I’m on my way to Heaven, would you like to come along?

I didn’t know where to begin this one. I didn’t know how to start or even where to start. A friend of mine shared their story with me so I wanted to honor that trust by bringing it to the very person who wrote my story, Lord, You. Father, I think the very least I can do is to trust You. A sweet preacher in Chelsea, AL taught us, a few Sundays ago, that: “no one can sing my song but me.” He said: “you are a somebody because He knows your name, He knows your song.” 

Ok, so here goes nothing. Or everything…

I was sexually abused by more than one person, in more than one way.

All before I even started high school. I wanted to pretend this wasn’t real. Sometimes, it still doesn’t feel real. I almost convinced myself that the nightmares, were just nightmares. I started the healing process through counseling. I started to see things more clearly. Some of the symptoms that I had just chalked up to normal life were actually signs of PTSD and Disassociation. I got wayyy more signs of disassociation than I would like to admit. Ya girl got issues.

But You, my God, are so patient. so kind. so loving. You were there through it all. The more I have gotten to know You, the more I can see You through all of it.

My favorite verse is Isaiah 43:2 which says: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. If left to my own devices, I would be drowned, consumed, overwhelmed, and burned. I would have never made it through the second grade. But my God, that is the exact year I got saved. That is the exact year, I walked down that church aisle, asking You to save me. I always forget the first verse which says: But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Lord, not only did You create me and form me. You redeemed me. You call me by name. When Satan calls me by my sin, You call me by my name! I am free from the wrath by the power of the blood. I saved this picture on my phone that says: “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.”

I started the Redeemed study by Angela Thomas-Pharr. In the first part, she asks us to fill in the blank for: “I’ve given up trying…” I finished it with: “to walk like this.” I am not carrying this baggage anymore. I am unloading these suitcases. I am not carrying this weight with me any longer. This guilt. This shame. This pride. This need for control. This darkness. I let everyone else in my life set the boundaries, so then I put up walls in response to my boundaries being crossed. What I should have been doing is letting You, Lord, set up my perimeters and focused on You. Because when I have my eyes on You, I’m walking on water. When I focus on everything around me, I’m sinking. Lord, I crave the light because there is a darkness in me, darker than even I know. In those broken places, is the exact places that the light gets in. In those broken places, is the exact places that we can help someone else. The exact place that I can chose to share Your glory.

When I lost my friend, I asked You a lot of why questions. Through Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkheurst, I realized that was the wrong question. The right question is: what am I gonna do with what I have been given, what I have left? In the Redeemed study, I am learning to ask: who You are and what You’ve said. In Unwrap the Bible, Beth Moore said: “God is going to use one question to lead to blessings in another question.” 

I have this question written in my journal that says: how do you design something, knowing it’ll fail? Lord, You created me, You designed every hair on my head. You knew I would fail before I even took my first breath. But I think that is the point. I think that right there is redemption. When I am broken way beyond repair. When I fall to my knees. That right there is exactly where I need to be. Because right there is exactly where You fix me. Because right there is exactly where I see You work.

Steven Furtick said: “whether we know it or not, we are passing on our perspective to those we influence. And whatever is not healed is handed down. I can’t chose what I’m handed but I can choose what I hand back.” In The Gospel of Mark, Lisa Harper told us that: “Jesus knows exactly where you are. Jesus knows how heart-broken you are, He’s been there. He’s been segregated and alone in the wilderness, facing wild beasts. He knows exactly where you hurt.” Lisa said we don’t have to clean ourselves up to come to You. But my God, You love us too much to leave us that way. You meet us there and cover us.

I have always been a very organized planner. I have my five year plan but I also have a ten year plan and a fifteen year plan. I have certainly changed my plans over the years. 1st grade me wanted to serve You and be a missionary. Best believe, I had a plan for it too. As I got older, I wanted to be a teacher. In middle school, ya girl watched Legally Blonde and got a little power hungry. Ya girl wanted to be a lawyer then a judge then swoop right into the supreme court. In high school, I came back around to teaching. In college, I switched majors to Communications. Now I’ve gone and started grad school in human services counseling in christian ministries.

I tend to get overly excited and put my cart before my horse. But no where, on any of my plans, was any of the bad stuff. Ok. I planned perfect fairy tales with only enough realism approved by yours truly. The only thing that has remained a constant is my want to serve You in whatever capacity I could find. Lysa Terkheurst said: “remember this: God is working things out. He is present. His plan is still good and He can still be trusted. I used to think that being in ministry made me more of a target for the enemy’s attacks. But now I think God saw the attacks coming and made sure I was in ministry. Having my heart and mind constantly focused on God’s Truths has changed the way I see and process everything.”

