I stand in awe.

Lord, Your timing is so incredible to me. It never ceases to amaze me. It’s a year ago today that I started this blog and then today, I heard this song.

I have been searching my whole life to feel like I am enough. To feel loved and respected. To feel appreciated and wanted. To fill like my cup isn’t running on empty, which it has lately. When I heard this song, I realized maybe it wasn’t about me. Maybe I missed the point. You are enough. You love me. You created me. You filled me with a purpose. You put every single hair on my head for a reason. You do not make mistakes. You do everything with love and intention.

I have been stressed out all week. (Yes, I realize it’s only Tuesday.) If I’m being honest, I’ve been stressed all summer. Classes are about to start though and it’s my last year so, reality is sinking in. Those loans are about to become real. Real fast. I downloaded the new First 5 app. I opened today’s and it was a quote from Whitney Capps that said: “Maybe it’s time I stopped editing my prayers because I think He won’t care.” Alrightttttt. You have my attention, Lord. I was ready and listening. Then she goes on to say: “I often think, This is so not a big deal. Jesus wouldn’t care about this. And even if He cares, He certainly won’t do anything about it. Have you ever felt that way? Wondered if Jesus cares about a hurtful Facebook comment, a tense relationship with a coworker, a paycheck that won’t make ends meet…” Wow. Stop there. Wait a minute. That last one right there is me. I admit it.

I grew up believing that finances were private family matters. One does not speak of his/her own finances outside the immediate family, ever. One does not ask about anyone else’s finances, ever. Ok, these were like legit, southern rules. It was just simply not polite to talk or ask about finances. College was an entirely different ballgame. Like not even the same league. Everyone is struggling is some shape or form. No one has it all together, all the time and everyone is open when they’re riding the struggle bus. Somebody went to Foo too many times last week and now they’re making good old fashioned pb&j’s until pay day. When free food is offered, it will run out before the event even starts. We also loveeeeee our student discounts. Those $5 movie tickets practically buy themselves. There are somedays when my bank account just simply hurts. But, here’s what I’ve learned about finances so far:

1. When I tithe regularly, I simply feel better about my finances. I put my money where my mouth is. It feels like my first priority is You and that makes all the difference.

2. Budgets are a necessity, not an option.

3. Emergencies happen. Things come up unexpectedly. Having some savings set aside will turn a mountain into a mow-hill.

4. Do not blow the savings completely. I will admit it. I did it my first year of college. I had all this money saved up from working and graduation and I blew through it all in the first semester. I had a brand new dorm to decorate and I made sure that room was gorgeous.

5. Asking for help occasionally is like taking cough syrup. That junk is no fun at all and it tastes terrible, but sometimes you need it. Asking for help, is like the very last thing I want to do, but it might teach me to a valuable lesson in responsibility and so many other life lessons.

6. Student discounts do not last forever so, take advantage of them while you can.

7. Loans are scary. Like no joke. They terrify me, but if I think of them as an investment in my future, it makes them less of a death sentence and more of a means to having the career I’ve dreamed of. Perspective is key.

8. Learn from mistakes. No one is perfect. Everyone struggles sometimes, but don’t make a habit out of bad decisions.

9. Never let anyone borrow something you’re not open to giving away. Even the very best of people forget to return things or pay you back for dinner when they left their wallet at home.

10. Networking is life. Make connections everywhere you go. You never know which of those connections will lead to a job. The best jobs I ever had came from sources I would have never expected and almost every single job I’ve ever had, has come from knowing someone.

I might ride the struggle bus a time or two during college, but I have never been without anything I needed, ever. I’ve been more blessed than I can even comprehend. This week though, finances scared me. I just started thinking about those loans and graduation and going into the real world and finding my first full-time career job and I just kinda froze, then had a meltdown. Like a full blown, Elsa, meltdown. I’m living in my first place off campus and it’s kinda fabulous. I can have candles, first off! Which is a big deal for this girl because that dorm life didn’t allow them. Deciding to live with my roommate was kind of an easy decision. I mean, she’s my soulmate after all. The first big, adult decision I’ve had to make was what kind of mattress I wanted. I’ve never had to make that decision before. So, needless to say, I might have gone overboard. I have been researching and trying to decide for like two months now and I still have no idea what I want. I understand that buying a mattress isn’t life altering or anything, but I just feel like it’s a big decision. I have been spending so much time deciding what kind of mattress to get and I haven’t spent one second in prayer with You about it because I thought it’s just a silly old mattress, why would You care? You have more important things to worry about than my mattress choice!

In the First 5 today, she said: “How differently would I approach prayer if I trusted God like Mary did? Maybe it’s time I stopped editing my prayers because I think He won’t care. He may ask, ‘Why do you involve me?’ I pray I’m faith-filled enough to answer, ‘Because I trust You.'” 

So, today this is my prayer. First, I want to pray the First 5 prayer they provided: “Father, forgive me for believing the lie that You don’t care about every detail of my life. Help me trust You to hear and act. I want an honest prayer conversation with You free from the fear that I am insignificant. Help me to involve You in all of my life.” I pray that I put my trust in you. I pray that I remember that you are more than enough. Thank you for blessing with me with so much more than I could ever imagine. Thank you for always taking care of me. Thank you for giving me everything I needed and so much more. Thank you for little reminders that you’re here. Thank you for filling my cup, time and time again. 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.

Your power’s turned on.

