I will run to you.

While in college, I feel like I have had to move every few months. As soon as I get settled into a room then it’s winter break or summer break and I’m left to pack once again. One good thing about having to move every few months is that I get to super deep clean my room and find old notes. A while ago, during the Sunday sermon, the preacher said: “He loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way you are.” I immediately wrote it down because that one sentence spoke volumes to me. You love me too much to leave me the way I am. Wow.  I make mistakes all the time. I let people down. I get jealous. I hold grudges. I lash out. I am a work in progress. You are working on my heart every single day. Ricardo Sanchez said: “The devil knows your name, but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin, but calls you by your name.” I can’t even imagine that kind of forgiveness. I’ll say something once without thinking and remember it for the rest of my life. How You can just forgive me and love me, knowing everything blows my mind. Tim Keller said: “You are more sinful than you could dare imagine and you are more loved and accepted than you could ever dare hope.” I can’t even process that kind of love. You know my deepest secrets, my biggest fears, my worst mistakes and You love me still. PrayInFaith tweeted: “You may slip, but God isn’t going to let you fall. His loving arms will always be there to catch you.” 

GODS_Graces tweeted: “God not only sees where you are, He sees where you can be.” Because of that love and forgiveness, we are called to change our minds, our hearts, and our actions. The first thing to change is our minds. Godly_Life tweeted: “The things we think about, focus on, and surround ourselves with will shape who we become.” What we pay attention to has so much impact on who we are. I use lyrics and movie quotes and things I see on Pinterest in every day conversation without even realizing it. My dad can use a cliche or quote once and it’s still running around my head years later. What we see and hear impacts our hearts and what we feel, what we believe. The last thing to change is our actions. GODS_Graces tweeted: “Your thoughts become your words and your attitude. Where the mind goes, the man follows.” The negative stuff stays with us a lot longer, so we have to work even harder to stay positive. I heard once that: “You decide every moment of every day who you are and what you believe in. You get a second chance, every second.” So, I’m deciding right now that I am gonna do a better job of watching what goes into my mind, my heart, and my actions.

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

I have ready my favorite verse 1520 times and never focused on the next verse. Philippians 4:9 is: “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” 

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that put action behind my words. I pray that I watch my mind, my thoughts, my heart, my words, my actions, my habits, my character, and my destiny. I pray that all of these things point towards you. I pray that you use me. I pray that when I slip, that I learn from it and let it go. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. Thank you for not leaving me the way I am. Thank you for working on me. Thank you for letting me grow. Thank you for giving me the courage to change. Thank you for giving me the tools to change. Thank you for teaching me. I pray that put into practice what you have taught me. Thank you for steadying my heart. Thank you for letting me run to you. I pray that I keep focusing on you. I pray that I filled with you and your love. I pray that I fill my vessel with 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.

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He’ll meet you wherever you are.

Music heals. I hear that said all the time and I believe that. I mean, I use songs to understand what I’m going through every single day. Turning on the radio some days though can be rough. I start singing songs that I absolutely love without even realizing what I’m singing. So, lately, I’ve been listening to the words more. I know we live in a broken world that needs You, but to be honest, sometimes I don’t realize how much people are screaming out for You.

I heard some host on the radio today say something about how the world is broken because rock stars and people are wearing crosses as fashion statements and forgot what the cross stood for. I think that the host forgot. The cross, for me anyways, is a reminder that we are broken and saved. The church is a hospital for the broken. We need You, Jesus and I think if we paid attention more we would see that everyone around us needs you too. Some are literally begging for You and don’t even know it.

In Breakeven by The Script, the lyrics literally say “I’m praying to a God I don’t believe in.” I’ve heard that song 152 times and every time I hear that line, I’m stopped dead in my tracks. It breaks my heart. I think it’s the opposite. The more I hear that line, the more I think they are reaching for You. I think they are lost and are crying out for You. In If You Could See Me Now by The Script, it’s just a boy wanting a father’s approval even though he’s gone. In Demons by Imagine Dragons, they sing “Don’t get too close. It’s dark inside. It’s where my demons hide.” They just need someone to show them the light. “I wanna save that light. I can’t escape this now. Unless you show me how.” Maybe, all these people need is just a little love. Maybe, if we weren’t so quick to judge and we tried to understand people more, we could show them Your love. I think they realize they are missing something, they just don’t realize what that is yet. I think they are searching for You as much as You are searching for them.

Sunday night at church, the discussion was brought up about they couldn’t understand how when You sent Your son that it was the broken people that followed him. It was the murders, the cheaters, the criminals, and the sinners. I hadn’t really realized it before. How He was so perfect and free from sin, but it was the people completely full of sin that listened to Him and spent time with Him. I mean, His very own disciples were far from saints. I’ve been thinking about this all week. You sent Your son to save the broken. He used love and kindness in every move he made, even when people literally hung Him on a cross. He died for the very people that put Him there. I think maybe, that’s the point. I think it’s love that brought people to Jesus. I think it’s the love He showed them, Your love. I think it was that You knew all of their sins, their demons, their weaknesses, their burdens and You loved them anyways. You met them where they are and completely accepted them. You cared for them. You took them in Your arms and gave them exactly what they were missing.

So, this is my prayer. I pray for the broken. I pray for the lonely. I pray for the suffering. I pray for the pain. I pray they see that you have been here for the whole time. I pray they see that you are holding your arms wide open on that cross for them. I pray they see just how much you love them. I pray that I start sharing more of your love. I pray that I share more of your grace and kindness. I pray that you keep guiding me. I pray that you lay your hand on the broken. I pray they find healing in you. I pray someone shows them your grace and forgiveness. I pray they see your light through the darkness. I pray that I share your light with those around me. I pray that I keep crying out to you and thank you for always listening. 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 be praying for you.

I have been watching this show, Married At First Sight with my little. It made me think about marriage a lot and how much work it is. So, I decided to write a letter to my future husband.

Dear Mr. Future,

I am a lot to handle. I have baggage. I have scars and I have issues. I am far from perfect. I am awkward and sometimes pretty weird. I am either too loud or too quiet. I am either too confident or completely unsure of myself. I am a lot of trouble, but I am worth it.

You’ll need to have patience with me. You’ll need to be gentle with me. Most importantly, you’ll need to be careful with your words.

I haven’t met you yet, but I am already falling for you. I have been waiting my whole life to meet you. You are already more than I could ever dream of. I have no experience so all mymemories will be of you. You won’t ever have to compete with anyone. I was made by God completely for you and for Him.

I promise to love you always. I promise to forgive you. Jesus showed me forgiveness when I didn’t deserve it and after knowing that kind of love I could never, not share it. I promise that whatever kind of life we have, will be more than enough. I promise to fight for you. I promise to cherish you. I promise to support you and follow you anywhere you want us to go. I promise to build you up. I promise to grow with you. I promise to put effort into us and into you.

I have been praying for you for my whole life and I will continue to pray for you every single day.

So, that is my prayer. I pray for him. I pray that you are making him. I pray that you are working on his heart. I pray that you are sculpting and building and molding him. I pray that you are guiding him. I pray that you are protecting him. I pray that he is looking for me too. I pray that he is preparing for me like I am for him. I pray that you are working on me too. I pray that we grow in you before we grow together. I pray that he is doing well. I pray that he is encouraged this week. I pray that you hold onto him a little extra this week. 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.

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.