And learn to love through the darkness and the light.

There is an episode of Girl Meets World that I was reminded of today. Riley got depressed and Maya was trying to pull her out of it. Maya pulled down her black curtains and Riley said: “Wow, there is a lot of light in this world.” Maya sat down next to her and replied: “If you let it in, yea.” 

Today, I needed to let the light in. My daddy always tried to teach me that everyone has good days and bad days. We have to learn to let the sunshine in. We have to learn to fight the darkness, instead of letting it consume us. I struggle with this, always have. I still need to remember that You have this. No matter how dark it seems, there will always be light, I just have to turn the light on. 2 Samuel 22:29 says: You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. Eric Lidell said: “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.” Lord, every part of my struggle and my success is part of your plan. You are not helpless among the ruins. When I realize I can’t do this on my own, is when I finally hand over the reins and allow You to work. I’m stubborn and try to fix everything on my own, but I don’t have to and Your ways are much greater than my own. 

Lysa Terkeurst yet again related to me on a deep level. She posted: “If you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then upon all the hurt and brokenness, you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost the girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world. Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: you are worthy because the Creator of the Universe says you are. Reclaim who you are today. Say out loud, ‘I am a daughter of the King. I am an overcomer. And with His strength, I can be whole again.'” Lysa also posted that her battle strategy is to worry less and worship more. Dayspring posted on Instagram that: “The measure of your worth to God is written in the palms of His hands.”

C.S. Lewis said: “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun-not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” That’s why I like the sun so much. It’s a reminder of faith. He also said: “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.”

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.” Steven Furtick posted: “You won’t rise to the occasion if you weren’t faithful to the process.” Before I came back home, my person told me that too. She told me that she got a lot closer to You when she moved back home after her graduation.

So, that is my prayer today. No matter what my circumstances are, I pray that I stop letting the darkness win. I pray that I stop letting the water in my ship. I pray that I remember I am a vessel for you. I pray that I stop letting myself drown. I pray that I come up for air. I pray that I keep turning the light on. I pray that I keep reaching for you. I pray that I remember you are my lamp, my light, my sun. I pray that I show more kindness in my process. I pray that learn to love in the darkness and the light. I pray that I let you work in me. I pray that I remind myself that you are the creator of the universe. I pray that I remember to say thank you for showing me my worth. I pray that I reclaim who I am. I am your daughter. You are my king. I am an overcomer because you overcame. Lord, you overcame death. You overcame sin. You overcame darkness. With your strength, I can be whole again. I pray that I worship you more. Thank you for writing my name on the palm of your hands. Thank you for bringing light into my day. Thank you for bringing light into my darkness. Thank you for allowing me to see through you. Thank you for allowing me to hold onto you in sprite of my changing moods and circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to grow closer to you. Thank you for this time. Thank you for this process. Thank you for always holding true. I pray that I stay with you. I pray that I remember you are on my side. 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.

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.

So, even if it’s just to speak Your name I’m gonna pray.

My best friend got me a devotion book called The One Year Book Of Bible Promises and today’s was titled “Life After Death.” You always know exactly what’s on my heart. I don’t know how You do it. I’m literally in awe of You. The verse for this one was Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” I can’t even begin to understand Your plan, but You have a hold on my heart. You have my attention. You have my full, undivided attention.

It’s almost been a year since Christopher went to be with You and then my grandma met You soon after that. So, I’ve been thinking back to conversations we had. Christopher and I talked about prayer all the time. We would have these car talks and our faith was a hot topic. We discussed our childhoods and how we grew up at great length. We both learned real quick as kids the importance of prayer. Last year, I was faced with that lesson again, this time it was much harder. I literally feel to my knees in need of You. I had the wind knocked right out of me more times than I can count last year. Each time, I cried out for You and You listened while I prayed. You were there when I needed You. You heard my prayers.

I read stories from Max Lucado and C.S. Lewis practically my entire childhood so, now those authors hold a special key to my childhood. They also talk about the importance of prayer quite frequently. Max Lucado said: “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble, but since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” C.S. Lewis said: “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” 

To be honest, I miss him and I miss my grandma, but You already knew that. You know my heart. “Prayer isn’t to remind God what your problems are, but prayer is to remind your problems who God is.” Psalm 116: 2 says: “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

So, that is my prayer today. “As I pray God I need You more than words can say. Right here in this moment. You know my heart. You know my need. You know every part of me.” Lord, I wanna say thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for all they taught me. I know they’re with you now. I pray that you lay your hand on their loved ones in the coming months. I pray that I learn to think about what they gained in Heaven with you instead of what I lost. I pray that I keep coming to you. I pray that I keep praying. Thank you for listening. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for understanding me. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and it feels like I can never pray enough or find the right words. So, thank you for listening with open arms for me. Thank you for holding me together when I fall apart. Thank you for your not so subtle hand in my life. Thank you for my friend for giving me this book. Thank you for my friend who encourages me to pray. 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.

Into marvelous light I’m running.

Winter’s Tale was one of those movies that made me think.

We didn’t even realize that Will Smith was going to be in the movie, but he was amazing. He scared us and left us in awe, at the same time. I thought that was more accurate than the devil we usually see with the pitch fork and horns. Satan was an angel, so wouldn’t he be beautiful? Plus if he’s completely scary and ugly then why would anyone listen to him? I always thought he was supposed to be like cunning, charming, and manipulative.

In the movie, Satan gave the characters the freedom to choose. This was very different from what we usually see, but I thought it was more realistic. Like You, Satan gives us the choice. We have complete freedom to decide what we want to do, but we have to deal with the consequences of those choices.

Then today, I was listening to my Into the Woods soundtrack for the millionth time.

“Witches can be right, Giants can be good.
You decide what’s right you decide what’s good
Someone is on your side
OUR side
Our side–
Someone else is not
While we’re seeing our side
Our side..
Our side–
Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.
No one is alone.”

I’ve always known that Satan wasn’t alone, but I’ve never thought about it much, to be honest. I realized that at some point in their lives, they have done something good. I believe in the good in people. I believe everyone has at least one redeeming quality. I believe that You are with everyone. I believe that You love each and every one of us, even if we turn away from You. I believe that even the darkest person can turn to You and be used. I believe we all have a purpose. I believe You can use us all. I believe we can all be the light and bring glory to You.

When my friend and I were talking about Winter’s Tale a while ago and she brought up this quote from Mark Twain. He said: “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”

So, that is my prayer today. I am praying for all the people I forgot and that you never will. I’m praying for Satan. I’m praying for the people following him. I’m praying for the people against you. I’m praying for the people that hate you. I’m praying for the very people that need you most. I’m praying for all of us because we all fall short sometimes. I’m praying for all of us that sinned and created the need for the cross. I pray that they see your light. I pray they turn from darkness and turn to you. C.S. Lewis said: “He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, he would have done no less.” You died for the very people that put you on that cross. You died for me when I surely didn’t deserve it. I pray for each and every person that you died for. 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.