The Power of Your Story (Part 2)

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Last week, I blogged about how powerful our stories are. (Click here to see it!)

Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross. If you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory. Your story is an extension of God’s power!

The second reason why your story is powerful is because our God has an eternal perspective. God knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity!

Isaiah 55:8-11: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
 neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so are my ways higher than your ways
 and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
 and do not return there but water the earth, 
making it bring forth and sprout,
 giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
 it shall not return to me empty,
 but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
 and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

We have to understand that God is SO much bigger than our tiny little brains.

Our thoughts are smaller than his thoughts. Our plans are smaller than his plans. Think of eternity as a line. It is a line that goes on and on and on forever. We are just one dot on that line, so we only see our dot and a little before and after. But God, the Creator of the line, sees the whole line! He knows how one dot will impact the next.

Last summer, I had the pleasure of going to Miami for 10 weeks on Miami Summer Project with a ministry called Cru.

Before going on project, I prayed that God would bring one other women who had been sexually abused. I desired to use my story to help someone else heal. One day in Miami, I went on a walk with one of my friends. She was upset and said that she didn’t know why she was telling me this, but wanted to tell me her story. She had been raped her freshman year of college. I was the first person she had told.

God planned that both her and I would be in Miami that summer. She felt weird inside because the Holy Spirit was telling her to share her deepest pain with me. We cried and talked together, and I began to understand that God would use my story to glorify himself. That summer I got to help my friend begin a journey of healing, and I continued healing by viewing my life through God’s eternal perspective.

Later that week, I found out that 5 other girls on project had been sexually abused.

I prayed for 1 girl, God gave me 6. Before project, we each focused on our dot and our hurt, but God was focused on how our hurt could help others.

Here is my favorite part of the story! After project, one of the women felt called to share her story with other ladies, specifically the Greek women on her campus. She went to each chapter meeting and shared her story. She shared what she had gone through, how God redeemed her, saved her, and how now is experiencing real love in a relationship with God.

Later that semester, Cru at her college hosted an event called Girls’ Night Out by Marian Jordan. At the event, they witnessed 98 girls pray to give their life to Christ, most of them were women from sororities that my friend shared her story to.

Dear reader, my friend realized that God could take her story and use it to change women’s eternities! He can do the same with yours! Your story is powerful! I challenge you to stop focusing on your dot and focus on the line. Let God use your story to impact others eternities! Love, Joy

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 1) and The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

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Tired of giving up on goals?

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This week I went to lunch with one of my best friends from high school. I absolutely love this girl and love spending time with her. She doesn’t realize it, but she always teaches me lessons about myself and God. During our lunch together, we were very vulnerable and both shared our current struggles. What struck both of us, was that most of our current struggles were the same as our past struggles.

She said, “This year is going to be different. I’m going to work on these issues. It is going to be a better year.”
Déjà vu. I’ve heard this before.

I told her that she said the same thing last summer, she said, “Wow, that is depressing.”

After lunch, I couldn’t get those words out of my mind. Like my friend, I am bad at following through on goals. At the start of new semesters I always have new goals. Here are some examples:

  • I’m going to stick to a healthy diet and work out regularly.
  • This semester will be different, because I will pray more!
  • Finally, maybe this semester I’ll actually understand how Jesus can satisfy my desire to be married.

Sadly, I never last longer than a week or two at attempting to reach these goals. I give up or just simply forget about the goals. The end of the semester comes, and I say to myself, “Wow, that is depressing.” I don’t want to continue this cycle. I don’t want to spend my whole life making goals only to never check off the boxes. I want to see growth in my life. My dad always told me that when we make goals they have to be specific and have multiple sub-goals to reach each one. Here are my main goals and sub-goals to reach them:

1. Grow closer to God

  • Spend time with God
  • Read my daily chapters of the Bible on my Bible app plan
  • Pray for 10 minutes

2. Live a more healthy life

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes
  • Healthy snacks
  • Don’t eat past 10

3. Be content in this stage of singleness

  • No more romantic comedies

For June, I am trying something new. I am putting my goals into a excel document and checking them off daily to help me remember them. I am sick of being depressed that my goals are not being met. Below is a screen shot so you can understand what I’m talking about.

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Important to note:

  • Make spending time with God a goal for this month. It is easy to look at this as a list of rules to follow, and think if I follow these rules then I will grow. That isn’t always true, because the change begins in the heart. God is the only one who can change our heart, so we have to spend time with him. As I was writing this, the same friend texted me saying she had been thinking about our conversation as well. In the car she heard a Christian radio station say, “We have to see God’s way in all we do instead of living by the rules.” Make sure you are not just following rules you made for the month, but that you are actively trying to follow God’s plan for you and become all that he made you to be.
  • If you miss a day, do not get mad at yourself and give up. It is okay. Some of the goals you set for yourself are going to be impossible to achieve every day in our busy lives. The important thing is to not give up.
  • Find a friend to be accountable with. For example, I’m getting my parents involved. The three of us are going to put our lists on the fridge to hold each other accountable.

