5/18/2017

How Sweet it Is to Trust in God

God is trustworthy.  He never fails to deserve our complete and joyful trust. His ways are perfect; there is no flaw in them.

I can't see those truths clearly now, but I see them clearer than before.

As I reflected upon this past school year, I realized that trusting God united all of the lessons I learned



I faced the truth that my future won't necessarily involve marriage/dating, at least not in my preferred timeline. 

I realized that the career I'm set upon isn't set in stone. God could call me elsewhere, and I would be joyful in that. 

I realized that trusting God means not being in control. Like breaking my foot. 

In all of these things, I see God's Spirit in me, leading me toward a greater joy in trusting God. He wants to lead You in this trust as well. Isn't that exciting?

Join with me in this prayer, a prayer inspired by a Bible study I did on trusting God. Say it out loud if you can. Investigate scripture that speaks truth into your worries about the future. Start with Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 16:1-4, Matthew 6:19-34, Romans 15:13, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Philippians 4:4-7, Hebrews 13:8, and 1 John 3:2-3.




Father, 

You are all-knowing. Nothing takes You by surprise or catches You off guard. You have written out the Story of the world, including my small part. You have taken time to plan every day of mine before I took a breath in this world. You plan it perfectly, too. Not like I would.

Oh, how good You are and worthy of trust. 

Oh, how good it is for me to trust You. 

But this is hard. I like to know, to control. I like neat lists and a good five year plan. In the moment, I am prone to worry about every little thing. I worry about my body, friendships, schooling, career, family, and even the weather and how it will change my daily schedule. 

What would it look like, though, if I followed Your ways and didn't worry? What if I walked into the storm confidently obeying You and trusting You to either provide an umbrella or teach me to dance in the rain? What if I took every chance I got to bear Your fruit and have joy in Your Spirit?



Thank You for being You, a good, loving, all-knowing Author of the greatest Story ever. Thank You for never changing. Thank You for Your Spirit who is helping me to walk in trust and live with courage. 

May Your name shine in my life, wherever You lead me, 

Your Princess




What has God been teaching (or challenging) you about trust? 

Princess Hannah

5/03/2017

Trusting God in Times of Stress: An Infographic

It's that time of year again. Finals. Big projects. Late nights. Empty coffee cups piling up.

Who is our companion during this time?

Stress.

It's simply assumed that we students will be stressed during the end of the school year. We go into this season expecting anxiety and all-nighters. We don't always fight the approaching worries. Instead we tweet about them and complain to our friends.

What if I told you that we didn't need to be stressed? What if this year we didn't give into overwhelming anxiety or nervousness?

What if this year we kicked stress in the butt and completely trusted in God? 

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

Matthew 6:33-34

These are familiar verses to many of us, but what if we lived like they were true and trustworthy? How would we go into this last stretch of the school year if we based our lives off of those verses and God's trustworthiness?

I made a little infographic to help illustrate how we can approach stress differently as children of God.





How will you go into finals? What truths will you cling to? What verses will guide you? Will your response to stress be the same as the world or set apart?

Princess Hannah

4/29/2017

10 Ways to Feel Beautiful (Even When You Don't)

Some days, you feel like a movie star. Your hair is put together, someone complimented your outfit, and you seem to radiate confidence and beauty. 

Most of the time, however, you don't feel that way. You feel gross. Unattractive. Messy. Most definitely not beautiful. 

The key word here is feel.

The truth is, we are beautiful whether we feel it or not, but we often don't believe that we are beautiful because we don't feel beautiful.

Stop right now and remind yourself that feelings aren't truth.  They are wonderful and helpful, but they are not to rule over us. God is to rule over our feelings.

Here are 10 ways to embrace your beauty even when you don't feel it:


1. Pray


Talk to God about your feelings of inadequacy. He cares for you. More than that, His Spirit will guide you to live in His way of love. Give Him thanks instead of comparing yourself to others. Praise His name instead of wallowing in a pity party. 


2. Smile


I know this sounds cheesy, but a smile is the best makeup a girl can wear and is even scientifically proven to lighten up moods. Enjoy life, and you will find beauty everywhere. 




