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

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

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