To be a part of Your Kingdom rising, oh.

Almost a year ago, I started praying about fostering this kid. I was working at a group home for teenagers and let’s be real, I wanted to take them all home, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew I was doing exactly what You wanted me to do for right then. That job taught me so much and I felt like I had a real purpose there. I had an amazing group of coworkers and the work was so rewarding! It wasn’t work, it was ministry. I was pulling up chairs to the table. Now I wanted to put my yes on the table.

I had a million excuses for why not to foster. I was 26, single, working way too much, for way too little, still living with my family. Then the house parents who trained me got new jobs and I was leading that house and I was feeling a major dose of “mom mode.” I went from feeling like an Aunt who helps out, to feeling like an actual mom. I was already feeling the need for more responsibility and I think running the house for a minute by myself, kinda pushed me over the edge. This kid moved in and I saw sooo much of myself in her and thought I could help more.

So, I asked to be her visiting resource, set up weekly visits and I started applying for jobs. I took the first thing I got without taking a pay-cut. I knew I would be losing my overtime, so I couldn’t afford to take less. I quit a job I loved. I wasn’t happy about leaving, but I knew You were answering my prayers. I learned a lot there and met some great people. I started filling out mortgage and housing applications and searching for a place to live. I took the foster parent classes. I did all the paperwork. I got the physical. I got the dog vaccinations updated. I did the fingerprinting. My whole Church was praying and looking for places for me to move to. I prayed and prayed for a house. Nothing. I decided my prayers weren’t specific enough and I wasn’t praying bold enough. I wasn’t asking for what I needed. I started praying for a four bedroom, two baths home. Right after that, my friend from Church called me saying I’m standing in your house. I called the number she gave me and sure enough, it was exactly what I had been praying for.

Then I got another job, with better pay, full benefits, and would work with the hours I needed to be home in the afternoon after school. Another answered prayer. But the house wasn’t ready yet. So, I waited some more. And some more. August came and I finally got to see the house, but it still wasn’t ready to move into, so I waited again. Lord, You already know because You orchestrated it all but let me tell You what, the walls were painted yellow, my favorite color. You planned the whole thing. I was blessed beyond measure. Now it was time to move. I spent a month unpacking, shopping, and well nesting.

I got everything ready, showed the kid what would be her room, and prayedddd she liked it. She stayed one night before going on a church retreat with me. Then we scheduled the pre-placement weekend pass. Then I got a phone call. She did not want to stay with me anymore. She told me when this process started that she would push me away, no matter how much she wanted it, that she would test me. I knew exactly what I was getting into. I knew it would be hard, but I also knew it would be worth it. Ya girl had no idea just how hard it would actually be and just how much it would test and push allllll the boundaries. I was challenged in alllll the ways, and I came out so much stronger on the other side.

God, You have been so good to me. Through every battle You’ve shown me the way to a better relationship with You. Over the days spent with her I got to really know her. She is really funny. I feel as if she is my own kid. She is full of sunshine and her laugh is infectious. It was really hard losing her. Relationships are hard and messy. Especially when you have trauma and a million reasons why not to trust. Do I regret it? Not for one second. Did it work out in the happily ever after I wanted? Not at all. Would I do it all over again? You betcha. I have a new placement moving in on Tuesday. Because You, my almighty Father, You take my good intentions and turn them into actual mountain moving miracles. I am a foster mama now, hear me roar.

On the way home from church, choose to love started playing on the radio, and of course ya girl cried.

So here is my prayer. Father, I needed you and you were there. Thank you. Thank you for taking me on this journey. Thank you for encouraging me not to give up. Thank you for teaching me so so much. Thank you for holding me through every step of the process. Thank you for your will. Thank you for leading me through obedience to your will. Thank you for the joy and even the messy bits for what they taught me. Forgive me for the mistakes I made along the way. Thank you for the time I had with her. I pray for her, that she knows she’s yours and that she is loved. I pray that they see you through me. I pray I only point them to you. Thank you for allowing me to continue being a foster mom. Thank you for letting me have a small part in your kingdom rising. Thank you for teaching my how to pull chairs up to the table. Thank you for teaching me how to put my yes on the table. Thank you for teaching me not to listen to fear. Thank you for teaching me that love is a risk. Thank you for teaching me to love anyways. I can’t wait to see what you are gonna teach me next, Father. 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 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.

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.