On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

I should feel refreshed and feeling great today. I had a full weekend filled with blessings. But instead of being appreciative of everything I have, I have been in a terrible mood all day. I complained and grumbled and fussed. I took a nap, that didn’t help. Over the weekend, I went to the Beth Moore Living Proof Conference with my church. I was filled by You the whole weekend. Then the moment I walked inside, after getting off the van, I felt like a balloon loosing all it’s air. My leg started itching from bug bites. I was too lazy to bring my luggage inside. I was reading a book that was so beautiful I cried. Denise Hunter had done it again and I just couldn’t put down Dancing With Fireflies. Real life hit hard on that drive home. I was jealous of a love story in a book. I was jealous of careers, families, husbands, people waiting on them at home. Monday, I got up with no real purpose. I came back to some packed up boxes and a desk in the garage, my little bat cave.

I should feel blessed. I should be thankful to have the opportunity to go to the conference. To hear all about wonderfully complicated families and worthwhile stressful careers and beautifully hectic schedules. To get to know them better and be so encouraged by their strength. To have a mom that planned the whole trip and invited me along. To have friends that met up with me and visited me while in town. To have parents who allow me to stay in their house and help me while I figure out what to do with my life after graduation.

Instead, I was ungrateful. I was more cranky in one day than I’ve been in the whole summer combined and I was rude to everyone that spoke to me. It was a downward spiral fun of sin. I had a plan for after graduation and it did not include sitting at a desk in a garage with a fan plugged up and a bad attitude.

Then I started to remember what we were taught this weekend. I could hear Beth Moore in my head saying: “Girl, you need to get you some wisdom.” At the conference she said: “Satan cannot keep you from getting wisdom, if you want it.” Today, I did not want it. I didn’t want anything from anyone. Then I made myself get up and do the dishes. Cleaning dishes gives me a little bit of that control I so desperately try to hold onto. But that’s just it isn’t it? Lord, I am trying to control everything. Every single thing in my life.

Lord, Beth Moore told us to ask for clarity. She told us about concealed wisdom and how You lead us to some things and we didn’t even have the sense to make that decision. Lord, I immediately thought of how I came to college in the first place. I didn’t find South Alabama on my own. Lord, You had a friend bring it to me. I didn’t even decide to go Greek either, I just did it. I firmly believe You used concealed wisdom to bring both opportunities to me. Those were two of the best things that ever happened in my life and they weren’t my decisions. I was just following the voice in my head telling me to go forward. Lord, You were guiding me and I didn’t even realize it at the time. Now I can see Your hand over every decision I made. So if I know all this and know that I should follow You, why do I still try to control everything?

Trust issues. Folly. Beth Moore said that folly indulges insecurity. I sure did have a lot of insecurity today. Everything is not going according to my plan and my way and my timing. My plan included graduating in five years, not six. My plan included starting a career, using my degree, immediately after graduation. My plan included getting married on August 20, 2016. Well… that was nine days ago for starters… Obviously my plans are not going so smoothly. But “wisdom is about God being right, not me.” The last point that Beth Moore made is “wisdom can tell what time it is.” She said: “wisdom knows when to move and when to come back.” I sure could use some wisdom, because I have no sense of direction. She said: “Ask for directions. If I take four steps forward, give me a sign if it’s folly.” At the beginning of the conference she said: “there is no place wisdom cannot show up, no crossroad.” 

So, here is my prayer today. Father, I am asking for wisdom. I am at a crossroad. I am asking for direction. I started making steps in one direction, Lord. I need you to take over from here. I am giving you control. Lord, you call the shots. I am just stepping out your way. I am a flawed human, with limited sight and can only see what is right in front of me. Father, you see all of eternity and have a plan that far outreaches mine. Lord, I am asking you to show up. I am asking you to open my eyes. Lord, please forgive me. I let things into my heart today that had no business there. Lord, I pray that you guard my heart. I pray that stop letting my emotions and attitude rule me. I pray that Lord, you move me instead. I pray that I stop focusing on everything not going according to my plan and focus on all the many, many ways you have blessed me. I pray that I put you above all else. I pray that I give you everything I have, everything I am. I pray that I put my hope and my trust in 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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Take your time and let it last, little girl.

