The Road to Love – Through My Rearview Mirror…

This is for my single ladies… 

Kris RearviewAs I get older there are many things I can no longer remember. But there are certain moments in time that I will likely never forget. Moments that seemed insignificant at the time, but would become impactful as I viewed them through my rear-view mirror.

Circa 1982… God placed a dream in my heart that one day I would write a book, and one day I would speak to women.  I had spent weeks crying myself to sleep with a pain so deep in my stomach that wouldn’t go away.   I wanted so desperately to spare other young women from experiencing the same pain I had felt and often wondered if I’d live through. I remember vividly sitting on the floor of my bedroom, purple carpet, markers lying all over the floor, as I designed a flyer for a women’s group.  I wanted to talk about their worth.  I wanted to prevent them from falling into the trap I had, which lead to the loss of my virginity in a very traumatic way. (Almost 30 years later – I released my first book and I now am invited to speak at Women’s events as well as lead a Women’s ministry.  God is faithful!  In His time.)

Circa 1992….I found myself at the altar for at least the 15th time.  It was after a Sunday night church service.  I was on my knees, head buried in my hands, as I cried and begged for forgiveness for falling away from my faith 5 years earlier.   That falling away  would change my life, and those of the ones I loved so dearly.  I had been to the altar at church asking God to forgive me, multiple times. I had repented (turned from my wicked ways).  And yet? The devil had control of my mind as he whispered in my ear… “God will never forgive you.” “Unless you are miserable and depressed? You are not sorry enough.” Those thoughts allowed for the mental abuse and neglect of the next relationship I entered because I thought I deserved it. To be brutally honest? I was ate up with guilt and self hate. I could forgive others who hurt me (often thinking I deserved it).. but the hardest person to forgive and love? Was myself.  The preacher, who knew what sin I had committed years earlier, reached down and whispered in my ear… “Kris, God forgave you the first time you asked.  When are you going to forgive yourself??”  That was a game changer for me.  Could it be true?  Could God really forgive me?  I didn’t recover from years of incorrect thinking over night, but I had been given hope.  Hope to move forward.  (Ladies, sometimes the hardest person to forgive and love is ourselves.  But it’s impossible to move forward into a healthy relationship until you do!  You attract what you feel you are worth.  You gotta know your worth!)

Circa 2002… My mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and died in my arms six months later.  This is a story and testimony in and of itself.  She was a strong Christian woman.  She was the one person I understood that truly loved me.  She would tell me that she was proud of me, that I was a good mother, that I was pretty.  Somehow?  I only believed it when she said it.  Daily she prayed for me, and for my boys.  I can sum a long story up in this quote from Abraham Lincoln – “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother.”   (For my Momma’s reading – are you being the woman you want your daughter to grow up and become?  They learn by example.)

Circa 2012… Single and alone, completely alone, for the first time since I was 19.  In a tiny apartment, an hour away from family (both boys had moved and I had an empty nest) and friends (only had 2 friends if we’re being honest and they were in another state).  I was sitting in my car at a stoplight near my apartment when the feeling hit; it was a feeling of fear and anxiety followed by these thoughts… “What if you get a flat tire? What if your car breaks down? What if you need someone to help you lift or move something?” My instinct was “Just go back Kris. Just go back to that relationship. It was hurting you, but at least you weren’t alone.” But then I heard that whisper in my heart… “Do you trust me?” So I drove on..  At 46 years old I started living the life God had called me to live since the beginning.  I was on my journey, I was on my way, but I still wasn’t free.  Our mind is a playground for the devil and he still had a foothold in mine.  I had to change my way of thinking.  

I was walking through the shop where I worked feeling like I had on lead shoes in quick sand.  My mind was fuzzy and I could feel the depression heavy on my shoulders as those thoughts were in my head, in my voice, begging for me to believe them.. “You are 46 years old. No one is ever going to love you again. You have messed up so much your life is over. Just go back. He asked you to come back, just go. It may not be perfect, but at least you won’t be alone.”  (Ladies – the Lord has shown me – this is where most of us fail.  We go back because we are scared to go forward.  If this is you?  Push through! But then I heard that whisper in my heart… “If you go back, you will miss out on all I have for you. Please just trust me.” So I kept moving through my day. The old saying “Take One Day at a Time” didn’t apply to me. I had to take 15 minutes at a time. I was clinging and hanging on to any hope I could find.

