Oh God, let my heart be tender in a world so tough.

To be honest. Boys confuse me and love scares me. Like plain and simple.

When I like a guy he should feel special because he must be pretty great. Except they don’t, they are pretty repulsed. Which I sooo don’t get, because when people like me, I’m flattered. Like ohh my eyes are pretty today? Thank you very much. Guys are not like that. At all. They give compliments away like free candy at a parade, to anyone and everyone, but they react terribly to them.

There are two sides to every story but there are like a million sides to me so I can’t even keep up with anyone else. Sometimes I’m running straight to love and diving right in. Sometimes I’m running away. Therein lies the problem.

Part of me is completely patient. I waited for five years for one boy to like me back. Well, it was all of elementary school, but it was still five years. I would have kept waiting too if I hadn’t changed schools. And don’t think for a minute that when I was a senior in high school signing up to take my ACT at the very same school that I still wasn’t holding out hope that I would see him. And I did, of course he didn’t even notice I was there, but whatevs. Water under the bridge.

Part of me is completely fearless. I will admit I like you in a two-page letter, hand written for the boy upstairs or I’ll wait after a football game outside the locker room and share my feelings. Truth time, I ran after both, so is it still ok to call myself fearless? One ended with silence and no words back. The other ended with a year of “talking”, three days of “dating” and then dumping me for a friend that I introduced him to. Oh well. Wasn’t meant to be. Water under the bridge.

Part of me is completely open to new possibilities. Ohhh a note has been passed to me? From a cute boy? And he’s asking me out? Okkkk. *Completely disregards 8th grade best friend telling me that it is a joke. What does she know? She’s only been my best friend for two years.* I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I learned. Again. Water under the bridge.

Part of me is completely trusting. Boy tells girl that she would make a good wife, girl believes him. *Boy then laughs when she tells him she likes him.* Boy tells girl she is the love of his life, girl believes him. *He’s just kidding. Don’t overthink this. Too late.* For the love of Pete, the next time a guy says something nice to me, could he please mean it? There is so much water under the bridge, can I even find the bridge? Someone buy me a boat.

All of me is just completely clueless. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m in a constant struggle between holding on and fighting for what I want or letting go and that was never meant for me. I’ve tried guarding my heart and keeping it safe. I pulled an Eric Church and “put up walls to show the world I’m tough.” I’ve tried letting people in. And I’ve definitely been honest, sometimes to a fault. I’ve prayed for You to close doors if they weren’t Your will.

God, I’m done running from the reason that You sent Your Son.

So, here is my prayer. I might not have any idea what I’m doing, but I know you have a plan. I pray that you lead me. I pray that you guide me. I pray that you light my path. I pray that I let you break down the walls I spent so long building. I pray that I let you in, completely. I know that no man can ever complete me because I am complete in you. I pray that you keep preparing me. I pray that I trust your timing. I know there is a man out there who will love me and all that water under the bridge will be just that, water under the bridge. I pray that where ever he is that you guide him and lead him and prepare him too. I pray that you protect him. I pray that he is intentional. I pray that I lay down my fear. I pray that I stop overthinking. I pray that I let go of my baggage and chose to 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.

There is a fire inside me burning with hope.

I was taking a break after my first day of classes and scrolling through Facebook and saw this video posted. Yesterday on the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford thanked everyone for the outpouring of love she received. In the video, she talked about her and her husband’s faith. I got all kinds of choked up, but what really got me was when she talked about their visit to the Holy Land and how they went to where David picked up the stones that defeated Goliath. She said her husband took a stone home and put that stone in his trophy room. When people went to see visit his home, he took them straight to that stone. Then she said when their children graduated they gave them a stone and asked them: “where you gonna throw your stone for the Kingdom of God?” I admit it, I cried.

What a fantastic question for graduating seniors. I am getting ready for my own college graduation this Spring. I have my application ready to turn in this week. All I have to do first is pay for those parking tickets that I let pile up. (I might have one or two…or six…) I was completely swept away by that question. I hope I take that question with me this year as I get ready to go out in the world. College is not only where you get to pick a major and a career path, it’s where you get to pick the kind of person you want to be, the kind of future you want to have. As a senior, it’s easy to get burnt out here at the end. This question just made sure my candle is still burning.

