You’re the one thing I can’t loose when I’ve run to the end of me.

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord. I went to pick up my Easter dress because I had it shipped to the mall so I could try it on before I brought it home. I stopped by Lifeway since I was on that side of town and got the Tenth Avenue North CD because they played: I Have This Hope at Winter Jam and I can’t stop listening to the song now. Lord, the words on that album spoke volumes way down deep.

I had two struggles this weekend. Those dirty mean little lies came creeping in this weekend: I spend every waking second taking care of everyone around me, who is taking care of me? Ohhhhhh Lord. You had an answer. Play track 3: Overflow. And let the Heavens saaaang: Let Your perfect love come and fill us up. Till we can’t help but oh, overflow, oh, oh. Ohhhh Lord have mercy on my soul. That’s just it. I am overflowing. I have so much inside of me that I can’t help but give everything I’ve got to those around me. My faith and my love and my soul is like that basket when You fed the 5000, it just keep giving and giving. Lord, I don’t need someone to take care of me because I have the ultimate life-sustaining, life-giver, I have You, Lord. My basket will never empty because I will always be able to go to You to be filled again.

The second struggle is the one that always comes back around. I have been working in some shape or form since I was 11 years old. From babysitting to little league concessions stands to movie theaters to employment offices to medical offices to restaurants and service organizations. I’m not scared of hard work, but it always seems like there is never enough water in the bucket. I was making my budget for the next few months like I always do and I need new tires before I go back down to Mobile next month. I’ll probably need to get my tag renewed before I go and the list just kept pilling on. I’d love to get my ac fixed before I make that drive and maybe my windshield wiper pump thing fixed too. I’m doing fine, I make the budgets for myself so I don’t have to stress and so I can eliminate some of the unnecessary drama. Sometimes, no matter how good I’ve got it, there’s always something around the corner wanting more from me. Ohhhhhh Lord. You had an answer. Play track 5: One Thing. And let the Heavens saaang: I can see so clearly now. If I’ve got nothing but You, I’ll still have everything I need. Lord, money don’t grow on trees, but money is not all I need. There’s always more money to make, but that is not what defines me or sustains me. You are all I need, everything else is just excess.

So here is my prayer. Lord I pray all of the want and all the plans, I’ve been chasing. All of the dreams in my heart, You can take them. I pray that I lay everything down at your feet. Lord, the one thing I need is you. I’m sorry I forget that sometimes. I’m sorry I listen to the lies sometimes. Lord, you do more than fill my cup, you overflow it. I pray that I give and give and give. I pray that you keep correcting my attitude when I get tired of giving, because Lord, you never get tired of giving to me and you give me so much more than I deserve. I pray that I give with a glad heart. Thank you for answering my prayers. Thank you for listening to my heart. Thank you for setting my heart in motion. Thank you for giving your love to me. I pray that I live in the overflow. Thank you for the reminder that you are all I need. 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 calm the storm when I hear You call my name.

A few weeks ago, I read Sara Evans’ and Rachel Hauck’s Songbird Novel series and it’s about all the relationships in this woman’s life. Between her parents and in-laws and husband, everyone around her. It’s not just another love story, it’s about life and forgiveness and loss and moving forward through the rough patches. The woman in the book is getting married and doesn’t know whether to invite her mom or not. The mom was talking to her friend about it and said there was too much water under the bridge. And this friend with all her wisdom says: “Come to my house tonight. I’ll loan you my canoe.” I burst into tears right there. No matter what water is under all the bridges life has to offer, I’m so glad for the friendships I have and the knowledge that they always have a canoe for me to borrow. They always keep me afloat.

When the people I love are going through a hard time. When they can’t find the light in the tunnel. When all they need is time. When they need peace. When they need what I can’t give. When they have to pull themselves out of the deep places. When they’re drowning and need a canoe. All I can do is encourage and and be there for them. I had to learn the hard way that as much as I would love to do it for them, I cannot live for them. They have to make the decision to pull themselves out. All I can do is offer my canoe. David Ring said: “It’s one thing to show people love. It’s another thing to stick around for the pain.” I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.

Lord, I am not You. I cannot save people. I cannot give them peace. I cannot heal the pain. I cannot do what You do. But I can be Your hands. I can loan them my canoe. Beth Moore said: “God is not afraid of your questions, girlfriend. He wants to stir them up-to send you searching for answers.” I can pray for them and share with them where I find answers, my canoe. Part of Church of the Highlands’ 21 Days of Prayer is the Warfare Prayer and they talked about how in prayer, we can identify the lies so we can quiet those lies and amplify the truth. At the end of the sermon, the pastor said to ask You to: “give us assignments.” Prayer is a two-way conversation. Even when we hear silence, You are working. You are not done with us yet. There’s a quote I found that says: “Having a rough morning? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose. You’re alive for a reason.” Lord, sometimes when we feel lost and unloved, the best thing to do is give love. Sam on Touched by an Angel said: “If you can’t find the love, let God love through you.” 

