Even in my weakest moment I can feel You closin’ the distance.

Today, I was scrolling through my twitter feed and @JesusGraces posted this: “When we can’t piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together.” All it took was a five minute break from my to-do list to see that tweet and hear this song.

Lord, you amaze me. You are speaking to my heart when I don’t even realize it. When I get overwhelmed, I start to think I have no control. What I need to realize is that I never have control. You do. I need to surrender it all to you. I need to stop trying to manage it all myself and stop trying to deal with everything. I am not a miracle worker. Sometimes I am not even a functioning human being. There are some things that even I can’t fix. (And I am a total fixer!)

I try so hard to be perfect for everyone that I wind up completely failing everyone. Then when people complain about something I am doing, I just want to give up. I go straight to thinking “why do I even try?” I try because I love. I love everything I am doing. I don’t do anything without 100%. I am not a halfway kind of girl. My daddy taught me that. If you aren’t gonna do it full out, you might as well not do it. I try so hard to make things better, to help people. If intention was what counted, I would be a winner every single time!

In the last couple of days, I have felt like nothing I do is good enough. No matter what I do, there is something that one person would do better. (And ohhh how they love to tell me so.) It’s like that saying: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” (I was born in Georgia and they are known for their peaches! Like I’m totally a peach!)

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, what I need to realize is that without You, I am nothing. I need you to take my puzzle pieces and put them together. I pray that you keep shaping me. I pray that I keep realizing that I need you. I pray that you continue to open my eyes. Lord, help me to stop listening to others and listen to you. I pray that I learn to give you control over my life.  Lord, I pray that you keep my heart open and to keep trying. I pray that I never give up. 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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I want to show the world the love You gave for me.

I started watching the show Felicity (you know, way back from my childhood in 1998). At the end of the 6th episode one of the characters says a quote from a W.H. Auden poem:

“If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me.”

I started thinking about this quote. I really liked it. I like that it could be applied in so many ways. It could be used with people that don’t like you, because we are taught to love our enemies. We are taught to “kill them with kindness.” When I was younger, I thought that was being fake. It didn’t take long into my college experience to realize that being nice to people you don’t like or that don’t like you is part of growing up. Sometimes you simply have to be the bigger person. Sometimes you have to learn to take things that upset you with a grain of salt. You come out a stronger person for it.

My first thought was about the kind of person I wanted to be. I want to love more in friendships, in relationships, and with my family. I want show the world as much love as I can. I want to keep loving even when life gets rough and people try to steal my joy. I want to love without abandon. I want to love without holding back. I want to love without ceasing. I want to always give more than I think I can.

Then I realized that Your love is like that quote. You love us more than we could ever love you. You will always love more. You created us. You created a purpose in us. We are Yours. I want to try to show more love to You and to everyone You created. I want to show more appreciation and gratitude for that love. I want to say thank you. I am not perfect, but You love me anyways. You forgive me, time and time again. You never stop loving me or show me any less love, despite my sins. You show me compassion and understanding. You show me forgiveness and healing. You show me more love than I can even comprehend. I want to love more like You. I want to show more of You. I want to give more of Your love.

So, that is prayer today. I pray that I am more loving in as many ways as possible. I pray that I am more loving to those who don’t show love to me. I pray that I am more loving to my friends and family. I pray that one day I am more loving to my husband. I pray that where ever he is, he is doing well. I pray that I am more loving to you. I pray that I am showing more of your love to others. Thank you for showing me your love. 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.

We won’t be ruined.

Thought Catalog posted this article called “10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be” by Tim Hoch.

1. “You ascribe intent.”

Way to start the article off by calling me out. This first one caught my attention and really got me thinking. I do this way too often. I take things too personally. I take them straight to my heart and I dwell on them for days. I let one little thing that one person said affect my whole outlook. I try to stay very positive, but if I’m being honest with myself, it doesn’t take much to take away my positivity. I need to work on this. I need to stop jumping to conclusions about other’s behaviors and opinions towards me.

