You only need a spark to start a whole blaze.

This week’s topic is virality which means “the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another; the quality or fact of being viral.” We watched a video on the ALS ice bucket challenge and how it went viral. The challenge helped raise awareness for ALS and weekly donations went from $14,000 to $168,000. They talked about how exposure was what they needed and using this challenge was exactly how they got it.

Then I read an article which gave the scientific take on viral marketing. The article gave three reasons that things go viral: “1. It was positive, dwelling on positive issues or topics. 2. It evoked a strong emotional reaction (joy, fear, anger). 3. It was practically useful.” I think the ALS challenge was extremely good at all three of these things. The challenge started with one person and then it grew from there. It grabbed the hearts of celebrities, organizations, and everyone in between. Since July 29, 2014, The ALS Association has received $115 million in donations! One of my favorite quotes is from Margaret Mead which says: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

A few weeks ago at church, they had a revival. What got me thinking a lot is how in order to spark a change, it starts with one person. It just takes one person to change their heart and start a fire. In order for revival to happen, we have to first change us. We have to work on our heart and that will change our actions. All it takes is a spark.

“You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that you start a fire in me. I pray that you change my heart. I pray that you move me. I pray that you use me. I pray that I take Unspoken’s song with me this week. Lord, let your light shine, let your light shine for all to see. I pray you start a fire in my soul. I pray that you fan the flame and make it grow so, there’s no doubt or denying. I pray that you let it burn so brightly that everyone around can see that it’s you that we need. Lord, you are the fire. You are the flame. You are the light on the darkest day. We have the hope we bear Your name. We carry the news that you have come to save. Only you can save. Lord, help me to share that news. I pray that I share your love with everyone I meet. I pray that your love shine through me so, all they can see is 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.

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I’m runnin’ to the One who made every part of me in His hands.

When I was a little kid I wanted to be the music minister soooo bad! I wanted to lead the choir and chose the songs every Sunday. I lovedddddd the idea of matching songs to the message and making them fit into this puzzle that helped people understand the message before the preacher even spoke a word. It was about making connections. The worship part of the service sets up the message to glorify You and then the message brings it home. I am painfully aware that I have absolutely no musical ability though. You gave me a lot of gifts and talents, but singing was not one of them. However, I found a way to bring music into how I think, write, and pray. William Shakespeare said: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Maybe that’s what You meant for me all along.

“The grass is green where you water it.” Maybe I should stop looking at my neighbors yard and start watering my own grass. Sometimes, I get so caught up in what others are doing that I miss the message You are trying to send me. Maybe, I am doing exactly what You need me to do. You created me for a distinct purpose. I have a specific part to play in Your plan. I was built to bring glory to You with clearly designed talents. You don’t do anything by accident or mistake.

I remember studying Martin Luther King Jr. growing up and today I was reminded of what he said: “Use me God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do and use it for a purpose greater than myself.” He also said: “If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Then I saw this picture on Pinterest that says: “When you’ve done everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.” It lists 2 Corinthians 12:10 which says:  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I take Martin Luther King’s words with me. I pray that you use all of me for a purpose greater than me. I pray that I remember 2 Corinthians 12:10 this week and remember where I can’t, you can. I pray that I do as much as I can to bring glory to you. I pray that I keep moving forward. I pray that I use whatever means I have possible to bring glory to you. I pray that I take Blanca’s song with me today. I pray that I remember this is real what I feel, no one made it up. I pray that I remember I am loved. Lord, you put every single hair on my head for a reason. You created every part of me. You know me better than anyone. You know who I’ve been. You know who I am. You know who I will become. You are using my every step, even the missteps for your glory. You are using my every strength, my every weakness, my everything. You created everything about me to be used for your will and for your plan. I pray that I learn to water my grass and use my talents for you. I pray that I give my talents to you. I pray that I use what you’ve given me for your glory. I pray that others see you in 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 nothing worth more that could ever come close.

I was kinda at a loss for words today. I have a lot on my mind. I wanted to like sit down and talk it all out because I wanted a clear mind. I didn’t need advice or anything. I simply needed to talk through the options so, that I could process the information. I didn’t know where to begin though.

