Preparing vs. Ignoring: Facing Life’s Storms

How to Prepare for the Storms of this Life

1 Thessalonians 5:9-24

If we’re honest, we all secretly (or not so secretly) hope for the easiest life possible. We find comfort in the idea that if we do everything right, plan everything perfectly and follow all the rules, then life will be easy. No one will ever get sick. Nothing bad will happen to the people we love. We won’t ever face hardship or setbacks.

The truth is, however, that God never promised those things. He never told us that if we’re good, nothing bad will ever happen. He does tell us that He will make everything beautiful in its time. He tells us that He will work everything out for good for those who love Him. He tells us that He knows the plans He has for us…plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future.

Every single one of these truths brings me so much joy, as I’m sure it does for you as well. They show God’s love for us and His desire to take care of us during hard circumstances. But that’s the thing we sometimes miss. Sometimes hardship and difficult moments have to happen first before God can work everything out for our good, and before His perfect plan can be fulfilled. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us, it just happens when we live in a broken world, and sometimes it just works out that way.

So, today, I wanted to discuss the idea of preparing for these moments. I know we don’t like thinking that anything bad would happen, but I believe not doing so is what gets us into trouble. We can’t ignore what might happen and, in the end, we’re more hurt because of it. To give you an example, think about facing a Tornado. We wouldn’t wait until there was a tornado coming at your house before believing there was a possibility that a tornado might actually happen. No! We prepare by making an action plan, right?

While the figurative storms we face might not be as plannable as tornado season in Oklahoma and Arkansas, we can’t face the facts that they are bound to happen. Therefore, to comfort your heart, here are 5 steps that I’ve found have helped strengthen my faith so that my heart was ready to face my toughest moments.

Below you’ll find a list of the 5 steps and a brief video that gives a little background about 1 Thessalonians 5, as well as a more detailed description of each step. As I mention in the video, this chapter of the Bible is actually discussing the “Day of the Lord” (the day Jesus comes back), but I believe there are still many lessons to be learned from this piece of scripture concerning how we as Christians can learn to live joyfully no matter our circumstances.

Praying these steps and my words can help strengthen your faith for both the good and bad days to come. Remember friends…no matter what we face, there’s always something to be thankful for. God is in control and He loves you more than you’ll ever know. Trust Him, friends. Praying for you today and always.

5 Steps for Strengthened Faith to whether the storms – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-24

  1. Know what you believe (v. 9-10)
  2. Live with an Outward Perspective (v. 11-13a)
  3. Practice a Christian Mindset (v. 13b-15)
  4. Focus on filling our hearts with Love, Thanksgiving, and Purity (v. 16-24)
  5. Trust God’s Promises (vs. 24)

God is faithful in all circumstances, and “He will surely do it.”

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth

12 Tips for Reading the Bible More Effectively

Hi friends!

Below you will find a recording of an Instagram (IG) Live that I did recently that discussed how we can learn to read the Bible more effectively. I’ve received many questions on this topic, which lead me to reflect back on the steps I took to go from just reading through the Bible occasionally to actually finding a passion for studying God’s Word.

If you scroll past the video, you’ll also find that I’ve written out a bullet version of the list that I discuss in full in the video. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability!

12 Steps for Reading the Bible More Effectively:

  1. Begin with a prayer asking God to soften your heart to hear what He wants to share with you.
  2. Rather than flipping around until you find a chapter or verse that you like, start at the beginning of each book and work your way through.
  3. Take time to highlight, underline and note anything that speaks to you, or that you believe is important to the scripture you’re reading.
  4. Don’t rush yourself. You don’t have to get it done right away.
  5. Read both the Old and New Testament.
  6. Read each book as real-life stories that happened to real people. Think about yourself being in their shoes.
  7. Remember that even though their situation is different, what they’re going through reflects what we experience today.
  8. Pause to look things up rather than skipping over words or terms you’re unsure of.
  9. Write definitions and terms in the margins in your own words.
  10. Look up the History of each book before reading it.
  11. Refer to maps (google them if they’re not in your Bible).
  12. View your Bible as a combination of a history textbook and self-help book.

