If I Don’t Have You

(Part 2)

I reread Nate’s words when I got home and after I wrote my angry letter to God.

As I sat at my desk, I began to see that if this situation never happened, if my heart was not heavy, and if my spirit was not grieved, what would draw me nearer to my Savior? I had neglected Him. I shied away from Him because I hated my neighbors and I knew He didn’t like that. And because I knew He didn’t like that, I stopped spending time with Him. Mom and I still prayed together before I went to work, but that was just about as much as I would talk to God on my own.

July 21, 2017

I woke up with a heavy heart. I felt wounded as I dragged my feet around the house. It was Friday, my day off. In my head, the music Mom played throughout the house last night still echoed in my ears. Song after song reminded us that God was in control and that He started something new and He’s going to complete it. That He knows everything and He understands. That He is with us. But I was still asking, “God, where are You in all of this?”

At 11:23 (a.m.) I got an email update from one of my favorite bands, Love & The Outcome. They were announcing the release of their new single, “If I Don’t Have You.” I have loved that song from the very beginning. They put what I was feeling in my heart into words and matched those words with music.

How can I build Your kingdom if I’m building my own?

How can You be my treasure if I’m digging for gold?

How can You be my fire if my heart has grown cold?

How can You be my future if I’ve made this my home?

How can I? How can I?

I don’t want the world if I don’t have you.

I don’t want it all if it means I lose You.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen enough to know it’s You I need.

I  don’t want the world if I don’t have You.

If I don’t have You.

How can I say I need You and live on my own?

How can I say I want You and never come close?

How can I say I surrender and never let go?

How can I say I love You to someone I don’t know?

How can I? How can I?

I don’t want the world if I don’t have you.

I don’t want it all if it means I lose You.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen enough to know it’s You I need.

I  don’t want the world if I don’t have You.

If I don’t have You.

I give You every failure, every dream, and every mountain top.

I give You everything I thought of me and nail it to the cross.

I leave behind me what is ashes and what will be dust.

All I am to you my God for all else will be lost.

I don’t want the world if I don’t have you.

I don’t want it all if it means I lose You.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen enough to know it’s You I need.

I  don’t want the world if I don’t have You.

If I don’t have You, Lord.

I’ve listened to this song a hundred times and this hundred-and-first time made me close my eyes and soak it in like it was the very first time.

I have been pushing my Savior away when I should have been pressing into Him. I say He is the King of my heart and the Lord of my life, but I never actually let Him rule over me.

Instead, I allow anxieties and worry to control my thoughts. Like, “What if this never stops? What if our neighbors are grumpy forever?” Or “what if the authorities do something in their favor instead of ours? This is so unfair, God!”

Instead, I allow my emotions and my feelings to control my actions. Thinking to myself, “I will not talk to anyone until I sort this out. I’m so mad I can’t even speak to anyone about this. This is my own fight. I’m on my own.”  Oh, how I love to shut my people out when I’m struggling.

I thought about how my grumpy neighbors do not have the Lord. However, I do. I thought about how they have the world, yet they are prisoners to it, never able to enjoy it.

I thought about Mrs. Nancy’s Manna in the Morning. She wrote:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1-2)

Praise the Lord for His love and faithfulness every morning and every night. Just think—a new day to sing praises to our Lord Jesus Christ. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6). (emphasis by me)

After that, I thought, “Lord, how can I possibly thank You for this? How is it possible for me to praise You in this situation? How can I praise You when all I can say is ,’please don’t leave me here?'”

And then, He answered.

Advertisements

That Time I Wrote God An Angry Letter

(Part 1)

July 20, 2017

God, why don’t You do anything? How long will You stay silent? How much more can I take? I hate these people. And I know that’s wrong. You ask for me to love them but God, there is no room in my heart to love them. – A portion of my angry letter to God

I wrote God an angry letter. Our grumpy neighbors are still grumpy. I know I’ve been holding onto bitterness and resentment against them for a long time and it finally all came out. One small thing led to another and I had enough. And I took it upon myself to tell the Lord exactly how I felt about them and how I felt about myself.

