THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCIPLINE

Discipline is a very important trait to have, and many Americans today disregard it. We do what we want, when we want it, how we want it, with little care of how it changes our lives–and the lives of those around us. We don’t care for discipline because it limits us. This is incorrect. This mindset is why we have so many ‘adults’ acting like selfish, greedy fools.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. – Proverbs 25:28

Discipline is important for everyone, but not everyone practices it. If you work a job, it takes discipline to go every day, do your best, and be honest with your fellow employees. If you are in school, it takes discipline to do your best, not cheat, and keep going till graduation. If you’re an artist, it takes discipline to write/draw/sing on the days you really don’t want to.

Truthfully, humans aren’t created to give things their 100% at all times. We need rest, breaks, and sometimes, reminders to why we do things. Not everyone wants to go the narrow, hard road, when the easy, comforting road seems just as satisfying. But this should be the difference between Believers and people who don’t believe in God–we should be an example of how important discipline is. What do I mean? I mean, when someone sees you, do they see a lazy slacker just like the rest of America, or will they see someone who is steadfast and determined? Discipline isn’t easy to obtain or practice, but what is worth having, is not easy.

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world… – Titus 2:12

For example (and there are SO many examples, just look around in your life!), if you’re an author, you know how much perseverance it takes to write a novel. Edit a novel. Edit it again. Send it to betas. Edit more. Find a cover, formatter, set up a blog tour. Publish it. And then market it. I mean, writing isn’t easy. I, for one, am glad it isn’t, because nothing meaningful is easy. It takes a writer discipline to write when we don’t feel like it, to ponder beta feedback even if we don’t care much for the opinions, and to market our books when we feel like marketing is even harder than writing 60,000 words in 30 days. But we do it. Why?

Because working hard for the glory of Christ is worth the blood, sweat, and tears this life will hold. Because standing strong in the Lord’s commandments (one being discipline, yo!) is worth more to us than sitting around and getting into trouble with the mainstream crowds. And this mindset doesn’t end with writers–it is for every person who works their best at their job when their boss is a wreck. It is for every student who pushes through subjects and does their best when other students slack off or focus on fleshly desires. It is for everyone who exercises discipline, even in ‘small’ forms, like making your bed if you’re not feeling well at all, or making your family breakfast when you’d rather be doing something else, or getting in your work-out when you just wanna binge Netflix. Guess what? Every little discipline act matters!

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. – Proverbs 13:4

Everyone has fleshly desires! Discipline is the decision to do what is best, not what feels good or is easy. And guess what? It hurts. It sucks. But it will pay off. And the reward will be better than anything you could imagine. So don’t give up, don’t lose faith, and don’t doubt the power of God’s will. As long as we are steadfast in doing as He wills, we will be rewarded.

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

And another thing about discipline? It often looks like the slackers are getting the world handed to them on a gold platter, but remember that this world, and all the material possessions, glamour, and fame… means nothing. If someone is cheating at school, God sees it. If someone messed up at work and you get the fall, God sees it. Don’t despise evildoers–and since this, too, is easy to do, it takes discipline to make ourselves focus on Heavenly riches.

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. – Psalms 37:1

As we grow in Christ and continue to live, discipline won’t always (or ever) be easy. But have faith. Have faith that God will keep His promises, and we will be rewarded for doing as He bids us to.  When we are tempted to give in to fleshly desires, remember the reward in Heaven.

God bless,

Ang

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EASY WAYS TO SUPPORT INDIE AUTHORS

In today’s world, Indie artists aren’t so rare. There are many Indie authors who find the self-publishing route fits them best. It’s a huge feat for artists because it proves everyone can do what they set their minds to. The sky is the limit!

However, everyone needs support. As an Indie author, it is vital to have support from friends, family–and readers. If you are an Indie or someone who wants to help support your Indie author friends, this post is for you. (You awesome person, you.)

 

REVIEW THE BOOK ON AMAZON/GOODREADS

You’ve probably heard this before, but it is important. I won’t waste a lot of time, but reviews on Goodreads are great, but reviews on Amazon are epic. It helps authors to have reviews on Amazon because that’s usually the link they’ll send to buyers!

So if you read the book, leave the author an honest review! It doesn’t have to be a book report! Even a quick “I really enjoyed this book!” is fantastic. 

(PS. Can’t review on Amazon? Reviews on Goodreads and your blog, if you have one, is still great!)

