A Giving Heart

Devotionals

My beautiful mom and I just recently took a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. This house has definitely been on my bucket list to see for years, so I was absolutely thrilled and so thankful that I got the opportunity to go. The true beauty of the home amazed me. Every single detail was so carefully planned and so beautiful. Not only  did we get to tour this magnificant 124 year old mansion, but we also got to hear a little bit about the history of the home and its occupants. There was one fact that surprised me and really stood out to me….

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George Vanderbilt was the owner of this estate, along with his wife Edith. The house and the land around it had many working parts, so along with that meant that there were a lot of “servants” working for the Vanderbilt’s’. Since this family was so wealthy, and had servants within the home one may think that they were “stuck up” or did not appreciate the value of those who helped them. However, this was not the case. In fact, it was just the opposite. Edith Vanderbilt always made sure the servants were taken care of. She would make her rounds through the estate daily just to check on them. Often times she would put together care packages and food baskets for them to give to them, especially around the holidays. She loved giving and taught her family to do the same.

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Each of you should  give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly, or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. -2 Corinthians 9:7

We all should have a giving heart, just as Edith did. Even though the were a wealthy family, they took the blessing they had been given and used that to help others. Giving is so important no matter how big or how small. Giving also does not have to be materialistic. It can be as simple as giving love or kindness. As the verse says, we need to give what our heart truly feels to give and to be joyful in doing so.

Giving more was one of my top goals for 2019, and I encourage you to put in on your goal list as well. The feeling you get knowing that you have blessed someone by giving is amazing. By being a blessing in the lives of others, God will also bless you more than He already has! Some of my favorite ways to give are:

  • Donating clothes
  • Church offerings
  • Donating to charity
  • Buying someone a meal

Those are just a few ways that I like to give, but there are an endless number of ways that you can give! In the next few weeks, practice giving more, not only to your friends and family, but to strangers as well. You never know what is going on in someones life, so   a simple gesture of giving could really make someones day. Ask God to show you ways you can give, and He will guide you. Not only will giving more really impact your life, but it will the lives of others as well. You are setting an example of how to be a light for God’s kingdom. A giving heart is one of the most beautiful things to have. 

-Taylor JohnsIMG_8699

Trusting The Path Ahead

Devotionals

I am so happy to be back writing after a wonderful spring break spent with my loved ones and getting to explore. The first day of break, my boyfriend and I went on a hiking trip and decided to go on a trail that we had never done. This was a little frightening because not only were we the only ones there, but I did not know what lied ahead on the path. Parts of the trail we were able to see what was in front of us, but for the most part we never knew what might be around the corner. However, we trusted it and went anyways. This got me thinking….this is exactly how life is.

In life, we may not always chose the right path and that is okay because there is a God who is ready to be your guide. He wants to lead you down the right path. This being said, it does not mean that path is going to be easy. You may not even understand why God is choosing to take you down a certain path, but you have to trust Him. It is extremely scary to not know what might be around the corner, but just remember that God will be there with you every step of the way.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.-Proverbs 3:5

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God knows just what He wants for your life, and you may have to take many different twists and turns to get there. One day you may feel called to take one path and years down the road God may say it is time to move on. This isn’t because He wants to confuse you, but because He knows just where you should be at certain times in life. He wants you to listen to that calling and to obey His wishes. Everyone of us has a purpose here on this beautiful Earth, and God will reveal it to you in His timing. Finding the right path can be frustrating at times, but we just have to be patient.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers the dry wasteland.-Isaiah 43:19

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Thinking of life as one big trail is an exciting perspective. You never know where it make take you, and that is all part of this beautiful journey that God has created for us. We weren’t meant to have everything figured out right off the bat or to understand everything either. We learn as we know and grow in Him, and trust the path that He has put in front of us. Trust can be one of the hardest things to do, especially when you don’t know what the future holds. However, putting your trust in God will be so rewarding. You may not understand now why He is leading you down the path you are on, but He has a purpose and He has a plan. Be patient and trust the path ahead.

-Taylor Johns

 

 

Learning To Be Myself

Devotionals

Learning to be myself has been one of the hardest things…

I am shy, and I always have been. For years I was made to feel as if this is one of the worst characteristics to have. I have always hated this about myself up until recently. I finally realized that God made me this way for a reason. Because I am shy, there is a lot of things that come as a challenge to me, so that means I have to work hard to accomplish these tasks. God made me this way, not so I would hate it, but because He knew I could handle what came with it and that it would only make me stronger.

