Moriah Simonowich

About Moriah Simonowich

Moriah's Blog
Moriah Simonowich is a 21-year-old who loves porch swings, wide open skies, lattes, lab puppies, and the crispness of October. It’s rare that she misses an opportunity to slip outside and quietly capture sunsets. Writing is like oxygen to her heart. In addition to fulfilling her role as staff writer at Top Christian Books, she writes for her column Hope for Weary Hearts at PURSUE Magazine.

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Don’t Hide Your Heart Any Longer

Cold rain pelted the windshield and slashed in diagonal lines across the passenger window as I gazed out to my right. That constant drip lingered all afternoon into the dark of night as I was getting ready to sleep.

The chilly torrent, overcast skies, and gusts of wind mirrored the questions hovering over my heart in gloomy uncertainty.

My fears about the future and current unconfessed sin were heavy burdens that night.

Freedom came by trusting someone enough for them to bear my burdens, confessing my sin, and thereby pursuing reconciliation.

Don't Hide Your Heart Any Longer

Let another bear your burdens

Lies shadow and shackle our hearts. Often, lies also cause us to hide our hearts from others. We choose isolation and introversion to avoid hurt. Perhaps our fears of sharing our feelings and emotions stem from verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.

Or, maybe the fear comes from simply believing something about ourselves that isn’t true. We can over analyze and conclude that people will view us through a negative lens because we have come to think of ourselves that way from the rejection of another person’s angry, harsh words.

Either way, God calls His people to:

“Carry each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Don’t break under whatever is weighing you down any longer. Choose to trust someone else—and most importantly God—with the things that are troubling you. He promises to sustain! (see Psalm 55:6).  

Don't break under whatever is weighing you down any longer. Choose to trust someone else—and most importantly God—with the things that are troubling you. He promises to sustain! Click To Tweet

 

Confess your trespasses

Several times in my life, I have been tempted to hide my sins under the rug of my soul instead of bringing them out into the open. Confessing your sins to another godly person who can be trusted brings healing. For me, those people have been my mom, sister, and one or two godly friends.

Isolation is what the enemy wants for believers because it makes us an easy target. He can bash us with constant condemnation and shame. He can convince us that there isn’t a point in battling sin—it’s just too hard to conquer.

Sin is too hard to conquer—alone. That is why we need the reinforcement of other Christians and most importantly, the Sword of the Spirit and the rest of the armor of God.

We may be too wounded to put our armor back on. Our wounds may have festered too long and delirium may have set in. That is why this passage is vital to our growth:


Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV).

 

Pursue reconciliation

Maybe you are still struggling. The enemy may be attacking you with fear-filled lies intended to intimidate you and keep you bound up.

What if they think less of me or won’t love me anymore if I tell them?

What if they think I’m stupid?

What if it makes my pain or struggles worse?

Don’t listen! Every time I have confessed sin these fears were unfounded. They brought relief, repentance, and healing, not regret. This is what it means to pursue reconciliation.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

You don’t have to hide your heart, to preciously guard it against more blows of pain. Don’t clam up and board out the light of love and freedom that comes from opening up.

Throw back the concrete shutters that have been stifling you and let God’s Word blow, refreshing the stale air like a cool, fragrant spring breeze. He has made us to be a people who bear each other’s burdens, who confess sin to one another to be healed, and who choose to come out of the darkness of isolation and into the light of reconciliation.

 

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By | 2018-01-31T02:27:03+00:00 January 27th, 2018|

3 Steps to Take When Seasons Change

As I headed for the river bay, the freezing autumn wind bit through my sweater and scarf.

Warm sunlight streamed across the choppy water and broke the chill a few degrees.

So many changes had unfolded over the past week. Each one weighed on my heart as I turned my back against the breeze, sat cross-legged on the pier, and opened my journal.

Everything whispered a new season.  With a strange mix of sorrow and anticipation, I kissed old things goodbye and welcomed new things into my life.

