It’s time for us to more than just survive, we were made to thrive.

Why do we hold each other back? Why do we belittle each other? We tell each other we’re weak and won’t amount to anything. We’re gonna struggle forever so, we might as well just accept it, right? No. I refuse to accept that. I am not built to just survive. You made us for so much more than that. You created a purpose in each of us. You created a reason for our existence. We were put on this earth to bring glory to Your name.

I have been told that I’m weak, too quiet, too nice, too loud, too abrasive, too this and too that. I am tired of listening to other people criticize me and who I am. I am Your child. I am created with a mission and an opportunity to work towards Your plan. I am content exactly where I am because this is where You placed me. I am content exactly how You made me because I am exactly who You need me to be. No, I am not perfect. I make mistakes, but those mistakes are teaching me things that You need me to learn. The preacher at my church always says this thing that I absolutely love!! “You love us too much to let us stay the same.” You want us to learn and grow. You want us to thrive. You want us to change and shape the things around us. You want us to be mirrors and reflect Your light to everyone around us. You want more for us than what we would settle for.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that like the song says we dig deep into your word so that we can know your heart. I pray that we reach into the world to show them who you are. I pray that we thirst for more of you. I pray you fill our hearts and flood our souls to know you and to make you known. I pray we lift your name on high. I pray that we learn to find joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable, and anything is possible through you. I pray that we stop letting others limit us because that means we are letting them limit you. Thank you for being limitless. Thank you for making me just the way I am. Thank you for placing me here for a reason. Thank you for letting me have a small part in your grand plan. I pray that I keep working. I pray that I keep trying. I pray that I keep learning. I pray that I do more than just survive.  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 can be the hope my soul’s been seekin’.

I was working on this project for my communication class. We’re creating a web project portfolio. For the proposal, we were supposed to give some background information and explain what we wanted to do with our project. I wanted to use this blog for a page of the portfolio, which got me thinking about how I started it. I heard Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North. Every word of that song felt like it was meant for me to hear. I literally went to my computer, pulled up wordpress and the words just flew out of me. It was like they were just waiting on me to finally get the clue. I replayed the song like thirty more times, while I wrote and prayed. In We Bought A Zoo, the dad tells his son: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” For the kid in the movie, the advice meant to tell the girl he liked that he liked her. For me, it was the courage to pray.

I lost a lot last year. I was hurt. I know the loved ones I lost weren’t perfect, but when they left, there was a hole in my heart. I heard that song and simply started writing. I don’t know what came over me. Well, that’s not true. It was You. It was Your grace. It was Your love. I found a positive way to heal. For me, praying was were my healing began. This is my journey. This is my story.

“It is in Christ we find who we are and what we are living for.” Ephesians 1:11 says: Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

Philippians 1:6 says: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” In Acts 18:9, You spoke to Paul and said: “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.” And in Ephesians 5:8 You said: “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for making me a work in progress. Thank you for breaking my walls down. Thank you for constantly working on my heart. Thank you for reminding me to work too. Thank you for giving me the courage to not stay silent anymore. Thank you for hearing my prayers. Thank you for pulling me out of the darkness so many times. Thank you for writing my story. I pray that you keep writing it. I pray that I continue to see your work in me. I pray that I turn my blank pages into your works of art. I pray that everything I do points to you. I pray that my pages show your love and mercy and forgiveness and healing and grace. Thank you for your grace and healing. Thank you for 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’ve made my decision to run to You.

Sunday morning at church the Voices of Mobile sang for most of the service. To be completely honest, I cried practically the whole time. They sounded so beautiful. This lady in front of me turned to her friend and said “that’s what Heaven’s gonna be like.” Well I hope she’s right.

I may have been crying, but I broke out in huge smile when they ended the service singing:

“After all man is a God, they say
God is no longer alive

But I still believe in the old rugged cross
And I still believe there is hope for the lost
And I know the rock of all ages will stand
Through changes of time”

Then Sunday night, I went to a women’s bible study and they are using the Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl workbook set. They were on session 2 this week which is “In My Walk With God.” The video talked about how we settle for canned versions of pineapple instead of cutting the pineapple ourselves because pineapples look intimidating. I can totally relate. I won’t even eat pineapples because they look scary. Today, You took that lesson and ran with it. I was reading these articles to help form my opinion for an assignment. I realized that if I had just read one article I would have only gotten one thing from it and just reiterated that as my opinion. Since I am an analytical person, that wasn’t good enough for me. So, I continued to read three more articles and then read some more. I couldn’t just take the face value for what I was reading I had to go in there and learn something new from each article and then understand it fully in order to come up with a solution of my own.

