“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends.” -John 15:13
There are many verses in the Bible that I think about daily. John 15:13 is defiantly one of them. I, personally, take the verse two ways. The first is the literal translation. No one has greater love than the die for their friend. This interpretation is how many people understand it. I like to think of it in a different way. Maybe sometimes there is another way to “lay down your life” for someone. Maybe it means that no man has greater love than to put their friend’s needs far above their own: to sacrifice their own happiness, comfort, fulfillment, etc. in order to care for their friend. This is what I remember when one of my friends are struggling.
Friendship is such a weird thing. I don’t really remember how I made any friends. I just remember meeting them and then all of the sudden we were friends. When you’re close friends with someone, usually there is a kind of I’m-on-my-way-with-ice cream-and-movies mentality. And most of the time, it’s sincere. However, most people think that when their friends struggle, they’re going to tell you exactly how they feel or just be sad and snuggly, when the reality is that that really isn’t the case. When people struggle, they tend to close-off, become irritable, angry, emotional, sensitive, and difficult. Sometimes they can become hostile, rude, short, or even malicious. People deal with problems in different ways. So that lovey dovey friendship thing becomes much harder.
The number one reason why we bail on each other when times get tough is because we are all so unbelievably self-centered. Even though it isn’t right for our friends to mistreat us when they’re hurting, if you’re a true friend you will put your own feelings aside to care for your friend.
The First step to truly helping your friend is to identify the “cries for help”. You have to notice the little changes in their personality that suggests that something isn’t right (See paragraph two). It’s completely unnatural for people to broadcast when their hurting… usually smh.
Step two is to NEVER TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Never assume that you’re being attacked because those little personality changes are almost always offensive. Come on, you should know your friends well enough that you’d know they wouldn’t snap at you for no reason. It’s common sense. As soon as you start taking their behavior personally, you become completely useless to their recovery.
Step three is to pray for them. Prayer is a Christian’s greatest weapon, and so many of us either forget about it or underestimate it. Prayer is a direct line to Jesus. Anytime, anywhere. Pray and pray and pray. A lot of the time, that’s all you can do.
Step four is to LISTEN. If your friend trusts you enough to confide in you, then listen! I love the saying ,”People need to stop listening to reply, and start listening to understand”. This is so true. Don’t give unsolicited advise. It’s annoying and unnecessary. If they ask for your advice, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, shut up and let them vent. Sometimes people need to just talk it out.
Step five is to just be there. Be an anchor to your friend. Sometimes they don’t need any special treatment, they just need for you to be there for them while they deal with things themselves.
Finally, step six. Pray some more.
It’s not gonna be fun for you, but just think of how you would want to be treated if you were suffering. I always try to treat people with the same compassion I would have if they were having the worst day of their life. Maybe you can be that ray of hope in someone’s life; that one person who has patience, or says the nice thing, or does that one little thing that changes everything.
It will be rewarding in the end. Just tough it out. Be Jesus to those around you.
I have a friend right now who I know is suffering in silence. I know that I’m probably the only one who will stick around for long enough to help them. It’s pretty funny how terribly this person has treated me. After LOTS of prayer, I understood that I needed to be their lighthouse. No matter how badly this person treats me, I know that they need someone to pray over every step they take, all throughout the day. They need someone to pray for spiritual and emotional healing. I’ve seen this person at their best, and I’ve seen their potential. I know that it is a God-calling because there is no possible way that I’d put up with them unless it was God’s plan. But I’m happy to do it. Its easy because all I have to do is pray all the time, not take anything personally, be there for them, and pray some more.
When Jesus gives you a heart of compassion, treating your friends this way goes from being a chore to being a privilege. I’m thankful for every minute of it, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out when they finally let Jesus take control.
So next time you notice one of your friends suffering, think about this stuff. But also remember that it comes from the brain of a twenty year-old… So use your own wisdom.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” -Proverbs 27:9
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:24-25
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” – 1 Peter 4:8-10
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” -John 12:14
I have had an unbelievably blessed life. I had beyond a happy childhood, and now I get to be in college and enjoy the independence with my family as a safety net. God has blessed me with a comically functional family who I depend on, and I thank Him for that every day. I look back on the twenty years of life I’ve had so far, and I’m thankful for every single moment.
