You have my heart.

Allyson Rowe’s post was shared on my Facebook newsfeed and she dropped some wisdom into some deep places in my heart. She talked about Proverbs 18:22 which says: He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD. She emphasized that word wife. She said: “you are a wife the moment he meets you, not the moment he marries you.” She told us to walk around as if we are already taken and begin walking with the spirit of a wife. Ohhhh girl. Say it again. Say it again. Let it sink in. She talked about how some girls act like a girlfriend. I never really did that though, but I sure wasn’t acting like a wife. I am active member of the friend zone since 1991, but this girl is retiring. I always liked the idea of love growing out of friendship and marrying your best friend. After hearing her words, everything clicked into place and slid into focus. I have been a bridesmaid in three weddings. Three weddings that I knew You designed. Three weddings where I realize now that those beautiful friends of mine were walking in the spirit of a wife long before their wedding days. I have spent my whole life acting like everyone’s friend and wondering why no one was interested in more. I wasn’t walking with the spirit of a wife. I was waiting for some part of my life to begin. I have been walking around waiting, instead of walking around already taken.

She also said You, Lord will present us to him, that we do not have to do that. That I knew, but when I meet someone, I quickly forget. I need to work on this part. I’m either so shy I will literally never speak because I want to be invisible or I tend to want to show off and impress when I first meet someone. If I could serenade every cute boy with “I’m so pretty and witty,” I probably would. I’m like a show pony, I wanna jump around and have my hair brushed. It’s one extreme or the other. I have no middle ground. God, I am so glad You have another plan, because mine is a hot mess sometimes.

I went to a Bible study on Proverbs 31 and what it meant to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I kept my notes from it because I got a lot out of it, and I applied it to my life in parts but I don’t think I really applied it as a whole because I figured I wasn’t a wife yet. Looking back at my notes, Lord in the last year, You have taken those parts and shown me depth into each individual part and I think I’m finally connecting the dots You were trying to show me. I am finally putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. We learned that “a Godly woman is: strength, trustworthy, industrious, organized, loving, orders the priorities of her world so that Christ comes first, inwardly wise, occupied and adorned her rightful place, her relationships and responsibilities are wisely balanced.” See that’s just the first post-it of notes and I can already see where You have been teaching me that this year. Inwardly wise. Ohhh how I have a new meaning for that word wise. (Thank you, Beth Moore.) Ohh that word. Now that next part is what I’ve been struggling with lately. Occupied and adorned her rightful place. First off, You have been teaching me that in like sixteen different ways with the book of Genesis. You started with Eve and now Hagar. You started with my place as a woman and then You worked on my place in this world. In Bible study a week and a half ago, we watched: Unwrap the Bible. In the video we learned that just because we are going back to the same place, we are not going back the same person. (Thank you again, Beth Moore.) The last part was illustrated on Supergirl when Cat said that we have to take on a little bit at a time and balance what we have, then we can add more. It’s all about balance and understanding.

In that Proverbs 31 Bible study, we learned four C’s. We should be committed, first to You, finding our identify from You, and second to our family. We should be competent and communicative, both requiring that pretty little word: wisdom. Compassionate is the final C, with open arms and hands for everyone around me.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I pray that I keeping working to become that Proverbs 18:22 wife. I pray that I start walking with the spirit of a wife. I pray that I start walking like I am already taken. Lord, you are still my first love. I have been seeking you since before I can even remember. How I adore you, Jesus. You are my greatest joy. Ohh my soul rejoice. Lord, I pray that I am strength, trustworthy, industrious, organized, loving, order my priorities of my world so that you come first, inwardly wise, occupy and adorn my rightful place, and that my relationships and responsibilities are wisely balanced. I pray that you keep showing me your wisdom. I pray that voice in my head telling me to get some wisdom, only grows. I pray that I continue to grow committed, competent, communicative, and compassionate.  I pray that I apply what I’ve learned this year. I pray that I start becoming the woman you need me to be. Thank you for working on my heart. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for your truths. 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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I can feel the rain reminding me, in the eye of the storm, You remain in control.

