Transitioning to college is a time of change and challenge. The biggest challenge is keeping your faith alive.
College is a time when students are searching for themselves and trying to figure out their worldviews, religious beliefs, dreams, passions, and more. These years are very important in your walk with God. Statistically speaking, freshmen are more open to the gospel than any other year in college. 85% of those who receive Christ do so before the age of 19.
That is a huge number! Think of how influential you are to someone else’s faith journey in college. You could help bring someone from life to death. But this isn’t possible if you turn away from God.
If you don’t make your faith your own now, the world will quickly pull you away from God.(more…)
I hope summer is going well for you all. I am currently working as a counselor at a camp called SYI, the Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. I’m having a wonderful time! Today we got to go dragon boating down the river! It also made my day when I found out I had a blog post published on XXXchurch.com! I’m super excited about this. The ministry helps with porn addiction recovery. They are a growing ministry and I’m excited to be a part of it.
During my freshman year at USF, I began to meet with an older women in Cru, a college ministry. She prepared lessons for me and helped me in my walk with Christ. I loved our discipleship time together. As a freshman, I had recently surrendered my life to Christ, so I was very excited to learn. Every word she spoke to me I held on to as if it was gold. I made her an idol. When the year ended, she left and I was devastated.
Our friendship was one of the most helpful, but also the most harmful, during these early stages of my walk with the Lord. Thankfully, Jesus made me realize the problem, and used everything to bring Him glory.
I hope to help you figure out now if you are in a similar situation before the problem gets worse.
Here are 4 ways to figure out if you idolize a friend, mentor, or leader in your life: (more…)
I am so excited today because I get to be the first ever blogger to share her story on the Set Apart Spotlight!
She is Set Apart is a Christian ministry with this vision: to see women of all ages un-ashamed of what makes them different, to be bold and embrace what sets them apart and not conform to worldly standards. (Romans 12:2) This ministry was founded by a wonderful new friend of mine, Tierraney Richardson. Later in the week, her story will be featured on my blog, so make sure to check it out!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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?”
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.
“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…)
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!