My parents are Sunday school teachers. I come from a family of strong believers. My entire family are deeply rooted in the Christian faith, and for that I am so grateful. I really try hard to be the best ambassador for Christ that I can be. I know that for many reasons, I’m under a microscope. I know people watch. I have very strong convictions and I’ve always been good at sticking to them. But my feet are still able to stumble.
The first few weeks of school, I went through a bit of a rebellious phase. I didn’t do anything crazy, don’t worry, but I was definitely surprised at how easy it was to stray from my convictions. I didn’t have the integrity to get back in line, so I prayed a very dangerous prayer. I prayed that God would do whatever it took to get me back on track, and He did. Not long after I started praying this, I hit rock bottom out of nowhere. It was the most emotional distress I have ever experienced. I’m not an emotional person, but all of the sudden I was at the lowest point of my life. All I could do was cry out to Jesus. I got my Bible and soaked in the words. I started binge watching my church’s sermons online (I watched a whole years worth of sermons in a week), I spent all day, every day talking to Jesus.
I knew that God was using my pain to answer my prayer. I turned all of my focus to Jesus and took refuge in Him. After a week or so, I was better than I was before. Jesus answered my prayer. I am far away from temptation and closer to the Lord than I have ever been. I am so thankful for that week of hell because that is exactly what I needed to get back on track.
If you have Jesus in your life, have faith that He loves you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'” When you’re struggling, look to see how God can use it to help you and bring Him glory. Be thankful for the trials. God uses our suffering to make us better.
Hebrews 12:6 “For the Lord disciplines those who He loves, and punishes each one He accepts as His child.”
When you’re a Christian and you’re growing in your faith, you encounter the phenomenon of “Dangerous Prayers”. Faith is such a difficult concept to grasp- the fact that you can put all of your trust in someone who you can’t see, touch, or hear is a wonder that we’ll never truly understand.
Once you have some understanding about how important prayer and faith is, you start to think about the concept of dangerous prayers. God listens to us when we pray, and he always answers them with either “Yes” “No” or “Wait”. I’ve reached the point in my life where I’ve started to pray about things, fully knowing that God’s answer could very well be detrimental, even tragic.
For example, I’ve wanted to be a performer ever since I was a child. The older I got, the more I saw celebrities ruining their lives. So I’ve started faithfully praying that God will never let me taste success or fame if it means I’ll lose my faith. My relationship with Him is so much more important that any earthy thing. I pray that God will take the beauty He’s blessed me with away before it interferes with my relationship with Him, or my ability to be a lighthouse to others. I tell God that His will is far more important than my happiness. When it comes to romantic relationships, I pray that God will make his plan and the right path abundantly clear, and that if it ends badly, that my heart will take the full blow of pain instead of his.
I’ve been praying prayers like this for a while, and you’d better believe that God has answered them. In 2014, I prayed that God would do whatever it took to drastically strengthen my relationship with Him. A few weeks later, I came down with Lyme disease that caused the most miserable year of my life, and continues to plague me. But out of it, my relationship with Him has been unbreakable. I didn’t regret the prayer- I knew what I was asking. I continue to be thankful for that experience solely because of the spiritual strength it’s given me, even though it’s weakened my physical body.
I prayed that God would do whatever it took to make sure I constantly have to lean on him. I’ve developed a debilitating anxiety disorder that, without any warning, will leave me unable to get off the floor or catch my breath. As painful and difficult as it is, I’m constantly talking to Jesus; thanking Him for all of the moment when I feel fine. I appreciate things more, and I’m able to connect with people who struggle with the same thing. And when I’m in the middle of a horrific panic attack, I get to cry out to Jesus. During these moments, I’m at the lowest I can be, but there’s a peace in knowing that Jesus is your comfort.
