Beware of the Little Foxes

Men are getting bolder these days but have less tact than they used to. (In my experience anyway.) Allow me to share some actual quotes from men to me the past couple weeks:

“Is it wrong that I want to grab your booty?”

“You are very attractive and I wish I could give you my heart and love the hell out of you. I want to be intimate with your mind and make love to you.”

“You have a nice booty though. A classy little booty. I am taking you out on a date. We would be making out like no other getting the windows steamy like in high school.”

“That dress makes you look like you got back.” (I got so mad I yelled at him, “If you love my butt so much, why don’t you marry it!?”)

If you are reading this right now and happened to make one of the above comments, I forgive you. Truly I do. It’s in the past and I’m moving on from this… but at the time when you said it, it made me feel like a piece of meat. Please consider thinking before you speak. If you wouldn’t say it to your sister or your mom, you probably shouldn’t say it to your friend.

All of these were spoken or written by men I consider friends. I have known since childhood that “friend” is such a strong word. “A friend loves at all times,” (Proverbs 17:17) was my favorite verse and I even had it on matching bracelets with my best friend. Recently I’ve been reminded that I need to stop throwing that word “friend” around so much with people. A true friend honors, respects, and loves you… he doesn’t make you feel like you’re just a piece of meat.

Why do men treat us like this? It’s probably because we’ve let them. We don’t call them out. We continue to let them make comments like this. Don’t get me wrong, I like when men are forward. (Saves me so much time trying to figure out if they are interested or not.) But I don’t appreciate it when a man who only considers me a friend and has no intentions of pursuing long-term romance says something sexual to me. I don’t appreciate it when I’ve already told a man I’m not interested but he doesn’t cease to pursue me. PLEASE, for the love of all things good, keep your comments about my body and what you want to do to me to yourself… unless you’re my husband. In that case, by all means, talk dirty to me!

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I’ve been thinking about what I allow in my life. My vineyards are blooming with tender grapes but I’ve let the little foxes in. I’ve put myself in positions where men exploited the situation for their own benefit because I was lonely and misplaced my trust. I put my foot down! I want genuine love.  From this day forward, I am going to call men out when they make comments like this every single time. Why yes, I DO want to make out until the windows go foggy and I DO want a man to squeeze my butt. But I don’t want a shadow of the real thing… I want to be cherished and treasured and adored until death do us part.

The realization hit me that I was beginning to lose faith that I would ever find this person to love me completely and wholeheartedly. Well, just look at how the men in my life treat me!

Perhaps someone you love betrayed you. Someone you trusted abandoned you or was unfaithful to you. Someone you believed would protect you hurt you. Someone you considered a friend made you feel objectified. As life drifts by and we encounter heartbreak after heartbreak, we begin to lose faith that love of any kind is real.

When people let me down I just remember that God’s love will never fail me. We have to mentally separate our experience with people from our idea of God. God is NOT human. We can’t let our relationship with God be tainted or distorted by comparing it with friendships or relationships with people who have let us down, disappointed us, and rejected us. God doesn’t lie. He never breaks a promise. And He doesn’t ever leave us. He is holy and perfect. He is loyal and true. He is always good and always kind. His love is unmeasurable and incomparible to any love we’ve ever known on Earth.

Set God apart in your heart because He is not like any other. Humans fail. We just do. That’s our inevitable nature. But God loves us so extravagantly and eternally and He will never break our heart.

Passionate

via Daily Prompt: Passionate

Falling in love is terrifying and glorious simultaneously. If you don’t open yourself up and trust him to catch you when you fall, you’ll never fly. I’ve gotten to the edge of that precipice a few times in my life… it always seems worth it even when he doesn’t catch me.

In the words of Anne of Green Gables:

“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts. . .it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.”

But that thud is starting to get exhausting. I have black and blue bruises all over my body from the countless times I’ve allowed myself to trust that this time it would be different. THIS TIME it would be forever.

The loneliness is starting to devour me. I told him I contemplated “friends with benefits” just to fill the aching emptiness inside. I don’t think I would really do it when it came down to it… I deserve the devoted commitment of someone who is crazy about me and will never use me or leave me, who is with me because he truly loves me and not because he’s lonely. And I’d never want to make someone else feel less than worthy of true love. Anyway, the body and heart are intertwined and one can only separate them for so long.

