You are the potter, I am the clay.

I let the bitterness in again. It’s like people have a magnifying glass out ready to find my every flaw. Why do I let one bad thing try to mess with my whole day? Why do I dwell on these things? Eleanor Roosevelt said: “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” (I know because they told me so on The Princess Diaries!) Way too often I give people the consent to make me feel inferior or inadequate like I will never be good enough. I’ve heard it said 100 times: “you accept the love you think you deserve.” While that is true with others, I am so thankful that is not the case with you, Lord. You love me anyways.

“Change my heart oh God,
Make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God,
May I be like You.

You are the potter,
I am the clay,
Mold me and make me,
This is what I pray.”

My daddy taught me that we don’t try, we do. (See? I’m telling you, that man is full of cliches!) So, I am doing it. Lord, I am surrendering it all to you. I am giving it all to you. I let others move me when I should be letting you move me. I know that I am a work in progress. I know you aren’t done with me yet. Lord, I know you are working on my heart. This is not the finish line. I know I still have a lot to work on.

So, for my prayer today, I pray that you mold me in your image. I pray that you cut away the excess and use the good. I pray that you have patience with me. I pray that while I make mistakes, I learn from them. I pray that you see the good in me. Lord, keep preparing me to use for your glory. Keep reminding me that it is for your glory, not mine. Keep reminding me that your plan is much bigger than mine. Thank you for giving me a daddy to teach me these things and how to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Thank you for giving me wonderful friends that push me closer to you. Thank you for loving me even when I don’t deserve it. 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.

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Let the glory of the Lord rise among us!

This afternoon when I called my daddy, he was like, “Guess who I get to see this weekend?” I had no idea! Then he said the name of my favorite person in the whole wide world: Mr. George W. Bush! I literally screamed!! Then he told me all about the Lifeway Men’s Conference that he is going to and that he is going to be the main speaker. I was still screaming at this point. I was so excited and I’ll admit it, totally jealous. I can only imagine how wonderful that conference is going to be. Pandora as usual is spot on and playing “Let it rise” by Big Daddy Weave.

“Let the glory of the Lord
Rise among us
Let the glory of the Lord
Rise among us
Let the praises of the King
Rise among us
Let it rise”

Every single president’s project I did growing up was on Mr. George W. Bush. I admire his giving heart so much. I literally cry every year when I read about his bike ride for the Warrior 100K, a three-day bike ride to honor service members injured in Afghanistan and Iraq. I haven’t been on a bike since I was like 13 when my daddy tried to teach me how to ride and failed. (That whole balance and trust thing was not my strong suit.) Maybe I should get back on and try again. It’s never too late to learn right?

9/11 happened when I was in the 4th grade. I can remember exactly where I was sitting in class. I have never been more scared. I have also never felt more American and proud of my country and it’s leaders. The speech that Mr. George W. Bush made will stay with me forever. We had a prayer service at school after that and I remember singing Amazing Grace and all these patriotic songs and feeling so sad for the loss that America had just endured. Mr. George W. Bush did the impossible, he was the leader during one of the worst tragedies that this country has faced and with the utmost grace and compassion he picked us up and put us back together. He showed us hope and strength through Christ. He closed the speech with: “And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.” I saw people turn to God in a big way. I saw more prayers and more giving and love than any other time in my life.

So, today my prayer is for the conference. I pray for safe travels for everyone in attendance. I pray that they come with open hearts and feel closer to you after the weekend. I pray they take what they learn and share it with the world. I pray that they take Big Daddy Weave’s song with them. I pray for that they may shine light for you everywhere they go. I pray for the hotel staff, conference staff, and all the unsung heroes that help make conferences so wonderful. I pray for the town of Nashville, Tennessee where the conference is being held. I pray that you put your hands on Mr. George W. Bush, Mrs. Laura Bush and their family. I pray that you use him to speak for you and bring others closer to you. I pray that I continue to use what Mr. George W. Bush taught me when I was 10 years old in that 4th grade classroom. I pray that you guide him and protect him. I pray that you use him for your glory. I pray that I continue to lean on you and trust you. I pray that I continue to let you lead my life. 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.

It’s time for us to do something.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Today my friend, Mariah, told me this is her favorite verse. I have been thinking about the verse all day and how important it is to encourage and uplift those around you. I think too often we forget to take care of each other. We forget that we have no idea what battles other people are facing. We forget to be understanding and have compassion. We forget to cherish those around us. We forget to put our own issues aside for a minute and realize we are not the only ones having a rough time.