The bittersweet traces of changing seasons are etched on every life. God tells us in His Word,

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under the heaven:” (Eccles. 3:1a, NKJV).

The next few verses go on to list common threads—or “times”—in the ebb and flow of living (v. 2-3):

Being born and dying. Planting and harvesting. Killing and healing. Breaking down and building up. Weeping and laughter. Mourning and dancing.

The list continues to pour out more times of life in the four following verses.

Each time, each circumstance is different depending on the person, but the changes are still distinct and visible.

Here are some times that have touched my life and the lives of those around me—

Perhaps they parallel yours or that of your loved ones as well:

  • Friendships ending, new ones beginning.
  • Good health gnawed away by chronic illness.
  • Teen years lived, crossing the edge of adulthood.
  • Singleness replaced by love and romance.
  • Life fading, death coming.
  • Broken hearts mended by His wounds and time.
  • Parents made into grandparents.

Although seasons are a natural part of our lifetime, it can be difficult to adjust and accept the change they bring. Often, I find it hard to practice gratitude during the transition period between different seasons because their newness can be scary, sweet, and sobering all at once.

I have discovered three steps to take when seasons change:

 

1. Don’t waste time you’re given during each season

Each season only comes once. It can last as long as years or end as briefly as days or weeks. Sometimes, I’m filled with regret that I did not live a period of my life to the fullest while I could because those days, once gone, can never be regained or given again.

 

2. Trust God has orchestrated the circumstances

How I plan my days and dreams is shabby compared to God’s exquisite design for my life. The more I let go and trust His design, the more beautiful and fulfilling each season becomes. Life goes more smoothly and can be enjoyed more richly from the heart.

Even if life is turbulent with uncertain or unexpected circumstances, I can rest in this promise,

“Man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9).

For all my stressing and planning my life the way I think it should go, He is constantly redirecting my steps and orchestrating everything for good.

 

3. Believe He is making everything beautiful—in time  

God gives particular beauty and gifts during every season; every second of it is planned by Him. There are certain ways He wants us to serve in that particular set of circumstances.

“He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Eccles. 3:11a).

The One who fashioned time and is outside of time has given us various seasons for everything in life. Although the changes they bring may be uncomfortable at times, it is comforting to know is that each season is unique, orchestrated by God, and beautiful.

With this truth glowing brightly in our hearts, let’s endeavor to live every second, every time, and every season fully.

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By | 2018-01-31T02:30:59+00:00 January 17th, 2018|

3 Godly Ways to Win and Lose

3 Godly Ways to Win and Lose by Moriah Simonowich

3 Godly Ways to Win and Lose by Moriah Simonowich

Competing in contests hosted by our county fair has become an annual tradition for us as a family. Our niches vary, but we’ll pick our favorites and enter baking, photography, lego inventions, decorated pumpkins, and art.

Once the day of the fair arrives, one question lingers tangibly in the humid, exhibit hall air:

Whose creation won which ribbons?

Unanimous enjoyment ebbs through each of us when we browse each category to make that discovery.

Some years, to our ecstatic delight, we’ve found blue ribbons taped proudly on our handiwork.

Other times, it’s a red ribbon for second place or yellow for third.

Perhaps the most disappointing discovery is finding a standard “participation” ribbon hanging there in plain jane purple that kills all of the piled up hope in one glance.

So, what does our tradition of county fair competitions teach us in everyday life?

There are traces of valuable lesson hidden: how to win, and lose, with grace.

 

Subtle pitfalls of winning and losing

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

Although winning is a treasure, we can easily shift from a sense of accomplishment to unhealthy pride. Our opinion of ourselves may get boosted just a little too much.

The Prideful Winner…

  • Is greedy about winning
  • Looks down on those who lose
  • Boasts about their accomplishment

These things can be true as they happen silently behind the smug curtain of our own thoughts or it may be on display with our words and actions.

The Sore Loser…

  • Wallows in self-pity
  • Can’t rejoice with those who won
  • Gives up on next time

 

Getting our focus right

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Ultimately, if we’re focused on pleasing Him it won’t matter what the judges decide if the work we have put into it has been for the purpose of glorifying and serving God.

