And goodbye’s such a painful word, we all wish it didn’t hurt.

My sister woke me up this morning, way too early. Since I now had some time before the rest of the house woke up, I pulled up the First 5 app and started reading. The devotion was on Numbers 21:8 which says: The Lord said to Moses, Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. I read the verse and I was like what am I reading? A snake? On the 4th of July? What are You trying to teach me Lord?

Then as if my mind could be read, the next line on the devotion is: “What do a snake and a stick have to do with healing?” Then it goes on to explain in beginning of Numbers 21 that Your people had begun questioning and doubting You. You had been protecting them and when You withdrew that protection, the snakes came out. And when bad things happen, the first thing we do is turn back to You. The devotion stated the very thing I’ve learned: “Healing required an act of faith.”

Then comes verse 8 of the story, with the instructions for Moses. The next line of the devotion is what got me praying today. “I find it fascinating the object of healing, the snake, was shaped in the likeness of that which poisoned.” The very thing we think is going to be the end of us is part of Your plan. The very thing we think is meant to hurt us is a part of Your grand design. The very thing that caused us pain can also be the tool used for healing.

I was listening the Jake Owen sing What We Ain’t Got, I’ve heard it 1242 times. But this time was different, at the end of the song he sang: “I wanted the world until my whole world stopped.” About two years ago, my whole world stopped for the first time and then it stopped a few more times that year. Sometimes it takes learning the hard way. Sometimes we have to lose everything, to be found. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom, to move forward. Sometimes the very thing causing the pain, can be used by You. Sometimes You have to make us stop and look at the world around us. Sometimes we have to get the wind knocked out, so we can learn to breathe again. Sometimes rock bottom is exactly what we need to start a new foundation.

There is a quote by Oswald Chambers that says: “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” You can say that again. Sometimes, Lord, I have no idea what You are doing. Sometimes, I struggle trying to understand Your plan. But I’m not meant to understand it completely. You are working with a eternity plan for the whole world and I am working with a plan just for me. I do not understand Your plan or Your ways, but I understand You love us. I know in my heart that everything You do is for a greater purpose.

There is this picture on Pinterest of this man standing in front of a maze and he can only what is right in front of him, but Lord, You see the whole puzzle. There is also a quote that says: “If God showed you all He has planned for you, it would boggle your mind. If you could see the doors He’s going to open, the opportunities that will cross your path, and the people who will show up, you’d be amazed, excited, and passionate, it would be easy to set your mind for victory. This is what faith is all about. You got to believe it before you see it. God’s favor is surrounding you like a shield. Every setback is a setup for a comeback. Every bad break, every disappointment, and every person who does you wrong is part of the plan to get you where you’re supposed to be.” 

In Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “It would have been easy to see the events that unfolded as a series of lucky breaks. But what a tragedy to see only flat perspectives of life.” Then she quotes Psalm 53:2 which says: God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. 

So, this is my prayer. “Fill me with a grateful heart.” I pray that I seek you. I pray that I see your hand in everything. I pray that I have confidence and faith in you. I pray that while I don’t understand, I still believe. I pray that you keep changing my perspective. Lord, move me. Change my thoughts. Change my heart. Keep showing me your hand in my life. I pray that I keep chasing after you. I pray that I keep running towards you. Thank you for designing my life. Thank you for using me for your purpose. Thank you for choosing every part of my life. Thank you for the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the lessons I’ve learned, and for so much more. 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.

With so much left to say, I prayed.

The Grand Ole Opry posted a video of Scotty McCreery singing a new song and I swooned so hard I cried. I started thinking about how when I was a kid all I wanted was five more minutes, like the song sings. My list hasn’t changed much, I’ve just added to it.