2. “You’re the star of your own movie.”

“…people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, your movie is ruined.”

I need to remember to give my script to You, Lord. I am not the star here, You are. I need to remember that you write better stories than I ever could. I need to remember that you have the control over my life. I need to stop letting others have power over me. I need to stop imagining what is happening next and just enjoy the present.

3. “You fast forward to apocalypse.”

Tim Hoch, how do you know my life so well? Like I do this daily! I have gotten better at this though. All through high school I did this! When bad things happen I was always ready for the worst. It’s good to be prepared, but I needed to calm down. Sometimes the mountains really are just molehills.

4. “You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.”

We are taught as children when you need something communicate it. (For a little while we communicate by crying and screaming. Maybe I just didn’t learn past that baby stage.) I expect people to do things because that is what I would do, but not everyone can read my mind. No one knows what I want or need until I tell them.

5. “You are waiting for a sign.”

I don’t think I have a problem waiting, rather than missing the signs that are blatantly obvious to everyone else. Sometimes, I am completely clueless.

6. “You don’t take risks.”

I got this one. I think I am too good at this one. Every single time I like a guy, I make some kind of declaration and tell him. It is unbearably awkward. I watch too many rom coms where people don’t tell each other that they love each other. So, I got it in my head that I wasn’t going to be that person. I was going to admit my feelings and let the pieces fall where they may. I had this idea that one day someone would like me back and it would make sense why the others never did.

7. “You constantly compare your life to others.”

Ok. I get it. I’m working on it. This one has been told me to quite a few times lately.

8. “You let other people steal from you.”

“If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.”

This one. I can’t even. My mind is blown. Wow. I never thought of it like that, but it totally clicked.

9. “You can’t/won’t let go.”

“These are getting a little harder aren’t they?”

I’m sitting here agreeing that the list is getting harder, but I had no idea how deep things were about to get.

“Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?”

Woah! This is where I started crying.

Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to ‘manage’ your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.”

Excuse me, Tim Hoch, have we met? Because you seem to know way too much about me. I am so glad he said there was no such thing as closure. People have talked about closure a lot, especially right after the funerals. I never found any. I never understood what it meant. I know they are in Heaven. I have faith in that. I have faith that You are taking care of them and of me and all the people that loved them. I may not have found closure but I did find a better relationship with You, Lord.

10. “You don’t give back.”

“One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.”

I love this one!! He said “get involved in life.” I love that especially since I felt like I was watching my life slip away. I was sitting on the sidelines of my own life. I felt like I had no control over anything. I felt like things and people were being taken from me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Then I remembered this song.

So, this is my prayer. I pray that I take Love & The Outcome’s song with me this week. I pray that I remember that you are with me always. I pray that I remember this list. I pray that I continue to grow. I pray that I continue to work on my relationship with you and with those around me. I pray that I keep trying. I pray that I keep moving. 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 here for a reason.

“Every breath that you take has meaning
You are here for a reason”

I think we forget that sometimes. We forget that people are watching our every move. We are leading others without even noticing. We are changing their lives. We are impacting their future with our actions. We are modifying their outlook on life. It’s like that saying I heard that “people are not against you, they are just for themselves.” We are so consumed with ourselves that we forget that we make a difference to those around us. We matter; what we do and say matters. We are shaping the next generation. We have the power to create a positive environment for them. We have the power to change the outcome. Reba said that “love always wins.” We have the power to prove that. We have the opportunity to show Your love to them.

“You’re not forgotten
You’re not alone
You think you’re worthless, but you’re worth it
And He calls you His own
Made in His image
You were made for more”

Lord, You have a plan for my life. Lord, You made me and everyone else for a specific purpose. You made us for a reason. You are watching over us. You have a system and strategy for our lives. You made each of us with intention. You know every hair on our heads. (I know I say this a lot but it totally resonates with me because I have A LOT of hair!)

