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.

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Undeserving Love

So much love has been showed to me in this past week alone. It’s almost too much for me to handle.

Last week, I passed out at work. I was helping write up a customer when I started feeling light headed. It was past 2, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and I hadn’t been drinking enough water so naturally, my body shut down and I blacked out. I was only out for a few minutes – I have no idea how long exactly, but long enough that by the time I came to, Bailey had called 911 and Mom, Mrs. Jenny was at my side, and the customer I was helping got down on the floor and was rubbing my hands. I felt so bad that I put everyone in a complete panic in a matter of seconds, but I also felt so overwhelmed by the amount of concern and love that came from my coworkers and even the customers who were present.

Dad took me to the ER to get checked out and other than my scraped and very bruised nose, everything was fine. I’m perfectly healthy…I just need to be sure I’m eating and drinking and taking care of myself. Anyways, throughout the two hours we were there, Mrs. Jenny and Mrs. Nancy were texting me letting me know they were praying for me. Mrs. Nancy always tells me, “love you more.” Whether I say “I love you” first or not. Mr. Rex had sent a mass email to my church family asking for prayers.

For the next two days, my phone blew up. People from church called me up or texted me telling me they were praying for me. (The fact that people pray for me is enough to make me cry, y’all.) My friends reached out and were there when I needed them. Beth sent me a letter that came at the perfect time. I wasn’t feeling that great and she encouraged me so much by reminding me who our God is by describing His names alone. My favorite is El Roi – The God Who Sees. I have written in my Bible, “You are the God who sees. And You are the God who sees even me!” For so long, I had felt lonely and I struggled with thoughts that God didn’t really care about me or that He was disappointed in me. I wish I could tell myself when I was in the midst of these emotions that I could never be more wrong. My God sees everything and He sees even me. Not only does He see me, but He cares for me. He  loves me and His love is not like my love. It is not based off of how well I do things, or what I don’t do. My God has surrounded me with so many loving people so that I am never alone.

My siblings kept an eye on me when I was home to make sure I didn’t do anything crazy after I fell. Bailey, Mr. Mike, Mrs. Jenny, AND Travis all made sure I was eating lunch and drinking plenty of water when I went back to work. They’re still keeping an eye on me. I’m telling you, I can never pass out again because I put way too many people into a panic.

Yesterday, the same customer I was working with when I passed out came in to pick up his order. Y’all, the sweet man brought me candy to keep my blood sugar up. He didn’t have to do that, but he wanted to and that totally made my day.

That’s only a fraction of the love I have felt. That has just been this past week. I might just be ridiculously lucky to have so many people who care about me, but I think it’s safe to say that the Lord has placed those kinds of people in everyone’s life. Even if it’s just one person, that is one of the ways He expresses His undeserving and overwhelming love.

The Goodness of God

{Past}

It’s been a while. A long while since I saw him, or heard from him. And then, there he was. Smiling, staring at the ground with a girl by his side. Their faces frozen forever in a perfect little picture.

I shouldn’t have been stalking her. Now my heart hurts. It’s not broken. I remember what that feels like. It was so horrible. I felt shattered, crushed into a million pieces. I never felt so small and insignificant in my whole life. No, this time it’s a dull ache that burns in my chest. There’s regret. So much regret.

I’m relieved that it’s over. I finally have closure. But I also feel sad and disappointed that things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I desperately wanted him notice me. I tried so hard and wasted so much time and energy trying to get him to like me. But it was all to no avail. He wasn’t the one for me.

Thank God.


{Present}

The past three years have been one heck of a ride. It’s amazing how far the Lord has brought me and just how much He’s done in my heart.

15. That was not very long ago. I was young and crazy and head over heels for one guy, and then another guy, and then another. (None of which liked me back the very least.)

I spent so much time and energy trying to make boys that just weren’t the ones for me, the right ones for me. I had tried so hard to give my heart to each one. Mom warned me about the consequences of doing that. It would hurt and it’s a waste of time and affection that is so very precious. I would regret it because there were so many other things I could pour my energy into other than boys. But I didn’t listen. I still gave my heart away and every single time, I got hurt.

