And learn to love through the darkness and the light.

There is an episode of Girl Meets World that I was reminded of today. Riley got depressed and Maya was trying to pull her out of it. Maya pulled down her black curtains and Riley said: “Wow, there is a lot of light in this world.” Maya sat down next to her and replied: “If you let it in, yea.” 

Today, I needed to let the light in. My daddy always tried to teach me that everyone has good days and bad days. We have to learn to let the sunshine in. We have to learn to fight the darkness, instead of letting it consume us. I struggle with this, always have. I still need to remember that You have this. No matter how dark it seems, there will always be light, I just have to turn the light on. 2 Samuel 22:29 says: You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. Eric Lidell said: “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.” Lord, every part of my struggle and my success is part of your plan. You are not helpless among the ruins. When I realize I can’t do this on my own, is when I finally hand over the reins and allow You to work. I’m stubborn and try to fix everything on my own, but I don’t have to and Your ways are much greater than my own. 

Lysa Terkeurst yet again related to me on a deep level. She posted: “If you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then upon all the hurt and brokenness, you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost the girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world. Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: you are worthy because the Creator of the Universe says you are. Reclaim who you are today. Say out loud, ‘I am a daughter of the King. I am an overcomer. And with His strength, I can be whole again.'” Lysa also posted that her battle strategy is to worry less and worship more. Dayspring posted on Instagram that: “The measure of your worth to God is written in the palms of His hands.”

C.S. Lewis said: “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun-not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” That’s why I like the sun so much. It’s a reminder of faith. He also said: “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.”

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.” Steven Furtick posted: “You won’t rise to the occasion if you weren’t faithful to the process.” Before I came back home, my person told me that too. She told me that she got a lot closer to You when she moved back home after her graduation.

So, that is my prayer today. No matter what my circumstances are, I pray that I stop letting the darkness win. I pray that I stop letting the water in my ship. I pray that I remember I am a vessel for you. I pray that I stop letting myself drown. I pray that I come up for air. I pray that I keep turning the light on. I pray that I keep reaching for you. I pray that I remember you are my lamp, my light, my sun. I pray that I show more kindness in my process. I pray that learn to love in the darkness and the light. I pray that I let you work in me. I pray that I remind myself that you are the creator of the universe. I pray that I remember to say thank you for showing me my worth. I pray that I reclaim who I am. I am your daughter. You are my king. I am an overcomer because you overcame. Lord, you overcame death. You overcame sin. You overcame darkness. With your strength, I can be whole again. I pray that I worship you more. Thank you for writing my name on the palm of your hands. Thank you for bringing light into my day. Thank you for bringing light into my darkness. Thank you for allowing me to see through you. Thank you for allowing me to hold onto you in sprite of my changing moods and circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to grow closer to you. Thank you for this time. Thank you for this process. Thank you for always holding true. I pray that I stay with you. I pray that I remember you are on my side. 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.

For eternity all my heart will give all the glory to Your Name.

Well, it’s Friday. We know what that means: Girl Meets World left me in tears again. Seriously, I’m hooked every single second. I knew this week’s episode was gonna tackle the topic of faith and belief in You. I was extremely excited. What I wasn’t prepared for was the topic of grief to come up. Auggie’s parents asked him if he was praying under his blanket. He said no and explained he prays in the bathtub, mostly to not be sucked down the drain. He said he was talking to his friend that had died, he didn’t want her to be lonely. Then his parents explained to him that she wasn’t lonely because she was in Heaven. Well, Auggie is a sweet little kid, but one thing that struck me was how I related to him. I pray to You when I’m scared of being sucked down the drain. I should pray more like Riley does, for every moment of the day, not just the bad ones. I should pray like Maya has started to, for everyone around her. Lysa Terkhearst said: “Calling on the name of Jesus shouldn’t be our last resort. It should be our first response.”

