Your arms spread wide where mine should be, You changed my destiny.

Once upon a time there was a little girl that carried her Bible around everywhere. This little girl with the prettiest curly brown hair that anyone’s ever seen. This little girl invited her friends to Church in the backseat of her parent’s car on the way home from cheer-leading. This little girl showed her parents her Bible when they had an argument and told them the Bible says to love each other. This little girl who went to take a tour of the new Christian school she was going to first grade at and decided she wanted to be a missionary right where she was and spend her life serving You, God.

This little girl who decided in the middle of worship one Sunday morning in the second grade that she wanted to take that walk down the aisle. This little girl felt the Holy Spirit, ran back to her mama, told her she wanted to be baptized, and she knew exactly what that meant. This little girl did not wait for the invitation at the end of the service. This little girl grabbed the children’s director and went straight to the alter to lay her heart down, right then and there. At the beginning of the service. While everybody was still just a singin away.

This little girl who spent summers at Church camp, rededicating her life to You because she wanted more and more of You, God. This little girl grew up and got sassy. This girl used the word whatever so much her mama had her say Philippians 4:8 which says: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 

This girl kept growing up. This girl twirled a flag while covered in glitter under stadium lights on a football field. This girl participated in state and national competitions. This girl became president of the club that gave her friends and a safe place in high school. This girl got inducted into the National Honor Society. This girl received an award for character and service. This girl graduated high school with honors. This girl went off to college and turned into a woman. This woman signed up for recruitment all on her own. This woman was extended a bid from a sorority that inspired her to impact the world. This woman found out who she was and lived with purpose. This woman met the most amazing, grace filled, forgiving people in that sorority. This woman became president of that sorority. This woman graduated college. This woman took a job in a group home for teenagers for the next two and a half years. This woman thought she would be doing the teaching, (and she was teaching, so so much, they don’t call her Miss Extra for nothing) but this woman was also learning so so much from You, God.

Inside of this woman will always be this girl who makes so many mistakes. This girl ran from You. This girl questioned You. This girl doubted You. This girl was a hot mess. This girl hurt people. This girl lied because of her pride. This girl felt shame and guilt. This girl grieved.

But there was always You. It was always You, guiding her. When this girl ran, instead of giving up, You kept the light on for her. When this girl questioned, instead of getting angry, You answered. When this girl doubted, instead of turning her away, You held open arms. When this girl was a hot mess, instead of getting even, You forgave her. When this girl hurt people, instead of hurting her, You taught her how to make it right. When this girl lied because of her pride, instead of shaming her, You gave her grace and truth. When this girl felt shame and guilt, instead of pushing her, You gave her the space she needed and the most gentle kind of fatherly love she had ever known. When this girl grieved, instead of telling her to get over it, You drew her close. When this girl made unthinkable mistakes, instead of locking her up and throwing away the key, You laid down Your life for her.

This girl and this woman want to spend every waking second getting to know You more, God. She wants to serve You. She wants to love the way You love. She wants to extend grace like You. She wants to point everyone she meets to You. She wants to keep reading those red letters every day. You wrote her the most beautiful story filled with love and joy and peace. You gave her a life better than she could ever dream of. Your pursued her. You cherished her. You made her feel worthy. You loved her. You brought light to her dark places. You showed her how to share that light. You gave her the freedom to choose You.

So, here is my prayer today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for designing a life I love. Thank you for writing my story better than I ever could. Thank you for knowing what’s best for me. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you grace and forgiveness. Thank you for pursing me and for your gentleness. Thank you for chasing after me. Thank you for laying your life down for me. Thank you for your glory. Thank you for red letters. Thank you for freedom. Thank you for opening and closing the right doors. Thank you for starting and ending chapters right when needed. Thank you for cleaning up my mess. Thank you for Holy Spirit filled moments with you. Thank you for accepting my heart. Thank you for knowing every hair on my head, every mistake, every terrible thought, every smile, every tear, every moment of my life and loving me still. God, I want to spend my life dedicated to you. I want to spend my life in service of you. I want to give you all the glory. 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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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.