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I’m a country girl. No, my stomach is not flat and my legs do not equal up to Carrie Underwoods. My butt doesn’t hang out of my shorts, I hate wearing crop tops, I don’t wear bikini tops all day every day and you won’t see me in brand new shiny boots with daisy dukes on. My ball cap usually isn’t…

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Over the past couple years, I’ve found myself lost. Lost in a sea of what could have been, what should have been, what would have been, and the most devastating of all, why would this happen.
A few months shy of two years ago, I lost my favorite person in this world. As much as I tried to deny it, my world revolved around him and his service. And as much as I tried to deny it, I loved every minute of it. With him deployed, my days were filled with writing letters and emails, creating care-packages, wondering where he was and if he was okay. That was my life.
Was it stressful? Absolutely.
Would I recommend it? Never.
Would I do it again? For Danny, no doubt.
When he died, I lost my mind. How was I supposed to live? What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know how to act, what to do, or how to be “normal” again. I don’t even know if normal was a feasible option, but I was trying harder than I ever tried before.
I pretended I wasn’t hurting,
I pretended I could live without remembering him.
I pretended I was the person that could jump from relationship to relationship, man to man without too much commitment.
I pretended I wanted companionship, not a future.
I pretended. And pretended. And pretended some more. Until I believed I was that person. Everyday I believed I was that person, a part of Victoria died – the part of me that I loved, that Danny loved, that GOD loved.
I believed whole-heartedly that Danny was taken from me because I had done something wrong. I searched and prayed for an answer, but none were to be found. We hadn’t done anything “wrong”. Were we reckless teenagers? Yes. Did we make mistakes? Yes. Our relationship, however, was founded around our faith and God sat in the middle of it. Never have I ever felt God so strongly as I did when that man prayed with me, when we sat on the phone Saturday nights and read the Bible together, or when he’d hold my hand in his daddy’s church. God was with us. God was in us. And I didn’t understand why He wouldn’t let us work out.
My lack of understanding is the root of all my problems! This was a big one though. Because I didn’t understand, I just stopped. I stopped trying. I stopped going to church. I stopped believing God cared. I stopped believing that the one person that could help me, would actually help me.
It started with me blaming school for my lack of participation and presence. Then I started dating around. Then I started being careless. Then I stopped caring about being careless. Then I did whatever I wanted.
It was a vicious cycle and I was trapped.
After the events of the past few weeks, I found myself in church like I had several times before; sitting next to my mama in a pretty dress, having a mini-pity party, and thinking about anything but God and the service. As I’m sitting there, the choir comes down and the preacher takes the stand. I would love to tell where he preached from and explain the sermon that changed my whole world. But I cannot. As he took the stand, he recited a verse and God stopped me dead in my tracks.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6
These are scriptures we’ve all heard over and over again. This passage has blown up on pinterest and tumblr as some of the most encouraging passages in the Bible. And while I know this scripture by heart, something clicked.

I felt God!
I realized quite a few things yesterday in my backwoods, hillbilly-filled, small-town Baptist church.
  1. I don’t have to understand God’s plan. The point is that He has one and I’m a part of it. Regardless of my illness, regardless of my experiences, and regardless of my rebellion. He has a plan! I’m a part of that plan! I don’t have to know exactly what that plan entails a hundred years from now. I just have to trust Him to provide for me and to place me where I should be. I have to be a vessel; full and willing to be used.
  2. God’s plan for Danny was fulfilled. Danny followed God and trusted Him to guide his life. Danny’s purpose, whatever that was, had been met. Why would God allow him to stay on Earth amidst the temptations, trials, and troubles if he had already fulfilled his purpose? So while his untimely death might seem torturous and unfair to me, Danny is singing among the angels in heaven. He’s at peace. He’s looking down on me, wondering why I’m being so dumb! He’s fine! He wants nothing more than for me to be okay and happy again.
  3. No matter what trials I face, God is in control. He knows what he’s doing and I really need to start trusting that. Trust Him with my health. Trust Him with my relationships. Trust Him with my career. Trust Him with my life!
I found myself this morning waking with peace. It’s a strange, yet blissful feeling. I don’t know what today will hold nor do I know what this week will hold nor do I know what this year will hold. But today, for the first time in a really long time, I don’t need to know for I know who holds today and tomorrow and this year and eternity.
Happy Monday y’all!
"This year taught me that my loneliness has more to do with myself than anyone else. The loneliest I will ever be is when I do not have the strength to love myself."
-Marianna Paige (via mariannapaige)
I felt like a battered woman. And I realized I wasn’t okay with that.

It’s been a while y’all and well, I have a few, not-so-good excuses to give.

  1. Grad school is intense!
  2. Add nursing school to it and it’s almost impossible. By almost, I mean it is but I’m getting by so I suppose at some level it’s possible.
  3. I found myself in a whirlwind of relationships and emotions concerning those guys and Danny. Trust me when I say dating after the man you promised forever dies is no joke. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, and it is a million billion times more emotional and stressful than a normal relationship.
  4. I fell in love …and kind of went crazy!
  5. All hell broke loose.

So please, choose an excuse or combination of them that make you hate me the least. Forgive me. And let’s get back to the matter at hand.

Just after the first of the year, I met someone who completely swept me off my feet. As we started talking more and more, I began to think how charismatic and charming this person is. I couldn’t get enough. I just couldn’t. I wanted to talk to him every single minute of every single day. I sound crazy, right? Well, that’s exactly how I felt. The more “swept away” I felt, the more I began to think that what Danny and I had wasn’t real! How super insane is that? That man is my absolute world! And he remains that…20 MONTHS after his death! But there I was thinking that my love for him wasn’t true because I didn’t feel the same.