Then I realized that I needed to begin with You. I needed You today. I needed to be filled by You. I was trying so hard to fill that void with other people and all I had to do was call Your name. Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “As long as I daily make the choice to be guided by His truth, He replaces my hollowness with a wholeness of love that has no gaps.” This week, I felt like I was running ragged. I couldn’t work enough or study enough. By Saturday, I felt empty. The good news is that tomorrow is Sunday so, that means I can go to the early service and Sunday school before work and get my cup filled again. And hopefully get off work in time for bible study.

I found out that I kinda live for my Sundays. I feel so rejuvenated and refreshed on Sundays, like I’m ready to take on the world. I’m completely filled by You and ready to take on the week. Then throughout the week, my cups starts to empty and I can’t seem to refill it fast enough before I’m drained. I’ve been trying to set aside time to spend with You each day, but I want more. Lysa also wrote: “When God’s word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs, and our choices.”

“Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord”

Just as I’m realizing how much I need You, Gary Allen’s song comes on the radio.

“I’m still learning how to pray
Trying hard not to stray
Try to see things your way
I’m still learning how to pray
I’m still learning how to trust
It’s so hard to open up

I’m still learning how to bend
How to let you in

I’m just trying to understand
It’s all in someone else’s hands
There’s always been a bigger plan
But I don’t need to understand”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to pray. I’m still learning how to trust. I’m still learning how to open up. I’m still learning how to bend. I’m still learning to let you in. I’m still learning to have faith in your plan. Lord, I pray that I take Francesca’s and Gary’s songs with me this week. I pray that I learn to live for you. I pray that I learn to refill my cup more between Sundays. Lord, fill my hollowness. Lord, fill the atmosphere. Lord, fill my heart. Lord, rearrange my life. I pray that you guide me. I pray that you move me. I pray that you lead me. I pray that I have willing feet to follow you. I pray that I have willing ears to listen. I pray that every piece of me and my every move is willing. Lord, you are welcome 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.

Just listen to what He’s whispering to your heart.

I was reminded today that I am not the only one with an uncertain future. Lord, You have been working on their hearts just as much as mine. One friend just graduated and has been searching for a job. While the waiting is rough, I believe You are just holding her for something greater. I believe You have a plan for her. Another one is about to graduate and is choosing between work and graduate school or both. Lord, I believe You are going to show her the right path. I believe You have a plan for her. Another friend is about to start a beautiful project, but she’s scared. Lord, I believe You have Your hand on her, guiding her. I believe You have a plan for her.

Lord, I believe You have a plan for each one of them. I believe You are moving mountains and creating paths for them. I believe You are working on their hearts. I believe You are opening doors and windows. I believe in Your plan for them. I can’t wait to see what You’re going to do in their lives. You have this wonderfully big plan that we all have a small part in. I can’t wait to see the glorious unfolding.

When Steven Curtis Chapman talks about the song he says: “God is telling an epic, amazing, incredible story. We wont see it fully unfolded until Heaven and then and maybe only then will we really fully see the picture, but will we trust Him and know that His plans and His purposes will be accomplished and He is faithful to complete all of that and to tell a very amazing, incredible, glorious story with our lives.”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for my friends. I lift them up to you. Lord, I pray for peace in their waiting. I pray for strength and guidance in their decision making process. I pray for courage in their journey. I pray that you lay your arms around them and encourage them. I pray that you protect them and lead them. I pray they listen to your plan and go where you need them to. I pray that you inspire those women. Thank you putting those women in my life. Thank you for letting them inspire me and teach me. Thank you for their encouragement. I hope that they know how thankful I am to have them in my life. Proverbs 27:9 says Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend. I pray that while we don’t know what your plan is that we put our faith in you. I pray that we trust you. I pray that we seek you. I pray that we grow with you. I pray that we bring honor and glory to you in all we do.  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.

Whatever Your will, can You help me find it?

If there was a ever band that knew my heart, it’s Sidewalk Prophets. They somehow have a song for every piece of my heart. Today, as usual Pandora knew what to play and it was “Help Me Find It.”

