You’re the joy I’ve always longed for.

Some days grief is just a little heavier than most days. It sneaks up on me to remind me, I’m still missing folks. But I will see my sweet friend again. With You, God, even the darkest of the dark has a light, because You are the light.

Even the most unbearable pain has a way out. Even the most tragic sin has a way out. Even the worst moment has a way out. Lord, if we would only surrender to You. Working in a group home and fostering taught me one thing above all, there is always a way out. Of the tragedy that sought me out. Of the mess I made myself. Of the things threatening me to take me out. Of the triggers trying to keep me in the hurt places. Of the reminders of pain trying to keep me angry. Of the darkness trying to keep me numb and blind.

Lord, yes, there is unimaginable pain in this world. But that is the not the end of the story. There is so much goodness in this world. There is unexplainable peace. There is unfathomable joy. There is light greater than the darkness. There is grace. There is mercy. There is healing. There is hope. You are the way. You are the truth. You are the life. You alone, can change my story. You alone, can change my heart.

The most beautiful part is that I can come to You with all my broken, messy bits. And You love me back together. You love me too much to leave me broken and messy. You leave me better than You found me. You showed me so much more than I could ever imagine. You filled my emptiness. You filled my life with so much goodness. You lit up my darkness and called the darkness to leave. You gave me a home. You gave me love, peace, and joy that surpasses all understanding. You freed me.

You rescued me from the darkness that threatened to overtake me. You pulled me out of the pit I selfishly dug to protect myself. You broke the chains that others placed on me. You showed me another way to live. You showed me more grace than I deserved. You took the punishment I couldn’t bear. You took my pain and turned it into this beautiful love letter to others that have hurt places too. You not only changed my story, but every other story that I play a role in too. Every page my name is written on, now has a different message. Instead of my name bringing more pain, I bring You with me. My life has a new legacy.

So, this is my prayer today. Only you, Lord, know where my story could have reared it’s ugly head. Only you know my darkest thoughts and sins. And yet you love me still. You love me more than I even understand. And you love the ones I love even more than I do. And you love the ones that hurt me that I struggle to love. You gave the ultimate sacrifice. You are the ultimate story of redemption. You are the end and the beginning. You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the literal definition of love. You created life. You are soo soo good and you want a relationship with me. Me, who causes havoc. Me, who instigates. Me, who seeks out the very things that hurt me. I am fully aware that I am my very own worst enemy. I self-sabotage. You want to know me. You want to love me. You want to heal me. You want to set me free. You want to walk with me, talk with me, spend time with me. You pulled me right out of the grave. Lord, I am so thankful for all you’ve done in my life and in those around me. Lord, I am so thankful to know you and to build that relationship with you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am a rare kind of wonder, created just right.

This morning, as I was getting outta the shower, I was like ya know I haven’t listened to ZOEgirl in a long time. So, I pulled up my iTunes and played that Life CD from way back in 2001. I was listening to this song and remembered reading in my Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt book. On Sunday, I started the section on loving well. I was coming to the end of the section with chapter 7 which talked about loving yourself.

I’m gonna be real transparent here, my self worth goes up and down like a never endin Ferris wheel, round and round it goes. Some days, I think I’m the bee’s knees. Other times, the image in my head of myself ain’t so nice. And don’t even get me started on my feelings of inadequacy as a foster mom. Because that little voice in my head tells me daily I ain’t a real mom.

I realized in high school, if I wanted others to see me differently, I needed to see me differently. So, I changed the way I talk to myself. I started speaking life into my own head, which in turn, helped me speak more life into lives around me. Because I can’t love others if I don’t love myself, and if I don’t love others I can’t love You, God. Sometimes, I overcompensate trying to love myself because I’m trying to re-train my brain. So, I ran around in high school talking about how my hair was luscious instead of frizzy and things like that. I turned my negatives into positives.

And then sometimes, my church folks come into the room saying hey mama or giving me some kind of compliment right where I have a feeling of inadequacy. Those are moments straight from You. Because how could they have known I feel deficient or less than in that area? I try real hard not to find my identity in anything other than You. But as a mom, it’s hard not to feel like a failure when the kid is acting out. That’s why submission is so important. Because if I surrender my life to You, You define me, not my actions or feelings. My actions and feelings practically dance they waver so much, but You are steady and strong.

I was listening to Vous Church and the pastor said the flesh part of him wanted to title the message: “submission sucks,” but further into studying he called it: “submission saves” and talked about The Mission of Submission. Because I willingly give my life to You. Like Paul I am a willing bond-servant. Philippians 4:12-13 says: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Because of what I’ve been through, I know submission saves. I know that without You, I am nothing. And I know with You, I have everything I need.