What’s interesting is how the Lord answered my angry prayer/letter.

Earlier that day, I read the morning devotion of my Daily Light.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16) He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isa. 53:3) “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. (Heb. 7:26) That you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. (Phil. 2:15) Jesus of Nazareth…went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10) That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:9) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16)

***Emphasis by me***

There is so much there that spoke to my heart that evening when I reread it. I felt defeated. I felt helpless. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. I felt like the authorities were being unfair because they didn’t understand the situation we were in. I felt like we had a biased mediator who was going between my parents and the grumpy neighbors. I know he was compassionate and kind yet I didn’t feel like justice was being served the way I wanted it to be. I longed to march over to our neighbors and give them a piece of my mind. My heart burned with anger because there was so much I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it to their faces. I couldn’t say it to anyone’s. My thoughts were mean and ugly and I didn’t want anyone to know exactly how I felt.

But the Lord reminded me of this: I have such a great High Priest who was in all points tempted as I am, yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) The authorities may be playing mediator here, but I have the perfect mediator interceding for me in Heaven on my behalf. In the meantime, I have a job to do. I have a purpose in this life here on earth. And I had forgotten why I’m here in the first place.

At precisely 3:43 p.m. that afternoon, my missionary friend from Niger sent out an email update. I was still  at work, but I stopped to read the email. It was around the time that Mom was coming to pick me up and I know it was minutes after she had yet another visit from the authorities concerning our next door neighbors. Anyways. In his email, Nate highlighted about five things but only two things stuck with me: his engagement (!!!) and the robbery. Back in June, he was robbed of his Bible, his notes, his backup notes, his computer, his passport, his visas, everything. But he wrote something that made me stop. He said,

“So often, I claim I want to know God, but do I truly want the opportunities in which to know Him?

We don’t have to understand the WHY when we know the WHO.

To know Him as my Provider, there must be a need.

To know Him as my Sustainer, there must be extended difficulty.

To know Him as my Comforter, there must be hurt.

To know Him as my Healer, there must be infirmity.

To know Him as my Deliverance, there must be a form of bondage.

To know Him as my Peace, there must be turmoil.

To know Him as the Resurrection, there must be death.”

My first thought was, “Wow, that is so true. What a godly perspective. Nathan has such a good attitude about this.” My second thought was, “I don’t think I could be this gracious. I know this is the right response to have, but I don’t think my heart would do that.”

Mom shared with me on the ride home that as she came to pick me up, a man on the radio shared his 5-minute devotional. The gist of it was, “We as Christians have peace because we know what the end of our story is: God wins. We can go to sleep and get a goodnight’s rest because we’ve read the last chapter and we know that God will make everything right in the end.” Yet I still went to bed with a heavy heart that night. I wanted God to make things right right now. Little did I know that He really was making all things right and He was starting with me.

 

When You’re Lonely

1. Clean something. Anything. Your room, the closet, the bathroom mirror.

2. Do some laundry.

3. Sing your favorite song.

4. Call a friend.

5. Friend’s busy? Call another friend.

6. Write to a loved one. Or text. Or both.

9641122627027f86e7428f8b5c0aa598

7.  Make cookies or cupcakes.

8. Do something artsy- craftsy.

9. Wash the dishes while listening to your favorite band.

10. Do something nice for someone you love.

11. Snuggle with a baby.

12. Read a book.

13. Journal. Write out your thoughts.

14. Watch a movie.

15. Cook dinner.

16. Do some more laundry. (Those blankets haven’t been washed in a while.)

17. Vacuum.

18. Plant something. Or offer to take care of someone’s garden while they’re out of town.

19. Eat those cookies you made earlier.

20. Call your favorite aunt or uncle.

21. Cuddle a puppy.

snapchat-2388796427271141281

22. Pray for someone you love.

23. Tell that person you prayed for them.

24. Color a picture.

25. Watch the Jamie Grace Show.

26. Make a bucket list.

27. Make a grocery list.

28. Make a To Do list.

29. Don’t forget about those things you put in the washing machine and hour ago.

30. Have a backwards dinner. Eat your ice cream before your veggies.

31. Go find and talk to the frogs in your backyard. They might be lonely too. (Apparently one was because he was in my house this morning.)

