For Girls

Learning to Love Laundry

By: Rachel Violanti

Laundry. Dishes. Cleaning. Did you roll your eyes when you read at least one of those? I would have a few years ago, but then I met Dawn Elliott. One of our first interactions was her “momming” me, telling me to be careful not to fall off a ladder I was using. I thought that was odd because I obviously knew not to fall off the ladder. But what I would come to learn is that she has a heart for young people, and I had so much to learn from her.

I vividly remember complaining to her that I had double the laundry to do now that I am married. She reminded me that I have a husband I love, and we both have clothes to wear. She reminded me of Galatians 5:13, which says: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” That verse doesn’t say to serve one another and grumble about it or serve one another with resentment. Serve one another humbly in love. I don’t have to do laundry; I get to do laundry. Is this always my attitude? No. However, it warms my heart to think I have women in the faith who have been through the same stages of life that will keep me accountable.

This attitude of service works both ways in our marriage. Neither spouse is perfect, but we strive to serve each other humbly in love. If you think, “I’m not married; this isn’t for me.” Think again. When a friend asks for help cleaning her house when you just sat down to watch a movie, going to her house is to serve her humbly in love. This mindset can apply to all our relationships. The best example we have is Jesus – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) Jesus served us humbly in love when He died in our place. Now it is our turn to emulate the characteristics of Jesus to others.

For Girls

Apples of Gold

by: Destinee Payne

There are things we can do to guard ourselves against speaking with iniquity. Our tongue is compared to forest fire and deadly poison in James 3. We need to be in the habit of professing God’s word and having reverence in our speech to guard against speaking with iniquity. We need to profess our Jesus on our lips. We need to be in the habit of telling of the great things God has done and giving Him the glory.

Proverbs 25:11 states “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” I love this verse! I can just imagine a setting of a beautiful apple orchard where all the trees are silver, the ground is silver, and the sky is silver. There on the trees are beautiful golden apples that stand out perfectly! How beautiful is it for a young woman to speak of her precious Creator.

Younger girls, as well as women, feel it is cheesy or corny to talk about God and praise Him with joy. It’s almost uncomfortable to express our faithfulness to God in daily conversation. This isn’t just with non-believers, it is even among fellow believers. I ask those of you who are older to encourage younger women by speaking about God with them. Ask them what they have seen God doing in their lives. Tell them what you have seen God doing in yours. Praise Him together.

I challenge you younger women to express praise to God verbally. If you’re having a great day, say it with your lips, “God is good!” We might often think that, but saying it is much more forward. Aren’t we scared of that? Read scripture out loud. Praise God by reading the Psalms of David. David was not ashamed, and he spoke often of praising his God. Psalms 9:1 says “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” This should be the song of our own lips. There are many other verses like this in Psalms. I challenge you to go to a quiet place and proclaim them out loud.

If we push ourselves to be in the habit of praising God with our lips and sharing our reverence for His holiness with others, we guard ourselves

against speaking out of place. We are not perfect and will not always be successful. However, I believe that if we have apples of gold constantly on our lips, it makes it very difficult for the worm to find its way in.

Ask yourself, “How often do I speak of my Jesus?” It’s easy to talk about the things we love like our friends, our hobbies, or other things. If we love Jesus so much, shouldn’t we be talking about Him? How often do you converse with others about your Creator? I challenge you as I challenge myself to use our tongues, not to start fires, but to praise our God.

For Girls

Time

By: Catie York

When you hear the phrase “good steward,” what do you think of? As believers, we may often focus strictly on how we use our money and physical resources for God. In scripture, the word steward originally referred to a person (often a servant) entrusted with great responsibility over his master’s belongings.

Christ is our Lord and Savior; He is our Master! If we truly viewed Him as our Master, we would come to realize that all things belong to Him. This means that as His good stewards we are entrusted with great responsibility to dedicate to Him not only our physical resources, but also our immaterial ones. Our immaterial resources include, but are not limited to, our focus, efforts, dedication, priorities, and time.

It can be more difficult to dedicate the immaterial things to God – especially our time. In your life as a young woman, there are so many things calling out for your attention. It may seem that you are busier now more than ever before. To be honest, as you become an adult it will continue to feel that way. Know that in each moment, God is with us! It is up to us to determine how we will spend our time and focus our attention. Take a moment to really self-reflect and ask yourself:

Am I being responsible with the time that I am being entrusted with?

