So take this heart, Lord.

I’ve been told my whole life that I need to be more assertive. Assertive is defined as: “having or showing a confident and forceful personality.” It means: “confident, bold, decisive, assured, self-possessed, forthright, firm, emphatic, authoritative, strong-willed, insistent, determined, commanding.” It can also mean feisty and pushy. I never liked the sound of that. I do like emphatic though which is another word for wholehearted and forthright is another word for sincere, I like that. Friday, while talking with a couple of sisters, one of them said that wasn’t the problem. She said I was timid. I thought about it for a minute and knew she was right. When I’m in my element and I feel comfortable, I am bold and confident and emphatic and forthright, all the good parts of being assertive. But, when something is new, I am timid. I am the exact definition of timid: showing a lack of courage; easily frightened. I am apprehensive, fearful, afraid, timorous, nervous, and shrinking. This is why people mistake me for shy or lacking self-confidence.

Maybe I’m timid and apprehensive because of my childhood. Maybe I’m timid and fearful because I’ve been hurt. Maybe I’m timid and afraid because of how I grew up. Maybe I’m timid and timorous because I might get hurt again. Maybe I’m timid and nervous because I’m not ready. Maybe I’m timid and shrinking because of words said to me. Or maybe it’s all of those things. Or maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe I simply just need time to warm up. I have never been one to act or think quickly. Maybe I just need to take things slower than most. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something I have to be aware of.

Maybe this year was about becoming aware of it, so that I could grow. Maybe now I’m ready. Maybe now I’m prepared. Maybe I’m like Jonah and I just needed to run in the opposite direction first to see where You needed me to be all along. Maybe You used me despite my being timid. Or maybe You used me because I’m timid.

In bible study tonight, we finished Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst. In the video, she said she prayed for You to interrupt her, to move her, to inconvenience her, to shake things up.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that you interrupt me. I pray that you move me. I pray that you inconvenience me. I pray that you shake things up. I pray that you use me. I pray that others see your light through me. I pray that I remember you made me. I pray that I remember you know my strengths and my weaknesses and you use them all. I pray that I remember that you created a purpose in me. I pray that you guide me and lead me. I pray that I give it all to you. I pray that you take all of me and use it for your glory. I pray that you keep preparing my heart. I pray that I hand over my life for your will. I pray that I put my faith and trust into your plan. I pray that put my fears aside. I pray that I learn to jump all in. I pray that instead of running from your plan, that I run to it.  Lord, I pray that you grab me right by the heart and move me where you need me to go. 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 have been my God through all of it.

I’ve been praying for the woman I want to be and the girl I used to be. I don’t wanna lose that little girl that still inside of me. She believed in seeing the good in everything because she hadn’t seen the bad yet. She loved wholeheartedly because no one showed her hate yet. She tried new things because no one told her she wasn’t good enough yet, but eventually they did. Dove has this commercial that says 6 out of 10 girls will stop doing things they love because they feel bad about the way they look. I did, which only made me feel worse. I stopped cheering because of other people’s opinions. I was a toothpick as a kid so, I still don’t understand. Plus why people thought taking me out of sports was going to help anything. I mean, here’s the thought process she’s gaining weight so, let’s stop letting her work out and run and play and exercise. That makes sense right? It took me years to learn that the voices telling me no should have been turned into a loud resounding unshakable yes. In college, I learned to dance anyways. I might be the worst dancer in the room, but I’m having fun and that’s important too. Now, I don’t stop dancing. Whether it was in philanthropy competitions with my sisters or down the isles of Walmart with them or taking a dance class with my person for an elective or dancing around Alpha Gam’s chapter room for no reason with the very people that inspired me to be a better woman. My best friend and I already made plans to play Just Dance and DDR on the wii this summer!

Those women taught me how to become the best version of myself. They inspired me to do more, be more, and love more. They loved me for all that I am and saw the potential in who I could be. I don’t wanna lose that woman either. The woman I hope to become. One thing that didn’t change from who I was or who I want to be is that I pray. One thing remained that You were there through all of it. You were there the first time someone told me I wasn’t good enough and every single time since. You were there when my sisters taught me all that I could be. And You’re here now.

