You feel that fire you been missin’.

It’s no secret that it’s been pretty dark recently. I’m coming out of the other side of it now and things are looking a little brighter. So, let me tell You about my day, Father, even though You already knew what happened and You were there, I know You like to hear from me. I’m trying to do a better job of talking to You more because it’s just plain nice to hear from people you love.

This week is teacher appreciation week at work, so I got spoiled yesterday. And this morning when I regretted skipping breakfast, what comes around the corner? Panera bagels for the teachers. And we both know Panera bagels are my fave.

I also had a doctor’s appointment for my physical for foster parenting classes. I was just going to come back after, but they said I could have the rest of the afternoon. So ya girl was very gracious and went wild with errands.

I usually have this little bitty issue seeing doctors and mechanics because both of them tell you something needs fixin and it’s gonna cost an arm and a leg. Not today Satan. When I go to the after hours clinic, I have to get my blood pressure checked three times because I get that pesky little “white coat” syndrome where I get all nervous. (Part of this anxiety comes from having to tell a stranger why I’m on an anxiety/depression med in the first place and having to retell my story). But not when I go to my regular doctor! They congratulate me on how good my blood pressure is. Like yass home girl is not stressed today, thank you! Then Dr. Nice Man comes in saying heyyy friend. Like yasss this is why I come here. No stress. I give updates on my life and any stress I’m facing, which recently has been a lot. But when it’s all said and done, Dr. Nice Man goes: how’d you get such a good life? Yasss fam. My answer: I am blessed. It ain’t me.

Here I am thinking of stress and Dr. Nice Man saw a good life. And it is, such a good life. I have had some dark days lately, but it’s such a good life. Thank you Father so much for that reminder. I am so blessed. So let’s continue this list of blessings today. I didn’t have to pay for the physical for some reason unbeknownst to me. I got my tag renewed and my driver’s license renewed. With. No. Line. I got my finger printing done. With. No. Line. I got my oil changed and tires rotated. And it’s Lady’s Day so I got a $5 discount. And I found my gift certificate for a free oil change (it wasn’t expired like I thought!). Thank you Express Oil Change. I got dinner with the fam. I’m half-way through book 3 of the series I’m reading. My car insurance got discounted another $5 a month today.

Did I forget to mention that Dr. Nice Man wrote at the bottom of my physical that he recommends me to become a foster parent “without reservation”? like thank You Jesus I needed that today.

And instead of moping around the house this weekend because I’m not a mom yet, I am going to be sitting beside the pool (probably finishing my You’re Going to Be Okay book that my Jesus friend sent me-she is always pointing me back to You). Things are not happening on my timeline and things are not going according to my plan, but God, You are so much better.

So, here is my prayer today. I am going to be a mom, one day, maybe not this weekend, but some day. But even if I never make it, even if I’m never a mom, You are still good. It’s still a good life. Thank you for good days and for the bad ones. Thank you for little blessings and big miracles. Thank you for being near. Thank you for creating such a beautiful world. Thank you for hugs and I love yous. Thank you for phone calls and texts checking in on me. Thank you for errands and thank you for the time to run them. Thank you for bluer skies and music on the radio to sing along to. Thank you for your word. Thank you for reminders of your love. Most importantly thank you for listening and loving me. Thank you for wanting a relationship with me. Thank you for building trust and for pursing me. Thank you for being patient with me and holding me together. Thank you for being 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.

And I will follow You, my friend.

I keep getting reminders of Your faithfulness. You meet our needs. Every time. On my own, I can’t even fathom a way. But thank You so much for never leaving me to do things on my own. You move mountains. You calm the storms. You are with me in the fire, in the flood, in the lion’s den, in the prison cells. You call me to walk on water. You tell me to put my staff down and part a sea. You give me instructions to build an ark when there are no signs of rain.

As I read my You’re Loved No Matter What book this morning, there was a section on usefulness. Holley Gerth wrote: “The bread feeds a family. The clay becomes a pot. The wooden table provides a space for daily life to happen. When you do what God asks you to do today, you are useful to him.” Again, I’m the girl in the back, say it again for me, Lord. My sweet Father in Heaven, You use even my smallest steps for Your glory. I am in such of awe of You.

