It's a Girl Thing

To My Friend Who Feels Unforgivable

Dear friend,

Have you ever fallen into a pit of sin—been locked inside Satan’s traps—and thought, “How did I get here? I never thought I would be guilty of this sin!” ?

I sure have. And I’m all-too-familiar with guilt and anxiety over past mistakes. I’m not a counselor, and I don’t have life figured out. But I understand those pit-moments. I’ve been in places where I felt beyond God’s reach. I’ve felt unforgivable, shamed, and alone. And you know what? That’s exactly where our enemy wants us.  He wants us to doubt God’s grace. To question the depth of His love. And we cannot let him have victory over our minds. 

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One thing I’ve learned from past (and present) failures is this: Our weaknesses will make us feel lousy, but truly, we can’t experience the intensity of Christ’s love until we understand how weak and needy we are for Him. Each day we refuse to listen to Satan’s whispers, our souls grow stronger, and clinging to Jesus’ grace becomes easier. 

Maybe you feel lonely and distant from God like I have at times. Maybe you’re drowning in the current of sin, and you don’t know how to escape. Whatever your struggle is, please don’t give up. Hang in there and let me remind you of 3 simple truths….truths to throw back at Satan when he tries to knock you down…

1) No sin of yours was too great for Jesus to carry on the cross.

“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4, AMPC).

When Jesus died for you, you hadn’t committed any sin yet. He knew exactly what wrongs you would commit. He felt your every mistake as nails drove through His hands and thorns pierced his flesh…yet He didn’t back out. His love for you didn’t change. He didn’t rip the crown of thorns from His head or loosen the nails from his hands because He despised you. Jesus chose to hang on the cross for you; chose to be rejected by His Father…so you could be forgiven. You don’t have to fear condemnation because Jesus crushed your eternal penalty when He burst from the grave. Jesus loves you, sweet friend. His grace is abundant forever. Trust Him to forgive you.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NKJV).

2) God is patient when we fail Him

I used to think that God was standing in heaven waiting for me to sin so He could sentence me to punishment. I kept a safe distance, fearing a gavel in His hand.

Friend, God isn’t the merciless Being we may think Him to be at times.

1 John says that God is love. He is wrapped in love. He consists of love. And He lavishes deep, pure love on His children. 1 Corinthians 13 describes love as patient and kind…not keeping a record of wrongs. And that love is the essence of the God of heaven.

No matter what your sin—no matter how big the guilt—If you’ve trusted Jesus to save you, then you have a compassionate Father who will lovingly convict you, but not condemn you. Who will scoop you up in His arms when you ask His forgiveness, and hold your hand when you stumble. He’s not a ticking time bomb. He’s patient. Kind. He keeps no record of wrongs.

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8, ESV).

3) When we are weak, Jesus is strong

2 Corinthians 12:9 is my absolute favorite verse, and it says this:

“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, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (ESV).

Often we think we’re so strong and put-together that we try to make life work on our own. We try to prove ourselves to others…even God. But, when we stumble and fall on our faces…it can be humiliating to realize how weak we truly are.

Friend, you will sin. You will disappoint yourself and others, and you will learn things the hard way. But the good news is that Jesus knows how feeble we are. He knows we are completely helpless without Him, and the moment we acknowledge our helplessness, He floods our souls with His grace. He empowers us with strength only the God of the universe can give. When you fail Him, His grace is sufficient. When you’re hurting, His grace is sufficient. When you feel weak, embrace it, because the glory of His power shines best in feeble people.

  “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11, AMP).

The only way to overcome guilt and doubt is to continually speak biblical truths to your soul. Constantly remind yourself of what God says about you, and run to Scripture when Satan attacks you. The pure, simple, beautiful truth is this: Jesus loves you, and nothing can change that. Run to Him. Rest in His infinite grace.

 “For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 8:38-39, AMP).

 “If God’s grace is an ocean, we are all sinking.” -Unknown

Wherever you are right now, whatever doubts you battle against—hold these truths close to your heart. Jesus loves you, and He isn’t finished with you yet! Press on with your eyes fixed on Him. This is your key to victory. Victory over sin, victory over fear, and victory over the enemy of your soul.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14, ESV).

I’d love to hear from you! 

Feel free to leave a comment or email me your thoughts from today’s post. If you need someone to talk to for extra encouragement, I’m always here. 🙂

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It's a Girl Thing

3 Things to Remember When Writing to Your Future Husband

Happy Monday, friends!

If you enjoyed the “Future Husband” posts I wrote last year, then today’s post is right up your alley! The following  tips are the key to keeping your mind focused and hope-filled as you write letters to your future husband.