3. Stand Up Straight


Don’t shrink back from life because you don’t feel beautiful. Stand up straight and start doing the beautiful work of God! Be confident in the grace of God and the beauty He gives you.





4. Remember God's Word


The best methods I’ve discovered to stop body image insecurity is to replace it with the truth. 1 Samuel 16:7 is my favorite verse for this because it reminds me how to see things as God sees them: 




5. Give Someone a Compliment


You are not the only one who feels un-beautiful sometimes. By helping someone else remember that they are beautiful, you remind yourself what truly is beautiful- love. Nothing is more encouraging than giving encouragement. 


5. Eat Something Healthy


Sometimes you need to put something beautiful in to feel beautiful out. Eating fruit always lifts my spirits and has me feeling ready to take on the day beautifully. Here are five other healthy snack foods!


6. Wear Something Special


This doesn’t mean that you should only feel beautiful in beautiful clothes, but sometimes a new dress or nice necklace helps! Know which clothes fit you best and complement your beauty.




7. Do Something Beautiful


Beauty is, as we all know, found on the inside more than on the outside. Don’t let outward beauty steal our inward beauty!

Instead, focus on doing beautiful things. Give someone a ride and encourage them. Bake cookies for your neighbor for no reason. Make a note for your pastor. Do the dishes for your sister. There are so many beautiful things in the world, most of them in disguise.


8. Give Media a Break


Media fills you with lies. “You should look like her.” “You should own these things.” “Your life should look like this.” I’m not saying that we should avoid media. However, you should know when you are susceptible to believe the lies and not the truth.


9. Don't Give the Lies Thought


Sometimes you get so focused on trying to fix your thoughts about beauty that you get stuck in a thought-loop where you don’t stop thinking about your failures and problems. Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply think about something else and not give those lies another thought.


10. Use Your Gifts


Beauty is more than skin deep. It is also more your abilities to do everything. You are given specific gifts and talents from God. You are meant to use those gifts and talents and should never let insecurity stop you from giving glory to God through the gifts He has given you.



You might not feel beautiful right now, but dear sister, you are beautiful. Isn’t time that you started living beautifully? Isn’t it time that you started believing the truth that you are beautiful no matter what, not because of who you are but because of who God is?

Let us not forget.

Comment your ways to feel beautiful!


Princess Hannah

4/26/2017

When Suffering Comes


So, I broke my foot.

Six weeks ago I slipped during pointe class and fractured my fifth metatarsal (commonly known as the "dancer's fracture"). The little crack in one of my 26 bones in my left foot changed the following weeks in more ways than I anticipated. 



Even though a broken foot hardly qualifies as intense suffering, it is a consequence of the fall. It is suffering, even if on a smaller scale. It was especially hard because it meant that I couldn't dance for six plus weeks, including the week of my studio's recital. 

But who says that we can't learn big lessons from small things like missed recitals and broken feet? I've learned a lot about suffering through this ordeal. I've learned about hope. Patience. Joy. Sorrow. Let's just say it's been a crazy few weeks. 

Here are a few things that I learned about suffering that might help you too when (not if) suffering comes:

(Try listening to Hillsong's "Even When It Hurts" while reading this.)




1. Remind yourself of the truth

Suffering likes to take over our entire lives. 

Don't let it. 


Don't give into the temptation to view all of life through your suffering. Sure, I broke my foot. That doesn't mean that my family, friendships, and grades are broken too. Sure, you are really stressed. That doesn't mean that you are a failure at relationships. Sure, you're lonely, but that doesn't mean that all of your life is gloomy. 

The victim mindset is dangerous. It is a slippery slope of pity party days and hopeless nights. 

We can't let that happen. 

Instead, we must step back and remind ourselves of the truth; we are loved. Treasured. Bought. We have a purpose. We are given skills. We have some family and friends that love us. We have learned things in the past and we are learning things right now. Not everything is underneath the filter of suffering unless we want to view it that way.


2. Don't go through it alone


Satan best attacks our souls during suffering if we isolate ourselves. I know this from experience. 

When I broke my foot, I stopped hanging out with my friends. I stopped connecting via social media. I stopped texting people. Something about breaking my foot made me feel like no one understood me. It made me feel so alone. 


