Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Love story-- Part 1

I have been feeling like it is time to tell the story of how Larry and I came to be. I will warn you that this is going to be long, but it promises to rival some of your favorite chic flicks. It has all the elements of a great love story. Some people know the story; some know parts of the story; some have never heard at all. I am sure that no one has heard it like I am about to tell it. God taught me so much and showed himself so faithful through the whole process. There are so many details, but they are very important and God is in the details. I also want to apologize ahead of time for the drippings of bitterness that may creep. I am going to try to tell this in a positive light and not let the ugliness come out, but it may seep in a bit. I am sorry for that; just know that I pray about it daily and have for a long time and God is working things out. Maybe telling all the beautiful parts of the story will further help me process and release any pain that still remains.

So here we go, buckle up b/c it is quite a ride.

We have established that I was terribly abused and was shattered into a million pieces when Jesus introduced himself to me. I had never felt loved until Jesus told me He loved me. I was 7 months pregnant when I met Jesus. (I really need to tell that story very soon. I will try). Jesus immediately did a 180 degree turn around in my life, from the moment He came to dwell in my heart. He started healing, changing and restoring me in a miraculous and very quick way. He brought stability to me before I even realized what He was doing. That was probably for the benefit of the child I was carrying. I had never had a healthy relationship all of my life.

I have tried to do that math to get timing right, but forgive me if some of the timing is off or doesn't seem to line up. I am doing my best to try and make it all as accurate as possible. I do know that I met Jesus on July 17, 1992; it was a Friday night. It did not take very long at all for God to convince me that He had one perfect person for me to spend my life with. I knew that if I was patient and prayerful, He would bring that person to me. I believe that if God is capable of saving us and leading us, He is more than capable of bringing the right person at the right time. He didn't need my help. I really walked in that truth. I noticed people; I would wonder if that was the one, but I did not believe in dating. Take what you want from that. It was the stance I took, and it worked for me. I thought that I would insist on that for my children, but my children are aloud to date (that change is also a story for another day). I believe that I met Larry when Ally was in the 18 months to 2 years range. (I always say she was 1, but looking back I am not entirely sure). She could walk, I know. We met in a singles group that a friend organized. And I was fresh out of the world. Because I had come from such an extreme, I went extremely the other direction. EXTREME is really the only way you could describe me. Looking back, I am not sure why Larry did not run away screaming in the other direction.

I wore no earrings; I grew my hair out long, straight and with no color. I wore no make up. I wore ankle length skirts. (Hard for the people that know me now to even imagine). I was really whacky too. Bible thumper to the extreme mixed with my own brand of religiosity. I am definitely a Christian and very passionate about my walk with Jesus, but I hope Jesus has pruned the whackiness out of me.

Larry and I became friend pretty quickly and fell in love with one another pretty quickly. I prayed a lot about becoming involved with him and went to the leadership of the church for direction. I felt very strongly about not dating for the sake of dating. I believed in courtship. If I got involved with someone it was going to be b/c I was going to marry that person. Talk about being scary and intimidating for the man. Poor Larry. The guys who think their girl is trying to move too fast, just need to talk to him. There was no dating. We were friends then if he wanted to pursue it further we were talking about marriage. (I am glad God was in this thing, b/c he really should have run). I had been praying and not dated anyone for almost 2 years from the time that I met Jesus. We did start dating/courting, whatever you want to call it. We got to know each other and really adored each other.

I have never been loved the way he loves me. Sometimes I feel like I must be Cinderella b/c my love life seems like a fairy tales. He is the man of my dreams. I truly love this man more today than the day I married him. He has always loved me for exactly who I am, baggage and all. We balance each other so well and bring out the best in each other. I believe that God gave us the exact temperament and put us in the exact environment to make me and him who we are and that the combination is perfect to bring us where God wants us to be.

We were together for about 9 months. We were starting to plan the wedding. Ally called him daddy. I never doubted that he was the one that I was meant to be with so I dove in head first. I gave him all that I was, and shared all I was capable of sharing with him. Over the years, he has gotten to know me better and has seen parts of me that he didn't see back then. It is not that I was hiding intentionally, but as I get to know myself He gets to know me. I have had to receive a lot of healing and let God show me who I am, was and will be, b/c I did not know. Larry has always adored me and treated me like I was the most beautiful precious thing he has ever laid eyes on. When I still felt dirty, used and like a whore, he never viewed me that way. It was as if the past just didn't matter to him. He did, fall in love with Ally before he fell in love with me, but she was so so so cute. He couldn't help it. We both had a lot of baggage and it was very different baggage. I had baggage from the world and abuse. He had baggage from the Church.