Him= I’ve written about him here before. My standard of excellence. The one no one else has come even close to comparing to. My steady rock of support. He loves me, he makes me feel special, he makes me feel desired, he makes me feel important. He makes me feel heard, understood, cared for.

After this, how can I go back to normal life?

A thousand times I pinched myself. Was it really happening? Yes, everything I’ve envisioned and longed for and prayed for came true, but it was a mere shadow. It was real, but it wasn’t real.

Restlessness consumed my soul for I knew this beautiful feeling was fleeting. My head knew the truth- this desire is a fantasy and these emotions are deceptive, untrustworthy. Meanwhile, the purest, deepest love filled me up completely. I  didn’t want to move or breathe for fear that it will all melt away like waking from a dream. I would take a bullet for this man. I would do anything within my power to make him happy. If he wanted me, I’d fight to keep him here beside me.

They say when you meet the person you’ve always expected to meet, that subconscious part of you recognizes your kindred spirit and you come alive like never before. Words seem inadequate and yet words aren’t even necessary because volumes are spoken in the expressions of the eyes. Time flies and yet time is never enough.

The spicy, intoxicating scent of his skin. The warmth of his embrace. The silent tenderness felt in his touch. Every fiber, every molecule, every atom of my being hummed with a radiant euphoria that slammed against a cacophony of torment making me feverishly sick in the pit of my stomach. Joyful butterflies coexisted with unease. But every moment was worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing if I could go back.

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In case you think I’m a victim let me be clear that it was my choice to let myself fall and I knew what I was getting myself into. I couldn’t help but fall at the same time as being in control when I did. I’m an eternal optimist who never seems to give up hope… and so for many months I clung tightly to the dream that he might change his mind… but I can almost guarentee there will never be a dramatic kiss in the rain or a wildly passionte hand-written love letter. He’s always been forthright and honest. He’s never hid his intentions. The lines have always been clearly drawn. We are platonic and there’s nothing I can do about it.

“Because we are too similar,” he says.

Which is precisely the reason I love him. All my life I’ve yearned for someone like him who sees the world in the unique way I see it. We want the same things. Our personal experiences are very different but we experience the world the same way. We laugh at the same stupid humor and sigh sentimentally at the same beauty, almost as though we grew up as brother and sister with the same inside jokes.  It’s pretty rare to find someone you connect with that deeply.

“I need someone to balance me out, to be strong where I am weak. We have the same weaknesses.”

I get that. I respect it. But I can’t shake off the feeling that he’s my soulmate. I’ve finally come to a place where I am able to acknowledge that the feeling isn’t fabricated because I want it to be true so bad… but it IS true. However, soulmates can be just friends and that’s okay.

soulmate

I don’t have to guess whether or not he loves me because I know he loves me. I wish all men could be like him… honest about how they feel!

I’m tired of guesing whether a man is truly interested in me or if he just loves the excitement of the chase. I’m tired of swiping left on dating apps for days and days… I’m utterly exhausted from the passionate pursuit of charming, handsome men only to be left high and dry a few weeks later because the fire has sizzled out. That level of passion cannot be kept up by most people. Most people just want immediate gratification and they are only interested in serving themselves.

If we are really honest with ourselves, we all know deep down there is more to be had. We all really just want “the whole shebang.” The security of knowing he’ll always be there for you, the joy and comfort that comes with him being intimately aware of all your idiosyncrasies and accepting you completely despite them, maybe even because of them.

Let’s not settle for less than what we deserve: the wild, passionate, devoted love of someone who knows you inside out and will stick by your side come what may. I’m holding out because I KNOW it is possible. I also believe it’s possible for the “honeymoon stage” to never end. It takes work, but it’s possible to fall in love and feel more in love every day than the day before. This is how I feel with this man and I won’t settle for anything less than this feeling.

Dating After Divorce

In 20 days, it will have been one full year since my divorce. This is the date I promised my pastor three years ago that I’d wait until before I started courting and it’s almost here! In celebration of this special day, this entry is dedicated to the strange and weird world of dating after divorce.

