For Girls

Riding to Victory

By: Brittany Hernandez

A couple months ago my husband and I bought bikes. I totally got a purple mom bike with a basket. Its pretty much amazing. I try to at least 4-5 times through out the week go on an evening bike ride ALONE!

I like to take 30-60 min and ride around town and listen to some worship music and just pray. At first it was a little difficult. Those hills were killing my legs. To be honest I was not enjoying it but I knew I needed the time alone, and I was getting a work out in.

What I have started to notice is those hills getting a little easier to climb, and noticed that when I continue to peddle downhill I build up momentum for the next hill. This may sound silly to you, but the other night as I was ridding I felt like God was showing me a picture of life. There are always hills to climb. Some small, some a little bit larger. But at some point you start to go back down. How true is that in life.

Sometimes we have battles and mountains we have to climb. Sometimes we are down low in the valley trying to get up the mountain but the pain is so much to endure it seems impossible. But, the more we peruse and keep pushing upward and the more consistent we stay in the word and prayer the more momentum we have when we have to climb. I don’t know where you are at right now. I don’t know if you are just getting started or have been peddling like crazy. I do know you have to start somewhere and stay disciplined. But with hard work and the determination to life a life of victory and truth you can do it.

So if you are trying to peddle out of the valley up the hill and you are tired, keep pushing. Do not give up. Greater is He! It is worth the climb and the pain of the ride. When the ride is over, there is victory.

For Girls

The Promises of God

“I promise!”

Have you ever been told this? Imagine needing help with something pretty big, then your best friend promises to help you. Great, right? Imagine if it took her 4 days to help you. Depending on what you needed help with, that could be hard to wait that long. You might start wondering if your friend really was going to help you. You might start thinking she’s forgotten about you. You might be tempted to just try to do it by yourself or come up with another solution.

This is what the children of Israel felt like. They had been told they were the chosen people of God. Since God’s covenant with Abraham, they waited for God to fulfill his promise of salvation. They didn’t really know how he was going to save them, but he had promised, so they were waiting. However, it didn’t take 4 days, 4 weeks or 4 years. In fact, there was a gap of 400 years where they didn’t even hear from God. It’s understandable that they started questioning things. Then one night, God’s promise was fulfilled with the birth of Jesus, the hope and salvation of the world.

The best news about this? That promise of salvation continues today and is available to us! What’s more, God has given us His Word where he makes many more promises to us. And God is good enough and powerful enough to be able to keep those promises. Having faith that God will keep His promises offers great hope, peace, and assurance to us as we navigate this life.

However, in order to have faith in God’s promises, you have to know God’s promises. The best way to know the promises of God is to read His Word. Studying the Scripture allows you to remind yourself of all the ways the Lord has promised to take care of us.  For example, He promises to always be with us (Deuteronomy 31:8); He promises to have plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11); He promises peace beyond understanding (John 14:27); He promises to hear our prayers (1 John 5:14); He promises to work things for our good (Romans 8:28); and He promises us salvation (1 John 1:9).  There are literally thousands more promises in the Bible! When you read the Bible (which hopefully you are doing every day!), make a note, underline, highlight, or star every time you read a promise from God. This helps you when you are struggling and need to remind yourself of who God is or what He has promised. You can also keep a list somewhere of all the times God fulfills His promises to you personally. Sometimes it is a promise in the Bible made to all Christians, or sometimes it is something He has done for you personally. Making a list helps you to remember how good God is, especially in the difficult times. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel often erected a monument or alter in the place where God had rescued them or done something for them. They did this so that they would have a reminder and they would tell their children about it so that they would know too (Joshua 4:21-24).

Knowing, studying, and remembering the promises of God offers us the help we need. We don’t have to worry if God has forgotten us and we don’t have to try to do it on our own. Like we are reminded at Christmas when God kept His promise to bring a Savior, we can know that God will continue to keep His promises today!

For Girls

Grateful

By: Jennifer Thomsen

Thanksgiving is a good time to be reminded we should be thankful. We have much to be thankful for, but sometimes we just don’t have an attitude of gratitude. Teen years are hard, and other girls can be mean.

First Samuel 1 and 2 tells the story of Hannah. Hannah desperately wanted a baby. She went to the temple and pleaded with God. Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk. After talking to Hannah, Eli told Hannah to go in peace, that God would grant her request. God gave Hannah a son, whom she named Samuel.

In Chapter 2, we find Hannah praising God for His goodness. This happens right before she left young Samuel to serve at the temple with Eli. I admit, my heart would have been breaking to know what was about to happen. Yet, Hannah kept a thankful spirit.

