It’s not easy being a teen


It’s not easy being a teen

I’m no longer a teen—it’s been a few years since I could call myself one. But I can still recall the pressure, the overwhelming emotions, the insecurities.


I can remember how it felt to strive for a good grade on a test and instead receive a grade that lowered my GPA. I remember the fear that choked me the day I attempted to drive a car for the first time. I remember the loneliness that crept in when I couldn’t seem to make new friends.


I recently came across a note I jotted down in my old Bible when I was about 14 years old. It was a book idea. (Don’t ask why I thought it was necessary to brainstorm book ideas in my Bible!) This idea was sparked from the book I still read daily, titled GOD'S PROMISES FOR YOUR EVERY DAY NEED.


I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if us teens could have our own book that’s categorized by our daily needs? This could be filled with devotions, inspiration, and Scripture that could speak to the situations we faced daily.


Need comfort? Turn to page 50. Need encouragement? Flip to page 100.


Fast forward several years—when I began writing COFFEE SHOP DEVOS. This concept must’ve stuck in my subconscious, because I applied the same method to this book. It isn’t the average “read this devo on this day” devotional; instead, it’s categorized by the everyday needs of teen girls. Just like the idea I initially had when I was 14. 


Why did I approach it this way?


Because I want it to be obvious that being a Christian isn’t about checking “quiet time” off your daily to-dos. It’s not even about keeping up with your weekly church attendance (although that doesn’t undermine the importance of church!).


Instead, it’s about finding the One you long for.

The One who can be the hand you hold as you walk through heartache. The One who can take the load off of you when you’re facing pressure from school. The One who can speak purpose and meaning into your everyday life.

My upcoming fall release, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS: DAILY PICK-ME-UP FOR TEENS, will provide you with the “spiritual caffeine” you need to face these everyday challenges—all the while spurring you into the arms of the One who never leaves your side.

Because, let’s face it: Being a teen isn’t easy. But you were never meant to face these years alone.


You can pre-order COFFEE SHOP DEVOS by clicking here or mark “to read” on Goodreads by clicking here.


What do you believe to be the greatest challenge teens face today? Let me know in the comments!




It's not easy being a teen @TessaEmilyHall #amblogging


What to do when you don’t fit in


What to do when you don’t fit in

When I was a kid, I loved elementary school—but as soon as I reached middle school, I realized there was a big difference between fifth grade and sixth grade. It seemed as though my friends and classmates transitioned from “kid” to “tween” within those short couple months of summer break. Girls became fascinated with boys, makeup, shopping, cliques, and drama. Me? I still wasn’t ashamed to remain a kid. In fact, even the idea of carrying a purse sounded too mature for me!


For the first time in my life, I felt different. Weird. As if I no longer belonged with my friends—and all because I wasn’t into growing up too fast like other girls seemed to be.


Have you ever felt that way? As if something is wrong with you if you don’t seem to “fit in” with others? If so, I want to share with you a few truths God began to reveal me…


1. Remember that your differences make you unique.


Every detail that makes us who we are was sculpted with intention. Our physical features were given careful attention to. Our gifts were hand-selected by the Master Artist. Our personality was designed to fit the purpose He has for our lives.    


Psalm 139:13-14 (NCV) says,

“You made my whole being;
    you formed me in my mother’s body.
I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
    What you have done is wonderful.
    I know this very well.”


Our attempts at fitting in with the crowd probably look silly to God. After all, He has never created two people exactly the same.


2. Strive to please God rather than people.


I’m sure we’re all guilty of having this fleshly desire—to please people and meet their approval. Yet even though we are held accountable in our efforts to please authority, ultimately our target for approval should be centered on our Heavenly Father. This means everything we do—the choices we make, words we say, way we treat others—should be steered by a motivation to please God.  


When we do this, we’ll no longer have a desire to blend in; rather, we’ll find fulfillment in the stamp of approval Jesus has already placed on our lives. We’ll experience freedom that comes from embracing who He created us to be. Plus, the reward we’ll receive when we live for His approval will be far greater than momentary approval from our peers.



3. Avoid the comparison trap.


When we can’t seem to fit in, we often find ourselves taking note of our differences. Resenting the very things that make us who we are.


