to your story and hear if God plays any part in it.” (more…)

Will my classmates ever know Jesus?

College Students and Faith. JoyPedrow.com

I walk out of class in a daze. So much sadness. So much pain. Jesus, will these people ever come to know you? Will they ever experience your life change? When will they experience your healing, forgiveness, redemption, grace and love?

This is my last semester of undergrad at the University of South Florida. I’m taking a class called Storytelling, and each week we share personal stories from our lives. During class last week, students shared one sad story after the next. Topics included: abortion, death, getting kicked out of the church, loss of friends, moving, getting arrested, abuse, and more. I was left questioning, God, when will you change their hearts?

In class, I looked around at my classmates and thought how beautiful each person was because God created them in his image. God, shouldn’t that mean you care about them? Yet, they don’t know you at all. Do they want to know you? Do they even have the information that you exist to be able to make this decision?

So many thoughts. So many questions.

Then, I think about how God saved me. What makes me different? Why did God choose me? I’m just like them. I have similar stories of pain and brokenness. I have screwed up just like them. What makes me different than them? (more…)

3 Ways to Love Your Dad

3 Ways to Love Your Dad on Father's Day Happy Father’s Day weekend!

It’s important to show your dad some love every day, but since it is Father’s Day weekend – Daughters lets go out of our way to love our dads.

Here are 3 Ways to Love Your Dad

  1. Ask him questions. Ask your dad questions about the things he loves. This will show him that you care about what he cares about. For example, my Dad loves playing music. He recently tried out as guitarist for a local band. The band gets together and plays for fun, but I secretly hope they’ll make it big. Either way, I have a rock star for a dad. When he came home from the audition, I made a point to ask him about it. I asked how he did, what they said, how they sounded together, etc. I may not be as interested in music as he is, but because I love my Dad, I care about what he cares about. What is your dad interested in? Go out of your way and ask him about it.
  2. Spend time with him. My Dad loves to golf, so every fathers day we go golfing. Think about what your dad likes to do. Could you spend time doing this with him? Plan something for the weekend that your dad would love. Has he mentioned something that he’s been wanting to do? For example, my Dad mentioned how he wanted to go to a concert downtown. So, I found one for us to go to. Brainstorm different things you could do with your dad this weekend. You could even make him a delicious breakfast or some fancy cupcakes. What dad doesn’t like to eat!
  3. Share Jesus with him. This may be the hardest, but it may also be the most important. There are many ways to do this. Invite him to church or share your story. Depending on where your dad is on his journey with God, you can ask different questions to have Jesus centered conversations. Here are some examples: What have you been learning in your recent Bible reading? How have you been growing closer to God? What question would you like to ask God? After he has talked, then you could share your answer to the same questions. Share how Jesus is working in your life.

I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend! Comment if you have any other tips or ideas. xoxo joy

HOW TO LOVE DAD THIS FATHER'S DAY

The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

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I love talking about how powerful our stories are, because when I realized this my life changed. I began to understand why I needed to share my story with other women. Through this, I experienced so much growth in my walk with God!

In the past two weeks I’ve blogged about how powerful our stories are. Here is why:

  1. Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross, and are extensions of God’s power! (Click here to read the post.)
  2. God has an eternal perspective and knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity! (Click here to read the post.)
  3. Finally, the third reason why our stories are powerful is because vulnerability leads to growth.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

When we admit our weaknesses to others, God has an opportunity to be glorified. We are powerless. God is powerful.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have you ever gone through a difficult time, reached the other end, and thought, “How in the world did I get through this?”

God.

My freshman year of college I was in a ditch of loneliness, sadness, and anger. At that time, I never thought I could be where I am now. Now, every time I am vulnerable and I share my story with someone of how God healed me, I let my weaknesses show God’s strength. I get to give God all the glory.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”  2 Tim 1: 8

When Jesus was dying on the cross, everyone thought he was a complete failure, except God. They believed that all he had done was a lie and was now dying a useless death. They didn’t know God’s plan or look at the bigger picture because they focused on the now.

Three days later they saw things differently. God’s plan became clear.

Friends, we are just like this! In the midst of pain and struggling we question God. Then when we see the other side, we see how God used that situation to glorify himself. We begin to think differently.

I love journaling. When I go back and re-read old journals I can truly see that God has used my story to bring him glory. Here is one prayer I wrote in November of my freshman year of college, “God, I know someday I will see how you’ve made a beautiful thing out of this.”

God has answered my prayers. He has fixed my broken heart. And he can fix yours too. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.

Ladies, be vulnerable with the other women in your life. You don’t know what they are going through. Maybe you have similar stories, and God wants to use you both to help each other.

Allow God to use your story to bring him glory.

 

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 1) and The Power of Your Story (Part 2)

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Check out my other posts about the power of our stories by clicking the photo below!

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When Prince Charming Isn’t Enough

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Friends, I am so excited! Today I get to share my story on a wonderful blog called Revolutionaries! I hope you check it out!

Click here to read my story of how prince charming wasn’t enough for me.

If you are a Christian, Bonnie @ Revolutionaries would love to post your story! Just contact her on her blog. Let her know that you have a story you want to share. Remember, that your story is powerful and can impact someone’s eternity!

