And You met me in the fire.

I’m finishing Max Lucado’s Before Amen. And boyyyyy did I need chapter 8. Max made a list of everything he’s thankful for. He wrote: “Gratitude is a dialysis of sorts. It flushes the self-pity out of our systems.” That is exactly what I needed today.

For the past few weeks, things have not been exactly going my way. You are still good has become my daily prayer. I knew it was true, but sometimes it is hard to believe, especially when things are uncertain and confusing. I thought my last semester was going to tie a pretty little bow on all my hard work. Of course, I was completely wrong. This semester has not been easy, but it’s still been good. This is not at all the way I thought my plan was going to be working out. My ten-year plan had me graduated last year, starting a fabulous career immediately following graduation, and getting married this August. We both know that was never Your plan, Lord and I’ve had a littleeeee bit of a hard time accepting that. (When I say a little, I might be down playing some of my…ummm resentment.)

Towards the end of the book, Max says to note what pulls me towards prayer and what pushes me away from prayer. Knowing what pulls me to prayer is easy. It is slowing down everything. It’s a song on the radio and the words were exactly right. It’s a line in a movie or a TV show that makes me see something new. It’s a small gesture of love from a friend. It’s the trees lined up along the road on the way to my apartment. It’s seeing You, everywhere I go and in everyone I meet. It’s seeing Your hand in the world around me. What pushes me away from prayer is a little harder for me to pinpoint because it’s a slow fade and sometimes I don’t even notice how far from You, I’ve become. It’s the busyness like Max said. It’s my fear I let get in the way. It’s my selfishness. It’s my lack of understanding. It’s my need for a plan and control. It’s prayers that are left unanswered or answers I didn’t want or simply understand.

Max wrote about a time that he tried to take control and made a mess of things. Then he wrote: “Why was it hard to trust God in that situation?” Psalm 46:10 says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ Take a moment to be still. Meditate on God’s goodness and power by reading Psalm 19.” Then he says: “Ask God to let this truth bring peace to your heart.”

Peace is exactly what I’ve been asking for. So, as I’m reading Psalm 19, I make my list of things I’m thankful for:

  • America.
  • Bubbles, Bath tubs, and Books.
  • Christmas.
  • my college Degree.
  • English classes that taught me how to write.
  • best friends Forever and one day a Forever and always love.
  • Grace that I need far too often.
  • Heaven. A friend of mine posted on the anniversary of the day that he went to Your Home, she wrote: “Although Christopher is gone from this physical world, he is standing in front of the Father in complete worship – and that is #goals.” The other day on the radio, one of the guys from Mercy Me was talking about their song, Finally Home. The song is about his father who went to Home and he said it was like the final chapter to I can only imagine. What struck me right to the core was he said he didn’t think his father was watching over him because he had better things to do like worshiping You, Lord. I was in complete awe. Lord, thank you so much for Heaven and for Your promises and for allowing us to worship You.
  • Ice in my coke.
  • Juggling schedules.
  • Kind words.
  • Lunches with good friends.
  • Music, especially in the car.
  • New things to get me out of my comfort zone.
  • Oranges that I used to hate and now love.
  • People and Puppies and Prayer.
  • Quirks, which I have plenty of.
  • Red lights to make you slow down and stop every once in a while and appreciate the world around you and make you remember to let others have a turn.
  • Safety because I crave it and it took me making this list to realize that I already found the ultimate security in You. Psalm 19:6 says: It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

    nothing is deprived of its warmth. 

“I’m reckless, and senseless, I’ve jumped off the fences, abandon all the rules, and crashed like a fool, out of control, so criminal, You could have let me drown, but You reached Your hand out.”

  • Tests and Trials to make me stronger.
  • the Universe You created.
  • Violins.
  • Walks with friends, which was also Max’s and it reminded me of the walk during Spring Break that my person and I took on the beach. I’m pretty sure we walked from Gulf Shores to Dauphin Island and back. She asked me to be her maid of honor on that walk. I am so thankful for that walk.
  • X-rays.
  • my Youth and all I’ve learned along the way.
  • Zoo’s.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you a million times for a million different things. Thank you for everything I’ve listed and soooo much more. I could never even begin to thank you enough. Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer, my Father, my Everything. I am in awe of you and all you’ve done. You created this beautiful, confusing, inspiring, beyond comprehension universe. You created the Heavens and the Earth. You created everything around me from the people to the trees to the lakes and oceans and everything in-between. I do not say it nearly enough, so thank you. Your ways are not my ways and your plans are not my plans. Thank you for that because yours are so much greater. Thank you painting an eternal picture instead of my 5 year outlook. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for showing me. Thank you for unanswered prayers. And thank you for the answers I wasn’t looking for and for the answers I didn’t understand and for the answers I wasn’t expecting. Thank you for loving me even when I’m reckless. 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.

 

Find rest my soul.

Peace is a hard thing to find sometimes. Especially for a girl like me who desperately tries to muster up all the control she can get. Especially for a girl like me who plans out every little detail. Especially for a girl like me who has a problem asking for help. Especially for a girl like me with trust issues.

Yesterday I bought Max Lucado’s book, Before Amen. He breaks down prayer into these simple terms that even a girl like me who complicates everything, can’t complicate. In chapter three, Max writes: “Before you face the world, face your Father.” I need that reminder. I take my problems to the world way too often. The only one that can change my heart is You, Lord. I need to start my mornings with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of You, God. Then he shares this prayer: Father, my Daddy…The words come slowly at first. But you stay at it. You are good. Your heart is good. Your ways are right…The words stir you. Something within begins to awaken. The weather is bad, the economy is bad, but God you are awesome.” Max continues with: “Don’t underestimate the power of this moment. You just opened the door to God and welcomed truth to enter your heart. Faith sneaked in while despair was dozing.”

