If You can hold the stars in place, You can hold my heart the same.

I am going through my phone and I see this screenshot from Easter from the Sidewalk Prophets: “This is the moment when all will be made new. I know that you don’t understand but this is part of a greater plan so I lay down my life for you.” Ok. That put my selfishness into place. I don’t understand Your plan and I question it wayyyyy too much because Your plan is so much greater than I can even imagine. When You asked Your son to die on the cross for my sins, he didn’t question You. He didn’t wonder why. He was an obedient son. He literally got up there and did it. He prayed about it and then he just did it. You were asking the impossible and he did with no complaints and no hesitation and no regret.

My favorite quote is Thomas Edison’s: “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” I always used that to motivate myself into doing more, but Lord maybe I should have been thinking of You. Because Lord, You astound me. You are capable of far more than I can even fathom. You literally created the Heavens and the Earth without help from the peanut gallery so, why do I insist on knowing Your plan and questioning Your plan?

“You spoke a word, life began
Told oceans where to start and where to end
You set in motion time and space
But still you come and you’re calling me by name”

So, this is my prayer. So here I am, lifting up my heart to the one who holds the stars. Thank you for calling me by name. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for calming the raging sea inside of me. Thank you for calming the storm inside of me. Thank you for reminding me of who you are. Thank you for your plan. Thank you for sending your son to save me. Thank you for everything. Thank you for my life. Thank you for creating this world. Thank you for today. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for all you’ve given me. I pray that I actively listen to you more. I pray I follow your plan. I pray that I learn to calm down and accept that you plan is greater than my own. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I put my faith in you. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that you lead me. I pray that I give you my heart. I pray that I give you my everything. I pray that I give you all that 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.

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You have my heart and You hold it still.

Yesterday, as I walked into church, I prayed speak to me, God. And boy did You listen to me Lord. You had that preacher literally point to me and grab my attention. He said something along the lines of: young people and I know you just graduated (literally pointing at me) and I don’t know where you’re lives are taking you but I hope you stay in the house of the Lord. I don’t have the exact words the pastor said because You know me, I wasn’t ready for the personal attention. I near about bolted from my seat. I asked for You to speak to me and I sure got what I asked for. And it was just what I needed. 

I scrambled to write this after the service on a piece of paper that I found in my mom’s bible that says: “You will not see Him, unless you are looking.” I needed that too. 

It’s no secret that I’m a emotional wreck lately. I mean it’s been a total roller coaster of highs and lows. Graduation was definitely a high, but saying good bye to the life I’ve built in Mobile was harder than I thought possible. Part of my heart is here. Part of it is in Mobile. Moving is always rough and I am not transitioning well. I feel stuck. I feel like I’m moving backwards instead of forward. My family keeps telling me that this is just temporary and things will turn around, but it just feels so permanent. I feel like I am drowning in anxiety. It feels like everything I do is wrong. I worked so hard to be a better person and learn from my mistakes and to grow, but it feels like I’m in high school again. I am repeating old mistakes and falling into old habits.

I feel trapped, but I also want to be here. I want to be here surrounded by family. I want to be near the friends I haven’t seen in years. My parents moved into this house when I was a senior in high school so, I only lived here a year before I left. It never felt like home when I came for winter and summer break during college because I wasn’t familiar with this house. Even though this house felt foreign I would miss this stinkin house when I was away. I would miss sitting at the dining room table and watching Hallmark movies in the den. I definitely missed the people inside that house that always make it feel like home. And we live out in the middle of nowhere so, I am using literally five times the amount of gas as I did in Mobile. Dad gum those stars at night that I see out here are worth every single penny though.

Wanna talk about a conflicted heart. Mine is literally ripping in two. I want both. I need Mobile and I need Harpersville. No matter where I am though, I am missing someone and hurting someone. It’s a tough job being loved so much. Goodness gracious, I sound crazy. I am literally complaining about being loved too much and loving too much. I’m upset because I’m blessed to have two places to call home. Praying always changes my heart and Lord, I needed it today.