Here are some important lessons we can learn from Hannah: she spent time with God. When she had a problem, she took it to God. She let God see her for who she truly was. Hannah didn’t try to hide her emotions; she left it all on the altar. Hannah believed God would answer her prayers, and she put her faith and trust completely in Him.

Since thankfulness is taught throughout the Bible, here are a few suggestions to help us be more thankful.

  • For each day in November, list one thing you are thankful for.
  • Keep a gratitude journal for a year. List several things each day for which you are thankful. Number your list, so at the end of the year, you can see how many reasons you have to be thankful. Your list should contain things both big and small.  
  • Have a thankful jar. Use any container you like and fill it with craft sticks on which you have written things you are thankful for. When you are not feeling thankful, pull a stick and remember God’s blessings.

God wants us to have an attitude of thankfulness. In Luke 17: 11-19, we find the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. While ten lepers were healed, only one returned to thank Jesus for his healing. I wonder how many times I have been one of the nine who forgot to thank God.

For Girls

Searching for Good Friendship

By: Catherine Blades

Can I tell you a story? I want to tell you about a young girl who desperately sought a good friendship that would last. I’ll go ahead and spoil the surprise, this story is mine. Growing up I always noticed others and the close knit friends they seemed to have. I was a little jealous of their relationship. I prayed so many nights for God to send a good friend my way. It seemed like He didn’t hear or that it must be a very small matter compared to the great needs in the world. I desired a “best friend” so badly that I became friends with anyone who seemed to have anything in common with me. I never noticed until later the influence these friends would have on my character. Little by little, I picked up on their way of thinking, their speech, and their priorities.

It can be easy to find companions who are not committed to God. Someone once told me, “You are who you are around.” It’s so true! Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” God made us to desire friendship. Life can be tough, but God does not ask us to walk it alone. If we trust in Him fully He will give us travel buddies along the way. Good friends will keep us accountable to following God. I eventually found those friends in high school and in college. They have been a constant encouragement and have held me accountable to God’s Word.

Can I tell you something else? Even if you feel, as I did, that you don’t have any good close friends or never will find that best friend, you do have One. Christ is the greatest friend we could ever have. Exodus 33:11 describes how the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to a friend. If you look through Proverbs, it is filled with friendship! Proverbs 18:24 describes a friend that is closer than a brother. Christ is a friend that will never leave when things get hard, or gossip about your struggles. He’s a friend that you can always rely on. Friendship is important to God. My Prayer for you is that you would seek friendships that challenge you to grow closer to God. I hope you stop to consider the influence those closest to you have on your character. It took me a long time to realize how important this was, and now I am so thankful for my dear friends.      

For Girls

Friends

By: Melinda Walker

One of my favorite songs when I was in high school (such a long time ago) was Michael W. Smith’s “Friends”. I was even able to sing it with one of my friends during our senior night for high school choir. The words of the chorus are:

“And friends are friends forever

If the Lord’s the Lord of them

And a friend will not say never

‘Cause the welcome will not end

Though it’s hard to let you go

In the Father’s hands we know

That a lifetime’s not too long

To live as friends”

I will have to admit, while I was in school, I had good friends and I, also, had bad friends. I still communicate with my good friends from time to time. But my other “friendships” faded once they found something or someone else better.

How do you decide who your friends are? Do you look at how pretty they are? What kind of car they drive? How much money they (or their parents) have? Or how popular they are?

How do you feel about your current friends? Do they really care about you? Do they lead you down a path that you don’t need to go? Or do they lift you up and keep you going on the right path as a Christian? Are they going to be your forever friend no matter where life takes you?

In this world there are people that lie, cheat, manipulate, steal, and do so many things that don’t match up with the Christian life. But yet, we still follow them and call them our friends. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe God wants us to be kind and friendly to people, even those who do wrong. My daughters often called these friends “acquaintances” because they would talk to them during school and play sports with them, but never hung out with them because they did things that my girls didn’t agree with. And the “acquaintances” knew that, and for the most part, I think the “acquaintances” respected them for that. There has to be a line drawn so others can see that we, as Christians, don’t accept what they are doing and that we, as Christians, are different. How are you showing others you are different and that you love God if others don’t see you as any different than they are? 

I will admit, it’s hard to be different. And at times, it can be lonely. But God! He always provides us with what we need at the time we need it. If you feel lonely, God is always there for you. If you’re tired of being different, He can help you and encourage you. Proverbs 18:24 says “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”.  Never forget that God is there for you, whenever you need that friend to help you through everything in this life.

