I'm Learning To Be An Encourager.


I'm learning to be an encourager.

I'm striving to help others in whatever they are facing.
I desire for others to be inspired and feel loved by reading these posts and by knowing me personally.
I want to be the reason that others don't give up.
I want to acquire a humble, serving heart that places the needs of others above my own.

I hope to share God's love in all that I do.
Most of all, I want the way I live my life to inspire others to be like me. I want to lead others to Him.

I'm learning to share my thoughts when I like something, to compliment and make others feel loved. I'm learning that a simple comment or like on a Facebook profile may be enough to raise a girl's self esteem. I'm learning of my love to encourage others through writing. I'm learning to make a difference, just by increasing my love for others, a love that is a reflection of Jesus' love for every one of us. 

I pray this blog is a tool used to encourage YOU, as I hope to write posts that are uplifting and inspiring.

I'm learning to be an encourager. 


Every Dog Has a Story (Sharing Yogi)

Every shelter dog has a story. Every story has a past. Every story has a beginning.

    Some of their pasts are filled with heartbreak, sadness, and abuse. Some are strays, whether they were deserted by their owners, wandered from their homes, or never had a home to begin with. Other stories are clear to the shelter: dogs that have been surrendered by their owners, dogs that gave their love unconditionally to their families but had no choice but to be separated.

    Such stories are normally unknown, but it's evident that every story contained heartbreak at some point. It's in the midst of their story that they end up at the shelter. It's because of their stories that I've realized the necessity of volunteering, for loving them during that short time of their life in the shelter.

There is hope for every shelter dog. Every story has a beginning.

    From the time I saw Yogi, I always had a special bond with him. He was a stray, and in his first few days at the shelter, he was overcome in fear. The new environment, surrounded by the cries of other dogs with different, yet similar, stories, was enough to make him fearful.  He would lay in the corner of his kennel and would kiss me through the bars, but when I opened the door, he refused to walk out. I decided to wait until he was ready.

    About a week later, he began to be adjusted to his temporary place in the shelter. We were able to walk him and spend time in the play pen. He was such a sweetheart. All he wanted was love, affection, more love, affection, LOVE. All he gave was love. He sat by my side, rolled over, asked for belly rubs, and cuddled.

    Soon enough, he was adopted, then returned. A few weeks later, he was adopted again, then returned. I'm not sure what happened, but I don't blame anyone. I believe he wasn't meant to be in those homes. There is a family still out there that God has in mind, one that Yogi will fit right in, and not only will it be great for him, but he will play a role in helping the family. God has a reason for everything. As the Author of our lives, knitting together each and every one of our stories, He is working everything together for the good of those who love Him, and I know that everything will work out in the end for His children. That includes the shelter dogs. His love is relentless.

  Yogi is ready for a new beginning, a start in a forever home. He is ready for a family that will answer his plea for belly rubs and cuddling, and will stay with him no matter what happens.

  Every story has a past, but every story also has new beginnings. I know Yogi's is coming. My heart is full of hope as I continue to partake in his story.

In the Discouraging Times

Sometimes I feel discouraged...beaten down, broken, not good enough.

I've been learning that it's impossible to be liked by everyone. It's impossible to please people AND please God. It's impossible to be perfect.

However, there is good news! I have learned that JESUS came to earth to be the PERFECT for me, because no one will ever be 'good enough', no one will ever have it all together, no one is holy, except Jesus. He is the only One who is holy, yet He died for us. The only Holy One, yet He died for OUR sins! How loving, how great, how amazing our God is, that He would sacrifice His life for what we did! We owe so much more than He gets. He deserves all of our lives.

I have learned that in the times of discouragement, in the times of heartbreak, of hatred, of not being liked, there is a God who loves me and who is watching me. He is holding me in the palm of His hands, and He will never leave me.

He loves all of us that much. Our past, our present, or our future is not too big for Him. His grace is sufficient.

And with that love, there's no reason to be knocked down by the discouraging times. I must rest in His love.

I've learned that He loves me.

Most of all, He loves you. 


Reason for the Season

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

Via Pinterest
   The air has been filled with the scents of Christmas. Stores have been crowded with last minute shoppers. Trees have been decorated, gifts are being wrapped, carols are being sung. No doubt is Christmas almost here. But in the midst of busyness, of all the shopping, baking, and decorating, is the need to stop, to experience a "silent night"...to fully fathom the true reason for the season.

