Dear Mom,

Devotionals

I wanted to dedicate this blog post to none other then my beautiful mom. With Mother’s Day being this past Sunday, my family and I got the chance to show my mom how much we truly appreciate her. I loved seeing her light up when she opened her gifts and saw the video we made for her, but this feeling of appreciation is one I want her to have every day, not only just on Mother’s Day.

Mom, I want you to know how truly blessed I am to have you in my life. You have taught me so much, and above all else you have taught me to seek Jesus in both times of joy and times of pain. I know there are times you may feel as if you have failed, but just know that me, Emma, Elle and Abby look up to you more then you will ever know. You have not only set an example for us as to what a woman should be, but what a mother should be as well. Your beauty shines from the inside out.

“As is the mother so is her daughter.”-Ezekiel 16:4

My prayer is that if you are a mom, or a mother figure in someones life that you feel appreciated not just on mothers day, but every day. The role God gave you here on this Earth as a mother is one of the most important roles there is. I thank God every day for the mom I have, for it is because of her that I am strong.

So, mom thank you for all that you are and all that you do. To all the other moms out there, thank you as well for just being you. The sacrifices you make on a daily basis show just how much love is in your heart. I encourage everyone to pray for all the moms, as their job is not always easy, but I know they wouldn’t trade it for the world.

-Taylor Johns

God’s Goodness

Devotionals

As I was scrolling down Pinterest for some weekly motivation I came across a bible verse that really stood out to me.

“God, you have been so good to me.”-Psalms 116:7 

Some days life gets so busy that instead of focusing on the goodness in my life, I am quick to focus on the things that are giving me stress. I get so caught up in the craziness that is life that I fail to realize the blessings that are all around me. When I saw this verse, it brought tears to my eyes because God truly has been so good to me, and I don’t give Him the “thank you” that He deserves most days.

I read a quote once that said “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things that you were thankful for yesterday?” This really changed my perspective on things. I am always so thankful for the things and blessings that I receive, however I don’t always show it like I should. So I have decided to challenge myself to start doing two things:

1.Instead of waking up in the morning and have the first thoughts in my head be about what I need to get done for the day, I am going to make them more about what I am thankful for first thing in the morning. This will allow me to start the day with a positive and refreshed mindset.

2. I am going to keep a journal beside my bed and write down 5 things I am thankful for and thank God for those things before going to sleep.

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I encourage you to challenge yourself to do these things as well. It will really put into perspective all the things that we have to be thankful for no matter how big or small they may be.

God has been so good to me, especially just within the past couple of years. I am ready to show Him how thankful that I am for blessing me day in and day out. Having a thankful heart will not only make you shine from within, but people will be able to see it from the outside as well.  I know it is easy to get caught up in the stresses of life, but just keep in mind the goodness of God, especially on days when you feel down. His goodness never fails.

-Taylor Johns

Coping With Stress

Devotionals

These last couple weeks of school have really challenged me when it comes to being stressed. This week in particular…finals week. This semester has been one of my hardest ones in college so far and there have been so many times where I have let the stress get to me. With it being finals week I knew I was going to be more stressed than usual, so I have been doing a few things to help cope with what I am feeling and I thought I would share those today. These tips help with the overwhelming feelings of stress that life may bring and allow you to find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

1.) Give it to God! 

This one may seem easy, but for me it has been one of the hardest things to do. I try to cope with the stress all on my own, instead of giving it to who wants to help me most! In the Bible it says, “Cast your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you”-1 Peter 5:7  

Praying and talking to God about the things that are giving me stress always leaves my mind in a more positive refreshed state.

2.) Take Your Time! 

For me, when there are deadlines and multiple tests to study for, my mind just wants to rush through everything and get it done. I have learned to space things out and focus on bits at a time instead of rushing to get everything done at once. One of my favorite ways to do this is writing down what I need to do in a planner and spacing it out over my week. I try my best to get everything done on Mondays-Thursdays so that I have free time on my weekends.

