Transitions: Thoughts After Graduating

Graduation Cap, Graduation, Cap, Achievement, Education

I graduated from high school on Wednesday.

As I sat down to write the first draft of this post, I had no idea what I wanted to say about that. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, and I’ve barely had an emotional reaction. I keep telling myself that I never have to go back to another day of high school, and yet my heart hasn’t absorbed the news.

Basically, I feel exactly the same.

I guess we all expect these milestones to feel incredible, to cause an immediate, major change in our lives. My sister told me I needed to start dressing more like a college student, and I was like…what does that even mean? I’m still the same person, and how I dress isn’t going to change overnight because I’m handed a diploma. I still struggle with the same things, like and dislike the same things, wake up and do the same things every day.

Yes, graduation is a huge milestone. And once we get to the fall, everything in my daily life will look different. But this week, I still had to wake up on Thursday and continue living my life.

That’s certainly not to say that high school hasn’t changed me. This week has provided an opportunity to look back and marvel at how far God has brought me. While I might not have changed from Wednesday to Thursday, I’ve definitely grown from freshman year to senior year, becoming more confident in myself, watching relationships develop and grow into friendships that I hope will last my whole life, pursuing my goals and seeing God richly bless that pursuit.

I haven’t changed into a different person. I’ve grown into myself.

And of course, there are many ways I still need to grow, and so this week has also been a time to look forward and think about how best to serve God in my future. Thinking about all of the experiences I’ve had and things I’ve accomplished in the last four years, it’s mind-boggling to realize how much more is probably ahead in the next four, as yet unknown.

Graduation isn’t just an ending, certainly. But I wouldn’t really call it a beginning, either – it’s just part of the middle, another stepping stone on the journey of life.

Because a few days later, I’m still just living my life, one day at a time, seeking God’s will at every new turn.

What do you think? Have you been through a graduation yet, and if so, was your experience similar to mine? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

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Should We Accept Ourselves For Who We Are?

black-and-white, facing away, female

I googled the words “accept yourself” when I was getting ready to write this blog post, and it came up with page after page of results. “Accept Yourself for Who You Are”. “How to Accept Yourself, Your Life, and Your Reality.” “How to Accept Yourself Unconditionally.” “Why Acceptance is the Answer to Most of Your Life Problems.”

This is just one of the many cliched phrases that our culture has taken as its mantras. They say that if we can only accept ourselves for who we are, where we are today, somehow that’s the magical key to happiness.

We might have heard this so many times that we barely give it a second thought. But as Christians, we can’t believe these things without first thinking about them and considering whether they are really in line with the Bible.

So how does this narrative of unconditional acceptance fit with Biblical truth?

The answer is, it treads a fine line. There is a partial truth in it, as well as a way it can go dangerously wrong. Here’s why: we are called to accept our circumstances without accepting our sin. 

As Christians, we are called to be content with our lives. We know that wherever God has put us at a given point, it is for His glory and our good, and as such we can have joy, even if the circumstances themselves are painful.

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

-Philippians 4:11-12

So, when the world tells us to “accept where we are today”, “accept our life”, “accept our reality”…for the most part, that’s advice that Christians can take. In fact, we know the secret the world doesn’t know: when you believe in a good God, it’s a lot easier to be content with where you are.

And now, the problematic part…”accept yourself the way you are.” The “accepting your body” narrative is a little more complex, a separate issue that I definitely want to talk about some other time. But in terms of your personality, strengths and weaknesses, etc., this can so easily move into dangerous territory for Christians.

When we truly understand who we are according to the Bible, it’s really hard to accept ourselves. We know that, on our own, we are depraved sinners with no hope.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

-Ephesians 2:1-3

But that verse is in the past tense!

The fact is, we are being gloriously transformed. We don’t have to accept ourselves the way we are, because we know we aren’t going to stay this way forever. We don’t have to accept ourselves the way we are, because that isn’t what our life or our happiness depends on. We know who God is, and we know who Christ is, and we know that Christ’s righteousness now extends to us.

That is what we accept in order to live joyful, purpose-filled lives. We don’t love ourselves for ourselves, but we don’t hate ourselves either. Instead, we don’t think about ourselves at all, spending our lives in worship and totally focused on God.

