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Encouragement, Life

What is Normal?

Someone once said, “Normal is just a setting on the dryer.” Come to my house, and that phrase is used a lot. I’ve found that to be true too. To be honest, there’s no real such thing as normal when it comes to people because we’re all different. Plus, as Christians, we’re not supposed to be normal. And…the Bible backs up this point to.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. -Romans 12:2

King James Version

As Christians, we are not to be conformed to this world, or you could say it this way: we are to be seen as abnormal to the world.

“But,” you might add, “it’s easier to fit in with the world than it is to stick out.” Or, “I don’t like being abnormal!” Well, to be honest, I don’t like being abnormal either. In fact, a few month ago I was crying because people say I’m weird and not normal. (My sister adds that she doesn’t think I’m weird.) Let me explain a bit:

I don’t like TV. Now don’t get me wrong, I do like a good, clean TV show or movie every now and then, however, I find it a waste of time to be sitting in front of the TV every single day. (Just do the math…two hours of TV a week add up to over four days at the end of the year. And most people watch TV for more than two hours a week.) Anyway, we were at Bible Study one night talking about something that often appears on modern TVs shows and I said I honestly hadn’t see it, as I don’t typically watch TV. One girl told me I was weird because I didn’t like TV.

Well, I was crying to my mom that day, telling her how weird I was to my Bible study group. My mom told me it’s okay not to be normal, and the reason why most of them thought I was weird was because most of them have become “normal” in the world’s eyes. And…my mom reminded me that the things they’ve taught us (memorizing/reading God’s Word, reading good books, etc.) has many more benefits than watching the newest Disney movie. (What even is the newest Disney movie?)

Living a life 100% for Jesus will make you un-normal to the world. It’s the truth. There will be many times where people (Christian and not Christian) will think you’re weird (or Amish, as in my case). There will be times when you feel lonely and unaccepted (but remember no matter how lonely you are, God is always with you! Praise the Lord!). But it doesn’t matter what other people think. If you’re trying to live a life all for Jesus, that’s all the matters.

Next time someone says you’re un-normal, remember as Christians, we’re call to be in the world but not of it. And as people, there’s no such thing as normal. God created us to all be different, and glory be to Him for making us all different! Being un-normal is okay, as long as we’re obeying/following God and His Word.

Bible Bee, Encouragement, Life

The Mysterious Note

“Lilly, the mail’s here,” my sister called, “and you got a letter!”

“Okay, I’m coming.” Walking into the dining room, I find my dad looking through the mail. “Is it from Haven? Or Natasha? Oh wait, I sent Natasha’s letter on Tuesday, so I surely couldn’t have got a letter from her yet.” I said to no one in particular.

I pick up the floral envelope and flip it over. No return address. Weird, I thought. Then I see the postmark is from Spokane, Washington. “I don’t know anyone from Washington State.”

“Open it,” my sister prompted. Since no one seemed alarmed I got a letter from a state which I have no pen pals or know anyone from, I opened it. Inside was a card with encouragement my dear Bible Bee study buddy. Upon reading it, she reminded me that God would give me the strength I need and to glorify Him in Nationals. ♥

How I needed that reminder! I keep telling myself that God will give me all the strength I need, and that I’m doing this not for fame for myself, but for the glory of God. However, it’s easy to forget that and want to do Nationals for my glory. But it doesn’t matter if I get Perfect Orals or make Finals (which I won’t, by the way) and get interviewed and be in many promotional videos (besides, I might be in a promotional video regardless what score I get). Only what’s done for Christ is what matters. Not for my glory, but yours, Lord.

I’m very thankful for this friend who wrote this surprise note; it was such a blessing and encouragement to me. If you know anyone who needs a note of encouragement, I suggest you send them a note. It will truly brighten their day!

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

–Colossians 3:23–

P.S. As this post says, by God’s grace, both Lacey and I were invited to compete in the National Bible Bee Competition. We have 951 verses in total to memorize (though we’re not memorizing all of them). Lord-willing, we’ll be attending the Competition in November and will get to meet many other contestants. Please pray we remember to do this for God’s glory, and if it’s the Lord’s will, the Competition will not be canceled (we have lots of money down on this and we’re really looking forward to meeting many other Bible Bee-ers).

Life

In Which I Explain my Absence…

Well, last month, in this post, I said that Lord-willing, I’d explain why I’ve been super absent from the blogosphere. (Yes, that was nearly a month ago. Yikes, time has flown.) Anyway, so much has happened…

Bible Bee kicked off in June. Our theme was “Witness”. I learned a lot through the Summer Study and enjoyed digging deeper into God’s Word. I spent 2+ hours a day working on Bible Bee, which took up much of my time. However, it was so worth it. I can say I know more about Acts 1-11 than I ever did!

