Let’s Stop Glorifying All Nighters


The above was written by Abe Joy during small groups at church. This past Saturday we had small groups at church centered around the idea of “rest”. I stole an activity I learned in grad school and had my small group each write about rest and crumple up their sheet. Then each member in the group picks up someone else’s paper and we take turns reading each other’s writing. The above is what Abe Chach wrote:

“A rest in music is a portion of any piece of music where an instrument pauses. Rests are important to provide variety in rhythm, ease tonal fatigue and signal musical divisions in a song….”

Spending time in our small groups we began to share how “stress” and a lack of sleep is glorified in our culture.


We joked that often times when people tell us they haven’t slept all night, our response is “glorifying”, for example, one might say, “Wow! I don’t know how you did that…” When in reality not sleeping actually represents a lack of time management and one rarely responds, “Wow! You must not know how to manage your time…” But that’s really what an all-nighter means!


Just as how music is incomplete without rests, our lives need rest. We are reminded in the bible of the “golden ratio”, 6 days of work and 1 day of rest. The bible warns us especially in Proverbs about too much rest. I was tempted in our group to say “rest” is our natural state- it’s not! We must rest,  but we must also work.

IMG_1394.JPGI really believe God wants more for us than sleepless nights. He also doesn’t want us sleeping all day! My challenge for my readers today is to ask yourself, do you take your rest seriously?

College Vlog!


Hello friends, above is a video of a college “vlog” that I recorded a few weeks ago.  It’s crazy but I only had a chance to edit this video today!  I’m so grateful that I do not have school today!  I love vacations and this break came at the perfect time.  For those of you still in school, doesn’t summer vacation feel like a weird time of the year?  It always has, at least for me.  It’s an odd period of my life because I find myself having more free time than I’m really used to.

I love breaks, but I actually also really love school.  Hopefully my video will give you an idea of why I love school so much!

I hope you enjoy the video!  Let me know what kinds of videos/blogs you want to get from me.  Comment down below and I can try to get one up for this Sunday.  (How to Video, Vlog, Answer Video on a particular topic…)

I hope you have an amazing Thursday!


New Orleans Service Learning (aka my response)


New Orleans will forever remain an anomaly to me, as it is one of the most religious and seemingly secular places I’ve ever visited.  Walking through the streets around 10AM looking for breakfast, the smell of alcohol still reeked from bars.  The cafes that seemed to all close by 8pm were so weird for me, the girl who was used to having 24 hour Starbucks around the corner.  With that being said I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip, and learned so much more about myself than I thought possible in a little under twelve days.   Most of my life has been spent living somewhat sheltered and it was such an odd experience for me to be exposed to so much in under such a short amount of time.

This trip made me constantly think of something called “The Candle Experiment”.  Participants are asked to find a way to get a candle to burn without dripping on a table.  The candle is not allowed to stand on the table and the participant is given a candle, box of matches and a box of pins.  It’s not until the participant dumps all of the pins out of the box, pins this box against the wall and has the candle stand lit up on the empty box that he or she completes the challenge.  They must learn to think of a box of pins as more than a box of pins.  Something that is seemingly easy to do, but when we assign something a role in our lives, it’s hard to “un-think” things.  Ironically enough, New Orleans did that for me and this response paper will attempt to explain why and how this happened.

The disaster of Katrina was not real to me until I came to New Orleans.  The value of my education didn’t make sense until we visited a charter school in the ninth ward.  If there is anything in this city that evidences how great a devastation Katrina was, this school fits the bill.  Granted, the schools were bad before the storm, but a bad situation was made even worse.  Trailers that housed students instead of a solid building greeted us.  It was called George Washington Carver High School and we went here because previous alumnus were working there with “Teach for America”.  Our group made our way past the metal detectors into the school itself. There never seemed to be a need for metal detectors where I grew up but there was a need for it there.  The classrooms were so small and it was weird for me to see students so unengaged.  I wasn’t used to that kind of environment.  I was used to quite classroom filled with people who were afraid to call out.  There was no such sense of fear at this school.  No one seemed to care about being in school and the classes that ran best were run like a military academy.  I didn’t want to believe that learning was meant to happen in this way.  To me education was something I learned to love, it was engaging, captivating and most of all it challenged me.  I was saddened by a generation of teenagers and children who were essentially test guineas.  There lives would be messed up so that later on, the administration could learn from past mistakes.

