What God Revealed To Me About My Wedding In The Midst Of A Breakup

Full Disclosure, a lot of what I write on this blog is written with you, the reader, in mind. I share bits and pieces of my life and wrap them up with a bow and place them in your hands to enjoy. I spare the details in hopes that you find it shareable and relatable.

This blog is going to be a little different.

It is personal. It is raw. It is real.

For those of you that don’t know me personally, this is what I’ve been walking through.

Two months ago I got out of a year long relationship with a guy who I thought was my future husband.

When I started telling people that I broke up with him, their reaction was always the same.

Wide eyed, jaw to the floor, complete and utter shock.

We were that couple and everyone knew it.

Ya know, social media has a funny way of making everyone look happier than they really are. Our highlight reel was good. We traveled together, we adventured together, we went to church together. We cooked, we danced, we laughed. We looked like we had it all together.

But behind closed doors, our relationship was broken.

I’m sure you’re expecting me to bash this guy and list off every little thing he ever did to tear me down.

But I won’t be doing that.

I promised myself that when I sat down to write this that I’d do it as gracefully and truthfully as possible.

So I’ll just say this..

Ladies, if you ever find yourself in a relationship where your opinion doesn’t matter and your voice isn’t heard…

If you find yourself questioning your worth…

If you are manipulated to believe that every flaw in your relationship comes from you…

If you are losing yourself in service to the guy you’re dating…

If you find yourself altering your dreams for someone…

If your tears are laughed at rather than wiped away and prayed over…

And if you find yourself putting your happiness in your significant other and not your heavenly Father…

Run.

As fast as you possibly can.

The hardest and smartest thing I ever did in my relationship was run from it.

I want to make myself very, very clear. I forgive him for every thing he did to me and every hate filled word that was said. I really do.

I also want to add that I am not perfect and I’m very aware that it takes two. I take responsibility for everything I did wrong along the way.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I’m so ok. How have I kept it together. And my answer to that is Jesus. I owe all of my peace to Him.

My biggest fear in ending my relationship was being alone. Not just single, but really alone. I focused so much of my energy on my ex that I pushed away every other person in my life that mattered.

In my darkest and loneliest hours, God has always been there. He quickly reminded me that with Him, I’m never really alone.

And not only that but that I have a tribe. A group of girls that he hand picked for me. A group of girls that I still have a hard time believing that He entrusted me with.

To Ashley, the day I decided that it was time to get out my relationship, you were the first person I ran to. We hadn’t spoken in months and I just KNEW I could trust you. And I was so right. You have spoken so much life over me in the past two months. You constantly push me to be my best self and you remind me of my worth.

To Jordan, the friendship that I never saw coming but I’m SO glad it did. The day after I left my ex you sat with me when I was scared to be alone. You’ll never know just how vital that was to me. You are beautiful inside and out and I still can’t believe we walked the same halls for years without being friends. I wish we could get those years back but I know God put you in my life during this season for a reason and I am so grateful.

To Noelle and Elle, the friendship I share with each of you is so different yet so similar. While we haven’t been the closest during this season, I can confidently say that ya’ll would still be there in the blink of an eye if I asked. We always manage to pickup right where we left off. Friendships like that are special and they are rare.

To Katherine, you gave me the courage to run when I didn’t think I could. You are my favorite person. I am so proud of you and Jay for all the hard work you put in to make marriage look so easy. When I think about what I want my future to look like, I model it after you guys. I look up to you and no one will ever understand just how special our relationship is.

To Lauren, I could quite literally write a book about the amazing person you are and the rock that you’ve been for me during this season. You know everything about me and still choose to love me. You are grace. You are truth. And I am honored to do life with you in my corner.

To Kaitlin, when I didn’t want anyone else to see my tears, I knew you wouldn’t judge me for letting them roll. You were so right when you said that there are things we go through that ONLY we understand. You’re not just a safe place but the very safest place and my favorite phone call, ALWAYS.

To Allison, you have been my friend through every awkward stage of life. And even when I abandoned you for over year for a boyfriend you took me right back in and taught me how to have fun again. We rarely say it….ok, we NEVER say it but I really do love you and I always look forward to our time together.

To Savannah, you told me to end my relationship when I didn’t want to hear it and you’ll truly never know how thankful I am for the honesty you always offer. You’re still my it girl and I love every little thing about our constantly funny, ever growing friendship.