Let me encourage you, if you haven’t found that person yet, to pray for that friend who will stand by you, encourage & motivate you, be your friend through thick and thin, be your accountability partner, and love God and want to walk in His ways just like you. When you find that person, they will be your friend for a lifetime, no matter where God may lead you.

For Girls

The God of Our Emotions

By: Hannah Goucher

I’ve always been a very emotional person, even from a very young age. Watching sad movies or even Planet Earth always left me in tears.  I often allowed my emotions to get the best of me.

Fast forward to the present, and one can see the same struggle. Though not always due to sad movies, I often struggle with letting my emotions, disappointment, anxiety, and fear dictate or distort what I know to be true about God and His Word. As I grow in my relationship with the Father, though, I have learned that I cannot allow this to happen. ​

We, as Christians cannot allow our emotions to dictate and change what we know to be true about Who God is and what He has done. ​Our emotions are fleeting, and often contradict the very truth that comes from God’s Word. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (ESV). We must choose daily not to walk in the flesh, but to walk in the Spirit and allow Him to lead us. Do not allow your emotions to limit your understanding of Who God is and what He is doing. Rest in the fact that His truth is eternal and not based upon our fleeting feelings.

For Girls

As Is Custom

By Claire Ryan

School can be tough.

It’s September; the days are becoming shorter, the nights longer, the weather is starting to cool, and school is in full swing. I remember being in middle and high school; I wanted to fit in, to be liked. I would do just about anything to make people laugh. I enjoyed school, but mainly for hanging out with friends and the occasional time I spent reading for fun. I also remember the mid-semester blues.

Where I attended high school, there were not a ton of like-minded individuals; not many people who loved the Lord and lived to serve Him. Which is why I could hardly wait for each school day to end so I could get home to my family. Following Jesus can sometimes be scary or difficult, especially when the distractions of school, friends, or popularity can cause a lack of focus.

We all may be familiar with the story of Job. “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” (Job 1:1). He was described as “upright” and “blameless,” someone “who feared God.” Job did right in the eyes of the Lord. And God had so much trust in Job that He allowed Satan to reign horror down on the man’s life, knowing Job’s faith would not falter. Job lost everything, yet his allegiance remained with God.

How do we, in this fallen, treacherously sinful world, walk blameless and upright in Christ?

Consider Paul. A murderer-turned-forgiven through Christ. A feared Pharisee turned grace-covered Ambassador. “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.’” (Acts 17: 1-3)

Think about that phrase: “As was his custom.” Proclaiming Christ was what Paul was about; it was who he was. It was his traditional way of behaving. It occupied every action of his born-again life.

How do we walk blameless and upright in Christ?

When school gets challenging, tiring, or boring, or when we start to lose our focus, the Lord still has a plan for our daily lives: to be about Him and His business. To have our lives reflect His love in the way we live and treat others. To seek opportunities to grow in Him and share with others His daily mercies. It should simply be our custom to live in such a way.

Paul’s ministry changed the lives of thousands of individuals who chose to follow Christ in their day to day. Fruit was born of Paul’s labors. Fruit can be born of your faith, too.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul reminds us of his sufferings for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and faced countless other dangers. But because he planted his faith in Christ, he understood the worth behind his suffering.

Jesus is worthy of your time, your efforts, your service. He is worthy of your diligence in school, your respect for His name, and your love for His created people. He is worthy of your focus.

Yes, even when the days become shorter, the nights longer, and the weather cools. Even when school is in full swing and so many distractions are vying for your attention, seeking to separate you from Christ.

Just like Paul, be about the business of your Father in Heaven.

As is your custom.

For Girls

A Students Prayer by Thomas of Aquinas

Creator of all things, the true source of light and wisdom, the origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

This prayer for a student was written by Thomas of Aquinas. I understand that this situation is true for many of us, as students in a classroom setting. I pray it is also true that even when we graduate into our careers that we are still students. I hope that we are always studying to be better family members, better disciples, better leaders, and better teachers to students of our own. Truly, we should recognize that we will always be students of some kind.
However, I know that many of us are still in the season of studying things like math and history and things of that sort, which may or may not be our favorite thing to study. I hope that we can keep Thomas Aquinas’ words in the front of our minds and we too pray that the Creator of these subjects helps us understand our work, and be steadfast, striving for excellence.

For Girls

10 Things to Help You Succeed in the New School Year

By: Anna Fox

  1. School is a big deal, but also not a big deal.

It matters because this is the building blocks of developing your character, work ethic, and education. However, your time in school does not define your entire life.

