That’s when I need Your love.

It’s been like an avalanche lately. Like it just took one bad thing to strike. I thought the initial hit was bad enough, but the aftermath of destruction is what caused the biggest blow. Part of me is like super emotional and just needs a really good cry. Part me needs some kind of tangible way to fix it or at least a plan of action. One thing is for sure, all of me knows I need Your love. All of me knows I am nothing without You. This is just a bump in the road though. This is not my entire journey. This is just a small part in a much greater plan.

I found some old notes from a church sermon a few months ago. The note said: “Money and other things are a temporary solution, Jesus is the answer to the long term problem.” Whewww. I needed that reminder today. Lately I’ve been wanting answers. Well there it is, right there in purple pen ink: “Jesus is the answer.” It doesn’t get any more simple than that. I don’t think it can be broken down anymore. Realizing my problems are just temporary is such a comfort. No matter what happens, You have me. This is temporary. You are eternal. You are forever. I might try to turn a mowhill into a mountain, but You created the mountains. You created Heaven and Earth. You created the moon and the stars. You created light and darkness. You created day and night. You created me. There is nothing You can’t do. Maybe it’s time, I stop trying to do Your job by trying to figure it all out today. Maybe it’s time, I use my middle name and start using my faith. Maybe it’s time, I started trusting You.

So, that’s my prayer today. Thank you for being the answer. Thank you for surrounding me with your love. Thank you for holding me together. I pray that I seek you. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I follow you. Thank you for reminding me that I need you. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for your patience and grace with me. I know that you have a plan. I know that you are taking care of me. I know you have a reason for everything in my life. I know you have a reason for every step I take. Lord, you have your hand over my life. Thank you for that. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for reminding me of everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for reminding me that I’m never alone. Thank you for reminding me of everything you’ve created. I pray that I learn to lean on 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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You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same.

Two years ago today was the first game of the season and I stood cheering on the Jags with all my might, next to Christopher and Dallas. Everything was completely perfect. How does that day feel like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time? I feel like a completely different person and I feel like that same girl standing there all at the same time. My life was changed for the better because I knew him. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe he is gone.

jaguar game

Psalm 139:23 says: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. So, here are my thoughts; here is my open, vulnerable heart: I miss him. I miss him every time I say something patriotic because I know he would be calling me Merica. I miss him every time I hear something about politics. I miss him every time it rains and I’m reminded of Your promises, Lord. To be honest, sometimes I’m still mad that he’s gone. I’m mad that I’m getting ready for my graduation and he won’t have one of his own. I’m mad that I am deciding which path to take after graduation and he’s not. I’m mad because I am so uncertain about my future and the fact that he would be so completely certain. So, today, I am admitting I am weak. Lord, I need You. I am angry. I am hurt. I am lost. I have 152 questions about my future. I have 152 questions about what I’m doing this week. I am completely unsure of this week, much less 6 months from now. I have no idea when my car is going to get out of the shop. There is like a million things on my to-do list that I’m not even positive I can finish this to-do list by the end of the week. I most definitely have no idea what I’m going to do after graduation. I could spiral into a whirl wind of uncertainty, but I won’t because of something that Corrie Ten Boom said: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Lord, no matter how uncertain I am, You will never leave me. You have shown me that time and time again. There is a picture that says You loved us at our darkest, then it lists Romans 5:8, which says: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Paul Washer said: “I have given God countless reasons not to love me. None of them has been strong enough to change Him.” Your love has most definitely changed me though. Your love has changed the way I see things, how I touch things, how I feel things. Your love has changed everything down to the way I breathe.

I am completely sure that You have me. I trust You with every fiber of my being. On Pinterest, it says: “Worship will get you through the roughest times in your life, because it shifts your focus from the problem to the problem solver.” 

Gary A. Haugen said: “The God of Light, in whom there is no darkness at all, is yearning for us to charge the darkness, to be bearers of light in the darkest places.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, I need you. I pray that I shift my focus from my problems to you. I pray that I look to you. I pray that I run to you. I pray that you search my heart. I pray that you keep finding me, no matter how far I dig that pit. I pray that I stop asking questions and listen for your answers. I pray that you keep surrounding me with your love. I pray that I not only keep seeing it, but that I share your love with everyone around me. Thank you for loving me at my darkest, my brightest, and every moment in between. I pray that I share your light with the world. I pray that I charge the darkness. I pray that I learn to bear the light. I pray that I learn to seek the light. Thank you for changing 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.