So, here is my prayer today. My identity is found in You. Lord, thank you for creating me and defining me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for sacrificing everything for me. Thank you for carrying the cross for me. Thank you for allowing me to come to you in my messy state. Thank you for loving me too much to leave me that way. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and freedom to chose to serve you. Thank you for giving me strength. Thank you for saving me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Even when my lost heart was unlovable, You spread Your arms out.

“Love completely now, because you’re not promised another day.” That’s what my Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt book told me to do. That promised word gets me. Because people make promises they can’t keep all the time, especially in movies! As soon as a person makes a promise in the movies, that’s my red flag. That person is about to die and that promise is gonna wreck somebody. Drives me nuts! We watched Saving Mr. Banks and I knew it was gonna happen as soon as that dad made a promise. I started fussing at my friend, who picked the movie, that she knew this was gonna make me cry!

With foster care, I know all too well, that I am not promised another day. Those kids could be moved with two weeks notice or less than 24 hours, it all depends on the social worker and the kid’s case.

Orrrr my agency could close their foster parent training program and upend my routine. This means my kid’s counselor changes. This means my case worker is changing. This is the lady I invite in my home every single week. She’s been a part of our daily lives for over a year now. She is my village.

Nothing is guaranteed except change. Change is inevitable. I can either chose to grow through it or revert back to old patterns. Lord, help me to grow through change. School has so many last minute changes right now, my head is spinning to keep up. I don’t know how these kids are gonna learn anything with all this nonsense, but I know these teachers are working their tails off trying to help figure everything out.

I am not promised forever with those I love. I am not promised easy fixes. I am not promised quick responses. I am not promised grateful attitudes or helpful hands around me. I am not promised a safe route. I am not promised a life without trouble. I am not promised a life without persecution. I am not promised a fair life. In fact, I am promised the opposite of all those things.

I am also guaranteed eternity with You, God. I am guaranteed that You will be there with me in the middle of my messes. I am guaranteed that You always hear my prayers. I am guaranteed that the Holy Spirit lives in me and while I can’t change others, I can change. I am guaranteed a light along the path. I am guaranteed a way out of trouble. I am guaranteed to be loved by You. I am guaranteed to be Your adopted child. I am promised a relationship with You because of the cross. I am promised forgiveness. I am promised freedom. I am promised there is no greater love than Your love for me.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I love a little more. I pray that I am kinder. I pray that I spread more light and more joy and more hope. I pray that I leave things and people better than I found them. I pray that I extend grace and forgiveness. I pray I practice humility as much as possible. I pray that I use my coping with change target skill. I pray that I appreciate more of the little moments of joy in my life with those I love. I pray that I remain calm and relaxed. I pray that I turn to you with my decisions. I pray that I follow your will. I pray that I stay encouraged and motivated. I pray I share your love with those around me. I pray that I have extended hands to serve and a grateful heart. I don’t know where I am going or who I am going to meet along the way, but I do know You’re coming with me. Thank you Father for preparing a way for me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I just want to sit here at Your feet.

Yes, my kids and teenagers are totally time consuming. They are inconvenient and inconsiderate and loud and obnoxious. They are draining. They are little takers. They take energy, sanity, money, resources, gas, gold fish, Gatorade, everything. But boy howdy, my life is so full of joy when they are around. Their little laughs give life meaning. They show me Your pure love.

I heard Rich Wilkerson Jr.’s sermon on Bread, Bullets, and Bandages which is about why we need to study the Bible. The same reason we as adults need to study the Bible is the same reason my babies need the Word. It is our daily bread. Rich talked about reading the Bible, to see You, because we are hungry for You, God.

I spent my younger years in youth group and it set a foundation for the rest of my life. I stand on solid ground because of those adults that poured the Word into me. They were pouring cement underneath me. The Word does not return void. Where would I be if some one hadn’t taken the time to invite me, to sit next to me and introduce themselves, to ask me to come back, to offer a hand in prayer? Youth Group was a lifeline for me. VBS was a safe haven. AWANA’s was a spiritual battle preparation. Mission Trips taught me to how to walk. Lock-ins set boundaries for me and taught me how to have fun without getting in trouble. I never would have seen You, Lord, if those people had not shown up. They probably don’t even remember me. But they showed me who You were by simply showing up. Where would any of us be if no one took the time to reach out to us?

