Take your time and let it last, little girl.

I watched the Church of the Highland’s prayer service online this morning. The pastor read Colossians 4:2 which says: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. He said: “Giving thanks in prayer helps us to remember that God is good and God is always in control.” I needed that reminder today. I started thinking about other times in my life when I needed that reminder that You are good and You are always in control.

Dear 8 year old me, you have enough faith to fill an ocean, don’t lose that. When the invitation comes, hold your mama’s hand down the aisle and squeeze it real hard. Listen to MercyMe sing: “You are one of the redeemed. Set apart. A brand new heart. You are free indeed.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to have courage.

Dear 13 year old me, listen to your mama when she says standing up for yourself isn’t putting others down. It doesn’t change them, it only changes you. It hardens your heart. Being too nice should never be the issue. It’s a lesson you’ll keep fighting for the rest of your life. People will come into your life sooner than you know it that will need and appreciate your kindness. Listen to Jake Owen sing: “If I had a dime for half the things I did that didn’t make no sense at all, I’d be living a little higher on the hog. If only I’d’ve known that later on down the road, I’d look back and not like what I see. I’d’ve changed a lot of things… Startin’ with me.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to soften my heart.

Dear 17 year old me, things aren’t always going to go your way, no matter how hard you work. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to get rejected again and again. When you start to get an attitude and want to just throw your hands in the air and say whatever, listen to your mama’s voice telling you to say your verse, Philippians 4:8. Listen to Brad Paisley sing: “And oh you got so much going for you going right. But I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night.”

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to seek You and find my worth in You.

Dear 24 year old me, stop letting fear control you. Trust Him. He is going to close doors you thought you really wanted and open other doors you never saw coming. Keep learning to bring everything to the cross before you bring it to the world. Listen to Carrie Underwood sing: “Cause it’s hard to know just what to do when I still feel like a child in my mama’s shoes.

Thank You Lord, for teaching me to have courage.

The pastor also said: “God is always moving even when I cannot see it.” Thank you Lord, for allowing me to see Your hand in my life. I didn’t see it at the time, but thank you so much for moving in my life, despite my fear.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you Father, for guiding me, for teaching me, for leading me. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the knowledge that I am not alone. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for listening to me over the years. Thank you for tapping on my heart and knocking on the door. Thank you for allowing me to worship you. I pray that I keep putting my trust in you. I pray that I come to you more often with a thankful heart. I pray that I come to you alert and ready to hear your teaching. Thank you for so many lessons. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for my faith. Thank you for my mama and daddy and all they have taught me too. Thank you changing my heart over the years. Thank you for allowing me to grow. 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 wanna believe that You got me, Lord.

When something happens to my friends or they need me, my first response is “girlllllll, I got you.” But when it’s me, I fumble for words and don’t know how to fight my own battles. When it’s others, I can help. I can fight. I can do whatever they need. When it’s me, I got nothing. Maybe You just want the chance to say “girl, I got you” or more accurately, “child, I already have you.” 

Lord, we both know I have trust issues. I try to do things on my own. I am as stubborn as a mule. I need to learn how to lean on You. I saw a video on Facebook of Keith Urban and his wife, Nicole Kidman singing in the car to Keith’s new song with Carrie Underwood. Nicole was singing Carrie’s part and the two of them were just as cute as cute could be. They were dancing along and I fell in love with the song instantly. I went out the next day and bought the CD. (#truefan I bought the actual CD, not the digital version) I was listening to the song on repeat and started thinking.

Maybe that’s what my relationship with You needs to be like. My heart these days is singing those lyrics over and over again. What if I fall? What if I cry? And if I get scared? It took this song to remind me that You’re singing along with me. “Child, I already have you.” Cause you’re precious heart is a precious heart. When they’re tryna get to you child I’ll be the fighter. Let me be the one to heal all the pain…

Last week, my week got a jump start on Wednesday when TobyMac posted: “Do you trust me when my answer is wait?-God” Ok, Lord, You have my attention. Then TobyMac posted this yesterday: “At the end of the day you can either focus on what’s tearing you apart or what’s holding you together.” I’ve been focusing on all the wrong things lately. It’s time to readjust my focus.

Sunday, a friend of mine posted: “I’m just curious to know…does anyone turn off their radio when they come to red light? Probably not, right? So why do we do that with God? Why when He says “wait” or we go through a storm do we turn off our prayers and praises? Shouldn’t we continue to dance and sing while we wait? Just as if our favorite song came on at a red light.” I’m not gonna lie. I screenshot that post right then and there. I turned into that lady at church with her hand in the air screaming “preach.” I literally jumped off the couch. When I’m at a red light, I turn the music up louder and start dancing and singing even more. That is exactly what I need to be with my life right now.