“Be Strong, Be Brave, Be Fearless. You are never alone.” -Joshua 1:9

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Over the past couple years I have done several things that are really out of my comfort zone. I started a youtube channel, began doing devotional videos on Facebook, and started this blog. It shocked so many people, because it was definitely something that no one could see me doing, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do it. At first, (and still am sometimes) I was so scared of what others may think about me. I thought “everyone is going to think I am so weird”. I knew it was out of the ordinary, especially in my town but I gave it a shot anyways, and I am so thankful that I did.

Through my videos and this blog I have been able to show the world who I am, and truly find my passions. Yes I am shy, but I love sharing my passions with others and creating new content every week makes me so happy. Slowly, but surely I am learning to do the things that make me happy and to be who I am, regardless of what others think. I have been able to show my more outgoing and creative side through these platforms, and I am so grateful for that. I am positive that not everyone who watches my videos or reads my blog likes it, but that’s okay because I love it. Hearing how it impacts the lives of others absolutely makes my day and means the world to me.

A few years ago if you would have told me that I would have been doing the things I am today, I would have said you were crazy. I didn’t believe in myself, and I let my shyness hold me back from a lot of things. Today, I take that shyness as a challenge and allow it only to make me stronger. I know that God made me who I am for a reason and a purpose, and that goes for everyone! He has allowed me to see a glimpse of what that purpose is, and through that I have been able to find myself.

Everyday I am still working on just truly being me. I don’t want to regret not doing something just because someone else told me it was “weird” or that I just wasn’t the type of person that could succeed at it. I want to live my life and experience true joy in doing the things that I love, and inspiring others to do the same. I am growing to love the shy, awkward girl that I am and fully embracing that for what it is. It is okay to be different and out of the ordinary, God made us all different for a reason.

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No matter the situation, always stay true to yourself. God made you wonderful, and beautiful and created you for great things. There is only one you in this world, so show the world who that person is! Live your life doing things that make you happy, find what you are passionate about, and use your light to guide others to do the same. God will be will you every step of the way. Take chances, even if it may seem “out of character” for you. Go after your dreams, you never know where they make take you. Learn to be yourself and learn to love yourself, because God loves you just as you are. 

-Taylor Johns

The Power of Words

Devotionals

When you think of power, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is not words. Our words possess so much power, more then we could ever imagine. The phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” I have never liked, because it is far from the truth. Words do hurt, but they can also heal. The words we speak can have a huge impact on people’s lives, so this is something we need to take into consideration. If they can make such a big impact wouldn’t you want it to be a good one?

Now, we all aren’t perfect and I know we all say things that we don’t mean. The great thing is that for the harmful words that we may say, there are words such as “sorry” that can help mend the brokenness. However, with that being said, we shouldn’t be having to apologize constantly for harmful things we are saying to others, but instead using our words to build others up. Have power over your words, don’t let your words have power over you.

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One of my favorite verses in the Bible is, “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul.”-Proverbs 16:24

I have always loved this verse, because kindness is so very important. People are battling things everyday such as loss, depression, and all kinds of other demons that we may never see, but a simple act of kindness could make their day. You truly never know what someone is going through, so be kind and show them the light in the darkness. Being kind is not always going to be easy, but it is so worth it. Seeing the true joy spread across someones face is one of the most amazing feelings. Acts of kindness wether they are simple or extravagant can make a world of difference.

Being a kind person will bring so many blessings into your life.  However, when you are a light for God’s kingdom others are going to notice that, and some will be willing to help that light shine brighter and others sadly will try to dim it. The kindness you give, you will not always receive back and that is okay. There are countless stories in the Bible where Jesus could have said something unkind to those who spoke of Him badly, but what did He do instead? He showed them love and kindness! I encourage you in everything you do, to be kind. The situation may not always be easy, but just remember that you never know what someone else is battling. Be a light for them, and show them that there are still kind people in this world. If you are a kind person, you will attract other kind people into your life and that is just what you need! I love the saying “Kind people are my kinda people”, because it is so true. Surround yourself with people that will uplift you and help your light shine even brighter.

