Our first date was August 13…nine years ago today. I had been living in New York City for about 7 months. I was waiting tables, still learning my way around the city, and most days feeling scared to death. He took me to a restaurant close to my apartment and I remember being impressed because he asked me what appetizer I wanted to try. An appetizer? I was living off of bread and peanut butter, so the extravagance alone was almost too much to handle. It was a good date. We talked and laughed. He was respectful and kind. And God was there.
The night I found out he was having an affair I called my mother, who called my sister, who called my best friend to come and get me out of my apartment. I wasn’t hysterical by any means, I was oddly calm. I remember my heart hurt and I didn’t actually know until that moment that a heart could hurt. My best friend, Cheyenne, came straight to my apartment (and if you know the NYC subway system, then you know she is a saint) and she helped me pack a bag and she took me to her apartment. And God was there.
I won’t go into my ex-husband’s actions and words from that night because I’m just not ready to talk/write about them. It’s still too hard. Maybe someday it won’t be, or maybe someday it won’t matter…either way, it’s not a good memory, but it’s shaped a lot of who I am…And God was there.
What I’ve realized in thinking about the last nine years of my life, is that God was always there. The good, the bad, and the very ugly. No, he didn’t stop the affair from happening. He didn’t make the first date go poorly so I wouldn’t go out with my ex-husband again and thus never marry him. He didn’t even save my marriage…and I thought he would. But he never left my side.
We all have the opportunity to make a thousand decisions every day. God gave us that gift. He isn’t a master puppeteer up in the heavens pulling our strings, He is a loving God who is rooting for us to choose goodness and mercy and kindness and joy and compassion. And sometimes we fail. Often we fail. My ex-husband failed. And some days my heart still hurts. But some days it doesn’t. And God is still here…he is always here.
Psalm 139: 7-10 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”