 

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

The Power of Your Story (Part 2)

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Last week, I blogged about how powerful our stories are. (Click here to see it!)

Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross. If you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory. Your story is an extension of God’s power!

The second reason why your story is powerful is because our God has an eternal perspective. God knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity!

Isaiah 55:8-11: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
 neither are your ways my ways, declares 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. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
 and do not return there but water the earth, 
making it bring forth and sprout,
 giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
 it shall not return to me empty,
 but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
 and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

We have to understand that God is SO much bigger than our tiny little brains.

Our thoughts are smaller than his thoughts. Our plans are smaller than his plans. Think of eternity as a line. It is a line that goes on and on and on forever. We are just one dot on that line, so we only see our dot and a little before and after. But God, the Creator of the line, sees the whole line! He knows how one dot will impact the next.

Last summer, I had the pleasure of going to Miami for 10 weeks on Miami Summer Project with a ministry called Cru.

Before going on project, I prayed that God would bring one other women who had been sexually abused. I desired to use my story to help someone else heal. One day in Miami, I went on a walk with one of my friends. She was upset and said that she didn’t know why she was telling me this, but wanted to tell me her story. She had been raped her freshman year of college. I was the first person she had told.

God planned that both her and I would be in Miami that summer. She felt weird inside because the Holy Spirit was telling her to share her deepest pain with me. We cried and talked together, and I began to understand that God would use my story to glorify himself. That summer I got to help my friend begin a journey of healing, and I continued healing by viewing my life through God’s eternal perspective.

Later that week, I found out that 5 other girls on project had been sexually abused.

I prayed for 1 girl, God gave me 6. Before project, we each focused on our dot and our hurt, but God was focused on how our hurt could help others.

Here is my favorite part of the story! After project, one of the women felt called to share her story with other ladies, specifically the Greek women on her campus. She went to each chapter meeting and shared her story. She shared what she had gone through, how God redeemed her, saved her, and how now is experiencing real love in a relationship with God.

Later that semester, Cru at her college hosted an event called Girls’ Night Out by Marian Jordan. At the event, they witnessed 98 girls pray to give their life to Christ, most of them were women from sororities that my friend shared her story to.

Dear reader, my friend realized that God could take her story and use it to change women’s eternities! He can do the same with yours! Your story is powerful! I challenge you to stop focusing on your dot and focus on the line. Let God use your story to impact others eternities! Love, Joy

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 1) and The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

The Power of Your Story (Part 1)

In the past three years, God has continued to show me over and over again how he can take my story and use it for his plan and his purpose. For the longest time I struggled believing this. I thought there was no way that God could use my broken life in any positive way. My freshman year of college, I was sexually abused. Immediately, the feeling of shame entered my heart.

I thought my story was filled with too much pain to bring God glory. Have you ever thought your story was too shameful to share or help anyone?

We all have a story, and we all have parts of our story we don’t think will bring the world any good. We all have been through challenges in life. We all have faced heart ache, anger, sadness, struggles, but if you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory.

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God has a purpose and a plan for your story. He knows that it will be used to further his kingdom, impact eternity, and bring him glory.

Why, you ask?

Because our stories are powerful.

Revelation 12:10-11 says, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”

These verses take place in the middle of a battle between God and Satan. “They” refers to Christians, and the verses explain the two ways that Christians can triumph over Satan.

The two reasons are:

  1. By the blood of the Lamb – Jesus’s death on the cross and his resurrection.
  1. By the word of our testimonies – our stories.

Our stories have so much power that they are in the same sentence as the power of Jesus’s death!

Why do our stories have this power? Because if you are a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of you. The power of the Holy Spirit is inside you.

Your story is an extension of God’s power.

God has shown me how my story is powerful. He has used it to bring him glory.  He has brought many women to me who have similar stories and used my story to help these women find power in their stories. He has used my story to impact others eternities. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.

Never let Satan convince you that your story has no purpose. Never let him convince you that your story is too shameful to share with others.

Allow God to use your story to bring him glory.

 

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 2) and The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

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A Love Story

A Love Story Every girl dreams about the day she will find her Prince Charming. The guy who will love her for who she is, call her beautiful, and put the twinkle in her eyes. She dreams about the day he will sweep her off her feet, and the day they will fall madly in love, get married and ride off into the sunset.

Media is constantly telling us that our lives should be a love story. Countless movies, TV shows, and songs try to tell us that we need a man to save us from the misery of a single life. That we need a man to complete us. But what the media fails to mention, is each and every one of us are already part of a love story. An even bigger love story than any thing media could show us. Media tells us we need a savior, but they fail to mention correctly who he is.

Our Prince already came for us.

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

He loved us so much that he didn’t just give us roses and a horse to ride off into the sunset, but he gave us eternal life.
Our prince loved us so much that he died for us.
He loved us so much that he moved Heaven and earth to prove it.
Jesus Christ is our prince.
Jesus Christ is our savior.

Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”

He is always there for us.
He will never give up on us.
He loves us for who we are.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” 

He puts that sparkle in our eyes and a smile on our face.

We spend so much time dreaming about the day our Prince will come, that we never realize our Prince is already here. Our lives are already love stories!

Jesus Christ is our love story!

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