Rich taught that the Word is like bullets and if your aim is wrong, it’s pointless. We are in a spiritual battle. I need to remember who the enemy is here. He said “when the enemy comes to attack you, I hope you know how to fight back.” “Every time the devil comes and pushes Him and threatens Him, Jesus responds back with a simple phrase: ‘it is written.'” We have to teach these kids to hide the Word in their heart, the same way we need it.

Kids need VBS and youth group worship nights and mission trips and lock-ins and all the things. Not because they need programming, but because they need to see You in practical, hands-on ways. Because at that event, is a little girl who is suffering abuse she can’t talk about yet, but she can hear life-giving Word delivered way deep down in her heart. Because at that worship night is a little boy who wants to end his life crying out to You to save him. Because that little kid at VBS is practically homeless and completely alone, but for a couple hours, that kid is safe and loved and making connections to people who will give them the tools to survive. Because at that serve night, there is a teenager there in the bathroom looking for a way out and they need to be shown the way out of their sin and shame, not a way to end their life. “The Word is bandages to those that is hurting. To stop bleeding. To help healing occur. To keep infection from getting in. To protect.”

My babies need to practice. They need to read the scripture, memorize the scripture, and meditate on the Word. They need to be taught how to do these things. They need attention to be poured into them through relationships with each other and adults that love them. They need hope for brighter days. This is a spiritual battle. It ain’t got nothing to do with me and and it ain’t got nothing to do with the building and it ain’t got nothing to do with over programming. It has everything to do with You.

So, here is my prayer. I was real anxious this morning, I started to make myself sick. I felt blindsided and I was scared for my babies. They need you, Father. I turned my worship music on to quiet my mind and then I went straight for a sermon. Lord, the programs don’t matter, the games don’t matter, the snacks don’t matter, the building don’t matter. None of the stuff matters. Those kids, those lives matter. They need you. They need a support group to point them to you. They need healthy relationships and boundaries. They need bread, bullets, and bandages. They need your word. Father, move me completely out of the way. I don’t want to stand unless you put me there. I don’t want any of it unless it is your way, your will. I just want you. You are all these kids need too. I pray you show me what to do and where to go. Lord, I’m listening. Take my agenda and my plans and throw them right out the window. Lord, I just want you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Trees are growing old and birds are still singing.

My Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion was by Bob Goff thing morning and he told us: “we can get busy getting better.” There is so much darkness and just plain old sin going on right now, but it ain’t nothing new. Sin has been messing up hearts since the beginning. It goes way on back to the Garden. Satan’s games have not changed. We’re still failing for the same old tricks and lies. We’re still eating that apple and sharing that apple with those we love. The thing that changes is us. We grow. We turn the lights on. You have always been good. We just forget to look for the good sometimes. We forget to trust You. But my God, You have always been there.

What would happen if we stop the cycle? What would happen if instead of eating the apple and sharing our sin, we shared our joy instead? Could we change the world? By sharing the apple, we share our sin and shame. By sharing our joy, what else could we impact? It starts in our little world around us and then grows and spreads to the world at large. I want to be more intentional and try to be more like You. I want to point others to You with every move I make.

I want to the stop the cycle. I want to start a new one. I want to share joy and hope and courage and love. I want to share the light. I want to stop handing those I love the forbidden fruit and start handing them Your light.

“Come and find me and we can wait for the light”

So, here is my prayer today. I pray I get busy getting better. I pray I give those around me your light. I pray I look for the ways out of sin and look for the ways into your light. Lord, I don’t want to just do enough to get by. I don’t want to sit around and just let things continue. I don’t want to run and hide anymore. I want to stand firm. I want to stop the cycle. I want to start a new cycle of light. I pray I lead others to you. I pray I pull chairs up to the table. I pray I lay everything I have at the cross. Father, help me to stand in the light. Lord help me to appreciate all the beautiful things and people in my life. I pray that I honor them and cherish them. I am so grateful for all you’ve done for me and continue to do. Lord, help me to do better. I don’t have to earn my way to Heaven by checkin off items on my christian check list. I have the absolute joy of serving because I have been given Heaven. I pray I share that joy. Lord, guard my heart from letting the darkness in. Father, let my heart shine for you. Lord, I trust you. I lay down my life. My hands are open and empty. I am coming boldly to the throne. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I do not deserve a thing, but that’s just who You are.

