Trees are growing old and birds are still singing.

My Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion was by Bob Goff thing morning and he told us: “we can get busy getting better.” There is so much darkness and just plain old sin going on right now, but it ain’t nothing new. Sin has been messing up hearts since the beginning. It goes way on back to the Garden. Satan’s games have not changed. We’re still failing for the same old tricks and lies. We’re still eating that apple and sharing that apple with those we love. The thing that changes is us. We grow. We turn the lights on. You have always been good. We just forget to look for the good sometimes. We forget to trust You. But my God, You have always been there.

What would happen if we stop the cycle? What would happen if instead of eating the apple and sharing our sin, we shared our joy instead? Could we change the world? By sharing the apple, we share our sin and shame. By sharing our joy, what else could we impact? It starts in our little world around us and then grows and spreads to the world at large. I want to be more intentional and try to be more like You. I want to point others to You with every move I make.

I want to the stop the cycle. I want to start a new one. I want to share joy and hope and courage and love. I want to share the light. I want to stop handing those I love the forbidden fruit and start handing them Your light.

“Come and find me and we can wait for the light”

So, here is my prayer today. I pray I get busy getting better. I pray I give those around me your light. I pray I look for the ways out of sin and look for the ways into your light. Lord, I don’t want to just do enough to get by. I don’t want to sit around and just let things continue. I don’t want to run and hide anymore. I want to stand firm. I want to stop the cycle. I want to start a new cycle of light. I pray I lead others to you. I pray I pull chairs up to the table. I pray I lay everything I have at the cross. Father, help me to stand in the light. Lord help me to appreciate all the beautiful things and people in my life. I pray that I honor them and cherish them. I am so grateful for all you’ve done for me and continue to do. Lord, help me to do better. I don’t have to earn my way to Heaven by checkin off items on my christian check list. I have the absolute joy of serving because I have been given Heaven. I pray I share that joy. Lord, guard my heart from letting the darkness in. Father, let my heart shine for you. Lord, I trust you. I lay down my life. My hands are open and empty. I am coming boldly to the throne. 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.

It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down, get back up, cuz it’s a hard love.

Yesterday, I was talking to my friend about how we want immediate action and immediate results. We’re not good at that whole waiting patiently thing. Then as if on queue, the First 5 devotion was: Weakened faith makes us easy prey. I read this on the First 5 app: “There have been seasons of life where I have become disillusioned with God. When He wasn’t answering my prayers or ‘fixing’ my problems fast enough, I was seduced by the god of gotta-have-it-now.” Lord, I am weak. I am easy prey for fixing my problems the simple way, the instant fix, the temporary band aid. I am a big fan of pitty parties when things are not going my way or things aren’t fair or when I’ve been done wrong. I have a tendency to play the victim. It’s easy, especially with everything going on in the world, to give up because life isn’t fair. Because we got the short end of the stick. Because we were hurt. Giving up is easy. Getting back up is hard. Love is hard.

The second session of Stuck Study is titled: Mad. The session talks about how life isn’t fair and how frustrating that is. Then it tells a story of one woman’s reply: “You’re right. You don’t deserve this life. You deserve hell and death, and so do I. But God’s gracious love for us provided a Savior who took our sins and died for them. He didn’t deserve death, and we don’t deserve life. It is God’s grace that we have life at all.” Sometimes I need that reminder. I admit, too often I need that reminder.

In this session, we are called to surrender. To lay everything down so that we can be filled by You. I had a similar devotion in Mobile. We wrote down on pieces of paper what was holding us back from our relationship with You. Then we picked up these little wood crosses. We were told to paint them or whatever we wanted, but to use them as a reminder. Not of what we laid down, but of what we picked up instead. The part of message that I got differently today was trust. By laying everything down, I wasn’t just giving You control, I was trusting You to take care of what I laid down. I wasn’t just letting it go, I was giving it to You. Lord, sometimes You give us a piece of the puzzle at a time, to put together in Your timing.

