Promise Keeper

Devotionals

The past week has been a tough one for me, and has left me feeling down. There are many times in my life where I wonder why certain situations turned out the way they did. I try to find peace in knowing that God has a reason and a purpose for everything and in times where I question what that reason is, I always turn to His word for comfort. Last night as I was reading, I came across the verse “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:41 

IMG_2132

Reading this verse brought me instant peace. I’ll be the first to admit that in the past few months I have not been as diligent about reading my bible or furthering my relationship with God, when that is exactly what my soul was craving. My anxiety, worry, and hurt calmed down in that moment and I knew that everything was going to be okay.

Life isn’t always going to be easy. All of us will go through many storms and days where it seems like the world is against us. However, we have to find peace in knowing that even when it feels like the world is against us…God is for us and He has made promises that he does not intend on breaking. In times of trouble and strife it can be hard to trust in these promises, trust me I understand, but He has a plan for all of us.

I always have to remind myself that God is a promise keeper and His plans for me are bigger than any I could ever imagine for myself. In times of heartache and trouble I need to always remember to look to Him and find comfort in His plans and purpose for my life. It makes me so happy to know that I can always count on Him, no matter the situation at hand.

IMG_2133

I know that time heals, and in the meantime I will keep my focus on God and the promises He has made all of us and find peace in that. Here is my prayer for the day, “God I pray for healing and I pray for peace. I thank you for the promises you have made me, for I know you will keep them. Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to lean on you Lord and know that you have a reason and purpose for everything. Amen.”

-Taylor Johns

What Is Our Purpose?

Devotionals

Last night, my family decided to start a bible study. It was my mom’s idea, and even after the first night, I am so thankful that she got us all on board. We all sat around the living room, opened up our bibles and dove into the word. The lesson was about Jesus traveling all around to help others and preach about the kingdom of God. It also touched on how His purpose on Earth was to save us from our sins. We had a sheet that followed up the verses with questions. It asked not only what Jesus’ purpose was, but what we thought our purpose here on this Earth was. I loved this question, because it is not something we think about often.

I have always believed that each person has a special and unique purpose on this Earth. Some were meant to be great doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. However, let’s think about purpose in a spiritual sense. As Christians, we were all made in the image of Christ. This being said, it means our purpose is a lot like His. We were created to spread the good news of the kingdom and to serve others. We each also have been blessed with spiritual gifts that we can use to spread the news of God’s kingdom. There are many articles online where you can read more on spiritual gifts, and even take tests to find out what yours may be. 

In the lesson last night, we learned the importance of being selfless just as Jesus was. He was constantly finding ways he could serve others, and He did it truly out of the kindness of His heart. He showed that serving others does not always mean going to extremes, it can be as simple as showing someone kindness when others do not. My mom touched on the importance of kindness in her new blog post this week, and I would love for you all to read it.

IMG_1012

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail”.-Proverbs 19:21

I find so much comfort in the fact that we were all made for a purpose, and finding ways to live out that purpose every day is something we all should think about.

As a family, we came up with three ways that we can better serve out our purpose.

  1. Find ways to serve others.
  2. Be kind always 
  3. Appreciate things more 

Take some time and write on a piece of paper, or type in the notes on your phone three ways that you can serve out your purpose. Look back on these things each week, and even add to the list as more come to mind! Just know friend, you are unique and special and you have a purpose here on this Earth.

-Taylor

 

You Are Not Alone

Devotionals

I lay here awake, debating on even writing this. What you are about to read has been heavy on my heart for so long, and I finally feel ready. (This may be a sensitive subject to some, and I completely understand if you feel the need at any time to exit this post. This is part of my story and I pray that it can give hope to others).

With the state of the world right now and everyone in quarantine, I have had a lot of time to think. While this gives many people the chance to spend quality time with their families, for some this is a nightmare being played out day by day in their own homes. The thought occurred to me the other day… those people who are suffering mental/physical abuse from their partners have no where to go and I felt my heart breaking.

Years ago when I would hear about people in abusive/toxic relationships I asked the same question that many others do “Why don’t they just leave?” I never understood until it became my reality.