If you’re going to pray prayers like these, be prepared for challenges. Be prepared for tragedy and pain; but also be prepared for reward. I’m so thankful for every challenge I’ve encountered because I would never be so close to Jesus if I hadn’t been through it.
My cousin tho… lol My cousin Madison is with me right now. Every year we have what’s called “Tutu Camp”(Tutu is what we call our grandmother); where she and I get together with Tutu for a few days and do fun stuff.
My favorite thing about Madison is that she is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Her brother, Hunter, is the same way. Every time we get together she comes out with the funniest things. We’ve been buds our whole lives and I love that we can still get together and have as much fun as we did when we were kids.
In all the time that we’ve known each other, we’ve never argued or gotten on each other’s nerves. We really get along great.
Tonight, we watched two scary movies. Her dialogue was the best part of both movies. “You need to skirt!” “What??? What is she doing?” “Oh no no no no..” etc.
There’s nothing really deep about this post. its just to tell you guys that I have an awesome cousin. Go ahead. Be jealous.
(Disclaimer: This post is not to bash or speak badly of anyone. I’m simply using my experiences to try to get my message across.)
It’s been a rough few weeks for this country. My heart hurts for everyone. However, I have to say something.
I spend a lot of time at a place where I am the only outspoken Christian, the only outspoken Republican, and probably the only conservative. Up until recently, it’s worked out just fine.
Following the shooting in Dallas, TX, I’m just going to assume that they needed someone to use to take out they’re frustration, so I guess that they chose me.
I was sitting with a group of these people while they were talking about the shooting in Dallas. It was only the morning after, so I didn’t know much about the story. I made the mistake of asking, “Wasn’t is a black lives matter protester who was the shooter?” One of my friends angerly responded, “What, did you hear that from Fox News???”
That was the first blow.
The minutes following that comment were filled with hateful conversation about how evil and racist police are. I had enough and said, “Aren’t these ‘peaceful’ protesters the same ones who destroyed Ferguson?” They all but bit my head off.
For the rest of the day I was catching crap from people.
Later in the day, I was telling the same people (who were supposed to be my friends) about how I was sexually harassed a few weeks prior. Instead of taking my side and asking me if I was ok, one of the girls said, to my face, in front of everyone else, “I don’t think that happened… You would have told a manager if that had actually happened.” I quickly told her that I told three managers immediately after it happened.
These are the same people who are anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobic, etc. And when I told them about what happened to me, she accused me of lying and not a single person stood with me.
I’ve tried to be a model Christian their. They have never heard me say anything negative about anyone else, I always bend over backwards to be kind and considerate, and I’ve never shown any hint of discrimination. These people turned on me so quickly that it made my head spin.
So let me ask you left-wing people this. Why is it that when I don’t agree with your opinion, I have to keep it to myself, but the second you disagree with anything I say, you attack me? Double-standard much?
Plenty of other things happened that day, but I’m not going to get into that.
The funny thing is that these people who treated me this way were all white people. It wasn’t even a race thing. They were just angry people.
Now, from what I’ve experienced, these people aren’t usually like this. I understand that what probably happened is that they needed someone to project their anger on, and they (consciously or subconsciously) used me. And all I did was ask a question.
There are so many people who are hurting right now, and we need to be there to calm things down, instead of riling them up.
(Now, to those who read this, I’m perfectly safe. I’m fairly certain that the extent of this is just verbal. Please don’t worry about my safety.)
Is this acceptable behavior? No. Should we allow them to treat us this way? Of course not. But there is a right and a wrong way to handle things. If you don’t know how to handle it, then pray for them. Even when they hurt you. Just pray for them. And when in doubt, show them the love and forgiveness that Jesus shows you everyday.
I forgave every one of the people who treated me badly the moment that they did it. I still love them dearly. And I’m still going to do my best to witness to them. I don’t know what all was going on in their lives. Maybe a Christian has hurt them in the past. There is no way of me knowing.
But now I’m just going down a rabbit trail.
