ten and two

Thursday, July 30, 2015

- from pinterest -

Ten and two, I kept telling myself.

Sensationally terrified, I pressed on, and the world flew past.

His quiet cheers tamed my fear: that's it; nice and slow.

Suddenly the dreams of cruising through the Australian countryside seemed too far off.

What will happen in those moments? Will fear captivate me like it does now?

But I imagine that when I first walked, I was terrified. And as soon as I walked, I wanted to run; as soon as I ran, I wanted to fly.

I suppose, for now, the closest thing to flying will be riding behind this wheel, feeling the wind through my hair, sensational fear running through my bones.

And now I know that I was made to reach farther and farther. The farther I reach, the more I find myself; the more I find myself, the more I want to trust the One Who saved me.

p.s. I'm pretty sure ten and two isn't the official way to hold a steering wheel anymore. (just a disclaimer)

To All those Middle-Schoolers (And Everyone Else):

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back to School Part 3

-This is my best friend. (at right; her name is Madilyn ) I put this picture here because we both survived middle school, so you can, too :) -
This post was requested by someone, and I had originally planned for it to be quite lengthy. I learned a lot in middle school, and I wanted to be able to share it with y'all.

I wrote and wrote, and nothing sounded quite right. So now, I have one over-arching truth that not only applies to middle-schoolers, but to everyone:

Don't get sucked into the crowd.

The so-called bad kids often don't to amount to much in middle school: sometimes all they do is chase boys and pursue "popularity." Some use not-so-nice language and call people not-so-nice names, and most of the time, it's because they want to be cool. They're insecure, and so they pride themselves in the pain of others because it's the only thing that seems to somewhat get them through the so-called "awkward stage." (Everyone has one; it's definitely not something you can avoid, so don't be ashamed of it.)

I'm here to tell you that the only One who can get you through the awkward stage while your confidence stays intact is God. He is where your confidence comes from. God-given self confidence is the kind of confidence that keeps you humble. You can humbly realize that without God, you're practically nothing (as we all are), and that with God (if you're a Christian), you're a redeemed, regenerated being. You're a new soul! The same power that made Jesus come back to life is living inside of you. What can bullies  (or the awkward stage) do to you when you've got God on your side?

(A side note: last school year, in 9th grade, I realized that if you really look at everyone, they're all beautiful. I truly mean that. Everybody has things they're not proud of, but everyone has a beautiful side to them. Sinners are ugly on the inside, indeed, but when God makes someone in His image, how can she not be beautiful?)

That being said, remember that as a Christian, your mission is to spread God's word. Ultimately, if you're not cool because you love Jesus, it won't matter. (I admit, I have it a little easy because I live in the Bible belt.)

Don't be afraid to stick out. Be the new creation God made you to be. Pray constantly that God would help you to resist temptation and do all to His glory. Stay in the Word always. (I started bringing my Bible to school last year in the second semester. It really helped.) By staying in the Word, you can be equipped with the armor of God, ready to defend your faith with grace and humility.

Held Prisoner

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I want to seek You with all my heart,

but pieces of me are held prisoner 
behind the bars of worthless fancies.

They're striving to break free,
but they're trapped.

free me, O God.

Blessings in These Monotonous Days

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

For nights like tonight only one word comes to mind: blessed.

That probably strikes my family as strange, considering I just gave them a lecture about putting their dishes in the dishwasher after they finish eating (it is so not acceptable to let them pile up in the sink), but I got to thinking, even this bickering is somehow a blessing.

These siblings - I have three - are not only my brothers and sister, they're my best friends. They're with me through everything, thick and thin. And I am beyond thankful that I have had the privilege of growing up with them. And my parents, well, some kids don't have those. They love me unconditionally. They've chosen to raise my siblings and me instead of doing those things that most people dream of: traveling the world, being rich, or becoming famous.

And right now I sit in awe of an Awesome God, One who made space, earth, and everything on earth, and gave me the ability to breathe and write, One who defined power by the way He created this amazing place, and One who loves me simply because that is who He is. I can rest in that fact. I can enjoy the sound of rain of the rooftop and, Lord willing, get up tomorrow and take pictures of the sunrise and enjoy the One who made it.

