When you google my name one of the first things to pop up is my wedding announcement. Full engagement picture of myself glued to my ex-husband looking like one of those girls in a Noxema ad. I know this because today I googled myself, turned to my best friend and instead of crying or feeling emotionally wounded I said “Look at this. I can’t believe we were married. It feels like someone else’s life. A whole nother life that happened a long time ago.” And it does. That girl smiling back at me with her whole life ahead of her is like a picture of someone I used to know. Yes, I remember the day we took those photos. I could tell you everything about that day. I remember how I picked the dress I wore (Thank you, Galloway), how I was worried about my tan lines showing, how the photographer guided us, even how we chose what restaurant to eat at for dinner. I could tell you all those things, and even still it feels like a lifetime ago. The person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with…looks like a stranger. It’s sad. I thought for over 8 years that we was my soulmate, and when I lost him I mourned the loss of a love I would never have again. And then I stopped believing in soumates all together.
The term “soulmate” is interesting. Many women speak about their husband being their soulmate. The one human who was meant to be attached to them from their moment of creation. But what does that really mean? Does it mean that if you don’t get married that you are soulmateless? That God forgot about you when he was planning the whole soulmate pair up system? Are the unmarried destined to live a life without a human soul that brings them the earthly joy of unconditional love? This was my fear. I knew I was a good teammate. I knew my shattered heart still had love to give. Would it be unwanted forever?
The short answer is “no.” The long answer is that even when I was at my darkest, God was preparing a human heart to love and protect my heart. He was preparing a friendship that would happen a year into the future. He was preparing a soul that would revive my belief in soulmates.
I don’t want to skip ahead in the story of my journey, but I do want to write about my present discoveries. My prayer is that this shows growth, and healing, and hope…and as far as I’m concerned, a story of hope should always be told. At this point, how we met doesn’t matter. Where we met, under what circumstances, first impressions are all stories for another day. What matters now is that we did meet. What matters now is that I have been given the gift of an unexpected friendship. What matters now is how God surprised me and taught me a lesson about love. The true power of a love that doesn’t fail.
I met Jake a little over a year ago. I had just filed for divorce. I lived my life in fear and woke up every morning hating who I was. I couldn’t feel joy, but I was going through the motions and trying my darnedest to rebuild my life. I kept moving and I had to give myself credit for that. Jake and I worked together. Jake saw me for more than a divorced woman who had failed at marriage. Jake didn’t think I was broken or unwanted or worthless. My circumstances didn’t define who I was to Jake. To this day I still don’t know what made him reach out and befriend me. I was a mess, but he didn’t seem to care. And although at this point I was terrified of men, Jake was gay; so to me that made him feel safe. And Jake put me back together.
We have remained best friends since we met. I spent New Year’s Eve with him a few weeks ago and during our time together I told him my theory that soulmates were a bullshit idea made up by women to romanticize marriage. He turned his precious face to me and said, “I’ve always thought we were soulmates. My heart was destined to love your heart.”
That is the story about how God gave me a true soulmate. That’s the story about how I am still learning about love. That’s the story about about how, once again, God was in control and has provided me with a man who will never allow me to be less than the woman I was created to be.
And that is why, when I saw my perfect Noxema ad looking self staring back at me, I didn’t cringe. That girl was special and she entered into a marriage with a heart full of love and hope for a beautiful future. And that didn’t work out. But this girl, this girl I look at every day…she is strong and she is worthy and she has been taught the beauty of a true love that never fades. And so much if that is due to the fact that God created Jake.
Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love.”