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.

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No life or death can separate us from Your love.

If I had a dime for every time someone told me my optimism bubble was going to burst right open, I would be living a lot higher on the hog. I would have that white house I want with the blue shutters and the red front door. I would have the front porch and the rocking chairs. I almost have to stop myself from laughing. Because yes, ya girl is optimistic. But home-girl had to TRAIN her brain to work that way.

I just realized I can sit around complaining about all I’ve lost and ask You why Lord. Or I can remember what I learned in bible study from Lysa Terkheurst. That why is the wrong question. I need to start asking what am I gonna do with what’s left. And because You, my God, connect the dots. My more recent bible study lesson was on how to use what I have, give it my best, and trust You to fill in the gaps. 

But what even is trust? Ya girl, has a HUGE trust problem. Like I didn’t trust anyone, not even myself. I certainly didn’t trust the spiritual gifts You gave me. And especially not You, Lord.

I have this double-edged sword of humility and pride. Someone stood up for me the other day and I like immediately was like woah, I’m not worthy of that kind of love and protection. I can feel that for you, but you can’t possibly feel that for little old me. Just like my brain was stuck in this pattern of: I can love You, Lord, but there’s no possible way You love me. I’m too broken. Not me, God.

My friends have this fear of being controlled by others, but that would require me to trust someone enough to give them that power over me. So, while I don’t worship others and can’t be hurt that way because of my trust issues. Sometimes I still think I can do it all myself. I have a tendency to look at something I’ve done and say oh wow, look at me. But when you look at a finished painting, is it the paint brush that did it or the artist? Is it the paint that did it or the artist? Lord, help me to remember You are the artist.

At the same time, I am so used to being controlled by others that I don’t even notice anymore. I’m always controlled, so I don’t even give it away, it’s just simply taken. Then I have to fight for it back by setting up boundaries. Then there is this really fun stage of push back where the other person like guilt trips me or tries to manipulate me or lash out against me to hurt me. So, then I have this reallyyyy fun stage of thinking I do everything wrong. But I’m learning to just simply say no assertively.

I have this doubt that comes up sometimes. This doubt in others, in myself, in my spiritual gifts, in You, in my place in this world. Lord, we both know what happens when I start thinking I’m doing a bad job. I start doing a bad job. Because I’m so busy looking at me, that I forget to keep my eyes on You. I’m Peter, walking out on the water with You. When my eyes are on You, I’m literally walking on water. When I take my eyes off You, I’m sinking, quickly. All I’m doing, whether I think I can do it all or I can’t do anything, is attempting to limit You, Lord. I try to limit a limitless God. Rebekah Lyons spoke at IFGathering and said: “God didn’t pick the wrong girl for ministry. Satan picked the wrong girl to mess with.”

So, this is my prayer. I pray that I remember who you are. I pray I appreciate how you use me. I pray I appreciate why you use me. I pray I recognize when you use me. Lord, I pray I appreciate being a small part of your masterpiece. Father, I pray that you use me as a vessel. I pray that through you, my weaknesses are grown into strengths. I pray that I start leaning into you rather than trying to limit you. Father, I am so humble sometimes that it is almost this false pride. While other times, I lack humility and am filled with way too much pride. Lord, help me find a balance. Lord, thank you for putting people in my life to show me healthy boundaries. Thank you for having patience with me as I learn to not only set boundaries, but to continually establish those boundaries. Lord, I pray that I stand strong and use that assertiveness I know I am capable of. I pray that I remember that you don’t make mistakes. There is no mistake that I am in the ministry I am. There is no mistake about my place in this world at this moment. Lord, every single hair on my head has a purpose and a reason. Lord, I pray that I remember just how intentional you are. I pray I remember I am the right girl for ministry and more importantly you are the right God for 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.

I’m just a girl talking to God, praying for rain.

I might be short on sleep. I might be short on money. I might be short on time. I might be literally short. I might be short on sanity. I might quite frankly be short on everything. But one thing is for sure, I’m not short on love and truth. I’ve got an abundance of unfailing love and unending truth. My cup is overflowing. Everything in this world can and will come up short. People will come up short. Places will come up short. Things will most definitely come up short. I will come up short. But You, my God, never will.