The second thing was is that in July, I got a job. I had been praying for possible jobs in April/May, but each time I contacted people, they never called me back, like they promised. So I gave up the idea, figuring that it wasn’t God’s will for me to get a job at this stage in life. Anyway, long story short, I now work on a small, family-owned organic farm (the perks are great :).

I don’t think my bosses (a married couple) are Christian, but from what I’ve gathered, they aren’t against Christianity and they were possibly raised in some kind of Christian church. I’m really happy with it as an organic farm is something I’m thinking about doing in the future, so it’s like getting paid to get an education.

Anyway, I work around 16 hours a week, and we started school full-blast Monday. I don’t blog on Sundays and my Saturdays are usually full of baking, school, and all the other things that didn’t get done through the week, plus an occasional social event. So yeah, I’m not sure how often I’ll be blogging. As often as the Lord wills, I suppose!

There’s also been another change in our family too. Due to several reasons, my mother had to get a part-time job. It’s certainly been a change, but we’ve been managing.

Here’s a few pictures from lately. Enjoy!

We don’t really celebrate Independence Day, however, we wanted to do something as a family, so we drove up to Lincoln State Park in Lincoln City, Indiana to hike. Well, since the Lincoln Boyhood Museum is right across the road, we also went there. The following pictures are from there.
Studying Cross-References with my cat. I think a picture like this will become a yearly tradition.
And working on the Discovery Journal with the dog…
After doing a CR blooket one morning, this verse got stuck in my head at work. So I looked up the reference during my break and that’s how I memorized this verse.

And… I wrote this post yesterday (Wednesday) and we found out our scores for Bible Bee last night. By God’s grace, both Lacey and I ranked 133, which means we’re alternate qualifiers for Bible Bee!!!!! I’m super surprised and humbled. I didn’t think I’d do well on the test. I’m not sure if we’ll get to compete (we’ll find that out next Wednesday), but if the Lord wills, we might be attending the competition!!! We’re not sure how we’ll will get there, but I’m really hoping the Lord works it out for us to go.

~For the glory of the King~

Short Story

Witness with Boldness and Joy // A Providence Wyatt Short Story

             Hello, everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been super absent lately (I shall explain in an upcoming post, Lord-willing). Anyways, I wrote this short story for the Bible Bee Creative Arts Community Quest. Though I didn’t win anything, I enjoyed writing it and hope it blesses you all!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  “Here, Providence, give this to that lady while I find some salt and honey,” Mother says. I glance at the tract and the paper about our church’s Resurrection Sunday service. Do what your mother said, half my brain tells me. The other half of me refuses to budge. I’m too afraid, and besides, I’ve already handed out five other tracts today. But I know my mother will be back any second, so I quickly tap the lady.

               “Um, hello?” she says with a slight smile. She won’t take you serious because you’re only 11, whispers the voice in the back of my head. A wave of embarrassment washes over me, and I shove the papers into her hands while mumbling some words about church, God, and Resurrection Sunday.

               “Did you give the lady the tract and the invite?” Mother asks as I exit the aisle. I nod, feeling a stabbing pain in my heart. I frown. I didn’t lie or anything, so why does my heart feel heavy?

               “I guess we will leave now,” Mother replies, noting that between the two of us, all twenty tracts were handed out.

*****

               Rolling over, I sigh. A glance at the clock tells me it’s exactly two in the morning. Unfortunately, it’s way too early to get up. From the opposite side of the bedroom, I hear my two older brothers snoring. Beside me, I hear the gentle breathing of my younger sister and best friend, Ruth. I see my brother’s arm from the bunkbed above me, and I hear Selah roll over from her blanket-bed on the floor.

               “Why can’t I sleep?” I whisper to no one in particular. After thirty minutes of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep, I crawl out of bed and tiptoe to our apartment’s small living room.

               Plopping myself on the couch, I turn on a lamp. Much to my disappointment, all of our interesting books are in the bedroom. Noticing a book on the end table, I pick it up, but after reading a few sentences, I realize economics does not interest me. In between debating on whether or not I ought to sneak into our bedroom and find a chapter book, I see a black book on the kitchen table.

               “Whose book is that?” I mumble. Upon reading the inscription on the cover, I realize it’s my Bible. I open it, and I skim through some New Testament books. A verse catches my eye.

               “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I quietly read in 1 Timothy 4:12. My mind thinks back of the events of the previous day, and I realize I was not too young to be taken seriously. God can use anyone, regardless of age, if it’s His plan. I feel a slight sting in my heart as I flip some pages in my Bible.