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I take the gifts and talents and abilities you gave me to use for the greater good, for your good. I pray that I remember that I changed by you. I pray that I follow your plan and your design. I pray that I take the opportunities you give me. I pray that I create a more positive environment for others around me. I pray that I show love even when I don’t feel loved. I pray that I show compassion and empathy even when I am having a bad day. I pray that I show grace even when I feel the ground shaking beneath me. I pray that I lead others to you. I pray that I remember that everything has meaning and purpose, including me. I pray that I keep looking for you in everything I do and everywhere I go. I pray that I remember that I am called for a reason, that I serve a purpose in this world. I pray that I take the Ashes Remain song with me this week and learn from 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.

I am loved.

“I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
and made
Something out of nothing”

Saturday was Homecoming and it was one of those absolutely perfect days. Nothing spectacular happened. I was just surrounded by my littles and my best friend and my sisters and it was just perfect. (I looked good too! I had my red cowboy boots on and a blue dress! I felt great!) Then the next two days my self esteem was tested and my confidence shaken. All I wanted to was cry. So, I took a drive to Walmart to get some Tylenol for my headache and Francesca Battistelli’s song came on the radio and the lyrics were exactly how I was feeling. It was just the reminder I needed to hear.

“I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh”

I forget that sometimes. I forget that I am not a mistake. I make mistakes but I am not a mistake. I am not perfect. Sometimes I am misunderstood. Sometimes I forget things. Sometimes I fall short to other’s expectations. Sometimes I don’t explain things as well as I want to. Sometimes I fumble with my words. Sometimes I wear my heart on my sleeve. Sometimes I am not as composed as I would like to be. Sometimes I am weak.

“He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King,
His forever, held in treasure…
I am loved”

Lord, you are strong. You are strong enough to carry me. You are strong enough to carry all my baggage. You love me when I feel lost or unwanted or undervalued or misunderstood. I heard this quote that says “Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.”

I was about to go to bed then I saw this video, which totally related to what I was thinking about today. In the video, Jefferson talked about Zephaniah 3:17.

“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I remember that I am yours. I belong to you. I am your child. I am forever changed. I pray that I remember where I fail, you succeed. Thank you for being on the ground with me. Thank you for loving me in my struggle. I pray that I focus on your love. I pray that I keep my eyes on you. I pray for forgiveness for my shortcomings. I pray for guidance. I pray that you keep leading me. I pray that I follow you more. Thank you for reminding me that I need you. Thank you for never leaving 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.

There’s a hand still holding me.

I woke up this morning fully ready to just go back to sleep. I felt fine, I was just in a mood where I wasn’t ready to face the day. I went to check my phone and I looked at Facebook then my timehop. My timehop one year ago was a conversation I had with Christopher. He was upset about something and his response was priceless: he said he wanted to go to church. I texted Dallas immediately! The guy was perfect! When the world got him down, he just raised himself up higher towards You. When he was upset all he wanted was You, Lord. I need to be more like that. I think I’m learning that this year, Lord. I think I’m learning to fall to my knees in awe of You. Lord, I need to learn to trust You more. My timehop two years ago was when I got one of my littles, Diamond. Three years ago was when I saw Eric Church at Bayfest and the next day I had lost my voice and Dallas told me I sounded like Darth Vadar. See? Apparently today was just meant to be a good day.

“There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it”

(btw it’s totally raining outside!! It’s gonna be a good day!!)

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I go to you when I feel shaky. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that when I start to fall I remember who is catching me. I pray that I take Danny Gokey’s song with me. I pray that you still keep showing me your love and faithfulness. I pray that I keep seeing all the good you do for me. I pray for strength and guidance. I pray you keep showing me that you have me, that no matter how old I get I am your child. I pray that you keep holding me. I pray that I keep looking to you. I pray for my future husband, where ever he is. I pray that he has a good day today 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.

He knows.