From the outside (for the most part), my relationship looked great. That’s what I wanted everyone to think, and part of me wanted to believe that it was as well. For a while, I was blind to the mental abuse that was taking place. Occasionally friends, family, and even teachers would see how I was being treated and try to warn me. I brushed it off as if it was nothing. Eventually it got worse, and I started to realize the effects that it had on my mental health. I was constantly being blamed for everything, accused for cheating (when he was the one doing so), called crazy, told that I wasn’t pretty enough or smart enough, and that no one else could ever want me.

I decided one day that I did not want to tolerate it anymore and said something to defend myself. By doing this, I caused the mental abuse to become physical abuse as well. My spirits were crushed and I was terrified. From this day on, any time that I said something that seemed off putting, I had to suffer the consequences.

I became drained and I lost myself. I wore more makeup and clothing to hide the bruises best I could. Those I couldn’t hide, I lied when asked about them. I did not know how to think for myself, I became isolated, I lost friends and worst of all I began to slowly lose the will to live. I thought about dying often, because I knew that would be my only way out. I wanted with everything in me to leave, but I felt trapped and it gave me the most sickening feeling.

My parents started to notice a big change in me, helped me get into therapy, and helped me through the process of talking to my family doctor. I was diagnosed with depression and was put on medication. Through all this, my parents begged me to get out of the relationship, but still I stayed. Though the abuse continued, my fear did not. I began to slowly realize who I was and what I was worth. I became closer to God and I prayed and prayed for Him to help me and to guide me.

After almost 4 years, I finally built up the courage and I got out. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth more than I could ever put into words. Since that day, God has worked so many blessings into my life. He put a man into my life whose hands and words show me nothing but love. I have found my way back to myself in many ways, but in other ways I have grown into a new woman…. a strong woman who knows what she’s worth and a happy woman who knows she is loved.

The fact that so many people all around the world are in abusive relationships absolutely breaks my heart. I hurt for them. I pray that I can use what I have been through to help others who may be in that situation or know someone who is. I pray for all of you. I pray that you find the love you deserve. Just remember, God made you beautiful and He made you strong, and with Him you can conquer anything.

If you made it to the end, I thank you for reading my story and I hope that it shines a light at the end of what may seem a never ending tunnel.

Love and prayers,

Taylor

God Is In Control

Devotionals

It has been a while since I wrote a devotional post, and I think now more than ever it is definitely needed. In the span of a few short weeks the world has seemed to turn upside down. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and it is scary. Not only is the situation at hand frightening, but fear of the unknown is as well. I know it keeps many of you up at night, as it does myself. Something that has helped me the past few days is focusing on the fact that God is in control.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the Earth.” Psalm 46:10

We may never know the reasoning for everything that is going on, but God has a purpose for it. During this crisis it is so easy to get caught up in the news and everything else going on that we forget to turn our hearts to the one that can help us the most. It may seem like everything is out of control, but God is working in great and mysterious ways. He wants to hear from you and he wants to take care of your worries.

My mom recently wrote a blog post that I would love for you all to read. In part of the post she talks about the importance of prayer. I cannot stress to you enough how important this really is, especially in a time like this. We need to come together as a nation and lift this world up in prayer. Take a little time out of each day to pray for your loved ones, your community, your governors, president and other countries as well. We may not be able to control the situation at hand, but prayer is one of the biggest things we can do to help.

IMG_5293 2

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Another important thing to remember is to focus on the things you can control, instead of what you can’t. Like I mentioned, we can’t control a lot right now but we can control how often we pray and the precautions we take to keep ourselves safe during this time. I encourage you to stay home as much as you can and take this time to bond with your families, get some work done, or even pick up a new hobby!

I know it all seems like chaos, but in the midst of it all God is our light. He is in control, and we can find peace in this. When you are overcome with worry, pray to Him. This is a scary time in our nation, but we will get through this and I have all the faith in the world that God will deliver us out of these times into better days. I am praying for each and everyone of you!

