Into marvelous light I’m running.

Winter’s Tale was one of those movies that made me think.

We didn’t even realize that Will Smith was going to be in the movie, but he was amazing. He scared us and left us in awe, at the same time. I thought that was more accurate than the devil we usually see with the pitch fork and horns. Satan was an angel, so wouldn’t he be beautiful? Plus if he’s completely scary and ugly then why would anyone listen to him? I always thought he was supposed to be like cunning, charming, and manipulative.

In the movie, Satan gave the characters the freedom to choose. This was very different from what we usually see, but I thought it was more realistic. Like You, Satan gives us the choice. We have complete freedom to decide what we want to do, but we have to deal with the consequences of those choices.

Then today, I was listening to my Into the Woods soundtrack for the millionth time.

“Witches can be right, Giants can be good.
You decide what’s right you decide what’s good
Someone is on your side
OUR side
Our side–
Someone else is not
While we’re seeing our side
Our side..
Our side–
Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.
No one is alone.”

I’ve always known that Satan wasn’t alone, but I’ve never thought about it much, to be honest. I realized that at some point in their lives, they have done something good. I believe in the good in people. I believe everyone has at least one redeeming quality. I believe that You are with everyone. I believe that You love each and every one of us, even if we turn away from You. I believe that even the darkest person can turn to You and be used. I believe we all have a purpose. I believe You can use us all. I believe we can all be the light and bring glory to You.

When my friend and I were talking about Winter’s Tale a while ago and she brought up this quote from Mark Twain. He said: “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”

So, that is my prayer today. I am praying for all the people I forgot and that you never will. I’m praying for Satan. I’m praying for the people following him. I’m praying for the people against you. I’m praying for the people that hate you. I’m praying for the very people that need you most. I’m praying for all of us because we all fall short sometimes. I’m praying for all of us that sinned and created the need for the cross. I pray that they see your light. I pray they turn from darkness and turn to you. C.S. Lewis said: “He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, he would have done no less.” You died for the very people that put you on that cross. You died for me when I surely didn’t deserve it. I pray for each and every person that you died for. 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 know exactly who I am.

I’m a yes girl. Yes to fairy tales. Yes to love. Yes to forgiveness. Yes to grand gestures. Yes to kindness. Yes to openness. Yes to vulernablity. I’m Gigi from He’s Just Not That Into You that puts herself out there too much, over thinks everything, and is sensitive to every word people say. I’m that girl. I believe in the kind of true love I see at church. I’m the kind of girl that wants to be that old couple holding hands and singing their heart out for You, Lord. I believe miracles happen in the rain and the sunshine.

Ive written a ridiculously long letter that he will never respond to. I’ve waited around after a football game to tell a guy I liked him and literally ran away after. I’ve been laughed at after I told him how I felt. I’ve said yes to a joke ask out while half the class laughed. I’ve believed the bully was just lost and fell for him because of all the good I saw in him. I’ve fallen for my elementary school class clown and trouble maker because he was just acting out. I’m the girl that will tell people exactly how I feel except when I’m hurt. I will never be the girl in the movies that lets fear stop her from true love. I’ll find my way and I won’t stop looking for the man You created for me.

I’m the girl that looks for the best in people. I’m the girl that will go out of my way to make someone smile. I am the girl that will sing along with the radio terribly off key. I’m the girl that can’t dance, but always will. I’m the girl that loves to laugh at the cheesy stuff. I’m the girl that will cry when hallmark commercials come on. I’m the girl that will share everything she’s got (except my little sister doesn’t need to know that). I’m the girl with a little brother for a hero. I’m the quiet shy girl in the corner with a book and the loud girl laughing with her friends. I’m the girl that notices the small stuff. I like simple. I’m emotional and sensitive, but I have a really good eye for the small stuff that makes ordinary things magical.

I’m stubborn sometimes, but at the same time completely willing to move things around for others. I’m the girl that will want to spend every second with people, but will also need lots of alone time. I’m fickle. Sometimes, I can’t make a decision and need a few minutes to think. Sometimes, I’m decisive and firm. I’m the girl that completely hates to be told what she’s doing wrong, but will listen to every word they say and do my best to work on it and change for the better.

I won’t apologize for that girl. I’m proud of that girl.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I always know who I am. I pray that I never lose that girl. I pray that I keep looking to you to show me strength. I pray that I keep my eyes focused on you. I pray that I keep growing in you. I pray that I find myself more and more in you. I pray that my heart is filled with your love. I pray that I keep seeking your love. 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 not there yet, but I will be.

I realized last year that life was short and my time was precious. So, to start this year off right, I set out with a list of goals that I thought were easily attainable.