 

TELL YOUR FRIENDS

Word of mouth is powerful. Online or offline, if you find a book by an Indie author and think someone you know might enjoy it, spread the word! It’s easy and that bunny trail can mean the world to an author. Spreading the news about a published book or an Indie’s upcoming release is an amazing, simple way to help out. You can repost, share a status, email a friend, or give a fast Tweet. Your voice matters. ♥

 

IF YOU LIKE THE AUTHOR, FOLLOW THEM!

Not only does following an author give you a better chance of winning things (who doesn’t like a free book, yo?), you’ll be one of the first to see what they’ll release next! Of course, don’t feel pressured to follow or anything, but also don’t feel like your follow doesn’t matter. It does! Every follower is appreciated by Indie authors, trust me!

 

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK

Another simple way to get in on the fun! Pre-ordering books helps build hype, and hype is important for new releases! If you know you’ll buy the book anyway, pre-ordering is a fun way to do it (and I know Indie authors who do special things for folks who pre-order, too).

 

MESSAGE THE AUTHOR!

There is nothing like getting a note, email, or message about how much someone liked your book, or how much it meant to them. It doesn’t take much of your time to send a message… and authors don’t bite! If you liked their book or look forward to their next release, send the love, y’all. It isn’t easy being an Indie author and supportive feedback really helps.

 

REQUEST THE BOOK AT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

If possible, request the Indie book at your local library! This kinda speaks for itself–libraries are soo not dead. 😉

 

SHARE STUFF

Share the book you like on social media! If you have a bookstagram, it makes an Indie authors DAY when we see our book on someone’s feed! So share the news and make it yours, yeah?

 

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As eccentric as Indie authors are, we’re still people, and everyone needs support. Even the smallest bit of support doesn’t go without gratitude!

What are some of YOUR tips? Any two-cents to add to help Indie authors? Comment below with the love!

God bless,

Angie

 

3 THINGS THAT STRANGER THINGS TEACHES US ABOUT STORYTELLING

The attention for the Netflix original series, Stranger Things, might’ve cooled down since the hiatus before the upcoming season 3, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the show. As I was playing the soundtrack, I started thinking about some things the first two seasons taught me about storytelling.

While the show isn’t for everyone, and I’m no way saying for my followers to go watch it, I’m a fan of the show–so far. I’m disclaiming merely because I have no idea what season 3 will hold and am no way condoning the unknown. I enjoyed the first two seasons because they had soo many great lessons to learn… as a writer. What are those things I’ve learned? It is time for…

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DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE WILD

Do not be afraid to write anything, period, about anything, ever (as long as God says it is OK, ha). What do I mean? I mean that 1.) There’s nothing new under the sun. 2.) So WRITE WILD.

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It is OK to be cliche sometimes! Cliches in Stranger Things included: big bad things, little town. Big bad government with lots of secrets. The nerds/geeks get bullied all the time. Most of the parents (EXCEPT JOYCE! SHE IS QUEEN!) have no idea what is going on. Are cliches always good? Nah. But guess what? They don’t always lessen the quality of fiction. The cliches in Stranger Things didn’t make things less realistic. So why are writers so afraid of being cliche sometimes? Cliches aren’t the enemy, y’all.

It is OK to be wild and strange! Writers are creative beings. The sky is the limit! Some strange things Stranger Things had was: how diverse the cast was (kids/teens/adults all in one inter-woven story? yes please). Not everyone made it out alive. Not every main character was even likable or had heroic motives. The monsters weren’t cliche-scary. The spiritual ties were very real. Don’t be afraid to get wild, creative, inventive, crazy–just go for it. Don’t be afraid if it isn’t very ‘realistic’. If you’re writing spec-fic, fantasy, etc, you’re job is to twist reality. So go twist reality!

 

DON’T UNDERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE

If you’re a writer who markets your own books, you know how important it is to find your target audience. Stranger Things had a broad audience, since the characters are in three groups: middle schoolers, highschoolers, and adults. The story built off of the other groups because no one could find all of the puzzle pieces alone. It took all of them to push the story onward. Where am I going with this? 

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Let’s be real. A YA marketed novel probably isn’t going to be picked up by many mature adults. An adult mystery novel probably won’t be picked up by a teenager. The obvious reason is because different audiences want different things.

While it is important to know your audience and give them what they want, don’t undermine them. Don’t think “They came for a YA romance, so I can only write a bunch of fluff or a bunch of angst.” Don’t worry so much to fill your check-list of ‘This Is What My Audience Wants’ that you fall flat and don’t write your story. Challenge your reader. Give them something to think about. If you’re writing a romance, make it a bit more than that. If you’re writing a mystery, make it more than that, too. Stranger Things was a hit because it mixed in more than one subplot and focused on the heart of the story, challenging readers to think.

