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I am…

1 Timothy 4:12- “Let no man despise thy youth, but be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in spirit, and in purity.

It’s the verse I have on my lock screen, the verse I have memorized and practically live by

So… that’s where I’m going to start…by saying that that verse has changed me for the better. It’s made me pull a complete 180 on how I was living. I wasn’t a bad girl, I just wasn’t who God wanted me to be and strayed from him.

Secondly, my name is Rivers. Yes, I am female. My name is unique and I’m certain God told my parents to name me that.

I’m an aunt to 5 kids that are growing way too fast. I love having adventures with them.

I’m both an older and younger sister to my three siblings.

I’m a city girl that loves the FFA (agricultural leadership organization). Does that make sense?

I’m looking to be a pastor for the ELCA and I write poetry because it’s another beautiful thing in this world.

I am a lover of the beauty in this world. There is beauty in everything, you just have to look for it and be positive.

I live where the air hurts my face some mornings for 6 months out of the year.

I love to travel and there is an adventure in everyday you live. Waking up is a blessing.

You may be wondering why I wanted to start this blog. I’m really young, I haven’t even finished high school yet and I have a lot to learn that’s for sure, but doesn’t everyone? As I grow in knowledge of Christ and the world I want to share the things I learn with you. So join me on my adventure. This is going to be so much fun!

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Wrapping Up The Youth Gathering

Alright, so summer is almost over and I am not allowing myself to leave you guys hanging with everything else that happened in Houston.

I, sadly, didn’t get to donate my hair and I was very disappointed. Or see NASA, that was also disappointing. God’s creation goes further than the Earth, you know.

Getting there, we stayed in the Omni Hotel with the rest of the Western North Dakota synod. It was pretty nice, rooms there are 400 dollars and breakfast is 20.

Day 1 we had interactive learning day where we got to walk around this big building and visit booths from Christian colleges, scientists, bible camps, play games, zip line, learn about other religions, and a whole lot more. We also had a lot of Chick-fil-a, but we were all fine with it because the nearest one is 4 hours away.

After interactive learning we went to community life and that just had more games and karaoke battles (go Cheyan). They put wedding dance songs on like Cotton Eyed Joe, Wobble, and others and it was fun to dance with people from other states.

We went to both multiple days. I collected 13 bracelets from other churches and a few pins for my backpack too.

The next day we had synod day and represented with our purple shirts! They are comfy!

The Synod Day we had a worship with everyone from western North Dakota really early in the morning and learned about how God’s Grace changes everything.

God forgives us for everything we do, and expects us to forgive others for the things they do. We learned more at the mass gathering as well.

The primary scripture was Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Each day had a different theme.

Day 1-God’s call Changes Everything

Day 2- God’s Love Changes Everything

Day 3-God’s Grace Changes Everything

Day 4- God’s Hope Changes Everything

Day 5- Jesus Changes Everything

Mass Gatherings

Day 1:

The speakers talked about injustice and mentioned how we’re gonna have to say things when it would be easier to stay quiet. How we as Christians have to reach out to those struggling, those in jail, those homeless, abused, those who are afraid to speak up, afraid to take the call. There was even a former Hindu, now a Lutheran Pastor, who told her story and how she answered the call by just being curious.

Day 2:

The speakers this night had all gone through something. One of them was a Navy Chaplin, wrestling coach, and pastor all in one. He talked about how hard it is to do all the things he loves, but God gives him the strength to fulfill his gifts. He talked about how he struggled with his demons and how having people walking with him, helped him through. He said “the world needs to be courageous and walk alongside others in dark moments, but what they don’t need us to do is fix their problems and save their world. What they do need is love.”

God’s love isn’t earned, it’s welcomed, another speaker taught. He told us about the eight year struggle him and his wife had to conceive. He also told the story of Joe, who stole his phone in the convenience store, and then proceeded to try to give it as a gift in the parking lot. He was trying to give him a blessing that he already had, which is also true for God’s love.

Another speaker reflected on her battle with anorexia. And how while in the hospital being fed from a feeding tube, she began noticing God. He was there in her friends and family. It helped her see that he doesn’t give us hardships, he just promises to be there.

Day 3:

This was the most eye opening day for me because it’s what really helped me to forgive myself and let go.