These girls.

These women.

They are my tribe, my home team, my people, my bridesmaids.

They are the glue that holds me together and keep my feet on the ground.

I know there are more important things in the world than a bridal party, but in a season of fear and change, God has shown me the importance of true friendship.

And to my future husband…

I don’t know who he is, but I do know this…he will be kind. He will be patient. He will be a listening ear. He will tell me I’m beautiful and worthy. He will take responsibility in our relationship. He will encourage me to chase my dreams. He will wipe away every tear without an ounce of judgment. He will push me to grow deeper in Christ and challenge me to be more like Him daily. And he will love me for who I am just like all these girls do.

So while I don’t know who will be standing in front of me on my wedding day, I do know who will be standing behind me.

And I can’t wait for that day.

bless and be blessed,

Mary Alan

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The Highest Calling

Since several people have been asking me about my trip, I thought I’d give y’all a little something to read about. Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of stories to tell…but I think this is a good place to start.

Some of you may have read my post about my decision to go on this mission, but if you didn’t…long story short: a complete stranger approached me and told me that the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said that by me going on this trip, I’d be given vision of what I was called to do for the rest of my life.

WOAH.

Along with many other prayers, I’ve been praying over that for the past several months now.

“Lord, whatever you have for me in Honduras…SHOW ME. Don’t let me miss it.”

I’ve been lacking direction and needing vision for my future and I was banking on what this complete stranger told me.

Everywhere we went in Honduras, my eyes were pealed. The medical clinic…maybe God is calling me to nursing. Seeing special needs children….maybe he’s calling me to occupational therapy…special education. The airport…flight attendant maybe? The church….what if He’s calling me to ministry? Nothing felt right. By the last day I was getting frustrated. I was waiting for a sign to pop up out of nowhere and fill in the blank: MARY ALAN DO ________ FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

As I was boarding the plane out of San Pedro headed for the United States, the person in front of me was moving…beyond slow. And naturally, I was getting frustrated.

And just as I was about to roll my eyes…the light bulb clicked on. It finally hit me.

My calling.

Ready for it?

Here it is.

I am called…

To love.

Called…to love.

I was so focused on trying to figure out some precise career plan that God had called me to, that I never realized that I was living out His calling every single day in Honduras.

And as I was leaving the country, I almost let the devil rip everything God had shown me right out of my heart.

Love.

God is calling me to love people with no stipulations. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter if you hike up a mountain every day and live in a mud hut, without a dollar to your name or if you’re a sharp dressed man, taking your time to get to your first class seat home from a business trip. Everyone deserves to be shown the gracious and everlasting love of Jesus.

The bible says many, many times not to be partial. The definition of partial is incomplete. Not whole. His Word never once tells us to be biased about who we love. I want to show love with my complete and whole heart. Always. The exact same way that He loves me.

That’s it. God broke my heart wide open while I was in Honduras and He called me to love.

God has called all of us to do this unconditionally, with zero stipulations. It’s our job while we’re here on earth to be ambassadors for Christ. To show everyone we come in contact with the unconditional and gracious love of our Savior. Christlike love.

And He didn’t tell me to leave it at the gate of the airport. He didn’t tell me to leave it with people less fortunate than me. Love has no borders. He called me to love everyone.

And He’s calling you to do the same.

Challenge yourself. Open your heart and show just a little more love. One of my very favorite songs says it so well…

More love.
I can hear our hearts crying.
More love.
I know that’s all we need.
More love.
To flow in between us.
To take us and hold us.
To lift us above.
If there’s ever an answer.
It’s more love.

So…my calling…

I don’t think it’s all about figuring out this exactly perfect step by step plan for our future.

I think it’s about making decisions that honor God ALWAYS.

I think by doing that, somehow all the stars will align.

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

Chase after God. Run. As fast as you possibly can. And I think if we continue loving one another, doing good, showing grace, and running in the direction He calls…we’ll just keep getting closer and closer to Him. Forever safe and free in His arms. And there’s absolutely no place I’d rather be.

bless and be blessed

Mary Alan

Let It Go

It’s (almost) that time of year again. Spring cleaning. Some of us maintain a clean and clutter free life all year long, while others take a couple of days in the spring to declutter and get rid of the junk in our lives. I am the definition of option B.