   Without the birth of Jesus, there wouldn't be any reason to celebrate. As he stepped into the world, clothed in flesh, yet fully God, He left His heavenly home to experience life as we have it. He experienced temptation, yet He never sinned. His presence in the world wasn't one of royalty. He was born in a manger, in a stable! But His later sacrifice for us, His true reason for stepping into the world as a human, was a gift that we should never stop celebrating.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:8-11

    This good news, the gift of His presence, was first announced to the shepherds. Ordinary people living ordinary lives, yet God chose them to be the first to hear the great news, news that will bring joy to all people. Why celebrate unless we're celebrating the biggest gift of all, the presence of the Savior in the world and the sacrifice He would later give for us? We all get so caught up in the busyness of the season, when we just need to stop and take in this "silent night", a night that forever changed the course of our lives and has determined and changed the rest of our eternity! Christmas is so much more than the temporal. It's about Jesus, Immanuel, "God with us".

    God is with us. His arrival on Earth is enough to celebrate this Christmas. His love for us and work through each and every one of our lives is incredible. It began with His presence in the lives of ordinary people living ordinary lives and still today, He shows up in our ordinary lives when we least expect it. Let's celebrate the arrival of His presence 2000 years ago and His constant presence today rather than getting caught up in all the presents and food, in the noise of the season, a noise that drowns out the true joy of Christmas--that GOD IS WITH US.


About the Girl with the Blog

1. I am a Christ follower, forever and always. I'm saved, changed, a new creation, washed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and living my life for Him.

2. I am a sixteen year old high school junior who is also taking classes at the state college through dual enrollment.

3. I have naturally curly hair that is definitely NOT meant to be straight...God wanted it curly and no straightener will change it!

4. Most of the time, I am extremely shy, unless I happen to meet you at an outgoing time (it's happened with several people, who probably don't believe that I'm shy!) or unless I've gotten to know you. With God's help, I'm working on it and slowly getting better!

5. I am blessed to have the family and friends that I have!

6. I have the cutest Miniature Dachshund, Minnie. She's nine years old but she's pretty smart..less than a year and I've taught her 11 tricks!

7. I made many friends online through Wonderzone's Bible Reading Club several years ago and have gotten to know several of the girls outside of the site. One of the girls, Kara, is now one of my best friends and have been able to take a vacation with her and her family twice now...such a blessing.

8. I absolutely love animals, especially dogs. I have a particular passion for the shelter dogs. I frequently volunteer at the shelter, alongside my mom, which originally was for a school project but has led to a major hobby.

9. I am a Christian music fanatic and can't get enough of Christian and worship concerts. Especially Winter Jam...oh my goodness. Ah, and Anthem Lights is one of the best bands. Although I also love Francesca Battistelli, Dara Maclean, For King & Country, Tenth Avenue North, MercyMe, Hillsong Young & Free, and so, so, so many more.

10. I would attend church every single day if I could, because I love Jesus, love gathering in His presence, love learning more about Him through the sermon and worship, but most of all, He loves me. Back to Fact #1.

11. I am a writer, I love to blog, I love to encourage, I love when God uses my words to speak to people. I'm the editor of my high school's yearbook staff and hope to one day have my posts read by many.

12. I'm one of those rare teenagers who actually writes letters by hand. And would rather use a computer over a cell phone...and doesn't watch TV...and the list could go on.

13. I'm waiting to pursue a relationship until I'm older and relying on God's timing for the guy He has for me, which is another "weird" thing for a teenager.

 14. I love food, I try everything, I like every kind of food, I don't stop eating food.

15. That being said, I'm kind of germophobic and probably won't eat your food if you offer it to me (haha, just kidding!).

16. My top favorite restaurants are Tropical Smoothie (Paradise Point smoothie and Chipotle Chicken Club...every time) and Panera Bread (Chipotle Chicken Panini and the Broccoli Cheddar soup...again, every time).

17. Therefore, I love anything chipotle.

18. I probably waste too much time on social media.

19. I love taking pictures, modeling for pictures, photography in general.

20. I believe my spiritual gifts are wisdom and teaching, and would like to teach Sunday school for little kids in church someday.

How well do you know me? Surprised by any? Let me know in a comment!


College stress and the goodness of God

All glory to God for the works He has performed through me these past few weeks.

Struggle after struggle, my head spinning in worry and anxious thoughts, my life was filled with stress and fear of what was to come. I was grateful for the best semester I've ever had in regards to the light amount of workload compared to usual, but my usual all A's were slowly diminishing. I had to keep reassuring myself that God is good, He is with me, and that everything would work out to His best for me, and that no matter what would happen, my identity rests in Him, not in the grades I receive or the amount of knowledge I possess, but I was still gripped by worry. It wasn't my high school classes that I was worried about, but my college classes. My A in U.S. History was around a 92 and was dropping more and more, but I wasn't nearly as worried about that class as I was about English Comp. I've always done great in English up until this semester, and while I still did well, there were enough B's and C's on papers and tests that set me up for a panic. Most of all, the majority of my grades weren't entered into the gradebook, so I had no idea what grade I would receive.