The study said: “This love costs us something. It is not easy, but it is simple.” Then it states Luke 6:28-30 which says: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. Ok, first off, this love and trust thing is hard for me. It’s a simple concept, but it’s hard to put into action. The whole bless and pray thing, I can do. I can totes pray for my enemies. I’ve been taught that my whole life. And my daddy always said if you let someone borrow something then just plan to give it to them. And my mama told me 1343 times that if someone takes something from you then they must have needed it more. So, that stuff I was prepared for. But not offering my other cheek after I’ve been hit. That one gets me. That one takes personal root and grabs on. That one is a tough pill to swallow. That one is gonna take some extra praying and teaching. Lord, that one I’m gonna need help with. That’s when trust comes into play.

The study teaches that if we put our trust in You, then that’s where freedom is found. That’s when we truly let go and surrender. That’s where peace comes. I’ve always heard Ephesians 4:26 which says: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. The part I haven’t heard, but read today is verse 27: and do not give the devil a foothold. Lord, I needed that reminder today.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I am humbled at your feet. I pray that I let go of my timing. I pray that I stop being so impatient. I pray that I put my trust in you. I pray that I put my faith in you. I pray that I remember you are God and I am not. I pray that I want more of you and less of me. I pray that I put action into your love. I pray that I give more, love more, pray more, bless more, surrender more, forgive more. Lord, help me to offer my other cheek. I pray that I show strength. I pray that I show intention. I pray that I let go of my need for things to be fair. I pray that I let go of what I think my rights are. I pray that I stop trying to defend myself and let you defend me. I pray that I am not so easily offended. I pray that I made stronger in you and in your love. I pray that I am slow to anger and slow to speak. I pray that I listen intently with love. I pray that I let me fade away. I pray that I hold on a little tighter to your love. I pray that I don’t let the devil have a foothold. I pray I keep finding you more and more. I pray for courage. I pray that I remember you are victorious no matter how weak I feel. 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.

We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight.

Yesterday, I went through a whirlwind of emotions. I was all kinds of emotional. This morning, I woke up, looked outside and decided to do things differently today. I always carry books with me, I went into my bag and grabbed the devotion book. I needed to spend some time with You. I was in desperate need of You this morning. I found the book laying around the house, it was one my mom read with some people from church a while back, Stuck study. Eight sessions on “the places we get stuck and the God who sets us free.”

Lord, You knew exactly what You were doing when I found that book. You knew exactly when I needed to open that first page. You knew exactly when I would need You the most. And I definitely needed You today. My friend and I were joking and she messaged me and said: “This is all I need! No man!” and sent a picture of her pizza. I responded with a moment of honesty: “Jesus. That’s what I need.” Then things got serious. She replied with this: “I need…..1. A man 2. Hope 3. To know I matter 4. Everything else you could think of 5. Oh and I’ve ran away from God so I prob need him”

Lord, I could’ve cried right there. I’ve been there. I’ve been in her shoes. I’ve lost my worth. I’ve run as far away from You as I possibly could. The funny thing about running from You though is You’re still there and our problems are too. Running doesn’t make our problems go away and it certainly doesn’t make us feel better. In the Stuck study, I read: “Nothing is more powerful than God getting bigger in our lives. He has the power to heal with a word.” On Pinterest there is a picture that says: “God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident. God is working on your prayers.”

Ok. So. Here goes. Ernest Hemingway said: “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” I’m letting the light. Lord, I’m letting You all the way in. As for number 1, Charles Stanley said: “Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.” I have been praying for my future husband since my mama taught me how to pray. I saw this Instagram post that said: “I pray for him even though he doesn’t know about it because I wanna make sure God got him like I got him.” There was another one on Instagram saying: “Dear Future Husband, Find God. Find yourself. Then come find me.” Lord, maybe that’s what we both needed a reminder of today. Lord, I value love. I value him and I haven’t even been on a date yet. I value our relationship and it hasn’t even started yet. And most importantly, I value the relationship he has with You. That’s why I pray for him. I found You before I can even remember. I dedicated my life to You in the second grade and I have remade that commitment several times in my life. I started finding myself when I was a freshman in high school and I don’t know if either search ever really ends. I hope I’m always trying to find You in everything around me and I hope I never stop growing.

