And you can bury the workmen, but the work will go on.

“They thought it was over, that His name would fade away.”

Lettttttttt me tell how many times I put that song on repeat yesterday. Your. Name. Will. Not. Fade. Away.

The work will go on. This is not about me. Every single bit of this is about Your plan and Your glory. I am just one part of it. My world crumbled, not the world. I get so caught up in what’s going on in my life that I get selfish sometimes.

Maybe sometimes my world needs to crumble so I remember who is in control. On Wednesday night at Bible study, we studied Matthew 20:1-16. It’s a story about these workers in the vineyard. These people are hired and given their pay and they work all day long. Then these other people are hired and given the same pay and they only work for an hour.

At first everyone thinks this is unfair and they get jealous. We all immediately jumped to the defense of the people working all day, immediately relating to them. Like it was an instantaneous feeling. We didn’t even blink an eye.

The truth is, we are most definitely the ones showing up late to the party and getting the same reward. Jesus, You, put in the work. For me. On the cross. Jesus, You, put in the work. In me. On the regular. (every hour I need thee.)

I am chosen. Yet I question Your grace, alllll the time. I’m trying to read the Word, cover to cover. And usually when I study it that way, I don’t make it out of Genesis. But I am determined this time so I’ve made it, ya know, all the way to Exodus so far. So I’m reading Exodus and it’s going on and on about the exact size that the curtains need to be for tabernacle and what kind of yarn needs to be used. It is literally so specific and detailed. I’m not gonna lie, I literally read part and was thinking why do I need to know they used a half yard here and half yard on the other side, like for real? Then I heard that still small voice say: because if You care so much about fabric choice for a meeting place for worship, doesn’t He care soo much more for me? That’s a building and You are intentional with it, so imagine how much more You are with me, Your child.

In both lessons, I learned how You are deliberate and unrushed. Your love astounds me daily. It’s hard for me to believe in all of my sin and my shame and my mess, You choose me again and again. You rescue me again and again. You give me grace again and again. You seek me out again and again. You pursue a relationship with me again and again.

So this is my prayer. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for never leaving me. Thank you for patience. Thank you for being deliberate and unrushed. Thank you that it’s not about me. I would make a terrible god. Thank you for not being persuaded by my arrogance. Thank you that your spirit moves in and your will be done. Thank you that the message is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for working so hard to save 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.

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And I’m not holding onto You, but You’re holding onto me.

Usually when my world starts spinning in the opposite direction I want it to, then I come to You asking why this and why that. I learned a few years ago, that why is the wrong question. The right question is what am I going to do with what I left?

I know in my heart that’s what I should be asking. I know in my heart exactly what I should be doing. I know exactly where to go from here. I’ve been to rock bottom before. I’ve had my world taken away. I’ve been lost and confused.

When I feel like I’m losing control, I used to do something I could control. I would dye my hair, chop it all off, rearrange my bedroom. And when I’m really, desperately losing it in the moment, I clean, like deep clean, hands and knees on the floor scrubbing.

I learned that I was never in control though, You are. You had me then. You have me now. And You will still have me next time my world falls apart.

I’ve known rock bottom, but this is deeper. This is messy and wayyyy down deep underground. I’m gonna have dirt under my nails from climbing out of this for a while. I am not going to come out on the other side unchanged. But I will climb out. Because I have an Almighty Father that loves me too much to leave me in this hole I built. Thank you Abba. Thank you Daddy. Thank you Father. Thank you PaPa.

Thank you for providing lighthouses in the storm to guide my way home.

So here is my prayer. Thank you for this. Thank you for this. Thank you for this. This was not my plan, but my God, your plans are greater than my own and I will trust you! You have eternity in mind. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for never leaving me to face the storm alone. I love you Father and I am relying solely on you. Thank you for holding 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.

Then I wouldn’t know that Your love coming home.

I felt like I was being punished. I felt like this was all of my fault. Because of my sin? Or maybe because I asked for my life to be interrupted? I asked to be a disciple maker. I asked to be your hands and feet. I asked for this. Because they hated You first? Or maybe because I heard what I wanted to hear instead of what You were actually telling me? Maybe instead of following Your will, I was following my own agenda? Maybe I just wasn’t for this? Maybe I just wasn’t good enough for what I wanted? Maybe I still have a lot to learn? Maybe I wasn’t ready? Maybe this was all supposed to be some kind of test that I failed?

