Skip to main content

What's in a name...change?

I was 16 when I met Rob.  Officially met him, that is.  I knew of him--a popular, athletic boy that was a year older than me.  I didn't really know much about him--just that his name was like a buzz among the girls and that anyone that caught his eye or affection was immediately promoted to high school stardom.  My junior year, we were in keyboarding class together.  I'm not sure why, him being a senior.  I guess he was just looking for elective credit.  I was just killing time in my own boredom and dysfunction.

This was our first encounter.  He flirted with me like a grade school boy and unplugged my keyboard whenever I was in the middle of some important project.  Young love.  I was smitten.

(Prom 1995)
We dated for six years.  He was the love of my life.  When I was 20, he gave me an engagement ring. I bought a wedding dress.  We set a wedding date.  He called it off.  We were young and immature and unsure about marriage.  He said he loved me, but wasn't in love with me.  I was an emotional mess--trying to escape my childhood.  He took me to a small Chinese restaurant in Cincinnati for a date and I slid the engagement ring back across the table to him.  And told him not to call me again.

18 years later.

A message on Facebook.  The only way he knew how to contact me.

You see, he was in Africa taking care of disabled orphans.  His life in the last 18 years was mostly work, prayer, and trying to get over the grief of losing me.  He never married, never had children.

I have been honest about the fact that he was been an "issue" for me these last 18 years as well.  I had vivid, intense dreams about him all through my last marriage.  Dreams that seemed unfair and relentless.  I was honest with my husband about it.  I went to counseling.  I prayed.  I cried.  And eventually, I just accepted the dreams and allowed them to be an opportunity to pray for Rob...wherever he was, whatever he was doing.

My first marriage dissolution had absolutely nothing to do with Rob.  He wasn't even on my mind during any of the hell I had endured through divorce.  In fact, I dreamed about him but didn't consider him or trust him.  I had been wounded so long ago and wasn't about to do that again.

But here we were, 18 years later.  Not partaking in the love but the friendship of the relationship that we once had.  And that friendship grew.

18 years later, I have become reacquainted with one of the most amazing men I have had the privilege of knowing.  He has worked with traumatized boys--lost and abandoned to the juvenile justice system.  He has worked with disabled men--forgotten in "the system."  He spent almost a year with the refugees in Ghana.  And two years with the tortured children of Liberia.  He survived the Ebola scare, choosing to stay with the people rather than flee.  He survived multiple cases of Malaria.  He survived villagers with machetes--trying to break through the mud brick and thatch.

This week, I married the love of my life.  Some would say that it was quick.  But I knew him better than anyone.  Some would way that it was unwise.  My heart said otherwise.   Those that know us best say that it is perfect.  It is.  My boys love him.  He is stable and consistent and thoughtful.

So that's that.  I have learned that God's ways are not our ways.  Sometimes life looks messy.  But God likes the messy stuff.  God always makes it beautiful.  I'm happier than I have ever been--safer, healthier, more hopeful, more peaceful, more content.  That is all God's work.  That's what He does.

Have hope.

Until soon,
b.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I visited a Mosque. And went to church.

Today, our local International Rescue Committee organization hosted a solidarity event at the Islamic Society of Wichita while their members were gathering for Friday prayers.  We stood outside, held signs, and let them know that we are with them.  That we are forthem.

But before the event I met my new friend, Ratna, for a tour and some lunch in the well-worn gym.  I was running a little early so I sat by myself on the concrete fountain in front of the building.
It was a beautiful day.  The sun was warming me.  I could smell the food cooking.  A suburban in the parking lot said, "Girl Scout Cookies For Sale!" written in white shoe polish on the dark windows.

Pretty soon, Ratna pulled up in her minivan, tagged along behind by her 5-year-old son with his bright blue iPad and headphones.  He was watching a Pokemon cartoon and was humming along to the songs.  Skipping as he went.  Ratna smiled, hugged me, and led me inside for a tour of their worship space.

It was a beautiful b…

What it means when a narcissistic pastor says, "I love the church"

I ran across this article while going through a rough place in my life.  It had profound meaning for me in dealing with some of the individuals in my life that have narcissistic traits. The article highlights the fact that when a narcissist says, “I love you,” he really means that he loves the way that you (fill in the blank): take care of his needs, focus your energy on him, submit, etc. Individuals that have been in relationships with narcissists often admit to feeling crazy, not recognizing the abuse while it was occurring, and to keeping secrets to cover for his abuse, infidelity, etc.  I wonder if this is what many people are recognizing in the #exevangelical movement.  Because as I was going through this article again, I began to realize that many of the narcissistic traits could be applied to the many pastors and men in church leadership that I have known through the years. Being in church ministry for twelve years, I became proficient at silence and lies to cover the behavior…

For my 40th birthday, I let go

It was my birthday present to myself. I decided to let go of the desire to have a healthy relationship with my mother. 40-years-old seemed right for me to make this decision.  I have debated it for years. I have been in a cloud of hope the past year, with my mother.  I always get frustrated at myself for being sucked into the cloud of hope.  The fog of delusion.  Damn but isn’t hope hard to surrender?!  I have always felt guilty about letting go.  I have always wanted to give it another go.  Try again.  Hope again.  Maybe she’ll change.  Maybe things will improve. But when another birthday went by with no call and no card, I decided to end my own agony.  I once heard that there was a woman who went to meet with the Dalai Lama.  She had experienced a ton of trauma in her life and she was worn ragged and thin.  After telling him some of her life story he looked at her with his sweet smile and asked, “Have you suffered enough yet?” Sometimes I ask myself the same thing.  Yes, I have suf…