I work as a communications tutor and I’ve been told time and time again that formulas work.  Students learn when they are told exactly what to do.  I refused to believe such logic and wanted to believe that you learned to write from reading and that you loved learning because it was fun.  Going to this school reaffirmed so many thoughts I had previously refused to accept.  These students needed this structure, they needed these rules and they needed a lack of freedom for them to actually do well.

Working at “Grow dat” was such a weird experience for me because I had never done anything like weeding for hours before.  It was weird to transition from their “tourist” like view of New Orleans into someone who was doing hard manual work.  Weeding required a strange sense of diligence I doubt I would have tolerated had it not been required.  We started our days weeding, and we ended our days weeding.  There’s this strange bond that is formed between people when you are united over a common goal.  We worked together because we needed to finish weeding a “bed” and did not stop until this was accomplished, or lunchtime was called.  I never imagined I would be spending my spring break singing songs weeding hour after hour; but in doing so I learned more than I thought possible.  When you weed, it’s not enough to simply pull out the weed.  You need to pull out the root and throw your weed in a bucket.  We learned to work together and to weed in pairs.  This was a program offered to the youth of New Orleans and knowing this was around made me happy.  After seeing how little opportunities so many teenagers seemed to have in their education system, it was nice to see they could learn and grow here.

Working at “Habitat for Humanity” taught me the valuing of doing things, even if I’m not initially good at them.  This was different from “Grow Dat” because weeding was not particularly difficult to me, it was more so tiring than anything else.  Doing construction work was something that I’ve never experienced before and was definitely not a natural at.  I’ve always considered myself an academic, or at least I’ve been an academic for a long portion of my life.  I don’t go outside and play sports.  I sit inside and I read novel after novel.  I like talking about problems that seem important and voicing my opinion.  Working with “Habitat for Humanity” taught me that just because I wasn’t good at “hammering” and “cocking” initially, didn’t mean this was a skill I could one day acquire.  I remember being so afraid coming into the house.  I was afraid to walk up the seemingly unstable stairs, and while I was attempting to quietly overcome this fear I was expected to bring up a huge ladder using this same set of stairs!  My work started by me refusing to stand on a ladder, but I grew to become good friends with people from my group and I was pushed out of my comfort zone.  By the end of my trip, I was relaxing and sitting comfortably on a ladder while hammering away.  I was hammering very slowly, but I was still hammering away.  That counts for something, doesn’t it?  I realize it may sound small, but doing that was really hard for me.  And I doubt I would have pushed myself if I didn’t have to.

Going on tours and seeing the results of history before my eyes was such a weird experience for me.  Going in front of the school that was the first to say “separate but equal” was not actually equal gave me chills all along my body.  I was standing on a piece of history that influenced countless lives.  It was weird for me to imagine a time and place where I wouldn’t be accepted because of my race.  It was even weirder to be standing on the very ground this event happened.  We went to a graveyard and were told that across from where we were standing was a place that once held the only legal prostitution in the country.  The way this was explained to us was that prostitution was not legalized here, it was just that all the surrounding areas had a clear ban on prostitution.  I was so disgusted and so shocked to see what this place now become.  Children were running around and I doubt they knew what the ground they were standing on was once known for.

Visiting the levees astounded me; I could not believe that something so large could be constructed so poorly.  What really hurt me the most was seeing a house abandoned that was in front of a poorly made levy. Houses were marked with an “x” to let people know if bodies were found inside.  At one point in time someone lived in that house and now it was abandoned and broken.  Entire levees were rendered useless because the city ran out of funding to cover the entire area.  Levees were constructed with poor engineering because constructing those types of levees saved money.  The example that was explained to us were “T” levees that technically did the job and saved money.  In reality they didn’t work efficiently when a disaster like Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  What astounded me most of all was that some home owners didn’t want levees put in their backyard because they believed that they were eye sores.  Safety did not matter because people were more concerned with how their backyards look like.  Knowing the severity of Hurricane Katrina and the impact it had, I couldn’t believe that people were more concerned with aesthetics than safety for them and people who lived near them as well.