I’m feeling a mixture of both intense excitement and a little trepidation because lately I have been bombarded with well-meaning love advice left and right, much of which is conflicting and confusing. “You should play hard to get” and “You should just be your friendly, fun-loving self.” I should be honest and forthright about my feelings but also mysterious and aloof. I should open up and freely share who I am but also make him earn the intimacy. It’s enough to give me a headache!

I decided to do a little investigation before I put myself out there. I learned that researchers have conducted social experiments and scientifically proven that playing “hard to get” actually does increase attraction and desire but only with people that are already slightly interested in you. This theory is based on the idea that when someone is denied something they want, they want it even more. (That’s probably the reason why people you don’t want to date keep pursuing you even after you’ve told them you’re not interested.)

The best ad2c87f10d0346c0055189ca7885b1fc60vice I’ve been given is to just be direct and straightforward because it develops trust. I’m not going to play games because that’s being deceitful and I’d rather just begin my relationship on a foundation of honesty.

I still don’t know how often to initiate contact… I guess if I’ve already been “friendzoned” it doesn’t really matter how often I shoot him a message. I feel like there must be some secret formula I’m not privy to that tells me how often to communicate with a love interest that is just the right balance of not seeming overeager but still showing him that I was thinking of him. It’s a fine line I must walk between letting him know how much I care about him and unintentionally smothering him.

There is someone in particular I am thinking of as I write this and I want to dedicate the rest of this entry to this someone special who has caught my heart’s attention. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the person I marry has a lot to live up to because I already promised myself I would not settle for anything less than this amazing man I have had the incredible privilege to meet and even greater privilege to get to know.

When I actually stop and think about why I like him it’s so many reasons beginning with faithfulness. He is faithful to God, a faithful friend, faithful and diligent in his work and studies, and the Bible says “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones” (Luke 16:10).

He intelligently contributes to stimulating conversation. After I talk to him, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated rather than drained which is how I feel after I talk to most people. I feel like he’s on my intellectual level and is my spiritual equal as well and that is a rare thing to find indeed. I stated in my last entry that I had yet to find a flaw in him and as cheesy as it sounds, he’s nearly perfect as far as I can tell. He has somehow found that perfect balance between speaking the truth gently and sensitively without compromising honesty and integrity. He is the perfect combination between talkative and a great listener. He’s perfectly in-between laid back and easy-going and logical and analytical.  He can tickle my funny bone but also be serious and profound.  It saves so much time that we think similarly so we’re usually on the same page and can skip explanations because we simply get each other. He’s a deep thinker who wears his heart on his sleeve, just like me. He’s creative and has high ambitions. He has a strong relationship with God and with his family and friends. The way he speaks so highly of his family I can tell he respects them greatly and that’s very attractive to me. He is emotionally stable and feels totally comfortable being his genuine self. He knows himself and what he needs. Even though he sometimes complains about how long and tedious it’s taking, he is confident in his abilities and knows exactly where he’s going and how he’s going to get there. I love that he delays self gratification because he knows that God’s best is around the corner. It only makes me love him more that he knows good things come to those who patiently wait for the right timing. He’s kind-hearted and generous and from what I gather, has Christ-like character. I feel beyond blessed to even know such a wonderful person… and I am so grateful for the fact that he takes time out of his busy schedule to spend a few hours with me now and then. It kills me every time he smiles, oh my goodness I can barely handle that gorgeous smile. And there is something so perfectly comforting and therapeutic about his hugs. I still don’t know him well enough to know if he fits everything I’m looking for on “my list,” but I LOVE what I have gleaned so far from our conversations and I can definitely tell that he is someone who is pure with good intentions and a focus on what is truly important in life.

Yes, he has truly set the bar high for anyone I might meet in the future and I am thankful the Lord brought him into my life. He is living, breathing proof that such a person is not only here on Earth but close by.

As per request of more than a few friends, I give you: THE FUTURE HUSBAND LIST!