Lord, being a foster parent is really hard sometimes. Like really hard. It’s heartache deeper than imaginable. It’s constant stress and having to be ready for the unexpected. It’s keeping constant, detailed and accurate communication with 10 people at all times and trying to keep your emotions in check as they evaluate your every parental decision. Ya girl gets defensive. Thank you for starting that prep work in me before I became a foster parent btdubbs. I guess You have to plan ahead for my mess too, God, because I’m Your kid.

But, then are moments where foster care is just beyond words beautiful. When this kid first moved in with me, she asked me to play “our song” every time we went to bed or got in the car. It was Holy Water by We The Kingdom. Now almost 9 months later, she asks me to play “her song” which is Dead Man Walking by Jeremy Camp. She literally asks for that song every minute of the day because “Jeremy Camp is a christian, but he also likes to rock.” Lord, I have watched her faith grow. She takes ownership of her relationship now. She seeks You out. She reached for her Bible before bed the other night. She asked to do a Bible study. I love that You speak to her through music like You speak to me. Thank you for knocking on her heart. She says “ewww, don’t get in your feels” when I tell her I love her or I compliment her or tell her I’m proud of her. And now when I ask her about her relationship with You she dodges that too, that’s how I know her intimacy with You is growing too.

This kid keeps me on my toes for sure. I think all those years watching princess lessons on The Princess Diaries paid off. There is a joke in the movie that Mia isn’t allowed to have freak out moments were she just goes blahhhh for a minute anymore. Sometimes I feel like that. Like I don’t have a minute to myself anymore. But Lord, that is exactly what I prayed for. You tell us we are not meant to be alone, time and time again. Community is good for us. Since she has moved in, I have formed a village so, the kid is not the only one all up in my kool-aid. I got more help and accountability some days than I know what to do with. And if I don’t answer them peoples phone calls, they will most definitely show up at the house. Some days, the flesh part of me just wants to pull a Regina George: “like, why are you so obsessed with me?” Then my shirt tail gets caught on the door. I’m reminded You don’t like ugly. Every time I start to get an attitude, You pull me back and tell me to get my life right. You love me too much to let me act ugly or be ugly to others.

“Freedom was something I never found
Trying to find six feet underground
Under the weight of all of my sin
Fighting the fight that I couldn’t win
Then You rescued me
And now I can breathe”

So here is my prayer. Thank you for pulling me out of the darkest of the dark. Thank you for teaching me to look for the light. Thank you for giving me the best kind of gift: the opportunity to share that light you gave me with others. Thank you for using me. Thank you for taking my mess and allowing me to place seeds in all that dirt. Thank you for sunlight and holy water too. Thank you for your word. Thank you for speaking to us through music. Thank you for allowing me to speak to you through my prayers. Thank you for freeing me from my sin and shame. Thank you for filling my life with truth. Thank you for loving me back to life. It’s funny how the more I think I’m teaching her, I realize how much you are teaching me. I have this whole new relationship level with you now. Thank you for pursing a relationship with me and the kid. Thank you for loving us too much to leave us the way we were. Thank you for wanting better for us. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I see the evidence of Your goodness, all over my life, all over my life.

Hey God, I know You like hearing from little old me, but I don’t have some super fabulous prayer today or some funny story to share. All I got today is thankful praise, which I don’t give You near enough. I am so thankful for Your goodness.

Psalms 150 says: Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

It is impossible for me to not believe in You at this point. I have seen the evidence. I have seen you move, not only in my life but in those around me. Your goodness is everywhere. With everything going on around us in the world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hurt and anger and pain and fear. But if you go lookin for trouble, that’s exactly what we’ll find. So today, I am choosing to see Your goodness.

I see it in the beauty of your creation. I may hate the heat of summer, but boy howdy is it pretty outside and when there is some breeze going, there ain’t nothing better. I see it in my daddy, he is the definition of a changed man. I see it in the way my person loves her husband and how he loves her. I see it every single time my kids start leaning on You, God. They are begging for Your love in the most ugly ways sometimes, but when they start learning how to ask for it in healthy ways, it is so glorious and there’s no doubt in my mind, that it’s You. I see it in all the friendships I’ve had over the years and all the beautiful people You’ve brought into my life in each season. I see it in how much I’ve learned and grown and changed. I am not who I was. I am not my past. I am not my trauma. I am not my shame. I am not my anxiety. I am not my fear. I have had my share of heartache. I am not immune to the brokenness of this world. I can be my own worst enemy, but that is not my identity. I am Yours. I am changed. I have been given a way out of my sin and brokenness. I have joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. I am simply loved.