The enemy will attempt to skew our minds and destroy our self-confidence when we fall for this comparison trap. Why? I believe it’s because he knows that, when we fully step into our identity as a Daughter of Christ and reach our fullest potential in Him, we’ll make a difference in the Kingdom of God. He’ll do everything he can do keep that from happening!


In this digital age, it seems as if comparison traps surround us. When you find yourself tempted to step into another one, walk away. Then, open God’s Word and remind yourself of who He says you are.   


The next time you feel like you don’t fit in, think of Jesus. He was the only sinless person to have walked the earth; the only person to have been conceived by the Holy Spirit. People mocked Him because He embraced who He was. They persecuted Jesus for His attempts to minister God’s Kingdom on earth. Even His own friends backstabbed Him and were ashamed to be considered His follower.  


How awful would it have been if Jesus had abandoned God’s plan—all for the sake of winning temporary approval?


Instead, He knew the disapproval would only be temporary. The impact it would make for eternity, the rewards that would result from His obedience, would be far greater than any fleeting human acceptance. Christ knew it was more important to live in God’s will, to accomplish His purpose on earth, rather than to “fit in”. I’m glad He did, aren’t you?


I challenge you to view yourself through your Father’s eyes. Remind yourself that He loves you the way you are. Once you do that, you’ll begin to feel completely secure in being who you are.

Even if you reach your twenties and you still can’t get into the whole shopping scene. ;)


No, you're not too young.


No, you're not too young.

I've always looked young for my age.

At twenty-three years old, I'm often mistaken for a teenager. A fifteen-year-old. Fortunately, this doesn't bother me as much as it used to, especially not in the way it did when I actually was a teen. But growing up, I often felt older, more mature, than my peers; perhaps it's because I'm the youngest in my family and the youngest of thirteen cousins.

I felt older yet my appearance gave the false impression that I was younger. And because of that, I resented my youth. I wanted to be older. To be treated with more respect. 

Especially when it came to pursuing my passions.

From a young age, I've known that I wanted to be an author "when I grew up". Writing has been my passion since I was three-years-old; I could never see myself in a profession that wasn't related to books.

So, at fourteen-years-old, I decided not to settle for an "average teen lifestyle" and instead chose to get a head start in my writing career. I studied the writing craft, launched a blog, and set out on my writing journey. My debut novel, Purple Moon, was then published five years later at nineteen-years-old.  

When I first began to take my writing seriously, I soon discovered that others didn't. That's not to say I didn't receive support from professionals in the industry, because I certainly did; rather, there were a handful of people who thought it was "cute". That assumed it was just a phase. 

Believe me: My passion for writing was not a phase!

Since then, my sophomore novel, Unwritten Melody, has been published, and I am currently under contract for a teen devotional with Bethany House. (I work on the publishing side of the industry as well; I'm an associate agent for Hartline Literary and YA Acquisitions Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.)

It was tough, dealing with criticism from those who looked down on me. Still is. That's why I have to constantly remind myself of the vision, the calling, God has placed on my heart -- to minister through the written word. It's also why I have a passion to provide encouragement and support for other young people who are struggling to pursue their gifts. Teens who long to take their youth seriously yet are underestimated by the culture around them. 

My name is Tessa, and for the past 7 and a half years I've written on my blog for writers, Christ is Write. On that blog, I share tips for writers, post book reviews and writing prompt contests, etc. But I've discovered that I need a personal space where I can provide young people with the support they need to cultivate their own gifts and pursue the life God has called them to live.  That's exactly what I hope to do through this new blog. (Don't worry, writers! I will continue to post weekly on Christ is Write.)

I'm here to give you the support + encouragement + motivation + inspirational + tools to unleash the potential God has birthed within you so you can make an impact. I'm here to encourage you to pursue the impossible -- all the while building the foundation of a relationship with Christ

I believe in you, even if everyone around you is trying to convince you that you're too young, that your desire to make a difference through your gifts is impossible or "just a phase".

And if that is the case, let me remind you of the scripture 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT), which states:

"Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity."

No, you're not too young.

In fact, you're at the prime age to begin making decisions that will alter the course of your future.

So let's start on the path toward pursuing!