But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I am all Yours.

The devil is packing punches and for a few days I laid on the floor in the corner with my feet curled up, hiding. But that looks like I’m hiding in fear. When we fear something it has a hold of us. It consumes us. We not only start to believe the lies, we start buying the lies. We go out and seek the lies. We put it first, above all else. Now, hang on, wait a second. The only thing I have to fear is You, Lord. You alone have authority over me. Satan doesn’t have me. I do not worship him. Sin doesn’t own me. Death can’t even hold me. You defeated all those things that I have been letting reign over me. You already won the war.

Today, I had enough. I put my hair in a messy bun, opened up my Bible, and started seeking the capital T, Truth. This place holder fell out from a previous Bible study with 2 Corinthians 5:17 written on it, which says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. It was this small cut up piece of paper that I saved and it fell into my lap just when I needed to reminded that You have control. You’re timing Lord. Ohhhhh, how You love us. You, my God, are in the detail business. Nothing is without You. Nothing is by accident. Every single little detail was created and designed by You with intention for Your purpose.

My whole problem is that I keep picking up what I already put down. Lord, I gave this hot mess to You and I keep running back to the sin and my old way of stinkin thinkin. My daddy used to tell us that without You, we are like pigs in the pig pen. We don’t realize we’re living in mud and filth. It’s all we know and we don’t know any better. Ohhhhh, but Lord, You made us new. We can leave behind all that mud and muck. We don’t have to clean ourselves up to come to You. We don’t have to worry about things like: I’ll come to God when I stop doing this thing or I’ll come back to God when I get this thing done. We don’t have to clean all the mud off to come to You, but You love us too much to leave us there. You are leading us out of the pig pen and out of our mess.

There is a quote on my cup that matches my Bible cover, which says: “she believed in His plan, even when she couldn’t see His path.” 

So, that is my prayer today. I pray I follow you and you alone. I pray that I believe in your plan. I pray that I use the word as a lamp to my feet. Lord, I’m praying for forgiveness. I’m praying for my unbelief, my doubt, my fear, my selfishness, my angry and confused heart. I pray that I stop giving power to fear. I pray that I fear you and you, alone. I pray that I put you back in a place of authority over me. I pray that I remember you are first and I am second. You come before all else. I pray that I put that verse way down deep into my soul. I pray that I remember you have a spot at the table for me even though I do not even deserve to be in your presence. Father, I belong to you and you alone. I pray that this prodigal heart comes home daily. I pray that I bind my wandering rebel heart to you. I pray that I believe in your plan and follow your path. I pray that I leave the pig pen and leave my filth behind. 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.

For a world that is lost, grace wins.

To be honest, this whole #ImAChristian and #IWouldSayYes movement kinda rubbed me the wrong way at first. I thought it was kinda disrespectful to those that said yes. Not because I disagree, because I am a Christian. I wholeheartedly believe in You, Lord. But it’s really easy to say that sitting behind a computer screen while I’ve got the freedom to pray however I want. It’s an entirely different thing saying that when a gun is pointed. I mean, Peter was Your disciple. He followed You. He prayed with You. He literally saw You and he still denied You, Lord. He not only denied You, he did it three times. He had all the proof in the world to believe in You. He literally saw You perform miracles, but he still said no. You give second chances and I believe that’s exactly what we’ve been given. Just because you said no, yesterday, doesn’t mean you can’t say yes today.

I want to live for You. I want to say yes. But, I didn’t always say yes. I ran from You. I’ve been lost. I’ve done all I could think of to push You away. But You were right there, holding me. You never let me go. You fought for me even when I was fighting against You. You always won. And it’s not over. I can’t even imagine what all of those people went through that day. I do know that no matter what, You will win.

