We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight.

Yesterday, I went through a whirlwind of emotions. I was all kinds of emotional. This morning, I woke up, looked outside and decided to do things differently today. I always carry books with me, I went into my bag and grabbed the devotion book. I needed to spend some time with You. I was in desperate need of You this morning. I found the book laying around the house, it was one my mom read with some people from church a while back, Stuck study. Eight sessions on “the places we get stuck and the God who sets us free.”

Lord, You knew exactly what You were doing when I found that book. You knew exactly when I needed to open that first page. You knew exactly when I would need You the most. And I definitely needed You today. My friend and I were joking and she messaged me and said: “This is all I need! No man!” and sent a picture of her pizza. I responded with a moment of honesty: “Jesus. That’s what I need.” Then things got serious. She replied with this: “I need…..1. A man 2. Hope 3. To know I matter 4. Everything else you could think of 5. Oh and I’ve ran away from God so I prob need him”

Lord, I could’ve cried right there. I’ve been there. I’ve been in her shoes. I’ve lost my worth. I’ve run as far away from You as I possibly could. The funny thing about running from You though is You’re still there and our problems are too. Running doesn’t make our problems go away and it certainly doesn’t make us feel better. In the Stuck study, I read: “Nothing is more powerful than God getting bigger in our lives. He has the power to heal with a word.” On Pinterest there is a picture that says: “God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident. God is working on your prayers.”

Ok. So. Here goes. Ernest Hemingway said: “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” I’m letting the light. Lord, I’m letting You all the way in. As for number 1, Charles Stanley said: “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.” I have been praying for my future husband since my mama taught me how to pray. I saw this Instagram post that said: “I pray for him even though he doesn’t know about it because I wanna make sure God got him like I got him.” There was another one on Instagram saying: “Dear Future Husband, Find God. Find yourself. Then come find me.” Lord, maybe that’s what we both needed a reminder of today. Lord, I value love. I value him and I haven’t even been on a date yet. I value our relationship and it hasn’t even started yet. And most importantly, I value the relationship he has with You. That’s why I pray for him. I found You before I can even remember. I dedicated my life to You in the second grade and I have remade that commitment several times in my life. I started finding myself when I was a freshman in high school and I don’t know if either search ever really ends. I hope I’m always trying to find You in everything around me and I hope I never stop growing.

Number 2, 3, and 4, I believe those are found in faith. Proverbs 31 Ministries posted Whitney Capps saying: “Father, when my circumstances scream louder than my faith, help me cling to Your truth.” Lord, I tend to listen to the world when things are not going my way. But the truth is that faith is trust. Trust is something I struggle with daily. Trust means relying on You. Trust means giving up control. Trust means I am dependent on You. Trust means changing the way I think, feel, grow, live. Trust means giving my life to You completely. Trust means letting go. Letting go of the pain, resentment, hurt, sin, jealously, anger, brokenness. Trust means laying it all down and picking up the cross. You already did the hard part. You picked up everything I laid down. You died for me. All I have to do is lay down, what You already picked up. The first step is admitting I need You. The study said: “The space in which we are stuck, lacking, sinful, broken, and in need, is the space in us that longs for God, longs for forgiveness. When we soberly view ourselves and our sin, we see our need and call out for God.”

Number 5 hit me right in the heart because I run daily. I spent years running and I still try to run. In the study it says: “Before time began He knew people would rebel and run from Him, and He made a way to get them back in Christ.” My sweet friend is running from You. I ran from You. And still You hold Your hand out for us. Still You love us. We are the prodigal children. No matter how far we run, You arms are still open. Steven Furtick tweeted: “Fulfillment doesn’t start with getting what we want. It starts with wanting what God wants.” Romans 8: 14-15 says For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Stuck study said: “God will win this fight, but we have to start fighting it His way, on His terms.” 

