All who are thirsty come and be filled.

The anxious thoughts were in full swing this weekend. I was moving into a new place and all the usual new place irrational fears sank in. I mean, I literally cried in the middle of the Walmart. The Walmart! I was just grabbing a few groceries with my parents and then I said I wanted some frosted flakes and bananas for breakfast. When we got to the cereal aisle I turned to my mama and said if you looked at my buggy you would think I missed Grandma real bad because I got all her favorites. That right there is where I started tearing up. So, I did what any rational person would do. (Even though I’m about as far from rational as it gets!) Grabbed my frosted flakes and got out of that aisle. I mean, I was in Walmart. I can’t just be crying in the cereal aisle.

Then later, I was hanging stuff on the wall and as usual I hung stuff all over the walls because I like my walls to be filled with things that make me happy. I remembered this conversation with Christoper about wall collages and how he said he was too OCD for all that and he would have to measure everything and make sure it was lined all perfect. I made the joke to mama that he would be having a cow if he saw my walls.

“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve into us different, often kinder creatures.” My Grandma was a great loss and Christopher was a great loss. I’ve seen how it affected those around me. I’ve seen the people that loved them change. I know I’ve changed too. We know how much that loss hurts. So, we love a little more. To be honest, for a while, I resented this. I didn’t understand why I had to lose so much to learn something. I think I learned that life isn’t always about me though and Your plan is much bigger than my own.

Just when I thought my emotions were pulling it together, this morning at church, they sang Come To The Water. I sooo needed those words today.

Lord, it amazes me sometimes how much I need You. I get so busy in my daily routine and my own selfish mess that I get distracted. There is this quote that says: “He is faithful when I am not. He is constant when I am not. He is everything when I am nothing. Yet He says that I am His.” 

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for my wonderful family who sacrifice so much for me to have everything. I pray for those around me. I pray for loss and healing. I pray that I keep coming to the water. I pray that I keep running to you. Thank you for making me yours. Thank you for wrapping your love around me. Thank you for filling my life with your love. Lord, I need you. Thank you for showing me your love everywhere I go. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for using me. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for being everything. I tried to let all the doubt and fear and stress win this weekend. I tried to let all the anxiety win this weekend and then I felt the loss again. Thank you for winning instead. Thank you for showing me that while the pain does not ever fully leave, it does change us. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for teaching me, especially when I resisted it. Thank you for not giving up on 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.

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Your love will be my anthem.

My mama has alwayssss taught us that there are not varying degrees of sin, that sin is sin is sin. A week ago she came home from church and said maybe she taught us wrong. Someone brought up that very discussion at her church and said that they didn’t think that You saw all sin the same. It made the whole family start thinking. I woke up this morning scrolling through Facebook and read an article that had been posted several times on my newsfeed. In the article, she said: “Sin is sin is sin. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Consequences are a different ballgame. For example, the consequences for lying are quite different than those for murder.” I couldn’t agree more! I still think my mama was right, but I also think the other person was right. I think You show us consequences and mercy and grace is so many different forms and ways. I don’t think You work in someone the same as someone else. No two stories are the same.

Forgiveness is a heavy word, but You gave it to me. To be honest, I’ve had a really hard time forgiving people practically my whole life. Partly because when people throw around the word forgiveness they still throw the mistake back at the person and hold it over their head for like ever. That is not forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go. It’s healing. It’s not easy and sometimes it takes time to heal. I just want to thank You that it’s not that way with You. You forgive us the moment we ask for it. I’ve done a lot of forgiving in the past year or so. Not just of other people, but myself too. Sometimes I think forgiving myself is even harder than forgiving others. I have a tendency to dwell on every single little thing I do. From the stupid comment I made without thinking all the way to the big stuff. I keep a running record in my head of every single thing I’ve ever done. I let it consume me when I should be consumed by You.

When I was a kid, forgiveness was explained to me like: If everyone lines up on this line and the more they sin the further from You they get, the more they go in the darkness, and the more they chase You and ask for forgiveness the closer to You and the light they get. As Christians, we don’t fully get to the light until Heaven. Just because we are forgiven doesn’t mean we are perfect. It just means we chose to live chasing the light rather than the dark. I don’t think that all non-believers are bad people chasing the dark either. I think there are some people out there fighting that darkness just as much as any Christian, but I don’t think they can cross that line to fully see the beauty in the light until they believe in You. I think it’s much harder for them because they don’t see the reason for the light at the end. I saw the 12:01am premiere of Tomorrowland on the Disney Dream cruise Thursday night. The big takeaway lesson throughout the movie was: “You have two wolves, one representing darkness and despair, the other light and hope. Which one lives? The one you feed.” I think every single one of us is battling something and sometimes we lose that battle and sometimes with You we’re strong enough to fight.

The darkness is pretty tempting and I’ve lost the battle a few times, but I am so glad that You are gonna win the war.

Psalm 91:4 says: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

So, here is my prayer today. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for consequences and lessons that teach me. Thank you for holding my tomorrow. I pray that I keep fighting the dark. I pray that I run as fast as I can to the light. I pray that I fight as hard as I can for you. Thank you for covering me. Thank you for giving me refuge. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your unconditional, unyielding 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.

