Even when my strength is lost I’ll praise You.

Lysa Terkhearst posted this about two weeks ago and I saved it because I knew I would need to hear it again: “God isn’t afraid of your sharp edges that may seem quite risky to others. He doesn’t pull back. He pulls you close.” Lorddddd, I got some sharp edges for You today.

I typically do not take bad news well. Today, I got a phone call. I started to react like I normally do, which is shutting down. Then I decided I wanted control and I started to clean. My sister took me home and said those glorious words: “I’m gonna leave the house so you can have your space.” Before she even left, I was already cleaning. Five minutes later, I stopped and dropped what I was doing. I started thinking and remembered the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. My reaction to the phone call was the same as it is every time. So, I sat down right where I was and started calling Your name. I closed my eyes and sat there, asking You to give me peace, give me strength, and give me comfort. I usually bring my problems to You when I have exhausted all other outlets and have no where else to turn. Today, I did things different.

I got up and went to turn the radio on. I grabbed the remote and started to put Christmas music on because that’s been my go-to lately. It’s my happy music, but I needed to go a little deeper today, so I went straight for my prayer blog playlist. I needed worship music. I needed to praise You. I needed to speak with You. I needed some unfiltered, pure worship with You. I pulled up YouTube to get the playlist, but this song was on the home screen so I played it first.

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, thank you for pulling me close today. Thank you for smoothing out my sharp edges today. I pray that you take my tainted heart. I pray that you take my tainted hands. I pray that you wash me in your love and come like grace again. I pray that when my strength is lost, I praise you. I pray that when I have no song, I praise you. I pray that when it’s hard to find the words, I praise you. I pray that when the fight seems lost, I praise you. I pray that when it hurts like hell, I praise you. I pray that when it makes no since to sing, I praise you. I pray that my heart burns for you. I pray my soul waits for you. I pray I sing until the miracle come. I pray that I keep praising you and keep praising you and keep praising you. Lord, thank you. I pray I sing only your praise. I pray I only sing louder and louder still. 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.

Just a whisper of Your voice can tame the seas.

Martha was a woman after my own heart. She’s pretty much my spirit animal. Like if there is any woman in the Bible like me, it’s definitely her. I am the one behind the scenes, making sure everything is perfect and running smoothly. The one who planned, cooked, cleaned, set up, etc. I like being that woman.

I have been that woman when I plan anything from parties to events. The woman who prepares the food, but waits until everyone has their plate and anything else they need before even thinking of getting one for myself. I am that woman in everything I do from organizations to job to school. In school, I was the quiet one, taking it all in. Teachers thought that meant I wasn’t participating. But I was, in my own way. In jobs, I want to be the one doing all the background work. I want to be the one that makes the whole team work harder and more efficient. In organizations, I want to plan it all. In college, I made sure I taught those around me too. Because I wasn’t like the others, when I left I didn’t want my absence to be felt. While other girls were concerned with “what are they gonna do without me?” I didn’t. I knew I had left my hand print on every member, every office, every inch of that house. Whether the girls ever give me credit or not, or whether they ever miss me or not, I know I left an impact on that house. I got a note from a Leadership Consultant one time that said I had no idea the influence I had with those women. And I didn’t at the time, but that note changed my perspective and made me appreciate the Martha in me.

Being a Martha woman is all fine and dandy, in fact it’s better than that, until I am in Your presence. When I lay things down at Your feet, I have tendency to pick them back up. When I spend time with You, I need to be like Mary. I need to sit at Your feet and listen, just listen. Stop letting my brain run 100 miles per hour. Stop over thinking. Stop analyzing and preparing. Just listen.

“I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep you safely inbetween the lines
I try to put you in the box that I’ve designed
I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye

When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world”

When I spend time with You I need to remember while I have been stuck and been off being a Martha, You have still been God. In the Stuck Study, Jennie Allen wrote: “Our stuck places are the very places that make us ache for God. Even in our God-given limitations. He is gracious and tender. I need Him, and so I got to Him. He is there…God is there. God, who spins the planets, is there waiting for me.”