At the end of the first chapter it asks: “Who are You, Lord? and What do You want from me?” Lord, I have spent so long asking the second question that I forget the first part. I grew up in the church, learning about You and Your stories, but I need to get to know You as an adult. I need You in my life. I need Your word in my life. Thomas Jefferson said: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, I pray that I hang on. I need you. I need your word. I need to run towards you and not away. I pray that I keep longing for you. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep evaluating my life. I pray that I start making some changes in my life. I pray that I lay everything down. I pray that I pick up the cross. Lord, you already picked it up. I pray that I quit picking back up what I already laid down. I pray that I stop fighting you and let you fight for me. I pray that I stop rebelling. I pray that I want what you want. I pray that your love washes over me and changes me. I pray that I remember I am your child. I pray that I remember I don’t have to live like this. I pray that I don’t live in fear again. I pray that I cling to your truth. I pray that my faith screams louder than my circumstances. I pray that you become bigger in my life and my friend’s life. Lord, I pray you speak to her. I pray you keep knocking on the door to her heart. I pray that she sees her worth in you. I pray that she finds healing in your name. I pray for my future husband. I pray he finds you, finds himself and then finds me. I pray that he knows he is valued. I pray that you got him. I pray that you got my friend. And I pray that you got me 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.

Every child has a dream to belong and be loved.

We as, humans are flawed and broken. We try desperately to fill the God shaped hole in our lives with everything but You, Lord. Then when we are struggling, others come along and poke holes in our weakest spots, making us even more vulnerable and broken. C.S. Lewis said: “The fact that our hearts yearn for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.” We are so deeply searching for You in all the wrong places. We try to find peace and love and forgiveness and happiness in all the wrong things. We are simply begging to be made whole, searching for anything to make us feel whole. That search is different for every single one of us, but one thing remains true. You never left us through our search. You were right there with us, no matter how far we try to run from You. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. The more we run from You, the more we need You. C.S. Lewis said: “He loved us not because we were lovable, but because he is love.”

If You love us so much, then why do we hate others and use Your name to do it? Ernest Hemingway said: “Being against evil doesn’t make you good.” Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Romans 9:25 says: As He also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, My beloved.'” Let me repeat that. “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, My beloved.'” So when no one else claims me and no one else loves me, You still do? When I have done all the running I can and have gotten as far from You as I possibly can, I am still Yours and You still love me?

Now, since I’m forgiven and have been shown grace and love, what am I supposed to do? Am I called to live differently? Yes! Am I called to worship You? Yes! Am I called to forgive others? Yes! Am I called to love others? Yes! Am I called to bring others to You? Yes! Then why do we do the complete opposite? Tony A. Gaskins Jr. said: “Never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. Evaluate your words before you let them leave your lips. Sometimes it’s best to be quiet.” I think a big part of the reason we use hate instead of love is because we are those very things. We are scared, insecure, angry, confused, jealous, misguided, misunderstood. I think sometimes we simply don’t understand each other. We go around hating actions we don’t understand instead of trying to understand the reason behind their actions. My daddy used to make me go weed the garden as a kid. I thought it was like the worst thing ever! I mean, I had to sit in the dirt and there were bugs and junk! But I learned real quick, when you pull weeds out of the garden, you have to pull them by the root. Otherwise the weeds will keep growing and then they will multiply until there’s nothing left but weeds. And believe me, my daddy was a big believer in: “If you don’t have time to do something right, then you have time to do it again.” On Pinterest, there is a picture that says: “Do not pass by a man in need, for you may be the hand of God to him.” Then it lists Proverbs 3:27 which says: Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help. 

“When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory”

In the new Avengers movie, there is a set of twins and in the beginning of the movie, they are totally the villains. It’s only when we see their story that we begin to see that there is more to it and things aren’t simply black and white. In the twins’ eyes the heroes were the villains. The entire movie was spent with everyone trying to figure out if they were really the heroes they were supposed to be or if the other one was right. By the end of the movie, through a little love, forgiveness, and understanding the twins become heroes and together they are all working to be the heroes they were always meant to be. (And yes, I cried like a little baby.) I’m with the Avengers. That’s how exactly how villains become heroes. With love. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I couldn’t agree more.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I evaluate my own life like the Avengers did. I pray that I become the person I was meant to become. I pray that I love the least of these. I pray that I do not withhold good from anyone. I pray that I always evaluate my words before I speak. I pray that I learn to understand those around me. I pray that my heart keeps yearning for you and for Heaven. I pray that I only use your love and your light to drive out the darkness and hate. Thank you for your grace and power and strength in my weakness. Thank you for calling me yours. Thank you for your love. I pray that I stick with your 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.