I struggle with depression, often. I’ve learned how to maintain most of my anxiety and panic attacks, but they still happen. Sometimes, the whole world thinks I’m fine, but You know I’m not. My friend sent me this Facebook post from a girl who struggles with depression. The girl said she was having a real bad go of it this time and couldn’t even function enough to shower for a week. She posted from this heartbreakingly vulnerable place to tell her family and friends that she was trying. Because on that day, she brushed her hair. She showered and brushed her hair. It seems silly because that’s something we do every single day. We get up, we shower, we brush our hair. Sometimes like a routine, without even thinking about for a minute, just doing it. But when you’re in the deep deep dark places, those everyday things can become hard. Like there’s not a point to even trying. You can lay down and stay in that dark place for days without pulling yourself out. I. Have. Been. There. More times than I care to admit. The lies talk fast and keep coming. Last Fall, I did a Bible study with Stronger by Angela Thomas-Pharr. In the study I learned that the truth is: “this life is harder than what we signed up for.” I also learned “it takes an effort to hide from people.” Angela told us about running the race and how sometimes you have to run through that cramp in your side, sometimes you have to run through the pain.

I’ve also heard previously that: “prayer is a bridge from your mess to God’s rest.” During the 21 Days of Prayer, we learned the warfare prayer in Ephesians 6:11-12 which says: Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Priscilla Shirer has preached time and time again to know who the real enemy is. Another thing I’ve heard is we have to: “put on Christ the same way we put on clothes.” Every. Single. Day.

It’s way too easy to let those bad days become weeks and those weeks become months. The darkness doesn’t even seem appealing. Like I don’t like it there, but once the lies creep in, it gets harder and harder to push them out. I heard once in a sermon that the devil is still telling the same lies he told Eve in the Garden, he doesn’t need new lies because we’re still falling for the old ones. “The devil baits the hook, it harms me, it hurts me.” Ohhh but Father, You give us a way out. Out of the darkness. Out of the hook. Out of the lies. Out of the deep places. Out of sin. Out of temptation. Out of evil. Out of despair. Out of hell. Out of it all. You are the only way out. Lysa Terkeurst says we have to filter our thoughts through Your love, through Your Biblical truth. In that 21 Days of Prayer, we learned that: “truth has to constantly come in.”

The way I pull myself out is looking up. I literally just have to find the strength to look up. Lord, Your word is living and breathing in us. All I have to do is look at Your creations to remember Your truths. The sunshine reminds me of Your perfect light, of Your perfect goodness. The stars remind me of Your perfect love, of Your perfect majesty. The storms remind me of Your perfect grace, of Your perfect mercy. The rain reminds me of Your perfect promises, of Your perfect hope. No matter the weather, I can find You there. No matter my emotions. No matter my shortcomings. No matter my surroundings. No matter my battles. No matter the weather, I can find You there.

Prince Charming on Once Upon A Time said: “Darkness never wins. It just fools you into thinking it does.” Ohhhh Lord. Let that sink into my soul. Say that again. “Darkness never wins. It just fools you into thinking it does.” Ohhhh my sweet Savior. That alone is because of You. Because You already won the war. You already gave Your life. You already defeated death. You already saved the whole world. You already defeated the enemy. You already conquered. During the 21 Days of Prayer we also learned not to put our trust in ourselves. I am not the encourager. I have to take my hands off. You and I cannot carry it at the same time. I cannot raise the dead. I cannot do the impossible.

I heard a message by Allison Wilks, where she told us to stop remembering our sin or our fear or our pain or our loss or our illness or our betrayal more than we remember our Savior. She said that was the devil and his lies. She told us to remember Your character and who You are. To remember You are kind. You are loving. You are merciful. You are just. You are all powerful, all knowing, and all compassionate. To remember Your works. Allison said to remember and move to act, to trust the One who is above all those other things.

So, here is my prayer. Lord, I’m praying for rain. I pray that your truth consumes me. I pray that I remember that life isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. I pray that I run through the pain. I pray I remember who you are. I pray that I remember you are God and I am not. I pray I remember I am yours. I pray that stop feeding the lies. I pray that I stop hiding from people, from you. I pray I remember you are all knowing. Lord, you knew my pain, before I even felt it. You already conquered the war. I pray that I stop fighting a war that’s already been won. I pray that I filter my thoughts through your love and your truth. I pray that I constantly let your truth change me, shape me, form me, move me, guide me. I pray I put my trust in you. Lord, remind me of who you are when it seems like I forget. 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.