There is purpose for the pain. At Winter Jam, on Friday, we took the youth group and Tenth Avenue North was telling a story about their song: I Have This Hope. They were talking about why we call it Good Friday and how it’s because of what happened on Sunday. That dropped truth way down into the deepest parts of my soul and of my heart. Lord, sometimes we have to go through what we do not understand because we see the world with a limited view point. We see the world around us, but You see the whole world and everything around it. You hold the whole world in Your hands. You hold me in Your hands. You hold them and us and sinners and everyone in Your hands. You call us by name. You created every part of us for a purpose. You never left us.

So, this is my prayer. Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for hope. Thank you for purpose. Thank you for being there in the flood and fire. Thank you for walking with me. Thank you for calling me by name. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for lighting the dark. Thank you for canoes. Thank you for your unending love. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving through me. Thank you for letting me love others. Thank you for showing me how to stay through the pain. Thank you for questions and answers and two-way communication. Thank you for assignments. Lord, I pray that I keep going, keep moving forward. I pray that I chase after you and loan my canoe to those I love so they can chase you 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.

You can be the hope my soul’s been seekin’.

I was working on this project for my communication class. We’re creating a web project portfolio. For the proposal, we were supposed to give some background information and explain what we wanted to do with our project. I wanted to use this blog for a page of the portfolio, which got me thinking about how I started it. I heard Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North. Every word of that song felt like it was meant for me to hear. I literally went to my computer, pulled up wordpress and the words just flew out of me. It was like they were just waiting on me to finally get the clue. I replayed the song like thirty more times, while I wrote and prayed. In We Bought A Zoo, the dad tells his son: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” For the kid in the movie, the advice meant to tell the girl he liked that he liked her. For me, it was the courage to pray.

I lost a lot last year. I was hurt. I know the loved ones I lost weren’t perfect, but when they left, there was a hole in my heart. I heard that song and simply started writing. I don’t know what came over me. Well, that’s not true. It was You. It was Your grace. It was Your love. I found a positive way to heal. For me, praying was were my healing began. This is my journey. This is my story.

“It is in Christ we find who we are and what we are living for.” Ephesians 1:11 says: Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

Philippians 1:6 says: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” In Acts 18:9, You spoke to Paul and said: “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.” And in Ephesians 5:8 You said: “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

So, that is my prayer today. Thank you for making me a work in progress. Thank you for breaking my walls down. Thank you for constantly working on my heart. Thank you for reminding me to work too. Thank you for giving me the courage to not stay silent anymore. Thank you for hearing my prayers. Thank you for pulling me out of the darkness so many times. Thank you for writing my story. I pray that you keep writing it. I pray that I continue to see your work in me. I pray that I turn my blank pages into your works of art. I pray that everything I do points to you. I pray that my pages show your love and mercy and forgiveness and healing and grace. Thank you for your grace and healing. Thank you for your 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.

This is where the healing begins!

Today, when it started raining at work my first thought was: “Oh great! I’m gonna get soaked when I leave!” But then I remembered a conversation I had with Christopher. We used to talk about our childhood all the time. I told him that my mama used to tell me that storms were when God threw a party because he was so happy someone came to Heaven. When he was a kid he was taught the same thing. We had a lot in common that way. I guess that’s why it was raining the morning Christopher left us. The rain was strangely comforting like I knew God had him and he was happy his son came home. I couldn’t really comprehend much that day other than the disbelief and confusion. In the coming months I got depressed and angry and went through so many emotions that I literally made myself sick for a long time. I still have days where I can’t get out of bed because the weight of the world seems like it is going to crush me and I feel claustrophobic.

Today, when it started raining my first thought was negative. But my second thought was a memory of Christopher and remembrance that every storm has it’s purpose and brings hope of finding a rainbow. Right after I started crying “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North came on my Mercy Me Pandora station. I felt my thoughts start to change right then. I immediately started talking to people nicer and feeling like me again, if only for a minute. I still don’t understand why he was taken from us and I probably won’t ever understand. All I know is that God needed him and had other plans for him. I am a planner, always have been. I was making schedules and plans and organizing things since I could talk. Which is why I am a public relations major, I was born to be in communications. I have been using those abilities and perfecting them since childhood and I didn’t even know it so the fact that I can use those talents to go out in the world and try to make a difference is really exciting. But it also is something that hurts me when things don’t go according to my plan. Christopher’s leaving was definitely not in my plan. God has bigger plans than I do though.

So, that is my prayer for today. I pray that I learn to accept that God has bigger plans than I do. I pray that I let “Healing Begins” be the theme song for my life, at least for a little while. I pray that I speak softer to people and find myself again. I pray that my negative thoughts are changed into positive ones. I pray for the others that were connected to Christopher. 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.