There was a time when I was a little girl, always a romantic one… I took a number 2 pencil and I scrawled out all of the wishes I had for the man of my dreams. It wasn’t a whole lot really. I think there were four or five things on my list. Just the important stuff: Must be taller than me (not hard to be). Must be good with money. Must make me laugh. Must love Jesus. It was more of a prayer really, and multiple times in my life I remember pulling out that tattered, butterfly-thin sheet and clutching it to my heart – asking God to bring my most intimate prayer to fruition.
There were many times when I thought foolishly that God had abandoned my fervent prayers. Times of loneliness and tears. Times where I chased hearts that didn’t even possess the qualities that my wise 10-year-old heart had deemed the most precious. Then I turned around and asked God, “Why?” It’s funny, isn’t it? How we lift up our prayers to Jesus, and then we turn around and try to handle things on our own. That was me. Many times over I tried to handle answering my prayer myself and many times over it left me broken and disillusioned by love.
Then when my black, and blue, bruised heart least expected it – there he was. Tall and lanky, and shy at first. My guy. It wasn’t like in the fairy tales, and there was definitely no love at first sight for either of us. In fact, after our first date, I called my friend Lauren and I told her, “Oh… well, that didn’t go very well. I don’t think I will ever hear from him again. He just about ran out of the PF Changs.” He did by the way… come to find out he thought I was ready to go because I had put my coat on. I was just cold by the way. Men… You can’t ever trust their intuitions – that is for certain.
Relationship trauma is not something I am new to. One of the men that I liked before I met John, I dated for over a year. We would go on dates but he would consistently tell me, “Oh this is just casual.” “All we are is casual.” Well for my own vulnerable heart, that relationship was anything but casual. Inside I always hoped that he would change his mind, and one night he did. I had decided that casual was NOT what I wanted, so I started going on other dates trying to pry my heart away from what it really wanted. One particular night, he somehow found out that I was going on one, and right when I was reaching for my dessert at the hippy uptown tavern my phone started buzzing. “We need to talk. Please come over. ” shone out in bright glowing letters. Classic me, I said goodbye to my date and I drove my little Jeep right over, not a thought to the wind of whether it was a good idea or not. He grabbed me in the parking lot and laid a kiss on me so hard it made my head spin. Then he laid the bomb on me, “I want to give this a real shot. I want to date you. You don’t need to be dating other people. I really think this could work. I love you, Megan.” All of the things I had been waiting to hear for the past year and a half he delivered. And I was elated. 12 hours later, it was all ripped away. I woke up at home in my bed with a content smile on my face and relief in my heart, and I reached for my phone. “I am really happy about last night. Are you sure this is what you want?” … the reply zinged through the phone a couple of seconds later with a buzz. “You know, we really shouldn’t put a label on anything. Just keep things… casual.” The sucker punch realization hit me with a sickening thud. He didn’t want to date me, he just didn’t want me to date anyone else.
Every once in a while John and I will be sitting on the couch and I will ask him out of the blue, “Do you still love me.” I will hold my breath for the response but he answers every time with a laugh, “Yes Megan, very much,” and I can breathe again. I think those of us who have experienced true trauma from our dating relationships are the hardest to love because we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The double edge of the sword? We are usually the ones who need love the most… I know John thinks I am silly when I ask him if he loves me, but before him, Love for me was consistently given, then taken away. A classic social experiment that always left my starving heart yearning for more.
It took a miracle to get me ready for my future husband. Literally, I believe it was a miracle. I was still a very broken person, still crippled with the trauma that I had experienced multiple times during my last few relationships, and still clinging to the past when I met Dolli. She is a flight attendant who is so fiercely in love with God it was evident from the moment I met her. I broke down on the plane with Dolli and cried. I told her how broken I was, and how I knew that God had a better plan for me but I was stuck in this cycle of never-ending hurt. She prayed for me that day, and I honestly believe that that moment was a pivotal turning point for my dating life. In that moment and the ones following, I was able to let go of my previous relationships and I was able to embrace the new man in my life – the one who would soon ask me to marry him.
John is everything that I prayed for and more, and I am constantly in awe of God’s amazing grace. My naive ten-year-old heart never knew the path I would have to take to get to my happily ever after, and I am thankful that it didn’t. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t change a thing, because as heart-wrenching as my journey has been, it has led me to one of the kindest, hard-working, God-fearing men that I have ever met. It led me to the man that blew my little piece of paper right out of the water… And for that – I prayed.