“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Founder of PCM
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Founder of PCM
At twenty-three years old, I’m often mistaken for a teenager. A fifteen-year-old. Fortunately, this doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, especially not in the way it did when I actually was a teen. But growing up, I often felt older, more mature, than my peers; perhaps it’s because I’m the youngest in my family and the youngest of thirteen cousins.
I felt older yet my appearance gave the false impression that I was younger. And because of that, I resented my youth. I wanted to be older. To be treated with more respect.
Especially when it came to pursuing my passions.
From a young age, I’ve known that I wanted to be an author “when I grew up”. Writing has been my passion since I was three-years-old; I could never see myself in a profession that wasn’t related to books.
So, at fourteen-years-old, I decided not to settle for an “average teen lifestyle” and instead chose to get a head start in my writing career. I studied the writing craft, launched a blog, and set out on my writing journey. My debut novel, Purple Moon, was then published five years later at nineteen-years-old.
When I first began to take my writing seriously, I soon discovered that others didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t receive support from professionals in the industry, because I certainly did; rather, there were a handful of people who thought it was “cute”. That assumed it was just a phase.
Believe me: My passion for writing was not a phase!
Since then, my sophomore novel, Unwritten Melody, has been published, and I am currently under contract for a teen devotional with Bethany House. (I work on the publishing side of the industry as well; I’m an associate agent for Hartline Literary and YA Acquisitions Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.)
It was tough, dealing with criticism from those who looked down on me. Still is. That’s why I have to constantly remind myself of the vision, the calling, God has placed on my heart — to minister through the written word. It’s also why I have a passion to provide encouragement and support for other young people who are struggling to pursue their gifts. Teens who long to take their youth seriously yet are underestimated by the culture around them.
My name is Tessa, and for the past 7 and a half years I’ve written on my blog for writers, Christ is Write. On that blog, I share tips for writers, post book reviews and writing prompt contests, etc. But I’ve discovered that I need a personal space where I can provide young people with the support they need to cultivate their own gifts and pursue the life God has called them to live. That’s exactly what I hope to do through this new blog. (Don’t worry, writers! I will continue to post weekly on Christ is Write.)
I’m here to give you the support + encouragement + motivation + inspirational + tools to unleash the potential God has birthed within you so you can make an impact. I’m here to encourage you to pursue the impossible — all the while building the foundation of a relationship with Christ.
I believe in you, even if everyone around you is trying to convince you that you’re too young, that your desire to make a difference through your gifts is impossible or “just a phase”.
And if that is the case, let me remind you of the scripture 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT), which states:
“DON’T LET ANYONE THINK LESS OF YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE YOUNG. BE AN EXAMPLE TO ALL BELIEVERS IN WHAT YOU SAY, IN THE WAY YOU LIVE, IN YOUR LOVE, YOUR FAITH, AND YOUR PURITY.”
No, you’re not too young.
In fact, you’re at the prime age to begin making decisions that will alter the course of your future.
This morning as I sat comfy on my couch with my coffee in hand and my Bible on my lap, I felt emotionally drained. The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind of emotions. I’m guessing you know the feeling: a bit of an achy heart, confusion and the realization you’re just a bit out of sync with your normal.
As I sat staring at the verses I had opened to in the book of Romans, I thought, “I should turn to the Psalms instead. Those verses always bring me comfort and make me feel better.” The moment I thought it, though, I realized how selfish my desires were. I realized I had turned this quiet moment with God into a time for Him to give me what I wanted.
I love emotionally connecting with God. The times when I’m weeping because the power of His love and sacrifice have hit me full-force are moments I treasure. I love singing out praises to Him and feeling His love overflowing in my soul.
Living in a constant emotional-high isn’t realistic and it isn’t healthy, though. I’ve learned to appreciate times when I’m growing in knowledge of God rather than simply emotionally connecting with Him. But moments like this morning make me take a step back and look at my reasons for spending time with God.
If my goal while reading my Bible, singing praises or listening to sermons is to feel warm and comforted, then I’m missing the mark completely. Yes, God loves me and wants an intimate relationship with me, but this is not a relationship where He gives and I simply take in order to feel peace.