Number 2, 3, and 4, I believe those are found in faith. Proverbs 31 Ministries posted Whitney Capps saying: “Father, when my circumstances scream louder than my faith, help me cling to Your truth.” Lord, I tend to listen to the world when things are not going my way. But the truth is that faith is trust. Trust is something I struggle with daily. Trust means relying on You. Trust means giving up control. Trust means I am dependent on You. Trust means changing the way I think, feel, grow, live. Trust means giving my life to You completely. Trust means letting go. Letting go of the pain, resentment, hurt, sin, jealously, anger, brokenness. Trust means laying it all down and picking up the cross. You already did the hard part. You picked up everything I laid down. You died for me. All I have to do is lay down, what You already picked up. The first step is admitting I need You. The study said: “The space in which we are stuck, lacking, sinful, broken, and in need, is the space in us that longs for God, longs for forgiveness. When we soberly view ourselves and our sin, we see our need and call out for God.”

Number 5 hit me right in the heart because I run daily. I spent years running and I still try to run. In the study it says: “Before time began He knew people would rebel and run from Him, and He made a way to get them back in Christ.” My sweet friend is running from You. I ran from You. And still You hold Your hand out for us. Still You love us. We are the prodigal children. No matter how far we run, You arms are still open. Steven Furtick tweeted: “Fulfillment doesn’t start with getting what we want. It starts with wanting what God wants.” Romans 8: 14-15 says For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Stuck study said: “God will win this fight, but we have to start fighting it His way, on His terms.” 

At the end of the first chapter it asks: “Who are You, Lord? and What do You want from me?” Lord, I have spent so long asking the second question that I forget the first part. I grew up in the church, learning about You and Your stories, but I need to get to know You as an adult. I need You in my life. I need Your word in my life. Thomas Jefferson said: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”

So, that is my prayer today. Lord, I pray that I hang on. I need you. I need your word. I need to run towards you and not away. I pray that I keep longing for you. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep evaluating my life. I pray that I start making some changes in my life. I pray that I lay everything down. I pray that I pick up the cross. Lord, you already picked it up. I pray that I quit picking back up what I already laid down. I pray that I stop fighting you and let you fight for me. I pray that I stop rebelling. I pray that I want what you want. I pray that your love washes over me and changes me. I pray that I remember I am your child. I pray that I remember I don’t have to live like this. I pray that I don’t live in fear again. I pray that I cling to your truth. I pray that my faith screams louder than my circumstances. I pray that you become bigger in my life and my friend’s life. Lord, I pray you speak to her. I pray you keep knocking on the door to her heart. I pray that she sees her worth in you. I pray that she finds healing in your name. I pray for my future husband. I pray he finds you, finds himself and then finds me. I pray that he knows he is valued. I pray that you got him. I pray that you got my friend. And I pray that you got me too. 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.

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.

My heart, my soul, Lord I give You control.

Today, I was watching yet another repeat episode of Gossip Girl. Blair is clearly my favorite character. (And it’s not just because of her love for headbands!) One of Blair’s biggest fears on the show is being seen as weak. The funny thing is the reason I watch the show is because of her strength. It’s the same reason my favorite Disney Princesses are Pocahontas and Belle, they’re strong and brave. She is literally one of the most forgiving characters like ever. She will also fight with every fiber of her being for the people she loves. Now I don’t necessarily understand some of her methods, but it’s TV so, of course it’s dramatic. What struck a nerve today was a conversation she had with her mom, Eleanor, on the show. Which went like this:

Blair: “What I want is to be a powerful woman, but whenever Chuck is around, I just feel like a weak little girl.”

Eleanor: “I shut myself for a long time after your father left. I was cold and hard then I met Cyrus and he taught me that sometimes you have to allow yourself to be weak in order to grow stronger.”

Blair: “Well, that sounds good, but it feels terrible.”

Eleanor: “You don’t have to lose the girl to be a woman.”

Now, while Blair’s issue might be with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Chuck. Mine is a little different, but I appreciated Eleanor’s words all the same. I think inside of me, there is a little girl just wanting to feel safe. I crave it. My want for safety and security, is exactly what makes me vulnerable though. It doesn’t take much to make the ground underneath me shaky. Part of me doesn’t like that about myself. The more I grow up, part of me wants to be strong and independent.