To be perfectly honest, the closer it gets to my graduation, the more I think about those I lost last year who won’t be in attendance. I knew college was going to be a lot of firsts. First dorm, first time living on my own, first time doing anything substantial without my parents, first road trips without adult supervision, first time on a plane (and second), first time paying real bills, first time my actions had real consequences. College has been a lot of firsts, but one I wasn’t counting on was the first time I would lose someone I loved and then I did it twice last year. College has been a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. Part of me is really excited to get off and start a new ride. Part of me is terrified to leave the one where I know exactly where all the bumps are and where my seat is. The ride is a little less crowded than when I began, but I know You have a plan for me. I know You’ve got me in Your hands. I know I’ll be ok. Now, I’m gonna throw that stone You gave me and see what You can do.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I continue to polish the stone I’ve picked this year. I pray that I keep looking towards you, Lord. I pray that I go where you send me. I pray that I do what you need me to do. Lord, I know that you have plans for me and I pray that I follow them. I pray that you lead me and guide me. I pray that I take the stone you gave me and throw it exactly where you need it. I pray that I let my light shine for you. Thank you for keeping my candle going. Thank you for everything you’ve given me. Thank you for watching over those I’ve lost. Thank you for holding me together. Thank you for all the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for teaching me inside the classroom and outside of it. Thank you for all of those I’ve loved alone the way. Thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for the life I’ve lived. Thank you for who I am today. I pray that I keep growing and learning. I pray that I use my stone for your 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.

I hope you dance.

There is an article going around called: “10 Ways Your Little Is Actually like Your Child.” I saw the article a few months ago and immediately knew it was true. It was on my newsfeed again today and I’ve been thinking about my littles this week something fierce so, I thought I would pray for them today.

They have impacted my life so much and brought me so much joy! I literally can’t even imagine my life without them. They have become a part of me. Here are the 10 ways that the article describes:

1. “You enjoy spoiling her.”

Trueeeeeee. I spent months saving and shopping and crafting to make sure they were taken care of during I-Week. I still love spoiling them! For Diamond, it was her birthdays. I made sure her door was decorated every year and that she knew she was loved. For Katie, it’s my time. I know she values the little things so, I try to set aside time each day to talk to her or spend time with her. I want her to always know I’m there. For Avery and Alecia, it was their I-Week baskets. I crafted out the wazoo! I think I literally had like 10-12 canvas paintings for each of them. I wanted them to know that I loved them and that they were important to me.

2. “You’re protective over her.”

One of the best things my big did for me was to protect me. From literally everything. She completely took care of me so, I tried to pass that protection along to my littles.

3. “You give her what she wants.”

“If she wants to borrow anything, it’s hers. It’s like everything you own might as well be hers too. If she needs a favor, you go out of your way to do it for her.”

4. “You’re responsible for her behavior.”

Becoming a big is a tough job sometimes. My big was there to catch me when I fell and help me learn from my mistakes so, I hope I did that too. Every now and then I’ll have these moments like Rodney Atkins and I’ll start changing the lyrics and singing She’s mine.

I yelled she’s mine that one
Got a wild-hair side and then some
It’s no surprise what she’s done
And I’ll take the blame
And claim her every time
Yeah, she’s mine and she’ll always be
The best thing that ever happened to me
You can’t turn it off like electricity
I love her unconditionally
I’ll take the blame
And claim her every time
Yeah, y’all, she’s mine
I thank God, she’s mine

5. “Your relationship is judgment-free.”

I tried to do my best to have open, honest relationships with my littles. For Kristin, it was pref night. I have literally never had a pref night like that one. I don’t even know how it happened, but I gave her a little part of me that night. We poured our hearts out and literally cried. She said she felt like God was leading her to Alpha Gam and it was all I could do not to claim her as my little right there and then!

6. “You mentor her.”

