I gave it up and told the Lord that He can have it now.

Hannah Brencher, who I might stalk on social media and have seen her talks on more than one occasion, posted: “steal this prayer: Lord, place me where I’ll grow the most. Teach me to love the dirt that transforms me. Give me eyes that see the golden threads in my pain. Let me be a lighthouse in this valley. Let it be so.”

I read that and I was like all ready. Like Ok, God, yes, place me where I’ll grow the most. Then, wait. Just a doggone minute. Home girl, say what? Teach me to LOVE the dirt that transforms me. Nope. Not happening. Shut ya mouth. Excuse me. What now? Blesssssss. Ok, God, I hear You. For real this time. I hear You. Love the dirt. Man, sometimes, my human little brain cannot fathom the love You want for us or through us.

Then I have days like today, where Lord, You are knocking on my heart and say: but that’s my child too. That person that abused me. That person that hurt me. That person that cut me off in traffic. That person that shortchanged me at the store. That person that wanted to argue with me just for the sake of arguing. That person backseat driving. That person that makes my blood just boil. That person with trust issues for dayssss and walls so high they can’t even see anymore. That’s my child too. 

Then I realize I am all of those things too. I hurt people. I cut them off in traffic. I make mistakes. I interrupt. I wince when others drive. And best believe I got trust issues and walls. Lord, I am no better than anyone else, and yet, You forgave me. Even as I typed this, I want to defend that one time I cut someone off in traffic and explain it away. Lord, forgive my defensive heart. I forget sometimes that I am a Kingdom Woman. I heard this sermon, called Marked, from Pastor Michael Todd. Lord have mercy. I am marked. I am Yours. I am forgiven and I have the power to forgive others as You forgave me. I do not have to live this way. I have been given freedom. My pastor has been in Romans lately and it just keeps applying to my life, over and over. Romans 8:15 says: You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear: instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, Abba, Father!

So, here is my prayer today. I am changed. I am marked. I am a Kingdom woman. I pray that I remember that. I pray that I remember who I belong to. I pray that I remember I have a spirit of adoption, not fear. I pray that I continue to forgive and grow every single day. I pray that I learn to mature in my walk with you every single day. I pray that I remember those even the dirt transforms me. I pray that I learn to love the dirt. Thank you for allowing me to come to you with all my walls, baggage, and dirt. Thank you for loving me too much to let me stay that way. Thank you for knocking down my walls gently and gracefully. Thank you for unpacking my baggage and carrying it for me. Thank you for letting me pick up the cross. Thank you cleaning the dirt off me and letting it transform me. Lord, heal this defensive heart of mine that pushes others away. I pray that my heart is welcoming to others and does not become hard-heartened. I pray that I show your love with those around me. I pray that I am always pointing right back to you. I pray that I apply what I’ve learned from the pastor in Romans. I pray for what I learned in Pastor Michael Todd’s sermon. I pray that I continue to obey your commands. I pray that I continue to trust you. I pray that I depend on you, not my own understanding. Thank you for working miracles in my life. I pray that I become an answer to a problem. I pray that I continue to serve. I pray that I torment what torments my leaders. I pray that you keep working on my heart. I pray that I hear your commands. I pray that I spend more time, quiet and still, listening for your commands. I pray for humility. I pray that I give you my heart. I pray that I stop giving power to satan’s lies. I pray that I fill my life with your word. 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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I’m on my way to Heaven, would you like to come along?

I didn’t know where to begin this one. I didn’t know how to start or even where to start. A friend of mine shared their story with me so I wanted to honor that trust by bringing it to the very person who wrote my story, Lord, You. Father, I think the very least I can do is to trust You. A sweet preacher in Chelsea, AL taught us, a few Sundays ago, that: “no one can sing my song but me.” He said: “you are a somebody because He knows your name, He knows your song.” 

Ok, so here goes nothing. Or everything…

I was sexually abused by more than one person, in more than one way.

