With so much left to say, I prayed.

The Grand Ole Opry posted a video of Scotty McCreery singing a new song and I swooned so hard I cried. I started thinking about how when I was a kid all I wanted was five more minutes, like the song sings. My list hasn’t changed much, I’ve just added to it.

Give me five more minutes running through a sprinkler with my brother and sister. Give me five more minutes watching my brother play pee wee football. Give me five more minutes watching my parents put the lights on the Christmas tree. Give me five more minutes at my sister’s softball tournaments. Give me five more minutes twirling that flag, under those stadium lights, wearing that glitter spray. Give me five more minutes singing stadium cheers and throwing my L up after a big win. Give me five more minutes in FCCLA cooking for those appreciation dinners with my bff. Give me five more minutes taking selfies in Hobby Lobby with her. Give me five more minutes sitting in the pews at Bethel Baptist with her.

Give me five more minutes living in that sorority house. Give me five more minutes moving the furniture in the chapter room to dance with my sisters. Give me five more minutes leading those chapter meetings. Give me five more minutes singing the Dixie Chicks with my soulmate on those back roads in Mobile. Give me five more minutes throwing my J up. Give me five more minutes living in that Midtown apartment with my roommate. Give me five more minutes singing country music with my littles, driving around town, wasting gas. Give me five more minutes getting ice cream with my littles. Give me five more minutes in the caf with my people. Give me five more minutes crying in a parking lot saying goodbye to my person as dramatic as we can possibly make it.

Give me five more minutes with those I’ve lost along the way. Give me five more minutes floating on the lake in Pell City. Give me five more minutes right now, praying with You, Lord. Give me five more minutes right now, to remember how blessed beyond measure that I am.

Lysa Terkeurst in Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl wrote: “But what’s most amazing is that the God of the universe, the Savior of the world, would desire a few minutes with me this morning. Lord, help me to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this.”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I want to thank you for all the ways you’ve blessed me. Thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve. Thank you for all the precious moments and the even better people. Thank you for all the extra five minutes that you gave me. Thank you for your timing. Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in your timing today. I pray that I spend five more minutes with you each day. Thank you for wanting to spend five more minutes with me. Thank you for giving me five more minutes. I pray that I trust in your timing. I pray that I remember that your timing is what has made all of this possible. Thank you for writing my story. 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.

Advertisements

Break the silence with Your whisper.

The other day I was on Pinterest, obviously planning my future wedding and dream house, because why not? I read this one pin that said: “Dear God, If today I lose my hope please remind me that Your plans are better than my dream.” I need to do more of that. I tend to end my day with prayer, instead of beginning it. I take my problems to You, Lord, after the fact. I need be proactive and have a take-charge attitude for my life. I need to pray longggg before I lose my hope.

Lately, I’ve wondering what my next step is. I’ve been trying to figure out what You want me to learn. I was looking through old notes and stumbled across this one question: “What do You require of me? More, be with Me more.”

Alright Lord, You’re laying it on my heart. You want more of me. You want me to spend time in Your word. You want me to love. You want me to pray. You want me to give. You want more of me. You want all of me, the deepest parts of me.

And for the days when I think I have nothing left to give, I can remember Lou Holtz: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” I struggle with differentiating between the three. I get overwhelmed with figuring out my ability and forget the rest. When I forget the rest, I’m missing the most important parts. I heard my whole life that attitude was either pushed you forward or held you back. I saw this quote from Carlos Castaneda that said: “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that if today I lose my hope please remind me that your plans are better than my dream. I pray that if today I lose control please remind me that you are God and I am not. I pray that if today I lose my ability please remind me that you never left me to do it on my own. I pray that if today I lose my motivation please remind me that you already won the war. I pray that if today I lose my attitude please remind me that I cannot control others, but I can control my reaction and my thoughts. I pray that if today I lose everything from this world please remind me that this is not my home. I pray that if today I lose my worth please remind me that I am chosen by you. I pray that if today I lose my joy please remind me that my joy comes from you and cannot be taken. I pray that if today I lose my will to fight please remind me that you are my savior. I pray that if today I lose my purpose please remind me that you require more of me. I pray that if today I lose myself please remind me that the deeper I go with you, the more I will find something greater than myself. 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.

Maybe tonight he’s walkin’ down the same road I’ve been takin’.

