The house that built me.

Seventeen Magazine posted an article called “10 life lessons you learn from being in a sorority” by Alexandra Martell & Tess Koman. So it got me thinking about what I have learned being in Alpha Gamma Delta. (Plus as usual I love lists!)

1. “When you see a leadership opportunity, take it.”

Way to start off! I think that every single office is important and each office can make a difference. You can take any office and impact the entire function of the chapter. (Give them an inch and they can create miles.) Each office you take or committee you join or chair you lead will teach you something new.

2. “Time management is so important.”

With study hours, service hours, meetings, and so many events, you have to schedule and plan. If you want to go to that sisterhood event or that football game then you best get your homework done before you go. (My daddy taught me that!) I read one time that time should be seen as money. It was such a simple concept, that my time is worth something and I should use it sparingly and invest it.

3. “Being good at small talk is a difficult and underrated life skill.”

They talked about this at the SOLD conference on campus. The main speaker was James T. Robilotta and one of the sessions he did was about networking. In the session, he talked about how introverts don’t like small talk because they like in-depth conversations with a few people. I couldn’t agree more but being in Alpha Gamma Delta I learned how to reach out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know. (Turns out there are some pretty great people out there if you just talk to them.)

4. “You are able to fake confidence like a champ.”

Let’s face it, I am pretty stinkin amazing, but there are days when I think the whole world is against me. Sometimes you just have to push through and fake it ’til you make it.

5. “Networking is invaluable.”

In the networking session they talked about the “why.” The “why” you do what you do is the most important. It is was connects us as human beings and sets us apart as individuals.

6. “You don’t have to be friends with everyone.”

Could someone have told me this in middle school? (It would have saved me a lot of trouble!)

7. “But you do have to know how to be nice—not fake—to people you don’t like.”

Isn’t that a concept? I’ve heard too many times that being nice to everyone is fake, but it’s not. It’s part of growing up.

8. “You can be charitable in ways you didn’t realize you could be.”

There are so many ways to get involved. Sometimes it just takes one person to step up and say “hey, I wanna do this.”

9. “You can be a role model, even when you don’t feel that special.”

I am reminded of this constantly! You never know when people are watching. You are leading people with every action, every word, every breath. Take the time to value the impact and legacy you are leaving.

10. “You are always capable of more than you think.”

I learned this big time. These women have pushed me harder and expected more out of me that I could ever imagine, but you know what? I thrived and even when I didn’t think I was going to, someone was there to help me.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for teaching me and leading me. Thank you for the opportunities that I have been given. Thank you for putting the right people in my life. Thank you for showing me your love and mercy through them. I pray that they continue to thrive and impact the world. I pray that they know just how wonderful they are. I pray they see just how blessed they are. Thank you for the past few years here. Thank you for letting me grow here. Thank you for everything I learned here. 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 leave a legacy.

Tonight, some of my sisters decided to start serenading me with Rascal Flatts songs then Carrie Underwood. (Needless to say I bawled my eyes out.) They added lyrics about squirrels and other Alpha Gam things, which totally had me laughing. (It was so precious!) First they sang Don’t Forget to Remember Me. Don’t those silly girls know I could never forget them? They have truly touched my life in more ways than I can count.

They ended with changing the lyrics to Mama’s Song. Which was kinda perfect because sometimes, as president, I felt like a mom. I worried about them and wished for them only the best. I prayed for them and tried to take care of them as best I could. I tried to help them and show them their potential. So, when they sang this one to me, I kinda lost it. (Tears were everywhere!) Here is what they changed the lyrics to:

“Alyssa, you taught me to do the right things.
So, now you have to let your baby fly.
You’ve given me everything that I will need.
To make it through this crazy thing called life.
And I know you watched me grow up,
and only want what’s best for me.
And I think I found the answer to your prayers.

And Alums are good, so good.
She treats your sisters,
like a real sister should.
She is good, SO good.
Alums makes promises they keep.
No, she’s never gonna leave.
So, don’t you worry about AGD.
Don’t you worry about AGD.

Alyssa, there’s no way you’ll ever lose me.
Giving me away is not goodbye.
As you watch me walk down to my future,
I hope tears of joy are in your eyes. “

I hope that’s true. I hope I taught them a little because they definitely taught me a lot. I hope I left a legacy.

So, that is my prayer. I pray they see how beautiful and smart and talented and kind they are. I pray they thrive and succeed. I pray I touched their lives because they surely changed mine. I hope they fly this next year and every year after that. I hope they see all the potential I see in them. I pray they go out into the world and use their talents and gifts. I pray they make an impact on this campus and this community. I pray they know just how much I love them and cherish them. I pray they continue to grow and learn from each other. I pray they know I will always be here for them and only wish them the best where ever we go. I hope they saw you in me at least once or twice. I pray that I left them something good. 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’ll see you again some day.

