I’ve exposed my troubled past, broken relationships, failures, fears, and uncomfortable self-realized truths to you. I’ve hinted at the importance of love, redeeming wrongs, seeking truth, and finding happiness.
I feel it is only fair to reveal my resurrection from brokenness. It is fitting to speak of the happy ending in order to move past the hardships. People love a happy ending, which is evident in so many beloved stories throughout history. Rarely do stories start happy, stay happy, and finish happy.
The romance of a happy ending is rooted in hope. We relish in hearing, seeing, or reading of someone’s journey through the muck of a cruel world only when they persevere and find eventual peace in deserved happiness. Why? Again… hope. We’ve all experienced pain and hardships, and some recognize that we could eventually experience worse pain and hardships in our futures. We are enthralled with happy endings, because we cling to the hope that we will find happiness when in pain, whether that is now or to come.
Since I have revealed my shadowy pain from the past, I must finish the story by casting light on my happy ending.
My wife Samantha is my happy ending.
I haven’t written about her much on here, because I want to protect the most important and precious part of my life… her.
Yet, someone out there needs hope. We all need hope.
She is the the entire final act of my story. She was the most perfect gift from God, at the direst of times in my life. I want her to hear it again and again, and for you to know it.
I felt a strong urge after writing about my previous marriage’s failures to finish the story. It was incomplete.
So here goes…
Before I finish the story, some background is needed. If you think that some of my previous revelations were brave, I’d consider them tame in comparison to the darkest moments of my life. Those moments took place mere months before meeting Samantha.
Before, during, and especially after my divorce, I was consumed in soul crushing pain. My heart was broken. I was broken, and had no hope. Zero. I forgot the person’s name behind the idea that no one can live without hope, but they were right. I couldn’t escape the pain. I did not think it was possible. I just hurt and withered like a dying flower under an unforgivable sun. Without going too deep into details, because baby steps are required on this revelation since I am telling you something only 3 people know about.
The moment I lost hope is the moment I tried to make others feel even an ounce of the pain I was unable to escape from.
How would I make others feel my pain?
I attempted suicide.
I was already dead inside, and I wanted to escape.
So I took action.
That may shock many of you, especially my family. I’m still not ready to speak to them about it, but writing about it is different. I write for me, and speak to myself and publish it with the hope of helping others. So please don’t ask me about it, unless you are currently contemplating it.
I don’t say this to garner pity. I don’t want your pity, because it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Obviously I did not succeed, and my attempt was as full proof as possible, not just a cry for help. There was no note, only pain, whiskey and a 9mm.
I put the pistol in my mouth with a steady hand.
I pulled the trigger, and God’s voice spoke so loudly in my heart, mind, and soul with one simple word… “No”.
A gun that had never misfired clicked as the hammer hit a bullet that God would not allow.
I hit my knees, and burst into tears. I cried out to God with arms raised and told Him of the sorrow that was in my heart. “I need you God, I need you! I am yours, I am yours! I’m hurting so bad God. Please help me!”
The hours passed as God reassured to me that He would protect me and my heart. It was in the air, all around me. It was love.
In that moment of what should have been my death, my faith in God became forever unshakable. In that moment my healing began. In that moment God set me on the path to the perfect person for me. In that moment and every moment since, I am alive and I don’t mean physically.
The biggest realization was that my life was not mine to take. My life was His, and He obviously had a reason to keep me around. I still have something, or someone that He needs me to bring to Him, to glorify Him.
This tidbit of information may help some of you understand how I am so different now compared to the person I was before, and how my beliefs became concrete instead of theory.
The focus of this post is not about suicide or God directly, but knowing that back story is vital to experiencing the joy of my happy ending.
Each day I have the privilege of honoring God, by honoring my wife Samantha.
“Sam, my embattled journey was always leading me to you.”
My Happy Ending
With a new lease on life, and the vigor of resurrection, I was free. Unbound. Unchained.
I started to find myself again. My past was not going to define me, as it was just a part of my story. My past was just the third major conflict at the end of the second act.
I dove deep into God’s word. I even intended on going to seminary school. God had different plans, better plans, even if I could not and still cannot tell where those plans will lead me, I trust Him. Maybe posts like this one are a part of it.
I was not sure why I had such an urge to get back out and date so quickly after my divorce. I really did not want too. I wanted to be with Him, and continue to heal. Yet, His timing is always perfect and I trusted that the urge I felt was a part of His plan to heal me.
I knew the most important attribute I sought in a woman, was that she loved Jesus 1st and me 2nd. I could not be solely responsible for someone else’s happiness. I would never be a perfect partner, husband, or friend to her, but Jesus would be. I wanted a woman that knew that, relied upon that, and felt the same way about me and my priorities.
So, I joined ChristianMingle.com. Writing that makes me cringe. Yes, I joined a dating site.
A few serendipitous things happened, that Sam and I laugh about now because we knew God’s hand was in our meeting each other. For example, we later found out that we joined the same day. We both despised the thought of being on a dating sight. We both were about to lose hope with the lack of prospects, and widened our distance range as a last attempt, which happened on the same day.
When I saw her picture, I immediately thought she was the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen. I also thought I had zero chance with her.
I clicked on her profile anyways, it must have been that gentle nudge again.
Within mere moments of reading through her profile, I could tell that she had a heart like no one I had ever encountered.
I wasn’t going to message her though. My lack of confidence was part of it, but mainly I was older than what she was looking for and I was divorced which she was obviously not looking for in a man.
There was that nudge again.
I messaged her.
Too my astonished surprise, she replied. Me! A guy nearly 7 years older than her, 230 miles away from her, and divorced. Sounds copasetic to me, or not.