This week has been nothing but little reminders of “child, I already have you.” I apparently needed the message drilled in because I didn’t see the neon sign the first time. On Thursday, Proverbs 31 Ministries posted a quote from Lysa TerKeurst: “When I’m afraid, I sometimes resist trusting God. I want to see my circumstances change. But maybe God wants ME to change. To be less fearful. More faith-filled.” Then she ended the post with: “I have to resisting the process…stop being dismayed…and rest assured God is with me.”

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, I need you. I can’t do this on my own. I’m scared. I’m weak. Lord, I pray that you readjust my focus. I pray that you keep getting my attention. I pray that I turn up the prayers and praises. I pray that you keep changing me. I pray that I become more faith-filled. I pray for peace and assurance. I pray that I stop resisting the process. I pray that I am more patient in times of waiting and silence. I pray that I trust you more because you already have me. I pray that I give you all my heart. I believe in you and I pray that I learn to believe you when you speak to my heart. I pray that you keep speaking directly to my heart. I pray that I learn to listen 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.

It’s all I ever needed.

When I’m feeling anxious I should probs just go straight to Lysa Terkeurst’s fb wall or read her books because she always says exactly what I need to hear. She sends me straight to You in prayer. She makes me see things differently.

Here was her words of encouragement today:

“When we have ‘I don’t know why’ situations in life, we have to make the hard choice to settle our mind with what we do know. Otherwise, the ‘I don’t know why’s’ will sweep us away into treacherous currents of doubt and disillusionment.

So, I grab hold of what I do know.

I do know God is a God of protection. God’s love for me is so consuming, He can only have my best interest in mind.

I do know God is a God of provision. God’s plans for me are good even if they don’t align with mine. He will provide but probably not in the way I expect.

I do know God is a God of process. God’s process to develop my character to match my calling might include me having to learn to let go of something I treasure.

So that’s where I park my mind, my emotions, and my trust.

It’s not the tidiest parking spot on the lot. It doesn’t make the loss sting less.

But it’s a place I can wad up my run away emotions and hand them over to my perfectly capable and all-knowing God.”

Well, she hit my issues on the head today. (As she always does.) So, let me break this down.

1. You are a God of protection.

This right here is my fave. Sometimes, (although I’m 23), I feel like a little scared girl that needs You to hold my hand. This right here gives me strength.

2. You are a God of provision.

This is one I struggle with on the daily. I shouldn’t though because You have given me more than I could ever even imagine. You have blessed me more than I ever thought possible. I’m a planner, but You are the creator. Even my best laid plans can’t even compare to the glory in Your plans.

3. You are a God of process.

Ok…So, this is the one I need extra help with today. Why do I struggle so much, knowing 1 and 2? Because I have trouble letting go of my plans. You’re plans are so much greater than mine could ever be, so why do I have such a problem trusting? Because I only see my immediate plans and I don’t see the much bigger plans You have for me. I see in terms of the 5 year plan and 10 year plan. (Maybe the 60 year plan if I’m feeling optimistic. That’s the retirement home plans! The one that has me and my best friends sitting in rocking chairs talking about our husbands and our grand kids.) You see the eternity plan though. You are the beginning and the end. The Alpha and Omega.

Basically Lysa’s saying You’re a dad which is totes why you’re called Abba Father. You’re the Creator. You are my Heavenly Father. You knew me before I was even a thought in my parents’ head. Before my daddy ever got that book and taught himself how to braid my hair, You knew how many hairs I would have on my head. Before my mommy ever picked my name, You knew it. You picked me even though You knew all my flaws. You still wanted me when You knew all my weaknesses. You chose me even though You knew how many times I would fail. You knew it all and still loved me before I was ever even born. Your love is all that I needed.” 

Then she says: “So that’s where I park my mind, my emotions, and my trust.” Ok, You have my full attention. (Especially since I am back to the car metaphors! *insert my loud obnoxious rendition of Jesus Take The Wheel again!*)

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I park my mind. I pray that I let go of the useless anxiety that I give power to. I pray that I let you guide my life. I pray that I park my emotions. First off, because they take my attention away from you. Second, they add unneeded stress and trouble to my life. I pray that I keep my eyes focused on you. I pray that I continue my walk with you. I pray that I park my trust. I pray that I put my faith in you more. Thank you for being a God of protection, provision, and process. Thank you for being a perfectly capable and all-knowing God. Lord, I pray that you settle my mind. I pray that I let go of the unknown. I pray that I let go of the “I don’t know why’s.” Thank you for always showing me your love. Thank you for loving me still. 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 know the things that have brought me here.