-Taylor J

Trust His Timing

Devotionals

Something that I have slowly begun to learn is that God’s timing is always perfect. Now, this is definitely not an easy concept to grasp, especially when we are going through rough times in life. Many events that have occurred in my life I have sat and wondered why they had to happen in the first place. Certain events broke me, crushed my spirits, and left me without hope. A few months ago I was in one of the worst head spaces I have ever been in. I truly felt defeated. With the help of my family, I got back on my feet and decided to put my full trust in God and His timing.

“Don’t mistake God’s patience for His absence. His timing is perfect and His presence is constant. He is always with you.” -Deuteronomy 3:16 

In the following months I learned to love myself for who God made me to be and felt a sense of worth that I never had before. For the first time in a long time I felt like myself again (but an even better version). I felt like God was preparing me for something great, and sure enough He was. A little over a month ago God brought my boyfriend Clay into my life. So many things had fallen apart in both of our lives but all of it led to us being able to come together. We both not only had gotten stronger from past circumstances, but we had also learned to love ourselves and therefore we were able to give the best version of ourselves to another person.

IMG_3776

While I didn’t understand His timing at first, as soon as I met Clay I knew everything I had gone through before was worth it. There is not a day that goes by that he does not remind me how worthy I am. He accepted me for all that I am, broken pieces included and I am so thankful for him. I am beyond glad I chose to be patient with God’s timing and how He was working in my life because if I hadn’t I may have never received one of my biggest blessings.

IMG_3774

I ask that in the coming weeks, whatever life throws at you be patient. Trust in Gods timing, because even if it may not seem like it, His timing will always be better than ours. The blessings that He has in store are well worth the wait. Sometimes we have to go through bad things in life to appreciate the good even more.

-Taylor Johns

 

5 Tips For Picking Yourself Back Up When You’ve Been Knocked Down

Devotionals

Life. Will. Kick. Your. Butt.

That my friends, is one of the most true statements you will ever hear. Life is beautiful and one of the greatest gifts God has given us, but sometimes it feels like nothing is going right. A little over a month ago I felt like life had truly knocked me on my face. My whole world did a flip flop and I didn’t know how I was going to get back up again. In the past few weeks I have learned ways to help pick myself back up so I wanted to share them incase any of you all are in the same boat:

  1. Let It Out– Whatever you do, do not keep your emotions bottled up. This is one of the worst things I ever did. I am here to tell you that it is 100% okay to feel. Sometimes you need to sit and cry it out, and that’s okay! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for having emotions, it is normal I promise.
  2. Pray– Not only is God with you through the good times, but He is right by your side through the bad as well. Let him know what is on your mind and He will ease it.
  3. Focus On Things You Are Passionate About- This has helped me so much in the past couple months. Focusing my time and energy on things that I love put me in the best head space.
  4. Exercise- Not only will this focus your mind on something besides the situation you’re going through, but it actually releases “feel good” endorphins in your brain. It doesn’t have to be anything serious, in fact I recommend trying out yoga if you never have. It is so relaxing and really helps you get in tune with both your mind and your body.
  5. Get Out Of The House– I know this one may seem hard. Trust me there are plenty days where I wanted to stay in my pjs all day and binge Netflix (this is okay every now and then of course), but getting dressed up, putting makeup on, and going out helped me so much. Look good for yourself, take a few selfies, and be the most confident you that you can be.

Those are the 5 things that have been helping me the most lately, and I hope they can help those of you who made need it as well. Even though life may kick our butts sometimes, like I said it’s still beautiful. Life is meant to be enjoyed and God wants us to do just that. He knows we will endure hardships, but He is right there to help us through every single one. When life knocks us down it is hard to see the good in things, but we have to have faith that things will get better because I promise, they will. As the verse below says, we have to walk by faith and not by sight. Things may not always be looking up in life, but God is working in ways that can’t be seen and we have to trust that.

“I will walk by faith even when I cannot see.”-2 Corinthians 5:7 

So, if life has got you down lately try these tips and see if they help. Remember that you are a son/daughter of the king of all kings and you deserve everything that this beautiful life has to offer. The struggles we endure are part of what make this life so beautiful, because many times beautiful things bloom out of disaster. Keep your head up and know that you always have a hand to hold.