So here is what I need to tell you, Christians: Share the Gospel. Share your faith. Make it know that you know the good news of Jesus. But keep your opinions to yourself. Don’t let the pride of your opinions get in the way of the Gospel. I didn’t even share my opinion to those people. All I did was ask questions and they attacked. It’s not worth it. Nothing you say is going to change their mind. All it’s going to do is push them away. It’s better to boil on the inside and help lead them to salvation than it is to explode and push them away.
You’d better believe that I have plenty of things that I want to say to them. I want to argue their opinions with the fiery passion that comes with being a red-headed patriot. But I love them too much and care too much about their salvation.
This is so important, especially during this election season.
PLEASE SHUT THE HECK UP!
You guys, we are losing so many potential Christians because so many of us are too stupid and stubborn to shut up.
I know you hate Hilary, or hate Trump, but please believe me when I say no one gives a rats behind about what you think. All it does is push people away and makes it harder for those of us who are trying to reach people with the gospel. Please stop making me apologize for y’all’s behavior. Most of you don’t realize the damage that you’re doing because you’re not as deep into the left-wing environment as I am.
The only thing that I am doing right now (as far as expressing my opinion) is defending our police. I will always defend our law enforcement, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
Instead of acting out of anger or frustration, think about how Jesus would handle it. That’s literally how I handle everything. If Jesus wouldn’t say it, then don’t.
Show people the love that Jesus would show.
Tears are streaming down my face as I write this post. Every few minutes I have to stop to catch my breath. I hate crying, but right now I can’t help it. These last two weeks have been just one thing after another. I know very well that there are so many people who are hurting more than I am right now. People will try to make me feel better by comparing my pain to someone else’s. I guess they hope that by putting it in perspective I’ll see how things could be worse.
That’s stupid. Pain is pain.
I think that one of the hardest things about suffering (regardless of the severity) is that the world doesn’t stop when you suffer.
My heart hurts.
Its times like this when I truly wonder how people go through life without relying on Jesus. I have no idea what I would do without Him. Even though it feels like my whole world just caved in on me, I know that Jesus is right here reminding me that this is only temporary.
Because of Jesus, even though my heart is in pieces, I can trust that He will pick them up and put me back together; making me even better than I was before.
It’s very much like the ancient Japanese art (kintsugi) where potters take a broken bowl, and put it back together, filling the cracks with gold. Doing this, the bowl becomes much more valuable.
That’s what Jesus does when our hearts break. He puts us back together, making us better.
Jesus could so easily remind me that He was betrayed by His best friends, tortured, and crucified, pretty much all in the same day, but He doesn’t. To Him, my pain is nothing. But He’s still here to comfort me. He tells my heart that I can always cry out to Him, no matter how small of a problem.
You’ve probably seen those videos of toddlers crying over random things like chairs not moving, or toy cars not being red. I imagine that’s how Jesus see’s are pain. But instead of making fun of us, He comforts us. I think that’s amazing.
I find my peace in knowing that even though the world keeps moving, Jesus is keeping me together. I’m in so much pain right now: physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I don’t have to explain my pain to Him, like I do with everyone else. He knows exactly what I’m going through. He knows my suffering.
I’m not angry at Him for making me go through this. Not at all. How can I be angry? If anything, I’m thankful. I get to cry out to the One who formed the universe, knowing that He hears me. I get to know that I’m not suffering in silence.
Dutchess Oct. 23, 2004 – June 16, 2016
When you grow up in the church, you hear about purity a lot; especially when it comes to marriage. Now, that’s just to give a glimpse into what this post is about. Now, you can skip to the next paragraph because I’m going to fill this one up with words due to the fact that the first bunch of words shows up on my Facebook post and this one is going to be more grown-up than my other posts, so I blah blah blah blah blah, I think that’s about enough.
Anyway, when you think about purity before marriage, what do you think about? That’s right, sex. Most people think that staying pure before marriage means just not having sex, but I like to believe that it’s much more than that. You can do quite a bit of dirty stuff without actually going all the way. That’s what I think is miscommunicated all too often.