Every day, I prayed. Friends joined me in prayer as well. I knew that the only way I would receive an A, particularly in my English class based on the grades so far, would be an act by a God who can do the impossible.

Sure enough, He began answering prayers one by one. I received A's on my last two history papers. By the time I took my college finals, I reflected and meditated on the verses He revealed to me through His Word, calming me and reassuring me that He would take care of me:

When I said, "My foot is slipping", Your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:18-19
Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall...but as for me, I trust in You. Psalm 55:22, 23b

I knew He would stay with me as I faced those tests. His strength was all I needed, all I asked for. I shouldn't have been surprised when I found out I received a 97 on my history final, and a final 94% in the class! But the main worry, English Comp, was still on my mind. I kept trusting in Him.

Finally, my English professor entered in all of the grades almost a week after taking the final. She boosted one of my low essay grades 8 points. She gave me an unbelievable 100 on my last essay and several 100s for homework/participation. I received a B on my final grammar exam and a 97 on my final exam essay.

Somehow, in some way, I ended up with an A, about a 94, in my English class. With no doubt in my mind was that the work of a loving, caring God who has so much more power and strength than I could ever muster. I could never have done that on my own.

With this recent testimony, I say to you: whatever you are facing, don't give up. Ask God for strength, rely on His power, trust in Him and His timing. He is the God of the impossible. Put aside all worry and fear, and place your problems at His feet. He truly does care.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I could never have succeeded without Him.


Paw Prints On My Heart

I have a passion for dogs.
Filled with empathy, my compassionate heart cries out as I draw near to them, their souls sensing my love for them as they then draw near to me.
I adore big lap dogs that provide lots of affection and doggie kisses. I would spend time volunteering at an animal shelter 24/7 if I could. A love has been established for helping and loving the dogs in need.
I have a yearning inside of me, a growing desire to make a difference.
Could it be that God placed this desire in my heart for a reason? Could it be that as I put Him first and make Him my everything, He's revealed to me His love for His creations and the role He has for me, using me to fulfill His plans and make a change? Could it be that He really does place His creations, people and animals, at the right place at the right time?
I've always had a love for dogs, but never did I enjoy spending so much time with them until I began volunteering at the shelter. In fact, I originally didn't want to volunteer at a "kill" shelter, but because of age restrictive policies at the time, that was the only way to fulfill my school project. But through prayer, He revealed to my heart that that's where He wants me to go. My life, and viewpoint of shelters, has changed dramatically since.
Not only have I helped the dogs in need, but they have helped me. They have distracted me from the mess, the never-ending problems of life. But most of all, they have revealed to me the character of God.
Their love is a reflection of God's love for us. Their unconditional love for humans, their never-ending faithfulness and willing acts of obedience, shows God's purposes and act of sacrifice through Jesus. While many are hindered from seeing God's love for His creations, it has shined through His Word.

When God made the first people, Adam and Eve, He 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." Genesis 1:26
 From the first days of creation, God created people with multiple purposes, and one of those purposes is to have authority over the animals. We are called to be the voice and to take care of the animals, as well as have the ability to decide what is best for them. He made every single creature because He saw beauty. He saw potential. Most of all, He sees beauty and potential in His best creations, humans. We as humans must decide to fulfill our dominion over the animals and take care of them, because He loves them and especially loves us. 

God's love for dogs has placed a seed of love in my heart, as His care for them was revealed through His actions with Noah and the flood.When God decided to wipe out the entire earth and the evil the human race had instituted, He asked Noah and his family, who were the only ones who obeyed and loved Him, to build an ark and take pairs of every kind of animal. If God didn't love animals, why would He decide to save them and protect them from the deadly flood? His love for animals is real, and as such a love has been placed in my heart, so it is a reflection of God's. 
Most importantly, God has revealed to me that my love for animals should not be placed higher than a love for people. Jesus commands for us to love God and love others. He has shown me that I can love others through my volunteer work by treating others kindly, helping out future adopters, and making others feel important and loved. 

Every dog I meet, every story I partake in, every move I make in and out of the shelter, a paw print from each and every dog has been laid upon my heart. While in their temporary home in a short period of life, I now realize my calling to protect, to care, and to love them until they reach their forever home. Maybe my future contains a career involving my passion for dogs, or maybe I will keep volunteering or just adopt out several dogs in the future. But most of all, I know that God cares about His creations, and His care has been revealed to me as I share in the same love. I long to make a difference, and I believe that making a difference begins with placing myself in the hands of God, keeping a close eye on the passions He has given me and surrendering to His Will, as one by one, a paw print is imprinted on my heart.