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for putting me in my place. I pray that I put my life back in your hands. I pray that I let you lead my life. I pray that you keep holding me. Thank you for never letting go. I pray that I stop controlling. I pray that I let you do your job and I pray that I do mine. I pray that I worship you more. I pray that I quiet my mind when I spend time with you. I pray that I let you speak through my actions, thoughts, heart, and motives. I pray that I let you speak though my life. I pray that I give it all to you. I pray that I learn to let go and let You work. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I remember you are king of the world. I pray that you are first in my life. I pray that I stop putting limits on your grace. I pray that I start giving you the glory. Thank you for your grace and tenderness. Thank you for spinning the planets. Thank you for keeping me spinning too. I pray that I remember those planets spin around the Sun. I pray that I remember to spin around the Father and the Son. Thank you for being there. Thank you for waiting for me to come 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.

You’ve always known what my heart needs.

I am so used to saying awkward things that I don’t even realize I’ve done it anymore. My person handles my awkward moments in stride though. She’s so graceful and I’m over here like I’m like a porcupine, when people get too close, I stick my needles out. When other people would just leave, she stays. Lord, I thank you so much for her and all she has taught me. Her friendship has changed me in more ways than I will ever know.

When people get close, I send them running in the opposite direction. At the same time, I want love. I crave love. I want someone to sit in church with. I want someone to watch TV and movies with that lets me ask questions and talk the whole time. When the flood comes, I just want someone to hold my hand and walk on the ark with. I want to be loved so much that I forget I am already loved by You, who died to know me. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around that kind of love, but I’m learning. Like I can barely hold a conversation with someone I like, but all You want is a conversation with me.

I’m learning to let You in, Lord. I started reading Missing Pieces by Jennifer Rothschild and in the introduction it says: “That’s what we really want, isn’t it? To know God intimately, not just know about Him.” I decided a long time ago that I wanted a personal relationship with You before a relationship with my future husband, but now I wanna take it even further. I want to go deeper.

Kristin Duff wrote an article for The Odyssey called: Why I Pray For Him. In the article it says: “I pray for him because it directs my mind back to the Lord when all I want to do is take control and go find him myself.” Ohhh girl, I feel ya on that need for control. I’ve been praying for him practically my whole life, but I always thought that was just for him. I thought it was putting him in Your hands. I never thought about it that way. That my praying for him was directing my mind back to You, but that is exactly what I’ve been doing. She also wrote: “By praying for my future husband, I am already placing the Lord in the center of it all.” I like the idea of inviting You into the relationship before the first hello has ever been said.

There is this quote on Pinterest that says: “Show me how to love like You have loved me.” That is what I wanna do. I want to love like You loved me. I want to share Your love. So, instead of asking for love, like I always do, I want to love like You do.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray when you tell me I am loved, I listen. I pray when you tell me I am known, I listen. I pray when you tell me that you died for me, I listen. I pray when you tell me I am not alone, I listen. I pray that when you tell me I am the one your heart beats for, I listen. I pray I can find my strength by knowing I am yours. I pray that I remember that you wrote your name upon my heart. I pray that I continue to let you in. I pray that you consume my heart. I pray that I love like you have loved me. I pray that I direct my mind back to you. I pray that I invite you into every part of my life and my heart.  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.

Hold, hold on, hold onto me ‘Cause I’m a little unsteady.

The more into the Vacation Bible School week I got, the more I started realizing that message was so on point. With all the tragedy and disaster going on in the world, this message hit me right to the core. It is almost too easy to dwell on the darkness and become consumed by it. It’s also real easy to live in fear and stay in the darkness. But the theme was Cave Quest and the message was right on the money. Lord, no matter how dark the cave seems, we have Your light. John 8:12 says Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

The Bible tells us so many times that You are light. 1 John 1:5 says And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. None. There is no darkness at all in You. Sometimes that is such a hard concept for me to realize because there is light and dark battling in all of us. I’m not gonna lie, I let the darkness win more than I would like to admit. But Isaiah 42:16 says I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone. Lord, only You can turn darkness into light. Only through You will our rough places be made smooth.

