I was still searching. Searching for someone or something outside of myself to make me feel whole, make me feel worthy and loved. And I found him. And then I made him my God. I worshiped him. I did everything and anything he told me to do. I had finally found my savior and I was too afraid of being abandoned or rejected to do anything else.
I went off to college and he went to boot camp for the U.S. Army but before we parted ways we were engaged. My freshman year of college I did not pray or think about God at all. I did not attend any church or think about spirituality or religion. I just lived in my own little world, completely isolated and cut off. After my freshman year of college I moved back home for the summer. I got a job as the housekeeper for a large Presbyterian church. I was responsible for cleaning the entire four-story building, an annex of classrooms, and a gymnasium building each week. My favorite part of the job was cleaning the sanctuary because it was filled with beautiful stained-glass windows. I was in such awe of their beauty. My relationship with God had changed a bit after I got that job. Being in that environment every day I couldn’t help but have God on my mind at least a little bit. I started praying again. But it was more like talking to God like we were acquaintances while I was cleaning. I started listening to Christian music with earphones while I worked and it refreshed my spirit. It is interesting as I look back now how God was always so patient with me and just waited until I decided to return, to pay attention to my spirit once again. Being in that church environment, listening to that music, beginning to let God in again fed me and refreshed my starving soul.
When my fiance got back home from training that summer we were married in that big, beautiful Presbyterian church. A week later we were living in Watertown, NY, his first duty station with the army. That is far, far away from home and family for me. Moving away was something I never thought I would or could do. We were there for a year and lived in a tiny apartment in a high rise building. We never attended a church while we were there. I took classes at the local junior college to continue to work on my degree in Family Relations and Child Development. I got a job at the mall and worked when I wasn’t in class. He worked most all of the time and we didn’t see each other very much. I do remember praying back then, asking God for safety and protection, and for Him to provide for us. I was scared alot being in a strange place so far from home. I was always asking for things when I prayed.
We moved back to our home state after a year. We decided we were not cut out for the military lifestyle. Thank God that was over. We both got jobs and enrolled in classes at a local university to finish or degrees. We rarely saw one another for the next three years. It was kind of like having a roommate, except I worshiped him and did everything he asked or told me to do out of fear of abandonment. It was not a very happy time in my life. I was not going to church or praying. There was no time for that with work and school, and besides I had him to worship.
After I graduated from college we moved back to our home town and I got my first professional job in substance abuse prevention, mainly providing prevention education to students, parents, and teachers. He still had over a year of college left and he commuted from home to school each week. I hardly ever saw him and when I did he was usually not very pleasant to be around. Neither one of us was happy. I could not understand how after all of those years of worshiping him why he wasn’t making me happy? Why didn’t I feel whole and complete? Why didn’t I feel worthy and loved? I felt just as empty six years after we got married as I did the day before I met him. How could that be possible? I though being with him was going to fix everything! Well it didn’t and I could see where the relationship was headed. Because I was so afraid of being abandoned I took matters in to my own hands and filed for divorce. Since the marriage wasn’t making me happy and fixing things for me I was not going to stay. I needed to move on. After I told him I wanted a divorce our marriage came to a violent end. His own fear and anger got the best of him, and I saw the worst.
I moved back in with my parents and went to work every day, usually in tears of grief. I moved in to my own apartment a few months later. I was a single lady again. I had a professional job, my own place to live, and a lot of freedom for the first time in my life. I do remember praying during my divorce; praying for forgiveness, for guidance about what to do next, and for Him to heal my broken heart. I started attending a non-denominational Christian church and got involved in the children’s ministry as a Sunday school teacher and a Wednesday night youth leader. I made some friends in the church. I was beginning to grow a bit spiritually, but I was still so full of shame and fear. I was still so afraid of not being accepted by other people and was so disconnected and isolated. And then it happened. I still did not know how to have a relationship with God and a man. My journey was about to take another turn in the wrong direction.