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.

It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known.

Today, I felt lost. I felt overwhelmed. Like things were happening that were out of my control. I was scared. I didn’t feel safe. I felt like I couldn’t make anyone happy. I felt like nothing I did was enough. I wasn’t working hard enough or studying enough or taking care of people enough. I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t enough. Today, I felt defeated. I wanted to cry and hide from the rest of the world. Then I remembered the lesson from Sunday school two weeks ago.

It was about Jonah and I’ve heard the story a million times, but as usual You grabbed hold of my heart and showed me something new. Jonah 3:1-2 says: Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah was scared and he had good reason. The Ninevites ravaged his village. So, naturally, he ran in the opposite direction, as far as he could. But, You still used him. You still picked him. You never left him. You used his mistake for Your glory. You used Jonah to speak to the people on the boat where he fled. You showed up in that storm. You were working on his heart even when he disobeyed You. You were working on his heart when he ran from You. Even when he hid from You on the boat. And even still when he was in the whale. You never stopped working on his heart.

He went to Nineveh, but he still wasn’t happy about it. He got so mad because You forgave the Ninevites that he said he wanted to die. In Jonah 4:2 he said: I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Then in verses 6-11 it says that Jonah went to basically pout. So, You provided a leafy plant for him to have shade and comfort him. Then You sent a worm to eat the plant and the blazing sun. Jonah again said he wanted to die. Jonah 4:10-11 says: But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” 

Woah now! Way to speak to my heart. I’m getting upset because of what these other people did to me, but You are the one that invested in them and cared for them. You are the one that created them. It’s You that should be the one hurt by their actions and by mine. We are sinners and we fall short, quite frequently. We are never going to be perfect and You love us still. Jonah failed You, the Ninevites failed You, the people that hurt me failed You and I failed You, but You love us anyway. You work on our hearts anyway. You keep preparing us and investing in us and blessing us anyway. You keep using us anyway.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for loving us anyway. Thank you for saving us. Thank you for investing in us. Thank you for working on our hearts. Thank you for using us. Thank you for preparing us. I can’t comprehend that kind of unconditional love. I don’t understand how you could send Your son to save me and expect nothing in return. That level of love just doesn’t make sense to me. I keep waiting to see the strings attached or for the cost I have to pay. You already paid the bill though. You saved me. I am completely and utterly in awe of you. I am moved by your grace and your forgiveness and your mercy. Even through my uncertainty you love me. Even through my sin you love me. Even through my weakness you love me. Through everything you love 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.

Behind this curtain there is a heart that’s hurting.

I’ve been reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale. Last night I read the part about ending toxic relationships. This is something I’ve struggled with. I can’t seem to find the line between loving and forgiving people and letting them affect me and harm me. The line gets blurry for me between loving them and loving me. Audrey Hepburn said: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” I haven’t found that balance yet. I want to forgive and let go, but words haunt me. Matthew 18:21-22 says: Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. It’s no secret that my love language is words of affirmation. Carrie Underwood kinda explains what I think in her new song: Little Toy Guns. 

She’s caught in the crossfire
Puts her hands over her ears
Starts talking through her tears
She’s saying, she’s praying.

I wish words were like little toy guns
No sting, no hurt no one, Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
No smoke, no bullets, no kick from the trigger when you pull it
No pain, no damage done
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)

My whole life I thought I was the problem. I was sensitive. I was weak. I misunderstood something. I was the wrong one. I was crazy. I just over-analyze. I read too much into it. Surely I heard them wrong. Maybe this entire time it wasn’t me that was the problem. Maybe it was how others communicated with me. Maybe because of how their words affected me it taught me to be careful with my own words. Maybe there is a silver lining in the middle of all the darkness. Maybe it taught me to be more conscious of my words and guard my heart more carefully. 1 Peter 4:8 says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Maybe it’s what brought me to You, Lord because I was trying to fill the God shaped hole in my life with other people. Maybe where their communication lacked, ours grew. “I don’t want anything coming in between You and me. I’m holding nothing back from You.” 

So, this is my prayer today. I pray for forgiveness for my mistakes. I pray that I learn to forgive those who hurt me. I pray that I keep learning how to speak with love instead of hate. I pray that I keep learning from your love. I pray that I share your love with those around me. I pray that I let go of the hurt. In Isaiah 43:18 you said: But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. Lord, help me to remember all the good you’re doing for me. Lord, help me to remember that no matter happens you love me. I have trouble comprehending that sometimes, but you do love me. You created me for a purpose with a deliberate plan. You are preparing my heart for exactly what you need. You are preparing me for your glory. Lord, help me to be honest. Lord, help me open my heart for you. I pray that I learn to come to you more when I’m hurting. It’s easy for me to thank you when things are going right. I pray that I learn to let you in when things aren’t going my way. You already see my hurt, you already see behind my curtain. I just have to let you in so, you can heal my heart. You’re already in control, I just have to let you do your work 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.

