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.
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 by going out with men or keeping busy. I needed to feel the weight of the loss.
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…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.
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.
A little over 3 years after my friend told me about the gym teacher, she finally convinced me to meet him. I was thinking, 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! It’s what you think about when you go through bad stuff!
We met at a small party because there was NO way I was going to meet him by myself. We drove up to the restaurant where he was, and I saw him walking up the sidewalk. 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 divorced girls in their late 20s!
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 use to describe a first date, but easy was exactly what I needed. We laughed and told stories. It was the best night. It was the beginning.
It took me years to go through the process to begin to trust again.
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 mention this “guy” to me during that phone conversation so many years before. 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 this does not mean you are damaged beyond repair. Don’t feel like you will be unable to move forward and regain your ability to trust people again. There is a mighty work to be done in you before you take those steps! Pray for guidance in everything. You will be given the discernment to know what to do. You are that special, He won’t leave your pieces scattered. They will be put back together again, stronger than before. You are not broken; instead you are entirely beautiful.
About our guest writer: Shannon DeGarmo
Shannon DeGarmo knows what it means to be a bounce back woman. At age 26, she woke to the sick realization that her husband was living a double life. Within months, he was in prison and she was suddenly a single woman with two young children, a mortgage, no job, and no college education to fall back on. Shannon’s poignant story is one of denial and betrayal, followed by personal discovery and renewal. On a road filled with despair, she experienced the power of faith in God and herself that allowed her to believe that her very best days were ahead. In a remarkable comeback, she sold her house, moved in with her parents, returned to college, and earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching and master’s degree in education, while navigating raising her two wonderful children. She is happily re-married, and finds purpose and joy in encouraging women to discover their true identity and divine destiny through the same faith in God that rescued her.
You can get Shannon’s book here!