With the start of a new school year comes the start of new small groups/Bible studies! Small groups are the heart of every college ministry. Maybe it is your first time leading and you’re feeling a little nervous? I completely understand. I’ve been there!
The second semester of my freshman year I co-led a Bible study with 3 other leaders. I was the youngest leader and had never led a study before. Right before our first study, I sat with one of the other leaders outside the dorm where our study would meet. I said to her, “I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it.” Fear crippled my mind and almost stopped me from even walking into that building. My biggest fear was what people would think of me.
Friends, family, roommates, and strangers have asked me, “why do you spend hours a week blogging?” I smile and think where do I even begin. There are so many reasons why I spend hours typing away on my computer. I think about my readers and the encouraging comments they leave, the community that has formed between other bloggers and myself, the pleasure I get in writing a post, the excitement I feel marketing each one, but none of those reasons are the reason why I blog.
If only one woman, one soul, would read my blog, and realize that Jesus loves her, then I would have fulfilled the purpose of this blog. I desire for each and every one of you to know how powerful your story is, that Jesus has a purpose and plan for your life, and that you are His precious beautiful daughter.
I dream about a world where every woman has experienced the life change of Jesus. They feel His power. They trust Him with their life and experience healing. Shame exists no more! They know that they are loved by their Father in heaven.
That is why I write and put countless hours into this blog.
That is why I created Joy Pedrow Ministries.
Everything I do, is for Jesus.
I believe that Jesus will use me and my story, and you and your story, to help women. I invite you to join me on this journey, check out my posts, and invite other women to join us on this journey.
Experience Jesus. Experience His joy. Experience His freedom.
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.
I always thought I was good at setting goals. I’m organized and great at making lists, but that is all my goals were: an organized list. I am great at starting something, but horrible at finishing it. That is why I started the June Goal Challenge. (Click here to read “Tired of giving up on goals?)
God has taught me powerful life lessons through the June Goal Challenge, and I wanted to share these insights with you. Here are 10 tips for setting goals & sticking to them: (more…)
In my opinion, this is the biggest lie that women believe when they’re thinking about doing ministry or joining a leadership team.
This thought first entered my mind when I was in high school.
I was trying to figure out what God was calling me to do. I was confused, unsure, and it did not help that people always asked me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
Adults frequently ask this question. In high school, kids are between 14-18 years old. How do they expect someone to know what he or she wants to do for the rest of his or her life at such a young age?
During my 10th grade year of high school, I started to get the call that God wanted me to go into ministry. What ministry has meant to me has changed over the years, but I knew two things: that I wanted to help people and that God was pretty cool. Combining those two things seemed like a perfect option! But I believed a lie that I was not qualified.
So, when I was asked that question, I felt embarrassed to share with others my heart desire for my career, so I would always reply, “Orthodontist.”
This was the safest way to go. If I would say, “I don’t know.” Then, I would get additional questions, “Well, what is your favorite subject? Did you like math? How about teaching? Etc… Thus, I realized the safest thing to do was reply, “Orthodontist.” There were no follow up questions, just a nod of agreement and maybe an encouraging statement.
For a high schooler, it is extremely difficult to fully trust God with this subject. It is difficult to share with others when you are not 100% sure that this is what you will do. Students also worry about what others will think of their choice. I worried people would not understand or try and talk me out of it.
When I was thinking about going into ministry, I believed the lie that one had to be perfect. How could I help people in their walks with God when I was not perfect?
Again, when I was asked to lead a Bible study in Cru my freshman year of college I did not want to step up and lead because I thought I was not qualified. How can I lead other women when I have my own issues to work through?
It is common to respond to God by saying, “I can’t. I’m not qualified.” I’ve heard this in high school. I’ve heard this in college.
My response now is, “Well what is qualified? Name one person in the Bible who was qualified.”
Abraham lied about Sarah.
Noah was a drunk.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused by his brothers.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was said to be too young.
David had an affair.
Elijah was suicidal.
The Samaritan woman had multiple divorces.
Jonah ran away from God.
Peter denied Jesus.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
And there are more examples found all over scripture!
Friends, if you are thinking of going into ministry, leading a Bible study, or joining the leadership team at your church, I want you to remember one thing: God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
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
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.
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!
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
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!
This week I went to lunch with one of my best friends from high school. I absolutely love this girl and love spending time with her. She doesn’t realize it, but she always teaches me lessons about myself and God. During our lunch together, we were very vulnerable and both shared our current struggles. What struck both of us, was that most of our current struggles were the same as our past struggles.
She said, “This year is going to be different. I’m going to work on these issues. It is going to be a better year.”
Déjà vu. I’ve heard this before.
I told her that she said the same thing last summer, she said, “Wow, that is depressing.”
After lunch, I couldn’t get those words out of my mind. Like my friend, I am bad at following through on goals. At the start of new semesters I always have new goals. Here are some examples:
I’m going to stick to a healthy diet and work out regularly.