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I lead with kindness and grace. I pray that I am showing others who you are. I pray that I am showing others what you do. I pray that I am showing others when to lean on you. I pray that I am showing others where you’re leading. I pray that I am showing others why I chose to walk with you. I pray that I am showing others how to follow you. I pray that every word in my story point to you. Father, even when I am not present, you are. Father, even when my plans are no good at all, you are. Father, even when I fail miserably, you can still be trusted. Kelly Minter said: “who Jesus has called you to be is the most exciting and liberating identity you can have.” Abba, thank you for reminding me that my identity is found in you. Thank you for reminding me that my identity is not what happened to me, what I’ve lost, or even what I’ve done. Hanna Brencher said: “one day you’ll be out of this. And all the things you felt-all the places you went in the dark-will help someone come out of the woods too.” Lord, open my eyes to the needs of those around me. Niki Rowe wrote: “like a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all; knew of her light.” I pray that everyone around me sees your light in me. Lord, I chose you. I chose grace over wrath. I chose life over death. I chose light over dark. I chose trust over fear. I chose your plan over mine. 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.

The sky’s getting dark but light shines through.

I’ve been acting like Chad Michael Murray in A Cinderella Story. I’ve been waiting for rain in this drought before I realized what I’ve known all along. So Lord, “Sorry I waited for the rain.” 

In Bible study, we watched Unwrap the Bible with Beth Moore. In the video, she talks about Hagar. She was Sarai’s servant and they were going through a rough patch to say the least. There was bitterness and resentment and a whole lot of pride. She ran away to this well where You told Hagar to go back to Sarai and submit to her. Beth Moore pointed out that “she is going back to the same place but not the same person.” That one statement resonated in me. I might have been sent back to the same place, but I am not the same person.

Beth Moore talked about Sarai and how she forgot when she was lashing out that it was all her idea to begin with. She asked for it. And boyyyy have I asked for things that were completely different when I actually got them. I could definitely relate to that. I’m learning that sometimes You don’t give us what we want and ask for, sometimes You give us what we need.

She continued the video talking about “Miss Mess” and how Miss Mess has been in enough messes to be a mess herself and sometimes she helps make the mess. Ever since I saw He’s Just Not That Into You, I have tried to cut the unneeded drama from my life. Justin Long tells Ginnifer Goodwin’s character that she lives for it. I related to her character the most and all her shenanigans. So, I cut the unneeded stress and anxiety out. I stopped letting the car get anywhere close to empty. I learned to pay bills wayyyy before deadlines. I’ve always been responsible and made lists, but I took it to a whole new level after relating to Miss Mess Ginnifer Goodwin.

Towards the end of the video, Beth Moore says: “Hopefully we’ll meet Him where He is. In case we don’t, He’ll show up right where we are. Sometimes we got to the well, sometimes the well comes to us.” Lately, I’ve been waiting for rain in this drought. I was listening to what You were saying, I just didn’t want to. I was being stubborn and hard headed. I knew You were trying to talk to me, I just wanted things my way, in my time. I was in a self pity rut. I am real good at making myself invisible, that’s part of why I relate to Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries sooo much. Except her invisibility wasn’t intentional, mine is. When I want attention, I do the exact opposite of getting it. I draw in real close and hide. Beth Moore told us to bring our canteens to You that no one else remembered to fill for us. For a girl who likes to make herself invisible knowing You always see me and hear me is quite a security blanket, one I don’t always appreciate and tend to take for granted. When I need my canteen filled, I put on my Harry Potter cloak of invisibility and wait for someone to find me and refill my canteen. The truth is, waiting for someone else to refill my canteen is like waiting for rain in this drought, “useless and disappointing.” It’s job only You can do. And all I have to do is ask. That’s the trouble, sometimes I wait for rain to ask.

So, this is my prayer. I pray I am gonna let that song that I’ve been holding in and I’m gonna let it all go. I pray that I let it ride. I pray that I listen to your voice. I pray that I trust you. I pray that I give you back the steering wheel. I pray that I let you lead me. I pray that I lean on you. I pray that stop waiting for rain. I pray that I learn to come to you before the storm. I pray that I learn to come to the well before my canteen is empty. I pray that I stop waiting on someone else refill my canteen. Thank you for bringing the well to me when I run away. I pray that I stop acting like Miss Mess and remember to carry that spirit of a wife with me. Thank you for sending me back a changed person. Thank you for continuing to knock on my door even when I’m peeking out the window and not answering the door. Thank you for being patient with me. I pray that I learn to open the door with confidence when you come knocking. I pray that I stop letting fear control 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.

