The King of Heaven wants me.

On Friday, Jordan Lee posted: “Throw your hair up in a messy bun and go do some Kingdom work.” Lorrddd, have mercy. That is exactly what I wanna do for the rest of my life. Psalm 119:73 says: Your hands made me and formed; give me understanding to learn Your commands. That is all I wanna do. Renee Swope said: “We can find the plans God has for us when we surrender our plans to Him.” Proverbs 16:3 says: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

My plans have changed so many times over the years. Lisa Bevere said: “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: you, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.” Boy Howdy. I need that reality check daily. When I was a little kid, I played school with my brother and sister. I was the teacher, the librarian, and administrators. I was a one woman school. In the first grade, my parents took me to a Christian school and I immediately fell in love and told them I wanted to be a missionary. In the seventh grade, I decided I wanted to be like Elle Woods and go to Law School. In twelfth grade, I was back to the beginning with teaching. In college, I changed to Communications. No matter what I wanted to do, the common thread was that I wanted to help people. I wanted to do Your work. I wanted to work for the Kingdom.

I saw this Hallmark movie, Remembering Sunday, and one of them said: “I know it’s not a big dream.” The other one responded: “But it is to you, so show it some respect and get organized.” That’s what I’m doing. I’m getting organized. Lord, my name will probs never be in lights. I will probs never be rich. I’m not concerned with that anymore. I heard it said: “Life is more than money and things. It’s about doing life together and serving each other. With Christ at the center.” What I want is to work for Your kingdom. I don’t want to just work hard to the best of my abilities. I want to work with all of my abilities. I want to give it everything I’ve got. I used to be so concerned with recognition and people seeing the good I do. Lord, I’m working on that. Hannah Brencher said: “No one wins when you only live to please the world. The world doesn’t need to be pleased, it needs to be changed.” She also said: “Your job, at its core is to love people.” I heard someone explain it this way: our job as Christians isn’t seeing flowers bloom. Sometimes our job is to dig the hole for the seed. Other times it is to plant the seed. Sometimes it is to water the seed. Others it is to fertilize the soil. Our job is to be Your hands and feet. Sometimes we don’t get to see the flowers bloom. Sometimes we don’t get a thank you for doing our jobs. Alison Tiemeyer posted a quote saying: “You are planting seeds and fertilizing hearts. It’s Kingdom work and it is most worthy of courage.” When I get to Heaven, I want to see a bunch of Your flowers. I wanna hear Matthew 25:23 which says: His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’ I wanna sing: “So this world has lost it’s grip on me.”

So, this is my prayer. Lord, last week, I prayed with Tenth Avenue North’s song: Overflow. I wanna do that again this week. “Out of the dust, you created us. We are the breath of Father, Spirit, and Son. We’re free to breathe. We’re free to move. Life is a gift that we give back to you. Life is our gift we give back to you. You set our hearts in motion. You’re alive inside us. 
Our hands open up. We are made in the image of a perfect union. We receive your love and overflow.” I wanna pray the words from their song: Control too. “God, you don’t need me, but somehow you want me. Oh how you love me, somehow that frees me to take my hands off of my life and the way it should go.” Lord, I pray for understanding. I pray that I commit to you. I pray I surrender to you. I pray that I get organized and get to work. I pray that you are at the center. I pray that I plant seeds. I pray that I do everything for your glory. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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You’re the one thing I can’t loose when I’ve run to the end of me.

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord. I went to pick up my Easter dress because I had it shipped to the mall so I could try it on before I brought it home. I stopped by Lifeway since I was on that side of town and got the Tenth Avenue North CD because they played: I Have This Hope at Winter Jam and I can’t stop listening to the song now. Lord, the words on that album spoke volumes way down deep.

I had two struggles this weekend. Those dirty mean little lies came creeping in this weekend: I spend every waking second taking care of everyone around me, who is taking care of me? Ohhhhhh Lord. You had an answer. Play track 3: Overflow. And let the Heavens saaaang: Let Your perfect love come and fill us up. Till we can’t help but oh, overflow, oh, oh. Ohhhh Lord have mercy on my soul. That’s just it. I am overflowing. I have so much inside of me that I can’t help but give everything I’ve got to those around me. My faith and my love and my soul is like that basket when You fed the 5000, it just keep giving and giving. Lord, I don’t need someone to take care of me because I have the ultimate life-sustaining, life-giver, I have You, Lord. My basket will never empty because I will always be able to go to You to be filled again.