I watched the Church of the Highland’s prayer service online this morning. The pastor read Colossians 4:2 which says: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. He said: “Giving thanks in prayer helps us to remember that God is good and God is always in control.” I needed that reminder today. I started thinking about other times in my life when I needed that reminder that You are good and You are always in control.

Dear 8 year old me, you have enough faith to fill an ocean, don’t lose that. When the invitation comes, hold your mama’s hand down the aisle and squeeze it real hard. Listen to MercyMe sing: “You are one of the redeemed. Set apart. A brand new heart. You are free indeed.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to have courage.

Dear 13 year old me, listen to your mama when she says standing up for yourself isn’t putting others down. It doesn’t change them, it only changes you. It hardens your heart. Being too nice should never be the issue. It’s a lesson you’ll keep fighting for the rest of your life. People will come into your life sooner than you know it that will need and appreciate your kindness. Listen to Jake Owen sing: “If I had a dime for half the things I did that didn’t make no sense at all, I’d be living a little higher on the hog. If only I’d’ve known that later on down the road, I’d look back and not like what I see. I’d’ve changed a lot of things… Startin’ with me.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to soften my heart.

Dear 17 year old me, things aren’t always going to go your way, no matter how hard you work. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to get rejected again and again. When you start to get an attitude and want to just throw your hands in the air and say whatever, listen to your mama’s voice telling you to say your verse, Philippians 4:8. Listen to Brad Paisley sing: “And oh you got so much going for you going right. But I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to seek You and find my worth in You.

Dear 24 year old me, stop letting fear control you. Trust Him. He is going to close doors you thought you really wanted and open other doors you never saw coming. Keep learning to bring everything to the cross before you bring it to the world. Listen to Carrie Underwood sing: “Cause it’s hard to know just what to do when I still feel like a child in my mama’s shoes.

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to have courage.

The pastor also said: “God is always moving even when I cannot see it.” Thank you Lord, for allowing me to see Your hand in my life. I didn’t see it at the time, but thank you so much for moving in my life, despite my fear.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you Father, for guiding me, for teaching me, for leading me. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the knowledge that I am not alone. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for listening to me over the years. Thank you for tapping on my heart and knocking on the door. Thank you for allowing me to worship you. I pray that I keep putting my trust in you. I pray that I come to you more often with a thankful heart. I pray that I come to you alert and ready to hear your teaching. Thank you for so many lessons. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for my faith. Thank you for my mama and daddy and all they have taught me too. Thank you changing my heart over the years. Thank you for allowing me to grow. 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.

Go ahead and show this world what You’ve done in me.

I like keeping notes just for days like today when I need reminders. I heard David Ring tell his story last year. He shared Revelation 12:11 which says: They won the victory over him because of the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life so much that they refused to give it up. He asked us: “how do we overcome? By the blood of the Lamb.” It was as simple as that. You already won the battle, Lord. You already won the war. In the message, he said: “the more we tell our stories, the more we overcome.” He said our story is: “I am blessed.” He went on further to add: “I don’t have a burden, I have a blessing to share.”

Every chapter in my book points to You. Every part of my story just adds more proof of Your handiwork. With every turn of the page, I see Your hand in my life more and more. I don’t just have one chapter where You moved in my life. I have a whole book and Your name is written on every page. My daddy used to tell me my theme song is She Talks Too Much by George Thorgood. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree though. Some of his stories, the truth has been stretched. We told him he was the Dad in that Big Fish movie. I might talk too much and I’m sure people will say I didn’t talk enough either, but the more my story is written and the more I tell my story, the more I see You. It’s like You’re playing Connect Four. I am playing one way and I think I’m about to make that connection and then you show me another connection on the other side that I never saw coming. Lord, You move me. You’re teaching me and guiding me all along the way.