There is also that part of me that’s a little girl clinging to the cross with all the faith she can muster up. I quite like that girl. I’ve started to see the strength in that little girl. Sometimes the ground will shake. Sometimes the mountains will rumble. Sometimes the storms rage. The cross is unchangeable, unmovable. Through it all, You’re constant. I am strong because I am weak. I am strong because You are powerful. That little girl that ran and told her mama that she wanted to dedicate her life to You and walked down that isle in church is still inside of me. She is growing into a woman that wants to continue that commitment she made. I want to live my life for You, Lord. I want to be a reflection of You and the love You have so gracefully shown me.

Lysa TerKeurst posted today: “Love can empower me to feel hurt without becoming a person consumed by that hurt… I can feel offended, but I don’t have to be offended. I can feel insecure, but I don’t have to act insecure. I can feel angry, but I don’t have to respond in anger. That’s the choice love makes. I have to give myself permission to be honest about my feelings. But I don’t have to compound the hurt by reacting out of those feelings. Let’s allow God’s love to take us by the hand and empower us in every situation where we don’t know what to do.” 

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I never lose that little girl inside me and the faith she found in the 2nd grade. I pray that I continue to cling to the cross with all the faith I can muster up. I pray that I continue to see your strength in my weakness. I pray that while I feel afraid, I don’t respond out of fear. I pray that your love continues to empower me. I pray that while I don’t know what to do, I am thankful you do. I pray that I take Lysa’s words and Hillsong’s lyrics with me. I thank you that your light will shine when all else fades. I pray that you consume me from the inside out, Lord. I pray that I love you from the inside out. I pray your will above all else. I pray that my purpose remains. I pray that I continue to seek you. I pray that I surrender all that I am and all that I have at the feet of the cross. I pray that I make the choice to react to everything in your love. I pray that I put my life in your hands. 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.

Somehow I feel like I was born for this.

To say that War Room impacted the three of us that saw the movie last week would be an understatement. One of us went home and started making a prayer wall, like immediately. As for me and my person, we took to dramatically screaming the entire speech every time something happens now. You know, the one where Priscilla Shirer runs around her house praying and telling the devil to get out of her house. She was flawless! She had me crying the whole speech. Now, anytime something happens, we start praying immediately. There is a bug in the house? Devil get up out my house. Job interview fail? Devil get up out my career search. My car will be ready this week, but it’s going to cost more than the original estimate? Devil get up out my car. K-Love app needed to buffer and crash instead of letting me listen to the music? Devil get up out my phone. Literally. Everything.

That speech got us all riled up and ready to face anything. From the little stuff to the life changers. Today, when I got bad news I started to get upset, but a friend was on her way to take me to the rec center with her. I headed straight for the track, put on my prayer playlist, and started praying. First, I was confused and I’ll admit, I was just plain mad. But, I remembered War Room and how I needed to stop fighting battles I couldn’t win and start fighting the right battles. I changed my entire perspective and refocused my prayer.

Karen Ehman from Proverbs 31 Ministries said: “Determine today to stop hiding out in old destructive habits. Instead, come out into the light of His glorious grace and learn a new method of coping. Race to Him instead of running back to your old ways. His Word is alive and active. It can help us break horrible habits and form new, Jesus-pleasing ones as we reply with a resounding ‘No’ to returning to the dangerous familiar.” Today, I almost ran back to old habits, but I chose to run to You in prayer. Today, I chose to come into Your light, instead of hiding out in the darkness. I want to run to You, Lord.

So, here is my prayer today. Thank you for changing my perspective. Thank you for refocusing my prayers. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for the reminder today. Thank you for making me a warrior. I pray that you continue to change my heart. I pray that you keep working on me. I pray that I keep falling to my knees in need of you. I pray that I keep seeking you. I pray that I keep calling your name, Lord. I pray that I trust you and trust your plan. I pray that I put my faith in you. I pray that I leave my worries at your feet. I pray that I keep my eyes on you, instead of the storm. I pray that I run to you. I pray that I leave old coping methods behind and head straight for the cross instead. Thank you for opening your arms for me today and everyday. Thank you for letting me run towards your light. 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.