For VBS, I did the Imagination Station with Sciency-Fun Gizmos. Each day had a theme, verse, and activity.

Day 1: “Jesus gives us hope.” Psalm 71:5 O Lord, You alone are my hope. For the first night we hit rocks with hammers to find shiny crystals inside. “Just as the geodes contained something surprising and amazing inside, we can have the amazing hope of Jesus inside us, no matter what’s happening in our lives. Sometimes we may feel like we’re in a dark cave and can’t find our way out. Or we may feel like we’re just some ordinary, old rock with nothing special about us. But because of Jesus, we can have real hope! And hope from Jesus is amazing and surprising.”

Day 2: “Jesus gives us courage.” Matthew 14:27 Take courage, I am here. This time we took green powder and water, shook it all up, created a storm inside, and made slimy cave snot. “When we connect with Jesus, He gives us the strength and courage to face any situation. He can use even the hard times-the storms in our lives-to change us and give us courage.”

Day 3: “Jesus gives us direction.” Proverbs 3:6 He will show you which path to take. For this one we made a compass. The demonstration before the craft was drawing a line from birth to what they want to be when they grow up. Then we created what if scenarios and drew different lines and loops and destinations to show how sometimes our paths change. “Jesus has a plan for our lives and Jesus gives us direction to make that plan happen. There may be lots of curves and twists along the way, but the end design is beautiful because we’re following Jesus. Each person’s design is unique and different-just like each person’s life is unique and different.”

Day 4: “Jesus gives us love.” 1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. We used flicker fliers and attempted to fly them through a hula hoop. “I try to obey Jesus  in my life. But sometimes-lots of times-I miss the mark. I mess up. I do the wrong thing, and I sin. Just like the flier missed its target. But because Jesus gives us love. I can be forgiven. And so can you. Jesus loves you. He wants a relationship with you. He knows you’ll miss the mark lots of times in your life. But he loves you so much that he was willing to make a way for you to be forgiven. That’s amazing love.”

Day 5: “Jesus gives us His power.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 Our great power is from God, not from ourselves. This was the last night and we used flashlights to show power. My favorite part was watching the kids dance around the room, making a light show and singing This Little Light of Mine. “The battery is the source of power. Without it, the flashlight won’t work. Jesus is our source of power, because Jesus gives us His power. His power can live inside of us, just like the battery ‘lives’ inside the flashlight.”

Lord, You give us hope, courage, direction, love, and Your power. When the darkness surrounds us we can turn to You and see the light. Psalm 119:105 says Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. When the cave starts to crumble and we feel unsteady, we can turn to You.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for those that have lost loved ones. I pray for those affected by these tragedies. I pray that you give them hope, courage, direction, love and your power. I pray that while they feel unsteady, you remind them that you are steady. Thank you Lord for being the rock on which I stand. Thank you Lord for remaining strong and firm and never moving and never wavering. I pray that parents hug their kids a little tighter. I pray that the church shines your light. I pray that I remember to use the tools you gave us. Thank you for turning darkness into light. Thank you for making the rough places smooth. Thank you for holding all of us. 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.

It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down, get back up, cuz it’s a hard love.

Yesterday, I was talking to my friend about how we want immediate action and immediate results. We’re not good at that whole waiting patiently thing. Then as if on queue, the First 5 devotion was: Weakened faith makes us easy prey. I read this on the First 5 app: “There have been seasons of life where I have become disillusioned with God. When He wasn’t answering my prayers or ‘fixing’ my problems fast enough, I was seduced by the god of gotta-have-it-now.” Lord, I am weak. I am easy prey for fixing my problems the simple way, the instant fix, the temporary band aid. I am a big fan of pitty parties when things are not going my way or things aren’t fair or when I’ve been done wrong. I have a tendency to play the victim. It’s easy, especially with everything going on in the world, to give up because life isn’t fair. Because we got the short end of the stick. Because we were hurt. Giving up is easy. Getting back up is hard. Love is hard.