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A few years ago, I was driving with my brother and his wife on a Sunday afternoon, when we started re-hashing their recent wedding. Brittney told me about the wedding gift she gave Kenan, and I instantly fell in love with the idea. During her single years, Brittney kept a journal with letters and prayers for her future husband (you can read more of that story here). She explained to me how it works, and a few days later, I purchased a leather journal for my own little “project”.

I’ve had my “Husband Journal” for four years now, and it’s been such a special tool in this season. I’ve written a few posts on this subject already, so when Kara asked me to do a Husband Journal post for her blog, I started racking my brain for new ideas. Brittney was my go-to person for ideas, and we came up with three things a single girl should remember when writing to her future husband.

Read the full post at Joy Because Grace. 

It's a Girl Thing

Pros and Cons of Attending a Christian College

Hi friends!

If you’re a junior or senior in high school, chances are you’re narrowing down your options for college. I’ve always been a planner, so I was asking all the college questions in my Freshman year of high school 😉 Questions like “Do I want to go locally or out-of-state? Do I want to go to a state or community college, or Christian college? What should I major in?” You know the drill, right?

Honestly, the Christian vs. secular college wasn’t hard for me to figure out, but maybe you have no clue what to choose. While state colleges are becoming more popular and prestigious, Christian college is still a good option to consider. But, as with everything, attending a Christian college has its pros and cons.

I asked several college friends and graduates to help me with today’s post, so based on their answers, here are some advantages and disadvantages of attending a Christian college…

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Pros:
  • Education with a biblical worldview

This is probably the biggest advantage of going to a Christian college. I’ve received a Christian education all my life–including some college classes–and I personally find it so much easier to learn when I’m not having to sort out my beliefs from the words in text book. Of course, not every secular college text book or professor is out to contradict your beliefs…But oftentimes the worldview taught (even if it’s subtle) in state universities is humanistic or evolution-based.

While we can strengthen our faith by learning to counteract misguided teaching with the Bible, it can be so easy to fall into the humanist mindset that is subtly spread through the secular campus. I have a few friends who’ve struggled to keep their theology straight because they encounter contradictory teaching on a regular basis, and their spiritual curiosity has wavered…a couple have even dropped out of church completely.

College is a pivotal season in our lives, that hugely contributes to our beliefs and the direction we choose in the future. A biblical education is dependable and so helpful in developing a proper worldview that will stick with you in future years.

Please know I’m not at all holding secular universities responsible for Christians dropping out of church, but misguided teaching and bad influences–in any school–do influence our beliefs and actions. 

  • Bible classes/chapel sessions

On top of having Christian professors teach your core classes, most (if not all) Christian colleges require you to take a couple Bible classes as well–Which is a fantastic little bonus. 🙂 I’ve taken 2 college Bible classes so far, and I loved them. Studying straight-up Scripture with a grounded professor is such a treat, and a nice breath of relief from other core classes.

  • Christian friends

This is one point each one of my friends mentioned. Christian college is a great place to make friends who share your basic beliefs and who will support you and grow with you spiritually.

  • No Co-Ed dorms 

Need I say more? 😉

  • No on-campus party scenes

Most (if not all) Christian colleges prohibit partying or any type of drinking, which not only cuts down on peer pressure or irresponsibility, but also ensures a more peaceful study environment. 

  • Stricter expectations

By “stricter expectations” I just mean greater accountability. Rules in secular colleges tend to be more lenient when it comes to dorm life, class attendance/dress code requirements, etc., but you can be sure much will be expected of you in a solid Christian school. I know there are exceptions, and I don’t want to generalize every state or Christian college—but I hope you get what I mean 🙂

Cons:
  • Cost

Private schools in general tend to be pricey, and Christian college is no exception. I honestly have no idea how I’ll pay for my entire college education, and maybe cost is a deal-breaker for you. I totally get it–money doesn’t come easy. But I also know that when God calls you to do something, He always provides. If you feel the pull to consider a Christian university, ask God for wisdom and provision. He will come through for you.

  • Fewer fields of study to choose from

Often Christian colleges have a smaller variety of majors to choose from, which can be inconvenient if you want to go into a more uncommon career. 

  • Many Christian colleges are not fully accredited 

This was a small issue I had to get past when I settled on the university I’ll be attending. Thankfully, that college received full accreditation several weeks ago, but many Christian schools still don’t have that luxury. In many cases, accreditation isn’t a huge deal, but if you can find a Christian college that has it, that’s always a plus. 🙂 

  • “Shallow” Christians

One sweet friend told me she occasionally feels frustrated by the shallow Christians she runs into on campus. When you’re at a Christian institute, you may expect everyone around you to be grounded in their faith and clean of hypocrisy. But, as with anywhere, that’s not always the case, and it can be discouraging.