So accept the things you can’t control: the chronic illness, the hard life circumstance, the fact that you’re better at music than sports. But don’t ever use this as an excuse to accept some “personality trait” that is actually a sin, whether that’s perfectionism, arrogance, laziness…if something is a sin, it needs to be fought, no matter how much you feel it’s engrained in your personality.

The good news? God is on your side, sanctifying you a little more every day. One day, you will be able to accept yourself completely, as a perfect, glorified person.

Until then, don’t settle, and don’t let “unconditional acceptance” become a guise for letting sin slide by.

What do you think? Have you believed the lie that you have to “accept yourself the way you are” to be happy? Do you agree with me about its problems? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

So I Got Deferred from Princeton This Week.

4 Reasons to Read the Bible

Why Growing Up is a Good Thing

Favorites Roundup: May ’18

How was your May? Mine involved some senior milestones: college decision day, my final high-school dance production, prom…as well as boring, everyday things like school and volunteering and choir rehearsals. I’ve been fighting off serious senioritis to finish strong…now I only have four days left!

In the meantime, here are some things that have been brightening my days lately…

First of all, this amazing song:

changes everything

 

 

A highly practical guide to the Christian life for young people; just as good, if not better, the second time. (Read my original Goodreads review.)

 

 

A Million Dreams (My Lady Bibliophile) – a thoughtful, uplifting review of a movie that I had mixed feelings about

penderwicks last

 

 

An amazing conclusion to an amazing series. (Read my Goodreads review, although I warn you, it’s a bit fangirly.)

 

 

 

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A childhood show that I rediscovered this month, and fell in love with all over again. It has complex characters, interesting storylines, amazing acting, and hilarious dialogue. Highly recommend for all ages!

Image result for pippin

 

My sister was in this show back in the fall, so I knew I liked the music. But I’d forgotten how much, and recently became obsessed with it again. The show isn’t entirely clean, but the music is, and it’s well worth listening to!

 

 

17 Secrets of Audiobook Narrators – this sounds like it would be such an interesting career path!

And I really want every writer to take Abbiee’s advice, please…?

How was your May? Did you discover any awesome new music? What was your favorite book you read? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

Favorites Roundup: Feb-April ’18

The Book Life Tag

Interview with Victoria Lynn – London in the Dark Anniversary Tour!

The Coronation: Uplifting, Family Fun (The Rebellion Blog Tour!)

TheRebellionTourBanner1.jpg

I’m so excited today to be a part of the blog tour for the release of The Rebellion by Livy Jarmusch! This is the second book in her Tales of Tarsurella series. I have not read it yet, but I definitely will soon, since I just finished The Coronation, the first book, and really enjoyed it! Today I’m going to review that for you. And once I’ve read The Rebellion, I’ll be sure to share what I thought of that one too!

TheCoronationPromoInsta

The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch

Three Stars

Age Suggestion: 10+

The Book

Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities.

Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene. Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig.

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?

My Thoughts

This was such a sweet book, and while the writing could have been better in places, that was overshadowed by the enjoyable plot and entertaining, touching character interactions.

The concept is so creative – taking a traditional fairy tale story and setting it in modern times; taking a modern royal family and making it a large, close-knit group of siblings, that almost feels like a typical homeschooled family. I loved the details about the media, the dresses, and the place this family occupies in their society. It’s interesting to imagine what that kind of life in the spotlight must be like.

I thought that Bridget, Chasity, and Hope all had very similar personalities that could have been defined a bit better, but overall I loved the large family and the way the siblings interacted. Addison is a great character, and Millie and Willie were so sweet.

Chasity and Hanson’s story felt like it went a little too quickly from hatred to love, while David and Hope were adorable. I did really like the realistic nature of both of those relationships and the thoughtful way the characters dealt with them. My favorite romance, though, was definitely the budding one between Addison and Vanessa. It was slow, and realistic, and sweet, and I can’t wait to see what happens with it!

I did feel that the book could have used another round of editing, just for some very small things that kept coming up (and these really aren’t a big deal, it’s just that small things like this tend to distract me more than they should). Things like a little bit of head-hopping, punctuation mistakes, etc. and just to smooth out the writing a bit.