Into my darkness He’ll shine a light.

I woke up this morning at 7:30am with no where to go. Like I have been practically since graduation. I don’t even need the alarm clock anymore, by body just naturally wakes up at that time now. I made myself get into this routine so I would be ready for whatever comes next. I don’t let myself go back to sleep either. I am up and moving, doing whatever needs done. But today, I let the insecurities win. My heart literally ached. I wanted to cry for no real reason.

I messaged my friend and told her I was depressed today. Literally used the word. That awful word. I have tried to make it a habit of telling someone, using that exact word because when they have bad days, I hope they can tell me and we can help each other out of the bad days. I heard too many stories growing up of people who were depressed that didn’t talk about it until it was too late. Communication ain’t just my major. I need it daily. What I didn’t have is a conversation with You, Lord. So, I went back to bed and slept the entire day away. Got absolutely nothing accomplished. When I finally woke up, did I feel better? Nope. Still the same. So I went back to bed. Ignored phone calls, messages, and texts. I heard the phone go off. I just didn’t reach over to answer. When I finally woke up, I got on Facebook and on my newsfeed was the Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion.

There at the top of the screen was my verse. “Whatever is true … think about such things … And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8b, 9b (NIV) Ok Lord, You have called me out by name. I’m listening. “I know God’s love for me is deep, unwavering and certain. But there are still times I catch myself twirling again. Crying out again. Wishing I could feel totally secure. Hating my insecurities. And mad that this struggle I thought was over, surfaces still. Maybe it always will. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. For it keeps me desperate for a reassurance I can’t get any other way. It keeps me desperate for God.” Lord, I don’t know why some days that my ego is so big it needs a room of it’s own. I don’t know why some days that my insecurities try to drown me. I don’t know why the people I love struggle with depression either. I don’t know those why’s anymore than I know why bad things happen or why we have to lose loved ones. I spent the last two years struggling with why. I read a book that showed me how to ask a different question: what am I going to do with it? I don’t have an answer for that question right now either. Lord, I have no idea what Your plan is. I stopped trying to figure it all out on my own. I laid it at Your feet. I started with that. Maybe giving it all to You was the first step. Maybe honest communication is the next step. Maybe being honest with You and the people I love will help. Maybe it’ll help them too.

In the devotion it stated: “Brokenness is universal. We all have things in life that trigger deep insecurities and our own personal ‘twirling about,’ searching for reassurance. But here’s the amazing thing. While brokenness is universal, God’s redemption is also universal for those who proclaim Christ as Lord. No matter what cracks and crevices we have in our hearts, if we seek the truth of God above all else, He is enough to fill in those raw places.” “I pray these truths flood your heart with peace like they do mine. Peace that gives you permission to stop twirling and start to live like you are loved.” To live like I am loved. That is a declaration of truth. I am so loved. Even on the dark days when all I crave is love, I know I’m loved. By You, Lord. By family and friends. By myself.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I bring you everything. I pray I lay down, down my guard. I pray I share your silence. I pray I unpack my heart. I pray I let you in. I pray I let others in. I pray for honest communication. I pray for truth. I pray that truth breaks through my walls. I pray that I am filled with your peace and love. I pray that I stop twirling. I pray that I live like I am loved. I pray that I stop searching for love because it has already been given to me. I pray that I stop looking around instead of looking up. I pray that I remember you are on my side. 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.

Even when my strength is lost I’ll praise You.

Lysa Terkhearst posted this about two weeks ago and I saved it because I knew I would need to hear it again: “God isn’t afraid of your sharp edges that may seem quite risky to others. He doesn’t pull back. He pulls you close.” Lorddddd, I got some sharp edges for You today.

I typically do not take bad news well. Today, I got a phone call. I started to react like I normally do, which is shutting down. Then I decided I wanted control and I started to clean. My sister took me home and said those glorious words: “I’m gonna leave the house so you can have your space.” Before she even left, I was already cleaning. Five minutes later, I stopped and dropped what I was doing. I started thinking and remembered the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. My reaction to the phone call was the same as it is every time. So, I sat down right where I was and started calling Your name. I closed my eyes and sat there, asking You to give me peace, give me strength, and give me comfort. I usually bring my problems to You when I have exhausted all other outlets and have no where else to turn. Today, I did things different.