This is not to say the moments when God calms anxiety or delivers me from fear are shallow moments. But I should not look at my time with Him only as a way to make me feel better. How do I accomplish this? By remembering the true reason God desires my soul.
Coming before the throne
When we approach time with God, we need to remember we’re about to come before the God of the universe. Our Heavenly Father sits on His throne with Jesus standing beside Him, surrounded by heavenly beings glorifying His Name. When we pray, when we open our Bibles, when we enter into the sanctuary at church, we, in a way, enter into the throne room of God.
Picture that moment. You coming before God seated on His throne. What would your first thought or word be? Most likely praise and adoration as you fell on your face before your Savior! Probably thanksgiving for all He has done for you.
When we open our Bibles to read the word of God, we are coming before that throne. Why, then, is our first desire to find a book or verse in the Bible that will make us feel better or wiser in that moment? Our initial response when beginning our time with God should be praise and thanksgiving for who He is and what He has done.
God desires us to look more and more like the bride of Christ. He desires our hearts to worship and praise Him. Not because He needs our praise, but because He loves us. When we use our time with Him as a way to simply feed our emotional needs, we essentially are telling Him our desires come before His. That our emotional state is more important than Him. I don’t know about you, but I cringe when thinking of standing before His throne, demanding He fix my problems instead of praising Him on bended knee!
When peace comes
Imagine a friend coming over to hang out with you every day. This friend loves you, but each time you hang out, she never asks how you are doing. She never tries to learn more about you. Instead, she lays out everything wrong in her life and all her emotions she doesn’t know how to deal with. She asks you to comfort her and help her feel better.
Wouldn’t you feel used by this friend? Wouldn’t you feel as if she doesn’t actually love you, but instead just wants you to help her with her problems?
When you read your Bible, are you doing so to cater to your own needs? Or are you heading into this time with a desire to learn more about God, about His character and faithfulness, standing in awe of Him with each verse you read?
Jesus told His disciples in John 14:27 that He would give them peace. God desires our hearts to experience that peace. But we won’t experience it if we head into our Bible time with the agenda of God fixing our emotional needs. We will feel this peace when we set aside our selfish desires and seek God first, bowing before His throne in adoration for who He is.
The Bible and spending time with God are not magic fixes to our emotional struggles. It’s not a formula for making us feel better. It’s a beautiful way to enter into the presence of God and experience His glory. How can we not feel at peace when we set aside our worries and simply spend time getting to know Him and glorifying Him?
Let me point out that Jesus does in fact heal your wounds and give you comfort in the midst of emotional storms. My hope is not to take away from that truth, but to help us understand our purpose for time with God should not center around Him making us feel better. Make no mistake, Jesus does provide us with peace. But it’s not as the world gives, it’s as He gives.
I choose this peace. Not the peace that comes from me force-feeding myself Bible verses to make myself feel better. The peace that comes from Jesus as I pursue Him and choose Him above all else.
By: Emily Saxe
“You’re too picky, this is a nice Christian boy, you should be with him”
“What are you waiting for? Just choose a guy and go for it”
“Your ideals are too high, God doesn’t care who you marry”
Lies. All of these are things that our society, completely obsessed with instant gratification, gravitates towards. I cannot even begin to tell you how many weddings I have been to over knee jerk reactions and crossed fingers that they were making the right decision. What if instead of grabbing the first one we can get like a sweater on black Friday that you later come to question, we take a step back? What if we are patient and we, wait for it, let God choose? What if He does care about our lives-including our love lives-and we let Him take the lead? What if we stop fearing waiting? What if there really is a moment where everything comes to a forefront and we at last see? Stick with me here…….
In all of human history there has only ever been one recorded perfect marriage, well…perfect for a time. You see, the first marriage was between Adam and Eve, and before that dirty rotten Serpent showed up, everything in the garden was perfect. That means that their marriage was perfect, and it was an idea of God. See, Church culture will make you feel guilty for wanting marriage. It will make you feel like a horrible sinner for wanting someone to share your life with, but the truth is God designed man not to be alone, and for the mass majority of men-He designed for marriage. Now of course there is the very vital and pertinent aspect of what a godly and healthy marriage looks like with God as the head, but for this little thought we are just going to focus on the beginning. SO, let’s start at the beginning.