  • God-Fearing: A man utterly, passionately, head-over-heels intoxicated by his Heavenly Father with an insatiable desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and continue in holiness. He doesn’t want to break God’s heart but desires to serve Him, obey Him, and glorify Him. His faith inspires others and is an example to me. He challenges me in my walk with God and has a deep, reverential awe for God’s Word. He believes that Truth is absolute, knowable, and that God is the author of it. He is a godly spiritual leader… a doer of the Word who entrusts his worries and burdens to the Father’s capable hands. He hides scripture in his heart and is prepared for spiritual battle with the Sword of the Spirit. Our core beliefs and values line up in harmony. He seeks the Lord’s will in his life with all his being and follows the LORD with reckless abandon.
  • He has a vision for his life. He has a ministry I can come alongside him in to lend my support and assistance. He has goals and dreams that are in step with mine that he is relentless at chasing after.
  • LOVING. Love is patient and kind. It is selfless, gentle, humble, respectful, understanding, compassionate, not easily-angered, forgiving, truthful, heroic, protective, trusting, trustworthy, hopeful, persevering, faithful, encouraging, supportive, attentive, and nurturing.
  • Affectionate/Romantic. It really makes me feel special to cuddle and kiss for hours. After marriage only, I desire to be intimate often. (As in, more than once a day.) I would love it if he wrote me love notes, was not timid with PDA, gave each other massages, and made big deals out of birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; That being said, I don’t have a “type” although there are a few features I find especially attractive:
    • Hypnotizing, soulful, dreamy eyes with a gleam and sparkle in them
    • A drop-dead-gorgeous smile with a hearty, infectious laugh to go with it and kissable lips (*MUAH*)
    • Muscles are an added bonus because strength in motion is a beauty like no other
    • I like dark coloring best but I’m open to any race/ethnicity
      Non-Negotiables:
    • Has clean, neat fingernails
    • Smells good
  • Wise. Prudent in affairs with finances.
  • Intellectual compatibility is important to me. A deep, insightful thinker with an intuitive, creative mind will get along with me better than someone who is more linear. Not to be too picky, but poor spelling and grammar is unattractive to me as well as a foul mouth (Ephesians 5:4).
  • NOT ADDICTED to anything. This is extremely important. He cannot be addicted to masturbation, drinking, gambling, gaming, sports, TV, or anything else that isn’t healthy. Three things are a deal breaker: Smoking, pornography, and drugs.
  • Self-Assurance is so sexy! He’s confident in His God-given abilities but not conceited. He’s broken and contrite over his sins yet embraces grace with thankfulness and loves the man God made him to be. He knows what his talents and gifts are and uses them to advance the kingdom and build up other believers. He has the potential to someday be an elder in the church.
  • Totally open and honest with me. He says what he means clearly and concisely and never “beats it around the bush.” He replies to texts and phone calls in a timely manner and is punctual.
  • Disciplined. Lord, I pray he is motivated, determined, hard-working, responsible, and takes initiative to do what needs to be done with a servant’s heart.
  • Great sense of humor. I can’t stand crass words and prefer good, clean wit. I pray he appreciates silliness and knows when to be goofy and when to be serious and can do both well. Playfulness is a must… like speaking in funky accents and dressing up in funny couple Halloween costumes with me. Added bonus if he’s fun, energetic, and can be both well-grounded yet surprisingly spontaneous at times. I imagine him as the type of dad who one minute is giving piggy back rides and then the next minute is leading family devotions.
  • Sings and dances with me. (Even if he’s tone deaf with two left feet, God forbid.) I hope he has good taste in music and movies that we can enjoy together. I would love it if we could randomly treat life like a musical and break out in song and dance now and then.
  • Has good, healthy relationships with his friends and family. His friends are genuine people who I get along with well and his family is like a second family to me.
  • Imaginative. Maybe he keeps a journal and likes to write? Maybe he plays an instrument? Maybe he has a poet’s heart and notices beauty in the smallest of things? Maybe he builds things with wood or enjoys painting? Whatever he does, he expresses himself in some creative outlet… even if it’s just going out into nature and meditating.
  • LOVES children and wants to be the best father to both our biological children and adopted children. Foster care is dear to my heart and I’d like him to be on board with me in this calling.

Is This “the One?”

I read a Christian dating book called “Is This the One?” by Stephen Arterburn and it presented a challenge which I chose to accept called “Take-a-Break-Dating” in which you are to platonically date ten different men to expand your horizons and see what else it out there. 

So my rules were simple:

-Don’t seek out the date. Always let him ask you and no saying “no” to the date unless he gives off creepy vibes and you don’t feel safe.