“So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’
He said, ‘I did, I created you’

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something”

So, with a heavy and willing heart, I pray for peace. I pray for love. I pray that you heal the hearts of those struggling. I pray they lay their trouble at your feet. I pray that they know you are strong enough to handle all their pain. I pray they surrender it all to you. I pray you change my heart and attitude. I pray that you open my eyes to those around me. I pray that you continue to burden my heart and let me know I am called do something. I pray that I apply Matthew West’s song to my life. I pray you never let me forget that I am yours. I pray that you use me. I pray you keep knocking on my heart. I pray that I remain eager to do your will. I pray that my passion for you continues. I pray I remember that I am created for a purpose. I pray that I remember that “I can do better and I have the responsibility to try.” I pray I am reminded often that what I say and do affects others. I pray I remember to be uplifting and supportive. I pray that I surround others with so much love that their day is just a little better. I pray that I share your light with everyone around me. I pray that I learn to show more kindness and have more compassion for others. I pray that I share your love and grace. I pray that you never stop working on my heart. 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’m running to Your arms.

My sister shared this video with me called Be Still from Trent Shelton. In the video he says “Too many times we let the fear of loneliness put us in situations that God never intended for us to be in.” Well call me out why don’t you. I mean, I am or have been on plenty of fish, match.com, christian mingle, and tinder. (Bless the heart of those on tinder, Lord they need you, myself included.) My sister tried to get me on farmersonly.com too. I am awkward and never left elementary school when it comes to dating. I am still waiting on one of my childhood best friends to tell me he loves me like my parents or Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World. I smile and run away. (Sometimes literally run.) I confuse friendship with guys for liking them all the time and it works out soooo great. I can’t keep a guy friend to save my life because I always thought that you had to be friends before a relationship could happen.

I am so busy looking for the fairytale that I feel like I am missing something. Trent also said “Sometimes that holding pattern that you don’t want, is the blessing that your life needs. Holding patterns are necessary because it allows God to properly prepare you for what He has for you.” Part of me is like “well how much preparing do I need?” The other part quickly responds with “clearly a lot.” Trent also mentioned “He first wants to make you His before He gives you to someone else.” Well how can I argue with that?

“You are joy, You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing

You are life, you are life
In You death has lost it’s sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough

And nothing compares
To Your embrace”

I have never been in a real relationship before. I had those boyfriends growing up that were just kinda in name only. We would talk on the phone or write notes in class but that was pretty much it. I have no experience at all. My parents were high school sweethearts and by the time they were my age they were married and already had me. I wanted that. (Maybe not the kid part, I’m not ready for that yet. I’d settle for a dog though.) I get so caught up in my own timing that I forget that God has bigger plans for my life. Or maybe it’s not about me. Maybe he needs more time. Maybe my future husband just isn’t ready yet.

So, that is my prayer. I pray that I learn to see your timing is better than my own. I pray that you are working on my heart. I pray that you are working on his heart. I pray for guidance, encouragement, and protection for him. I pray that he is running to you too. 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.

You are my sunshine.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away”

My daddy woke us up almost every morning with this song. We used to pretend we hated it and that he was sooo lame but the truth is that it is one of my favorite memories! My dad was always using songs or movies or cliches to teach us about life. I was watching Girl Meets World and the daughter on the show was telling Cory that he didn’t have anything else to teach her and I know I’ve said that 100 times but she learned at the end of the episode that daddy’s never stop teaching you.

1. “Can’t never could do nothing.” I heard this a million times growing up. “Whether you think you can or think that you can’t, you’re right.” Can’t was not an option in his house. You sit there until you figure it out. I am so beyond thankful for this lesson. My daddy never let me give up on anything, from weeding that awful flower bed to now, in college.

2. “Do you need the Rocky speech?” My daddy knew that life was hard sometimes but that was not the important part. The important thing was that you picked yourself up, dusted off, and went again. My daddy has a big heart and no matter how many times you tell him no or he’s not good enough or he can’t do that, he will prove you wrong. “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

3. My daddy taught me to have a servant’s heart. To give more than I take. That people matter and we have to take care of each other. My daddy is one of the most giving people I know. Whether it is some random guy at a gas station or the walmart parking lot or starting an outreach project at church, we have to give back. He taught us early on about doing the right thing and showing God’s love to everyone we meet. He likes to tell stories of how I used to run around with my bible as a kid but does he realize who taught me to do that?

