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…)
Pain is running rampant on college campuses across the globe. Still in college, I have seen and experienced the pain. Some women lack an understanding that they have a God in heaven who loves them and created them with a plan and a purpose. Not knowing about God, they turn to the things the world tells them will provide pleasure and satisfaction. For a college freshman, those things include: boys, sex, drinks, a perfect body, and cool friends.
Maybe you live in a bubble and don’t realize this is happening on our college campuses. Please, open your eyes and realize that pain is spreading like a disease. Women are hurting themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and Jesus is the only one who can provide healing.
I’m sorry for the language, but I want you to read the honesty and pain in her words. This is a poem written by a freshman who is living in the pain:
In college, it is easy to go through the motions and forget why we follow Jesus, but our walks with God do not have to dry out or become fake. We can constantly experience the love of Christ even during the busy days of college. In this series, Christian in College, guest bloggers will answer questions about faith and college. I’m very excited for you to read blogger Plylicia D. Masonheimer’s post answering, “How can we maintain an authentic relationship with Jesus in college?” (more…)
On Tuesday night, the premiere of the new season of the reality TV show Dance Moms aired. The show started quickly, with two grown women physically fighting in Abby’s studio. The result was a bruised head, ripped clothing, and weave falling to the floor. Christy Hunt, mom of Sarah, was one of the women in the brawl. She claims to be a Christian, but her actions may speak differently.
I started watching this show because I grew up in Pittsburgh, where Abby’s studio is located. When Brooke was in middle school, I met her through a family friend, and then became an avid watcher. What can I say, I have to root for the the home team. Last Summer, I even ran into some of the other stars from Dance Moms in my town!
I thought I had seen it all on Dance Moms. I have seen extreme name calling, swearing, adults making kids cry, and hair pulling fights, but I had never heard someone claim to follow Jesus and then hit a women in the face. (more…)
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.
Find your spot. Find a quiet spot, or a spot where you can focus.
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.
Plan. Plan it into your schedule. Set a specific time and length each day.
Start with prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom to understand the scripture you read, and to help you focus on him.
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?)
Praise God. Worship God for who he is.
Thank God. Thank God for who he is and what he has done.
Confess your sins. Ask God to reveal any sins that are hurting your relationship with him.
Lately, I’ve been asking myself why I value Jesus. Do I value him because he is useful or because he is beautiful?
It is easy to forget about the beauty of Jesus, and it is even easier to focus on your own needs and desires.
To figure out why I value Jesus, I went to my journal and looked at what I’ve been praying for. None of my recent prayers have been thanking Jesus or admiring Jesus. They have been about me and my wants.
Jesus, help my friend love me.
Jesus, help me rid my addiction to sugar.
Jesus, use me to further your kingdom.
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!
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:
Spend time daily with God in the word. The only way to understand and know a person is to spend time with them.
Journal. Write down how God speaks to you during your quiet times. Journaling is a great tool, here is why: why journal?
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.
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.
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
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.
Think about a statue. On my college campus, we have a statue of Martin Luther King. What is the purpose of that statue? A statue is an image erected to display an event or a person who has achieved something in their lives that we want to remember. The image points to the original person and brings them glory.
We were created to be God’s statues and images.
Genesis 1:26-27:“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.”
God made human beings in his image so that the world would be filled with reflectors of himself.
Today there are over 7 billion people in the world. 7 billion people created in the image of God. 7 billion people who point to God.
God created us for his glory.
Here are some additional verses and questions to reflect on:
How are you pointing the world to God’s glory? For example, we can reflect God’s glory in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.
How are you not pointing the world to God’s glory?
How will your thinking and feelings change if you truly understand why God created you?
Important to note: God does not need us to make him glorious. He does not need to be enhanced. When he calls us to glorify him, we don’t make him glorious, he already is. Being a statue for God means we are called to show and display his glory.
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.