How do my priorities show that I desire to be a good steward of my Master?

Do I have the dedication expected of a good steward?

What resources (physical and immaterial) am I offering to my Master?

If your answers are disappointing or seem less than that of a good steward – know that you are not alone. There is an abundance of grace poured over you! Take this time to lean into the Lord, allow Him to encourage and build you up. If your answers indicate, you do have the qualities of a good steward – I urge and challenge you to find new ways of offering your whole life to God as His humble servant. Being a good steward of our time means intentionally focusing and acting on each opportunity God entrusts with us. This means that we are more than just awake and in attendance at church on Sunday. It is more than just having fun and goofing off with friends at youth group meetings.

Being a good steward of our time means that we show our Master we are trustworthy, we responsibly care for the time He gives us, and we desire to dedicate our lives to Him as His servants. We do this by engaging with Him, growing a deep, personal, and intentional relationship with Him. We learn to grow with Him and bring honor and glory to Him in all things we do – not some, but all. I encourage you to choose now to dedicate each moment of your time to being His good steward. I pray you come to see His love, peace, provision, and blessing clothed over your life.

For Girls

Treasure Of Your Heart

Destinee Payne

The treasure of our hearts comes out in our words. As imperfect humans, we will not be able to say the right thing all the time. We will not glorify God in everything we say. To guard against speaking this way, we first need to make sure the treasures of our hearts are the right things. Jesus says in Matthew 12:34-35, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

Jesus is talking to the Pharisees who were religiously proud and were deceptive. Jesus knew what the treasures of their hearts were, and it was not good.

This sounds pretty intense if we are trying to apply it to ourselves. I mean Jesus called them “Brood of vipers!” Those are poisonous snakes! You might think “Well, I don’t speak evil.” Or “I don’t have anything terrible like that in my heart.” You might not have the heart of a Pharisee, but there are still other things in our hearts that can cause us to stumble in our speech and in our witness for Christ.

I want you to think about this. What is the treasure of your heart? What is the most valuable and precious thing to you? We need to evaluate ourselves and see if there are things we concern ourselves with too much.

You also might be asking “How do those things affect the way I talk?” Well, too much of something and we can get caught up in all the things we really want. We might begin to put our dreams for ourselves ahead of others. When we have all this selfishness, it comes out in what we say. Maybe we brag about the things we have to our friends or complain about the things we don’t. Maybe we point out the flaws of others and become gossipers. Whatever it is, it might seem harmless, but words have a tremendous impact and could hurt others and our witness for Christ.

I say all of this from my own personal experience and my own personal desires. I’ve noticed at times I get so caught up in what I want, I fail to see what others need.

Jesus wants our full heart and our full attention and devotion. Jesus says in Matthew 22:37 “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” If we let these other things take priority, are we not disobeying the greatest commandment? Are we not opening ourselves up to speaking with iniquity? We need to first put our priorities in check. Ask about others. Put your wants aside for a moment. We need to make sure that the only thing consuming our hearts is Jesus!

For Girls

Thorn In The Flesh

By: Debbie Driscoll

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Many of us suffer from having a thorn in our flesh, just like the Apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12. For some of us, this thorn could be a bad relationship that we are dealing with, for others it could be a physical weakness, yet for others it could be an issue of personal sin. Whatever the struggle, thorns are never fun to live with. They are annoying and, most of the time, quite painful.

Nobody likes to have thorns in their flesh. I remember getting one stuck in the palm of my hand not that long ago. Immediately, all I could think of or wanted to do was getting that thorn out of my skin. I did not care how, I just wanted it out! I started looking around for tweezers and needles, and, once I found them, I used them to poke at my skin, with the hopes of getting that little intruder out of my body. Of course, in my impatience and desire to get rid of the pain at all costs, I ended up causing more damage (and pain) to myself by using my non-disinfected instruments too hastily and without caution. Not only did I fail to take out the thorn, but I managed to create a deep wound in my hand that took several days to heal.

Don’t we do this in our walk with God, too? So often, when we get a “thorn in the flesh,” we start poking at it, trying to remove the source of pain with our own strength. However, just as Paul teaches, sometimes God allows thorns in our flesh in order to use them to mold our character. It is in those moments of discomfort that God reminds us of His sufficient grace in our lives. Thus, when a moment of weakness arises, may we refuse to rely on our own strength, and instead allow God’s strength to sustain us and His abounding grace to take care of us in our pain. 

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.