Exactly four years ago today, it was a Friday, and I was engaged. I had the dress, the venue, the DJ, the photographer, the centerpieces, the invitations etc. My wedding was two months out. It was all set in motion. I loved this man with every fiber of my being, and I was over the moon happy to be marrying him. I had loved him for five years. He was complicated, and it was a tumultuous on and off situation, but he finally uncomplicated things, and we were making it happen. One Friday night, out of the clear blue sky, my fiancé, told me that he didn’t love me anymore and didn’t want to marry me. After a very long weekend of just thinking it was cold feet, I realized he was serious that Monday.
I was confused, shattered, and broken. I went to stay in my grandparents’ empty summer apartment with all the things I could gather in my little car. In a moment of utter despair, I found myself beating my fists on the floor cursing and screaming at God, “What the actual f*ck!?” I found out a month later from a mutual friend that he had been cheating on me throughout the relationship. I was blindsided by this and because of that was filled with so much self-doubt. I felt unworthy, not enough, depressed, betrayed, hurt, angry, confused, wounded, stupid etc. It was traumatic. My heart physically hurt from the emotional pain, and I wanted God to just take the pain away, or better yet to have prevented the whole thing in the first place, but he didn’t. I had to go through it.
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the flaming furnace, I am pretty sure they would have really appreciated it if God just swished his magic wand and poofed them out of there, but he didn’t. He left them there in that fire, but He was with them. Last Monday, my mom and I went to see my ENT surgeon for my post op follow up. She said I am healing up nicely. I saw the oncologist Thursday, and he feels that the results of the tumor were negative for cancer and positive overall. He wants to see me every six months for two years for fancy bloodwork, but he felt 99% sure that I am in the clear and do not have leukemia. Thank God.
I like those odds. It was such a weight off my chest. I didn’t realize just how much it had been weighing on me until I got the positive report. The news was a huge relief, and I should have been celebrating and jumping for joy, but I felt overwhelmingly exhausted and emotional. I didn’t write about this last week because, I’ve been angry at God at why I had to go through this in the first place. I realize that it sounds ungrateful to not just be thankful, but the reality is, I am more complicated than that. Anyway, I didn’t know what to say, and I wanted to have clarity or some kind of tying it all together message that puts a pretty little praise Jesus bow on everything, but I just didn’t have it.
It has been a whirlwind of emotions. This was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I had to come to grips with death, fear of abandoning my son, and my own abandonment issues. I had to learn to let go and trust God in ways I have never had to trust Him before. I learned the hard way that my joy had to come from Him and not from circumstances which are wonderful lessons that I am deeply thankful for, but being real, I also felt angry that I had to go through what I went though, for what feels like nothing. My thoughts had been that my life has been one thing after another, and I never get to experience a stretch of peace. Right now, being a fairly new wife and mother, I’d really like some peace to appreciate and enjoy my life, but it’s been a ridiculously insane two and a half years, and I’m pissed about it.
This morning, the date hit me. I realized what four years ago today was. At that time, I felt like nothing could be worse. I was so depressed, it took everything in me to pick myself up and keep on living. I would sit at family functions just randomly crying and feeling bad for myself. For over a year and little relationships that didn’t hold a candle to what I had with my ex fiancé, I felt like what happened was the worst thing ever. I felt like I’d never be that happy or love anyone else like that again.
Then, at the end of April 2020, I started talking to a hot nurse online who was quarantined because he had COVID. Before even meeting me in person, he wrote me a song, performed it, and sent it to me. I knew right then and there that I was going to marry him. Erik is everything and more that I wanted and never knew I needed in a life partner. I appreciate him so much more because of my painful experience. On top of his joy, unwavering faith, contagious laughter, honesty, desire to grow etc., I deeply appreciate his commitment, faithfulness, and that he only has eyes for me in ways that I wouldn’t if I didn’t go through what I went through. God didn’t show me why I had to go through that fire for a long time, but then one day, it all made sense. Not only am I no longer upset by the experience, but I am thankful for it.
Life is hard sometimes. I’ve had many conversations with God that started out with me saying “What the actual f*ck, God!?” Despite popular Christian opinion that we need to have it all together and be a perfect non-swearing Christian when talking to God, we don’t. He can handle our messy. He can handle our doubts. He already knows what we are feeling and experiencing and understands, so why try and hide it? When you’re angry with Him, talk to Him or maybe yell at Him like I have done many times. He understands where you are at and how hopeless it feels, but he also sees the bigger picture. If you give Him a chance, He may just remind you about how He was faithful in one of the most excruciating moments of your life, and He is faithful now even though you can’t see the whole picture.
Authenticity. It is what is missing in the Christian community. Dare to be authentic with God, yourself, your partner, fellow Christians, and everyone else. It makes all the difference. Life isn’t always pretty and perfect and neither are we. Let’s drop the act. “There was another in the fire standing next to me. There was another in the waters holding back the seas, and should I ever need reminding how good you’ve been to me, I’ll count the joy come every battle because I know that’s where you’ll be. There was another in the fire" (one of my favorite songs by Hillsong.)