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3.) Just Breathe, It Will All Workout!

“Be Still and know that I am God”- Psalm 46: 10

Finally, just breathe! Take a break from whatever it may be that you are working on and take some time for yourself. One of my favorite things to do is sit out on my little balcony and read or just simply listen to everything around me. This gives me a chance to refresh my mind so that whenever I do go back to my tasks, I won’t feel so drained. I can sit and find calmness in the fact that God is in control.

Ollie really enjoys it as well…

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These have been my top 3 ways of coping with my stress lately. Life can get crazy busy and it is easy to feel like the world is on our shoulders, but just remember God cares for you more than you could ever imagine and He is willing to carry that weight for you. Whatever your stresses may be this week I pray that you find comfort in knowing that God is with you and everything will be just fine!

-Taylor Johns

 

 

No Rain, No Flowers

Devotionals

I have always loved the saying “No rain, no flowers”. When the rain comes we often times tend to despise it wishing it away, without realizing the true beauty it can bring. Without rain, the flowers would not bloom. While the rain pours down, it turns the sky dark and gloomy, making everything around grey. Nasty puddles fill the roads and it seems as if it will never go away, but it does. The rain always passes.

This past week I shared my story of overcoming an eating disorder on my youtube channel. Never in a million years did I think it would be something I would publicly share. For years I was so embarrassed of it and I let it cause me so much pain. It was a very rainy season in my life, and I felt as if it would never go away. My head was like a dark cloud constantly pouring out negative thoughts and feelings about myself. These thoughts told me “you aren’t skinny enough” “you are pretty enough” “you’ll never be enough”.

For ten years I have let these same thoughts run ramped in my mind. These thoughts have robbed me of so much joy in my life. Instead of my story being something that I was ashamed about, I decided I wanted it to be something that I could use to help others. I want to bring more awareness to eating disorders and mental health because they are things that so many people are struggling with everyday. Just as I did, people learn to hide it well. You never know what someone may be going through.

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“I will send down showers in season there will be showers of blessings.” – Ezekiel 34:26

God allowed me to see the beauty and the blessings that the rain brings. When the rain is pouring, you will feel like it will never end, but when it passes you will see things in a whole new light. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where those thoughts try to ruin my mood, but I am doing my best to learn how to control them. I quit being ashamed, finally got the help I needed, and now I am ready to let my light shine.

It was so hard for me to understand why I was going through the things that I was, and I am sure many of you have felt the same way. I found a quote on Pinterest a couple weeks ago that explains it perfectly:

“May the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary.”- Xan Oku

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If you are going through a rainy season of life, just know that God has a reason for it all. This rain will allow you to grow and bloom in ways that you never have before. He knows you are strong, and He will help guide you through it. God is the light peaking behind that dark grey cloud. This storm will pass, and from it will come beauty and blessings.

-Taylor Johns

He Has Risen

Devotionals

One of my absolute favorite holidays is quickly approaching this weekend…Easter! I have loved Easter ever since I was little. Not only because of getting to spend cherished time with family, but also because of the whole meaning behind it. The story of Jesus’s resurrection will continue to amaze me for years.

There are tons of wonderful stories about Jesus and the miracles He performed throughout the Bible. Reading about them never fails to leave me in awe, but the Easter story always gives me chills. For me, this is the story where I always saw just how truly like us that Jesus was. It’s easy to think of Him as a “super hero” with all of these powers who never feels pain, but this wasn’t the case. Jesus loved, protected, trusted, and hurt just like me and you. 

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross for our sins. Knowing the pain He endured during this time breaks my heart, but just think He did it all because He loved us with a love that is beyond what we could ever imagine. While many were sad to see Jesus part from the Earth for a period of time, Jesus knew that His time on Earth was not done. One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from Matthew 28:6.

“He is not here for He has risen just as He said.”