I got up and went to turn the radio on. I grabbed the remote and started to put Christmas music on because that’s been my go-to lately. It’s my happy music, but I needed to go a little deeper today, so I went straight for my prayer blog playlist. I needed worship music. I needed to praise You. I needed to speak with You. I needed some unfiltered, pure worship with You. I pulled up YouTube to get the playlist, but this song was on the home screen so I played it first.

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, thank you for pulling me close today. Thank you for smoothing out my sharp edges today. I pray that you take my tainted heart. I pray that you take my tainted hands. I pray that you wash me in your love and come like grace again. I pray that when my strength is lost, I praise you. I pray that when I have no song, I praise you. I pray that when it’s hard to find the words, I praise you. I pray that when the fight seems lost, I praise you. I pray that when it hurts like hell, I praise you. I pray that when it makes no since to sing, I praise you. I pray that my heart burns for you. I pray my soul waits for you. I pray I sing until the miracle come. I pray that I keep praising you and keep praising you and keep praising you. Lord, thank you. I pray I sing only your praise. I pray I only sing louder and louder 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.

And goodbye’s such a painful word, we all wish it didn’t hurt.

My sister woke me up this morning, way too early. Since I now had some time before the rest of the house woke up, I pulled up the First 5 app and started reading. The devotion was on Numbers 21:8 which says: The Lord said to Moses, Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. I read the verse and I was like what am I reading? A snake? On the 4th of July? What are You trying to teach me Lord?

Then as if my mind could be read, the next line on the devotion is: “What do a snake and a stick have to do with healing?” Then it goes on to explain in beginning of Numbers 21 that Your people had begun questioning and doubting You. You had been protecting them and when You withdrew that protection, the snakes came out. And when bad things happen, the first thing we do is turn back to You. The devotion stated the very thing I’ve learned: “Healing required an act of faith.”

Then comes verse 8 of the story, with the instructions for Moses. The next line of the devotion is what got me praying today. “I find it fascinating the object of healing, the snake, was shaped in the likeness of that which poisoned.” The very thing we think is going to be the end of us is part of Your plan. The very thing we think is meant to hurt us is a part of Your grand design. The very thing that caused us pain can also be the tool used for healing.

I was listening the Jake Owen sing What We Ain’t Got, I’ve heard it 1242 times. But this time was different, at the end of the song he sang: “I wanted the world until my whole world stopped.” About two years ago, my whole world stopped for the first time and then it stopped a few more times that year. Sometimes it takes learning the hard way. Sometimes we have to lose everything, to be found. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom, to move forward. Sometimes the very thing causing the pain, can be used by You. Sometimes You have to make us stop and look at the world around us. Sometimes we have to get the wind knocked out, so we can learn to breathe again. Sometimes rock bottom is exactly what we need to start a new foundation.

There is a quote by Oswald Chambers that says: “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” You can say that again. Sometimes, Lord, I have no idea what You are doing. Sometimes, I struggle trying to understand Your plan. But I’m not meant to understand it completely. You are working with a eternity plan for the whole world and I am working with a plan just for me. I do not understand Your plan or Your ways, but I understand You love us. I know in my heart that everything You do is for a greater purpose.

There is this picture on Pinterest of this man standing in front of a maze and he can only what is right in front of him, but Lord, You see the whole puzzle. There is also a quote that says: “If God showed you all He has planned for you, it would boggle your mind. If you could see the doors He’s going to open, the opportunities that will cross your path, and the people who will show up, you’d be amazed, excited, and passionate, it would be easy to set your mind for victory. This is what faith is all about. You got to believe it before you see it. God’s favor is surrounding you like a shield. Every setback is a setup for a comeback. Every bad break, every disappointment, and every person who does you wrong is part of the plan to get you where you’re supposed to be.” 

In Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, Lysa Terkeurst wrote: “It would have been easy to see the events that unfolded as a series of lucky breaks. But what a tragedy to see only flat perspectives of life.” Then she quotes Psalm 53:2 which says: God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. 

So, this is my prayer. “Fill me with a grateful heart.” I pray that I seek you. I pray that I see your hand in everything. I pray that I have confidence and faith in you. I pray that while I don’t understand, I still believe. I pray that you keep changing my perspective. Lord, move me. Change my thoughts. Change my heart. Keep showing me your hand in my life. I pray that I keep chasing after you. I pray that I keep running towards you. Thank you for designing my life. Thank you for using me for your purpose. Thank you for choosing every part of my life. Thank you for the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the lessons I’ve learned, and for so much more. 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.

