But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I am all Yours.

The devil is packing punches and for a few days I laid on the floor in the corner with my feet curled up, hiding. But that looks like I’m hiding in fear. When we fear something it has a hold of us. It consumes us. We not only start to believe the lies, we start buying the lies. We go out and seek the lies. We put it first, above all else. Now, hang on, wait a second. The only thing I have to fear is You, Lord. You alone have authority over me. Satan doesn’t have me. I do not worship him. Sin doesn’t own me. Death can’t even hold me. You defeated all those things that I have been letting reign over me. You already won the war.

Today, I had enough. I put my hair in a messy bun, opened up my Bible, and started seeking the capital T, Truth. This place holder fell out from a previous Bible study with 2 Corinthians 5:17 written on it, which says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. It was this small cut up piece of paper that I saved and it fell into my lap just when I needed to reminded that You have control. You’re timing Lord. Ohhhhh, how You love us. You, my God, are in the detail business. Nothing is without You. Nothing is by accident. Every single little detail was created and designed by You with intention for Your purpose.

My whole problem is that I keep picking up what I already put down. Lord, I gave this hot mess to You and I keep running back to the sin and my old way of stinkin thinkin. My daddy used to tell us that without You, we are like pigs in the pig pen. We don’t realize we’re living in mud and filth. It’s all we know and we don’t know any better. Ohhhhh, but Lord, You made us new. We can leave behind all that mud and muck. We don’t have to clean ourselves up to come to You. We don’t have to worry about things like: I’ll come to God when I stop doing this thing or I’ll come back to God when I get this thing done. We don’t have to clean all the mud off to come to You, but You love us too much to leave us there. You are leading us out of the pig pen and out of our mess.

There is a quote on my cup that matches my Bible cover, which says: “she believed in His plan, even when she couldn’t see His path.” 

So, that is my prayer today. I pray I follow you and you alone. I pray that I believe in your plan. I pray that I use the word as a lamp to my feet. Lord, I’m praying for forgiveness. I’m praying for my unbelief, my doubt, my fear, my selfishness, my angry and confused heart. I pray that I stop giving power to fear. I pray that I fear you and you, alone. I pray that I put you back in a place of authority over me. I pray that I remember you are first and I am second. You come before all else. I pray that I put that verse way down deep into my soul. I pray that I remember you have a spot at the table for me even though I do not even deserve to be in your presence. Father, I belong to you and you alone. I pray that this prodigal heart comes home daily. I pray that I bind my wandering rebel heart to you. I pray that I believe in your plan and follow your path. I pray that I leave the pig pen and leave my filth behind. 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.

So breathe, oh breath of God, Now breathe.

In children’s church, we’re doing The Gospel Project. Today we finished our Prophets and Kings books. In the last four weeks, our big picture question has been: “Why should we obey God? We obey God because He loves us.” The last few weeks got so deep in my soul. I can’t even begin to explain it.

In the leader bible study, the book shares a quote from Ravi Zacharias which says: “Jesus did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came into this world to make dead people alive.” Ohhhhh, how I got the chills.

The last story in the book is in Ezekiel 37. The story said: “In one vision, God led Ezekiel through a valley filled with old, dry bones. God asked Ezekiel, ‘Can these bones come to life?’ Ezekiel replied, ‘Lord God, only You know the answer to that question.'” Ohhhhh, Lord. Ezekiel’s response got me good. I got a never ending list of questions that end with that response. Lord, I do not understand this world or anything in it, as a matter of fact. Lord, sometimes I’m so lost, I can’t even find myself. But ohhhhh how You’ve got me. You know exactly where I am and exactly where I’ve been hiding. You see that deep valley. You see my old, dry bones. You told Ezekiel to tell those bones that You said to breathe and come to life. Those bones came together: “bones to bones, tendons to bones, flesh over bones, skin over flesh.” Then breath entered the bones. Lord, You take our sin filled lives and our dry bones and literally breathe life into us.

We asked some questions at the end of the story and one kid was answering. He said something along the lines of belief didn’t matter because we still go home sinnin, that we ain’t going to Heaven still sinnin. This right here is where a lot of people get confused. I stood up out my chair and walked right to the middle of the room and said no, no, no, no, hang on, wait a minute. Then I pointed at that Bible verse we’ve been working on the last four weeks: Ezekiel 11:19-20, which says: And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so they may follow My statutes, keep My ordinances, and practice them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their God. I explained that we don’t get to Heaven because of the good we do because we would never be able to do enough to earn Heaven and pay for all our selfishness and greed and sin. He get Heaven because we believe and because we believe we get that new heart. We no longer have those hearts of stone, we are dry bones no more. We obey because You love us. We have a new spirit within us. We have been changed. We do good because of that belief. We ain’t livin for us anymore, we’re living for You.

