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This is nowa girl-to-girl devotional for teens
By Patti M. Hummel
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2006 Patti M. Hummel
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJanuary 1
happy new year?
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7
Few people make getting cancer a New Year's resolution. Its presence is never by invitation, and nobody daydreams about the possibility of cancer growing inside a loved one. I had seen it distress families around me, but I never did more than say a halfhearted prayer, share a sympathetic sigh, or lend a listening ear. When the words "Dad has cancer" left my mom's lips, they fashioned the course of my entire year, resulting in a soup of fear, dependence, and relief. I had no idea what gravity the words held until they sunk in moments later as I stumbled into my room. With every step I took toward my bed, new thoughts seared the reality. Stomp. Dad will have to take chemotherapy. Stomp. I will have to face my peers. Can I handle that? Stomp. Will I cry during my classes? Plopping onto my bed with these flooding thoughts, the big one hit me: Will Daddy die? I cried for hours as this question replayed itself. I began to call out to God, "Stay with him and protect him!" I was not in the mood to offer polite requests. I was screaming at God into mytear-dampened pillow; I wasn't angry at God, but I felt such passion and needed to yell. In the following months, I saw my father's joy. He was weaker in a physical sense, but his spiritual strength inspired everyone. Seeing this helped me cope with all of my questions. I felt that I could make it through anything if I just carried a positive attitude, believed in God's faithfulness, and trusted Him for a happier New Year.
Sonja Mindrebo, 17, Houghton Christian Academy, Houghton, NY
Lord, I want my faith to be strong enough for everyone to see-no matter what my circumstances. Amen.
"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."] Matthew 5:37
Last year I was the student manager for our cross-country team, and I had a lot of fun managing. Coach would give me a bad time every once in a while about how I should run for the team. We laughed about it, and I never really took him seriously. As the season started this year, we were two girls short of a full team, which needs four members. I told Coach that if another girl joined the team, I would run so they could have a full team. Two days later another girl joined the team. I knew that Coach wouldn't hold me to my promise, but I had given him my word. Even in this unimportant situation, that had to mean something. I don't like to run, and I am not anywhere near being in shape, but I am now a member of the girls' cross-country team. To be honest, it is painful, but there is some pride in finishing and doing my best. Also, I get to think a lot about how God uses some things that are painful that we wouldn't choose to do to make us into the people He wants us to be. God is using a simple promise that I made to teach me more about Him. Also, I have been told that some other girls admire me for going out as a senior, especially since I always finish last. I guess that there are some benefits to keeping my word. If only their "Good job!" would make my legs stop hurting!
Lisa A. Osler, 18, Nebraska Christian High School, Kenesaw, NE
I don't want to make promises I won't keep, especially to You, Father.
faith-it's how i know
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Have you ever sat in an airplane, anxious about take-off, only to get in the sky and have your breath taken away by the most beautiful sight as you fly through the clouds? Have you ever just sat and looked at the rain and seen through the gloom the wonder of the rainbow on the other side? These are reminders of the promises from God! When I have the opportunity to just sit and see these things, my faith is strengthened. I am reminded that God is real. Birds know when to fly south, bears know when to hibernate, the ocean knows where to stop at the shore, and the night knows when to hide as each day arrives. Many times my Mom thinks I don't listen, but I do. She tells me that everything else in life knows its place, that everything else does what God wants, and that we do well when we follow God by faith. She tells me we mess up when we do only what we want to do. I want to find my place; to live for God; to walk by faith. Faith is not an old-fashion, out-of-date, out-of-style idea. Faith keeps us soaring through the clouds. Faith keeps us going through the rain until it parts to reveal the beauty of the day. Faith! It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For us to believe that there is no God is foolish. To live for God is faith!
Candace K. Croston, 16, King's Fork High School, Suffolk, VA
Give me enough faith to do Your will in everything, even when I'm unsure of what will happen.
the breath of life
And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. Acts 17:25
One thing I don't think about every day when I wake up is the fact that I am still breathing. To most people, breathing each day is taken for granted. But sometimes I wonder whether I have enough air to live one more second. I have suffered from asthma since I was two years old. It is a problem that has influenced my life repeatedly. Having a cold makes it extremely difficult for me to breathe. It feels as though a giant is standing on my chest and just won't back off. As I lay in the hospital bed, gasping for my next breath, I realize how important breathing is. I wonder, Why can't I just breathe like normal people? Why do I have to go through the pain, struggle, and fear I face each time I have an asthma attack? As I hear the buzz of the nebulizer and feel the mask on my face, the pain of trying to breathe finally begins to ease and I realize that God is still in control. It can be hard for me to see how something good can come from my lack of breath. Then I remember all of the times God has given me breath again. He knows the pain I have been through, but he has never left me alone. Having asthma makes me see that there are times when I can't do anything but use my inhaler-which is when I need to rely on God most. I know He is in complete control and has great plans for my life. He does not waste anything.
Stacey Krieger, 16, Nebraska Christian High School, O'Neill, NE
God, I am so glad You are in control! I am thankful that nothing that happens is out of Your hands.