The second session of Stuck Study is titled: Mad. The session talks about how life isn’t fair and how frustrating that is. Then it tells a story of one woman’s reply: “You’re right. You don’t deserve this life. You deserve hell and death, and so do I. But God’s gracious love for us provided a Savior who took our sins and died for them. He didn’t deserve death, and we don’t deserve life. It is God’s grace that we have life at all.” Sometimes I need that reminder. I admit, too often I need that reminder.

In this session, we are called to surrender. To lay everything down so that we can be filled by You. I had a similar devotion in Mobile. We wrote down on pieces of paper what was holding us back from our relationship with You. Then we picked up these little wood crosses. We were told to paint them or whatever we wanted, but to use them as a reminder. Not of what we laid down, but of what we picked up instead. The part of message that I got differently today was trust. By laying everything down, I wasn’t just giving You control, I was trusting You to take care of what I laid down. I wasn’t just letting it go, I was giving it to You. Lord, sometimes You give us a piece of the puzzle at a time, to put together in Your timing.

The study said: “This love costs us something. It is not easy, but it is simple.” Then it states Luke 6:28-30 which says: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. Ok, first off, this love and trust thing is hard for me. It’s a simple concept, but it’s hard to put into action. The whole bless and pray thing, I can do. I can totes pray for my enemies. I’ve been taught that my whole life. And my daddy always said if you let someone borrow something then just plan to give it to them. And my mama told me 1343 times that if someone takes something from you then they must have needed it more. So, that stuff I was prepared for. But not offering my other cheek after I’ve been hit. That one gets me. That one takes personal root and grabs on. That one is a tough pill to swallow. That one is gonna take some extra praying and teaching. Lord, that one I’m gonna need help with. That’s when trust comes into play.

The study teaches that if we put our trust in You, then that’s where freedom is found. That’s when we truly let go and surrender. That’s where peace comes. I’ve always heard Ephesians 4:26 which says: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. The part I haven’t heard, but read today is verse 27: and do not give the devil a foothold. Lord, I needed that reminder today.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I am humbled at your feet. I pray that I let go of my timing. I pray that I stop being so impatient. I pray that I put my trust in you. I pray that I put my faith in you. I pray that I remember you are God and I am not. I pray that I want more of you and less of me. I pray that I put action into your love. I pray that I give more, love more, pray more, bless more, surrender more, forgive more. Lord, help me to offer my other cheek. I pray that I show strength. I pray that I show intention. I pray that I let go of my need for things to be fair. I pray that I let go of what I think my rights are. I pray that I stop trying to defend myself and let you defend me. I pray that I am not so easily offended. I pray that I made stronger in you and in your love. I pray that I am slow to anger and slow to speak. I pray that I listen intently with love. I pray that I let me fade away. I pray that I hold on a little tighter to your love. I pray that I don’t let the devil have a foothold. I pray I keep finding you more and more. I pray for courage. I pray that I remember you are victorious no matter how weak I feel. 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 all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight.

Yesterday, I went through a whirlwind of emotions. I was all kinds of emotional. This morning, I woke up, looked outside and decided to do things differently today. I always carry books with me, I went into my bag and grabbed the devotion book. I needed to spend some time with You. I was in desperate need of You this morning. I found the book laying around the house, it was one my mom read with some people from church a while back, Stuck study. Eight sessions on “the places we get stuck and the God who sets us free.”