Romans 14:11 says: For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'”

Isaiah 40:8 says: The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

Maybe I didn’t understand the movement. Maybe I had it all wrong. Maybe it’s not that we would say yes, but we could. Maybe it’s the bravery of those that said yes that will serve as a reminder that we can say yes. They are a reminder that grace wins every time. Not even death can separate us from You. I’ve read a lot of people praying for those that were brave enough to stand up for You. Armardo Hall said: “The bravest person in America? The 2nd to admit to being a Christian after the UCC shooter murdered the 1st.” I am in awe of their courage and bravery and conviction. I want to pray for them too. I want to pray for their families. But for the ones that said no, I want to pray for them too.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for the ones that said no. I pray for the injured ones that got to keep their life. I pray for their healing. I pray for their families and friends and loved ones. I pray that they see the second chance at life they’ve been given. I pray they find you. I pray they seek you. I pray they reach out for you. I pray they are surrounded by your love. Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for fighting for them. Thank you for the reminder that we can have the courage to say yes. Thank you for the bravery and courage of those that said yes. I pray for healing for their families. Thank you for holding them all that day. Thank you for not leaving them. Thank you for the fact that grace wins. I pray that I have the strength to say yes. I pray that I live a resounding yes. I pray that my life screams yes from every decision, every word, every movement, every fiber of my being. Thank you for the reminder of courage to say yes with my life. 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.

Now let the truth of this promise speak louder than the lies.

I prayed about a quote from Lysa Terkeurst a week or two ago that said: “As long as I daily make the choice to be guided by His truth, He replaces my hollowness with a wholeness of love that has no gaps.” But what does that mean “no gaps?”

To be honest, I have never been in love. I have no idea what true love is. I’ve had “crushes” and I’ve liked guys before, but the most that ever came out of it was friendship. I have confused friendship for love a few more times than I would care to admit, but I have never been truly in love. Love is completely out of my comfort zone. It’s out of my element. I have watched the movies, read the books, listened to the songs, had countless discussions, and done all the research, but I’ve never felt it. So, it comes to no surprise to me that I don’t understand love. I can’t comprehend it.

A lot of the love I have known is an if/then love. “If you do this or if you act like this then I’ll love you. If you act like this or if you do this then I won’t love you.” Unconditional love is a completely foreign concept to me. Plus, I am terrible at receiving things like love and even gifts. It’s not that I’m not grateful, it’s that I feel like I have to earn it or I’m not worthy of it.

Thank goodness, You’re love isn’t like that. I don’t have to earn it. It’s not an if/then thing. Whether I ever completely understand it or not, it’s there. Whether I ever realize the full definition of unconditional, it’s there. Whether I ever grasp the depth of You love, it’s there. Your love has no gaps. It is not changing. It is not ceasing. It is not failing. It is not gonna slow down over time. It is never going to end. There isn’t anything I can do to stop it and there isn’t anything I can do to make You love me more. It is the realest and most perfect thing that we have.

Last week, at my first Girl’s Night with church, we were asked what was holding us back from You. We were asked to write it on a piece of paper and lay it down, then take up our crosses. Matthew 16:24 says: Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. My mama used to tell me that I had a damsel in distress disorder. I wanted my Disney princess moment. I wanted the hero or prince to show up and save me. When I was younger, I actually wanted bad things to happen to me so, I could be rescued. Somehow over the years I created this need to hold onto past hurt and my victim card. I don’t need it anymore though because You saved me. You rescued me. You chose me. You love me. You love me with a kind a real, pure, intentional, unchangeable love.

I read something on Wednesday that believers are going to be asked “Did you believe that I loved you? That I desired you? That I waited for you day after day? That I longed to hear the sound of your voice?” It said: “The real believers will respond and say ‘I believer in your love. And I tried to shape my life as a response to it.'”

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I lay my hurt and struggle down. I pray that I let go of that need to hold on. I pray that I take up my cross for you. I pray that because you love me that I learn to love others the way you love me. I pray that I share your love with everyone around me. I pray that I accept the love you have for me. Thank you for loving me so deeply, intentionally, purely, unconditionally, and unchangeable. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for creating and making me. Thank you for giving me life and a purpose. Thank you for never leaving me. Thank you for loving me with no gaps. I pray that because of your love that I learn to live differently. I pray that I am changed. I pray that because you love me that I love more, give more, do more. I pray that I share your mercy and grace with those around me. I pray that I shape my life as a response to your love. 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 won’t let us break.