Here are some practical steps to winning and losing well, with grace:

A Humble Winner…

  1. Has a grateful heart towards God for their win “…in everything give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18a).
  2. Encourages others who didn’t get a ribbon Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3).
  3. Lets others praise their accomplishment instead of boasting “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov. 27:2).

The Good Sport…

  1. Doesn’t feel sorry for themselves – “Love…does not seek its own…” (1 Corinthians 13:3-4a)
  2. Congratulates those who won – “Rejoice with those who rejoice…” (Romans 12:15)
  3. Takes a loss as a learning opportunity – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a).

 

Whether it’s savoring a moment of successful winning or learning to bravely stomach a loss, let’s strive to have a heart attitude that rejoices with whichever one He places into our hands.

What have you learned from wins and losses? Is there something special God taught you? Please share! Let’s talk about it in the comments below…

*All verses are taken from the NKJV from BlueLetterBible.org

 

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By | 2018-01-31T02:33:50+00:00 October 12th, 2017|

Forsaking our Bent Toward Anxiety Over Untraveled Places

Forsaking our Bent Toward Anxiety Over Untraveled Places by Moriah Simonowich

Forsaking our Bent Toward Anxiety Over Untraveled Places by Moriah Simonowich

My trip to Uganda, Africa was only six weeks away.

Sitting there in the travel doctor’s office, we discussed the disease prevention necessary for that region. A nurse prepared a tray of vaccines and immunizations. She warned that one of them would be quite painful, which did nothing to calm my nerves. My dad went first, then it was my turn.

I spun my head away from the needles and prayed, trying to overcome my fear.

After receiving iron intravenously years before, I had a horrible reaction that caused me to go into anaphylactic shock. The trauma of that experience scarred my mind with anxious skepticism about how my body would react to medication given through shots or IV’s.

Although I was concerned about side effects, this treatment was the next crucial step before I could cross the ocean. It was better to be protected than to risk sickness and disease.

My only choice was forward. I breathed in and out slowly to calm myself as the nurse injected each shot into my arm. When we left the doctor’s office, I was shaken but extremely thankful to have survived receiving them without having an allergic reaction.

Realizing my helplessness and need for dependency on God to carry me through—no matter what came, even if my body couldn’t handle the vaccines—strengthened my faith and intensified my trust.

Although it’s part of our nature to have fear or uneasiness about the future on some level, we desperately need to overcome it in order to take those forward steps and to have joy!

 

Our Antidote

The antidote to anxiety about the unknown is an abiding trust in God.

Not hesitant, partial trust, but an unquestioning trust that comes from the heart surrendered to continual prayer and thankfulness.

Paul says that is what brings true peace:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

The Cost

“To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust Him in the dark—that is faith.” -C. H. Spurgeon

Every season has challenges we must brave to claim the beautiful things God wants to teach us. Sometimes they are costly and require tremendous leaps of faith; other times they take us a few feet from our comfort zones.

We have to weigh it out, fully recognizing what might be missed if we fail to trust the Lord with what lies ahead and rely on His strength to carry us forward.

Putting an unwavering trust in God when we’re afraid is enough to conquer every “what if.”

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4, NKJV)

 

A Sweet Surrender

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” -Corrie ten Boom

What if my fear of allergic reactions had paralyzed me to the point I never left the states? It wounds my heart to think of what beautiful adventures I would have missed and what children I wouldn’t have hugged close and sung to in Uganda.

We must entrust our every breath and every second upon this earth to God’s capable, all-wise, hands, forsaking our bent towards anxiety over untraveled places. It’s a little incredulous, but the moment we surrender and “cast all our anxieties,” they evaporate.

“Casting all your anxieties upon Him for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Moving forward with joy

“If you can trust God to save you for eternity, you can trust Him to lead you for a lifetime.” -David Platt

Is there something God has put on your heart to do, but fears are holding you back?