We must remind ourselves of the truth, though. Most people relate to our suffering more than we think that they can. Our loved ones care for us, even when we are going though a hard time. We just have to let ourselves be vulnerable and available. 

It is worth the effort to reach out to others for help and encouragement, even if that means hobbling on one foot to see them. It is also worth the effort to encourage others. There is no better way to find purpose and encouragement than to serve others and give encouragement.


3. Chose a specific Bible verse or passage to guide you


Immediately after I broke my foot and started down this road of injury, I knew that I would need a Bible passage to cling to. Somehow I stumbled across Romans 5, and I knew that I had found the one. 

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. As we boast in the hope of the glory of God. No only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts though the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." 

Romans 5:1-5




"Tribulation worketh patience, not in and of itself, but the powerful grace of God working in and with the tribulation." 

Matthew Henry on Romans 5:1-5

This passage helped me to give the lies and sorrows of suffering to God. They reminded me that what I see now is preparing me for more kingdom work. They reminded me that true life points to the glory of God, not to my own comfort or dreams. I kept these verses close and even wrote them on my cast! 



These tips are by no means three ways to ease your suffering. They won't fix your problems in three easy steps. They are rather ways to fully embrace the lessons that suffering can give you. They are ideas on how to cling to truth even when it hurts.

I know that this is a heavier topic, but it is something that I've obviously thought a lot about lately. Comment below ways that you grow through suffering.

Princess Hannah


P.S. After writing this post, I went to the orthopedist. I AM NOW FREE!!! No more boot. Let the prepping for dancing begin. 

4/12/2017

Before Sunday Comes- Prepare Your Heart for Easter

Jesus is calling our hearts closer. He is summoning us to follow Him in His every movement. He pours onto our lives abundant life, endless grace, and He is with us through it all.

All because of the gospel. All because of the coming, the crucifixion, and the resurrection.

The Story of the world hangs on this moment in time, this great climax.

Where He died. Where the world lived in darkness, in defeat, for all of Saturday. Where He defeated the forces of darkness and rose to life, winning the victory of the Story and bringing with Him life eternal.

What a glorious day! Oh, what a glorious day.

Sometimes, however, the busyness of life and the smallness with which the world views Easter can prevent us from seeing clearly how glorious Easter is and how much it means to the Story of God. We get caught up in the end of the school year, in buying new dresses, and in seeing family. These things aren't bad at all, but, man, do they pale in comparison to Jesus RISEN FROM THE GRAVE.

So I'm challenging myself to prepare my heart, mind, soul, and even body for Easter. I want to focus on this marvelous grace and incomparable power. I want to see the gospel through the eyes of the Spirit.

Come, prepare your heart for Easter with me.

To help me, and anyone else who wants to join with me, do that, I've created a list of resources that do a great job of showing different truths of Easter. Check out these posts, videos, and songs throughout the next few days as we prepare our hearts for Easter.


1. Amanda with Scattered Journal Pages. 

Amanda has this wonderful habit of speaking so much truth to my soul, so of course I went to her blog to check out her previous Easter posts. This one is about something that God started to reveal to me last Sunday, so it was very timely:

Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?


But really, you should probably check out all of her Easter posts.


2. Children's Eater Videos

On the lighter side of things, I found some hilarious but simplistically truthful videos of children explaining Easter.









3. "For the Cross" Music Video 

This video, compiled from clips of History Channel's "The Bible," reminded me how real Jesus was. He laughed, cried, smiled, and cringed. The joy was real. The pain was real. The love is real. 




4. Beth Moore

Beth Moore walks us through the anticipation and the glory of the gospel in a powerful, visual way. I watched this short talk twice already today because the Spirit used it to bring my heart closer to the feet of Jesus.




Beth Moore has a blog post that goes very well with this talk, and be sure to read until the end of it!

Glorious Resurrection Day He's Already Up


And just in case you want more of Beth Moore, here's longer talk that she gave on the Friday of Easter week. I plan on watching it on Friday.