Growing up, girls are taught to find a man and once you find one, don’t lose them. I haven’t been in a real relationship. The closest thing I’ve had was in middle school and it was over before it began, which was all of two weeks. When I do that whole “talking” thing, it only lasts about three days before one or both is done. I’ve heard people tell me that since I’ve never had a relationship of my own, that I don’t know anything. I don’t buy it. I’m not oblivious to the world around me. And don’t get me started on how many times I’ve been told my expectations are too high.

I’ve watched people lose their identity in relationships that were no good for either of them. I’ve watched people search for their identity in every guy that spoke a word to them. I’ve watched people think they have no identity at all because they don’t have a relationship. I may not have experienced much, but I have learned a lot.

I was watching the Olympic trials with a couple of friends and afterwards they interviewed my favorites: David Boudia (btdubbs, totes pre-ordering his book, Greater than Gold, like yesterday!) and Steele Johnson. Not gonna lie, I stalked them both on all social media. Steele Johnson said something I’ve heard 100 times growing up in church, but when he said it this time, it clicked in a different way. He said he didn’t find his identity in the Olympics, he found it in You, Lord.

If Steele Johnson can spend his every waking moment preparing for the Olympics and he doesn’t find his identity in the Olympics then I’m not gonna find mine in a man. I find my identity in You, my Lord, my Heavenly Father, my God, my Alpha and Omega.

I mean that man changes his entire lifestyle, diet, exercise, collegiate career, his entire way of life for the Olympics. His entire schedule is planning for the Olympics. He lives, eats, and breathes the Olympics and his identity is not found there. The Olympics don’t complete Steele Johnson, anymore than a relationship will complete me.

He is a brother, a son, a diver,  a scholar, a 10-meter platform winner at the 2013 USA Diving Winter Nationals, a 15-time junior national champion, a four-time champion at the junior Pan-Am Games, CSCAA Diver of the year, Big Ten Diver of the Year, Purdue Male Athlete of the Year, Two-time All American (1-meter and platform diving), Honorable Mention All-American (3-meter Diving), and World Championships Qualifier (Synchronized 10-meter). Steele Johnson doesn’t find his identity in any of that though. He found his identity in You, Lord. On his Twitter bio, before 2016 Olympian he lists Christ Follower. Before, not after, because You are before all else.

Steele Johnson is more than an Olympian and I am more than a future relationship I don’t even have yet. I am Sister of the Year (twice). I am Miss Theta Epsilon 2014. I have certificates awarding me for completing Most Community Service Hours, Most Activity Points, and Most Study Reward Points. I was voted Most Patriotic and Most Likely to Brighten Your Day. I received a Service and Character Award. I was a representative at International Convention, Student Organization Leadership Day (twice), The Leadership Conference, and South Eastern Panhellenic Conference. I coordinated a campus wide Tornado Victims Book Drive for Tuscaloosa libraries and schools in 2012. I held the offices of Alumnae International Reunion Day Chair (twice), Alumnae Vice President, Chapter President, Ritual Coordinator, Preference Ceremony Chair (twice), Vice President Member Development, New Member Coordinator, Sisterhood Coordinator (twice), Panhellenic Assistant Delegate, Bid Day Chair, Property Coordinator, Panhellenic Delegate, and New Member Ritual Coordinator. I was an officer for Students in Action, volunteered for College Republicans, and served on the board for Jaguar Productions. I am a sister, daughter, grand-daughter, friend, cousin, niece, and a college graduate.

I am also single and searching for a career job, both wells are coming up dry, but I don’t find my identity in any of those things. The good things or the flaws. I am made whole by You, God, who created the heavens and the earth. I am made whole by You, God, who put the stars in the sky. I am made whole by You, God, who gave me life and purpose. I am made whole by You, God, who calls me chosen.

So, here is my prayer. I pray that I fall in love. I pray that I land a career job. I pray that I find them both in your timing. I pray that I learn to calm down with my 10 year plan. I also pray that I remember my identity is in you and not the things of this world. I pray that I remembered you created me. I pray that I concentrate on where my identity is found. I pray that I turn my eyes to you. I pray that I focus on the knowledge that I am made by you. I pray that I turn my attention to you, Lord. I pray that I find peace in understanding that I am not you and I cannot control everything. I pray that I remember that I have the water of life when my wells are coming up dry. I pray that I remember I thirst no more. I pray that I remember my identity in you is greater than being than an Olympian. I pray that I remember my identity in you is greater than gold. 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.