To be honest, I spent most of my day wallowing. I laid around the house watching Netflix. I watched Parenthood because I knew it would make me cry and I needed a good cry. I’m on season 1 and Adam is teaching his daughter an important lesson. He said “…asking you to do this is being on your side, in a bigger way. Haddie, you can’t go through life allowing your pain to dictate how you behave. It’s easy to sit here in your bedroom and wallow in your hurt feelings. It’s hard to rise above it.”

When I started high school, I made a decision to change my life. I didn’t like who I was or who I surrounded myself with. I didn’t like my reaction to the things happening to me. Middle school is rough. Period. But I decided high school was going to be a clean slate and I was starting over. The next four years I tried to become a person I wanted to be and a person that I was proud of. I accomplished that. I changed my entire life, every single aspect. I was still me, I was just constantly trying to be better and grow. For high school, it took one day to change everything.

For college, it wasn’t so easy. I had to make that decision to be better practically every single day. I had to shake things up and learn and grow every single day. I always thought that first day of high school was my fight song. It was me, picking myself up by the bootstraps and moving forward and not looking back. The truth is, college was my fight song. I have learned something new every single day. That first day of high school was just the first step to a lifelong battle. I am working to become the person You created me to be. I want to fulfill the purpose You created me for. You created me for a specific reason with a specific plan. I am not an accident. I am not a mistake. I won’t apologize for who I am anymore. I have been doing it my whole life. I have been apologizing for everything since I was a kid. Somewhere along the way, I got it in my head that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t fast enough, or strong enough, or smart enough, or nice enough, or pretty enough, or brave enough, or respected enough. Sometimes I even practically beg for people to validate me. The truth is that puts unfair expectations on them that they will never be able to fulfill. I may not ever be enough for some people. I might always come up short. (sometimes literally.) But You created enough of me to do what You needed. I am no longer concerned with filling some kind of box or checking off some kind of list for other people. You made me just the way I am for Your plan. I am still working to better and still growing, but in college my motives changed. In high school, it was to make me happy. I followed You, but I wasn’t living for You. In college, I found out I wasn’t the center of the universe. I found out that maybe I didn’t know it all, after all. In college I chose to fight everyday, but it wasn’t for me anymore. I fight because Your power is turned on, not mine.

So, this is my prayer today and every day. I pray this is my fight song. I pray this is my take back my life song. I pray this is my prove I’m alright song. I pray your power’s turned on. I pray that starting right now I’ll be strong. I pray this is my anthem today and every day. I pray that I fight. I pray that I still got a lot of fight left in me. I pray that I keep learning to live for you. I pray that I stop letting my pain dictate my behavior. I pray that you dictate my behavior. I pray that I listen for you and listen for your teaching and for your words. I pray that I keep growing and learning. I pray that I keep striving to be better. I pray that I keep fighting for those around me too. I pray that my heart only grows. I pray that I love more. I pray that keep my hand reaching out for those around me. I pray that I lead both of us closer to 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.

I found my life when I laid it down.

I went to the flea market this weekend with my roommate and this car cut us off in the parking lot because she was in a hurry. All I could focus on was the Jesus fish tag on the front of her car. I was judging her impatience. The thoughts going through my head were: “She’s a Christian. She should be more considerate. She should have patience.”

The question that has been bugging me all week, Do I hold myself to that same standard? Well, to be honest, for the past couple of days, I tried to justify that I did. I knew it wasn’t true but I tried to justify it anyways by saying that I am a courteous driver and I let people over and I like go above and beyond when I drive to be courteous. Then today happened. My patience was tested. I failed, miserably. This summer started off with so much promise and everything was perfect. Then it was one thing after another falling apart. I would literally be given things just for them to slip right out of my hands. It was like a tease. Then it hit even harder. Now it wasn’t just new things I was losing, it was old relationships and things I have grown to depend on. It was like every where I turned something was blowing up in my face and not working out the way I wanted.

Today, I lost my patience. Maybe it was because I didn’t sleep last night. Maybe it was previous stress adding up. Maybe it was just the last straw that I couldn’t take. When was my parents tried to tell me it was going to be ok, I cried because I didn’t believe them. Then I saw Lysa Terkeurst’s post. “God really does work for the good in all things even our most vulnerable struggles. Sometimes we just have to decide to look for the good.” 

Maybe I should focus more on what You want, instead of what I want. Maybe I should follow Your plan, instead of mine. Maybe I should strive to be more like You, instead of comparing myself to other Christians. Maybe I should have more patience for that lady in the flea market and for everyone else. Maybe I should call my parents back and apologize and thank them. Maybe I should be looking for the good because there is soooo much of it. This summer hasn’t been terrible by far. Yes, a lot of bad things happened, but soooo much good happened too. Even on the worst day this summer, I saw Your love. Maybe I should remember Galatians 5:25 which says: “Since we are living by the Spirit. Let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Maybe I should let my knees hit the ground.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that my knees hit the ground. I pray that I lay everything down. I pray that I lay all my relationships down. I pray that I lay my plans down. I pray that I lay my worries down. I pray that I lay my struggles and my victories down. I pray I lay my patience down. I pray I lay my weaknesses and my strengths down. I pray that I lay everything that I am down. I pray that I lay everything that I have down. I pray that you lead me. I pray that I follow. I pray that I trust. I pray that I look for the good. I pray that I keep seeing your love everywhere I turn. I pray that you sweep me up in your love again. I pray that I reach out in surrender again. I pray that I listen to my daddy when we says: “There’s a way. We might not see it yet, but there’s a way.” Because you do see it. You see the way. You are the light that guides my life. Psalm 119:05 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I pray that I listen to you and listen to your word. You’ve never left me. I pray that I remember that when I start to lose my patience. 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.