By, Joela Diaz
Please help me, Lord. I feel nothing is going to go right. Help me trust in You and Your power and planning.
That entry was from February 2017. Spoiler alert: everything went right–in ways I didn’t expect.
While preparing for college applications, I constantly worried I’d choose the wrong major and college. There’s so much pressure throughout high school to get the plan right, because if not, we think it’ll disrupt the trajectory of the rest of our lives.
I’ve learned we aren’t meant to figure out the details of our life plans. God promises, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Perhaps you’ve heard this promise so often you’ve forgotten its comfort. When we meditate on these words, we see that we don’t have to carry the burden of “figuring out our lives.”
Throughout my college application process, I asked God for peace, direction, and clarity. I dreamed of going to Emerson College or perhaps Rutgers University. William Paterson University was last on my list of contenders, yet during my campus tour, I sensed a peace that WPU was where I belonged. So I submitted my application and was accepted.
If the tour wasn’t enough confirmation, WPU was the only school that offered me scholarships that covered nearly 100% of my tuition. If I had written my college plan, it would have looked very different, but it wouldn’t have turned out nearly as wonderful.
I believe that in every season where we ask God to guide us and write our story, He will answer and work all things together for good. When I look back at my journal entries, I realize I stressed so much over things God had control over. All I had to do was listen for His voice, and the same proves true now.
What about you? Are there any decisions you need to make that are making you anxious? I encourage you to give it to God in prayer. Even if He doesn’t answer right away, He promises to sustain you.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
By, Lexi K.
When the pandemic hit in the middle of my junior year of high school, I figured it would be over by the time I was a senior. I tried reassuring myself everyday in the hopes that I would be able to have the year I’ve wanted since I was 13 years old. To me, senior year meant I got to be the coolest in the school. To me, senior year meant finally sitting in the front row of football games, having my National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, and being with my friends for the last time. To me, these things were important, but I felt no one around me understood how disappointed I was to miss all of the traditional senior festivities when my senior year began.
I walked into a three person class on my first day of school and frowned behind the mask that hid my sadness. I was angry with God. Every time I walked into the school building I would ask Him, “Why did this pandemic have to happen now?” The classrooms were empty, the hallways were empty, and my heart was empty. I felt unappreciated by my teachers for the four years of hard work I had put in. Where was my drive-by? Where was my poster? Where was my gift basket? I pushed God away and let my worry build up inside of me, resulting in isolation out of fear of contracting Covid-19. While my friends' lives started to go back to normal, I selfishly wanted time to freeze again so I wouldn’t feel so alone, allowing the virus to be bigger than God. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36. I was putting my worldly desires before God and permitting them to steer me away from Him. Who was I to fear a virus when I knew that God is greater than all?
On New Year’s Eve I decided that it was time to stop holding grudges because I realized that this year was God’s plan for me all along. I was so preoccupied with trying to fix the senior year that I had planned for, that I was blindsided to the fact that God had a different plan. I started praying again and opened my heart back up to God during this important part of my life, picking a college. I would have daily conversations with God, share my feelings, and pray for direction when I started hearing back from my schools. When I was waitlisted at my top choice school, I felt that Jesus made it clear that I wasn’t meant to go to that college because I wasn’t too upset to receive this news. I was accepted to another school that was always in the back of my mind, so I asked God for a month to show me which college to attend. I was overwhelmed and trusted Jesus on this journey, knowing that in the end, I will end up at the school I was meant to be at. I visited the college I couldn’t stop thinking about and was thrilled with the feeling I got from that trip. I prayed about my commitment and felt that I was making the right decision of spending the next four years of my life at the University of Florida.
After posting about my commitment, I prayed that God would help me find friends and a roommate easily. Sure enough, many girls reached out to me about living arrangements, meet-ups, and getting to know one another. I continued praying to God about a roommate I would feel comfortable with, preferably from New Jersey, so we could fly to Florida together. The first girl to reach out to me asked me to go to lunch because we only lived 20 minutes away from each other in New Jersey... We had so much in common and clicked right away! We even went to a dinner in New York to meet more girls going to the University of Florida. Everything felt right, and I knew that God had heard every single one of my prayers.
