“Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.” (Psalm 119:175 NIV)
Our God is a God of second chances and that fact was never more real to me than one summer afternoon.
In a single moment, I decided carelessly to jump in a pool. My swimming skills were lacking. A nanosecond after I hit the water, I knew something was wrong. I should have floated right back up. The water was only four feet deep. If only I could stand up! But buoyancy was working against me, and the shimmery floor below was evading my efforts to plant my feet firmly on the surface. During this harrowing experience, I went from a confident, bubbly teenager giggling on the sidelines to a scared, terrified little girl fighting for her life.
Panic set in. So this was it. This is how I would go home. I was about to die.
Immediately following my thoughts came an absurd sense of peace. I knew where I was going if I died. When I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I was assured an eternity in heaven. And that fact, in what I thought to be the last few seconds of my life, was immensely comforting.
But I knew if God wanted me on earth, he would bring me out of this. I had swallowed some water and was choking, so I prayed fervently to God for clarity of mind, something I could do, or some way out of this nightmare. My arms and legs were still flailing all over the place. Spots swam in front of my eyes, and for a couple seconds it went black. I knew I didn’t have long. Only a miracle could save me now.
And a miracle is exactly what I got. Somehow, God gave me the sense to stick my hand out of the water and wave it frantically to get someone’s attention. Then, I heard a voice whisper across my heart, “Calm down, my daughter. Everything will be all right. Calm down and plant your feet.”
Suddenly, my head was out of the water, and I was gulping in glorious, wonderful air. I was clinging to the side of the pool with a fellow teen bobbing beside me. I’m not sure how he got me out, but I know that God is definitely active in my life, and as the pool incident proves, I’m here and have a purpose. I keep thanking God for giving me another chance at life.
Since then, I’ve found that I am able to laugh more, love better, and share more. During those horrifying seconds under water, I decided I would live my life for God and make every second count
“The LORD will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life, the LORD will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
Shannon Meiers is a 16 year old home-schooled sophomore in high-school. Shes an aspiring writer, and is currently working with the special needs ministries at her church. Shannon, or Shan as her friends know her, is constantly learning… (read more…)
The other day, my friend, Gracia, asked for tips on overcoming writer’s block and procrastination. I thought I’d share here what I told her.
Writer’s block is a tough subject. I experience it quite frequently and it’s hard to get rid of. Sometimes, the best thing is to put the project aside for a few days and not think about it. Then, come back, reread what you’ve written and the “rhythm” of the story (or paper, essay, whatever) will return.
And procrastination … ? I can offer pretty good advice on how to procrastinate. Bestselling author, Brandilyn Collins, has a sure-fire twelve-step strategy (reference: http://forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/2010/02/sure-fire-twelve-point-strategy-to.html) on this form of art, but how to overcome it is another story. What usually helps me is making a schedule and taping it on the wall by my desk so I’ll see it every time I sit there. Then I have a visual reminder of what I need to get done each day.
These things happen to all writers and we all have our own methods. The best thing to do is figure out what works best for you.
I am first and foremost a Scribe of the King. It is my desire to serve God through the written word. I have been creating stories since age three. I would tell them to entertain my family, but didn’t start writing them down until age eight or nine.
Since then, the need to write has been insatiable. At age nineteen, I had my first book, Where’s My Other Sock?, published by Tate Publishing. Then, I graduated from community college with a degree; not in anything writing related, but in accounting. Currently, I’m hunting for a bookkeeping job and working on several books or story ideas. In my stories, I challenge the reader’s imagination with adventures into the fantasy realm. Some stories lean towards mystery/suspense or general fiction, and I try to write for all ages. I find my inspiration from JRR Tolkien’s works and from the Randomness of everyday life.
SDG. (read more…)
“O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” (Psalm 30:2 NIV)
“Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.” (Psalm 40:17 NIV)
Sarah ran into the kitchen of her parents’ cabin, shrieking. We were staying there for the weekend and seconds before had escaped a cockroach.
She stood, mouth agape and finger limply pointing to the floor. Of course, we were expecting a beetle army to pour from the kitchen at this point.
“Dishwasher!” Sarah managed.
I rose from my chair, going where she indicated. The shiny dishwasher we turned on earlier was spitting foam and water like a volcano and overflowing on the floor. A horrendous stench arose from the flood waters as I joined Sarah’s moans. We rallied, collecting paper towels to sop up the muck now combining with the crumbs already on the floor.
The dirty dishes in the dishwasher had been sitting several weeks and now smelled awful. We ran the machine on a different cycle and then once more on a rinse setting. But the water gushed out with every attempt.
