We are shaped by the light we let through us.

I feel like Lee Ann Womack every time I drive to work. Like my drive is literally the music video to A Little Past Little Rock. There is hardly anyone on the road, it’s just me and my headlights. And deer, lots of deer. I used to listen to that song every single day. One of the perks to working nights is driving home as the sun rises. When everyone gets up in the morning I make to turn the lights on for them to start their day. When they leave, I run around the house singing Trace Adkins’ Every Light In The House and turn out all the lights. Then before they come home, I run around again turning all the lights back on, so when they come, they’re not coming home to the dark.

There is a reason I like lights and sunshine. It’s all because of my relationship with You, Lord. I see things differently, the more I walk with You. I can’t look around without seeing Your handiwork. Lord, sometimes I’m so busy turning on the lights for others, I forget to leave a light on for myself too. Dumbledore said: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Lord, even when I forget, You make the sun rise. You always leave a light on for me. Father in Heaven, You always give me light at the end of the tunnel. You give me a way out. Of my darkness. Of my pain. Of my grief. Of my despair. Of my sin. Of my sin. Of my sin. You give me a way out. I just have to look for the light. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Let me say that again so it sinks deep into my soul. He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Lord, Your grace astounds me. Not only are You with me in my struggles, but You don’t leave me there. I don’t have to live in my sin. You provide a way out.

My Little and I were talking the other day about how we wanted to dance in our kitchens with our husbands one day singing old country songs. Those country songs about leaving the light on and how light shines through are the ones I wanna dance to. Those songs show that a simple act like turning on the lights can show you care.

So, here are my top country songs about light to dance in the kitchen with:

  1. Every Light In The House – Trace Adkins (this one is obvi my fave!)
  2. Glass – Thompson Square
  3. You Light Up My Life – LeAnn Rimes
  4. Shine The Light – Sugarland
  5. You Are My Sunshine – Johnny Cash

We are lights to those we love: friends, family, spouses, kids. We shine brighter because we are loved and because we love them. Lord, You are the ultimate giver of light. You are the lighthouse in the storm. You created the sun. You created light. You guide us home. You show us the path to take. You give us a way out.

So, here is my prayer today. Lord, thank you for all the light in my life. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for the love I have been given. Thank you for giving me so many people to turn the light on for. Thank you for turning on the light for me too. Thank you for giving me a way out. Thank you for teaching me to turn the light on for others and for myself. Thank you for teaching me how important the light is. Thank you for teaching me to let the light in. Thank you for showing me the light around me. Thank you for allowing your light to shine through me. I pray that I continue to shine bright for you. I pray that I continue to look for the ways out. I pray that I am always looking for the ways out of the darkness. I pray for resilience and strength in fighting the darkness. 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.

Hold on, I am loved.

My entire life, when the good guys come around, I automatically shut down. Words don’t come out. Sentences don’t form. My eyes practically hit the floor. My first thought is there’s no way I deserve his attention or anything more. So, I just tell all my friends how much I like the guy and then never actually have a conversation with them. Then I’m just some crazy girl liking a guy I don’t even know. When the mean ones come around, I’m all ears. Because that’s the kind of attention I think I deserve. And because that is the kind of attention I think I deserve, I accept the crude, rude, controlling, hot mess as my normal. Because I watched so many of my friends date this type of guy, I don’t actually date him. So, I just continue this cycle of only talking to guys I know I will never date because they treat me like dirt. At least they’re safe because I will never let them get close enough to actually hurt me. It’s this really backwards cycle of protecting myself.

What I’m realizing in my walk with You, Lord, is that I don’t deserve Your love either, but You give it anyway. Lord, You forgive me when I mess up. You hold my hand in the storms. You guide me through the darkness. You teach me when I can’t do it on my own. You are the rock beneath me when my world is shaking. You refill my canteen when no one else remembered to fill it. You bring the well to me when I can’t even make it to the well.

Last week, I was watching Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie at my best friend’s house with her son while they were putting up their Christmas tree. Btdubbs, watching them put the tree up was the most adorable thing I’ve ever witnessed. I am so beyond filled with joy for her and the family You gave her. I can’t even begin to explain how much her friendship has impacted my life and how much she deserves this happiness. When her son was explaining the movie to me and said: “there are some bad guys, but the good guys are better.” That five year old just dropped a lot of wisdom on me. The good guys are better. We have to be better. I don’t think that there are strictly bad guys and good guys in the world like there is in the movies. It’s more complicated than that and there is a whole bunch of gray areas involved. We’ve all got darkness and light in us and it’s a battle everyday of which will win. What I realized sitting there on that couch is that we have to better. I am one of the good ones and it’s time I started acting like it. It wouldn’t kill me to walk with a little more confidence here lately. Making myself smaller isn’t making anyone else shine brighter. I have to be better because You gave me a light to shine for You. I have to shine brighter, love deeper, live more fully, show more kindness, be more intentional, give more generously, share more compassion, forgive quicker, and bring glory to Your name.

So, here is my prayer. I’m praying for this Little Miss, one big mess. Thank you for always showing me how to clean up my mess. Thank you for always taking care of me and showing me the way. Thank you for being my lighthouse in the storm. I pray that I try to be better. I pray that do more because you gave me so much more. I pray I live with purpose. I pray I hold on and remember just how loved I am. I pray that this Little Miss, big old heart beats wide open and I pray this Little Miss is ready now for love. I pray I learn to accept love and not run away from it. I pray that I stop trying to make myself smaller. I pray I stop trying to fit myself into this little box. I pray the light wins. I pray I don’t forget that light always wins, you always win. I pray that I let your truth sink so seep into my heart that it radiates outward. I pray your truth shines right out of every fiber of my being. Thank you for showing me real 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.