And I’m loved by You, it’s who I am.

And is a three letter word but in my house it was a way of life. My daddy taught us not to do anything half way, ever. Whether it’s work, school, community service, sports, anything and everything. If we’re doing something we’re doing it as if it were for You, God. With everything we have AND all that we are.

My daddy lives in the AND. When my siblings played sports, he drove them to every single game, practice, tournament AND made sure they had everything they needed. He cheered AND coached. He always told us that when the Bible says it is the father’s responsibility to provide for his family, that it means spiritually. He said that when he gets to Heaven, You’re gonna ask about his wife AND his kids AND his own faith. He took that and ran with it. He made sure we each had our own personal relationships with You, Lord, our Heavenly Father AND that we lived our lives for You. AND. AND. AND.


So for Easter when my sister said we were having an egg hunt AND tye-dying eggs for the kids at Church it didn’t shock me. Just like it didn’t shock her when I said I was making cupcakes AND fruit kabobs. It did shock me when my daddy got put into the hospital on Thursday AND still made it to church on Sunday. Hospital stays are never fun and cue Francesca Battistelli lyrics: “in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.” This weekend had all of us sleep deprived, our gas tanks emptied, banks drained, and house a wreck. Everything was running on fumes: cars, hearts, piggy banks, my hair… AND I still had joy. Because I was knew we do everything with an AND. Because we believe in You AND know You, Lord. You died for us AND You rose again. AND. AND. AND.
So this is my prayer today. Ohhhh Lord, thank you for all the AND’s in my life and thank you for giving us the ultimate AND. Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for saving me when I give you every reason not to. Thank you for the most beautiful Easter this year. Thank you for light in the darkness. Thank you unending love and unshakable joy. Thank you for rolling the stone away. Thank you for the empty tomb and full hearts. Thank you for forgiveness and healing. Lord, Thank you for making your love my identity, my purpose, my freedom, my home. Thank you for letting your love wash over us and completely change us. And Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for calling us deeper still. 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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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.

Find rest my soul.

Peace is a hard thing to find sometimes. Especially for a girl like me who desperately tries to muster up all the control she can get. Especially for a girl like me who plans out every little detail. Especially for a girl like me who has a problem asking for help. Especially for a girl like me with trust issues.

Yesterday I bought Max Lucado’s book, Before Amen. He breaks down prayer into these simple terms that even a girl like me who complicates everything, can’t complicate. In chapter three, Max writes: “Before you face the world, face your Father.” I need that reminder. I take my problems to the world way too often. The only one that can change my heart is You, Lord. I need to start my mornings with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of You, God. Then he shares this prayer: Father, my Daddy…The words come slowly at first. But you stay at it. You are good. Your heart is good. Your ways are right…The words stir you. Something within begins to awaken. The weather is bad, the economy is bad, but God you are awesome.” Max continues with: “Don’t underestimate the power of this moment. You just opened the door to God and welcomed truth to enter your heart. Faith sneaked in while despair was dozing.”

And because there is a Francesca Battistelli song for every part of my life. This song and Max’s book could have been written for each other, which they kinda were since they were written for You. 

I graduate in May. I have no solid plans after that. My apartment lease ends in June. I could literally be anywhere in the world by the time July rolls around. My entire world is changing in just a couple of months, but somehow today in the middle of my big mess, I found peace.

Right before he ends the chapter he writes: “Is your world different because you prayed? In one sense, no. Wars still rage, traffic still clogs, and heartbreakers still roam the planet. But you are different. You have peace. You’ve spent time with the Pilot. And the Pilot is up to the task.”

So, that is my prayer. Abba, Father, Daddy. Alpha and Omega. My Creator. You are good. Your heart is good. Your ways are right. The weather is bad, the economy is bad, but God, you are awesome. Thank you for being the Pilot to my life. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for providing for me. Thank you for caring for me. Lord, you are so good. Thank you for putting truth in my heart. Thank you for letting faith sneak in. Even in all my uncertainty, you are still good. I don’t have all the answers, but I am so glad that you do. I am so glad that I put my hope in you. Because when the rest of the world is shaking, you are solid. You cannot be moved. Lord, I am in awe of you. Thank you for changing my heart. And thank you for being up to the task. 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.

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’s nothing worth more that could ever come close.

I was kinda at a loss for words today. I have a lot on my mind. I wanted to like sit down and talk it all out because I wanted a clear mind. I didn’t need advice or anything. I simply needed to talk through the options so, that I could process the information. I didn’t know where to begin though.

