Thank You, God, that I don’t have to get it right before coming to You. Coming to You is how I get right. Only You can fix this heart of mine. Only You can heal this hurt. Only You can calm this anger. Only You can turn this grief into peace. Only You can take this sorrow and bring true joy. Only You can give this life meaning. Only You can create life. Only You can defeat death. Only You can take our pasts and give us a future. You are the literal definition of love, of hope, of truth.
Lisa Harper said: “don’t try to clean yourself up before you lean into the arms of God.” All I have to do is trust in You. I simply have to come to You. I used to think that surrendering control was scary and hard. But with each time I’ve done it, I have gotten to know Your heart more. It’s not a one and done. It’s an active choice every day. I have the opportunity and privilege to give You my life. I have the freedom to chose to follow You. And when I do, I find healing and strength. I come face-to-face with Your goodness. I am living proof that miracles happen.
Had You not held Your arms out for me, I would have become the very darkness I was hiding from. Not only would the darkness have consumed my life, I would have become the darkness. I am completely capable of the worst kind of darkness. I did not want that to be story and the only reason my story is changed is because of You, Father. You made all the difference.
Being saved doesn’t mean I’m suddenly perfect and whole. Being saved simply means I know You are the only one who can fill the hole in my life. No amount of sex, drugs, alcohol, friends, money, fame, popularity, etc. can fill that hole. And not all of those things are bad. I can try all I want to fill that hole with good, healthy things too. But the truth is it is a God-shaped hole, only You can fill.
So, here is my prayer. I pray that I tell the whole world about the good you’ve done in me. Thank you for turning my trauma into a purpose. I pray I shine only for you. I pray that through me, others can see your love and grace and kindness and mercy. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me, no matter how much I don’t deserve it. Thank you for filling my heart with love and truth. Thank you for prayer and for your word. Thank you for the gospel. 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.
Yesterday, with one phone call, my whole world crumbled.
I was not ok. I’m still not ok.
But my middle name is Faith. So I called my pastor on the way home yesterday. And this morning, I gathered myself as much as I could and I went to the Word. I was still in shock and barely present and definitely numb so I pulled up YouTube and searched for Elevation Church. I pulled up the sermon I missed in the Maybe, God series that I missed and clicked play. Because You knew exactly when I would need to hear that message. Because You, my God, have perfect timing.
Steven Furtick started with: “I can walk into darkness and light it up because the light of the world lives in me.” I immediately started going woah now, no I can’t, not right now. I am in shock. I am confused. I don’t understand. I am disappointed. I am defeated. This weight feels heavy. I can hardly breathe. I can’t even function. I am not ok. Well, obvi Steven was not finished, so he continued with a definition of my middle name: Faith, which means sure reliance, and he defined it as confident reliance. All I was thinking is I’m sure I got no confidence or reliance right now. At this point, I am almost scoffing at the message, because this must all be some sick joke, at the same time, I know nothing is funny right now.
But I kept watching, as Steven further explained that Faith is an expectation to know even if the sequence of things don’t make sense, You live outside of time and outside of my sequence. I thought I was doing what You wanted. I thought I was living inside of Your will. He continued stating: I don’t have to live in suspense, I live in expectation that You are good. I have goodness and mercy as the gatekeepers. I have security.
Excuse me, while my doubt screams, what security do I have right now? My mind has completely shut down on me. Lord, have some patience with me as always, ok? Because I know I sound awfully pessimistic and broken, but I am listening. So, Steven continues preaching, I’m still barely even there. He says the way You grow our faith is to disappoint my expectation. Well, check. Then he said the way the devil uses disappointment is to destroy your faith. Well, check. Jesus ya girl is confused. I know in my heart that disappointment grows my faith, but this feels like it’s being destroyed. I got to get it together.
So, I keep listening and Steven says my faith does not rest on me. And I’m all like: well thank goodness. He continues with You need our faith to rest not in whether You fill our agenda or not. You taught in parables so Your wisdom couldn’t be ascertained by the human mind so Your Spirit could reveal the unlearned, not the wisdom of this world. So much of what You do is hidden, but we spend so much time in our invisible prisons in our minds, trying to figure our whether You are good, whether life makes sense. Steven said: I can’t figure it out like that. I can’t figure it out through self. He said: it’s hard to see the light in solitary confinement. As long as I’m in the prison of what I thought, I can’t be a part of what You are doing.
Then Steven closed with a prayer. As if the prayer was just for me and my circumstances, he prayed: they got hopes up so high, they made a fool of themselves. He said: it’s You, I need to make sense of my life.
So, here is my prayer. This one is going to hurt. Steven may have been preaching about John the Baptist and he may have been preaching in North Carolina about a month ago, but you and I both know, he was also preaching about me, today, in Alabama. I still believe in your faithfulness. I still believe in your truth. I still believe in your holy word. Even when I don’t see, I still believe. I don’t even know what to pray for right now. Clarity maybe? Truth? Answers? I don’t know what I am supposed to do now, Father. I don’t know anything anymore. I feel like a fool. The world around me crumbled and it feels like there’s nothing left but uncertainty and storm damage. Yet somehow, I am still here, I am still standing. I built my life upon the rock so even when it’s storming, I’m still standing. I am soaked, head to toe. I am being tossed around by the wind. I am getting hit with debris. I am most definitely not ok, but I still believe. I feel lost, but I am not lost. I am yours. I am your child. I know who I am, because I know who You are. I have no clue where to go from here or what to do, but I know your light lives in me. I know you live in me. Lord, help me to know you’re near. Father, I love you and I am so so so terribly sorry. I don’t even have words to process this right now. The only thing I can say is I still believe. You are still good. You are still merciful. You are still King. You are still sovereign. You are still the way, the truth, and the life. You are still my life. Even when my world crumbles around me, You are still my everything. You are all I desire. You are all I need. You are my security. You are my safe place. You are my sanity. You are my sure reliance, my confident reliance. You are going to walk with me into this darkness and light it up. You are near. You never left even when I couldn’t see. You are still in control. 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 closer is gets to our birthday, the worse I feel. The anxiety I have built up towards that day is growing with each passing day. My best friend brought me a copy of this devotion last semester after Christopher left us that was simply titled: “Jesus Knows.” The devotion wasn’t long, but it was exactly what I needed and still need. I keep the copy in my bag so I can look at it when I need the reminder. The devotion said this: “Jesus tells us in John 16:33 we will suffer here. But here’s the best part: ‘I have conquered the world,’ He said. Whatever you’re going through, Jesus knows. He weeps with you and wants to hold you, Let Him.” How did she know this was exactly what I needed to hear? Because You knew. You have a hand on us even when we feel completely alone and useless.
“He Know, He Knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He Knows, He Knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
I’ve heard it said that You won’t bring us to anything that we can’t overcome, but I heard a counter argument to that I liked. The rebuttal stated that You will bring us to things we can’t handle so that we will come to You and give our burdens to You. So, we will lay our burdens down at the feet of the cross and let You save us.
At the end of the devotion is a prayer. “Father, thank you so much for the loved ones you have given us. May we love them well, and love you, in return.”
So, my prayer today is this: I wanna say thank you. Thank you for giving me people to love. Thank you for the time I did have and the memories I made. Thank you for knowing. Thank you for holding me. Thank you for sending people into our lives. Lord, I know I could not overcome anything alone. I know that I am weak and you are strong. I know that I need to lay my pain at your feet. I know that you are bigger than my suffering. Thank you for conquering all the pain and suffering in the world. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending people to lift me back up and helping me look 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.