Two final thoughts…

First, I get asked about what Bible I use a lot. I use two: an ESV (English Standard Version) Study Bible for breaking down scripture, and then my Illustrating Bible by DaySpring for being creative during quiet times (See my blog on the Illustrating Bible for more info). In saying this, however, don’t just feel like you have to get what I have. Look through Bibles and see which versions stay true to God’s word, but also speak to your heart. There are lots of great ones out there!

Second, remember that studying the Bible shouldn’t give you feel anxious or defeated! It’s already amazing that you’re taking active steps to better yourself, which ultimately betters those around you! Don’t be fearful of not being a wiz at Bible trivia. The knowledge will come in time. Instead, as you read, focus on learning the lessons God is revealing to you and on living out those lessons in real-life situations. Taking the time to read your Bible regularly deepens your relationship with God and gives your heart new found hope. You’ll be able to find the kind of peace that goes beyond understanding because you’ll know the Truth of His Word from reading it yourself! You honestly can’t do it wrong, friend. God is just happy you’re taking the time to try…and so am I.

Praying for you today and always.

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth

DaySpring’s New Illustrating Bible: Item Review and Quiet Time Tips

Hi Friends!

Below you’ll find a short video review of the new Illustrating Bible, DaySpring just released! It also includes several tips on how I’ve started utilizing my new Bible during quiet times.

If you’re like me, then you’d probably agree that [sometimes] the hardest part about reading and studying the Bible, as well as spending time meditating on scripture we’ve read, is that we’re human…which means that our nature tends to want to do the following:

  1. Get through our daily reading quickly, without fully absorbing what we’ve read.
  2. Speak more than be still and listen during our prayer time.
  3. Read through each chapter without understanding the context, time period, etc.

I know in my heart of hearts that I truly want to read and learn, but so often, I’m reading through my daily readings quickly and not truly reflecting on what I’ve just read. Then, as I spend time with God in prayer, I catch myself listing all the things I need help with without pausing to listen. It’s so easy to do, especially when we have what feels like a million things on our plate.

This past week I used my new Illustrating Bible for the first time, and I genuinely enjoyed in for so many reasons. But the main reason is that it’s helped me take time to pause and reflect not only on the chapter and the pages that I’ve read but also on just being still and listening for a while. And it’s been in that time of silence, doodling in my margins, that I’ve heard God speaking to my heart. It’s been a wonderful experience for me that I would love to share with you.

Throughout the video below, you’ll find that I talk about several aspects of the Bible that I love, but I also talk about ways to go deeper into scripture as you spend time with our Heavenly Father.

A few final remarks! Here are 10 quick facts you might want to know about the new Illustrated Bible that I don’t mention in the video:

  1. This would be a great Christmas or Birthday gift for the artistic or journaling Christian.
  2. It is Christian Standard Version.
  3. The Spiral binding is wonderful! My pages turn easily and it makes it great for drawing and journaling (even if you’re left-handed).
  4. It is a little heavy, but I believe that’s because it’s purpose is to be used in quiet times, for social media posting of your art, etc.
  5. The paper is pretty thick so the ink from your doodling won’t bleed through (which I love)!
  6. It has 3 3/4 margins for Journaling!
  7. Its size is: 9 1/4 x 9 1/4 x 2
  8. It comes with a keepsake box.
  9. It has a faux leather binding.
  10. It is now available for purchase and delivery! To order, click here.

Be sure to let me know what you think of the video! – AND – If you have any tips, tricks or ideas for using Illustrating Bibles, please let me know in the comment section below! This is my first one, so I’m loving learning how to use them!

Prayers going up for you today and always. (Video Below)

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth

My Miss USA “Best Body” Award Winning Diet Plan!

In 2014, I received the amazing opportunity to represent Arkansas while competing on the Miss USA stage! It was an incredible experience that truly empowered me in so many ways. I didn’t walk away with the crown, [which was ultimately for the best – plus the very sweet Miss Nevada (Nia Sachez) was a perfect pick], but I did walk away with the Audience Voted “Best Body Award”.