Across the whole world, though, and perhaps in my very town, there are hurting bodies who ache with hunger for just one more scrap and hurting souls who ache with hunger for Someone to fill them with joy and assurance. They aren't smiling at the faint sound of the television and siblings' laughter; they aren't looking up to heaven and thanking God for their life; they aren't content. And, oh, I long to help them. I'm reminded, though, that this is my place, right here and right now.

Someday, maybe God will send me somewhere to really serve Him and people, to put Him first, others second, and myself at the very bottom. And I might be young, but I know this: this life, this mere fraction of a second compared to eternity, this is the time we Christians are to use to serve God and others. We're to live simply and dangerously for God's glory and to pursue our Maker with all we have. We're to wake up every day with a longing to learn more about the God who saved us, and when we don't, we're to thank God for the forgiveness He gives us. We're to spread the Good News, that though people are miserably messed up, Jesus came down to become our sin so that we could have a second chance. And we're to live out the reality of that message every single day. All this isn't born out of a need to earn salvation, but a love for the God who gave us salvation.

You know, the things that God can teach you merely because your family needed to put their plates in the dishwasher are amazing.

Confessions of a Recovering Fangirl:

Monday, July 13, 2015

 Back to School Part 2

     My story is simple, really:

     There was this band who everyone in my circles was raving about.
     "Oh, they're Australian, and their voices are beautiful. And they're so cute."
      I had a long history of not knowing what was currently on the radio. When it came to music, I had always lived in my own little world. I liked it. I was unique: A little Frank Sinatra, the old (old) country music, and a whole lot of Christian worship music. I was never into Taylor Swift or One Direction or anyone like that.

     Then High School came. I was starting to feel miserably uncool, so I decided to look into this band. I was a little shocked at first, that Christian friends of mine had been listening to them. But soon, I put away those thoughts and became completely engrossed with these four Australians.

     They became a huge idol in my life. I practically breathed their lyrics. It wasn't even so much that their music was bad; they had some songs that I most definitely wouldn't have recommended, but most of them were pretty clean. The main problem was how much I put into them. I dreamed about them, coveted band merch and concert tickets, and talked about them nonstop to my friends. I practically worshiped them.

     Guess what? They didn't satisfy. Not one song or band member ever made my heart full. Those four "idiots," who proudly call themselves that by the way, were living a reckless, meaningless, hopeless life. They had achieved their dream, but kept wanting more. They were unsatisfied, and so was I.

     This summer, at church camp, God convicted me of idolatry, otherwise known as fangirling.
     It wasn't an angry command filled with hatred, though; it was a plea to once again bow down to the One True King, to live life for Him, and to tell others to do the same.

     I'm still recovering. Not a day has gone by where one of their songs doesn't pop into my head and I start humming along. And more than once, I've texted my friends in desperateness asking them what to do. The other day, my friend texted me Ephesians 5:18b-21:

     "But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

     What does this have to do with going back to school, you ask.

     My message is this:
     Don't get roped into worldly passions. Live for the One who gave you the ability to breathe and sing, and use that breath to praise Him.

     I'm not saying that you can't like a band and be a Christian at the same time. Some of my best friends still really like this band. I just want y'all to know that when you put other people above God in your life, you won't be satisfied. Mere people can't give you what God can give you.

     Maybe there will be a day when I can put on one of 5SOS's songs and sing along without turning into what I did before, but until then, I'm staying away from them. I wish I could forget everything I learned about them; I wish I could get their lyrics out of my head. God heals, though, and my recovering heart will be made new by His grace. Please, don't wait till church camp to remove idolatry from your life. Do it now. Give back to God all the time you can.

Summer Syndrome (SS) and Its Cure:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Back to School Part 1

       Kids love summer. Teens love summer. How can anyone not love summer? 
      Despite the loving of summer all humans share, something happens to all kids/teens as they enjoy their awesomely-epic summer:

     Me: "Ug, do I have  to go back to school? Is algebra really necessary to function in the real world?"
     Mom: *rolls eyes and ignores incredibly annoying daughter* 

     And so we have this reluctance to leave the amazing and wondermous (I don't think that's a word) world of summer and return to that place called school, commonly known as prison. The one and only downside of summer (besides southern humidity and mosquitoes) is that it must come to an end. 