I watched Steven Furtick’s Maybe God series when I was going through a decision making process so I thought it only fitting to start Lysa Terkheurst’s disappointment series when I am going through disappointment.

In the first episode, Lysa teaches straight out of Genesis. She taught about how You asked two questions before giving any consequences. Adam and Eve invited sin and darkness and pain and hurting and shame and yes, disappointment. They invited those things into the world when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The enemy tricked them into thinking that their eyes would be open to that knowledge and that would make them like You. But it only opened their eyes to the weight of the bad, the weight of guilt and shame, the weight of heartache and disappointment.

The first question You asked is: where are you? You went looking for them when they went hiding. Thank you so much for seeking me when I should be seeking You, for never giving up on me, and always finding me. I would love to say that since I’ve become a Christian that I am always found, but boyyyy howdy can I get lost still. The difference is that I no longer stay lost, I don’t have to hide anymore.

The second question You asked is: who? You want Your labels to be our labels. You want us to know whose we are and who we are. You want us to be labeled Your child, Your beloved. You don’t want shame and guilt and disappointment and hurt to be our labels. Then Lysa says what she always says that sinks right into my heart: You love us too much to leave us the way we are. You want so much more for us.

Lisa taught about how we’re doing life on earth with eternity on our hearts. We’re looking for perfection. It’s Your way of leading us home.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for leading me home. Thank you for labeling me your child. Thank you for trying to protect me from my own sin. Lord, I live in a fallen world and I seek out the darkness that I invite into my world. But Abba Father, you love me too much to leave me in that darkness. You put a light in me, your light. The darkness and disappointment is not a result of me following you and being found, it is a result of the mercy you gave me. The consequence for not following those instructions was death. You chose mercy instead. You saw that I was worth saving. You called out to me. You sought me out. You want me to just come home. 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 only place I can go is into Your arms.

Yesterday, with one phone call, my whole world crumbled.

I was not ok. I’m still not ok.

But my middle name is Faith. So I called my pastor on the way home yesterday. And this morning, I gathered myself as much as I could and I went to the Word. I was still in shock and barely present and definitely numb so I pulled up YouTube and searched for Elevation Church. I pulled up the sermon I missed in the Maybe, God series that I missed and clicked play. Because You knew exactly when I would need to hear that message. Because You, my God, have perfect timing.

Steven Furtick started with: “I can walk into darkness and light it up because the light of the world lives in me.” I immediately started going woah now, no I can’t, not right now. I am in shock. I am confused. I don’t understand. I am disappointed. I am defeated. This weight feels heavy. I can hardly breathe. I can’t even function. I am not ok. Well, obvi Steven was not finished, so he continued with a definition of my middle name: Faith, which means sure reliance, and he defined it as confident reliance. All I was thinking is I’m sure I got no confidence or reliance right now. At this point, I am almost scoffing at the message, because this must all be some sick joke, at the same time, I know nothing is funny right now.

But I kept watching, as Steven further explained that Faith is an expectation to know even if the sequence of things don’t make sense, You live outside of time and outside of my sequence. I thought I was doing what You wanted. I thought I was living inside of Your will. He continued stating: I don’t have to live in suspense, I live in expectation that You are good. I have goodness and mercy as the gatekeepers. I have security.

Excuse me, while my doubt screams, what security do I have right now? My mind has completely shut down on me. Lord, have some patience with me as always, ok? Because I know I sound awfully pessimistic and broken, but I am listening. So, Steven continues preaching, I’m still barely even there. He says the way You grow our faith is to disappoint my expectation. Well, check. Then he said the way the devil uses disappointment is to destroy your faith. Well, check. Jesus ya girl is confused. I know in my heart that disappointment grows my faith, but this feels like it’s being destroyed. I got to get it together.

So, I keep listening and Steven says my faith does not rest on me. And I’m all like: well thank goodness. He continues with You need our faith to rest not in whether You fill our agenda or not. You taught in parables so Your wisdom couldn’t be ascertained by the human mind so Your Spirit could reveal the unlearned, not the wisdom of this world. So much of what You do is hidden, but we spend so much time in our invisible prisons in our minds, trying to figure our whether You are good, whether life makes sense. Steven said: I can’t figure it out like that. I can’t figure it out through self. He said: it’s hard to see the light in solitary confinement. As long as I’m in the prison of what I thought, I can’t be a part of what You are doing.

