Feb 19, 2019

Knowing Your Why || guest post



Dear Reader,

Today I have an inspiring post from my friend Livy Lynn!

I got to meet this girl in person (♥) - and her heart is overflowing with a passion for Jesus.  She has encouraged me so much in my walk with God and writing (and her book is pretty amazing too).  And now, Livy is sharing a video course to help support new bloggers!

So if you're praying about your purpose, your why in life, keep scrolling, my friend!






   
Purpose. It’s a popular word thrown around in the Christian community. We all want to know our purpose, right? But what does that really mean?

Choosing to passionately embrace our purpose and live fully right where God has planted us, is what He’s called us all to do. And while we have a basic understanding of this in a very abstract manner, have we ever taken the time to truly break down this topic and discover how it really applies to our lives, in a practical way?

That’s what we’re going to do today!

I could talk for hours about purpose, identity, knowing your why, fulfilling God’s call on your life, etc. because I am SO passionate about this, but let’s start with the basics! No matter where you are on this planet, in spite of your age, family, background, skill level, dreams, accomplishments, etc. - we ALL have the same, number one goal!

Jesus says in Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” 

This is always our greatest and highest calling, to know the Lord, to love Him, and then, “love your neighbor as yourself.” (verse 31) No other commandment is greater than these. 

This simple, single-minded goal, is the foundation for everything we do in life. 

As we’re reminded of what our true purpose is, we can take this a step further and ask the Lord, “God, what does it look like for me as a unique individual, to love You with every part of who I am? To use everything You’ve given me, my time, resources, gifts, talents, etc.?”

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) was given to all of us, but the steps we take to fulfill it are not all going to look the same. Some of us will serve in Africa, others will raise families at home, some will write books, others will adopt orphans, and some will start successful businesses. We all so unique, fearfully, and wonderfully created, and God delights in our individuality! (Psalm 139:14) Doesn’t it make sense that even though we’re all working toward the same goal, our lives are going to look different from one another?

So how do you find what it is that you’re called to do? How can you embrace your potential and serve God with everything you have?

When I graduated High School, these questions caused me to feel insecure. What if I messed up? What if I chose the wrong path? What if I started pursuing something that wasn’t God’s will for my life?

I battled with these questions, until one day during my prayer time I felt the Holy Spirit ask, “What would you like to do?”

The question shocked me. “What would I like to do?” I argued, “You are God! I’m going to do what YOU want to do!”

But the question lingered. I felt prompted to journal about what I would like to see change in this world. And so, I let my pen run wild as I imagined myself running an online magazine for Christian teen girls. I was heartbroken by all the damaging, lie-filled messages that attack the hearts of young women, and I loved the idea of providing a resource that offered Biblical truths and reminded girls who they are in Christ! The more I wrote, the more excited I became.

When I was finished writing out this beautiful vision, I felt the Lord say, “Go for it.”

And just like that, I was off! Within a few months, I launched Crown of Beauty Magazine and momentum continued to grow. The Lord blessed that ministry so abundantly as I connected with readers around the world. I planned conferences, hosted events, and spoke at various locations around the country. Looking back, I realize all these beautiful blessings in my life and opportunities to serve, never would’ve happened if I wouldn’t have stepped out in faith.





  

Was I 100% sure God wanted me to start this magazine? Honestly, in the beginning, I wasn’t. But I had to get over the fear of being wrong. I had to get over the fear of making mistakes and realize that God created me to make a difference, right here, right now, right where I’m at, with the limited resources I have. Sometimes we feel like we have to understand everything or be more equipped, or have more money, or be 100% sure of something before stepping out: but that isn’t how faith works. Sometimes, Jesus asks you to walk on the water. Sometimes, you take a step before the staircase appears! Sometimes, you knock on a door before it opens. And then, once we take that first step, God is able to move.

Since the launch of Crown of Beauty, I had a lot of young girls ask me, “How do I figure out God’s will for my life?”