4. It wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine with my daddy and me. Partly because we are so alike. We are both so passionate and opinionated and our way is the only right way. We saw things differently from time to time, because he was an adult I thought he meant he was the only one right but then he would say things like “Even a child is known by his doings.” That man confused me sooo much as a kid but I get it now. It wasn’t necessarily that I had a difference in opinion or thought. (Even though sometimes it was.) It was my attitude when I said it. I didn’t show respect. He had more years of experience and life knowledge and he knew it. I was my daddy’s strong willed girl though. So, when daddy said something I didn’t agree with I had to tell him. I felt like I had to teach him as much as he was teaching me. (Even though that drove him crazy sometimes.)

5. The most important lesson my daddy taught me that I am a princess, his princess and God’s. He taught me that I should be treated with respect and that I should be valued. He taught me how to wait and have patience. He taught me that I am worth waiting for.

“Hide your love away
Wait for me, wait for me
I will do the same
Wait for me, wait for me”

So, I pray that my daddy knows how much I love him. I pray that he knows he is useful and valued. I pray that he knows that I am still learning. I pray that I continue to see all the good in me that my daddy gave 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.

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

My mama called me today because she was so excited. She and her friend  from church started to memorize a bible verse every week and this was the first one. I have not memorized a verse like that since I was a kid and it was the coolest thing to do. Our Sunday school teacher would give us a sticker if we could say the verse to her each Sunday. (I liked stickers!!) I wish we all still had the hearts of children and couldn’t wait to learn more. I was so proud of my mama that it got me thinking about other things she taught me.

1. My mama taught me to take the high road. I had a little trouble learning this. It is so easy to be mean back when people are mean to you especially, in middle school when mean is all you know. It wasn’t until much later that I actually got the message. My mama is full of grace and she tried to teach me that people make mistakes and sometimes you just have to forgive them even when they do not ask for it. If you don’t, you let hate into your heart. You forgive them for their benefit and yours.

2. My mama taught me to think positively. When I was growing up, I discovered the word “whatever.” So she decided to make me say the “whatever verse” every time I said it.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I must have repeated this verse to her a million times. I could not forget it now if my life depended on it. I thought she was just trying to teach me not to say the word whatever. I had no idea that she was teaching me so much more than that. She was teaching me to take something negative and make it positive. She was teaching me to change my attitude and my thoughts. “Change your thoughts. Change your life.” I didn’t realize my mama was giving me the power to change my perspective and my outlook on life.

3. My mama taught me that girls are just as good as boys. She had to teach my daddy a couple of times too. My daddy told me and my sister that we couldn’t wear camo pants one time because boys wear camo. So what does my mama do? She took us to the store that day and we came home with pink sparkly camo pants! My daddy laughed so hard I think he cried. This was during the Mean Girls era and it was cool to wear camo pants. We wore those pants everywhere.

4. My mama taught me that no one will love me as much as she does. I watched Step Mom as a kid and feel in love with the song “Ain’t no mountain high enough.” The mom gets a hair brush and starts singing this song to her kids and they are just dancing and it is like the most adorable thing ever. The movie is about these two women raising these kids after the dad decides to remarry and I realized the other day that I have both mothers. I have the eccentric, fun, young, and creative mama but I also have the wise, strong, and perfect mama.

“There ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that my mama knows she is loved and that I learned a few things from her. I pray that she knows just how strong she is. I pray that I grow up to be half the woman she is. I pray that I take Psalm 27:1 and apply it to my life. I pray that she continues to share her light with the world. 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.

It ain’t yours to throw away!

“What if you’re just a vessel
And God gave you something special

It ain’t yours to throw away
It ain’t yours to throw away”

I heard this song that Scarlett and Gunnar sang on Nashville today and my heart started making those little butterflies in my stomach start soaring. I love this song! Scarlett had been going through a lot and Gunnar wrote her this song to let her know he still cares. (btw they are my favorite characters on the show.) I think we all need someone in our lives to remind us of that. God gave us certain abilities and talents and He gave them to us to go out into the world to use them to shine for Him. Sometimes, the ground seems shaky and I feel like I am being buried by the world but I have to remember that I am just a vessel and it ain’t mine to throw away. Such simple lyrics that have a big impact.

