I Need You to Love Me

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For the last installment of this story please go here.

 

Exactly one week after staying up all night playing thumb wars, we met in Orlando again. One of Luke’s favorite bands is a group called Gasoline Heart. Luke just so happened to be friends with a few of the members and they were playing at Hard Rock that night. So, we drove ourselves to City Walk several hours early, explored the shops and got a bite to eat. We were sitting outside this one particular pizza place having a cigarette and watching the music videos that were coming on the big screen. Luke brought up God again. Didn’t I ask him not to do that? It irritated me. I thought to myself, “If this is how it’s gonna be every time, I don’t want to be around him.” Realistically, that’s why I cut most Christians out of my life in the first place. I don’t remember anything about the conversation except for me bringing it to an end. We sat in silence for several minutes when all of a sudden a familiar song came on the big screen. A song by a Christian group called Barlow Girl. I only knew two songs by this group and this was one of them. Really, City Walk? This is the moment you decide to play a Christian song on the loudspeaker??? I sat there in hardened silence not willing to admit to Luke what was happening because it was highly likely that he had never heard the song or the band and hopefully he wasn’t listening. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t NOT hear the words. I played with my purse. I chain lit another cigarette. I tried to sing a different song in my head. But I couldn’t not hear the words. I see now that was the power of God in my life.

Why, why are You still here with me? Didn’t You see what I’ve done?
In my shame I want to run and hide myself But it’s here I see the truth
I don’t deserve You

But I need You to love me, and I
I won’t keep my heart from You this time And I’ll stop this pretending that I can Somehow deserve what I already have
I need You to love me

I, I have wasted so much time Pushing You away from me

I just never saw how You could cherish me ‘Cause You’re a God who has all things And still You want me

And I need You to love me, and I
I won’t keep my heart from You this time And I’ll stop this pretending that I can Somehow deserve what I already have
I need You to love me

Your love makes me forget what I have been Your love makes me see who I really am Your love makes me forget what I have been

Somewhere between the middle and the end of the song I started laughing at the irony of it. Luke wasn’t stupid. He knew. He was listening. I don’t think he knew until the second verse that it was a Christian song. But either way, he sat there in silence praying that I couldn’t NOT hear the words.

We didn’t talk about it.

A few torturous hours passed and finally it was time to make our way over to Hard Rock Live to hear this band [that I absolutely fell in love with and is still today one of my favorite bands]. I met a few of his friends who also showed up to see the band. Luke held my hand as he led me through the crowd. Sometimes I still get the same butterflies when he reaches for my hand.

For the next 30 days, Luke and I continued to meet in the middle. I don’t know if that’s because it was easier or because we weren’t quite ready to bring each other into our day to day lives, friends, and family. Maybe both.

A few weeks after those initial 30 days, I finally asked Luke to come down to Winter Haven to informally meet my family. I wanted to take my 7 year old niece, Kaitlyn, and my 2 year old nephew, Ty, to the aquarium in Tampa and I thought it would be fun if Luke came too. So, he met my family and they all of course loved each other. Ty wouldn’t let Luke put him down the entire day.

Later that month, Luke’s older brother Caleb was to get married. I was extremely nervous about this wedding for a multitude of reasons. One, it was a wedding. Two, I would be meeting Luke’s ENTIRE family. Three, I would be meeting most of Luke’s closest friends. Yeah, no reason to be nervous.

Caleb also went to BCF at the same time as Luke and I so I knew him as well. I was honored that he and Crystal asked me to sing at their wedding and I actually ended up doing a duet with their youngest brother Joshua. How funny that this was the first of hundreds of times of Joshua and I would sing together. Well, the wedding was beautiful and an absolute blast, come rain or come shine. That night, Luke and I joined 5 or 6 other people, a few of whom were in the wedding party and one was actually the photographer, at a condo on the beach. Everyone sat and talked for hours. We all eventually made our way onto the beach and Luke and I drifted off to ourselves. He held my hand as we walked and talked about how fun the weekend had been thus far. He stopped and faced me, still holding my hand on this cheesily beautiful night. The waves were perfect. The air crisp. The sky clear. The moon bright. He kissed me. He looked me in the eye and said, “It would be really cool if you wanted to be my girlfriend.” Before I could respond, a giant behemoth of a crab scurried on top of our feet and I started screaming in fright.

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