Here is where my words could seem to be a little contaminated with yuck and again, I am sorry. I will try to keep that from getting in. I was, as I see it, kind of like the church mascot. I had a pedestal kind of mindset. Whether I just took that on, or it was given to me, I am not sure. It is probably a combination of both. The attitude was, "Look at this, look at what we did; she was a mess and we fixed her." Having been raised in an environment that did not really involve church, I didn't really know how church was supposed to be. There were some balance problems, but I was not able to see them. If they said jump, I said how high. In my mind they could do not wrong. They were my leadership, and I was to obey what they said. I didn't really question, what I was taught, I just believed it. Well, that was not the case with Larry. He had mind of his own, and He was not going to let anyone control him. He studied what the Bible said and asked questions. That was really a bone of contention between us. I really had hard time when he did not agree with them and we would fight over it. I loved that church, the people and the leadership; I wanted them and him to agree. I always felt kind of torn between them. I felt like I had to submit to them and like choosing to disobey them would be choosing to disobey God; I also felt like Larry was home, he was my true love and where I belonged.

The day came that I was told to break it off with Him. I can remember feeling like someone punched me in the stomach. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I fell to the ground and began to weep uncontrollably. I am not sure what the catalyst was or what motivation was behind it. Looking back it seems like letting us be together inevitably would have led to them losing me b/c he would take me out of the church. Was that the motivation? I don't know. I may never know. It was devastating for the both is us.

Now, I don't think it is the churches place to tell you who to be with or not to be with. My flesh would like to say that it was wrong what they did to us, but then God in my heart points out to me how much better off we are b/c we went through this thing. Keep reading b/c it just keeps getting better. I can't say whether they were wrong or right now. I can say God is good and in control and WOW did he do some amazing things through this situation and to bring us back together.

The way it was presented to me was, "That Larry would be a weight to me, that He would keep me from accomplishing the call of God on my life." Well, when presented with the choice of a man or Jesus. Of course, for me, what I had to choose was obvious. Was it easy? No, to this day, it is one of the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It is the most painful thing, I have gone through since I began walking with Jesus. Truth be known, it was never a choice between Larry and Jesus; it was a choice between Larry and the church. Unfortunately, I was manipulated and the choice made to seem different than it was. Jesus gave me everything I have; He got me off of drugs and set me free; He healed me and called me out of darkness. Though, I loved Larry with all my heart, He did not do any of that for me. So I chose to end it.

My heart was shattered into a million pieces. I truly felt wounded by God. I had prayed so diligently about getting involved with Larry. I did not understand why God would say yes and then take him away from me. I would ask, "Why couldn't you have just said no, I would have obeyed God. I would have been willing to accept no. But why give and then take." The truth is Job says, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." He can take anything He wants. I pressed into Him and cried out to him. Though, I felt He had taken my love away, I sought Him non the less. Jesus was and is everything to me, so I could not let this devastation drive me away from Him. I let it draw me closer to him. I read a lot in the Psalms. I would read and weep and pray and sob. I begged for God to take the pain away and make me willing to do His will. I begged for Him to break my will and make me strong enough to rejoice in Him no matter what He would require of me. I sobbed so deep within myself a couple of times that I would throw up. I have never felt sorrow of heart like it felt. Ally was around 2 or 3 and I would try to keep it together for her, but I was just so broken to the core of myself. I did not really share that agony with many people. I don't think I felt like I could. I felt like I had to put on a strong front of obedience so that no one would think I wasn't submissive to God or that I doubted. I tried to move on with life, but it really was like we were grieving a death. I guess we really were grieving the death of the love and of the dream. On Larry's side of things, He lost his wife to be and his daughter. Really they all felt like they were grieving the death of us. It rocked every one's lives. Ally changed; it wasn't something she could express or you could even put your finger on it, but she changed. The carefree, bubbly little girl went away and she seemed sad and confused. We were all confused. In my heart, I knew I loved him, but I had to deny it and pretend like I didn't love him. The only thing I could do was turn the love to hatred. Love and hate really are next door neighbors. True hate has to start out with some measure of love. The real opposite of love is indifference.

I was instructed that letting Ally continue to have a relationship with Larry or his family would be a mistake. That I would just be giving an already rebellious child a place to run away to. First, looking back, Alexandra (as we called her back then) was not rebellious. She was bubbly, joyous, full of life. She loved to sing and dance; she was very well behaved even. I told her not to do something, she just didn't do it. The other two certainly were not like that.

Things were hard for me, but at least I had the church family; Larry was just cast out by himself.
He was alone and confused. He became very angry with God. I did not run to Him. He ran away from God. As far as he was concerned, God lied to him and took me away from him. Larry felt like God told him (in high school) that He would only fall in love one time and that she would be the one for him. He fell in love and as far as he was concerned God took me away from him or at least let the church take me away from him.

To make this story more readable, I am going to divide it up into parts.

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