I know there’s lots to be said about pageants, but I can honestly say that pageants bettered me in many ways. I gained the confidence to perform under pressure. I started following politics and learned how to articulate my beliefs. I learned about health, nutrition, and fitness. I learned discipline. I learned how to handle not being the best, and rather than letting it define me, I learned to allow it to grow me.

That being said, winning the swimsuit award meant a lot to me because it recognized the hard work and discipline it took to hold a full-time job, uphold all my duties as Miss Arkansas USA, as well as train for competition. I started really getting focused on training for Miss USA about a month and a half out. From the time I started to the time I left Miss USA, I lost 16 pounds (avg. 8 pounds in 2 months). My goal was to eat healthily, train hard, and never let “starving myself” be an option.

So today, I want to share my Miss USA Diet plan with you! I use to sell this diet plan, but now I want to give it to you freely! It’s a 14-day plan that I would do and then give myself a cheat day every 7th day. I recommend this plan for weight loss and toning for a period, not to live by for a lifetime. Feel free to leave comments with questions about the diet! I’ll be posting my current diet plan later this week!

Click the Link to Download My Miss USA Diet Plan: Helen Elizabeth Miss USA Diet Plan

Prayers going up for you today and always.

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth

Introducing MyBestNewSelf Ministries: A God-Centered, Self-Improvement Movement

Over the last 6 months, I’ve been working on a new project that I’m now so proud to introduce to you! After launching my blog, I wanted to do a little more for others, than just sharing my experiences. Therefore, I’ve created #MyBestNewSelf Ministries – a platform focused on creating a community of women desiring to be their best well-rounded new self in Christ!

So today, I wanted to share with you my heart behind this ministry. My prayer is that in the future I can help you on your journey towards becoming your very best self in Christ.  Love you, friends, I’m so thankful and proud to be part of this community of believers!

The Vision of “MyBestNewSelfMinistries”

I’ve always been inspired by individuals working to be the best version of themselves. Throughout my life, I saw a common thread in the friendships I made. Every close friend was incredibly inspiring in some way or another. How they communicated. How smart they were. How hardworking they seemed to be. And the list goes on.

I couldn’t help but notice that I was drawn to these characteristics. Probably because they were areas I lacked in, and therefore admired within my friends. I wanted their advice and maybe some direction as to how to grow in those areas.

In graduate school, I went through a rough patch where I felt really down about not being as smart or organized, or on top of things, etc. as the other graduate students. I felt like I kept messing up in all areas of my life. Friends, relationships, school, you name it and I was probably slipping up. I kept falling short of my dreams and goals because I couldn’t figure out how to grow and mature in these areas of my life.

Today, I am so thankful to say that I have grown and matured. I’m definitely not perfect, but I see improvement. And most importantly, I’ve also come to realize one very important thing:

Even though I will never reach the pinnacle of my potential until I meet my Father in Heaven, I will nonetheless continuously desire [in this lifetime] to cultivate a mindset of constant personal and spiritual growth in myself and others.

Thus, my vision for #MyBestNewSelf is to help women be well-rounded, as well as become their new identity in Christ. It takes years to understand who we are, what we truly believe and why we believe it. It also takes years to feel confident in our own skin and learn to live a healthy lifestyle. Which is what I pray this community can do for each other.

MyBestNewSelf Ministries will cover all types of topics so we can grow into the women God created us to be, and be confident in who that woman is in Christ. So while we’ll cover many helpful topics, our foundation is always in the only One who matters.

On a different note!

Something else fun and exciting in the works is our new giveaway called, MyBestNewSelf Boxes! It’s a new take on giveaways!

I don’t want to sell you a box. I don’t even want to make you do anything like you would normally have to do for a giveaway. Nope! Instead, Every month I’m going to give away a box of my favorite things that help me be the best well-rounded version of myself. And I’m not going to just throw anything in there. I’m going to make sure I truly believe in the products and see how they can better your life! These boxes will include everything from books, workout programs, healthy eating tips, clothes, jewelry, skin care, prayer journals, discount coupons, etc. I’ll also include a note and prayer from me.

If you know anyone who would like to become a sponsor for the boxes, have them use the email form in the contact section of my site to get in touch with me!