This year has taught me that I can’t live without God. Life without Him is dark and lonely. He has a plan for everyone, even when it may not be the one you had hoped for. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 While my senior year had a bumpy start, trusting God and His plan was the right decision! And now, as the world slowly starts to reopen, I get the end of the year senior festivities I always wanted. God knew I would still get my senior prom, senior fashion show, and high school graduation. I will follow God’s path to college! Go Gators! Go God!
Was there ever a time where you didn’t understand the path God was leading you on? How did you react to this?
By, Carrington B.
Through my experience as a senior through such an unprecedented year, the main thing that God has shown me is to only trust in Him. When there were so many cancelled events in such a short amount of time, I realized that we absolutely could not rely on what could possibly happen in the future. Instead, the only thing that we could truly stand on is that God’s ways are better than ours. Throughout my time in high school, I always stood on the verse Jeremiah 29:11, to trust that God has good plans for us despite what our current circumstances may look like. As I make the transition to college, I hold onto the same values. The truth is, there is nothing that we can do on our own strength that will determine our future. I’ve found that the only way we will truly have peace is if we fully submit to the Lords will for our lives. He is working things out in a way better than we can ever imagine, Romans 8:28. If anyone is struggling with being anxious for the future or even with their next season, post Covid, I want to challenge you with this…take out your journal or piece of paper and write down those areas that you are unsure about. After you write down those areas, rip them up. Yes, I said rip them up. This is a prophetic act stating that despite your anxieties about what’s to come, above all else, you have faith that the Lord is making a way for all your hearts desires and more!
By, Alexis K.
During the pandemic, I averaged five hours a day on my phone. Most of the time I would mindlessly scroll through TikTok, a trendy social media app where anyone can share entertaining videos. Once I finally realized how much my screen time was increasing from meaningless videos, I decided to limit my time on TikTok. I was ready to delete the app for good until a video of a Christian creator appeared on my feed. After watching the entire video, I began to see more posts with Christian content.
I decided to keep TikTok because I began to learn new information about Jesus and drew closer to Him. People I didn’t even know were reading scriptures, explaining Bible verses, and praying on my screen! God knew I wasn’t done with TikTok yet, and He spoke to me through these people. It registered to me that I had been opening my phone more than my Bible, so I made a conscious decision to read the Bible more often. I wonder now how I ever went without doing that? I saw my relationship with God grow when I began reading my Bible and noticed things in my life changing. For example, I was so upset when I saw my closest friend drifting out of my life. I prayed and asked God that my friend wouldn’t forget about our friendship and that she would reach out to me. Not only did I turn to God first in this situation, but I remembered that God definitely had a reason for this. While I may not know why my friend and I aren’t as close anymore; I trust my Lord and the plan He has for me.
“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Furthermore, I had feelings I had never experienced before. I once had a strong urge to reach out to this one girl in my high school who I didn’t know that well. I brushed it off because I thought it would be strange for me to talk to someone about Jesus if I wasn’t friends with them. However, the feeling didn’t go away, and every day that week her and I crossed paths in some way. So that Friday night, I texted this girl about Jesus Christ and her response left me in awe. God has perfect timing as seen through her reply: “I’ve been trying to get more in tune with my faith.”
“And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” Mark 16:20
The growth I have recently experienced in my faith started on TikTok. I used the teachings I had learned and spread them along to others. I have changed my outlook on the world and worldly desires. I’m so excited to see how God will continue to use me and inspire me through TikTok.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
Have you come into contact with someone or something that has drawn you closer to Jesus? How has that change made you feel? Feel free to leave comments, I’d love to respond!
By Carrington B.