-Taylor Johns

Accepting Change

Devotionals

I want to start off by saying I am so sorry that it has been such a long time since I last posted, but I’m happy to be back. The past month of my life has been one full of changes and I’m not going to lie, at first I was terrified. I have always been someone who is scared of change. Once I get comfortable and in a routine I don’t want anything to mess it up. I had to quickly realize that change has to happen in order for you to grow to be exactly who God intended for you to be.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Whose confidence is in Him.” -Jeremiah 17:7

You see, when things don’t work out in our lives it’s not because God is trying to punish us. He instead is in the process of opening new doors in our lives and because of that He has to close others that aren’t helping us grow. I didn’t want to accept the change in my life and for a few days I was angry at God. I thought I had it all together and had my life figured out, but He showed me that His plans are greater. Over the past few weeks I have learned to accept the changes that have taken place in my life, and I could not be happier. Once I started to see it as a blessing rather than a heart ache my whole perspective changed.

(My sweet nana & I, something that has been so helpful through this process of change is spending time with family, in a season of change surround yourself with people who will help you through it.)

I am learning so much about myself in this process. I have learned that for years I broke my own heart by accepting love that was not what I deserved. I became a version of myself that I never wanted to be, but now I am truly glowing. God has shown me my worth and what I deserve and I believe that I would not have realized either one of those things without change. I would have been stuck in the same downward spiral for the rest of my life.

I know change isn’t easy to accept, but if you don’t like the way life is going right now it is something that has to happen! Pray that God will show you the path for your life and allow Him to help change the negative parts of your life that are hindering you from your true purpose. I was worried that the person I became after this change was not going to be someone I liked, but turns out it’s someone I love. Not only have I realized the love I should have for myself, but others around me have noticed the positive effect change has had on me as well. It is so refreshing to hear people say that I look truly happy and full of life, because that is something I haven’t heard in the longest time.

Change may not always be what we want at first, but God will always show you that it is for the better and all a part of His plan. So accept it, trust it, and let Him guide you. Say this prayer with me, “Lord, I thank you for how you are working in my life and the changes you are bringing. While I may not understand now, I know I will eventually and that these changes will shape me into the person you know I can be. Thank you for being the light that guides me down these new and unfamiliar paths, I will follow you and trust you. Amen.”

-Taylor Johns

Through It All

Devotionals

These past few days have single handedly been some of the hardest of my life. I’ve experienced heartbreak like never before and to be quite honest I’ve thought in my head multiple times “God I dont know how I am ever going to get through this.” I’m feeling broken, defeated, and unmotivated but I find peace in knowing that while everything in our lives may not remain constant, God always does.

My parents have been through a lot in the span of their lives, but over the years they learned that through it all if you keep your eyes on God anything can be made new again. This is the advice they have given to me in the past few days and I could not be more thankful for it. They have been an example to me that good can come from the pain and the hurt.

At first, I was angry at God. I was angry at him that He would let me feel this much pain when I thought I had it all figured out. I never imagined my whole world would be turned upside down this week as it was. I look at my parents and not only see my support system but I see an example of how Gods plans are always greater than our own, and that if things are meant to be they will be. It may take time, but if you keep your eyes and heart focused on God he will show you the way.

As for me right now, my heart is aching but I know that this pain is not for nothing. God has plans and this is is way of telling me that I need to grow and learn more about myself in order to reveal his true purpose for me. I know this won’t be easy, but through it all I will keep my eyes on Him.

“It Is Well” by Bethel Music has always been one of my favorite worship songs because the lyrics are so beautiful. “Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you”. My friends I ask for prayer as I go through this hard time, as I will be praying for those of you who may be experiencing the same. It will all be well, we just have to keep our eyes on Him through it all.

-Taylor Johns

The Storms of Life

Devotionals

Storms are something that have always amazed me. I have always wondered how they can cause so much destruction, but also be so intriguing and beautiful. When it comes to our everyday life we can experience a lot of storms, but they may not always appear to be so beautiful. I often find my self questioning if these storms are even necessary. Nevertheless, God always answers my question with “of course”.