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Reading this passage brought back many memories of what I used to be like. To everybody else, my relationship with my mom was good. That is because no one knew of the real words I spoke to her. If I even disagreed with her, I would turn the situation into such a huge problem. My reckless words were piercing her like a sword, and it was affecting the dynamics of our entire family. The words I spoke towards my mom were so sharp, negative, and disrespectful that it was impossible for us to have a loving relationship. Of course, my mother was always quick to forgive and show her affection, yet I always pushed her away with my words and attitude. One day the tension between us got so bad that I ran out of the house to take a walk and think things through. I was so sick of living like that, and I was ready to admit that I was terribly wrong. As I walked I couldn't stop crying because I kept asking myself how I would feel if I had a daughter that treated me like that. The pain I felt was so real, and like Proverbs says, it pierced like a sword. I felt so ashamed and I wanted to change my ways so much. I knew that to make things better I would have to work really hard on watching the words that I said and the way I said them. It was difficult, but I found that if you try saying three good things every time you say a negative thing, your speech will improve remarkably. Today I have an amazing relationship with my mom.
Chloé Truehl, 18, Adelaide, Australia
Why do I hurt people so often with my words? I want to show Your love, Lord, instead of hate.
a powerful story
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:44-45
I love to read, and I'd have to say the book that's impacted my life the most was a true story about a group of Anabaptist Christians in Austria in 1539. They were captured and put into a dungeon because they believed differently than the Catholic faith, Austria's national religion. Their faith amazed me because they were willing to do anything for the Savior. The book describes how they tried to witness their faith to the jailor and then how they were willing to become galley salves rather than renounce what they believed was the truth. On the long march to the sea in chains, they were amazingly able to share the gospel to many people. Then when they reached the sea, God delivered them from the galleys, the soldiers, and the chains and dungeons. They were able to really glorify God through this situation. After reading this book, I became really convicted. Am I willing to die for my faith and for Jesus, who died for me? How much do I love my enemies and even bless them? How much of my life have I given to Christ? Would I be willing to let Him lead me through whatever He wanted? I still have so much to learn, but that book still challenges me so much. My life has changed; I have a different goal now. The firm believers in that book are my role models as I try to live a life where I am willing to sit back and let God drive!
Hannah Reeves, 14, home school, Central, SC
Please, give me faith that can move a mountain. I want to use it to do something great for You, Father!
my best friend
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
Reading the story of Robinson Crusoe, I could not believe it was based on a true story. He arrived on an island by accident. He was miserable in the beginning, but later embraced religion as a balm for his unhappiness, and he adapted to life on the island. I understood Crusoe's feelings. Arriving at the Memphis airport from Korea, I couldn't find anyone who had my yellow skin color. Fear attacked me. My mom was not there to wake me up in the morning, and I had no friends. The first day of school in America was the worst day of my life. In English class my teacher asked me, "Where are you from?" My answer was short and clear: "Bathroom." Everyone started to laugh at me. I didn't understand because I had actually just come from the restroom. Then, I couldn't find friends to sit with at lunch, so I left the cafeteria with a piece of bread. The school was huge, but it seamed like an uninhabited desert. Attending church with my host mom made all the difference because I was treated like a member of their community. I joined the choir and learned to speak English and to praise God. God was my friend, and He was there to help me through the hardships, and He helps me to not be afraid. Crusoe overcame loneliness, and I will endure all my afflictions with my best friend, God.
Grace Park, 17, Houghton Christian Academy, Houghton, NY
Help me to remember that I'm not alone. Too often life can make me feel like I'm on a deserted island by myself.
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6
My grandpa was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about three years ago and the struggles he endured with his health were painfully difficult for him and our whole family. After a fall out of his chair that resulted in a broken hip and a change in him ... he was never the same. His medicine made him hallucinate and say crazy things, and he was in and out of the hospital for the next several months. Eventually pneumonia filled his lungs and his health continued to worsen. On his last hospital stay his doctors gave no encouragement that he could live very much longer. We all struggled with what was happening to this man we all loved so much. We knew that he was a very godly man. He knew much about the Bible, and he went to church every Sunday that he was able. He had such a positive influence on me. In April he passed away. He was at home at the time with family around him. His death was hard for me. I wanted to just curl up in a ball and hide from the world. I had lots of friends that were there for me during that time. My friends helped me get through it ... some of them I hadn't treated too well before, but they were still there for me when I really needed them. I know that my grandpa is in heaven right now. That experience made me a lot stronger and helped me to not take my life for granted. It really made me ask myself, What kind of legacy would I leave behind if I died now?
Bethany Musgrove, 17, home school, Hermitage, TN
I want my life to mean something, Lord. And the only way it will is if I live for You. Help me to do that.
God, please challenge my faith
The testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:3
I was spending a week hiking in the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains with five other girls and two counselors, and they had just announced that it was quiet time. I found a nice, secluded spot in the woods and prayed. Dear God, please challenge me in my faith this week, challenge me to deepen my relationship with you. When we started on our overland hike to the next campsite, it was just the right temperature and my pack felt light on my shoulders. But after a while I was sweating as I jumped from rock to rock with my huge pack to avoid the thick mud, but my pants got muddy anyway. A fly buzzed around my head, and I got all wet from the rain on the bushes. Then I hit my head on a log that hung across the path. When we finally got to our campsite, I discovered that we were sleeping in the lean-to with the spiders instead of our nice bug-proof tents. Tears came to my eyes, and I was thinking, Okay, God! What's with this? Why am I having such a miserable day? Then I remembered that I asked Him to challenge me in my faith. I realized He was challenging me to be cheerful in all circumstances, and I was failing miserably. I prayed that God would give me the strength to be cheerful, even though I was having a crummy day, and He gave me just the strength I needed to continue on through the next few days in the high peaks.
Allison Engel, 16, Wheaton North High School, Wheaton, IL
Dear God, please challenge me in my faith today. Challenge me to deepen my relationship with You.
Excerpted from This is now by Patti M. Hummel Copyright © 2006 by Patti M. Hummel. Excerpted by permission.
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