“You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do.” -Psalm 145:13

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-Taylor Johns

Beautiful

Devotionals

Beautiful… There are many words to describe my little sister Elle, but this is definitely one. Not only is she beautiful on the outside but on the inside as well. This past weekend I had the pleasure of getting her ready for her 7th grade Winter Formal. As I was getting her all fixed up, some of the things she was saying about her self broke my heart. As she talked about her insecurities, I couldn’t help but look at her and think how in the world she could have them, because she was nothing short of beautiful. That is exactly how God sees us every time we are insecure about something….

“We are God’s Masterpiece.” -Ephesians 2:20

The teenage years are something we all know is rough. Either you are going through it now or you have “been there done that”. Whatever the case may be, we know that these years sometimes seemed like they may never end. While they are some of the best years of our lives, they also are years in which we struggle with who we are. The years that we constantly looked to society as an example of what we should look like and because of that, our self esteem was damaged. Now, you don’t have to be a teen to experience insecurities, it happens to everyone no matter what age, but what if we started teaching kids at a younger age about a God that loves them and made them to be exactly who they are?

IMG_8197My beautiful little sister.

I have struggled with insecurities from the time I was very young. I always had a bad body image, and still struggle with it today (I would love to share my story on this in another post).  Learning to be confident in myself and who God made me to be is something I am still learning how to do. With having 3 little sisters, my main goal is to get to a point where I am confident and can help them feel that way as well. I never want them to feel unloved or unworthy or not beautiful because God made them each so special in their own unique way. I try to encourage them every single day, and this is what we should be doing with everyone! If you have younger siblings, kids etc. I encourage you to tell them something positive about themselves every day. Let them know that you not only see them as special, but that God does to.

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. Psalm 139:14

It is okay to not be like every one  else! God made us all different for a reason! He has a special purpose for each and every one of His children and He also sees beauty in us all. As the verse says above, we are his masterpieces! Think of how you would feel if someone was constantly tearing down something you had spent so much time creating? This past week I have been working on being more positive and confident in who I am. Aubrie Patrick, one of the sweet girls I am blessed to know through Lane of Roses, came up with an activity that I have been doing, and would love for you to participate in as well. Here is how it works:

~Cut out some hearts on a plain white sheet of paper.

~Each time you have a thought about an insecurity that is not truthful, write something that is truthful and that comes from God on the heart. This can be as simple as a word or a bible verse.

~Tape the heart to your mirror so that you are reminded everyday that God made you beautiful and He made you to do great things!

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This week I challenge you all to do this activity, practice more self love, and practice loving others more as well. My goal is to be a light to not only my little sisters, but to everyone when it comes to a positive self image. The devil will try his best to whisper lies in your ear everyday, but we have to know who we belong to, and that is God! We are His masterpiece and we were made to be wonderful.

“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” -Ephesians 2:19-22

-Taylor Johns

The Mountains That Made Me

Devotionals

There are often times I wonder what my life may have been like if I had grown up somewhere other than the mountains of Eastern KY. I have said countless times how I wish I would have. But, the truth of the matter is,  my little town and the mountains that surround it have made me who I am today. God knew what He was doing when he placed me here, and for that I am forever thankful.

IMG_1409“God has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will.” -Psalm 37:5

I love my little hometown, but with it being a small town in the mountains there are some downsides. You see, with small towns comes closed minds and small dreams. Definitely not saying that goes for everyone, but it does for most. One thing that has always bothered me so much about growing up in a small town, is that anytime anyone does anything different or out of the ordinary it is seen as “weird”. Putting yourself out there and doing something you love, should not ever be something to fear, and that is something God is teaching me.

Now, while I have encountered some small minded people in these mountains I have also encountered people who lift me up and support me through thick and thin. These beautiful mountains have taught me so much, and without them I would not be who I am today. It was in these mountains that I learned about God. It was in these mountains that I learned the importance of family, and it was in these mountains that I have learned who I am and what I want for my life.

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I have always been extremely shy, and in the past year I have really opened up and found what I am passionate about. When I felt it on my heart to start making videos and writing a blog I was terrified to say the least! I thought, “God why me? I am shy and I don’t want to be made fun of for stepping out and doing something different.” But I knew that was what God wanted, and in doing so I have found what I love. In obeying Him, I am able to share my light with the world and spread his love. God knew just what he was doing when He placed me in these mountains. He knew that doing something out of the ordinary was going to be a challenge for me, but He never doubted me, even when I doubted myself.

