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.

You are perfect in all of your ways.

Ok, so here’s the deal. I do not like uncertainty. I like plans. I like structure. I like organization. I like safety and security. I have liked these things since birth. I am not the kind of girl who can fly by the seat of her pants and sail through life. I am the kind of girl that when her friends invited her over as a kid, it was so I could clean their rooms. I was the kind of kid that when my parents told me to clean up before I could go hang out with my friend, I would clean the entire house, not just my bedroom. You have been trying to teach me trust and obedience since birth. You would think by now, with everything I’ve been through, I would have this lesson. Nope, I still don’t.

I have, however, learned to take some things in stride. When it came time for the pageant my senior year of high school, everything was a hot mess. My hair wasn’t curling the way I wanted it to. My parents were running late. Then when we finally got into the car, there was an accident and the police told us to take an alternate route. Like, if it could go wrong, it probably happened that day. When I finally got there, none of that mattered. I was with my friends and I knew this was going to be one of those memories I cherished with them. We took way too many selfies and laughed until we cried. We smiled so much, our cheeks hurt for days after.

When things don’t go according to my plan, I used to get panicky. My face and chest turned red. As if it wasn’t blatantly clear that I do not have it together, here is the big red sign. I would pace the room, trying to plan my way out of whatever mess I’m in. As crazy as I looked, I have gotten really good at getting myself out of sticky situations. I am pretty good at finding solutions when it seems like there isn’t one. I might have looked like a nut job for about 5 minutes, but I can pull something fantastic out of it. Now that I’m older, I’ve learned to do this without turning red and pacing the room.

One of my biggest struggles is discovering what You are trying to teach me when things don’t go according to my plan. I’ve realized that every time something happens that I wasn’t ready for, it has prepared me for something else down the road. I don’t believe that things just happen. I believe that there is reason for the madness. I believe there is a purpose for everything. It’s all part of a grand design. The older I get, the more I start to see You in literally everything.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for teaching to seek you in all the uncertainty of life. Thank you for comfort and healing. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for your plans. Thank you for planning that eternity plan and not focusing on my ten year plan. Thank you for when my plan messes up. Thank you for saving me when I lose my balance. Thank you for teaching me obedience. Thank you for giving me open arms to trust and put my faith into. Thank you for being a good good father. Thank you for who you are. Thank you for loving the way you do. Thank you for being perfect in all of your ways. Thank you for showing me grace when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for having patience with me. Thank you for waiting on me to catch up and to finally understand what you were trying to show me. Thank you for showing me how to love. Thank you for showing me how to trust. Thank you for showing me how to have faith. Thank you for giving me purpose. 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.