But it’s worth fighting for.

Today is May 13 so it is exactly one month until my person gets married. 31 days from now she will be walking down the aisle. I woke up this morning thinking about love and all that I had learned about it over the years. I may not have ever been in love, but I’m observant and I’ve learned quite a lot. No one has taught me more about love than my person. (I mean, she’s kinda fabulous.) So ya know, because I love lists. Here is a list of what I know about love:

1. A foundation set between You and two people is stronger than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s not to say it will be easy because it won’t, but it will be much harder to break.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

2. Forgiveness is key. Both people will makes mistakes, some big and some small.

Lao Tzu said: “Marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness of sins.”

3. Understanding each other is a must. They have to know the person inside and out. They have to know what makes them tick. They have to know the reasons behind their actions. They have to know what hurts, heals, soothes, encourages, inspires, and what makes them happy.

4. Communication is not just my major in college. It has to be lived. I know that people think they can just read their minds, but they can’t. I’ve also heard that because of #3 they should just know. Yes, they should know you better than anyone else, but no one knows what you need better than you. If you need something from the other person, just tell them. They’ll get what you need a lot faster and without as much useless work.

5. Trust. Love means giving the other person all of you. It means being vulnerable and giving them the power to hurt you more than anyone else ever could and trusting them to guard your heart safely. It means protecting that heart with every fiber of your being and doing everything in your control not to hurt them.

6. Sacrifice is hard, but sometimes it has to happen. This one is tricky and a lot relationships are one-sided in this department. Sacrifice requires both people to participate. Sometimes it means picking the person over everyone else. (This is hardest for the oldest child btw because we have spent practically our entire lives putting our siblings above others and even ourselves. Patience is needed here.) Sometimes it means picking up and moving clear across the country for their job. Sometimes it means picking up what they want for dinner rather than what you wanted.

7. Yelling gets people absolutely no where. It solves absolutely nothing. When upset, take half an hour in separate rooms and think before speaking. Don’t ever go to bed angry. Don’t ever leave the house angry.

8. Love is war. Some days it’s literally the greatest thing ever. Some days it’s just pure and good. Some days it’s not as good. Some days it shakes you to the core and makes you question everything. Some days it’s so bad you can’t function. The thing to remember is that you’re better together than you would ever be apart.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for my person and her fiance. I pray that they enjoy the next month together. I pray for the start of their new chapter. I pray that they continue to see you in each other. I pray the foundation they started is only strengthened. I pray that while you test them, they succeed and grow in your love. I pray that they lift each other up. I pray that they forgive each other. I pray that they communicate. I pray that they understand each other. I pray that they trust each other. I pray they make sacrifices for each other. I pray that they never leave each other angry. I pray that they fight for each other. I pray that they keep teaching me. I pray that I keep learning from them. Thank you for bringing them together. Thank you for letting them grow. 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.

All that I need is to be with You and in the quiet hear Your voice.

I started my finals week early on Wednesday, when I was finishing a couple of last things for my Thursday presentation, by reading Colossians 3:23 which says: Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men. After reading that I immediately felt empowered and ready to get to work. I mean, I was literally excited to finish. I had been staring at my presentation stuff for what seemed like an eternity without making any substantial headway and then after reading that verse, I finished my presentation within half an hour.

I was still excited after two more full long days of studying for my next final and then today happened. I took one of my marketing finals. When the test started and I heard literally 50 other people slamming down on their keyboards, I got overwhelmed. So, I remembered the verse and focused. I felt accomplished coming out of it. So, I took an hour break. During that break I was told that I was mediocre. I am a big fan of words, but not this one. Mediocre is defined by Google as: “of only moderate quality; not very good.” Synonyms for mediocre are: ordinary, average, middle-of-the-road, uninspired, undistinguished, indifferent, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, prosaic, lackluster, forgettable, amateur, amateurish, OK, so-so, plain-vanilla, fair-to-middling, no great shakes, not up to much.

The first synonym is what got me. Like what is this, Grey’s Anatomy? I am not ordinary. I am Meredith Grey extraordinary. The next one that got me was uninspired. I am anything but that! I had to look up prosaic, in all honesty. It means: lacking poetic beauty or commonplace. That’s just rude. And excuse me? No great shakes?!? I can dance to Shake It Off with the best of them! In fact, I might be the most embarrassing dancer in the room when that song comes on, but I can also guarantee my smile is the biggest and brightest. Taylor would be proud. I had that verse with me the whole week until I took a break. Then I got distracted and I was momentarily knocked out of the game zone. I went to grab dinner with my little and on the way back to the student center to continue studying this song came on the radio.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I listen to you more. I pray that I listen your verse more. I pray that I really apply that verse to my life. I pray that I do everything I do for you. I pray that I let go of what everyone else’s opinion is. I pray that you speak in my life. I pray that I let go of all the other noises. I pray that I let my life become so quiet that all I hear is you. I pray that I get right back to that game zone and get right back to studying because you aren’t finished with me yet. You have a plan for my life and nothing you do is mediocre. Lord, I pray that I just listen to you and your word. I pray that I lay everything else down. 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.