“I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to”

So, this is my prayer. Today, I wanna pray for who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’m becoming. I pray for all that you’ve taught me and are still teaching me. Thank you for my sisters and for their love. Thank you for being there through it all. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for guiding me. I pray that I hold onto some of that childhood innocence. I pray that I keep striving to be better and to grow. I pray that I learn to be content right where I am too. I pray that I trust your plan. I pray that I give it all to you and let you take me by the hand through it all. I pray that I only grow closer to you. I pray that I keep seeing your work in me through it all. 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 rescued me and I am Yours forever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of relationship I have with You this year and how to strengthen that relationship. We talked in bible study on Sunday about how it has to be an active pursuit towards You. They said that the relationship becomes a foundation, not a set of rules. I saw it the same way as the ladies in my bible study, as a foundation. I practically grew up in church. I was shown that foundation early on. I was taught stories from the bible and how to have a relationship with You. I was very fortunate and blessed to have that relationship fostered as a child. It was a really critical part of my life that completely set up who I am as a person and gave me direction. What I realized in college is that a lot of people do not have that. I came to really understand what being lost meant. I had always heard the term, but never fully understood. I’ve had times in my life where I stumbled and even gone in the wrong direction, but there was a light leading me back to You. Isaiah 53:6 says: All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. To be honest, I had to look up what iniquity meant. Iniquity means: “immoral or grossly unfair behavior.” That sounds hideous. I went in the wrong direction and You still saved me. Not only did You rescue me and take me back with open arms, but You forgave my hideousness. That blows me away.

What I realized is that without You, I would literally be lost. I would have no foundation. No starting point. No ending destination. No core. No motivation. No purpose. No meaning. No guidance. No source of light showing me the way. Psalm 119:105 says: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

Romans 3:22-26 says: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. So, let me break this down, verse by verse. 22: There is no distinction between me and non-believers because of 23 which says we all fall short of Your glory. 24 says You declared and made us righteous in Your sight through the cross where You publicly saved and redeemed us by showing Your grace. In 25, this was to show that You are just and fair by showing fortitude and endurance in washing away our sins. Then in 26, all we have to do to get all of this is to believe in You? So, let me get this straight. No matter who I am or what I’ve done, You are going to take all the ugly, repulsive, unsightly, reprehensible, appalling, objectionable, offensive, obnoxious, and spiteful things I’ve done and You are going to carry the burden and wash them away and all I have to do is believe in You? These verses taught me that I am not better than anyone else because I believe. I am not superior to anyone. I am just forgiven. I simply asked for You to save me and You did. I am not a better person because I’m a Christian, I’m just better than who I am without You. I’m forgiven and changed. I’m set free from who I was and made new. I can chose You now and forever.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for remaking me. Thank you for renewing me. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for setting me free. Thank you for showing me who you are and who I could be in you. Thank you for showing me a brighter future. Thank you for showing me the light. 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 know the things that have brought me here.

I’m almost done reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale and the next chapter is titled “The Upside of Tough Times.” I thought it was going to be more about dealing with the tough times. But, it was exactly what I needed to hear. She said: “When all is said and done, we all go through things in life that, if we allowed them to, could destroy us, make us jaded or bitter, or cause us to throw in the towel. But we can make the choice to let tough times polish us instead of demolish us, refine us and not define us.” Sunday night at bible study, we discussed not letting the future or the past control our lives, that we need to concentrate on today.

Then at the end of chapter she says: “Allow everything you’ve been through to propel you toward everything you’re going to be.” Maybe that’s exactly what this past year has been about. Getting me here. Maybe this was all apart of Your plan. Maybe this was all supposed to teach me and lead me to where I am now, to the person I am now. Maybe it was never about being lost, but realizing how much more I could find in You. I have always known that You are my Lord and Savior. I have always known You’re with me. Maybe this year was about learning to continue to seek You even when You never left my side. Maybe this year was about growth. Maybe it was about strengthening my relationship with You. Maybe it was about becoming the woman I always dreamed I’d be. Maybe it was about learning to chase after You, the way You’ve always been in pursuit of me. Maybe everything happened to teach me how to sing my own broken hallelujah.

