So, I’ll speak Your name.

I think that the Church is the body of believers, not only the building we stand in. It’s fluid and moving. It’s not brick and stone. I think as believers and as the church we are supposed to show Christ’s love because he first loved us. Mark 12:30-31 says Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.

Sometimes we make mistakes and because of that love, God shows us the love of a father. His love not only brings us peace and joy, but rights our wrongs. He comes to us from a place of love and understanding. He loves us too much to leave us the way we are. He loves us too much to let us sit in our sin, He wants to meet us out in the mess and bring us home, clean us, and send us back out to bring more lost home.

Lord, You showed me that in pieces. You broke down the Gospel and lived it in me so I could understand it on a personal level.

I’ve been reading this how to be a mom book since I’m about to be a foster mom. There’s been like two or three stories about these outside influences on her kids and how she wants to separate them from impacting her kids and protect them from being influenced by the other people. And while obviously I don’t have all of the story and don’t know anything about the people involved. The stories kinda left me discouraged. Because as much as I want to protect my kids from all the bad in the world. I don’t think that is something I want to be held accountable for, because it is just simply not something I am capable of. And I don’t think it’s good for them either. And it kinda left me thinking, well who is protecting that kid?

I know there are some ways I can teach them by protecting like don’t touch the stove when it’s hot, look both ways before crossing the street or railroad tracks. But there are ways they can learn through experience too. Instead of shielding them from the kid next door who is going through a rough time, love that kid too. Maybe we should stand in the gap for that kid too. Yes, it is harder. Yes, my kids might (naw, scratch that, my kids WILL) pick up their bad habits too (just like my perfect little kids probs will influence some other “good” kid). I think that is something that can be taught through. I mean, I had siblings, obviously I’m the only good kid and any bad habits I have were picked up from them. You know 1 Corinthians 15:33 says bad company corrupts good morals and all.

I believe friends should be chosen wisely and who I am surrounded by will determine where I go. But I also believe that loving the kid next door with the messy life is important. It teaches the kid to be the church, not just go to church. I am not You, God, but I can strive to be like You. Next time, I see my kid catching the same bad attitude as their friend they brought home, I can ask that tried and true, WWJD. Instead of sending the neighbor kid home so I can parent my kid on her bad attitude, I can break out the afternoon snacks on the counter, sit them both down and teach them both. I can ask about both of their days. I can open my doors and my heart to more than just my kid. I can stand in the gap. I got more than enough love to go around and I know where to go to fill up my cup.

Instead of praying for my kid to find new perfect friends (because those are totes a thing and totes exist), maybe I can pray my kid will be a good friend. Instead of praying for that kid to go away, maybe I can pray for that kid. I think if we avoided every person with a messy life, we wouldn’t have anybody left, including the person looking back at us in the mirror. Life would be awful lonely and You created us for community. We’ve got to stop creating our own little secluded worlds and start loving the people around us. If we want love, we have to be love. If we want good friends, we have to be one. If we want nice neighbors, we have to be one.

Romans 12:9 says Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.

So, this is my prayer today. I believe who you say you are and I can see the goodness of your heart. I pray that your goodness can be seen through my actions. Thank you so much for the goodness you have shown me. Thank you so much for your word and allowing me to get to know who you are and your character. Thank you for teaching me to stand in the gap and allowing me to see those opportunities to minister. Thank you for teaching me when to protect my kids and when to push them a little. Thank you for teaching me forgiveness and grace. Lord, I pray I speak your name above all names. I pray when things get dark, I speak your name. I pray when things are super good and light, I speak your name. I pray when the neighbor kid with a messy life comes over, I speak your name. I pray when my life is the messy one, I speak your name. I pray when I’m at the grocery store, I speak your name. I pray when I’m waiting on a table for 45 minutes when I called ahead, I speak your name. I pray when someone cuts me off in traffic when I’m already late, I speak your name. I pray when I am blessed with a million dollars, I speak your name. I pray when I lose everything I have, I speak your name. I pray when sickness doesn’t get better, I speak your name. I pray when all the pain is healed, I speak your name. I pray I speak your name with every moment of my life. I pray I am calling out to you every second and calling others 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.