     And so Summer Syndrome (SS) is born. 

      I get SS as much as the next guy (or girl), and this summer I've begun to realize the root reason of this terrible disease.

     OK, all sarcasm aside, here we go:

     Most Christian teens, or at least a lot of them anyway, go to a Christian camp in the summer, and if they don't, they likely get recharged for Jesus at some summer program their churches offer, or something like that.

     In summer, it's so easy to be on fire for Jesus.

     It's so easy to dig into God's word and really pursue Him, and every Christian loves that spiritual high. When summer comes to an end, though, we begin to have to focus on school work, boring things like math, and we have less time to spend with God. Also, if you attend public school like I do, there are always the few people (or more than a few) who aren't Christians, and they can either a) lead you away from God or b) make you doubt your faith in God. 

      In school, it's so much harder to stand up for what you believe than it is in the summer time, and as a result, we tend to dim our lights a little. We tend to get ashamed of what we believe, which is exactly the opposite of what we're supposed to do. We, as teenagers, want everyone to like us, so we can't be outspoken about our faith because we're afraid we'll offend someone.

    And just so y'all know, I've been there so many times

    I think  there's a cure for this, though:

1. (the obvious) Spend lots and lots of time in the Word - if God's word is constantly in you, you'll have encouragement for the times when you don't feel so loved by your non-christian friends.

2. (obvious again) Pray - there's power in prayer, and lots of it. Pray for the strength you need, and maybe even find an accountability partner to pray with you and for you, and in turn, you can pray with and for him or her.

3. Show love always - Christians are always given the bad wrap for  "judging" others for their sins. Jesus loved the sinner, but not the sin. Show love to people without tolerating their sin. They'll see that maybe this Jesus guy you talk about is actually worth looking into. (P.S. you'll definitely need to pray for the strength to love others. Only God can help you love the kind of way He love us.)

4. Be around people who can encourage you in what you believe - As Proverbs 13:20 says, walk with the wise and become wise. Don't have "a companion of fools." And if you have those friends that say they're Christians but don't act like it, show them through God's power in your life that a regenerated soul will bear good fruit. (Again, you need to pray for that *insert smiley face, although I can't because I'm within parentheses*)

5. When you mess up (and you will), admit your failure, apologize if needed, and move on - practice "forgive and forget" around your friends, and hopefully they'll learn to do the same. Forgiveness shouldn't have a limit.
     I think all of the above will help, but I cannot stress this enough: 

 The best medicine for Summer Syndrome is a very large dose of the Word and lots and lots of prayer.

     This was an unusual post for me to write, but I felt it was necessary because of all the Summer Syndrome that is going on in my life. I truly hope this helped y'all lovely people out there. Let me know if you liked this and if you want more posts like this.

      Mary Shelley

P.S. I'm thinking of starting a Back to School series, so this will be Part 1. I just decided that randomly by the way. The posts won't be consecutive, and I don't know how many there will be, so stay tuned for whatever. Plus, school doesn't start till August, so we have time.

Just a Girl of Fifteen

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

just a girl of fifteen,

half lost in a world that seems too big and too small,

half intrigued by the One who died to save her.

shy at first,

but then bubbly,

searching for a place

to deposit her bottled-up words,

remembering the daisies of her youth,

but graduating to the carnations of this age.

her smile cannot be hidden

 behind the same walls that hide her heart,

and so it shows with sparkling eyes and a blushing face.

she treasures the moments

when her heart nearly stops and joy floods in.

she appreciates things seen, but knows  some of the best moments happen with closed eyes.

and there she finds her peace,

with closed eyes,

in the short workings of prose and poetry

that come from somewhere besides herself.

there she is at home,


treasuring what is unknown but will soon be known.

p.s. Someday things will all make sense; I'm sure of it.

p.p.s. I took this picture, like  I do with all of my posts, and I just love it. God is truly amazing, isn't He, that He'd make a sin-cursed world this beautiful. Oh, just imagine the streets of gold.