Then I realized that I needed to begin with You. I needed You today. I needed to be filled by You. I was trying so hard to fill that void with other people and all I had to do was call Your name. Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “As long as I daily make the choice to be guided by His truth, He replaces my hollowness with a wholeness of love that has no gaps.” This week, I felt like I was running ragged. I couldn’t work enough or study enough. By Saturday, I felt empty. The good news is that tomorrow is Sunday so, that means I can go to the early service and Sunday school before work and get my cup filled again. And hopefully get off work in time for bible study.

I found out that I kinda live for my Sundays. I feel so rejuvenated and refreshed on Sundays, like I’m ready to take on the world. I’m completely filled by You and ready to take on the week. Then throughout the week, my cups starts to empty and I can’t seem to refill it fast enough before I’m drained. I’ve been trying to set aside time to spend with You each day, but I want more. Lysa also wrote: “When God’s word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs, and our choices.”

“Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord”

Just as I’m realizing how much I need You, Gary Allen’s song comes on the radio.

“I’m still learning how to pray
Trying hard not to stray
Try to see things your way
I’m still learning how to pray
I’m still learning how to trust
It’s so hard to open up

I’m still learning how to bend
How to let you in

I’m just trying to understand
It’s all in someone else’s hands
There’s always been a bigger plan
But I don’t need to understand”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to pray. I’m still learning how to trust. I’m still learning how to open up. I’m still learning how to bend. I’m still learning to let you in. I’m still learning to have faith in your plan. Lord, I pray that I take Francesca’s and Gary’s songs with me this week. I pray that I learn to live for you. I pray that I learn to refill my cup more between Sundays. Lord, fill my hollowness. Lord, fill the atmosphere. Lord, fill my heart. Lord, rearrange my life. I pray that you guide me. I pray that you move me. I pray that you lead me. I pray that I have willing feet to follow you. I pray that I have willing ears to listen. I pray that every piece of me and my every move is willing. Lord, you are welcome 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.

You can be the hope my soul’s been seekin’.

I was working on this project for my communication class. We’re creating a web project portfolio. For the proposal, we were supposed to give some background information and explain what we wanted to do with our project. I wanted to use this blog for a page of the portfolio, which got me thinking about how I started it. I heard Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North. Every word of that song felt like it was meant for me to hear. I literally went to my computer, pulled up wordpress and the words just flew out of me. It was like they were just waiting on me to finally get the clue. I replayed the song like thirty more times, while I wrote and prayed. In We Bought A Zoo, the dad tells his son: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” For the kid in the movie, the advice meant to tell the girl he liked that he liked her. For me, it was the courage to pray.

I lost a lot last year. I was hurt. I know the loved ones I lost weren’t perfect, but when they left, there was a hole in my heart. I heard that song and simply started writing. I don’t know what came over me. Well, that’s not true. It was You. It was Your grace. It was Your love. I found a positive way to heal. For me, praying was were my healing began. This is my journey. This is my story.

“It is in Christ we find who we are and what we are living for.” Ephesians 1:11 says: Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

Philippians 1:6 says: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” In Acts 18:9, You spoke to Paul and said: “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.” And in Ephesians 5:8 You said: “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for making me a work in progress. Thank you for breaking my walls down. Thank you for constantly working on my heart. Thank you for reminding me to work too. Thank you for giving me the courage to not stay silent anymore. Thank you for hearing my prayers. Thank you for pulling me out of the darkness so many times. Thank you for writing my story. I pray that you keep writing it. I pray that I continue to see your work in me. I pray that I turn my blank pages into your works of art. I pray that everything I do points to you. I pray that my pages show your love and mercy and forgiveness and healing and grace. Thank you for your grace and healing. Thank you for 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.

I’m fixing my eyes on You.

Part of this weekend’s homework for my marketing class was to take the VALS survery. The survery looks at our values, attitude, and lifestyles for market research. I thought I was one thing and wound up being another. I am an Achiever. I seek accomplishments to gain approval and recognition. I realized that was true real quick. It is ingrained into my personality, my need for acceptance. What I forget sometimes is that You accept me. You gave up Your life just so I could be free. You love me and I don’t have to earn that love. It comes completely free. It is unconditional. There is nothing I do or don’t do that will change it. You know all I’ve done and still love me. You know how many hairs are on my head. You know every mistake, every bad thought, every accomplishment, and every good intention. You know me completely. You created me.

