Hold, hold on, hold onto me ‘Cause I’m a little unsteady.

The more into the Vacation Bible School week I got, the more I started realizing that message was so on point. With all the tragedy and disaster going on in the world, this message hit me right to the core. It is almost too easy to dwell on the darkness and become consumed by it. It’s also real easy to live in fear and stay in the darkness. But the theme was Cave Quest and the message was right on the money. Lord, no matter how dark the cave seems, we have Your light. John 8:12 says Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

The Bible tells us so many times that You are light. 1 John 1:5 says And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. None. There is no darkness at all in You. Sometimes that is such a hard concept for me to realize because there is light and dark battling in all of us. I’m not gonna lie, I let the darkness win more than I would like to admit. But Isaiah 42:16 says I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone. Lord, only You can turn darkness into light. Only through You will our rough places be made smooth.

For VBS, I did the Imagination Station with Sciency-Fun Gizmos. Each day had a theme, verse, and activity.

Day 1: “Jesus gives us hope.” Psalm 71:5 O Lord, You alone are my hope. For the first night we hit rocks with hammers to find shiny crystals inside. “Just as the geodes contained something surprising and amazing inside, we can have the amazing hope of Jesus inside us, no matter what’s happening in our lives. Sometimes we may feel like we’re in a dark cave and can’t find our way out. Or we may feel like we’re just some ordinary, old rock with nothing special about us. But because of Jesus, we can have real hope! And hope from Jesus is amazing and surprising.”

Day 2: “Jesus gives us courage.” Matthew 14:27 Take courage, I am here. This time we took green powder and water, shook it all up, created a storm inside, and made slimy cave snot. “When we connect with Jesus, He gives us the strength and courage to face any situation. He can use even the hard times-the storms in our lives-to change us and give us courage.”

Day 3: “Jesus gives us direction.” Proverbs 3:6 He will show you which path to take. For this one we made a compass. The demonstration before the craft was drawing a line from birth to what they want to be when they grow up. Then we created what if scenarios and drew different lines and loops and destinations to show how sometimes our paths change. “Jesus has a plan for our lives and Jesus gives us direction to make that plan happen. There may be lots of curves and twists along the way, but the end design is beautiful because we’re following Jesus. Each person’s design is unique and different-just like each person’s life is unique and different.”

Day 4: “Jesus gives us love.” 1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. We used flicker fliers and attempted to fly them through a hula hoop. “I try to obey Jesus  in my life. But sometimes-lots of times-I miss the mark. I mess up. I do the wrong thing, and I sin. Just like the flier missed its target. But because Jesus gives us love. I can be forgiven. And so can you. Jesus loves you. He wants a relationship with you. He knows you’ll miss the mark lots of times in your life. But he loves you so much that he was willing to make a way for you to be forgiven. That’s amazing love.”

Day 5: “Jesus gives us His power.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 Our great power is from God, not from ourselves. This was the last night and we used flashlights to show power. My favorite part was watching the kids dance around the room, making a light show and singing This Little Light of Mine. “The battery is the source of power. Without it, the flashlight won’t work. Jesus is our source of power, because Jesus gives us His power. His power can live inside of us, just like the battery ‘lives’ inside the flashlight.”

Lord, You give us hope, courage, direction, love, and Your power. When the darkness surrounds us we can turn to You and see the light. Psalm 119:105 says Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. When the cave starts to crumble and we feel unsteady, we can turn to You.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray for those that have lost loved ones. I pray for those affected by these tragedies. I pray that you give them hope, courage, direction, love and your power. I pray that while they feel unsteady, you remind them that you are steady. Thank you Lord for being the rock on which I stand. Thank you Lord for remaining strong and firm and never moving and never wavering. I pray that parents hug their kids a little tighter. I pray that the church shines your light. I pray that I remember to use the tools you gave us. Thank you for turning darkness into light. Thank you for making the rough places smooth. Thank you for holding all of 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.