The Lord let me walk through this hurt and pain for almost 6 months, but He was there holding my hand, whispering to my heart, sending people in my path.  And then another one of those moments came that I’ll never forget.  It was a Saturday afternoon, I had made the mistake of looking at Facebook and seeing the lives of others who were headed to the beach with their families, who were headed to a soccer game with their children, and me?  I was sitting in this apartment, alone and so broken I couldn’t hardly breathe.  I shut off the social media.  I stopped listening to secular music that made me feel sad and alone.  In fact?  I could no longer watch TV because the shows and commercials were a constant reminder of what I didn’t have and a temptation to go back to what I knew instead of the blessings God had in store. (Ladies – YOU HAVE CONTROL over what you let in.  If it makes you sad or hurt? Turn it off!)  I got on my knees in the middle of that tiny apartment and I cried out “God, take this pain from me!  I can’t do it anymore on my own!  I need you!”  And it happened… that moment and feeling I’ll never forget.  It was like hot oil poured over my head and I describe it as “liquid love” because the loneliness and pain was gone.  Truly gone.  I felt a peace and hope inside.  This was a feeling I’ll never forget.  I know he had to take me through that pain so I could share with others that if you just hold on, just keep pushing through the loneliness, He will so graciously deliver you!!  (Ladies – this is where so many of you go back.  You go back to the bad relationship because the familiarity is comforting and the fear and pain of the unknown and the loneliness seems too much to bear.  PUSH THROUGH this!)

There was this women’s event the church was hosting.  I had put my name on the sign up sheet, but I didn’t want to go.  I didn’t know anyone.  But I knew I wanted this peace and joy that so many of these others ladies I had met seemed to have.  As my alarm went off that Saturday morning I hit snooze and depression hit.  Hard.  And the devil was whispering “Just stay home…” But then the Pastor’s voice was in my head as well saying “If you are being fought that hard to do something good?  That’s not God. That’s the devil trying to keep you from something God has for you.”  Ah ha!  I recognized my enemy… and I laced up my boots and went away.  Why?  I so desperately wanted change!  I needed hope!  (Ladies – YOU have to want change.  No one can  want it for you enough to change you.  YOU have to do this!)  While we were waiting for the van to arrive, I met Robin.  It was definitely one of those divine interventions.  Robin and I sat in the back of the van and talked like old friends while Robin shared her love story.  She told me how she was once alone and broken as well.  She made a list of everything she wanted in a man, and she prayed over it.  It took 2 years and then she met her husband.   She met him out of the blue in a divine appointment.  Today they worship and serve in the church together and she said to me “Kris, he was everything on my list I wanted, and things I didn’t even know I needed!”  Oh how I wanted that so badly! 

I went home and made my list.  Ladies, making a list makes you think.  Making a list keeps you from settling when you resign yourself to the idea that if he’s not everything on that list?  He’s not the one.  Top of my list?  Spiritual leader.  Will love me like Jesus loves me.  Loves kids.  Funny and intelligent.  Hard worker. A few other important qualities, and then for an added bonus, salt and pepper hair would be nice…. but not a deal breaker.  I prayed over this list.  I tried to believe I’d find him, I believed God would bring him to me in a divine appointment, but days and weeks came and passed and that appointment never came.  Years passed, still no divine appointment.  But I never stopped believing it would.  As the months and years passed, the lonely moments became fewer and fewer and those moments my heart was so full it could bust were more and more.  The closer I got to Jesus, the less I thought about that list.  My eyes and heart shifted focus to the One who loved me unconditionally.  The One who would never leave or forsake me.  The realization hit that those lonely moments which would last for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours were far less painful than being in a relationship where there were painful hours and days of wondering where they were, wondering if they were going to come home angry or kind which lead to feelings of not being good enough. 