“Any tips and tricks that have helped you get by in college, you want to share with her. You want her to know all of the shortcuts, all of the dos and don’ts, and all of the secrets you never knew. You want to warn her about every mistake that you made and learned from. Anything you can possibly help her with, you do.” I tried to share my experience with them as much as possible and let them learn on their own at the same time. I wanted them to have the best experience possible.

7. “You show her off.”

“You’re actually like that mom that brags about her child to all the other moms.” Yes, I am. I am so deeply proud to call my littles, mine. I have invested in them and cherished them. I want everyone to see the potential I see in them. They’re fabulous and everyone should know just how fabulous they are.

8. “You feel for her.”

“When she’s happy, you’re happy. When she’s upset, you’re upset. You hate to see her going through a hard time and it hurts you just as much as it hurts her. If she’s down, you do whatever you can to cheer her up. Her happiness is just as important to you as your own.”

9. “You listen and give advice.”

“It is almost maternal in the way that you offer your advice.” I have tried to always be there to listen to them. I want them to know they can come to me with anything and everything. Nothing is too big or too small. Keith Urban and Eric Church have this new song that I completely loveeeee that explains it.

“Raise em’ up
You’ve got a voice, you’ve got a choice
Go make some noise
Don’t ever let em’ tell you
Who you are”

10. “You love her like family.”

“No matter what she does, you will always love her.” I may not have raised them, but I am so thankful for the people that did. I hope I have helped them as much as my big helped me. I hope they know they are loved and important. They are gonna change the world someday and I so thankful to be able to witness it.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray they know they are loved. I pray they know how special they are. I pray they know how smart, generous, kind, thoughtful, talented, and amazing they are. I pray that we only get to know each other more in the coming years. I pray they love their time in Alpha Gam as much as I did. I pray they learn a lot and grow as much as possible. I pray you protect them and guide them. Thank you for putting them in my life. Thank you making them the people they are today. It’s been my honor to be their big and I pray they know just how much it means to me to be their big. 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’s a hand still holding me.

I woke up this morning fully ready to just go back to sleep. I felt fine, I was just in a mood where I wasn’t ready to face the day. I went to check my phone and I looked at Facebook then my timehop. My timehop one year ago was a conversation I had with Christopher. He was upset about something and his response was priceless: he said he wanted to go to church. I texted Dallas immediately! The guy was perfect! When the world got him down, he just raised himself up higher towards You. When he was upset all he wanted was You, Lord. I need to be more like that. I think I’m learning that this year, Lord. I think I’m learning to fall to my knees in awe of You. Lord, I need to learn to trust You more. My timehop two years ago was when I got one of my littles, Diamond. Three years ago was when I saw Eric Church at Bayfest and the next day I had lost my voice and Dallas told me I sounded like Darth Vadar. See? Apparently today was just meant to be a good day.

“There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it”

(btw it’s totally raining outside!! It’s gonna be a good day!!)

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I go to you when I feel shaky. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that when I start to fall I remember who is catching me. I pray that I take Danny Gokey’s song with me. I pray that you still keep showing me your love and faithfulness. I pray that I keep seeing all the good you do for me. I pray for strength and guidance. I pray you keep showing me that you have me, that no matter how old I get I am your child. I pray that you keep holding me. I pray that I keep looking to you. I pray for my future husband, where ever he is. I pray that he has a good day today 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.

Love, love, love, I still believe in you.

Yesterday, I made a list of what kind of woman I wanted to be. Today, I was thinking about what I kind of man I wanted to find.

“I still believe in fairy tales
I still believe in picking flowers
I still believe in getting lost in someone’s eyes
And talking for hours
I still believe in shooting stars
I still believe in midnight drives
And butterflies you get
Right before you kiss for the very first time

I still believe in miracles
I still believe in wedding rings and bibles”

So, here is the list I came up with:

1. Basically Eric Church: Guys Like MeA Man Who Was Gonna Die Young (I already mentioned this song, but come on? That last part of the song is perfect: “So baby, when you bow your head tonight. Could you tell the Lord I’ve changed my mind?And with you I’d like to live forever.”)

