You feel that fire you been missin’.

It’s no secret that it’s been pretty dark recently. I’m coming out of the other side of it now and things are looking a little brighter. So, let me tell You about my day, Father, even though You already knew what happened and You were there, I know You like to hear from me. I’m trying to do a better job of talking to You more because it’s just plain nice to hear from people you love.

This week is teacher appreciation week at work, so I got spoiled yesterday. And this morning when I regretted skipping breakfast, what comes around the corner? Panera bagels for the teachers. And we both know Panera bagels are my fave.

I also had a doctor’s appointment for my physical for foster parenting classes. I was just going to come back after, but they said I could have the rest of the afternoon. So ya girl was very gracious and went wild with errands.

I usually have this little bitty issue seeing doctors and mechanics because both of them tell you something needs fixin and it’s gonna cost an arm and a leg. Not today Satan. When I go to the after hours clinic, I have to get my blood pressure checked three times because I get that pesky little “white coat” syndrome where I get all nervous. (Part of this anxiety comes from having to tell a stranger why I’m on an anxiety/depression med in the first place and having to retell my story). But not when I go to my regular doctor! They congratulate me on how good my blood pressure is. Like yass home girl is not stressed today, thank you! Then Dr. Nice Man comes in saying heyyy friend. Like yasss this is why I come here. No stress. I give updates on my life and any stress I’m facing, which recently has been a lot. But when it’s all said and done, Dr. Nice Man goes: how’d you get such a good life? Yasss fam. My answer: I am blessed. It ain’t me.

Here I am thinking of stress and Dr. Nice Man saw a good life. And it is, such a good life. I have had some dark days lately, but it’s such a good life. Thank you Father so much for that reminder. I am so blessed. So let’s continue this list of blessings today. I didn’t have to pay for the physical for some reason unbeknownst to me. I got my tag renewed and my driver’s license renewed. With. No. Line. I got my finger printing done. With. No. Line. I got my oil changed and tires rotated. And it’s Lady’s Day so I got a $5 discount. And I found my gift certificate for a free oil change (it wasn’t expired like I thought!). Thank you Express Oil Change. I got dinner with the fam. I’m half-way through book 3 of the series I’m reading. My car insurance got discounted another $5 a month today.

Did I forget to mention that Dr. Nice Man wrote at the bottom of my physical that he recommends me to become a foster parent “without reservation”? like thank You Jesus I needed that today.

And instead of moping around the house this weekend because I’m not a mom yet, I am going to be sitting beside the pool (probably finishing my You’re Going to Be Okay book that my Jesus friend sent me-she is always pointing me back to You). Things are not happening on my timeline and things are not going according to my plan, but God, You are so much better.

So, here is my prayer today. I am going to be a mom, one day, maybe not this weekend, but some day. But even if I never make it, even if I’m never a mom, You are still good. It’s still a good life. Thank you for good days and for the bad ones. Thank you for little blessings and big miracles. Thank you for being near. Thank you for creating such a beautiful world. Thank you for hugs and I love yous. Thank you for phone calls and texts checking in on me. Thank you for errands and thank you for the time to run them. Thank you for bluer skies and music on the radio to sing along to. Thank you for your word. Thank you for reminders of your love. Most importantly thank you for listening and loving me. Thank you for wanting a relationship with me. Thank you for building trust and for pursing me. Thank you for being patient with me and holding me together. Thank you for being 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.

Even in the madness there is peace.

So, today I watched that Transformation Church sermon I meant to watch yesterday. And obviously You meant it for today and not yesterday. Obviously, Your timing is always good.

The sermon was titled: Are you having a heart attack? Like yes, sir. It feels like my heart is out of my body and walking around in the world around me, but I can’t get to it. Like my gut is being continually ripped out. It’s physical pain. When I’m not crying or throwing up, I’m numb. When I’m numb, I’m angry and short. It feels like I’m stuck behind a glass watching everything happen. I’m tapping on the glass, trying to get back, telling myself: hey, hey you, yes you, this is not who you are, stop this.

But somehow, I know You can use even this. Somehow there’s moments of peace that surpass all understanding.

On paper, I look defeated. I have too many mountains to climb. I’ll never make it. I should just quit now. Just count me out now. But somehow, joy comes in the morning. Whether I took one tiny step today or I got my whole 10,000 steps in. Joy still comes in the morning. Regardless of my situation. Regardless of my circumstances. Regardless of how I feel. Because joy comes from You and You alone.

The opening of the message was a reminder of the previous message titled: Ducks in a row. The message included an assessment between having your ducks in a row and digging a hole. Having your ducks in a row included: faith for the future, acknowledgement for You, and using what we have now. The digging a hole portion included: fear of failure, assuming of You, and excuses for what I have now.