I let myself go until I became someone I didn’t recognize. I was unhappy with my image, with my personality, with all of me because I felt like no one liked me for who I really was. I tried so hard to be someone else for a guy. A guy who didn’t care for me. I spent so much time and energy wishing, wanting, and trying way too hard to get him to like me. Every night, I prayed that he would be the one for me. I said, “God, please let him be the one!” when really I meant, “God, please make him the one!” I am so thankful God did not give me what I wanted!

Then I moved.

And then the healing began.

I came to face some really hard truths.

Truth is, I wasn’t ready to date. (And I’m still not ready to date.)

Truth is, I wasn’t ready for marriage. (And I’m still not ready for marriage.)

Truth is, every guy I really liked was actually a terrible match for me.

Truth is, the distance away from my friends and all the guys I knew has actually been really good for me.

Truth is, I really need to get to know my Savior first before I ever get to know any guy.

Truth is, I have a really good God who has protected my heart in so many ways, it makes me cry every time I really think about it.

For three years, God gave me acne. The kind of acne that you just can’t hide no matter how much makeup you put on. It was big, red, painful, and pretty much all over my face. I hated it so much, but now I’m pretty sure those mountains were what kept the boys from falling in love with me during a very vulnerable time.

You know how I know?

Three years ago, in the middle of my boy-craziness, my acne was just awful. Like I went to a dermatologist because it was so awful, and she said it was awful. (Okay, she said it was very severe, not awful.) It was bad. Up until the time I moved, it had stayed that way. But ever since I’ve been living here, my skin has healed! It’s unreal. As I have grown in the Lord and let Him heal my heart, He has healed my skin too. It’s so amazing.

Ever since I moved, I have not met a single guy who is remotely close to my age. (Okay, that’s not true. There are boys here but they’re young and wild.)

God gave me ladies like my mom and Mrs. Nancy. Ladies who love the Lord and who are the kind of wives that I want to be when it’s time.

God gave me a handful of good, Christian girlfriends who have encouraged me in my walk with Him.

God gave me such a good daddy (and mommy) who will guard my heart even when I won’t do it myself. And they will continue to guard it until God brings the man HE picked for me. I’m so thankful for my parents. They counseled me when I was heartbroken. Now they’re encouraging me to pour my energy and time into the people I love and the things I like to do. To be busy instead of sitting around wishing for a boyfriend. They reminded me to be myself and to love myself because God made me the way I am: Complete. Perfectly and wonderfully made. Exactly the way He wanted me to be. And God doesn’t make mistakes. And finally, they told me to wait on the Lord’s timing. For His timing is perfect, and He always, always, has my best interests in mind.

So that’s where I am now. Waiting and trusting in the Lord.

Girls’ Night.

I spent the night at Mrs. Nancy’s house.

Which I think is amazing because I don’t do sleepovers very often. Frankly, I love my bed and the comfort of my home. (But that doesn’t stop me from trying to spend the night somewhere every once and a while.) Ever since I was little, I had trouble sleeping at other people’s homes. I would beg my dad to come pick me up around midnight, or I would be up every hour of the night and miserable the next day because I was so tired. But there’s something about Mr. Rex and Mrs. Nancy’s house that makes me feel at peace. The last time I slept over, E. came with me and I didn’t wake up once in the middle of the night! This time, I went by myself because I was helping Mrs. Nancy with her quilt and Mr. Rex was out of town. I think I woke up only once, but fell right back to sleep!

 

So the sleepovers will continue to happen.

 

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I had so much fun with Mrs. Nancy! We sewed and talked. We drank tea and shared stories. We had our devotions in the evening and prayed together. On the way to church, we sang songs and hymns to prepare our hearts. I love that I can share my heart and my dreams with her and that in her years of experience of walking with the Lord and in her knowledge of Him, she encourages me according to what the Bible says. One of the gentlemen at church pointed out that our time together was exactly what Paul was instructing the church to do:

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Titus 2:3‭-‬5 NKJV

(Now, y’all know I’m not married, but you get the idea.) The older ones are teaching the younger ones. Encouraging them and loving them the way Christ did when He was on earth.

I’m just so thankful that in addition to my godly parents, I have kindred spirits like Mrs. Nancy that God has placed in my life to encourage me in my walk with Him. It’s a bonus that I share my love for people and quilting with her. 🙂