Moving Forward

For those of you just now stumbling upon my blog, welcome! It’s nice to “meet” you!

Foundations of Sapphires 

I started this blogging journey to chronicle my personal struggles with separation and divorce. Over time, it became a place of lighthearted venting about my dating escapades. I haven’t updated since last September which is the month I met my boyfriend!

YES! I have found love! (But more about that later.) Lately I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’ve neglected this blog because I’m no longer grieving the loss of my marriage or dealing with difficult decisions regarding that. I’m also no longer involved in online dating shenanigans so I’ve stopped writing about that as well. What other purpose does this blog serve than as a record of a broken woman who climbed out of the pit of despair and allowed Jesus to put her back together again? Jesus bulldozed my old foundation of abuse and hopelessness, threw the wreckage away, and rebuilt my structure on a foundation of sapphires- the symbol of faithfulness, wisdom, virtue, and true love. I’ve decided that this may or may not be my last entry as I wrap up this chapter of my life and move on to new horizons. I hope the words I’ve left here over the course the past five years can be of some help to you if you are going through a tough time and faced with many difficult decisions.

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I’m so blessed that we found one another. He showers me with affection in just the right way that fills up my heart with love. He consistently puts me before himself and brings me closer to my Heavenly Father.  I thank Him that He brought us together.

Overcoming my Past

Nearly five years after my husband left, I still feel like the same old me, but in a way, I am a new and improved version of myself. Through this experience, I have changed negative attitudes and developed a positive outlook, gained new perspectives, set new goals for the future, grown stronger in my faith, and become an individual that has more love and respect for myself. After years of biblical counseling and personal study, I can smell bull crap from a mile away and I don’t put up with it now, no Sir-Ree-Bob!

What I Have Learned in Dating After Divorce

  • Your new partner is NOT your ex. Just because something seems familiar doesn’t mean the same patterns are going to repeat themselves. I’ll admit that things were pretty difficult in the beginning of my relationship due to the trauma, brainwashing, and various types of abuse I experienced in my marriage, but I’ve learned to give these fears and burdens to God, open up my heart to love, and let myself be vulnerable. It feels so good to trust again.
  • I’ve learned to avoid saying things like, “You’re doing ‘X’ just like so-and-so used to do.” It’s important to share your feelings about the past abuse with your new partner, but try not to compare them because they are two different people with different personalities, values, behaviors, and life experiences. If you are genuinely concerned about your new partner’s actions, speak with a trusted friend, family member, or elder at your church to gain insight from someone who is emotionally removed from the situation.
  • Do not rely on your feelings! Feelings change so you cannot trust them. Every day we must choose to love the person we picked for who he is, not for how he makes us feel.
  • I used to believe that leaving a marriage for any reason other than adultery was sinful, but now I believe that God wants you to be safe. Even though my ex-husband was cruel and frighteningly unpredictable, I remained patiently committed, naively believing that my persistent, undying love would conquer all and that if I just stuck with it, we would eventually reap the “happily ever after” outcome of a healthy, mutually respectful, and intimate partnership.  Boy, was I delusional!
  • The abuse was NOT my fault. I can be pretty hard on myself as I’m a perfectionist, so I blamed myself for years for what happened to me but I learned that there was nothing I could have done to make the abuse stop except get out sooner. I was never going to leave so God provided a way of escape, as He always does for those who love Him.
  • Above all, I have learned to let God write my love story. I’ve given Him the reigns of my relationship and let the Perfect Lover teach me how to love and be loved. It is the most freeing experience to trust God that my life is in His hands and He loves me with an everlasting love. When I put Him first, my joy and sense of security come first, too.