All throughout my history
Your faithfulness has walked beside me
The winter storms made way for spring

So, this is my prayer. Thank you for blessing me with so much love and joy and peace. Thank you for filling my life with such good people. Thank you for allowing me to work for your kingdom and be apart of your plan. Lord, I see your evidence written on every aspect of my life. Father, I put my life in your hands. I put my hope in your hands. I put my heart in your hands. I put my mind in your hands. I put my hands in your hands. I pray that I let my defenses down and let you guide me where to go. I trust you with everything I’ve got and everything I am because you created me and gave me everything. You are the reason my praise defines me not and not my mess. You are the only way I not only survived, but thrived. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to praise you. Lord, I’ll never be able to know all the details you put into creation, but every connection I make, points me straight to you. Thank you for creating such a beautiful world and for letting me enjoy it. I pray that I use all my details to make connections to you too. I pray when others see me, they see your work in me. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Cause You’re good and a God who’s got me.

My daddy likes to tell this story about when I was barely old enough to walk, he took me to check the mailbox. He tried to put me down in the dirt and I kicked my feet right up. He picked me back up, held me for a second and tried again. I kicked my feet up again. I was not about to go in the dirt. He had to fumble around holding me to get the mail that day. He still thinks I’m that little girl who doesn’t like the dirt sometimes. But I am a single foster mama now. I clean out the drains. I take out the trash. I pump my gas. I kill the bugs. I do all those icky things, my daddy always did for my mama.

In college, my sorority did this obstacle course for a team building retreat. And of courseeeee, we went after it rained and when it rains, it pours! So the course was covered in water and mud. On one section of the course, the team builder was to stand on these tall logs and pass these other logs between each other. Now, the girls needed to balance while passing these logs because under them was nasty muddy water that we couldn’t even see through. I was President at the time so obviously I had a decision to make. Let them girls fall in the nasty muddy water or put myself in the mud to offer my hand so they didn’t fall. Lord, ya girl stood in the thigh high muddy water, held their hands, and walked all the girls across to get their logs to the end.

I was thinking about that today and how far that little girl who wouldn’t get in the dirt had grown.

Finally found the kind of man who stays
Like he promised, like he said on that day
There’s never been a sweeter love I’ve known
When I left him, he never left me alone
Nothing can separate me from amazing grace
Jesus, you’re all that I need
If everything falls apart and I don’t know where to start
You bring me back to my knees

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I was feeling super grateful for all you’ve taught me and all the times, you’ve held me when I was scared of the “dirt” and all the times you’ve held my hand when I was on shaky ground and couldn’t even see through the mud. Lord, you held me in my darkest moments. You were love when I didn’t know what love was, much less how to love you in return. You are so so good to me. I am so blessed. Even when I’m selfish, you love me. Even when I’m defensive, you love me. Even when I self sabotage, you love me. Even when I run scared, you love me. Even when I’m needy, you love me. Even when I’m emotional, you love me. Even when I’m insecure, you love me. Even when I am Gomer going back to the darkness time and time again, you love me. And I am such a Gomer. But the beauty of it, is that you love me too much to leave me that way and in that place. You hold my hand guide me out. You give me a way out. No matter how many times, I go back to those feelings and to that same dark place, you always stay. You always give me a way out. You always love me too much. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The good Lord knows better than me.

Father, for a few weeks now, I have tried to be silent, to listen twice as much as I speak, especially with You. Because honestly, I was tired of my own requests, my same old song and dance. I wanted to hear Your plan for me, not my own. My plans fall short every time, because they are focused on me and what I want, regardless of everything else going on in the world around me. I still want to talk with you and spend time with you so I’m gonna answer the bible study guide life application questions instead of making my usual list of silly hot mess express requests.

  • Have you wanted something that went against God’s desire or plan for you? What happened?

Yes, bless. Too often. I try to plan and orchestrate things the way I want. What I end up doing is forcing things that were never meant for me and I wind up gettin hurt. Ya girl is stubborn, Lord, but You already know and love me still. My devotional said: “When we are faced with obstacles, mountains, difficult decisions, and hard seasons, we must decide that more than we need answers, more than we need provisions, more than we need plans and clarity, we need Jesus. He is always the answer and He is always enough. He is the way, the truth, and the life and in Him, not only do we find all that we need, but we also find who we are. We are daughters and sons, loved by a kind and generous Father who went so far as to sacrifice His own son so that we could live in relationship with Him, no longer separated by sin.”

  • Do you relate more to Saul or David in your relationship with God right now?

