You know the things that have brought me here.

I’m almost done reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale and the next chapter is titled “The Upside of Tough Times.” I thought it was going to be more about dealing with the tough times. But, it was exactly what I needed to hear. She said: “When all is said and done, we all go through things in life that, if we allowed them to, could destroy us, make us jaded or bitter, or cause us to throw in the towel. But we can make the choice to let tough times polish us instead of demolish us, refine us and not define us.” Sunday night at bible study, we discussed not letting the future or the past control our lives, that we need to concentrate on today.

Then at the end of chapter she says: “Allow everything you’ve been through to propel you toward everything you’re going to be.” Maybe that’s exactly what this past year has been about. Getting me here. Maybe this was all apart of Your plan. Maybe this was all supposed to teach me and lead me to where I am now, to the person I am now. Maybe it was never about being lost, but realizing how much more I could find in You. I have always known that You are my Lord and Savior. I have always known You’re with me. Maybe this year was about learning to continue to seek You even when You never left my side. Maybe this year was about growth. Maybe it was about strengthening my relationship with You. Maybe it was about becoming the woman I always dreamed I’d be. Maybe it was about learning to chase after You, the way You’ve always been in pursuit of me. Maybe everything happened to teach me how to sing my own broken hallelujah.

It’s kinda like I’m a driver, life is the car, and You’re the mechanic. You know my make and model, my mileage, my fuel levels, my tire pressure, and everything about me. I keep trying to control life and the car, but if I listen to You more, I would get a lot further. I break down and You fix me, time and time again. You give me advice and I only do just enough to get by. You tell me to be careful over the bumps. As soon as I get the oil checked, the tires need rotating, or the wiper fluid is out. The car needs to get that detailed wash often, just like I have to deep clean my heart. Sometimes things need to be replaced and changed. When I’m in darkness, I have to turn the lights on to see. If I don’t use the gps, I’ll get lost, just like if I don’t use my bible. Maybe this year was about learning to put as much effort into taking care of my relationship with You, as I do my car. (Now, I’m ready to bust out in Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel!”)

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I learn to focus on today. I pray that I learn to be content. I pray that I learn from the past and plan for the future without letting them consume me. I pray that you consume me. I pray that I continue to move where you need me. I pray that you keep letting me see the beauty in everything around me. I pray that I keep running to you. Thank you for always having your arms out for me. I pray that I keep worshiping you. I pray that I keep praying and reading your word. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep walking with you. I pray that I keep singing praise to you. I pray that I keep learning and growing. Thank you for loving me even though I’m broken. Thank you for being my mechanic. Thank you for healing my brokenness. 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.

Make me who I’m meant to be.

The ladies in my Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl bible study were talking about insecurities. One of the questions in our workbook was “Is it Christian to say you like yourself?” One of the girls answered with “I like Christ in myself. I like who I am with Christ.” I was pretty much blown away with that answer. It was perfect. Another lady started talking and said she wanted to be a woman people said “She’s been with Jesus. She spends time with Jesus.” I’ve been thinking and praying about that a lot. I want to be that kind of woman.

I’ve been praying a lot for the kind of relationship I want and for the man I want to marry one day. So, today I wanna pray for the woman I want to be. In the book I’m reading, The Single Woman by Mandy Hale, there is quote that stuck out to me that said: “But sometimes what we learn and who we become in the process of waiting is even more important that what we are waiting on.” That seemed pretty powerful to me. Maybe that’s what this year was all about. To become the right woman. “A woman who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.” So, here’s a list of some of the ways I’m fabulous because ya know, I like lists:

1. On a personality test I was told that because I have a blue personality, I bring unity to society. (Just saying, that’s pretty cool.)

2. I believe in prayer.

3. I try to look at things positively and focus on the good. I mean, Alyssa means “of good cheer.”

4. I’m loyal. When I commit and feel invested, I’m not going anywhere.

5. I like giving and serving. I like making plans and building dreams.

6. I can act like a kid with the best of them. Bring on the pillow fights, camping, nerf guns, bowling, trampolines, game nights, water balloons, dancing around the house, or whatever.

7. I like safety and security so, I’ll do my best to provide the same feelings.

8. I like encouraging. I can cheer during a game with a painted poster or simply a post-it note on the mirror giving my love. I can get real creative with notes. I like words. (I used to carry a dictionary everywhere I went in my purse!)

