The Perfect Summer Reading List for Teen Girls

Mid-Spring and every blog is starting to present their summer reading lists. I love seeing all kinds of different bloggers buzz with bookworm excitement and ambition!

This year, I decided to throw together a wee list of my own. I am by no means an avid reader and most summers my reading dreams are crushed.

That being said, there are some books I’ve grown to love over the past few years and those are the books I’ll be sharing with you!

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  1. Unseduced and Unshaken by Rosalie de Rosset
  2. Stepping Heavenward by Ms. E. Prentis
  3. Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot
  6. Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh
  7. And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh
  8. Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis
  9. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  10. You Are Free: Be Who You Already Are by Rebekah Lyons

 

Take your time to enjoy these books throughout the summer. I pray that you will be as captivated, encouraged, challenged, and convicted as I was reading these beautiful, timeless treasures.

Happy reading and happy soon-to-be summer!

Free To Celebrate

You know those days when everything seems a little too messy? When everything you touch seems to explode? When you catch a glimpse of your reflection and can’t help but cry inside? When it seems like you failed yet another day?

Maybe for you, that day comes around now and then. But if you’re anything like me, maybe that day seems like every day.

There are moments we all feel worthless and can’t help but wonder why celebrate this life at all.

That is the exact lie the enemy loves to use on God’s children. He is subtle and charming and before you know it you’re living his lies.

The funny thing is, Romans 8:1 tells us the exact opposite of Satan. Paul wrote, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’

The day Jesus died, so did all our condemnation—all our worthlessness and shame. Those three simple words (It. Is. Finished.) obliterated all the lies we allow the enemy to tell us. When Jesus rose, so did we (His children)—pure, holy, and unashamed. This is the immediate inheritance we are given when God welcomes us into His family. We are given the identity of Jesus Christ Himself.

This very second I am pure, holy, and unashamed because Jesus is pure, holy and unashamed.

When God called me into His family, I was (and still am) set free from all sin. I am now more than a conqueror through Him who loved me (Romans 8:37). I am no longer a slave. I am free. This freedom and this price that Christ has paid is reason enough to celebrate and to shout my freedom anthem from the mountains for all to hear!jkhl.png

In her book, You are Free: Be Who You Already Are, Rebekah Lyons wrote, “One day I told Jesus I felt like my brokenness was too great. Maybe I’d thwart His plans for my life. Instantly I heard, ‘What if your purpose is for Me to love you?’ What could I say to that? No performing, no achievement, no amount of devoted effort can earn the love of Christ. It is an unconditional healing balm, a freeing balm.”

The days I feel like I’m not enough (and usually in a puddle of tears), my mom always quotes the lyrics of MercyMe’s song, Dear Younger Me:

You are holy

You are righteous

You are one of the redeemed

Set apart

A brand-new heart

You are free indeed

 

These words, typed out, seem simple. Yet, it’s so easy to forget them and neglect our identity in Christ. We are swayed by every wind of doctrine. Before we know what hit us, we are bound in the very chains we have been freed from. We no longer shamelessly celebrate. Instead, we throw ourselves a pity party.

It’s in these moments we need Christ most.

Fall on your knees, confess to the One who loves you most. Tell Him that you are stuck in chains and that you want to be freed. Praise Him for who He created you to be. The days I remember to fall on my knees before the throne of grace and recite God’s truths before Him, I begin to believe and live those truths instead of the enemy’s lies.

Easter is only days away. This year, let’s remember that it is completely F I N I S H E D. We can truly celebrate the Risen Christ this Easter. And the day after. And a year from now. The same God who rose from the dead is living in you and has given you His life and inheritance.

Alone, you are broken. In Christ, you are perfected.  Let’s celebrate this truth today and forever.

 By his wounds we are healed.

 

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies for Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have mercy.”

-1 Peter 2:9-10

 

I’m Not Perfect, But God is

  I am a perfectionist. I like presenting my life as a nice, clean, pretty package for all the world to ooh and ah over. I like my Facebook profile to coordinate. If I don’t get one hundred percent on a test I feel as if I’ve failed- even if I get 95%. If I stutter over my words in public, I am left feeling ridiculous for the rest of the day. I hate it when my struggles are exposed. When my life looks a little messy.

Perhaps you are nodding your head in complete agreement. Maybe- just maybe- you can relate.

The thing about perfectionism, however, is that you are setting up your own standards. For me, perfection is generally defined as those wonderful moments when I feel happy- also known as those moments when everything is going my way. When I feel accomplished. When I feel successful. Then, when life is not going my way and I feel stressed, not accomplished, and far from successful I define myself as a failure.

If I set my own standard of perfection, then I will never be ‘good enough’ and I will never be able to reach the heights of “happy”. If I set my own standard of perfection, then I will always remain a failure in my own eyes. I can never live up to my own standard. And that’s why it is so comforting to know that I don’t have to define myself according to my failures or successes- I am defined by God! He calls me His very own masterpiece.

Christian celebration band, Rend Collective, recently posted the following on social media: “…Maybe you’re wrestling with the phrase ‘good enough’- we all do sometimes. The thing is, we don’t claim our victories for ourselves and toss our failure into the arms of Jesus. He claims them all. He claims us entirely. Which means we’re no longer slaves to our failure or our successes. There’s no longer ‘good enough’, there’s just ‘His’.”

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I absolutely love these words! We can never be ‘enough’ but, as Christians, we are His. This is the truth we must rest in.

You see, if I am completely honest with myself, I idolize perfection. Instead of relying on God, I struggle to be ‘good enough’. While God has already defined me as His precious child, I blindly scramble around, trying to control my own life and reach the heights of perfectionism. That said, time and time again, I only reach the depths of depression and stress.

I am missing out on living this life fully because instead of crying out to God and admitting ‘I can’t live this life without You!’ I am reaching inward and trying to satisfy my own self, hopelessly attempting to reach my standard of perfection… trying to prove myself perfect in the sight of those I know and love.

God calls us to be like Him. To be like Christ doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. Rather, we are trying to be like Him because we aren’t perfect and He is.

I don’t want people to see my ugly side. I don’t want them to see my struggle in a school subject, my struggles in life, attitude, etc. I want to appear perfect. I want to be perfect. But sometimes, we need to share our stories and ugliness. Remember, it was through Jesus’ scars that doubting Thomas believed.

Through our stories, struggles, and messiness, maybe-just maybe- we’ll bring encouragement and Light to others. Struggles- even the seemingly little ones (like math!)- are what make us human. Friends, family, and even those we don’t really know, crave transparency. They desire honesty. Just like you and I foolishly believe we’re the only ones who struggle, so do they. And sometimes, all it takes is admitting, “I am not perfect, but God is.”

  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

-1 John 1: 8-10