“The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
“At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2)
Gosh, there is a lot in here to chew on, so let’s start chomping. God made Adam, and He saw that it was not good for him to be alone. From the start, we see that man is 1. Made for God and 2. Man is made for each other. So, God makes every animal and asks Adam to name them all. Adam seems pretty content in this perfect paradise of a garden, along with all the animals. He has a perfect relationship with God and there is still something that God says needs to be added. So, Adam waits. Not only does he wait, he naps. He literally naps people, and when he has had his long slumber, God wakes him up. Let me say that again, God wakes him up, gets his attention, tells him when to look up. What does Adam say the first time he sees his wife? Is it, “oh, well, this chick is here and it’s good enough I guess.” NO! He says, “at last.” Ladies, swoon over this, imagine if your future spouse was so focused on God and willing to wait that only when God revealed the truth he would look at you and say, “at last.” Now wouldn’t that be worth the wait? Wouldn’t that be something sustaining and beautiful to hold out for?
In this time and place when this story occurs, their union is 1. Holy 2. Sacred 3. Perfect. God designed every single aspect of this union, and He will do that with your love story if you let Him. Stop taking the first exit you see and let God drive. Be so focused on God and all He has called you to that until He says it is time for you to wake up, you’ll keep trusting Him. You will keep focus on Him and the things He has asked you to do in the meantime-even if it is literally naming animals. When the time is right, He will reveal it and your heart and all of heaven will rejoice in proclaiming, “at last.”
By: Cally Logan
Two weeks ago I found myself in a basement with a group of women as a tornado ripped through our small town. As we were meeting about an upcoming retreat, we suddenly found ourselves in the dark. The power remained out and we continued our meeting by the light of cell phones.
When we exited the building and drove home, the aftermath was shocking. Large trees were blocking roads and power lines were broken. Many of us returned to our homes without power.
It took days for the power to return in our city. During these dark and silent times, our every day “norms” were thrown out of the balance of life. Night times were the most difficult. I would try to turn on a lamp and be left disappointed.
The truth is… all of us are like lamps.
We all have the capability to shine the light inside of us, but if we do not plug into a source that works, we will not be able to accomplish our purposes.
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
So how do we plug into The Source who lights us up?
Go light up the world through Jesus! Shine your lamp today.
In the land of “What If”
It’s fun to daydream, isn’t it? Most people enjoy zoning out of reality and allowing their brains to take them to distant and, many times, random places. We daydream about the past and what we miss about childhood. We daydream about the future and what we hope to accomplish. We daydream about living in a different time and place.
Our brains seem to have a never-ending list of places to take us when we switch from focused on the present to zoned out in a daydream. Most of the time, these places are exciting and fun to think about. There are times, however, when we leave the land of daydreams and enter the land of “What If.”
Have you ever caught yourself using that phrase? Sometimes we can use it in a fun and exciting way, like, What if I scored the winning point at the last second of the game? Or, What if that guy I’ve had a crush on for the past year asks me out on a date?
The dangerous thing about the land of What If, though, is we can swiftly and easily go from innocent daydream to worry and fear.
The dangers of “what if”
I speak from firsthand experience. My husband and I have been married for five months, and I have spent too much of that time living in the land of What If. What if he gets into an accident? What if he dies? What if another woman approaches him romantically? What if he wakes up one morning and realizes I’m not actually the one he wants to love?
Yes, I know how ugly and dangerous this land is. It takes the people and situations God has given me and twists them into worry. Although, I can’t blame anyone but myself. I willingly enter this land and move forward in it.
I used to say it was OK to think about these things in order to prepare myself for if they happened. You know, kind of play out in my mind how I would react and what I would feel. But instead of feeling prepared, I felt terrified. I felt worried. I even felt sick to my stomach at times.
I soon realized thinking through my “what ifs” was not preparing my heart and mind for tragedy, should it strike. This dangerous land was causing me to worry. When you break down worry and everything Jesus says about it, you realize what worry truly is: sin.
