Life as a Teen in This Crazy World

  

I think that being a teen is just so crazy. 
We’re supposed to look and act like adults, but really, we still have the minds of children for the most part. (At least I do sometimes.) Life is a roller coaster, and we’re standing up on the loop-de-loop. (Or something like that. I’ve never been great with analogies.) Anyway, I wanted to talk about our crazy lives, and what we can do about them.
1) Stress.
Life is stressful…there’s no denying it. School, pressure from everywhere, freedom, tragedies…you name it, we feel it. Life is hard. The older you get, the more you understand and are told.
It’s hard to deal with, you know. One of my many comfort verses is Psalm 4:8.


“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God is my peace. I’ll rest in Him. His embrace makes my stress disappear. I have peace in the crazy.

2) Love. 
Yet another crazy thing. There’s all this pressure coming from the world, saying, “Being single is bad. You need someone to satisfy your every need. How can you get it? Start dating! With countless [easy] payments of BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome)! You’ll never realize how hopeless you were once you have a significant other.” But…that leaves us confused. I mean, who doesn’t want someone to love them for them? Hold them and comfort them? Save them? We all want that, but it can’t be satisfied by a human relationship. It comes from a relationship with God…and if we don’t realize this, we are gonna be lost.
3) School.
Yup. School. I don’t like it any more than you…but we gotta do it. Sometimes I get so frustrated and freaked out over it. But it’s so small in the grand scheme of life, so here’s a verse that helps me through.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)

We will make it. Really. (I’m going to save this post to my favorites so I can read it every day and be reminded of this.)
4) Everything Changing.
Everything is changing. It’s not really fair. Lives change, friends move away, life. is. insane. The one thing that I have to hold onto is this — Jesus never changes. Ever. 
Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 
He never changes, even when everything else does. I can stay secure in that!
5) Pressure — From EVERYWHERE.
Social pressure. Emotional pressure. Physical pressure. Family pressure. Everything says “GO HERE! DO THIS! DON’T SO THAT!” And it’s hard. Need I say it again? IT IS HARD! Who do I please when I’m being torn in fifty bazillion directions? Well, here’s who. 
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV)

We need to live to please God, not man. That takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it.
Life is crazy. But not impossible. 
Being a teen is hard. But we have the Creator of the Universe on our side!
We don’t need to worry. God’s got this. 
It will be okay. We will survive our teen years…and by following God, we will THRIVE. 
*aj

How Long Will I Trust God?


How Long Will I Trust God?
Really, how long will it be? What will be the thing that would make me stop?
The world wants me to believe that I know what’s best for me. Because “only I would (and do) know that”. It’s “my” life, after all. 
But wait. Who gave me “my life”? Um, God did, actually. So technically it’s not “mine,” then. 
The Spirit of God has made me,         and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4, ESV)
Who knows what’s best for me? Well, God gave me life with a purpose, so He must (and does). 
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138:8, ESV)
Sometimes that’s the only thing I have to hold on to. When my world falls apart and I can’t help it, He will get me through. When life crumbles and feels like it’s crushing me, it’s okay. 
Because I trust God. 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,         and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)
I will trust Him always. 
I will trust Him when I succeed. I will trust Him when I fail. 
I will trust Him when I’m singing with joy. I will trust Him when I’m crying tears of pain. 
I will trust Him if I stay right here. I will trust Him if He calls me away. 
I will trust Him with now. I will trust Him with the future. 
I will trust Him if I stay secure. I will still trust Him if I lose everything. 
I will trust Him no matter what happens. 
I think we have two choices. 
1) Trust God and follow along, because He knows what’s best for us. 
2) Don’t trust Him and be dragged around in life, because we honestly have no idea what’s best for us.
Without God, we. are. hopelessly. lost. Really. Our finite minds cannot know the best. We can’t even make good little decisions. How could we possibly trust ourselves with our entire lives?
I’ve made my choice. I’m trusting God, and I’m not turning back.
*aj

Where Is God?



Happy Tuesday everyone, and happy early Easter! Because of the undeniable-yet-almost-unbelievable fact that Easter is right around the corner (despite of the three feet of snow on the ground right now), I have decided to do an Easter-themed post again. I love Easter because of what it means. I hope you find the same thing!

Many people are taught to think that God is “over there”. That He doesn’t care. That He wound up the world like a clock and then stepped away. That He couldn’t really be involved with us. 

But that, dear friend, is a very sad and misleading lie. 
God is love. How do we know what love is? We get to know God, because we CAN, and what God (through Jesus) did for us. 
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16, ESV)

Why would Jesus lay down His life for us? Because He loves us.