Tips If You’re at the Beginning of Your Journey

  • Sometimes it’s hard to recognize abuse in your own relationship. Being able to call it by its name is the first step to stopping it. Abusers can’t abuse if they don’t have a victim! Abuse can be so subtle that you don’t even realize it’s happening or perhaps it’s gone on so long that it has become normative. Here are two resources I’ve found to assess whether or not you’re being abused: [One] [Two] Once you are able to acknowledge your situation for what it is, educate yourself about it. Knowledge is power.
  • Find accountability. This is your support network. It’s important to have people you love and trust in your corner. Speak the truth, no matter how scary it is. Personally, I struggled between my need to speak out about what was happening and my perceived need to  protect my abuser’s reputation and integrity. After you share your burden with others, it will be such a relief! Validation will empower you as you take the steps to make positive changes in your life.
  • Time will bear witness of true, heartfelt change. Your abuser will try to get you to come back once you are safely at a distance but don’t put yourself back in harm’s way unless you and other witnesses have seen serious change over a period of time. Abuse is not normal and you shouldn’t have to accept it.
  • Remember that you can still be who you want to be apart from him. You are deeply cherished because you belong to God and He has prepared a beautiful purpose for you even before you were born. If your relationship doesn’t survive, you still have a bright future ahead.

For further reading, please visit this library of resources I put together that helped me transition into this new stage of my life.

Thank you for joining me on my road to healing! This is not the end but the beginning of something new and beautiful!

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Kindred Spirit

At the begining of August I was being pursued by seven different men. I went on at least one date with each of them and began slowly eliminating them. In one week, I went on a date with a different man every day for five days in a row. Then the last two days of that week I went on a second date with two of them.

I honestly like all of them. They are all great guys and I really can’t say anything bad about any of them. One of them was my mailman who has been leaving me thoughtful presents and notes in my mailbox for about a year and a half. Another one was a man I met online who came all the way down from Colorado just to spend the weekend with me.

As amazing as all these men are, none of them felt like I had met “the one…” except one. From this point forward I shall refer to him as “Kindred Spirit.”

From the moment I met Kindred Spirit, I felt as though I had known him my whole life. We immediately clicked in a deep way as if I were getting together with an old childhood friend and reconnecting after not seeing one another for ten years or more.

It sounds so ridiculous writing it down and putting my thoughts out into the world, but I was already excited about him after one date. We stayed up until 2 in the morning talking in a parking lot. I wanted to kiss him. KISS HIM, people! I NEVER want to kiss someone I’ve just met. I was already kind of crazy about him. I couldn’t wait to see him again and thought about him constantly. Being my Kindred Spirit, I somehow knew him just as well as I know myself. I knew that if I texted him too much or came on too strong it would turn him off. He’s an old-fashioned hopeless romantic and he wants to be the one in control who does the pursuing… so I kept praying and being patient and reminding myself not to get too excited.

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I have the tendancy to be a bit clingy. It’s mind over matter at this point.

He told me a few days later that there was another girl in the picture who he was also dating. I was immediately disappointed, but it’s only fair to mention I also had two other guys I was still dating at that point.

But I called them last night and told them my affections were with someone else. It’s a risky shot in the dark at this point because of what he told me on our third date two nights ago.

Me: I’m probably sabotaging our relationship by asking you this instead of just having fun, enjoying your company, and making the most of this moment together… but I can’t stop thinking about the “other girl.” How are things going with her?
Kindred Spirit: Really good actually.
Me: Oh. Do you like her romantically?
Kindred Spirit: Yes, I think so, I don’t know.
Me: You don’t know what you want, do you? I feel like you should have a pretty good idea at this point of what you want.
Kindred Spirit: I’ve been praying about it but God’s not answering my prayers.

Well, I just wanted to get back to enjoying our time together so we changed the subject and walked around the park again for a second time. Then we sat in my car and talked some more.

Kindred Spirit: Don’t look at me like that!
Me:
Like how?
Kindred Spirit: Longingly.
I immediately broke eye contact and became embarassed that my heart was dangling like that on my sleeve. He quickly pulled me in an embrace, I suppose out of compassion and empathy for my unrequited love. 
Me: There was a quote in chapter 8 of  “Boundaries in Dating” which I just read at the dentist office the other day which said, “Are you confusing longing for being in love? Remember, love satisfies. It does not leave you romantically pining.”