We’re born into the longing
With hearts, bent toward possessing
All that our eyes are seeing
Our souls, they never stop wanting
Beauty never intended to be more than a reflection
My heart is an ocean raging
And Your grace is all that keeps me from drowning
My mind creates deceptions
So I cling the treasure sinking
Oh, Lord, light up my dark eyes
Teach me to let go
I’ve been runnin’
Chasing nothing but shadows
Oh, Lord, please come and
Raise my dead heart, let me know
You can keep me from
Chasing after the shadows

All that I run to, all that I cling to
Everything seems to only slip through my hands
All that I run to, all that I cling to
Everything seems to only slip through my hands

But I keep running, I keep chasing
Left holding on to only the after glow
Lord, light up my eyes, let me follow You
To the source behind all the shadows
"Shadows"//Tenth Avenue North

 With a heart filled with passion and longing, I seek to run. My intentions are to chase after the heart of Jesus, but in the midst of mess, heartbreak, and stress, where do I turn? In the act of redemption and salvation, my life has been made new, my sins covered by the blood of Jesus. My sinful nature never leaves though. I'm covered by His grace, but even through His unfailing love that fills my life every day, I run, and run, and run some more. Sometimes I am stuck in the shadows, chasing after the temporal things of the world, the approval of others, an identity that can never be filled except in a life lived for Jesus. When I learned to run after the heart of Jesus, I gained a wholeness, a missing piece to the puzzle, about life that I never had before.
  When we gave our lives to Christ, He knew that we would mess up, that we would fall away, that we would give into the flesh. We are human. We look at what we see, the earthly things, rather than we can't see, the heavenly perspective. Our souls continuously desire. But what God has revealed to me recently, especially through the words of Tenth Avenue North's song, is that no matter what I want, receive, or chase after, nothing will matter in the end except Jesus. Eventually the world and everything in it will fade away, and then what will be left? Shadows are nothing but temporary reflections of God's creations, dependent on the circumstance of light. Why chase after the fading things of this world when we can chase after the only One who is eternal, the "source behind all the shadows"?
   I've sought after worldly identities and possessions, but as I've been facing these struggles despite my yearning to chase after Jesus, God popped this song straight in my head. I used to listen at a time when this struggle all began, but never did I realize its significance until now. I may be the editor of the yearbook staff. I may work all day for the animals or even for the church. I may get a million likes on a Facebook post or on this blog. I may gain every relationship & friendship I've ever wished for. But in the end, these things will just slip through my hands.

The only thing that matters is Jesus, and I'm learning to follow His light, not a reflection of the world's.


A Little Bit of Encouragement

Via Pinterest
You are beautiful.
You aren't average. You are a child of the King.
He knit you together in your mother's womb. He collects your tears in a jar. He treasures you and everything He made about you. He looks at you and says, "Wow, what a masterpiece I have created!"

You are more than what you see. You are beautiful, you are loved, you are what He meant you to be.
He made you in His image, and He doesn't make mistakes! He put the spark in your eye, the passion in your heart, the beauty in your smile. He knows you better than you know yourself. He cares about you so much that He sent His Son to die for you.

You have potential. God's plans for your future are out of this world. Don't give up. Keep on running, keep on living, keep on serving Him. Your life is full of beauty, goodness, and so many amazing things in store.

So smile so the whole world can experience the amount of beauty you possess. Live the life you were called to live. Shine His light with a heart full of passion and love!

Most of all, remember that you are loved. You have great things in store. YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.


To Be Established in Faith

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

The goals of this blog, the energy and passion accompanying every post, must stem from an utmost desire to please and glorify God in everything I do. It started with a love for writing, encouraging others, and sharing my experiences online and through social  media. Recently, I've come face to face with the simple truths of purpose, faith, and most importantly, life.

The title of this blog, "Established in Faith", begins with the purpose of blogging and continues out into everyday life. What is the purpose of this blog? My intention is to share the bits and pieces of my life, such as experiences, passions, and God-given ideas through the art of writing. I want to encourage. I want to inspire. I want to lead others to Him, to envision a part of life that many never see, to look past the problems of life, which is temporary, and to fast forward to a future full of eternal glory, happiness, and life forever with Jesus.

Sounds like a fantasy, right? Rather, such an amazing vision of the future is not enjoyed in today's temporary, broken world, one covered in death and sorrow as a result of the first sins of mankind. But there is hope. Jesus is our hope. God sent Jesus, His Son, to die a terrible death on the cross for us, because our imperfections can never be present near a holy God. But He loves us and desires to be with us, so He sent His perfect Son to die for our sins, to be blamed for what we have done, all out of love. But because He truly is the Son of God, and because the purpose of His death was beyond what was humanly possible, He did not stay in the grave forever. Three days later, He came back to life, defeating death and sin, and allowing us to truly be able to experience the life God intended us to live, one of righteousness, love, and most of all, one established in faith.