Last night, when we went to see Mockingjay Part 1, they played like 30 minutes of previews and like 75% of the previews had movie release dates for March 15. All I could think was that was the day we found out. I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was still there. As our birthday gets closer, the worse I feel. Someone told me that this first birthday, since he left, would be the hardest. She said after this year I would be able to learn how to celebrate for the both of us, but for this one I could just feel whatever I needed to.

When I got home, I saw this video from Trent Shelton.

In the video, what got me first was when he said he was “thinking he should have prayed for you more.” I wish I would have prayed for him more. We talked all the time about the importance of prayer. When I was a kid, I would just talk to You like You were right there beside me. I would tell You everything. I prayed for everyone around me. (Sometimes, this took a while because I would literally sit there coming up with names of people I knew so I could pray for them too.) I think I lost some of that as I got older, but I’m trying to get it back this year. I think I’m learning how to pray all over again.

After Christopher left, I felt a lot of things. I felt sick (a lot). I felt regret for every single stupid thing I had ever said. I felt sadness for the people who loved him. I felt anger that he wasn’t getting the future he planned. I felt confusion and disbelief that he was really gone. I felt a whole mix of emotions I had never felt before.

This song has been replaying in my head for a couple of weeks now.

I miss him. I miss how he made me and everyone around him feel special. I miss how kind he was. I miss how I felt like he understood me. I miss our car talks. He knew just how to push my buttons. He told me one time that he knew exactly how I thought so he knew exactly what he could say to make me crazy. He knew just how to send me over-analyzing everything. He could say one thing to me and send my brain into overdrive for months. What I miss most was his relationship with You. We both had a strong foundation that we got during our childhood and could reminisce about. We were trying to hold onto that foundation and strengthen that relationship with You.

At the end of the video, Trent says he learned three things from his loved one:

1. “John 3:16” Which is: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

2. “To never live in regret, but in appreciation.”

3. “Don’t pass away with me, but keep what I believed in alive through you.” 

So, that is prayer. I pray that he is doing well in Heaven. I pray that I’ll get to see him again when I meet you. I pray for his loved ones. I pray for healing for them and for myself. I pray that I continue to lean on you. I pray that I remember to pray for those around me more. I pray that I learn to live in appreciation. I pray for forgiveness. I pray that I remember what you taught me through him. I pray that I continue to grow with you. I pray that I start showing more kindness and love to those around 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.

You’re making this life so beautiful.

Today, is gonna be a good day. I am so ready for today. Class got pushed back by half an hour so, I get to sleep a few more minutes. We have a busy day ending with Thanksgiving Dinner with my sisters and then we’re going to see the next Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 1. (Which I’m totally not ready for! I’m gonna cry my eyes out when Peeta gets hurt!)

I’ve been thinking about this song today and all the beauty that today holds. (And I don’t just mean my face because we are taking hundreds of pictures today! Even though my outfit is pretty great today!)

Lord, there is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. Like what direction my life is headed in after college, but I’m laying it all at Your feet. I want to be lost in You. I’m giving You my life. Lead me where You want me. I am getting closer and closer to the next stage and as scary as it is, I am so ready for it. I’m ready to get out there and do something. I’m ready to begin the next chapter. The more lost I became this year, the more I found You. I think I needed to let go of some of me, to find more of You. I still have things to work on. I am a work in progress. You are guiding me and giving my life new meaning. Lord, You are changing my heart this year. I am learning a lot. I am being put to the test this year. I am being pushed harder than ever. I am realizing things that I hadn’t before. I am leaning on You and trusting You in ways I haven’t done.

“I’m after Your heart. You’ve stolen mine”

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for today. Thank you for letting me see the beauty in today. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for opening my eyes. Thank you for the many blessings in my life. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for setting me free and taking away the chains. Thank you for being strong enough. Thank you for waking me up today with purpose. Thank you for showing me the good in the small things. I pray that I continue to see the beauty in what you gave us. I pray that I continue to grow in you. I pray I keep moving forward. I pray that while I’m scared that I don’t lose sight of you. I pray that I put my worry and stress at the feet of the cross. I pray that I focus 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.

He can handle it.

Yesterday, my heart was real heavy. For some reason, the devil was just working really hard yesterday. There was a lot of worry and stress and heartache. (So, since I’m already sad what do I do? Watch a Christmas movie where the mom dies.) As my birthday gets closer the more nervous I get. I’m so anxious about that day. What I realized yesterday was that I am not alone in my grief. My friends are missing him too. My best friend is missing her grandpa. A woman is missing her daughter.

My first thought was I can’t handle this. I’m not strong enough to deal with this much. Then I realized that’s the point. I am not built to handle this. I am not built to deal with this. I am not built to understand this. I am built to fall to my knees. I am built to bring my burdens and worry and heartache to You. I am built to come to You because You can handle it.

Psalm 55:22 says if we cast our burdens on You, You will sustain us. Even in the middle of my bad mood, I realize how big I’m blessed. Lord, You will sustain us. You will not only take care of us; You will strengthen us. You will support us and carry our burdens. We are Your children.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for sustaining me. Thank you for strengthening me. Thank you carrying my burden. Thank you for doing the same for everyone around me. Thank you for supporting my friends and family. Thank you for loving them even more than I do. Thank you for taking care of them. Lord, thank you for being strong enough. Lord, thank you for being more than enough. 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 redeemed.