(For the record, though, I noticed much less of those things toward the end, which means either they weren’t around anymore or I was so engrossed in the story that they didn’t distract me.)

I think Livy did an excellent job incorporating Biblical themes without sounding preachy. She put her characters in tough situations, first, and left them there for a little while, and then offered the Biblical solution. That strategy meant that it never felt forced, even when she had a paragraph of someone talking about God that could have easily sounded preachy. It didn’t, and that takes some serious skill!

Content-wise, the romance is very clean, and there’s no language. There is a little bit of an intense section in the middle, that gets slightly violent. I would happily hand this book to both of my younger sisters though (and probably will!) and think it would be fine for anyone ages 10 and up.

Overall, it was a good, light, clean read, and I can’t wait to read The Rebellion! There were some plot threads left hanging at the end of the first book that I’d really like to see resolved, and from the blurb, it looks like it will focus a lot on Addison and Vanessa, which I’m obviously very excited about. Livy is an author who I want to continue to watch – she’s using her talents for the glory of God, and I think she has so much potential and room to grow and develop as an author!

I received a free copy of The Coronation in exchange for an honest review. 

Author Bio + Links

AuthorPic1.jpgLivy Jarmusch is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she’s not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies.

 

Find The Rebellion on Amazon and Goodreads.

Find Livy on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

What do you think? Have you read either of the Tales of Tarsurella? What other fun, clean books have you read lately? Let me know in the comments! 

love, grace

Advice to My Freshman Self: Get Involved

action, athletes, black and white

Four years ago, I entered the world of public school for the first time. There are so many things that I wish I knew then, and my hope is that by sharing those things with you, I can help you make the most of your high school experience.

First of all, get involved. 

As a freshman, I was shy, and doing new things scared me. So I didn’t.

As a senior, I really regret it. This year I’ve been finding my feet and trying more things that used to intimidate me. Volunteering at choir events. Doing Latin competitions. And so on. Every single time, I wish that I had started sooner and had more years to participate.

So my biggest advice for teens, especially middle schoolers and young high schoolers, is to get involved in something now. Don’t wait. The things that you are afraid to try? Those will often end up being your best memories of high school.

Especially if you are an introvert, don’t let fear of new social situations keep you from doing things that sound fun. You will almost never regret doing more and going places, at least to a certain extent. It’s how you will feel included, find friends, and enjoy yourself throughout your teen years.

If you’re already involved in a performing art or sport or something, make it your goal to get even more involved. Go for more days each week. Take the extra opportunities that are offered. Find ways to serve and give back to your organization.

If you go to a public school, stay up-to-date on what’s going on. Especially during your freshman year, try everything that interests you at least once. You can narrow it down later to the ones you really care about.

If you’re homeschooled or your school doesn’t have a lot of opportunities, seek them out. Take classes in your town, join a sports team, get involved with your co-op if you have one, do community theater, etc.

And in the later years of high school, once you know where your interests lie, choose a few things that you can invest in and be fully a part of. Don’t just be nominally involved. Be someone who shows up for everything, volunteers for everything, signs up for everything.

I’m not saying that you should overload yourself; you need balance, time to study and sleep and hang out with your family. But as a freshman, balance wasn’t the advice I needed. I have no problem keeping time for my own pursuits. The advice I needed was this: don’t let fear of a full schedule keep you from trying things that look interesting. You can always take a step back if you get overwhelmed.

Do the things that you’re good at. Do the things that interest you. Don’t let fear hold you back. That is how you will make friends, learn your strengths, and start to use your talents for God’s glory.

What do you think? How involved are you at your school or in your community? Which do you struggle with more: balancing your schedule or fear of getting involved? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

Three Habits to Cultivate Now (+giveaway winner!)

Transitions: Learning to Trust God Through College Applications

7 Things I Learned at Public High School (Guest Post at Apple Trees and Pumpkin Seeds)

The Book Life Tag

Books

When I saw this tag on Hailey Hudson’s blog, I knew I had to do it. Who wouldn’t want to create their dream life from their favorite books??

