Disclaimer: It's after midnight but I have to get this off my heart. There are many notable mentions in this post such as songs and sermon titles which can all be found on YouTube. I plan to update with links at some point. Enjoy the story!
I met him at 21.
I was 22 when we married. Somehow within only nine months, I was convinced either by him or myself that he was the one and it had to be "right now." The day I turned 23, I walked out during a violent fight. By age 24, the ink on the divorce decree had dried.
I knew he had a violent past, but I thought maybe he'd never hurt me. I knew he had "messed around" with men before, but I thought maybe he loved me enough not to go there again… again. Ironic and Idiotically enough, we got engaged the same night I found out he had spent "time" with a male just a few weeks earlier. I was convinced that maybe Marriage would solve his issues. He loved me, so I believed. I loved him, so I thought based on my cloudy 22 year old knowledge of what "love is."
We really got married. Beautiful custom made gown. A Christmas wedding fit for a Diva, what I believed I was at that time. Good food and 200 people whose faces and names I probably can't recount. One week before Christmas Day in 2010, I became "Mrs. Him." I willingly accepted all his junk. Somehow it seemed like treasure to me.
One month after the wedding, he hit me. A few weeks later, he was MIA for an entire week with who I would eventually find out was "an old male friend." He ignored me and treated me as if I was enemy, and I stayed. He hit me and left me with bloody bruises multiple times and blamed me for his temper, yet I stayed. Day after day, I would offer my body, but he rejected me, and I stayed. He neglected to acknowledge my birthday, and instead he choked me. Thank God, I finally walked out… but I didn't walk away.
See Maybe Dreams are dangerous, because with each twist and turn, there's the possibility of an unpredictable outcome. Maybe provides hope that the outcome will be favorable. Maybe speaks of a sometimes delirious perception of what's in front of you. Maybe completely takes away the ability to see straight.
I left him in Aug 2011, and went on a date with him just months later. By March 2012 I was filing for divorce because he was not trying to be married and I knew that I deserved better than what he presented. Maybe crept in, and weeks after filing I met him to talk. We attended a church service together. That day, we came across a dead snake on the church grounds. Once I dropped him off and got back home, there was a living snake on my doorstep. Just an hour after that, I received a phone call that our (the ex & I) pastor had passed. Unexpectedly. The divorce was finalized on Aug 15, 2012. I saw him on August 17th. I believed that he was working on becoming better for two weeks. At midnight on my birthday, he called to wish me a happy birthday. Once I found out who he was spending time with, the phone call quickly turned sour. Another birthday tainted by his filth!
But, I welcomed it. I filed, not him. I stood in court. He didn't even show. Then I ran to him the second he halfway showed remorse. I want to weep for who I was then and grieve her, but truth is.. the story didn't end with signed divorced papers.
Thank God for GRACE! Grace is the invisible guard that protected me from an HIV positive man. It felt like rejection, but it was truly protection. Grace showed up again to help me conquer my fear of snakes and death when they both literally showed up at my door. Grace stepped in and over time has restored the awe and excitement to My Birthday.
1. I've always been terrified of snakes but at that point I hadn't had too many encounters with them. The first one I saw that day was already dead and I believe it was chopped in half. I didn't get a look at it.
2. The second one felt like it fell out of my hand as I approached the front door of my home. My mom partially believes that the ex somehow slipped the snake into the car. Nonetheless I literally screamed "JESUS!!" over and over and over as I hurried inside, and my dad ran from across the yard to chop its head off.
3. The guy who inspired us to get married, (not directly – in fact he strongly suggested we wait to marry – but he inspired us by the way he loved his family) pretty much died after preaching that same afternoon. The title of his last message is "I've done enough already" by Bishop Richard V. Allmon and within an hour of preaching it, he was gone. At the time it was shocking. I remember standing in the crowd at his funeral in disbelief. His body was in the casket but I was dead
I was dead because I was still broken. I was still desperate and lonely and lacking confidence. I still hadn't tapped into my purpose or realized my worth. I was painfully existing trying to put my life back together but ending up with more and more pieces.
Snake. Snake. Death. Irony — on Aug 30, 2011 before the ex came home and the fight that led me to leaving began, I was sitting on the floor reading the book of Genesis. I read about creation. I read about Man and woman's origin. I read about the snake.
I considered how beautiful and manipulative the serpent was to Eve. He wrapped himself around her, becoming so close that it probably felt like they were one, yet the entire time his goal was to steal from God. It was never about Eve. Satan was never out to destroy Man and his wife. It was never about humans knowing too much or a certain fruit. Satan hates God. Then, and now, Satan is infiltrating people's lives with the sole intention to take what God has made for himself. Satan and the 1/3 of angels that followed him when he was evicted from Heaven were originally far less in number than God's nation. God made the Earth, including Adam & Eve to establish a Kingdom for Himself. When he created everything, He intended for it to represent His identity. Satan knows this and because He doesn't have that for himself, he's out to take God's. He knows that He isn't more powerful than God, so He sneaks in all beautiful and decorated and constantly suggests that we defy God. He doesn't always directly hurt or oppose us. Sometimes it's just a whisper; an appearance. He's not after people for the sake of ruining people. He only wants to inhabit us to get us out of God's possession!