People think I’m lucky But I know it’s grace.

I have about 345232 questions running through my head. I am not a fan of uncertainty. I like actions, plans, steps, and lists. I like things to fit into organized boxes. This week is challenging me in more ways than one. I want to know exactly when and how things are going to work out. Those are my exact worries right now. Then I saw the Proverbs 31 Facebook update which was literally my feelings and anxiety at the moment. Renee Swope posted: “Faith means obeying God even when all my questions aren’t answered.” Allllllll Right. Way to call me out by name there. Middle named me and everything. I see what you did you there. Lord, your timing is absolutely astounding. It never ceases to amaze me.

A friend of mine posted Isaiah 26:3 today which says: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. I went on to read verse 4 which says: Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. Ok. I needed that today. I needed some peace and reassurance. I don’t like when things are all up in the air and I don’t have a plan, but that’s what the struggle is right now. I have to change my perspective. I needed to be reminded that You are everlasting strength. I needed this lesson in trusting You.

Hannah Brencher posted a while ago on Instagram: “Because only in the darkness do we know light. Only, and only, if ever there was a word called ‘darkness’ would there be a reason to create another word to counter that word called ‘light.’ And maybe that’s just life: patches of darkness and patches of light. Sometimes we see it all so clearly. Sometimes we don’t know the way. Sometimes we grab the hands of others too tightly and they’re just thankful – just so thankful – that you’re finally grabbing on and needing to be held.” I definitely do not know my way right now and I am totally grabbing the hands of those around me. I struggle with that too because I’m stubborn and I don’t like to ask for help, but sometimes I just cannot do it alone and I don’t have to. I am blessed beyond measure by those that love me. Genesis 1:3-4 says: Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. He separated the light from the darkness. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that.” I heard that “sometimes God lets you be in a situation that only he can fix, so you will discover that he is the one who can fix it.” Casting Crowns has this song called Just Be Held and I was reminded of the lyrics today: “If your eyes are on the storm, you’ll wonder if I love you still, but if your eyes are on the cross, you’ll know I always have and I always will.” Those words meant so much to me today.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I look to you. I pray that I concentrate on the cross and not my problems. Lord, I know you love me and I know you have me. I know you’re taking care of me. I pray that you separate the light from the darkness. I pray that I see the light. I pray that I keep grabbing your hands and the hands of my loved ones who are going above and beyond to help me. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that I give you my struggles. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for teaching me. I pray that I get my peace and strength from you. I pray that I put my faith in you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I pray that I continue to see how blessed I am, even when I struggle. I know that you have a plan for my life and you are working for me. Thank you for that.  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.

And I’m alright, I’m okay.

I just heard this song that completely related to my life. The song is Downside Of Growing Up. The song starts talking about how hard it is leaving your mama. Well, to be honest, I’m graduating in May, so I’m pretty used to crying as I leave my mama. It really doesn’t get easier leaving, you just also create a home in college, so it makes it hard to leave here too. College pulls your heart in so many different directions, sometimes it’s hard to find all the pieces. This summer, I said good-bye to my mama and moved into a house with a couple of roommates. I love the freedom. I can have candles and there’s no RA coming to check to see if my trash is piled up or if the fire alarm works, again. The downside is there is no more of the really nice maintenance men coming to fix things for me. I have to fix things myself. So, I went into Lowe’s and I figured out what I needed and tried to replace that toilet handle myself. The first time was a bust and to be honest, I wanted my daddy to come fix it for me. The downside is he is 5 hours away so, I had to go back to Lowe’s. The second time was a success. I have never been more proud to fix something in my whole life. Ok. I get it. It’s like a $7 replacement and it was like super easy to do, but I did it all on my own. Ok. It was a big step into the adult world for me.

