I sat in the front seat of my car tears streaming down my face as I talked. I was sharing with a girlfriend well into the midnight morning hours the depth of brokenness and hurt I've experienced in relationships past and reflected on reasons perhaps of treading lightly or wanting to protect my heart for a number of things. As she sat and listened, I described a couple of the rather tragic breakups I've endured and shed light on a few other 'wrong fits' that still have contributed to me becoming the woman I am today (and Im still filled with optimism and hope!)
She and I were talking through some of the reasons we shy away from certain "types" of guys and then perhaps some of the reasons we're attracted to another type of guy. As I thought of the relationship that had me sidelined and utterly shocked by an uncourageous breakup over the phone, with 3000 miles and thousands of questions over what happened between us, I would never know. This was by far the worst to endure. And yet I had learned forgiveness even through the unknown several years ago. We also reflected on some of the ways we had been protected from a world of heartache and devastation in other relationships where we just knew the guy wasn't right and we had kept things going, even a bit too long. For me, it's been very clear in a couple of instances that even I couldnt help work through the demons he needed to overcome. To this day, I am grateful for the Lord's hand of protection in these moments.
In a recent essay, I read titled "Truth" I came across a line: "I am a woman so tailored to be a partner with ever fiber of my being, every part of who I am... and to which I couldnt agree more with! From the time I was a little girl I KNEW I wanted to have a partner in crime, a best friend for adventures and travels with, someone to flirt and sing and dance with and of course a lover beside my pillow at night and there every morning for the REST of my life!
I grew a bit older and had given a go at several different relationships to find things I liked and didnt like about each. Some were crazy adventurous and always spontaneous. Some were maticulous about everything and planners down to the minute. Some rather clean, some definitely not. Some aware of their surroundings and some I'm not sure what they were aware of? ha ...I've learned some quirks about the men I've dated I definitely don't want in a spouse, aaand I've experienced a few things I wouldnt mind not being there, but we all pick our battles, so I'm sure I could handle a few things ;)
. . . Yes I know there are things about me to change. Heck, I know I've learned a ton! There are also things I dont necessarily want to change because I really hope my future will love even my odd mannerisms or quirks because its what makes me cute! My sense of adventure and telling stories, I know I dont ever want to lose! I like to be sassy from time to time, but I have a huge heart for people. I definitely know I like people enough to not ever trade this for reclusiveness. But some of the other things, I know could use some adjusting. I used to pride myself off being "the cool girlfriend" because I wouldn't get upset about my guy wanting to spend time with his buddies or friends, and yet I learned from a previous relationship he thought this actually meant I didnt care. This, is something that will change!!
As I reflected that night in the car with my friend, tears streamed from my eyes several times in the conversation. . . Some because the sadness of the past. Not necessarily because I haven't been healed. I praise Jesus my heart has been healed and I have forgiveness to thank! Some of the tears were more of a "if only i knew" and a sadness because the pain I caused or how God's heart must have been broken watching two hearts hurt upon being broken. But MOST of the tears were ironically filled with a gleam and a hope for a future adventure! As I described a hope to meet my future! I often times intermix this hope with a hope for guys in general, and a desire to see men healed from a lifetime of fatherless existence or past brokenness they are on quests to heal. Within this hope, I get glimpses from the amazing husbands I see some of my closest girlfriends with. Their love and pursuit of God and their wives hearts is truly precious. I experience glimpses of hope when I hear about guys all getting together for 'man time' and it doesnt involved watching strippers, but simply a night of football and bonding or perhaps even just time to connect. When I see guys go out of their way to serve or help, even the way they talk about girls as friends - hope lingers! Seeing my friends as fathers or guys that father their young children and play with them as only a father can do, this is awesome! Ahhh, I can't wait for the adventure of life to continue! I cant wait to find that perfect fit. Yes yes, i know he wont be perfect, but a fit for me, I cant wait. Perhaps that's what my tears were about that night... I long for that to happen!
When I hear heartwrenching stories of couples "before the redemption," marriages barely surviving, or worlds torn apart from divorce, my heart flips. In the essay I reference above the writer continues her statement by describing the act of leaving her husband to be against her very nature... and yet as you will read below; she will tell you the horrible prison she lived in for way too long. The bottle would be the demise. I would be "the college friend" she talks about below, and can attest to the truth of the story. While a Christian upbringing would tell a man or wife to stay as long as you possibly can in a marriage, to fight for your vows as hard as it may be, I believe there ARE times it is okay to let it go and let God intervene... this was one of those moments... I did plea with her to leave him for a time for her safety was in jeopardy, but today I can look back and see that as the turning point.... and Hope does bubble (as she would say:)
Today, not only am I honored to share with you one of my closest and dearest friend's writings below
*A writer, a sojourner, an actress, a producer, a dreamer...this girl and I were college roommates and from day 1 we instantly clicked! Our love for stories and telling them, or living them vicariously through the characters portrayed on stage and on screen was a quick bonding tie between us. That and our girly talks of college crushes and dreams for the future of what our life would be like. We did life together the year we were both 18 and although we don't live in the same city anymore, we're still the greatest of friends, sisters really. Kindred spirits and kindred hearts. With a love and a passion for people and Jesus - He makes us whole. and happy.