So let’s take a chill Wednesday, a break from the deep posts, and flail over the stories we love…

Who would your parents be? 

Mr. Penderwick and Iantha from The Penderwicks (the fifth book just came out!! go buy it!). They are so kind and wise, firm when they need to be yet always loving. (Not to mention present, rather than being dead or something, and heavily involved in their kids’ lives.) Plus Mr. Penderwick speaks Latin all the time, which is cool!

(And if you haven’t read this series, I insist that you drop everything and go read it. Now.)

Who would be your sister? 

Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. She would probably give really great advice and just generally be an amazing person to have around.

Who would be your brother? 

Peter Pevensie of Narnia. I’ve always wanted a much-older brother to protect me and watch out for me, and he’s basically the epitome of what I would want that older brother to be like.

Who would be your pet? 

From The Penderwicks again…Hound. And Asimov. Because the most fun is when you get to see the two of them pretending to hate each other.

Where would you live/where would you go to school? 

The Children’s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training from Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. That book was such a huge part of my childhood, and I’ve always wished there were performing arts schools like that now, complete with British atmosphere. Those kids live the dream life, let me tell you.

And in order to attend that school, I guess I would need to live in London, where the book is set. Which I definitely have no problem with.

Who would be your best friend? 

Iko, from The Lunar Chronicles! I love her cheerfulness, her unconditional love, and the way she brings humor and brightness to every moment. She would help me get out of my comfort zone and keep me from taking myself too seriously. Plus I could give her all of my hand-me-downs.

Who would be your significant other? 

Calvin O’Keefe from A Wrinkle in Time. He’s so mature and sweet, and would have no problem meeting the approval of older brother Peter 🙂

Okay, I’m picturing this life now and it sounds absolutely perfect. Who wouldn’t want Jane Bennett and Peter Pevensie to be their older siblings? And live in London? And attend a performing arts school? (I mean, that might not appeal to everyone. But it does to me!)

Mainly what I’m thinking now, though: I really need to reread Ballet Shoes.

What do you think? How do you like my answers? What would your book life be like? Pick a question or two and answer them in the comments below! 

love, grace

Read more:

7 Childhood Books I Still Love

Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

My 7 Favorite Book Couples (in honor of Valentine’s Day…)

Christian, It’s Okay to Dance.

Woman Wearing White Dress Dancing on Brown Sand

Of all performing arts, I think dance is one of the most misunderstood by Christians, considered to be totally sinful by some (perhaps more historically, but still a little bit in the present day as well).

Full disclosure: I am a dancer. I’m going to school to be a dance major next year. So obviously there is some bias in this…but I feel like that also makes me qualified to address it.

Dance as Worship

I don’t debate that some dance is inappropriate. Certainly, there are dance moves, and even whole styles of dance, that Christians should stay far away from; costumes can be risque, music can be edgy. (There’s a reason I’m planning to study dance at a Christian college!)

But I feel that very conservative Christians, as they so often do, have run too far in the other direction and become overly legalistic in ways that God never intended. Because dance, just like all of the other arts, can be a form of worship. We see this all throughout the Old Testament:

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.”

-Exodus 15:20

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…So David and the house of Isarel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.”

-2 Samuel 6:14-15

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”

-Psalm 149:3

Think about it: the concept of dance only exists because God created it. He made us with bodies that can move in graceful and beautiful ways, and minds that can appreciate and create that kind of movement. The way the fall has marred parts of dance doesn’t invalidate its capability to express God’s beauty.

I’ve been lucky enough to study dance with a teacher who gets this. When we perform, it is ultimately for God’s glory. And that makes a huge difference! There is a kind of worship that I find in dancing that I can’t really get anywhere else, a unique kind of communion with God that happens on stage and in the studio.

Dance in Worship?

I do want to clarify that I don’t believe in having dance performances as part of church services. This is because a church service is not meant to be a performance, but a participatory act of worship. Sitting in chairs, passively watching other people dance, is not church.

Watching a dance performance can be a kind of worship, certainly, but it doesn’t belong on Sunday mornings (and for the record, this opinion extends to musical performances as well).

(If the entire congregation was dancing, I think that would be okay, but that’s a little awkward, and it probably isn’t a great idea to make people uncomfortable by forcing them to dance in church, either!)