All before I even started high school. I wanted to pretend this wasn’t real. Sometimes, it still doesn’t feel real. I almost convinced myself that the nightmares, were just nightmares. I started the healing process through counseling. I started to see things more clearly. Some of the symptoms that I had just chalked up to normal life were actually signs of PTSD and Disassociation. I got wayyy more signs of disassociation than I would like to admit. Ya girl got issues.

But You, my God, are so patient. so kind. so loving. You were there through it all. The more I have gotten to know You, the more I can see You through all of it.

My favorite verse is Isaiah 43:2 which says: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. If left to my own devices, I would be drowned, consumed, overwhelmed, and burned. I would have never made it through the second grade. But my God, that is the exact year I got saved. That is the exact year, I walked down that church aisle, asking You to save me. I always forget the first verse which says: But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Lord, not only did You create me and form me. You redeemed me. You call me by name. When Satan calls me by my sin, You call me by my name! I am free from the wrath by the power of the blood. I saved this picture on my phone that says: “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.”

I started the Redeemed study by Angela Thomas-Pharr. In the first part, she asks us to fill in the blank for: “I’ve given up trying…” I finished it with: “to walk like this.” I am not carrying this baggage anymore. I am unloading these suitcases. I am not carrying this weight with me any longer. This guilt. This shame. This pride. This need for control. This darkness. I let everyone else in my life set the boundaries, so then I put up walls in response to my boundaries being crossed. What I should have been doing is letting You, Lord, set up my perimeters and focused on You. Because when I have my eyes on You, I’m walking on water. When I focus on everything around me, I’m sinking. Lord, I crave the light because there is a darkness in me, darker than even I know. In those broken places, is the exact places that the light gets in. In those broken places, is the exact places that we can help someone else. The exact place that I can chose to share Your glory.

When I lost my friend, I asked You a lot of why questions. Through Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkheurst, I realized that was the wrong question. The right question is: what am I gonna do with what I have been given, what I have left? In the Redeemed study, I am learning to ask: who You are and what You’ve said. In Unwrap the Bible, Beth Moore said: “God is going to use one question to lead to blessings in another question.” 

I have this question written in my journal that says: how do you design something, knowing it’ll fail? Lord, You created me, You designed every hair on my head. You knew I would fail before I even took my first breath. But I think that is the point. I think that right there is redemption. When I am broken way beyond repair. When I fall to my knees. That right there is exactly where I need to be. Because right there is exactly where You fix me. Because right there is exactly where I see You work.

Steven Furtick said: “whether we know it or not, we are passing on our perspective to those we influence. And whatever is not healed is handed down. I can’t chose what I’m handed but I can choose what I hand back.” In The Gospel of Mark, Lisa Harper told us that: “Jesus knows exactly where you are. Jesus knows how heart-broken you are, He’s been there. He’s been segregated and alone in the wilderness, facing wild beasts. He knows exactly where you hurt.” Lisa said we don’t have to clean ourselves up to come to You. But my God, You love us too much to leave us that way. You meet us there and cover us.

I have always been a very organized planner. I have my five year plan but I also have a ten year plan and a fifteen year plan. I have certainly changed my plans over the years. 1st grade me wanted to serve You and be a missionary. Best believe, I had a plan for it too. As I got older, I wanted to be a teacher. In middle school, ya girl watched Legally Blonde and got a little power hungry. Ya girl wanted to be a lawyer then a judge then swoop right into the supreme court. In high school, I came back around to teaching. In college, I switched majors to Communications. Now I’ve gone and started grad school in human services counseling in christian ministries.

I tend to get overly excited and put my cart before my horse. But no where, on any of my plans, was any of the bad stuff. Ok. I planned perfect fairy tales with only enough realism approved by yours truly. The only thing that has remained a constant is my want to serve You in whatever capacity I could find. Lysa Terkheurst said: “remember this: God is working things out. He is present. His plan is still good and He can still be trusted. I used to think that being in ministry made me more of a target for the enemy’s attacks. But now I think God saw the attacks coming and made sure I was in ministry. Having my heart and mind constantly focused on God’s Truths has changed the way I see and process everything.”

