God is faithful.
Have you ever felt alone? Better yet, have you ever felt like your problem was too insignificant for God that you decided you did not need His help? That used to be me. I would say “God has so much to worry about. He doesn’t need to worry about me.” As people, and young women specifically, we have trouble with that. We either feel like we have the situation under control or that there are problems bigger than our own so therefore we should suffer through. I used to be a perfectionist. Because of that, every problem that I faced made me feel like I was failing. I would tell myself that I need to do better and I need to be stronger. Why? Because there are people dealing with more than me. Or so I thought. I was inflicting insignificance onto myself and as a perfectionist, that did not bode well with me. I was lying to myself about my struggle and my God. God cares whether you, as His child, are going through something as hard as a death in your family or as small as losing your car keys on Monday morning. He cares when you’re in pain. He cares when you’re sad. He rejoices when you do and is excited for you when you accomplish something! He is faithful. All the time.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
Psalms 91:4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
These verses bring great hope to me. My God never stops loving me, He will never stop forgiving me, He protects me from evil, and He will never leave. He is always there when I need Him most. I have learned why we are to rejoice in our struggles. Once we are on the other side of that struggle we become stronger. We come out of the other side of the storm closer to God and with faith restored. My mistakes, my sufferings, my pain has made me every ounce of who I am today. Closer to the image of my Heavenly Father and these seemingly “bad” circumstances have introduced me to the best people in my life and have led me to great opportunities. In church recently, my pastor told us something incredible. We read 1 Peter 1:6-7 which speaks about how faith gets refined as gold when we go through trials. Pastor told us that, in Peter’s time, the goldsmiths would peer over the gold they had refined and if they could see their reflection, they knew it was pure. That is how God’s faithfulness is shown through trials. He never puts us in any situation that would be too much for us to bear; instead he puts us through just enough fire that we become refined just as gold, so by the time we reach Heaven, He can look at His children and see Himself. In the meantime, He will walk with us every step of the way, holding our hand as we go through our storms of this life.
Written by: Kristen
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8
At camp this year we spent a lot of time talking about “God winks,” which are little things that God does for you simply because he loves you. At the beginning of the week, I thought these were strictly the crazy moments when you feel the presence of God, or when you hear the voice of God. I thought that these were the only way that God really communicated with us. But as camp progressed, I started noticing more and more little things that God had done for me. The one that sticks out the most is when I saw a firefly.
Now, this may seem insignificant to most, but let me explain. I moved from Pennsylvania in 2013. We lived in the country, so many fireflies called our backyard home during the summer. Now I live in South Carolina, and I haven’t seen one since I moved here. When I saw that single firefly at camp this summer, it meant the world to me. It was like God had put that one bug there just for me. Not only did it bring me joy to see this firefly, but God taught me about who he is; more specifically, that he is kind.
More recently, God revealed to me the similarities between the story of Abraham and the story of Jesus. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only (and long-awaited) son, Isaac. Abraham chose to obey God, but God saved Isaac before Abraham could complete the task. God loved both Abraham and Isaac so much that he spared both of them from a tragedy. It wasn’t like God couldn’t give Abraham another son, but God knew how much sacrificing Isaac would hurt Abraham. He loved these mere humans so much that he spared them from heartbreak. However, God chose not to spare himself from the same heartbreak. He sacrificed his only son for us. He loves us so much that he chose to inflict the same type of heartbreak on himself that he wouldn’t allow over one of us! Not only that, but the heartbreak he suffered was because of us, yet he loves us still. God choosing to save Isaac and giving his son for us shows me that he is, in fact, not self-seeking and he always protects us, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13.
A few years ago I found myself feeling completely isolated not only from people but from God. I was talking to him during worship, telling him how alone I felt. In that moment, I heard him tell me that he didn’t forget me. Hearing that changed my outlook on life because no matter how alone I feel, I know that God is still thinking about me.
