The faithfulness of God in healing the past.
by Caity M.*
I sit alone on a couch a thousand miles from the place I’m supposed to call home, thinking about how I got here and desperately wanting to get away from the emptiness I’d allowed to dictate my life. It came from months of tears, lies, betrayal, and emptiness in a bad relationship.
In the springtime, I heard a sermon about hate after my boyfriend, Liam, and I had gotten back together for the third time. Now I was done with our volatile relationship and wanted to be on my own again.
I never hated Liam, but, for some reason, he hated me. He told me he didn’t accept me as me and wanted to make me into someone else. When I realized Liam was a completely different person than I’d thought, I was disappointed but never hated him.
When God let me hear the sermon on hatred and placed the answer in my heart to leave Liam, a tear escaped from my eye and fell down my cheek. I walked out the church doors feeling real for the first time in months, maybe even years. I could feel the warm breeze blowing in my hair and see the world as it is.
I smiled. For the first time since the day we’d locked eyes, something made perfect sense about Liam. I needed to spread my wings, but first I had to break out of my cocoon. And my cocoon was thick.
Falling in love
I remember the day I fell in love with Liam. I tripped, dropping my belongings as our eyes met. He asked me if I was okay before offering a helping hand. I refused and stood up on my own, demonstrating the independence he would soon work tirelessly to take away from me.
There was a sparkle behind his dark, mysterious eyes that made me feel something I hadn’t felt in years, a feeling that intrigued me. Little did I know Liam’s sparkle would soon fade, and the color of his eyes would change.
Each day we saw each other as friends, but what we felt for each other was undeniable. Due to past trauma, I’d mastered the feeling of nothingness, so the feeling of love was one I was still figuring out. I was young, confused, naïve, and lonely. But I knew I was in love.
Despite what I felt for Liam, my last love lingered in my mind. Cole still had my heart; he always has. He was warm and comforting, and I felt safe with him. No matter how much I tried to get over him, Cole crossed my mind nearly every day. But I kept that to myself and wanted to simply move on.
Liam’s last love stayed with him, too, so much so he didn’t stop seeing her while we were together. I wouldn’t find that out until our relationship ended.
Once we voiced our feelings for each other, I put great effort into our relationship. It took only three weeks for Liam to start showing his red flags. When he glared at me, I could feel his hatred burning into me.
One of the verses I read over and over during my time with Liam was Amos 3:3: “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (NLT). The answer is no. Still, I often tried to please Liam. I cried and was visibly torn — sleep deprived, dark circles, glossy eyes, messy hair, and bruises. How could someone who claimed to love me treat me so terribly?
In trying to please Liam, I let so much slide past me in order to keep the relationship going. What was it all for? So that someone I barely knew would not hate me?
Or perhaps I was lonely, as I am tonight, and he was there at the right, and wrong, time. A warm hand in mine — but the warmth left each time I saw him.
Reflections and reality
I now realize I never knew Liam. My memories of him are images of what he wanted me to see. But the reality was that he chased me as I ran out the door. He got drunk and revealed his insecurities. He grabbed me and begged me not to leave. So I stayed.
I’ve always been good at leaving, but no one had ever begged me to stay. I have the memories of the moments it all went wrong. All the red flags I painted pink in my mind for the time being. I no longer hold onto any of these memories. Not the good or bad ones. I don’t want any of them, despite the flashbacks of his abuse.
I spent night after night on Google looking at signs of abuse, taking tests titled “Am I in an abusive relationship?” It was all I knew to do to get an answer. The answer was always “yes.”
While I still loved Liam, my feelings for him changed, and I knew I no longer wanted him in my life. I’d never thought getting him to leave me alone would take so much effort. Eventually, I had to block his number and quit my job to get him to finally leave me alone.
Helping others is a passion that burns deep inside of me. But I can’t save people — especially people like Liam. And not everyone wants to be saved. Liam didn’t.
I roll off the couch and walk to the door, taking one look at my shoes before deciding not to wear them. I remember my dirty old sneakers sitting next to Liam’s door alongside my keys and phone, a pattern I taught myself for when I needed to rush out of his house.
I walk outside to look up at the stars in the clear Arizona night sky. I close my eyes as I lie next to the only tree in the backyard. The water flows from the manmade waterfall in the swimming pool.
I fall asleep and wake up the next morning feeling confused. This is not the first time I’ve fallen asleep outside. I used to lie down outside next to my happy place river when I felt sad. I would sometimes find myself waking up in the middle of the night, lying alone under the dangers of the night sky.
But this time is different. This time when I open my eyes, I see the morning light, and feel the Arizona heat beating down on my fair skin.
God, I am ready to fall in love. But this time, with You.
* Names and details have been changed.
Caity M. is a freelance writer.