While in the gray shades of my life, I dreamed of enchanted castles and of love dancing by the light of candles. For sixteen years I looked out at the world through a garden of milk weeds and thistles and fantasized of a lover who was gentle, loving and would always care. Then one day, on April 7th, real unconditional love came my way. Travis asked me to be his wife.
When Travis and I first met, our hearts contained walls of titanium. Inside were laser beams, steel traps, barbed wire and barking dogs dripping with anticipation of biting the next person who tried to break our hearts.
I could hear the soft, near silent screams of the person behind the walls and barriers Travis wanted the world to see. He wanted people to see past the pain from all the broken relationships, past his faults and see his true heart and true potential.
But people only look at the outside package, the sparkling wrapping paper with the perfect ribbon. If they see the sign Caution: Damaged Contents Inside, they run.
As I began trusting God, my walls came down. I knew God wouldn’t put me into another relationship that was harmful, just as he would not allow the same for Travis. God knew that we had both been hurt and wanted love. Because Travis didn’t have a great experience with relationships, I had to convince him I was different, that I’m my own breed of woman.
During my divorce, I never thought I would trust anyone again. As much as I wanted to get married and have a healthy relationship, I never thought I could get to the point of trusting. But when you trust in God, it changes you. I trusted Travis through God until I got to the point where I could just simply trust Travis, then fall in love with him.
There were issues that I had to face as our relationship progressed, but I was honest in how I felt and wanted Travis to help me through them. I had to learn that not every man was my ex-husband. Just because one person was unable to love me and know my heart did not mean that God couldn’t find someone else for me who could.
I had to learn how to let another man touch me, kiss me, look into my eyes without me looking away. One night Travis took me to a nice restaurant, and I spent most of it looking out at the city or counting the peanut shells on the floor as he held my hand.
When he tried to kiss me, I turned away or put my head down. As much as I wanted to be kissed, I was still shy and felt awkward. I finally had to tell him to just grab me and kiss me. He happily obliged.
Travis was cautious at first because it was such a short time after my divorce that I met him. My marriage was unique in the sense that I was alone during most of it. I also had nine months to grow in the Lord and in myself before I met him. Just because Steve couldn’t love me or appreciate me I was not going to allow him to continue holding me prisoner. I couldn’t let one person influence my thoughts on love and marriage. Life equals risk. And love is the greatest risk of all, but it’s worth the risk.
We helped each other and learned from each other. Our determination to have a better life gave us the strength to move forward. Now we have a beautiful marriage that inspires our single friends.
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