My closet. My dear, sweet closet. It’s an absolute wreck and in desperate need of a little TLC.

I opened the scary door and decided to get to it. I started dividing my things into two piles.

“Keep! I love you so much and want to wear you all the time!”

And

“No way. You’re just wasting space.”

Everything was going good until I got to this super cute little denim dress. I really, really love this dress. But it’s about 3 sizes too small.

Torn between what pile it should go in, I decided to make a very basic pro and con list.

Ok so cons:
1. It doesn’t fit me anymore
2. It’s just taking up space in my closet
3. And what if I miss it when it’s gone?

And pros:
1. I loved it when it fit me
2. I cooooouuuuld always make some changes so it will fit again.

One long look at the dress, a deep breath, and “Let it go! Let it go!”

Sorry, had to sing it.

I feel like we all have these little denim dresses in our lives. These relationships that were good for a season, but no longer serve a purpose in our life. They’re just taking up space. We could change who we are and compromise our morals for it to work, but in the end it’s just wrong.

Just like our closets need spring cleaning, our spiritual lives need it too. I know it’s hard when God starts pruning people from your life. People you thought you needed. But I promise He’s doing it for good reason. Allow God to make room for new and better relationships in your life. Relationships that bring out the best in you and make you feel good all the time. If you have to change who you are or what you believe in for a relationship to work then I promise you’re better off without it.

My closet is a little empty right now. But I love everything that’s in there. The people in my life right now are serving a purpose and they make getting up and getting ready everyday just a little bit easier.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”

Thank you Lord, for pruning the people from my life that serve no purpose and are taking up valuable space. I trust that You will do what’s best for my life and fill it up abundantly. I only want relationships that grow Your Kingdom and glorify You.

I like your style, God. And I want it to be my style, too.

bless and be blessed

Mary Alan

This Kind Of Love

If you have a heart that beats and knows love then this, my friend, is for you.

Whether you’ve been married for 30 years, dating for only a few months, or you’re still looking for your soul mate…this is my hope for you.

I hope you have the kind of love that sweeps you off you feet.

The kind of love that brings you breakfast in bed.

I hope you have the kind of love that sends you flowers..

Just because.

I hope you have the kind of love that travels around the world and back with you.

I hope you have the kind of love that surprises you with tickets to see your favorite band.

I hope you have the kind of love that laughs at all of your jokes.

The kind of love that makes you feel unique and beautiful and special, just for being you.

I hope you have the kind of love that makes every single day an absolute adventure.

I hope you have the kind of love that makes all your friends jealous.

I hope that you have the kind of love that you’ve always dreamed of.

But if there comes a day when the world feels like it’s crashing down right beneath your very feet…

I hope you have the kind of love that stays.

The kind of love that picks you up when the world brings you down to your knees.

The kind of love that asks you the hard questions.

The kind of love that sits through counseling when it would be easier to just call it quits.

The kind of love that stays by your side in the hospital at all hours.

The kind that loves you through the miscarriage, the cancer, the gunshots, the rehab…all of it.

The kind  of love that wipes away your tears when you lose a loved one.

The kind of love that sits in the dark and eats ramen noodles with you after you lose your job.

I hope you have the kind of love that prays for you, over you, and with you through all of the pits and peaks of life.

I hope you have the kind of love that washes your hair for you when you can’t do it for yourself.

The kind of love that carries you to bed at night when your legs are no longer able.

And the kind of love that wakes up every single day just to do it all over again.

The purest love.

I hope you have the kind of love that’s patient.

The kind of love that’s kind.

The kind of love that doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, and isn’t proud.

The kind that doesn’t dishonor others.

The kind of love that’s not self seeking or easily angered.

The kind that keeps no record of wrongs.

The kind of love that rejoices in truth.

The kind that always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

I hope you have the kind of love that never, ever fails.

I know it won’t be perfect.

But I hope you cherish it.

In this life, I hope you have the privilege of experiencing the kind of love as beautiful as this.

And I hope that it’s all you ever dreamed of.

And more.

So much more.

Now go be love.

And as always..

bless and be blessed,

Mary Alan

 And hey, while I’ve got you here…check out this incredible song and music video that inspired this little love blog. You can watch it here!

