That Fall as the leaves began to drop, I rejoined life at 42 years of age. Freedom felt scary. I felt as if I woke up from a 22 year dream. Or like I had been drowning below the water and finally able to surface and gasp for life-giving air. Freedom and a second chance to figure out who I was in God’s great plan. Discovering what assignments HE had for me revitalized my will to live and to live well.
I knew the 22 years were not lost or wasted. For in that time HE refined, chiseled and shaped me. Molding my character to better resemble His Son Jesus. Polishing my faith and strengthening it through the fires of a difficult life. Those years challenged me much more than I ever foresaw at age 20. Though many saw my young decision as a real shame, God knew my heart’s motivation and used it for good, healing and preparing me for this day to begin a new chapter in life.
Right off, I joined a small group from the large church I attended. It thrilled my heart to meet and get to know people on a real and raw level. To learn how to get along and operate as the body of Christ. I had never experienced this special forum of love before. I saw it from a distance as a child when cottage prayer meeting groups met in my family’s home. Now I had a safe group to grow further in my faith and share the good, the bad and the heartbreaking.
I also joined a local christian support group sponsored by a church I’d never attended. The group formed to help those in need of healing from recent losses.
I continued volunteer work with the teens at the youth center and also began seeing a Christian Psychologist.
On Friday evenings I attended a class called Wise Choices at another church in a neighboring town. Geared toward singles, this class taught us how to make healthy and wise choices for any relationship whether friends, dating partners or future spouses.
All these groups occupied my free time in positive and constructive ways. I expressed gratitude to God for the opportunities each provided to protect me from the pull to run back to my former life. For the pull could be very strong at times if I got too lonely.
I met people from all four of the churches and made friends in each arena. I had carpool girlfriends and one old guy friend from the past who seemed safe. Plus there were social functions now opened to me for the first time. I cannot even describe to you the excitement that flooded my soul.
Barn dances, hayrides, skating parties, hiking adventures, day trips to the beach, DC or NYC all opened up to me and I was ecstatic. And then I received an invitation for a Murder Mystery dinner. You know the whole 9 yards type where you get an invite in the mail assigning you to a certain character that you are expected to portray the night of the murder.
This was especially intriguing because the only person I knew was the hostess and she was a new acquaintance. So it was scary exciting but I was determined to go all out knowing Jesus was going with me.
My assignment described my character as a wealthy wife to a lawyer in the story. So I needed to have fancy clothes and a big diamond to wear.
I had a midnight blue satin gown I procured from a thrift store and plain black pumps. I decided to have my hair put up for the special occasion. I scheduled my hair dresser friend who excelled in updos.
My boss at the time offered to let me borrow a family heirloom ring. She brought it in for me to see. It was gargantuan! A literal ball of diamonds. It would have been perfect but I feared losing it and not having money to replace it so I declined the offer.
The next day a coworker brought in another ring for me to see. Still a rock but much more manageable.
The ring was a gorgeous emerald cut with trillion cut diamonds flanking it. I fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to wear it for the big event.
Now I needed to dig up a date to play my learned lawyer husband. I wanted to go so bad and tried my older friend but he had plans. The desperation became a downfall for me. In a weak moment I invited the guy from my past. He accepted.
Shine on. . .