These mountains have made me strong. These mountains have made me who I am today. I am learning day by day that it’s okay to be different, others are always going to have an opinion, but if you let God guide you and do something you love, you will experience more joy than ever. So, even if you come from a small town, take a chance on being yourself! I will always be thankful for these mountains that I call my home. Many days I look at their beauty, and I talk to God and thank Him for placing me where He did. While the mountains of Eastern KY may not always be my home, the will always hold a special place in my heart.

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-Taylor Johns

“I lift my eyes up to the mountains where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” -Psalm 121:1-2

Why “Quiet Time” Is So Important

Devotionals

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” -Psalm 62:1

So, what is quiet time? I define it as the time out of each day that I spend alone studying God’s word.  In the past year, I have learned how truly important my quiet time with God is. It is one moment in my busy days that I get just for me and Him. I want to encourage all of you  to take some time out of your day wether that be 10 minutes or an hour and just talk to God and spend sometime in His word. 

Studying God’s word is essential! There are so many interesting things to be found in the Bible, God literally has a purpose and a lesson for every story written. The Bible was written to help us learn more about God and His plan for our lives. I learn something new every time I read and it always leaves me ready to learn more.

Not only is it good to study in the Bible, but it is also good to just talk to God. Life can get hectic and stressful and what better person to talk about it with than your Heavenly Father? He will eagerly listen and comfort you in times of need. Talk to Him about good things that happen in your life as well and thank Him for how He is working in your life! God wants to hear about your day wether it was the best or the worst, He will be there with you through it all.

My quiet time is one of my favorite parts of the day, so I thought I would share some tips on how I make it work for me, but remember you need to find a routine that you love and that will make you excited to spend time with God everyday!

Time of day: Picking a time of day for my quiet time was definitely something I had to put some thought into since I am so busy. I decided night time worked the best for me, it gives me a chance to get cozy and shut everything else off and just really focus on God.

Devotionals: These are always optional, but I have found devotionals are a great way to guide me through reading my bible and they always have good lessons that go along with them.

Take notes: As I am studying in my bible and reading through my daily devotional I always keep a little notebook handy and write down important things to remember and bible verses, this is great to have so you can always look back on it in times of need! I also like to highlight the verses of the day in my bible as well.

Pray: I always end my quiet time with a prayer. I talk to God and tell Him what is on my mind and my heart and I just spend some time praying. I always feel so comforted and refreshed after I spend time talking to Him.

Those are just some things that I have found that work for me when spending my alone time with God, but again find a routine that you love! I encourage you to incorporate quiet time with God in your daily life and I promise you will feel so amazing! I know life can be busy, but He always wants to here from you and wants to help you.

-Taylor Johns

 

It’s Okay

Devotionals

Life can be extremely stressful and can make us feel like all we can do sometimes is lay down and cry. For me, my stress comes from trying to do a million things at once and keeping all my emotions bottled up.  I forget that I am human and that it is okay to feel, whatever emotion that may be. Lately, I have been trying to practice more self care  and to learn that it’s okay. It’s okay to be stressed, it’s okay to feel sad or happy, and it’s okay to just relax. 

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I know you’ve probably heard the saying “it’s okay to not be okay” and as cliche as it may sound it couldn’t be more true. There are somedays that I feel like falling apart and instead of paying attention to that feeling, I ignore it. I go about my day and throw my mental health on the back burner. I pile more and more tasks onto my plate which only makes maters worse. I know that there are days where we all have to put on a brave face and go about living like everything is normal, but at the end of those days make sure you are giving some attention to yourself and taking care of yourself both mentally and physically.

I stress more then anything about things that haven’t even happened yet. Crazy right? I have slowly been learning that it’s okay to not have everything figured out. That is all part of the journey. Sure, I have an idea of what I want for my future and what goals I want to accomplish, but that doesn’t mean I have to figure out the whole process in a week. I have to trust in God and know that my future is in His hands. So, if you’re stressing about something that is in the future, ask God to guide your path and to calm your worries.img_7511

Another big cause of my stress is constantly feeling like I have to always be doing something. Recently I have learned that it is okay to have a day to myself that I’m not trying to overload myself with things to do, but instead JUST RELAX! I encourage you to take at least one day out of your week and spend time doing things that you love and that make you feel at peace. Even God took a day of rest when all His hard work was done! Make sure to take care of this body and mind that He has given you, He doesn’t want to see His children filled with stress and worry of the things of this Earth.