New Orleans is a city that is being reborn into something amazing.  There’s such a flush and melting pot of different cultures that makes me feel so welcome, yet so un-welcome at the same time. More than anything New Orleans taught me so much more about myself than I ever thought possible.  All of my life I’ve struggled to find a balance with religion in my life.  I’ve imagined that my “candle problem” involved me hiding my religiousness while still trying to show who I am.  New Orleans taught me that this was something I never needed to do at all.  New Orleans is a city that waits for no one.  It’s weird and it likes being weird.  It’s a city filled with people who are proud of who they are.  You walk down the cobblestone streets and are met by music from musicians who love what they do.   I needed to learn that my religion was more than just my religion, it was who I was and it defined me.  My box of pins was meant for more than to just hold pins, it was meant to solve a seemingly unsolvable situation.  This city taught me to feel the same about myself and who I am as a human being.  I’m forever indebted to it for that very reason.

Learning how to love yourself


Is love something that we are born knowing how to do?  Is love really a choice?

I learned late in life that writing is a lot about learning how to edit, and this is exactly what I’m doing to do in this post.  It started as a post about learning how to love, period.  But now it is a post about learning how to love oneself because this is something I feel a lot of people fail to do.

I grew up most of my life believing love was something natural, something we were born conditioned to do.  And I believed even more strongly that the ability to love was not a choice.  I didn’t love my family because I choose to love, I loved them because I just couldn’t feel anything other than love for them.  Now that I’ve grown up, somewhat, I’ve come to some sort of conclusion.  Loving someone isn’t simply a choice or not a choice.  I know this because sometimes I force myself to show love to people, this is me making a choice.  But there have been times when I’ve been so hurt that all I’ve wanted to do is hate someone, but still I found myself loving them.

There are times when loving people feels so hard.  My mom will say or do something that upsets me and the idea of showing love in that situation seems impossible.  There are times when I find it really hard to love myself.  It doesn’t make sense but sometimes the most hurtful things are not said by strangers, they are thought by ourselves.  We fail to recognize the power and authority held in words, even when these words are said to ourselves.  The bible tests to this fact as well.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

In the above verse we are taught that life and death are in the power of our tongue!  This doesn’t just apply to what we say to people we love, this is found in the words that we tell ourselves.  The devil is a liar.  To anyone who has ever thought that they were meaningless, that their lives were meaningless or that they are alone- do not believe that lie.  Your body is the temple of God!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This is how precious we are!  And we are never truly alone in this world, never at all.  The amazing thing about God is that even if everyone we ever love leaves us, we always have him.  This is something we can put our hope and trust in regardless of circumstance.

I mentioned this in passing earlier but love can also not feel like a choice.  I find myself unwilling to let go of some friendships because regardless of pain I may have felt, I still love that person.  With the same token, sometimes it make feel like we don’t have a choice in how we feel.  Although I believe this is somewhat true- we always have a choice. We may not be able to dictate the way we feel, but we can choose the way we act on these feelings.  This is even more true in regards to how we respect ourselves.  Please, love yourself enough to respect yourself.  If you are feeling hurt by someone or something, remove yourself from that situation.  And if you are hurting yourself, please learn the value held in your life.

The saddest thing for me to think about is the fact that so many people fail to see how amazing they are.  Those people who can be told time and time again that they are beautiful but fail to see it!  If you are someone like that, please just take a second look.  Give yourself a second chance.  Because you are valuable and you are loved.  I can guarantee it.

Everyone feels sad sometimes


It feels odd to write down, but it’s so true.  Everyone feels sad sometimes.  I don’t know why I imagine that I am the only person who feels the way I do when I go through rough patches in life.  Sometimes that sadness can seem engulfing and the scariest thing in the world to do is to address what I’m feeling.  The bible says that there is a time for weeping and a time for rejoicing.  But all I want to do is rejoice!

I’m sure that there are lots of people who feel the same way that I do.  I don’t want whatever situation I’m going through to burden others.  I don’t want other people to know that I’m experiencing pain.  And I imagine that everyone really is exactly the way they appear to be on the surface.  But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Absolutely everyone we meet in life is facing his or her own battle.  And this is all the more reason to love and to love like never before.