The Purpose of Dance

Ultimately, dance is just one more means that God has given us to express His beauty, understand Him more fully, and worship Him in a deeper way. Christians who ignore the beauty of dance and only focus on its ugly aspects are missing the point of art, and missing out on a way of worship that can be incredibly meaningful, whether you are an audience member or a dancer.

What do you think? What has your experience been with dance, and how do you feel about it? What is your opinion on dancing in church? Share in the comments below! 

love, grace

Read more:

Why Christians Should Care About the Arts

Guys? Swimwear? Common Modesty Questions

When You Don’t Know Your Purpose (and the Future Seems a Scary Thing)

 

Book Review: London in the Dark

London Cover Full (2)

 

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I hosted young indie author Victoria Lynn here on the blog. The tour was to celebrate the one-year publication anniversary of her novel London in the Dark. I got a chance to read the book finally, and today I’d like to share my thoughts with you!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

About the Book

London, 1910

Budding Private Detective Cyril Arlington Hartwell has a conundrum. London is being ravaged by the largest run of thefts in recent history. His hunch that it is all tied together may put him and those he loves in more danger than he could have reckoned.

Olivia Larken Hartwell is just home from boarding school for the summer anticipating time with her adoring parents. She misses her absent brother, Cyril, hoping for the day he will finally come home. But tragedy strikes, causing upheaval for all concerned and changes her life in a way she never could have imagined.

Olivia, Cyril, and their friends must bring the hidden to light, seek to execute justice, and dispel the darkness that hovers over London… and their hearts.

My Thoughts

This was a quick, enjoyable read. What it lacked in writing quality, it made up for in engaging events and realistic, sympathetic characters.

I’ll start off by just saying that yes, it is a self-published book by a young author, and it does read like one, with the style feeling a bit amateur. I expected that going in – one reason I don’t read self-published books all that often is because I feel like sometimes they get published before they’re ready or before the author’s voice has matured. Once I got into the story, though, the writing didn’t matter quite as much and I was still able to enjoy the book.

The characters were probably the highlight. They were interesting, multi-faceted, and sympathetic, the kind of characters that feel like stereotypes, and are therefore easy to understand as you read, and yet go so far beyond the stereotypes when you actually stop to think about them.

Olivia is sweet, yet strong, and I mourned along with her and cheered her on in everything that she went through. Dudley is amazing (my personal favorite character), yet thankfully not perfect; Mrs. Larken is such fun, and Cyril’s character development is beautiful to watch.

The plot was well-written and kept me interested, especially the way everything started to come together near the end. As a writer myself, I can’t imagine ever attempting a mystery. There are so many plot threads and clues and elements to weave together, and Victoria did it really well!

The themes are beautiful and wholesome as well, a reminder of the grace of God and his support in our sufferings.

My one complaint is that the epilogue skipped ahead too far. It featured an event that, while I wanted it to happen, I wanted to be able to read about everything leading up to it (sorry to be so cryptic, but I can’t give details without spoilers). I just really wish that story had been a whole separate companion novella or something (maybe someday, Victoria? Please?), which in itself is a testament to how much I loved these characters.

Content-wise, there is some violence, especially a death that is pretty gruesome, plus explosions and guns and stuff like that. Tasteful, but there. Otherwise, there’s really nothing to worry about.

In Summary…

London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn

3.5 stars: an enjoyable and clean read

Recommended for ages 12+

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pJ1thX

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32832281-london-in-the-dark?ac=1&from_search=true

 

What do you think? Have you read London in the Dark? If not, will you check it out? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

Book Review: Counted Worthy

Book Review: Perception by Emily Ann Benedict

La La Land: Old-School Movie Magic

Should Christians Read Fiction?

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For the past little while, we’ve been exploring what it means to use the arts well as a Christian. I’ve argued that the arts are important for Christians to pay attention tothey are a valid career path for Christians, and that as Christians, our art should be of the highest quality.

Today and next week, I want to look at two very specific types of art, ones that I am personally involved in, ones that I feel some Christians look askance at. I want to explain why I believe they are important and why I believe God created them.