It’s kinda like I’m a driver, life is the car, and You’re the mechanic. You know my make and model, my mileage, my fuel levels, my tire pressure, and everything about me. I keep trying to control life and the car, but if I listen to You more, I would get a lot further. I break down and You fix me, time and time again. You give me advice and I only do just enough to get by. You tell me to be careful over the bumps. As soon as I get the oil checked, the tires need rotating, or the wiper fluid is out. The car needs to get that detailed wash often, just like I have to deep clean my heart. Sometimes things need to be replaced and changed. When I’m in darkness, I have to turn the lights on to see. If I don’t use the gps, I’ll get lost, just like if I don’t use my bible. Maybe this year was about learning to put as much effort into taking care of my relationship with You, as I do my car. (Now, I’m ready to bust out in Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel!”)

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I learn to focus on today. I pray that I learn to be content. I pray that I learn from the past and plan for the future without letting them consume me. I pray that you consume me. I pray that I continue to move where you need me. I pray that you keep letting me see the beauty in everything around me. I pray that I keep running to you. Thank you for always having your arms out for me. I pray that I keep worshiping you. I pray that I keep praying and reading your word. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep walking with you. I pray that I keep singing praise to you. I pray that I keep learning and growing. Thank you for loving me even though I’m broken. Thank you for being my mechanic. Thank you for healing my brokenness. 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.

Make me who I’m meant to be.

The ladies in my Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl bible study were talking about insecurities. One of the questions in our workbook was “Is it Christian to say you like yourself?” One of the girls answered with “I like Christ in myself. I like who I am with Christ.” I was pretty much blown away with that answer. It was perfect. Another lady started talking and said she wanted to be a woman people said “She’s been with Jesus. She spends time with Jesus.” I’ve been thinking and praying about that a lot. I want to be that kind of woman.

I’ve been praying a lot for the kind of relationship I want and for the man I want to marry one day. So, today I wanna pray for the woman I want to be. In the book I’m reading, The Single Woman by Mandy Hale, there is quote that stuck out to me that said: “But sometimes what we learn and who we become in the process of waiting is even more important that what we are waiting on.” That seemed pretty powerful to me. Maybe that’s what this year was all about. To become the right woman. “A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.” So, here’s a list of some of the ways I’m fabulous because ya know, I like lists:

1. On a personality test I was told that because I have a blue personality, I bring unity to society. (Just saying, that’s pretty cool.)

2. I believe in prayer.

3. I try to look at things positively and focus on the good. I mean, Alyssa means “of good cheer.”

4. I’m loyal. When I commit and feel invested, I’m not going anywhere.

5. I like giving and serving. I like making plans and building dreams.

6. I can act like a kid with the best of them. Bring on the pillow fights, camping, nerf guns, bowling, trampolines, game nights, water balloons, dancing around the house, or whatever.

7. I like safety and security so, I’ll do my best to provide the same feelings.

8. I like encouraging. I can cheer during a game with a painted poster or simply a post-it note on the mirror giving my love. I can get real creative with notes. I like words. (I used to carry a dictionary everywhere I went in my purse!)

9. I want a life surrounded by love grown in Your love.

10. I’ve been trying to the woman You made me to be, Lord. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to live more intentionally.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I am consumed with you. I pray you fill every part of me. I pray that you are working on my heart. I pray that I work to become who you need me to be. I pray that I continue to grow closer to you. I pray that you guide me and mold me and move me. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I continue to try to be a better woman. I pray that I keep striving to share your love. Lord, let your will be done. I trust your plan. I am listening to your words. Lord, show me the way. Lord, keep making me. I pray I remember Colton Dixon’s song today. I pray that you take it all, I surrender. Be my king. God I choose more of you. I need more of 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.

A brand new life is calling and I owe it all to grace.

A year ago today, I got a phone call that changed everything. Last year, I struggled. There were a lot of good things that happened too. Even on the darkest days, I can still see all You’ve blessed me with. Through my confusion and and heartache, I reached for You. You were right there in the heart of the storm with me. Last year, I decided to start this blog and grow closer to You. I wanted to find healing in You. So, I think it’s very fitting that today I write my 100th prayer.

For the past few weeks at my church they have been doing a revival. They have been focusing on getting back to the basics as a church. They talked a lot about getting back to Your word. It starts with making a change on the inside before an outward change can be made. The heart has to change first. Which is exactly what I needed to hear and wanted to hear. It’s what the bible study I joined is about. It’s what my best friend and I talked about on the way home from spending the weekend with my person and her family. It’s what my person’s daddy preached about this morning.

