You calm the storm when I hear You call my name.

A few weeks ago, I read Sara Evans’ and Rachel Hauck’s Songbird Novel series and it’s about all the relationships in this woman’s life. Between her parents and in-laws and husband, everyone around her. It’s not just another love story, it’s about life and forgiveness and loss and moving forward through the rough patches. The woman in the book is getting married and doesn’t know whether to invite her mom or not. The mom was talking to her friend about it and said there was too much water under the bridge. And this friend with all her wisdom says: “Come to my house tonight. I’ll loan you my canoe.” I burst into tears right there. No matter what water is under all the bridges life has to offer, I’m so glad for the friendships I have and the knowledge that they always have a canoe for me to borrow. They always keep me afloat.

When the people I love are going through a hard time. When they can’t find the light in the tunnel. When all they need is time. When they need peace. When they need what I can’t give. When they have to pull themselves out of the deep places. When they’re drowning and need a canoe. All I can do is encourage and and be there for them. I had to learn the hard way that as much as I would love to do it for them, I cannot live for them. They have to make the decision to pull themselves out. All I can do is offer my canoe. David Ring said: “It’s one thing to show people love. It’s another thing to stick around for the pain.” I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.

Lord, I am not You. I cannot save people. I cannot give them peace. I cannot heal the pain. I cannot do what You do. But I can be Your hands. I can loan them my canoe. Beth Moore said: “God is not afraid of your questions, girlfriend. He wants to stir them up-to send you searching for answers.” I can pray for them and share with them where I find answers, my canoe. Part of Church of the Highlands’ 21 Days of Prayer is the Warfare Prayer and they talked about how in prayer, we can identify the lies so we can quiet those lies and amplify the truth. At the end of the sermon, the pastor said to ask You to: “give us assignments.” Prayer is a two-way conversation. Even when we hear silence, You are working. You are not done with us yet. There’s a quote I found that says: “Having a rough morning? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose. You’re alive for a reason.” Lord, sometimes when we feel lost and unloved, the best thing to do is give love. Sam on Touched by an Angel said: “If you can’t find the love, let God love through you.” 

There is purpose for the pain. At Winter Jam, on Friday, we took the youth group and Tenth Avenue North was telling a story about their song: I Have This Hope. They were talking about why we call it Good Friday and how it’s because of what happened on Sunday. That dropped truth way down into the deepest parts of my soul and of my heart. Lord, sometimes we have to go through what we do not understand because we see the world with a limited view point. We see the world around us, but You see the whole world and everything around it. You hold the whole world in Your hands. You hold me in Your hands. You hold them and us and sinners and everyone in Your hands. You call us by name. You created every part of us for a purpose. You never left us.

So, this is my prayer. Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for hope. Thank you for purpose. Thank you for being there in the flood and fire. Thank you for walking with me. Thank you for calling me by name. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for lighting the dark. Thank you for canoes. Thank you for your unending love. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving through me. Thank you for letting me love others. Thank you for showing me how to stay through the pain. Thank you for questions and answers and two-way communication. Thank you for assignments. Lord, I pray that I keep going, keep moving forward. I pray that I chase after you and loan my canoe to those I love so they can chase you too. 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.

My life surrendered, my heart abandoned for more of You.

Part of me struggles with leading people to You because some days I can’t even get my own life to fly right so how can I help anyone else? But last year I sat through a sermon where the preacher said: “cleaning your heart will clean all parts of your life.” He quoted 2 Timothy 2:20-26 where he told us we were vessels to be made useful for the Master. He told us that You want to use us, we just need to get the dirt out of our hearts.

He broke down the verses and gave us the three main points:

1. to be strong and flee from youthful desires. Well we are calling me out already. My heart is convicted right there. I can hear Jo Dee Messina singing: “I’ve got pride, I’m takin’ it for a ride.” I can be real immature and real selfish. I forget there is this whole world around me. Lord, without You, I can mess things up six ways to Sunday.

2. to be committed to righteousness, faith, love, and peace. That righteousness word always intimidated me. Like how in the world do I accomplish that? The funny thing is that I make that one so complicated, but if I just commit to the other three, then righteousness falls right into place. They all go hand in hand.

3. to be consistent. Next to that I have written: humble and gentle. Okkk, we finally got something I know how to do. I’m gentle. Okk, so if I’m being honest, I need to work on the humility aspect. Then in parenthesis it says to create a habit of not fighting and fussing. Alrightttttyyyy then. I literally wrote on that church bulletin: “no foolish arguments.” Like I knew that one was gonna be a bitter pill to swallow and I would need to remind myself of that one a time or two.