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, change my heart. Help me to love like you love. I want to want what you want. Help me see what you’re trying to show me. Help me to look for you. I pray that I focus on the love I’m surrounded by. I pray that I see the love around me. I pray that those not around me know my love is still with them too. I pray that I hold onto both parts of my life. I pray that I hold onto both parts of who I am. I pray that I stay in your house no matter where I’m living. I pray that break old habits. I pray that I bring the maturity and attitude and strength I had in Mobile, here. I pray that I’m nicer to my parents when I get frustrated. I pray that I react more like you, Lord. I pray that I see the difference between being stuck and being held. Lord, hold my heart. I pray that when the waves begin to build, that you hold me in your hand. I pray that you hold me still. I pray that my ground is stable. 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 can’t outrun this heart I’m tethered to.

My sister and I went to see Alice Through the Looking Glass, which was fantastic, btdubbs. I knew it was going to be, but I had no idea how profound and emotional it was going to be. It was deepppp. It started with Alice and her mother not understanding each other and both missing their father/husband: Mr. Kingsleigh.

Time had a bad rep when the movie started. Time was called a thief and a villain. Then Alice met Time and realized Time was a person. My favorite line from Time was when he was pulling down someone’s clock because their time was up and said: “I hope you used your time well.” Like ok now, taking this to a whole new level. Talk about thought provoking. I was on the edge of seat now! Time told Alice that the past could not be changed, that you could only learn from it. He also said: “You cannot win in a race against Time.” Of course, Alice didn’t listen, like all of us, and had to learn the hard way. She began to see things from a different point of view and started seeing Time differently like: “I suppose every second counts.” Then she started saying things to defend Time like: “Time is many things, but he is not money. Nor is he our enemy.” By the end of the movie she said: “I used to think time was a thief. Time is a gift. Every minute. Every second.” 

On the way home, I was sitting there thinking how perspective changes everything. That one little thought, thought differently could change your entire outlook. Then this song comes on the radio:

“You surround me
You chase me down
You seek me out
How can I be lost
When You have called me found”

I need to sing that a few more times. You surround me. You chase me down. You seek me out. How can I be lost when You have called me found. How can I be lost when You have called me found. How can I be lost when You have called me found. I could sing that a hundred and fifty two thousand times. That struck me right to the core. That line is a perspective changer.

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, how can I be lost when you have called me found. I need you. I am humbled at your feet, Father, I need you. I am nothing without you. Thank you for surrounding me. Thank you for finding me. Thank you for seeking me when I should be seeking you. Thank you for never letting go. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for perspective changers and life lessons. Thank you for your love. Thank you for loving me with a fierce love. Thank you for loving me with an unfailing love. Thank you for loving me like a tidal wave, like a hurricane. Thank you for not holding back. Thank you for letting me come face to face with you at every turn. Thank you for reminders that I am not alone. Thank you for being there even when I try to run away. Thank you for allowing me to learn from the past. Thank you for the reminder that time is not a thief or a villian, but a gift. 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 wanna believe that You got me, Lord.

When something happens to my friends or they need me, my first response is “girlllllll, I got you.” But when it’s me, I fumble for words and don’t know how to fight my own battles. When it’s others, I can help. I can fight. I can do whatever they need. When it’s me, I got nothing. Maybe You just want the chance to say “girl, I got you” or more accurately, “child, I already have you.” 

Lord, we both know I have trust issues. I try to do things on my own. I am as stubborn as a mule. I need to learn how to lean on You. I saw a video on Facebook of Keith Urban and his wife, Nicole Kidman singing in the car to Keith’s new song with Carrie Underwood. Nicole was singing Carrie’s part and the two of them were just as cute as cute could be. They were dancing along and I fell in love with the song instantly. I went out the next day and bought the CD. (#truefan I bought the actual CD, not the digital version) I was listening to the song on repeat and started thinking.

Maybe that’s what my relationship with You needs to be like. My heart these days is singing those lyrics over and over again. What if I fall? What if I cry? And if I get scared? It took this song to remind me that You’re singing along with me. “Child, I already have you.” Cause you’re precious heart is a precious heart. When they’re tryna get to you child I’ll be the fighter. Let me be the one to heal all the pain…

Last week, my week got a jump start on Wednesday when TobyMac posted: “Do you trust me when my answer is wait?-God” Ok, Lord, You have my attention. Then TobyMac posted this yesterday: “At the end of the day you can either focus on what’s tearing you apart or what’s holding you together.” I’ve been focusing on all the wrong things lately. It’s time to readjust my focus.