It is sooo easy to get frustrated and take it out on those we love. We let all these little things build up until that final straw hits the pile. The final straw can be something as small as the laundry not getting done or dishes on the counter or shoes in the walkway. When we feel buried by that straw pile, there are two things to remember that I learned growing up and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt retaught me:

1. I can get through ten seconds.

If I take ten seconds to think about my reaction, I become more intentional. All I need is ten seconds to breathe and think. If I can get through ten seconds, then the next ten will be easier, then the next ten will be easier. I just need ten seconds to breathe. On Pinterest there is quote that says: “no matter the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.” There is another one that says: “how beautiful it is to stay silent when someone expects you to be enraged.” I am not ruled by my emotions. I am not controlled by my emotions. I need to take those ten seconds and repeat to myself: I am an intelligent, intentional, beautiful human being whose God is in control.

2. I can’t just Febreze the surface problem. 

The little stuff always points to the big stuff. I have to look at the bigger picture and fix the inside problem first. That last straw is not the problem. I cannot spray Febreze on the surface without cleaning out what made the smell in the first place. Spraying Febreze on my stinkin thinkin will not magically solve my problems. I cannot control the things around me, but I can always control my reaction to them. Back to those wonderful Pinterest quotes: “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel. Remember that.” 

Ok. Story time. When my little brother, who is my world btdubbs, was reallyyyy young, and would have a bad day, he would come home crying and fussing about the smallest things and my parents had to learn that he was struggling with stuff at school and it wasn’t about us. They had to teach him healthier ways to let out his frustration than on us. They had to learn to look at the deeper issue rather than just febrezing the surface issue. My dad is the same way, when he has a bad day at work, we are gonna hear about every single speck of dirt in the entire house. I do it too. When I’m super anxious about something, I can’t function. I start waving my arms. Seriously, I look like a bird trying to take off in flight. Ready for another quote I found on Pinterest: “thinking of your child behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your child as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help them through their distress.” 

Tonight, I was sitting around the living room watching Pitch with my family. I loveeee when a show flashbacks and shows us why people are the way they are and their motivations. The characters took the negative stuff they were facing and created something positive out of it. They channeled the bad stuff into good. This Is Us also did that. I loveeee when TV and movies and songs try to teach me something. Like there’s a story there beyond just trying to entertain. The doctor in the show is sharing his story about the “path You sent him on” and he says: “…how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.”

By taking out my issues on those around me, I am just sharing my baggage. I am not unpacking it, I’m loading it onto someone else. I am just transferring my hurt and adding to theirs. I am not making mine lighter, I am making theirs heavier.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray I find my peace in your name. I pray that I remember that I can get through ten seconds. I pray I remember to stop and ask for clarity. I pray that I create intentional choices. I pray that I break bad habits and stop letting my emotions run all amok. I pray that I remind myself that you are in control. I pray that I remember to use silence and beauty and strength and intelligence when I’m faced with things outside my control. I pray that I stop using Febreze on my stinkin thinkin and I get straight to the heart of the problem. I pray that I create new habits with dignity and grace and your love. I pray that I take responsibility for my actions. I pray that you keep working on my heart. I pray that I stop packing up my baggage and carrying it around with me. I pray that I stop transferring my baggage. I pray I stop making those around me carry my baggage. I pray that I help make those around me carry less, not more. Lord, I pray that I leave that baggage at the cross. I pray that I stop going back for it. I pray that I help others to see through their distress too. I pray that I take the bad stuff and use it for your glory. I pray that I take the negative and funnel it through your love. I pray that I make something resembling lemonade. Thank you for the path you sent me on. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me. Thank you for reminding me time and time again the importance and meaning of the rain and of your promises. Thank you for remaining in control in the eye of the storm. Thank you for guarding my soul in the middle of the war. Thank you for being my anchor when my sails are torn. Thank you for surrounding me in your love. Thank you for holding onto me. Lord, my only hope is to trust you, I pray I remember that. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We sign our cards and letters BFF.