32. Read Psalm 139.

IMG_20170619_205607

33. Tell God about your loneliness.

34. Go for a walk or a bike ride.

35. Go visit a friend.

36. Cuddle another baby. Or puppy.

37. Take a nap.

38. Organize your sock drawer, your dresses, or your shirts by color.

39. Rearrange your bookshelves

40. Make yourself a cup of tea and have another cookie.

You are not alone.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalms 34:18 NKJV

For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalms 107:9 NKJV

An open letter to my best friend

Today’s the day you graduate! I am so excited for this next chapter in your life.  You have come so far. I know it wasn’t easy persevering to the end but you made it!

Thank you for praying me through my own anxious days. Your support and your encouragement reminded me of how greatly God has blessed me to give me a friend like you. You were quick to remind me of His promises. As iron sharpens iron, you have sharpened me, dear friend.

I wish so badly that I was by your side celebrating with you, but know that I’m thinking of you right now. You’re going to do great things. I know the Lord will bless everyone who comes into your life because you, sweet girl, are a blessing.

We may be a thousand miles away. Literally. But not even distance will make me love you less. In fact, I think I love you more than I did when we were twenty-three miles away!

Congratulations on graduating!

Love,

Ruth 💕

P.S. I’m finished too! 😁

A Little Motivation

The most wonderful thing happened last week.

Saturday evening, I opened a package from Mrs. Terri. I knew it was a graduation gift. Mom asked me if I wanted to open it now or later. She was like, “maybe it will motivate you to finish school.” and I was like, “Mom, I don’t need any more motivation to finish.” But Mrs. Terri wanted me to open it, so I did. And I am so thrilled.

Y’all, the Pin Pals made me a quilt.

Several of the ladies made quilt blocks and embroidered a message, or just signed their name in the corner of their block. They picked such beautiful fabrics. There are pink and red flowers. There are text fabrics with different quilt terms. There’s a block with “Baby Ruth” embroidered in big red script letters. (That’s what all the ladies call me!) The backing is a green and white triangle pattern. Mrs. Terri quilted the entire thing with meanders and stars.

It is so perfect!

No one has ever made me a quilt before. I have always been the giver and maker of quilts! Being on the receiving end, I understand now how special and meaningful quilts truly are. They are the product of love, kindness, and generosity. To me, it’s a reminder that though distance may separate us, it cannot lessen the love that I have for my Pin Pals and the Pin Pals have for me. It is a comfort and an encouragement (not to mention it keeps me warm at night!).

That Saturday, I was sad that the sewing guild will not be here to celebrate my graduation with me. When I look at this quilt, and as I’ve read the messages they wrote on my card, I see that they’re already celebrating. They’re already proud of me and they are already excited for the next chapter of my life to start.

I think Mrs. Rose said it just right:

“I will be right there with you in spirit as you graduate and you will know we are all there with you when you wrap yourself in the quilt. You are loved.”

I can’t get over how amazing this gift is. I’m never letting this one go.

Now I really have to finish. I said I didn’t need any more motivation, but the Lord knew I needed this.

20170529_073639-1[1]

 

Physics is finished. I took my last test yesterday! All I have left are two writing assignments for English. I’m almost done.

One More Week

Time has just flown.

I just have Physics and English to finish up.

