The Storms of Life

Devotionals

Storms are something that have always amazed me. I have always wondered how they can cause so much destruction, but also be so intriguing and beautiful. When it comes to our everyday life we can experience a lot of storms, but they may not always appear to be so beautiful. I often find my self questioning if these storms are even necessary. Nevertheless, God always answers my question with “of course”.

Whatever storm has or is tearing through your life is doing so for a purpose. Wether your storm be a loss, financial trouble, physical health, mental health etc. I promise that this storm has a purpose to serve, and once it passes that purpose will be revealed. It’s easy to see the ugly in the storm. The dark gloomy clouds, the debris, the damage…but what’s not so easy to see is how beautiful the sky looks when the lightening illuminates it, or the glisten of the ground after the rain has fallen on it. My friend, just as the lightening illuminates the sky, the lightening of your storm illuminates how strong and beautiful you are.

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You may feel weak, tired, and ready to give up but remember…storms always pass. These storms in your life are a chance for you to grow. The growing process may be hard and it can be devastating but you will come out so much stronger in the end. Take each day one step at a time. It’s okay to feel scared and sad and so much more. Feel those things and feel them deeply. Share your heart with God, share your concerns and fears with God. Ask Him to show you the purpose behind your storm and be patient in His reply.

If you are experiencing a storm in your life right now, it may be hard to see through the dark clouds, but good things are coming. This is a promise that he made in the Bible:

“God promises to make something good out of the storms that bring devastation to your life.”-Romans 8:28

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We also have to remember that everyone is going through storms in life the timing may just not be the same as ours. I encourage you to be the sunshine in someone else’s storm. If you have a friend or family member or even a complete stranger that is going through a hard time build them up and pray for them. Shine some light into their darkness and remind them that their storm will pass.

-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

Joy Comes In The Morning

Devotionals

The past few weeks I have been feeling a little under the weather both physically and mentally. I have been extremely unmotivated and have wanted to do nothing but sleep. These spells in my life come and go, but this one has been one of the hardest ones to kick for some reason. At the end of last week I knew I needed something to get me out of the rut I was in. My sister and I planned a sunrise photoshoot, and even though the last thing I felt like doing was getting up at 5 and getting ready for pictures, I did it…and I am so glad that I did.

If you have never seen the sunrise, I can’t even begin to explain the true beauty of it and the calmness that it brings over your life. As I watched the sun rise and saw it’s rays light up the world, I sat in awe at the true beauty of God’s creations. It was truly breathtaking. It was the most beautiful fresh start to the day. As I began thinking, I realized that no matter what happened the day or night before the sun still rises in the morning. It rises and shines it light on everything regardless of if it was the most beautiful day previous, or if it was a dark and grey stormy night.

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I began to think about my life and how the sunrise applies to it. Some days I am filled with so much joy and light, and other days that light tends to get dimmed by past or present storms that swirl through my head. I have begun to realize that not everyday is going to be sunshine and rainbows but that’s okay. God allows the sun to rise every day giving us a brand new fresh start.

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

On the sunny days, take time to soak it all in. Feel the warmth on your skin and take in the beauty of the world around you. On the rainy days, don’t let the clouds dim your light, shine so bright that your rays come through even the darkest of clouds. Just as the verse says, joy comes in the morning, so don’t focus to much on what may have happened yesterday.

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This is something I plan to practice more and more everyday. I forget how blessed that I truly am and how thankful I should be for each day that God gives me here on this Earth. So I encourage you to practice this as well. Wake up, soak up the sunshine and know that it’s a fresh start. Let your light shine for Jesus and know that no matter what, joy comes in the morning.

-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

 

 

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