Now, Incredibles 2 taught me the other day that if I want to stop digging a hole, I have to first put down the shovel. Lord, have mercy, I was floored. You mean I had the power to get out this hole, the whole time? Yes I did, because You gave me that power and I didn’t use it.

Pastor Mike Todd taught in the message that we have to first deal with our selfish heart. Yes, ya girl needs to do that. The second thing is to deal with a grieving heart. Well, yes, check that for me too. He said that thing we’re missing that we’re grasping on to, wasn’t even ours to begin with. You gave that very thing. The third thing is to develop a generous heart. He talked about his little toddler in the bathtub with her rubber ducky. She said mine when her daddy asked her to share. The pastor asked: when are we gonna grow up and be like the Father? Blessed be the day. Ok. Ok. Then the fourth thing is to develop a grateful heart. He asked: Do you remember what I brought you from? Alright. Alright. Alright.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I deal with my selfish heart. I pray that I deal with my grieving heart. I pray I develop a generous heart. I pray I develop a grateful heart. Lord, let them see you in me. I pray I pursue you. I pray that I put down my shovel. I pray I get my ducks in a row. I pray that I spend more time in the word. I pray that I create healthy habits, and in order to do that I needed this heart check. I pray that wake up and do a heart check every morning. I pray that I look towards you always. I pray that I listen for that still, small voice. I pray that I see your hand in my life. I pray that I realize where all of these blessings come from. Lord, guide my life. I pray I put my heart back into your hands. Because it is my choice. Just like Pastor Mike said, it’s not love if it’s not a choice. This is my choice Father, I want to give my life solely to you. I want to give you my treasure, my heart, my past, my present, my future, everything I am and everything I have. Because it’s always been yours and yours alone. I know where my joy comes from. I know who my joy is. 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.

Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so.

I watched some sermons on YouTube again this morning and I meant to click another one from Transformation Church. Somehow it loaded a Priscilla Shirer message instead. I paused. My first thought was uh-oh. The next thought was ok, Father, I see what You did here, I’m listening.

And let’s be real for a second, Priscilla is my fave so I was not bothered when the intended video was changed. Her message was titled: God will use your abandoned boat. Like ok, I get it. I abandoned my boat.

Priscilla talked about how You don’t shame the men for getting out the boat because they were frustrated. She pointed out the men were cleaning the nets, so their intention was to use them again. They weren’t giving up, just taking a time out. Then Priscilla says when this is over, there is an assigned that’s still been assigned to you. Like ok, ok.

She said in verse 2 of Luke 5, Simon got out of the boat. In verse 3, You stepped in. You step on the very thing causing me pain and used it as a platform. She continued with the place where I didn’t have what it takes, is exactly where You will plant Your feet. The emptiness I feel is what she called a God-margin, the place between what I can do and what You can do. Priscilla said if there is emptiness, You intend to fill it. You have something planned for this little ole fishing trip. In the huge crowd of people trying to get Your attention, You saw the little ole fishermen who had a rough night fishing. She said, You see us too. You are always near. We serve a God who isn’t waiting on Heaven to have a relationship with us.

Priscilla also pointed out that Simon was not alone, there were others there in the frustration with him, helping him clean his nets. We are built for connection and relationship. Isolating myself will not get me back in that boat faster. In fact, I cannot do it at all on my own.

I also watched a message from Steven Furtick. In the message he told a story of swimming in the water with his kids, how they got carried away by the waves and got too far out without realizing it. His feet couldn’t touch the bottom and what he used to know felt more stable. I felt that. Steven talked about before Jesus’ ministry, there was the wilderness where temptation is.

Ya girl been in the wilderness. Ya girl stayed there too long too. Because like Steven said, it’s easier to reject yourself in advance instead of opening yourself up to rejection again. To really be loved requires vulnerability. Ya girl took herself out of the boat. Steven said sometimes we’ve been writing a story so long, we become a slave to it. He said self-pity is comfortable. I felt that too. He said the devil uses the word to twist the truth, to trade truths. I was stuck between two truths, like Steven preached, the one is the situation and the other is the revelation. Ya girl is leaning into the revelation today.

Priscilla talked about the wilderness too, she said the wilderness will either kill me or make me stronger. She said don’t let the wilderness in you.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for the lessons in the wilderness. Thank you for loving me too much to leave me there. Thank you for being near me in the wilderness. Thank you for encouragement and relationships and people to help clean up the messes. Thank you for not abandoning me when I abandon my assignment. Thank you for letting me participate in the miracles. Thank you for not giving my assignment to someone else every time I fail. Thank you for using me. Thank you for giving me opportunities to learn and grow. Thank you for filling my God-margins. Thank you for filling my emptiness. Thank you for stepping into my pain and frustration and using it for your glory. Thank you for allowing little ole me to come and worship good and holy 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.