I was failing, yet Jesus kept pursuing me.

 

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Hello friends!

I am so excited today because I get to be the first ever blogger to share her story on the Set Apart Spotlight!

She is Set Apart is a Christian ministry with this vision: to see women of all ages un-ashamed of what makes them different, to be bold and embrace what sets them apart and not conform to worldly standards. (Romans 12:2) This ministry was founded by a wonderful new friend of mine, Tierraney Richardson. Later in the week, her story will be featured on my blog, so make sure to check it out!

Here is the link for my quest post, “SET APART SPOTLIGHT: Joy Pedrow.”

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The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

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I love talking about how powerful our stories are, because when I realized this my life changed. I began to understand why I needed to share my story with other women. Through this, I experienced so much growth in my walk with God!

In the past two weeks I’ve blogged about how powerful our stories are. Here is why:

  1. Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross, and are extensions of God’s power! (Click here to read the post.)
  2. God has an eternal perspective and knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity! (Click here to read the post.)
  3. Finally, the third reason why our stories are powerful is because vulnerability leads to growth.

“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

When we admit our weaknesses to others, God has an opportunity to be glorified. We are powerless. God is powerful.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have you ever gone through a difficult time, reached the other end, and thought, “How in the world did I get through this?”

God.

My freshman year of college I was in a ditch of loneliness, sadness, and anger. At that time, I never thought I could be where I am now. Now, every time I am vulnerable and I share my story with someone of how God healed me, I let my weaknesses show God’s strength. I get to give God all the glory.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”  2 Tim 1: 8

When Jesus was dying on the cross, everyone thought he was a complete failure, except God. They believed that all he had done was a lie and was now dying a useless death. They didn’t know God’s plan or look at the bigger picture because they focused on the now.

Three days later they saw things differently. God’s plan became clear.

Friends, we are just like this! In the midst of pain and struggling we question God. Then when we see the other side, we see how God used that situation to glorify himself. We begin to think differently.

I love journaling. When I go back and re-read old journals I can truly see that God has used my story to bring him glory. Here is one prayer I wrote in November of my freshman year of college, “God, I know someday I will see how you’ve made a beautiful thing out of this.”

God has answered my prayers. He has fixed my broken heart. And he can fix yours too. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.

Ladies, be vulnerable with the other women in your life. You don’t know what they are going through. Maybe you have similar stories, and God wants to use you both to help each other.

Allow God to use your story to bring him glory.

 

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 1) and The Power of Your Story (Part 2)

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Check out my other posts about the power of our stories by clicking the photo below!

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When Prince Charming Isn’t Enough

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Friends, I am so excited! Today I get to share my story on a wonderful blog called Revolutionaries! I hope you check it out!

Click here to read my story of how prince charming wasn’t enough for me.

If you are a Christian, Bonnie @ Revolutionaries would love to post your story! Just contact her on her blog. Let her know that you have a story you want to share. Remember, that your story is powerful and can impact someone’s eternity!

 

 

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 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!

                       

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!

                       

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.

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

                       

 

In the Middle, You Find Jesus

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I recently went to a women’s conference called Dare To Be by Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill. Natalie led worship and then Charlotte led the teaching. It was very inspiring and impacting! Charlotte opened my eyes to something in scripture I had never before thought about – the middle. I want to share her message and expand on the topic.

In Mark 6:45-52, the story is shared where Jesus walks on water towards his disciples. In these verses, the men were in the middle of the trip between the land where Jesus was and the land on the other side. The boat was in the middle of the lake, far away from Jesus. I want to focus on the word- middle. This is pulled directly from verse 47, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.”

How would you define the middle? For the disciples, they were literally in the middle of the water, but the middle can look different for everyone. Maybe you are in the middle of waiting for something, middle of a struggle, middle of a breakup, middle of singleness, middle of a conflict, there are lots of middles in our lives. Right now I am in the middle of trying to figure out what career to work towards. I would love to be at the end and know exactly what God wants me to do, but right now I am where God wants me, in the middle.

Being in the middle may not be comfortable, but it requires trusting that God will get you to the other side.

The disciples would have felt more comfortable if they would have been on land next to Jesus, and maybe they thought about turning around and going back to where they came from. Right now I am in the life stage of singleness. I have to choose daily to trust that God knows what he is doing. Some days I may want to run back to my old lifestyle of dating who I wanted instead of waiting for a Godly man. I want to run back to what I know is comfortable, but I don’t because I am trusting that God will use this middle to glorify himself.

The middle may not be comfortable, but it does have an end.

The enemy knows when we are in the middle. Because each step we take gets us closer to the other side and closer to a break through. Every middle is equal distance both ways, so sometime it would require the same amount of work to go back to the beginning as the end.

As humans, we don’t want the journey, we want the results. We want to get to the end. We want to know what decisions to make, be married, get past the conflicts, and get out of the boat!

In the middle is when you put to practice all that you say and believe. It may be easy on the shore to say that you believe God is good and that his plans are perfect, but how you live out your life in the middle is the proof.

In the middle you see the miracle. Jesus walks on water and comes to you. When you are thinking how will I ever make it to the other side, Jesus performs a miracle.

In the middle,  you find Jesus.

The greek word used for middle, mesos, in this passage is also found in another passage in the Bible. John 19:18,  “There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

So where was Jesus? In the middle. He was in the middle of dying a painful death for you and I. He was in the middle of saving us from the pain of our own sinful choices. He was in the middle of saving us from the hurt this world causes us. Jesus was in the middle!

When you are in the middle of your struggles, waiting for hope, or  just want to get to the other side, remember that Jesus is in the middle.

 

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