Accounting is finally over. It’s been a struggle. I don’t even know what my final grade is. I know it’s not good. I’m hoping I made a C, but I don’t know. My second to last test was a 66. I think this last one was a 74…I’m not sure. I’m kicking myself because on this last test, there were two questions that I had the correct answer at first, but I changed my mind. For once I got every true or false question right, but that wasn’t enough.

I’m still disappointed that I didn’t even come close to that 86.

About four months in, I wanted to drop out of Accounting. I’ve never wanted to drop out of a class. Ever. Even if it was hard, I pushed through it but this one was So. Difficult. I hated it. I still do, but maybe with less fervor. Anyways, Dad wouldn’t let me quit. I’m glad I didn’t drop the class, because I don’t want to known as a quitter, but failing a class isn’t much better.

I’ve been thinking about which one’s worse: a quitter or a failure?

After talking with a sister in Christ, I came to the conclusion that a quitter is a failure. A quitter is someone who gives up when it gets too hard. God calls us to persevere, to keep on keeping on. His definition of a failure is not a grade that I get or don’t get. His definition of a failure is that I didn’t even try. His definition of a failure is that I didn’t finish the work because it got too hard, so I gave up.

So even if I fail the class, and even though I’m not proud of my work. I tried. I hated every second of it and I might have tried a little too late, but I finished the course.

And I will never take Accounting ever again.

I’m a Terrible Planner.

April 26, 2017

I’ve been struggling with anxiety.

Not the mental disorder.

Just the natural stress and worries related to senioritis, work, and health combined.

The past two weeks have been really rough on me.

I’ve had trouble breathing and relaxing in general. Taking deep breaths are really hard these days.

I constantly feel like I’m going to throw up. But it’s interesting that I don’t feel nauseous. It’s all lodged in my throat suffocating me.

I know it’s related to my stress.

I was falling behind in school and graduation is creeping on me faster than I’d like.

I haven’t been prioritizing very well. I’ve spent too much time doing what I want to do rather than doing what I have to do. I don’t even know when I’ll finish school. There is just so. much.

I am so ready to be done with high school. Forever.


May 12, 2017

My stress level has gone down some. I feel like I can breathe more deeply at times. However I still feel like I’ll throw up when I think about how close graduation is.

I’ve caught up in school and so far I’m on track to graduate after June 10th. The only subject I’m really worried about is Physics. I have the most work there out of all my other subjects…actually that’s not true. I have about the same work in English. But I like English more than Physics. I still hate Accounting. I need at least an 86 to pass for the year and I have two tests left. I’m really happy about the 92 I scored last week. (I’m really good at taxes but not really anything else.)

Work has picked up significantly. I’ve worked at the trophy shop for six months and we have now entered what I have been calling “Mayday.” Basically the entire month of May and the first part of June is nonstop work. There are so many phone calls and so many emails. There’s a lot of everything. Soccer, baseball, music recitals, dance recitals, end of school year awards, volleyball, softball, corporate quarterly and monthly awards. Everything. I’m hanging in there.

Most days are really draining for me. On the days I’m working, I get home and basically melt on the inside and crash on the outside. Then I force myself to go finish Business Math for the day because it’s easy stuff and I only have two more weeks left. (After that’s done, I’m taking on more Physics.)

On the weekends, I pretty much spend all my time studying. I’ve had to say no to babysitting till after graduation. The last time I sewed was last week. I finished some burlap table toppers for Ms. Alice only because she needs them before June and I agreed beforehand to do them. Besides that, I won’t be sewing till after graduation.

Originally, I had planned to do so much work in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade that I could take it easy my senior year. I knew I would get a job during my last year. But even with all the work I did and with all the extra time I had before I started working, I managed to put everything off till the last minute. I spent way too much time doing what I wanted to do rather than focusing on what I absolutely had to do. My priorities went topsy-turvy and now I’m struggling to stay balanced and take deep breaths.

I wish I listened to my parents earlier rather than later. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel like I’ll throw up.