I heard another piece of great advice about a list I need to throw in here because it’s powerful:  Make a list of everything you want in a man and then ask yourself – Am I those things?   If you want a Spiritual Leader – do you go to church?  Do you pray?  If you want someone who loves kids – how you been treating yours?  If you want someone who is faithful – are you?   

December 2012 – December 28th, 2018:  I was single.  That’s 6 years ladies.  Yep!  Six whole years.  I could not only write a book, but a mini-series!  But it took those years alone to allow me to become the woman I am today.  During that journey I learned what love really looks like.  True Love.  It looks just like it says it does in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.  It’s unselfish, patient, kind, and long-suffering.  It’s reaching out to the lost and broken and giving them hope.  It’s having a personal relationship with Jesus that makes you so sure of who you are that you’ll never settle for anything other than God’s best again.  And most importantly?  I learned to love ME during that time.  I started seeing me the way God sees me, not the distorted image I had of looking at myself through the eyes of those who didn’t value or respect me.  

This journey stated in 1992 and true freedom for me didn’t come until more than 20 years later.  Why?  Because I never fully surrendered.  I didn’t even understand what that was.  Because sitting on the church pew didn’t set me free.  Having the knowledge that Jesus was the Son of God, but not knowing Him, didn’t set me free.  Buying a faith based t-shirt and bible didn’t set me free.  It was at the age of 46, when I was totally alone and broken, that I found the thing that set me free.  It was the realization that God is still alive.  It was Understanding and experiencing Him being interactive in every detail of our lives.  Truly grasping Faith and realizing I could be in relationship with Jesus as I gained understanding of the Holy Spirit and how He guides us.  That was the road to restoration and freedom.  

November 2018.… on a cold, sunny morning I woke up, got my cup of coffee, opened my bible and then turned on some worship music.  I had fallen in love with this Saturday morning routine and time alone with God.  I said “God, I love this house you’ve given me, but I love you more.  If you ask me to give it up?  I will.  I just want more of you!  And a man?  If it’s just me and you Jesus?  I’m good.  (That time when I said it?  I meant it.  It felt different.  I knew I had totally surrendered to God’s will.)

On that same cold, sunny morning he was hunting.  He got down on one knee and said “God, I’m tired of running ahead of you, trying to figure things out on my own.  I give it all to you.  If I’m single the rest of my life, I’ll be fine. I want to be in your will most of all.”

And then?  It happened…. December 28th, 2018 on a whim and nudging, I walked into a tire store of a friend, and so did he.   My divine appointment.  The man who ended up being everything on my list and things I didn’t even know I needed!  After our 2nd date he bent down and I thought it was going to try and kiss me.  But instead?  He said “Can I pray with you before I leave?”  PINCH ME!!  Was this man for real?!?  The rest is history.  We married on September 1st, 2018.  (Ladies, this is another point of encouragement.  You wait, wait, wait and then when God decides to move it’s quick, fast and leaves you wondering “Wha?!!?  How’d I get here??”)  My friend Andrea and I laugh about this often as she say’s “You’re married!  And I went to Texas!  Like how did that happen?!  This time last year we were watching Hallmark movies and eating chips on your couch!”  He is faithful Ladies. 

As we spend time together I see God’s hand all over our relationship.  He loves me like Jesus loves me.   When he gave me the beautiful diamond engagement ring, he didn’t know I would almost get physically ill every time I walked past a jewelry store in the mall because I believed the lie that no one would ever love me enough to want to buy me a diamond.  But God knew.  God knew that with this man he could dispel every lie the enemy has ever whispered in my ear.  He’s been honest with me.  An honesty my soul craved so I could trust again.  Over and over I see the Lord whispering to my heart – Aren’t you glad you waited on my best?!?

Broken people love with broken pieces.  (Ladies, You want to be healed and whole when the man God has for you walks through the door.)  While Tom and I both wish that we had met one another a long time ago so we could have had more time together? I know in my heart that it wouldn’t be the amazing relationship it is, if I was still broken. If I didn’t know who I was in Christ.  If you are single and looking for love?  Look to love yourself first!  And that comes from loving Jesus and seeing you how He sees you.  And then?  Love, true love, will find you.

You were everything I ever wanted and things I didn’t even know I needed!

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