Whatever storm has or is tearing through your life is doing so for a purpose. Wether your storm be a loss, financial trouble, physical health, mental health etc. I promise that this storm has a purpose to serve, and once it passes that purpose will be revealed. It’s easy to see the ugly in the storm. The dark gloomy clouds, the debris, the damage…but what’s not so easy to see is how beautiful the sky looks when the lightening illuminates it, or the glisten of the ground after the rain has fallen on it. My friend, just as the lightening illuminates the sky, the lightening of your storm illuminates how strong and beautiful you are.

IMG_1627

You may feel weak, tired, and ready to give up but remember…storms always pass. These storms in your life are a chance for you to grow. The growing process may be hard and it can be devastating but you will come out so much stronger in the end. Take each day one step at a time. It’s okay to feel scared and sad and so much more. Feel those things and feel them deeply. Share your heart with God, share your concerns and fears with God. Ask Him to show you the purpose behind your storm and be patient in His reply.

If you are experiencing a storm in your life right now, it may be hard to see through the dark clouds, but good things are coming. This is a promise that he made in the Bible:

“God promises to make something good out of the storms that bring devastation to your life.”-Romans 8:28

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

We also have to remember that everyone is going through storms in life the timing may just not be the same as ours. I encourage you to be the sunshine in someone else’s storm. If you have a friend or family member or even a complete stranger that is going through a hard time build them up and pray for them. Shine some light into their darkness and remind them that their storm will pass.

-Taylor Johns

Healthy Mindset

Devotionals

Happy Monday! I used to dread Monday’s, and every now and then I still do. However, instead of looking at them in a bad light, I look at them as a new start. A start to a new week and a chance to start new habits. One of my goals lately has been keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. I tend to forget that not only does this mean getting my body healthy, but my mind as well. Having a healthy mindset has always been hard for me. Surprisingly it is a lot easier to get your body healthy than your mind. Our minds are one of the most powerful tools we have and if we don’t use it for good it can really harm us.

A lot of times when I wake up in the morning, I don’t wake up with a cheerful heart and mind like I should. I automatically start thinking negative thoughts. I am sure many of you all can relate to this as well. This is a bad habit I would like to change and this Monday was the perfect time for me to start a new one. I have been wanting to start waking up earlier, so last night I set my alarm and was ready to wake up bright and early. Well, come alarm time I must have turned it off because instead of waking up at 8:30, I woke up at 10:30. Instead of beating myself up for turning off my alarm or being angry that I slept most of the morning, I said “You know what it’s all going to be okay, I got some extra rest, I’m thankful to be alive another day, and I’m going to have a great day”.

-4487276298197627928_IMG_2262

You see, things aren’t always going to go right. You may wake up late, or mess something up and that is just life. We can’t let small inconveniences ruin our whole day. If we start the day and the week with a cheerful mind and a cheerful heart it makes these inconveniences a lot easier to handle. It will be easier to recognize them for exactly what they are (minor inconveniences) and to move on from them.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.”-Proverbs 17:22

Let’s start thinking more positive thoughts than we do negative. It’s a new day and a new week, so you have a chance to start fresh. Having a healthy mindset needs to be at the top of your to-do list, and I am so glad I have put it at the top of mine. I’ve realized that if my mind is healthy it will aid in getting my body healthy. A cheerful heart means a cheerful mind, so let’s work on getting our hearts and minds in the right place.

-3366767790808117702_IMG_2267

Here are a few things to kick start a healthy mindset: 

-Start the day with positive thoughts instead of negative ones

-Don’t let minor inconveniences ruin your whole day

-Be kind to yourself, and to others

-Cheerful heart, cheerful mind

Say this prayer with me to start off your week,

Jesus, thank you for this fresh start. I ask for your guidance as I practice a healthy mindset. Let my heart be cheerful as it will be medicine to my mind. Give me patience to handle the inconveniences in my life. Thank you for the mind that you have given me, I promise to use it for good. Help me Lord to recognize when the devil is trying to get in my mind, and allow me the strength to overcome it. I thank you and I love you, Amen.

-Taylor Johns