Real and Raw Part 1
Real and Raw Part 2
Real and Raw Part 3
Real and Raw Part 4
Real and Raw Part 5
Real and Raw Part 6
Real and Raw Part 7
Real and Raw Part 8
Real and Raw Part 9
Real and Raw Part 10
Real and Raw Part 11
Needless to say my view of men went waaaaaaaaay down that year. I was a little naive to the fact that men could make mistakes of that caliber that could impact my life and rock me to the core.It is one thing when you make mistakes that have a negative effect on your life, but it is another to have to suffer consequences for someone else’s poor choices. I was so angry.
I was angry that Ryan was living a double life. I was angry that he was telling us to live one way while making choices to do the exact opposite. I was angry because of the huge hit Christianity took that day in the eyes of many disillusioned teenagers in the youth group. I was angry my dad left my family. I was angry that he didn’t tell me himself. I was angry that my dad’s choice was to leave my sister and my mom at home with me so far away. I was angry that my dad wouldn’t fight for his marriage or his family. I was angry at the poor choices, with no thought of the consequences, that these men made. I was angry that my faith seemed so small while my pain seemed so huge.
I was literally sick to my stomach. One of the girls on my drama team, Kaley, was a huge support to me during that time. When I was in the bathroom, wretched with emotion and ready to vomit, she sat there praying for me and hugging me. She was the voice of truth to me during those times when I couldn’t think straight or have the strength to pray. She would call me to check on me and made me get out of bed when I wanted to pull the covers over my head. Everyone needs a Kaley when they are going through a time like that. Someone who will make you shower and face each day, telling you to take one step at a time.
OK I NEVER DO THIS SO HUMOR ME!Kaley just launched her new site. Not only is Kaley an amazing woman of God, one of my besties, and a phenomenal wife and mom but she is the DEAL QUEEN. Please show her some love today by checking her new site out and making it one of your daily stops. I never ask you to do anything for me. It would bless me to know all of you at least told her hi, wished her good luck on her new endeavor, and thanked her for the role she played in my life. Please….
By the end of the September I was so exhausted. I needed a break from my all-consuming reality. I tried my best on the discipleship weekends with my Youth Quest team to still remain positive and tell teenage girls about the hope of Christ. In my core, I still believed that to be true. I just questioned what His purpose was in all this.
I finally got to the point where this was either going to make me or break me. I finally had an “all out” with God. If you have never had an “all out” with God, it will totally leave you changed. I poured out my heart…all the pain I felt, the disappointment, the aloneness, the abandonment, and just weeped for over an hour. It was such a cleansing moment. God brought tons of Scripture to my head about His faithfulness, strength, purpose, and healing. He met me in that place that day, and I started my journey of healing.
Ryan was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for his sexual relationship with an underage girl. The state of Illinois used him as an example, and he got a lofty sentence that was harsher because of his level of influence. The name of the girl was public knowledge, and my name was clear, not that the assumption didn’t hurt less. However, I did get a few apologies from people. That was nice.
These blows took me on a whirlwind ride. I learned never to put a man on a pedestal. I also learned that God is faithful when we are faithless.
Through this time I was questioning marriage and relationships in general. Can you ever really trust someone? Does God really have someone out there for me? Can a man be faithful? Will someone fight for me in a marriage even when its difficult? Is there such a thing as ’till death do us part?
On October 10th I made a commitment not to date for three months. I figured the timing would be perfect, and I would have a date for Valentine’s Day. In this time frame I decided I needed to work on being content without a relationship in my life and work on the “inner me”.
I know three months may not seem long to you, but you have to remember I had someone in my life since seventh grade. Three months was going to kill me! This would be a world record in my life. I also felt the need to give up make-up for a time.
Disclaimer: I do not recommend this nor endorse this as the way to experience inner beauty ladies. I just really felt like I was so wrapped up in outward beauty that I needed to make a drastic change. It is something I felt God call me to do.
The first time I left my dorm room without makeup I literally felt like I was walking out naked. It was frightening. However, wearing no make up was a reminder to me that my focus was on building character qualities in myself that would stand the test of time…character traits like love, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, perseverance, and faithfulness. God’s word became alive to me. He took me on a journey through His word, and that was my lifeline.
Most Christian women have read Proverbs 31. Verse 10 reads “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Something hit me in this verse that never did before. If someone is supposed to be found, that means that someone is looking! If a wife is supposed to be found, then it is the man who is looking! I learned that I am not to be the one pursuing and out on the hunt. Somewhere along the way I had become a hunter. That was not what God wanted me to be doing! That special someone was supposed to be looking for moii! And I am going to be worth more than rubies! So what do I do to make myself worth more than rubies? Somehow I knew the things I was doing to make myself beautiful were not of lasting value.
So I was now on a search to be more valuable than rubies. Then God brought me to Phillippians 3:7-10 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Did you catch it?!?!?Oh sweet women, I can barely type fast enough. I get so excited talking about this. Let me help you “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Do you get it now…in order to be a woman of noble character that some godly man would want I need to be found in Him. That means I didn’t need to rely on my looks or my glowing personality or any other earthly thing that could change with a mood swing or the passing of time. If I truly wanted the type of husband that would be searching for a Proverbs 31 woman, I needed to be found in Christ. I wanted that more than anything.
The author of this passage is saying that any earthly thing or worldly trait is garbage compared to Jesus. Dang, I could preach this message all day long people. I am ready to hear an “Amen or a “Whoop Whoop!”
Now don’t hear me say I wanted my future husband to think I was a bow-wow. I wanted him to think I was beautiful on the outside too. However, I wanted what caught his attention to be my heart and love for Jesus. I wanted that to be the overriding quality that made him fall in love with me, not my cute striped shirt with my overalls and bows (I definitely had a love affair with overalls and bows).
God laughed, I am sure, when I said I would go three months without dating. He was probably like “Girlfriend, it is going to take you a lot longer to be content without a relationship in your life!” So for those three months I did my best to will myself into contentment without a relationship in my life. I got asked out four times in those three months. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to get my ego stroked and to go on a date but I held strong. After that God must have put a vortex of ugly around me or something. No one asked me out for 14 months. 14 months!?!?! NOW THAT WAS A WORLD RECORD! Somewhere along the way I didn’t care though.
I wish I could tell young girls do step one, two, and three to be content without a guy in your life. But it wasn’t that easy. It was a conscious decision to wake up and choose Christ and experiencing His will for my life everyday.
Somewhere in those fourteen months I woke up and was just so excited about my relationship with God that nothing else mattered. In my heart I truly was able to say “God if you never desire me to be married you are all I need and all I ever want.” I meant it wholeheartedly. It was the hardest lesson I ever learned but I wouldn’t trade those 14 months for the world now.
God helped me let go of my anger and healed my hurts (although I still have the scars so I can be reminded of His healing). I also learned not to lean on ANY earthly relationship to find my value. I was slowly learning about compassion, how to let go of hurts, how to have mercy on people when they make mistakes, and not to judge people. I think those things are pretty beautiful don’t you? That is inner beauty people!
I didn’t take this journey alone. Much of the road I did have to walk by myself but Kaley and others were cheering me on from the sidelines.
I won’t leave you with another cliffhanger today. I will be nice. But I will leave you with a preview of tomorrow…if I could title it I would call it “a love worth waiting for.”
I know you didn’t visit Kaley yet because I sucked you into my story…so go there now. Please!
And thanks for listening to my soapbox today. I will carry His message to the grave. HE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR YOU whatever you are going through.
Big, squishy hug to you today from me