Why do I often travel into the land of What If? To be honest, I’m not really sure. Maybe Satan tries to plant seeds of doubt in my mind that God is not faithful through all circumstances, good and bad. Maybe my sin nature pulls me toward thinking about things that aren’t honoring to God. Whatever the reason, it’s clear to me how dangerous and sinful it is to live this way.
Whatever is true
When I realized my land of What If was not preparation but rather worry, I knew I needed to break the habit of traveling there immediately. Breaking habits are hard, though, because when your mind falls into a routine, you start to think you need that routine, regardless of how harmful it is.
How do you combat lies, fears and worries? Praise God He gave us His living and active word! I have found it’s nearly impossible to steer clear of the land of What If. Which is why I have memorized Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Now when I begin to worry, I think through that list of characteristics and ask myself if what I’m worrying about describes one of the traits. What if statements mixed with worry normally don’t describe a single one, so I change what I’m thinking to fit this verse instead.
Does it work every time? No, unfortunately not, because I look back at my worry even in the midst of truth. But the more I practice this, the closer I get to forgetting all about the land of What If. I am now preparing myself with truth, should the worst happen. I don’t need to think through the made-up situation of my husband dying. Instead, I need to think on God’s truth. Because that’s preparing, not worrying.
When you enter the land of What If, seek God immediately. Don’t let yourself travel too far into this dangerous place. It will take your eyes off God and help you fear things that may never happen. Instead, think on what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable, what is excellent and what is praiseworthy. For in these thoughts, you will find freedom from worry.
The modern world is full of vanities that make being in a relationship seem like the end all be all of earthly joys. From #CouplesGoals to #MCM we are constantly made to feel like not being in a relationship is almost like an illness or that there is something wrong with us. Little value or concern is even thought upon that perhaps God has something He is doing in a season of singleness.
Not everyone is called to marriage, even Paul was not, but for the remainder of this blog we will assume that God has called you into marriage as He has many of His children. Being single is not a problem, and it is certainly not a season meant to spend in vain. Eccl. 3 shares that, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” God has a purpose and a reason for each and every season-including a season of singleness. This season is meant for developing a deeper foundation in your relationship with God, without the distraction of another person. It is also a season in which to work to produce fruit.
There is a type of large horse called the Belgian Draft Horse that well trained can pull 8,000 lbs. Now, take a moment to realize how much weight that actually is! When two of these trained horses are matched together for the first time, they can pull 24,000 lbs, and after 6 weeks of training together, they can pull a massive 32,000 lbs. Together with training they can do four times what they could alone, but out of the gate they weren’t pulling that eight-thousand pounds. They required training, they required building that muscle and foundation in their craft. That is what God is doing in your season of singleness, He is training you up. Training you for that 8,000 pounds full force, mighty woman of God. So, don’t dare look at this season and think it is in vain!
This season is not meant to be in comparison with other’s journeys either. God calls different children to different paths, and just because your friend has a boyfriend and you do not does not mean that God somehow loves her more, or that you are not good enough. It just means that in His perfect timing He sees that it is better for you and your future spouse that you continue to work and trust that He is building more in you and training you right now. That training is so that you and your spouse can be each other’s best teammates in the time to come. The best and most equipped children of God serving side by side in Him with an equal yoke.
So, what can you do now in this season of waiting and singleness? So much.
First, you can pray. Prayer is the strongest gateway into a deeper relationship with God. Because of what Christ did on the cross, we can enter into prayer and sit at the throne in communication to the Almighty. You can dive into the Word and come to see more of His faithfulness and character throughout every stitch of the Scriptures. Moreover, you can submit your will to Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” What this means is that when you submit, delight, and allow Him to take over your heart something revolutionary happens. The Holy Spirit begins to move in you, stretch you, do heart surgery in you to bring your will into His will. He is a faithful and loving God Who wants the best for you, and in time will bring His will to pass in your life, and because of you letting Him have that control in your heart, His will and your desires align in perfect harmony. What you will come to find in this process is that God is the ultimate glory and joy of our souls, not another person, and He is worth more than anyone or anything. After that, a spouse would merely be icing on the cake. Also remember that God always rewards faithfulness and character, just not always in our timing, so don’t fret if He has you waiting.