Then this morning was less than stellar. I started by missing my classes because I was in a car accident. I was on time this morning and I was looking cute, like everything was going good, until it wasn’t. The downside of growing up was that my parents were 5 hours away. The truth is, as bleak as the morning looked, I felt this overwhelming sense of peace. So, because I love lists: Here is a list of blessings for today:

  1. My daddy was on the phone with me the whole time, reminding me to breathe. He is usually a complete softy, ok. I don’t care what all the stories say about how tough or strong or he was or how he used to be like the best football player ever, ok. The man braided my hair and drove me to every single club meeting, event, performance, and cried like a baby every single time he was proud of me, which was every time I breathed. When Gary Allen sings Tough Little Boys, he is singing about my daddy. This morning however, that was the strongest man I’ve ever known. His reassurance held me together.
  2. There was a Bible in the ER room, so I could turn to Isaiah 43:2.
  3. My person dropped everything to be by my side, the moment I called her and she stayed right there by me the whole day. She texted my mom updates. She stood by me as they towed my car away. She stood by me in the ER. She stood by me while I waited on prescriptions. She stood by me at home too, just to make sure I was ok. She was everything I needed and more.
  4. In the X-Ray room, there is a dry erase board. Written on that board is Psalm 86:7 which says: In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
  5. When the insurance claims man called, he started by saying he was an Alum of South Alabama, Go Jags. I hope me knows how fabulous that was to hear.
  6. My little was beyond thoughtful. She stood by me in the ER in between classes. Then she brought me dinner, AmeriCone Dream ice cream for later, and breakfast for tomorrow. She texted my littles and grandlittles to let them know I was safe.
  7. My lovely Alpha Gam sister serenaded me Shake It Off. It meant more to me than words can explain.
  8. My roommate looked at me when she got home and said you look like you need a hug. I most certainly did.

I might have started this morning thinking I was going to see the downside of growing up, but I felt pretty blessed instead.

So, that is my prayer today. While the song says your dad ain’t there to get you unstuck, thank you for making sure that wasn’t true for me. Thank you for my daddy’s strength and kindness today. Thank you for making sure that you, my heavenly father, will always be there to get me unstuck. Thank you giving me a daddy to teach me that. Thank you for the many wonderful people that took care of me at the accident, in the er, in the line to get my prescription, and everywhere I went today. Thank you for the lady, when I called 911, that told me to just breathe. I pray for all of them. They were so kind and extremely patient with me. Thank you for my sisters for taking care of me. Thank you for Psalm 86:7 and the fact that I can call out to you when I’m scared. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in more ways than one today. Thank you for the downside of growing up. Thank you teaching me and guiding me. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for reminding me how blessed I am. 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.

Hallelujah, I am Your’s and You are mine.

My last class of the day is one of my marketing classes. The class is on Business2Business sales. To be perfectly frank, I hate sales. I do not like selling. All I can think of is like those retail credit card people or like the typical car salesman, the pushy types! I wanted to better understand sales, which is exactly why I chose this class as one of my marketing electives.

Today, in class, we were discussing features and attributes. The professor asked “how do you translate those features and attributes into benefits?” In all seriousness, in my mind, I went with what I knew: Alpha Gam. I started making a mental checklist of features and attributes:

  1. Dues
  2. Intramurals
  3. Community Service
  4. Panhellenic Love
  5. Study Hours
  6. Recruitment
  7. Offices
  8. Campus Involvement
  9. Programs
  10. Living in the House

Maybe it’s because I’m an alum now or maybe it’s because I held so many offices and got so involved, but I could totally see in terms of benefits:

  1. Responsiblity
  2. Life Skills
  3. Outreach
  4. Networking
  5. Higher GPAs/Better College Retention Rates
  6. Engaged Members
  7. Leadership
  8. Well Rounded Student Experience
  9. Growing together as sisters and growing as individual women
  10. Memories I will cherish and friendships I hold extremely dear

On the way home from class, I started thinking about that question in a different way. I started applying it to my relationship with You, Lord. Lysa Terkeurst talks about the “Christian Checklist” all the time and how we’re just trying to mark things off our list. I started thinking about the features and attributes of that list:

  1. Read your Bible and study scripture
  2. Pray
  3. Go to church

The “Christian Checklist” could go on and on. What I think we forget sometimes is the benefits:

  1. Patience
  2. Guidance
  3. Accountability
  4. Peace
  5. Reassurance
  6. Freedom
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Protection
  9. Understanding
  10. Healing
  11. Love
  12. Honestly
  13. Respect
  14. Hope
  15. Truth
  16. Intention
  17. Purpose
  18. Promises
  19. Strength
  20. Endurance
  21. Wisdom
  22. Teaching

The Bible says 365 times “Do Not Fear.” What is the opposite of fear? Faith. What greater benefit than Faith?

