You don’t need me at all but You couldn’t love me more.

I went to GoTell, this past week. I got my batteries recharged. I have been struggling lately with setting up the appropriate boundaries. I have heard like a hundred times what Tim Hawkins, Kristina Kuzmic, and so many more have said: “I don’t want to be your friend, I have friends, I am your parent.” I believe it 100%. I am not a parent, but I work with kids and youth. It’s hard for me understand where the lines end and begin of parenting and teaching. Though I mean to, sometimes, I do not set up strict enough boundaries. It’s not because I want them to like me. I learned that as President in my sorority, that I do not need everyone to like me. What I struggle with, is learning where my service to others ends and where everything else begins.

I have never had a problem setting up boundaries with boys. I never dated much, but every time I did, it just showed me more and more to give my heart to You, Lord, because You will put it in the right hands. Every time I tried to take my heart back and give it away myself, I put it in the wrong hands. Ever single time. But that’s a topic for another day.

At GoTell, the Benham Brothers spoke. They had this whole spiel, which was fab. But one line stuck out the most for me. “Boundaries bring blessings. Removing them bring burdens.” Ohhhhh Lord have mercy. Your timing. Just as boundaries was a topic at the forefront of my mind. Now they were addressing them back to the boy thing, but I heard You, Lord.

Then You hit the nail on the head, the last day. Brother Algernon Tennyson talked about how love is a sacrifice. It’s service. Sometimes we have to be tough enough to soften hard hearts. Boy howdy. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. I have always believed that love is service, but what I still need to learn is that sometimes, I have to be tough. I needed someone to point out that service is love and the tough stuff. I am not scared of the tough stuff, I just need to learn to be tougher. I am so concerned with learning to be in service that I forget sometimes that service sometimes requires me to be tough, because otherwise I am doing a dis-service. He was almost in tears preaching about how if someone wants to get to his kids, they are gonna have to go through him. I mean he was dancing and getting pumped up and like completely a dad. I started crying too because if he gets so emotionally invested in his kids, then I am in complete awe of You, my Heavenly Father, because how much You must love us.

So, here is my prayer today. Father, teach me to set up the appropriate boundaries. Lord, I want to share your love. I want to do your work. I want to work for the kingdom. I want to be your hands and feet. I pray you mold me, change me, move me. Lord, whatever the cost, whatever your will. Lord, I pray you guide me. I pray you surround me. I pray you interrupt my comfort zone. I pray you interrupt my life. I pray that I am like the friends of the paralytic we learned about in Bible study. Lord, heal and help those around me because of my faith. I pray that my faith grows and that I go deeper in my walk with you. Lord, I am a mess. I am not qualified to work for you. I got issues. I am so thankful that is not where my story ends. You are the Almighty, you don’t need me, but you want me. Lord, I am in awe of you. Thank you so much for allowing me to serve you. While my love is not perfect and needs work often, Lord, your love is never failing. 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.

Only You can calm a storm.

My Heavenly Father, four years ago, November 6th, I was voting for my very first presidential election with my Alpha Gam sister and Christopher. God, I need You. There were three of us voting that day. This Tuesday, there are only two of us and we’re in separate states this time. And we’re not voting in Mobile in college this time, we’re graduated. I’m gonna need a little hand-holding. Lord, I’m gonna be a little extra fragile, a little bit shaky. But that’s ok because You are the solid rock on which we stand. You have us.

And You have him. He’s standing with You and worshiping You. They told me that I wouldn’t want to celebrate our birthday, but after a year or two, I would want to celebrate for both of us. Our birthday is coming up so I’m thinking about him even more than normal. Time heals, that’s what the experts say. Well, I’m not wearing my heart on my sleeve, ready to fall apart anymore. I’ve put the pieces back together. The truth is, some of the pieces didn’t fit back the same. I am not the same person I was. I am changed because of what I’ve learned and experienced. I hug tighter. I apologize and forgive quicker. I remember to take time to do the small stuff. I make every minute count because they are precious. If he taught me nothing else it was to love You and love politics. I learned to come to You a lot more and a lot sooner.

Which is why I’m here today. I’m praying for this election as it winds down. Deuteronomy 1:13 says: Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ Daniel 2:21 says: He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.