I read this quote that said: “I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.” So, that was goal #1 to be kinder. I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. I realized recently that Cinderella was always kind, even when people treated her horribly. So, that was my goal, to be more like Cinderella. When I was growing up, I was picked on, a lot. I thought that meant I needed to toughen up and take it. I started to stand up for myself, but in turn I lost some of my kindness. I was even called out on it. I thought I was just surviving, but I got asked where the sweet little girl that I used to be went. I wanted to scream that she was just trying to protect herself. What I later realized was that by putting up walls and keeping people at a distance I wasn’t growing and I didn’t like that part of myself. Even now as I try to get back some of that childhood innocence before I became so hardened, I get that same feedback as I did before. I was literally told that I was a doormat and they could see the footprints on me that people left. I realized then that I would rather face criticism for being too nice or too soft than too hard or too mean. I saw this quote on Pinterest that said: “throw kindness around like confetti.” It hasn’t been easy and sometimes when people talk about me I want to tell them they are stupid, but I would rather learn to show some grace and be kinder like Cinderella. I want to be a person that I’m proud of.

Goal #2 is to clean up my language. The older I got the more liberties I took with my language. I read: “If the words you spoke appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful?” Clearly, I need to work a little harder on this one.

I have the “mouth of the South.” It is not something I am proud of. So, that it goal #3 to stop the gossip. I picked up that habit a long time ago and it just keeps getting worse. I have no problem keeping the big stuff a secret, but the moment you tell me a surprise or something trivial, I will tell everyone I know. “A real woman avoids drama, she knows her time is precious and she’s not wasting it on unimportant things.”

2015 started about 2 weeks ago and so far, I’ve struggled with these. My brother came home from a church trip and said he heard there that we should put action behind our prayers. So, that’s what I am trying to do with my list.

So, that is prayer for today. I pray that I take that list with me this year. I pray that I am constantly working for your glory. I pray that I am strong enough to put the effort in. I pray that I learn to put action behind my prayers. I pray that I learn to follow you more. I pray that I follow your example more and reach for you more. 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.

Things will be all right now.

I went with my family to go see Into the Woods when it first came out. I loved it and I’m pretty sure I am the only one in my family to love it. It was very different from the original fairy tales. I expected that, but I had no idea what I was in for. With as much as I loved the “life lessons” throughout the movie. (And I loveeeeee life lessons!) The end is what left me head over heels in love. Some of the characters died leaving the rest of them in the woods. Emily Blunt started singing “Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood.” At this point, I was at a loss for words. I started crying. “Do not let it grieve you, No one leaves for good.” Ok, so, I thought I was crying before. Now I was ugly crying. (Like runny nose, hyperventilating, uglyyyy crying.) “You are not alone. No one is alone.” (Seriously, I lost it.)

With everything that happened in 2014, I thought we would fall apart and we did. We were caught off guard. We were unraveled. I tried to look for a reason so I could understand why things happened. It wasn’t until I heard Emily Blunt that I realized sometimes people leave us halfway through the wood and we don’t know why. It was like I had a divine intervention right there in the movie. I thought we wouldn’t survive. I thought we would be forever altered and we were. We are altered. We are changed. We think before we speak. We tell the ones we love that we love them more. We are vulnerable. We are stronger and weaker at the same time. We are kinder.

The next day, I went to the store and bought the soundtrack. I have practically burned a hole in the CD with as many times as I have listened to it. I don’t know if it was just how Emily Blunt sang with Stephen Sondheim’s words for me to hear. I don’t know if I was just finally in place to hear them. Maybe it was both of those things, but I was listening. “Hold him to the light now, Let him see the glow. Things will be all right now.”

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for making sure I got the message. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for showing me your light. Thank you for showing me your unending love and grace. I pray that I take Stephen Sondheim song with 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’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart.

On the news today was about how this small town in North Carolina was forced to take down a sculpture of a praying soldier. Things like this have been happening forever. It always weighed on my heart. I used to get upset because people said things like: “they’re trying to take Jesus out of the country.” What I instantly realized today when I read the news article is: they can’t. It was one of the most basic concepts I learned growing up in church. You are in our hearts. They taught it to us as kids and I think we just forgot somehow. I’m not saying we should give up without a fight and I’m not saying we should throw every penny we ever made into the fight to save a statue. What I mean is they can take away the monuments. They can take the statues. They can have the sculptures and the figures. They can remove plagues. They can have every single material thing we have, but they will never be able to take You from us. You’re called Emmanuel, which means God with us, for a reason. Maybe they want the reminders taken away because deep down they know the truth.

1 Peter 1:8 says “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,”

Romans 8:38-39 says “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, that is my prayer today. I pray for that small town in North Carolina. I pray for healing for anyone affected by the sculpture. I pray for those that were offended. I pray they learn to see and feel your love. I pray for those that fought for the sculpture. I pray they keep fighting for your glory. I pray that they remember that you will always be with them. I pray that you put your hand on them and give them comfort. I pray that I never take for granted the freedom I have in this country. I pray that I remember the joy you’ve given me and that I share it with the world. I pray that I remember that nothing can separate us. I pray that I fight with your love rather than for your love because I will always have your love. I pray that I remember that your love is something that cannot be taken from me. I pray that I fight with your love in every single moment of my day. I pray that I share your love with everyone I meet. 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.