I absolutely love fairy tales. I love that they teach that love always wins. So, of course when the show, Once Upon A Time, started I was all for it. I love that the lines between good and evil are not always black and white. That even the best people have their weaknesses and even the ones you think will always be the villain, have some good in them. I love that the villains and heroes are not born that way, but they chose to be that way. I love that they have a choice in their actions and a choice in how their stories are written. I think we are all given the freedom of choice. Everything we do is our choice, You just know what we are going to choose before it happens. You gave us life, but what we do with it is up to us.

On the last episode they said that forgiveness was earned.  I agree that when we do something wrong we should apologize and try to make up for it. I don’t think that forgiveness is earned. I don’t think that any amount of good deeds makes up for our mistakes. We are sinners. We are not perfect. I was always taught that Your love was pure; that there were no strings attached. We just have to believe in You. We simply call Your name and ask for forgiveness and confess that You are God. Lord, I believe that you forgave me even though I don’t deserve it. That You took away the darkness and made it light. You took away my sin. That doesn’t mean we should be complacent in our wrongdoings. I believe that because we are forgiven and loved that purely, that we should want to share that love and strive to be better. That doesn’t mean we won’t fall sometimes, but it does mean that we will try harder to be better next time. I believe we are called to live in a way that will honor you. I believe that you saved me for a reason. There is a purpose for my life. I believe that when we accept You into our lives that we are changed. We are redeemed.

When I was younger, in children’s church they always taught it to us by having us make these “salvation bracelets” that were made with different colored beads. Black is our sin which separates us from You. Red is because You died on the cross for our sins. White is our new lives in You because You cleansed all our sins. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 Blue is for our baptism when we confess You are God. Green is for our growth in You and our faith. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 Gold is for the promise that one day we will meet You in Heaven.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for your grace and salvation. Thank you for loving me with a pure love. I pray that I show more of your love and unselfishness. I pray that I learn to forgive more easily. I pray that I give more to those around me. I pray that I strive to be better for you. I pray that I use the life you gave me. I pray that I grow in you. I pray that I use my life to serve you. I pray that I use my life to lift your name 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.

I’m standing strong, but I’m still on my knees praying.

I found this article today. I didn’t realize how much it would apply to me. All of them hit home, but there were a few that just completely explain my life.

17 Things Former Bullied Kids Do A Little Bit Differently As Adults by: Kovie Biakolo

3. “Being vulnerable with people will always be a slightly terrifying experience for you. Probably because you realized early on just how awful people can be.”

Sometimes, I literally have nightmares. I’m scared to let them in. What if they judge me or think I deserved it or that it was my fault? Sometimes, I just wanna hide it all away. I’m not comfortable being vulnerable and showing weakness. I have a problem with trusting people with so much. What if I give you that little part of me and you leave me or decide I’m not worth the trouble?

10. “It’s easy for you to get very defensive about personal issues that you struggle with.”

I know what my issues are. I’m working on them. I do not need to be reminded of my issues. I am painfully aware of them.

11. “Humor is almost always your defense mechanism to deal with the issues that have the potential to personally hurt you.”

I should probably apologize to my person for this one. I tend to make things real awkward. Sometimes, I would rather have the power and be the one making fun of myself than everyone else doing it. The truth is, just because I’m laughing and try to make a joke out of it, doesn’t make it funny. It just makes people really uncomfortable.

“13. You can spot adult bullies from a mile away and you either avoid them like the plague or are not afraid to confront them at every turn.”

15. “Having to “take crap” from anyone or anything is like re-living bad memories from your childhood. And you will almost always refuse to do it, no matter the consequences.”

I have a slight problem with authority now. I tend to get real defensive. I tend to think everyone is out to get me. I don’t like constructive criticism of any sort. I will avoid it like the plague.

16. “You find it difficult to admit to anyone including yourself, that there are certain words or actions that will always remind you of the scars you obtained from childhood.”

There are some things that I still can’t get over even though it was a long time ago. There are some scars that just don’t fade as quickly.

17. “Some days you feel like the little child who can still get hurt easily when you remember the past; other days because of that past, you feel like there’s not a single thing in the world that can ever really hurt you again.”

Sometimes, I’m so fragile that it feels like anything could break me. I have to remind myself that nothing in this world could ever break me. Lord, You saved me.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that on the bad days, I remember how blessed I am. I pray I remember that you love me. That you gave it all for me. That you would have done it for just me. I pray I remember that while scars don’t ever fully leave, they do hurt less. I pray that I remember that I am not broken. I pray I remember that not everyone will hurt me. That it’s ok to show my vulnerability and let people in. That it’s also ok to be strong and careful. I pray that I work on my defense mechanisms. I pray that I lean on you when I need it. I pray that I always come to you when I feel weak or lost. I pray that I remember that I am yours. 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.