It Is Finished- A Message That Might Be Fitting for Holy Week



5. Grace In Everything

I also wrote a couple of Easter posts that I like to reread every year. Two years ago, I wrote a poem of how Easter Sunday changes everything:


Sunday Is Coming


I also wrote a story of Mary Magdalene:

Jesus Calls Us Close


6. Worship Songs


Last but not least on this list of Easter preparation resources is a playlist of songs that lead out hearts to worship the RISEN KING!!! 





With these resources and mainly the Word of God, we have no excuse. It is time to prepare our hearts for Easter and live every day in light of the glorious day where Jesus won the victory and changed history forever.

Soi Deo Gloria,

Princess Hannah

4/05/2017

Redeemed- A Music Video


What has the gospel, beautiful scenery, moving music and splendid acting? MY NEW MUSIC VIDEO!!! 

Well, it's not entirely new. 

Last semester I took a filming and editing class, and I loved it! My favorite part was making this music video. My least favorite part of making the music video, though, had nothing to do with actually filming or editing. It was choosing the song! How could I chose between American Authors, Sleeping At Last, Disney and Ben Rector? What about a good Ellie Goulding or Rend Collective song? 

When I listened to David Crowder's "Back to the Garden," however, I didn't need to hunt anymore. The song stirred something in my heart and soul, a need to create something that boldly told the story of the gospel. 

For the next week, I listened to the song on repeat, going through every scene and shot. Oak trees right by my house caught my attention, but construction right next to them ruined the picture. Bummer. Unless... I then decided to use the construction area as well as the magnificent oak trees to convey my story, a story of redemption and grace, of sin and salvation. I hope that you enjoy! 


In other news, my foot is getting better! (I wrote about the struggle of fracturing my foot on my last post.) I'll have more updates next week. 

Also, where did time go? It's already April, and I'm not sure I even remember March. Comment below your thoughts on the music video, what song you would have chosen and how your spring is going! 

Princess Hannah

3/29/2017

I'm Tired of Being Okay

"I just want to be okay."

"Are you okay?" 

"I'm okay." 

"Okay." 

To be honest, I'm tired of the word "okay." I'm tired of seeking to just be "okay" in life, but that's all our culture excepts us to be, if that. Check out all of the articles on Odyssey on how girls are becoming okay with not being okay. Something is missing here. 

I recently fractured my foot. That's not an okay circumstance by any means, and I struggle with it. I struggle with not dancing. I struggle with worry and frustration and anxiety and loneliness. I struggle to put on my one shoe for goodness sake!

People ask me every day if I'm okay. At first I couldn't answer them affirmatively. My soul felt safe in the hands of God, and I trusted Him more than my mind knew, but I struggled. 

Then I realized just how okay I am in Christ. I realized that He is enough. Even if I can never dance again (that's not a concern, by the way), He is ENOUGH. 

But God showed me something that BLEW. MY. SOUL. 

Listen up, folks, 'cause it could change your soul too. 

God doesn't just make us okay. 

He isn't only enough for us. 

HE MAKES US GREAT. 

HE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH. 

Oh, I'm about to cry right now thinking about the immeasurable grace of the gift of God. Yet we try to sum it up in the words okay or enough. We try to contain the presence of God into something that we can understand and measure.

For we can't imagine what it would be like to be great. After all, we are so sinful and weak and small. We get scared of a broken foot and break down crying. Regularly. We can't manage to even be okay, so why would we expect to be great

Good thing God works on a different level than us. 

"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!... For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace reign in life through that one man, Jesus Christ."

Romans 5:15, 17, emphasis mine

How much more. 

How much more. 

Are we living the how much more life? Or are we simply seeking to get by, to be okay?

There are points in our lives when seeking to be okay is enough of a battle for our souls. I had to fight to get to a place where I was okay when I fractured my foot. I am not denying that there are times when the knowledge that God is enough for us is all that we can handle.

But do we want to stay in the okay place forever? Do we not want to taste the immeasurable greatness and glory of God? What is waiting for us on the other side of "okay?" What will we find when we beckon the Spirit of God to not simply be enough for us but to overflow in us?

I don't have an answer for you, not yet. But I'm tired of staying in an okay place, not when God offers to us (at great cost) the much more. So I'm praying to the Holy Spirit. I'm leaning into the gift of grace knowing that there is so much more out there than I can imagine.

Will you live the much more life with me?

Princess Hannah