 

DON’T CLOSE THE (CURIOSITY) DOOR

Think of your favorite book or TV show. Why is it a favorite? What theme clings to you? What character shined brightly? Did the story make you laugh, cry, etc? WHY? Why did things stick with you, and what would you have done differently? Storytelling is a craft, a gift, something that is inside you, but it will never be perfected. Humans aren’t perfect. So don’t strive to be. Don’t write the perfect story. Write your story. Write a good one. 

Stranger Things tapped into many important story telling techniques: strong character motivations, building anticipation and foreboding future situations, and using sensory details to capture people’s attentions. While writers can’t use an epic soundtrack to set a mood or portray emotions through lighting, we can use sensory details, spatial description, and set the mood in other ways. We can keep learning, exploring, and experiencing new things–it all helps. If you want your reader to remember your story, or get them to laugh, or get them to cry, or get them to see God’s hope–you have to tell them a story. You aren’t writing a nonfiction book or a police report or a recipe. You’re writing a story. And it isn’t easy. It takes effort, work, blood, sweat tears. You might wonder how much longer you can rewrite the same story.

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But keep that door open. Keep faith in God, yourself, and the power of your story! Don’t skimp out on building up a scene. Don’t bog readers with information, but give just enough description where they want more. Don’t make a character give too many secrets, but make the reader wish they did. There is power in storytelling. So give it thought, and when it comes down to it, trust God to show you when the story is complete. Not perfect, not the new bestseller, not the next C.S. Lewis–but finished. You told your story the best you could, glorified God, and it is enough. Somebody needs your story. And that’s why we tell them.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this post, friend! Feel free to leave your own thoughts (or, if you’ve seen the show, fangirl with me).

 

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God bless,

Ang

MOST ANTICIPATED INDIE READS OF 2019

The rise of Indie books is an amazing thing to watch take flight. 2018 held many amazing Indie releases, and I’m sure 2019 will be just as good, if not BETTER. So buckle up–I’ll be listing my most anticipated Indie reads of 2019!

 

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KEES AND COLLIERS SERIES by KELLYN ROTH

Blurbs can be found on Kellyn’s Goodreads! 

This series is one that Kellyn is relaunching and adding to–basically, it is even better this time around, and I cannot wait to see these beauties released into the wild. Romance, drama, historical fiction, a kiddo MC–so much neat stuff. (And there’s a dog? So how much better can a series get?) 

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Releasing: summer 2019

 

EVERY BRIGHT AND BROKEN THING by BRIAN McBRIDE

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Haunted by the last question their mother ever asked them before she passed away, the Greyson brothers struggle to cope with their grief and adjust to life after tragedy.

Semi-popular sixteen-year-old Liam spends his nights performing as the lead singer of his high school indie pop/rock band, Liam and the Landmarks. But something happened to Liam two years ago at his friend’s house – a secret Liam will take to his grave. But in small towns like Summit, Colorado, secrets always seem to find their way out.

Twenty-four-year-old Ezra thought that he could cure his grief when he left Summit behind for a prestigious art school in Chicago, but things only got worse. Now a college dropout working at a gas station mini mart, he turns to alcohol, prescription painkillers, and meaningless one-night stands. But Ezra can’t run forever – life always catches up with you.

With striking and abrasively honest dual-perspective narratives, EVERY BRIGHT AND BROKEN THING illustrates the unbreakable bond between brothers and the power in coming home.

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Having beta read draft 2 and draft 3, I can honestly say this book is one of my all time favorites. Why? Because instead of avoiding hard topics, it tackles the pain and gritty realism of life–and offers hope. It is electrifying. 

Releasing: later this year

 

MARTIN LEGACY, by ABIGAYLE CLAIRE

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I will be buying Martin Hospitality soon, and already know I can’t wait to read the second book. Why? Because I’m a part of Abi’s street team and GAH THE SNIPPETS, Y’ALL. I can’t wait for this book–and also, I can’t wait to have both books on my shelf, because aesthetic.

Releasing: fall 2019

 

BELOVED by KAITLYN KRISPENSE

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Life hurts. 

Cara Richards just doesn’t care anymore. Alone, and unloved, she decides that there’s only one response to the nightmare that has become her life. 

When an unwelcome intervention disrupts Cara’s plans, her life is changed in a way that she never imagined. Regardless of how tough she believes herself to be, she’s unprepared for another foster family. She’s even less prepared for five foster brothers, one of whom is convinced that God is the answer to all of her problems. Though she prides herself on a resilient heart, her life continues to spiral into a world full of questions.