You have my heart.

Allyson Rowe’s post was shared on my Facebook newsfeed and she dropped some wisdom into some deep places in my heart. She talked about Proverbs 18:22 which says: He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD. She emphasized that word wife. She said: “you are a wife the moment he meets you, not the moment he marries you.” She told us to walk around as if we are already taken and begin walking with the spirit of a wife. Ohhhh girl. Say it again. Say it again. Let it sink in. She talked about how some girls act like a girlfriend. I never really did that though, but I sure wasn’t acting like a wife. I am active member of the friend zone since 1991, but this girl is retiring. I always liked the idea of love growing out of friendship and marrying your best friend. After hearing her words, everything clicked into place and slid into focus. I have been a bridesmaid in three weddings. Three weddings that I knew You designed. Three weddings where I realize now that those beautiful friends of mine were walking in the spirit of a wife long before their wedding days. I have spent my whole life acting like everyone’s friend and wondering why no one was interested in more. I wasn’t walking with the spirit of a wife. I was waiting for some part of my life to begin. I have been walking around waiting, instead of walking around already taken.

She also said You, Lord will present us to him, that we do not have to do that. That I knew, but when I meet someone, I quickly forget. I need to work on this part. I’m either so shy I will literally never speak because I want to be invisible or I tend to want to show off and impress when I first meet someone. If I could serenade every cute boy with “I’m so pretty and witty,” I probably would. I’m like a show pony, I wanna jump around and have my hair brushed. It’s one extreme or the other. I have no middle ground. God, I am so glad You have another plan, because mine is a hot mess sometimes.

I went to a Bible study on Proverbs 31 and what it meant to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I kept my notes from it because I got a lot out of it, and I applied it to my life in parts but I don’t think I really applied it as a whole because I figured I wasn’t a wife yet. Looking back at my notes, Lord in the last year, You have taken those parts and shown me depth into each individual part and I think I’m finally connecting the dots You were trying to show me. I am finally putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. We learned that “a Godly woman is: strength, trustworthy, industrious, organized, loving, orders the priorities of her world so that Christ comes first, inwardly wise, occupied and adorned her rightful place, her relationships and responsibilities are wisely balanced.” See that’s just the first post-it of notes and I can already see where You have been teaching me that this year. Inwardly wise. Ohhh how I have a new meaning for that word wise. (Thank you, Beth Moore.) Ohh that word. Now that next part is what I’ve been struggling with lately. Occupied and adorned her rightful place. First off, You have been teaching me that in like sixteen different ways with the book of Genesis. You started with Eve and now Hagar. You started with my place as a woman and then You worked on my place in this world. In Bible study a week and a half ago, we watched: Unwrap the Bible. In the video we learned that just because we are going back to the same place, we are not going back the same person. (Thank you again, Beth Moore.) The last part was illustrated on Supergirl when Cat said that we have to take on a little bit at a time and balance what we have, then we can add more. It’s all about balance and understanding.

In that Proverbs 31 Bible study, we learned four C’s. We should be committed, first to You, finding our identify from You, and second to our family. We should be competent and communicative, both requiring that pretty little word: wisdom. Compassionate is the final C, with open arms and hands for everyone around me.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I pray that I keeping working to become that Proverbs 18:22 wife. I pray that I start walking with the spirit of a wife. I pray that I start walking like I am already taken. Lord, you are still my first love. I have been seeking you since before I can even remember. How I adore you, Jesus. You are my greatest joy. Ohh my soul rejoice. Lord, I pray that I am strength, trustworthy, industrious, organized, loving, order my priorities of my world so that you come first, inwardly wise, occupy and adorn my rightful place, and that my relationships and responsibilities are wisely balanced. I pray that you keep showing me your wisdom. I pray that voice in my head telling me to get some wisdom, only grows. I pray that I continue to grow committed, competent, communicative, and compassionate.  I pray that I apply what I’ve learned this year. I pray that I start becoming the woman you need me to be. Thank you for working on my heart. Thank you for changing my heart. Thank you for your truths. 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.