Lauren Daigle has a song about this very story. She and Michael Farren explained in a interview she wanted the song to be about those prodigals that went away for whatever reason and specifically for the people praying for You to bring them back home. Michael pointed out the next verse after Ezekiel’s response of “only You know.” Verse 4 says: He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Michael said that invites us in and there is an action required. Lord, we are Your hands and feet. We not only have to leave behind our old lives and our dry bones. We have to use that new heart and we have to get moving, That army of dry bones rises when we speak Your words.

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, breathe in my dry bones. Lord, I know that I don’t have to clean myself up to come to you and I know that you love me too much to leave me that way. Lord, sometimes, I’m so far into my mess that I don’t even realize I’m in the valley. Lord, help me to look for those ways out that you provide. Lord, I pray that I keep moving. I pray that I remember I do have your breath in my dry bones. I pray I remember I have a new heart and a new spirit. I do not have to live that way anymore. I do not have to stay lost and defeated in that valley. Father, I pray that I take that new heart and put it to work. I pray that I get moving. I pray that I take that invitation and pick up my cross. I pray that I go tell that army about your words. I pray that I stop living for me and start living for 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.

I’m just a girl talking to God, praying for rain.

I might be short on sleep. I might be short on money. I might be short on time. I might be literally short. I might be short on sanity. I might quite frankly be short on everything. But one thing is for sure, I’m not short on love and truth. I’ve got an abundance of unfailing love and unending truth. My cup is overflowing. Everything in this world can and will come up short. People will come up short. Places will come up short. Things will most definitely come up short. I will come up short. But You, my God, never will.

I struggle with depression, often. I’ve learned how to maintain most of my anxiety and panic attacks, but they still happen. Sometimes, the whole world thinks I’m fine, but You know I’m not. My friend sent me this Facebook post from a girl who struggles with depression. The girl said she was having a real bad go of it this time and couldn’t even function enough to shower for a week. She posted from this heartbreakingly vulnerable place to tell her family and friends that she was trying. Because on that day, she brushed her hair. She showered and brushed her hair. It seems silly because that’s something we do every single day. We get up, we shower, we brush our hair. Sometimes like a routine, without even thinking about for a minute, just doing it. But when you’re in the deep deep dark places, those everyday things can become hard. Like there’s not a point to even trying. You can lay down and stay in that dark place for days without pulling yourself out. I. Have. Been. There. More times than I care to admit. The lies talk fast and keep coming. Last Fall, I did a Bible study with Stronger by Angela Thomas-Pharr. In the study I learned that the truth is: “this life is harder than what we signed up for.” I also learned “it takes an effort to hide from people.” Angela told us about running the race and how sometimes you have to run through that cramp in your side, sometimes you have to run through the pain.

I’ve also heard previously that: “prayer is a bridge from your mess to God’s rest.” During the 21 Days of Prayer, we learned the warfare prayer in Ephesians 6:11-12 which says: Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Priscilla Shirer has preached time and time again to know who the real enemy is. Another thing I’ve heard is we have to: “put on Christ the same way we put on clothes.” Every. Single. Day.

It’s way too easy to let those bad days become weeks and those weeks become months. The darkness doesn’t even seem appealing. Like I don’t like it there, but once the lies creep in, it gets harder and harder to push them out. I heard once in a sermon that the devil is still telling the same lies he told Eve in the Garden, he doesn’t need new lies because we’re still falling for the old ones. “The devil baits the hook, it harms me, it hurts me.” Ohhh but Father, You give us a way out. Out of the darkness. Out of the hook. Out of the lies. Out of the deep places. Out of sin. Out of temptation. Out of evil. Out of despair. Out of hell. Out of it all. You are the only way out. Lysa Terkeurst says we have to filter our thoughts through Your love, through Your Biblical truth. In that 21 Days of Prayer, we learned that: “truth has to constantly come in.”