The closer is gets to our birthday, the worse I feel. The anxiety I have built up towards that day is growing with each passing day. My best friend brought me a copy of this devotion last semester after Christopher left us that was simply titled: “Jesus Knows.” The devotion wasn’t long, but it was exactly what I needed and still need. I keep the copy in my bag so I can look at it when I need the reminder. The devotion said this: “Jesus tells us in John 16:33 we will suffer here. But here’s the best part: ‘I have conquered the world,’ He said. Whatever you’re going through, Jesus knows. He weeps with you and wants to hold you, Let Him.” How did she know this was exactly what I needed to hear? Because You knew. You have a hand on us even when we feel completely alone and useless.

“He Know, He Knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He Knows, He Knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
Who Knows
He Knows”

I’ve heard it said that You won’t bring us to anything that we can’t overcome, but I heard a counter argument to that I liked. The rebuttal stated that You will bring us to things we can’t handle so that we will come to You and give our burdens to You. So, we will lay our burdens down at the feet of the cross and let You save us.

At the end of the devotion is a prayer. “Father, thank you so much for the loved ones you have given us. May we love them well, and love you, in return.”

So, my prayer today is this: I wanna say thank you. Thank you for giving me people to love. Thank you for the time I did have and the memories I made. Thank you for knowing. Thank you for holding me. Thank you for sending people into our lives. Lord, I know I could not overcome anything alone. I know that I am weak and you are strong. I know that I need to lay my pain at your feet. I know that you are bigger than my suffering. Thank you for conquering all the pain and suffering in the world. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending people to lift me back up and helping me look to 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.

Love, love, love, I still believe in you.

Yesterday, I made a list of what kind of woman I wanted to be. Today, I was thinking about what I kind of man I wanted to find.

“I still believe in fairy tales
I still believe in picking flowers
I still believe in getting lost in someone’s eyes
And talking for hours
I still believe in shooting stars
I still believe in midnight drives
And butterflies you get
Right before you kiss for the very first time

I still believe in miracles
I still believe in wedding rings and bibles”

So, here is the list I came up with:

1. Basically Eric Church: Guys Like MeA Man Who Was Gonna Die Young (I already mentioned this song, but come on? That last part of the song is perfect: “So baby, when you bow your head tonight. Could you tell the Lord I’ve changed my mind?And with you I’d like to live forever.”)

2. I want someone as patriotic as Toby Keith. (I mean I’m not called America for nothing.)

3. I want someone to take me fishing after church on Sunday.

4. I want someone who pushes me. I want us to make each other better just being together.

5. I want a relationship like that old couple I met at church. They hold hands during the service every single Sunday. (It’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.)

6. I want someone who grow closer to You with. I want someone with a servant’s heart.

7. Words of affirmation is my love language. So, this could either be really easy because the way to my heart is to simply tell me they love me. But, it’s a double edged sword because the quickest way to hurt me is to say something negative to me. Even if I say that I let it go, it will replay in my head, always telling me I’m not good enough.

8. I want someone to build a home with. That white house with blue shutters and red front door. I want a wrap around porch with a porch swing where we can plan our lives together and drink sweet tea. I want the white picked fence. (Did you notice that it’s red, white and blue? I mean seriously, they call me America for a reason.)

9. I want someone I can pray with.

“Lord I’ve been prayin’
For somebody I’ve never seen

I’ve been gettin’ so lonesome
Waiting for him to come around
But if you’re teaching me patience
I’m willing to wait this one out

I’ll be patient

Lord take your sweet, sweet time”

So, that is my prayer. I pray that I never stop believing in love like Jana Kramer’s song. I pray that I remember Marie Miller’s song and keep praying for him. I pray that I live that quote about getting so lost in you that he has to look towards you to find me. I pray that when I meet the person you want me to be with that we grow with you. I pray that he is doing well, wherever he is. I pray that he leans on you. I pray that he finds strength in you. I pray that no matter who he is that he loves you, first and foremost. I pray that you guide him and protect him. I pray that you keep watching over him and keep your hand on his life. I pray that he knows he is never alone. I pray that he knows he is loved by you. I pray that our relationship revolves around you, Lord. 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.