The second struggle is the one that always comes back around. I have been working in some shape or form since I was 11 years old. From babysitting to little league concessions stands to movie theaters to employment offices to medical offices to restaurants and service organizations. I’m not scared of hard work, but it always seems like there is never enough water in the bucket. I was making my budget for the next few months like I always do and I need new tires before I go back down to Mobile next month. I’ll probably need to get my tag renewed before I go and the list just kept pilling on. I’d love to get my ac fixed before I make that drive and maybe my windshield wiper pump thing fixed too. I’m doing fine, I make the budgets for myself so I don’t have to stress and so I can eliminate some of the unnecessary drama. Sometimes, no matter how good I’ve got it, there’s always something around the corner wanting more from me. Ohhhhhh Lord. You had an answer. Play track 5: One Thing. And let the Heavens saaang: I can see so clearly now. If I’ve got nothing but You, I’ll still have everything I need. Lord, money don’t grow on trees, but money is not all I need. There’s always more money to make, but that is not what defines me or sustains me. You are all I need, everything else is just excess.

So here is my prayer. Lord I pray all of the want and all the plans, I’ve been chasing. All of the dreams in my heart, You can take them. I pray that I lay everything down at your feet. Lord, the one thing I need is you. I’m sorry I forget that sometimes. I’m sorry I listen to the lies sometimes. Lord, you do more than fill my cup, you overflow it. I pray that I give and give and give. I pray that you keep correcting my attitude when I get tired of giving, because Lord, you never get tired of giving to me and you give me so much more than I deserve. I pray that I give with a glad heart. Thank you for answering my prayers. Thank you for listening to my heart. Thank you for setting my heart in motion. Thank you for giving your love to me. I pray that I live in the overflow. Thank you for the reminder that you are all I need. 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 calm the storm when I hear You call my name.

A few weeks ago, I read Sara Evans’ and Rachel Hauck’s Songbird Novel series and it’s about all the relationships in this woman’s life. Between her parents and in-laws and husband, everyone around her. It’s not just another love story, it’s about life and forgiveness and loss and moving forward through the rough patches. The woman in the book is getting married and doesn’t know whether to invite her mom or not. The mom was talking to her friend about it and said there was too much water under the bridge. And this friend with all her wisdom says: “Come to my house tonight. I’ll loan you my canoe.” I burst into tears right there. No matter what water is under all the bridges life has to offer, I’m so glad for the friendships I have and the knowledge that they always have a canoe for me to borrow. They always keep me afloat.

When the people I love are going through a hard time. When they can’t find the light in the tunnel. When all they need is time. When they need peace. When they need what I can’t give. When they have to pull themselves out of the deep places. When they’re drowning and need a canoe. All I can do is encourage and and be there for them. I had to learn the hard way that as much as I would love to do it for them, I cannot live for them. They have to make the decision to pull themselves out. All I can do is offer my canoe. David Ring said: “It’s one thing to show people love. It’s another thing to stick around for the pain.” I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.

Lord, I am not You. I cannot save people. I cannot give them peace. I cannot heal the pain. I cannot do what You do. But I can be Your hands. I can loan them my canoe. Beth Moore said: “God is not afraid of your questions, girlfriend. He wants to stir them up-to send you searching for answers.” I can pray for them and share with them where I find answers, my canoe. Part of Church of the Highlands’ 21 Days of Prayer is the Warfare Prayer and they talked about how in prayer, we can identify the lies so we can quiet those lies and amplify the truth. At the end of the sermon, the pastor said to ask You to: “give us assignments.” Prayer is a two-way conversation. Even when we hear silence, You are working. You are not done with us yet. There’s a quote I found that says: “Having a rough morning? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose. You’re alive for a reason.” Lord, sometimes when we feel lost and unloved, the best thing to do is give love. Sam on Touched by an Angel said: “If you can’t find the love, let God love through you.” 

There is purpose for the pain. At Winter Jam, on Friday, we took the youth group and Tenth Avenue North was telling a story about their song: I Have This Hope. They were talking about why we call it Good Friday and how it’s because of what happened on Sunday. That dropped truth way down into the deepest parts of my soul and of my heart. Lord, sometimes we have to go through what we do not understand because we see the world with a limited view point. We see the world around us, but You see the whole world and everything around it. You hold the whole world in Your hands. You hold me in Your hands. You hold them and us and sinners and everyone in Your hands. You call us by name. You created every part of us for a purpose. You never left us.

So, this is my prayer. Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for hope. Thank you for purpose. Thank you for being there in the flood and fire. Thank you for walking with me. Thank you for calling me by name. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for lighting the dark. Thank you for canoes. Thank you for your unending love. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving through me. Thank you for letting me love others. Thank you for showing me how to stay through the pain. Thank you for questions and answers and two-way communication. Thank you for assignments. Lord, I pray that I keep going, keep moving forward. I pray that I chase after you and loan my canoe to those I love so they can chase you 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.

