It was hard to believe that it happened to me again! Almost 14 years after my second marriage I had found myself in exactly the same position…on the other side of divorce. It seemed almost like the whirling of a carousel, literally, as my life rotated round –n-round until it stopped and I stepped off into the same mindset place….at 43 years old instead of 26.
I can still remember the epiphany moment when I finally realized the “Repeat” I had just experienced. It wasn’t until that epiphany that I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that unresolved issues controlled my decisions and mindsets about some very deep beliefs in me…even though I was saved and a Christian now.
Now, I know that I have shared snippets of some of my thoughts and experiences on making the decision for this divorce based on triggers of fear from my childhood. But tonight, well, my focus tonight is on the single perspective from this last ten years that I have been “single again” for the second time after the choice was made.
I think the scariest thing about the new “single again” for me was the fact that I was a Christian when it happened. I somehow believed that I COULDN’T make the same decisions, mistakes and choices that I used to as an unbeliever. I was so scared and truly sought God and received forgiveness for breaking my marriage covenant. And no matter the reason – even safety – I truly believe that breaking a covenant with God is sin. But I am not one to wallow in condemnation, thank you Jesus! After asking forgiveness and RECEIVING IT, I grieved the death of our marriage, accepted my new life, and moved on…focused on God and family! It is NOT like I was going to go the bar scene this time around. As far as I was concerned, that person, like Elvis lol, had left the building.
I can assure you, men in my future were the last thing on my mind! I had no thought, desire, plan, or purpose to date, much less marry again! (So sorry for the prejudice! God took care of that later! See my previous stories.) I loved my new single season free from oppression. I began to focus on getting healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. The “ouch” truth was that I had spent a lot of years not feeling loved at all, so in all honesty I literally had to restrain myself from slapping those well meaning souls when they asked me when I was going to find a new man. My heart would scream, “NEVER”! My face just played it off.
As you know by my testimony, my life was a healing whirlwind during this time – and I had a great time single. I began getting involved in the single ministry at church and we had lots of fellowship, activities and stayed occupied, serving and busy. Especially once I began to work at the church!
It was totally important to me to keep myself …Holy…body, soul and spirit. The married men I worked and served with at church have no idea how they blessed my life. I hadn’t had many relationships with Godly men….well, and those men showed me what Godly men were. I would watch them love, serve and protect the body of Christ and I began to learn what qualities I desired one day to find in a man. I thanked God many times for putting me in a safe place to grow and increase as a woman of god…SAFELY.
I bloomed and in me was released a deep passion for God, worship, and creativity. I guess I was just like a greenhouse flower…protected from outside influences and growth was guaranteed!
A single guy I knew at church in time became really friendly…interested…I would get lots of comments from those that noticed, but I just wasn’t ready for my passion and zest for life to be shared in a romantic relationship. I still kept my walls up against that. I kind of picture it like a castle…the drawbridge was up and no one was getting past the gate. For real! Speaking of castle…
At this stage of my spiritual journey I began to collect pictures of castles, study about warriors and even, yes even, bought a 6-foot metal knight in armor. Oh my gosh, I loved the representation of that! I found him at a second hand office furniture store in Westlake – and barely got him in my car. It was so funny to watch the vehicles pass me by on the I10 bridge and do a double take at the “Knight” filling my car!
But back to being single…I think I believed that because I worked at church 7 days a week, that one day MY knight would just walk into my office and whisk me away on his white stallion. Don’t YOU laugh! For real, I was rarely anywhere else, so that seemed the logical plan to me!
And then one day, a visiting minister at church began to flirt…and I had a great time with it and began to realize I was getting ready to think about a relationship. While that minister was only an eye opener, so-to-speak and not a relationship, I began to be aware of a change taking place in my heart on the issue of romance in general.
But then I began to wonder where all the single Christian men were! I didn’t see many of them at the single’s ministry events that I was now Leader for. If fact, there were few single Christian women that would step out and come to single’s events. I knew that there weren’t many places for Christian singles to fellowship. Bars were out of the question in ministry circles and it seemed as if most single and divorced people 35 and over must have found other ways to socialize or meet.
There were a few networked single’s events in the city…but even those events were minimally attended. So I would ask myself, “Where are the Christian singles going to meet, socialize and date?” I tried to alter and change ministry activities to attract church singles – knowing that there were many needs not being addressed in their lives. But honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it since I worked almost every day…and when church events were going on, I was working and unable to meet and get to know other Christian singles.
And then, in the middle of all that, I bought a home and my focus was totally preoccupied for several months as I got moved out of my apartment, remodeled my new house, and got settled. It was a great time…quite a challenge…and a tremendous amount of work. I loved my home. But then one day I noticed how empty it was and for the first time in many, many years, I wanted romance, a husband and a partner at home. I had been single again this time for about five years. I just hadn’t prepared for the waive of determination I felt towards having someone in my life romantically all of a sudden. I don’t know it if was the “home” factor. Or the “responsibility” factor. Or simply because I was “lonely” right in the middle of hundreds and even thousands of people many times a week working in ministry.
And what did I do? I did what many Christians do when they are trying to “help” God or make something happen when the wait gets too long. I stepped up and took over. Ever heard of online dating?
Oh yeah…I am sure you have. I heard and learned about it… and opened a door to a nightmare.
I felt sure I had it all under control. Boy was I wrong.
And tomorrow night I will share about that.
Patti Corbello Archer
Life After Divorce – The Carousel