The closer I get to You, the more I see that I am blessed. They didn’t love their life so much that they refused to give it up. The closer I get to You, the more I want to go deeper. I want to tell my story more. I want to spend more time with You. I want to see Your hand in my life more. Lord, You are the greatest author. I want to give You my life. I want to surrender it all, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Even on the dark days when I feel a million miles away. David Ring said: “It’s not over until God says it’s over. What the Devil wants for evil, God will use for good.” Lord, You use even my bad days for Your glory. Lord, You are also there in my little, mundane, insignificant moments that don’t seem to mean anything at all. Those moments mean something to You. Lord, they are all apart of Your plan. Lord, You amaze me with Your attention to detail. No detail in my life is so small that I can’t see Your name written on it. Every single moment is apart of Your plan. The thing that gets me is You see an eternity plan and You see the big picture, but You are also in the detail business. I thought I was detail oriented until I saw Your hands in my life and now everywhere I look I see Your hands. My brain can’t even begin to wrap around all the details You’ve created. Every little thing, every moment has a purpose.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for giving my life purpose. Thank you for writing my story. Thank you for beautiful reminders. Thank you for being in the detail business. Thank you for playing connect four with my life. Thank you for connecting my dots. Thank you for overcoming. Thank you for winning the war. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for taking my darkness and showing me the light. Thank you for using everything for good and for your glory. Thank you for blessing me with so much more than I deserve. Thank you for your plans. I pray that I give my life 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 are the well that never runs dry.

A sweet preacher in Mobile teaches that You love us too much to leave us the way we are. Ever since I heard those words, it has become more and more evident in my life. Last Sunday afternoon, the message was on the Holy Spirit and how we were born with a hole in us and a need for Jesus. I’ve heard before that we have a Jesus sized hole and we try to fill it with everything else and it never fits right. I’ve experienced it too. I know the pain of trying to make myself whole on my own. I can’t do it and no one can do it for me. The only one that can make me whole is You, Lord. I’ve been thinking about the message and rereading my notes all week.

In college, I saw a lot of thriving, but also settling, for relationships, for majors, for jobs. I saw people go out every single week and come back feeling worse than they left. I saw people hold onto any semblance of a relationship, no matter how toxic or wrong for each other they were. I saw people struggling so hard in classes and careers they didn’t even want. I saw people lose or give up on majors and careers they spent their whole lives wanting. I saw a lot of hurt and pain. Taylor Swift’s song Bad Blood was supposed to be about stickin it to the mean girl or whatever. And I jam out pretty hard, every single time it comes on. But when I really sit down and listen to the lyrics, I realize how truly, deeply sad it is. I saw a lot of bad blood in college, and even had some myself. My relationship with You allows me to be set apart from some of that heartache because I deal with it by taking it You, learning from it, and letting it go without it consuming me. I learned in college, that not everyone has that relationship with You and some of them are truly, madly lost and searching for things to fill their God shaped hole and coming up empty. I learned in college that “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”

In the sermon, the pastor told us we have a spiritual hunger that has a voice like a growl and the more we feast on You, the more hungry we become, the more we crave it. He said we can’t stay the way we are, that only You can satisfy us. I just read The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter, in literally two days. I mean, from the first page, I was almost in tears and completely captivated. I couldn’t put the book down. The story came down to a couple who didn’t handle things by taking them to You, they tried to handle them on their own. Both fled. Both left. They lived Toby Mac’s lyrics: “I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay.” When they found each other again, they learned to take things to You in the process.

When we are kids, we are taught that voice in our head, showing us right from wrong, is our conscience. It is our own little Jiminy Cricket living in our head. I think it’s more than that though. The closer we move to You, the more clearly You speak to us. I believe that You use signs, signals, people, doors, windows, walls, roadblocks, whatever You need to speak to our hearts. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes we have to slow down and be still so we can listen. In The Goodbye Bride, Denise wrote: Help me, God. Something pulled inside. Something she’d never felt before. A hard tug in her spirit, telling her to stay.” That girl had never known anything but running. Running is all she had ever been taught or knew how to do. Later she wrote: “But there was a God who loved her enough to give her courage in the face of her fear. I will never leave you nor forsake you.