-Make sure he knows it’s a platonic date right up front so you’re both on the same wavelength.

-No matter how badly you are tempted to, you must not kiss no matter how amazing the date went.

(Let me begin by saying that I use the word “date” very loosely. In the majority of these cases, our get together was very much like two friends enjoying one another’s company.)

That being said, I went above and beyond the challenge and went on 30 platonic dates. Many of the men were sweet, thoughtful, respectful, kindhearted, gentle, honest, intelligent, witty, affectionate, well-spoken communicators and great listeners. Many of them were handsome and a couple of them were drop dead gorgeous. A few of them spoiled me rotten and made me feel like a queen. However, a couple of the dates were a complete waste of time, unfortunately, and I came away having a hard time coming up with anything nice to say about the person no matter how hard I tried to think of something.

Out of the 30 dates, only a small handful I can honestly say were on the same page as me faith-wise. One of my favorite dates had this to say over dinner and I think it perfectly sums up my experience with most of the men:

“The only thing I don’t like about you is that you’re too good for me. You’re more faithful to God and more spiritual and that’s actually not a problem with you but a problem with me.”

I must be honest and admit that I didn’t follow ANY of my rules. I ended up breaking them all at some point. Please allow me to explain:

-Number 30 was someone who I absolutely could not resist asking on a date myself. I bent this rule for him only. I know that no one is perfect but to tell the truth I have yet to find a flaw in him. He is the only one out of all 30 men that I could see myself dating romantically when the time is right but he does not feel the same way about me. He has set the bar high for “the one.” He has ruined this whole game for me because after getting to know him, no one else can quite compare.

-I failed to mention on a couple dates that it was platonic. Maybe I was so excited I forgot to or maybe I was afraid of friend-zoning someone amazing that could one day blossom into something more.

-Yes. I kissed a couple of them. Yes, I, Saving-My-First-Kiss-For-Marriage Dannielle, kissed a boy on a first date. I promise to be a good girl from now on and my next kiss will be someone super special that I’m in a committed relationship with.

Without further ado, here are some fun pie charts for those curious about the statistics of my dates.

religion

 

In order to be placed in the “Christian” category, date had to self-identify as Christian but failed to correctly answer an important question about salvation that I feel would justify him being a true Christian. The ones who fell into neither category are those who straight up told me they were either atheist or agnostic which were 5 men in total.

One of my 30 dates passed the faith test but when asked who he would like to marry, he answered, “As long as she loves me, it doesn’t matter if she’s not a Christian.” You can clearly see where his heart is when it comes to spiritual intimacy and oneness. I was REALLY disappointed by this one because up until that moment, he was someone I could have seen myself falling in love with.

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This one is totally for funzies because honestly I believe we are all one race… the human race. Conversation I had last night with a friend:

Him: You don’t like dark meat?
Me: Oh, I LOVE dark meat… just not on my plate!  😉

My pie chart is sadly lacking in the brown sugar department.

ageofdate Wow. This one actually blew my mind. I am surprised to visually see the break down of my date’s ages.

wherimetmydates

Now this is just a heartbreaking pie graph. Notice how NOT ONE guy I dated was found in church. I supposed I could count ONE guy but I placed him in the mutual friend category instead because he was both. If you want to get technical, all the guys in the mall category were also work… I was working at the mall at the time when guys came up to me all the time and asked me for a date. But the true work category is actual co-workers. The “other” category includes fun places such as a Crisis Pregnancy Resource Center fund raiser and a storage unit, the former of which has become one of my best friends. The category where I’ve found the most amazing Christian men is salsa dancing. At this point, I have a better chance of meeting my future husband dancing than I do at church!

In conclusion, I learned a lot from my experience. The most valuable thing I learned was how to interact with the various different personality types. They are all so vastly different and communication styles that work for one will not work for another. Some personality types clash with mine such as those who are excessively sarcastic, those who don’t have a clear vision for their future, and those who don’t have an active lifestyle.

I learned that there are a lot of single “Christian” men who don’t go to church. Not ONE unmarried man over the age of 18 has set foot in my church in five years. This is a huge problem when trying to meet eligible, like-minded men with the same vision and same passion for Jesus Christ. I’d really like to know the reason for men’s spiritual lethargy.