The way I pull myself out is looking up. I literally just have to find the strength to look up. Lord, Your word is living and breathing in us. All I have to do is look at Your creations to remember Your truths. The sunshine reminds me of Your perfect light, of Your perfect goodness. The stars remind me of Your perfect love, of Your perfect majesty. The storms remind me of Your perfect grace, of Your perfect mercy. The rain reminds me of Your perfect promises, of Your perfect hope. No matter the weather, I can find You there. No matter my emotions. No matter my shortcomings. No matter my surroundings. No matter my battles. No matter the weather, I can find You there.

Prince Charming on Once Upon A Time said: “Darkness never wins. It just fools you into thinking it does.” Ohhhh Lord. Let that sink into my soul. Say that again. “Darkness never wins. It just fools you into thinking it does.” Ohhhh my sweet Savior. That alone is because of You. Because You already won the war. You already gave Your life. You already defeated death. You already saved the whole world. You already defeated the enemy. You already conquered. During the 21 Days of Prayer we also learned not to put our trust in ourselves. I am not the encourager. I have to take my hands off. You and I cannot carry it at the same time. I cannot raise the dead. I cannot do the impossible.

I heard a message by Allison Wilks, where she told us to stop remembering our sin or our fear or our pain or our loss or our illness or our betrayal more than we remember our Savior. She said that was the devil and his lies. She told us to remember Your character and who You are. To remember You are kind. You are loving. You are merciful. You are just. You are all powerful, all knowing, and all compassionate. To remember Your works. Allison said to remember and move to act, to trust the One who is above all those other things.

So, here is my prayer. Lord, I’m praying for rain. I pray that your truth consumes me. I pray that I remember that life isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. I pray that I run through the pain. I pray I remember who you are. I pray that I remember you are God and I am not. I pray I remember I am yours. I pray that stop feeding the lies. I pray that I stop hiding from people, from you. I pray I remember you are all knowing. Lord, you knew my pain, before I even felt it. You already conquered the war. I pray that I stop fighting a war that’s already been won. I pray that I filter my thoughts through your love and your truth. I pray that I constantly let your truth change me, shape me, form me, move me, guide me. I pray I put my trust in you. Lord, remind me of who you are when it seems like I forget. 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.

Child there is freedom from all of it.

Wednesday night, we did a lesson on Hosea through The Gospel Project with the kids. The new big picture question was: what is God like? For the opener, we asked the kids what they thought. Their answers were: holy, alive, faithful, peaceful, the savior, powerful, wonderful, awesome, slow to anger, amazing, mighty, and the creator. Literally floored at the list they came up with. The more they get to know You, Lord, and the deeper they go, literally leaves me shouting for joy sometimes. You do not call the qualified, You qualify the called. Lord, if You called the qualified I wouldn’t be anywhere near leading a group of kids. I would be that back row Baptist they sing country songs about or I would probs not even be allowed in the building. Thank You, God, for placing me here and allowing me to plant seeds because seeing You through their eyes and getting to know You more with them is one of my greatest joys.

The book’s answer was: “slow to anger, merciful, and loving.” My sister pointed out that as Christians, we are supposed to strive to be like You so we should try to do these things as well. First off, being slow to anger, doesn’t mean we don’t get angry. It just means we try to be more purposeful with that anger. We’re gonna get mad, but as Christians, we need to practice what we preach. We teach kids to count to five when they’re mad, and we should do that as adults too. Taking a minute to pause, clears our head and we can think more rationally. We’re going to get mad, but we have to learn to think first, and react second. We have to think, through the madness.

The main point of the story was that You love us when we do not deserve it. You told Hosea to find an unfaithful wife and love her. Hosea’s life was to be an example of how You love us even when we do not deserve it. Hosea’s wife left him many times and he went after her every time. Being slow to anger, merciful, and loving is a building process. One leads to another. Being slow to anger is the first step, then comes the mercy. With mercy comes forgiveness and grace. Then comes the love, the compassion, the kindness. I never said any of this was easy. I told those kids, it was gonna be hard. Love is easy when it’s alone. When we put the other two in front, it gets hard, but true unfailing love like You give us, puts things in order for us. Being slow to anger and merciful are not products of love, they are the stepping stones to love. They are how we show love. They come first, not after.

The verse of the day that demonstrated the answer to the big picture question was Joel 2:13 which said: Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. That word grief gets me every time, because I know what it means now, because I’ve felt it. My first response in grief was to ask why. That question came so naturally, it’s scary. The first time I experienced grief, it came all at once and hit hard. I lost one person, then two, then three, all right there in a matter of months. When it rains, it pours. I wanted to know why they were taken, why they left the way they did, why they couldn’t stay just a little longer, why they all left at once. I know that everything happens for a reason and I wanted to know what that reason was. I didn’t want to see with my limited human perspective. There were a lot of why’s, but I learned to spell why differently. In taking away that y and adding You where I’m AT, I changed my why to what. I had to put You back on the seat of throne and remember that I am not You. What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do with what I’ve been given? What am I gonna do now? What is gonna change? What is moving forward and what is staying behind? There were a lot of what questions when I added You where I’m AT. Changing my why to what, gave me someplace to go.

