To The Girl Who Feels Discouraged And Beaten Down

To The Girl Who Feels Discouraged And Beaten Down

Some encouragement and advice from a girl who's been there.

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Dear sister, I see you hurting and I acknowledge your pain. I don't know what causes it, but I know it's there, and I know it's not just you because I see a lot of posts in my news feed that hint that 2018 was rough on many of us and we are praying for prosperity in 2019.

Maybe you just became a mother this year and are unexpectedly raising that child alone. Maybe you lost the person you thought was the love of your life. Maybe you are struggling with depression. Maybe your husband cheated on you. Maybe you have cancer. Whatever it may be, you clicked on this article because you need hope for the future.

If this resonates with you, please listen to me, so that you will not be disillusioned: Speaking prosperity and wealth over your life in Jesus name will not guarantee that your circumstances improve. If that is all you think Jesus does, you're exchanging a diamond for a pebble, and you may not even get your pebble.

Good karma and good vibes are not what you need in 2019, sister.

Being better and making resolutions won't get you where you want to be.

Your anxiety, your laziness, your addictions, your insecurity, and your guilt will not leave themselves in 2018, and yet you are not strong enough alone.

What is it that will truly satisfy you and make 2019 your most radiant, joyful year yet?

It's Jesus, honey. But to avail yourself, you can't just share vague religious platitudes on Facebook and leave it at that. Here is what you should do instead:

1. You must be forgiven of your sins through Jesus’ sacrifice.

You, my sister, are an image-bearer of the King of kings. Your purpose for which you were created is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and none of us will be happy living outside of our purpose. You cannot by definition be peaceful while living in rebellion to your Creator.
You are also living in a world wracked and bending under the weight of ghastly sin, the sin which is committed when humans commit murders, genocides, rapes, thefts, lies. It is humans which cause this and humans who bear the blame. And it is my unfortunate job to tell you with love that you, as lovely and image-bearing as you are, are part of the problem.
Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".
But praise be to our Father, who grows roses from ashes, He made a way for you to be reconciled through Himself taking your punishment. Please do not, dear feminine soul, miss the love in this. What you desire is unfailing love (Proverbs 19:22) and here it is: "He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) His punishment brought you peace--reach out and take it!
"Then he called for a light, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 'Sirs,' he said 'what must I do to be saved?' They said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.' " Acts 16:31-32

2. Find a church.

In order to facilitate your spiritual growth, provide you with friendship, instruct you in Scripture, serve your needs, and give you an opportunity to use your gifts to serve others, God has given us the gift of local churches. (It has been my personal experience that Reformed Baptist churches fill these purposes best, in case you're looking for a recommendation.)

Humans were not meant to live in solitude and execute the affairs of life without help (if you are a single mom, you may have a great appreciation of this fact.) I do not recommend that you attempt the Christian life alone. It isn't effective to expect spiritual growth by claiming membership in the "universal church" any more than you'd expect physical fitness by being part of the "universal gym."

3. Know what following Christ means.

A word of caution: Do not become a Christian in hopes of ironing out your life circumstances and achieving your best life now. You cannot expect health, wealth, and prosperity when you take up the cross of the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3.) The servant is not greater than her master (John 15:20) and our Master has forewarned us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). But I didn't lie to you at the beginning; in fact, the last part of the last verse says "but take heart, for I have overcome the world."

All the money and possessions this world can offer cannot satisfy a heart that was made for another world. True happiness comes from being loved perfectly and from glorifying God, which require no particular life circumstances.

With that said, the holy Christian lifestyle discourages and steers away from the life circumstances which result from sin and spread misery, such as broken homes, sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, and poverty. In Christ, you have the strength, and in the church, you have the support system to break addictions, budget responsibly, and learn the skills required to build a Christ-centered marriage and family, no matter where you are in life. Whoever you are, whatever you've done, it's not too late. I pray that you will take hold of Christ and find the same peace and joy that I have.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Christianity Is About Love And Forgiveness, I'm Sorry If You've Met Christians Who Act Differently

Christianity is rooted in love, but unfortunately not all "Christians" live that way.

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If you've ever been hurt by a "Christian", I'm sorry. If you've ever felt condemned, I'm sorry. If you've ever felt looked down upon, I'm sorry.

That's not Christianity, and we're not all that way. Christians are called to follow Christ, and Jesus Christ loved people. All people. Granted, we are only flesh and our flesh is not perfect, a true follower of Christ would never intentionally hurt another human being. I know that there are people who claim the same faith that I do that that are leaving scars behind in the wake of their actions and words and it deeply saddens me.

As Christians, we are called to love - no matter what color, race, gender, or sexual orientation - we are called to love people as Christ loves us. Unfortunately, in the media, we see stories of people being condemned by "Christians" for their beliefs or lifestyle choices. We are not called to condemn; it is not our place. In fact, John 3:17 explains that God sent His son Jesus into the world not to condemn the world, but to save it through Him. If Jesus wasn't sent here to condemn the world, it is not our job as followers of Christ to do so either. Being a Christian makes us no better than anyone else on this earth. We are just as broken as the next person, the only difference is we've accepted a savior.

I saw a meme on facebook essentially talking about how some of the rudest customers that come into restaurants are the ones who come in on Sunday after church. I began to read the comments because I was genuinely curious about how others felt about this topic and my heart began to break.

Words like "fake" and "stuck up" were thrown around and I'm afraid they're not wrong. There are people who go to church on Sunday and walk out of those four walls only to leave their intentions of living like Christ inside. That's not how it's supposed to be, and unfortunately, those are the people who leave a bitter taste in people's mouths in regards to the church. I'm here to say, on behalf of those of us truly trying to follow Christ, that we're not all that way, and we love you just as you are.

To those who have a misconstrued image of Christianity because of a "Christian" who treated you wrong, I would like to apologize on their behalf. I simply want you to know that you are loved deeply, not only by us but by the creator of the world.

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