Here Comes The Sun

What you’re about to read is something I shared with the world two years ago today. It popped up on my time hop and I just felt led to share.  

Enjoy! 

“I don’t know where to begin with this. This isn’t really my style of writing. But I felt the need to write it..so here it goes. 

I had a bad day today. And it got me thinking, I’ve had a lot of those lately. Not just I’m running late to work, forgot to pack my lunch, the gas light just came on kind of bad day. I’m talking about no motivation to get out of bed, zero appetite, couldn’t crack a smile even if I tried kind of bad day. Depression. It’s not something you can understand unless you’ve been there. And I’ve been here before. I’ve been fighting this, hiding it, and pushing it away for over two years. And let me tell you…it is absolutely the most exhausting thing I have ever dealt with. 

I came home from work today and thought, “ENOUGH!” This is it. I refuse to live my life like this. I’m sick and tired of being at war with myself every single day. I don’t know why I feel this way and I don’t know how to fix it. I know it won’t happen over night. Everyday is a battle. And there’s more than one way to make it through. But I came up with a little list. I know it may seem really silly and small but it got me through today and that’s enough for me. Here it is. 

1. Call someone. Call your dad. Call your best friend. Call someone. And when they ask you how you’re doing…don’t you dare tell a lie. “I’m fine.” No. Don’t do it. Be honest. “I’m not ok.” Tell them. And then they’ll inevitably ask, “what’s wrong?” Tell them. Don’t keep it locked up inside. A wise man once told me something that really stuck. He told me to never ever hold any emotion, good or bad, inside of you. He talked about how women usually live longer than men and the reason why is because women tend to let it all out. Keeping your problems and emotions tucked inside will literally take the life right out of you. Don’t do that to yourself. Let it out. 

I mean, you never know…they could be going through the same thing you are. Maybe they’ll be able to offer you a simple piece of advice that make the bad days better for them. This is what lead me to the rest of my list.

2. A few bad days ago, I called a friend and talked about how I was feeling. She told me to list 5 things that make me really happy. 3, 2, 1, GO. It was really hard for me. I could only come up with 4 things. FOUR. And they were really small and silly things. But I did it and it made me feel so much better. And guess what? Today, I came up with 5. And they were all different than my last 4. It’s a small step, but it’s a step and I’ll take it. 

3. And then today…it was one of those days. I got a call from my dad. He didn’t even have to ask me how I was doing. He jumped straight to the “what’s wrong?” Isn’t that funny? How dads just know. He always just knows. He gave me the most heartfelt advice. Whenever you’re having a really bad day and nothing is making it better…make someone else’s day better. When you see someone who looks like they’re having one of those days, lift them up. Compliment someone, do a good deed, simply smile at stranger. Not only have you made there day better…you’re making yours better too. “When you have a bad day, a really bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.” – Patrick Stump

4. Write it all down. Whether it’s on a sticky note at work or in a personal journal or on your blog for the world to see. Write it down. Coming to terms with what’s going on and what’s causing your days to be so bad can make all the difference in tomorrow. 

And 5. If you’re too shaken to pick up a pen, or you’re not ready to call someone, or no one will pick up the phone, call on The Lord. He will answer. He will always, always answer. Pray. And If it’s too hard to pray (and I’ve had those days, too) then just simply say, “Jesus.” It seems so silly and small but it’s amazing how much comfort it brings. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and He will heal the crushed in spirit. When I look back and think about the times that I was at my absolute happiest, it was the times when I was closest to God. I will wake up every morning and choose to believe in His promises. And every single day He takes me imperfect. Isn’t that beautiful?

If you’ve never been here before, you’re either really lucky or you’re lying. Remember that everyone is fighting some sort of battle. You just never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they may seem. Some battles are really big and some are really small. I challenge you to be the reason that someone smiles and to try your best to make someone’s bad day just a little bit better. 

And if you have been here before, then guess what? Me too. Everyday. BUT, just because you have a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life. I have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will bring. And that terrifies me. If I have to re-read this silly list everyday just to make it out of bed, I will. I refuse to let depression consume my life.