Lord, You took that lesson and showed it to me in a different light and helped me see it again today. I called my dad immediately to tell him about it and how I was making the connection from Sunday night to Monday afternoon. You amaze me how you can take one thing and teach us so much. We were learning to apply to apply that lesson with our faith and our walk with You. I mean I have 7 devotion books on my night stand right now. I’m all about devotion books, but sometimes we need to delve into Your word ourselves and do the research ourselves because maybe You want to show us something we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. You want us to make informed, educated opinions. You gave us freedom and You want us to chose You. That’s why You made us the way we are. You give us the information and chance after chance, but at the end of the day it’s our decision to follow You.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for the Voices of Mobile. I pray they raise the money needed to travel and I pray they travel safely. I pray they reach the people they sing to. I pray that they touch lives and bring glory to you. I know they touched mine today. I pray they keep singing for you. I pray for the ladies in that bible study. I pray they keep running to you too. I pray they have a good week. I pray for their families. Thank you for showing me that door, but giving me the freedom to chose to open it and the courage to walk through. Thank you for putting those ladies in my life to run to you with. Thank you for always having open arms for us. 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.

Because of You my heart sings.

This week’s assignment was to form an opinion on Net Neutrality. First, I needed a definition: “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Well, that sounds fabulous at first. I heard President Obama’s speech and read some more articles and it all sounded great. I like helping small businesses, but not at the cost of the large companies. They work hard too. I like having the freedom to use the internet how I see fit. I like not being controlled by large corporations. I don’t like when companies bully their competitors or people they get services from. This whole “fast lane” thing scares me because I don’t like that you can buy your way out of advertisements. I believe in marketing and advertising. I believe that ads create a smarter and more informed consumer. I believe that you would miss the public service announcements. I might cringe every single time I see that smoking commercial because it’s disturbing, but I will never smoke because of it. People need to see that. I feel confident and beautiful every time Dove’s commercials play. Because of a Verizon ad, I want to change the way I speak and think, thanks to their “Inspire Her Mind” commercial. People need to see those.

President Obama said he wants the internet to be free. If I learned nothing else in my marketing classes: it’s that nothing is ever free. I may not want the cable companies controlling my internet access, but I don’t want the government too either. I already can’t watch my Girl Meets World online. I mean I pay for Netflix and Hulu Plus, but I still can’t watch my show because I don’t have their specific cable providers. I’m in college and live in a dorm so, my cable comes provided with my housing. I don’t get the choice in my cable access. I don’t like the idea of anyone controlling which site I shop at or where I watch my tv shows. I understand the need for marketers to watch what I do in order to better understand my needs and wants. My search history provides useful information on what kind of products I like and how to fill my consumer needs. I like that they can start showing ads specific to my needs and wants as a consumer. I like that Hulu asks you at the top of the ad if it’s relevant to you. I like having the option to say yes, I want ads on laundry detergent and no, I don’t want to see ads for men’s deodorant. I like clean clothes and I do not smell like a man.

I think there is a middle ground somewhere. I do know one thing that came free was Your love, Lord.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for your love. Thank you for giving it unconditionally and completely free. Thank you for loving me without stopping to decide if I was worthy. I pray that our leaders find a solution that helps the most people. I pray for guidance for them. I pray they make the right choices. I pray they remain informed and educated on all matters. I pray that you watch over them and protect them. I pray that you keep leading me. Thank you making me free. Thank you for making me free to dance, to sing, and live for 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.

You’ve given me Your love, and it’s made me free.

I started reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale and one of the things she talks about is stress. She told this story of how she noticed that stress was affecting her everyday life. She even noticed it in the way she drives her car. She hunches over the steering wheel paranoid of what could happen and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do the same thing!! I didn’t even realize it affected my driving or how I sit in a chair or how I communicate with people. I know it’s affected my friendships. I have this completely irrational fear that secretly everyone hates me. I feel like I need to constantly tell people how much they mean to me or how much I love them so they’ll always know. Every time I tell them though I get scared that I’m suffocating them or smothering them. Like by loving them so much that I’m pushing them away. Like I’m overwhelming them or being to clingy. Like I need to give them space so, then I try to give them space and I worry that they’ll forget me. I’m scared they will realize they don’t need me and that will push them away. Like it is a constant struggle. Like no matter what I do, it pushes people away.

I’ve tried to cut the anxiety and stress and worry out of my life. I know these are irrational fears. Mandy Hale wrote about her own experience and how she doesn’t know how to relax. I can totally relate. I can’t sit still, period. I have to always be doing something. Except I can’t do anything alone either. Like I can’t even go to church alone. I haven’t been in a while, except when I’m in Birmingham, because I’m scared. I know that it doesn’t make any sense so, why do I still let the fear control my life? Trent Shelton said: “the will of God will never take you where the grace of God does not protect you.” I need to remember that more.

Plus, I’m completely and utterly terrified of Cruella De Vil. Like she totally haunted my nightmares for like ever. They are bringing 101 Dalmatians out of the Disney Vault and putting the “diamond edition” on dvd. (Ummm there is nothing sparkly about Cruella! Put that thing back in the vault!)