Give me five more minutes running through a sprinkler with my brother and sister. Give me five more minutes watching my brother play pee wee football. Give me five more minutes watching my parents put the lights on the Christmas tree. Give me five more minutes at my sister’s softball tournaments. Give me five more minutes twirling that flag, under those stadium lights, wearing that glitter spray. Give me five more minutes singing stadium cheers and throwing my L up after a big win. Give me five more minutes in FCCLA cooking for those appreciation dinners with my bff. Give me five more minutes taking selfies in Hobby Lobby with her. Give me five more minutes sitting in the pews at Bethel Baptist with her.

Give me five more minutes living in that sorority house. Give me five more minutes moving the furniture in the chapter room to dance with my sisters. Give me five more minutes leading those chapter meetings. Give me five more minutes singing the Dixie Chicks with my soulmate on those back roads in Mobile. Give me five more minutes throwing my J up. Give me five more minutes living in that Midtown apartment with my roommate. Give me five more minutes singing country music with my littles, driving around town, wasting gas. Give me five more minutes getting ice cream with my littles. Give me five more minutes in the caf with my people. Give me five more minutes crying in a parking lot saying goodbye to my person as dramatic as we can possibly make it.

Give me five more minutes with those I’ve lost along the way. Give me five more minutes floating on the lake in Pell City. Give me five more minutes right now, praying with You, Lord. Give me five more minutes right now, to remember how blessed beyond measure that I am.

Lysa Terkeurst in Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl wrote: “But what’s most amazing is that the God of the universe, the Savior of the world, would desire a few minutes with me this morning. Lord, help me to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this.”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I want to thank you for all the ways you’ve blessed me. Thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve. Thank you for all the precious moments and the even better people. Thank you for all the extra five minutes that you gave me. Thank you for your timing. Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in your timing today. I pray that I spend five more minutes with you each day. Thank you for wanting to spend five more minutes with me. Thank you for giving me five more minutes. I pray that I trust in your timing. I pray that I remember that your timing is what has made all of this possible. Thank you for writing my story. 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 were here.

I called my daddy after class today and he starts asking me about my day and my plans for the day. Then he starts talking about Public Relations and goes on and on about my major. I was like “waittttttttttttt a minute. That’s what I’ve been telling you for almost 4 years now. You’re telling me you were listening the whole time?” This man has infuriated me for 4 years telling me stuff and not understanding what my major is and saying all this hogwash just to get under my skin and letttttt me tell You, Lord. It worked. But You already knew that. You’ve heard my prayers.

My daddy’s response to my question was priceless. He said: “I was trying to toughen you up. I had to make sure this is really what you wanted to do with the rest of your life. If you can defend yourself and sell yourself to me then you’ll have no problem doing it for employers.” He tells me he always knew what I was capable of and what I could do. Then he ended that conversation by saying: “I’m on your team. I always have been.” Shut the front door. Ok.

Fathers show love in some weird ways sometimes.

I spent my Valentine’s Day working, but before I went to work I watched Woodlawn because I had a free credit on Redbox and I hadn’t seen it yet. I thought it was a movie about football, but it’s never just about football is it? Football is about so much more and so was that movie. The movie is about love, Your love. In the movie, the preacher reads John 3:16 which says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Then he says if you’re a given a gift, you don’t leave it wrapped. You open it. He said God gave you a gift why are you leaving it wrapped up?

The one question sent my mind running. Then I remembered this speech that Hannah Brencher gave when she said: “I want to fly. I want to breathe. I want to leave this place better than it left me.” I always agreed with her and wanted the same thing. I want to use my gift to make a difference. I want to use what You gave me to bring the world closer to You. I want to share Your love. I want to be a part of campaigns that change opinions and perspectives. I want to be a part of Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful or Coca-Cola’s #MakeItHappy or Gillette’s #UseYourAnd or Always’ #LikeAGirl or Verizon’s Inspire Her Mind campaign or their Powerful Answers campaign. I want to take Hannah’s speech where she told us to be present and intentional and run with it. I want to be part of the change.

In Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, we learned about how David was handpicked by You. He didn’t look like a king. In fact, he was completely overlooked. You had a purpose for him though. You prepared him in the fields everyday. Even after You chose him, You were still preparing him in the fields every single day. He had no idea what You had planned for Him. I saw this picture on Facebook that said: “Long before Zacceaus couldn’t see Jesus that tree was already planted to meet his need.” You have been fulfilling our needs before we even realized they were needs. You chose us. You made a plan for us. You gave us gifts. You are preparing us every step of the way even when we don’t realize it or even understand what You’re doing. This girl tweeted: “How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies and puppies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.” 

Romans 12:6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for being here. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for orchestrating a plan for me. Thank you giving me gifts. Thank you for preparing me. Thank you for fulfilling my needs. Lord, I pray that I use my gifts for your glory. I pray that I work as hard as I can to do what you created me for. I pray that I follow your plan. I pray that I share your love. I pray that I shine a light for you. I pray that everything I do, I do it for you. I pray that I make a difference. I pray that I leave this world a little better. I pray that I mean something for you. I pray that the hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave of your love. I pray that because I was here people will know you were here. 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 trying to hear above the noise.

I am a big fan of Jo Dee Messina. I grew up watching her videos on CMT ever single morning when I got ready for school. She posted a video today of her cover of Plumb’s song Need You Now. In the opening of the video, she talks about her struggle with her mom getting sick. Then she said: “I am my mother’s daughter, but first I am a child of God.” but first I am a child of God. Yes. I am. Before my grief. Before my pain. Before all the darkness. I am a child of God.

I’ve spent this year reading the words of Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl over and over and trying to apply it to my life. Anyone who knows me knows I hate rereading books. This book is different. Every time I read Lysa’s words, I see something different and I want to carve an even deeper relationship with You, Lord.

She wrote: “But other times the hurt comes in the form of a loss that cuts into your heart so viciously it forever redefines who you are and how you think. It’s what I call deep grief. The kind that strains against everything you’ve ever believed.” Well it certainly changed my prayer life and my perspective. The more I wanted to pull away, the more You pulled me closer. She continued by saying: “I was asking the wrong question. I was asking why. Why did this happen? Why didn’t You stop this, God? Why were my prayers not answered? Why?” Lord, You and I both know, I asked these questions and some. I couldn’t understand why my grandma had to suffer or why Christopher had to leave us so early. I had never lost anyone and then I lost two very important people within three months of each other. I couldn’t even process one before another one was gone. Why, was a constant question in my life.

Lysa wrote: “And His reasons, from our limited perspective would always fall short. That’s because our flat human perceptions simply can’t process God’s multidimensional, external reasons. God describes it this way: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8-9). We can’t see the full scope of the situation like God can; therefore we must acknowledge that His thoughts are more complete and that He is more capable of accurately discerning what is best in every circumstance. In the case of losing a loved one, love skews even the most rational parts of us. Our love for the person we lost would never allow God’s reasons to make us feel any better or to understand any more fully. We would still feel as though God had made a terrible mistake. So, if asking the why question doesn’t offer hope, what will? The what question. In other words: Now that this has happened, what am I supposed to do with it?” 

That question is something I very much I want to answer. They weren’t perfect people. Those two knew just how to push my buttons and make me madder than a Hatter, but I want them to know I learned something from loving them. In more ways than one, they helped me pray over the past year and a half. They’ve been a daily reminder that I need You.