Later on the show, they explained You like how someone can click one button and see all your history on the computer, that’s how You see us. The difference is, on the computer I can delete that history and it doesn’t show the future. That list isn’t complete. Your view is complete. You see everything. Past, present, and future. We don’t get to hide things or delete them. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in the details You created. It’s no coincidence that I turned the TV to watch the episode instead of going right to sleep. You knew there was something I needed to hear. Just like every Sunday in church, there is something taught or something we sing that I needed. That is not my sole purpose in attending church. I think we should be going to worship You and give to You. We should lay it all at the cross, but I believe the other part of that is You want to fill our spirit’s with Your love. You’re speaking to us everyday, if we just open our hearts and listen. I believe it should be a constant flow of being filled by You and giving it all to You. Just like every time I open my bible, there is a verse I needed. Just like the people that are in my life are not random. Just like the college I attend is not a mistake. There are no accidents. There is divine intervention and planning. You are literally guiding every moment of my life. Even when I’m lost. Even when I’m running from You. Even when I’m tired and hurting. Even when I’m scared. Even when my grief consumes my every thought.

I think what always gets me the most is the future I built in my head for him that will never be a reality. We had endless talks about our futures. He had all these big beautiful plans. I could picture it perfectly. As my own graduation nears, I can only think of the one he’ll never have. I read an article, An Open Letter To My Friend In Heaven, and she was feeling some of the same things I’ve felt in the last 609 days without him. I went through the usual stages of denial, anger, and depression. She talked about regret which, I definitely have some of my own. I regret a lot of things including that camping and fishing trip we never took but always planned to. Homecoming is especially rough for me. My Timehop fills with pictures. I don’t even open the app sometimes because it’s just too hard. She talked about how much the holidays sting and I completely relate to that. I miss our phone calls talking about all our town’s gossip and our families. Our birthday is 13 days away now and the closer it gets, the more I think of him.

The line of her article that got me the most was: “While it got darker at first, those of us who knew you learned to shine light in the same way that you did.” I have watched those around me that knew him and watched them change and grow and share his light. I watched them become kinder and more loving. He had a way of making everyone feel special and loved. I watched them share that with everyone around them. I watched them become stronger than I ever thought possible. I watched them lean on each other and support each other. I watched them reach for their dreams and plan big, bright futures because that’s exactly what he would want them to do.

Lord, You have a plan for our lives. Not even death can hinder Your plan.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I pray more. I pray that I pray for every moment. I pray that I pray for everyone I come into contact with and for those I haven’t met. Thank you for all the details in my life. Thank you for consuming me. Thank you for filling me with your love. Thank you for filling my life. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for creating a path. Thank you for knowing all of me. Thank you for still loving me despite knowing all of me. Thank you for loving me when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for allowing us to share what Christopher taught us. I pray that I shine your light everywhere I go. Thank you for the promise of Heaven. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I pray that I lay everything down at your feet and at the cross. I pray that nothing comes between us. I pray that nothing is holding me back from you. I pray that instead of running from you, that I run to you. I pray that I listen when you speak. I pray that I see what you’re showing me. I pray that my eyes, ears, and heart remain open for you. I pray that where my plans fall apart, yours will always come together. I pray that you continue to amaze me with the details you create. Thank you for holding me together. Thank you for your healing. Thank you for making me whole. I pray that I give it all to you. Literally everything I have. All that I am. Everything. 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.

I was made to shine.

I was catching up on Girl Meets World and watched the episode “Girl Meets Flaws.” This episode quickly became my favorite. It had quite a few lessons for just half an hour. Riley was worried about what her friends think of her. Billy was jealous of his friends which led him to be mean in order to make himself feel better. Farkle was told he was nothing so he believed it.

I’ve always thought I was confident, but I’m really rather insecure. I guess that’s just scars left over from my childhood that never really healed. I’ve heard that you spend your whole life getting over what happens in your childhood. The more I think about that, the truer it becomes. Mr. Matthews was teaching them and said: “Sometimes the world presents you with opportunities to show who you really are. Will you have the courage to stand up to someone who tries to take your spirit away?” 

The second lesson was how to respond when people are mean. Lucas said: “Don’t let what anybody says get to you; that’s what gives them power.”

When I was a kid I felt like I got the Matilda speech from adults. I gave them the power and tried to fit myself into whatever box they wanted me in.

“Agatha Trunchbull: [accusing Matilda of putting a newt in her drinking water] For this newt, you piss-worm!
Matilda: I’m telling you, I didn’t do it!
Agatha Trunchbull: Besides, even if you didn’t do it, I’m going to punish you, because I’m big and you’re small, I’m right and you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it!