So that’s it. That’s all I have to say. We didn’t set another date and there might not ever be another date. My greatest fear came to fruition… that I would like him more than he likes me. My heart kind of hurts if I’m honest with you. My other greatest fear is that I won’t find anyone else like him. But at the same time, I completely trust God and I know that I can’t wreck up His beautiful plan for my life. I guess I dumped the other guys more for myself than for Kindred Spirit. It’s completely unfair to myself to have experienced a soul as beautiful as his and then settle for anything less than how I feel about him.

I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be stuck with someone I didn’t feel that with.

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I just feel absolutely blessed to even have met him. He raises the bar high for the next person who tries to pursue me.

My hands are open
Willing to receive
They are not resisting
or defending
My hands are open
Willing to give
No need to grab
or push or cling tightly
My hands are open
Ready to embrace
Ready to let go
Accepting

 

The Devil is a LIAR!

April 3rd marked four years of being single. I have been officially single as long as I’ve been married. To commemorate this occasion I had to write another blog entry.

So many of my posts lately have the theme of “love yourself,” like this one here for instance.

There is something I realized about self-esteem: it’s a positive thing in theory to have confidence in your own worth but the devil loves to distort good things because he’s in the business of deception.

I apologize for being part of the problem when our culture lies to us and tells us we need to “love ourselves.”

Don’t get me wrong, we do have inherent value but it’s not because we’ve bestowed it upon ourselves. It’s not even because we’ve reminded ourselves of our intrinsic worth in God’s eyes.

If we go purely based on what God says in His Word, we are extremely precious (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:6-7) because we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16)  in His image (Genesis 1:27) for a beautiful purpose (Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11) and dearly loved by Him (Romans 5:8, Romans 8:32, John 3:16).

We can stand in the mirror all day and recite self affirmations, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Doing this every day when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed might even give you a strong sense of being loved, but this is not the way to truly experience the fullness of God’s love.

Yes, I do love myself, maybe even so much that one might say it borders on pride. (The negative kind.) My pride was brought down a peg or two when my good friend Jamie helped me to realize that I had been listening to the devil’s lies again. See, the devil likes to attack us where we are strong. I happen to have a lot of self confidence so the devil decided to twist this and use it against me.

After a series of dates with men who are not my spiritual equal I was beginning to feel a little puffed up. (I guess I felt like it was better than feeling chronically frustrated and disappointed.) I mean, it’s hard not have your ego stroked when a guy tells you, “You are an amazing person… I consider myself Christian and live Christian values but obviously I’m not at the same level you are with your devotion.” This has happened to me countless times that it’s starting to become a theme. I’m truly grateful that they notice this and tell me right away because I’m not really good with that whole thing… it sounds pretty judgemental to say “we’re not on the same level” doesn’t it?

One day I woke up and just started feeling sorry for myself. I heard the devil say, “You’re so unique, you’re not ever going to find anyone who is compatible with you. You’re a freak anomaly… even if you did find someone as weird and quirky as you, what are the chances you’d be like-minded? I sat on the pity pot all day and thought about why I’m alone and why I’ll probably always be alone.

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Then my best friend posted this on her Facebook wall and it gave me a swift kick in the pants. I realized my “woe is me” attitude problem was a serious pride problem, too.

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The Bible says no one really hates their own body but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29). We are deeply sensitive to our own needs and feelings and constantly aware of how other people affect us. The reason we are so easily hurt is because we want to be accepted and treated with respect and admiration. If we didn’t care about ourselves then we wouldn’t care if people rejected, neglected, and abused us. No, we do not need to love ourselves… that is an innate, natural thing to do. What we really need to do is DENY OURSELVES. 

Jesus said that “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). He also said if you are unwilling to do this then you are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:28).

Our problem is not that we have poor self-image… it’s that we have a poor image of who God is. Our need is not to love ourselves more but to accept His incredible love for us. We need to give up any idea of what we think we’re here on Earth to do and submit to His plan for our lives. When we abide in His love then we stop focusing on ourselves and instead we begin to shower His love on others instinctively.

