He was always that, “there he is” as your heart beats faster– guy for me. The one that got away. I knew him 10 years prior, but our timing had never worked out years earlier for reasons that I just have to trust and not understand.
L.Dee and I dated for 3 years before getting married. Since I had been married and divorced before, I had to learn how to be vulnerable again. Not only was he patient, but he was a safe place for me to fall. There’s a lot of healing that comes just from feeling safe in someone, feeling free to be you. I truly felt like he was my reward. I was finally coming alive again. A realization of how unhappy you were for so long comes when you reconnect to happiness again.
Just before our marriage, things started unraveling, almost out of nowhere. At this point in my life I started to notice a pattern that anytime I would try to grow, do bigger things, take scary steps in the right direction that everything around me would go astray. I had been taking alleviating steps forward, and this felt like a huge frustrating leap backwards. Like a push from the enemy. The moment things started to go off course, fears instantly grasped back onto me, taking with it my safe feeling…again. Uneasiness and fear comes when your experience with marriage has been a painful one, it can be hard not to bring fear into trying it again. It can also be hard to trust your feelings when you were previously so sure of a love that would last forever and it ended up going away.
I knew that I could love and be loved, but having faith that I was safe to love is what I needed now more than ever.
You starve for a quick fix to these feelings, for peace. Wanting immediate relief and reassurance was something that I couldn’t give myself because the fear of pain was bigger inside of me than the confidence to overcome pain. Sometimes my prayers would be that God would just speak loud and clear to me, just talk to me like He was next to me. Prayers wishing that He could hold me so I could physically feel Him, knowing He is the only guaranteed safe place. Times when you just needed to be held. We yearn for safe places when we know pain all too well. Desperate times bring desperate and frustrated prayers. I truly believe Satan tries to keep us down, attacking families, keeping people from doing or becoming something greater than themselves. The second we strive for more the resistance gets strong. Satan uses people and battles us because of who we are going to become, not because of where we’ve been. Let’s be honest, keeping up the fight can get exhausting. Sometimes I want to know what’s on the next step because I get tired of blindly climbing the staircase– just to keep stepping on another difficult step.
Loving each other was never questioned during this testing, it was more about understanding each other and boundaries that didn’t yet exist, to protect our relationship. Regardless, I started to get scared. In “Rising Strong” Brene Brown explains, “I learned that one of the most vulnerable parts of loving someone is trusting that they will love you back…”. Which is especially hard for someone who had believed she was dispensable.
The very thing that I desired the most was the thing I was most scared of.
Fear. Fear starts flooding my mind one night, how do we find our way through this? Can I trust my feelings, I’ve been wrong before? Does he want to leave? Is he scared? What if I lose him? What if I get hurt again? All these thoughts were crowding out all rational thinking and instantly, I hear a voice in my mind that says, “But haven’t I been there for you?” …it’s like it pushed out all of my other thoughts. A peace came over me. My tears went away. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me, it was my voice in my head but not my words. It’s interesting to me that I heard, “haven’t I been there for you” and not, “you aren’t going to hurt”. Or “everything will be ok”. My answer was simply, I am there. And it’s in the fact that He is there, that I’m going to be ok. The truth in it is, there will be hard times, hurts and trials, sometimes things won’t be okay, but He’s with me. He has always been with me.
When fear surrounds us like darkness, God will show up to light the path. You don’t have to focus on fear around you if you trust in the source of the light. The light in your path can’t be seen without the darkness but you aren’t alone. I’ve always loved Skye Jethani’s description of taking risks and having faith in his book With:
“Nouwen, a Dutch priest, professor, and author, found the answer in the Flying Rodleighs, a trapeze troupe from South Africa. While in Germany, he attended a performance out of curiosity and found himself transfixed by the artistry of the acrobats. But in the flying and spinning Nouwen saw more than an exhilarating show– he saw theology in motion.
Nouwen observed that the flyer—the person soaring through the air—is really not the star of the trapeze performance. While everyone is focused on the flyer’s arial maneuvers, they sometimes fail to see that the maneuvers are only possible because the flyer fully trusts that he will be caught. This led Nouwen to a new way of understanding life with God. ‘I can only fly freely when I know there is a catcher to catch me,’ he wrote.”
What if we knew that even when we take risks in love or in life’s dreams, although we may get hurt by someone or suffer setbacks, we will be caught? We can feel the fear but we don’t have to believe in it.