There is a song from Rich Mullins that I used to sing allllll the time:

“And Step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days”

I decided to move my focus more towards you. I am having a change of heart. My journey isn’t for them, it’s for you. I am changing my direction. Proverbs 16:9 says:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Lord, help me to listen to Francesca Battistelli words:

“But when I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don’t look around
Any place I’m in
Grows strangely dim”

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I shift my focus. I pray you change my heart. I pray that you change my direction. I pray that I realize how blessed I am. I pray that I follow you. I pray that you lead me where you want me to go. I pray that I learn to accept your love. I know it’s hard for me to even imagine that kind of unconditional love, but you gave it to me completely. Lord, you love me more than I will ever be able to understand. Lord, fix my eyes on all that you are. There are literally tears in my eyes saying this prayer. I am realizing how completely free and unconditional your love is. Lord, guide me. Move me. Lord, I am yours and you are mine. I am your child. I want to follow you. I want to seek you. I want you to establish my steps. I want you to lead me step by step. Lord, fix my eyes. Lord, let every worry grow dim. Let every doubt grow dim. Let everything of this world grow dim. Lord, change my heart. Lord, heal my heart. 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 are with us.

Today is one of those days where I am just emotional for no reason. I am completely afraid of everything even though I have no reason to be. Fear is defined as: “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” So, because I like lists, here is a list of my biggest fears:

1. Bridges

2. Car Accidents

3. Death

4. Losing Loved Ones

5. Feeling Inadequate

6. Loneliness

7. Elevators

8. The Future

9. Failure

10. Getting Hit

Why am I so scared when I have You? They call You Emmanuel which literally means “God is with us.” 

Lord, You set us free from all our fears. In You, we can find rest and peace. In You, we can find joy. In You, we don’t have to have anxiety. We can lay everything at the feet of the cross. Lord, You save us. Psalm 121:1-2 says: “A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” 

In the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, the girl I related to the most was told that she likes the drama; that she liked the fear. He called her out so, she decided to cut the additional unneeded anxiety out. I realized I do this too. I add unnecessary stress by:

1. Waiting until the very last second to put gas in the car.

2. Returning Redbox movies at the last minute.

3. Over planning.

4. Over analyzing every word spoken to me.

5. My irrational fears.

I realized that these things hold me back, and I should just fix my eyes on You.

Today, the soundtrack in my head was playing a lot. It made me realize: 1. You are with us. 2. My help comes from You. 3. I should fix my eyes on all that You are. Basically all my useless drama, anxiety, stress, and fears come from my need for control. I want to control everything, but I can’t. I need to give you the reins and realize you are already there.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I let go of my need for control. I pray that I let go of my anxiety and stress. I pray that I let go of my fears because no matter what my fears are you are already there waiting to take care of me. You are already there waiting for me to take your hand. You are already there ready to help me. Lord, you already broke the chains, so I pray that I learn to put them down. I pray that I learn to give you the control. I pray that I learn to praise in the storm. 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 am loved.

“I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
and made
Something out of nothing”

Saturday was Homecoming and it was one of those absolutely perfect days. Nothing spectacular happened. I was just surrounded by my littles and my best friend and my sisters and it was just perfect. (I looked good too! I had my red cowboy boots on and a blue dress! I felt great!) Then the next two days my self esteem was tested and my confidence shaken. All I wanted to was cry. So, I took a drive to Walmart to get some Tylenol for my headache and Francesca Battistelli’s song came on the radio and the lyrics were exactly how I was feeling. It was just the reminder I needed to hear.

“I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh”

I forget that sometimes. I forget that I am not a mistake. I make mistakes but I am not a mistake. I am not perfect. Sometimes I am misunderstood. Sometimes I forget things. Sometimes I fall short to other’s expectations. Sometimes I don’t explain things as well as I want to. Sometimes I fumble with my words. Sometimes I wear my heart on my sleeve. Sometimes I am not as composed as I would like to be. Sometimes I am weak.

“He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King,
His forever, held in treasure…
I am loved”

Lord, you are strong. You are strong enough to carry me. You are strong enough to carry all my baggage. You love me when I feel lost or unwanted or undervalued or misunderstood. I heard this quote that says “Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.”

I was about to go to bed then I saw this video, which totally related to what I was thinking about today. In the video, Jefferson talked about Zephaniah 3:17.

“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I remember that I am yours. I belong to you. I am your child. I am forever changed. I pray that I remember where I fail, you succeed. Thank you for being on the ground with me. Thank you for loving me in my struggle. I pray that I focus on your love. I pray that I keep my eyes on you. I pray for forgiveness for my shortcomings. I pray for guidance. I pray that you keep leading me. I pray that I follow you more. Thank you for reminding me that I need you. Thank you for never leaving me. 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.