The year was 1998, and I was newly divorced. Talk about an end to a beautiful dream. Well, maybe beautiful is a stretch. After all, my marriage wasn’t exactly a Romeo and Juliet moment. Oh, but those eyes. Wait! My honeymoon was the worst honeymoon I had ever been on. It was so bad; I haven’t been on a honeymoon since. Of course, you must get married to go on a honeymoon. No marriage, no honeymoon.
In watching other marriages, I found out that marriage takes work, communication, and commitment, and while I was willing to give it my all, my husband had different ideas. It’s like trying to row with one arm tied behind your back. You go around in circles, tire quickly, and eventually, you put the oar down. Of course, it would have been easier if my husband had been rowing in my boat and not someone else’s.
When a dream dies, and let’s face it; divorce is the death of a dream, we tend to go through a grieving period. We move through the stages of grief, similar to the death of a loved one. I grieved the loss of a dream I had since childhood and all through my high school years.
I remember those days. My friends and I sat around dreaming about Mr. Wonderful. What young woman doesn’t right?
After the divorce, I wanted a man who would love me, care for me, love my child, go on family vacations, cook, and be an incredible partner. And of course, he had to be good looking—dream big, they say. I didn’t care if he was height-challenged. I actually like short guys. The “tall, dark, and handsome” wasn’t a requirement. Two front teeth and a valid license were good starters.
Back to Reality
But as the years went by, my dream was looking less and less realistic. It was as if I was a repellent. The number of ‘at bats’ was embarrassingly low. My low self-esteem was at an all-time high, while my dating life was a bust.
It seemed everyone else was living the dream. Admittedly, some were less than blissful, and others were short-lived. There were successful marriages as well. I could see both sides of the marriage thing. I was happy for them all.
Looking for love that lasts.
There’s a song that goes like this:
“I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places,
Lookin’ for love in too many faces,
searchin’ their eyes and lookin’ for traces
of what I’m dreamin’ of.”
That was me. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. It took me many years to find my true love.
I remember many nights crying because I was so lonely. I never understood why men never took an interest or saw me as more than a friend.
Then it happened.
One day, sometime in 2005, I fell in love with the right guy. I finally found my Mr. Wonderful. He was in front of my eyes the entire time; only I hadn’t seen him.
He wasn’t a good cook or super great at cleaning the house. But what he was great at was loving me for me.
He accepted me for who I was, baggage and all. I didn’t need to wear makeup or do my hair extra special. I could make mistakes, fall down and totally mess things up, yet his love has never left.
The love I feel when I think about him is deeper than any love I have ever felt for anyone else, including the ex. To know in my heart that I am loved more than anyone else has ever loved me or could love me does something to the fibers of my heart. It’s like pouring au jus gravy over roast beef. It’s like your favorite ice cream running down the side of your hand. The best Cuban sandwich could never compare to the love I have for him and the love he has for me.
All those years, I thought that love could only come in a package I created for myself. I thought it had to look and feel like everyone else’s love, and so I searched and searched only to fail and injure myself in the process.
There are lots of single folks out there looking for love in all the wrong places. They are searching for that someone special who will make them feel like no one has before, and so, they like me will search endlessly in a futile attempt to fill that space in their heart.
Who is the love of my life?
Jesus never: leaves, lies, cheats, insults, calls me horrid names, or lets me down. He loves me with everlasting love I cannot explain. My words fail me when it comes to his love, but I know it is real.
When I finally humbled myself and accepted his love, I experienced what others had tried to tell me: that I had been looking for love in all the wrong places.
The loneliness is gone.
I no longer cry myself to sleep over loneliness. I spent years crying because of the pain I felt inside. That’s not who I am anymore.
My life is beyond full with a beautiful child from my failed marriage and the love of my life watching over me and providing everything we need.
As time goes by, I fall deeper and deeper. I have felt things and seen things there are no other explanations for except Christ.
Some people have difficulty understanding how I could love someone so deeply I have never seen or touched.
For me, it’s easy because when I think about it, there’s no other explanation for why I have lived through some of the things I have lived through. Honestly, I can’t make those things up.
Because of the love, I feel for Christ, I feel an overwhelming sense of urgency to share the good news with everyone. I don’t always share the news perfectly, but I want so badly for others to know the kind of love I found. Why? Because that kind of love can be your kind of love too, an everlasting love.
Love that lasts.
If you are willing to open your heart even a little bit, you will find Jesus waiting right there to come in. I promise you will not be sorry. And you too will find that you can’t stop thinking about how much love you feel and are shown.
I love one I have never seen or hugged. Jesus died on the cross for me so I could live. He paid the price and gave me the gift of eternal life when I accepted him as Lord and Savior in my life. That’s a grand love I can’t live without!
Bridge to Grace – a nonfiction novel