I'm am so excited to present the first "Mili Mondays" especially since she's one of my favorite bloggy loves, Star Spangled Stockings, who has an amazing story to share with you all. I'm sure many of you already follow her lovely blog, but if not be sure you check out her blog to show her some love! She writes some of the most amazing posts & I absolutely love reading her blog. She went through a lot to get where she is and this isn't your typical fairytale, but I wanted someone who could show the other side of things. So here's her story, Enjoy!
Let me tell you a love story.
It doesn't end the way a good love story is supposed to. But sometimes we have to redefine the fairy tale.
There was a hot Marine with a Trident commercial smile who sat next to a city girl at a dinner party. She thought he was so charming and handsome. He was totally smitten with her. :) They talked for hours over a bottle of wine after the dinner was over and everyone else had left. She had to leave the next day to go back home to the opposite coast. He asked for her number, said he'd be out her way for training for a month and would give her a call. She thought, I don't know if I'll hear from him again, but maybe I'll get a free dinner out of this so why not. He called two days later, then the day after that, then she called him...and sooner or later, they were talking almost every night. He sent flowers on. A few weeks later he came to her city for his training.
Their first "date" was him helping her move on the day he arrived on a red-eye flight. Much to her embarrassment, she didn't greet him in perfect makeup, perfume and high heels. More like grungy jeans, smudge, sweat and boxes and boxes of crap. The first kiss? In her parking garage as he was leaving that night. They were both already sweaty and tired. But when their lips met, the earth moved. They kissed until a car came down the ramp and they had to part (or get run over). Her legs were shaky as she walked away and waved goodbye.
Over the next month, he took her to dinner, she cooked for him, he charmed her friends, she made him laugh. They went to church, went on a weekend road trip, met some of his old friends.
She didn't want to fall in love. He lived so far away. He was going to Afghanistan. He saw the world so much differently than she did. He had been trained to follow orders without question and to accept black and white. She had been trained to ask "but why?" hundreds of times to get to the root of an issue and to be comfortable with relativism. But, they learned, love doesn't always make sense. Despite her best efforts, she fell hard. When he had to leave at the end of that month, it was a very painful goodbye.
He came back again a few weeks later. And a few weeks after that. They went on a wonderful and romantic vacation towhere they told each other I love you, he bought her a necklace on the beach, they ate at fancy restaurants and he told her how special she was to him.
But the ideological fissures became more noticeable the more deeply involved they became. "Women shouldn't lead in church," he said. "I'm going to be ordained as a deacon," she replied. "Wives should submit to their husbands," he said. "I don't think so," she replied. "What's your ring size?" he asked. "This talk scares me and I wouldn't be ready to make this commitment until I've known you at least a year," she responded.
They returned from vacation. He mobilized. He called her two days later (at work) to break up....saying it wasn't working for him and she'd interfered with his relationship with God.
Her heart shattered.
She cried, she hurt, she wondered why. Why he said he loved her, why they got together in the first place, why she fell so hard, why wouldn't the pain just stop? She wondered if he missed her. She stopped exercising but also stopped eating full meals and lost 6 pounds. On the breakup spectrum of easy to hellacious... this one was hellacious. She's a grown woman so she didn't know why she couldn't just get it together and get OVER it.
In the midst of that first, intense, heart-stabbing pain, she started to pray. To pray for him, to pray for her, to ask for direction, and for relief from the agonizing pain.
And then The Good Book says, "blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." She never really understood what that meant until she experienced moments of sweet bliss and comfort that came out of nowhere through the hurt. Her faith grew. She started to ask new questions...this time about how to understand God better, and how to love His people better. She read all sorts of religious books, started to think more about God, started to pray more. The hurt didn't entirely go away. It still lingers. But new understandings replaced the hurt. Understanding that just because she's proud, independent and likes to control her environment...she's not really in control. And that's good. Understanding that she can still like him and wish him well without needing to be with him. Understanding that she has to trust God to direct her path, and He will, if she'll listen for it. Understanding that God loves all people, not just the ones she agrees with..
On the one hand, this is a love story gone wrong. A love that didn't work out, a story of pain and heartbreak. A relationship that failed. But it's also a story of reinvention. Of how hurt and pain can be the gateway to insight and the opportunity to rebuild your heart and your life.
It's a powerful lesson of self-worth. Of figuring out who I am without him. Of not defining myself as A Marine's Girlfriend, or now, A Marine's Ex-Girlfriend...but me. Just me. A child of God. A quirky, strong, funny, smart, passionate, tender person. A friend. A writer and a seeker. A daughter. A deacon. A traveler.
Thank you, Mrs. Gambizzle, for giving me the honor of being your first Mili-Monday guest blogger and letting me share my unconventional story. I hope you and your readers have windows full of sunshine on this beautiful Monday.
Star Spangled Stockings
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