Further into the book, Lysa wrote: “I know that He is preparing me for what I will need throughout this day. He is already standing in every minute of my day and He sees what I will face. He’s equipping me to be able to handle what is ahead of me with His gentle boldness, quiet strength, and loving grace.” Later she adds: “Some things are fun and good; others are extremely difficult and painful. Somehow Jesus has used it all.” Then she continues by saying: “Jesus can take everything surrendered to Him and turn it around for good. Everything.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, I have thanked you for a lot of things over the past twenty-three years, but I have never thanked you for this. Thank you for preparing me. Thank you for giving me the courage I needed. Thank you for your gentle boldness, your quiet strength, and your loving grace. I pray that I continue to ask the what question. I pray that I continue to fall on my knees in need of you. I pray that I keep seeking you. Thank you for taking my grief and loss and using it for your good. Thank you for taking my pain and using it for your good. Thank you for teaching me and leading me. Thank you for your hand on my life. Thank you for loving me even through all the broken pieces and cracks. Lord, I am trying to follow you and listen to you. I am trying to actively seek you in my daily routine. Through everything that has happened, the more I realize how desperately I need you. I am so thankful you never left me, no matter how far I ran or pushed you away. Thank you for having open arms for 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.

I wanna seek You first.

Yet again Lysa Terkeurst’s understood what I was going through. On the radio this morning, I heard her speak about being “the hurried woman.” The kind of woman who is running around and making sure everything is done on her to do list. I related to this more than I care to admit. Then she literally talked about going grocery shopping and how the hurried woman runs in with her list and is so busy with her own life that she doesn’t share You with the sales clerk or anyone in the store. I’m a Martha type of woman. I’m the one cleaning the house and preparing everything and making sure everything is perfect. I like my lists. I like having back up plans and I like being prepared.

Life has things I’m not ready for though, no matter how much I plan. My person got me this book for Christmas called The One Year Book Of Bible Promises. Each day is a verse and discussion of that verse. To be honest, I got behind in my reading. Part of being that “hurried woman” is not taking enough time to spend with You. Today, I went to catch up and started with June 13, the day of my person’s wedding. I thought it was cute that the verse was in Matthew since she was marrying Matthew! So, Matthew 6:33 says: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. The discussion then talks about this verse being the principle for overcoming worry. Then towards the end of the discussion it says: “What are you in need of? Food? Clothing? A place to live? A decent job? A drivable car? You can trust God to provide for your needs.” Excuse me? Did that thing just say a drivable car? That’s cute. Ok, God, You have my attention. I have been preparing for this day  and I have an emergency kit packed for just about anything thanks to help from Pinterest. However, I did not plan for my car battery to die last Saturday. Especiallyyy not during my person’s wedding ceremony when I still had to drive to the reception. You wanna talk about worry? I was about five seconds from a panic attack, but I didn’t have one. You had me. You never left me. You surrounded me with Your love. After the reception was over, my phone was as dead as my car battery. Because when something is wrong, what do I do? Call Daddy. That worry started flooding in again. Still You had me. I was ok. Still You never left me.

In Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “The more we make a habit of applying God’s Word to our lives, the more it becomes a part of our nature, our natural way of acting and reacting. Knowing God’s Word and doing what it says not only saves us from heartbreak and trouble, it also brings more satisfaction to our souls than anything else ever could. Think about that for just a minute. Aren’t security and satisfaction what many people spend their every waking minute pursuing? Yet, the world’s answers are temporary facades that disappoint every time. Not just sometimes, every time.” Then she goes on to say: “I can delight in the fact that the things that make me feel weak only serve to make me a stronger, more capable person.” 

Ok, so, maybe my car battery needing to be replaced wasn’t the end of the world. I probably should have remembered that it had been 4 years since I got a new one and been prepared. The car battery is not really the important part. You are. I am learning to seek You first. I am learning to lean on You. I am learning to trust You. Replacing the car battery is a temporary fix. I will have to replace it again in a few years. Knowing Your word, though, that is an eternal fix. That changes me. That moves me. That becomes a part of me. That shapes me.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I seek you first. I pray that I find you more. I pray that I keep you first. I pray that I act more like you. I pray that I react with your love. I pray that I get to know your word more. I pray that I make more time to spend with you and in your word. I pray for the hurried woman inside of me and all of the rest of the hurried women. I pray that we slow down. I pray that we see you more and share you more with others. I pray that I remember Matthew 6:33. I pray that I apply that verse to my life. I pray that I take Lauren Daigle’s song with me. Lord, thank you for reminding me that you are always with me. Thank you for providing for me. Thank you for taking care 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.