So, here is my prayer. I’m praying for rain in this drought. I pray you keep me calm. I pray that I’m trusting all in you. I pray I’m serving you until the death of me. I pray I just need to step out and step into your flow. I’m praying for my Alpha Gam sister as she votes too. I’m praying for those running in this election. I’m especially praying for Mike Pence for VP. I’ve been praying for that man and I’m rooting for him. I pray you have your hand all over him and everything he does. I’m praying for Mike Pence for the presiding officer of the Senate. I’m praying for his wisdom. I’m praying for his understanding. I’m praying for his experience. I’m praying for all the people volunteering for the elections and voting places. I’m praying for all the people working for the campaigns. Lord, I’m putting everything in your hands. You alone control the course of world events. You alone remove kings. You alone set up kings. You alone give wisdom to the wise. You alone give knowledge to the scholars. Lord, I’m just praying for your work to be done. I pray your will be done. 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 hold on and on and on and on and on.

It’s no secret I have had some slight issues with my car this year. I take full responsibility for last semester, but not this weekend. This time it was out of my control. First it was the belt, then the battery, then we found out the real issue: the alternator.

I am completely fine under pressure. I can handle anything thrown my way. Except that Dodge Nitro. I have no idea what that thing is doing. It is so far out of my wheel of understanding, that it is just sad and pathetic. I am fully capable of taking care of myself, until it comes to dealing with that car. I turn into a crying puddle. I immediately turn into a child and only want my daddy.

I tried to handle it myself. I took it to the mechanic. I was sitting in the waiting room when another mechanic came inside for a water and started making small talk. To be honest, I was in panic mode and couldn’t even hold the conversation. I was glad he just kept talking and I was able to just smile and nod, even though I was holding back tears. Then he started  talking about You, Lord. I started listening a whole lot harder. He said something about how the Devil comes after you when you’re weak and can take the hit. He said when you’ve got the foundation and you’ve got Jesus under you, it’s harder to take you down. That’s some deep stuff for the waiting room.

I know I have the foundation, but sometimes I don’t trust the foundation not to shake underneath me. When Hollyn and Tru sing: “Yeah man, I got issues, I can’t even lie”, I relate to that so much. I jam out to that one line more than any other. My trust issues have trust issues, but I’m trying to work on it.

Today, I was cleaning my room and starting the beginning stages of packing. Leaving college is proving to be a much harder transition than I thought for and my to-do list gets longer every day. I found this narrative essay I wrote in like the 10th grade. Why I even have this in a box of papers at college with me, is beyond me. I am a hoarder. I keep literally everything, but I got rid of an entire trash bag full of things today, so that is progress right? My little said no, that I need to get rid of about 3 or 4 bags full. Ok, so, I’m taking baby steps in my moving process.

Anyways, the narrative was about this girl who was falling in love which was pretty much what all my stories were about back then. Part of the essay was so bad, it was laughable. I mean I literally laughed out loud. The story was also about her trusting You and Your plan. She was lost and had no idea what was happening in her life and what direction her life was going. What I thought was an essay about a girl falling in love, was about her relationship with You. The story was so much bigger than what my little 16-year old self could even fathom and I had no idea how much I would relate to it now, as I am getting ready for my college graduation. Well, not the love story part because that is not even close to my life right now, but the learning to trust You part.

I relate to the girl now more than I ever thought possible back then. So, I’m gonna hold on to that story. I am gonna hold on to a little bit of the 16-year old girl who wrote the story. I am gonna hold on to the 16-year old girl who was bold enough to write down her dreams. I’m also gonna hold on to the confidence I found in college to actually share those dreams. I am gonna hold on to the foundation that I have in You. I am gonna hold on to the fact that You have carried me through all the good days and the bad. I am gonna hold on to the knowledge that I am never alone. I am gonna hold on to the relationship I’ve built with You. I’m gonna hold on to all that You have taught me and are continuing to teach me.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I hold on. I pray that I hold onto who I was and who I am and who I will be. I pray that I hold on to my family and my loved ones. I pray that I hold on to my foundation in you. I pray that I hold on to the things I believe in. I pray that I hold on to that story. I pray that I continue to write that story. I pray that I finish that story. I pray that I hold on to my dreams even when they change. I pray that I hold on to trust in you. I pray that I hold on to you. I pray that I hold on to the words written in red. I pray that I hold on to your teachings. I pray that I hold on to your lessons. I pray that I hold on to my faith. I pray that I hold on to everything that brings me closer to you. I pray that I hold on to everything I’ve learned in college. I pray that I hold on to the friendships made and memories shared here. I pray that I hold on to the dreams we made. I pray that I keep moving forward even when I don’t know the direction. 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.