I was never a traditional student. I have been on the 5 year plan since I got my ACT scores back and my acceptance letter with the extra classes I would have to take. Somewhere along the way that 5 year plan got turned into a 6 year plan. I got the usual comforts like “no one graduates in 4 years anymore.” (Totally not true! More people are taking longer and longer, but there is still a majority that do finish in 4 years! And I loveeeeee getting asked what’s wrong with me and why can’t I finish in 4 years.) My daddy was always nice about it though, as long as I get the degree, he’s happy. (I was not so happy about it sometimes and I sure won’t be when those student loans have to be repaid.) Psalm 37:7-9 says: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

It’s taking longer in part because I changed my major, in part because life happened, and it might have something to do with that science class I failed my freshman year and had to retake. Maybe I’m thinking about graduation a lot because I just had Fall advising and my advisor asked me what I wanted to do after. Maybe I’m thinking about it because of the lady at church that told me about churches hiring public relations people. Maybe it’s because You’re simply trying to show me something I hadn’t seen yet. Maybe this was all to get me here. Maybe this was so You could open doors I didn’t even know existed. Maybe it was to teach me something. (Probably patience, I needed that one!) Maybe You were holding me until I was ready. Maybe You needed me to wait for something. Maybe You wanted to send me on a different path altogether. (I mean, I did change majors and that was a huge change to my plan! It wasn’t easy either! Tears were shed!) Maybe it’s because Your plan is just so much bigger than my own. Maybe it’s like what the ladies in my bible study talked about on Sunday and I was settling and You have something so much greater planned for me. One of them told us about this poster she saw of this little girl holding onto her tiny little teddy bear and she’s scared to give it to You. What she doesn’t realize is that You are holding a giant new teddy bear behind Your back, just waiting on her to give up the old one. Then another lady shared a story of how this girl had a fake pearl necklace she wore everywhere and she wouldn’t take it off and her daddy was holding a real set of pearls for her.

There was a picture that said: “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” Lord, no matter what path I take I hope it brings glory to You.

On Pinterest, there is this picture of a little girl and it says: “Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.” How much simpler does life need to be explained? That picture got me. I think about it often! Then today, Lysa Terkeurst posted: “We want big directional signs from God. God just wants us to pay attention.” Well ok. You’ve got my attention.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I pay attention. I pray that I praise you in the hallway. I pray that I listen to your words. I pray that I go where you want me to go. I pray that I continue to grow in my walk with you. I pray that you lead me and guide me. I pray that I give it all to you. I pray that I give my plans to you. I pray that I give my future to you. I pray that I follow your will. I pray that I use the talents you gave me for your will and your plan and your glory. Thank you for, like the song says, giving me grace when I gave you doubts. Thank you for giving me faith when I gave you fears. Lord, you give me so much more than I could ever dream of or deserve. I pray that I lift my empty hands to you cause you’re all I need. I pray that you fill me up again. Lord, if you’re trying to show me something or show me a different door, I pray that I listen. I pray that I find it. I pray that I follow your plan. I pray that I follow you. I pray that I wait for you. I pray that while I am still, you give me peace. I pray that I guard my heart and what I let into it. I pray that I learn to be content. 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 are working in our waiting.

For this week’s assignment, we were asked to recommend a Content Management System or CMS. Based on the article we read outlining the differences, WordPress was the clear winner. They compared installation time and complexity, plugin and theme availability, ease of use, and customization and upgrades. While the other options had their strengths, WordPress is still the leader overall. “WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes, WordPress is limited only by your imagination.”

Some of the features that WordPress offers are: Simplicity, Flexibility With WordPress, Publish with Ease, Publishing Tools, User Management, Media Management, Full Standards Compliance, Easy Theme System, Extend with Plugins, Built-in Comments, Search Engine Optimized, Multilingual, Easy Installation and Upgrades, and Community. Developer Features include: Plugin System, Theme System, Application Framework, Custom Content Types, and The Latest Libraries.

I chose WordPress because of how extremely user friendly it was. It was easy to use and completely able to be customized to fit my needs and wants. WordPress is what I use personally, so, how could I not recommend it? Plus, who doesn’t love when just one small idea turns into something extraordinary? Reading more about WordPress, I found: “WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.”

Lord, we think we have it all figured out and then You put this simple little idea in our head and completely change our whole plan. I started college as an Education major because I wanted to help people and that was the best way I knew how. Two years into college, You started putting ideas in my head. I mean, I was already taking some of my junior level classes. I was totally committed to my major. Maybe the doubts were there all along and I just wasn’t ready to listen. As much as I love and respect teachers, I was not built to be one. I took Career Planning and found Public Relations. Now, this I was built for. 100%, totally and completely. The more into my classes I get, the more I see that You’ve been building me for this my entire life. Every experience, leadership position, job, skill set was pointing me to Public Relations. It was staring me right in the face and I just didn’t see it yet.