Is death really the answer? Does God actually care? Can everyone truly be loved, no matter what?

I cannot wait for Kaitlyn’s debut! It is gonna be SO SWEET. I’ve enjoyed snippets on her blog for sometime now!

Releasing: September 2019

 

A SOLDIER’S FREEDOM by FAITH POTTS

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Having just returned to American soil from the desert sands of the Middle East, James Greene is done with his life. ‘Double amputee’ doesn’t seem like a strong enough phrase to label the physical and emotional pain he bears. Add the lack of love and communication with his family members, and he can find nothing worth living for. Ending it all is the only way out. 
Alexandria Lorance is a not-so-ordinary physical therapist, content with aiding in her patients’ recoveries. Her work gives her fulfillment, but alone in the silence, she still feels the hurt of hidden scars from a past unhealthy relationship. Reminding herself that true healing is found in Christ alone, she seeks to show kindness and love to everyone she meets.When these two broken ones’ paths intersect, the spark of friendship is ignited, bringing hope and joy to both. Would it be wrong to move forward to more than just friendship? 
A soldier, broken by war. A therapist, scarred by words. A chance meeting on a rooftop bonded them together. But can love grow in these two hurting hearts? Or are they truly too broken to ever find lasting happiness? 

Y’ALL, OK, AHHH. Ahem. I’m super excited for this book. I love every book Faith has written because 1) CASTS YOU LOVE? NO MATTER WHAT? 2) endearing/moving themes 3) romance that doesn’t make me wanna shoot myself. I’m sure this book will hold up to my expectations, lol.

Releasing: fall 2019

 

GUIDE ME HOME by MICHAELA BUSH

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Cortland may as well have been turned upside-down.

Morgan Barnes is watching her cousins grow up and get married – left and right, it seems! Feeling like she’s losing time fast, she signs up for Internet dating that quickly turns sour. When she meets Martin, she’s struck by the opportunity to help him. New to Christianity and Cortland, Martin’s grateful for a friend…but a girlfriend? Maybe not so much.

Meanwhile, Lucy and Spencer’s comfortable little world gets upended – and then flipped sideways to boot. Where there was only part of a story, now the other half unfolds. Where there were once childish dreams now resides knowledge unimaginable. And now resides faith, hope, and love – but will the Barnes and Clarkson families see God’s plan for the lattermost of all? 

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The Faith, Hope, and Love series is one of my top favorite romance series of all time. Clean, wholesome romance? Yes, please! I look forward to book 3 this year because of the new character, Martin, who JUST AHHH. SO GOOD. Y’all gotta check this series out.

Releasing: sometime in 2019

 

TALES OF AMBIA SHORT STORIES by ALLISON TEBO

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So, while the amazing Allison plans on publishing some short stories for the Tales of Ambia, they aren’t named. I am SO PUMPED for this series (The Reluctant Godfather and A Royal Masquerade are absolutely delightful), so I had to mention the upcoming releases this year. 😀

Releasing: sometime during 2019

 

THE DIVIDED NATION by ANGELA R. WATTS

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THE UNITED STATES IS FALLEN. THREE YEARS AFTER THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, CIVIL UNREST UNRAVELS INTO TOTAL WAR. MARTIAL LAW DID NOTHING TO STOP THE UPRISING MOBS FROM DESTROYING WHAT IS LEFT OF THE NATION.

IN A SMALL SOUTHERN TOWN, A FAMILY HOLDS ONTO HOPE THAT THEY WILL SURVIVE THE DESTRUCTION. RENE’ FISHER WILL DO WHAT IT TAKES TO PROTECT HER FAMILY. WHEN HER ARMY BROTHER’S ENEMY CATCHES HER, SHE IS FACED WITH A BREAKING DECISION, AND ONLY GANGSTERS CAN SAVE HER.

THE GREATEST MAFIA LEADER OF THE US, MEXICO, AND CANADA, GEORGE JOHNSTON IS A GOD. HOWEVER, HIS SON REBELS AGAINST HIM, AS WELL AS THE SONS OF HIS RIGHT HAND MEN. THE GENERATION RISING CANNOT BE CONTAINED, BUT THEY CAN BE DESTROYED.