I should caveat my next few paragraphs with the fact that I believe God desires good things for my life and is fully capable of delivering. If God wants me to get re-married, He’ll bring the right one into my life at the right time.

Now, let’s discuss the “meat market!” One report puts the number of “marriageable men” (that is, never having married, no children yet, & has gainful employment) at 152 marriageable men for every 100 marriageable women (source). According to this study, there are more than enough good men to go around. But the study doesn’t measure faith as a factor. If you go to any church, I guarantee you that most of the pews have butts in them that belong to single women. At my church, the majority of the people who attend are single women. There aren’t any single men at all… and even a couple married women members attend without their husbands. A recent study put the number at 25% of married women who attend church without their husbands in tow (source). This same source claims that a typical congregation in the U.S. is 61% female and only 39% male. The participants in activities during the middle of the week are attended by an overwhelming 70-80% of females. I have some friends in their early 40s who finally found each other and tied the knot. I have an uncle who tied the knot recently in his 40s as well… and he had to find my aunt online… and she lived in another state. Why is it taking this long for people to find their “helper suitable?”

If I keep doing what I’m doing (waiting for a guy to come along) I have a feeling I’m going to experience a lot of the same thing… waiting for a guy to come along. There are some things I could change about my lifestyle such as switching churches or joining a Bible study at another church but I REALLY LOVE my church and my schedule is kind of jam packed right now to add anything else to it. Besides, I wouldn’t want to join a Bible study with the intent to find a husband… I’d rather join to study the Bible with other believers.

The only thing I can think of doing right now is continue to pray for my future husband. Pray his faith grow and strengthen, pray for his well-being, and that he will find me soon. I also pray every day for Date #30 that if it’s God’s will, he’ll change his mind about friend zoning me 😉

It has been more than three years since my ex-husband left me and it will be one full year since we’ve been divorced on May 21st. That is when I plan to start dating romantically, should the Lord bring the right one into my life. However, I kind of promised myself I’d read through the entire Bible again before I started this journey. I better get cracking…

Remembering a Special Day

“Your wedding day is still one of my most cherished memories,” whispered my best friend Anna who was a radiant bridesmaid on that special day five years ago. “The fact that he left you doesn’t make that beautiful day any less sacred or meaningful.” (That sweet lady always cheers me up no matter how low I am feeling.)

Anna and I on the Happiest Day of My Life

Anna and I on the Happiest Day of My Life

On this particular evening, I had begun to regret the day I ever said “I do.” My wedding day was once the best day of my life and I was beginning to feel guilty that I still thought of it that way, circumstances being what they are. “If it’s inevitably going to end in a divorce, then wouldn’t that make my marriage a mistake?” I wondered out loud. “Is it wrong to keep those Facebook wedding albums public? Is that precious picture of me smiling ear to ear with my sisters after the ceremony somehow tainted now and better preserved in a private scrapbook rather than displayed in a pretty pink frame on my buffet table?”

I felt angry at myself for not having been able to see red flags that this marriage was not going to last. All the expenses to make June 7th, 2009 the most incredibly amazing and unforgettable day of our lives were pretty much kicking me in the stomach like a huge waste of money. My once gorgeous, white wedding gown is now yellowing with age and collecting dust in my childhood closet… it feels less and less to me like the flowy, satin raiment of a virgin queen bestowing her beloved king with the treasured gift of her everlasting commitment and more like the gown I wore on the last day of my purity I can never get back.

I wish I could write a happily ever after ending for this entry like my husband and I are now living out the purpose God has intended for us, but that would not be accurate. Too many times I fantasized ways out of my destructive marriage… the sudden, unexpected death of one of us, for instance, because I was slowly dying each day and death was better than abandoning the one I promised to love, honor, and respect “until death do us part.”

The very few people I told about the domestic violence asked me, “Why don’t you just leave him? One of these days he’s going to go too far; you need to protect yourself.” I can’t pretend I didn’t think about it. I had an emergency escape plan in place just in case I needed it, but I prayed it would never come to that. I was going to be faithful and loving ’til death do us part, even if I died trying, so help me God.

Just as Christ washed his disciples' feet (John 13:5) my husband and I promised to serve one another. I truly meant this with all my soul.