Lord, You knew exactly what You were doing when I found that book. You knew exactly when I needed to open that first page. You knew exactly when I would need You the most. And I definitely needed You today. My friend and I were joking and she messaged me and said: “This is all I need! No man!” and sent a picture of her pizza. I responded with a moment of honesty: “Jesus. That’s what I need.” Then things got serious. She replied with this: “I need…..1. A man 2. Hope 3. To know I matter 4. Everything else you could think of 5. Oh and I’ve ran away from God so I prob need him”

Lord, I could’ve cried right there. I’ve been there. I’ve been in her shoes. I’ve lost my worth. I’ve run as far away from You as I possibly could. The funny thing about running from You though is You’re still there and our problems are too. Running doesn’t make our problems go away and it certainly doesn’t make us feel better. In the Stuck study, I read: “Nothing is more powerful than God getting bigger in our lives. He has the power to heal with a word.” On Pinterest there is a picture that says: “God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident. God is working on your prayers.”

Ok. So. Here goes. Ernest Hemingway said: “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” I’m letting the light. Lord, I’m letting You all the way in. As for number 1, Charles Stanley said: “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.” I have been praying for my future husband since my mama taught me how to pray. I saw this Instagram post that said: “I pray for him even though he doesn’t know about it because I wanna make sure God got him like I got him.” There was another one on Instagram saying: “Dear Future Husband, Find God. Find yourself. Then come find me.” Lord, maybe that’s what we both needed a reminder of today. Lord, I value love. I value him and I haven’t even been on a date yet. I value our relationship and it hasn’t even started yet. And most importantly, I value the relationship he has with You. That’s why I pray for him. I found You before I can even remember. I dedicated my life to You in the second grade and I have remade that commitment several times in my life. I started finding myself when I was a freshman in high school and I don’t know if either search ever really ends. I hope I’m always trying to find You in everything around me and I hope I never stop growing.

Number 2, 3, and 4, I believe those are found in faith. Proverbs 31 Ministries posted Whitney Capps saying: “Father, when my circumstances scream louder than my faith, help me cling to Your truth.” Lord, I tend to listen to the world when things are not going my way. But the truth is that faith is trust. Trust is something I struggle with daily. Trust means relying on You. Trust means giving up control. Trust means I am dependent on You. Trust means changing the way I think, feel, grow, live. Trust means giving my life to You completely. Trust means letting go. Letting go of the pain, resentment, hurt, sin, jealously, anger, brokenness. Trust means laying it all down and picking up the cross. You already did the hard part. You picked up everything I laid down. You died for me. All I have to do is lay down, what You already picked up. The first step is admitting I need You. The study said: “The space in which we are stuck, lacking, sinful, broken, and in need, is the space in us that longs for God, longs for forgiveness. When we soberly view ourselves and our sin, we see our need and call out for God.”

Number 5 hit me right in the heart because I run daily. I spent years running and I still try to run. In the study it says: “Before time began He knew people would rebel and run from Him, and He made a way to get them back in Christ.” My sweet friend is running from You. I ran from You. And still You hold Your hand out for us. Still You love us. We are the prodigal children. No matter how far we run, You arms are still open. Steven Furtick tweeted: “Fulfillment doesn’t start with getting what we want. It starts with wanting what God wants.” Romans 8: 14-15 says For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Stuck study said: “God will win this fight, but we have to start fighting it His way, on His terms.” 

At the end of the first chapter it asks: “Who are You, Lord? and What do You want from me?” Lord, I have spent so long asking the second question that I forget the first part. I grew up in the church, learning about You and Your stories, but I need to get to know You as an adult. I need You in my life. I need Your word in my life. Thomas Jefferson said: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, I pray that I hang on. I need you. I need your word. I need to run towards you and not away. I pray that I keep longing for you. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep evaluating my life. I pray that I start making some changes in my life. I pray that I lay everything down. I pray that I pick up the cross. Lord, you already picked it up. I pray that I quit picking back up what I already laid down. I pray that I stop fighting you and let you fight for me. I pray that I stop rebelling. I pray that I want what you want. I pray that your love washes over me and changes me. I pray that I remember I am your child. I pray that I remember I don’t have to live like this. I pray that I don’t live in fear again. I pray that I cling to your truth. I pray that my faith screams louder than my circumstances. I pray that you become bigger in my life and my friend’s life. Lord, I pray you speak to her. I pray you keep knocking on the door to her heart. I pray that she sees her worth in you. I pray that she finds healing in your name. I pray for my future husband. I pray he finds you, finds himself and then finds me. I pray that he knows he is valued. I pray that you got him. I pray that you got my friend. And I pray that you got me too. 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 goodbye’s such a painful word, we all wish it didn’t hurt.

