Valentine’s Day and Love — A Single Teenager’s Nightmare

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It is EVERYWHERE

If you are a teenager, which means if you are in middle school or high school, sometimes February can be just as harsh for you as it is for adults. Our society loves young love and you see it everywhere! Media. Music. Books. Pictures. Your Peers walking around the hallways. It is EVERYWHERE. I know I said that twice, but I am making a point. Now my personal viewpoint, especially after working with youth age for the past four and half years is you shouldn’t date yet, but that is a tangent for another time.

In reality, you are dating or your concept of dating. I mean seriously, can you even drive yet? But there are a lot of you that aren’t and I am here to give you some comfort in this time of lovebirds, flowers, and chocolates.

Single Teenager’s Nightmare

Many of you look at this time of year and think you are unworthy or ugly or too fat or whatever negative viewpoint about yourselves come to your mind. (I am telling you, you are wrong, but we will get to that). Watching your best friend giggle at some lame line their boyfriend came up with can make you vomit. And you’re trying not to still because she wants you to come over and help her pick out the right outfit for their “date.” Honey, you are not alone and I have been there. I mean you are happy for your best friend, but inside you just wish it was both of you picking out cute little outfits. By the end of hanging out, you want to climb into bed with a tube of ice cream and either a romantic YA novel, crying over the main characters love or a slasher novel, where everything is killed. It is literally a Single Teenager’s Nightmare.

Some Truth to Hold onto To

Single Teenager's NightmareThe problem is we females (and yes, I am saying me too), we tend to put our worth in relationships, whether it is with friends or a boy. Ladies, our worth isn’t found in our friends or relationships with boys. Our worth needs to be founded in Jesus Christ!

Psalm 139:14 says: “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well!”

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Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God created us and made us each unique and special. We don’t need the approve of someone who might be in our lives for only a blink of an eye because we have the approval of the one who made us and will love us forever! So even if the boy you have drooled over for the past six months asks somebody else to spend Valentine’s Day together, doesn’t mean you are unworthy of someone’s love. You are already loved more than any mortal man can give.

What to Do on Valentine’s Day

Like I said, you don’t need a man. There are many things you can do to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

  1. Get a group of friends together and hang out.
    • Go to the movies together.
    • Grab dinner and socialize.
    • Go bowling or ice skating (roller blading if you are down south).
    • Have a sleepover.

Yes, many people view Valentine’s Day about couples and their love, but we have a love for friends, right? Why not celebrate those relationships too! So don’t feel like you need to hide away in your bedroom. You can always find a way to make it a great time of year!

God Bless,

AshleyDannie

What is Prayer to Me? Answering a Question I Have Never Been Asked

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Prayer in My Life

PrayerRight now, with my church staff, we are reading The Battle Plan for Prayer and every week we are getting together in small groups to discuss the chapters we read. Well, for the first meeting one of my group members asked a specific question–What is prayer to you?

Huh.

I have lived in a Christian home my whole life and if I was asked what is prayer I could give you a 30-minute teaching on what prayer is and how to pray. My church and my professors provided that knowledge, but with all my still probably limited knowledge on the subject I couldn’t answer the question brought into our group.

The definition of prayer is “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” Doesn’t that sound so clinical? But that is the definition or a version of it I would probably tell you if asked what is prayer. Except as a Christian, my answer shouldn’t be clinical but from the heart.

So what is Prayer to Me?

Prayer is a time where I can go to my Heavenly Father and talk to Him.

I know that He is listening–like really listening. Also, it is a time for me to listen to Him. Sometimes I just like to sit still. I know you are probably thinking I am a crazy person, but God does talk to us in those moments. Whether it is a thought he plants or a verse you think of or even something a friend/family/mentor says to you, but the only way I can going to hear it is if I can sit still before the Lord.

Prayer is precious to me.

A time where I can pour my heart out with my praises and my pains. I am somebody who needs to verbally talk out my issues and my triumphs and I love to do that with my Father because He already knows them. He knows every step I am going to take and loves me without judgment. Sometimes I feel like God might be my therapist, listening to all my problems, except He actually gets involved because He loves me.

Prayer is constant.

Yes, scheduled time to pray is great and it is something I am trying to get into a habit of, but it can also be spontaneous. Driving in my car is one of my favorite times to talk to God. First, because nobody is around and I can be as loud as I want without interruption. Second, because sometimes I need that extra boost from God before walking into work or an event with the middle schoolers.