I believe it is our pride and selfishness that keeps us from having an intimate relationship with God. Jesus said these chilling words in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.'” 

I say these things because I feel compelled to. I know I won’t be Miss Popular for saying this but the Christian life is not easy. Many people choose the highway to Hell but the gateway to life is very narrow and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:14).

“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” (Galatians 6:14)

My prayer for you all who have stuck it out and are still reading this blog entry (thank you, btw) is that you would know how truly, madly, deeply loved you are. Only with the correct view of God’s love will you ever begin to even scratch the surface in understanding how precious you are. I pray you will know that you are worthy of great love and that you wouldn’t be afraid to open your heart to receive it. No one is really afraid of love… people are afraid of rejection, betrayal, and abandonment. But in Christ there is only complete acceptance and faithfulness. I pray you would have confidence in God’s love. He will never let you down and He will never leave you. There is no want to those who trust Him and those who seek Him will lack no good thing. Taste and see that the LORD is good! (Psalm 34:8-10) Not only is He good, but He is ready to forgive and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Him. (Psalm 86:5)

“But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know Me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 9:24)

The Prince

After four dates over the course of a month with a gentleman I will refer only to as The Prince, we ended our relationship last night. As heartbreaking as it was, I kind of expected it. Not because there was anything wrong with him (he was the best guy I’ve dated thus far) and not because I didn’t think I deserved him (I know I am worthy of such a man.) It was because we weren’t compatible.

“If you and I got married, it would be a good marriage… but it wouldn’t be a GREAT marriage.” -The Prince

I asked him why not and he said because I was very “sensuous” and that there wasn’t anything wrong with that but that he simply wasn’t and he didn’t feel that we fit together because of it.

True. In fact, I was concerned before we even went on a single date that this would happen just by looking at the answers to his questions on his online dating profile. However, I decided to be open to the possibility of him despite his shortcomings because he was a drop in the ocean… a one-of-a-kind gentleman that is extremely hard to find, maybe even less than 1% of the population. Someone I was beginning to lose hope still existed in the world… a unicorn if you will.

Sometimes the heart needs more time to accept what the mind already knows.

He self-proclaimed through his answers on the dating site that he didn’t care for art, music, poetry, cologne, fashion, or physical touch… which is pretty much everything I live for, especially the latter. I was worried it was doomed from the start seeing as how I am the type of person who always has music playing throughout the day and I’m often found singing or dancing to it. I have a collection of over 300 fragrances and I’m always burning candles or scented oils to keep my home smelling comforting and inviting. My book shelf has a solid section dedicated to poetry and I have several books filled with my own poetry.

“You need to be more picky…” -The Prince

That’s the third time I’ve heard a man say that to me in just six months.

Why are men in my town so darn picky? They want so much… they want their “ideal.” I don’t even think it exists. I’m being reasonable and logical. I know that the man in my head is a figment of my imagination. I know he probably isn’t out there but I know I can get pretty darn close and The Prince was as close as you could possibly get, minus the fact that he’s not touchy-feely. I just don’t think I’d be competely happy in a marriage with someone who didn’t scoop me up all the time and tackle me with kisses.  So he was probably right in letting me go, as sad as I am to say it outloud. I wish I weren’t so needy. I wish I didn’t have such high expectations. I wish the man for me wasn’t such a polar bear in a snow storm.

There were men in the past who were literally perfect but who struggled with porn addiction and that’s something on my non-negotiable checklist. The good news is that I’m getting warmer. The men in my life keep getting better and better, The Prince being the cream of the crop.

What I learned in this relationship is PATIENCE. He was definitely slow to warm up and it taught me complete reliance on God. Rest in Him and wait on Him while trusting in Him. I wanted things to move on my own timetable but I had to keep relaxing and being patient. I also learned the way I am supposed to be treated. I don’t think I’ve ever received such treatment from a man before. I was treated like a queen… never once did he make me feel uncomfortable. He intentionally pursued me, taking his time with me and was polite and kind and gentle and spoke God’s truth in love to me.