Lights shine bright everywhere we go.

I use Dove’s Revival shampoo and conditioner for my hair, but this weekend my soul is one that needed the revival and that’s exactly what I got Sunday at church. Today someone said that because I still go to church now that I’m on my own it speaks volumes of my character and how my parents raised me. I was beyond touched by the kind words. He said a parents main job is giving their kids every opportunity to get to Heaven. My dad always told me the same thing. It’s my choice to follow You, Lord, but my daddy made sure I had every opportunity to know You. He said that of course he wants his kids to have wonderful lives here on earth and have everything they want and need, but that’s secondary. He said the most important thing is to be able to save them a seat next to him in Heaven. My mama saved a seat at church for me every Sunday growing up. She and I, both, want nothing more her to be able to save me seat around the throne of God too.

Sunday night, they had a guest speaker at church. The speaker was David Ring. He said that it was no mistake our being here tonight, that we were here by divine design. Today, I understood.

The message was about how we shouldn’t stop praying for people. It was about the paralytic that You healed when his friends brought him to Jesus. His friends heard about Jesus so they did everything in their power to get him near Jesus. They lifted their friend to the roof and brought him down to meet Jesus. Mark 2:5 says When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” David gave four takeaways.

  1. They took the time.
  2. They took the effort.
  3. They took the risk. 
  4. They took the love.

David told us his own stories too. He told the story about when he was in the delivery room, they pronounced him dead and put him across the room to take care of his mom. Then someone took the time to hold him. He was dead for 18 minutes, but because someone took the time, he is alive today. It happened again when he was 16, someone took the effort to pray for him and the risk to invite him to church, which led to him finding a relationship with You, Lord. Then someone took the risk and the love to invite him to share his testimony, which led to him starting a ministry and a lifetime of serving You. David said: “It’s one thing to say I love people, it’s another thing to show it.” Then he told stories of his marriage and what he said next near about brought me to tears. He said: “It’s one thing to show people love, it’s another thing to stick around for the pain.” Nothing happens by accident. There is a reason for every single one of those stories, for every single moment, for every single bad thing, for every single good thing. David said: “My God is in the detail business.” Not one part of his testimony is accidental, Lord, You planned out every tiny, little detail, even the parts of our lives that seem insignificant are all part of Your grand design.

When he was talking about taking the effort, he asked us why don’t we get involved in people’s lives anymore and why don’t we go out on a limb? He said if we’re scared of the limb breaking or getting cut off, not to worry because trees are full of limbs, just hang on to another one. There are a million and a half excuses that I could use to get out of church. I’m on my own now so no one would know if I don’t go. I work on some Sundays. I have homework to do. I could use the extra sleep because I’ve been running around between work and school. And the big one lately is that my car is in the shop so I don’t have a way there. Well, my daddy used to say that if excuses were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas. I could have used the past two months without a car as an opportunity to invite someone to go to church with me, instead I blew it. I sat at home on Sundays, missing church. Then when I got the rental car I was able to go, so I went and I heard David Ring’s message. I learned my lesson. I’m gonna start looking for those opportunities more. I heard once that sometimes we’re just supposed to plant seeds. Then someone else comes along and waters the garden. Then God gives the seeds time to grow. Maybe we’re supposed to do that in people’s lives. Maybe we’re just planting seeds and watering the garden.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray for the man and his family he told me about today. I pray that he continues to take the time for his kids and family. I pray that he continues to take the effort for his kids and family. I pray that he continues to take the risk for his kids and family. I pray that he continues to take the love for his kids and family. I pray that you give him the strength and determination and bravery he needs to give his kids those opportunities to know You. Thank you for putting his family on my mind today. I pray that I keep them in my prayers. Thank you for my parents. Thank you for their time, effort, risk, and love. Thank you for the opportunities they gave me. Thank you for the shelter and protection they gave me. Thank you for the details. Thank you for the designed plan you provided for all of us. I pray for David Ring and his family and his ministry. I pray that I shine your light everywhere I go. I pray that I take the time, effort, risk, and love to bring people to you. I pray for those around me. I pray for those that need you. I pray that I start reaching out on that limb for those around me. I pray that I do a better job of taking care of those around me. I pray that I magnify your light. I pray that I reflect the sun. I pray that I show your love. I pray that I stick around for the pain too. I pray that I plant seeds. I pray that I water the garden. I pray that everything I do, reflects your light. 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.