So, that is my prayer today. I wanna say thank you for being my everything. Thank you for my faith. Thank you for all the many benefits that you give us and all the ones I didn’t list. Thank you for making me, yours. Lord, I’m lifting my hands up to you. I am in awe of you. Thank you for being my light in the darkness. Thank you for letting me run to you. Thank you for picking me up off the ground, time and time again. I also wanna thank you for my experience in Alpha Gam. I wanna thank you for letting me get to know the beautiful women in that house. Thank you for letting me learn and grow there. Thank you for teaching me to live with purpose. I wanna pray for them as they head into recruitment this week and start the first round of recruitment tonight. I pray that you watch over them and the other Panhellenic women in all the houses and all the women going through recruitment and all the alums helping and all the volunteers. I pray that they enjoy this experience and make the most of this week. I pray that they learn from the features and attributes and see all the benefits. I pray that those benefits translate into skills and relationships they can take with them into the rest of their lives. Thank you for showing me the benefits today and helping me to realize just how blessed I am. 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 is a fire inside me burning with hope.

I was taking a break after my first day of classes and scrolling through Facebook and saw this video posted. Yesterday on the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford thanked everyone for the outpouring of love she received. In the video, she talked about her and her husband’s faith. I got all kinds of choked up, but what really got me was when she talked about their visit to the Holy Land and how they went to where David picked up the stones that defeated Goliath. She said her husband took a stone home and put that stone in his trophy room. When people went to see visit his home, he took them straight to that stone. Then she said when their children graduated they gave them a stone and asked them: “where you gonna throw your stone for the Kingdom of God?” I admit it, I cried.

What a fantastic question for graduating seniors. I am getting ready for my own college graduation this Spring. I have my application ready to turn in this week. All I have to do first is pay for those parking tickets that I let pile up. (I might have one or two…or six…) I was completely swept away by that question. I hope I take that question with me this year as I get ready to go out in the world. College is not only where you get to pick a major and a career path, it’s where you get to pick the kind of person you want to be, the kind of future you want to have. As a senior, it’s easy to get burnt out here at the end. This question just made sure my candle is still burning.

To be perfectly honest, the closer it gets to my graduation, the more I think about those I lost last year who won’t be in attendance. I knew college was going to be a lot of firsts. First dorm, first time living on my own, first time doing anything substantial without my parents, first road trips without adult supervision, first time on a plane (and second), first time paying real bills, first time my actions had real consequences. College has been a lot of firsts, but one I wasn’t counting on was the first time I would lose someone I loved and then I did it twice last year. College has been a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. Part of me is really excited to get off and start a new ride. Part of me is terrified to leave the one where I know exactly where all the bumps are and where my seat is. The ride is a little less crowded than when I began, but I know You have a plan for me. I know You’ve got me in Your hands. I know I’ll be ok. Now, I’m gonna throw that stone You gave me and see what You can do.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I continue to polish the stone I’ve picked this year. I pray that I keep looking towards you, Lord. I pray that I go where you send me. I pray that I do what you need me to do. Lord, I know that you have plans for me and I pray that I follow them. I pray that you lead me and guide me. I pray that I take the stone you gave me and throw it exactly where you need it. I pray that I let my light shine for you. Thank you for keeping my candle going. Thank you for everything you’ve given me. Thank you for watching over those I’ve lost. Thank you for holding me together. Thank you for all the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for teaching me inside the classroom and outside of it. Thank you for all of those I’ve loved alone the way. Thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for the life I’ve lived. Thank you for who I am today. I pray that I keep growing and learning. I pray that I use my stone for your good. 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.