Live Abundantly.

blog background 16Recently, God has been teaching me about his love, grace, spirit, patience, trust, and most importantly his friendship.God loves everyone! We don’t have to buy his love. His love is already there. God shows his love for us because when we were all still sinners he sent Christ to die for us. God gives us a commandment to love one another and if we love one another then people will see God’s love through us. God’s love is steadfast and unchanging. His love comforts me and it is revealed to me through Christ Jesus. I believe to truly see and show real love to others that I need God’s love in my heart. I have to love him first before I can show him love. I strive to show people the never-ending love God has for us.  Through my experiences on the mission trip, at Flame On, and working as a camp counselor God has become my solid rock in this crazy life.

I got saved and baptized when I was seven years old but my true transformation began when I went on a mission trip to North Carolina three years ago. We led a Vacation Bible School at a local church and a beach ministry. Through fellowship with these children, God taught me patience and perseverance. During the VBS I met a first grader named Bethany. She had decided on the first day of the VBS that she was not going to have any fun.   I prayed every night that she would see God’s love. I worked with her and showed her God’s love her. By the end of VBS, she was helping us lead the movements in the songs. I learned that there is no limit to what God can do in me, for me, and through me.

New Years, I went to Flame On a youth conference in Arkansas. On the first night, the speaker spoke on living a life for God. While we were singing I asked God to take deeper me in his word and give me a deeper understanding. I expected to gain more head knowledge but I gained greater heart knowledge. He doesn’t just say “Believe in ME” and “Follow ME,” but shows me how in His Word (the Bible) and gives me the strength, reason and faith to do that. He has surrounded me with his unparalleled love. I learned that it is about believing and knowing He loves me. It is about trusting and following him, then letting him guide me. Since I learned that I felt so much closer to him than I ever did.

This summer, I worked as a camp counselor at a local summer camp. God became my solid rock as I was away from home for the first time. I realized that through prayer and Bible study I feel his holy spirit dwell in me. I learned that there is something to be learned in every situation. While I was away at camp my mom had to have emergency surgery and stay in the hospital. When one of the program staff came and told me that I needed to call my dad I was terrified. My first instinct was to think of all the bad things that could have happened. I didn’t stop and pray until the fourth day of camp. I let the news of my mom being in the hospital distract me from my work and my campers. After my head counselor came and talked to me, I realized that I needed to stop and pray. I prayed for my mom and that God would teach me through this situation and he did.  I learned that, when things get crazy, all I have to do is trust in him, pray and lean on Him.

God’s love for me is unstoppable. He has helped me see through all the experiences to find joy and happiness in every moment. I have learned to live more Biblically and cherish all that God has for me. I know that he’s the only one who knows the way to the high places; places I have never imagined. My life has radically been changed through the love of my God. I am living an enjoyable, satisfied life filled with many blessings. I am on the ride of a lifetime even with all the bumps, I will face them with the knowledge that I will walk every step with God right beside me and I know that he will help me face and overcome each challenge.

God loves each and every one of us. He is ready for you to come and seek him out, all you have to do is talk. He is there listening to you and waiting for you to come and ask him.

 

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8

 

❤ Elena

 

 

 

 

Anticipation \\ book review

Good Morning I write with great passion as I take part in a Book Review Blog Tour and write my first book review for my great friend Staci Thomas!

Staci has a B.A in Journalism from Penn State University, and has always enjoyed creative writing. It wasn’t until after heartbreak that she accepted God’s calling and began writing according to His Word. This is the first book that she has written but it is apart of a trilogy.


 

Anticipation Book
Click here to buy your copy on Amazon

Title:  Anticipation

Author: S.D Thomas

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

Cassie Smith wasn’t expecting to fall in love with her best friend, Mark Santos, or the emotional turmoil she encounters in the relationship. But, this newfound love has her questioning the only commitments she’s ever made: to God and to leaving her hometown. Will she change her mind and stay with Mark? Or will she risk everything she’s ever known and loved to continue with her original plan? FREE Bible Study Guide that corresponds with book is available via website http://www.sdthomas.net


Will she ever figure out what she wants I fell in love with this story from the very first page. It embodies the struggle that young christian couples face today. The story has every element a good story should have. It kept my attention from page one. I love how the story came together and I could see it in my mind as I read it. In Anticipation, Staci presents Biblical references, romance, well developed characters and plot line.

One of the elements I fell in love with was the character development. I quickly fell in love with the main characters (Cassie, Mark, Shelly, Eric, Jake, Cassie’s Parents, and Mark’s Parents). I thought that the characters were well development. The characters also learned lessons along the way. From the very first page I connected with Cassie and I felt what she was going through.  The roller coaster ride of emotion in your senior year is something I am very familiar with. As I just went through them myself. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until close to the end of the school year when I got my acceptance letter from the college I wanted to go to. Will Cassie figure out what she wants?

 

Anticipation 7Cassie has these plans to leave and go to the University of Georgia (UGA) after she graduates high school. In her mind she really wants to get out of her town but then she begins to think that that isn’t what she wants at all. She is just trying to figure out what she wants and make a decision on whether she should go after it with no regrets.