It’s, why God, I cling to Your love and hold on for dear life.

I started this blog, because my heart was asking one simply complicated question: Why? I knew You had the answer. I mean You are the creator of the universe. Sustainer of life. King of Heaven and earth. You designed all of this. You are the master of time and space. I mean that’s what they taught me in Sunday School so it must be true right?

Until I started asking that question, my faith was based solely on what others had told me about You. Until I started asking that question, I did not know who You were.

I had heard all the stories, memorized lots and lots of verses. I even felt Your presence, Your calling, Your guiding. But I still did not know Your character.

I was too busy looking at my own life, at who I was and wanted to be. It wasn’t until I was staring at what I lost that I stopped looking at me. Then I became consumed with why’s.

So, I did what any good Christian girl is supposed to do, I went to church. I thought I was going to a building, but what I found was a group of ladies that impacted my life, probably more than they will ever know. They taught me how to be the church.

It’s more than those weekly community service hours. It’s more than one of those famous church casseroles. It’s more than worship for an hour on Sunday. It’s more than listening to KLove on the way home from work. It’s more than memorizing verses.

Those are all good things, and I did all of those things even before I knew Your character. It’s not about what I am doing, it’s all goes back to that why question. Why am I doing these things? Why are You not snapping Your finger and fixing this?

We have this desire to know You, deep inside of us, even if we don’t admit it. But when things went haywire, it wasn’t a want to know anymore, it was a need. I needed The Father. I needed Abba.

I think I met you in parts, in order to know You fully. As as kid, I met Jesus, Your Son, the Savior. Then in second grade, I invited the Holy Spirit to come live in me and I got to know that side of You. Somehow the same year I was being sexually abused, is the same year that I called out to You and invited You into my heart. That is not a coincidence. You were there with me, holding me. Then in college, I met The Father, while I grieved. And again, You held me.

Now, I’m walking with You and talking with You. And You’re still holding me, You always have been. I have this personal relationship with You. You have been teaching me things and building upon those lessons, my whole life. It’s like a never ending game of Tetris. You put Your messages into my heart and I apply them to my life. Block by block, line by line. The way You designed things and connected things, literally leaves me in awe sometimes.

In Bible study on Tuesday, we learned how You connected our pain, our sin to Your promises. Then Wednesday, we read in Ezekiel how You breathed life into dry bones. As I was reading about how You commanded the wind, I remembered these lyrics: “If the wind goes where You send it, so will I.”

Today, during lunch, I watched an episode of 911, because they are about to expire off Hulu on Monday so I was trying to catch up. It was the flashback episode to why one of the firefighters became a firefighter. And what does his story deal with? Grief. At the end of the episode, this other firefighter is talking and tells him to: “hand it off.” It started as a chore hand it off. Then he explains how to take care of others, we also have to take care of ourselves, and how sometimes we have to hand things off to someone else. He told him to let go of his ego. He gave this super great speech, then said: “go give care.”

It’s my job to hand it off to You and go give care. That is how I become the church.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for reminding me to hand it off to you. You, my almighty father, can handle whatever it is. You can carry my weight, my pain, my sickness, my burdens, my sin, my grief, my abuse, my guilt, my shame, my weakness, all of it. You already carried it on the cross. Lord, forgive me for keeping my hands on it, and letting my ego get in the way and trying to control it all myself. Your ways are higher and I know who you are. I trust you, father. Thank you for showing me your heart. Thank you for letting me see deeper than the surface. “And as You speak, A hundred billion failures disappear, Where You lost Your life so I could find it here. If You left the grave behind You so will I. I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done, Every part designed in a work of art called love. If You gladly chose surrender so will I. I can see Your heart, Eight billion different ways. Every precious one, A child You died to save. If You gave Your life to love them so will I.” Father, that is why I want to be a foster parent, to lay down my life for you, to hand it off to you and go give care. 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.