My sister woke me up this morning, way too early. Since I now had some time before the rest of the house woke up, I pulled up the First 5 app and started reading. The devotion was on Numbers 21:8 which says: The Lord said to Moses, Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. I read the verse and I was like what am I reading? A snake? On the 4th of July? What are You trying to teach me Lord?

Then as if my mind could be read, the next line on the devotion is: “What do a snake and a stick have to do with healing?” Then it goes on to explain in beginning of Numbers 21 that Your people had begun questioning and doubting You. You had been protecting them and when You withdrew that protection, the snakes came out. And when bad things happen, the first thing we do is turn back to You. The devotion stated the very thing I’ve learned: “Healing required an act of faith.”

Then comes verse 8 of the story, with the instructions for Moses. The next line of the devotion is what got me praying today. “I find it fascinating the object of healing, the snake, was shaped in the likeness of that which poisoned.” The very thing we think is going to be the end of us is part of Your plan. The very thing we think is meant to hurt us is a part of Your grand design. The very thing that caused us pain can also be the tool used for healing.

I was listening the Jake Owen sing What We Ain’t Got, I’ve heard it 1242 times. But this time was different, at the end of the song he sang: “I wanted the world until my whole world stopped.” About two years ago, my whole world stopped for the first time and then it stopped a few more times that year. Sometimes it takes learning the hard way. Sometimes we have to lose everything, to be found. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom, to move forward. Sometimes the very thing causing the pain, can be used by You. Sometimes You have to make us stop and look at the world around us. Sometimes we have to get the wind knocked out, so we can learn to breathe again. Sometimes rock bottom is exactly what we need to start a new foundation.

There is a quote by Oswald Chambers that says: “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” You can say that again. Sometimes, Lord, I have no idea what You are doing. Sometimes, I struggle trying to understand Your plan. But I’m not meant to understand it completely. You are working with a eternity plan for the whole world and I am working with a plan just for me. I do not understand Your plan or Your ways, but I understand You love us. I know in my heart that everything You do is for a greater purpose.

There is this picture on Pinterest of this man standing in front of a maze and he can only what is right in front of him, but Lord, You see the whole puzzle. There is also a quote that says: “If God showed you all He has planned for you, it would boggle your mind. If you could see the doors He’s going to open, the opportunities that will cross your path, and the people who will show up, you’d be amazed, excited, and passionate, it would be easy to set your mind for victory. This is what faith is all about. You got to believe it before you see it. God’s favor is surrounding you like a shield. Every setback is a setup for a comeback. Every bad break, every disappointment, and every person who does you wrong is part of the plan to get you where you’re supposed to be.” 

In Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “It would have been easy to see the events that unfolded as a series of lucky breaks. But what a tragedy to see only flat perspectives of life.” Then she quotes Psalm 53:2 which says: God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. 

So, this is my prayer. “Fill me with a grateful heart.” I pray that I seek you. I pray that I see your hand in everything. I pray that I have confidence and faith in you. I pray that while I don’t understand, I still believe. I pray that you keep changing my perspective. Lord, move me. Change my thoughts. Change my heart. Keep showing me your hand in my life. I pray that I keep chasing after you. I pray that I keep running towards you. Thank you for designing my life. Thank you for using me for your purpose. Thank you for choosing every part of my life. Thank you for the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the lessons I’ve learned, and for so much 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.