And because there is a Francesca Battistelli song for every part of my life. This song and Max’s book could have been written for each other, which they kinda were since they were written for You. 

I graduate in May. I have no solid plans after that. My apartment lease ends in June. I could literally be anywhere in the world by the time July rolls around. My entire world is changing in just a couple of months, but somehow today in the middle of my big mess, I found peace.

Right before he ends the chapter he writes: “Is your world different because you prayed? In one sense, no. Wars still rage, traffic still clogs, and heartbreakers still roam the planet. But you are different. You have peace. You’ve spent time with the Pilot. And the Pilot is up to the task.”

So, that is my prayer. Abba, Father, Daddy. Alpha and Omega. My Creator. You are good. Your heart is good. Your ways are right. The weather is bad, the economy is bad, but God, you are awesome. Thank you for being the Pilot to my life. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for providing for me. Thank you for caring for me. Lord, you are so good. Thank you for putting truth in my heart. Thank you for letting faith sneak in. Even in all my uncertainty, you are still good. I don’t have all the answers, but I am so glad that you do. I am so glad that I put my hope in you. Because when the rest of the world is shaking, you are solid. You cannot be moved. Lord, I am in awe of you. Thank you for changing my heart. And thank you for being up to the task. 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.

So, even if it’s just to speak Your name I’m gonna pray.

My best friend got me a devotion book called The One Year Book Of Bible Promises and today’s was titled “Life After Death.” You always know exactly what’s on my heart. I don’t know how You do it. I’m literally in awe of You. The verse for this one was Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” I can’t even begin to understand Your plan, but You have a hold on my heart. You have my attention. You have my full, undivided attention.

It’s almost been a year since Christopher went to be with You and then my grandma met You soon after that. So, I’ve been thinking back to conversations we had. Christopher and I talked about prayer all the time. We would have these car talks and our faith was a hot topic. We discussed our childhoods and how we grew up at great length. We both learned real quick as kids the importance of prayer. Last year, I was faced with that lesson again, this time it was much harder. I literally feel to my knees in need of You. I had the wind knocked right out of me more times than I can count last year. Each time, I cried out for You and You listened while I prayed. You were there when I needed You. You heard my prayers.

I read stories from Max Lucado and C.S. Lewis practically my entire childhood so, now those authors hold a special key to my childhood. They also talk about the importance of prayer quite frequently. Max Lucado said: “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble, but since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” C.S. Lewis said: “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” 

To be honest, I miss him and I miss my grandma, but You already knew that. You know my heart. “Prayer isn’t to remind God what your problems are, but prayer is to remind your problems who God is.” Psalm 116: 2 says: “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

So, that is my prayer today. “As I pray God I need You more than words can say. Right here in this moment. You know my heart. You know my need. You know every part of me.” Lord, I wanna say thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for all they taught me. I know they’re with you now. I pray that you lay your hand on their loved ones in the coming months. I pray that I learn to think about what they gained in Heaven with you instead of what I lost. I pray that I keep coming to you. I pray that I keep praying. Thank you for listening. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for understanding me. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and it feels like I can never pray enough or find the right words. So, thank you for listening with open arms for me. Thank you for holding me together when I fall apart. Thank you for your not so subtle hand in my life. Thank you for my friend for giving me this book. Thank you for my friend who encourages me to pray. 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 the prayer in an empty room.

Yesterday, was not my finest. It was one thing after another that messed up. I was riding in the car and on the radio some guy was telling a story and told this person that sometimes the Devil throws punches because you’re special. It reminded of a part in a Taylor Swift song: “People throw rocks at things that shine.” Sometimes people hurt our feelings. What matters is how we react. Michael Jordan said: “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” Lord, we can’t control what others do or say to us, but we can control what we say and do. Trent Shelton said: “You’ll never be enough to somebody who can’t recognize your worth. You can’t make them see what they choose to stay blind to.” There is no point in concentrating on what others see in us. What is important is what You in us.

When I got home, on my desk was this quote I had written down a while ago. It said: “It’s ok to be a glow stick, sometimes we need to break before we shine.” Lord, sometimes we need the bad days to remind us how good the good days are or so we can be reminded that there is still good in the bad days. Sometimes, we need to fall on our knees before You in order to realize what’s important. Taylor Swift said: “There’s a fire inside of you that can’t help but shine through.” Even on our bad days we can still shine for You.

In a conference, I attended, where Hannah Brencher was speaking, she read this quote that has stuck with me. “Bless me with enough foolishness to believe that I can make a difference in the world; so that I can do what others claim cannot be done.” I loved that so much! Lord, You are teaching me to be more and do more, every single day.

Max Lucado said: “Live in such a way that the world will be glad you did.” Changing the world doesn’t take much. All people have to do is change their thoughts which will change their actions. Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” All it takes to change the world is really quite simple, just show more kindness. All we have to do is show a little more love. All we have to do is show a little more of the love and kindness that You showed us.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I learn to show more kindness. I pray that I am nicer to those around me. I pray that I am more patient and forgiving. I pray that I am more compassionate and encouraging. Thank you for holding me up. Thank you for giving me my special gifts and talents. I pray that I use them for your will. I pray that I show more of you. I pray that I remember even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big difference. 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.