All in all, I just want to give you a gift that makes you feel special and helps you grow. That’s it. There will be many more things I plan to do, but this is the first!

Follow me on Instagram to watch weekly Q & A discussions, Bible Studies, and IGTV Episodes all focus on helping you become the best version of yourself in Christ.

As the creator and visionary behind this, I just want you to know that my honest desire is to help women learn to trust God when they’re facing the storms of life, build a genuine relationship with Him daily, and find the self-confidence in the woman He created you to be.

Because being stagnant never brought happiness to anyone.

Praying for you today and always.

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth

bTribalfit 30-Minute Workout

Hi Soul Sisters!

I’m so excited to announce that #MyBestNewSelf Ministries will be partnering with the amazing Brooke Robinson, the founder of bTribalfit workout program, for our monthly giveaway boxes!! If you are confused as to what exactly #MyBestNewSelf Ministries is, feel free to check out my blog on the ministry I’ve been inspired to create! You can read all about my new ministry, here.

Our new monthly giveaway boxes are going to include awesome gifts for my Instagram and Blog followers. It’s not a subscription, it’s a special gift from me for one sweet follower a month. That’s right! You don’t have to do anything to receive the boxes. I plan to choose names at random. The first box will be announced August 18, 2018!

As I create these boxes, I’ll be in search of organizations, companies, and products that I truly believe are bettering the people they serve. In other words, I won’t just fill these boxes up with anything…I want the items included to help you become the best version of yourself you can possibly be. Therefore, all the things included in the boxes will be things I’ve tried personally, and that I believe have bettered my life either physically, mentally and spiritually. Which, funny enough, are the three most important components of the first sponsor I’d like to introduce you to –>> bTribalfit!!!

Below you will find two videos! The first video is a #MyBestNewSelf Sponsor Spotlight video, in which I interview my good friend and creator of bTribalfit, Brooke Robinson! We’ll discuss her heart for Jesus, her motivation for starting the program, and what makes her workout plan unique. The second video is a free 30-minute Full Body Tone workout lead by Brooke, with special guest…me!!

One thing I want to mention before we start sweating like crazy…I want you to take a moment and free yourself from any negative self-talk. Free yourself of any put-downs about your body or your ability to work out…take them and give them back to the enemy. He wants you to feel insecure, but we’re not going to let him do that anymore! And to help you do that…I’ve decided to not cut my weaknesses out of this video. As you watch, you’ll see me stop sometimes. You’ll see me take the options. I’m not doing that to just show you a low-impact option, I’m doing that because I’m just now getting back into working out. I’m on this journey with you and I’m far from perfect. It’s ok to take a break or take a different option. We are not less than because we do, we’re listening to our bodies! So I’ll say it for both of us: We can do this!

Also! Be looking for a discount code in the future! I’ll probably be posting it to my Instagram, so if you have IG, hop over there and give me a follow. If you’re one of the lucky women that wins a box in the future, an even better gift from bTribalfit will be included!

To learn more about bTribalfit and their awesome perspective on fitness and accountability, visit their website, www.btribalfit.com!

Praying for you today and always! Be sure to watch the video and try the workout below!

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth

Interview with Brooke

30-Minute Full Body Tone // bTribalfit Workout

Natural Makeup for Every Day: A Tutorial

Hi!!

I’ve had several requests for makeup tutorials! So while getting ready today, I recorded one on how I do natural “everyday” makeup! Hope it helps!

In posting this, however, I also want to say that I believe you are already beautiful with or without makeup! It hasn’t always been my outlook, but now, I desire to embrace beautiful imperfections (like the freckle in my eye) and use makeup to highlight my God-given qualities, rather than alter my appearance entirely. That being said, I also think makeup is awesome and so fun to play with! So if you’re like me and love messing around with makeup, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all! I just want us to never get so caught up in it that we lose self-confidence when we have to go without it! Because if I’ve said it once, then I haven’t said it enough…YOU are beautiful! I’m so glad God created you just the way you are!

Enjoy the fun make up tutorial! Love you guys!

Love in Christ,

Helen Elizabeth