Don’t let the untraveled or unknown intimidate you any longer.

Don’t be afraid to leave comfort and lean into Him for strength. Trust, friend. Just trust.

Joy will follow. Adventures are waiting.

 

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By | 2018-01-31T02:36:25+00:00 September 23rd, 2017|

7 Truths I Learned in the Desert of Rebellion

7 Truths I Learned in the Desert of Rebellion by Moriah Simonowich

Imagine blistering heat waves surging over your soul.

You’re dwelling in a desert. You’re parched and alone. You’re angry and afraid.

After surveying the thousands of miles that must be retraced to return, the desire for escape is stifled by overwhelming exhaustion.

God seems quite far and restoration an unreachable mirage.

Has this described a familiar illustration? If so, I’ll embrace transparency and confide something:

This is my story. In my lifetime, I have struggled with rebellion. It began in my tweens and has surfaced at several points since then. I’ve made more than one miserable trudge in that direction.

The Bible has something to say about this topic that holds achingly true:

“…the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” -Psalm 68:6b

There are seven truths I’ve learned from the desert of rebellion that leave me hating it every time:

 

Rebellion is never worth it.

The enemy wants to connive us into believing that rebellion is justified—that we have a right to “do our own thing” and disregard God’s Word or His commandment to honor our father and mother that it will go well with us (Ephesians 6:1-2).

Nothing justifies disrespect, but if we choose it, instead of ingesting the sweet fruit that submission yields, we must choke down the rotten fruit rightfully earned by our disobedience (Proverbs 1:31).

 

Rebellion isolates.

When being right becomes more important than peacefully yielding to what we know to be true in God’s Word, it leaves us angry and at odds with everyone around us. A barrier is built. We’re left a prisoner, isolated, with nothing but our vices for company. That’s a bitter price, friend, and I have had to painfully dole it out more than once. It reminds me of this quote:

“Satan gives Adam an apple, and takes away Paradise.
Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers, but what we shall lose.”
-Richard Sibbes

 

Rebellion breeds fear, anxiety, and guilt.

It is impossible for a rebellious person to be at peace. They are attacked with warring emotions of fear, anxiety, and guilt over their actions.

 

Rebellion stifles communion with God.

Like any sin, rebellion distances a relationship with God. He hates rebellion because it is “as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Sam. 15:23).

 

Rebellion stems from a broken, bitter heart.

Usually, someone who is rebellious has been wounded and instead of choosing to forgive their offender and seeking healing from God, they have clung to the offense and become bitter.

“There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.” -My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Rebellion wastes precious hours, minutes, and days.

Enjoyment of anything in life becomes unattainable with a rebellious mindset. Who can be genuinely happy with the byproducts I’ve discussed—bitterness, fear, anxiety, and guilt? I don’t know of anyone and it certainly hasn’t been possible in my own life.

 

Rebellion is defeatable!

By now, you’re probably asking:

Is there an anecdotal cure for someone in the desert of rebellion?

Yes, friend! There truly is. Here are some helpful steps:

Return to God and He will return to you – (Zechariah 1:3)
He knows how weak we are. He knows our intense fears. He longs to bear our load!

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV

Seek Godly counsel – (Proverbs 11:14)
This point is vital! Self-reliance is like beckoning defeat to stay awhile. It is incredible how much another person’s insight can give to a situation. They speak truth we might be blinded to and help us fix our mind on God’s Word.

Confess your faults to be healed – (James 5:16)
Someone told me recently to let a person I was bitter against off the hook forever. Confessing my bitterness and unloving attitude by asking that person to forgive me was essential to bringing me out of rebellion.

Let your thirst for God drive you to Him.
It’s difficult when your heart is such a dry ground, but plead for restoration and let your heart be watered by the Word (Psalm 23, Eph. 5:26).

Claim Psalm 63:1 as a constant prayer:

“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.”

 

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By | 2018-01-31T02:38:26+00:00 August 29th, 2017|

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