The gathering speakers included a girl struggling with Mitochondria disease. She was angry at God, until she reached out online and found other kids her age with the same disease and made a support group. “No matter how many times you curse God, he loves you no matter what. God’s grace is not only about forgiveness but about the way you can become the person you are meant to become”

Next, was a Lutheran pastor who struggled with depression and cut from a young age and whose pastor told him he was “going to hell” after reaching out about it. My favorite words I took from his speech was “There’s Grace for That.” He inspired me by saying those four words. (They’re even in my instagram bio) “We’re all recovering from something, and there is grace for that” He reminded me that there is no such thing as “too broken’, those places are where God brings out beauty.”

Day 4:

This was our service day, we built a butterfly garden for a multi-cultural park down in Houston. They even fed us when they weren’t supposed to.

The mass gathering had an 11 year old transgender girl named Rebekah who spoke. She reminded me that God does not make mistakes and that she was created in the image of God to be her. She called everyone of us 32,000 people there to make a difference in our communities and spread and show others hope.

Joe Davis told us that we were there for a purpose and reason. “You may have been told to shut up and sit down, but I wanna tell you to stand up and speak out.” He told us to have more reasons to hope than be sad, and to practice hope like discipline in our communities.

Tenth Avenue North ended the gathering that night with a live concert.

Day 5:

This was the day we got to have communion with 32,000 people. We were so far up that I couldn’t hear a lot of it, but it was a traditional church service. The sermon was about how Jesus Changes Everything. *

I took a lot of the mass gathering information from the ELCA Gathering Blog. Just citing my sources.

On the way back we stopped in Sioux Falls and had a night worship in front of them.

We made it back faster than we made it there. The next morning we took a picture of all 4 bus fulls of us and headed home.

We actually stopped for food at the mall in Fargo, North Dakota and I bought myself some Chacos because I was so disappointed in not having spent any money the whole trip since I saved and wasn’t allowed to wear sandals. I was so happy to be home. ( I was even the most awake during the bus ride)

That’s all for the trip, my friends. This is a longer read, but it’s because I have a lot to say! God bless!

-Rivers

Living to Serve Blog

Okay guys so I’m wondering if I should start blogging about things with a purpose. I’ve been in D.C for about a week now with ffa and I need to know how to reach out to people with my posts. How to help people in need with my words. Comment ideas. Thank you!

The Trip Down

Day 1 we stopped at St. Mark’s Lutheran in Sioux City, Iowa, to eat dinner.

After that we got the surprise of getting to go roller skating! A lot of the youth’s first. We then ended the night singing camp songs and telling of our highs and lows.

Day 2 we stopped at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and visited the animals for a few hours. Then we proceeded to go to Oklahoma City where we then would stay for two nights. My dad also visited me there.

Day 3 was today, and we spent all day working at a senior citizen’s center for them. Then we got to cool off at a waterpark here in OK City.

Tonight we talked about forgiveness and read the verse Romans 12:2.

“Do not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

Youth from Minnesota on their way to Houston joined us as well, it was pretty cool to worship with 300 kids and I can’t wait for it to be 30,000 kids.

Tomorrow, we have an early morning. The youth gathering starts tomorrow night at 7:00, so we’re up at 5:30 to be on the bus by 6:45. God bless and I cannot wait to continue this journey.

-rivers

Preparing for the ELCA Youth Gathering

In two days I will be headed to Houston to adventure into serving God amongst 30,000 other teens. I’m beyond excited for this trip and cannot wait to come back holding all the memories.

This summer is one of experiences. It’s one for growing up. I’m so thankful for the support from both of my communities and all three of my church families.

I’m so excited to experience the different cultures, meet people that don’t even know where North Dakota is, and spread and show God’s love through service work.

I hope to keep you guys updated, but for now since I am at work, this will have to do.

God bless,

Rivers

To my senior friends…

As you guys graduate, I want you to know that I know you will go far. Whether you make it onto the state office team (or don’t), decide to change majors 1000 times, or even decide college isn’t for you, God will guide you and you will make it to wherever you need to be.

We crossed paths for a reason. You guys have truly impacted my life. You guys brought me closer to God. You guys have taught me so much. Whether you lived near me or you were someone that I met through track that lives an hour away you did teach me things. Some of you are ready to leave, but others are going to miss it. You only get one chance at life, so please make as many memories and have as many experiences as you possibly can.