Good News: HES NOT POWERFUL ENOUGH TO SNATCH US AWAY FROM GOD! You have a choice. He only makes suggestions. It's up to us to follow him which could lead anywhere, or stand firm on God's word even if it is, "Don't eat the fruit of this tree." Or "Abstain from sex until marriage." He's told us these things for a reason. The enemy is out seeking to kill, steal & destroy. He has no respect to person or bank balance. He's after anyone made by the hands of God, which is you & me.
Tonight, for the first time I actually considered the possibility that the ex planted the thing he knew I was most afraid of in my car. (The snake that seemingly fell from my purse on the doorstep) For the first time, I see him as blatantly evil. He was not created to be evil, but at some point he decided to follow the suggestions of evil. He knew he was violent. He knew I loved him blindly. He manipulated me and took me for the journey of my life, and I let him.
Tonight, I forgive me! I was desperate. I was lonely. I wanted someone. I fell for the okey-doke. I believed the lies of maybe and ended up hurt, broken, lost, turned around & almost destitute. Everything from my credit to my sense of self was compromised. My self-esteem has been hanging on by a very unstable thread for years!!! I've spent so much time blaming him and maybe that's why there have been so many maybes. If I believe that he is to blame, it means I believe he had control. If I believe he had control then, it proves that on some level he still has control now.
The proof? He's popped up via social media several times between 2013-2017. Usually I block him as soon as I see him. Back in May of this year, I had another maybe moment. He reached out and I thought maybe he's changed. Maybe I should hear what he has to say. Maybe it won't hurt to FaceTime him. Maybe God has delivered Him. God loves me so much. He invaded all the maybes with truth. The truth is, the guy lives in Atlanta, of all places, and he's lodging with "some people" and based on his conversation, he "goes out just about every night." Photos and FaceTime revealed that he has more ridiculous tattoos (I'm not bashing tattoos. They're great if they mean something although I can't see myself getting one anytime soon.) and has jumped off the deep end into the lifestyle he chose over Me.
But… Maybe God saved me! That guy obviously wasn't in God's Divine Plan for my Destiny & as a result he had to be removed. He also had to be kept away so every time he showed his head, the spirit of God within me raises up and crushes it just as Genesis says woman's seed's heel would do to the serpent.
Maybe it's time I really trust God. It's been almost 5 years since a judge declared the marriage over. Every time I have listened to maybe it was because I was still holding on to what had already been declared over.
It's funny how life does that. Things happen at various ages and stages of life, and though they're over they seem to haunt us, but only if we let them.
I am not that 21 year old girl anymore. I have vision for my life that came directly from the creator. I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I am disease and drama free! I'm not tied to the past in any tangible way. I refuse to let me live there again! The first time, I couldn't help it due to my state of unconsciousness, but now I am alive in Christ. I have discernment. God gifted me with wisdom. The blood of Jesus, healed me then and continues to work out perfect healing in me now.
Maybe Dreams take us places God never planned for us to go. He's not a maybe God. There's nothing conditional about GOD or His will for our life. He's so faithful that he prepares an escape plan for the disasters we create for ourselves.
In a nut shell, if you've read thus far,God bless you. Thank you for your attention. If you leave with nothing else, know this: God's way is best. We can't get God's way without God. Relationship with God is our lifeline to our true identity. Without God, we are just playing some caricature of His perfect creation which is a slap in the face to Him. Get to know God, your creator. He's the one who spoke the blueprint that turned into you! Acknowledge Jesus, who is your friend, your savior & one who relates to you on a human level. Receive The Holy Spirit, which is your helper, companion, dictionary & compass.
Life is too short to waste. Don't give yourself away. You're so rare & exquisite, but it's up to you to own that incredible value! I almost gave myself away so many times in my 28 years but as I approach 29, I absolutely refuse to vacation in maybe land. The ex husband lives in the delusions of Maybeland. The crush I've been way too tempted by lately relishes in Maybeland. Even visiting is dangerous for me. I dare to dream with boldness and assurance. I dare to dream every word God has spoken over me. I dare to dream righteously.
I am Eryka
Random fact: I walked down the isle to 'When I first Saw You' by Jamie Foxx & Beyonce. The lyrics literally say," When I first saw you, I said Oh my, that's my dream…. You were my dream, all the things that I never knew. You were my dream and who would believe they could ever come true?" The song is on the Dreamgirls soundtrack where Jamie's character manipulates Beyonce's character into marriage and a career in which he is in control. To Jamie's character, Beyoncé's character represented his dream of success. To Beyonce's character, Jamie's character represented what she thought was best for her life based on her dreams for success without realizing her actual worth. By the time that song appears in the movie, Beyonce's character is hip to Jamie's game. At my wedding back in the day, the song was cut off when I made it to the alter. Just recently I listened to the song in duration. The end of the song reveals something amazing. Beyoncé sings, "You were my dream. Now I've got dreams of my own. Dreams you'll never know. You won't take my dreams from me." In the movie, the two end up divorced and Beyoncé's girl finds and uses her voice to liberate other women as Jamie's guy deals with the fallout of his many wrongs.
I misunderstood the song back then, just as I misread the relationship. The marriage played out in my life just as it did on screen. In a full circle moment, I'm singing my own version of a freedom song as I press on to take hold of what Christ took hold of for me! To God be the Glory!