I love to share everything we just talked about above. And then, I ask, “What’s one thing that absolutely breaks your heart? What’s something you wish to see change in the world? Human trafficking? The orphan crisis? Global poverty?”

I then follow that question with, “What’s something you absolutely love to do? Write? Sing? Draw? Lead Bible study? Host parties and get-togethers with friends? If you can take those two things, a problem in today’s world, and couple it with something you love to do, brainstorming a unique and one-of-a-kind solution: do it!”

You don’t need to sit around and wait for a thundering voice from Heaven to tell you, “GO TO AFRICA! LOVE ORPHANS!” If you have a passion for orphans and let’s say, you adore making jewelry, launch a business to raise money for them! Use your writing gift to discuss a topic that needs the light of God shone on it. Write songs that encourage broken hearts. USE what you have, for His glory!

Living in the plans God has for us isn’t nearly as complicated as we imagine it might be. For me, personally, I couldn’t step into God’s plan for my life, until I stopped listening to the voice of fear. I believe that’s true for a lot of us. We need to be bold and very courageous, like Joshua was, and possess the land of our destiny!

Then, one we take those steps of faith and boldly decide we’re going to do something, we have to keep our WHY near at hand. Stepping into new areas of life is never easy. Doing things we’ve never done before requires hard work, patience, prayer, and perseverance. The biggest temptation the enemy throws at us, in hopes of getting us to give up, is to QUIT.

Knowing your WHY is remembering why you’re doing what you’re doing, and staying focused on the people you’re making a decision to help. This is true for anything in life. Whether you’re launching a business, starting a blog, writing a book, starting a Bible Study: we must always keep our why in the center of our hearts and at the forefront of our minds!

So before you start your new project, I would highly encourage you to pause and take a few moments to write down your why. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this? Why do I feel like this is what Jesus would do if He were in my shoes? What do I want to see happen for this particular group or people I’m ministering to?”

Pray and ask the Lord to help you, then write down your why, and keep it somewhere you can see! Look back at it often, especially on the hard days, when you feel discouraged and struggle to believe that what you’re doing is making any difference at all. Remember that God has chosen you before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and He has GOOD plans for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). You can trust him! Even with the hard stuff.




  
I know a lot of you are bloggers and blogging is an arena where it’s especially important to know and remember your why. In fact, this is the very first step I encourage all bloggers to make, when taking my brand new video course called Fire Starter: Launching a Blog that Blazes! If you’re a blogger (or even an aspiring blogger!) who would like to take their blog to the next level, you can find all the information for that here: Fire Starter

To celebrate the release of Fire Starter, I’m giving away a free Skype Session to talk about blogging goals, writing advice, and how to take your blog to the next level! (Or, if you’re too shy to video chat, we can totally do it over email.) My sweet friend Bella and I love coaching bloggers and authors through our Cheerleader Sessions (click here)!  This is our first time giving away a free session and we’re SO excited!

Entering for a chance to win is super simple! Just hop on over to my blog and sign up for my free email updates (and I’ll throw in a free e-book, just to say thanks!) and you’re all set!


Keep writing, friends!

Lots of love,
~Livy Lynn





About the Author:

Livy Lynn is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she’s not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies!

Come get connected at www.livylynnblog.com




~♥~

Feb 15, 2019

Trust in Your Weapon



I believe the Bible.  I always have.  Or at least I thought I did.

Last week, I faced a lot of lies, and I was quickly overwhelmed by anxiety.  I feared the future.  I feared the present.  I feared life itself.

And when I opened my Bible, the words there told me something completely different.  But, staring at the pages, I had to decide if I believed them.






   
I will wait for You, O You his Strength;
For God is my defense.
My God of mercy shall come to meet me;
God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.
- Psalm 59:9-10

God is my defense.  I took a deep breath.

He will come to meet me.  Then why was I scared of the other things?