Corey and I immediately started dating. Forget the friend zone; forget getting to know one another. We jumped headfirst into the lake. Sink or swim time! For a while we swam but again, something felt off. Remember, I just thought this was what real love felt like. Boy, oh boy! I have never been so wrong in my life. 

After we had been dating just a couple months, I learned some things. Things that I didn’t necessarily like and things that I didn’t necessarily agree with and things that I definitely didn’t think were appropriate. I won’t completely call the boy out, but a few minor examples include his temper, his controlling nature, and his need to demean every other person around him (and that list included me). Up to this point, he’d never hit me. He never technically forced me to do anything. But I had felt coerced into doing things he wanted, when he wanted them.

I also begin to learn that we wanted completely different things. Like. I wanted to move to Atlanta and work there; he wanted to stay where he was. I wanted a large family and kids were mandatory; he wanted things to be mostly the two of us and just maybe one kid. I want to have fancy dinner parties and stay in contact with my family and friends; he wanted things to be mostly the two of us. The more differences I learned, the more I wanted out. The more I knew things weren’t going to work out. He assured me over and over than they would and that we’d compromise. After all, if we loved each other we could make it work, right?

Eventually, I walked away thinking I deserved better. While I knew I did, something brought me back. Maybe it was his charm or the promises I believed he’d keep. Whatever it was, I stuck around.

Things were better. He tried really hard to be the person I wanted him to be … for about a month.

Then. I got sick. He cheated …again. And we’re back to where we were the first time I left. He charmed me back and as much as I tried to deny it, I wanted to be with him and I didn’t care what he did.

I lied. For the first time in my whole life, I lied!

            “He’s a good person.”

            “He loves me! I can’t walk away from someone who loves me.”

            “I promised him. I have to follow through on my word.”

            “I really don’t want to be with him.”

            “I’m not going back.”

            “He cheated. That’s it.”

            “I’m serious this time.”

After everything he’d done, I still found myself a few weeks later sitting on his couch and lying in his bed. This is when all hell broke loose. And we sank. FAST!

I’m a firm believer in telling your partner everything …even if it’s going hurt. I believe that in order to truly love one another, you have to be completely honest and allow the person you love to make his/her own decisions.

We’re lying there and my phone rings. It’s a text message from another guy. This man is seriously one of my best friends and we spend a lot of time together. Corey asked who the text was from and I told him. In the nature of pure, whole-hearted honesty, I admitted that I had feelings for him. These feelings were small and were probably just plutonic chemistry, but I hadn’t had time to sort through them.

Corey gets mad. He screams. He yells. And as much as I tried to tell him how I felt and explain that he’s obviously the person I chose, he ignores me. He tells me to get off of him and to leave his house. 

That’s what he wants? That’s what he’s going to get.

I packed up my things and started toward the door.

He runs from the back of the house. As I open the door, he slams it closed and proceeds to bang on the door. He turns around, shoves me into the couch and starts to scream at me.

I was terrified. The look in his eyes was piercing and rage was shooting from them. 

Finally, he walks away telling me that I should just leave. Per commands, I leave. And by leave, I mean I got the hell out of there!

If this were the end, maybe I’d have gone back, maybe I would have justified his anger, and maybe I’d be the girl that got trapped in this vicious cycle.

Unfortunately, the night didn’t end here.

I got to my car. He runs up behind me. He grabs me around the waist. He drags me back into his house. It’s probably only 30-40 feet to his door and the whole time I’m kicking and screaming and trying to get loose. The whole time, he’s quiet. He grips me harder. His nails dig into my skin. I can hear him grunting.

We get to his door and he shoves me inside, closes the door, and locks it. The rage and anger that were in his eyes before has quadrupled. In that moment, I didn’t think I would make it out alive!

He yells. He screams. He points his finger. He gets in my face. He pushes me. He walks away and tells me to leave again. As I walk out the door, he throws a picture frame with the two of us inside. Glass shatters.

I get to my car and I see his shadow coming toward me.

Would a normal person run? Would a normal person scream? Looking back, all those options were there. But I didn’t. I crouched down as he threw himself on me.

He backed a few inches and I was able to unlock my car, which set the alarm off. With the alarm beeping, he let me enter the car and crank it (the only way to get the alarm to stop). I closed the door immediately and left before he could hit my car or break my windows.

I got out. I don’t know how, but I did. 

He preceded to BLOW UP my phone. He called over and over, until I blocked his number. He messaged me on Facebook, until I blocked him. He stalked my Instagram, until I blocked him. He messaged me on Kik, until I just deleted the app.

Two days after the incident, he hadn’t stopped. He figured out a way to call on a “no known caller” ID, so his blocked number is irrelevant. By Friday morning, he had called over 100 times. He then sent me a message saying he was coming to my apartment. I left, obviously. And then he sent messages saying he wasn’t leaving until I got home. He did eventually leave …BEFORE I got home.

I spent the rest of the week and the entire weekend looking over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t there. I felt like a battered woman. And I realized I wasn’t okay with that. 

A man should never make a woman feel this way. He should never make her fear her life or be scared to live in her own home. I’m grateful to be out. I’m grateful that things weren’t worse than they were, because I’m well aware of how much worse it could have been. I only suffered a few bruised ribs and nail marks, but we’ve all heard the stories.

I thank God everyday for watching over me that night and protecting me in ways that no one else could have. After all, he’s the only person that knew I was there.  

I always thought it was strange that I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without letting my parents (or someone) knowing where I was going. Now, I understand.

I always thought it was silly to tell everybody your business. Now, I understand.

"He never became who I wanted him to be. And that’s the expectation I should have never put on him, this expectation that he was supposed to please me with his becoming."
-Hannah Brencher (via hannahbrencher)