               “…rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41b) They rejoiced because they suffered shame for His name? Am I willing to suffer shame for His name?

               “No,” I reply. I have not been willing to suffer shame for His name. My brain reminds me of all the times I have been afraid to witness because I didn’t want to get hurt in the process. A tear falls down my cheek. Kneeling on the couch, I begin to admit my wrongdoings to the Lord.

               “Lord, I’m so guilty…I…I never wanted to share Your Gospel with others because I thought I was too young and people wouldn’t take me seriously. Lord, I realize that is not true, and that you can use anyone, regardless of their age, to witness for You.

               “Lord, I am also sorry for being ashamed to share Your Word. I have let my fear get in the way of sharing the Gospel. Your apostles said they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Your name. I don’t know if I’m ready to suffer shame for Your name, but please don’t let my fear overtake me.

               “If I should suffer for You, Lord, help me see that You are always with me and that with You, I can do all things. Lord, please forgive me, and help me to be bold for You, and to spread the Gospel with joy. I am not ashamed of what You have done for me. Amen.”

               Rising from the couch, I place my Bible on the end table on top of my siblings’ Bibles. My heart feels light, and I am joyful. Lord, I silently pray as I crawl into bed, help me not to be ashamed for Your name.

Books

“Under Montana Skies: January to June” // Book Review

Under Montana Skies - January to June

 Summary

Rachel Appleby and her twin brothers Kent and Kurt find living in the northern state of Montana both exciting and challenging.

When the winds, snows, and below-zero days that have held them in winter’s relentless grip suddenly give way to a beautiful balmy spring, the three Appleby children are filled with excitement as they explore the wonders and secrets of the advancing seasons.

They keenly enjoy God’s beauties and the wonders that surround them—the flowers, the wildlife, the wonders of weather, and the large sky overhead.

Written to stimulate our children to love and explore God great creation.

Book info:

Author: Rosa Kurtz Mullet

Rating: 5/5 stars

Publisher: Rod & Staff Publishers

Age: 6-12 would enjoy it the most, but anyone who loves learning about God’s creation will enjoy this book.

Bible Version Used: King James Version

Controversial/romance: n/a

Language/inappropriate content: n/a

My Thoughts:

When I picked this book up, I was like, “This book is about animals. It’s hardly a real story.” I don’t know why I kept reading it, but I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about animals and flowers–more than I would have gleaned from a textbook (okay, let’s be honest, I don’t care for textbooks that much). Readers can also get a general idea how to build a weather monitor shelter, birdhouse, and fake bird eggs from this book. For me, this was super interesting. The book has nice illustrations too. I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s interested about nature from a Christian viewpoint, but doesn’t want to read a textbook.

Encouragement, Life

With God, All Things Are Possible

“Okay, Lilly. Get your things together so we can go,” my dad said.

“Where are we going?” I asked, in between some Spanish schoolwork.

“To the BMV. We talked about this yesterday.” If me asking when I’ll get my permit counts as talking about getting it, I thought. But I haven’t studied for over two weeks! Not to mention, I kept getting 82% and 84% on the practice tests, and that’s barely passing grades! I agreed to go, nevertheless.

In between gathering paperwork and preparing to leave, I begged God to help me pass this test, if it was His will. I didn’t want us to waste time driving and going to the BMV and then me not being able to pass the test. I also looked at the Driving Manual, memorizing the insurance question.

*****

“You’re at computer one,” the lady who was helping us told me. After a few questions proving I was the right person, the test began. God, help me answer them correctly, if it’s Your will, I mentally prayed. Around fifteen minutes later, I finished. I got two signs wrong (the maximum for signs), and I failed 5 of the normal questions. I passed with an 86%. Thank you, Lord! I was able to get my permit (which took what seemed like a long time since I wasn’t born in the US). The guy who finished getting my permit was funny. He said, “You only need 50 hours of driving time, with 10 being at night. So when you get to the 50 hour mark, you can pull over to the side of the road and let your dad take over.” 😂 And Lord-willing, in February, I can get my license. (My sister would add here that when I go to get my license, she can come and get her permit.)

Not in my own strength did I get my permit but only with God’s help. Now you can pray we don’t wreck. Okay, I’m not that bad of a driver; I’ve only nearly took out a few mailboxes (which one of my closest friends advised me NOT to do) and took some sharp, 15mph curves at 30 mph. My dad say’s that’s pretty good for someone who has only driven bumper cars (which my dad also says doesn’t help because you’re supposed to be dangerous in bumper cars…).

For the glory of the King,

Lilly