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.

 

 

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.

You have been my God through all of it.

I’ve been praying for the woman I want to be and the girl I used to be. I don’t wanna lose that little girl that still inside of me. She believed in seeing the good in everything because she hadn’t seen the bad yet. She loved wholeheartedly because no one showed her hate yet. She tried new things because no one told her she wasn’t good enough yet, but eventually they did. Dove has this commercial that says 6 out of 10 girls will stop doing things they love because they feel bad about the way they look. I did, which only made me feel worse. I stopped cheering because of other people’s opinions. I was a toothpick as a kid so, I still don’t understand. Plus why people thought taking me out of sports was going to help anything. I mean, here’s the thought process she’s gaining weight so, let’s stop letting her work out and run and play and exercise. That makes sense right? It took me years to learn that the voices telling me no should have been turned into a loud resounding unshakable yes. In college, I learned to dance anyways. I might be the worst dancer in the room, but I’m having fun and that’s important too. Now, I don’t stop dancing. Whether it was in philanthropy competitions with my sisters or down the isles of Walmart with them or taking a dance class with my person for an elective or dancing around Alpha Gam’s chapter room for no reason with the very people that inspired me to be a better woman. My best friend and I already made plans to play Just Dance and DDR on the wii this summer!

Those women taught me how to become the best version of myself. They inspired me to do more, be more, and love more. They loved me for all that I am and saw the potential in who I could be. I don’t wanna lose that woman either. The woman I hope to become. One thing that didn’t change from who I was or who I want to be is that I pray. One thing remained that You were there through all of it. You were there the first time someone told me I wasn’t good enough and every single time since. You were there when my sisters taught me all that I could be. And You’re here now.

“I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to”

So, this is my prayer. Today, I wanna pray for who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’m becoming. I pray for all that you’ve taught me and are still teaching me. Thank you for my sisters and for their love. Thank you for being there through it all. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for guiding me. I pray that I hold onto some of that childhood innocence. I pray that I keep striving to be better and to grow. I pray that I learn to be content right where I am too. I pray that I trust your plan. I pray that I give it all to you and let you take me by the hand through it all. I pray that I only grow closer to you. I pray that I keep seeing your work in me through it all. 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.

Because of You my heart sings.

This week’s assignment was to form an opinion on Net Neutrality. First, I needed a definition: “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Well, that sounds fabulous at first. I heard President Obama’s speech and read some more articles and it all sounded great. I like helping small businesses, but not at the cost of the large companies. They work hard too. I like having the freedom to use the internet how I see fit. I like not being controlled by large corporations. I don’t like when companies bully their competitors or people they get services from. This whole “fast lane” thing scares me because I don’t like that you can buy your way out of advertisements. I believe in marketing and advertising. I believe that ads create a smarter and more informed consumer. I believe that you would miss the public service announcements. I might cringe every single time I see that smoking commercial because it’s disturbing, but I will never smoke because of it. People need to see that. I feel confident and beautiful every time Dove’s commercials play. Because of a Verizon ad, I want to change the way I speak and think, thanks to their “Inspire Her Mind” commercial. People need to see those.

President Obama said he wants the internet to be free. If I learned nothing else in my marketing classes: it’s that nothing is ever free. I may not want the cable companies controlling my internet access, but I don’t want the government too either. I already can’t watch my Girl Meets World online. I mean I pay for Netflix and Hulu Plus, but I still can’t watch my show because I don’t have their specific cable providers. I’m in college and live in a dorm so, my cable comes provided with my housing. I don’t get the choice in my cable access. I don’t like the idea of anyone controlling which site I shop at or where I watch my tv shows. I understand the need for marketers to watch what I do in order to better understand my needs and wants. My search history provides useful information on what kind of products I like and how to fill my consumer needs. I like that they can start showing ads specific to my needs and wants as a consumer. I like that Hulu asks you at the top of the ad if it’s relevant to you. I like having the option to say yes, I want ads on laundry detergent and no, I don’t want to see ads for men’s deodorant. I like clean clothes and I do not smell like a man.

I think there is a middle ground somewhere. I do know one thing that came free was Your love, Lord.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for your love. Thank you for giving it unconditionally and completely free. Thank you for loving me without stopping to decide if I was worthy. I pray that our leaders find a solution that helps the most people. I pray for guidance for them. I pray they make the right choices. I pray they remain informed and educated on all matters. I pray that you watch over them and protect them. I pray that you keep leading me. Thank you making me free. Thank you for making me free to dance, to sing, and live for 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.