After this experience, I’m disappointed but not disenchanted. My heart is weary and wants to take a break but I know that I have to get myself back out there otherwise I’m never going to find my needle in a haystack.

What do you want to be true about your life a year from now, and what seeds do you need to be planting today in order to make that a reality?

I know that I want a man like The Prince… someone who is wise, hardworking, and intelligent. Someone who has hidden the Word of God in his heart, has a deep respect for His commandments and honors the Lord with his choices. I simply did not know there were still single men out there like this! The seeds I can be planting right now to harvest a better future are reading my Bible and praying for my future husband every day, and using the gifts and talents God gave me for His purpose. I need not squander my time but I still need to allow myself quiet rest with the Lord so He can reveal to me His calling.

Also, I need to stop being so hard on myself. I didn’t do anything wrong in my relationship with The Prince… he just wasn’t the one God has for me.

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You Can’t Hurry Love

The Supremes famously sang:

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

I have the most amazing friends in the world who patiently listen to my rants about online dating. They helped me to see that whenever I determined someone wasn’t a good fit for me, I immediately went back to my messages to see what other fine specimens were out there. I’ve become this type A go-getter that won’t seem to rest until I find my true love.

What a thrill to have a whole world of singles at your fingertips! What fun to meet a different handsome man every week! But I realized that I’ve been rushing furiously from one to the next without really doing much else inbetween.

I haven’t been lacking in dates but the truth is that there hasn’t been a solid match in the 99th percentile of compatibility in the local area in a few months. Maybe I’m just staving off loneliness rather than actually trying to find someone who is compatible with me? Why else do I agree to meet men who I am pretty sure aren’t right for me with the hopes that “Well, maybe I’m wrong, you gotta meet them to make sure?”

Today at church this verse hit me hard:

“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6)

Romans 12:3 tells me to “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves” so I decided to do some serious soul-searching. I have been opressing myself by going through this rigmarole of date after date instead of trusting the Author of my love story. He does not put pressure on me to find my future husband myself but asks me to trudge my weary legs to Him and lay this burden at His feet.
img_2577I haven’t looked at my online dating app in several days and I’ve felt more tranquil than I have in weeks. If I trust God for my salvation then surely I can trust Him to provide a life companion.

My friend Jonathan told me something yesterday that has stuck with me:

“Passion without discipline will kill you.”
-Jonathan Bass

 

The Craziest Thing I’ve Done for Love

 

After my date with Dream Guy I could not get him off my mind and I could not stop thinking “what if.” WHAT IF he was “the one?” What if we had more time to figure it out? I  might kick myself for the rest of my life if I didn’t find out.

The day after Christmas he asked me to be his date to a New Year’s Eve ball in San Francisco to celebrate 2016 and usher in 2017. How could I say “no” when he offered to pay for the whole trip, including the gas money to get there and back? So I said “yes” to the most romantic date in my life.

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First of all I must say it’s been a dream of mine to visit California since I was a little girl and I’ve only ever been to the LAX airport for a connecting flight which totally doesn’t count so this was a dream vacation of mine come true.

It took me nearly 14 hours to drive there but it was worth it when I got to hold him in my arms again and look into those bright, playful hazel eyes.

The first thing we did was wine tasting in Livermore Valley at Tenuta Vineyards. My favorite out of ten wines was a Syrah called “Black Mamba.”

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We took the Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Fran and dropped our bags off at a gloriously posh hotel with funky, celebrity-designed suites called Hotel Triton. The decor was as unique and colorful as my personality.

 

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(For anyone concerned about what happened in said suite, don’t worry, he is a wholesome Christian gentleman with honorable biblical values. )

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The internet calls San Francisco’s #1 New Year’s Eve party the International Ball at the Palace Hotel,  which is ranked as one of the top luxury hotels in the world. It’s located in the heart of downtown with ten different world-renowned DJs playing top 40, hip hop, latin, dance, house, and techno music in separate opulently-decorated rooms. There were live performances by musical artists such as an electric violinist in the techno room and people in elaborate costumes walking around the dance floor on stilts. I grabbed a champagne and a screwdriver at the open bar and we danced for an hour and a half straight, people moving to make room for us and cheering us on as we tore up the dance floor.  I felt like no one in that whole room was having more fun than us. At the count down to midnight, thousands of balloons dropped from the soaring glass-domed ceiling as we shared our first kiss. Unless someone was getting engaged, no one in the whole world was having more fun than us at that moment.