I’m almost done reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale and the next chapter is titled “The Upside of Tough Times.” I thought it was going to be more about dealing with the tough times. But, it was exactly what I needed to hear. She said: “When all is said and done, we all go through things in life that, if we allowed them to, could destroy us, make us jaded or bitter, or cause us to throw in the towel. But we can make the choice to let tough times polish us instead of demolish us, refine us and not define us.” Sunday night at bible study, we discussed not letting the future or the past control our lives, that we need to concentrate on today.

Then at the end of chapter she says: “Allow everything you’ve been through to propel you toward everything you’re going to be.” Maybe that’s exactly what this past year has been about. Getting me here. Maybe this was all apart of Your plan. Maybe this was all supposed to teach me and lead me to where I am now, to the person I am now. Maybe it was never about being lost, but realizing how much more I could find in You. I have always known that You are my Lord and Savior. I have always known You’re with me. Maybe this year was about learning to continue to seek You even when You never left my side. Maybe this year was about growth. Maybe it was about strengthening my relationship with You. Maybe it was about becoming the woman I always dreamed I’d be. Maybe it was about learning to chase after You, the way You’ve always been in pursuit of me. Maybe everything happened to teach me how to sing my own broken hallelujah.

It’s kinda like I’m a driver, life is the car, and You’re the mechanic. You know my make and model, my mileage, my fuel levels, my tire pressure, and everything about me. I keep trying to control life and the car, but if I listen to You more, I would get a lot further. I break down and You fix me, time and time again. You give me advice and I only do just enough to get by. You tell me to be careful over the bumps. As soon as I get the oil checked, the tires need rotating, or the wiper fluid is out. The car needs to get that detailed wash often, just like I have to deep clean my heart. Sometimes things need to be replaced and changed. When I’m in darkness, I have to turn the lights on to see. If I don’t use the gps, I’ll get lost, just like if I don’t use my bible. Maybe this year was about learning to put as much effort into taking care of my relationship with You, as I do my car. (Now, I’m ready to bust out in Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel!”)

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I learn to focus on today. I pray that I learn to be content. I pray that I learn from the past and plan for the future without letting them consume me. I pray that you consume me. I pray that I continue to move where you need me. I pray that you keep letting me see the beauty in everything around me. I pray that I keep running to you. Thank you for always having your arms out for me. I pray that I keep worshiping you. I pray that I keep praying and reading your word. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep walking with you. I pray that I keep singing praise to you. I pray that I keep learning and growing. Thank you for loving me even though I’m broken. Thank you for being my mechanic. Thank you for healing my brokenness. 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.

Behind this curtain there is a heart that’s hurting.

I’ve been reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale. Last night I read the part about ending toxic relationships. This is something I’ve struggled with. I can’t seem to find the line between loving and forgiving people and letting them affect me and harm me. The line gets blurry for me between loving them and loving me. Audrey Hepburn said: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” I haven’t found that balance yet. I want to forgive and let go, but words haunt me. Matthew 18:21-22 says: Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. It’s no secret that my love language is words of affirmation. Carrie Underwood kinda explains what I think in her new song: Little Toy Guns. 

She’s caught in the crossfire
Puts her hands over her ears
Starts talking through her tears
She’s saying, she’s praying.

I wish words were like little toy guns
No sting, no hurt no one, Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
No smoke, no bullets, no kick from the trigger when you pull it
No pain, no damage done
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)

My whole life I thought I was the problem. I was sensitive. I was weak. I misunderstood something. I was the wrong one. I was crazy. I just over-analyze. I read too much into it. Surely I heard them wrong. Maybe this entire time it wasn’t me that was the problem. Maybe it was how others communicated with me. Maybe because of how their words affected me it taught me to be careful with my own words. Maybe there is a silver lining in the middle of all the darkness. Maybe it taught me to be more conscious of my words and guard my heart more carefully. 1 Peter 4:8 says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Maybe it’s what brought me to You, Lord because I was trying to fill the God shaped hole in my life with other people. Maybe where their communication lacked, ours grew. “I don’t want anything coming in between You and me. I’m holding nothing back from You.” 

