My Love Story….

My love story will be different…It won’t be a “married to my high school sweetheart” story. It won’t be a “rocky marriage and reconciliation” story. It won’t be a “happily ever after right after divorce” story. No, my love story will be different.

My love story will be learning about how much God loves me, even in the midst of painful losses and rejections. My love story will be learning to love myself in the midst of them to0. Learning to love myself even when made to feel unlovable. Learning to love myself after being torn down to a nub by men in my life. Learning that not all men and women are the same….

Right after my divorce, I fell hard for a guy. He gave me more attention that I’d ever received from my ex-husband. We dated over a year, but he refused to commit. So, heartbroken again, I knew I had to stop the rollercoaster of not knowing what he wanted from me. Cue the next few guys who wanted to marry me after our first date. And some even before. What was going on?!?

First guy turned out to be on parole for double homicide (his wife and another guy)! Next two had mental issues, so much so, that suicide was mentioned after ending things. The fear of God set in. What was a single mom with two daughters to do?  Just stop? Or keep trying, trusting God. I chose the latter……My love story will be different.

The only way I could trust God with my romantic life after these stories was IF I loved Him enough and trusted His love for me. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve cried out, thinking it won’t happen for me. It just can’t after these stories…The fear would be too great or the rug would be yanked out from under me, again.

I dated a guy who truly loved me, but we split over spiritual beliefs. I’ve dated a guy recommended by one of my best friends. I thought that he was my reward for standing up for my beliefs. That turned out to be false too and ever so painful and confusing all over again. What was going on?!?

The guy before has come back around. God spoke to his heart in my absence and it turns out our spiritual beliefs aren’t as different as we thought. Surprisingly, close. He knows all my fears, issues, and concerns. His love still rings true. God’s will be done.

My love story will be different….God will be my first love. My love story will be an open book of the love we share. I will run to Him when I hurt. I will lean on Him when I’m scared. I will share who He is to me. I will trust Him with my life. And, if it turns out that He just wants me all to Himself, my love story will be complete. I will live to please and honor Him all the days of my life.

 

 

Master Plan

assembly required

Don’t we all have a master plan?? A plan for our career, an age we’d like to be married or remarried by, a plan of when and how to raise kids, a plan for the perfect wedding or perfect vacation? The perfect Christmas card, birthday party, or neighborhood to live in? One thing I’ve clearly noticed is that our master plan may have nothing to do with the Master’s plan for our lives.

Our plans feel very similar to a “some assembly required” list of instructions that can drive us crazy. We start out with great intentions and expectations and then end up inevitably missing a part, can’t make sense of the verbiage, or lack the skills to build it at all, much less easily. I’m in awe of people who can whip out the instructions and build a dollhouse or easy bake oven from scratch, no biggie. They make it look so simple! That’s, not me.

One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes is: “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

To untangle or not, that is the question. I’m not typically much of an untangler. I’d rather someone untangle them for me or just buy new ones. But, I’m learning that wisdom is determining whether it’s worth putting the time and effort in to untangle the lights you already have or let them go and start new. I think both are wise depending on the circumstance. I’m also finding that if God is at the center, it makes sense to put the work in.

Untangling may make you appreciate the final product more while buying new feels exciting and easier, but can also be scary. With new, you never know what you’re gonna get. Kind of like a box of chocolates. It may be the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted, but you have to try to know. It takes endurance and commitment to untangle. It takes tremendous faith to start new. Both necessary at times, and both part of the Master’s plan for our lives.

Sitting down with someone to help me untangle lights sounds a lot more inviting than doing it alone. Find people who help you. Find people who love you for you. Find people who have marriages, relationships, and friendships like you desire and learn from them. Ask them questions. Read their books. They will help you discern if it’s wiser to untangle or start new. So many of our life situations are similar to tangled Christmas lights and sometimes there’s only so much we can do.

Sometimes, we need to put the work in and sometimes we need to let go. Sometimes we are missing a crucial part. Sometimes we need to work on our verbiage and communicate better. Sometimes we need to be patient and sometimes we need to work on our own personal skills. It may never construct easily, and that’s okay. As long as we are building what we desire most to build and to the glory of God, He will step in where we can’t. Follow your peace, His peace.