Love, fill up all of my space.

Two weeks ago today, I was having a rough day, well a rough week to be honest. My day started by having four grown men making fun of my voice. I was just trying to be nice and they thought my voice was just plain hysterical. Then I ended the day by opening my front door and when I looked up, a bird shot poop on my shoulder. I mean he was a solid two feet away and two feet up. He shot it at me. Like took some genuine effort. And let me tell you, it did not get any better the next day, in fact, it got worse.

I’m completely indifferent to what my life is becoming. Like all I can say is whatever. And the more I think whatever, the more I hear my mamas voice telling me to say my verse.

Philippians 4:8 which says: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Lord, I don’t know what you’re trying to teach me. Learn how to be content? Learn to grow where I’m planted? Learn to let go of my plans? Learn to be patient in times of waiting? Learn to start living instead of waiting? Like I have no idea what I’m supposed to be learning. If this were a hallmark movie, this would be rock bottom. I would find myself in You again then Mr. Right would be right there under my nose and I would finally stop running from him and from You. But this is not rock bottom because rock bottom doesn’t exist. If it did, it would have been hit in college and would have been hit more than once. I thought I hit rock bottom in middle school and probs in high school, but I was just a kid and I had no idea how the world worked. But one thing that always remains is even on my darkest days, Your light still shines. Even on my worst day, I can still find joy. Because my joy comes from You, Lord.

I might struggle to find my footing again but I’m never truly knocked down. Even on my worst day when I can’t see the sun for the rain. The rain reminds me of your promises. Lord, I’ve been broken down. I’ve been taken down a peg or two. I’ve been pushed beyond my limits. I’ve been hurt beyond compare and never thought the wounds would heal. But they did. Lord, no matter how bad things are, You are there. You’re my lighthouse in the storm. You’re my strong tower. You’re my firm foundation. You love me when I can’t love myself. You forgive me when I’m at my worst. You’re my teacher and healer. You’re my God.

That’s what I wanna learn. I wanna learn to love when I don’t feel loved. I wanna learn to love when I don’t feel like loving others. I wanna learn to love when I don’t feel like moving. I wanna learn to love when my feelings are hurt. When I can’t see the sun for the rain. When I can’t see the rainbow after the rain anymore.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I apply Steven Curtis Chapman’s song to my heart and my life. And I’m praying ’bout the woman I wanna be. God, please take all of me. And fill me up with your love. I pray that I let love, take these words that I’m speaking. I pray that I let love, take these thoughts that I’m thinking. I pray that I let love, take me over. I pray that I let love, fill up all of my space and love, stand right here in my place. I pray that I let love, hear this prayer that I’m praying. I pray that when it overtakes me, then it animates me, flowing from my heart into my hands. So I’m praying, Father, help my heart believe, that right now you’re singing over me. And fill me up with your love. Let your never-ending, never-failing, all-consuming love take over. I pray that your love changes me today and every day. I pray that I keep my heart open to your teaching. I pray that I keep my eyes and ears open to your word. I pray that I keep sharing and reaching for your love. I pray that I see your love in the world around me. I pray that I keep looking for it in those around 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.

And learn to love through the darkness and the light.

There is an episode of Girl Meets World that I was reminded of today. Riley got depressed and Maya was trying to pull her out of it. Maya pulled down her black curtains and Riley said: “Wow, there is a lot of light in this world.” Maya sat down next to her and replied: “If you let it in, yea.” 

Today, I needed to let the light in. My daddy always tried to teach me that everyone has good days and bad days. We have to learn to let the sunshine in. We have to learn to fight the darkness, instead of letting it consume us. I struggle with this, always have. I still need to remember that You have this. No matter how dark it seems, there will always be light, I just have to turn the light on. 2 Samuel 22:29 says: You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. Eric Lidell said: “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.” Lord, every part of my struggle and my success is part of your plan. You are not helpless among the ruins. When I realize I can’t do this on my own, is when I finally hand over the reins and allow You to work. I’m stubborn and try to fix everything on my own, but I don’t have to and Your ways are much greater than my own. 