My mother was the first person to make me realize this.  She told me to be kindest to the people who seemed the meanest.  Because when you stopped and took time to get to know them, it’s like peeling an onion!  There are layers and layers underneath and everyone has a reason for being the way that they are.

In particular she told me there was a woman who she saw daily who seemed to hate her.  It’s so hard to love those who hate us.  The bible can vouch for this fact.  But she told me that when she learned of the pain this woman experienced in her life, she suddenly understood the bitterness.  She understood it instantly.  And her love for this woman was not in vain, now they’re actually really great friends!

The perfect biblical model for this kind of compassion is embodied in the life of Jesus.  He looked at the defects and the outcasts of the world and somehow he chose to love them.  I guess he saw us in a way that we cannot even see ourselves.  It’s funny because sometimes it’s not even people who are putting these labels and ideas on us.  We do it to ourselves.

If there is anyone like me, who is reading this, please know that you’re not alone.  Sometimes I feel so sad tears feel like tiny needles shooting from my eyeballs.  Or so angry that my veins will burst!  Or even so happy and loved that I imagine my happiness is contagious.  We are not our emotions or our temporary feelings.  Feelings change.  And we are never ever really alone, never at all.

What do you stand for?


Daniel 3 introduces the reader to the story of Daniel and his three friends.  Just in case you don’t know this story or don’t want to read the passage, let me give a brief summary of what it’s about.  Daniel and his three friends entered a new land in which they were asked to eat and do things they knew they could not do because of their beliefs.  Instead of abandoning their beliefs in the face of obstacles, they choose to hold fast unto their God.

This even came to the point where they were subjected to death in a fiery furnace.  But God delivered them.

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

Their dedication was so strong that they were willing to hold unto their faith even when faced with the prospect of death.  How many of us hold faith like that?  How many of us are able to love God like that?

Do we all even know what exactly we stand for at the end of the day?

Someone once attacked my religion and I sat there in a sea of doubt.  But when they attacked my major I spoke up because I knew I was proud of what I was studying in college.  I was willing to defend my major, but not my God.  I was willing to defend something so small but when my faith was attacked, I collapsed.

Hold strong unto your faith.  There is nothing more powerful than God’s love in our lives.

I know that despite every heartache or pain that I go through, that God is always there.  He will always be there.  His love wraps around me and this assures me that despite trials and tribulation, I am secured.  It has already been promised to me.



Her name is Julie, or that’s what she tells people anyway.  Julie is her American name.  Her real name is Yinjuan.  That’s her Chinese name.  I asked her if I could share her story because I thought it was incredible.  She told me she didn’t think it was interesting but to feel free to write about her.

“There is no such thing as genius; it is nothing by labor and diligence.”

The above quote is what fuels her drive.  That small sentence.  That.  It’s funny how powerful words can be.  How the smallest sentences can mean more than words resting on sentences sitting on paragraphs squeezing through the margins of your page.  The smallest sentences are sometimes the most powerful.  And the smallest words hold the most meaning.  It’s kind of like how you can tell someone over and over again that they’re beautiful.  But if just once you call them ugly- that’s all they’ll remember.  Words are eternally powerful.

English is Julie’s second language, her first being Chinese.  She has been struggling with learning English and communicating for the past 10 years.  She came from China leaving everything and everyone she ever knew back in high school.  She didn’t know America would be the way it is.  Apparently they didn’t really tell her how it would really be like.  She stepped into this country, not knowing a word of the language.

I’m a communications tutor and I was helping her with her personal speech.  She had everything written out and wanted to see if her structure and format was correct.  If her tone, rate and voice sounded good to me.  But as I listened to her give her speech, I could feel my eyes filling.  I was so happy but my eyes were filled because this girl had such a drive to succeed, even when circumstances seemed unlikely.

We take it for granted every single day but the ability to communicate is one of the most important things we can do as a human being.  And when that ability is taken away from us the results are debilitating.  Imagine being tossed into a completely new place without even being able to communicate the simplest of thoughts or desires.  That’s what Julie has to struggle with, but she knows that hard work pays off.