Teen Ambassador for The Beauty Project
Broken, hurt, not good enough, bitter, and isolated were all words that described me at the beginning of the year. Although I was one who truly believed in God and encouraged others in the Word, I felt empty. I had panic attacks multiple times a day and struggled with depression. The past few months have been some of the most challenging that I have faced in my 17 years, but it has truly shown how God is the ultimate Healer.
God will absolutely restore every broken piece of your heart.
I recently went through a very severe battle with anxiety and depression, which could have been fatal, but it is so incredible how God met me where I was and completely restored and molded me into who He created me to be. It says in his Word, “no weapon formed against you shall prosper” Isaiah 54:17. Our God is one who loves and cares for us deeply and He is our protector and healer. I want to encourage you; there is nothing that you will go through that God does not see. Although things may be difficult, we serve a God who is working out all things for good.
Although I may have been in so much mental pain, resulting in some time spent at the hospital, it is so evident that God had His hand on my life through it all. Although things may not be how we picture them, know that your Father loves you and is with you despite your current circumstances. Throughout my struggle, I was encouraged and uplifted by angels that God has placed in my life. During my time in the hospital, I had nurses come and pray for me, I’ve had friends, family, and mentors from Her Life Speaks speak life into me and be a continuous reminder that God is still with me working things out for good. I have also been blessed with an incredible therapist to help me pray through and seek God’s healing. I find it incredible how even at our lowest points, God provides complete comfort and healing.
Romans 8:28 says, “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him”. Take this as a confirmation that God has incredible plans for you that will work
out in His timing. Your current situation is not permanent and God’s glory will be shown throughout. He makes beauty from ashes like it says in Isaiah 61. Throughout my time focusing on my mental health, I have meditated on Psalm 91 which is a chapter that continues to remind me that although we may face difficulty, we have a God who is on our side. Doesn’t that give you comfort?
Negative situations do not define you, God does.
The only reason I have overcome my struggle with mental health was because of Jesus. He not only met me where I was, but he saved my life and made me all together better than I could have ever been. My identity is; a daughter of the King, forgiven, set free, accepted and so much more.
If you are struggling with anything, how can you look towards Jesus instead of your negative circumstances? How can they point to His glory?
Who has God brought as “angels” into your life to give you comfort? Comment below!
By Carrington Schuyler Brooks
“Everything happens for a reason, God knows best” is something my mother continuously tells me. Before middle school this phrase went in one ear and out the other. As I’ve grown closer to God, I realized I didn’t really understand the spiritual aspect of this phrase.
In life, there are some situations that occur in which we feel that God doesn’t hear us and hasn’t answered our prayer.
Our desired prayer, which we think is the best decision for us, is not granted. One example would be when I did not get accepted into the middle school I prayed for.
After Elementary school, I thought that I had my whole middle school life figured out. I applied to a private school and automatically thought that I would be accepted because my mom and I prayed and knew God wanted what was best for me. I had God on my side! As the story goes I did NOT get into my middle school of choice. I was, to say the least, devastated. Felt unworthy. Less than. Unloved by God because He didn’t answer my prayer.
So I entered Glenfield Middle School in September 2014 and God’s plan begin to reveal itself. After trials and triumphs throughout the years at Glenfield, I graduated several accolades including Student Council President, National Honor Society member and Student of the Year which was presented by Mr. Gill, a true Glenfield legacy. “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
After graduation, I knew that God had intentionally and lovingly placed me a Glenfield. He knew what was best for me! Throughout this experience I realize that just because we don’t get the answer that we want, doesn’t mean it’s not an answered prayer! (Psalm 118:21)
I now know that everything happens for reason (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and with God’s perfect purpose and plan for your life and his eyes. The experiences that I have had throughout middle school has transformed me and drawn me closer to God. I want to carry out his plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) now I am ready to take on high school like the superstar God made me to be, and all of us, to be! I know to trust and believe in where ever he leads me (Hebrews 11:1) and that PRAYER WORKS! Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.