I’m in awe of You.

Klove’s radio station was on point today. Their verse of the day was Ephesians 1:23 which says: And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself. They also played this song:

Trent Shelton posted this picture a few months ago and it stuck with me. It said: “Protect your peace today. Rise above any ignorance. Don’t allow someone’s misery to steal your joy.” I’m so glad I was reminded of that today. I was also reminded of what I read in Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl and how Lysa Terkeurst wrote about her daily struggles. While her days are filled with children and marriage and other things I don’t have yet. (Probs because I’m not ready. I mean Your plan is wayyy bigger than my own.) I related to her and how she learned to deal with the little random things that come up in a day. It’s not that the past couple of days were bad or anything. All in all they were pretty uneventful. It was just tiny little things trying to add up and trying to steal my peace. It was just normal everyday mess-ups. I was given the choice to let those things add up and consume me and overwhelm me or I could let it go and not let it steal my peace. I remembered Lysa’s story and I chose the latter. (Usuallyyyy I chose the first option. See? I’m learning!) She said that the more time she spends with You, the easier that lesson becomes and I am learning that in my own walk with You.

(Plus my little stopped by with ice cream which totes made my day better too!)

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for Lysa’s stories and Trent’s words. Thank you for Klove verse of the day. Thank you for Chris Tomlin’s song. Thank you for my little and her kindness. Thank you for all the beautiful reminders today to not let anything steal my peace and my joy. Thank you for giving me that peace and joy. For as many things I had today trying to steal my joy and peace, you were there with reminders to hold on. Thank you for that. I pray that I continue to see your work in me. I pray that I continue to surrender my life to you. I pray that I keep bringing everything to you and laying everything at the cross. I pray that you keep surrounding me with your love. I pray that your love consumes my every thought and action. I pray that you fill my life. I pray that you keep making me whole. I pray that you keep guiding me and leading me. I pray that you keep making my life full and complete. I pray that I keep studying your word. I pray that I continue my walk with you more and more. 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.

There’s nothing worth more that could ever come close.

I was kinda at a loss for words today. I have a lot on my mind. I wanted to like sit down and talk it all out because I wanted a clear mind. I didn’t need advice or anything. I simply needed to talk through the options so, that I could process the information. I didn’t know where to begin though.

Then I realized that I needed to begin with You. I needed You today. I needed to be filled by You. I was trying so hard to fill that void with other people and all I had to do was call Your name. Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “As long as I daily make the choice to be guided by His truth, He replaces my hollowness with a wholeness of love that has no gaps.” This week, I felt like I was running ragged. I couldn’t work enough or study enough. By Saturday, I felt empty. The good news is that tomorrow is Sunday so, that means I can go to the early service and Sunday school before work and get my cup filled again. And hopefully get off work in time for bible study.

I found out that I kinda live for my Sundays. I feel so rejuvenated and refreshed on Sundays, like I’m ready to take on the world. I’m completely filled by You and ready to take on the week. Then throughout the week, my cups starts to empty and I can’t seem to refill it fast enough before I’m drained. I’ve been trying to set aside time to spend with You each day, but I want more. Lysa also wrote: “When God’s word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs, and our choices.”

“Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord”

Just as I’m realizing how much I need You, Gary Allen’s song comes on the radio.

“I’m still learning how to pray
Trying hard not to stray
Try to see things your way
I’m still learning how to pray
I’m still learning how to trust
It’s so hard to open up

I’m still learning how to bend
How to let you in

I’m just trying to understand
It’s all in someone else’s hands
There’s always been a bigger plan
But I don’t need to understand”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to pray. I’m still learning how to trust. I’m still learning how to open up. I’m still learning how to bend. I’m still learning to let you in. I’m still learning to have faith in your plan. Lord, I pray that I take Francesca’s and Gary’s songs with me this week. I pray that I learn to live for you. I pray that I learn to refill my cup more between Sundays. Lord, fill my hollowness. Lord, fill the atmosphere. Lord, fill my heart. Lord, rearrange my life. I pray that you guide me. I pray that you move me. I pray that you lead me. I pray that I have willing feet to follow you. I pray that I have willing ears to listen. I pray that every piece of me and my every move is willing. Lord, you are welcome here. 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 all proclaim You reign victorious.