I know for some of you, I couldn’t be what you wanted me to be. It’s just reasons, but you guys have kept me sane throughout the crazy year I’ve had. You’re leaving me behind, and you’re leaving quite a legacy. I will be sure to stop in to see each and every one of your’s parents, because I’m going to miss them too. I know I am welcome in your houses and won’t ever do anything to change that. Those that aren’t going far, I hope I see you guys around and I’ll stop in. Those that are going a bit further, when you come home please just call, and when I’m close to your new homes I’ll be sure to call as well.

We’ve had our fights, and maybe some of them were a little hurtful to me, but you guys are all forgiven. It may have taken me awhile to get used to you, but eventually I was telling you guys everything. I’m sorry if you ever felt like I came and started taking things that you guys were so used to having or getting. That’s all in the past and I’m so glad we’re close now! Please promise to stay humble and don’t get let fear get in the way of your dreams. I don’t try to be intimidating and I know you guys know that now. ❤️

Some of you won’t be too far away, while others of you feel like going a little further from the nest. It’s time for you all to spread your wings and fly. Come back and see me, but impact others the way you’ve impacted me. I promise I won’t let you guys down here! Thanks for being blessings ❤️ and staying so kind!

God’s blessings,

Your treasurer,

Rivers

Forgiveness

I get it, we’ve all had people that have hurt us and done things that seem super unforgivable. (Is that even a word?! Haven’t had much sleep all weekend as I’ve been going and going). Forgiving someone can take years. For me it only took a couple, but finally I realized holding the grudges is the least of my worries and super silly. It keeps me from knowing someone great and furthers me from Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you”

We all sin, the church is full of sinners. But us as Christians are supposed to at least try to be nice to them and not hold grudges against anyone. We don’t have the power to do that and we’re all equal to the lord.

Forgiving people just came as a form of giving up for me. I was unhappy, and stressed. I don’t like tension and felt all the weight on my shoulders. I chose happiness and remembered what I saw in these people in the first place, tried to find it still in all of them. I thought up apologies for all of them (the ones who didn’t say sorry, anyway). Some of them don’t even think or know they did something. Just remember, forgiveness does take time, but it will lift weight off your shoulders. It’s peace with your inner self.

Luke 6:37- Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Colossians 3:13-bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive

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How life’s been

Okay guys! I know, I’ve been lacking on the posts! But I’ve truly been busy with life’s wonders and God’s blessings! Here are some of my accomplishments in the past few weeks:

1. I made it in the state team for FFA after a full weekend of stressing

2. I got asked to prom by a really nice (future) pastor!

3. I did my first children’s sermon about love!

4. I have a job at an indoor waterpark now!

5. I made high honors at school!

6. I haven’t been the busiest in all truth, but I can assure you, God is doing great things in my life!

7. I’ve continued to go to bible study

8. I took the preACT

9. I’ve dug into 1 Corinthians (favorite book of the Bible now!)

10. I met Jesus in the form of two college girls who helped me during a snow storm!

11. We had our first major snow storm of the year!

12. I’ve realized some things about me I can fix and have been working on!

13. I changed my whole church family with a few words!

14. I battled words and self esteem and haven’t won the battle yet, but I continue to with the help of God!

What are some of your recent accomplishments? I’ve missed blogging! God bless 😊

Liebster Award

Thank you, Gail, for nominating me for the Liebster Award! Also, thank you for always reminding me he loves me!

Liebster Award 2.6.18

Liebster Award: The award is for new bloggers or those with little followers. We like to give encouragement here on WordPress 😉


Here are the answers to Gail’s questions:

1. What movies have you watched lately? Uhhh…. the other week I watched Wonder for the first time! Otherwise I’ve been super busy!

2. Do you have any favorite songs right now? Not really, I listen to a lot of Country and worship music but picking specifics isn’t easy

3. What is the theme/purpose of your blog? I just want to continue to walk in faith and share my journey/ lessons with you guys!

4. Where in the world do you live? North Dakota

5. Where were you when you met Jesus? I’ve met him so many time, Jesus is love and kindness so you meet him every time you walk into church and meet someone kind or in need of help

6. What do you like about blogging? It’s cool. I can share my thoughts and lessons which makes me a stronger writer and builds relationships.

7. Who is one of your favorite bible characters? I don’t really have one… I’m really indecisive and they all have HUGE significance.