Just as Christ washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:5) my husband and I promised to serve one another. I truly meant this symbolism with all my soul.

I’m in a better place now. Tragic though my story is, it is also a story of hope. I no longer pine for a way out or desperately cry out to God for some kind of miracle. His ways are above my ways and while I don’t understand them, I know His will is good. Now I look forward to the future, forgetting the former things. I’m done dwelling on the past. I am making a way in the wilderness and straining toward what is ahead. (Isaiah 43:18-19, Philippians 3:13)

If you are struggling in a difficult matrimony, please don’t ever believe the lie that your wedding day was a mistake. If you truly meant those vows with all your heart that day, they are just as real and valid today as they were then. If he’s told you, “I regret the day I married you,” that doesn’t mean you have to regret marrying him. I chose to love my husband for better or worse within God’s Divine Providence. I committed my marriage to Jesus Christ and tried my absolute best to make my relationship honor God. He could have disallowed it if He intended, but I’m convinced everything happens for a reason.

If you are grieving over the death of your marriage, please remember that your pictures and memories of that special day are still just as precious and it’s okay to feel warm and happy when remembering that day you put so much time, energy, and money into making memorable.

I still look back on my wedding day fondly, even though now my memories are tinged with an edge of bitter-sweetness.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Walking around today in the beautiful weather with my new cowgirl boots and haircut… I felt like a new woman. Today was absolutely splendid spectacular and I am feeling so blessed and loved.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I have some friends who are definitely going to find out just how much their friendship has meant to me, especially during the most difficult year of my life.

Rose

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the people who stood by me and helped me through this difficult time of my life. I love love love you sooooooooooooo much!

Speaking of my friends, I am friends with three married couples who are going through the worst kind of trial imaginable right now. In all three cases there are young children involved and in all three cases it was the wife that cheated on the husband. I feel as though the Lord is using my heartache to reach out to these young couples and encourage them in any way I am able. I am much better at expressing my thoughts through writing and I never truly know just what to say when they call, but sometimes I think the Lord speaks through me. I find myself saying things like, “You can either go through this or grow through this.” // “Stop. Breathe. Be still and know that He is LORD.” // “Remember that He is in complete control of this situation and He will not let you experience more than you can handle.” // “You cannot change the past but you can forgive and forget. Forgiving doesn’t mean you’re okay with what happened, but that you will no longer harbor anger, resentment, and bitterness in your heart. Live in the present, taking it one day at a time. Focus on the small tasks at hand that need to get done and dwell on positive, praiseworthy things.”

I wasn’t always able to shell out advice so easily. Only a few months ago I was a complete train wreck myself experiencing mental breakdowns at least once a week. I didn’t feel whole without my husband’s love and commitment. I was in utter shock, incapable of thinking clearly or doing much of anything productive. I refused to accept the reality of what was happening, choosing to believe that it would all eventually go away like waking up from a bad dream. I kept feeling like I was this shameful failure at life. A loser. A leper. The worst kind of sinner… a woman headed towards the long, lonely road of divorce. Oh, “if only, if only,” I cried so many nights. (Which is SO unhealthy by the way!) No matter how relieved I was to be extricated from my intolerable state of affairs, I was still utterly heartbroken and kept reliving all my lovely memories and the beautiful hopes of what was supposed to someday be.

I felt massive insecurity, helplessness, and instability. I was in tremendous upheaval calling up my loved ones and family so much when I was crying hysterically that a few of them needed breaks and asked me to stop calling so much. I felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t getting better and I was distancing my friends in the process. Everything in my life was topsy-turvy. I was getting sick and was freaking out about the bills that had to be paid. But the Lord provided and I was able to keep going… even though at times it felt like I was going one step forward and two steps back.