With all that being said, as much as we don’t want it, there are going to be bad/stressful days. However, the good news is, we have an amazing father who is willing to listen to our troubles and to help us through them. When you’re feeling stressed pray, I can not begin to explain the relief it gives you. Always remember to take care of yourself both mentally and physically, it may be a tough road but don’t give up. Just remember God’s got you, and you got this!

-Taylor Johns

“We are not defeated. We don’t give up.” -2 Corinthians 4:8

 

 

 

 

Troubled Waters

Devotionals

The ocean… it is truly beautiful. It is amongst one of my favorite creations here on this wonderful Earth God has given us. Looking at it gives me peace and the sound of the waves hugging the shore will forever remain one of my favorite sounds. The ocean seems never troubled, never angry, never hurt as I stare gazing at it wishing I never had any of those feelings. However, the ocean too has troubled waters.

Every time I look out into the ocean I forget that it is not always beautiful and calm. It has storms and seasons of destruction. It’s waves rise strong and powerful in times of trouble. While it may be hard to wrap our heads around the idea, we are a lot like the ocean. We go through trouble waters all the time. We experience hurt and destruction and in those moments it may seem like the storm will never calm.  But God gives us the power to rise up above our troubles and stand tall and powerful.

If you feel like you are going through troubled waters right now, just know that you aren’t in this alone. I know it’s scary, but God is with you every step of the way. These times of trouble are only going to make you stronger, God knows you can get through it just trust in him. Just like the ocean, the storm will pass and their will be peace. Trust that God will be with you through the sun and rain, and know that the troubled waters don’t last forever.

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“When you go through deep waters I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2

-Taylor Johns

 

 

New Beginnings

Devotionals

It is hard to believe that another year has already come and gone. 2018 brought and taught me great things, but I am ready to dive into the new year. I know it can be cliche to have New Years “resolutions” and “goals”, but it is something I like to do at the start of each new year. Something that is always fun for me is to write down my top 10 goals, keep them throughout the year and see how many I accomplish. This is a great way to not only hold yourself accountable, but to stay motivated as you work towards your goals. So, with that being said these are my top 10 goals for 2019:

1.) Become Stronger In My Walk With God

In 2018 I became closer to God then I ever have been. I opened up about my faith with others and shared God’s love. In the coming year I want to become even stronger in my faith by truly trusting God and the plans He has for my life.

2.) Worry Less

In the past couple years my anxiety has been at an all time high. I am constantly worrying about every little thing (even the things I can’t control) . I am not saying I will never worry about anything, but this also goes along with trusting God that everything will be okay.

3.) Better Physical/Mental Health

My whole life I have struggled with self image. Physical and mental health is something I want  to take very seriously in 2019. The more I learn to love myself, the more love I can give to others.

4.) Be Myself

This is a big one for me. I have always been so shy growing  up and worry way to much about what people think. I want to learn to just be myself and do what makes me happy without caring so much about what other people think.

5.) Give More

I love to donate wether that be clothes, money etc., just seeing what an impact it can make is amazing. In 2019 I want to make it a point to give more every month.

6.) Grow My Blog/Youtube

I am so passionate about my blog and youtube channel. I love that I can show my creative side and also have the chance to inspire so many people.

7.) Travel

I am still in school, so this one may be a little harder to accomplish, but I love traveling and the feeling it gives me. I want to try the best I can to see some new places this year. God has given us such a beautiful Earth to explore.

8.) Read More Books

Ever since I was little I have loved to read. Reading allows you to transport into a different world for just a little while, and I have always been fascinated by that. As I’ve grown older I don’t read as often as I used to, so I want to make it a point to read more books.

9.) Spread Positivity

Not only do I want to be more positive about myself, but about just everything in general. Everywhere I go I want to spread positivity.

10.) Start My Own Business

This is something I have always dreamed of and would love to make it a reality. I have an idea in mind, and I have been praying a lot about it, so hopefully I can make it happen in 2019.

“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

What are your goals for 2019? Leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear them!

-Taylor Johns