He Loves Me He Loves Me Not

Lauren was no more than about eight when she learned about this practice. Her best friend told her it would work and if she said so then it was true. She closed her eyes and giggled. She could see his face and laughed at the thought of him running from her as she chased him all over the play ground. As she sat in the middle of the field she picked a flower with lots of petals and began the ritual. As Lauren plucked a petal from the flower she said out loud, “He loves me”, then she pulled another and said “He loves me not”. She continued this pattern of plucking flower petals and reciting the words until she reached the last one, “He loves me not!” She picked up another flower and started again. He just had to love her.

Twenty years later she was sitting in a coffee shop thinking about her fiance Mark. She absent mindedly picked up a flower from the vase in the middle of the table and started plucking the petals and reciting the words. She knew it was a silly game but she continued until the last petal lay on the table, “He loves me not?”

She thought about the six years they had been dating. He was not perfect but then who is? They met her senior year in college. She has just ended a six year relationship year with her high school sweetheart. She was going through a tough time. Jeff had been her world since the end of their sophomore year. She would find herself sitting on a park bench crying. It wasn’t just any bench, it was their bench. At least they claimed it as theirs. It’s where they sat and talked for hours. It served as their dining room table. This bench was where they discussed their futures. It was also the place of their breakup. 

As tears slid down her face she had an overwhelming sense of being watched. She raised her head and looked into his eyes. Those eyes were beauitiful, intense, questioning and sympathetic. She tried to smile but according to his version of the story it was more of a painful grimace. He did not say anything that day but he came back a few nights later and gave her a lace handkerchief. He later revealed to her why he brought her the lace handkerchief instead of tissue. He told his mother about her and she said a brokenhearted woman needs permanence in her life, not temporary.

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Courage, Redemption, Grace & Mercy (part 1)

As I’ve previously stated, I don’t typically use my blog as a forum to discuss my divorce or previous marriage. On the rare occasion that I do, I will speak MY truth. He has his version, the Fantistic 4 will have theirs and I, the person holding the pen, have mine. Since this is my blog, you will read my version as lived from my perspective.
This is a three-part post, I reserve the right to add more as needed.

Courage

I was a stay at home mom. I was laid off from work while I was on maternity leave. I worked part-time about half the time to keep my skills current and to add a small amount of income to our very tight budget. I can’t tell you how many people were surprised by my decision. I was told I was wasting my degree. But it was the right one for us and I have zero regrets. Leaving the workplace and depending solely on your spouse to support you is an act of faith. Is comparing it to sky diving a little extreme?

I won’t go into the details but I will say things were rocky from the beginning. As the years progressed and three more babies came the rocks went from pebbles to boulders. We went to counseling and I prayed for my marriage. We received some good as well as some questionable advice, doctrine and guidance. The good was good but the bad was bad. One thing that really sticks out to me is being told he was the priest of our home and blah blah blah blah. I stopped slowly listening at priest. Let me say this, I refuse to bash “the church” or its misguided representatives. The people who counseled us were trying to help us. They loved us and didn’t want to see our marriage dissolve. I will ask, where does the Bible say the husband is the priest of the home? Please don’t give me weak implication or your broad interpretation. I was reading the OT to the 4 last night. We read the part about when the lineage of priests was established and the tabernacle was built. I could be wrong but every husband is not a descendant of Aaron. Besides, if you read NT the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies was torn. This established our ability to have a one on one relationship with God instead of the priest representing us. Now where was I?

There are a few things that happened that gave me the courage I needed to begin the mental process of divorcing my husband.

We had a friend of the teenager over for dinner. After we blessed our food, we all began to eat in silence. This had slowly become the norm in our home. The friend asked the question, “why don’t you talk during dinner?” I lifted my head to look around the table and all of the children had their heads down with sullen looks on their faces. That question created an eye opening moment for me to begin looking at all the places where we no longer had joy and laughter.

I started updating my resume and mentally considering single life with four young kids. At the time they were around 1, 2, 5 and 8.

The second incident occurred at a local water park. My mommy friends and I would buy season passes and take our children to this water park multiple times a week. It gave us a much needed break and lots of time with each other. On one of these excursions I spent some time with another friend who told me she was going through a divorce. That was quite the shock for me as I had always seen her and her ex as a good example of a married couple. You never really know what goes on when the door is closed and the blinds are shut. When I listened to her story, I knew I would survive. Her concerns were different but the same. She had been a stay at home mom for many years and had real concerns about finances. She hadn’t completed her college degree but She didn’t need a degree to walk in her calling and giftings one being a fabulous photographer. I spoke with her often. She gave me hope and courage.

I went to a birthday party one January many years ago. The guest of honor and I went for coffee afterwards. I was watching the clock because I knew the ex would get upset if I was out too late. I was suffocating under a blanket of control but didn’t realize it at the time. After a short conversation, she was able to assess my situation and knew I needed to get out. I don’t know what tipped her off or if she was just that tuned in. I may have said, “he won’t allow…” one too many times. She talked to me that night and when I left, I was building up the courage to take the next step to leave.

I received a phone call a day or two later from a woman who is highly regarded in my circle of friends. After hearing about my marital situation from that friend, she told me I needed to leave. I didn’t have a full-time job yet and I was uncertain. But after talking it over with my sister-in-law, she graciously opened her home to us so I could leave. The husband of the birthday girl came over after my ex left for work and helped me pack a few things and I left. That was almost six years ago.

Courage.
For me it was a series of events that lead me away from a bad marriage but left me at the doorstep of redemption.