Tag Archives: God’s Plan

photo-1459350627708-30cff1602fff

A Note On Changing The World

NOTE: If you have not already, subscribe to this blog to receive email updates every time I post something new!

Hello readers.  If you didn’t know already, I started this blog for a school project.  The point of the project was to go outside of your comfort zone and go against the stereotypical expectations adults have for teenagers.  I decided to start a blog because, while it was a whole new experience, it was also manageable.  I have learned so many things through this project; How to set up a blog, more ways to use the internet, how hard it is sometimes to come up with things to write about.  I have loved writing, but when I first started this project I had a much bigger mountain I thought I could climb.

My original idea was to have this blog, write on it, and eventually sell some handmade school supplies off of this blog to raise money for kids in Africa who weren’t getting a good school education.  Looking back I have no idea what I was thinking.  I still love the idea, but that whole project is pretty much the equivalent of two projects.  I soon saw that I was not going to be able to handle having a business on the internet, so I thought, “Ok, maybe I can still do something to serve the kids in Africa, and then write about my experiences on my blog.”  I then contacted some leaders at my church about anything I could do to serve.  Long story short they emailed me back with some great ideas, but the ideas were much bigger picture ideas that could not be completed in the amount of time I had to complete my project.

So, I came up with Plan C, my final project that I have successfully completed: I met with a children’s ministry leader at my church, who gave me a way to serve in children’s ministry.  Since Easter was coming up, my church did an Easter egg hunt for the kids.  They needed me to package invitations with some goodies for families to give friends, inviting them to the egg hunt.  This was a very manageable yet still important way for me to be able to serve God in a hands on way.

Let me tell you something.  This project was meant to be hard.  I had an idea for a hard project, but guess what?  It was TOO HARD.  So, I set a more achievable goal for myself and completed it.  Now, my original goal might be one that someone else is able to accomplish, and that’s ok.  You see, that’s the thing with changing the world.  God has given each one of us certain abilities and passions that we can use to serve Him.  The phrase “CHANGING THE WORLD” may seem big and scary, but it can be misleading.  God doesn’t want you yourself to convert everyone in the world to Christianity or stop child hunger forever, because He knows that one human is not capable of that.  He wants you to use the gifts He has given you to fulfill the plans He has already set for you.

I want to encourage you with this:  There are so many ways you can serve God by using your gifts.  For me that is posting on my blog and doing small tasks to help children’s ministry.  It will be different for every person, because God gave each one of us unique gifts.  A simple way to start is to contact someone at your church with questions and ideas for ways you can serve.  It does not need to be a big thing, because sometimes small things are the most important.  You may not feel like you are “changing the world”, but you can know that God can use you to do amazing things even if they seem small.

618199950_b3b77fb968_z

Are You Extraordinary?

Extraordinary.  What do you think of when you hear that word?  Maybe something out of the ordinary, or something extra special.  Some dictionary definitions include, “beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established,” and “exceptional in character.”  We think of something extraordinary as something unexpected or exciting.  Sometimes we feel like our lives are too normal, boring even, and we wait hopefully for something extraordinary to happen.  But wait.  Let’s go back to that word and pull it apart.  Extra-ordinary.  That’s right.  Synonyms would be extra normal or extra common.  You may be thinking, “My life is definitely not extraordinary.  Extra-ordinary is a much more fitting description for my life.”  Have you ever felt that way?  Maybe you feel like you have a very ordinary life and you envy others around you who seem to be doing all these fun extraordinary things.  You see people on TV and in movies who are basking in fame and happiness, living crazy and adventurous lives and being all around extraordinary.  Well what if I told you that you didn’t need all that to be an extraordinary person?  Let’s look at some people from the Bible that did some pretty extraordinary things, shall we?

David.  The guy who killed a giant.  Did you hear that?  A GIANT.  The Philistines and Israelites are all fighting and everything, right?  So in walks this shepherd boy (the most boring and common job EVER, by the way), who walks up to the giant and kills him with a small pebble.  So he helps win the war for the Israelites and then goes on to be the king.  No big deal or anything.

Sarah.  This is Abraham’s wife.  She was just going about living a normal life when guess what?  God decides she’ll have a son.  Even though she’s super old and it’s technically impossible for her to have children, this is God we’re talking about.  Oh. and one more thing.  This son will happen to be the ancestor of the person who will save the world.

Joseph.  This is a few generations after Sarah.  Joseph is the youngest out of a lot of brothers.  He is his father’s favorite child.  He’s also a shepherd.  So long story short his brothers sell him and he ends up in jail, but God favors him and makes him second in command to the king of Egypt.  Again, no biggie.  He only went from the bottom of his family to the top of the entire country.

Mary.  Ok, this is one of my favorites because it describes extraordinary perfectly.  So, a girl is outside one day, probably washing clothes or something, when who should appear?  An angel.  From heaven.  If that isn’t startling enough, guess what he says?  “Hey Mary.  Guess what?  God has found favor with you!  You’re going to be the mother of the man who saves the entire world!  It doesn’t matter that you’re not married!  This is God we’re talking about!”  Mary’s response is possibly the calmest scenario imaginable.  She praises God instead of freaking out.

Ok. after having read some of these accounts, do you think of the word “Extraordinary” in a different way?  I sure do.  Every one of those people were probably some of the most ordinary people you could find, but God used all of them for extraordinary purposes.  He used them to pave the way for Jesus, who in and of himself was the most extra ordinary and extraordinary case of all time.  A baby born in a barn, the son of a carpenter, who would go on to sacrifice himself so that we can eternally be with God.