1 Forward, 2 Back

One step forward and two steps back…

In the early stages of marital separation, it is imperative that you lean on your support group for balance, otherwise you may not be able to stand on your own two feet. It’s so easy to curl up in a ball and shut out the world. Depression can be a comforting friend that we cradle and embrace and drink tea with on the porch. It’s all we know and it’s easier than pulling ourselves out of it and trying to feel something else. But there comes a time that you’ve got to woman-up and reassert yourself as a functioning, responsible adult who can take care of herself. There were times that my own sister was so worried for me because I could not act in a rational manner and seemed completely unable to cope emotionally. When she called me all excited to tell me her wedding date I just panicked because I thought she was getting married too soon and I guess I just projected my own fears and insecurity onto her upcoming nuptials. Instead of showering my affection on her and displaying my overwhelming joy for her engagement, I pushed her away a little bit. That day was the wake up call that showed me I have a lot of growing to do in the area of emotional healing and I better start lickity split. I HATE being in pain! (Especially when those close to me are rejoicing.) “There is a time to mourn and a time to dance,” the wise king says in Ecclesiastes 3. If I couldn’t celebrate with my beloved sister when it was time to rejoice, then I had serious issues. I decided I needed a spiritual makeover. I had to rebuild my self-confidence and remind myself who I am in Christ. I am a Princess of the One, true King and I am precious in His sight. He is mine and I am His.

I had a song in my heart as I walked in the sunshine to the bus stop today to get from my first job to my second job. I was so cheerful that even the attitude of one particular co-worker did not get me down. (For some reason, she has always enjoyed picking on me since day one and we simply don’t get along.) This is the song I was singing:

Who can cheer the heart like Jesus
By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious
O, how blest to call Him mine!

All that thrills my soul is Jesus
He is more than life to me
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see

For passels of days, I can feel exactly the same. Not any more sad than yesterday but not any more content today. It’s as though healing came by for a visit but didn’t stay long enough for a cup of tea. There is no timetable for grief. There are some weeks where all I can think about is my husband and how much I still love him so dearly. My faithfulness can be a curse because it will not let me let him go so I can finish grieving and move on. Separation feels worse than death because there is no finality and closure as when someone dies. At least if he died I could have a funeral and all my friends and family could come and we’d grieve his loss together and then bury the coffin and walk away. Yes, I am still mourning him and it happens whenever I think of a fond memory- something he said or did that was so precious and endearing that I just cradle that memory and rock it for a moment too long and it breaks me up inside. For instance, just the other day, I was remembering this one time that he baked me up some wicked pistachio whoopie pies. I loved when it was his turn to cook for us; he was always making such yummy things to fill me up with.

Pistachio Whoopie Pies

Pistachio Whoopie Pies

There’s nothing wrong with cherishing old memories but when I dwell on them too long it breaks me down and I miss him so bad. I want to call him and talk to him and tell him how much I miss him, but I have to remind myself that the person who picks up the phone when I call won’t be my husband, it will be the stranger he has become.

There are so many things I miss about him but one thing I really miss is being the most beautiful woman in the world to one special someone. I REALLY miss that. I miss being absolutely perfectly beautiful in the eyes of one man. For some reason I’ve been extra conscious about my looks lately. Someone once said that a woman thinks about her looks every seven seconds. I don’t think that’s necessarily true (at least not for me, but it’s crazy to think about if it is true for someone out there!) I know I have been more self-conscious than I’ve ever been about my pimples and skinniness and small chest etc. I literally believed my husband was the most handsome man in the world. I COULD NOT see the attractiveness of any other man no matter what anyone said about “that hot guy over there.” I simply only had eyes for MY man. When I saw him for the first time in 8 months a few weeks ago…. I was surprised to find myself looking into the eyes of a stranger. This was not my husband! Who was this thin Kurt Cobain doppelganger? I had to sit on my hands so as not to run my hand through his sexy hair… but other than that, I no longer felt he was the most handsome man in the world and that scared me. It really, really scared me. What does this mean?

Okay, so I have this cavernous wound that I can’t seem to get over. When will I truly surrender my pain to Christ? Oh Jesus, fill my emptiness and make me whole. Teach me to fully rely on You alone. I want to know You as my Husband, my Best Friend, and my One True Love. Jesus, You are everything I need and You were madly in love with me before I even knew You. Be my Valentine tomorrow and fill my heart with Your unfailing love. I feel like a little vulnerable girl who wants to crawl into Your lap and cry. Fill me, Jesus. You are the only One who knows and sees and fully understands. You are my Healer. Help me to remember when I feel rejected that no one else knows better than You just how I feel.

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“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

-Galations 6:9