Lysa Terkeurst yet again related to me on a deep level. She posted: “If you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then upon all the hurt and brokenness, you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost the girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world. Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: you are worthy because the Creator of the Universe says you are. Reclaim who you are today. Say out loud, ‘I am a daughter of the King. I am an overcomer. And with His strength, I can be whole again.'” Lysa also posted that her battle strategy is to worry less and worship more. Dayspring posted on Instagram that: “The measure of your worth to God is written in the palms of His hands.”

C.S. Lewis said: “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun-not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” That’s why I like the sun so much. It’s a reminder of faith. He also said: “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.”

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.” Steven Furtick posted: “You won’t rise to the occasion if you weren’t faithful to the process.” Before I came back home, my person told me that too. She told me that she got a lot closer to You when she moved back home after her graduation.

So, that is my prayer today. No matter what my circumstances are, I pray that I stop letting the darkness win. I pray that I stop letting the water in my ship. I pray that I remember I am a vessel for you. I pray that I stop letting myself drown. I pray that I come up for air. I pray that I keep turning the light on. I pray that I keep reaching for you. I pray that I remember you are my lamp, my light, my sun. I pray that I show more kindness in my process. I pray that learn to love in the darkness and the light. I pray that I let you work in me. I pray that I remind myself that you are the creator of the universe. I pray that I remember to say thank you for showing me my worth. I pray that I reclaim who I am. I am your daughter. You are my king. I am an overcomer because you overcame. Lord, you overcame death. You overcame sin. You overcame darkness. With your strength, I can be whole again. I pray that I worship you more. Thank you for writing my name on the palm of your hands. Thank you for bringing light into my day. Thank you for bringing light into my darkness. Thank you for allowing me to see through you. Thank you for allowing me to hold onto you in sprite of my changing moods and circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to grow closer to you. Thank you for this time. Thank you for this process. Thank you for always holding true. I pray that I stay with you. I pray that I remember you are on my side. 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 throw my hands up. Worries down.

Sometimes I let the little things get to me. I get stressed real easy. I’m learning to work on it, but it is a slow process. Ya know, 24 years in the making and I’m still learning. If you want to add some drama to my life, put me into a car where there the gas is below half a tank. Ok. Then watch me have a panic attack. Anything below a quarter of a tank, practically gives me a heart attack. My mother is the complete opposite. She hardly ever drives a car with more than a quarter of a tank. I’ve tried to see her point of view, but I just can’t do it. I know my limits. I like to feel safe and having lots of gas in the car helps me feel better. For her, it’s not a limit at all. It doesn’t even phase her. On the other hand, I’ve learned to control my anger a long time ago, so that it is not a problem. Of course I still get mad but, like today when someone inconsiderately pulls in front of me without using a blinker and I have to slam on my breaks. It’s just plain rude, but I saw my hands grip the steering wheel and immediately said a silent prayer. Lord help me. Then I let go, of the wheel and the anger. I didn’t even honk or anything. If only I could let my anxiety go that easy.

I turned this song up on the radio as loud as it would go and sang until I pulled into the driveway.

We all have things that bother us. We all have things we need to work on, but I tend to focus on all the things I need to fix that I forget to just be ok. I don’t have to have everything figured out right this red hot minute. Lord, you and I both know I am not a patient woman. I am a Margaret. I stay busy and run around making sure everyone and everything is taken care of. I forget to be like Mary sometimes, to just enjoy Your presence.

After leaving work, I went to Home Depot and bought a couple of shelves for the closet to hang up my clothes and start unpacking some. I texted my person, of course, and told her about how “it’s a small step.” She responded with “that’s a big step!” That put my heart right into perspective. So, before I go unpack all my clothes, I need to pray.

So, this is my prayer. Lord, thank you for showing me how to turn the big bad things into small things. Thank you for showing me how to turn the little good things into big things. Thank you for changing my heart and showing me that my perception of things is important. Thank you for helping me let go of the little things and to appreciate the big things. I pray that I spend more time with you. I pray that I worship you more. I pray that I lay everything at your feet more. I pray that I come to you more. I pray that I take this song with me. I pray that I let go of the cold and bitterness from my heart. I pray that I remember that the things around me are temporary and your love is eternal. I pray that I break up with my doubt. I pray that I get to know the God I know even more. I pray that I keep reaching for you. Thank you for the reminder that this is just the beginning. I pray that I let freedom in. I pray that I come alive when I let go. 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.