I would love to say David, that I have a heart after You. But more often than not, ya girl is Saul, sittin pretty with a twisted heart. I am not David. The Pastor reminded us that we are not the hero in the story. We are not David. We’re the ones in need of saving, in need of Savior.

  • How has your relationship with God changed over time? How have you changed over time?

It’s an actual relationship now. I knew who You were when I first got saved and I knew what You did, but I had no clue how much more You were actually doing and would continue to do. I walk with You more often for sure. And good grief, we both know I talk a whole lot more.

I grew up for one thing. I went and got some maturity and wisdom. I found some peace and healing along the way too. Thanks for that, those things could only come from You.

  • Have you done a heart check recently? What did you discover about your own heart’s intentions?

Yes! I learned that I got a selfish heart more often than I’d like to admit. A heart entirely focused on what I want. I have to catch myself sometimes and remind myself that the world don’t revolve around me. I also go in the opposite direction, with a sense of false humility and pride that I am not good enough. But the truth is there is freedom in my relationship with You. Because thank goodness the world don’t revolve around me! And because I am not good enough, but my God, You are. You are even better than I know. You are working so much more than I can even understand.

  • Have you ever demanded something of God or from God? What happened?

Yes, I have begged, pleaded, bargained and tried to use every trick I got. You were smarter than all my schemes. Your plan was far superior. You knew what I needed, not just what I wanted. You have an eternity view. You see across time and space. My devotion also said: “So often in our walk with God, we want to do good, we want to step out in faith, we want to see miracles. So, just like Peter, we step out of our boat. We step out of our unhealthy lifestyles, our toxic relationships, our addictions, and our unbelief. We get excited. We feel hope. We feel invincible. Then, more often than not, we become afraid and we fall. Then we beat ourselves up, we become discouraged, and we start sinking beneath the waves of our shame. Christianity was never designed to make much of what man can do. The truth is we cannot do much on our own. John 15:5 says: I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. We find our purpose in Him. Not in our strength. Not in our talents. Not in our self-worth.”

So, here is my prayer today. I want to say thank you. Thank you for the freedom from my sin and my shame. Thank you for being better than me. Thank you for being holy and righteous and pure and just and merciful. Thank you for being the literal definition of peace and love and truth. Thank you for working every little detail out for my good and your glory. Thank you for letting me end up better than I’ve been. Thank you for teaching me and for allowing me to grow. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I follow you. I pray showing me the way. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

One day there’ll be no more children longing for home.

Ok, God. Lemme be real for a minute. Fostering is hard sometimes. Building trust is just plain hard. I know that consistency builds trust. I know that simply showing up builds trust. But God, I think I’ve made some progress and built some trust then something happens and it crumbles. I feel like I have to start all over building that relationship. The kid gets herself into trouble and obviously she has to build trust to be able to have privileges again, but it also feels like it’s me that has to work to build trust with her all over again. Sometimes I am planting seeds, I will never see the fruit for. And bless, that just stinks.

I was watching a sermon and TD Jakes said: “You can teach what you know, but you can only reproduce what you are.” Blessss, Lord, get my heart right so I can teach and reproduce what You need.

I started thinking about it, well probs over-thinking. Is that how You feel when I mess up?

When things happen that I don’t understand, my first instinct used to be to question You. Why God? Why did this bad thing happen? Why did I lose this or that? Why… Why… Why… Just like the kid who asks why every five seconds. And when I explain things to the kid there’s another why. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how much I explain the logic, reasoning, and rationale for my decision. The kid still does not understand why. Then there are other why questions, I just do not have an answer for, other than we live in a broken world, but baby girl, this is not our home, it won’t always be like this… one day, baby girl, one day every knee will bow, every tongue will confess…

Back in 2014, I had a lot of why questions. What I realize now as a foster parent is why comes from a lack of trust. I didn’t know it then, but Lord, You were starting a heart transplant on me that year. You were giving me a new heart.

So, here is my prayer. I am sorry for not trusting you. I am sorry for doubting you. Back when I was busy doubting, you taught me to be grateful for what I still had. When I was uncertain, you were completely certain. When I was unreliable, you were completely reliable. When I was apprehensive, you were completely patient. When I was all storms, you were all calm. Lord, you give me everything I need to thrive. You are always by my side. You are always intentional, always present, always consistent. You rescued me. You are the perfect parent. Lord, let me be like you. Lord, let my heart reflect yours. Lord, let me point them to you. Lord, let your will be done. Lord, let me reproduce more you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.