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I lead with kindness and grace. I pray that I am showing others who you are. I pray that I am showing others what you do. I pray that I am showing others when to lean on you. I pray that I am showing others where you’re leading. I pray that I am showing others why I chose to walk with you. I pray that I am showing others how to follow you. I pray that every word in my story point to you. Father, even when I am not present, you are. Father, even when my plans are no good at all, you are. Father, even when I fail miserably, you can still be trusted. Kelly Minter said: “who Jesus has called you to be is the most exciting and liberating identity you can have.” Abba, thank you for reminding me that my identity is found in you. Thank you for reminding me that my identity is not what happened to me, what I’ve lost, or even what I’ve done. Hanna Brencher said: “one day you’ll be out of this. And all the things you felt-all the places you went in the dark-will help someone come out of the woods too.” Lord, open my eyes to the needs of those around me. Niki Rowe wrote: “like a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all; knew of her light.” I pray that everyone around me sees your light in me. Lord, I chose you. I chose grace over wrath. I chose life over death. I chose light over dark. I chose trust over fear. I chose your plan over mine. 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.

The King of Heaven wants me.

On Friday, Jordan Lee posted: “Throw your hair up in a messy bun and go do some Kingdom work.” Lorrddd, have mercy. That is exactly what I wanna do for the rest of my life. Psalm 119:73 says: Your hands made me and formed; give me understanding to learn Your commands. That is all I wanna do. Renee Swope said: “We can find the plans God has for us when we surrender our plans to Him.” Proverbs 16:3 says: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

My plans have changed so many times over the years. Lisa Bevere said: “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: you, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.” Boy Howdy. I need that reality check daily. When I was a little kid, I played school with my brother and sister. I was the teacher, the librarian, and administrators. I was a one woman school. In the first grade, my parents took me to a Christian school and I immediately fell in love and told them I wanted to be a missionary. In the seventh grade, I decided I wanted to be like Elle Woods and go to Law School. In twelfth grade, I was back to the beginning with teaching. In college, I changed to Communications. No matter what I wanted to do, the common thread was that I wanted to help people. I wanted to do Your work. I wanted to work for the Kingdom.

I saw this Hallmark movie, Remembering Sunday, and one of them said: “I know it’s not a big dream.” The other one responded: “But it is to you, so show it some respect and get organized.” That’s what I’m doing. I’m getting organized. Lord, my name will probs never be in lights. I will probs never be rich. I’m not concerned with that anymore. I heard it said: “Life is more than money and things. It’s about doing life together and serving each other. With Christ at the center.” What I want is to work for Your kingdom. I don’t want to just work hard to the best of my abilities. I want to work with all of my abilities. I want to give it everything I’ve got. I used to be so concerned with recognition and people seeing the good I do. Lord, I’m working on that. Hannah Brencher said: “No one wins when you only live to please the world. The world doesn’t need to be pleased, it needs to be changed.” She also said: “Your job, at its core is to love people.” I heard someone explain it this way: our job as Christians isn’t seeing flowers bloom. Sometimes our job is to dig the hole for the seed. Other times it is to plant the seed. Sometimes it is to water the seed. Others it is to fertilize the soil. Our job is to be Your hands and feet. Sometimes we don’t get to see the flowers bloom. Sometimes we don’t get a thank you for doing our jobs. Alison Tiemeyer posted a quote saying: “You are planting seeds and fertilizing hearts. It’s Kingdom work and it is most worthy of courage.” When I get to Heaven, I want to see a bunch of Your flowers. I wanna hear Matthew 25:23 which says: His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’ I wanna sing: “So this world has lost it’s grip on me.”

So, this is my prayer. Lord, last week, I prayed with Tenth Avenue North’s song: Overflow. I wanna do that again this week. “Out of the dust, you created us. We are the breath of Father, Spirit, and Son. We’re free to breathe. We’re free to move. Life is a gift that we give back to you. Life is our gift we give back to you. You set our hearts in motion. You’re alive inside us. 
Our hands open up. We are made in the image of a perfect union. We receive your love and overflow.” I wanna pray the words from their song: Control too. “God, you don’t need me, but somehow you want me. Oh how you love me, somehow that frees me to take my hands off of my life and the way it should go.” Lord, I pray for understanding. I pray that I commit to you. I pray I surrender to you. I pray that I get organized and get to work. I pray that you are at the center. I pray that I plant seeds. I pray that I do everything for your glory. 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 were here.

