I Still Believe in Romance

Originally published August 2012.

Sometimes I want to curse the fantasy of romance and happily-ever-after. Starry-eyed brides and flowers and first kisses and passionate sex between a husband and wife.

Is this stuff for real?

It’s not my reality. I wanted to be cherished and loved but my family of origin (FOO) led me to believe that no one would ever love me (guess that included them?) and that I was unworthy of such affection and care.

Don’t feel too sorry for me. I’m not stating that for pity.

When I was fifteen, after years of yearning for God and wondering if I should become a nun  so I could pursue that elusive deity (I was Catholic then), I found out that Jesus wanted a personal relationship with me. ME? The girl who was too heavy, wore glasses and whose hair was uncontrollably curly. The ugly one? The one boys only wanted as a “friend” but never to date? The one no-one would love?

Yup. Me. Jesus wanted a relationship with me – because HE loved me.

He may not open car doors or take me to dinner –but he opened up the door to heaven and intimacy with the Almighty Holy God.

The God who created a universe and makes flowers bloom. To show His beauty. To show His love – to me.

Me?

I still ended up getting the short end of the stick when it came to a human relationship with a man. I thought I was getting a godly man but I was deceived by accepting some of the behaviors that were “normal” in my FOO. Like insults and withholding love and emotional, financial and verbal abuse. I didn’t know it could be different or that I deserved better.

I know others who have good marriages. Love. A husband who pursues God and seeks to try to love their wives and serve them. It makes me want to cry. Cry because of the beauty of that kind of love. Cry because I don’t have that. Cry because my heart still so longs to be the recipient of a man’s adoration, affection, encouragement and partnership in this life. Cry because my successes get shared with friends who cannot be there daily. Cry because what I have is not what I was created for.

Men, if you read this, realize that for a woman like me, looks are not everything.  A man who has a heart for God is far more attractive than the buffest model. A man of godly character who treats a woman right – is worth gold.

At times I’ve blamed God my lack of human, romantic love. Yet I made choices, the best I could at the time. God has always been there, faithful and loving me through my good and bad days and somehow still uses me for HIS glory and plan here on earth.

I try to be brutally honest with you about my struggle so you can find someone who understands and “gets” how hard it is to be in a difficult marriage. To maybe be abused, lonely and wanting more. So much more. But denied that reality in the human realm.

I also write inspirational romances because I still believe it exists and the only way I can experience that – is through my characters as they struggle and overcome their challenges by the grace of God. And find love.

I’ve not come to that kind of ending but someday I will. I will have eternity with Jesus. He did lay His life down for me. He inscribed me on the palm of his hand – better than a tattoo with my name somewhere on a man’s body! He woos me gently and never condemns me. He gives me flowers. He gave me children (a mixed blessing some days!).

I’ve gone through times where I could not read romances because I felt so bad with longing for what I couldn’t have. Now I find comfort in them knowing that God is the lover of my soul.

How about you? Do you still believe in romance?

Hope

This was first posted by me in another blog October 2010.

For too long I have struggled in the darkness of difficult circumstances.  Felt the clouds of despair settle over my soul. Doom and gloom.  Kind of like Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh.  No hope.

Today I find myself feeling hopeful and even joyful. This is not a common state of being for me so I’m relishing it.  Circumstances have not substantially changed, except that my husband is in one of his “good places” for the moment which must have an impact.  And I’m getting wiser.  I realize that it’s not going to last and I’m bracing myself.  Hoping that when he crashes emotionally, I can withstand the impact.  Twenty years + of history – it’s inevitable, barring a miracle of God.

What else has changed?  Life has taken on a new “feel” in that I am finding new opportunities in which to invest myself away from my home.  Writing. Pursuing publishing. Dipping my toes deeper into ministry challenges. Realizing some things there cannot be rushed, and that not all good goals can be pursued with equal intensity, all the time.  Grace.

I’m learning to give myself grace.  And as I relax into the depths of who God says He is, I find greater peace.  I’ll admit that writing “Lifeline: Hope for Women in Difficult Marriages” is not an easy book.  But I find joy in the writing, because so many of you have told me that you need this kind of book.  We all want a solution when we are hurting , don’t we?

There’s not a “marriage repair shop” however.  You cannot tune up one side of the car or put new tires on it, and with the other side of the car refusing repair, run smoothly.  It’s just not going to happen.  The new tires will wear unevenly and carry a heavier burden.  So true if you are in a difficult marriage.

So I’m glad that we don’t have to walk that road alone.  That when we park the car, we can have others around us to help re-inflate our tires and polish our hubcaps.  And maybe wash our window so we can see more clearly.  Even if we are in the passenger seat, which can feel so helpless, we are not without help or protection.  The Holy Spirit is our seat belt and airbag. No better safety and security than when we are secured by God!

I’m still working on finding an agent/publisher for my book, driven not so much by the desire to make a name for myself, or fatten up my lean checking account.  No, what compels me onward is the belief that as I write, I might be able to offer you hope, too.  The hope I’ve so desperately at times needed (and I’m sure I will need again!). Please pray that God would open the right door for that, if it is His will.  I want to move forward and help be there to blow the clouds of despair away, hug you with words that tell you “you are not alone,” and bring honor and glory to God as we persevere through difficult relationships.

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe”. (Pro 18:10)

Hope. Today it floats me.  Praying you find some of that for yourself this week as well regardless of what trials you are facing.  Let Jesus be your strong tower and hope in times of trouble.