Meet Susannah Colleen. . . This is her essay called: Truth.
It hit it me like a flash flood, a blaze, a wildfire bursting, an avalanche, a mountain crumbling...that is indeed what it felt like. All those years, all that prayer, all that begging and pleading for change. All of those nights, sitting on a kitchen floor in Los Angeles talking to a man who was much more like a wall...hard on the outside..seemingly hollow inside. In one instant is become clear, the veil over my rose-colored, deeply in love eyes had been removed. His words were slurred the night before and harsh in the morning. I felt as if I was yelled at one more time, or if one more unkind word was even softly spoken to me, or if he simply would not look at me as I cried each bone in my body would break to pieces and I would be left a lump of soft flesh on our hardwood floor. Rather than breaking for the first time in a long time I yelled back, a primal wounded animal kind of yell. Ugly, loud animal screams, an ugly mix of sobs and shouts. I demanded for the insanity to stop...he was clear that it wouldn't...that it wasn't going to ever again stop. I, for the first time, believed it. It was true.
I sobbed the hour and a half drive to brunch with one of my college roommates, I sat at the table where she was waiting and I sobbed more as I spoke about the true of the last 7 years. She had hid her own feelings about the situation I was living in for far too long though she loved him because I loved him.
I had been with this man almost a decade and she, a friend for well over a decade, had met him all of three times. Signs, there had been signs. I had tried to hide so much but now the truth seeped from my pores. I sobbed through brunch telling the story from beginning to end, start to finish. My sweet friend sat stunned, her face pale, speechless and teary-eyed. Though she had known and had ideas she hadn't really known. She begged me to run away, go somewhere far. But I knew I couldn't really leave, I couldn't walk away without knowing for sure, without a series of undeniable and supernatural "it's okay, go." I knew I should go even if just for a time to seek health for both he and I. The reality, however was I was clawing for freedom, trying to climbing my way out of the pit I had sat myself in and learning to love myself all over again. I am indeed my own locust and I fully accountable...far more than he.
It's strange how love haunts and lingers long after it’s gone bad. I grasped onto those moments and months of kindness, tranquility, and gentleness that were indeed a part of the "us" at times. The times when I believed my own lies, times when I'd hide the truth, when I pretended to be asleep, when I soothed his ranting for the safety of myself. I was scared of him yet so much more scared of myself. I loved him, I love him but at some point didn’t I had to love me more.
It's so different than what we're taught as Christian women. So different than what I thought I'd be as a Christian wife. I am a woman so tailored to be a partner with ever fiber of my being, every part of who I am, leaving was so desperately against my nature. So I pulled up my bootstraps and though the truth stood in front of me daily, I tried again... and again...and again. For months I rejected the words of my therapist, I rejected the words of pastors, rejected the words of friends. I "tried to reject" I should say. But there are things that you cannot unknow, things you can’t unsee, and certainly things you can’t unhear.
When I could try no longer, the relief that covered his face revealed even more truth.
The relief and freedom he felt during our last months living as "roommates" in the home we had built. The relief I felt at the possibility of life that could be different was...well, sad.
I am ashamed. I am ashamed of so many things. I am ashamed I didn't believe all of the good things God had says about me in His word, if I had only believed those things perhaps I wouldn't have put myself in this place. I am ashamed I didn't trust Him. I am ashamed I treated his creation, two of his precious creations so badly and so unwisely.
In the midst of the shame, the guilt, and the pain suddenly somewhere in the midst hope was rising.
Hope, light, and peace grew and grew in a way I hadn't experience since I was a little girl. Peace, freedom and hope. We find it in the oddest of places! Places that so many would call “wrong” or “failure” or “giving up.” I had been so secretive so discreet with the marriage part of my life that many I'm sure didn't think I was doing the right thing. I hide my face often, not wanting people to see that I was, perhaps, questioning myself just as often as they were. I do not know what the future holds but I am so glad that in those years and months of my marriage I began drawing into God deeply and began to learn to love the creation that I am in a way that was safe and whole.
I am grateful for the pain the drew me ever so deeply to Christ.
Of course, I went back, time and time again...just to make sure. The same question asked over and over "Are you sure you don't want to go back to counseling?" His responses of "it's for the best, we're better this way and no," were clear and concrete. I had begged God that it wouldn't have to be my choice to leave. That it would be up to my husband to fight for me; to beg me to stay, to fight for health and to say "You are mine."
In in the end it was he who said "you are yours"
....and hope bubbled.
a note for the author:
Susannah, thank you so much! Today, I look back and I am excited to say there is HOPE! There IS an excitement for what is to come and anticipation, perhaps even great expectation, that Immeasurably more than beyond what we could ask think or imagine is to come. Who will be the lucky one in life's path next... who might capture our attention...
for now, we wait with great hope and let it bubble, all the more! love you girl
I'm a storyteller and creative. I tell stories through LIVE events and Media (Hosting and Producing). I'm a Fitness Pro and a Pro Traveler with a strong desire to change the world. My thoughts are written on faith, risk, adventures and LIFE! Im passionate about Life, People, and HIM! Enjoying the journey every step of the way.