 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
When we realize the Truth, all we have to do is accept Jesus. Surrender your life to Him. Calling upon His name, believing and confessing that He is who He says He is, asking for forgiveness for the sins that have inevitably been committed, will lead to salvation. When we give everything to Jesus, and our lives become a living testimony of His death and Resurrection, we will be changed from the inside out. Renewed, saved, and transformed into a brand new creation, our hearts are changed as a result of the love of God and an act of grace and mercy through the sacrifice of His Son.

Once we have received Jesus as Lord, and our hearts, and therefore lives, have been radically changed by the placing of God's Spirit within us, we are then called to repentance and a change in lifestyle. We must live our lives on His foundation. Before life with Jesus, life lacked purpose (ultimately, it sought to please ourselves); with Jesus, our purpose must derive from the truths of God's Word and should seek to glorify and serve Him in every situation, to please Him above all else. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it (2 Corinthians 5:9).

via Pinterest
 A life focused on chasing after God's heart, rather than the hearts of other people, or the temporary things of the world, or anything else other than God, will lead in success. We were not meant to live this life alone, but we were meant to walk side by side with the Creator. We were meant to enjoy a personal relationship with Him, sharing in the pleasures of His love. However, we can't please God, and therefore live life accordingly with His truths, without faith. To truly be "established in faith", we must start with surrender and repentance, living life with Jesus as the foundation, striving to become closer to Him, and deciding to forever become built up and rooted in Him--which requires acts of faith. It may take being an outcast, it may change our ego, it may eliminate activities of the past, but at the end, our faith will be strengthened, and we will come to know God as He has always longed for us to do. As our relationship grows with Him, our faith enlarges, our hearts grow in beauty, and a mindset of thankfulness and joy abounds. 

 I have decided to live my life "established in faith". This blog is about my life, the memories, the good and bad times, my experiences, my passions, my works, the ideas God reveals to me in light of Scripture, and anything else about my life. I may post about the beauty of volunteering at the animal shelter, the good and bad moments of school, my struggles, my favorite memories, or just what God has revealed to me in Quiet Time. This blog is about life, but as my life must be a reflection of my faith, so this blog must reflect the same thing. Beneath every post, and beneath whatever I face in life, is the establishment of faith, a trust in Jesus that will continue forever and ever as I desire to please and glorify Him in every little thing that I do.

A Voice for Those Who Can't Speak

Inside every shelter dog is a beautiful soul, a spirit longing for unconditional love and attention. Each dog created with an unique personality, they thrive when given the chance to shine. Look into the eyes of this shelter dog and you see a heart filled with adoration, one desperate for a chance, for a home, for a family to forever love, to be able to show who she really is.

They don't have a voice. They can't ask for help, tell us their needs, or explain their past. Striving to be a voice for those who can't speak, we must maintain our God-given dominion over the animals, working for the beautiful souls of these dogs.

Friday never planned on living life in a shelter. She's ready to show off her loving personality, to cuddle with a family that returns the love she freely gives, to be given a chance.
This cutie is so ready for a home. A total lover with a dash of playfulness, she desires to love you. I know that a happy day is coming to her soon, that a family will soon come and make her a part of their own. In the meantime, let's share her, love her, and be a voice for her. She deserves it.


The Sweet Smells of a Christ-like Life

Via Pinterest
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

I am called to share the Gospel, to spread His love and knowledge to the world.
While the world is living in the dark, I must be a light, a candle that brightens up every room and shatters any hint of darkness. I am the light of the world. 
It's not about judging others. It's about sharing His love, being an aroma of Him.

When God saved me by grace, He then saw His Son in me, who died in my place. His righteousness covers the sins of my heart and changed me from the inside out as His Spirit began to dwell in me. Now, He has called me to make a difference. He now sees "the pleasing aroma of Christ" amongst my failures and my mess-ups. I am made new.

The aroma of Christ is sweet-smelling. It's always a pleasure to be around. It doesn't put others down, lead them away, or give them a bad impression of who Christ is. It is about love. 
Jesus is love, and as I grow closer to Him and strive to become more like Him, I must learn to love. 

The aroma of Christ looks like love. It is love to those who don't know Him. It is love to those who do. It looks out for my brothers and sisters in Christ, leading them away from sin, whether it's my clothing choices, my conversations, the music I listen to. To the rest of the world, it's about kindness, forgiveness, and doing the little things, even a smile, that could change someone's day. His aroma is displayed in speech, actions, and most importantly, the heart. My life and the choices I make will follow after my 'heart condition.' 

