“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” –Ernest Hemingway
I was talking with one of my besties from high school while the kiddos played with their toys on the floor. We were just about to hang up the phone when she quickly interjected that she thinks that she found a guy that she wants me to meet. Ummmm…does she remember that months ago I went through a terrible, heart wrenching, devastating divorce?? Does she even understand that I have NO intention of dating anyone….maybe ever again!! I tell her I think she’s crazy and that there is no way I’m interested. She persists that he’s this great guy, and I’m like why don’t you date him if he’s so great?? She begins to get the drift that I’m not interested, but tells me his name anyway. When my daughter, Paisley, hears his name she looks at me with this smile on her face and says, “Mom, that’s my gym teacher!”
Yes, yes it was true. The same guy that my friend was telling me about was my daughter’s gym teacher. What are the chances? However, it didn’t change the fact that I wasn’t interested at all! Dating again was like going to the dentist for me. It was a game I wanted no part of, and I rarely even thought about it. I was ultra focused on completing school and making sure that my kids didn’t implode from past events!
Plus, I was allowing my heart to heal. I felt like I have been hit by a bus and run over several times and then hung up by my toes. It takes time to get past such pain that is soul penetrating. There is no time limit….it happens when it happens, and you can’t force it.
My life had been broken into 2 parts: pre-divorced Shannon who was trusting and naïve, and post-divorce Shannon who looked at everyone with distrusting eyes. I knew if I was ever going to move past this, I was going to have to walk through it. I was going to have to feel the ugly, hurtful, crushing parts. I couldn’t numb them with going out with men or keeping busy. I had to feel the weight of the loss. And, boy, sometimes I felt like it would crush me….but, you know what?? I didn’t. We can handle way more than we think.
I had to learn some things, too. I had to learn to listen to my inner voice, and when I saw little red flags in people, I started to listen to my gut instead of assuming the best of people….kind of sad, huh? I started to see things as they were: good and bad. I started to trust my own judgment and really, myself. You see, I lost so much of my self-confidence with the divorce, partially because of what my ex-husband did, but also because I chose to marry him. Is there something in me that attracts people like this? Why didn’t I pursue asking more questions with him?? How did I let it go on this far? All these questions would totally gnaw at me. Some of these questions had answers and some of them didn’t. But, what I did notice was if I dwelled on them too long, they kept me in the past. They didn’t allow me to learn and move forward.
It took me years to go through the process to begin to trust again. I had to trust God in a way that I never had to before. I handed Him all of my broken pieces, and allowed Him to put them back together again in His timing…His way.
Throughout the years since my friend brought up the gym teacher we would always tease about him being out there in the world. We would laugh because I never dated anyone, and we would say, “Well, there’s always the gym teacher!” I would go and pick up the kids at school and see him out in the car line. It was just so funny to all of us.
Well, a little over 3 years after my friend told me about the gym teacher, she finally convinced me to meet him. I was thinking, What am I doing?? This is my kid’s gym teacher! But, on the other hand, I thought: Well, he’s a teacher. That means that he has passed a federal background check. That’s a plus!! Don’t judge! Its what you think about when you go through bad stuff!
I didn’t want to be alone with the guy because I didn’t know him, so she arranged that we meet at a party. I told my friend that I would pick her up at her house, and when I did she was so disappointed in my outfit. I have no idea why! I wanted to portray that I was very conservative, so I had on a wool turtleneck that looked like I was going hiking in the Himalayas. She convinced me to put on a black long sleeve shirt with some dangly earrings. I had to admit; at least I didn’t look 80 years old!
We drove up to the restaurant where the party was, and I saw him walking into the restaurant. My friend pointed him out and we both screamed at the top of our lungs! Why?? Who knows why girls scream when they see boys…even girls in their late 20s!
I can’t believe I’m doing this I think to myself! But here I go! We walked in and my friend introduced us, and it was so…..easy! I don’t know if that’s the word that most people would like to hear about a first date, but easy was exactly what I needed. We laughed and told stories. It was the best night. It was the beginning.
God has a way of bringing people into our lives exactly when He’s ready. As time progressed, I learned more about ,Michael, the gym teacher. He showed a heart for people, and was a man of God. He was just so honest. It was totally refreshing. If he said he was going to do something, he did. There were no tricks, or manipulation. No riddles. It just flowed. He earned my trust, and always handled it with such care. I trusted him, because I first trusted in the Lord to heal my heart. Michael loves me for just being me. I never felt judged by my past, but loved because I had come through it.
Remember how I felt about him being the gym teacher?? Well, God in his perfect design knew that if I were going to be comfortable around anyone, they would have to past the kid test. Y’all, my kids knew him longer than me! Paisley was in 2nd grade when we met!
We married about a year after we met. It was almost as if I had come full circle. Looking back, I truly believe that God allowed my friend to bring up Michael’s name to me during that phone conversation so many years ago. It was almost as if God was saying: Look what I have for you. Great things are coming, but not until you are ready.
If you have been hurt before, you are not damaged beyond repair. Don’t feel like you will be unable to move forward and regain your ability to trust people again. God has a mighty work to do in you before you take those steps. Surround yourself with people that have proven themselves trustworthy. While you are working through things, bounce ideas off of them. They can help you. Learn from your past mistakes. If a choice turned out to be bad, don’t do it again! You will get the same result. The more good choices you make, you will begin to start trusting your instincts. In all reality though, the best thing to do is pray! Pray to Jesus for guidance in everything. He will give you discernment to know what to do. You are that special to Him that He won’t leave your pieces scattered. He will bring you back together again. You are not broken; you are beautiful.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3