We chatted for a bit, mainly about our God life, known as our “Walk with Christ” in Christian lingo.
She then shocked me again by telling, not asking, that she wanted my number to call me.
“Sure, when?” I stupidly asked.
“Now”, she replied. It was going so fast already. We had only chatted for a few minutes, and now we were about to talk on the phone.
It turns out that Samantha wanted to know as quickly as possible, whether or not she was wasting her time. She was on a mission!
With a pounding heart, I answered the phone when she called. She dove right in and skipped all the customary small talk. I do mean ALL. She spoke about her priorities, and guess what? Jesus was number one. She also made it clear that He would always be number one.
She didn’t pull any punches.
She asked hard hitting questions. First whether or not Jesus was my top priority. Lucky for us, it was and still is. Then she immediately asked why I got divorced.
Sheesh! 5 minutes in and I am sweating bullets. Except that I wasn’t. Being divorced and diving back into dating was freeing. I knew that I could hide nothing about who I was, or my past, because I wanted someone to love the real me and not someone I was attempting to show them I was. I had no tolerance for games, or guessing, I too just wanted truth from her. So I told her everything she wanted to know.
This woman scared the crap out of me though…
She was unlike any woman I had ever met. She was incredibly smart, had a good career in nursing, loved people in the deepest way, more compassionate than anyone I had met, more honest than anyone I had met, and knew exactly what she wanted and not in the “I wear the pants” kind of way. She was strangely gentle, yet strong. Completely open yet somehow guarded her heart well. My fears of her age being so young, she was 22 and I was 29 if you were wondering, were erased with her wisdom and maturity being well beyond her years. She seemed to understand life and people on a different level.
We both had been previously damaged. We both needed each other, but didn’t know it yet. We both had had very obvious strengths where the other had a weakness. She is the shyest person I have ever known, and, well… I am not. She literally seemed like the opposite of me. She was such a better person than I was, with a huge heart. I barely knew her and I already wanted to be a better man. I wanted to be the best man! I needed her so I could become the man I always wanted to be. A good man.
I asked her if I could take her out on a date at the end of our first conversation.
She said yes, because you know… I’m a stud.
The next day I drove almost three hours to pick her up for our date. Along the drive I contemplated my sanity, and continually calmed my nerves. When I arrived, I parked in front of her house, and got out of my car.
She opened the door and stood on the porch to greet me.
Unbelievably, on that slowed in time walk to her for the first time, with her beauty radiating, our eyes met and I immediately knew she was going to be my wife.
It was not love at first sight. It was the fact that I had always loved her, somehow, someway I knew that I was always supposed to find her. My path always led to her. My journey through the muck was to get to her, to save her and her save me. Two broken people that would have never been whole, until they found each other.
That first hug didn’t heal my heart. Nope, it gave me a new one, a bigger one, a deeper one. It gave me the heart that was always intended to be mine. I felt whole with her from the first moment our eyes met. I felt peace for the first time in my life. Everything made sense to me. Everything was beautiful and has been since. This was all just from a look. I just knew.
I’ll skip over the details about our first date because I will be writing about it for a blog challenge in April.
Anyways, I told Samantha that I loved her later that night. Yeah, on the first date. I know! It seemed crazy, yet I couldn’t hold it back from her. Under the clear Pennsylvania night sky, she needed to know how I felt. She was everything I wanted in a woman, partner, friend, lover, and wife. Not one thing has changed my mind about that since, and nothing ever will. We were always meant to be.
We got engaged, and my type-A future wife attacked the planning of our wedding. We got engaged after two months and were officially married after 4 months from that initial date.
It had to look bad on my part, crazy on both of our parts, but we just didn’t care what people thought because it was impossible to explain anyways. We simply did not want to waste any amount of our lives a part, because when we were a part we were not whole. We were not home.
Something that no one knows (until now) is that we got married before our wedding. It wasn’t in front of family, or conducted by a preacher. It was with God, the only witness that truly matters. We prayed together, and spoke unbreakable vows to each other and God in the soft glow of flickering candles, and with nothing between us but a bible. It was the most romantic night of my life, and the most powerful connection I had ever felt between her, myself, and our God.
Soon after our personal ceremony, God gave us our next greatest gift, our daughter, as her journey into this world soon began, which was well before our other wedding. You know… the one in front of actual people. I’m sure some small town gossip happened on our account, but again, we didn’t care. We married each other because we completed each other, and were (ARE) madly in love with each other. We just got an early wedding present!
My happy ending was well worth all the previous pain. If I had to do it all over again, I’d endure far worse pain if it still led me to finding her.
My happy ending is and forever will be my wife, Samantha Jo Lemon.
We complete each other in every way. She is exactly the wife I had always dreamed and hoped for. She uses her incredible compassionate heart, medical knowledge, and insane intellect in raising our daughter. I don’t know how I got so lucky. She is the best mom I could ever imagine. Winslow is beyond blessed to have her as a mom, and to see her parents love each other as deeply as we do. I respect my wife so much. I love pushing her and helping her grow, as she does the same to me. Sam is so patient and kind. She is slow to anger and quick to seek understanding. She ALWAYS thinks before she speaks, and puts deep thought into her giving. She has given me more than I deserve, and more than I have dreamed. Words simply will never do justice in describing how deeply I love her. I hope my life is a tribute to my love and devotion to her and Winslow, while we all serve our King, our Savior, our match maker, our creator, our soulmate, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sam, I love you more than these words can describe. I would marry you every day if I could. Thank you for loving me. Besides trusting in Jesus, you are the best thing that has and will ever happen to me in this crazy world. I love you more with every passing moment, more than I ever knew was possible. Thank you for being my happy ending.