He took my hand and guided me out of the room and next to a full-length mirror where we stood looking into each other’s eyes. He nodded his head toward our reflection.

“We look really great together, don’t we?” He asked, his eyes shining with excitement.

I looked at the two happy people in the mirror and I had to agree. “Yeah, we do.”

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“You’re my dream woman,” he said. I smiled. “I know it’s crazy because I live in Maryland but we could make it work. I swear it’s not the alcohol talking… but will you be my girlfriend?” I felt my eyebrows raise in surprise. I had imagined, of course, what my life might be like as his girlfriend, but I hadn’t spent much time considering it. I was mostly focused on just having a great time in San Francisco and I honestly didn’t think he’d ask me to be his girlfriend so soon in our brief relationship. We hadn’t yet spent a full 24 hours together at that point. There was so much I needed to know about him. For instance, in his Navy job, did he have deployments? How often were they and for what duration?  I’ve experienced the life of a Navy wife so I know just how hard it is. I searched his eyes trying to come up with a reply. The word “yes” dangled on the tip of my tongue but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I hate to admit it but the face of my Ultimate Crush uninvitedly flashed into my mind. Saying “yes” would be saying goodbye to the possibility of ever having a chance with him, even though he’s made it clear he only feels friendship toward me. I also thought about how hard it would be to have a long distance relationship because I’ve done that, too, and it’s not always fun. “You still haven’t said yes,” he said in a hushed tone, waiting expectantly for my answer. “I need to pray about it,” I said finally. “Can I have a night to pray and sleep on it?” He didn’t seem too pleased but he respected my decision.

The next morning, we had brunch at an upscale American restaurant called Bluestem Brasserie.

We toured San Francisco and saw the Full House from the TV show of the same name and got chocolate on Beach Street where you could see ships in the harbor and the Golden Gate Bridge not too far away.

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He would go on to tell me that my hesitation killed the spark for him. I didn’t say it then but the truth is that if a little hesitation can kill a spark then it wasn’t a very strong spark to begin with. I’m afraid that we’re just not right for one another despite being so perfect on paper. If he had been the right man for me I probably would have shouted a resounding “yes” at the top of my lungs, Navy or no Navy, distance or not. Later on I discovered a dealbreaker. It wasn’t astronomical, it was something he could work on, but it was still something I want taken care of BEFORE I enter a commited relationship.

“I’m sorry, I’m an impulsive person.” He apologized. “I shouldn’t have asked you to be my girlfriend. It wasn’t fair to you since you just met me.”

“Please don’t be sorry. You did what you thought was right in the moment. You were just following your heart.” He assured me that I was beautiful and wonderful and that he knew I would make someone an amazing wife someday but it wasn’t him. We embraced and went our separate ways.

Before I drove back to Tucson I visited my pen pal since I was twelve who only lives half an hour from San Francisco. American Girl Magazine hooked us up back in 1997 and the last time we saw each other was 2011 in New York City so it was a long time coming. We trash talked each other in an epic game of Scrabble over wine (in which I won by 9 points!) and it was such a great night.

Now I am sitting at home writing this with with a head cold. The whole weekend was spectacularly magical and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was the best New Year’s I’ve ever had with one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met who gave me a romantic night to remember for always. Someday I’ll tell my grandchildren that I drove all the way to California for a man I just met in the hopes that maybe I would find the love of my life.

Sometimes you have to follow your heart and sometimes it’s not meant to be, but I can’t let disappointments keep me from playing the Game of Love.

To sweeten up this bittersweet ending, Corvette Guy is setting up a blind date for me and his roommate in whom he claims is “perfect” for me so I am looking forward to that but first I have to get rid of this cold and feel better.

