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….

IMG_8777

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.

IMG_8694

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

IMG_8622

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

IMG_8628

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

IMG_1093

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.

IMG_1167

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

The Power of Words

Devotionals

When you think of power, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is not words. Our words possess so much power, more then we could ever imagine. The phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” I have never liked, because it is far from the truth. Words do hurt, but they can also heal. The words we speak can have a huge impact on people’s lives, so this is something we need to take into consideration. If they can make such a big impact wouldn’t you want it to be a good one?

Now, we all aren’t perfect and I know we all say things that we don’t mean. The great thing is that for the harmful words that we may say, there are words such as “sorry” that can help mend the brokenness. However, with that being said, we shouldn’t be having to apologize constantly for harmful things we are saying to others, but instead using our words to build others up. Have power over your words, don’t let your words have power over you.

IMG_8413.jpg

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is, “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul.”-Proverbs 16:24

I have always loved this verse, because kindness is so very important. People are battling things everyday such as loss, depression, and all kinds of other demons that we may never see, but a simple act of kindness could make their day. You truly never know what someone is going through, so be kind and show them the light in the darkness. Being kind is not always going to be easy, but it is so worth it. Seeing the true joy spread across someones face is one of the most amazing feelings. Acts of kindness wether they are simple or extravagant can make a world of difference.

Being a kind person will bring so many blessings into your life.  However, when you are a light for God’s kingdom others are going to notice that, and some will be willing to help that light shine brighter and others sadly will try to dim it. The kindness you give, you will not always receive back and that is okay. There are countless stories in the Bible where Jesus could have said something unkind to those who spoke of Him badly, but what did He do instead? He showed them love and kindness! I encourage you in everything you do, to be kind. The situation may not always be easy, but just remember that you never know what someone else is battling. Be a light for them, and show them that there are still kind people in this world. If you are a kind person, you will attract other kind people into your life and that is just what you need! I love the saying “Kind people are my kinda people”, because it is so true. Surround yourself with people that will uplift you and help your light shine even brighter.

“You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do.” -Psalm 145:13

IMG_0711

-Taylor Johns

Troubled Waters

Devotionals

The ocean… it is truly beautiful. It is amongst one of my favorite creations here on this wonderful Earth God has given us. Looking at it gives me peace and the sound of the waves hugging the shore will forever remain one of my favorite sounds. The ocean seems never troubled, never angry, never hurt as I stare gazing at it wishing I never had any of those feelings. However, the ocean too has troubled waters.

Every time I look out into the ocean I forget that it is not always beautiful and calm. It has storms and seasons of destruction. It’s waves rise strong and powerful in times of trouble. While it may be hard to wrap our heads around the idea, we are a lot like the ocean. We go through trouble waters all the time. We experience hurt and destruction and in those moments it may seem like the storm will never calm.  But God gives us the power to rise up above our troubles and stand tall and powerful.

If you feel like you are going through troubled waters right now, just know that you aren’t in this alone. I know it’s scary, but God is with you every step of the way. These times of trouble are only going to make you stronger, God knows you can get through it just trust in him. Just like the ocean, the storm will pass and their will be peace. Trust that God will be with you through the sun and rain, and know that the troubled waters don’t last forever.

img_7319

“When you go through deep waters I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2

-Taylor Johns

 

 

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Devotionals

I had the most difficult time coming up with a name for my blog. I began thinking and brainstorming ideas and then I came upon a picture of  a flower that I had on my phone. It was one of many pictures of flowers, I have always been fascinated by them. How they grow in the most unlikely places, and how beautiful they are when they bloom never ceases to amaze me.

Throughout the past few years I have experienced some struggles and many times I felt stuck. I felt like I was never going to do anything or be anyone.  I began to study in my bible more and spend more time with God to find hope. God showed me, and continues to show me daily that I can bloom no matter what the circumstances may be. Just as the sun is the light source that helps the flower grow, God is our light source. He wants us to open up and share the beauty within our souls to everyone. Learning to bloom can be hard, especially when life does not go as planned, but that is exactly what it is all about! Bloom wherever you are planted.

As we walk through this crazy path of life we are going to grow in the most unlikely of places just like the flowers. Others will doubt you, and at times you will even doubt yourself, but you can’t keep that from allowing you to stand tall and bloom. God will be your sun and your nourishment, so continue to grow closer to Him day by day.

“He will sustain you.” -Isaiah 46:4

-Taylor Johns