But mainly because it feels as if God is sitting in the passenger seat with me. I mean when you talk to somebody in your car, you aren’t looking at them, but you know they are there, right? I mean if you look at them while you’re talking and driving a crash will happen. So I imagine sometimes God is sitting in the passenger seat listening to my ramblings as I drive.

So there you have it.  Some of it might not make sense to you, but it does to me. There is probably more ways of saying what prayer is to me, but I would be typing for the rest of my life. 🙂

So know I have to ask…what is prayer to you? Comment below and tell me!

 

Have a blessed day,
AshleyDannie

Listening for God’s Voice through the Torment, Turmoil and Transparency

 

Listening for God’s Voice & Follow the Footprints

To say that I am great at following God’s instructions would be a massive lie. To say that my stubborn and bullheadedness has brought me trials I would have avoided if I had just listened would be the biggest truth I can confess. Life is our path–our journey–but along the way, there are moments of torment, of turmoil, and of transparency.  

Torment:

God's VoiceMy whole life I wanted to leave Indiana. I wanted to get out and far away. God answered that prayer, sending me down to Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL. SEU gave me the best  four and a half years as I met friends that became family and earned a degree in teaching, the field I thought I was meant to do–my calling. After graduation, I diligently applied many places and by the next school year, I landed a dream job. I saw the footprints in front of me and I followed, not considering them being an illusion of my own making. The timer on the bomb started its countdown as situations arose, making my life as a teacher laborious.

By February I messed up. I let my temper win. It cost me my job. Now don’t get me wrong it merely was me letting the kids get to me and I screamed, but nowadays that is enough because to the administration it doesn’t matter how much a brand new teacher of 22 is trying and reaching out for help, the kids and parents are always right. I walked away from teaching that day. In the moment, I walked away from more than just my job, but I thought I was walking away from my calling.

At that point all I knew in my life was teaching, so where did I go? I turned back to my college job and then to a marketing job I thought I would do well in. It broke my sanity. I remember crying to my mom every night as I drove the one to two hours on I-4 because I was breaking. Not because of the job, even though it looked that way, but because of the emptiness I felt. The new job took me away from the church, aiding in my silence with God. I knew I should have left. I knew I needed to come home and regroup, but I didn’t want to leave the sunny, humid jungle of Florida, with its year-round beach days and outrageously pricey Disney World. I said I never would move back to Indiana.

The vast hole grew, filling up with overwhelming disappointment, crushing emptiness, and doubt. I was drowning.

So. I. Gave. In.

Turmoil:

In other words, confusion set it. I broke my never promise to myself–Indiana. I moved back into the small God's Voicebedroom at my parents’ house. It wasn’t even my bedroom. My brother moved into mine thinking I wasn’t ever coming home. I thought coming back would give me a sense of normalcy, but even the walls I lived in had changed. I had to get used to a new bedroom that I lived next to my whole life, but never in. Even such a small thing  pushed me further under.

My saving grace arrived on my first Sunday back. My family changed churches and I could feel my lead body lightening as we sang song after song during worship. Something about Pathway felt…right. A weird sense of peace washed over me that morning and little did I know what God was about to do. I sat in my chair looking at the opportunities to serve in the church, feeling compelled to check a couple off, turning it in with the offering. See, before the marketing job, I worked in my Florida church’s nursery for five years and missed being able to serve. My first thought about serving at Pathway would give me that familiarity back of being apart of something. I checked off KidCity, but God was pushing me. I did not want work with students, especially middle schoolers.

I finally caved to my spiritual competitor and checked off Impulse and Impact (middle and high school ministries). The next day I received a call from Byron in middle school, asking if I wanted to check it out Wednesday. My brain screamed no, disappointed it wasn’t KidCity, but my heart won, having my mouth agree to check it out. The group of 8th graders I sat in with that night were rough. I honestly didn’t want to be a leader at all, but when Byron talked to me after youth that night something inside of me agreed.

To sum up the next three years from there I fell in love with middle schoolers. My first group of eighth graders was challenging, but God found the small piece of my heart that could love them and fostered it. By the end of their school year the black hole I once had for middle school filled with fresh soil and seeds. Each year the seeds grew a little more and in the summer of 2015 little sprouts pushed through the dirt. A position was opening up in middle school ministry for a new youth pastor because Byron was moving to college and Travis (the other youth pastor)  needed some help. I remember feeling my heart tug when they told me. I remember not being able to shake the feeling at all.

