Every child has a dream to belong and be loved.

We as, humans are flawed and broken. We try desperately to fill the God shaped hole in our lives with everything but You, Lord. Then when we are struggling, others come along and poke holes in our weakest spots, making us even more vulnerable and broken. C.S. Lewis said: “The fact that our hearts yearn for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.” We are so deeply searching for You in all the wrong places. We try to find peace and love and forgiveness and happiness in all the wrong things. We are simply begging to be made whole, searching for anything to make us feel whole. That search is different for every single one of us, but one thing remains true. You never left us through our search. You were right there with us, no matter how far we try to run from You. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. The more we run from You, the more we need You. C.S. Lewis said: “He loved us not because we were lovable, but because he is love.”

If You love us so much, then why do we hate others and use Your name to do it? Ernest Hemingway said: “Being against evil doesn’t make you good.” Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Romans 9:25 says: As He also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, My beloved.'” Let me repeat that. “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, My beloved.'” So when no one else claims me and no one else loves me, You still do? When I have done all the running I can and have gotten as far from You as I possibly can, I am still Yours and You still love me?

Now, since I’m forgiven and have been shown grace and love, what am I supposed to do? Am I called to live differently? Yes! Am I called to worship You? Yes! Am I called to forgive others? Yes! Am I called to love others? Yes! Am I called to bring others to You? Yes! Then why do we do the complete opposite? Tony A. Gaskins Jr. said: “Never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. Evaluate your words before you let them leave your lips. Sometimes it’s best to be quiet.” I think a big part of the reason we use hate instead of love is because we are those very things. We are scared, insecure, angry, confused, jealous, misguided, misunderstood. I think sometimes we simply don’t understand each other. We go around hating actions we don’t understand instead of trying to understand the reason behind their actions. My daddy used to make me go weed the garden as a kid. I thought it was like the worst thing ever! I mean, I had to sit in the dirt and there were bugs and junk! But I learned real quick, when you pull weeds out of the garden, you have to pull them by the root. Otherwise the weeds will keep growing and then they will multiply until there’s nothing left but weeds. And believe me, my daddy was a big believer in: “If you don’t have time to do something right, then you have time to do it again.” On Pinterest, there is a picture that says: “Do not pass by a man in need, for you may be the hand of God to him.” Then it lists Proverbs 3:27 which says: Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help. 

“When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory”

In the new Avengers movie, there is a set of twins and in the beginning of the movie, they are totally the villains. It’s only when we see their story that we begin to see that there is more to it and things aren’t simply black and white. In the twins’ eyes the heroes were the villains. The entire movie was spent with everyone trying to figure out if they were really the heroes they were supposed to be or if the other one was right. By the end of the movie, through a little love, forgiveness, and understanding the twins become heroes and together they are all working to be the heroes they were always meant to be. (And yes, I cried like a little baby.) I’m with the Avengers. That’s how exactly how villains become heroes. With love. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I couldn’t agree more.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I evaluate my own life like the Avengers did. I pray that I become the person I was meant to become. I pray that I love the least of these. I pray that I do not withhold good from anyone. I pray that I always evaluate my words before I speak. I pray that I learn to understand those around me. I pray that my heart keeps yearning for you and for Heaven. I pray that I only use your love and your light to drive out the darkness and hate. Thank you for your grace and power and strength in my weakness. Thank you for calling me yours. Thank you for your love. I pray that I stick with your love. 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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I can only imagine.

The new coke ad is #makeithappy. I could not be more in love with that! “Change your thoughts. Change the world.” Without You, we are broken. We are hurt. We are hate. We are selfish. We are lonely. We are guilty. We blame others. We are lost. With You, all that changes. We are healed. We are love. We are kind and giving. We are generous. We are found. We are forgiven and free. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. When we let You guide our lives, we are changed. Your grace show us more than we could dream of. Your grace washes our sin away. You make us new.

The only way to Heaven is through You. We admit that we are sinners and that You are God. We do not get there by being a good person or earning our way. It is not by our hands, but by Yours. When we make that decision, it changes our hearts. We should want to help our neighbor. We should want to read Your word. We should want to love more. We should want all that and more because You showed us all that we could have. You showed us Heaven and how could not want to share that? How could we see all that You’ve given us and not want to show others? How could we be that loved and not love too? It doesn’t take good deeds to get to Heaven, but we should want to do good deeds so that others can see You and find their place in Heaven. Ephesians 4:29 says: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says: But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

We are not perfect and we will continue to stumble, but You have already forgiven us. I can hardly even fathom the kind of love You have for us. Your love is completely free and unconditional. You love us even though we nailed You to a cross for sins we committed. I saw on pinterest this quote that said: “Jesus died for you, knowing you might never love Him back. That is true love.” I can’t even process that kind of selfless love. Psalm 103:2 says: Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

So, that is my prayer. I pray that because I’m forgiven I try to be more like you. I pray that because I’m forgiven I share your love. I pray that I share kindness. I pray that I am more careful of my words. I pray that I continue to praise you. I pray that I continue to see your love. I pray that you keep guiding me. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the cross. I don’t deserve any of it so, thank you for being a forgiving God. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and freely. 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.