What are some goals that you tend to give up on? Do you repeat them over and over again?

If yes, join me on this journey. Below there is a blank pdf of the chart I made. Print it out and fill in your goals.

Together we can experience growth.

 

Click here for pdf: Blank June Goals pdf

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

5 Ways to Love Your non-Christian Roommate

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Hello new friend! This blog has a new domain. Click here to go to the NEW JOYPEDROW.COM and click here to read the post: God’s Love Letter to You.

Dear Roommate,
When paired with a random roommate in college, learning to live together can be challenging. It can be even more challenging if you both have different beliefs and lifestyles. If this happens and she is not a follower of Christ, here are 5 ways to help show her the love of Jesus in a kind, non-threatening way.

  1. Include. Invite her into your group of friends. If you’re planning a dinner out, ask if she wants to come. If you’re going to a game night, invite her! Invite her to church, college ministry events and meetings, and even just to hang out on campus! When she feels included and begins to make friends with other believers, the more she will get to experience Jesus’ love.
  2. Help. Go out of your way to do her chores, vacuum her side of the room, clean the bathroom, or take out the trash. Most people are not fans of chores, so she’ll probably be surprised and thankful for the help. She may even ask why you’re helping her. Perfect opportunity to share the gospel.
  3. Pray. Be intentional about praying for her. Pray that she would come to know Jesus. Pray that Jesus’ love would shine through you. You can even ask her if there is anything she needs prayer for. This shows you really do care.
  4. Listen. In college not everyone has someone close by to listen to their problems, especially freshman. When she seems upset, ask her what is wrong and then take the time to listen. Don’t feel the need to spill out Bible verses, just sit and listen. If she asks you for help, then offer loving advice.
  5. Be authentic. Be yourself. Don’t change who you are out of fear that she won’t like you. For example, do not avoid reading your Bible because you think she might find it weird. Maybe she will see you reading it and ask you why. Being authentic with her can create many opportunities to share the gospel!

Remember that Jesus loves her just as much as you. She is also the daughter of a King, she just may not know that yet. You two were paired up for a reason, and maybe that reason is so she can come to know Jesus.

Love, Christian College Gal

This blog has a new domain. Click here to go to the NEW JOYPEDROW.COM and click here to read the post: God’s Love Letter to You.

For other Dear Friend Series posts click here!

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

The Power of Your Story (Part 1)

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In the past three years, God has continued to show me over and over again how he can take my story and use it for his plan and his purpose. For the longest time I struggled believing this. I thought there was no way that God could use my broken life in any positive way. My freshman year of college, I was sexually abused. Immediately, the feeling of shame entered my heart.

I thought my story was filled with too much pain to bring God glory. Have you ever thought your story was too shameful to share or help anyone?

We all have a story, and we all have parts of our story we don’t think will bring the world any good. We all have been through challenges in life. We all have faced heart ache, anger, sadness, struggles, but if you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory.

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God has a purpose and a plan for your story. He knows that it will be used to further his kingdom, impact eternity, and bring him glory.

Why, you ask?

Because our stories are powerful.

Revelation 12:10-11 says, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”

These verses take place in the middle of a battle between God and Satan. “They” refers to Christians, and the verses explain the two ways that Christians can triumph over Satan.

The two reasons are:

  1. By the blood of the Lamb – Jesus’s death on the cross and his resurrection.
  1. By the word of our testimonies – our stories.

Our stories have so much power that they are in the same sentence as the power of Jesus’s death!

Why do our stories have this power? Because if you are a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of you. The power of the Holy Spirit is inside you.

Your story is an extension of God’s power.

God has shown me how my story is powerful. He has used it to bring him glory.  He has brought many women to me who have similar stories and used my story to help these women find power in their stories. He has used my story to impact others eternities. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.

Never let Satan convince you that your story has no purpose. Never let him convince you that your story is too shameful to share with others.

Allow God to use your story to bring him glory.

 

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 2) and The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

3 Ways to Grow During Summer Vacation

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Dear Summer Vacationing College Student,

Congrats on making it through another year of college!

Now you get to rest up! Enjoy your break, time away from school, and rest! Not only does summer provide rest, but it can also challenge your faith and obedience to Jesus. During the school year, you have your routine. You wake up, drink your coffee while reading the word, get ready, and go to class. But during the summer, you might not have a schedule, and it becomes easier to forget about spending time with God. Summers can also be spiritually isolating because you might be going home to non Christian family and friends, and you’ll be away from your church and Christian community. All of this can make growing in your walk with God a challenge, but take heart because you can make decisions now that will allow you to continue to grow during the summer.

Why is it important to continue growing in your walk with God during the summer and not just take the months off?

