As I sit here and think about my own life, and all the ups and downs of the rollercoaster, I realize one thing. I am not an expert in relationships, if anything I am an expert in how to do them the wrong way, but I know that with all the hurts and all the lessons I have learned, there is so much that the Lord can share through my life. I have learned that the greatest asset that he gives us to share what he teaches us is our story. As the keys hit the paper of my story, there have been some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows, and I have to admit that my greatest pitfalls and my greatest weaknesses have come in the hands of Boys. There have been ups and downs but the Lord is still teaching and molding and shaping me, and I only hope that he can use my life to help others along their journey.
Crushing but Confident:
Growing up I was always boy crazy. As far back as I can remember my eyes were always on the newest cutest boy in class. In elementary school and middle school I had to sweet innocent boyfriends and looking back, I am not sure how much I really liked either of them as more than a friend, the truth of the matter is I really just wanted someone to hold my hand and to dance with me at the sock hops. I would come home every night and day dream for hours and doodle in my journals, play mash, and plan my future with the newest crush of the week. Looking back I didn’t have a type. Most of the guys I crushed on were athletic and cute, but some were guys who just paid me attention. If a boy smiled at me or did something friendly, like pick something up for me that I had dropped, he would steal my attention without second thought and become my new flavor of the week.
As I got to high school, I definitely developed a type. My dad coached football and it was a very rare occasion that a guy I liked was not on the football team, but beyond that even though I was crushing on every boy in sight, I was still extremely confident in what I believed. I had every intention of waiting until marriage for sex and realized that I only wanted to be in a serious relationship, that I didn’t want to give away pieces of my heart to just anyone. I knew what my standards were in a potential relationship and I was not about to lower them for anyone. Although I had some body and image issues, I was confident in my decision and knew the Lord would bless me for it.
In college I was exposed to things I was never exposed to in high school (because my dad was a teacher at my high school,) One of those things was being exposed to guys expressing interest in me. I had been so sheltered in high school, that I didn’t know how to react to a guy who liked me. In fact one of the guys who liked me first semester of my freshman year came across a very aggressive to me, because I didn’t know how to take his advances. Luckily I was still confident in what I believed and was too busy pledging a sorority to give it much thought.
Second semester of my freshman year I became extremely involved with a Christian group on campus. The more time I spent with this group, the more time I noticed the godly guys who were juniors and seniors. They were so attractive because I saw Christ in them. They were intentional with the hearts of the girls around them and they wanted pure God glorifying relationships. There was only one problem with this … I was invisible to them. My first thought was that it was my looks that made them not notice me. (Looking back I realize this wasn’t true, they just weren’t Gods plan for me)
When I got tired of not being noticed by the Godly guys around me I made the biggest mistake of my life. I chose to deliberately not wait on God and let a friend of mine set me up with a guy I knew was not anywhere close to reaching the standards I had set for myself as a godly young woman. Over the course of the next year I lost my virginity (not by my choice) , suffered abuse both emotional and sexual abuse. I chose to hand over everything I had cherished for so long by not waiting for the Lord for his best for me and putting myself in a situation to be taken advantage of. In the end of that year I had flunked a semester of classes, moved over 100 miles away and broken nearly every relationship in my life to hold on to something that hurt me to the core.
Not Really Rescued:
After that relationship I dated a couple of guys kind of casually, but it wasn’t till the next summer that I started to deal with the pain and emotions and the after effects of the disaster that relationship had caused in my life. I went on a few dates and developed a strong emotional friendship with a guy that summer and came to terms with what happened to me. In the moment I wanted to be loved and rescued, but I have learned that even small doses of the right kind of attention from the wrong person, just creates a false sense of security and a one sided connection that is not easily broken. I couldn’t see that this guy was not committed to me, that I was a rebound, and he just wanted to date casually. I thought he rode in on a white horse to save me, and I bent over backwards to do everything in my power to keep someone in my life who didn’t want to stay. I changed everything I could to make him want me, but it didn’t work and again I was left heartbroken and alone.