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The stone blocking the tomb was rolled away and death was defeated! I have always imagined what it would have been like to have been there on the day of His resurrection. What a joyous day, and the fact we still celebrate it so many years later makes my heart so happy.

There is so much about this event to be celebrated. The everlasting love Jesus has for us, the promises He keeps, and the fact that He defeated death. If Jesus can defeat death, just imagine all the other things He can defeat for you. No matter what battles your facing, He will be ready to guide you through. His love for you never fails.

It is easy to get caught up in the material aspects of Easter, but truly remember the real meaning. Jesus loved us so much that He died for us, and made the promise of a lifetime. He proved that not even death could break this promise, and that He would be there for us for eternity. If you know someone who might not know the true meaning of Easter, invite them to church with you on Easter Sunday you never know the impact it could have on their life. I hope you all have a blessed Easter!

-Taylor Johns

Beauty In The Sadness

Devotionals

There are so many things in the life that happen that we will never understand. Why people are taken to soon, or why or sweet pets can’t live as long as we do. There is a lot of joy and happiness in this world, but there is also a lot of sadness. It is easy during these times to question God, to ask him a million “why’s?”…but we have to remember that it is all part of God’s plan, and that He will bring beauty out of the sadness that you are enduring.

At the beginning of this year we lost our sweet pup Lulu. She had been with us since I was in 2nd grade, so she was definitely old in age. However, she was still full of life. She loved being outside and always wanted to be wherever we were. It all happened so quickly over Christmas she was perfectly fine and within the matter of days her health began to take a turn for the worst. On January 2nd, Lulu got to cross the rainbow bridge, and while we were all glad she was no longer in pain, our hearts were broken. Pets become like family, and when one of them is lost it leaves a whole in your heart that will never be filled.

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This past weekend my sisters and I went to visit where she was buried. I had been hesitant to visit it, because I knew it would break my heart into a million pieces. However when we walked over, I saw such a beautiful sight. There had never been many flowers that grew on that hillside, but all around there were tons of little purple wildflowers. It was beautiful, and instead of crying, I smiled because I thought “how is it that in sadness, God always finds a way to bring out the beauty in it”.

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Throughout our lives here on Earth we will endure a lot of sadness, because death does exist and with death comes loss. But God does not allow us to feel this way because He wants to hurt us, He knows that it is all part of His plan and that one day something beautiful will come from it. It may not be weeks after, or even months after but it will.

“Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” -Psalm 30:5

So, if you are currently going through a time of sadness remember this verse. There may be an aching in your heart that will last, but one day the weeping will be over and joy will come. God will make something beautiful out of the sadness, you just have to be patient. He is with you through the happiness and the sadness, and He will never let you down.

-Taylor Johns

 

Ohana

Devotionals

“Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” -Lilo and Stitch

This is one of my all time favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies. In the movie, Lilo took a chance on Stitch, and even though he was different, she loved him and accepted him into their family. When things got hard, Lilo never gave up or left Stitch behind, she supported him and believed in him when no one else did. I have remembered this quote as I have gone throughout my life, and it is something I hope to never to forget. When I think about this quote I not only think about how it relates to our families, but what it means to be in the family of God as well.

This is my puppy Ollie…

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A little over a year ago he became my family. Ollie is a rescue, and did not come from a purebred line of dogs. As you can see he has some different colorings on his ears (and what you can’t see is his cute little overbite). He is not perfect, but in my eyes he is beautiful. I strive to give him the life he deserves, and to teach him what it truly means to be loved. He may be different and he may make mistakes, but that does not make me love him any less. I accepted him into my family, just as Lilo accepted Stitch into hers, and just as God accepted us into His. Just as I strive to give Ollie the best life, God does the same for us! This life was one of the greatest gifts He gave us, and He wants us to enjoy it and along the way find the true meaning of love through Him.