2. I want someone as patriotic as Toby Keith. (I mean I’m not called America for nothing.)

3. I want someone to take me fishing after church on Sunday.

4. I want someone who pushes me. I want us to make each other better just being together.

5. I want a relationship like that old couple I met at church. They hold hands during the service every single Sunday. (It’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.)

6. I want someone who grow closer to You with. I want someone with a servant’s heart.

7. Words of affirmation is my love language. So, this could either be really easy because the way to my heart is to simply tell me they love me. But, it’s a double edged sword because the quickest way to hurt me is to say something negative to me. Even if I say that I let it go, it will replay in my head, always telling me I’m not good enough.

8. I want someone to build a home with. That white house with blue shutters and red front door. I want a wrap around porch with a porch swing where we can plan our lives together and drink sweet tea. I want the white picked fence. (Did you notice that it’s red, white and blue? I mean seriously, they call me America for a reason.)

9. I want someone I can pray with.

“Lord I’ve been prayin’
For somebody I’ve never seen

I’ve been gettin’ so lonesome
Waiting for him to come around
But if you’re teaching me patience
I’m willing to wait this one out

I’ll be patient

Lord take your sweet, sweet time”

So, that is my prayer. I pray that I never stop believing in love like Jana Kramer’s song. I pray that I remember Marie Miller’s song and keep praying for him. I pray that I live that quote about getting so lost in you that he has to look towards you to find me. I pray that when I meet the person you want me to be with that we grow with you. I pray that he is doing well, wherever he is. I pray that he leans on you. I pray that he finds strength in you. I pray that no matter who he is that he loves you, first and foremost. I pray that you guide him and protect him. I pray that you keep watching over him and keep your hand on his life. I pray that he knows he is never alone. I pray that he knows he is loved by you. I pray that our relationship revolves around you, Lord. 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.

And loves me like Jesus does.

Part 7 of the How to be Awesome series is “If you want to see different results, do things differently.”

In the video, she asks us what is something we would like to see improve about ourselves. (I know these people aren’t perfect. No human being is, but these people have qualities I admire.) So, since I love lists so much, here is mine:

1. I want a confidence like Blair Waldorf and still have that vulnerability and feminism. I wanna fight for love as hard as she does. (Plus she rocks some really pretty hair and she’s totally why I started wearing headbands and bows in my hair. Having her wardrobe wouldn’t hurt either!)

2. I want a heart like Miranda Lambert. I wanna stand up for myself and for others like she does too. (I totally wouldn’t mind that new bed and breakfast she just opened too! That place is gorgeous! Her wedding looked pretty stinkin perfect too. Plus Blake Shelton is pretty adorable.)

3. I want to have class, sophistication, and grace like Kate Middleton.

4. I want to inspire others and praise You the way that Britt Nicole does.

5. I want to live my values like Jamie Grace. (I could totally rock her cowboy boot collection too!)

6. I want to be fearless and a pioneer like Kimberly Perry. (I would love to whip my hair around like she does too!)

7. I want to feel completely content being exactly who I am like Taylor Swift.

8. I want to have Reba’s family values. (Plus her hair always has that perfect southern volume.)

9. I want to basically want be Eric Church’s wife. The songs he sings about her: Like Jesus Does, You Make it Look Easy, and A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young. (My heart just swoons with every lyric!)

“I’m a long-gone Waylon song on vinyl,
I’m a back row sinner at a tent revival,
But she believes in me like she believes her Bible,
And loves me like Jesus does.”

10. I want to have strength like in She Don’t Tell Me to by Montgomery Gentry.

11. I want to be the girl in Me and God Love Her by Toby Keith.

12. I want a voice and charm like RaeLynn. (Clearly I am never going to be able to sing like her, but she’s just absolutely adorable and completely southern.)

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I always strive to be better. I pray that I realize perfection is not going to happen but that I keep growing. I pray that I keep learning from others. I pray that I keep pushing myself. I pray that I get closer to you. I pray that you keep guiding me and challenging me. I pray that I become the woman that you created me to be. 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.