Then Steven closed with a prayer. As if the prayer was just for me and my circumstances, he prayed: they got hopes up so high, they made a fool of themselves. He said: it’s You, I need to make sense of my life.

So, here is my prayer. This one is going to hurt. Steven may have been preaching about John the Baptist and he may have been preaching in North Carolina about a month ago, but you and I both know, he was also preaching about me, today, in Alabama. I still believe in your faithfulness. I still believe in your truth. I still believe in your holy word. Even when I don’t see, I still believe. I don’t even know what to pray for right now. Clarity maybe? Truth? Answers? I don’t know what I am supposed to do now, Father. I don’t know anything anymore. I feel like a fool. The world around me crumbled and it feels like there’s nothing left but uncertainty and storm damage. Yet somehow, I am still here, I am still standing. I built my life upon the rock so even when it’s storming, I’m still standing. I am soaked, head to toe. I am being tossed around by the wind. I am getting hit with debris. I am most definitely not ok, but I still believe. I feel lost, but I am not lost. I am yours. I am your child. I know who I am, because I know who You are. I have no clue where to go from here or what to do, but I know your light lives in me. I know you live in me. Lord, help me to know you’re near. Father, I love you and I am so so so terribly sorry. I don’t even have words to process this right now. The only thing I can say is I still believe. You are still good. You are still merciful. You are still King. You are still sovereign. You are still the way, the truth, and the life. You are still my life. Even when my world crumbles around me, You are still my everything. You are all I desire. You are all I need. You are my security. You are my safe place. You are my sanity. You are my sure reliance, my confident reliance. You are going to walk with me into this darkness and light it up. You are near. You never left even when I couldn’t see. You are still in control. 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 don’t care if they remember me, only You.

I have always been the kind of girl that takes her time. When school projects took most kids a couple days, I spent a couple weeks. When college took most people 4 years. I took 6 to graduate. When most people I know are getting married or engaged, I have barely even dated. I was taught that if you wanted something done right, take your time because if you don’t have time to do it right, then you must have time to do it again. I’ve spent so long making sure that I know what I want and becoming the kind of woman I want to be that I turned around and I already was that woman. I am exactly who You need, for exactly what You called me to.

Having extra time to prepare was crucial for me because I needed to learn a lot. I have big plans and I am always very determined. Once I make my mind up, I go for it. I am fearless in that aspect.

I can see exactly where You held me and where You opened and closed just the right doors to lead me exactly here.

I want to teach others about You. I want to show them Your love. I want them to see the way You wrote their stories. I only have one life to live and I want to live it for You. I want to anticipate the need. I want to be there, ready and willing for whatever You ask of me. I am done stalling and hiding and bargaining and whatever other lame attempt to ignore the calling on my life. I am ready to get serious, to make dreams become reality.

I just want You, God, only You.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I point to you with every second of my life and every fiber of my being. I pray that I serve. I pray that I love. I pray that I give. I pray that learn. I pray that I teach. I pray that I share. I pray that I listen. I pray that I speak your name and yours alone. I pray they remember you. I pray I remember you. I pray I move when you say move. I pray I go when you say go. I pray I every step I take, I take in 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.

Hearts would heal and mountains move, there is nothing that You cannot do.

Ok, so, I have a crazy throwing a mountain into the ocean idea. I had this little voice whispering that I should try back even two years ago. Then it got louder last year. Then it got louder and louder. Now it’s so loud I can’t ignore it anymore. I can’t continue to run like Jonah or deny it like Moses.

I have been reading and studying for this my whole life and can see Your hand in every word of my story. I have been having dreams about this. I have a vision and am ready to serve. Sunday, during the prayer, I physically felt this in my bones and heard this is what I needed to do.

I can give you a million reasons why it won’t work. And to each reason, I have a “but, God” response too. I am too young, I am certainly too this, and definitely too that. I’ve heard all the excuses of why I can’t, but I continue hearing You say I can. You planted the seeds long before I knew I needed a tree to climb.

I can give you a copy of resume where I can explain how You have been leading me to this my whole life. With experience leading meetings, counseling, teaching, mentoring, organizing, speaking, and most importantly serving. I can explain how each and every day of my life was leading me to this point and to this place. I show you every mark in my life drawing straight here, even the parts I would have chosen to erase, maybe even especially those parts. Because where there is pain, You showed me the truest healing.