If your gonna love me boy, love me like you mean it.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what kind of relationship I want to have. I have been thinking about what kind of life and future I want to build. To be honest, it’s hard to comprehend love. For the longest time I wanted passion. I wanted someone who wanted me and couldn’t live without me. I wanted those tragic love stories where despite everything they still found each other. I wanted a Nicholas Sparks novel. I knew that with passion came pain. I was totally ready for that tragic kind of love story. I wanted a love story that was completely doomed from the beginning, but somehow love won.

While I still believe that love will always win. I want a different kind of love now. Passion is defined as “strong and barely controllable emotion.” I was talking to my person about passion and how I was realizing that it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. She said that passion was just a pretty word for drama. I couldn’t agree more. With passion comes anxiety. With passion comes a roller coaster of ups and downs. With passion comes a push and pull of emotions. Passion brings uncertainty and guessing games and confusion. In The Single Woman by Mandy Hale, she says: “Love shouldn’t require Windex to be clear. It either is or it isn’t.” Passion bring manipulation and hurt. Passion is limiting.

I want an intentional love. Intentional means “deliberate, calculated, conscious, intended, planned, meant, studied, knowing, willful, purposeful, done on purpose, premeditated, preplanned, and preconceived.” I want all of that. I want deliberate and clear actions. I want calculated attention to his words. I want conscious consideration to my feelings. I want intended designed plans for our future. I want planned consideration for my well being. I want meant to be and to be of precise and definite importance to someone. I want studied interest in who I am. I want knowing understanding of my needs. I want willful determination to make our dreams reality. I want a purposeful life. I want him to do things on purpose with respect for my worth and my time. I want him to do things with a premeditated plan. I want him to lead me with a preplanned and preprayed course of action. I want him to have the preconceived notion that love always win. I want intentional love.

No, I don’t think love is perfect. I do think it shouldn’t have to hurt. Mandy Hale also wrote: “Do you know the wonderful, beautiful thing that happens when you rid yourself of people who don’t see your worth? You make space in your life for all the glorious people you deserve.” I think love should make you feel secure and safe. I think the person you’re with should feel like home. I think love should be giving and mean taking care of each other. I think love should make you feel content. I used to think content meant settling. It always sounded like a bad thing, but the definition of content is “in a state of peaceful happiness.” My dad told me today that I wanted a sensitive guy. He meant it as a joke, but I responded with that’s exactly what I want. Sensitive is “having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others’ feelings.” I want someone to have a delicate appreciation of my feelings because that is exactly what I would do for him.

So, this is my prayer. I pray that he is intentional. I pray that he is sensitive. I pray that he is strong. I pray that he is kind. I pray that is gentle. I pray that he is tough. I pray that he is respectful. I pray that he is deliberate. I pray that you give him a purpose. I pray that you lead him so, he can lead me. I pray that whoever he is and where ever he is, that he has a good day. I pray that you watch over him and protect him. I pray that you keep him safe. I pray that you use him for your glory. I pray that you bring us to each other in your own way and in your time. 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.

Take your shot world, what you got?

This week may have been spring break, but it was no vacation. I let my insecurities get the best of me. I let the negative thoughts win. I let the devil try to break me. I realized You are the only one that can break me.

Not the guy who every time he speaks to me has something negative to say about women. Not my sinuses that make me wanna sleep until the pain stops. (I might be a baby when I don’t feel good.) Not the man that told me I was weak. Not even me who let that play on repeat in my head all week. Not the lady who was rude to me because she didn’t wanna wait. Not the person who rode my bumper in traffic and made me nervous. Not when my little took me to get ice cream and I dropped the entire cone in the parking lot. Not all the people that wanna make me feel small. Ya know what? Go ahead and let them try to make me small because I will just show them how big You are, Lord.

So, I’m gonna count 10 things holding me together.

1. My littles and grandlittles.

2. My entire Alpha Gam family.

3. My person and my best friend.

4. The ladies in bible study.

5. Graduation. (It’s just one more year. I can do it!)

6. Lots of prayer.

7. Spending time in Your word.

8. Singing along to the radio.

9. Starbucks gift cards.

10. And of course, Jessieeeee Lynnnnnnnn and Rebecca Nicole and our drives to Florida this week on my off day.

The world tried to break me this week. The world has tried to break me multiple times and it has tried a lot harder than it did this week. I’ve faced much worse, but ya know what? I’m still here. I learned something from it and pushed forward. I’m a fighter so, bring it on world. Keep coming for me. I will keep going to my knees for You, Lord. The only way I’m breaking is for You, Lord.

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, break me. Move me. Change me. Mold me. Lord, I am yours. Lord, use me for your glory. Put me aside. Put my selfishness aside. Put my pride aside. Let your light shine. Lord, let my life be a mirror that reflects your light. Let me be the lighthouse worker sharing your light all through the storm. Let me be the duracell batteries in the flashlight that keep going and going and going for you. Matthew 5:16 says: Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Lord, let your light shine through me. Let them see you. Let them see your glory. 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.