There is SO much power in a “Goodnight. I love you.”
I went to bed last night without crying into my pillow and I woke up this morning with a smile and a prayer and joy swirling about inside of me. Admittedly, the joy thing took some time because holy moly is it hard to get out of bed in the morning! But once I had arrived at work, I was the epitome of “bright eyed and bushy tailed.”
All because someone took the time to think of me and love me.
It’s excruciatingly painful to wake up alone, to eat dinner alone, and to go to bed unseen and un-thought of. And even if I know that I am loved and held and have a place in this world even when I’m by myself, there’s something about living this life of frequent aloneness that can take a toll on a person’s heart.
This is the first time I’ve been in this position. I’ve always had someone, however flawed!, to come home to. And even when I lived in Maine and ended my nights in a dorm room, every single day, multiple times a day, I’d talk on the phone with someone in my family. And often, they called me. I wasn’t always the one having to reach out and call them. I knew I mattered and that I was wanted and that I belonged somewhere.
And yet, while this time in my life is incredibly painful, I can admit (with some reluctance!) that it is important. The lessons I am learning right now and the growth that is happening is significant and valuable.
Because people are important and love is necessary, but… it’s surprisingly easy to exalt our needs to a place where we are tempted to worship them.
Do we have needs? Yes. People need food and shelter and they do need love. But God can sustain us even when we don’t have those things. And when we must choose to believe that, otherwise we are essentially saying that we don’t trust the Jesus who loves us and promises to provide.
And when our hearts aren’t surrendered to Him, we make ourselves vulnerable to worshiping other things.
It’s all such a delicate and tricky balance. And good grief! is it hard to get to a place of complete satisfaction in God.
But there is no true and lasting satisfaction apart from Him either.
And so I continue to pray, even though it scares the crap out of me, and I give God permission to do whatever He has to with my life and circumstances to get me to a place of complete and full satisfaction in Him.
Is that terrifying? Yes.
But desperately I want to love and know Him more.
And I want that (although on some days the best I can manage is to want to want that!) even more than I want someone to say goodnight to me.
So I choose to surrender to Him, to trust Him. Even if that means walking through a season of aloneness and suffering.
And so, yes, that means right now a lot of my nights are spent crying into a pillow. But I don’t cry without hope. I grieve and I weep, but I have joy because the Lord is good, and in His promises I can find comfort.
And then occasionally someone will text me or call me or e-mail me and say, “I love you.” And because every good and perfect thing is a gift from Him, I know He is saying through that person, “I’ve got this, sweetie. Just hang in there.”
I don’t know how, but I am choosing to believe that He is more than enough for me.
So much of faith is a choice, isn’t it?
But He honors and blesses us when we choose Him. When we choose trust.
I’ve been reading a lot about how peace and freedom and life abundant are promised to us, but how the key to those things is submitting to the Lord. Giving Him authority. Keeping Him as Lord of your life. Surrendering.
If I surrender everything, even the things I think I need or cannot live without, even though it’s hard and painful and scary, He promises it will be worth it. Indeed, it’s the only thing that IS worth it.
Maybe that’s why those who hope in the Lord will never be put to shame. There is nothing safe to hope or trust in apart from Him. And there’s no fear in hoping and trusting in Him.
But it hurts to leave everything at the foot of the cross. It’s so painful to grieve what was and what is and what may never be and to look up at the place where Jesus’s love ran red and say, through tears, “I trust You.” Because He DIED for me. How can I not trust Him when He already gave the ultimate sacrifice to prove His love for us?
And, when I look up at the cross, when I let heaven invade my thoughts… how does the song go? Oh, right: the things of this world grow strangely dim.
Oh, Lord, you are so good. Even when I’m hurting, you are so, so good.
And so I choose to trust.
I will trust the Lord with the mess of my heart.
I will trust the Lord even when, from my perspective, things look hopeless.
I will trust the Lord to come through for me even though it’s going to take a miracle.
After all, if it’s going to take a miracle, that tells me whose battle it is!
The need for a miracle is never the need to despair. This is His battle. My job is to stand on the promises and trust Him to be God- the God who IS LOVE and Who comes in power. He will fight for me.
At the foot of the cross, I put my life in His hands.
And even when I don’t feel it, I will stand on the promises.
I will stand.
My knees might be shaking, but the ground beneath me is firm.
When I tremble and quake, He is my solid foundation.
Lord, help me to trust you with my needs. And my pain.
You get no delight from our pain, Jesus, so I know there is a purpose for it. Something good will be born from this season of tears.
Day in and day out, Lord, help me to choose You.
When the world looks dark, You are my light.
When I’m lonely, You are the kiss on my forehead before I go to sleep at night.
When I’m battling panic and struggling to breathe, Your breath fills up my lungs.
Even when I’m crying, I am held.
I will choose to trust You.
After all, Truth is Truth regardless of how I feel.
And so, I stand.
“Your voice called the man out of the grave. Can You breathe new life into this mess I’ve made?”