He will let me see my desire on my enemies.  But what if that wasn't true?

I stared at the page and fought.  Sometimes I still fight.  I fight to believe, to accept, to let it transform my life.

If we truly believed the Bible, our lives would be radically different.

We say we believe.  We think we do.  But do we live like it?

How could we fear when He promises to never leave us nor forsake us?  (Heb.13:5
How could we not share the Gospel when it's commanded so openly?  (Mark 16:15
How could we not rejoice when the God of the Universe is singing over us?  (Zeph. 3:17
How could we say we don't have time to memorize, read the Bible, pray, when that's our weapon against this horrible enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy us?  (Eph. 6:10-20

If the Bible is true, why am I afraid?

Maybe sometimes I don't really believe it.

It's like we have this sword, and we're trying to fight.  But we don't really think it's strong enough.  We wave it, try to scare the enemy away, but we're too afraid to actually hit him.

The Bible is our weapon.

Go dig into one of the Psalms and find those promises.  Read Revelation and revel in the immense glory of Who God is.  Explore the Old Testament stories and see His hand.

The Bible is true.  That means these are also true:

You are loved with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).  God treads down our enemies (Psalm 60:12).  He has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  We fight against spiritual hosts of wickedness that must be fought by truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer (Eph. 6:10-20).

This is serious.

If you believe the Bible, your life has to change.  We're in a war zone, and we're not going down easily.

That's what I had to decide - I'm going to believe.  I'm going to stop reading the Bible as a book and read it as Truth.

Dear friend, don't let anything hold you back.  Read the Word as truth.  Believe it.  Memorize it.  Pray it.  Abide in it.

Seek Jesus, and He will be found.  We can't do this on our own.

What promises has He revealed to you?  What struggles do you face?  Let's fight this together.






  

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
- Hebrews 4:12 
~♥~

Feb 9, 2019

The Torch Keepers || a mock cover



Okay, so first I'll give you the cover, and then we'll be wordy.   =)




 

I. Have. A. Mock. Cover!!


Sorry, I just thought this design was perfect from the time I first laid eyes on it.  That beautiful fire?!  My graphic designer, Alea Harper, has been amazing through this process, and I'm stoked to share this pre-cover!!

The real cover is even better, but that's for later.  *evil author laughter*

And - another quick update - I re-vamped my "books" page where you can find info, synopsis, and mock covers for all three books - The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser, along with my two WIPs, The Torch Keepers and Emblem of Hope!!  Official covers and info coming soon!

But 'til then...

Recently, I've been listening to Hawk Nelson's song, "He Still Does (Miracles)."  And, apart from the way the words inspire me, it gave me a question.

What's a miracle?

I usually think of something big.  Like publishing a book.  For me, that's some huge endeavor that I honestly can't do successfully on my own.

Your miracle might be different.  It could be the healing that brings peace to your home.  Or funds that you desperately need, a night without tears, some way to change the way things are, get rid of the stress.

But what if those big miracles aren't the only ones?

As I pursue publishing, there have been a lot of little miracles.  Alea making me beautiful designs.  Friends offering to help, sharing their insight.  Me reading over something I wrote long ago that gives me all the feels.

God works.  But too often, we push Him, command Him to give us some big, obvious sign when the world is seriously littered with a million miracles all around us.

Sometimes we need to stop seeking some huge change and realize that He is already working.

This quote inspired me,

We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God's power... yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us.
- Oswald Chambers

God hasn't given me some awesome, Biblical passage to summarize these thoughts... although I'd love if you shared some on your heart!  These are just some ramblings from a girl seeking to find God.  But now it's your turn.

Dear friend, what miracles has He given you?  What ones do you continue to pray for?  How can I join you in that prayer?

The mock cover reminds me that God has control over Step 1.  My official cover is almost done, but I don't want to worry and stress about that.  He is writing my life story.  And He still does miracles.


For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
- 2 Corinthians 1:20

~♥~