Sunday, a friend of mine posted: “I’m just curious to know…does anyone turn off their radio when they come to red light? Probably not, right? So why do we do that with God? Why when He says “wait” or we go through a storm do we turn off our prayers and praises? Shouldn’t we continue to dance and sing while we wait? Just as if our favorite song came on at a red light.” I’m not gonna lie. I screenshot that post right then and there. I turned into that lady at church with her hand in the air screaming “preach.” I literally jumped off the couch. When I’m at a red light, I turn the music up louder and start dancing and singing even more. That is exactly what I need to be with my life right now.

This week has been nothing but little reminders of “child, I already have you.” I apparently needed the message drilled in because I didn’t see the neon sign the first time. On Thursday, Proverbs 31 Ministries posted a quote from Lysa TerKeurst: “When I’m afraid, I sometimes resist trusting God. I want to see my circumstances change. But maybe God wants ME to change. To be less fearful. More faith-filled.” Then she ended the post with: “I have to resisting the process…stop being dismayed…and rest assured God is with me.”

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, I need you. I can’t do this on my own. I’m scared. I’m weak. Lord, I pray that you readjust my focus. I pray that you keep getting my attention. I pray that I turn up the prayers and praises. I pray that you keep changing me. I pray that I become more faith-filled. I pray for peace and assurance. I pray that I stop resisting the process. I pray that I am more patient in times of waiting and silence. I pray that I trust you more because you already have me. I pray that I give you all my heart. I believe in you and I pray that I learn to believe you when you speak to my heart. I pray that you keep speaking directly to my heart. I pray that I learn to listen more. 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 now whatever way our stories end I know you have rewritten mine.

Packing up my room for the last time was much more emotional than I ever thought for. I do not even have words to explain how much this place and these people mean to me so, here’s the best I’ve got.

“For Good”

[Elphaba:]
I’m limited.
Just look at me.
I’m limited.
And just look at you.
You can do all I couldn’t do.
Glinda…
So now it’s up to you,
For both of us.
Now it’s up to you.

[Glinda:]
I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you.

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.

[Elphaba:]
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

Like a ship blown from it’s mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you…

[Glinda:]
Because I knew you…

[Both:]
I have been changed for good.

[Elphaba:]
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I’ve done,
You blame me for.

[Glinda:]
But then I guess,
We know there’s blame to share.

[Both:]
And none of it seems to matter anymore.
Like a comet pulled from orbit
(Like a ship blown from it’s mooring)
As it passes a sun.
(By a wind off the sea)
Like a stream that meets a boulder
(Like a seed dropped by bird)
Halfway through the wood.
(In the wood)
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better.
I do believe I have been changed for the better.

[Glinda:]
And because I knew you…

[Elphaba:]
Because I knew you…

[Both:]
Because I knew you
I have been changed…
For good.

So, here is my prayer today. As I say goodbye to this place and more importantly to the people that have changed me for good, I pray for them. I pray my university and my town only grow. I pray they continue to work on bettering their communities. This town and this university have shown me real character and filled my heart with pride. I pray every word of this song for the people I’m saying goodbye to. I mean every single word. I pray they know I’m bringing little pieces of them with me when I go. I pray they know just how big a part in my story they are. I pray their next chapter is as good as the last one has been. This might be the end of this chapter, but I pray we’re still in each other’s stories. I pray for my Alpha Gamma Delta sister and roommate as she leaves for Arkansas. I pray she excels over there and has safe travels. I pray for her internship. I pray that she sees how wonderful she is. I pray that she makes a difference there like she did here. I pray for my beautiful, smart, confident, outgoing, Alpha Gamma Delta sister in who is going to New Mexico. I pray that she knows how much she means to me. I pray that her travels are safe and that she has a blast and that she accomplishes all her dreams and more. I pray she continues to soar and fly. I pray she enjoys every minute there. I pray for my Alpha Gamma Delta sister who became my person. I pray she knows how much she changed my life. She has shown me more love than I’ll ever deserve. I pray that all her dreams come true. I pray that she continues to shine everywhere she goes. I pray for her husband because I’m gonna miss his friendship too. I pray that he continues to be the wonderful leader that he is. I pray his dreams come true too. Thank you for bringing these people into my life. Thank you allowing us to be a part of each other’s stories. 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.