This semester will be different, because I will pray more!
Finally, maybe this semester I’ll actually understand how Jesus can satisfy my desire to be married.
Sadly, I never last longer than a week or two at attempting to reach these goals. I give up or just simply forget about the goals. The end of the semester comes, and I say to myself, “Wow, that is depressing.” I don’t want to continue this cycle. I don’t want to spend my whole life making goals only to never check off the boxes. I want to see growth in my life. My dad always told me that when we make goals they have to be specific and have multiple sub-goals to reach each one. Here are my main goals and sub-goals to reach them:
1. Grow closer to God
Spend time with God
Read my daily chapters of the Bible on my Bible app plan
Pray for 10 minutes
2. Live a more healthy life
Exercise at least 30 minutes
Don’t eat past 10
3. Be content in this stage of singleness
No more romantic comedies
For June, I am trying something new. I am putting my goals into a excel document and checking them off daily to help me remember them. I am sick of being depressed that my goals are not being met. Below is a screen shot so you can understand what I’m talking about.
Important to note:
Make spending time with God a goal for this month. It is easy to look at this as a list of rules to follow, and think if I follow these rules then I will grow. That isn’t always true, because the change begins in the heart. God is the only one who can change our heart, so we have to spend time with him. As I was writing this, the same friend texted me saying she had been thinking about our conversation as well. In the car she heard a Christian radio station say, “We have to see God’s way in all we do instead of living by the rules.” Make sure you are not just following rules you made for the month, but that you are actively trying to follow God’s plan for you and become all that he made you to be.
If you miss a day, do not get mad at yourself and give up. It is okay. Some of the goals you set for yourself are going to be impossible to achieve every day in our busy lives. The important thing is to not give up.
Find a friend to be accountable with. For example, I’m getting my parents involved. The three of us are going to put our lists on the fridge to hold each other accountable.
What are some goals that you tend to give up on? Do you repeat them over and over again?
If yes, join me on this journey. Below there is a blank pdf of the chart I made. Print it out and fill in your goals.
I recently went to a women’s conference called Dare To Be by Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill. Natalie led worship and then Charlotte led the teaching. It was very inspiring and impacting! Charlotte opened my eyes to something in scripture I had never before thought about – the middle. Charlotte also wrote a book about this called The Miracle in the Middle: Finding God’s Voice in the Void. This is a fabulous book that I would recommend with you! Because I loved the conference and book so much, I want to share her message and expand on the topic.
In Mark 6:45-52, the story is shared where Jesus walks on water towards his disciples. In these verses, the men were in the middle of the trip between the land where Jesus was and the land on the other side. The boat was in the middle of the lake, far away from Jesus. I want to focus on the word- middle. This is pulled directly from verse 47, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.”
How would you define the middle? For the disciples, they were literally in the middle of the water, but the middle can look different for everyone. Maybe you are in the middle of waiting for something, middle of a struggle, middle of a breakup, middle of singleness, middle of a conflict, there are lots of middles in our lives. Right now I am in the middle of trying to figure out what career to work towards. I would love to be at the end and know exactly what God wants me to do, but right now I am where God wants me, in the middle.
Being in the middle may not be comfortable, but it requires trusting that God will get you to the other side.
The disciples would have felt more comfortable if they would have been on land next to Jesus, and maybe they thought about turning around and going back to where they came from. Right now I am in the life stage of singleness. I have to choose daily to trust that God knows what he is doing. Some days I may want to run back to my old lifestyle of dating who I wanted instead of waiting for a Godly man. I want to run back to what I know is comfortable, but I don’t because I am trusting that God will use this middle to glorify himself.
The middle may not be comfortable, but it does have an end.
The enemy knows when we are in the middle. Because each step we take gets us closer to the other side and closer to a break through. Every middle is equal distance both ways, so sometime it would require the same amount of work to go back to the beginning as the end.
As humans, we don’t want the journey, we want the results. We want to get to the end. We want to know what decisions to make, be married, get past the conflicts, and get out of the boat!
In the middle is when you put to practice all that you say and believe. It may be easy on the shore to say that you believe God is good and that his plans are perfect, but how you live out your life in the middle is the proof.
In the middle you see the miracle. Jesus walks on water and comes to you. When you are thinking how will I ever make it to the other side, Jesus performs a miracle.
In the middle, you find Jesus.
The greek word used for middle, mesos, in this passage is also found in another passage in the Bible. John 19:18, “There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.”
So where was Jesus? In the middle. He was in the middle of dying a painful death for you and I. He was in the middle of saving us from the pain of our own sinful choices. He was in the middle of saving us from the hurt this world causes us. Jesus was in the middle!
When you are in the middle of your struggles, waiting for hope, or just want to get to the other side, remember that Jesus is in the middle.
I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!