God is constantly taking me back. Sometimes I run away from him because I’m ashamed, or I separate myself from him because I sinned. But time and time again he takes me back. No matter how much I screw up, I know that he doesn’t love me because I’m perfect, he loves me because I’m his. By always accepting me, he shows me that he is patient, he is not easily angered, and that he keeps no record of wrongs. How comforting it is to have a God like him!
By now, I assume that you’re catching onto the pattern. These are all ways that God has communicated his love and character to me. Sometimes it’ll be as simple as a firefly, sometimes it’ll be through a bible verse, and other times it’ll be by forgiving me. But sometimes I feel like God has gone completely silent, and I’m sure you feel like this sometimes as well. When I feel like this, I assess what I’m doing wrong, since I know that God is always right beside me. What I often find is that I’m not actively looking for him or I’m just waiting to hear his voice. What I fail to realize in these times is that because he is such a great God, he is not limited to communicating with me audibly. He can use any form of communication, but I’m just not looking for it. Once I start looking for him everywhere, I realize that he never went silent.
The next time you feel like you can’t hear God, look for him. Crack open the Bible, take a walk outside, or just focus on the little things. Know that all good things come directly from God (James 1:17). When you look at every good thing as something from God, it’ll change the way you look at life. God will no longer be the God that you only experience during church or prayer; he’ll be in your everyday life. He will no longer be only the God of a gentle whisper during worship, but the God of fireflies. All you have to do is look for him, and soon you’ll see him everywhere.
Written by: Chloe
In March of this year, I sat across from my roommate at almost midnight and said to her, "I just don't feel like God is good. I feel numb." Almost a week later, I received a call that my grandmother had passed away. Just two months before she was going to come watch me graduate from college. In May, I cried and lost sleep for weeks because of fear that was installed after the way someone treated me and spoke to me. In the summer, I have felt lonely, scared, and that numbness is still here.
God has not seemed good.
Time after time, I've sat in my room and told Him, "Are you really as good as I once believed you were? Because you seem really uninterested in showing me that goodness, so I'm starting to second guess you." And I feel like whenever I say this, I'm replied with silence.
You've probably been there, too. You're fearful and alone and you think God is not as good as He claims to be.
But here's the thing: God is good, even when we say He isn't.
My thoughts and fears do not dictate whether God is going to be good to me. Being good is His character. Being good is who God is. Nothing will change that.
Then why do we feel like sometimes He isn't?
Hardships. They're inevitable. And being of faith does not disqualify us from that. James 1 says, "Count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds." Notice the when. There's no if. It's when. It's going to happen. We are going to struggle.
But we are free to struggle, and our struggles don't negate God's faithfulness and goodness. I’ll say it again: No bad day will negate his goodness.
We must challenge ourselves to shift our thinking from a “pity party” in trials to a search for God's goodness in the midst of it. In the stories we read of Jesus' ministry, we read about crazy storms among the seas, and in each one of them, we read about Jesus being there. In the middle of the storm, there is a peace and a hope that goodness is there.
In her book, Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst writes, “When sin entered the world, it broke the goodness of God’s design. And sin absolutely breaks God’s heart. But in no way did sin affect the goodness of God.” This is a reminder I need, and I hope you declare this truth over yourself today. God. Is. Good. Despite anything else.
Whether you feel like you’re wrestling with sin or drowning in a stormy trial, know this: God is a good God. If He wasn’t, He would be a liar. His goodness is a characteristic Scripture declares time and time again. He is good to you, sister. He is so stinkin’ good.
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1).
"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:4).
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Written by: Carrie
Throughout life we all seem to encounter certain struggles: anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity, to name a few. In the midst of these struggles, we often make attaining God’s peace more difficult than it has to be. That’s why Psalm 139 is my “power Psalm” -- the Psalm that encourages me and brings peace to my soul in the middle of the storm. From the first to the last verse it reiterates God’s constant presence in our lives, and there’s nothing more comforting to me than knowing that God Himself chooses to stand beside me through it all!