“Don’t be deceived by merely the flutter of a heart. Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”

–Ravi Zacharias

Episode III in Dating Adventures & an Epiphany

Me: I am a spirited, fun-loving, outgoing, bubbly, affectionate, fiesty personality.

But I am also a deeply introspective individual who loves to have passionately intense spiritual, philosophical,  and intellectual conversations.

I am perceptive and intuitive of intentions and attitudes but also very accepting and nonjudgmental. People who build walls to protect themselves from getting hurt feel intimidated by me because I won’t let them hide behind their defense mechanism.

I’m very self-aware and I know exactly what I want. For some, I’m just too much woman to handle.

Because of this, I’ve learned to temper myself. It feels inauthentic to hold myself back, but as my Ultimate Crush of 2016 jokes, “Don’t go full Dannielle right away. You don’t want to scare him.”

I have heard every variation in the book of the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” line including: “You’re too good for me.” “You’re out of my league.” “You deserve someone better.” “I wish I were, but I could never be what you’re looking for.”

Most of these excuses reek of a self-depricating attitude and reflect a low evaluation of his own worth. I was exhausted from hearing these phrases but I had an epiphany a couple days ago after a super fun date with a quirky fireman who took me for a spin in his Daytona Sunrise Metallic Orange Corvette Z06.

When I asked him why he hadn’t called for a second date after he said he’d call, he was refreshingly straightforward when he replied,”Your personality is not what I’ve envisioned marrying.”

I think that’s the most honest reason I’ve ever heard. I also think it’s what all the others meant when they said I deserved better. They were just trying to be “nice” so as to not hurt my feelings. I really would rather they be as frank as Corvette Guy instead of spoonfeeding me insincere, sugary sweet nonsense.

Corvette guy said, “You’re an awesome person and our date was one of the best I’ve had in a while. But I also know I’m not what you’re looking for, either.” What a breath of fresh air to hear him tell me straight up that he knew what he wanted and it wasn’t me. I was so thankful to hear him say this because I knew I would be spared from being dragged into yet another relationship where the guy knew I wasn’t what he really wanted but strung me along anyway because he was too selfish to let me go.

I think I had been holding on to some secret chagrin with my Ultimate Crush of 2016. It bothered me that he said, “I can’t really put my finger on why exactly but I just feel in my gut that you’re not the one.” Funny, because I’ve always felt in my gut that he WAS. Every time I asked him “why not” he had a different reason and I called him out on it because I felt it was invalid.  I told him, “You better figure out what you want because if you don’t know then she’ll walk right past you and you won’t even recognize her.”

But after my encounter with Corvette Guy, I think I FINALLY understand and respect his reasoning.

Feelings are lighthouses in the ocean of our being. They cut through the fog of confusion and doubt, illuminating our needs, and lead us the way home.

Although feelings can be deceitful, sometimes they are all you have when evaluating a decision and you have to trust them.

“You need to be more picky” Corvette Guy said. “WHAT!?” I replied. “I’m already so picky as it is!” And he responded, “You need to be even more.”

This comment made me think of a gentleman I dated in October. He had an uncanny resemblance to Wolverine and that’s precisely the name I put him in my phone contacts as. On our date he gave two sandwiches to a homeless couple and shared the gospel with them. I was blown away by this and couldn’t believe what a man I had encountered. He was just as into theatre as I am and ended our date with an incredibly amazing massage and told me there was more where that came from. The date was LITERALLY PERFECT and I can’t say one single thing wrong with how it unfolded from start to finish. But there was something missing… I hope it doesn’t seem shallow but we didn’t connect the way I wanted to and it’s my guess that’s because he’s a sensing personality and I’m intuitive. I REALLY wanted to like him so bad because he’s handsome and charming and a driven go-getter and so many things on my list. Hanging out with him felt like catching up with an old friend from childhood. But I haven’t really thrown him out of the picture yet for whatever reason but I think I have to, as wonderful as he is.