People think I’m lucky But I know it’s grace.

I have about 345232 questions running through my head. I am not a fan of uncertainty. I like actions, plans, steps, and lists. I like things to fit into organized boxes. This week is challenging me in more ways than one. I want to know exactly when and how things are going to work out. Those are my exact worries right now. Then I saw the Proverbs 31 Facebook update which was literally my feelings and anxiety at the moment. Renee Swope posted: “Faith means obeying God even when all my questions aren’t answered.” Allllllll Right. Way to call me out by name there. Middle named me and everything. I see what you did you there. Lord, your timing is absolutely astounding. It never ceases to amaze me.

A friend of mine posted Isaiah 26:3 today which says: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. I went on to read verse 4 which says: Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. Ok. I needed that today. I needed some peace and reassurance. I don’t like when things are all up in the air and I don’t have a plan, but that’s what the struggle is right now. I have to change my perspective. I needed to be reminded that You are everlasting strength. I needed this lesson in trusting You.

Hannah Brencher posted a while ago on Instagram: “Because only in the darkness do we know light. Only, and only, if ever there was a word called ‘darkness’ would there be a reason to create another word to counter that word called ‘light.’ And maybe that’s just life: patches of darkness and patches of light. Sometimes we see it all so clearly. Sometimes we don’t know the way. Sometimes we grab the hands of others too tightly and they’re just thankful – just so thankful – that you’re finally grabbing on and needing to be held.” I definitely do not know my way right now and I am totally grabbing the hands of those around me. I struggle with that too because I’m stubborn and I don’t like to ask for help, but sometimes I just cannot do it alone and I don’t have to. I am blessed beyond measure by those that love me. Genesis 1:3-4 says: Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. He separated the light from the darkness. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that.” I heard that “sometimes God lets you be in a situation that only he can fix, so you will discover that he is the one who can fix it.” Casting Crowns has this song called Just Be Held and I was reminded of the lyrics today: “If your eyes are on the storm, you’ll wonder if I love you still, but if your eyes are on the cross, you’ll know I always have and I always will.” Those words meant so much to me today.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I look to you. I pray that I concentrate on the cross and not my problems. Lord, I know you love me and I know you have me. I know you’re taking care of me. I pray that you separate the light from the darkness. I pray that I see the light. I pray that I keep grabbing your hands and the hands of my loved ones who are going above and beyond to help me. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that I give you my struggles. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for teaching me. I pray that I get my peace and strength from you. I pray that I put my faith in you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I pray that I continue to see how blessed I am, even when I struggle. I know that you have a plan for my life and you are working for me. Thank you for that.  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 stand in awe.

Lord, Your timing is so incredible to me. It never ceases to amaze me. It’s a year ago today that I started this blog and then today, I heard this song.

I have been searching my whole life to feel like I am enough. To feel loved and respected. To feel appreciated and wanted. To fill like my cup isn’t running on empty, which it has lately. When I heard this song, I realized maybe it wasn’t about me. Maybe I missed the point. You are enough. You love me. You created me. You filled me with a purpose. You put every single hair on my head for a reason. You do not make mistakes. You do everything with love and intention.

I have been stressed out all week. (Yes, I realize it’s only Tuesday.) If I’m being honest, I’ve been stressed all summer. Classes are about to start though and it’s my last year so, reality is sinking in. Those loans are about to become real. Real fast. I downloaded the new First 5 app. I opened today’s and it was a quote from Whitney Capps that said: “Maybe it’s time I stopped editing my prayers because I think He won’t care.” Alrightttttt. You have my attention, Lord. I was ready and listening. Then she goes on to say: “I often think, This is so not a big deal. Jesus wouldn’t care about this. And even if He cares, He certainly won’t do anything about it. Have you ever felt that way? Wondered if Jesus cares about a hurtful Facebook comment, a tense relationship with a coworker, a paycheck that won’t make ends meet…” Wow. Stop there. Wait a minute. That last one right there is me. I admit it.