With so much left to say, I prayed.

The Grand Ole Opry posted a video of Scotty McCreery singing a new song and I swooned so hard I cried. I started thinking about how when I was a kid all I wanted was five more minutes, like the song sings. My list hasn’t changed much, I’ve just added to it.

Give me five more minutes running through a sprinkler with my brother and sister. Give me five more minutes watching my brother play pee wee football. Give me five more minutes watching my parents put the lights on the Christmas tree. Give me five more minutes at my sister’s softball tournaments. Give me five more minutes twirling that flag, under those stadium lights, wearing that glitter spray. Give me five more minutes singing stadium cheers and throwing my L up after a big win. Give me five more minutes in FCCLA cooking for those appreciation dinners with my bff. Give me five more minutes taking selfies in Hobby Lobby with her. Give me five more minutes sitting in the pews at Bethel Baptist with her.

Give me five more minutes living in that sorority house. Give me five more minutes moving the furniture in the chapter room to dance with my sisters. Give me five more minutes leading those chapter meetings. Give me five more minutes singing the Dixie Chicks with my soulmate on those back roads in Mobile. Give me five more minutes throwing my J up. Give me five more minutes living in that Midtown apartment with my roommate. Give me five more minutes singing country music with my littles, driving around town, wasting gas. Give me five more minutes getting ice cream with my littles. Give me five more minutes in the caf with my people. Give me five more minutes crying in a parking lot saying goodbye to my person as dramatic as we can possibly make it.

Give me five more minutes with those I’ve lost along the way. Give me five more minutes floating on the lake in Pell City. Give me five more minutes right now, praying with You, Lord. Give me five more minutes right now, to remember how blessed beyond measure that I am.

Lysa Terkeurst in Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl wrote: “But what’s most amazing is that the God of the universe, the Savior of the world, would desire a few minutes with me this morning. Lord, help me to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this.”

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, I want to thank you for all the ways you’ve blessed me. Thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve. Thank you for all the precious moments and the even better people. Thank you for all the extra five minutes that you gave me. Thank you for your timing. Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in your timing today. I pray that I spend five more minutes with you each day. Thank you for wanting to spend five more minutes with me. Thank you for giving me five more minutes. I pray that I trust in your timing. I pray that I remember that your timing is what has made all of this possible. Thank you for writing my story. 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 learn to love through the darkness and the light.

There is an episode of Girl Meets World that I was reminded of today. Riley got depressed and Maya was trying to pull her out of it. Maya pulled down her black curtains and Riley said: “Wow, there is a lot of light in this world.” Maya sat down next to her and replied: “If you let it in, yea.” 

Today, I needed to let the light in. My daddy always tried to teach me that everyone has good days and bad days. We have to learn to let the sunshine in. We have to learn to fight the darkness, instead of letting it consume us. I struggle with this, always have. I still need to remember that You have this. No matter how dark it seems, there will always be light, I just have to turn the light on. 2 Samuel 22:29 says: You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. Eric Lidell said: “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.” Lord, every part of my struggle and my success is part of your plan. You are not helpless among the ruins. When I realize I can’t do this on my own, is when I finally hand over the reins and allow You to work. I’m stubborn and try to fix everything on my own, but I don’t have to and Your ways are much greater than my own. 

Lysa Terkeurst yet again related to me on a deep level. She posted: “If you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then upon all the hurt and brokenness, you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost the girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world. Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: you are worthy because the Creator of the Universe says you are. Reclaim who you are today. Say out loud, ‘I am a daughter of the King. I am an overcomer. And with His strength, I can be whole again.'” Lysa also posted that her battle strategy is to worry less and worship more. Dayspring posted on Instagram that: “The measure of your worth to God is written in the palms of His hands.”

C.S. Lewis said: “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun-not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” That’s why I like the sun so much. It’s a reminder of faith. He also said: “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.”

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.” Steven Furtick posted: “You won’t rise to the occasion if you weren’t faithful to the process.” Before I came back home, my person told me that too. She told me that she got a lot closer to You when she moved back home after her graduation.