In saying all this, I’m really not asking for you to feel sorry for me. I don’t want that. However, I am not ashamed to ask for your prayers. I need them. Never, ever be ashamed of your story. It could inspire others someday. I’m fighting everyday to love the person I was, the person I am, and the person I’m becoming. Who knows…maybe it’s not all about having the best day..maybe it’s just about finding the beauty in everything. Beautiful moments. The silver lining. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But, I do know this: I am so loved. Not just by my family and friends, but by God. In His eyes, regardless of whether I had the best day of my life or if I never even made it out of bed, I am loved. I am His. And because of this, I am enough. And you want to know something? You are too.” 

And here we are. This piece of my past brought old feelings back and tears to my eyes for a couple of reasons.

One of those feelings was just total heart ache. I can’t believe just how lost and broken I really was. I let the people and things of this world determine my happiness. I allowed a terrible job and a silly breakup to consume me. 

But the other feeling I had was complete joy. God rescued me from the dark times in my life. And not only that, but He used those dark roads to change my heart and bring me to a place brighter than I could ever imagine. 

Now, I’m not saying that life is sunshine and roses all the time now…but my happiness comes from The Lord. And my soul finds rest in Him alone. 

If you’re having a bad day or maybe a few bad days then listen to me…

It gets better.

But only if you let it. 

Let God in. 

He will heal your broken heart and restore your joy entirely.

And one day you’ll look back and smile. 

Because even in the mess of it all…you ended up right where you were meant to be. 

Right here. 

Bless and be blessed,

Mary Alan 

Here We Go Again

Hey friends! 

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday again. I guess my parents were right when they said the older you get, the faster time flies. 

I posted seven things I was grateful for last week and got a pretty great response from it. 

So many of y’all reached out and told me that you were going to start making a list of what you’re grateful for, too! 

Woohoooo! 

Let’s do this again!

Week two. 

Ready, set, GO! 

One.

My small group this semester is focused around bible journaling. Which if you didn’t know, is one of my favorite things to do. 

I volunteered to share a quick word with my group this week. I chose to read one of my old blogs. 

I know, not super original. 

And I know I’m the author…but that blog spoke to me when I wrote it and it still speaks to me now.  

It’s all about putting on the new self. And how sometimes being a Christian is just plain hard. 

If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here

After I read it, one of the girls in my group spoke up. She said she almost didn’t come. She was running late and seriously considered turning around. 

But she came. 

And she said that my message was exactly what she needed to hear. 

How cool is that? 

That I chose to share a random blog I had written months ago.

And that it was just what she needed.

Isn’t that awesome? 

How God weaves all of our stories together so perfectly and uses us when we least expect it? 

If that’s not Gods perfect plan in motion then I don’t know what is. 

Two.

I watched a message from Church of The Highlands during one of my morning workouts this week. My sister attends there and she told me to check out and I’m so glad that I did! 

The message was about forgiving people. And the pastor told a story of forgiveness that really put some things into perspective for me. 

If you’re struggling with forgiving someone then this message is for you! 

You can watch it HERE.

Three.

I love having blogger friends. And this blogger friend of mine really hit a home run this week. 

It was a seriously good.

Like gives you chills from head to toe kinda good. 

I really believe the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through her post. 

If you’ve ever been in a stormy season, as I’m sure everyone has, then you should definitely give it a read! 

You can find it right here!

Four and Five. 

One of the 6th graders in my bible study told me that she loved my blog. She said it was like picking up her favorite book and she couldn’t put it down. 

Isn’t that the sweetest?! 

I love this girl and I love her heart. 

She also told me that she used to hate going to church. But her family switched churches a couple months ago and now she loves her new church. Her face lit up with so much excitement when she was telling me about it! And lucky for me, I know exactly how she feels because it’s my church too! 

This one counts for two.

I’m so thankful for this girl. She’s different. And she has a special calling on her life. I can feel it. 

And I’m beyond grateful for my church. I never thought I’d have a real church family. And I never thought it could be this good. God, it’s so good. 

Life change happens in that place every. single. week.

For myself and so many others. 

And I praise God for that. 

Six.

I had a craft night with my best friend and oh my goodness we had the best time. It was a good escape from our usual busyness and overall it was a pretty low maintenance craft. 

AND I think it turned out so super cool. 

We’ve been eyeballing these yarn hangy things on Pinterest and we decided it was a DIY craft that we could probably tackle. And maybe I’m wrong….but look at these things?! 