After our session was over, I asked Julie if she wanted to fill out a raffle for my club, InterVarsity Christian fellowship.  She then told me that she was Christian, in fact she converted a year ago, in America.  Someone took her to church and she became a Christian.  Someone did that for her in her life.  Someone was willing enough to do that.

She filled out the raffle and checked off every box requesting information for everything.  She told me she was busy with work but would try.

Julie understood how valuable her life was.  She realized how valuable it was and for this reason she wanted to keep fighting.  Please realize how incredibly valuable you are.  How precious and important you.  If not to anyone on this earth- to God.  And when God loves you, the opinion and faltering opinions of others are irrelevant.

I believe Julie will succeed in her quest to really know English.  I believe it because she believe it too.


Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me


The art of discipline

Discipline.  This is one of the hardest things in the world to attain.  The above picture is a shout out to one of my closest friends Christine.  She’s studying in a very intensive six year program and I know she reads my blog, every post even.  Keep going love because at the end of the day you work for what you really want.

Something that I’ve been struggling with especially over these last couple of months has been my lack of discipline.  I sincerely have no idea what has been going through my mind lately!  Even those of you who read my blog regularly may have noticed it.  In many ways I’ve kind of just dropped off of the face of the earth.

I was worried about my spiritual growth.  I was worried about what would happen when I started taking classes that demanded more of my time.  I’ve learned that at the end of the day, everything comes down to discipline.  It’s so easy to fall prey to procrastination and wasted time but I urge you not to do so.

There are 14 weeks in a semester, that’s not a lot of time.  If you want to pursue a deeper relationship with God, learn more in your classes and work towards finding your true purpose- you need to put in the time.

Even with something like developing a relationship with God, discipline is the only way to get to know our father.  Pursue him, spend time with him.  Make it a conscious effort and part of your everyday to make God your priority.  I’m going to try to do this and hopefully there will be a visible difference.  No, there will be a visible difference in me.

One thing that really pushes my competitive side was a quote that said something along the lines of, “one day while you slept and did nothing, someone else was working and when you meet that person- they will beat you.”  In terms of our relationship with God, it’s not a competition.  But God deserves our time for no other reason than the fact that he is God.  You become like the things you worship.  And you worship the things you give priority and time to in your life.

Hebrews 12:11

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Making time for God


Quiet Time, oh how I had hated quiet time so very much when I first started doing it.  For those of you who are unfamiliar as to what quiet time is, it’s basically time you spend alone with God.  As an extrovert the idea of spending an entire hour of my day alone praying and reading the bible felt like complete torture.

I love being a part of group discussions, being around people and sharing ideas- but being alone?  No, thank you.  Because being alone means spending time with me and God.  Just the two of us together with nothing else to really distract me from his presence.  All of a sudden those early mornings I would dedicate to God would be interrupted because my bed looked extra comfy.


It wasn’t until I listened to a Francis Chan Sermon earlier a few days ago that it dawned on me why I hated quiet time so very much.  Quiet time requires me to spend time with God alone and God sees right through me.  I can very well fool everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis; I can even fool myself.  But the one person who sees right through me is God.

That’s so intimidating!  The entire creator of the universe wants to spend time with us!  He knows our innermost thoughts and can see right through every word that we speak.  I remember a friend of mine asked me when was the last time I spent just immersed in God’s presence; I had no good answer to give.  The problem lies in the fact that at the end of the day I didn’t want to spend time in God’s presence.  I wasn’t hungering after him in a way that made me want to spend time with him.

I remember back when I was younger I would spend time in church and our pastor would tell us how important it was to read the bible daily.  My parents sounded like a broken rec93871973452541836_XQzdnpvm_c was ridiculous.  I lacked a personal relationship with God and the extent of my relationship to my father lasted for 3 hours on Sunday mornings.

It was because I didn’t really want to know God that I failed to realize the importance in pursuing him and spending time with him.  The thing is that when we start really developing meaningful relationships with people- we want to spend time with them.  It’s not a chore and it shouldn’t feel like work.  When you like being around someone, you will make time for him or her.  Why can’t the same go for our relationship with God?