When someone’s running out of places they can run.

I saw this picture posted that said: sometimes I just wanna run away and see who notices. When I was younger, I believed those lies. Every disagreement with a friend or with my family or I got passed over for something at school. Once you let one lie in, they come rushing in. It’s like stepping into a batter’s box with a pitching machine constantly throwing balls at you, but having no bat. When my best friend and I played softball, we sat in the outfield and played with the wildflowers and yelled across the field to each other. There was not much actual softball playing with us, we were just there to have fun and take pictures. For real though, I just wanted to run and land somewhere safe and wanted. That soft place I needed to land was grace.

I think one of the best parts of growing up and growing in my faith and in my relationship with You, Lord, is realizing that running away doesn’t solve problems, it adds to them. For one, there are so many people around that would notice. As I’ve gotten older, I see with a much wider lens. I no longer have a vision that can’t see past my own nose. I can see the world around me the more I walk with You. I can see You in the world around me.

I now step into that batter’s box with confidence, dig my feet in the dirt, line my shoulders up, and bring my bat. The best way to fight lies is with the truth. That bat I’m bringing is Your word. It’s the ultimate, life giving and life sustaining, truth. Psalm 119:73 says: Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, keep showing me how to swing for the fences. I pray that I listen to your commands. I pray that I remember you are my safe place. Lord, you are my safety and security. Lord, you are my strong tower. You are my lighthouse. I pray that I come to alter more. I pray that I come to you more. I pray that I lean on you more. I pray that keep looking for you in the world around me. I pray that I humble myself at your feet. I pray that I fall to my knees at the cross. I pray that I remember Sarah Mae’s words in Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: “strive for excellence, but land in the softness of grace.” Lord, I don’t know what your plan is. I don’t know where you are leading me. I don’t know where this path leads, but Lord, I’m going. I pray that I put one foot in front of the other and keep walking with you. I pray that I listen for your directions. I pray that you give me understanding to follow your directions. I pray that I remember that love wins. Lord, you already won the war. 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 are shaped by the light we let through us.

I feel like Lee Ann Womack every time I drive to work. Like my drive is literally the music video to A Little Past Little Rock. There is hardly anyone on the road, it’s just me and my headlights. And deer, lots of deer. I used to listen to that song every single day. One of the perks to working nights is driving home as the sun rises. When everyone gets up in the morning I make to turn the lights on for them to start their day. When they leave, I run around the house singing Trace Adkins’ Every Light In The House and turn out all the lights. Then before they come home, I run around again turning all the lights back on, so when they come, they’re not coming home to the dark.

There is a reason I like lights and sunshine. It’s all because of my relationship with You, Lord. I see things differently, the more I walk with You. I can’t look around without seeing Your handiwork. Lord, sometimes I’m so busy turning on the lights for others, I forget to leave a light on for myself too. Dumbledore said: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Lord, even when I forget, You make the sun rise. You always leave a light on for me. Father in Heaven, You always give me light at the end of the tunnel. You give me a way out. Of my darkness. Of my pain. Of my grief. Of my despair. Of my sin. Of my sin. Of my sin. You give me a way out. I just have to look for the light. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Let me say that again so it sinks deep into my soul. He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Lord, Your grace astounds me. Not only are You with me in my struggles, but You don’t leave me there. I don’t have to live in my sin. You provide a way out.

My Little and I were talking the other day about how we wanted to dance in our kitchens with our husbands one day singing old country songs. Those country songs about leaving the light on and how light shines through are the ones I wanna dance to. Those songs show that a simple act like turning on the lights can show you care.

So, here are my top country songs about light to dance in the kitchen with:

  1. Every Light In The House – Trace Adkins (this one is obvi my fave!)
  2. Glass – Thompson Square
  3. You Light Up My Life – LeAnn Rimes
  4. Shine The Light – Sugarland
  5. You Are My Sunshine – Johnny Cash

We are lights to those we love: friends, family, spouses, kids. We shine brighter because we are loved and because we love them. Lord, You are the ultimate giver of light. You are the lighthouse in the storm. You created the sun. You created light. You guide us home. You show us the path to take. You give us a way out.

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, thank you for all the light in my life. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for the love I have been given. Thank you for giving me so many people to turn the light on for. Thank you for turning on the light for me too. Thank you for giving me a way out. Thank you for teaching me to turn the light on for others and for myself. Thank you for teaching me how important the light is. Thank you for teaching me to let the light in. Thank you for showing me the light around me. Thank you for allowing your light to shine through me. I pray that I continue to shine bright for you. I pray that I continue to look for the ways out. I pray that I am always looking for the ways out of the darkness. I pray for resilience and strength in fighting the darkness. 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.