My daddy got me hooked on Last Man Standing. Like seriously, I’m obsessed. On the last episode, Ed Alzate and Vanessa Baxter were talking about how Ed’s “silly” game day rituals were interrupting the bridal shower. The scene goes a little something like this:

Vanessa: “Ed, the girls don’t have time to do your silly rituals.”

Ed: “Silly rituals Vanessa? You’ve invited friends over today for some rituals of your own.”

Vanessa: “Well that’s different.”

Ed: “Oh, why? Do you think this shower will determine whether or not Mandy will have a happy marriage?”

Vanessa: “No, of course not.”

Ed: “But who knows. Did the Broncos win the Super Bowl last year because of my rituals? Probably not. But who knows.”

Eve: “The cobra mesmerizes its prey before it strikes.”

Ed: “After the championship Kristin bought a house, Mandy got engaged, and Eve discovered her musical talent. Did all this happen because of what we did here last season? Probably not.”

Vanessa: “But who knows?”

Ed: “The reason loved ones gather to do these silly rituals is not to move the universe but to show each other that we care because if one thing we do know, love has power.”

Today, my bff of ten years is getting married. I can’t even begin to count the sleepovers, notes passed, secrets kept, nails painted, popcorn spilled, selfies taken, Disney Channel marathons, Hobby Lobby trips, Hannah Montana jam sessions, crowns worn, and love shared between us. We’ve been talking about this day since we met. It’s the day we’ve always dreamed about. I am so beyond filled with joy today for her and with her.

Before she got engaged, she texted me and said “I’ve found the one whom my soul loves.” I knew then, this one was the one. Then came all those silly rituals. The ones I hope she cherishes. The ones that I hope surrounded her in love and showed her just how powerful Your love is, Lord.

So here is my prayer today. God, as she gets ready and puts her dress on today, I pray you remind her that she is lovely, inside and out. I pray you guard her heart carefully as she puts it in his hands and slips on her wedding band. I pray that no matter what comes their way, they believe in you and in the power of your love. I pray they are wrapped in all the joy and love that you have to offer. I pray they enjoy all those silly rituals. I pray she watches more of those Auburn games with him while sending me elephant emojis. I pray as they grow closer together, they also grow closer to you. I pray he leads them where you want them to be. I pray you protect them and put your hand on the adventure they’re about to take. Thank you for her friendship. Thank you for giving us all the same classes that freshman year. Thank you for giving us the courage to talk to each other that day. Thank you for putting her in my life. 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’m gonna shout Your name till the walls come falling down.

In The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter, she talked about being the kind of woman who is “wearing out the knees in her jeans.” I wanna be that kind of woman. I wanna tackle everything that comes my way in faith. I wanna bring everything to You. I wanna handle every single moment in prayer, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and every second in-between. In the 21 Days of Prayer, we learned to make our prayers 1. united 2. scriptural 3. bold, zealous, and fervent. We were also taught to “pray from a position of victory” and “pray from a position of power.” I wanna do more than just take notes on Sunday. I wanna apply those notes to my life. I struggled in school with that. I was real good at learning what I needed to know, but when asked to apply those concepts, I was at a loss for words. I learned how to study and apply concepts in college. Now, I wanna do it to my prayer life.

I heard that: “prayer is the most conversation of the day. Take it to God before you take it to anyone else.” This past Sunday, the devotion we started the morning off with was on prayer. I love when things connect like that. Like how I was praying about Abraham and Sarah and Genesis 16 then that’s we’re gonna discuss next week in Bible study and it is the next story we are gonna focus on in the children’s class. Lord, You have a divine design and You craft every single moment to line up to teach us and for Your master plan. You’re playing Connect Four with our hearts.

Lord, I’ve put walls up somewhere along the way. I thought it was to protect and guard my heart, but really I was just keeping others out. There is a picture on Pinterest that says: “he broke down her walls without her even noticing and when he rebuilt the walls he added windows to let the sunshine in.” I wanna let Your light in, Lord.