Needless to say, I wasn’t qualified, but the sprout was there. The seed started growing and through the 2015-2016 school year, I consistently sought God on what footprints to follow. Nothing. Nothing was working and I needed a solid job because of personal and financial reasons, so I thought since my girls were about to go to high school the next school year it would be a great time for me to go back to Florida. I would have my Master’s in English and a better head on my shoulders. So I ignored the sprout and started applying for new full-time jobs. I even had an interview in Florida, but with every application, resume, and interview rejection after rejection followed. Nothing was working and confusion set in more. During the whole process I leaned in on God, but I started to realize in May of 2016 that even though I was leaning in…God was keeping silent. I was following illusions my selfishness created.

I needed to fully give my path back to God.

Transparency:

God's VoiceWhen I did just that everything started to change. Brad, our student ministries pastor, came to me in June and started talking to me about if I would be interested working for the church. I remember the smile that crossed my face as my heart leaped from its spot shouting “This is it!” A small voice inside of me said, “This is what I wanted you to wait for.”

I couldn’t believe it. I thought okay, I will have an interview and this will be decided before we go to CDYC. Nope. Okay then after camps. Nada. The summer waned on as I waited for an interview and decision, but complications arose. I look back on the summer and see God testing me. I had to find patience, trust, and strength through Him as each new complication set in. God had me work for it. Now I know, God needed me to go through the stress, making sure I focused on Him and not strayed thinking it wouldn’t work out. Now more than ever I know I want to break another “never promise” I made to myself years ago–work in ministry.

I am now the new student ministries assistant for Impulse and hopefully a new student at Bethel in the spring for their Master’s in Ministry program. I see now the path I had taken and strayed. Even though most of my path seemed as if it was a delusion it really wasn’t. God knew He had to beat it into me and I see the moments in the past 10 years that have led me here. My path though still continues as I follow Him in a new part of my story. I pray I can continue to seek His path and walk beside Him.

Sometimes clarity takes more than a keen eye, but a willing heart.

AshleyDannie

Let go and let God

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Every high schooler will say the same thing. The stress of simply attending school and getting what you have to get done is unreal. The pressure to excel in this society is intense. If you’re not the quarterback of the football team, the captain of the cheer squad, or the kid going to Harvard, you’re just another number in the 2800 kids attending the same school.

I saw a picture a while ago that was just another picture with a list of things you should put before school work. Honestly, I just read it without even soaking in what it was saying. (Mindless phone wandering at its finest, people)

It took until the second time reading it that the message stood out. (Btw I searched hard for the picture but it’s nowhere to be found)

The message was basically this: Don’t miss out on life because you have a paper due the next day. Don’t sit inside cramming when your family is outside enjoying each other’s company. Don’t give up a valuable talk with your mom just because you have 30 questions to do for the math the next day. Don’t ignore your crying best friend because your worksheet “has to get done”.

There’s more to life than just school.

Am I saying school isn’t important? Absolutely not. Education is the key to whatever door you want to open in your lifetime.

But between the papers and cramming sessions, let go a little. Don’t be so tied down by the anchors of school that you miss out on your actual high school experience.

Don’t hold onto the stress of doing everything. Hand it to God and wipe your hands of it. God will provide you the sanity and calmness needed to get through high school if you just let go and let God.

The day I let go a little and realized that life (and my sanity) was more important than any single assignment, I became happier. If I was stressed to the point of tears, I didn’t add to it by opening my book bag. I handled the biggest responsibility in my life.. To live a life I’m proud of. My grades haven’t suffered and I’m less tense on the daily basis.

Being a responsible student is one thing, but don’t get so bogged down in the books that you miss out of the life happening right in front of you.

Let me introduce myself

Introduce Myself Hey, guys! I’m Sam and I’m new to the whole blogging scene so bear with me!

First off- a little bit about myself. I am a junior at Carroll High School. I work at Pathway Community Church as a childcare worker. I have a strong passion for art and I’m an aspiring graphic designer. I have two brothers, two dogs, and a boyfriend. My mother is my best friend and I don’t go out much. I have a health condition called POTS disorder (which I won’t go into detail about now because I’m sure that will come soon).

I have been through it all. From abusive relationships to high school sweethearts. From being the social butterfly to being the girl who hides in the corner. From being the so-called “party girl” to being Pentecostal. From being a cheerleader to having a life-altering disorder. There’s very little that I can say I haven’t tackled in my life. And those are the things that I’ll be blogging about.

Being a teenage girl is hard enough. Being a responsible, strong, God-loving teenage girl is a different story.

But it’s my story.