There is a fire inside me burning with hope.

I was taking a break after my first day of classes and scrolling through Facebook and saw this video posted. Yesterday on the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford thanked everyone for the outpouring of love she received. In the video, she talked about her and her husband’s faith. I got all kinds of choked up, but what really got me was when she talked about their visit to the Holy Land and how they went to where David picked up the stones that defeated Goliath. She said her husband took a stone home and put that stone in his trophy room. When people went to see visit his home, he took them straight to that stone. Then she said when their children graduated they gave them a stone and asked them: “where you gonna throw your stone for the Kingdom of God?” I admit it, I cried.

What a fantastic question for graduating seniors. I am getting ready for my own college graduation this Spring. I have my application ready to turn in this week. All I have to do first is pay for those parking tickets that I let pile up. (I might have one or two…or six…) I was completely swept away by that question. I hope I take that question with me this year as I get ready to go out in the world. College is not only where you get to pick a major and a career path, it’s where you get to pick the kind of person you want to be, the kind of future you want to have. As a senior, it’s easy to get burnt out here at the end. This question just made sure my candle is still burning.

To be perfectly honest, the closer it gets to my graduation, the more I think about those I lost last year who won’t be in attendance. I knew college was going to be a lot of firsts. First dorm, first time living on my own, first time doing anything substantial without my parents, first road trips without adult supervision, first time on a plane (and second), first time paying real bills, first time my actions had real consequences. College has been a lot of firsts, but one I wasn’t counting on was the first time I would lose someone I loved and then I did it twice last year. College has been a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. Part of me is really excited to get off and start a new ride. Part of me is terrified to leave the one where I know exactly where all the bumps are and where my seat is. The ride is a little less crowded than when I began, but I know You have a plan for me. I know You’ve got me in Your hands. I know I’ll be ok. Now, I’m gonna throw that stone You gave me and see what You can do.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I continue to polish the stone I’ve picked this year. I pray that I keep looking towards you, Lord. I pray that I go where you send me. I pray that I do what you need me to do. Lord, I know that you have plans for me and I pray that I follow them. I pray that you lead me and guide me. I pray that I take the stone you gave me and throw it exactly where you need it. I pray that I let my light shine for you. Thank you for keeping my candle going. Thank you for everything you’ve given me. Thank you for watching over those I’ve lost. Thank you for holding me together. Thank you for all the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for teaching me inside the classroom and outside of it. Thank you for all of those I’ve loved alone the way. Thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for the life I’ve lived. Thank you for who I am today. I pray that I keep growing and learning. I pray that I use my stone for your good. 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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There’s a little flame inside us all.

Today, a new president will be elected. The past few years have been leading me to this day. Today, a new chapter will begin for them. I hope my sisters know just how talented and smart and brave and truly spectacular they are. I hope they know they are loved. I hope they know just how much they have touched my life. I hope they know just how much they have helped me. I hope they know that they are here for a purpose. I hope they know that they matter. I hope that my sisters know that they have a light to give and to share with the world.

I hope they know that things won’t always be easy. Sometimes they are going to have to fight for what they want. I hope they face their battles head on with dignity and grace. I hope they realize that everyone has a story to tell and their own scars. I hope they always show compassion and kindness to those around them. I hope they don’t ever become bitter. I hope they always see the good in the world. I hope they never give up. I hope they always know that they are enough. I hope they know that even if it seems like the whole world is against them, they still have people that love them and rooting for them. I hope they find their best friends here that will always cheer for them like I found. I hope they find a home here like I have. I hope they see the magic in the little things.  I hope they know they are blessed.

I hope they know that bad days end. I hope they know that dark skies go away. I hope they know that they are worthy of respect, of love, of joy, of happiness, of compassion, and of kindness. I hope they always leave things better than they found them. I hope they know they can make a difference. I hope they know that they have the power to change the world. I hope they know they already changed mine.

So, this is my prayer. I pray that you watch over them. I pray that you protect them. I pray that they see your love. I pray that you guide them. I pray that you use them. I pray that they see their potential. I pray they see their light. I pray that they find their sunshine on their darkest days. I pray that they learn a lot over the next few years and not just in the classroom. I pray they find what makes them truly happy. I pray they see you. I pray that you touch their hearts. I pray they always know how wonderful they are. I pray that they keep growing. I pray they impact each other in a positive way. I pray that they keep moving  forward, no matter what tries to stop them. Thank you for leading me here. Thank you for giving me such amazing people. Thank you for blessing me so much. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for the memories I’ve made. Thank you for giving me a light of my own. 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.