So here is my prayer today. I wanna pray the prayer I found in my notes: “God, help me to focus on truth instead of the trial. Help me to give thanks instead of giving into fear. Help me to choose joy instead of anger. Help me to trust in your power instead of my plan. Help me elevate your name instead of my own.” Lord, I pray that I choose you. I pray that I keep choosing you. I pray that you take down my walls and put windows in. I pray that I am open and transparent so others can see you in me. I pray others to see your work in me. I pray others to see your love in me. I pray they see your name written all over my life. I wanna praise you. I wanna worship you. I want to pray from a position of victory and confidence and scripture and boldness and from a place of your power. I pray that the knees are worn out on my jeans because of a lifetime spent in prayer. I pray I pick up my cross and follow you. I pray that I take up residence in a place of healing and freedom and your love. 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.

At least we’d love until we can’t.

It is no secret that I like to read. When I was in the first grade, we had this reading program with a “graduation” ceremony at the end. The number of books we read determined what kind of “degree” we received. I got the Doctorate, obvi. Which is probs the only time I will be getting a Doctorate. Anyways, now I tend to read the Christian love stories. Me and that Lifeway punch card are real acquainted. I make the rounds around those book shelves.

I mostly read the stories about either the girl or the guy running away because of fear. I totally understand running. This one time when I was like 15, I waited around after a football game and told a guy I liked him, then I ran away. Literally hightailed it out of there. Probs the fastest I’ve ever ran, but that’s probably more sad than that story. Anyhow, I identify with that feeling of not deserving the other person. I’ve always feared that I would push away people because I felt unworthy of their love and they would eventually find better. My plan was to leave them before they left me.

I put so much worth in them that I lose my own worth. Instead of focusing on their worth, why don’t I change the conversation? Ya know, the one in my head, where my fears try to speak louder than my faith? I am gonna focus on becoming the best version of myself. How about I stop convincing myself that they are worth more than what I can give? How about I stop measuring? Instead of focusing on how other people deserve more than what I have to offer, I just offer more.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I take the risk. I pray that I wont run when it looks like love. I pray that I won’t hide beneath the fear. I pray that don’t let fear consume or control or cease me. I pray that I love more. I pray that I give more. I pray that I lay my heart on the line more. I pray that I am more sincere. I pray that I am more intentional. I pray that I reach out more. I pray that I think of others needs before my own. I pray that I show more kindness. I pray that share more honesty and vulnerability. I pray that I love until I can’t. I pray that I pull people closer, instead of pushing them away. 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.

My life surrendered, my heart abandoned for more of You.

Part of me struggles with leading people to You because some days I can’t even get my own life to fly right so how can I help anyone else? But last year I sat through a sermon where the preacher said: “cleaning your heart will clean all parts of your life.” He quoted 2 Timothy 2:20-26 where he told us we were vessels to be made useful for the Master. He told us that You want to use us, we just need to get the dirt out of our hearts.

He broke down the verses and gave us the three main points:

1. to be strong and flee from youthful desires. Well we are calling me out already. My heart is convicted right there. I can hear Jo Dee Messina singing: “I’ve got pride, I’m takin’ it for a ride.” I can be real immature and real selfish. I forget there is this whole world around me. Lord, without You, I can mess things up six ways to Sunday.

2. to be committed to righteousness, faith, love, and peace. That righteousness word always intimidated me. Like how in the world do I accomplish that? The funny thing is that I make that one so complicated, but if I just commit to the other three, then righteousness falls right into place. They all go hand in hand.

3. to be consistent. Next to that I have written: humble and gentle. Okkk, we finally got something I know how to do. I’m gentle. Okk, so if I’m being honest, I need to work on the humility aspect. Then in parenthesis it says to create a habit of not fighting and fussing. Alrightttttyyyy then. I literally wrote on that church bulletin: “no foolish arguments.” Like I knew that one was gonna be a bitter pill to swallow and I would need to remind myself of that one a time or two.

Lord, I am far from perfect and some days, I find it completely terrifying that You have called me. But then I remember the sweet words of a girl in Bible study one time. She said: “I like Christ in myself.” Lord, I can list a million reasons why I shouldn’t be called, but You never called the qualified. You take my broken pieces and make them whole, that’s why I’m called. Because You are working in me and I can share that progress with others. Just like when I shared my report card to my parents as a kid, I can share what You are doing in me. And Lord, You are changing my heart more and more every day.