So, this is my prayer today. I pray for forgiveness for my mistakes. I pray that I learn to forgive those who hurt me. I pray that I keep learning how to speak with love instead of hate. I pray that I keep learning from your love. I pray that I share your love with those around me. I pray that I let go of the hurt. In Isaiah 43:18 you said: But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. Lord, help me to remember all the good you’re doing for me. Lord, help me to remember that no matter happens you love me. I have trouble comprehending that sometimes, but you do love me. You created me for a purpose with a deliberate plan. You are preparing my heart for exactly what you need. You are preparing me for your glory. Lord, help me to be honest. Lord, help me open my heart for you. I pray that I learn to come to you more when I’m hurting. It’s easy for me to thank you when things are going right. I pray that I learn to let you in when things aren’t going my way. You already see my hurt, you already see behind my curtain. I just have to let you in so, you can heal my heart. You’re already in control, I just have to let you do your work in 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 want to leave a legacy.

Tonight, some of my sisters decided to start serenading me with Rascal Flatts songs then Carrie Underwood. (Needless to say I bawled my eyes out.) They added lyrics about squirrels and other Alpha Gam things, which totally had me laughing. (It was so precious!) First they sang Don’t Forget to Remember Me. Don’t those silly girls know I could never forget them? They have truly touched my life in more ways than I can count.

They ended with changing the lyrics to Mama’s Song. Which was kinda perfect because sometimes, as president, I felt like a mom. I worried about them and wished for them only the best. I prayed for them and tried to take care of them as best I could. I tried to help them and show them their potential. So, when they sang this one to me, I kinda lost it. (Tears were everywhere!) Here is what they changed the lyrics to:

“Alyssa, you taught me to do the right things.
So, now you have to let your baby fly.
You’ve given me everything that I will need.
To make it through this crazy thing called life.
And I know you watched me grow up,
and only want what’s best for me.
And I think I found the answer to your prayers.

And Alums are good, so good.
She treats your sisters,
like a real sister should.
She is good, SO good.
Alums makes promises they keep.
No, she’s never gonna leave.
So, don’t you worry about AGD.
Don’t you worry about AGD.

Alyssa, there’s no way you’ll ever lose me.
Giving me away is not goodbye.
As you watch me walk down to my future,
I hope tears of joy are in your eyes. “

I hope that’s true. I hope I taught them a little because they definitely taught me a lot. I hope I left a legacy.

So, that is my prayer. I pray they see how beautiful and smart and talented and kind they are. I pray they thrive and succeed. I pray I touched their lives because they surely changed mine. I hope they fly this next year and every year after that. I hope they see all the potential I see in them. I pray they go out into the world and use their talents and gifts. I pray they make an impact on this campus and this community. I pray they know just how much I love them and cherish them. I pray they continue to grow and learn from each other. I pray they know I will always be here for them and only wish them the best where ever we go. I hope they saw you in me at least once or twice. I pray that I left them something 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.

There must be something in the water.

How to be Awesome part 3 is “Don’t Poison Your Well.” She says that we’re vessels trying to put forth this good, clean water and the 3 main ways that we poison our well and sabotage ourselves is through negative people, negative thoughts, and negative actions.

I fill my well by reading. Whether it’s christian fiction romance books or some article on new public relations tools on Pinterest. (I love music and movies but I typically pick the sappy, emotional ones so I don’t think that qualifies as filling my well.) When my well is getting really low then I pull out my favorite verse, which is, Isaiah 43:2 which says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” It reminds me that I’m never alone, no matter what I’m going through or where I am. You are with me always.

My affirmation to replace the negative thoughts is famous quotes. I post them all over my room. I have canvas’ covering my wall. My newest one is “Darling, you’re adequate. While dancing. While speaking. While ugly crying. While spitting game. While struggling. While fighting. While laughing like a lunatic. While singing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs. While slamming the door and walking away. In every crook of you stands some sort of adequacy that the world would do anything to keep you unconvinced of.” Hannah Brencher posted that on Instagram one time and it stuck with me. I really liked that word adequate. I looked up synonyms for it, which are: satisfactory, acceptable, sufficient, and enoughThat word hit home because I constantly feel like I’m not enough. I identify with the way we poison our own well. I am my own worst enemy. I let that one negative thing ruin my whole day way too often. I dwell on it and let it sit there for days in the back of my mind, reminding me that I am not enough.

“So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be been something in the water
Oh there must be something in the water
Oh there must be something in the water
Oh there must be something in the water”

So that is my prayer today. I pray that I let you fill my well. I pray that I stop poisoning my own well with my thoughts and actions. I pray that I remember Carrie Underwood’s song. I pray that I remember that you saved me. That I am enough for you. That I am adequate for you. That I am acceptable and sufficient for you. I pray that I keep trying to be better because we are all “works in progress” but that I also learn to be satisfied with the progress. I pray that I remember that you created every single hair on my head for a purpose. I pray that I remember to fall on my knees in worship for you. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that I keep coming back to 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.