I worried I wasn’t qualified or “good enough” to do this. I worried I wouldn’t have the right words to preach. But, You keep talking to me and telling me about people in the Bible that had the same fears. Like Moses who stuttered and could hardly speak. Like Paul who murdered Christians. The more I’m studying the Word, the more I want to teach it. I have spent the last few years teaching teenagers about Jesus and wanting to do more and more of it. My heart has always wanted to serve with every fiber of my being. I teach those kids to follow instructions by looking at the person, saying ok, doing the task immediately, then checking back. So, I’m done running like Jonah. I’m gonna start practicing what I’m preaching. I am going to follow Your instructions. I am looking at You and saying ok. And I’m gonna keep checking back with You about this. The most important instructions I can follow are Yours even if it seems completely insane to every one else.

This crazy idea isn’t about me. It’s about the church. It’s about the lighthouse in the storm. It’s about that body of people. It’s about the still small voice. It’s about Your love calling ordinary people to crazy mountain thrown into the ocean ideas. It’s about the gospel. It’s about making disciple makers.

I have tried bargaining with You, saying: if I do this other thing then that’s good so I won’t have to do this crazy idea. But You are so much smarter than I give You credit for. You see right through my attempts at stalling. You knows all my tricks. You shut those doors and keep reaffirming this crazy idea. You know I need neon signs that practically and literally bonk me on the head. Like hey kid, look over here: this is what I want you to do. It’s high time, I stop stalling and start trusting You even with the crazy ideas, maybe even especially with the crazy ideas.

So, here is my prayer. Father, I pray the crazy prayer. I pray that I follow instructions. I pray your will be done, not my own. I pray that if this is your way, you open the doors. I pray I am walking in faith. I pray I follow you. I pray I keep listening for your voice. I pray I stay in the word. I pray I keep wanting to serve you. I pray you keep breaking my heart for what breaks yours. I pray I go where you lead. I pray I lift my life up to you, for you to use. I pray I study and learn and apply all you’ve taught. 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.

Let ’em know, we gon’ rise, we gon’ shine.

“Do you think Jesus is better off with you as one of His followers?”

That’s what my The Gospel of Mark Bible study just asked me. Like talk about a loaded question. If You had asked me when I started this study, my answer would have been different. My walk with You has changed so much since then. I stopped carrying all that baggage around, ya know that guilt, shame, all the hot mess. It’s a whole lot easier to walk when you’re not carrying baggage. And my hands are open and free to help others now too.

The pastor reminded us yesterday that the Promised Land is wherever You are and we belong to Your Kingdom. He said the Kingdom of God is present now and we are part of a greater Kingdom than anything this world has to offer us. He continued preaching with even in the battles, there is still a sense of victory, so keep laboring. Even when we don’t see the Heaven advances, there is still a sense of victory, so keep laboring. The war has always been won, we’re on the winning side, the deck is stacked.

This was a continuation from last week’s message. Where he said we are ambassadors of Christ. We need to act like we’re members of another Kingdom. He said we are not the warrior, You are. We can’t force others to follow You, even though I tried once, totally failed. I just wanted my friend to know the love and grace that I know, but I said the wrong thing and sent her running scared. I was like 15, my heart was in the right place, but boy my words were out of order. The pastor said we are called to communicate the message of the One who sent us. Now that I spend actual time in the Word, studying, my words are more clear. I have been given authority now.

The pastor always ends the service with Matthew 28:18-20 which says: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The fact that You gave me, of all people, authority to make disciples kinda blows my mind. Like who even am I? Oh that’s right, I am a child of You, God. I am Yours. I am blameless. I am holy, righteous, and free (instantly singing Blameless by Dara Maclean in my head now). I belong to the Kingdom. Lord, You fight for me. The pastor said the same grace that brought us to the Kingdom is the same grace that keeps us in the Kingdom. This cannot be taken from me. No matter what I do, because it never depended on what I do. It only depends on You, God. You are the One who sent me. You are the One calling me. You are the One fighting for me. You are the King, the One True God. I am a disciple maker because You are the disciple keeper.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I continue to make disciples. I pray that I keep laboring. I pray that I keep studying, growing, and walking with you. I pray that I repent and keep my eyes focused on you daily. I pray that I remember whose I am. I pray that I remember who you are. Thank you for unpacking my baggage. I pray I help carry other’s baggage to the cross too. I pray that I am your hands and feet. I pray I never stop moving forward for your kingdom. I pray I bring chairs to the table. Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for the grace you have extended me. Thank you for calling me. Thank you for saying my name. Thank you for putting my name in the book. 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.