I let what Corvette Guy said sink it and I discovered he is right. I really do need to be more picky. Even my Ultimate Crush wasn’t absolutely EVERYTHING on my list that I wanted. But he was so damn close and no one else I’d ever met in my entire life came that close.

All of this changed last night when I met someone we shall refer to from this point onward as Dream Guy.

I was COMPLETELY myself around Dream Guy from the moment I met him because I thought, “What have I got to lose?” And he not only accepted me, he was smitten with me just exactly as I am, and he even called me out on the date when I was feeling self-conscious and not being my true self. I told him today that the best gift he gave me last night was the permission to feel safe in my own skin. When someone gives you room to relax and be yourself, you don’t believe you have to shrink so others won’t feel insecure. He made me feel that I was more than enough just the way I am and that made me feel invincible and irresistible.

permission

So it all started with a message on OK Cupid from a handsome Hispanic man playing a guitar in his profile pic. His interests were all the same as mine: poetry,  dancing, theatre, learning languages, specific movies we had in common, and even the fact that he wanted to do foster care. Here’s his message:

I’ve been reading your profile multiple times now and I just can’t believe how amazing you sound. You karaoke? Game nights? You’re writing a book? For teens? That’s incredible! I have a passion for mentoring teens myself. Salsa? I was literally born to salsa. And you’re in love with God, that’s the best thing of all.

So here’s the catch, I wasn’t going to message you at all, because I live and work in Maryland. I’m just visiting my sister in Tucson for a week or so. But I jumped on this app for whatever reason, saw your profile, and seriously thought I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try to see if it could work between us. Either way, it sounds like you’re doing great things and I hope you’ll continue to bless the people around you.

And also merry Christmas!

Get this… it turns out he was less than a minute’s walk away from me… his sister was my neighbor! So we got together for karaoke.

I was flipping through the music list to pick a song as a guy named “Coach” with a voice like Tony Bennet was singing an old-school love song when I felt a warm hand gently slip into my own and confidently guide me out onto the floor. Before I could process what was happening, we were swing dancing together. It was the most perfect moment… just like a scene out of a romance film. I have been asked to dance so many times in my life I cannot count them but I’ve never been led out to dance like he knew it was exactly what I was unaware I even wanted.

“When you sang Crazy by Patsy Cline, I was blown away. Actually, every song you sang was absolutely beautiful,” He said. I knew he meant it because he’s a musician in a band and has a a gorgeous voice himself.

We talked a lot about Jesus and danced in the parking lot some more. Then we went back to my apartment and played a card game my sister gave me for Christmas called Oregon Trail. We both got cholera and then I traded all my supplies including my extra oxen to buy medicine for him so he wouldn’t die of typhoid. The very next turn our oxen died and since we didn’t have any extra we were stranded along the trail and died. We laughed until our sides hurt and we didn’t want the night to end so we got cozy and watched Bruce Almighty. His flight was leaving the next day so he had to leave and get some rest. I squeezed him and said, “NO! I finally found you- I’m not letting you go!” And he replied, “What should we do? I can’t just ask you to move to Maryland after one date…” We were stuck. No one finds their soulmate after just one date, right? But we both had this sense that we were done looking. We exchanged phone numbers and decided to “See where the Lord would lead things.”

What happened last night was pure MAGIC. After a night like that I will never accept watered down, mediocre versions of the real thing. Why settle for luke warm when I could have FIRE!?

Whether this works out or not, meeting Dream Guy gave me valuable insight I will keep with me forever:

♥ Always love yourself and be yourself because if you don’t, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t love you, either.

♥ Love that isn’t freely given isn’t worth having.

♥ Find someone who loves the same way you do.

♥ Don’t EVER settle for less than exactly what you want. It’s not selfish to ask God for what you want. Ask, believe, and receive.

♥ Who would you be if you weren’t afraid of what people would think? To be yourself and believe you are worthy is to be truly beautful.

♥ Someone giving you less doesn’t mean try harder. If they don’t love you for who you are, they aren’t for you.

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