Lord, I am far from perfect and some days, I find it completely terrifying that You have called me. But then I remember the sweet words of a girl in Bible study one time. She said: “I like Christ in myself.” Lord, I can list a million reasons why I shouldn’t be called, but You never called the qualified. You take my broken pieces and make them whole, that’s why I’m called. Because You are working in me and I can share that progress with others. Just like when I shared my report card to my parents as a kid, I can share what You are doing in me. And Lord, You are changing my heart more and more every day.

Beth Moore taught me that I am not responsible for being Christ to my people. She said that is not my responsibility. She said: “We are not Christ to them. We need to move it and let God do His job.” Lord, I have trouble remembering to get out of Your way. I have to remember that it is You in me that I like. I am not You. I cannot do what You do. You are my God. You are the King of the world. You are the Risen Savior. Lord, You are challenging my little bitty perspective and I want to be used for Your glory, not my own. I am nothing without You. I like You in me.

Lord, someone described it like this: You are the Gardener and I am the planter. I just plant the seeds that You give me. Someone else comes along to water the seeds. Someone else fertilizes the soil. We never know the impact we’re making because we’re just planting seeds, but You have this grand designed plan that connects every little thing. David Ring said: “If you don’t do your job, no one else can do theirs. It takes a whole team, it takes everybody.” He said: “I could never be the quarterback, but I can help somebody else be a quarterback.” He taught us to create a ministry of encouragement. He told us to make ourselves more available to You. He asked us if we were doing all we could do with all we have or could we do more. Lord, today I want to make myself available to You. I want to plant Your seeds.

So here is my prayer today. Lord, I wanna close to you. I pray that I make myself available to you. I pray that I keep planting seeds. I pray that I remember to that you are God. I pray that I remember to let you work. I pray that you use me and move me. I pray that I am a team builder and a team player. I pray that I help create a ministry of encouragement to those around me. I pray that I am strong. I pray that I am committed. I pray that I am consistent. I pray that I find my worth in you. I pray that I invite you into every hidden place, in every dark place, in every crevice of my existence. I pray that I like you in me. I pray that I am found in your presence. I pray that my only focus is to worship you. I pray that I am bound to you. I pray that my sole devotion is to you. I pray that clean out my heart. I pray that I work on removing all the dust, debris, dirt, filth, and darkness. I pray that your light shines a light into my heart and fills all the broken places. I pray that I have eyes to see that you are all I need. I pray I seek you in your fullness. 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.

Go ahead and show this world what You’ve done in me.

I like keeping notes just for days like today when I need reminders. I heard David Ring tell his story last year. He shared Revelation 12:11 which says: They won the victory over him because of the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life so much that they refused to give it up. He asked us: “how do we overcome? By the blood of the Lamb.” It was as simple as that. You already won the battle, Lord. You already won the war. In the message, he said: “the more we tell our stories, the more we overcome.” He said our story is: “I am blessed.” He went on further to add: “I don’t have a burden, I have a blessing to share.”

Every chapter in my book points to You. Every part of my story just adds more proof of Your handiwork. With every turn of the page, I see Your hand in my life more and more. I don’t just have one chapter where You moved in my life. I have a whole book and Your name is written on every page. My daddy used to tell me my theme song is She Talks Too Much by George Thorgood. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree though. Some of his stories, the truth has been stretched. We told him he was the Dad in that Big Fish movie. I might talk too much and I’m sure people will say I didn’t talk enough either, but the more my story is written and the more I tell my story, the more I see You. It’s like You’re playing Connect Four. I am playing one way and I think I’m about to make that connection and then you show me another connection on the other side that I never saw coming. Lord, You move me. You’re teaching me and guiding me all along the way.

The closer I get to You, the more I see that I am blessed. They didn’t love their life so much that they refused to give it up. The closer I get to You, the more I want to go deeper. I want to tell my story more. I want to spend more time with You. I want to see Your hand in my life more. Lord, You are the greatest author. I want to give You my life. I want to surrender it all, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Even on the dark days when I feel a million miles away. David Ring said: “It’s not over until God says it’s over. What the Devil wants for evil, God will use for good.” Lord, You use even my bad days for Your glory. Lord, You are also there in my little, mundane, insignificant moments that don’t seem to mean anything at all. Those moments mean something to You. Lord, they are all apart of Your plan. Lord, You amaze me with Your attention to detail. No detail in my life is so small that I can’t see Your name written on it. Every single moment is apart of Your plan. The thing that gets me is You see an eternity plan and You see the big picture, but You are also in the detail business. I thought I was detail oriented until I saw Your hands in my life and now everywhere I look I see Your hands. My brain can’t even begin to wrap around all the details You’ve created. Every little thing, every moment has a purpose.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for giving my life purpose. Thank you for writing my story. Thank you for beautiful reminders. Thank you for being in the detail business. Thank you for playing connect four with my life. Thank you for connecting my dots. Thank you for overcoming. Thank you for winning the war. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for taking my darkness and showing me the light. Thank you for using everything for good and for your glory. Thank you for blessing me with so much more than I deserve. Thank you for your plans. I pray that I give my life 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.