First up? Fiction. Storytelling. The art of writing, of crafting plot and characters and settings to explore themes. I write fiction, although I don’t talk about it much on here, and I believe that it is such an important element of the human experience as God created us.

Whatever is True?

I remember stumbling on one of my mom’s homeschool books when I was much younger, a book where the author talked about her family only read nonfiction or fiction that could be real. They didn’t allow fairy tales, fantasy, mythology, talking animals, etc., using Philippians 4:8 (“Whatever is true…”) as their reasoning.

Even at a young age, that bothered me. Partially because I had already fallen in love with fantasy stories and stories in general, and I wondered if it was wrong to read those things, if I should give them up.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized why it really bothered me even then.

What Fiction Does

As Christians, storytelling is one of the means God has given us to reveal his truth. When we limit this storytelling to only representing things that happen in the “real world”, we lose a hugely powerful avenue of witnessing to truth and beauty.

Different genres have different purposes, but all fiction serves several important purposes.

Through fiction, we see the world through different eyes and gain the ability to empathize with people who are different from us.

Through fiction, we get to see how the universal truth of God’s Word plays out in a variety of situations that we will never actually experience.

Through fiction, we gain a more well-rounded understanding of God’s character than we would in the course of our everyday lives.

What About Fantasy?

I want to look at fantasy specifically for a second. Even though so many Christians avoid it like the plague, I think fantasy is so important. Through made-up worlds and magic and epic quests, truth and beauty find one of their best representations.

The best fantasy books are those that look seriously at real issues. By taking those issues into a made-up setting, we can consider them detached from the baggage they carry in the real world. Because of that, we can see the problems and their solutions more clearly.

The other thing fantasy does really well: illustrate the clash between good and evil. In fantasy, we see over and over that good always wins, that evil will ultimately be defeated. There is an ongoing battle between good and evil in the supernatural realm of the real world; in fantasy, without the limitations of the natural world, it is much easier to represent the truth of this fight in the way that does it justice.

The Impact of Fiction

Ultimately, fiction and nonfiction must work together. Nonfiction expresses the truth, and fiction illustrates the truth. Fiction takes nonfiction’s ideas, adds dimension, and makes them beautiful. Fiction shows the truth to us in the light of people and places and stories.

Fiction has the potential to impact the world for incredible good. The truths we learn through fiction often stay with us forever, changing our lives more than the most helpful self-help book. That is a power that Christians need to be harnessing and using for the glory of God.

And as for Philippians 4:8, there is often more truth in stories of talking animals and magic wands than there is in the most realistic of contemporary novels.

What do you think? Do you read fiction? Fantasy? What impact has fiction had on your life? 

love, grace

Read more:

4 Ways to Read More During the School Year (+book recommendations!)

Writing for Building Up (or, I’m Tired of Depressing Stories)

Why I Don’t Limit Myself to “Christian” Entertainment

Favorites Roundup: Feb-April ’18

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Happy May! We’re so far into 2018, and it’s been a great year so far. Here are some of my favorite finds in the last few months…

Let’s start off with this amazing arrangement of an iconic song:

Autobiography of a Fantasy Character – hilariously calls out all of the cliches, and Tracey now has two more parts in the series!

Art Which Nourishes, Art Which Starves – from My Lady Bibliophile, and so relevant to all of the things we’ve been talking about on the blog lately.

What Is Love? – a beautiful and inspiring reflection from Abbiee on all the small ways we show love in our everyday lives.

This video from Becca:

Why Every Day is a Beautiful Day – a simple, inspiring call to thoughtful living (all of Miriam’s writing has been so great lately too)

What a Cold Shower Taught Me About Gratefulness – another reminder to keep perspective in the midst of the Christian life

Some simple, practical tips to improve life for you and everyone around you:

3 Epic Ways to Make the Devil Scream Oh No – an epically inspiring post from up-and-coming Christian blogger Madi Grace

And finally, Christian Alexa:

 

Which is your favorite? What other awesome things have you found around the Internet recently? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

Favorites Roundup: December/January ’17-’18

On the Movie Screen: Jan-March 2018

Superheroes, Science, and Sanderson (Reading Recap Jan-Feb 2018)