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.

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There is a fire inside me burning with hope.

I was taking a break after my first day of classes and scrolling through Facebook and saw this video posted. Yesterday on the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford thanked everyone for the outpouring of love she received. In the video, she talked about her and her husband’s faith. I got all kinds of choked up, but what really got me was when she talked about their visit to the Holy Land and how they went to where David picked up the stones that defeated Goliath. She said her husband took a stone home and put that stone in his trophy room. When people went to see visit his home, he took them straight to that stone. Then she said when their children graduated they gave them a stone and asked them: “where you gonna throw your stone for the Kingdom of God?” I admit it, I cried.

What a fantastic question for graduating seniors. I am getting ready for my own college graduation this Spring. I have my application ready to turn in this week. All I have to do first is pay for those parking tickets that I let pile up. (I might have one or two…or six…) I was completely swept away by that question. I hope I take that question with me this year as I get ready to go out in the world. College is not only where you get to pick a major and a career path, it’s where you get to pick the kind of person you want to be, the kind of future you want to have. As a senior, it’s easy to get burnt out here at the end. This question just made sure my candle is still burning.

To be perfectly honest, the closer it gets to my graduation, the more I think about those I lost last year who won’t be in attendance. I knew college was going to be a lot of firsts. First dorm, first time living on my own, first time doing anything substantial without my parents, first road trips without adult supervision, first time on a plane (and second), first time paying real bills, first time my actions had real consequences. College has been a lot of firsts, but one I wasn’t counting on was the first time I would lose someone I loved and then I did it twice last year. College has been a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. Part of me is really excited to get off and start a new ride. Part of me is terrified to leave the one where I know exactly where all the bumps are and where my seat is. The ride is a little less crowded than when I began, but I know You have a plan for me. I know You’ve got me in Your hands. I know I’ll be ok. Now, I’m gonna throw that stone You gave me and see what You can do.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I continue to polish the stone I’ve picked this year. I pray that I keep looking towards you, Lord. I pray that I go where you send me. I pray that I do what you need me to do. Lord, I know that you have plans for me and I pray that I follow them. I pray that you lead me and guide me. I pray that I take the stone you gave me and throw it exactly where you need it. I pray that I let my light shine for you. Thank you for keeping my candle going. Thank you for everything you’ve given me. Thank you for watching over those I’ve lost. Thank you for holding me together. Thank you for all the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for teaching me inside the classroom and outside of it. Thank you for all of those I’ve loved alone the way. Thank you for the time I had with them. Thank you for the life I’ve lived. Thank you for who I am today. I pray that I keep growing and learning. I pray that I use my stone for your 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.

There’s a little flame inside us all.

Today, a new president will be elected. The past few years have been leading me to this day. Today, a new chapter will begin for them. I hope my sisters know just how talented and smart and brave and truly spectacular they are. I hope they know they are loved. I hope they know just how much they have touched my life. I hope they know just how much they have helped me. I hope they know that they are here for a purpose. I hope they know that they matter. I hope that my sisters know that they have a light to give and to share with the world.

I hope they know that things won’t always be easy. Sometimes they are going to have to fight for what they want. I hope they face their battles head on with dignity and grace. I hope they realize that everyone has a story to tell and their own scars. I hope they always show compassion and kindness to those around them. I hope they don’t ever become bitter. I hope they always see the good in the world. I hope they never give up. I hope they always know that they are enough. I hope they know that even if it seems like the whole world is against them, they still have people that love them and rooting for them. I hope they find their best friends here that will always cheer for them like I found. I hope they find a home here like I have. I hope they see the magic in the little things.  I hope they know they are blessed.

I hope they know that bad days end. I hope they know that dark skies go away. I hope they know that they are worthy of respect, of love, of joy, of happiness, of compassion, and of kindness. I hope they always leave things better than they found them. I hope they know they can make a difference. I hope they know that they have the power to change the world. I hope they know they already changed mine.

So, this is my prayer. I pray that you watch over them. I pray that you protect them. I pray that they see your love. I pray that you guide them. I pray that you use them. I pray that they see their potential. I pray they see their light. I pray that they find their sunshine on their darkest days. I pray that they learn a lot over the next few years and not just in the classroom. I pray they find what makes them truly happy. I pray they see you. I pray that you touch their hearts. I pray they always know how wonderful they are. I pray that they keep growing. I pray they impact each other in a positive way. I pray that they keep moving  forward, no matter what tries to stop them. Thank you for leading me here. Thank you for giving me such amazing people. Thank you for blessing me so much. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for the memories I’ve made. Thank you for giving me a light of my own. 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.