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:10-11 (NIV)

Joy, not me Joy haha, but the adjective which is a settled state in the mind of contentment, confidence, and hope, can be complete! This means that we can have contentment – we will no longer think something else will satisfy us more than Jesus, confidence – we will no longer doubt God’s love for us, and hope – we will no longer question the point of our sufferings. We will have complete joy when we keep God’s commands and remain in his love. And how can we do that? By continuing to grow in our walk with the Lord, spending time with him, and getting to know him more.

Now that you know why this is so important, here are 3 ways to grow during summer vacation:

Daily time with God in the word. The number one priority in your day and life must be fellowship with God. To get to know someone, you must spend time with them.

  • Plan into your day 30-45 minutes or as long as you would like to read the Bible, pray, journal, and worship. Set a practical realistic goal. For example, if you know you only have time for a 20 minute devotional, then don’t plan an hour quiet time. You’ll end up feeling disappointed.
  • If you don’t know where to start, look for an inductive Bible study on a book of the Bible or download the YouVersion  Bible app. This app will send you a notification each day to read the day’s verses.

Fellowship with believers. It is important to have Christian friends doing life with you. They can encourage you and provide Biblical truth when you need advice. It can be hard if you are going home to a place with no other believers, so you have to be intentional to seek fellowship. Here are some ways to do that.

  • Get involved in a church while you’re home, maybe they have a college age summer Bible study.
  • Keep in touch with Christian friends from school. Partner up and decide that you will intentionally ask each other through the week how your quiet times are going and how you’re doing.
  • Read books by influential Christians. Right now I’m reading a book by a Crulebrity Chad Young called Authenticity.
  • Download church podcasts or apps to listen to their sermons. I’m home in Pittsburgh for the summer, so I downloaded my church from Tampa’s app so now I can listen to the sermons without being there. It helps me stay feel connected!

Discipline. Discipline is the ability to order your life around the goals that you determined to accomplish or achieve.

  • Set spiritual goals for yourself for the summer.
  • What would you like to see God do in your life this summer?
  • Make a plan and stick to it. These decisions you make today can impact your summer and your eternity.

I want to encourage you all that you are not alone. I’m right there with you trying to figure out the transition back home for the summer and to make sure I continue growing. If you have any other ideas or found something that has worked for you comment below!

Love, Christian College Gal

 

For other Dear Friend Series posts click here!

Most of these ideas were pulled from my favorite resource Cru Press Green. Click here for the complete Cru Summer Survival Guide. I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Dear Friend Series

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Dear Friend Series!

Hi friends! I am starting a weekly series called the Dear Friend Series. Thank you Ashlee Profitt for the beautiful idea! This series will include letters written from my perspective, the Christian College Gal. Here are some preview topics to give you a better idea!

  • Dear Dad – 5 ways to encourage your Christian daughter in college
  • Dear Single Lady – 5 ways that Jesus fills your desire to be loved
  • Dear Pastor – 5 ways to help college age women in your church
  • Dear Daughter – 5 ways to start a gospel conversation with your non believing parents

Now that you have a preview, are you so excited? I am!

I’m excited to add some consistency to my blog through this series, and then still be able to post additional blogs on whatever the Holy Spirit calls me to write.

If there is any “person” you want me to write a letter to, comment it below! Thanks!

Love, Joy – Christian College Gal

For other Dear Friend Series posts click here!

 Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Approval Addiction

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My name is Joy and I’m addicted to approval.

I want to get real with you all. My desire for approval is an issue that God has revealed to me and has begun working on in my life. I’ve realized that this issue effects every aspect of my life. For example, I want my parents approval, and that sometimes leads me to follow their plan for my life over God’s plan for my life. I want my friends to like me, and because of that I’m not always honest or true to who God made me to be.

My approval addiction hinders my authenticity as a Christian, and hurts how others view Jesus.

I realize it is impossible for everyone in my life to approve of me. I’m working on realizing that none of their opinions matter, only God’s.

We want approval, and to gain it we think we have to perform. We perform when we change from who God created us to be into a person who we think others will like more.

Recently, I have started watching Dancing with the Stars. What drew me to the show was Candace Cameron Bure, most commonly known as DJ Tanner from Full House. Candace openly shares on the show that she puts faith first, likes the light, and performs for an audience of one.

On last weeks episode she said, “I always remember, that no matter how many people I’m performing for, I’m really performing for an audience of one. And that’s for God.”

I admire Candace because she is an authentic Christian. It would be easy for her to get upset over negative comments from the world, but she chooses to not let them bother her. Instead of letting them upset her, she chooses to only care about how God views her and how she is performing to him.

Thank you Candace for being a great example to the world and for being a truly authentic Christian.

People will always have opinions. Some may hurt you and some may help you, but we have to remember that what other people think of us doesn’t matter.

Who are you performing for? Who are you trying to please? Would God approve of what you say, think, and do?

Remember, you are performing for an audience of one.

candace-cameron-bure

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!