About Dena, friendship, Hope, Just for Laughs, Surviving Adultery and Divorce

Dena and the Blue Bow Tie

Have you ever done something humiliating out of complete innocence? Embarrassed yourself because of your own naiveté? Kept that mistake buried for years? When the secret came out, you had to live with the humiliation for the rest of your life?

I’ve made two such mistakes. The two biggest mistakes of my life (well, maybe not, but certainly two I will never live down).

The first mistake was made before I went to college. I’ll tell you that story shortly.

The second was confessing said mistake to my dear Oklahoma Baptist University friends Merka Man and McCrary. (You can read more about them in my OBU post back in the November archives. They have so kindly recruited a whole host of friends to join in their harassment of me!)

So, here’s the first big mistake: the story of the blue bow tie.

The summer before I went to college, an Olive Garden restaurant had just opened in Oklahoma City. I applied for and got a job as a hostess for the summer before I moved off to college. It was really the first time I left my sheltered little world, and I was introduced to a whole host of new people and experiences.

There was one rather good-looking college student who seemed to take an interest in me. We developed a little friendship. We flirted here and there. And, I always looked forward to working on the days he was there.

One evening, I was working and he was not. But, to my surprise, he walked through the door shortly before closing. As he came in, he slipped something into my hand: a blue bow tie. Around the neck of the bow tie was a matchbook. Inside the matchbook, he had written a simple, “Would you go out with me sometime?”

Stop laughing!! I know some of you get it!! I was clueless!!

I thought the blue bow tie was just a creative way of asking me out. I was flattered. I was excited. I had never really dated because I had committed to never date until I found someone that made God number one in his life.

Now I know the laughter is rolling! I can hear you!

So, I decided to accept the invitation for a date. He planned a fun little evening at the Myriad Gardens where we went and fed the ducks. It was a low-key, low-stress date. He was an absolute gentleman!

And then I found out the story behind the bow tie and matchbook.

You see, the Olive Garden was not his only job. He had a second job. That job required that he wear a blue bow tie. And remove most of the rest of his clothing.

He was a male stripper! An exotic dancer! The bow tie was a prop from one of his shows!

And, NO!!! I had no clue!!

This innocent little Christian girl who had committed her life to ministry, was headed to a Baptist college, and wanted nothing more than a godly man in her life DATED A MALE STRIPPER! (Ok… only one date… never went out with him again.)

And, before someone asks (in case your juvenile humor takes you there): HE KEPT ALL HIS CLOTHES ON DURING OUR DATE!!

So now you know my dirty little secret. Now my parents know my dirty little secret! I just confessed to the world that my innocence caused me to do something totally out of character for me.

You have to admit, it is pretty darn funny.

But, since I confessed to my dear friends Merka Man and McCrary, I might as well tell the whole world; otherwise, they are going to do it for me! (Caveat: If anyone asks the story of the blue bow tie, I might deny the truth and use the story that Merka Man and McCrary have asked to be buried wearing a blue bow tie to fulfill their life-long dreams of becoming male strippers.)

You know, I could choose to beat myself up for being so stupid that I didn’t understand (or ask) about a bow tie and a matchbook. But what good would that do? It’s a whole lot more fun to laugh about my innocent mistake and give everyone else a good laugh.

But, I know there are some of you out there hurting because of “mistakes” you have made. Some of you are beating yourselves up for your “failures.”

Some of you are believing the lie that it takes two to destroy a marriage.

Yes, we can all point to things that we could have done better in our marriage. We all have moments when we are not as encouraging as we should be, where our frustrations get taken out on the wrong people.

For me, I was an enabler: I enabled my ex-husband to continue on his destructive path. Honestly, though, I didn’t know what else to do. My enabling was out of a sheer drive for survival. I had to do so much to keep our family afloat. But, I did enable him.

Outside of enabling, though, I was an encourager. I was a help mate. I was supportive. I was a good wife and a good mom. I was many things to many people.

And it has taken years for me to realize that I was not the problem in my marriage.

God has had to do a mighty work of rebuilding me, of rebuilding my self-esteem. He has had to show me the beauty deep within and show me the great purposes he has for me. He has had to reveal to me the encouraging heart he has placed within me because I had been torn down so far.

My marriage did not fail because of me. My marriage failed because my husband became hard-hearted and determined to follow his own path rather than the one God laid out for us.

I don’t say that to disparage my ex-husband. I say that because there is someone out there who is fighting the battle of their lives. There is someone feeling like a miserable failure because his/her marriage failed. There is someone out there beating himself/herself up because of a divorce.

Perhaps, like my story of the bow tie, you need to take a few minutes and listen to the Savior. Perhaps he is whispering to you, “You did not fail. Your divorce is not your fault. It was your purity, your innocence, that allowed you to be used by someone who became hard-hearted.”

Don’t let the enemy falsely heap shame and guilt upon you if you were an innocent victim. And, if you shared equally in the divorce, remember that there’s grace. There is no reason to let a divorce destroy your life. God still has great plans for you—plans that might even exceed what he was going to do with the two of you together! He has a beautiful future! He will take this one failure (an event, not a person) and use it to make something beautiful.

