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

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

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

 

 

Beautiful

Devotionals

Beautiful… There are many words to describe my little sister Elle, but this is definitely one. Not only is she beautiful on the outside but on the inside as well. This past weekend I had the pleasure of getting her ready for her 7th grade Winter Formal. As I was getting her all fixed up, some of the things she was saying about her self broke my heart. As she talked about her insecurities, I couldn’t help but look at her and think how in the world she could have them, because she was nothing short of beautiful. That is exactly how God sees us every time we are insecure about something….

“We are God’s Masterpiece.” -Ephesians 2:20

The teenage years are something we all know is rough. Either you are going through it now or you have “been there done that”. Whatever the case may be, we know that these years sometimes seemed like they may never end. While they are some of the best years of our lives, they also are years in which we struggle with who we are. The years that we constantly looked to society as an example of what we should look like and because of that, our self esteem was damaged. Now, you don’t have to be a teen to experience insecurities, it happens to everyone no matter what age, but what if we started teaching kids at a younger age about a God that loves them and made them to be exactly who they are?

IMG_8197My beautiful little sister.

I have struggled with insecurities from the time I was very young. I always had a bad body image, and still struggle with it today (I would love to share my story on this in another post).  Learning to be confident in myself and who God made me to be is something I am still learning how to do. With having 3 little sisters, my main goal is to get to a point where I am confident and can help them feel that way as well. I never want them to feel unloved or unworthy or not beautiful because God made them each so special in their own unique way. I try to encourage them every single day, and this is what we should be doing with everyone! If you have younger siblings, kids etc. I encourage you to tell them something positive about themselves every day. Let them know that you not only see them as special, but that God does to.

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. Psalm 139:14

It is okay to not be like every one  else! God made us all different for a reason! He has a special purpose for each and every one of His children and He also sees beauty in us all. As the verse says above, we are his masterpieces! Think of how you would feel if someone was constantly tearing down something you had spent so much time creating? This past week I have been working on being more positive and confident in who I am. Aubrie Patrick, one of the sweet girls I am blessed to know through Lane of Roses, came up with an activity that I have been doing, and would love for you to participate in as well. Here is how it works:

~Cut out some hearts on a plain white sheet of paper.

~Each time you have a thought about an insecurity that is not truthful, write something that is truthful and that comes from God on the heart. This can be as simple as a word or a bible verse.

~Tape the heart to your mirror so that you are reminded everyday that God made you beautiful and He made you to do great things!

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This week I challenge you all to do this activity, practice more self love, and practice loving others more as well. My goal is to be a light to not only my little sisters, but to everyone when it comes to a positive self image. The devil will try his best to whisper lies in your ear everyday, but we have to know who we belong to, and that is God! We are His masterpiece and we were made to be wonderful.

“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” -Ephesians 2:19-22

-Taylor Johns

The Mountains That Made Me

Devotionals

There are often times I wonder what my life may have been like if I had grown up somewhere other than the mountains of Eastern KY. I have said countless times how I wish I would have. But, the truth of the matter is,  my little town and the mountains that surround it have made me who I am today. God knew what He was doing when he placed me here, and for that I am forever thankful.

IMG_1409“God has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will.” -Psalm 37:5

I love my little hometown, but with it being a small town in the mountains there are some downsides. You see, with small towns comes closed minds and small dreams. Definitely not saying that goes for everyone, but it does for most. One thing that has always bothered me so much about growing up in a small town, is that anytime anyone does anything different or out of the ordinary it is seen as “weird”. Putting yourself out there and doing something you love, should not ever be something to fear, and that is something God is teaching me.

Now, while I have encountered some small minded people in these mountains I have also encountered people who lift me up and support me through thick and thin. These beautiful mountains have taught me so much, and without them I would not be who I am today. It was in these mountains that I learned about God. It was in these mountains that I learned the importance of family, and it was in these mountains that I have learned who I am and what I want for my life.

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I have always been extremely shy, and in the past year I have really opened up and found what I am passionate about. When I felt it on my heart to start making videos and writing a blog I was terrified to say the least! I thought, “God why me? I am shy and I don’t want to be made fun of for stepping out and doing something different.” But I knew that was what God wanted, and in doing so I have found what I love. In obeying Him, I am able to share my light with the world and spread his love. God knew just what he was doing when He placed me in these mountains. He knew that doing something out of the ordinary was going to be a challenge for me, but He never doubted me, even when I doubted myself.

These mountains have made me strong. These mountains have made me who I am today. I am learning day by day that it’s okay to be different, others are always going to have an opinion, but if you let God guide you and do something you love, you will experience more joy than ever. So, even if you come from a small town, take a chance on being yourself! I will always be thankful for these mountains that I call my home. Many days I look at their beauty, and I talk to God and thank Him for placing me where He did. While the mountains of Eastern KY may not always be my home, the will always hold a special place in my heart.

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-Taylor Johns

“I lift my eyes up to the mountains where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” -Psalm 121:1-2

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.

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

-Taylor Johns