I’ve been in a relationship with only one person in my life. He and I have been dating for over two years, and we have set up some strict boundaries. He and I are about as pure as they come, and we are perfectly happy that way. We kiss and snuggle and hug, just like any other couple, but that’s about as far as we go. It is possible to stay pure. He and I plan to get married in the next couple of years, and we will continue to be set in our convictions.
Now, do we judge those who don’t follow our same ideas? No. Not everyone goes about their relationships the way we do. But if you really think about it, what is the point of dating? It’s to figure out with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
My parents are funny about PDA (Public displays of affection). I know this is kinda off topic, but it’s my blog, so just roll with it. My parents let my boyfriend and me hold hands, and let him wrap his arm around me in front of them, but that’s about it. So in public we try to abide by that same guideline. The reason for that is because no one wants to see that gross lovey dovey couple. My boyfriend and I are very careful to set a good example for younger people, and also to not be a distraction. He’s not as excited as I am about it, but he humors me.
He and I have taken “staying pure” to a whole other level, but we know that it’s worth it. I picked a guy who loves me enough to put his physical desires aside and honor my wishes. He respects me enough to wait for all that mess. He’s content with just hanging out and watching Netflix (without the chill), or playing video games. We talk and enjoy each other’s company. He’s my best friend. I guess this goes along with my dating post from a while back. In the end, it’s about respecting yourself, respecting your partner, and respecting God’s word and what He says about relationships and what they’re supposed to be.
Tobias Jones is the name that I’ve given my little brother, Evan, for when he acts like a legalistic, independent Baptist, hell fire pastor. Evan is my constant entertainment. We say that his favorite hobby is monitoring my various outfits. He doesn’t like it when I wear polka-dots, or strips, let alone form-fitting or revealing clothes. It’s thoroughly entertaining. Sometimes I like to put on outfits that I wouldn’t dare wearing in public, just to get a reaction out of him. He also has other rules for me, such as how (and how not) to eat a banana. He’s a character.
He’s like this because he’s a guy, and he knows how other guys think. He’s protecting me from my own obliviousness. Even though it can be a bit annoying, I know that he only does it because he loves me.
We always joke that we hope he doesn’t have any daughters. Fortunately for Evan, I naturally dress pretty modestly, so he doesn’t have to work too hard. Dad did a good job with training my brothers to be like modern-day knights. Evan always talks about women respectfully, and makes sure that I carry myself in a way where people will want to talk about me with respect.
Evan is actually really funny. Some of my favorite quotes in my diary are Evan quotes. I’ll give some examples later.
In fact, Evan is sitting next to me in my bed, showing me funny youtube videos. He just showed me part of a video where this kid is freaking out because the fan base ruined the Sonic franchise. When I asked him about it he said, “It’s literally a fourteen minute video, and I watched all of it…” Freaking. Hysterical.
All in all, this is just a post about my little brother. There’s not really a moral to it. I guess you could find on if you looked for it.
Here are some “Tobias Jones” quotes:
Evan King Quotes:
“You have a Bill Clinton on your phone”
“You burped, and I must’ve gotten the whole thing in one whiff.”
“I’m trying to pick up a quarter with the stickiness of my big toe.”
“He has half as much diabetes.”
“Are you trying to poke my ham?”
“What kind of cheese is that? Why aren’t you using American?”
“Don’t wear tight pants, Lacy.”
“You’re breathing in my ear like your praying for me or something.”
“Butts butts butts poopy poopy poopy.”
“Why is that yummy to you? That can’t be delish.”
“Joel Osteen is the smiley antichrist.”
“Give me the remote, because your pause game is not strong.”
“I feel like the super villainwho talked too much and ruined his plan.”
“I was learning math, and I was crying while I was doing it.”
And so many more…
I have absolutely nothing to write about. It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything. I figured, since this is a blog, I could write about my life, but who really wants to know? Ever since I came off of my ADHD medicine when school ended, the smallest task has been a challenge, but I’m managing. This morning, before Sunday School started, dad told me to sit in the chair next to him because I was being “hyper”. It’s not uncommon for me to be a bit spazy on Sunday mornings due to the fact that I’m always exhausted and hyper at the exact same uncomfortable moment. I usually wander the halls of the church before everything starts to both get out my energy and stay awake.