I remembered something today that we talked about in bible study last week. The question was “What distractions pull you or block you from the Lord?” One of the ladies answered simply, “I am. I am the distraction.” I knew it was true when she said it, but thinking about it more today reminded me exactly how true it was. About a month ago, I decided to give up social media and my Netflix and Hulu and all the extra stuff. Well, I wasn’t very successful. I failed actually. Yes, those things are distractions sometimes, but they weren’t the main issue. I was. I was the distraction.

I wanted to find time in my day to spend with You. I wanted to spend more time with You. I wanted to find time to really study Your word. While I failed at giving up Facebook and Hulu, I did do that. I like that I end my day with a prayer. I think about that prayer and continue to pray that prayer the whole next day. It helps me live more intentionally and on purpose. In walking with You, I found out how truly victorious You are. It was never about Facebook or Twitter. It was about me. I was the broken one and You were always the victorious one. In the bible study, we talked about how our lives had to be an active pursuit towards You. I started this journey last year and You keep showing me that no matter how broken I am, You remain victorious.

Third Day posted: “I heard a sermon one time about God being victorious in battle. Whether it’s battles on a battlefield in old testament kind of times or whether it’s battles with our inner selves, and feelings and emotions and sin… That God is always victorious. He can help us to be victorious through those struggles that we have. – Mac”

Mercy Me has a song too that says: “There’ll be days I lose the battle. Grace says that it doesn’t matter. Cause the cross already won the war.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, you keep reminding me that you already won the war. I pray that you are victorious. I pray that you are victorious in me. I pray that I take all that Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl taught me. I pray that you are victorious in my heart. I pray that you are victorious in my walk with you. I pray that you are victorious in my relationships. I pray that you are victorious in my struggles. I pray that you are victorious in my thoughts. I pray that you are victorious in my calling. I pray that you continue to teach me. I pray that I remember Third Day’s lyrics today. I pray that you are victorious over sin. I pray that you are victorious over death. I pray that you are victorious over all. I pray that you are victorious over us. Lord, I know you are victorious over all these things and so much more. I pray that I put my trust in you and give it all to you. I pray that I keep reaching for you. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that you keep leading me. Thank you for putting those women in my life. I pray for them today. Lord, I lift them up to you. I pray that you lay your hands on them this week. I pray that I share what you’ve taught me. I pray that I share your light. I pray that you use me. I pray that others can see your work in me. I pray that I learn to reflect your light. I pray that you keep working on me. I pray that you keep preparing me heart. 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 take this heart, Lord.

I’ve been told my whole life that I need to be more assertive. Assertive is defined as: “having or showing a confident and forceful personality.” It means: “confident, bold, decisive, assured, self-possessed, forthright, firm, emphatic, authoritative, strong-willed, insistent, determined, commanding.” It can also mean feisty and pushy. I never liked the sound of that. I do like emphatic though which is another word for wholehearted and forthright is another word for sincere, I like that. Friday, while talking with a couple of sisters, one of them said that wasn’t the problem. She said I was timid. I thought about it for a minute and knew she was right. When I’m in my element and I feel comfortable, I am bold and confident and emphatic and forthright, all the good parts of being assertive. But, when something is new, I am timid. I am the exact definition of timid: showing a lack of courage; easily frightened. I am apprehensive, fearful, afraid, timorous, nervous, and shrinking. This is why people mistake me for shy or lacking self-confidence.