I called my daddy after class today and he starts asking me about my day and my plans for the day. Then he starts talking about Public Relations and goes on and on about my major. I was like “waittttttttttttt a minute. That’s what I’ve been telling you for almost 4 years now. You’re telling me you were listening the whole time?” This man has infuriated me for 4 years telling me stuff and not understanding what my major is and saying all this hogwash just to get under my skin and letttttt me tell You, Lord. It worked. But You already knew that. You’ve heard my prayers.

My daddy’s response to my question was priceless. He said: “I was trying to toughen you up. I had to make sure this is really what you wanted to do with the rest of your life. If you can defend yourself and sell yourself to me then you’ll have no problem doing it for employers.” He tells me he always knew what I was capable of and what I could do. Then he ended that conversation by saying: “I’m on your team. I always have been.” Shut the front door. Ok.

Fathers show love in some weird ways sometimes.

I spent my Valentine’s Day working, but before I went to work I watched Woodlawn because I had a free credit on Redbox and I hadn’t seen it yet. I thought it was a movie about football, but it’s never just about football is it? Football is about so much more and so was that movie. The movie is about love, Your love. In the movie, the preacher reads John 3:16 which says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Then he says if you’re a given a gift, you don’t leave it wrapped. You open it. He said God gave you a gift why are you leaving it wrapped up?

The one question sent my mind running. Then I remembered this speech that Hannah Brencher gave when she said: “I want to fly. I want to breathe. I want to leave this place better than it left me.” I always agreed with her and wanted the same thing. I want to use my gift to make a difference. I want to use what You gave me to bring the world closer to You. I want to share Your love. I want to be a part of campaigns that change opinions and perspectives. I want to be a part of Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful or Coca-Cola’s #MakeItHappy or Gillette’s #UseYourAnd or Always’ #LikeAGirl or Verizon’s Inspire Her Mind campaign or their Powerful Answers campaign. I want to take Hannah’s speech where she told us to be present and intentional and run with it. I want to be part of the change.

In Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, we learned about how David was handpicked by You. He didn’t look like a king. In fact, he was completely overlooked. You had a purpose for him though. You prepared him in the fields everyday. Even after You chose him, You were still preparing him in the fields every single day. He had no idea what You had planned for Him. I saw this picture on Facebook that said: “Long before Zacceaus couldn’t see Jesus that tree was already planted to meet his need.” You have been fulfilling our needs before we even realized they were needs. You chose us. You made a plan for us. You gave us gifts. You are preparing us every step of the way even when we don’t realize it or even understand what You’re doing. This girl tweeted: “How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies and puppies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.” 

Romans 12:6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for being here. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for orchestrating a plan for me. Thank you giving me gifts. Thank you for preparing me. Thank you for fulfilling my needs. Lord, I pray that I use my gifts for your glory. I pray that I work as hard as I can to do what you created me for. I pray that I follow your plan. I pray that I share your love. I pray that I shine a light for you. I pray that everything I do, I do it for you. I pray that I make a difference. I pray that I leave this world a little better. I pray that I mean something for you. I pray that the hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave of your love. I pray that because I was here people will know you were 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.

 

 

People think I’m lucky But I know it’s grace.

I have about 345232 questions running through my head. I am not a fan of uncertainty. I like actions, plans, steps, and lists. I like things to fit into organized boxes. This week is challenging me in more ways than one. I want to know exactly when and how things are going to work out. Those are my exact worries right now. Then I saw the Proverbs 31 Facebook update which was literally my feelings and anxiety at the moment. Renee Swope posted: “Faith means obeying God even when all my questions aren’t answered.” Allllllll Right. Way to call me out by name there. Middle named me and everything. I see what you did you there. Lord, your timing is absolutely astounding. It never ceases to amaze me.