I grew up believing that finances were private family matters. One does not speak of his/her own finances outside the immediate family, ever. One does not ask about anyone else’s finances, ever. Ok, these were like legit, southern rules. It was just simply not polite to talk or ask about finances. College was an entirely different ballgame. Like not even the same league. Everyone is struggling is some shape or form. No one has it all together, all the time and everyone is open when they’re riding the struggle bus. Somebody went to Foo too many times last week and now they’re making good old fashioned pb&j’s until pay day. When free food is offered, it will run out before the event even starts. We also loveeeeee our student discounts. Those $5 movie tickets practically buy themselves. There are somedays when my bank account just simply hurts. But, here’s what I’ve learned about finances so far:

1. When I tithe regularly, I simply feel better about my finances. I put my money where my mouth is. It feels like my first priority is You and that makes all the difference.

2. Budgets are a necessity, not an option.

3. Emergencies happen. Things come up unexpectedly. Having some savings set aside will turn a mountain into a mow-hill.

4. Do not blow the savings completely. I will admit it. I did it my first year of college. I had all this money saved up from working and graduation and I blew through it all in the first semester. I had a brand new dorm to decorate and I made sure that room was gorgeous.

5. Asking for help occasionally is like taking cough syrup. That junk is no fun at all and it tastes terrible, but sometimes you need it. Asking for help, is like the very last thing I want to do, but it might teach me to a valuable lesson in responsibility and so many other life lessons.

6. Student discounts do not last forever so, take advantage of them while you can.

7. Loans are scary. Like no joke. They terrify me, but if I think of them as an investment in my future, it makes them less of a death sentence and more of a means to having the career I’ve dreamed of. Perspective is key.

8. Learn from mistakes. No one is perfect. Everyone struggles sometimes, but don’t make a habit out of bad decisions.

9. Never let anyone borrow something you’re not open to giving away. Even the very best of people forget to return things or pay you back for dinner when they left their wallet at home.

10. Networking is life. Make connections everywhere you go. You never know which of those connections will lead to a job. The best jobs I ever had came from sources I would have never expected and almost every single job I’ve ever had, has come from knowing someone.

I might ride the struggle bus a time or two during college, but I have never been without anything I needed, ever. I’ve been more blessed than I can even comprehend. This week though, finances scared me. I just started thinking about those loans and graduation and going into the real world and finding my first full-time career job and I just kinda froze, then had a meltdown. Like a full blown, Elsa, meltdown. I’m living in my first place off campus and it’s kinda fabulous. I can have candles, first off! Which is a big deal for this girl because that dorm life didn’t allow them. Deciding to live with my roommate was kind of an easy decision. I mean, she’s my soulmate after all. The first big, adult decision I’ve had to make was what kind of mattress I wanted. I’ve never had to make that decision before. So, needless to say, I might have gone overboard. I have been researching and trying to decide for like two months now and I still have no idea what I want. I understand that buying a mattress isn’t life altering or anything, but I just feel like it’s a big decision. I have been spending so much time deciding what kind of mattress to get and I haven’t spent one second in prayer with You about it because I thought it’s just a silly old mattress, why would You care? You have more important things to worry about than my mattress choice!

In the First 5 today, she said: “How differently would I approach prayer if I trusted God like Mary did? Maybe it’s time I stopped editing my prayers because I think He won’t care. He may ask, ‘Why do you involve me?’ I pray I’m faith-filled enough to answer, ‘Because I trust You.'” 

So, today this is my prayer. First, I want to pray the First 5 prayer they provided: “Father, forgive me for believing the lie that You don’t care about every detail of my life. Help me trust You to hear and act. I want an honest prayer conversation with You free from the fear that I am insignificant. Help me to involve You in all of my life.” I pray that I put my trust in you. I pray that I remember that you are more than enough. Thank you for blessing with me with so much more than I could ever imagine. Thank you for always taking care of me. Thank you for giving me everything I needed and so much more. Thank you for little reminders that you’re here. Thank you for filling my cup, time and time again. 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.