“O, Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise: you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word in on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” -Psalm 139:1-4
To know that He knows everything about me—my thoughts, my personality, my insecurities, and my struggles—is the most comforting thing. I cannot surprise Him with any egregious thought or awful mistake. He knows me, He knows my needs, and He knows my sins, yet he chooses to love me anyway. How awesome is it that He takes such an interest in us that He knows all our words before we even speak them! How many times have I abandoned Him, yet He still watches over me. It brings me such peace and joy to know that He knows the real me, and He chooses to forgive and love me anyway. He knows all my faults, but He finds me blameless. Others may be disappointed in me, but when I read this Psalm I am reminded that they don’t know me like He does, and His opinion of me is the only one that matters.
“You hem me in -- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” -Psalm 139:5
Not only does He walk alongside us, but He walks before and behind us. He protects our way, hemming us in as we travel. He has set our way before us and He will not leave us vulnerable. He is a good shepherd. The second part of this verse reminds me of a trust exercise we’ll often do at summer camp. There are two participants: one is blindfolded and the other isn’t. The person who isn’t blindfolded places their hands on the shoulders of the one who is blindfolded and tells them where to step. Whenever I’m blindfolded, I usually find myself being scared because I’m not sure where I’m going. However, there is comfort found in knowing that the person whose hands are leading me can see. I think this little part of the verse speaks so much to having faith in God. Not being able to see is scary, but knowing that God has laid His hands upon me is so encouraging. He is incapable of making a mistake. He will not lead me into danger. All I have to do is have faith and let Him guide me.
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, ever there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:6-10
I believe that these verses don’t just speak to physical places, but to mental places as well. No matter how far we may fall into depression, how much we let anxiety take a hold of us, or how many insecurities we take on, He is still there. He will never leave us; in fact, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives within us. No matter how far we may feel from His presence, we must remember that He is still within us, He is still leading us, and He still hears us.
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:11-12
Light beats darkness every time. The sun always rises and casts out the night. We never wonder as to whether the light will overcome the darkness: we know that as long as the sun rises day will come. We never wonder whether or not the darkness will seep out of our closets if we open the door. We know that the light will brighten up the closet. Light overcoming darkness in an indisputable scientific fact. God will overcome every time. Just because we can’t physically see Him as we do the light, we should have the same faith in Him as we do in the sun rising.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:13-16
The world has set a standard of physical beauty that most girls feel pressured to attain: I know I do most of the time. But sometimes I hear this gentle whisper. This gentle reminder that God created me. He formed me with his own two hands: the same hands that formed the mountains and the lilies. Not only did he create me, but he found me worthy of creating. And he didn’t just create my physical body (something that isn’t even going to last). He created my personality. My laugh. And He found all of it worthy of creating. He thought the world needed one of me, and He loves every piece of me. I am his handiwork, his masterpiece. How dare I criticize a creation of His? If he finds me beautiful, how can I even consider hating any aspect of myself? How much love He has poured into me! I can’t even fathom it!
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” -Psalm 139:17-18
We are with him as we fall asleep, as we slumber, and as we awake. He watches over us, and he never slumbers (Psalm 121:3-4). We are safe with Him and He is always with us.
“If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.” -Psalm 139:19-22
Here, David is not speaking of the hatred that is accompanied with ill intent: he speaks of the hatred that comes along with grief and sorrow.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
God cares about us so much. He doesn’t want us to live with any inner offenses because He knows the trouble they cause. He doesn’t bring them up to make us feel bad, He brings them up so that we may be free from sin! I think we just need to remember that all of God’s ways are good and have trust in Him.
Daughter of Christ, you are so loved. You are so worthy. You are worth more than your mistakes and successes combined. God found you -- your body, your laugh, your quirks, and your personality -- worthy of creating. Not only that, but he found you worthy of saving. And at what a high price your salvation was bought! His love for you in unfathomable. Trust his gentle guidance and know that he goes with you wherever you may travel. He’ll give you the peace you’re looking for, all you have to do is trust Him.
Written by: Chloe