Finally, we decided to inform Sarah’s parents so they could fix the issue.
I realized later (after we hand washed the dishwasher’s contents) that I’m much like that dishwasher. Often I look shiny and cleaned-up on the outside, but on the inside I still hold tons of icky junk that causes me to function improperly.
My natural inclination, of course, is to try to fix the problem myself, from the inside. But if my insides aren’t working, the problem can’t be solved. I need outside help to really heal me.
God is the only one outside us that can truly clean up our dirty dishes. Bring your hurt to him. He’ll heal you and you’ll overflow again—only this time with joy and life, not gross dishwater.
Melissa Weaver is a 21-year-old English major at North Greenville University where she is editor of the school’s literary magazine The Mountain Laurel. She minors in French (that’s the rumor, anyway) and enjoys bookstore clearance sales, adding as many classic novels as possible to her bookshelves. A native of Charleston, SC, she loves music (especially British), writing poetry, trying on funny hats, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and hitting the beach during the summers home.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and teens.
Furthermore, the NIMH believes that as many as 25 suicides are attempted for every one that is completed. Think about it—that means for every teen who commits suicide, 25 others attempt unsuccessfully to take their lives.
Obviously, teen suicide is a real problem, but it’s a preventable one. Be proactive! If you or someone you know begins exhibiting the following warning signs of teen suicide, take action! Seek help (See resources at the bottom of this article) if you’re the one struggling, or if you identify a friend at school who is at risk, let your school counselor, your pastor, or another trusted adult know.
Here are those warning signs, according to “Teen Suicide” (Ohio State University Medical Center, Ohio State University Online).
- Disinterest in favorite extracurricular activities
- Problems at work and losing interest in a job
- Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug (illegal and legal drugs) use
- Behavioral problems
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Sleep changes
- Changes in eating habits
- Begins to neglect hygiene and other matters of personal appearance
- Emotional distress brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigues, migraines)
- Hard time concentrating and paying attention
- Declining grades in school
- Loss of interest in schoolwork
- Risk taking behaviors
- Complains more frequently of boredom
- Does not respond as before to praise
Also, if you overhear another student say something like, “I just want to die,” or “I won’t bother anyone ever again”—take those comments seriously because they just might be valid cries for help. It’s better to error on the side of caution by alerting an adult than to simply ignore the comments and hope for the best.
You Are A Treasure
Suicide is never the answer. Every person—including you, no matter how badly you may be feeling about yourself this very moment—is a precious treasure. Have you ever heard the expression, “God doesn’t make any junk?” It’s really true! You were created by Almighty God in His very image. You are a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! He adores you, and Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has a good plan for your life, so hang on! Take time today and meditate on how much God loves you. The bible says that He loves you with an everlasting love. And, He promises to never leave you. He will walk with you through every negative circumstance and celebrate with you over every victory. And, there are victories in your future because you are a winner. Remind yourself of that daily! In fact, it wouldn’t hurt you to say it out loud right now—I am a winner!
Resources to Remember
If you are feeling hopeless today, or if you know someone who might be contemplating suicide, check out the following resources for more information.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- Deaf Hotline: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Covenant House Nineline: 1-800-999-9999
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award winning author of over 35 children’s books and hundreds of articles. Michelle teaches at Christian Writers Conferences, mentors new and established writers and is the Content Editor for iBegat.com. She lives in Indiana with her husband and two beautiful daughters. Abby Adams (left) is iBegat.com’s Dear Abby and Ally Adams is our fashion expert. Visit Michelle at www.michellemedlockadams.com
Just when you think life is crappy…when you hate what has been given you…if you want another person’s shoes to walk in…watch this teen make his life whole out of what he has!
“If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10 NIV)
The statistics on teenage depression are sobering. Depression affects approximately 5% of today’s teenagers. Of these, a mere 30% receive any sort of intervention or treatment, even though studies show treatments of depression in adolescents can be effective. The impact of adolescent depression in teenagers has been found to significantly increase the risk of:
- Major depression and anxiety disorders
- Social dysfunction, nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence and abuse
- Educational underachievement, unemployment, early parenthood
- Suicide attempts and completed suicide.
In the U.S., suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people
ages 15 to 24. (read more…)
For information on self-esteem check out this article. If you struggle with self-esteem issues talk to your parents, visit your doctor, minister or school counselor.
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God. You are perfect in your own right and perfect in His eyes.
For more information on teen depression check out this help.
If you feel depressed, contact an adult you trust, visit with your minister, school counselor or your doctor. And above all, confide in your parents. You are a team…a family; and families pull together to help one another.