Today was a rough day for me. It was a roller coaster ride, to say the least. I woke up a little late, but took the time to give thanks to our Lord through my morning prayer. Each day I begin by getting on my knees and praying to Him for strength, guidance, and courage. After, I pick up my Bible and I read for instruction. Today was no different.
Last weekend my many years of sin, lack of morals, and refusal to back away from temptation lead me to the place nobody wants to be; rock bottom. I had a sudden awakening. I opened my eyes and realized how the actions I have succumbed to have truly hurt the ones around me that I love. Suddenly, I was lost. I needed salvation. I needed peace. I needed my Lord and Savior. And I found Him.
From that day forward, I gave up my wicked ways and I promised to follow Him wherever He leads. I made a decision to try my best every single day to stay strong and to live my life according to His will. By doing so, I pledged to give up anything that would distract me from my daily walk. This includes drinking, partying, running around with women, and doing anything I always knew to be wrong. Sometimes I fail.
This weekend, I went against my better judgment and allowed the closeness I shared with Shelley to open up my desire to want to be with her in a permanent arrangement. Our marriage is over…there is no question about it. As much as I want it to work, now, it’s too late. I accept the fact that there are issues we can’t get past, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would be putting our friendship in dire jeopardy if we were to try. But I also feel a love for her that I never recognized as her husband. The right thing for me to do is to let her go and not interfere with the new relationship she is in with a man whom she truly cares for. This is the instruction I was given from God.
Unfortunately, I can be hard-headed and I did not listen. I found myself back in love with her and yearning for a life that I know is not right for me. Because of this, I got hurt. She called me last night to talk to me about a conversation she had with her new man and for a brief moment, I thought she was going to give me what I desired…A new chance. That didn’t happen. Instead, she gave me a speech about how we needed distance so she could nurture her relationship and I could fully get over her. I’m not going to lie…That hurt.
I was in pain, but I had peace, so I was able to deal with it. I came home and went to bed and prepared myself for the new week ahead.
The first thought that came to my mind as I awoke this morning was that of fear and doubt. I have always had a relationship with God, but never a serious one. I have my days when I am close to Him, but it doesn’t last and then I find myself living the same life I have become accustomed to. In the end, I find myself getting nowhere. It seems I fail at every turn. My recent failure to sustain a marriage seems to have given me the true desire to be a better man, but I’m not sure it’s enough motivation for me to truly change who I am. What if I don’t have it in me to be the man God needs me to be? And so I randomly opened my Bible this morning and got my instruction from 2 Chronicles, 15:7 – “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
“Be strong and do not give up.” These words I repeated to myself all morning. I want to be rewarded. I need to be a strong Christian man. “What would you have me do, Lord?” I asked. I am new to this level of faith, so I wasn’t sure if I got my answer, but I suddenly felt I needed to go to church tonight. The church offers a program called Monday Night Live, and it is encouraged for all members to attend. The program is designed to be a 12 week course on how to communicate the message of Jesus to non believers. I don’t think I could actually hit the streets and talk to random strangers about coming to Jesus, but, again, I felt like I needed to do this. After all, I promised Him I would follow wherever He leads.
The message I received must have been the reason for my sudden jump in my mood. I was energized and feeling really good about myself. I started thinking about the singles Sunday school class and how great it would be to get involved with them. If there was any better way to get over Shelley, this was it.
Shelley. I think I’ll reach out to her and share with her this good news. That’s when my day took a turn for the worse.
Again…against my better judgment, I reached out to her and surprisingly, she was very receptive to my texts. We seemed to be getting along really well and suddenly, I wanted to see her. I tell her I really want to talk with her more about the conversation we had last night because I felt I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to logically discuss this idea that we needed space. I wanted to explain that I’m OK with the idea, but I still wanted to be friends on a limited basis. She tells me we can meet up for coffee at some point this week, but she’s pretty busy every night except tonight or Friday night. These were my choices. Now I am supposed to go to the church tonight, so Friday would be the logical choice, but we are talking about me. I’ve never been the most patient guy in the world.
This is when I actually had the audacity to argue with my Lord.
“I can’t go to church tonight, Lord, I need to see Shelley. There’s plenty of time for me to attend this class. Besides…I’m not ready for that yet”.
So I tell Shelley, “OK let’s do this. Where do you want to meet?” After a long discussion over such a simple matter, the words actually came out of my mouth…”Let’s just meet for a drink. I’ll be OK to have one”.
Did I really say that??? Did I really just go against everything I believed in a desperate attempt to see the woman whom I know is going to break my heart, yet again?? She tells me “OK”, and the next thing I know I’m sitting in a bar waiting for her to show up.
I think you already know how this is going to turn out.
All I wanted to do was ensure her that I was not in a bad place and I am totally cool with how things were going to turn out for us. I wanted to explain how I’m going to be OK without her and that “it wouldn’t take me long to get over her”. BAD CHOICE OF WORDS!
The more I tried to explain my feelings, the deeper of a hole I buried myself into. To make matters worse, she then explains how her new man is so good with communicating and he actually makes an effort to make her understand what he is saying (which is something I apparently can’t do). And just to add salt to a bleeding wound, she mentions how she now questions how sincere I really am about my new found faith since I’m sitting in a bar with a drink in my hand only one week after I said I would never do that again.
So now I pissed! I’m angry with myself for the situation I’m in. I’m angry with her because she can’t hear what I’m trying to say. And I’m angry with this whole idea that I just want to love her, but instead, we are back in the same spot we were in when the marriage failed. The jukebox is playing a hard hitting, hate song called “Bad Religion” by a band called “Godsmack” and Shelley is suddenly so frustrated, she ups and walks out without saying a word. How could things get any worse? All I can do is run out to my truck, shut the door, and start wailing in the loneliness that my life has become. I’m so irate I start pounding my fist into the roof of my truck and I’m crying out to God “WHERE ARE YOU?!?! WHY DID YOU MAKE ME THIS WAY?!?!? WHY CAN’T I BE STRONG AND SMOOTH TALKING LIKE I NEED TO BE?!?!?”
I get myself so worked up that I actually start puking out the side of my truck and then I find myself staring into the night wondering “Why???”
Like a crazy man, I suddenly start talking to myself out loud in the parking lot. Actually, I was talking to the devil. I admitted to him that he was good. He set this trap so perfectly that I blindly walked right into it. I’m so weak that I can’t resist him and I see now that I can’t put any blame on God for this one. This is my entire fault.
In one final desperate attempt to reach out to my Savior, I say to Him “OK…What now?”
I turn to my left and I look up to a billboard next to me and in the corner it says these words…
With you every step.
There are no words. All I can do is cry.