When I think about quiet time the first bible character that comes to mind is Daniel.  For those of you who may not know why Daniel was, he was a bad a$$!  When he was in the king’s presence and expected to eat the King’s food- he didn’t.  He only ate things that were pleasing to God and he was actually healthier and plumper than everyone else around him.  It’s kind of funny that being “plump” was seen as such a positive back then!

But back on topic, I want to specifically look at Daniel in the lion’s den though.  A decree was published saying that no one would be allowed to pray to anyone other than the king.  But, how did Daniel, someone so passionate and in love with God respond to this?

In Daniel 6:10 it reads, “…when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

He didn’t stop praying to God just because other people told him that he was not allowed to.  In fact he prayed with his window opened, because he was unashamed of his beliefs.  He knew his relationship with God and he knew that God was much more powerful than the King who told him not to pray.  What I find so funny and even a little bit sad is the fact that if this had happened to me today, I probably wouldn’t have even notice the decree at first.  Sometimes I don’t pray when I am encouraged, how I can pray knowing that I will be persecuted for doing so?

We need to become the Daniels of our generation.  We need to be so passionate and in love with God that we are confident of him and what we believe in.   And the only way we can achieve this is by making time daily for God in our lives.

What happens when you stop praying?


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What happens when you stop praying?  Seriously, have you ever thought about this?  What really happens during this time?  I am a prayer group leader at my Christian fellowship and I found that there were times when I simply forgot to pray.  Immediately after a big retreat with InterVarsity everyone was so hyped and excited, but as time progressed slowly and slowly things started to pile up with school.  Before I knew it I was sitting on the train and realizing that I hadn’t spent any time in prayer with God for an entire week.  How did this even happen?

The sad part is what it took for me to realize this was because I was beginning to feel weaker and weaker in my faith.  Ever since our retreat my history class has started a new section, the life of Jesus and the old testament.  We are essentially studying the bible together.  The only difference is that instead of praising God in many ways I felt as though God was being attacked.

The funny thing is that the minute I felt as though I was being attacked I retreated instead of pulling closer to God.  I let these words being spoken against my father break me and I stopped praying.  When I realized this I couldn’t even understand how I allowed myself to do this.  Here I was in the Christian battlefield and as arrows are being flung against me, instead of pulling out my armor I decide to walk out defenseless into an open field.

Luckily, even when I am so careless, God is always in control and covered me so carefully and wonderfully when I was unworthy.


We forget that limits do not apply when we are talking to the creator of heaven and earth.  We are so used to the way in which things are done in our lives that the idea of something supernatural or beyond our understanding is incomprehensible.  This is because we are human beings, are more than anything else we are so limited.

But this limit is not placed on God.  You may feel as though you have no control, and you may not.  The important thing is that God does have control and he’s the only thing that actually matters.

It’s easy to be a Christian in the constraints of a Christian club and church.  Being a Christian means going out where no one else believes what you believe and standing firm on your ground.

Its funny because I remember saying how I was so angry about registering for this teacher because he had amazing reviews on ratemyprofessor.com and I was so sure he would be good.  I never anticipated how against religion he would be.  He told us to try being Christians in the finance world and reap all of the pain that comes along with that.  But when I mentioned this to other people they told me I was wrong and that he had horrible ratings on line and that I must have read them wrong.  Their words were enough for me to doubt something I was confident of.

When I went home a few hours later I remembered what they said and looked up ratings for my teacher again, they were amazing.  I was right and I doubted myself because of what other people around me told me.

So many times I fee l like this very same thing happens when I’m in history class.  I know what I believe, I have evidence in my very life to prove it.  But when I am told I am wrong, its hard for me not to stand my ground.


God calls us to be so much more.  God wants so much more from us.  And this is why prayer is so important.  This is our direct connection to our father and our King of Kings.  As long as you are willing to pray, you will hear from God.  But in the process you must also rid yourself of everything else that comes before him in your life.

Time is one of the most important things in the world.  Stop giving your time to people who hurt you, things that do not matter and wasting away your life.  You become more and more like the people you surround yourself with.  Surround yourself with the presence of God, and pray to your father.