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. Psalm 56:3

“The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is written in the Bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder from God to live everyday being fearless.”

There is this quote on pinterest that says “to pray is to let go and let God take over.” Then is lists Philippians 4:6-7 which says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I stop letting fear lead me. I pray that I have the courage to look towards you instead. I pray that you put your hand on my life. I pray that I learn to relax and calm down. I pray I learn to take a deep breath and breathe. I pray that I learn to take the advice from Mandy Hale’s book by taking a dance class or painting or simply taking a bubble bath more often. I pray that no matter how scared I get or how hurt I’ve been that I keep loving those around me. I pray that I keep showing love to those around me. I pray that I love myself more too, anxiety and all. I pray that I go to church and spend more time with you even if I have to walk in alone. I pray that you give me strength. I pray that I let go of the fear. Thank you for making me free to love by loving me. I pray that I listen to your word more and let go of my fears and trust in 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.

So, even if it’s just to speak Your name I’m gonna pray.

My best friend got me a devotion book called The One Year Book Of Bible Promises and today’s was titled “Life After Death.” You always know exactly what’s on my heart. I don’t know how You do it. I’m literally in awe of You. The verse for this one was Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” I can’t even begin to understand Your plan, but You have a hold on my heart. You have my attention. You have my full, undivided attention.

It’s almost been a year since Christopher went to be with You and then my grandma met You soon after that. So, I’ve been thinking back to conversations we had. Christopher and I talked about prayer all the time. We would have these car talks and our faith was a hot topic. We discussed our childhoods and how we grew up at great length. We both learned real quick as kids the importance of prayer. Last year, I was faced with that lesson again, this time it was much harder. I literally feel to my knees in need of You. I had the wind knocked right out of me more times than I can count last year. Each time, I cried out for You and You listened while I prayed. You were there when I needed You. You heard my prayers.

I read stories from Max Lucado and C.S. Lewis practically my entire childhood so, now those authors hold a special key to my childhood. They also talk about the importance of prayer quite frequently. Max Lucado said: “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble, but since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” C.S. Lewis said: “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” 

To be honest, I miss him and I miss my grandma, but You already knew that. You know my heart. “Prayer isn’t to remind God what your problems are, but prayer is to remind your problems who God is.” Psalm 116: 2 says: “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

So, that is my prayer today. “As I pray God I need You more than words can say. Right here in this moment. You know my heart. You know my need. You know every part of me.” Lord, I wanna say thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for all they taught me. I know they’re with you now. I pray that you lay your hand on their loved ones in the coming months. I pray that I learn to think about what they gained in Heaven with you instead of what I lost. I pray that I keep coming to you. I pray that I keep praying. Thank you for listening. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for understanding me. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and it feels like I can never pray enough or find the right words. So, thank you for listening with open arms for me. Thank you for holding me together when I fall apart. Thank you for your not so subtle hand in my life. Thank you for my friend for giving me this book. Thank you for my friend who encourages me to pray. 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 can only imagine.

The new coke ad is #makeithappy. I could not be more in love with that! “Change your thoughts. Change the world.” Without You, we are broken. We are hurt. We are hate. We are selfish. We are lonely. We are guilty. We blame others. We are lost. With You, all that changes. We are healed. We are love. We are kind and giving. We are generous. We are found. We are forgiven and free. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. When we let You guide our lives, we are changed. Your grace show us more than we could dream of. Your grace washes our sin away. You make us new.

The only way to Heaven is through You. We admit that we are sinners and that You are God. We do not get there by being a good person or earning our way. It is not by our hands, but by Yours. When we make that decision, it changes our hearts. We should want to help our neighbor. We should want to read Your word. We should want to love more. We should want all that and more because You showed us all that we could have. You showed us Heaven and how could not want to share that? How could we see all that You’ve given us and not want to show others? How could we be that loved and not love too? It doesn’t take good deeds to get to Heaven, but we should want to do good deeds so that others can see You and find their place in Heaven. Ephesians 4:29 says: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says: But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

We are not perfect and we will continue to stumble, but You have already forgiven us. I can hardly even fathom the kind of love You have for us. Your love is completely free and unconditional. You love us even though we nailed You to a cross for sins we committed. I saw on pinterest this quote that said: “Jesus died for you, knowing you might never love Him back. That is true love.” I can’t even process that kind of selfless love. Psalm 103:2 says: Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

So, that is my prayer. I pray that because I’m forgiven I try to be more like you. I pray that because I’m forgiven I share your love. I pray that I share kindness. I pray that I am more careful of my words. I pray that I continue to praise you. I pray that I continue to see your love. I pray that you keep guiding me. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the cross. I don’t deserve any of it so, thank you for being a forgiving God. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and freely. 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.