Ah, now I know what I’ll write about. Today’s topic will be on Phases. Right now, I have two very obvious slits in my left eyebrow. It looks pretty ghetto, I’m aware, but it’s my thing right now. I keep reassuring my parents that it’s a phase and it’ll be over soon.
I’ve gone through different phases in my life: Goth, girly, tomboy, athletic, etc. The one thing they all had in common was that they were phases
Phase: (Noun) a distinct period or stage in a process of change or forming part of something’s development.
The phase I’m in now, like all of the others, will pass. I’m nineteen years old now, and even though I’m rock solid in my faith and my convictions, I’m trying to figure out who I am and how to “Adult”. Hang in there people, it will be over soon.
There are plenty of things in my life that will probably never change. I will probably always have ADHD, always hate ladybugs, always enjoy chick fil a’s Polynesian sauce, etc. That’s one think I love so much about being a Christian. God’s love isn’t a phase. I can always count on it being there. I’m very sporadic and impulsive, but God isn’t. His love is something I can always count on.
My parents always make sure to remind me of that.
I might write more about this later, but right now, I have a Kit Kat that is calling me from across the room.
The Makings of a Prima Donna:
I am the middle child, the only girl, and my love language is quality time; so you can bet that I get a lot of attention. I’m the only girl on my dad’s side of the family, and there’s one other girl on my mom’s side. I’ve never had to fight for attention.
On top of the attention I get at home, I’ve grown up on the stage. By the end of my senior year, I will have been in thirty-one stage productions. As a kid, I would sing for anyone and everyone. I have grown up in the spotlight.
This being said, my parents have had to figure out a way to let me thrive in the spotlight without becoming a diva. It’s a delicate thing to handle. If they lifted me up too much, I would get arrogant; but if they didn’t praise enough, I would think I wasn’t good enough. How does one handle this? I’ll tell you.
Who is the Real Star?
My family has never shied away from reminding me of my talents. They’ve always been very supportive. However, the never let me forget who the real star is. My parents would remind me by asking these questions:
- Who gave you your talent?
- Who should you perform for?
- Who deserves the glory?
- Who can take your talents away?
- Who is the real star?
The answer to all of these questions is Jesus.
My parents have never once allowed me to take the credit for a performance. They have always gushed over all of my performances, but they never let me take the credit. This, I think, is the greatest service they have ever done for me.
On My Own, I’m Nothing:
I have never thought of myself as superior to anyone else. People shine their lights in different ways; mine just happens to be a very public way. I’m not any better than anyone else.
I’ve never once thought that I got to where I am by my own talents. I know that any success I have is solely by the Grace of God. I’ll work hard to try to succeed, but I know that I won’t get anywhere unless it’s His plan. I also know that any talents I have can be taken away. Talents aren’t a right; they’re a privilege. I constantly pray that I won’t forget the only reason why I perform, which is to glorify God. I pray that I don’t get caught up in my own ego, and that God gives me the patience and the self-control to be able to shine His light when I’m off the stage even more so than when I’m on it.
“Be Their Mallory”…
“Be their Mallory…” is a phrase I hear quite often. My mom says this to remind me that I have the opportunity to impact the lives of those who are younger than me by giving them my attention and loving on them.
To be someone’s Mallory- to look past popularity, influence, age, success, etc. to show a younger, less fortunate, or impressionable person the love of Christ by showing kindness, love, patience, and humility; paying attention to them, letting them feel loved and special, and disregarding your own comfort or feelings in order to make an impact on their life; seizing the opportunity to make someone else feel loved and cared about; using personal success, popularity, influence, age, etc. as a tool to build up someone else.
The phrase, “Be their Mallory” Or, “You are her/his Mallory” refers to the girl who impacted my life when I was a kid. Her name was Mallory. We did CYT Atlanta when I was in elementary school and she was in high school. We were in The Chronicles of Narnia, where she played the White Witch and I played a chorus member in her entourage, and Seussical the Musical, where she played The Sour Kangaroo and I was a Cadet Chorus member.