A friend of mine posted Isaiah 26:3 today which says: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. I went on to read verse 4 which says: Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. Ok. I needed that today. I needed some peace and reassurance. I don’t like when things are all up in the air and I don’t have a plan, but that’s what the struggle is right now. I have to change my perspective. I needed to be reminded that You are everlasting strength. I needed this lesson in trusting You.

Hannah Brencher posted a while ago on Instagram: “Because only in the darkness do we know light. Only, and only, if ever there was a word called ‘darkness’ would there be a reason to create another word to counter that word called ‘light.’ And maybe that’s just life: patches of darkness and patches of light. Sometimes we see it all so clearly. Sometimes we don’t know the way. Sometimes we grab the hands of others too tightly and they’re just thankful – just so thankful – that you’re finally grabbing on and needing to be held.” I definitely do not know my way right now and I am totally grabbing the hands of those around me. I struggle with that too because I’m stubborn and I don’t like to ask for help, but sometimes I just cannot do it alone and I don’t have to. I am blessed beyond measure by those that love me. Genesis 1:3-4 says: Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. He separated the light from the darkness. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that.” I heard that “sometimes God lets you be in a situation that only he can fix, so you will discover that he is the one who can fix it.” Casting Crowns has this song called Just Be Held and I was reminded of the lyrics today: “If your eyes are on the storm, you’ll wonder if I love you still, but if your eyes are on the cross, you’ll know I always have and I always will.” Those words meant so much to me today.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I look to you. I pray that I concentrate on the cross and not my problems. Lord, I know you love me and I know you have me. I know you’re taking care of me. I pray that you separate the light from the darkness. I pray that I see the light. I pray that I keep grabbing your hands and the hands of my loved ones who are going above and beyond to help me. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that I give you my struggles. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for teaching me. I pray that I get my peace and strength from you. I pray that I put my faith in you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I pray that I continue to see how blessed I am, even when I struggle. I know that you have a plan for my life and you are working for me. Thank you for that.  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 exactly where I’m supposed to be now.

John F. Kennedy said: “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” I definitely learned that in college. Being a member of different organizations taught me to leave things better than I found them.

During my first Student Organization Leadership Day (SOLD) conference, Hannah Brencher spoke. (btw I loveeeee her! She is phenomenal and the things she has accomplished have just blown me away!) I saw her again at Alpha Gam’s International Convention last summer. She has this talk on how to “get relentless.” Every time I heard those two words, I took away something new.

South held two SOLD conferences and I had the opportunity to attend both years. It’s only one day, but you get sooo much of it. Both years they chose really great key speakers. At my second SOLD conference, James T. Robilotta shared a quote from Mumford and Sons about “where you invest your love, you invest your life.” I definitely tried to do that. I learned a lot from those conferences. Especially when planning, which I did a lot of, in the organizations that I was a part of.

  1. Plan early. (Things happen. Back up plans are essential, sometimes the back up plan turns out better than the original.)
  2. Create a realistic budget.
  3. Publicize. (From making flyers or hand-outs to emails to social media and chalking the campus to sheet signs…Ohhh the sheet signs! I didn’t even know that was a thing until college, but I learned real fast how to paint one of those.)
  4. Evaluate then say thank you. Make sure to credit where it’s due. Nothing happens alone.
  5. Build positive brand image. (This is my favorite part of public relations. I love that everything is connected and works together. I love when things match the values and heart of an organization.)

I’ve definitely learned a lot that I know helped me in those organizations. I know they will help me in my career life too. I am so thankful to South Alabama for the opportunities I have and for all I’m learning here, inside the classroom and outside. Now that I know this is where You wanted me to be, here’s my Camp Rock jam!

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for leading me to this university. Thank you for the opportunities I have here. Thank you for giving me the courage to speak. Thank you for helping me find a home here. Thank you for giving me the confidence I needed. Thank you for showing me the light. Thank you for guiding my path. Thank you for being the voice in my head and showing me the words to the song I was meant to sing. Thank you for creating a purpose in me. I pray that I continue to follow 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.

