In all my years since becoming a Christian, I had only one desire: to serve God in any way I can, and to raise my son in obedience to His Word.
Each time anyone would ask if I would still consider marriage, my automatic response was to shrug it off and give a quiet “no.” In my mind and in my heart, that option had already passed. It was clearly not for me. That once upon a time dream and desire had been squished down so deep and I did not dare open the door again to hope. Sure there were tinges of envy each time I hear of a friend getting engaged and married. Definitely, there were indications of regret, having never had that piece of the happily married life. Sure there were traces of despair each time I go through another hurdle as a single mom. But again, I made a conscious effort to not go deep into that forest of hope for fear that I would just be setting myself up for the fall.
Then he came along. It started with eye contacts to “hi-hello-how are you’s” that lasted for over a year. And then finally, after one bible study session at church, he asked me out.
Song of Solomon 2:7 and 3:5 says:
“by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.”
That led to several movie and dinner dates. I was already smitten. My heart was slowly opening up. Love was being awakened.
There were times when he would hold my hand or put his arm around me. On one occasion, he impulsively kissed me before parting ways.
I think he was not prepared with how I reacted – surprised more than anything else. The following evening, he called. A quick apology and then came that dreaded cliché: He made a mistake. I was the right girl, at the wrong time.
That old familiar feeling of pain and rejection resurfaced.
But he wanted to still be friends. Hoping that it would change one day, I agreed. We regarded each other as “best friends.” I knew it was a bad idea. And even when I was told that it is not what a Christian woman would do, I insisted on it.
The following months were filled with a roller coaster of emotions. We regularly went out on “friendly” dates, being each other’s constant companion. However, expectations were not met. Hurtful words were said. Secrets were kept. Actions spoke differently from what we professed. Clearly there was something more than friendship but we would always deny and dismiss it for different reasons. Mine? I was waiting and hoping that things would change. His? I can only assume the worst but he knew I had feelings for him and still kept stringing me along.
Looking at my journal entries during all this, there were only two distinct states of my emotions and thoughts: temporal happiness or disappointment and frustration. Still, I held on in spite my better judgment, and especially in spite what God has been prodding in my heart. I hoped for happiness amidst the verbal abuse. I was clinging on to a potential happy ending. In the meantime, my self esteem plummeted, causing my anorexia and binge shopping to creep back from my past.
And so I prayed and asked God for me to do the right thing. And then it was revealed to me. The man was my Egypt, my land of bondage and slavery. I needed a way out. I was too caught up in the friendship, that it took up so much space in my mind and heart.
I didn’t have the strength to do the right thing and walk away. And so I prayed even more. Sometimes with the resolve to stand firm. Sometimes negotiating with God to change his heart or that I be given the grace to cope. This battle went on from months!
I was too weak to fight this battle until I eventually stepped back and asked God to take over. And true enough, when He fights our battles, victory is a guarantee!
And so it came – the victory. With God stepping in, He orchestrated the events and did it all in one fell swoop. It was not by accident that I learned I was not the only one he kept stringing along. It was not by chance that God revealed the truth to wake me up.
The man is no longer in my life. And while there are still flames of the pain as I write this, I am confident that God will put my heart back together – just as He had done so in the past. And this time, I pray that there would be no cracks to pry open.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)