Lights shine bright everywhere we go.

I use Dove’s Revival shampoo and conditioner for my hair, but this weekend my soul is one that needed the revival and that’s exactly what I got Sunday at church. Today someone said that because I still go to church now that I’m on my own it speaks volumes of my character and how my parents raised me. I was beyond touched by the kind words. He said a parents main job is giving their kids every opportunity to get to Heaven. My dad always told me the same thing. It’s my choice to follow You, Lord, but my daddy made sure I had every opportunity to know You. He said that of course he wants his kids to have wonderful lives here on earth and have everything they want and need, but that’s secondary. He said the most important thing is to be able to save them a seat next to him in Heaven. My mama saved a seat at church for me every Sunday growing up. She and I, both, want nothing more her to be able to save me seat around the throne of God too.

Sunday night, they had a guest speaker at church. The speaker was David Ring. He said that it was no mistake our being here tonight, that we were here by divine design. Today, I understood.

The message was about how we shouldn’t stop praying for people. It was about the paralytic that You healed when his friends brought him to Jesus. His friends heard about Jesus so they did everything in their power to get him near Jesus. They lifted their friend to the roof and brought him down to meet Jesus. Mark 2:5 says When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” David gave four takeaways.

  1. They took the time.
  2. They took the effort.
  3. They took the risk. 
  4. They took the love.

David told us his own stories too. He told the story about when he was in the delivery room, they pronounced him dead and put him across the room to take care of his mom. Then someone took the time to hold him. He was dead for 18 minutes, but because someone took the time, he is alive today. It happened again when he was 16, someone took the effort to pray for him and the risk to invite him to church, which led to him finding a relationship with You, Lord. Then someone took the risk and the love to invite him to share his testimony, which led to him starting a ministry and a lifetime of serving You. David said: “It’s one thing to say I love people, it’s another thing to show it.” Then he told stories of his marriage and what he said next near about brought me to tears. He said: “It’s one thing to show people love, it’s another thing to stick around for the pain.” Nothing happens by accident. There is a reason for every single one of those stories, for every single moment, for every single bad thing, for every single good thing. David said: “My God is in the detail business.” Not one part of his testimony is accidental, Lord, You planned out every tiny, little detail, even the parts of our lives that seem insignificant are all part of Your grand design.

When he was talking about taking the effort, he asked us why don’t we get involved in people’s lives anymore and why don’t we go out on a limb? He said if we’re scared of the limb breaking or getting cut off, not to worry because trees are full of limbs, just hang on to another one. There are a million and a half excuses that I could use to get out of church. I’m on my own now so no one would know if I don’t go. I work on some Sundays. I have homework to do. I could use the extra sleep because I’ve been running around between work and school. And the big one lately is that my car is in the shop so I don’t have a way there. Well, my daddy used to say that if excuses were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas. I could have used the past two months without a car as an opportunity to invite someone to go to church with me, instead I blew it. I sat at home on Sundays, missing church. Then when I got the rental car I was able to go, so I went and I heard David Ring’s message. I learned my lesson. I’m gonna start looking for those opportunities more. I heard once that sometimes we’re just supposed to plant seeds. Then someone else comes along and waters the garden. Then God gives the seeds time to grow. Maybe we’re supposed to do that in people’s lives. Maybe we’re just planting seeds and watering the garden.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray for the man and his family he told me about today. I pray that he continues to take the time for his kids and family. I pray that he continues to take the effort for his kids and family. I pray that he continues to take the risk for his kids and family. I pray that he continues to take the love for his kids and family. I pray that you give him the strength and determination and bravery he needs to give his kids those opportunities to know You. Thank you for putting his family on my mind today. I pray that I keep them in my prayers. Thank you for my parents. Thank you for their time, effort, risk, and love. Thank you for the opportunities they gave me. Thank you for the shelter and protection they gave me. Thank you for the details. Thank you for the designed plan you provided for all of us. I pray for David Ring and his family and his ministry. I pray that I shine your light everywhere I go. I pray that I take the time, effort, risk, and love to bring people to you. I pray for those around me. I pray for those that need you. I pray that I start reaching out on that limb for those around me. I pray that I do a better job of taking care of those around me. I pray that I magnify your light. I pray that I reflect the sun. I pray that I show your love. I pray that I stick around for the pain too. I pray that I plant seeds. I pray that I water the garden. I pray that everything I do, reflects your light. 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.