9. I want a life surrounded by love grown in Your love.

10. I’ve been trying to the woman You made me to be, Lord. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to live more intentionally.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I am consumed with you. I pray you fill every part of me. I pray that you are working on my heart. I pray that I work to become who you need me to be. I pray that I continue to grow closer to you. I pray that you guide me and mold me and move me. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I continue to try to be a better woman. I pray that I keep striving to share your love. Lord, let your will be done. I trust your plan. I am listening to your words. Lord, show me the way. Lord, keep making me. I pray I remember Colton Dixon’s song today. I pray that you take it all, I surrender. Be my king. God I choose more of you. I need more of 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.

Behind this curtain there is a heart that’s hurting.

I’ve been reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale. Last night I read the part about ending toxic relationships. This is something I’ve struggled with. I can’t seem to find the line between loving and forgiving people and letting them affect me and harm me. The line gets blurry for me between loving them and loving me. Audrey Hepburn said: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” I haven’t found that balance yet. I want to forgive and let go, but words haunt me. Matthew 18:21-22 says: Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. It’s no secret that my love language is words of affirmation. Carrie Underwood kinda explains what I think in her new song: Little Toy Guns. 

She’s caught in the crossfire
Puts her hands over her ears
Starts talking through her tears
She’s saying, she’s praying.

I wish words were like little toy guns
No sting, no hurt no one, Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
No smoke, no bullets, no kick from the trigger when you pull it
No pain, no damage done
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
Just a bang bang rollin’ off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)

My whole life I thought I was the problem. I was sensitive. I was weak. I misunderstood something. I was the wrong one. I was crazy. I just over-analyze. I read too much into it. Surely I heard them wrong. Maybe this entire time it wasn’t me that was the problem. Maybe it was how others communicated with me. Maybe because of how their words affected me it taught me to be careful with my own words. Maybe there is a silver lining in the middle of all the darkness. Maybe it taught me to be more conscious of my words and guard my heart more carefully. 1 Peter 4:8 says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Maybe it’s what brought me to You, Lord because I was trying to fill the God shaped hole in my life with other people. Maybe where their communication lacked, ours grew. “I don’t want anything coming in between You and me. I’m holding nothing back from You.” 

So, this is my prayer today. I pray for forgiveness for my mistakes. I pray that I learn to forgive those who hurt me. I pray that I keep learning how to speak with love instead of hate. I pray that I keep learning from your love. I pray that I share your love with those around me. I pray that I let go of the hurt. In Isaiah 43:18 you said: But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. Lord, help me to remember all the good you’re doing for me. Lord, help me to remember that no matter happens you love me. I have trouble comprehending that sometimes, but you do love me. You created me for a purpose with a deliberate plan. You are preparing my heart for exactly what you need. You are preparing me for your glory. Lord, help me to be honest. Lord, help me open my heart for you. I pray that I learn to come to you more when I’m hurting. It’s easy for me to thank you when things are going right. I pray that I learn to let you in when things aren’t going my way. You already see my hurt, you already see behind my curtain. I just have to let you in so, you can heal my heart. You’re already in control, I just have to let you do your work in 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.

If your gonna love me boy, love me like you mean it.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what kind of relationship I want to have. I have been thinking about what kind of life and future I want to build. To be honest, it’s hard to comprehend love. For the longest time I wanted passion. I wanted someone who wanted me and couldn’t live without me. I wanted those tragic love stories where despite everything they still found each other. I wanted a Nicholas Sparks novel. I knew that with passion came pain. I was totally ready for that tragic kind of love story. I wanted a love story that was completely doomed from the beginning, but somehow love won.

While I still believe that love will always win. I want a different kind of love now. Passion is defined as “strong and barely controllable emotion.” I was talking to my person about passion and how I was realizing that it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. She said that passion was just a pretty word for drama. I couldn’t agree more. With passion comes anxiety. With passion comes a roller coaster of ups and downs. With passion comes a push and pull of emotions. Passion brings uncertainty and guessing games and confusion. In The Single Woman by Mandy Hale, she says: “Love shouldn’t require Windex to be clear. It either is or it isn’t.” Passion bring manipulation and hurt. Passion is limiting.