You rescued me and I am Yours forever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of relationship I have with You this year and how to strengthen that relationship. We talked in bible study on Sunday about how it has to be an active pursuit towards You. They said that the relationship becomes a foundation, not a set of rules. I saw it the same way as the ladies in my bible study, as a foundation. I practically grew up in church. I was shown that foundation early on. I was taught stories from the bible and how to have a relationship with You. I was very fortunate and blessed to have that relationship fostered as a child. It was a really critical part of my life that completely set up who I am as a person and gave me direction. What I realized in college is that a lot of people do not have that. I came to really understand what being lost meant. I had always heard the term, but never fully understood. I’ve had times in my life where I stumbled and even gone in the wrong direction, but there was a light leading me back to You. Isaiah 53:6 says: All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. To be honest, I had to look up what iniquity meant. Iniquity means: “immoral or grossly unfair behavior.” That sounds hideous. I went in the wrong direction and You still saved me. Not only did You rescue me and take me back with open arms, but You forgave my hideousness. That blows me away.

What I realized is that without You, I would literally be lost. I would have no foundation. No starting point. No ending destination. No core. No motivation. No purpose. No meaning. No guidance. No source of light showing me the way. Psalm 119:105 says: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 

Romans 3:22-26 says: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. So, let me break this down, verse by verse. 22: There is no distinction between me and non-believers because of 23 which says we all fall short of Your glory. 24 says You declared and made us righteous in Your sight through the cross where You publicly saved and redeemed us by showing Your grace. In 25, this was to show that You are just and fair by showing fortitude and endurance in washing away our sins. Then in 26, all we have to do to get all of this is to believe in You? So, let me get this straight. No matter who I am or what I’ve done, You are going to take all the ugly, repulsive, unsightly, reprehensible, appalling, objectionable, offensive, obnoxious, and spiteful things I’ve done and You are going to carry the burden and wash them away and all I have to do is believe in You? These verses taught me that I am not better than anyone else because I believe. I am not superior to anyone. I am just forgiven. I simply asked for You to save me and You did. I am not a better person because I’m a Christian, I’m just better than who I am without You. I’m forgiven and changed. I’m set free from who I was and made new. I can chose You now and forever.

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for remaking me. Thank you for renewing me. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for setting me free. Thank you for showing me who you are and who I could be in you. Thank you for showing me a brighter future. Thank you for showing me the 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.

We are one body.

When I was a kid, we used to sing this song in church. We would all hold hands across the pews and sing our hearts out. It’s one of my favorite memories. We did it practically every Sunday, which made me totally happy. I felt empowered after and ready to go out into the world. I have tried to find the song everywhere. All I can remember is “we are one body.” It made so much sense to me that we were one body. We were extensions of You. We were Your hands and feet. We were sent here to share Your love. What I like most is that we are one body. We are united through You. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Casting Crowns has a similar song.

Colossians 3:15 says: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” So, since it’s Thanksgiving. Here is what I’m thankful for:

1. My family, my friends, my sisters, my person, my soulmate, my littles, and all the lovely people in my life.

2. The University of South Alabama and all the wonderful people that work there.

3. My country, the great state of Alabama, and all the brave men and women in uniform.

4. Country music and southern accents.

5. Albert, my beautiful car.

6. The Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation and all the amazing people contributing to the world’s work.

7. Faith, Hope, and Love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

8. Taylor Swift for showing me it’s ok to dance everywhere you go and fall in love with everyone you meet.

9. Hannah Brencher for inspiring me to bring more love to the world.

10. Miranda Lambert for showing me how to be strong and kind at the same time.

11. Dolly Parton for showing me how to stay humble and have big hair.

12. My life. I’m thankful that I’m here and I get to continue to use my talents and gifts for You.

So, that is my prayer. I pray that you use me. I pray that we are one body. I pray that your arms are reaching. I pray that your hands are healing. I pray that your words are teaching. I pray that your feet are going. I pray that your love is showing them the way. I pray that I use Psalm 119:105, which is: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I pray that I keep listening to you. I pray that I keep seeing you. Thank you for sending your son for us. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for making me who I am. I pray that I use the talents and gifts you gave me to bring glory to you. I pray that I show more love. I pray that I show more kindness. I pray that I show more compassion. I pray that I show more generosity. I pray that I continue to be thankful for everything around 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.