And loves me like Jesus does.

Part 7 of the How to be Awesome series is “If you want to see different results, do things differently.”

In the video, she asks us what is something we would like to see improve about ourselves. (I know these people aren’t perfect. No human being is, but these people have qualities I admire.) So, since I love lists so much, here is mine:

1. I want a confidence like Blair Waldorf and still have that vulnerability and feminism. I wanna fight for love as hard as she does. (Plus she rocks some really pretty hair and she’s totally why I started wearing headbands and bows in my hair. Having her wardrobe wouldn’t hurt either!)

2. I want a heart like Miranda Lambert. I wanna stand up for myself and for others like she does too. (I totally wouldn’t mind that new bed and breakfast she just opened too! That place is gorgeous! Her wedding looked pretty stinkin perfect too. Plus Blake Shelton is pretty adorable.)

3. I want to have class, sophistication, and grace like Kate Middleton.

4. I want to inspire others and praise You the way that Britt Nicole does.

5. I want to live my values like Jamie Grace. (I could totally rock her cowboy boot collection too!)

6. I want to be fearless and a pioneer like Kimberly Perry. (I would love to whip my hair around like she does too!)

7. I want to feel completely content being exactly who I am like Taylor Swift.

8. I want to have Reba’s family values. (Plus her hair always has that perfect southern volume.)

9. I want to basically want be Eric Church’s wife. The songs he sings about her: Like Jesus Does, You Make it Look Easy, and A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young. (My heart just swoons with every lyric!)

“I’m a long-gone Waylon song on vinyl,
I’m a back row sinner at a tent revival,
But she believes in me like she believes her Bible,
And loves me like Jesus does.”

10. I want to have strength like in She Don’t Tell Me to by Montgomery Gentry.

11. I want to be the girl in Me and God Love Her by Toby Keith.

12. I want a voice and charm like RaeLynn. (Clearly I am never going to be able to sing like her, but she’s just absolutely adorable and completely southern.)

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I always strive to be better. I pray that I realize perfection is not going to happen but that I keep growing. I pray that I keep learning from others. I pray that I keep pushing myself. I pray that I get closer to you. I pray that you keep guiding me and challenging me. I pray that I become the woman that you created me to be. 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 love you this much.

“Invest in people who invest in you” is part 6 of the How to be Awesome series. I have step 6 on lock. Like I am totally good at this one. I know how to pick people. There is a quote from Oprah that says “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” When I was the sisterhood coordinator like almost two years ago, that quote was the theme for the retreat. Like I totally got this.

In the video, she says: “When you invest in people who invest in you, you are going to be rich. Rich in awesomeness. Rich in happiness. Rich in everything.” I wasn’t always good at this though. There were days, years even, when I surrounded myself with negative people. I let them control my life which wasn’t fair to them or me. When I got older I realized that there was no point to that. The only thing I was doing by being around these people was holding myself back from my full potential, from being happy. I was worth more than I was giving myself credit for. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of someone’s time and energy. I am worthy of compassion. I am worthy of joy. I am worthy of sincerity. I am worthy of forgiveness. You taught me that. Even if the whole wide world was against me, You would still be for me. You died for me!

“His arms were stretched out
As far as they’d go
Nailed to the cross
For the whole world to know

I love you this much
And i’m waiting on you
To make up your mind
Do you love me too?
How ever long it takes
I’m never giving up no matter what
I love you this much”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that continue to invest in people who invest in me. I pray that I continue to surround myself with people who bring me closer to you. I pray that I continue to surround myself with people who build me up. I pray that I take Jimmy Wayne’s lyrics with me. I pray that I keep looking to you. I pray that I remember who much you love me. I pray that I remember that you died for me. I pray that I remember that your arms are open for me. I pray that I keep running to you. I pray that I continue to be in awe of you and your love. I pray that I share your love with others. 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.