Another lesson was that people change. I love that when Billy was being mean, they still worried for their friend. Riley was wondering why Billy didn’t see that he did anything wrong. Maya turns to Riley, like she always does, and says: “Riley, you can’t fix everything. Ok, go ahead.” (I absolutely love that and relate to Riley because I totally try to fix everything too. I totally have a Maya who believes I can too! She’s perfect!) At the end of the episode the kids in the class owned up to their flaws and wrote them on their foreheads. They did this as a way to show Billy it was ok to have flaws. When asked about their foreheads, Maya said: “When I own it, it doesn’t make me feel so bad.” Then Mr. Matthews handed them wipes and said: “We’re all human beings. We’re all on the same team and if we sense our own flaws because we see them in others; it’s true friends who help us wipe them away.”

A friend of mine posted on Instagram this quote: “Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold. Proverbs 11:27” So, I looked up the verse, which says: “If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!” I wanna live like that. I wanna see the best in people always. I wanna be the one who finds the gold in everyone and everything around her. I wanna search for the good.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I burn bright for you. I pray that I see the good in others. I pray that I take Proverbs 11:27 with me. I pray that I remember to be patient with people because they can change. I pray that I continue to change as well. I pray that I continue to grow and learn. I pray that I stop letting others control me and try to take away my spirit. I pray that I stop giving them power over me. I pray that I focus only on you. I pray that I accept my flaws because you made me. I heard that we shouldn’t feel insecure about our flaws because it was like insulting you because you worked so hard to make us. Thank you for picking out every single hair on my head. Thank you for picking out my every strength and flaw. Thank you for creating me. I pray that I shine 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.

You are my sunshine.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away”

My daddy woke us up almost every morning with this song. We used to pretend we hated it and that he was sooo lame but the truth is that it is one of my favorite memories! My dad was always using songs or movies or cliches to teach us about life. I was watching Girl Meets World and the daughter on the show was telling Cory that he didn’t have anything else to teach her and I know I’ve said that 100 times but she learned at the end of the episode that daddy’s never stop teaching you.

1. “Can’t never could do nothing.” I heard this a million times growing up. “Whether you think you can or think that you can’t, you’re right.” Can’t was not an option in his house. You sit there until you figure it out. I am so beyond thankful for this lesson. My daddy never let me give up on anything, from weeding that awful flower bed to now, in college.

2. “Do you need the Rocky speech?” My daddy knew that life was hard sometimes but that was not the important part. The important thing was that you picked yourself up, dusted off, and went again. My daddy has a big heart and no matter how many times you tell him no or he’s not good enough or he can’t do that, he will prove you wrong. “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

3. My daddy taught me to have a servant’s heart. To give more than I take. That people matter and we have to take care of each other. My daddy is one of the most giving people I know. Whether it is some random guy at a gas station or the walmart parking lot or starting an outreach project at church, we have to give back. He taught us early on about doing the right thing and showing God’s love to everyone we meet. He likes to tell stories of how I used to run around with my bible as a kid but does he realize who taught me to do that?

4. It wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine with my daddy and me. Partly because we are so alike. We are both so passionate and opinionated and our way is the only right way. We saw things differently from time to time, because he was an adult I thought he meant he was the only one right but then he would say things like “Even a child is known by his doings.” That man confused me sooo much as a kid but I get it now. It wasn’t necessarily that I had a difference in opinion or thought. (Even though sometimes it was.) It was my attitude when I said it. I didn’t show respect. He had more years of experience and life knowledge and he knew it. I was my daddy’s strong willed girl though. So, when daddy said something I didn’t agree with I had to tell him. I felt like I had to teach him as much as he was teaching me. (Even though that drove him crazy sometimes.)

5. The most important lesson my daddy taught me that I am a princess, his princess and God’s. He taught me that I should be treated with respect and that I should be valued. He taught me how to wait and have patience. He taught me that I am worth waiting for.

“Hide your love away
Wait for me, wait for me
I will do the same
Wait for me, wait for me”

So, I pray that my daddy knows how much I love him. I pray that he knows he is useful and valued. I pray that he knows that I am still learning. I pray that I continue to see all the good in me that my daddy gave 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.