After that situation and being told by my best friend at the time that he loved me ( when he all along had a girlfriend) I met a guy in church. Thought he was wonderful and thought since we met in church it had to be God’s will. But from the first few months there were red flags both in my life and in his that I turned a blind eye to. We were approached by both of our families about not pursuing marriage, but bullheaded and determined this was God’s will we planned a wedding and said I do…
Things went from bad to worse. We had no foundation and could not communicate. I had not healed from my pain, had no ability to deal with confrontation, or confront others who had hurt me or tried to interfere within our marriage, and I still wanted to be independent in a lot of ways. I wasn’t the only one who had problems but pointing fingers will do nothing to edify or build anyone up. We will just sum it up by saying the problems we had were enough to allow another woman to step in emotionally and pull his attention away from our marriage.
I tried everything I could think of to try to save my marriage, well that’s what I told people, and to the biggest extent it is true I did everything in MY power to save my marriage, but I didn’t give it to God the way I told people I did or like I should have. After about 4 months of separation I yet again did not wait on God and decided the best way to heal from all the hurt from my past compounded by the hurt of being betrayed at least emotionally in my marriage was to find someone else. At first it started out innocently enough by seeing other godly men and being attracted to the qualities within them, but yet again I wasn’t noticed by these godly men, and I went back to the same cycle of believing it was something physical about me that they didn’t like. When in my head I had convinced myself as a soon to be divorced woman I wasn’t good enough for a godly man I went back down the same road of not waiting for God and created an online dating profile.
Broken and Binging:
I am mortified to say that I can not even count how many men I talked to after I downloaded the app. It became a drug. Seeing men tell me I was beautiful. Finding validation in their words, all the while, knowing they were empty of any meaning. Running from the Lord, and trying to find fulfillment in someone rather than in Jesus. I went on dates with a few men, but found the theme was the same. If they even took me out for dinner there was an expectation that favors would be returned. Not being that kind of girl I struggled to explain what I wanted and there were times I regretfully gave in. I went on dates with guys that I later found out had criminal pasts, were exes to people I knew, had no foundation with which to keep themselves afloat much less support someone else, but the majority were men who would say and do whatever it took to get momentary gratification physically. All but two of the guys who had ever expressed any kind of interest in me at all (married, in a relationship, or not popped back up into my life) and clamed to wanted to have me back in their lives. I had to deal with every one of those situations and put it all behind me.
Single Again but learning to be satisfied:
18 months after my separation my divorce is nearly finalized and I am just now realizing how much time I have wasted. I am realizing how much if I had only waited on the Lord for his best and his timing I could have avoided nearly 13 years of pain, and heartbreak but at any point I could have chosen to get off the pity train and to choose to wait on the Lord instead of being selfish. I have decided to let go of my own life and to allow the Lord to give me what is best in his timing. I am learning so much about the blessing of singleness and although I know the Lord has planted desires for a Godly marriage and children in my heart, I am learning to trust him with the time I have before he grants those things in my life and how to use it
If I have learned anything over the past couple of months I have learned that God uses broken people. He takes what we think is unusable and uses it for his glory. Just look at Rahab, and David, Paul and Peter. There are so many others who thought they could do nothing for the Lord, and in part they were right. In their sin and their own selfish ambitions they couldn’t, but when they gave up control and allowed the Lord to take the Pen the Lord used them in ways they could never even begin to imagine. My prayer is that my pain and my mistakes were not in vain, but that the Lord allowed them so that I might be able to reflect the light of his grace back to someone who is struggling in the same way. God never throws us away. He sees the righteousness of Christ in us if we are saved and he wants to use us to display his glory if we will only let him.
So that is my desire. To take one step at a time. Seeking the Lord and his wisdom and to allow him to use me and my story as he sees fit.