He’s already there.

“You need to stop holding yourself back. The pity party must cease and you must de-invite everyone to your darkest parts. You need to stop thinking you have never deserved good things for your life.”

Hannah Brencher has done it again. She always seems to know the exact words I need to hear. Yesterday, I was supposed to be packing. Part of me didn’t wanna pack because I’m scared to start the next chapter. (Even though the next chapter already started and I should just get a move on.) Mostly yesterday’s mood was because I threw a pity party and not only did I throw one that lasted the entire day, I invited people to it. (I don’t do anything half way so that pity party was pretty epic and spiraled pretty fast.) I felt like I didn’t deserve how good things were. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of all the good in my life. I am a sinner. I made mistakes. I hurt people I care about. I had a whole list. (I’m telling you I was in a terribleeee mood.) I felt like I was being punished, but the truth is, no one was punishing me except for me. I was waiting for someone to fix me and put the broken pieces together.

What I apparently forgot, is that You already did that. You already forgave me. You already put me back together. You already loved me. You already found me. You already rescued me. You already have plans for my life. You already know when I’m gonna need You. You are already there.

Lord, help me to forgive myself. I hold onto petty little mistakes for far too long and let them eat at me. I hold onto every single thing I do wrong. Lord, help me to let go. The only one that can control my mood is me. I need to stop waiting for someone else to make me happy and just be happy. The only one that can comfort me is You.

“Jesus replace my anxious thoughts with Your truth. Soothe my restless heart with Your peace. Help me find comfort in Your presence.”

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I remember that your plan is greater than my own. I pray that I remember there is a purpose for every good and bad thing in my life. I pray I remember there is a purpose for every minute of every day and I shouldn’t waste anymore. I pray that I learn from my mistakes. I pray that today is a better day. I pray that I let go of the anxious thoughts and focus on you. I pray that I let go of all the negative thoughts. I pray that I am filled with your love. Thank you for already being there and already forgiving me and already loving 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.

It’s the prayer in an empty room.

Yesterday, was not my finest. It was one thing after another that messed up. I was riding in the car and on the radio some guy was telling a story and told this person that sometimes the Devil throws punches because you’re special. It reminded of a part in a Taylor Swift song: “People throw rocks at things that shine.” Sometimes people hurt our feelings. What matters is how we react. Michael Jordan said: “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” Lord, we can’t control what others do or say to us, but we can control what we say and do. Trent Shelton said: “You’ll never be enough to somebody who can’t recognize your worth. You can’t make them see what they choose to stay blind to.” There is no point in concentrating on what others see in us. What is important is what You in us.

When I got home, on my desk was this quote I had written down a while ago. It said: “It’s ok to be a glow stick, sometimes we need to break before we shine.” Lord, sometimes we need the bad days to remind us how good the good days are or so we can be reminded that there is still good in the bad days. Sometimes, we need to fall on our knees before You in order to realize what’s important. Taylor Swift said: “There’s a fire inside of you that can’t help but shine through.” Even on our bad days we can still shine for You.

In a conference, I attended, where Hannah Brencher was speaking, she read this quote that has stuck with me. “Bless me with enough foolishness to believe that I can make a difference in the world; so that I can do what others claim cannot be done.” I loved that so much! Lord, You are teaching me to be more and do more, every single day.

Max Lucado said: “Live in such a way that the world will be glad you did.” Changing the world doesn’t take much. All people have to do is change their thoughts which will change their actions. Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” All it takes to change the world is really quite simple, just show more kindness. All we have to do is show a little more love. All we have to do is show a little more of the love and kindness that You showed us.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I learn to show more kindness. I pray that I am nicer to those around me. I pray that I am more patient and forgiving. I pray that I am more compassionate and encouraging. Thank you for holding me up. Thank you for giving me my special gifts and talents. I pray that I use them for your will. I pray that I show more of you. I pray that I remember even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference. 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.