The sweet smell of Christ is noticeable to others. Just like the smell of perfume is evident to everyone in the room, His light must shine through me in the crowds. I must appear different. I must live a life that encourages others to want to live like me. 

To make a difference, it's not about telling others they're wrong. It's about the heart, which follows into my lifestyle. Let His righteousness and love spread like wildfire. Let others feel loved and encouraged. It may not seem like it, but people notice what you're doing. They see you're different. They see when you're not conforming to their ways, the ways of the world. It must start with a total surrender to Jesus and His work through you, focusing on shining His light and living a life that brings glory to Him. It's not easy, but it's a life truly worth living for. 



Lessons from a Shelter Dog

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13
   Volunteering always begins with my heart set on helping the animals, but at the end of every experience, I am touched and changed by the dogs I meet. God has revealed this to me so much recently.
   One particular shelter dog, Lucy, had a personality that lit up the room. A petite girl with a lot of spunk, I couldn't help but adore her. Most of all, she was a dog with a heart of joy. Her smile was contagious to all who knew her.

   I never would've imagined a dog's smile could make such an impact in my life, but God can use anyone in the smallest of ways. I realized how much happiness I brought to her by taking her out, by giving her rubs, by providing love, and she provided so much happiness and love in my life in return. Her biggest smiles shined every time I rubbed her. Her smiles were enough to make me smile despite all the stress, the sadness, the problems of life. Her joy has taught me so many lessons about my own life.

   Stuck in a kennel, injured by her roommate, lacking the love and comfort she deserves, it seemed that she had little reason to be happy. But despite her situation, she had so much joy. Even as she was limping, she ran out of her kennel like she was running a race and was about to win the prize. Maybe she knew there was hope for her future, or maybe she was eager to enjoy the little things in life, like the short amount of time I would spend with her. Nevertheless, her joy taught me so much about my own life.
    I've learned that even through the trials and difficulties I will face, God has called me as a believer to trust in Him. Placing my trust in Him and relying on Him, instead of the temporal things of this world, will lead His Spirit to grow fruit in me. One of the fruits of the Spirit, joy, will establish a place in my life when I learn to look past the hard times and set my eyes on the future God has for me, a future full of goodness and a place in eternity encompassed by His presence. Happiness relies only on the good times, but joy comes when my faith is completely placed in Jesus, knowing that no matter what happens, God is with me, He is for me, and the victory is in His hands! Joy isn't dependent on circumstance but on the never-changing character of God, whose goodness and love will never fail. Like Lucy, the trials of life may seem to increase more and more, but when I look past the present and into the hope of the future, and the little things God blesses me with in the midst of pain and trial, there is still reason to smile. There's hope in Jesus Christ, and that hope will continue to stay until its fulfillment in the Lord's second coming, when death will be defeated once and for all and the victory will be won forever.
    No matter what, I've learned to keep running the race of life, with an eternal perspective and a heart focused on God's love, and He will use my present circumstances to change me, to produce perseverance and a joy that will allow me to get through whatever I'm facing. Like Lucy, I must run after the prize, the prize of eternity with Jesus as I focus on the work of the Kingdom, rather than the world's.
    Recently, I have found out that Lucy has been adopted. Her hopes have turned into reality, as I picture her in a soft dog bed with a smile that could light up the world. Her adoption is a reminder of my adoption into God's family, and the hope I now have as I set my eyes on Jesus and remain in pure joy no matter what I face.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24



Recently, God has laid upon my heart the blessings He has provided through friends and the people He has placed in my life. Some people have come along unexpectedly, although part of God's plan, and others have been an answer to prayer. His purposes may show up later or may never be clear, but through every single person, I have realized the goodness of God, the love He has for His children.

I wanted to dedicate this post to a reflection of God's goodness through some of the people He has placed in my life and to thank Him for His provisions.

I've been blessed with two close friends from elementary school, who know me almost as well as I know myself. They've stuck with me through thick and thin and accept my flaws despite any obstacle in our friendship. The impact they have made in my life is unbelievable.

God has used the Bible Reading Club (BRC) from CEF Ministries' Wonderzone.com  to place AMAZING people in my life. I've been able to keep in touch with many of the members of the group and have been so inspired by their faith and consistent encouragement to me and others. I've been able to share similar experiences with a few of them, especially recently, and have developed prayer partners! Not only that, but I've gained one of my closest friends from this group, and although we're miles apart, God allowed us to meet up twice...and it's been one of the biggest blessings!