If I told you I barely know what love is.

I tend to read more during the summer. (Even when I’m not completely bored, which I am, but in a good way.) This summer is no exception. I read the first book in the Irish Angel Series, Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis. Not gonna lie, totes picked it up because of the title. I was like, I got a heart of stone, I can totes relate to that.

The book is historical, which I loveeeeeeeee. I’m all about love stories from other times. This was right up my alley. (btdubbs, I’m now putting all her other books on my list, especially the other books in this series!) The girl in the book closed herself and especially her heart to others. She got thrown into an extremely bad situation as a child and had to make some tough choices to get herself out of it. Now she’s created a new life for herself and she’s scared of it all unraveling. Her choices and circumstances define her past, but the trick she has to learn is how to stop it from controlling her future. She has to learn to forgive herself before she will ever be able to love herself or anyone else for that matter. Forgiveness and love go hand in hand. One doesn’t function without the other. I’m learning that the hard way, as usual. I’m stubborn, so learning the hard way is the only way I know.

There is a sweet preacher in Mobile, who taught the church that every Sunday. Especially the girl sitting in the back pew by herself simultaneously hoping not to be seen and desperately wishing someone would notice her. He got up there every Sunday and told the congregation that You love us too much to leave us as we are. Lord, my Father in Heaven, You want more for me. You love me too much to leave me as I am.

My little sent me a video with Darius Rucker’s new song, If I told you. And as usual, it was right on the money with what I was praying about lately.

What if I told You sometimes I lose my faith
I wonder why someone like You would even talk to me
What if I told You there is no fixing me
Cause everybody has already tried

If I told You all the stupid things I’ve done
I’ve blamed on being young
But I was old enough to know I know
If I told You the mess that I can be
When there’s no one there to see
Could You look the other way?
Could You love me anyway?

Lord, You amaze me with the subtle, little hints You leave. Every moment of my day is part of Your grand design. Every second is part of Your plan. Could You look the other way? No. You couldn’t. You love me too much to look the other way. You love me too much to leave me as I am.

I have tried to put up walls to protect myself. I put up walls to show I’m ok, I’m fine. I put up walls to create a barrier around my heart. I taught myself to believe that building those walls meant someone would love me enough to break them down one day. In the meantime, I was protected by a shield that could keep me from getting hurt. Clearly that didn’t work. What I’m starting to realize is that I wasn’t protecting myself by blocking my heart off, I wasn’t truly opening my heart. By keeping others out, I don’t let them in all the way. I miss the good stuff. I miss the forgiveness. I miss the love. I miss the joy.

I have never been in love or anywhere close. I know nothing about love except what I’ve seen, but never experienced for myself. I’m learning how to love. I started with knowing You and loving You. I’m learning how to love myself and in Your timing I will learn to love someone else. It started with the cross. It started with Your forgiveness.

Romans 5:8 says: But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

That. Right there. Is literally everything.

I was cleaning with Pandora playing and the live version of Holy Spirit came on, sung by Jesus Culture and Martin Smith. At the end of the song, they prayed. “Can’t stay where I’ve been. Can’t stay where I’ve been. Wanna go deeper. Wanna go deeper.” Afterwards, once again, I was on Pinterest and stumbled across this quote that said: “Lord cleanse me of anything that breaks Your heart.”

So, that is my prayer. I pray, Lord cleanse me of anything that breaks your heart. I pray that I don’t stay where I’ve been. I pray that I go deeper. I pray that I seek you. Thank you for talking to me. Thank you for wanting to spend time with me. Thank you for fixing me. Thank you for making my whole. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you staying. Thank you for waiting. Thank you for never leaving. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for teaching me to forgive myself. Thank you for not looking the other way. Thank you for loving me anyway. Thank you for showing me what true love is. Thank you for wanting more from me. Thank you for loving me too much to leave me as I am. Thank you for starting with the cross. 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.