I met this guy online. Our emails quickly turned into a phone conversion and the minutes turned into a few hours of non-stop connection. We decided to meet the next day. I hadn’t met anyone like him since my marriage had imploded, or ever, for that matter. I was nervous and excited.
Our plan was for him to come and meet me at my work and we would go for a walk around Coronado, then to dinner, then he’d see the show I was in. I had a sure-fire plan…it’s hard to resist the beauty of Coronado, and seeing someone you like on stage do their thang is guaranteed to seal the deal!
When he showed up, we nervously hugged and began our stroll down the charming streets and toward the beach. We both knew that this meeting was important. It was clear that our hearts were already aligned toward the Lord and I was sure that this date was the beginning of something big. While I was excited to get to know him better, I had an agenda for our conversation.
You see, I was still legally married.
In my mind and heart, I had been divorced for a long time. We had been separated for well over a year, and before that, we lived as roommates for two years. The actual filing for divorce hadn’t happened yet because we were comfortable and it hadn’t seemed that important. My sort-of-ex husband and I saw each other every day because we worked together at the theater. We were great as exes and neither one of us had thought to legally file for divorce.
My plan was to nonchalantly slip into the conversation, “Oh and by the way, you may notice that one of the guys in the play tonight has my last name. It’s because he’s actually my ex-husband…almost. No big deal, right?” Frankly, I had planned to bring it up at dinner, once we had spent the afternoon together and really sealed our bond.
Ah, the best-laid plans.
About 20 minutes into our walk, we made it to the sandy Coronado beach. Just as we began to find our stride, our conversation had turned into a rapid-firing of questions in order to learn as much as we could about each other in a short amount of time. Without knowing what was about to go down, he asked me if I had ever been married. It was a fair question. I was in my early 30’s, and he was about ten years older than me. I answered, “Yes, and you?” “No,” he said. He followed up with three questions, “How long were you married, when did you get divorced, and what happened?”
Frankly, I don’t remember what I said. The rest replays in my mind in blurry slow motion where I can feel but I can’t really hear. All I know is that as I began to explain my current status, he interrupted me with the record scratch question that changed my life. “Wait, so you’re still married?” With that question, we turned on a dime and began to run-walk back in the direction we came. I remember talking as fast as I could to try to explain, spin, and convince him that it was all fine.
When we made it to his motorcycle, he looked at me as he put his helmet on and said something to the effect of, “I cannot be here with you. You’re still a married woman, and I think you’re still angry.” And with that, he sped away.
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22 NLT
I was left standing there, gutted. Tears and a deep sense of loss and conviction came welling up and out of me. I got it together long enough to perform that night, but on stage was the only time that I didn’t weep for days.
You see, I was in mourning. Yes, I mourned the loss of a potential relationship with a man who had rocked my world and set a new standard for any man who would come close to me. But what I really mourned was the rebellion and sin of dishonoring my heavenly Father, my husband (regardless of our status or his behavior, we were still legally married), and myself…oh the shame and guilt.
I was so sad but I was also incredibly challenged. I saw a glimpse into what it looked like to live in purity and actually flee from sin. Unfortunately, in this case, I was the sin and temptation, but I felt the grace and forgiveness from the Lord to move forward in a new deep understanding and desire for that kind of purity.
With a deep desire for healing and cleansing from sin, I sought the Lord. I was bathed in his righteousness and met a new person: myself. I discovered a new side of myself, one that took great joy in purity and the pursuit of holiness that came through a closeness to Jesus.
“Create in me heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
The best part? I didn’t miss out. After healing, a finalized divorce, and a confidence in myself as a bride of Christ, the Lord brought me another man.
I also met Kris online. This man not only met, but far surpassed the new standard. He is a man who values the same kind of purity and closeness with Jesus…and is seriously good-looking!
Purity and holiness are not meant to bring you down. They do not exist to keep you from having fun or limiting your choices. Instead, they are the things that bring you the most freedom. Purity is a choice. Holiness is a gift. Purity is best demonstrated through Jesus’ life, and holiness is possible only because of Jesus’ death.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
It’s not every day that a man literally runs away from a date. I’m so thankful for that man and even more thankful for my Jesus who was there to meet me with forgiveness and holiness.
Joyfully Walking in Purity,
P.S. If you’re still legally married and dating, please hear my heart. You are worthy of more. You may be tired, desperate for attention, and feeling like if you don’t jump on it now, it’ll never come round again…I know how it feels! I’ve been there! I’ve also been on the other side, and it’s so much better. It’s not too late.
Value yourself; you’re worth the wait and the healing.
Value the one you are dating; they are worth more than what you’re able to give.
Value the Lord; He has an invitation for you to live in freedom and joy, and far from sin. Please say yes!