So the next time you feel like you have an extra ordinary life, know that God is using you for extraordinary purposes.  It might not be as radical as these Bible accounts, but know that He has a plan to make you extraordinary.

2016!!

Happy New Year everyone!  I love starting a new year because it gives us a fresh start and so much to look forward to.  It also gives us a chance to reflect on the past year, in this case, 2015.  What big milestones happened in your life this past year?  What was a happy thing that happened?  What was something that was not so happy?  We already have some big things on the horizon for 2016.  We have a presidential election coming up, as well as the Olympics!  I know in my case I will be starting a new chapter in my life; graduating 8th grade and moving on to high school!  While we can anticipate all these things we know will happen in the coming months, God has so many things in store for you that you have no idea about yet.  Some may be happy surprises, and some may be sad surprises.  You never know what God has in mind, but you can know that it is all in his master plan for your life.  Whatever happens, God is using it to make you stronger and build your relationship with him.  Go into 2016 with confidence and trust.  I hope you have a wonderful first week of this year!

Comment below about what you are looking forward to in 2016, or what you think I should write about in the coming year!

o-KIDS-SCRATCHING-HEAD-facebook

Dealing With: Stress

Picture this:  You walk into the first day of school, ready to see all your friends and ready to learn some fun, new stuff.  You go to your first class and love your new teacher.  You think she has an effective, fun way of teaching and you are so excited to have her all year.  The end of class approaches, and the teacher gives the class an assignment due the next day.  That’s right.  Homework.  You didn’t think you would get homework on the first day of school.  But, as you go to each class and your homework load piles up, you realize you were wrong.

If you struggle with homework and stress, first check out my post Getting Homework Done for practical homework tips.  Those tips might help you with the routine of homework, but what about stress?

The dictionary definition of stress is: “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”  Doing homework can be a demanding circumstance.  You might encounter other demanding circumstances, like an important sports game or musical performance.  Other demanding circumstances could include going to a new school, handling hard stuff in your family, or dealing with the day to day challenges of being a teenager.

Now that you know what stress is, how can you keep it under control?  Let’s see what the Bible says:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”     John 14:27

God is giving you peace, not stress.  If you pray when something is hard or challenging, if you pray that God will give you peace of mind, you can rest assured that He will.  You don’t have to be fearful of your homework load.  God will not give you more than you can handle.  Trust Him to help you handle it.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”     Proverbs 16:3

Do everything to the glory of God.  Don’t worry about being perfect and getting perfect grades or being the best on the soccer team.  Do these things to God’s glory and you will not have to stress about being “the best.”

“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.”     Psalm 119:143

Read the Bible.  Let God’s Word fill you and listen to where God wants you to go.  In your trouble or stress, be delighted in God’s plans.  You don’t need to worry about being perfect.  Accept challenges with God’s perfect plan in mind, that He will lead you and guide you all the way through.

So, the next time you march into school with confidence and walk out biting your nails, open your Bible or pray that God would give you peace in His perfect plan.

————————-

Hey Everyone!  What questions do you have about me or this blog?  If you have anything you’re wondering about, ask me in the Comments section. I’d like to do a Q&A post in the near future, and I need your questions.  Ask as many as you want.  I would love to answer them!  P.S. I read all the comments before posting them to the site.  If you would like to ask me questions but you don’t want them to appear on the blog (I understand), comment anyway and indicate that you would like your question answered anonymously.  I will read it and use the question in the Q&A but I will keep it anonymous.  You can also email me your questions here: emma@appletreesandpumpkinseeds.com

skippingrocks

Inspiring People: Joni Eareckson Tata

Hi everyone!  Today I am back with another Inspiring People post.  This person inspires me so much, and here is her story:

Joni Eareckson was born in 1949.  She loved to be outside and do things like swimming and hiking.  One day when Joni was a teenager, she was swimming in the Chesapeake Bay.  Thinking the water was deep enough, she dove in head first.  She hit her head on a rock on the bottom and broke her neck, becoming paralyzed from the neck down.  Joni had to be in rehab for two years, during which time she had many spiritual struggles.  Before her accident she was a strong Christian, but now after her accident she doubted her faith in God as she lay useless in the hospital.  She had lots of friends who came to visit her, but she needed spiritual as well as physical healing.

One day Joni’s friend Steve came to see her.  She was so fed up and angry with God for letting her accident happen that she burst out with questions for Steve like, “Why did God do this to me?”, “If God is so powerful then why didn’t he stop it?”  Joni felt like she didn’t deserve to be handicapped for the rest of her life, and she was blaming God.  Steve shared a Bible verse with Joni that challenged her thinking.  Acts 4 :28, which reads, “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  If you read a little bit above this passage in the Bible you can figure out that this section is talking about Jesus’ death.  Meaning Jesus dying was no mistake on God’s part, or anyone else’s.  God knew what was going to happen to Jesus way before it ever happened, and it was for a reason.

This gave Joni the assurance that God allowed her accident for a reason.  She soon learned to paints pictures with her mouth instead of her hands and was out of the hospital in a short time.  Joni now knows that God’s plan is not always the plan she has in her mind, and she uses her disability to praise God.  She is now married and often speaks publicly about her faith.

I find this story inspiring because Joni went through so much, and God never failed to provide what she needed.  Her injury did not stop her from living for God and glorifying Him.  She went through some very hard emotional and spiritual times as well, but God came out on top.  God will always be with us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Did you like this story?  If you would like to find out more about Joni or read a more detailed version of her story, I recommend this book:  Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tata, or this blog post by GirlDefined.