We are one body.

When I was a kid, we used to sing this song in church. We would all hold hands across the pews and sing our hearts out. It’s one of my favorite memories. We did it practically every Sunday, which made me totally happy. I felt empowered after and ready to go out into the world. I have tried to find the song everywhere. All I can remember is “we are one body.” It made so much sense to me that we were one body. We were extensions of You. We were Your hands and feet. We were sent here to share Your love. What I like most is that we are one body. We are united through You. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Casting Crowns has a similar song.

Colossians 3:15 says: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” So, since it’s Thanksgiving. Here is what I’m thankful for:

1. My family, my friends, my sisters, my person, my soulmate, my littles, and all the lovely people in my life.

2. The University of South Alabama and all the wonderful people that work there.

3. My country, the great state of Alabama, and all the brave men and women in uniform.

4. Country music and southern accents.

5. Albert, my beautiful car.

6. The Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation and all the amazing people contributing to the world’s work.

7. Faith, Hope, and Love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

8. Taylor Swift for showing me it’s ok to dance everywhere you go and fall in love with everyone you meet.

9. Hannah Brencher for inspiring me to bring more love to the world.

10. Miranda Lambert for showing me how to be strong and kind at the same time.

11. Dolly Parton for showing me how to stay humble and have big hair.

12. My life. I’m thankful that I’m here and I get to continue to use my talents and gifts for You.

So, that is my prayer. I pray that you use me. I pray that we are one body. I pray that your arms are reaching. I pray that your hands are healing. I pray that your words are teaching. I pray that your feet are going. I pray that your love is showing them the way. I pray that I use Psalm 119:105, which is: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I pray that I keep listening to you. I pray that I keep seeing you. Thank you for sending your son for us. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for making me who I am. I pray that I use the talents and gifts you gave me to bring glory to you. I pray that I show more love. I pray that I show more kindness. I pray that I show more compassion. I pray that I show more generosity. I pray that I continue to be thankful for everything around 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.

There must be something in the water.

How to be Awesome part 3 is “Don’t Poison Your Well.” She says that we’re vessels trying to put forth this good, clean water and the 3 main ways that we poison our well and sabotage ourselves is through negative people, negative thoughts, and negative actions.

I fill my well by reading. Whether it’s christian fiction romance books or some article on new public relations tools on Pinterest. (I love music and movies but I typically pick the sappy, emotional ones so I don’t think that qualifies as filling my well.) When my well is getting really low then I pull out my favorite verse, which is, Isaiah 43:2 which says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” It reminds me that I’m never alone, no matter what I’m going through or where I am. You are with me always.

My affirmation to replace the negative thoughts is famous quotes. I post them all over my room. I have canvas’ covering my wall. My newest one is “Darling, you’re adequate. While dancing. While speaking. While ugly crying. While spitting game. While struggling. While fighting. While laughing like a lunatic. While singing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs. While slamming the door and walking away. In every crook of you stands some sort of adequacy that the world would do anything to keep you unconvinced of.” Hannah Brencher posted that on Instagram one time and it stuck with me. I really liked that word adequate. I looked up synonyms for it, which are: satisfactory, acceptable, sufficient, and enoughThat word hit home because I constantly feel like I’m not enough. I identify with the way we poison our own well. I am my own worst enemy. I let that one negative thing ruin my whole day way too often. I dwell on it and let it sit there for days in the back of my mind, reminding me that I am not enough.

“So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be been something in the water
Oh there must be something in the water
Oh there must be something in the water
Oh there must be something in the water”

So that is my prayer today. I pray that I let you fill my well. I pray that I stop poisoning my own well with my thoughts and actions. I pray that I remember Carrie Underwood’s song. I pray that I remember that you saved me. That I am enough for you. That I am adequate for you. That I am acceptable and sufficient for you. I pray that I keep trying to be better because we are all “works in progress” but that I also learn to be satisfied with the progress. I pray that I remember that you created every single hair on my head for a purpose. I pray that I remember to fall on my knees in worship for you. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that I keep coming back 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.