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.

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“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.

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“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

Staying Productive

Lifestyle

With everything going on in the world right now, it is easy to fall into the hole of panic. As my college classes have been transitioned to online, I have stressed about how the rest of the semester will go. It will definitely be different, but I know that our teachers are doing everything they can to make this transition easy for us and them as well. To those of you who are parents, I know this is a hard and stressful time for you. I am praying for you, as you work extra hard to do everything you can to help your little ones during this time. This is a chaotic time for our country, but it is important that we focus on the things we can control, instead of worrying about the things that we can not.

Since I have a lot more time to be at home, I decided I was going to make the most out of it. I want to be as productive as possible during this time. Staying productive is a great way for us to take our minds off of everything else going on around us. With this being said, we should still be cautious and take measures to keep ourselves healthy, but worrying ourselves to death over matters we can’t control is not going to do us any good.

I want to share some tips on how you can stay productive and make the most out of this time! I have tried all of these so far, and this day has already been one of the most productive days I have had in a long time.

Tip # 1: Wake Up Early

Now, I know this can be extremely hard for us night owls (trust me I feel your pain), but it is so beneficial. Even though I did not have a set time to start my classes this morning, I woke up at 8:30 and got my day started. I showered, had my breakfast and coffee and got right to work. Staring the day early allows you to get things done earlier in the day, so you have more time in the evening for other things you like to do.

Tip # 2: Get Some Housework Done

Since I will be home the majority of the day now, I figured it would be the perfect time to get caught up on laundry, cleaning, and organizing. For me, I hate doing it all at one time so I found a schedule that works perfect for me.  (They have tons on Pinterest) It allows me to get a little done day by day, which is perfect since I still have school work to do in the morning. This is also a huge way for me to destress and declutter. The cleaning/laundry schedule I use is below:

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Check out my Pinterest board for more cleaning/organization inspo!

 

Tip # 3: Do Something For You

Wether it be once a day or once a week, I encourage you to take a little time out of your day to do something that you enjoy and that allows you to destress. It can be anything from reading to journaling to praying or exercising. Whatever it may be, make time for it and use that time to take a break from everything else that is going on.

I know that this is a scary time, but is important that we still stay productive and do the best we can with the situation at hand. Find a productive routine that works best for you and stick to it! I am praying for our country, as well as all of you. Please remember to stay safe and wash your hands! 

 

-Taylor J

Welcoming 2020

Lifestyle

I honestly can’t believe that in a few short days we will be welcoming not only a new year, but a whole new decade.  2019 was one for the books. I’m not gonna lie it really had me in the first half and I began to think I’d never make it through, but things quickly turned around and it turned into my favorite year yet.

This year has taught me so much about life, people, and myself. I learned that life isn’t always going to go your way and that’s okay. One of the hardest things I had to learn how to do is to let go and let God. I have to accept the fact that His plans for my life are way greater than any plans I could make for myself. Getting to experience His blessings and some of His plans for my life this year has been nothing short of amazing.

The lessons that I have learned this year have made me so strong, and while they were painful, I am so thankful. I learned that people aren’t always who you think they are in the beginning. People can put on a mask, but once their real colors start to show that is when you have to be careful and sadly I failed to do so. I cared too much and gave too much time and energy when I shouldn’t have. I got my heart shattered and was left so broken. While at first I thought it was the worst thing that could’ve happened I quickly learned that it was the best. I did not need anyone in my life that was going to leave me feeling any less than loved and worthy everyday.

I felt what I needed to feel, I picked myself up and I was determined to be the strongest and happiest version of myself that I could be. I learned to love myself more and more each day. I knew I was a little broken, but I accepted that and let it make me stronger. For the first time I was living life for myself and not for someone else. I went out, I had fun, and I did things that made me smile from ear to ear. I finally felt free and happiness was written all over my face. Little did I know that God had something big planned for me this year…

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In August I met the love of my life. Out of all the blessings I received this year he is truly my biggest one. I thank God every single day for sending him to me at the perfect time in my life. He made everything I have ever been through feel worth it. All the pain, tears, and heartache were all worth it and I would go through it all a million times if I knew he would always be the end result. Not only did I gain one of the sweetest humans in my life, but I gained a second family as well. His family never fails to make me feel welcome and they love me like their own.

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I am so excited to welcome 2020 with open arms. I get to take on a whole new decade with someone who loves me for everything that I am and who is my absolute best friend. I get to learn more about myself, experience new things with my family, and will be closer to graduating college. There is so many exciting things in the decade to come and I can’t wait to see what God has planned. Let’s make this the best decade yet.

Goodbye 2019… thank you for the memories, lessons learned, and blessings you have given me.

-Taylor J

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

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”.

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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.

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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

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

Devotionals

This week I started a new devotional study book that I received while attending Sunday school at my boyfriend’s church. There was a verse in the very first lesson that stood out to me and it was like God knew I needed to see it. The verse was Matthew 6:33-34.

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Lately I have been worrying nonstop about my future. I worry that it will not be as I imagined or that I am not paving the way to a good future for my future self and family. These thoughts run through my head all day long and keep me up at night. When I saw this verse it was almost as if it had big flashing lights around it prompting me to pay attention to it.

A lot of the times, because I am constantly worried about my future I can’t enjoy the present moment. I am determined to make this happen no longer. As the verse says ” do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself”. I want to focus more on living in the present each day and just appreciate the fact that God has given me another day on this beautiful Earth. Each day I want to seek His kingdom more and more, instead of worrying about what tomorrow may bring.

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I have to learn that you never know what tomorrow, or the future may hold. Tomorrow could be the best or the worst day of your life, but that’s okay because God has plans for your today that you need to pay attention to. He is constantly at work in our lives, and most of the time we are to busy worrying about other things to even notice. I want to learn to appreciate each day, appreciate what God is doing in my life, and put my trust in Him for my future and lean not on my understanding but on His.

If you are struggling with worrying about your past or your future say this prayer with me today:

Dear Lord,

I thank you for another day you have given me here on this Earth. I pray that you calm the worries in my mind about the future. I trust in you to lead and guide me down the right paths and I know you will be with me even in times of trouble. Help me God to lean not on my understanding but on yours, for your plans for my life are greater than I could ever imagine. Help me to remain patient in the process, and know that I can always count on you. Thank you Lord for constantly being at work in my life and for loving me unconditionally.

Amen

-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