You just have to choose to surrender to his plan. Let him reveal the true condition of your heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23 NLT

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17 thoughts on “Dena and the Blue Bow Tie”

  1. I love your blogs and daily in his presence. For unknown reasons I haven’t received recently and I so looked forward to receiving each day. .
    I felt also that the problem with my marriage wasn’t me. But I know ( and did know) that when I entered into the relationship I was not following Jesus . I had walked away and married a man that didn’t know the Lord. I came from a dysfunctional family where God was not a priority . And rarely mentioned. My father was an abusive man and a alcoholic . I often had the thought that I was a black sheep and even have reason to believe that I was a product of rape. It has only recently that I’ve put the pieces together and have forgiven . The marriage was the worst mistake I ever made in my life ! I tried MY best and even looked to God and trusted that he would bring our marriage into one accord and prayed thru out that my husband would accept the Lord as his savoir. I thought I could fix . I made terrible choices and decision that were not of God but all about ME. Praise God for his faithfulness and mercies. I didn’t really understand all of that at the time , but in hindsight God has opened my understanding. There is so much more to this than I revealed here. But one thing I know for certain that God has forgiven and restored my soul . I press on and look forward every day to be his presence and surround myself with other people who love him , want only to give HIM praise , worship and glorify his name.
    May God continue to bless you and your ministry for the great things he is doing thru you !
    I have 2 names and can be confusing . I have my former marriage name that is Buzzel and current name Coroch . Long story also . Learning to trust in HIM and HIM alone , and turning everything over to him;

    In HIS hands,
    Connie

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Connie! What a beautiful picture of his resurrection power! He knew you before you were formed. He knew the days of your life. He knit you together perfectly, preparing you to be a masterpiece. He planned great works for you long before you were born! What an amazing testimony of how he takes our biggest mistakes and makes something beautiful from them! God bless!

  2. um…there is a little dramatic license spread throughout that story and I have the Facebook conversations to prove it!

    1. I don’t know what your referring too , but I do know we are all in HIS hands and in the process of change. I am not perfect I am the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ . I don’t always make the right choices and do the right thing. Only God sees my heart and knows ME.
      In HIS hands
      Connie

      1. Relieved . Just joined a OSB , a small online bible group “Keep it Shut” The comment reminded me how important our words are . The power of the tongue and that it comes from the heart. Sorry for the confusion , however it showed me that I’m already learning from “Keep it shut”

  3. Your timing is perfect and your words hit so close to home in my heart!! It has been 3 years and I still find myself in so much pain and regret. I have to overcome this stage of grieving with my Gods help!!!

    1. I think I was about three years in when I really began to move forward. Just remember: this is not the end! It is a brand new beginning to something beautiful God is going to do in you and through you! Hang in there!

  4. Wow… it is almost like a mirror – your words” For me, I was an enabler: I enabled my ex-husband to continue on his destructive path. Honestly, though, I didn’t know what else to do. My enabling was out of a sheer drive for survival. I had to do so much to keep our family afloat. But, I did enable him.” Dead ringer

    “Outside of enabling, though, I was an encourager. I was a help mate. I was supportive. I was a good wife and a good mom. I was many things to many people.

    And it has taken years for me to realize that I was not the problem in my marriage.” Dead on again.
    …… this is what took me two years of what has been an agonizing and nasty divorce (allegations all by him, survived the criminal nonsense now getting maligned greatly in family court… but I stay focused on the Lord)

    “My marriage did not fail because of me. My marriage failed because my husband became hard-hearted and determined to follow his own path rather than the one God laid out for us.” Bingo. I stopped believing in coincidences. I do believe that good comes out of bad situations. The hardest part for me right now is that because my when ever he will be ex spouse is not so much his flagrant adultery… it is how incredibly greedy and downright mean he is.

    And though my walk with God wasn’t strong when I met him, we both recognized God as part of our lives. This horrible ordeal has made me realize how important in all ways that God has to be an active part of my life. But this blog today along with a prompt to read 2 Peter 2:20-22:

    2 Peter 2:20-22Good News Translation (GNT)

    20 If people have escaped from the corrupting forces of the world through their knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are again caught and conquered by them, such people are in worse condition at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been much better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred command that was given them. 22 What happened to them shows that the proverbs are true: “A dog goes back to what it has vomited” and “A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud.”

    I just see that I should continue to pray for my spouse who has become very hard hearted, and trust the issue to God. But reading this has eased the pain of how mean he has become. Amazing how vibrant God’s Word is.

    God Bless the work you do Dena. You really have helped a lot of us with your shares.

    1. I understand your circumstances so well. I have had all kinds of accusations thrown at me. He has smeared my name in so many ways. But I know that God is my defender. I pray that my righteousness will shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause like the noon day sun (Psalm 37). Amazing how God steps in and brings the truth to light.

      Praying for my ex-husband is the only way I have found to keep bitterness and anger out of my heart and life. It has taken a long time, but I can truly pray that He will surrender so that God can use him. And, I have found God completely trustworthy.

      So often we hear the myth that it takes two to destroy a marriage. I don’t want anyone to believe that. It only takes one hard-hearted individual to miss the blessings in his life and to choose to walk away from God. Too many precious individuals see themselves as failures when in reality they are innocent victims. I want them to know that they are not failures and that God has an amazing future ahead of them.

      Love that passage and your attitude. Hang on for the ride of your life. It is so hard, and yet so rich and rewarding! God bless!

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