“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” – Job 8:21

Posts tagged ‘Christian teen blog’

Intruder Alert!

A young family walked past our window, the parents laughing while their son rolled along the sidewalk on his tricycle.

Zoom! A streak of black fur whizzed past my feet. My dog, Cheerio, reached the wall and jumped up onto the chair beside the window. He barked furiously at the small family that had dared to walk on his sidewalk. They turned to look for the source of the noise, smiled at the puppy face in the window, and continued walking unconcerned.

Cheerio has proclaimed himself as the guardian of our house. He takes his job very seriously. Wherever I am in the house, he parks himself next to the closest window, sticks his nose against the glass, and scrutinizes the front yard for movement.

Today as I was watching Cheerio, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 16:13 which says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Cheerio has got the “be on your guard” part down pretty well.

One of the most damaging things to a Christian, depression, can also be most stealthy in entering our lives. That is why we need to be especially watchful in looking out for it. As soon as we catch it, we can sound the alarm in prayer to God just like Cheerio does when he barks at an unwanted visitor. When we catch unhelpful and untrue thoughts in our minds, we can combat them with the armor of God that is talked about in Ephesians 6.

Cheerio does a great job of keeping watch from far away. However, if he finds an insect in our house, he leaps a few feet back in surprise and fear before venturing forward to investigate. Even though he is thousands of times larger than the tiny insect, he treats it as though it were enormous. Problems like depression can also seem insurmountable. But with God, we have all the strength and truth to defeat the lies of depression.

Be like Cheerio in keeping watch over your life. What prayers or verses do you find helpful to combat depression?

Peace in the Bizarre – Part II

Imagine my surprise when I realized that this post had never gone up when I scheduled it to! If you need to refresh your memory on what happened in the first part of this story, go read it here.

By now I couldn’t tell if my manicurist was joking or if he was just plain crazy. I thought about getting up and leaving right then, but I reasoned that he must be mostly done.

I stopped trying to make conversation. Obviously he needed all the concentration he could get. It didn’t help that the TV overhead was playing a show titled “Life in the Paranormal” and he kept turning his head to watch it instead of looking at my nails.

After a while he tired of watching stories about sightings of UFOs and vampires, and asked me some questions. “What’s your name?”

“Aimee.”

“How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

He started singing in a tuneless voice, “I know a girl named Aimee…She’s eighteen…she afraid to get nails done…Do you have a boyfriend Aimee?”

“No.”

“You pretty girl. Maybe you would have boyfriend if you weren’t such a scardy cat!”

Finally he was done. I stood up to gather my things and wait for my mom and sister to be finished. I examined my nails, which were bloodied at the cuticles and scratched under the surface of the nail polish, and I haven’t wanted a manicure since.

———–

Yes, this is a laughable story. At the time, I couldn’t decide whether to laugh at the absurdity of it or to be totally creeped out! You might still be reeling from events that have been going on in your life as well. In these times, it is hard to know how to react; should you hunker down and wait out the strange things going on, or should you accept this as the new normal?

Jesus gave us some direction in John 14:27. He said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” There is one option that we don’t have: giving in to fear. Jesus has promised us peace that is different from any other peace you seek. It is ‘not as the world gives.’

In what areas are you seeking God’s peace in today? How have you experienced his peace in the past? I’d love to hear about it!

Peace in the Bizarre

It was my mom’s birthday, and my mom, sister, and I were entering a small salon where we would get manicures to celebrate. When we arrived at the front desk, a short Asian man with spiky hair came towards me. “You ready?” he asked in a clipped accent. I sat at the table while he finished setting up.

He began by rubbing the surfaces of my nails vigorously with a sandpaper board. I was getting worried at the scratch marks appearing on my nails. “Is that good for them?”

“No.” He answered matter-of-factly.

“Umm, are you sure you should be doing it then?”

“No.” He paused for a second to look at me, and then went back to work.

“Okay…” I glanced over at my sister where she was waiting. She shot me an alarmed look.

The man transitioned to trimming my cuticles. To get my mind off the sharp object in his hand, I tried to make conversation.  “So, how long have you been working here?”

“This my first day.”

“Oh, okay…so what did you do before this?”

“Nothing. Just this.”

My attempts at conversation were failing. I saw his work license on the side of the workstation. “How do you pronounce your name?” I asked curiously.

“Oh, that not my license. That is picture of twin brother. I’m filling in for him today.”

“I see.”

Then I looked down at my fingernails. Three of the nails had red marks where blood was oozing from the cuticles. “They’re bleeding!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, that nothing.” He grinned mischievously. “This morning I was giving pedicure and lady moved just like you doing. Almost cut off my finger.” He showed me a bandage on the end of his finger and peeled it up so I could see the ugly wound underneath. “Poor lady, she didn’t come out so good. You should have seen it.” He made an ominous gesture with his hands.

This is a humorous (but true!) example of one of the bizarre circumstances that can enter our lives every day. Maybe the circumstance in your life is just as bizarre but not nearly as humorous. Maybe you are still trying to convince yourself that your parents really are getting a divorce.

I have good news for you: there is a way for you to have peace even in the middle of your most difficult trials. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” When your mind is on God, all your troubles dwindle in comparison to His all-consuming nature.

What trials are you trusting God through today? How are you working to keep your thoughts on Him?

P.S. – Come back next week to hear about the rest of this manicure visit!

Wonderful Weakness

I watched in the mirror as the young woman curled my hair. The formal event was staring in just a few hours, and a group of my friends had gathered to prepare together. The lady smiled as she held the curling iron steady. “So what is your book about?” She asked.

I remembered that my mom had mentioned it to her earlier. “It’s a devotional to help teen girls who have gone through their parents divorce.” I replied. “I just finished it the other day, and I’m really excited about it!”

“Wow, that’s great! You’re writing from experience, I assume?

I paused to think of a way to answer. I didn’t like to sound like I was complaining when I told someone about my book and the circumstances that brought me to write it.

Have you ever felt a twinge of guilt when talking about your problems or prayer requests? As though maybe you were exaggerating? I have definitely felt this when writing blog posts about the challenges of divorce. I wonder if I’m exaggerating the situation or if I’m prolonging the whole experience. Maybe I should just stick with devotional writing without including personal stories, I think.

I was contemplating this the other day when I realized something: if I don’t acknowledge the difficulty of a situation, how can God be glorified in it? God’s power is manifested when it is obvious that the solution did not come from me. We see proof of this in 2 Corinthians 12:9 after Paul asks God to take away a significant challenge in his life. God answers “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Paul then concludes that he will talk gladly about his weaknesses so that “the power of Christ may rest upon [him].”

Do you avoid talking about your failures? Paul didn’t. Our failures and challenges, when contrasted against God’s power, bring glory to God.