Greater love has no one than thisthat someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, ESV)

We sinned and broke our relationship with God. Sin equals separation from God. So why again did Jesus come?

To show us love. To lay down His life for us. To restore our broken relationship with God.

We need to lay aside the facts of our past and what we’ve done to think that we could never accept love from God. 
It’s true that we don’t deserve it. But that is how we know true love, that he reached out to us when we had run away…far away…too far away to be found by anyone accept God.

God wants to know us. And we can know him too. We know God because we accept His amazing love that He has shown us. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)

God is not “over there”. He is here. And His love reaches far…no matter how far you are, you can always come back. 

I know this post is extra short today, but seriously, what more is there? 
Love is here because God is here; God is Love. 

Thank you Lord for your amazing love.

*aj

Category: From The Bible
Tags: love, Jesus, Easter, amazing love, God’s love, God

What is True Love?

What is True Love?
Where does it come from? Is it Prince Charming sweeping Cinderella off her feet? Is it a romantic moonlit stroll on the beach? Is it chocolate and roses on Valentine’s Day?
 Is it getting the attention and affection that a girl wants? Is it getting the appreciation and respect that a guy wants?
How do we know what love really is?
Let me start out by saying that I want to be loved. Like really and truly loved. (Not that I’m not loved by my family. I *truly* am. But I mean that I want to be loved by someone who has absolutely no obligation to. I think most people seek after this love.)
I want someone to look deep into my eyes and say, “Amanda, you are worthy of love (which is actually what ‘Amanda’ means) and I love you with my whole heart.”
 Deep down, don’t we all want that in one way or another? I know that I do. (Maybe that’s just because I’m a girl. Whatever.) Acceptance. Love. Respect. Affection. Appreciation. We all want it! But – you’ll never find that PERFECT satisfaction in a person.
There is a love that I have found – true love – it goes deeper than any human love. Regardless of my performance, I am reached. Despite my everyday failures, I am pursued. This love died for me and is the only love that can satisfy. What love have I found? The perfect love of God.
We’ll never be truly satisfied until we set our hearts in the love of God. We can even be Christians and not do this! (Bad scenario, by the way.)
Our ultimate love and satisfaction should come from God’s love. I know this might sound cheesy, but I’ve learned to say, “I know how to be content in all circumstances, whether in a relationship or single, because my relationship with God is TRULY ALL I NEED to be satisfied.”
Last year, I sought to be noticed. I don’t think I understood then how useless that would prove to be! This year, I’m focusing on more important things – like loving my Heavenly Father and loving others. Why get into a dating relationship now? I have all that I need to be content…and even more, full of JOY.
Disclaimer: I do NOT know everything about love. And NOT AT ALL am I saying that a serious relationship or marriage is not fulfilling. From all the people I’ve talked to, marriage is truly wonderful (and personally I’m really looking forward to it!) but only God can satisfy our craving for love. Marriage is an expression of God’s love, not the fullness of it. The fullness of God’s love – Jesus’ death on the cross for us and therefore forgiveness, love, and acceptance – is truly satisfying.

A Journal Entry: Who I Am, Who God Is

Okay. This isn’t exactly a regular post. (I’ll be back with a regular post next time!) I’ve felt all these things…and yet God has stayed by me. He’s gotten me through and He never changes or lets me down. And I hope that when YOU read them, you are reminded of who God is in spite of you are, too.
God, when I am faithless, you are faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13)
When I am hopeless, you are my hope. (Romans 15:13)
When my heart is breaking, you comfort me. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 34:14)
When I fail, your grace washes over me. (Hebrews 4:16)
When I am depressed, you care about me. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
When I suffer, you cry with me. (John 11:35)
When my world crumbles, you stand. (Psalm 94:22)
When I am not good enough, you are. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
When I don’t know how to love, you are love. (1 John 4:16)
When I am at a loss for words, you speak truth. (John 17:17)
When I feel ugly, you remind me that I was made in your image. (Genesis 1:27)
When I sin, you are perfect and holy. And you forgive. (Psalm 18:30, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1)
When I want to give up, you strengthen me. (Isaiah 41:10)
When my friends fail me, you are my best friend. (Proverbs 18:24)
When I disobey and run away, you are my good shepherd. (Isaiah 40:11)
When I am betrayed, I am your child. (Galatians 3:26)
When I am shaken, you are my peace. (Philippians 4:7)
When I am in battle, you give me victory. (Deuteronomy 20:4)
When the world hates me, you have the greatest love for me. (John 15:13)
When even my family fails, you are the Everlasting God and Father. (Isaiah 40:28, Matthew 23:9)
Remember His promises…and draw hope. His love and mercy and grace and faithfulness extend to all.
*aj