Haha, yes. That’s my book. Book one of The Infidel Books, which are dystopian novels… Previously titled AWAKE, it will be, God willing, releasing in August. =)

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I’m currently preparing to work on draft two and am so invigorated by this story, y’all. It is dark. Gritty. Painful. And shows the Lord’s love when you least expect it. I cannot wait to share it with you. (Want a taste of the world? Emmanuel is a free short story on Amazon that is a TIB prequel. If you enjoy it, I’d love an honest review on Amazon!)

Releasing: August 2019

 

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These are my top I-AM-GONNA-DIE excited books. I will probably be posting a part two of Indie books releasing in 2019, but… I’m not easillyyy excited, and this is the Mega Excited Post. 😉 Be ready for another post sometime, though, with more great Indie releases to come!

Sooo, comment below with YOUR most anticipated Indie releases! They can even be your own upcoming books. ♥ If you look forward to any of these, comments below. Share the love, too, by sharing this post!

God bless,

Ang

TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE

How many fears, doubts, and lies do we let ourselves ponder every day? Sometimes, they don’t seem destructive. “I wish I wrote as good as [insert name].” “I wish I didn’t take so long to finish [insert thing].” “I wish I was thinner.” “I wish I wasn’t so stupid in [school subject].” “I don’t want to do this because I might fail.” “I don’t want to do this because people might think I’m silly.”

Let’s be real. If something matters to us, it is easy to compare ourselves to others, or doubt our abilities, or strive for perfection. If God has given us a gift, it only makes sense that Satan will try to break it in us and take it away. Why? Because God has given us those gifts to praise Him, glorify Him, and lead others to His Love. What better way for Satan to destroy the world and keep our voices silent than by making us doubt God’s ability to use us? 

And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long. – Psalms 35:28

We all have little doubts about ourselves. We all allow lies from Satan to enter our minds. And guess what? Those lies can and do enter our spirit, too. That nagging fear in your soul? It isn’t that Satan pounded his way into your heart–you let him in. It is that easy. There’s no magical age we reach where we stop those voices. No Christian magically never has these lies from Satan stop entering their mind.

Choosing to live by faith is a choice. We choose every day to love Jesus. We choose every day to do a good thing instead of let our flesh win. And we can choose to listen to God’s voice… or listen to those ‘harmless’ little voices.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. – 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

What happens when we listen to the wrong voices? We start having fears. Maybe they don’t seem big. “What if I never reach my dream? What if it is too big?” “What if I am not hearing from God?” We start doubting ourselves, but more importantly, we start doubting God. We doubt His faithfulness, mercy, and LOVE.

I strongly encourage you to dig into the Bible and find some of God’s promises. Whenever the smallest doubt or fear enters your mind, take it CAPTIVE. You are in control of your mind. You do not have to be defeated or tempted by Satan. Even the smallest voice can set up a wall in our spirit and a wall can block the Lord out. We don’t want that. So fight those voices with God’s Voice. Fight those voices with the Holy Spirit. Fight those voices with praise and worship.

Because after a time, a lot of small voices build up. A lot of small doubts or fears can weigh you down like chains. And the Lord says in Isaiah 61:1-3 and 61:10-11…

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified…. 

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

I hope you read all that, because there is the Voice of the LORD. Why should we doubt our worth or abilities when the Lord has already told us the TRUTH? We are not to believe the lies of Satan, that we’re not enough, that we’re stupid or slow, that we’re pathetic, that we’re pointless, that we’re unloved, that we have no future, that we have no meaning in the bigger picture–we will rejoice in the LORD because our future is in HIS hands. 

Whenever a doubt arises, remember God’s promise. Whenever you face fear, praise the Lord. This is such an important thing to do, yet no one does it. I’ve really been pressing into the Lord lately because I don’t want to just survive. I want to praise God! I want to help others, touch their hearts, encourage them to see God’s love. I don’t want to feel like my fight is worthless, or that the blood on my hands and knees from dragging myself through rocky paths will be in vain!  It won’t be because GOD IS FAITHFUL.

Remember what God has done for you! Remember every blessing. Make a list of things you’re thankful for today, or remember those moments where God’s love was like a crashing wave! Remember the things that shine light on being alive. And hold on to them. Because they matter. You matter. Satan cannot change that, ever, no matter how many little lies he slips into your head. Say it aloud: “Jesus has won.” Again and again, say that, and trump the lies away.

I don’t want to feel like I’m weak and hopeless or powerless. Because none of us are. We are strong in Christ. We have eternal life in Christ. We have strength and power given to us by Christ if we follow His words… and not follow Satan’s. The time of listening to Satan has come to an end. The time of pressing into Jesus and choosing to life in victory has come. What do you choose?

God bless,

Ang