We’ve come a long way from where we began.

When it came time to decide how to decorate my graduation cap, I knew it had to be red, white, and blue. I mean, they didn’t call me America for nothing. I wasn’t voted Most Patriotic for nothing. The name on my intramural jersey wasn’t Mercuh for nothing. There was a purpose for it. Just like the reason I chose the University of South Alabama was more than my love for all things red, white, and blue. I started looking for ideas and found this quote from Captain America 2: Winter Soldier that said: “I’m with you til the end of the line.”

I immediately looked over at my little and realized this was perfect.

How can we not talk about family when family’s all that we got?
Everything I went through you were standing there by my side
And now you gon’ be with me for the last ride

Of course, I am with her until the end of the line. She is literally going to be sitting beside me today at graduation. When I met her, I had no idea how much she would mean to me. I pray she knows the impact she has had on my world.

I am with all my littles because life would be so bleak without them. They have taught me so much and shown me more kindness than I ever thought possible. They’ve shown more strength than I could ever muster up. I pray they know how courageous and generous they are.

I am with my big because she showed me the kind of woman I could become and protected me and gave me the space I needed to become that woman. I pray she knows how truly amazing she is.

I am with my grandlittles because they are literally my hope and future. I pray they shine like the stars they are.

I am with my friends back home. They’ve been there for me for all the glory days of high school. They’ve been there for all my terrible music choices, my tragic wardrobe malfunctions, bad hair decisions, and so much sass and attitude. They’ve also been patiently waiting for my graduation so I can return to them. They’ve stayed by me even when this kid grew up. I pray they know I always brought little pieces of them here with me.

I am with my beautiful friend from Vincent. She is so like me in so many ways but she has her own little fiery personality too. I cannot wait to come home and hang out with her! I pray that she sees how truly fabulous she is and that our friendship only grows.

I am with my family. My Mema, Papa, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, and Grandpa.  Families are like trees. We spread our branches out everywhere and grow new branches all the time, but we’re all rooted together. I pray we only love each more and I pray they know how thankful I am for them.

I am with my Brother, Sister, Mom and Dad. They’ve supported me every step of the way. They’ve given me a crutch to lean on during times of trouble and given me all that I need to succeed. I pray they know how much I appreciate and love them.

I am with my sorority. That organization became a part of me, a part of the fabric of my being. “Inspire the Woman. Impact the World.” That phrase changed my life when I went through recruitment. Then those women taught me to “Live with Purpose” and I never looked back. They taught me to make each decision with intention. I pray they keep inspiring women and building them up.

I am with my sisters. Who literally had to pick me up off the floor because I couldn’t handle life any more. Who carried me through the worst and the best days of my life. Who taught me to laugh on the worst days and cry on the best days. Who taught me to love more fully and completely than ever before. I pray they never stop sharing the best and the worst parts of themselves, it’s what helps us grow.

I am with my person. There aren’t even enough words in the dictionary to explain all that she has done for me and taught me. I would never have made it to this day without her. I pray she knows no matter what happens, I will always be her person.

I am with Christopher because my sweet friend has changed my life in more ways than I can even understand. He reminded me of how important the rain is and how to pray. I pray he knows I’m carrying him with me today as I walk across that stage.

It’s been a long day without you, my friend

I am with my grandma. The last time I put on a cap and gown, she was there smiling bigger than anyone in that church. I pray she’s smiling the biggest in Heaven today too.

And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

I am with You, Lord. You created me with a purpose. You created me with a plan. You brought all of these things I pray for into my life. You have made my life so full of light and love and joy. I am in awe of You. I pray that I grow closer to You and worship You more and thank You more.

So, here is the rest of my prayer today. As I say goodbye to the home I created in this place, in this university, and in these people, I pray that I see them all again. I pray they all know how much they mean to me. I pray they know how much I’ve learned from them. I pray they know I’m with them all til the end of the line. I pray that Heaven isn’t so far away today. I pray that the love will never be lost. I pray that I see them again too one day. Thank you for all of this and more. Thank you for college. Thank you for the memories made, for the tears shed, for the laughter, for the things I learned, for sending me here. Thank you for this day. Thank you for these people. 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.