Our Master’s Plan will lead us in directions we never thought we’d take through situations we never thought we’d face. Knowing He’s walking alongside us, turns it into an adventure of a lifetime.

We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go. Proverbs 16:9 (CEV)

I’m not much of builder, but I’m learning. I’m learning not to be afraid to build. I’m also learning that if it all crashes down, then the Master has a different plan for me. I’m learning that His plan requires a lot of patience because it has a lot of moving parts. I’m learning that His plan touches other people through our own personal journeys. I’m learning that His plan beckons us closer to Him and leads us to an eternity with Him. I’m learning that His plan brings purpose from our pain. I’m learning that His plan provides peace, even in the midst of the unknown. I’m learning that our Master’s plan will simply amaze us.

I’m learning every day that His plan is, hands down, better than my plan ever was or ever will be.

 

 

Married 7 times?!

commitment

I had a patient this morning who struggled to get on the bed for her test and said “try not to get old dear, it hurts.” I actually hear that from a lot of my patients and I try to remind them that it sure beats the alternative. Sadly, some of them still say, “well, I’m not so sure.” I told her “I’m so sorry it hurts, take your time”.  She replied with “that’s life honey, it just hurts”. Then she started to tell me about her life and how she should have “taken better care of herself”.

She explained that she dove headfirst into all the drinking, drugs, and sex she could get a hold of. She even shared with me that she had been married SEVEN times! That just blew me away. I incorrectly assumed that she had been left seven times and started to try to console her. She quickly and honestly corrected me by saying she’s the one who always left. Wow! She affirmed that all of her husbands had been good men with the exception of one. I asked her why she left and she told me she just “got bored”. This was such an eye opening conversation for me since it was coming from a woman.

She says she didn’t become a Christian until she was in her 40s. But, even then she still left husbands. She reminded me that the Christian journey is just that, a journey. Change and wisdom don’t come overnight. I guess they could if God so chooses, but typically it takes time, alot of grace, experiences, and failures to learn how much God loves us and how He wants us to love others. She is a strong Christian woman now. She loves God with all her heart and confided in me that the main reason she left all her husbands was because she didn’t know that love meant commitment. She thought love was based solely on feelings and once they faded, she got bored and just left. She says she knows now that love is a choice and a commitment that you make in spite of feelings.

I wanted to share her testimony because it really spoke to my heart. She shared with me that her pastor has asked her to speak on marriage and she told him she could only speak on what NOT to do. That’s valuable too and I think she should! We need to hear what not to do as much as what to do. Her parting words of advice to me were when you are married and look over at your spouse and wonder “what the heck am I doing with this person?” or have an argument (which you will). Don’t leave! Work through it, make the choice to love and STAY. Pray and get the help necessary, but stay. Sidenote: you can’t MAKE someone stay who doesn’t want to be there and you shouldn’t stay if there is any form of abuse or unrepentant infidelity. I’m aware that every troubled marriage has different variables going on.

She reminded me to never get married on feelings alone because although our feelings change every day, the commitment to love shouldn’t. If you get married on feelings alone, you may very well leave when those feelings fade. They will ebb and flow, but the commitment should stand firm. The only reason she kept getting married over and over was because she “felt” like it was right……seven times. And she is single today. Feelings are fickle and lust fades. But, true love grows.

She reminded me that only God’s love can satisfy. She reminded me that we can bless others even after we fail over and over. She reminded me that God can and will use us to reach and teach others no matter what has happened in our pasts or who we “were”. She reminded me that pointing others towards Jesus is the single most loving act you can perform in ANY relationship (including marriage) because His love is the ONLY love guaranteed not to up and leave by choice or death. Even the blessed couples that make it till death do they part, will still part, unless Jesus returns first.

She regrets the string of broken hearts she left behind in her brokenness. Today, she blessed and inspired mine and we are both grateful for that. God is a God of restoration. I asked her if I could share her story and she said she would be honored. May God bless her abundantly for sharing with me.