So, that is my prayer. I thank you for making me a vessel. Thank you for giving me something special. I pray that I remember that it ain’t mine to throw away. You have a purpose for my life. You know every single hair on my head. You know every flaw, every talent, every weakness, every strength. You made me just the way you wanted. I am perfectly and wonderfully made. It is not about how the world is against me. It’s about how you are for me. I pray I remember that. I pray that I use what you gave me to show the world just how amazing you are. 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.

 

Open the eyes of my heart Lord!

“Never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s opinion of you.” “Don’t let anyone ever dull your sparkle.” “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.” Sounds easy right? Well, not for me. I constantly let other people tell me that I am not good enough and list the reasons why I am not. I know that I am a child of God and that I am wonderfully and beautifully made for a purpose, but as soon as people say otherwise it catches me off guard. When this happens to other people or they say negative things; I immediately make them do what my mama made me do as a kid: a list of 10 positive things. So, for today’s prayer I am going to make my own list.

1. I have luscious, voluminous, long, thick hair. Ask the Watkins’ family! I told them all about my hair during our senior year spring break trip.

2. I am organized. I make really good lists. I am proactive. I am prepared and ready for anything. I have Mary Poppins bags. Whatever you need I probably have two, just in case.

3. I have twilight vampire Hazel eyes and they sparkle!

4. I love helping others. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn

5. I am really good at making others feel special. People need to be appreciated.

6. I am not fast at making decisions but when I do make a decision I am confident enough to stand behind my choices and defend them. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” — Ken Kesey

7. I have a southern accent and I am real proud of it. “Southern girls are God’s gift to the entire male population. There is absolutely no woman finer than one raised below the mason-dixon line and once you go southern may the good Lord help you-you never go back.” — Kenny Chesney

8. I see potential in people. “Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people,’ that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” — Peter F. Drucke

9. I believe that you catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar. “Leaders don’t force people to follow — they invite them on a journey.” — Charles S. Lauer

10. I am a leader. This is the one I have trouble with the most. People have been telling me my whole life that I am not, but they are wrong. I am a leader.  “To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!”— Lao-tsu

I am constantly trying to prove myself to others but the only opinion I should be concerned with is God’s. So, that is what I am praying for today. First, thank you for all the many ways that I am blessed. I am so grateful for these things in my life. I pray for reassurance. I pray for confidence. I pray that I learn to listen to you rather than the opinions of others. I pray that I remember how truly blessed I am. I pray that others see you in me. I pray that I make Michael W. Smith’s “Open the eyes of my heart” my theme song. I pray that I follow your will. I pray that I keep my eyes focused on 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.

This is where the healing begins!

Today, when it started raining at work my first thought was: “Oh great! I’m gonna get soaked when I leave!” But then I remembered a conversation I had with Christopher. We used to talk about our childhood all the time. I told him that my mama used to tell me that storms were when God threw a party because he was so happy someone came to Heaven. When he was a kid he was taught the same thing. We had a lot in common that way. I guess that’s why it was raining the morning Christopher left us. The rain was strangely comforting like I knew God had him and he was happy his son came home. I couldn’t really comprehend much that day other than the disbelief and confusion. In the coming months I got depressed and angry and went through so many emotions that I literally made myself sick for a long time. I still have days where I can’t get out of bed because the weight of the world seems like it is going to crush me and I feel claustrophobic.

Today, when it started raining my first thought was negative. But my second thought was a memory of Christopher and remembrance that every storm has it’s purpose and brings hope of finding a rainbow. Right after I started crying “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North came on my Mercy Me Pandora station. I felt my thoughts start to change right then. I immediately started talking to people nicer and feeling like me again, if only for a minute. I still don’t understand why he was taken from us and I probably won’t ever understand. All I know is that God needed him and had other plans for him. I am a planner, always have been. I was making schedules and plans and organizing things since I could talk. Which is why I am a public relations major, I was born to be in communications. I have been using those abilities and perfecting them since childhood and I didn’t even know it so the fact that I can use those talents to go out in the world and try to make a difference is really exciting. But it also is something that hurts me when things don’t go according to my plan. Christopher’s leaving was definitely not in my plan. God has bigger plans than I do though.

So, that is my prayer for today. I pray that I learn to accept that God has bigger plans than I do. I pray that I let “Healing Begins” be the theme song for my life, at least for a little while. I pray that I speak softer to people and find myself again. I pray that my negative thoughts are changed into positive ones. I pray for the others that were connected to Christopher. 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.