I can’t stop looking! 

I think they look so hip and expensive!

AND they cost less than $20 to make!!

I mean what. a. DEAL. 

I hope everyone loves them because you’ll all be getting one for Christmas this year from yours truly. 

Seven. 

I sent cards to a couple of my closest friends this week. I’m a sucker for a good greeting card and these cards had me sobbing in the aisle. 

Tears of pure thankfulness. 

Thankful for friends that love me. 

Thankful for the friends God has chosen for me.

Just so thankful. 

It was my random act of kindness for the week and it felt good dropping those envelopes in the mail. 

And maybe it made them smile, too. 

Show your people some extra love this week. 

Whether it’s a hug or a sappy greeting card…

Just love them.

And love them well. 

Make this week count!

And as always…

Bless and be blessed, 

Mary Alan 

Something New 

Hello to my very favorite followers and friends!

With life being so super busy lately, I haven’t had the time to write like I usually do.

I’m not complaining! The fact that reality gets in the way of my time sitting behind the computer screen is nothing short of a blessing.

With that being said, I’ve decided to start a new little section on my site.

Every Thursday I’m going to give a little weekly update. Seven things that touched my heart during the previous week.

Could be a bible verse, a funny video, a song, or just a little piece of knowledge I gained! Anything! Just some little peaks from my week that will hopefully bring joy to your week as well!

Haven’t decided what to call this little section just yet so bear with me. As soon as I come up with something, I’ll move it out of my regular blog section for ease in searching and what not.

And if you have any clever ideas for a title then by all means send them my way in the comments or on my contact page!

Well…here we go.

One.

A friend of mine shared this blog on her Facebook earlier this week and I’m super glad I checked it out. Good stuff for anyone.

Check it out here!

Two.

As I’m sure most of you know, I babysit…pretty much all the time.

One of the little boys I keep is two and a half and has absolutely stolen my heart.

The funnest thing about his age is that he’s constantly learning. He proves the statement “you learn something new everyday” to be 150% true.

Whether it’s putting the cap on a marker, saying a new word, or mastering how to eat cereal with a spoon, he is constantly taking in the world around him.

I never thought watching someone learn to differentiate a circle from an oval would be quite so rewarding.

I can’t even begin to imagine all the work that goes into parenting. But I know that the joy of it has to surpass all the struggles by a long shot.

Moms, soak in the small joys.

Dads, hug your babies extra tight.

I see it every single day…they grow up way too fast.

Three.

I shared this on my Facebook this week, but if we aren’t friends or you missed it then I’ll share it again.

THIS SONG.

Real Love by Hillsong Young and Free.

I mean…never mind that the lyrics are pure gold. The beat is seriously good. I listen to it every morning when I’m getting ready and it always gets my day started on the right foot!

Four.

*apologizing in advance to all my non local followers* 

If you live in Florence and you haven’t had a house special from Rivertown Coffee Co. then you truly haven’t lived.

It’s my very favorite treat when it starts feeling like fall. I don’t know what’s in it and I’m sure it’s jam packed full of calories. But I’m not going to let that stop me!

If you’re from around here and you feel like experiencing life change in liquid form, then call me and we’ll go grab one together…not joking.

Five.

I’m coming up on month two of no Netflix.

Yes, you did indeed read that correctly.

I cancelled my subscription to Netflix.

And believe it or not, I’m surviving!!!

I mean yeah, I’ve watched every DVD in my entire collection for the 100th time…but so what?!

I’m only saving around $9 a month by doing this. And yes, I know that’s a pretty laughable amount…but it’s just enough to get an extra house special or two, ya know?

I started writing a little blog about my Netflix free life and what that’s looked like for me…so be on the lookout for it!

Six.

I started leading a young girls bible study this week and I already see Gods hands all. over. these young girls.

One of the girls shared with me that she doesn’t feel like her prayers are good enough for God.

Instant. Tears.

I used to feel this way OFTEN. And if I had to guess, it’s probably a pretty common feeling among new believers and life long followers alike.

“I don’t know what to say.”

“It doesn’t sound good.”

“I forget the things that I meant to pray for.”

Normal. All very, very normal.