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, I was so deep, so incomplete til’ you rescued me. I pray that you are mine and I am Yours. Thank you for rescuing me. I pray that I am yours forever. Thank you for saving me, remaking me. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for loving me too much to leave me as I am. Thank you for healing my heart. Thank you for being the well that never runs dry. Thank you for allowing me to come to you. Thank you for opening your arms for me. Thank you for leading me to you. Thank you for calling me home when I go astray. Thank you for sending people and signs to bring me back to you. Thank you for being deep enough for every soul. Thank you for speaking directly to me and to my life and to my heart. Thank you for never leaving or forsaking me. Thank you for showing me love despite my fear. 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.

Into my darkness He’ll shine a light.

I woke up this morning at 7:30am with no where to go. Like I have been practically since graduation. I don’t even need the alarm clock anymore, by body just naturally wakes up at that time now. I made myself get into this routine so I would be ready for whatever comes next. I don’t let myself go back to sleep either. I am up and moving, doing whatever needs done. But today, I let the insecurities win. My heart literally ached. I wanted to cry for no real reason.

I messaged my friend and told her I was depressed today. Literally used the word. That awful word. I have tried to make it a habit of telling someone, using that exact word because when they have bad days, I hope they can tell me and we can help each other out of the bad days. I heard too many stories growing up of people who were depressed that didn’t talk about it until it was too late. Communication ain’t just my major. I need it daily. What I didn’t have is a conversation with You, Lord. So, I went back to bed and slept the entire day away. Got absolutely nothing accomplished. When I finally woke up, did I feel better? Nope. Still the same. So I went back to bed. Ignored phone calls, messages, and texts. I heard the phone go off. I just didn’t reach over to answer. When I finally woke up, I got on Facebook and on my newsfeed was the Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion.

There at the top of the screen was my verse. “Whatever is true … think about such things … And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8b, 9b (NIV) Ok Lord, You have called me out by name. I’m listening. “I know God’s love for me is deep, unwavering and certain. But there are still times I catch myself twirling again. Crying out again. Wishing I could feel totally secure. Hating my insecurities. And mad that this struggle I thought was over, surfaces still. Maybe it always will. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. For it keeps me desperate for a reassurance I can’t get any other way. It keeps me desperate for God.” Lord, I don’t know why some days that my ego is so big it needs a room of it’s own. I don’t know why some days that my insecurities try to drown me. I don’t know why the people I love struggle with depression either. I don’t know those why’s anymore than I know why bad things happen or why we have to lose loved ones. I spent the last two years struggling with why. I read a book that showed me how to ask a different question: what am I going to do with it? I don’t have an answer for that question right now either. Lord, I have no idea what Your plan is. I stopped trying to figure it all out on my own. I laid it at Your feet. I started with that. Maybe giving it all to You was the first step. Maybe honest communication is the next step. Maybe being honest with You and the people I love will help. Maybe it’ll help them too.

In the devotion it stated: “Brokenness is universal. We all have things in life that trigger deep insecurities and our own personal ‘twirling about,’ searching for reassurance. But here’s the amazing thing. While brokenness is universal, God’s redemption is also universal for those who proclaim Christ as Lord. No matter what cracks and crevices we have in our hearts, if we seek the truth of God above all else, He is enough to fill in those raw places.” “I pray these truths flood your heart with peace like they do mine. Peace that gives you permission to stop twirling and start to live like you are loved.” To live like I am loved. That is a declaration of truth. I am so loved. Even on the dark days when all I crave is love, I know I’m loved. By You, Lord. By family and friends. By myself.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I bring you everything. I pray I lay down, down my guard. I pray I share your silence. I pray I unpack my heart. I pray I let you in. I pray I let others in. I pray for honest communication. I pray for truth. I pray that truth breaks through my walls. I pray that I am filled with your peace and love. I pray that I stop twirling. I pray that I live like I am loved. I pray that I stop searching for love because it has already been given to me. I pray that I stop looking around instead of looking up. 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.