Random facts about myself:

1. I try to read the Bible every night and caught myself being surprised when my FFA family I was sharing a room with this weekend wanted me to read it to them! It’s so relaxing and I love that we bonded over something besides ffa!

2. I write poetry! I find it relaxing and I also knit ruffle scarves. They’re the only thing I know to knit.

3. I like to stay focused and I start uncontrollably pacing and bouncing sometimes for no reason. My mom thinks I have anxiety but we’re not sure; it’s a side effect to my thyroid medicine, I guess.

4. I’m a high school student and very busy. I love my friends and family a lot. I realize I have such a privilege to live here and be surrounded by amazing people, and I’d do pretty much anything for all of them. I’m only now realizing my self worth and it’s so amazing.

5. I run a virtual bible study group chat with a few other teens. There, we talk about our bible readings and pray and support each other when we need it. It’s cool meeting girls from across the country that have the same interests as you and love Jesus just as much! I get excited when I meet teens as devoted to him and I am!

My nominees:

Whoever reads this! Come on, it’s fun!


Questions for you:

1. Why do you have this blog?

2. What is your favorite bible verse? And what is the story of significance of it to you?

3. What is your favorite animal and why?

4. Have you always been a follower of christ? If not, can you tell me the story?

5. What does your daily life consist of?

6. Who is your favorite bible character and why?

7. Have you read any good Christian books lately?


Let’s praise the Lord! Remember, you don’t have to participate! I just did it for fun!

I love you,

Rivers ❤️

How do you hear him?

So last Wednesday I went to a bible study on a very interesting topic. During this bible study, we talked about the four ways to understand his word. Those ways are hearing, seeing, feeling, and knowing.

Hearer: a person who physically hears him in their mind. It can be just a sound or sometimes even a voice.

Seer: a person who sees things through dreams and visions. These can be in the form of a picture or even moving images.

Knower: a person who just knows! They can’t explain it, they just know through intuition.

Feeler: a person who emotionally and physically feels his presence when they walk into the room.They can sometimes pick up on other people’s emotions and get emotional interruptions from God.

Keep in mind you can have a little bit of all four! Until you seek God and explore his word, it’s hard to understand them. When I began to seek the Lord more, I began to hear his word a lot more, or realize the “small actions” at the time were so much more than just small actions.

So are you a hearer, knower, seer, or feeler? I’m definitely more on the seer with a hint of feeler side!

God speaks to and wants to use all those to call upon His name, even the stragglers who’ve barely made it out of the desert alive, even those whose lives seem burned to the ground. All it takes is the desperation to cry out in the wilderness, the willingness to walk into the furnace, and faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20)

Bible Verses for When…

You’re angry… Ephesians 4:26 and Ephesians 4:31

You’re worried… Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:25

You’re joyful… Isaiah 55:12 and Job 8:19

You’re anxious… 1 Peter 5:7 and Matthew 6:34

You’re sad/upset… Job 41:22 and Proverbs 10:22

You’re in love… 1 John 4:7 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

You’re at peace… Philippians 4:7 and 2 Thessalonians 3:16

You’re scared…2 Timothy 1:7 and Psalms 56:3

You’re in need of Strength… Philippians 4:13

You’re hopeful… Hebrews 6:19 and Jeremiah 29:11

You need forgiveness… Colossians 3:13 and 1 John 1:9

You’re Surrounded by Children to teach… John 3:16 and pretty much any verse

You are in need of trust… Romans 8:28

You’re Graceful… Ephesians 2:8 and James 4:6

You’re seeking wisdom… James 1:5 and Colossians 3:16

You’re insecure… Deuteronomy 31:8 and 2 Corinthians 10:12

You’re broken hearted… Psalms 147:3 and Psalms 34:18

You’re feeling alone… Hebrews 13:5 and Psalms 24:4

You’re needing faith… 1 Timothy 4:12 and Galatians 2:20

You’re tired… Matthew 11:28 and Isaiah 40

You’re frustrated… Hebrews 12 and Psalms 90

You need courage… Joshua 1 and Psalms 27:14

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” -Matthew 7:7

No matter what you’re going through or what you’re feeling, you can find God’s words to help you. These verses aren’t the only verses, either, just a few so seek answers from him and ask. I promise, you’ll feel better.