So, that is my prayer today. No matter what my circumstances are, I pray that I stop letting the darkness win. I pray that I stop letting the water in my ship. I pray that I remember I am a vessel for you. I pray that I stop letting myself drown. I pray that I come up for air. I pray that I keep turning the light on. I pray that I keep reaching for you. I pray that I remember you are my lamp, my light, my sun. I pray that I show more kindness in my process. I pray that learn to love in the darkness and the light. I pray that I let you work in me. I pray that I remind myself that you are the creator of the universe. I pray that I remember to say thank you for showing me my worth. I pray that I reclaim who I am. I am your daughter. You are my king. I am an overcomer because you overcame. Lord, you overcame death. You overcame sin. You overcame darkness. With your strength, I can be whole again. I pray that I worship you more. Thank you for writing my name on the palm of your hands. Thank you for bringing light into my day. Thank you for bringing light into my darkness. Thank you for allowing me to see through you. Thank you for allowing me to hold onto you in sprite of my changing moods and circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to grow closer to you. Thank you for this time. Thank you for this process. Thank you for always holding true. I pray that I stay with you. I pray that I remember you are on my side. 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 wanna believe that You got me, Lord.

When something happens to my friends or they need me, my first response is “girlllllll, I got you.” But when it’s me, I fumble for words and don’t know how to fight my own battles. When it’s others, I can help. I can fight. I can do whatever they need. When it’s me, I got nothing. Maybe You just want the chance to say “girl, I got you” or more accurately, “child, I already have you.” 

Lord, we both know I have trust issues. I try to do things on my own. I am as stubborn as a mule. I need to learn how to lean on You. I saw a video on Facebook of Keith Urban and his wife, Nicole Kidman singing in the car to Keith’s new song with Carrie Underwood. Nicole was singing Carrie’s part and the two of them were just as cute as cute could be. They were dancing along and I fell in love with the song instantly. I went out the next day and bought the CD. (#truefan I bought the actual CD, not the digital version) I was listening to the song on repeat and started thinking.

Maybe that’s what my relationship with You needs to be like. My heart these days is singing those lyrics over and over again. What if I fall? What if I cry? And if I get scared? It took this song to remind me that You’re singing along with me. “Child, I already have you.” Cause you’re precious heart is a precious heart. When they’re tryna get to you child I’ll be the fighter. Let me be the one to heal all the pain…

Last week, my week got a jump start on Wednesday when TobyMac posted: “Do you trust me when my answer is wait?-God” Ok, Lord, You have my attention. Then TobyMac posted this yesterday: “At the end of the day you can either focus on what’s tearing you apart or what’s holding you together.” I’ve been focusing on all the wrong things lately. It’s time to readjust my focus.

Sunday, a friend of mine posted: “I’m just curious to know…does anyone turn off their radio when they come to red light? Probably not, right? So why do we do that with God? Why when He says “wait” or we go through a storm do we turn off our prayers and praises? Shouldn’t we continue to dance and sing while we wait? Just as if our favorite song came on at a red light.” I’m not gonna lie. I screenshot that post right then and there. I turned into that lady at church with her hand in the air screaming “preach.” I literally jumped off the couch. When I’m at a red light, I turn the music up louder and start dancing and singing even more. That is exactly what I need to be with my life right now.

This week has been nothing but little reminders of “child, I already have you.” I apparently needed the message drilled in because I didn’t see the neon sign the first time. On Thursday, Proverbs 31 Ministries posted a quote from Lysa TerKeurst: “When I’m afraid, I sometimes resist trusting God. I want to see my circumstances change. But maybe God wants ME to change. To be less fearful. More faith-filled.” Then she ended the post with: “I have to resisting the process…stop being dismayed…and rest assured God is with me.”

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, I need you. I can’t do this on my own. I’m scared. I’m weak. Lord, I pray that you readjust my focus. I pray that you keep getting my attention. I pray that I turn up the prayers and praises. I pray that you keep changing me. I pray that I become more faith-filled. I pray for peace and assurance. I pray that I stop resisting the process. I pray that I am more patient in times of waiting and silence. I pray that I trust you more because you already have me. I pray that I give you all my heart. I believe in you and I pray that I learn to believe you when you speak to my heart. I pray that you keep speaking directly to my heart. I pray that I learn to listen more. 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.