I was a weird kid, y’all. I was painfully awkward. I said weird things, I did weird things; if I met the me from back then, now, I wouldn’t like me at all. I was really, really weird. But I enjoyed every moment of every rehearsal. The older kids, for the most part, were very nice to me, despite my behavior. Some of the other girls who were always nice were Rachel Walls, Katie Pruitt, Megan Hoag, and another girl whose name I can’t remember. These girls were very nice. They were sweet, when they could’ve easily been awful to me. But Mallory is who I will always remember.
The others were all very sweet, but I knew that they were just trying to be nice. Mallory always looked genuinely happy to see me. I really felt like she liked me. In CYT we would have little bags that you could put notes or gifts into, and she would send me one or two little messages that said, “I love you, girly!” or “You’re doing great!” or something like that. I don’t remember her doing anything other giving me hugs, giving me attention, and sending those little messages. But that was more than enough to have the biggest impact anyone has ever had on my life, outside of my family. It was such a big deal to me that an eighteen year-old, popular, star like her would give a third-grader nobody like me. I was confident and had plenty of friends, but there was just something about being noticed by someone like her that made me feel special. I just remember how loved she made me feel.
Of course, the way she treated me made a huge impact on my life back then, but the real impact hit several years later when I became a teenager. I started to have an understanding of how the older kids felt when I was a kid. And then I realized how incredibly annoying I was back then. Not only was I weird and awkward, I was hyper, impulsive, and irritating. I was that kid. I was probably such a pain to be around, but that’s what makes it so amazing.
Not only did Mallory go out of her way to be kind and loving, she had the patience and compassion do so despite my behavior. The problem with being nice to impressionable little kids, is that they follow you around… everywhere. They don’t have that social sensor that tells them when they need to leave a big kid alone. I remember following her around everywhere. I always wanted to be around her because she treated me so well. I adored her. And she never once lost patience with me. I never in a million years would’ve guessed that I was probably driving her crazy. She showed me the love of Christ rather or not she wanted to.
She didn’t have to treat me the way she did. She could’ve been mean, or just ignored me, but she didn’t. She chose use her popular, star-status to make girls like me feel like a million bucks. It never even occurred to me that she treated anyone else the way she treated me. She was probably just as nice to every other girl, but it felt like I was the only one who she paid attention to.
She graduated from high school when I was in fourth grade and I haven’t seen her since. I’ve looked for her on all of the social media sites, but I haven’t found her. She will probably never know how much she means to me, or the depth of the impact she made on my life.
When I realized the sacrifice she made in order to treat me with the love of Christ, I knew that it would be my goal and my privilege to do the same thing for as many people as I could. Because of Mallory, I know how much of an influence I can have on a kid’s life because of her influence in mine. I know how it made me feel, so I know it could make someone else feel.
Now, I am the age Mallory was when she touched my life. I look at these kids who are at the age I was and I see people who can grow up to carry on the cycle that started with Mallory. I do my best to make them feel loved, in hopes that one day they’ll do the same for the next generation. It can be very hard to be patient sometimes. Kids can be really annoying, and it’s worse when they won’t leave you alone. It can be very frustrating. But anytime I start to lose patience, I think of how many times Mallory was patient with me. If she could do it with me, I can do it with them.
I am so thankful that I have the understanding of what us teenagers can do. My goal throughout my high school/middle school experience has been to be someone’s “Mallory”; to make them feel as loved as I did.
Mallory’s influence is one of the main things that have kept my ego in check. I look at success and popularity as an opportunity to make a bigger impact, instead of it being a personal goal. I know that any popularity and success God allows me to have is a privilege; a tool that I can use to show Jesus to those around me by my actions and words. With it, comes the privilege and responsibility of using it to shine the Light of Christ and bring Him the glory. It has nothing to do with me.