Maybe I’m timid and apprehensive because of my childhood. Maybe I’m timid and fearful because I’ve been hurt. Maybe I’m timid and afraid because of how I grew up. Maybe I’m timid and timorous because I might get hurt again. Maybe I’m timid and nervous because I’m not ready. Maybe I’m timid and shrinking because of words said to me. Or maybe it’s all of those things. Or maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe I simply just need time to warm up. I have never been one to act or think quickly. Maybe I just need to take things slower than most. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something I have to be aware of.

Maybe this year was about becoming aware of it, so that I could grow. Maybe now I’m ready. Maybe now I’m prepared. Maybe I’m like Jonah and I just needed to run in the opposite direction first to see where You needed me to be all along. Maybe You used me despite my being timid. Or maybe You used me because I’m timid.

In bible study tonight, we finished Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst. In the video, she said she prayed for You to interrupt her, to move her, to inconvenience her, to shake things up.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that you interrupt me. I pray that you move me. I pray that you inconvenience me. I pray that you shake things up. I pray that you use me. I pray that others see your light through me. I pray that I remember you made me. I pray that I remember you know my strengths and my weaknesses and you use them all. I pray that I remember that you created a purpose in me. I pray that you guide me and lead me. I pray that I give it all to you. I pray that you take all of me and use it for your glory. I pray that you keep preparing my heart. I pray that I hand over my life for your will. I pray that I put my faith and trust into your plan. I pray that put my fears aside. I pray that I learn to jump all in. I pray that instead of running from your plan, that I run to it.  Lord, I pray that you grab me right by the heart and move me where you need me to go. 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.

Make me who I’m meant to be.

The ladies in my Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl bible study were talking about insecurities. One of the questions in our workbook was “Is it Christian to say you like yourself?” One of the girls answered with “I like Christ in myself. I like who I am with Christ.” I was pretty much blown away with that answer. It was perfect. Another lady started talking and said she wanted to be a woman people said “She’s been with Jesus. She spends time with Jesus.” I’ve been thinking and praying about that a lot. I want to be that kind of woman.

I’ve been praying a lot for the kind of relationship I want and for the man I want to marry one day. So, today I wanna pray for the woman I want to be. In the book I’m reading, The Single Woman by Mandy Hale, there is quote that stuck out to me that said: “But sometimes what we learn and who we become in the process of waiting is even more important that what we are waiting on.” That seemed pretty powerful to me. Maybe that’s what this year was all about. To become the right woman. “A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.” So, here’s a list of some of the ways I’m fabulous because ya know, I like lists:

1. On a personality test I was told that because I have a blue personality, I bring unity to society. (Just saying, that’s pretty cool.)

2. I believe in prayer.

3. I try to look at things positively and focus on the good. I mean, Alyssa means “of good cheer.”

4. I’m loyal. When I commit and feel invested, I’m not going anywhere.

5. I like giving and serving. I like making plans and building dreams.

6. I can act like a kid with the best of them. Bring on the pillow fights, camping, nerf guns, bowling, trampolines, game nights, water balloons, dancing around the house, or whatever.

7. I like safety and security so, I’ll do my best to provide the same feelings.

8. I like encouraging. I can cheer during a game with a painted poster or simply a post-it note on the mirror giving my love. I can get real creative with notes. I like words. (I used to carry a dictionary everywhere I went in my purse!)

9. I want a life surrounded by love grown in Your love.

10. I’ve been trying to the woman You made me to be, Lord. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to live more intentionally.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I am consumed with you. I pray you fill every part of me. I pray that you are working on my heart. I pray that I work to become who you need me to be. I pray that I continue to grow closer to you. I pray that you guide me and mold me and move me. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I continue to try to be a better woman. I pray that I keep striving to share your love. Lord, let your will be done. I trust your plan. I am listening to your words. Lord, show me the way. Lord, keep making me. I pray I remember Colton Dixon’s song today. I pray that you take it all, I surrender. Be my king. God I choose more of you. I need more of 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.