God has placed other close Christian friends in my life over the past few years. I am forever grateful for them. Some are homeschooled and inspired me in my walk with Christ from the day it began. Another was an answer to prayer for a Christian friend in school. She has been another prayer partner and encourager to me, as well as become one of my closest friends. God is so good.

Not only that, but He has provided people, including friends, in my classes as an answer to prayer, especially in the yearbook staff as well as my veterinary assisting course. He has used certain people (and particular places at just the right time) to bring to light His plan for me, such as the idea of college classes. He has used places, such as the animal shelter, to place people, animals, and events in my life that have changed me. He has placed particular people in my life right now, in my classes and outside of school, that I may not even realize His reasoning for, but that He has called me to love, to shine His light to.

There are so many others that He has placed in my life that He has used for my good. I am so thankful for each and every one of them, and I am so excited to see how God continues to use people I don't even know yet, experiences I'd never imagine being a part of, to enhance His design and plans for my life, as I live out His purposes and seek to serve Him in everything I do.

                                                                    Found via Pinterest


Words of Wisdom

I love words that inspire, words that call me to take action, words of wisdom. In fact, it's currently my largest Pinterest board! Here are some I love (via Pinterest):


I want to make a difference.

My heart is full of compassion, full of love, full of sadness. It senses the heartfelt cries of God's creations.

Stuck in a shelter, with no one to show love to, no one to place their loyalty, their faithfulness in, they lose hope. They are surrounded by evil, full of dog fights, squished kennels, and cold bare floors. Many are abandoned by their owners. Others are strays, patiently waiting every day for their owners to find them, most never receiving this dream. Some have had a past of brokenness and abuse,  leading into a place in the shelter.

Their desperate souls cry out.
Their paws mark my heart. God made such beautiful creations. His beauty shines through dogs, their unconditional love and faithfulness reflecting His. But not only do they give this love, they desire some in return.
Instead they end up without a home, without a family, without love.

A year ago, I never would've thought I'd be where I am today. When you give God the wheel, He takes you places you never would've imagined. He is so good. Having to volunteer for a school project left me confused on what to do, but through my prayers, God led me right to the local animal shelter. My life rapidly changed.

Volunteering became an almost daily routine. The least I could do for the dogs was to volunteer, to temporarily provide and love them until they reach their forever homes, to be an advocate and a voice for them.

I've learned that every dog has a story, each in need of affection. We should never blame the dogs, but the humans, for every behavior situation is affected by their past, the treatment humans gave them and the training they previously received. I've learned that the pit bull reputation needs to end, that they're actually one of the sweetest breeds. Most of all, I've learned that while I don't know what my future holds for me, I know that God holds it, and He's revealed my desire to change the world, to help His creations in need, to fulfill His calling of protecting and maintaining our authority over the animals.

I want to make a difference.


Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Independence Day!

I hope everyone has an amazing holiday filled with fun, food, and lots of memories! The freedom we have in this country is something that we should never take for granted. No doubt does God have His hand on America, the land of the free and home of the brave!

Reading in the Scriptures this morning, I continued onto John 8. The message in this chapter couldn't fit today any better. Jesus discussed with the Jews the concept of being children of Abraham, which they insisted that they were, but with this concept came the idea of freedom, an eternal freedom found only in the name of Jesus Christ. What better thing to celebrate on Independence Day than not only the blessing of a free country, but of the true, everlasting freedom found in a life in Christ?

I love these verses in John 8:
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

I challenge everyone, including myself, today to remember and meditate on Jesus' words. When we turn to Jesus, discover the Truth found in Him and His Word, He breaks our bondage to sin and death. His sacrifice on the cross and His eternal grace and mercy from such a sacrifice is sufficient to cover our sins. And it's because He breaks our bondage when we turn every sin over to Him that we are cleansed, made new, and set free from our sins. Because Jesus is the Son of God, not just a temporary servant, but an everlasting Son, once we've given our lives to Him, we will be set free forever from our previous life! Isn't this freedom found in our lives in Christ the ultimate reason to rejoice on Independence Day?

So as you celebrate our freedom today and the blessings God has bestowed on our country, thank Him not only for that, but for the eternal freedom we have (and can) acquire in His Son Jesus--the freedom that changes lives and makes us new!