Let me just say…giving advice on the spot is tough stuff. But here’s what I came up with:

-Make a list of what you want to pray for. Use it as a cheat sheet when you’re praying. And also use that list to mark things off as God begins to answer those prayers. It’s a powerful visual and an exciting way to see God work.

-Pray out loud. Don’t just think it. Say it out loud. Sometimes the words come together better when you actually speak it.

-Don’t get nervous. God is your friend and he doesn’t care how you sound! Think of it like a casual conversation with a friend. And at the end of the day…He knows your heart. Don’t stress over it.

-And just pray more. The more you pray, the more comfortable you’ll get doing it and the closer your relationship with God will be!

Seven.

This is a message from my home church. It’s actually from more than a week ago, but I’m sharing it now because it seriously rocked my world.

The message is all about reaching people for Jesus. How it’s our job as Christ followers to take advantage of every opportunity that God places in front of us to share The Gospel.

To go the ultimate distance just to tell someone what Jesus has done for you.

Those are my intentions for this blog.

Those are my intentions for this life that God has blessed me with.

And my hope this week is that you make those your intentions, too.

Tell the world where your joy comes from!

Listen to the message while you’re getting ready for work or during your daily workout or before bed tonight. I promise you won’t regret it!

You can watch the service here!

That’s all I’ve got for this week!

If you’re reading this, then I hope your week is really good and just keeps getting better and better!

What are you grateful for this week?

Bless and be blessed,

Mary Alan 

It Girl

You know those girls that have it all together? They have the cutest clothes, the prettiest hair, the perfect relationship, the best job, the coolest group of friends…all of it. 

Head to toe perfection. 

You’re probably already picturing someone you know. 

We’ll call her it girl

I know this girl. 

Well..ok..I didn’t know this girl. 

I followed her on social media and saw her from afar…but I just KNEW she was perfect. 

The girl that has it all. 

The it girl. 

The girl we all want to be and have high hopes of someday measuring up to.

As I said, I didn’t actually know this girl. I just knew that she was the cream of the crop, coolest girl that we all secretly (now not so secretly) desire to be like. 

Welllllll then it girl started going to my church. 

MY CHURCH.

“Oh my gosh. Not only is she literally flawless…but she loves Jesus?!”

SHE REALLY HAS IT ALL.

We started making small talk from time to time.

Yep, me and it girl. 

You could almost call us friends.

And then we started talking more often. 

You could actually, maybe call us friends. 

And then…we made plans. 

WE WERE FRIENDS. 

Me and it girl.

Friends. 

Yep. 

We had breakfast and coffee and more small talk than ever before. 

I know I sound crazy…but the whole time I was sitting there, I couldn’t help but think..

“Wow…I don’t even know how she had time to hang out with me.” 

We chatted about school and clothes and Instagram and all the other hip, surface level kind of things that new friends discuss. 

And then the conversation took a turn. 

It got a little deeper. 

She talked about her past, her struggles, her short comings. 

My heart broke right there at that breakfast table. 

I was just shocked. 

It girl was so far from perfect. 

I couldn’t believe she actually had flaws.

She hated her hair that day and questioned her outfit choice.

She struggles with temptation and all the other things that regular people like me and you go through. 

I had put this girl on a pedestal for so long and I couldn’t believe that she was actually…well…real. 

I kept listening to her and I realized something.

I realized that she was broken, too. 

Just like me. 

Just like you. 

Just like all of us, really. 

So often we put other people on a pedestal and our only goal is to eventually measure up to them. 

#goals

(How many times have you commented that on someone else’s Instagram picture..?) 

When in reality there is only one person that we should be putting on a pedestal. 

And that is Jesus Christ. 

And our goal should be to keep moving closer and closer to Him. 

THAT is #goals. 

If you know an it girl, I challenge you to go talk to her today. 

Get to know her…I mean really know her. 

Chances are, you’ll have way more in common than you think. 

Hey, ya never know, she might even become your best friend. 

And if you are the it girl, then listen up…

God loves you endlessly. 

He doesn’t love you for your hair or clothes or boyfriend or body or the number of likes on your latest Instagram post.

He loves you for YOU. 

And whatever you’re going through..just know, one by one, He will put together every little broken piece of your heart. 

And love you all the more.

He has given you the freedom to be YOU.

Beautiful, wonderful you.

He has chosen you and called you by name.

Soak it in.  