I read 13 Reasons Why in high school and watched the Netflix series a couple of weeks ago. There has been a whole bunch of debate over whether it’s more helpful or harmful. When my friend and I talked about it, we both noticed there was a lack of Christians. Maybe we had it wrong though, maybe there were believers, maybe they just stayed silent. When I read and watched, the most basic lesson I got was to do better. Now while I believe that I am not responsible for anyone else and I cannot chose life for someone else, I can do better. There was plenty of blame to go around from the kids to adults and everyone in-between. I believe we can be better teachers, friends, acquaintances, administrators, parents, peers, co-workers, family, authority figures, human beings, Christians. I don’t want to stay silent. They can go ahead and label me a Jesus freak. If I have unshakable joy, isn’t it my job to share that? The whole reason I started praying more was because I wanted answers to my why’s. Instead I got new questions. Lord, You don’t always always answer the way we think You will, but You always answer.

Tonight, I heard that You don’t always calm the storm, sometimes You calm us in the storm. Lord, I heard Crowder on the radio again singing: “I’m the one who held the nail. It was cold between my fingertips. I’ve hidden in the garden. I’ve denied You with my very lips. God, I fall down to my knees with a hammer in my hand. You look at me, arms open.” Ohhhhhh, Lord have mercy. Got me right there in the feels.

So, here is my prayer. Lord, I pray that I do not stay silent. I pray that I shout your name with every breath I have. Lord, even when I’m the one with the hammer and the nails, putting you on that cross, your arms are stretched open for me. Lord, I pray that I do better, that I do more. I pray that I share your love with everyone I come in contact with. I pray that your love radiates out of my soul like sunshine. Thank you for changing my why to what. Thank you for knocking on my heart. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for qualifying the called. Thank you for showing me how to love. Thank you for loving me when I do not deserve it. Thank you for showing us unfailing love. Thank you for showing me what kind of God you are. Thank you for calming me in the storm. I could’ve been lost forever. Yeah I should be in that fire. But now there’s fire inside of me. 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.

 

And I’m loved by You, it’s who I am.

And is a three letter word but in my house it was a way of life. My daddy taught us not to do anything half way, ever. Whether it’s work, school, community service, sports, anything and everything. If we’re doing something we’re doing it as if it were for You, God. With everything we have AND all that we are.

My daddy lives in the AND. When my siblings played sports, he drove them to every single game, practice, tournament AND made sure they had everything they needed. He cheered AND coached. He always told us that when the Bible says it is the father’s responsibility to provide for his family, that it means spiritually. He said that when he gets to Heaven, You’re gonna ask about his wife AND his kids AND his own faith. He took that and ran with it. He made sure we each had our own personal relationships with You, Lord, our Heavenly Father AND that we lived our lives for You. AND. AND. AND.


So for Easter when my sister said we were having an egg hunt AND tye-dying eggs for the kids at Church it didn’t shock me. Just like it didn’t shock her when I said I was making cupcakes AND fruit kabobs. It did shock me when my daddy got put into the hospital on Thursday AND still made it to church on Sunday. Hospital stays are never fun and cue Francesca Battistelli lyrics: “in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.” This weekend had all of us sleep deprived, our gas tanks emptied, banks drained, and house a wreck. Everything was running on fumes: cars, hearts, piggy banks, my hair… AND I still had joy. Because I was knew we do everything with an AND. Because we believe in You AND know You, Lord. You died for us AND You rose again. AND. AND. AND.
So this is my prayer today. Ohhhh Lord, thank you for all the AND’s in my life and thank you for giving us the ultimate AND. Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for saving me when I give you every reason not to. Thank you for the most beautiful Easter this year. Thank you for light in the darkness. Thank you unending love and unshakable joy. Thank you for rolling the stone away. Thank you for the empty tomb and full hearts. Thank you for forgiveness and healing. Lord, Thank you for making your love my identity, my purpose, my freedom, my home. Thank you for letting your love wash over us and completely change us. And Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for calling us deeper still. 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.

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.

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.