Every single day, I see something else that You designed that connects to something else. Your timing literally astounds me. I will buy a devotion book because I think I need to read it now, but then I don’t actually pick it up to read for a few more months. Then it turns out, that was exactly when I needed those words. Or I’ll stop reading it for a hot minute and somehow pick it up again right when I’m going through what the devotion is teaching. Or the Sunday School lesson hits home way too much to be a coincidence, meanwhile it’s on the same lesson that my devotion book is discussing. Or when I open my Bible and staring back at me, is not what I was looking for, but everything I needed. Most of the time it’s when I think I’m the one teaching, and I realize I’m the one learning still.

Abba, the way You have carefully crafted each and every moment of this life is breathtakingly beautiful. You use even the tiniest, most insignificant moments and turn them into Heaven shaking moments.

So, here is my prayer. I pray you guide me your way. I pray I put my feet to moving. I pray I spread your love you gave to me. I pray I am your hands and feet. I pray I never take for granted who you are. I pray I keep seeking your truth. I pray I keep looking for you everywhere in my little world. I pray you take my hands and I pray you take my heart. Thank you for your provision, for your protection, for your plans. Thank you for your glory. Thank you for teaching me to trust and obey. Thank you for teaching me to make disciple makers. Thank you for light in the darkest moments. Thank you for shining my way back to you. I pray I take you everywhere with me. Thank you for your goodness. 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 will boldly come running straight to the One.

Blameless. I used to hate that word. Because I couldn’t even fathom how You could make me blameless. I carried so much guilt and shame that it created this backwards sense of false humility. I couldn’t possibly be blameless. I couldn’t even say the word.

This week I was craving some time with You, Lord. I was feeling pretty unlovable this week, but knowing it was a lie. So, I started reading: You’re Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth. I needed someone to speak some serious truth and life into my pretty little stubborn, lie-believing head. And boy, did I get it.

The section on switching from the guilt cycle to the grace cycle, hit me right on the head. Control is not safety and love is not earned. And that’s the truth. I can hear You whispering straight to my heart: my dear child, you are safe and you are loved. Father, sometimes, I try so hard to feel safe and earn love through obedience and service that I lose all track of You and the whole point of obedience and service.

I run from relationships, from intimacy, from love, from security, from peace. The very things I crave. Because of shame and guilt. Because of that pesky blameless word.

That word blameless does not mean that I get off scott free, without consequences. In fact, I was taught as a child that as a Christian, I will be held to a higher standard. I will not be able to get away things like it appears others will. The book I’m reading reiterated that message with the word: conviction. The book re-taught me that childhood lesson. Conviction is a call to stop the negative behavior, it is not guilt and shame. Conviction is a pull on the heart to stop seeking the dark and stop running. Because of conviction, I can do a heart check and ask for forgiveness. I can hear that still, small voice. I can seek the light. I can seek light. and love. Because I am forgiven and free. I am holy and righteous. I am worthy. I am blameless. I am loved. I am Your child. My name is written in the book. I am Yours.

As I read the end of the chapter, the last section is called: Stop Apologizing for Who You Are. I literally wrote in my book: say it again for the girl in the back. Then I realized I was the girl in the back, trying to minimize my successes, trying to downplay my gifts, and trying to skim over my strengths with, “Oh, that was nothing.” I thought the smaller I make myself, the less I could get hurt. Which in reality, hurt me and those around me that I was hiding from. But really, I was only making You smaller, Lord, by minimizing what You’ve given me. I should be shoutin from the mountain tops that I am Yours.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I let those around me carry my heart to you even when I can’t. I pray that I help carry the hearts of those around me to you too. I pray that I spend my whole life carrying my future husband’s heart to you even if I haven’t met him yet. I pray I show appreciation and gratitude for the love I am given. I pray that I remember that John 3:16 verse that I’ve been repeating since the 90’s. I pray that I remember I am so loved. I pray that I start walking like I’m loved, talking like I’m loved, leading like I’m loved, breathing like I’m loved. 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.