Beth Moore taught me that I am not responsible for being Christ to my people. She said that is not my responsibility. She said: “We are not Christ to them. We need to move it and let God do His job.” Lord, I have trouble remembering to get out of Your way. I have to remember that it is You in me that I like. I am not You. I cannot do what You do. You are my God. You are the King of the world. You are the Risen Savior. Lord, You are challenging my little bitty perspective and I want to be used for Your glory, not my own. I am nothing without You. I like You in me.

Lord, someone described it like this: You are the Gardener and I am the planter. I just plant the seeds that You give me. Someone else comes along to water the seeds. Someone else fertilizes the soil. We never know the impact we’re making because we’re just planting seeds, but You have this grand designed plan that connects every little thing. David Ring said: “If you don’t do your job, no one else can do theirs. It takes a whole team, it takes everybody.” He said: “I could never be the quarterback, but I can help somebody else be a quarterback.” He taught us to create a ministry of encouragement. He told us to make ourselves more available to You. He asked us if we were doing all we could do with all we have or could we do more. Lord, today I want to make myself available to You. I want to plant Your seeds.

So here is my prayer today. Lord, I wanna close to you. I pray that I make myself available to you. I pray that I keep planting seeds. I pray that I remember to that you are God. I pray that I remember to let you work. I pray that you use me and move me. I pray that I am a team builder and a team player. I pray that I help create a ministry of encouragement to those around me. I pray that I am strong. I pray that I am committed. I pray that I am consistent. I pray that I find my worth in you. I pray that I invite you into every hidden place, in every dark place, in every crevice of my existence. I pray that I like you in me. I pray that I am found in your presence. I pray that my only focus is to worship you. I pray that I am bound to you. I pray that my sole devotion is to you. I pray that clean out my heart. I pray that I work on removing all the dust, debris, dirt, filth, and darkness. I pray that your light shines a light into my heart and fills all the broken places. I pray that I have eyes to see that you are all I need. I pray I seek you in your fullness. 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.

Name me one of Your chosen.

I was watching an episode of Chrisley Knows Best the other day and Chrisley’s daughter said: “Daddy, you’re supposed to be gone.” To which he responds with: “Well I ain’t never gonna be gone till the Lord takes me.” I near about dropped to the floor laughing. I’ve heard my own Dad say similar a time or two…thousand. I am so thankful for a Daddy that never leaves. Now in what I like to call the dark ages, ya know those years when my eye liner was so think I looked like a raccoon, I wasn’t so appreciative of that. But that father’s love also taught me a thing or two about Your love, Lord. Just like he won’t leave, You won’t either.

No matter how many times I mess up or run from You, You have open arms for me. You’ll never leave me. On Supergirl, the superhero’s mom left her a message saying: “You will lose your way many times. What’s important is that you find your way back to the brave girl you always were. Be wise. Be strong.” First, thank you for always allowing me to come back to You and who I was meant to be. Second, that word wise. That one right there. That word. Thanks to Beth Moore and her Living Proof conference, that word means something. That word has worth in my mind. That word. Ohhh that word. Wisdom. Goodness gracious, I have needed that word this year. Now, the third thing, I only have because of the first and second thing. My strength comes You, Lord. My strength comes from Your teaching, Your guidance, Your wisdom.

So, here is my prayer today. Thank you for a Father’s love. Thank you for a Mother’s love. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your timing and that I’m never too late. Thank you for having a place for me. Thank you for having a little grace for me. Thank you for washing me in the water ’til I’m whiter than snow. Thank you for mercy for the wanderin’ soul. Thank you for meeting me with your arms wide open. Thank you for leading me down to the river. Thank you for your strength and wisdom. Thank you not giving up on me. Thank you for not leaving me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for showing me the light back to you. Thank you for leaving a trail of bread crumbs for me to follow. Thank you for naming me one of your chosen. Thank you for writing my name in the book. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for taking me back every time I leave. Thank you for teaching me how to stay. 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.