It's All About Sacrifice

     God has revealed so much to me recently as I incorporate time into His Word on a daily basis. His clarity and unconditional love even through the busyness of life is enough to assist me in growing in my relationship with Him. And it's His love and His light in these moments that have enabled me to gain the wisdom and understanding that can only be provided through His Spirit, the Spirit of the One who perfects in weakness, whose grace abounds no matter what action I take or what words I say.
    Being out from high school for the year, I knew as soon as summer vacation began what I needed to do. Through the constant busyness of schoolwork, studying for finals, and trying to fit in all I needed to fulfill before the year was over, it started to become almost rare of being able to have a true, heart-filled time with God in His Word.  And as any other follower of Jesus knows, when we stray from the Word, we tend to stray from Him. How thankful I am that Jesus is the Rock, the One who firmly stands, and who will never leave me no matter how much I stray from Him! That first summer vacation weekend, I knew I should start getting back into reading the Scriptures, but because I was out of town and didn't do the proper planning necessary to attain this time with Him, I brought my Bible, read a couple of verses before bed, and was done for the day. I've learned that reading the Bible just to check it off on my daily "to do" list normally doesn't get me anywhere. As you would expect, returning from vacation didn't allow me to get much farther in this daily time with God that I desperately needed to acquire on a day-by-day basis.
    Eventually, I started to find time through the summer days of spending some of my evenings in God's Word for at least a short period of time, although it was often pushed as my 'last resort', often resulting from knowing the necessity of doing it, but not doing so until boredom overcame and there was nothing left to do. Every morning was consumed by checking Facebook and Twitter, and it was social media such as these that consumed my day. God's mercy reaches in moments like this though, and He would eventually use one of these rushed times in His Word to speak abundantly to me.
    It was last Sunday when His calling reached me in the midst of time in His Word and in an amazing teen devotional I've been reading, "Made To Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God" by Lysa TerKeurst and Shaunti Feldhahn. I've been reading a chapter a day in the New Testament, and as I stumbled upon the day's reading of Luke 14, I encountered one of the most convicting passages of Scripture:

"Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 'If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 
  Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
  Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.' "  (Luke 14:25-33)

   Reading this passage that Sunday evening, the question lingered in my mind of "what do I need to sacrifice?" Jesus makes it clear that we have to give up everything for Him. Giving my life to Him was never guaranteed to make life easy, but He has promised it will be worth it, and He requires us to give up everything if we want to truly live out the rewards of a God-filled life. His parables of building a tower and a king in war exemplifies the proper planning of living this life we were desired to live, and that life can never be possible if we don't plan to abstain from anything of the world, the things that pull us away from Him, and the materialistic and emotional thoughts and feelings we obtain when we chase after anything but Him. 
    With the question of sacrifice in the back of my mind, I continued on, turning my thoughts over to the Made to Crave devotional. God couldn't make my calling to sacrifice any more clear. Opening the book to the chapter I last left off on, titled "Growing Closer to God", the authors discussed the true way of getting closer to God; it's not just about going to church, abstaining from cussing, reading the Bible, and the usual "Christian checklist", but its about turning our hearts towards Him and sacrificing everything so that our lives can maintain a focus on Him. It's about turning to the Holy Spirit within us to grow in the fruit of self control when it comes to overcoming addictions and idols that keep us from growing in our relationship. And finally, I gained understanding into a portion of Scripture that I had never had before through the wisdom of these authors, and that is of the story of the rich man asking how to inherit eternal life in Matthew 19. Jesus told the rich man to sell his possessions and give to the poor, and then to follow Him. This act of giving all of our wealth to the poor isn't necessarily a command given by God to everyone, as I discovered, but it was Jesus saying that to truly abide in Him and live the life we were called to live, we must first sacrifice what is most dear to us, and then follow Him. If God wasn't being clear enough, I came across this line from the book as well: "The girl who is struggling with checking her Twitter feed before checking the Bible first thing in the morning might need to fast from social media for a while." God couldn't be any more clear about what He was asking me to do.
      After consideration and prayer, I decided to give up Facebook and Twitter for five days. At the end of the time period, I might go bigger, but starting with this simple sacrifice has been enough to get me back into His Word and has allowed me to grow incredibly closer to Him. He has provided the strength to say no to the internet first thing in the morning. I've been able to read the Scriptures every morning, along with my devotional, as well as allowed me to spend a short amount of time in a different devotional every night. This past Tuesday, the first day of my fast, I also attended my first day of a Bible study with some close friends, and these provisions placed in my life are certainly not there for any other reason besides to purely serve and get closer to God. 
    I ask the question for each and every one of you: is anything holding you back from getting closer to God? What sacrifices is God calling you to make in order that you should thrive in your relationship with Him? From my own personal experience, I can surely tell you that when you listen to His voice, and make sacrifices from the worldly materials, thoughts, feelings, or anything else in your life, you will be changed for the better!



Welcome! I'm so thankful for the opportunity to begin a blog of my thoughts, dreams, stories, and things God reveals to me throughout my life as a teenager and through daily time in His Word. I pray He will use me to inspire & draw others closer to Him! Thanks for stopping by!