Out of My Control:
You’d think that, as a performer, I wouldn’t like the idea that I’ll only perform as well as God allows me. I do all of the warm-ups and exercises I need to get ready to perform; but even if I do everything perfectly, if it’s in God’s plan that I fail, nothing I can do will stop that from happening.
I believe that everything that happens has a purpose. Every little thing is a piece of God’s puzzle. So it gives me great comfort to know that He is in control of everything. I do the prep work, but in the end it’s all up to God. If perform and I fail by my standards, I have peace in knowing that I did exactly as well as God intended. That goes along with one of the questions at the top: “Who should you perform for?” My audience could be a room with four people or an auditorium with hundreds; but, either way, I perform for an audience of one. And that one Person is the only one who matters. He is the one who gave me my abilities in the first place.
If I have to sing with a cold, I do my best despite the cold, but with peace in knowing that God has a plan, and His plan is perfect. So if that means I bring the house down, than God will make it happen. I will only do as well as God allows. He gives me the talent, and He will use it in any way that He sees fit.
It’s a Privilege, Not a Right:
My parents have done a great job with teaching me about humility. They love what I can do, but they make sure I remember that I am just a piece of God’s puzzle. Any time they have affirmed what I can do, they redirect the glory to God and remind me that He is the one who allows me to do what I can do. Regardless of who you are, your talents or special abilities aren’t a right, they’re a privilege- a very special privilege.
Unfortunately, we-as sinful creatures- forget that all of the glory belongs to Jesus Christ. A great example of this is my love for a vocalist named David Phelps. I love David Phelps. I border-line idolize him. It’s a problem, really. David Phelps is to me what Justin Bieber is to adolescent girls. If I go to a Gaither Vocal Band concert and listen to David Phelps sing He’s Alive, it is so easy to let the powerful lyrics that carry the world’s greatest message slip past me and focus all of my attention on the near perfection of David Phelps. That’s like getting a letter in the mail and putting all of the attention on the envelope. David Phelps is successful and freakishly talented, but he’s still just a piece of God’s puzzle.
Humility Smothers Jealously:
I’m very thankful that I’ve never really struggled with jealousy. Nothing is more toxic to a person than jealously. Jealousy has been the cause of many awful events throughout history such as Cain killing Abel, and Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. Jealousy can cause people to do terrible things.
In the performance world, jealousy is pretty much inevitable. If you’re not jealous, someone else is. Acting arrogant in front of someone who is jealous of you would be like spraying WD-40 on a lit match; it acts as an accelerant. However, humility smothers jealousy.
A great example of this is my relationship with a lady named Beverly Pruitt. Bev and I are both in the adult choir at First Redeemer Church. She is relatively new to the choir. I met Bev during a rehearsal for a praise team special. She was super sweet, so I liked her right off the bat. When it was time to start practicing for the Christmas Spectacular, I practiced and practiced and practiced this one song that I was going to audition for. Long story short, I bombed the audition… like badly. I didn’t get any solos, and Bev got the one I wanted so badly. Bev came out of nowhere. All of the sudden she started getting lots of solos, and quickly became a favorite. It probably would’ve hard for me to not feel a hint of jealousy, since I’d been in the chior for longer and then she popped in out of nowhere and became the favorite. In the performing world, someone like her, who becomes so successful basically overnight, can easily step on other peoples toes. But her attitude made it impossible for me (and everyone else) to feel anything other than joy for her success. She is beautiful and talented and popular, and everybody absolutely loves her. She is probably the most liked person in the whole choir. If you were to talk to Bev, you would feel like you were talking to your biggest fan. I’ve never met anyone like her. Everyone knows how talented and popular she is, but you’ll find no trace of an ego in her. She’s so sweet and down to earth that it’s impossible not to love her. When you leave a conversation with Bev, you feel better about yourself because she treats you like she’s honored to be talking to you. It’s crazy. Because of her genuine humility, everyone adores her. Everyone wants her to succeed. She shines the light of Christ everywhere she goes, and spreads the love of Jesus in everything she does. I’ve learned a lot from Bev. She is a perfect example of how important humility is.
“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” –Proverbs 29:23