You’re it, girl.

bless and be blessed

Mary Alan 

Stay With Me

I’ll probably regret this sloppy post tomorrow, but someone needs to hear this tonight. I don’t know what to call it. 

So just stay with me, ok? 

I went to target tonight to make a return and get a little birthday present for my friends nephew. 

While I was shopping, I ran into a sweet friend. I helped her pick out some bedroom decor for her daughter and we started making small talk.

And then we started talking about God.

And just for your reference, when a conversation goes from small talk to God talk…it is no longer small talk.

She was asking about my journey and telling me all about hers. 

The whole time we were talking I couldn’t help but think about how unqualified I was to be giving spiritual advice. Am I the only one who feels this way? 

I am so super broken. 

And just don’t feel qualified sometimes. 

Ok ANYWAYS, I told her about a book I had that I knew she would LOVE. I told her I’d bring it to her tomorrow night while she was working. 

After we parted ways…I started thinking…

“Wow, I am never going to find that book.” 

(My house is being renovated soooo that gives me an excuse to be messy, right?)

I came to the conclusion that I would just head to the book store and grab her a copy. 

PAUSE

I’m really, truly, so very sorry that this post is so all over the place. Just…STAY WITH ME. 

RESUME.

Walking in the bookstore, I ran into my childhood best friends dad. 

He’s going through a pretty big storm right now. 

His youngest daughter was in a terrible jet ski accident a few weeks ago and they are in the midst of a pretty long and exhausting recovery process.

I thought, “God, please just give me the words to say.”

Before I could even get a word out, he was asking about me. 

What I’ve been up to, how I’ve been, all that stuff. 

Can you believe that? 

After everything he’s been through and still going through, he wanted to know how I was doing. 

We had the best little life talk in the middle of that book store. 

And I know you’re probably wondering why I’m rambling and telling you all this. 

But in that 5 minute conversation I was reminded of some things that I felt led to share. 

Here ya go..

1. God. Is. Good. 

2. Your success is not defined by the world. Success is living out who God has called you to be. 

3. Life is all about choices. And it’s YOU that has to live with those choices…so choose wisely.

4. Things can change in the blink of an eye..seize this day and every second in it. Time is so precious. Hug your parents. Tell your best friend you love them. Don’t let another minute go to waste.

5. Follow your heart.

6. Love God.

7. Love yourself.

If you can look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say “I love you” then what else really matters?

I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else who walks this planet. 

DO YOUR THING.

Quit trying to be who this world tells you to be. 

Chase after God. 

Run. 

As fast as you possibly can. 

And never stop.

I’m sitting in the parking lot of a book store in awe of everything God does. 

In awe of all that He is. 

How He made a trip to Target and the book store a total God moment.

A miracle. 

You guys…

His hands are in every moment of our days. 

Every breathe.

Every word. 

Every minute. 

Every little errand. 

All of it. 

He’s there.

And He’s staying with you. 

All the time. 

God is absolutely still in the miracle business. 

If you don’t believe me, just take a look around.

God is so good.

As always, bless and be blessed

Mary Alan 

If you would like to contribute to the medical expenses of the family mentioned above, you can do so HERE

Along For The Ride 

Ever since I started this little blog I have just been absolutely humbled. 

As a writer, imagining someone actually reading your words is such an indescribable feeling. 

Imagining almost 200k of you guys reading my words….

UNIMAGINABLE. 

So first of all THANK YOU.

For taking time out of your day to read what the Lord has laid on my heart. I never intended my words to reach so many.

Thank you for the shares, the emails, the comments, all of it. 

I am so touched by each and every one of you. 

I MEAN THAT! 

I love hearing from you…so by all means, keep it coming! 

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I have posted anything but I promise it’s for good reason.

There are some exciting things happening with my blog and I’m so looking forward to sharing more with all of you as it unfolds! 

I’m asking for your prayers as I continue on this exciting roller coaster God has me on.

I feel so sure that He has HUGE things in store for this ministry and I can’t wait to take all of you along for the ride! 

I pinky promise I’ll have some new content up shortly so please don’t forget about me! 

I love all of you. I mean it. 

bless and be blessed,

Mary Alan 

Also HEY! This awesome website shared my blog and if you haven’t read it yet then head on over to check it out! 

Check it out HERE!