I want an intentional love. Intentional means “deliberate, calculated, conscious, intended, planned, meant, studied, knowing, willful, purposeful, done on purpose, premeditated, preplanned, and preconceived.” I want all of that. I want deliberate and clear actions. I want calculated attention to his words. I want conscious consideration to my feelings. I want intended designed plans for our future. I want planned consideration for my well being. I want meant to be and to be of precise and definite importance to someone. I want studied interest in who I am. I want knowing understanding of my needs. I want willful determination to make our dreams reality. I want a purposeful life. I want him to do things on purpose with respect for my worth and my time. I want him to do things with a premeditated plan. I want him to lead me with a preplanned and preprayed course of action. I want him to have the preconceived notion that love always win. I want intentional love.

No, I don’t think love is perfect. I do think it shouldn’t have to hurt. Mandy Hale also wrote: “Do you know the wonderful, beautiful thing that happens when you rid yourself of people who don’t see your worth? You make space in your life for all the glorious people you deserve.” I think love should make you feel secure and safe. I think the person you’re with should feel like home. I think love should be giving and mean taking care of each other. I think love should make you feel content. I used to think content meant settling. It always sounded like a bad thing, but the definition of content is “in a state of peaceful happiness.” My dad told me today that I wanted a sensitive guy. He meant it as a joke, but I responded with that’s exactly what I want. Sensitive is “having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others’ feelings.” I want someone to have a delicate appreciation of my feelings because that is exactly what I would do for him.

So, this is my prayer. I pray that he is intentional. I pray that he is sensitive. I pray that he is strong. I pray that he is kind. I pray that is gentle. I pray that he is tough. I pray that he is respectful. I pray that he is deliberate. I pray that you give him a purpose. I pray that you lead him so, he can lead me. I pray that whoever he is and where ever he is, that he has a good day. I pray that you watch over him and protect him. I pray that you keep him safe. I pray that you use him for your glory. I pray that you bring us to each other in your own way and in your time. 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’ve given me Your love, and it’s made me free.

I started reading The Single Woman by Mandy Hale and one of the things she talks about is stress. She told this story of how she noticed that stress was affecting her everyday life. She even noticed it in the way she drives her car. She hunches over the steering wheel paranoid of what could happen and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do the same thing!! I didn’t even realize it affected my driving or how I sit in a chair or how I communicate with people. I know it’s affected my friendships. I have this completely irrational fear that secretly everyone hates me. I feel like I need to constantly tell people how much they mean to me or how much I love them so they’ll always know. Every time I tell them though I get scared that I’m suffocating them or smothering them. Like by loving them so much that I’m pushing them away. Like I’m overwhelming them or being to clingy. Like I need to give them space so, then I try to give them space and I worry that they’ll forget me. I’m scared they will realize they don’t need me and that will push them away. Like it is a constant struggle. Like no matter what I do, it pushes people away.

I’ve tried to cut the anxiety and stress and worry out of my life. I know these are irrational fears. Mandy Hale wrote about her own experience and how she doesn’t know how to relax. I can totally relate. I can’t sit still, period. I have to always be doing something. Except I can’t do anything alone either. Like I can’t even go to church alone. I haven’t been in a while, except when I’m in Birmingham, because I’m scared. I know that it doesn’t make any sense so, why do I still let the fear control my life? Trent Shelton said: “the will of God will never take you where the grace of God does not protect you.” I need to remember that more.

Plus, I’m completely and utterly terrified of Cruella De Vil. Like she totally haunted my nightmares for like ever. They are bringing 101 Dalmatians out of the Disney Vault and putting the “diamond edition” on dvd. (Ummm there is nothing sparkly about Cruella! Put that thing back in the vault!)

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. Psalm 56:3

“The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is written in the Bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder from God to live everyday being fearless.”

There is this quote on pinterest that says “to pray is to let go and let God take over.” Then is lists Philippians 4:6-7 which says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I stop letting fear lead me. I pray that I have the courage to look towards you instead. I pray that you put your hand on my life. I pray that I learn to relax and calm down. I pray I learn to take a deep breath and breathe. I pray that I learn to take the advice from Mandy Hale’s book by taking a dance class or painting or simply taking a bubble bath more often. I pray that no matter how scared I get or how hurt I’ve been that I keep loving those around me. I pray that I keep showing love to those around me. I pray that I love myself more too, anxiety and all. I pray that I go to church and spend more time with you even if I have to walk in alone. I pray that you give me strength. I pray that I let go of the fear. Thank you for making me free to love by loving me. I pray that I listen to your word more and let go of my fears and trust in 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.