You can produce fruit with what you are given in this time. Your life and impact matters and there is always something or someone you can have an influence on. Get involved in your church, or working with youth. Young girls especially are in desperate need of good Christian role models who will pour into them and be a mature person they can rely on. Reflecting a life of patience and trust in God will encourage those around you as well, you never know who is watching or observing and how you can have an impact on how they choose to live out their own lives. Use this time to pour into others, knowing the work you do will only plant seeds that blossom in time.
Cultivating your career or profession is important. Dreams and ambitions should be chased after, most truly if God is fueling that desire. It is not selfish or wrong for a woman to have a successful career, if God is calling you to the workforce, it is for His glory and your responsibility to carry it out well.
Something else that is vital during this time is to pray for your future spouse. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you specific aspects to pray for him. You will marry a flawed human who needs Christ just as much as you, and truly the greatest gift you can give him now is interceding in prayer for him. Pray that God deepens his relationship with Him, and molds him into a strong Christian leader. Pray God moves in him so that he will love you as Christ loves the church. Pray for his heart, mind, soul, and purity. Even write him letters or write out prayers to share with him one day that in the time leading up to your two souls connecting, he was already on your heart, in your mind, and in your prayers.
Strive to become the best woman and daughter of the King you can be, and train up to pull that 8K a day. Even on the hard days, believe He has a plan, and that plan is for His glory and your benefit. Those who trust in the Lord will not be disappointed. (Isaiah 49:23).
We praise Your Holy name this day. We pray for those reading this blog this day. We pray that in Your Spirit that mountains would be moved, eyes opened, and hearts changed. We pray that You would mold us, shape us, and abide within us making us into the mighty Proverbs 31 women you planned for us to be even before our lives began. We humbly submit our wills and desires to You, for You crafted us and know truly what is best for us and what will glorify You most. We pray humbly that You would lead us higher and deeper than we could ask for or imagine, so that we may come to know Your character and love more deeply.
We pray too for the men of this world, and for the future spouses of those reading this. We pray that You would raise them up to become strong leaders for You with hearts like David after Your own heart. We pray that they would learn to love as You do, and that the marriages You bring to pass would be like that of You and the church. We praise You, oh Lord. We praise You, and we pray that You would write love stories that would encourage those around us to trust in You, Your timing, and Your will rather than what is quickly and cheaply attained. More than anything, we pray that we come to know and glorify You most, for You are greater than anything else. We pray to know You so that we can love properly, loving You ever the more deeply as we come to love our future spouse.
In Christ’s name,
By: Cally Logan
Every 2 years top athletes from across the world come together to compete at the highest level of competition. The Olympics have been around for many years. To be honest, I have not thought much about what it would be like to be an olympic athlete aside from watching the competitions and imaging I am one of the incredible gymnasts flipping or ice skaters twirling. (Can you tell I am girly?) However, lately the concept of training has been very apparent in multiple areas of my life.
According to dicitonary.com Training encompasses:
So what we see here are words like: education, instruction, discipline, introductory, learning, transitional.
Let’s say that an Olympic athlete trains 90% of the time and the other 10% is his event. We expect this right? We imagine it take years to prepare and get stronger to accomplish world renown medals. But what about in our own Spiritual lives?
I recently discovered that I have had the percentages wrong in my own mind. I thought my spiritual training should be 10% and the event/opportunities be 90%. The problem with this method is that the time of preparation is the key to being ready and thriving in what is to come. When we train we learn discipline, instruction, and flexibility. We grow in endurance, strength and trust. These are the defining moments.
The well-known athletes and Olympians were not personally defined by their medals and awards, but rather the moments when they felt like quitting but kept going, when they pushed through even though they were tired, and when they focused on the task ahead.
The Bible talks a lot about training. Our instruction manual is God’s Word.
So what do we do during training? The temptation is to wallow or get frustrated. But I am encouraging myself and you to not only press on, but press in to the Lord. Use this time to let Him mold you, shape you, and build you up through His Word, prayer, and community. He is working when you cannot see. He is loving you in the wait. He is sanctifying you by His love.
Never forget, 1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. If you have a calling from the Lord, there is nothing that will thwart His plan, but we must hold our timelines loosely and focus on today. The “events” in our lives will be more amazing if our training is taken seriously and we learn what the Lord wants to teach us now.