Hearts open wide, hands lifted high.

I crave security, of all kinds. Financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, the whole kit and caboodle. It took me reading Sara Evan’s and Rachel Hauck’s The Sweet By & By to realize safety isn’t found in money or a place or another person. I’ve been looking for security in all the wrong ways. Lord, the only way I’m safe is in Your arms. I’ve always been safe with You.

The main character in the book is Jade Freedom Fitzgerald. Jade’s middle name was what she needed most. Maybe I’m the same way. I always thought my middle name was Faith because that’s what my parents needed to have me, but I’m learning maybe it’s what I need most.

When Jade was at her wit’s end, they wrote: “When safe places turned off their cell phones. When safe places ran off with musicians. When safe places moved to Washington, D.C., and never looked back. When safe places chose a sport where men wrestle men instead of loving her.” She was looking for her safe place in the people she loved: her fiance, her mom, her dad, her first love. She didn’t find ultimate and eternal safety until she was sitting alone on a bench swing faced with nothing but the truth. In one of the flashbacks, Jade asked: “If true love doesn’t last, and hearts can be broken over and over, what’s the point? Was Jesus for her?” You had been knocking on her heart and edging her closer and closer to the truth. All she had to do, was finally listen. Later they wrote: “The encounter with Jesus didn’t remove all of Jade’s obstacles. Liking Mama might not happen overnight, but being free compelled her to love. And that had to be a real fine place to start.” (Not gonna lie, when I read that I sang that last line because that’s lyrics from Sara’s song.) Lord, being a Christian and following You certainly doesn’t take all the pain away and it’s some magic cure-all pill that solves all our problems. Following You, gives us perspective. Following You, gives us options and choices. We have the freedom to choose You, to choose love, to choose light, to choose peace. I don’t have to be controlled or trapped by sin, I have a way out. I have choices and I can choose to live with purpose. I can hear Jennifer Nettles in my head singing: “we don’t have to live this way.” 

In the book, they wrote about Harlan (Jade’s dad): “Man was not basically good. There was reality called sin. The world needs redemption. He himself needed redemption. Perhaps Jesus was the only true escape. In his twenty years in Washington, he’d seen what man could do. Dark, evil, selfish. Fed up, Harlan was curious to see what God could do.” Lord, I was taught growing up about the miracles You’ve done. As I grew up, I’ve seen what You can do with my own eyes. Lord, it’s time my heart listens to what my head already knows.

So, this is my prayer today. Lord, forgive for searching so long what you had already given me. Lord, I pray I’m figurin’ out what love really means. I pray givin’ you my heart, is a real fine place to start. I pray you keep callin’. I pray that I know you are stronger than any fear or doubt. Lord, you are changin’ everything I see. I pray that it’s changin’ me. I pray that I never stop looking to see what all you’re doing. I pray I’m always looking for your miracles around me. I pray that I am listening when you’re speaking to my heart. I pray that I am compelled to love. I pray that I take every advantage of your way out of sin. I pray that I remember you gave me options. I pray that I remember you gave me freedom. I pray that I know deep in my heart that I do not have to live that way and I can choose you. I pray that I know you are for me. I pray that I know you are my safe place. I pray that every fiber of my being knows that you will never run away, you’re forever mine, you’re by my side, you forever shine. I pray my life verse keeps changing my heart this month and long after. I pray you keep teaching me that verse. I pray that I apply it to my life. I pray that I trust in your unfailing love. I pray my heart rejoices in your salvation. 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’m amazed by how You care cause You hear my little prayer.

I stumbled upon this 30-Day Challenge for Single Christian Women on Pinterest from The BarnPrincess a few weeks ago. The original article was posted in April but said it could be started any time. I figured I would start it at the beginning of the year since January was so close and that’s typically the month for New Year’s resolutions and what not.

I am determined to make 2017 a good year. I started my day with soup made with collard greens and black eyed peas. I wasn’t taking any chances this year so I participated in all the southern traditions. For someone who gets picked on for being a terrible cook all the time, my entire family sure ate my soup with no complaints. A little birdy said they went back for seconds too. (Little stinkers better quit telling me I can’t cook!)

Anyways, now that I’m done being distracted, back to the challenge! Day 1 is about finding a Life Verse. The instructions are: “Find a Bible verse that speaks to you and make it your life verse. Focus on having it memorized by the end of the 30 days. Post it where you can see it every day. Journal about it. Be creative with it. Why did you choose that verse? What does it mean to you? How does it give you strength? Or how does it give you direction?”

Ok, homegirl has trust issues I am working on and that seems to be the theme in some of the books I’ve been reading lately. So, taking the hint, I seem to have been given, that is the direction I’m heading this month. I went looking for verses on trust and Proverbs 3:5-6 says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. That was a prominent couple of verses I read and studied this past summer so I already had those memorized so I figured that was cheating so I continued my search. I found Psalm 13:5 which says: But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. That right there is the one. That right there is what I need. Heavenly Father, those were the words.

I went to read the rest. There are only 6 verses that David wrote in the chapter. Psalm 13 says: How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. 

First off, You weren’t scared of the tough questions. Second, the other thing that got my attention from these verses is even when David wasn’t getting a response or the answers he wanted in his time, he still praised You. Lord, David was going through so much and he didn’t understand Your plan, but he still praised You. He still trusted You. His heart still rejoiced in You. He still sang for You. Lord, You were listening to David’s little prayer and You are listening to mine.

So, here in my prayer today. I pray for this new year, this new start, this new day. I pray this challenge brings me closer to you. I pray that I think about both David’s little prayer this month. I pray that I listen to David’s psalm and David Archuleta’s song. I pray that I learn to trust in you more. I pray that I trust in your unfailing love. Unfailing love. Lord, I don’t even know if such a thing exists. Unfailing love. Father in Heaven, please open my heart to your unfailing love. Lord, open the floodgates and let your unfailing love cover me. Let is wash over me. I pray my heart rejoices in your salvation. I pray that I see all the good around me. I pray that my heart sings and dances praises for you. I pray that I focus on all the good. 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.