2. You will add or replace friends as you mature.

While you are to be kind to everyone, you don’t have to be friends with everyone. It is okay if everyone doesn’t like you. Do not ruin your life over a temporary friendship or desire.

3. Be picky in choosing your core friend group. Don’t settle.

You are in the process of developing your biblical worldview. Your core group of friends will influence your decisions need to have a similar worldview.

4. Plug in at your local church.

Your church family will continue to be your family even after you graduate high school. Get plugged in and serve. Attend more than youth events. You have an important role in your local church.

5. You are responsible for your actions and reactions.

While your feelings are valid and real, you alone are responsible for your actions and reactions. James tells us we should show respect, be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen.

6. Talk it out.

Do not bottle your feelings. It is equally important to be discreet with whom you share your thoughts and feelings. Find a trusted adult, mature Christian woman to talk with. Find someone to disciple you.

7. Participate in family discipleship.

Family discipleship is important to your spiritual health and that of your family. Encourage your family to have spiritual talks and participate in them.

8. Develop your relationship with Christ.

Christ should be the center of everything you do. Your activities and lifestyle should reflect a biblical worldview. Spend dedicated time with Him studying and praying.

9. Get organized.

Organization is a key element in being efficient throughout life. This is a skill you will use in high school, college, and your career. Organization will help you complete homework on time, help around the house, and allow time for fun.

10. Enjoy this season.

Journal through this season. Trust me, you will enjoy reading your entries in a few years. Ecclesiastes 3 tell us there is a season for everything. A time to laugh and a time to cry.  This unique season of life won’t be like any other. Enjoy it and take it all in. It is okay to ask questions and lean on others. Have fun and remember it all.

For Girls

Through the Fog

By: Claire Ryan

One morning, when I still lived with my grandparents, I woke up to a thick layer of fog. Pawpaw pointed outside.

“You’ll need to be extra careful today.” He said

I nodded and sat across from Pawpaw. Sometimes we’d sit quietly, sometimes we’d converse. But he always sent me off to work with a prayer.

“When we pray, we don’t inform You of anything You don’t already know.” Pawpaw said gently. “You already know about the fog.”

Immediately, my throat tightened and I got that growing pressure behind my eyes that can only mean one thing: the waterworks were knocking at the door.

Lord, You know about the fog.

Figuratively speaking, if I have come across one layer of fog in my life, I’ve barreled through hundreds more. Sometimes, it’s so thick, I can hardly see my feet hitting the ground in front of me. A head on collision occurs, and I’m left feeling broken, bruised, lonely, and forgotten.

This fog can appear in several different forms: the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, fear, a broken heart, a lonely spirit, self-doubt, bullying, a secret sin, etc. My fog is most often ‘worry’; but as the staircase rises higher, it can become as condoning as ‘fear.’

How do I get past this break-up? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why don’t they like me? I’m fat, I’ll stop eating. No one cares about me. I am worthless. I should just give up.

These are questions and thoughts that penetrate the mind and continue to enforce the false belief that we lead meaningless lives in a meaningless world where no one cares.

The fog thickens.

Too often, I attempt to force myself through this unforgiving fog. A natural instinct is to hurry out of it as fast as I can, using my own strength.

This is not what the Lord has called us to. I imagine Him looking down at me with overwhelming love and grace saying, “What are you doing, child? Don’t you know that I am your eyesight? I cause the blind to see. Is it not enough that I be your strength? My power is made perfect in your weakness.” With an undying, incomprehensible love, He proclaims, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Oh, but being still is hard; especially when I find myself in the fog.

What does it mean to be still? Consider the beginning verses of Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very presenthelp in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (vs 1-3). Though the fog becomes too thick for us to breathe, though we can’t see daylight on the other side, though our hearts are heavy with sorrow, though our joy be threatened by this life. Being still in the presence of our Lord means that although we find ourselves in the midst of all of life’s frantic activity, we stand firm and still, trusting that the God of all comfort has gone before us. We should not fear, we should not cower, we should not run and hide.

“Know that I am God.” In this, He is loudly proclaiming, “I am omniscient! Omnipotent! Omnipresent! I am Love, I am Justice, and I am undefiled! I am strong enough to carry your burdens, holy enough to pay for your sins, and merciful enough to forgive your humanity! I. Am. God. You can know this; you can trust me!”

Wow. The Great I Am says all of that to me and to you.

Whatever it is in your fog, it cannot stand against the love of our Savior. Fear has no place, heartbreak self-destructs, and death cannot prevail. Despite our poor vision and the fact we can’t see what’s coming next, we are not alone. Take a breath, slow your walk, and take it one step at a time.

Most importantly: be still.

Because He already knows about the fog.