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We are all one big family under God. He loves each of us the same and will never leave us behind or forget us when things get tough. He is there to support us and guide us through whatever comes our way. Not only will He support us, but He wants us to support each other as well. In being brothers and sisters in Christ we need to look for ways to lift each other up and be a light in the dark times. We all make mistakes, and we all are going to have bad days and that is totally okay! Forgive your siblings in Christ just as you would your actual siblings. Love your siblings in Christ as well. Jesus was the perfect example of what love should be, he truly loved everyone no matter their past, their looks, or their background. He just loved, and this is how we should be as well.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”-Matthew 22:39

Making mistakes doe not make God love you any less either. We are human, and mistakes are going to happen! God will believe in you, when no one else does. When you are feeling left behind or forgotten, talk to Him. He will be ready and eager to listen to whatever you have to say. Just like a real father, He will support you and guide you. The path he guides you down may not always make sense in the beginning, but it will in the end.

“I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name.” -Isaiah 49:16

I know that it is so easy to feel alone, but you have God as your heavenly father and a huge family in Christ that you can turn to. Don’t feel like that because of your mistakes or because you may be different that God will love you any less. He will accept you into His family with open arms, just as I accepted Ollie into mine. In the family of God you are loved, supported, and never left behind or forgotten.

-Taylor Johns

A Giving Heart

Devotionals

My beautiful mom and I just recently took a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. This house has definitely been on my bucket list to see for years, so I was absolutely thrilled and so thankful that I got the opportunity to go. The true beauty of the home amazed me. Every single detail was so carefully planned and so beautiful. Not only  did we get to tour this magnificant 124 year old mansion, but we also got to hear a little bit about the history of the home and its occupants. There was one fact that surprised me and really stood out to me….

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George Vanderbilt was the owner of this estate, along with his wife Edith. The house and the land around it had many working parts, so along with that meant that there were a lot of “servants” working for the Vanderbilt’s’. Since this family was so wealthy, and had servants within the home one may think that they were “stuck up” or did not appreciate the value of those who helped them. However, this was not the case. In fact, it was just the opposite. Edith Vanderbilt always made sure the servants were taken care of. She would make her rounds through the estate daily just to check on them. Often times she would put together care packages and food baskets for them to give to them, especially around the holidays. She loved giving and taught her family to do the same.

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Each of you should  give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly, or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:7

We all should have a giving heart, just as Edith did. Even though the were a wealthy family, they took the blessing they had been given and used that to help others. Giving is so important no matter how big or how small. Giving also does not have to be materialistic. It can be as simple as giving love or kindness. As the verse says, we need to give what our heart truly feels to give and to be joyful in doing so.

Giving more was one of my top goals for 2019, and I encourage you to put in on your goal list as well. The feeling you get knowing that you have blessed someone by giving is amazing. By being a blessing in the lives of others, God will also bless you more than He already has! Some of my favorite ways to give are:

  • Donating clothes
  • Church offerings
  • Donating to charity
  • Buying someone a meal

Those are just a few ways that I like to give, but there are an endless number of ways that you can give! In the next few weeks, practice giving more, not only to your friends and family, but to strangers as well. You never know what is going on in someones life, so   a simple gesture of giving could really make someones day. Ask God to show you ways you can give, and He will guide you. Not only will giving more really impact your life, but it will the lives of others as well. You are setting an example of how to be a light for God’s kingdom. A giving heart is one of the most beautiful things to have. 

-Taylor JohnsIMG_8699

Trusting The Path Ahead

Devotionals

I am so happy to be back writing after a wonderful spring break spent with my loved ones and getting to explore. The first day of break, my boyfriend and I went on a hiking trip and decided to go on a trail that we had never done. This was a little frightening because not only were we the only ones there, but I did not know what lied ahead on the path. Parts of the trail we were able to see what was in front of us, but for the most part we never knew what might be around the corner. However, we trusted it and went anyways. This got me thinking….this is exactly how life is.