He read 2 Corinthians 8:5 which says: And this they did, not as we expected, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Her daddy said we should give it all to You first and then to the church. We had to stop holding back and surrender it all to You. He said we should give our tongues to speak for You, our hands to serve for You, our feet to walk for You, and our backs to labor for You. That’s what got me the most. Our every move should be for You, to bring glory to You.

I gave up social media and all the extra stuff for 40 days so, I would make more time to spend with You. I kept wanting to read these devotions and spend more time with You, but I wasn’t giving up anything to spend that time with You. So, I took away the distractions. I made time. Today, I realized I didn’t want the relationship that I’m working on to be temporary or to have a deadline. I want to give even more to You. I want to stop holding back. My New Year’s resolutions was to work on cleaning my heart and my words. I want to take it step further. I want to clean up my actions too. I want my heart to be lived through my words and actions and every part of me. I want to use my tongue, my hands, my feet, my back, my everything for Your will. I want to be found in You. I want to be filled with You. I want people to stop seeing me and see You in me. I’m learning to be the light.

Maya Angelou said: “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” I want to be that kind of woman. I want to live for You. I want my actions to reflect my words.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for best friend and her family. I pray for my person and her family. I pray that you surround all of them with your love this week. I pray that I give it all to you. I pray that I take an inventory of what’s in my life and do some spring cleaning to get the clutter out. I pray that I watch more closely what I fill my heart with. I pray that I grow in my walk with you. I pray that I keep studying your word. I pray that you keep teaching me and leading me. I pray that you keep changing me. I pray that you move me and guide me. I pray that I share your love. I pray that I keep learning to be the light. I pray that I share your light with the world. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me this year. I pray that you keep working on my 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.

You bring healing to my soul.

A year ago today, Christopher gained a seat in Heaven with You. I think a big part of why I was so emotional and anxious all week was because I knew what today was. Which wasn’t fair to him or to You. I was reminded of when my person led a bible study last semester. She read the story of how You sent Jesus to feed the 5000 in the book of Mark chapter 6. What she told us what happened earlier that day is what the lesson was about. She said she hadn’t realized that the two events were the same day before, that she had always heard the stories separately. Which was the same for me too. We learned that earlier that day, John the Baptist was beheaded and You welcomed him to Heaven. We gathered from the stories that they were also best friends. So, this was going to be a rough day. Instead of saying hey, I need a day off to be by myself and deal. Which would have been understandable. He went to feed the 5000 with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He prayed over the basket of food and sent the disciples to share the food and the baskets didn’t empty until all 5000 people had eaten and were satisfied. Instead of letting his bad day consume him, he continued to do Your work and did it with a glad and kind heart. I can only imagine that level of service and that kind of a giving heart. Lord, You amaze me.

So, today I am going to choose Your love. I am going to choose Your kindness. I am going to have joy in my heart because he is with You. I may not understand Your plan, but I have faith that there is a reason for everything. I still miss him, but today I choose to remember the good things. I choose to remember all the things he taught me. I choose to remember all the car talks and all the memories. I choose happiness. I choose to stop thinking about what I lost and think about what he gained. I choose Your eternal love and mercy. I choose to think about what You gave him in Heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I can’t even begin to try to understand what your plan is, but I have faith that he is with You and I have faith that You are with us today and everyday. I am putting my trust in You and Your faithfulness.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I listen to Kari Jobe’s words. I pray that I see Your light breaking through. I pray that I press into you. I pray that I will not fear. I pray that I remember Mark 6 and what you taught me. I pray that even on my dark days I see your love. I pray that I share that love. I pray that I keep seeing your grace and that I share your grace. I pray that you keep leading me. I pray that you keep moving me. I pray that Christopher’s friends and family are comforted today. I pray that you hold onto them today. I pray that you share your love with them today. I pray that you protect them. I pray that you guide them. Thank you for showing up for me and for them. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone. I pray that they know they aren’t alone either. I pray they choose love today too. I pray they reflect on the good and see the good you did in his life. I pray you help them today. Thank you for welcoming Christopher into Heaven. Thank you for taking care of him. Thank you for taking care of me and his loved ones. Thank you for surrounding us in 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.