Let me tell you a story. It goes something like this…Once upon a time a girl met a boy. They fell in love. And lived happily ever after. The end. As Taylor Swift says, “It’s a love story. Baby, just say yes.” If only love was really that simple.
When I was younger, and not-so-wise, I asked to hear my parents love story. Boy meets girl, rescues her from hell and they live happily every after. Yet, when I was 26 years old, I watched my own momma pledge forever to someone other than my father.
My friend fell in love, married and I watched her spouse destroy her day after day, blow after blow, affair after affair. Until one day she decided enough was enough and left.
And then there is my story. A man meets a girl. She believes he is her answer, he believes she is his answer. He asks God to let him marry the girl. And despite all the best attempts of others, he does. Sadly, it isn’t happily ever after. It is not-so-happily ever after with just enough happy moments to keep them together. Until the day it wasn’t.
The day I decided that I no longer wanted what I had, was the day my story changed.
I dreamed of getting married when I was a little girl. Despite being told that I wouldn’t survive to adulthood and if I did, “I wasn’t the marriage-type” deep inside I believed in marriage…or at least the wedding. I had the wedding planned down to the tiny favors in the middle of the table. All in the notebook I kept under my bed. The notebook that contained my wedding and my babies and my house and the daycare I would own. I have always been a dreamer. But like most of my life, my dreams never did come true.
Oh we married…without a wedding. We had babies…more than I planned. We built a house…that I didn’t want. And, I never did own a daycare. But I never gave up wanting to be loved. So about 3-1/2 years ago, I decided I had enough. I made plans in my heart and waited. And somewhere in the midst of my planning and waiting I found love.
Now, as the story goes, I should say this, “I was in a park with the dog and I saw him. And instantly the hole in my heart was healed.” Or something ridiculous like that. I’m not saying that cannot happen — it just shouldn’t when you’re married, and you have businesses and kids and cars and big huge RV. So, I’m not going to say that.
No…my story goes like this.
I despised my husband in my heart and I told my friend I was going to leave. And she could not understand why. And I told her that sometimes love isn’t easy. And sometimes love isn’t real. And sometimes love has to happen with another person. Because he wasn’t mine in the first place, I just pretended he was. So I made plans to leave. And I took a hammer to my marriage and I slammed it as much as I could. And then, I found love. In the midst of my pain and anger and hatred, I found a love that could heal the deep soul wounds left by The Boy and my father. I found a love that didn’t look at me as a body to use but looked at me as a soul to love. I found a love that didn’t see the person who was destroying the most precious gift I had ever received but a love that pulled me closer. I found my Jesus and he came to me. And stood beside me. And he was full of mercy and grace and kindness and love…oh what a love!
He changed my life. It’s not just a cliché. When The Boy took my innocence he shattered my soul. My father confirmed my worthlessness. And the husband…he didn’t stand a chance. I never felt clean. I never felt pure. I never felt loved. I didn’t know how and I didn’t have the ability to love anyway. But Jesus gave me something, something so precious, so rare…that I can’t ever pay him enough. Jesus gave me back my purity. And that one gift…has changed my life.
So I took that gift and I began to live my life. And then, Jesus gave me another gift. He took me to my Father, Abba. And the emptiness I felt was filled. And that would be enough. But Abba, he’s good…oh he’s so good. And he remembered my dream, as a little girl, and he gave me a husband. To be exact, he gave me MY husband, the one that I fell in love with 25 years ago when I was young and kind of dumb. The one man, actually the first man, that I trusted. And he reminded me of our story. The one he decided long ago, when I was just a little girl sitting in her room asking God to protect her. Because on the other side of this big huge state that I call home, sat a boy, looking to the east and asking God about the girl he would marry…from Idaho. And finally…after 3 years…this boy and this girl finally understand why they are together.
I never really thought I had a love story. But I do. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s real. Real love takes time but it’s always in God’s time. And when it’s his time…it’s beautiful and it’s amazing. Because when mercy rewrites your story the end result is always love.