Mark says to Cassie in the book that their senior year can be great but Cassie thinks that the options of ‘great are limited within the confines of her town. Does she know what Great is? Will she find out what it is before she graduates? 

Anticipation 8

To decide what you want and then go after it without regrets… That is something vigorous that we all have to do sometimes and it can be challenging to let go of your plans and follow God’s plans. In the book when Cassie says this she is comparing her life to her best friend Shelly’s life and how Shelly went after the things she waned in her life. She just wants her senior year to end so she can get out of her town. Something happens that throws those plans upside down. Does she know what she wants? Will she let God guide her to where she is supposed to be?

 

Anticpation 9

One Friday evening Cassie and Mark decided that they didn’t want to go to the football game instead they wanted to hang out. Cassie tells Mark that she is jealous that he might be going back to the Philippines in August on a Mission Trip. When she says that he gets mad and tells her that he can’t talk to her about this and that he didn’t want to just be her friend.” What will happen since he doesn’t want to just be her friend?

Check out the book to find out how the story ends.

The most important thing that I loved about this book was how Staci incorporated Jesus into every page. It is rare to read a book today that has a biblical background. I was so glad when I found out this book had a Biblical background. Each chapter starts with a Bible Verse. It is so awesome to see how each Bible Verse comes to play in each chapter.


It is a beautiful story that show the struggles many young couples face today as they move into adulthood and how their faith impacts all their decisions. It shows how not to loose who you are as you fall in love with your best friend and in the process how to navigate and transition into adulthood. I absolutely love this book and I think you will too.  I highly recommend that you read this book if you are looking for a good Christian young adult book to read.  I hope that if you read this book that you will be touched by God’s unfailing love and grace.

 

Elena Grace

 

I hope you will check out Staci Thomas on these social media sites.

Staci’s Social Media

Instagram

Facebook

WEBSITE

Goodreads

 

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Trust in the Lord

 

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Have you ever stopped and looked around you and given thanks to God for what he has blessed you with? I know for a fact that I sometimes fail at this, I get caught up in my own life, my school work, and things like applying for colleges and scholarships that I forget to take the time to give thanks to God for all that he has blessed me with.  God has blessed me with so much in my life; I have great parents, a great brother, an awesome and supportive youth group, and an fantastic and supportive pastor. Those are just a few things that I have been blessed  with in my  life.

One of my goals for this year is to give thanks to God through everything that I am going through and I can tell you that it is really hard but it is worth it because God has a great plan for me and all of the bumps,curves, and turns are part of his plan if I keep my eyes on him, keep him in the driver’s seat, and rely on his unconditional love he will show me his amazing and awesome plan for my life that I could have not imagined in my mind. This is the year for change and while I was at Flame on I made the commitment to God to be joyful in everything even the horrible and the sad things in my life. Having joy in everything I do has change my life so far for the better. My friends think I’m crazier now but it’s okay because the joy I have is from God

As we were on the road on the way to Flame On in Arkansas I thought a lot about this and being thankful. It seems like my life is flashing before my eyes and it keeps getting faster and faster. As a soon to be graduating senior in high school it is easy to “see” my life flashing before my eyes. I have been applying to colleges and scholarships and taking and retaking the ACT and SAT and it’s a lot. I have to remind myself to BREATHE and pray and give it to God sometimes when I am looking into colleges or working on my Portfolio, college stuff, and scholarships. As I am looking for a college to go to I don’t want it to be just my decision and where I want to go;  I want God to help me pick the right college.

I want God to lead me to the college that is perfect for me and that will fit me. I am constantly praying and asking him to give me the strength and patience to follow him and his plan for my life. It is very is to get distracted from following what and what God wants me to do when I graduate especially when my parents are breathing down my neck to just pick a college and a career. I sometimes wish that I could ‘just pick a college and a career’ but I can’t I find myself constantly praying and asking God for the right words to say to my parents when we talk about college. I constantly ask him for guidance in my life in what I’m supposed to do after I graduate because if I’m being completely honest I have no I idea what I’m going to do or where I’m going to go to college. The thought kinda frightens me.

As I kept praying about this and asking God to lead me to where he wanted me to go. I figured out that I could either start college right out of high school or apply for a six month school with a mission organization called Youth with a Mission. I don’t want to go off on a wrong path and not follow God. I could choose the safe option and start college right after I graduate or I could take a leap and follow God and let him take me to high places and apply for a six month mission school.  I don’t know which one I am going to choose but I am still praying about it.

I finally shared what I was thinking and still thinking with a friend and you want to know what she said?

God can use me wherever I am, whether it’s the “right” place or not.  When it comes to a decision like this, there is no right or wrong path with God. Where ever you land is where God will use you.

In the mist of all the craziness of being a senior I figured out something great. As I keep thinking about this it seems so self-explanatory. Of course God will use me wherever I am. Why didn’t I see that before? If we follow God and listen to him he will provide us with the answers to our crazy lives. If we trust in him and follow he will take us to high places.

Are you at a fork in the road wondering which path is the “right path” to choose? Take a leap and choose one there is no right or wrong path. God will use you where ever you land.

Follow him and let him take you to high places. No matter where you go God will use you. 

 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” -Philippians 2:13

 

Trust in his ability to take you to high places and go for it! 

Elena

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” -Proverbs 3:5-6