I just had advising for the Fall semester and my advisor, who I absolutely adore by the way, asked me if I was excited for graduation next year. Excited is an understatement. I’m not sure what direction I want to take after graduation or even where I wanna go. Maybe I’ll move to Arlington, Virginia and work for the USO like I wanted ever since I changed my major. Maybe I’ll go back to Birmingham and work for a community service organization. Maybe I’ll move to New York City and work for a PR Firm. Maybe I’ll go to Atlanta and start my own PR Firm. A lady at church told me that churches are hiring Public Relations people now to work for them. Maybe I’ll stay in Mobile and do that!! I mean, that sounds fabulous. To take what I’ve learned and use it to lead people to You!

“When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust”

At bible study we read Jeremiah 29: 11-14 which says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I’m giving you my plans. I’m giving you my life. I’m giving it all to you. Lord, lead me where you want me to go. Guide me in the direction you need. I pray that I let you be the compass. I know that like the song says that you are working for my good and for your glory. I pray that you keep working. I pray that I do my part too. I pray that I keep moving towards you. I pray that I follow the plan you made for me. I pray that I bring glory to your name. I pray that I listen when you tell me what to do and where to go. I pray that I trust you and your plan. I surrender control. Thank you for taking all that has happened and leading me. Lord, just like the song says even what the enemy means for evil, you turn it for our good. Thank you for being faithful forever and perfect in love. Thank you for not forgetting me and 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.

Let all proclaim You reign victorious.

I remembered something today that we talked about in bible study last week. The question was “What distractions pull you or block you from the Lord?” One of the ladies answered simply, “I am. I am the distraction.” I knew it was true when she said it, but thinking about it more today reminded me exactly how true it was. About a month ago, I decided to give up social media and my Netflix and Hulu and all the extra stuff. Well, I wasn’t very successful. I failed actually. Yes, those things are distractions sometimes, but they weren’t the main issue. I was. I was the distraction.

I wanted to find time in my day to spend with You. I wanted to spend more time with You. I wanted to find time to really study Your word. While I failed at giving up Facebook and Hulu, I did do that. I like that I end my day with a prayer. I think about that prayer and continue to pray that prayer the whole next day. It helps me live more intentionally and on purpose. In walking with You, I found out how truly victorious You are. It was never about Facebook or Twitter. It was about me. I was the broken one and You were always the victorious one. In the bible study, we talked about how our lives had to be an active pursuit towards You. I started this journey last year and You keep showing me that no matter how broken I am, You remain victorious.

Third Day posted: “I heard a sermon one time about God being victorious in battle. Whether it’s battles on a battlefield in old testament kind of times or whether it’s battles with our inner selves, and feelings and emotions and sin… That God is always victorious. He can help us to be victorious through those struggles that we have. – Mac”

Mercy Me has a song too that says: “There’ll be days I lose the battle. Grace says that it doesn’t matter. Cause the cross already won the war.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, you keep reminding me that you already won the war. I pray that you are victorious. I pray that you are victorious in me. I pray that I take all that Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl taught me. I pray that you are victorious in my heart. I pray that you are victorious in my walk with you. I pray that you are victorious in my relationships. I pray that you are victorious in my struggles. I pray that you are victorious in my thoughts. I pray that you are victorious in my calling. I pray that you continue to teach me. I pray that I remember Third Day’s lyrics today. I pray that you are victorious over sin. I pray that you are victorious over death. I pray that you are victorious over all. I pray that you are victorious over us. Lord, I know you are victorious over all these things and so much more. I pray that I put my trust in you and give it all to you. I pray that I keep reaching for you. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that you keep leading me. Thank you for putting those women in my life. I pray for them today. Lord, I lift them up to you. I pray that you lay your hands on them this week. I pray that I share what you’ve taught me. I pray that I share your light. I pray that you use me. I pray that others can see your work in me. I pray that I learn to reflect your light. I pray that you keep working on me. I pray that you keep preparing me heart. 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.