In life, we may not always chose the right path and that is okay because there is a God who is ready to be your guide. He wants to lead you down the right path. This being said, it does not mean that path is going to be easy. You may not even understand why God is choosing to take you down a certain path, but you have to trust Him. It is extremely scary to not know what might be around the corner, but just remember that God will be there with you every step of the way.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.-Proverbs 3:5

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God knows just what He wants for your life, and you may have to take many different twists and turns to get there. One day you may feel called to take one path and years down the road God may say it is time to move on. This isn’t because He wants to confuse you, but because He knows just where you should be at certain times in life. He wants you to listen to that calling and to obey His wishes. Everyone of us has a purpose here on this beautiful Earth, and God will reveal it to you in His timing. Finding the right path can be frustrating at times, but we just have to be patient.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers the dry wasteland.-Isaiah 43:19

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Thinking of life as one big trail is an exciting perspective. You never know where it make take you, and that is all part of this beautiful journey that God has created for us. We weren’t meant to have everything figured out right off the bat or to understand everything either. We learn as we know and grow in Him, and trust the path that He has put in front of us. Trust can be one of the hardest things to do, especially when you don’t know what the future holds. However, putting your trust in God will be so rewarding. You may not understand now why He is leading you down the path you are on, but He has a purpose and He has a plan. Be patient and trust the path ahead.

-Taylor Johns

 

 

Learning To Be Myself

Devotionals

Learning to be myself has been one of the hardest things…

I am shy, and I always have been. For years I was made to feel as if this is one of the worst characteristics to have. I have always hated this about myself up until recently. I finally realized that God made me this way for a reason. Because I am shy, there is a lot of things that come as a challenge to me, so that means I have to work hard to accomplish these tasks. God made me this way, not so I would hate it, but because He knew I could handle what came with it and that it would only make me stronger.

“Be Strong, Be Brave, Be Fearless. You are never alone.” -Joshua 1:9

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Over the past couple years I have done several things that are really out of my comfort zone. I started a youtube channel, began doing devotional videos on Facebook, and started this blog. It shocked so many people, because it was definitely something that no one could see me doing, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do it. At first, (and still am sometimes) I was so scared of what others may think about me. I thought “everyone is going to think I am so weird”. I knew it was out of the ordinary, especially in my town but I gave it a shot anyways, and I am so thankful that I did.

Through my videos and this blog I have been able to show the world who I am, and truly find my passions. Yes I am shy, but I love sharing my passions with others and creating new content every week makes me so happy. Slowly, but surely I am learning to do the things that make me happy and to be who I am, regardless of what others think. I have been able to show my more outgoing and creative side through these platforms, and I am so grateful for that. I am positive that not everyone who watches my videos or reads my blog likes it, but that’s okay because I love it. Hearing how it impacts the lives of others absolutely makes my day and means the world to me.

A few years ago if you would have told me that I would have been doing the things I am today, I would have said you were crazy. I didn’t believe in myself, and I let my shyness hold me back from a lot of things. Today, I take that shyness as a challenge and allow it only to make me stronger. I know that God made me who I am for a reason and a purpose, and that goes for everyone! He has allowed me to see a glimpse of what that purpose is, and through that I have been able to find myself.

Everyday I am still working on just truly being me. I don’t want to regret not doing something just because someone else told me it was “weird” or that I just wasn’t the type of person that could succeed at it. I want to live my life and experience true joy in doing the things that I love, and inspiring others to do the same. I am growing to love the shy, awkward girl that I am and fully embracing that for what it is. It is okay to be different and out of the ordinary, God made us all different for a reason.

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No matter the situation, always stay true to yourself. God made you wonderful, and beautiful and created you for great things. There is only one you in this world, so show the world who that person is! Live your life doing things that make you happy, find what you are passionate about, and use your light to guide others to do the same. God will be will you every step of the way. Take chances, even if it may seem “out of character” for you. Go after your dreams, you never know where they make take you. Learn to be yourself and learn to love yourself, because God loves you just as you are. 

-Taylor Johns