  • Fewer on-campus evangelistic opportunities

A couple people I talked to described Christian college as a “Christian bubble.” It’s easy to get comfy in the Christian circle and forget about evangelism, which isn’t healthy by any means. While it’s fabulous to be surrounded with like-minded people, you will have to work extra hard to reach out to unbelievers beyond campus. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. 🙂

  • More rules

Christian colleges are definitely stricter than other universities (some more so than others 😉 ). While guidelines are set in place to protect students, encourage godliness, and keep campus in order, I understand that rules can be a little overbearing sometimes. You just gotta decide if you’re willing to be a little inconvenienced by rules you may not agree with in order to enjoy other advantages of a Christian college.

Side note: Rules aren’t so bad if you accept them with a good attitude. Optimism is always helpful 😉

Closing notes…

I’m not telling you what type of college you should attend, and I’m not saying all secular colleges are solely liberal and unhealthy (some are very good!). But I do want to share this verse with you…one that helped me decide on attending a Christian university.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:19, NIV)…

This verse has been my go-to when people try to discourage me from attending a Christian school, or when I question my own decision.

Receiving a Christ-centered education is really important to me, and I don’t want to risk my faith by going to a university that leaves God outside the classroom. Am I saying  Christian college will save you or ensure a strong walk with Christ? That secular college will make you walk away from the faith? No. But for me personally, I believe that spending 4 years in a Christian school is the healthiest decision.

God leads everyone differently, and I know He’ll make it clear to you where He wants you to go. Just remember to keep growing, wherever you are. 🙂

That’s all I have!

I hope this post shed some light on your college quest. If you have any questions or constructive criticism, feel free to comment or email me! I always love hearing from you.

P.S. Please know I have nothing against secular colleges, and this post wasn’t meant to bash anyone at all. 🙂

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:18, NIV).

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It's a Girl Thing

7 More Ways to be a Godly Girlfriend

Happy Thursday, friends! 

Last week, Kara from Joy Because Grace shared 7 ways to be a godly girlfriend–taken from 1 Corinthians 13. Today, she has 7 more biblical tips to help you in your relationship. Grab your Bible, flip to 1 Corinthians 13:5b-7, and dig in to this post. 🙂

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1) Don’t be easily angered.

This goes back to #1 (in last week’s post) and the whole patience thing. Sometimes there are times to become angry, but becoming angry over every single little thing? Not the wisest thing.

2) Don’t keep a record of wrongs

Forgive him when he messes up. AND forgive yourself when you mess up. Don’t harbor offenses in your heart; let them go.

3) Don’t rejoice in evil but rejoice in the truth

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3, NASB).

4) Always protect

Protect his image, like we talked about with #6. If others speak badly about him, speak up and tell the truth about him. If someone seeks to hurt him, try to protect him.

5) Always trust

Firstly, always trust God with your relationship. Trust that if God wants y’all to work out then you will, but if He doesn’t you won’t.

Secondly, trust your boyfriend. Now, if he’s had a history of lying to you, that would be a red flag. But if he’s been trustworthy the whole time you’ve known him, then trust what he says to be true. Don’t always question him.

6) Always hope

Hope for the best!

Don’t tip-toe around in fear of a break up. Hope that things might work out with y’all.

(At the same time though, don’t run ahead and start planning your wedding before a proposal! That wouldn’t be the best thing for your heart/mind either.)

7) Always persevere

Persevere through the hard times. Stay in there. Strive to work things out.

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If this seems like an impossible list, don’t worry–it is. 😉 We are sinful humans, and there is no way apart from the Holy Spirit that we can even come close to looking like this list.

Perhaps don’t focus on all 14 of these characteristics all at once. Start praying about 1 or two. (For me, I’m presently working on patience and not being self-seeking. 🙂 )

These 14 characteristics probably aren’t going to be something that you wake up one day and magically possess. But, each day, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can look more and more like Jesus and thus become a godly girlfriend.

Many blessings,
Kara

Share your thoughts! 

Have you ever thought of applying 1 Corinthians 13 to your relationship? What are some other ways you can be a Christ-like girlfriend? If this post helped or encouraged you in any way, take a minute to reply! Kara and I would love to hear from you.

P.S. Kara, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us on the blog! I can’t wait for you to write here again soon 🙂 

P.S.S. To my readers–if you liked these guest posts, leave a comment to let me know! I’m thinking about having more guests in the future. 

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