The other day a friend of mine was really upset and she said that she didn’t believe in You because everything was going wrong in her life. She was venting to me about how every time she was happy something would happen to mess it all up, that it was just one thing after another. I didn’t really know what to say or how to react. I just wanted to hug her and tell her it was all gonna be ok and that You loved her. I wanted to tell her so many things but I couldn’t find the words. I wanted to protect her from all the bad stuff and show her Your love. I wanted her to know that I’ve been there. I’ve been where I can’t get out of bed for fear of something else going wrong. I’ve been where I feel like everything is completely out of my control. I’ve been where she is.

She doesn’t believe in You because bad things happen and she doesn’t see why You don’t fix them. I think everyone struggles with this at some point in our lives. We don’t see your plan. We don’t see the lessons You are teaching. We don’t see the person You are molding us to be. Then, I remembered this song.

I cannot begin to understand Your plan. I don’t understand why loved ones are taken from us. I don’t understand why my grandma had to get sick and leave us in so much pain or why it’s genetic. I don’t understand why now I have to worry about my mama, my sister and me. I don’t understand why I have to decide on whether to have children of my own one day and risk them having it too. I don’t understand why there is so much hate in the world. I don’t understand why when we are hurt, we hurt others. I don’t understand a lot of things.

I do understand that yes, there is a lot of bad things in the world. Yes, the devil is working really hard. But, you know what? You are working harder. There is so much love and joy in the world. For as many things working against, there is always more working for us. You have so many people out there working for You and for Your purpose. You don’t make mistakes. You are perfect. You are all the love in the world. You show grace and compassion. You show light. You create life. You create joy. You create happiness. You created my friend and You created me. You didn’t create us by accident and we are not mistakes. We were created us for a purpose. You loved us before we were even a thought in our parent’s minds.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that she knows just how loved she is. I pray that she knows she is not alone. I pray that she knows just how kind, smart, talented, giving, thoughtful, beautiful, and encouraging she is. I pray that she knows that bad things end and new things begin. I pray that she finds hope in you. I pray for her and everyone she cares about. I pray that they are healed. I pray that she finds you again. I pray that you keep working on her heart. I pray that she takes Anthem Light’s song with her and she falls into you. I pray that she knows you won’t let us break. I pray that knows that like Matthew West’s song that you created her. I pray she knows that she is here for a reason, that she is important. I pray that she sees more of the joy and light you made. I pray that she knows that you are for us. 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.

It’s time for us to do something.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Today my friend, Mariah, told me this is her favorite verse. I have been thinking about the verse all day and how important it is to encourage and uplift those around you. I think too often we forget to take care of each other. We forget that we have no idea what battles other people are facing. We forget to be understanding and have compassion. We forget to cherish those around us. We forget to put our own issues aside for a minute and realize we are not the only ones having a rough time.

“So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’
He said, ‘I did, I created you’

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something”

So, with a heavy and willing heart, I pray for peace. I pray for love. I pray that you heal the hearts of those struggling. I pray they lay their trouble at your feet. I pray that they know you are strong enough to handle all their pain. I pray they surrender it all to you. I pray you change my heart and attitude. I pray that you open my eyes to those around me. I pray that you continue to burden my heart and let me know I am called do something. I pray that I apply Matthew West’s song to my life. I pray you never let me forget that I am yours. I pray that you use me. I pray you keep knocking on my heart. I pray that I remain eager to do your will. I pray that my passion for you continues. I pray I remember that I am created for a purpose. I pray that I remember that “I can do better and I have the responsibility to try.” I pray I am reminded often that what I say and do affects others. I pray I remember to be uplifting and supportive. I pray that I surround others with so much love that their day is just a little better. I pray that I share your light with everyone around me. I pray that I learn to show more kindness and have more compassion for others. I pray that I share your love and grace. I pray that you never stop working on my heart. 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.