Dating, Faith, Hope, promises

Shhh! I Have a Secret

I have been keeping a secret from you all.

Please forgive me for not being completely open. It’s a tough secret to keep, but it’s one I needed to savor myself for a while.

It’s funny. I am a very quiet and private person. I’m not one to put my personal life on display for the world to see. I like to keep my private life my own.

It seems like a complete oxymoron for me to be writing a blog at all.

But when God calls, I must follow. Never in my wildest dreams did I know what He planned for this journey. Never did I imagine that strangers around the world would know my story, would know my name. Never did I dream that people would be waiting to know my heart, my struggles, my victories my defeats.

And yet, here I am. And you are among my greatest blessings, my closest friends.

Friends share with friends, right? So I have decided to open up my private life and tell you all one of my closest secrets.

Are you ready?

Please don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret, just between friends.

Here it goes…

I am dating someone.

Yep. You read that correctly. After seven years as a single mom, struggling to overcome adultery and divorce and financial struggles and so much more, I am dating someone.

There’s no ring on my finger. There’s no wedding date set. But, there is someone special in my life. For the first time in seven years, I have the companionship that I have longed for. And, we are slowly moving forward to see where God might take us.

It has been a very rough year as I explained recently, and he is the bright spot in 2016. A very bright spot. An answer to prayer. It has been such a blessing to have him walk beside me through some of the most painful circumstances I have ever faced, to hear his words of encouragement and hope when I feel like I won’t make it another day.

And he came as a complete surprise.

At the beginning of the year, a friend and I covenanted to pray that 2016 would be the year of complete restoration, that God would finally fulfill our greatest desire, the desire for love and companionship. And we both fully believed this was our year.

Then my kids’ dad died.

One of my first thoughts was that there was no way I could start dating. I had to put my hopes and dreams on the backburner to focus on my kids, to help them navigate their own grief.

I let my hope die.

But, within a few weeks of his death, two of my kids came to me (separately) and said, “Mom, it’s time.”

They were giving me their blessing, restoring the hope and belief that God was about to do something amazing and crazy. In their grief, they were giving me the freedom to move forward with my life.

I want to qualify all of this: I am only three months into this relationship. We definitely see God’s hand, but we also understand there’s a long, long way to go. We are determined to do this whole dating thing God’s way, to keep Him at the center of our lives and our relationship. We don’t want to jump ahead of God. I don’t want to tell you that finally God has restored my life fully and completely…because we are choosing to take it one day at a time, seeking His face, walking in obedience.

But I am letting you in on my secret now because we find ourselves in uncharted territory, tip-toeing into the waters of dating, learning day-by-day how to move forward into the future God has for us. We are striving to put aside the baggage we each carry from our pasts, from the pain and devastation we have experienced in our own lives. And I hope that as we learn, I can help you as you venture into this strange territory of dating post-divorce (or whatever trauma you have faced).

Because I have chosen not to focus on dating during the last seven years, it’s a topic I haven’t spent much time talking about in my blog. However, it is a topic I am frequently asked about. So I’ve decided that we will take this journey together, learning how to date God’s way.

Today I give you three nuggets of truth I have learned in the last three months:

God’s timing is definitely not our timing. As I said earlier, when the kids’ lost their dad, I knew the timing was wrong. But God was sitting in heaven laughing at me.

Seriously. This year has been crazy. Not only do I have three teens (or near teens) who are all going different directions at the same time. I also have a full-time job that keeps me super busy. I am trying to keep up with my blog and the various writing opportunities that are coming at me. I am in a mentoring program with Shannon Ethridge designed to help grow my ministry and my personal life. We have been overwhelmed with sickness and surgeries. My to-do list is beyond human capabilities…and growing every single day.

And now God sees fit to bring someone to me…at the busiest season of my life when I don’t even know how to get from one day to the next. His timing is definitely not what I would choose.

When God seems silent, He is working somewhere. Do you remember in the movie You’ve Got Mail when Meg Ryan suggests a meeting with her online suitor? Tom Hanks’ response is, “First, I have a project that needs some tweaking.”

That’s what God has been doing in the last few years. He’s had a project to tweak before He could bring us together, before He could reveal His will to us.

You see, two years ago I felt like God went silent in my life. I felt abandoned, as if God had simply left me and quit moving me forward. I have struggled to see the future, to see how God is going to answer my prayers and fulfill my dreams.

Now I see more clearly. Two years ago, this man made a decision to pursue the heart of God in hopes that one day God would give him permission to pursue me. He decided to go all in with God, to put aside his own worldly pursuits so that he could become the man God created him to be. And it has been so much fun to watch as he has grown spiritually and surrendered fully to his Savior.

While I thought God was silent, He was simply tweaking the project He had started years before.

Never say never. I have known this man for most of my life because we went to high school together. I have also stated unequivocally that I would never date anyone from high school. I didn’t date the guys from our school when I was in high school, and I wasn’t going to start now. I might have even specifically stated that I would never date him.

Boy, does God have a sense of humor! Exactly where I say never is where He chooses to work and move. You would think after all these years of seeking God I would learn not to limit Him, to never say never because sure enough I will eat my words.

Had I chosen not to walk in obedience, I would have missed out on this amazing man who has changed my life in great ways. I would have missed an opportunity to be treated like an absolute princess, to have someone by my side who honors me and respects me in ways I have never experienced before. I would have missed this man who puts himself aside and serves others sacrificially all the time.

So, I’ve had a pleasant surprise in 2016, one that I have to take day-by-day to see where God leads. And, I ask that you all pray for us as we attempt to walk in obedience to what He has for us in the days ahead.

In return, I will take you on this journey with us, as we stumble and pick ourselves up again to learn about dating after divorce.

Thanks for keeping my little secret!

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69 thoughts on “Shhh! I Have a Secret”

  1. Hi Dena. I have never written to you before but I do watch my inbox for your posts. Tonight I opened this one and burst into tears praising God and thanking Him for your news. Selfishly on the side it gives me hope that an answer will come from Him in a huge way for me too. But mostly I am just so happy for you. More prayers will be said and I wish you so much joy and happiness in your new journey. In hope in Christ. Cheryl

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. So thrilled & look forward to seeing this love story unfold. Your kids sound so wonderful & wise. I pray they also develop a great relationship with him & any kids he may bring into the mix.

  3. We went to the same college, you and I. I didn’t know you there, but one of my dearest friends did, and she recommended that I start following your blog about a year-and-a-half ago when I was traveling down a similar road as yours. Most times, I’ve read your blog and appreciated learning that my experience is not unique and can be navigated well when God is at the helm. On some occasions, your words made me angry. They must have challenged my thinking which is always good. Today as I read, just like Cheryl wrote above, I cried. I was happy for you and grateful that God would love you (and me and Cheryl) that much. Thank you for sharing that confirmation that God is always working for our good.

    1. Debi, so glad one of our OBU friends pointed you my way. I’m sorry my words occasionally anger you…sometimes they anger me, too. It has been quite a journey from OBU to today, but there’s no doubt God is always working. He takes our hurts and pains and creates something beautiful. So glad to have you on this journey with me. I only wish it wasn’t because of the pain of divorce. Hugs and prayers!

  4. Mum’s the word! {giggle} Happy for you ! Can’t say it is a total surprise– I kind of had an inkling that something was up from some of your Facebook posts. 😊 Praying for one now that I am rather hoping is the project God is tweaking for me. Waiting on His timing to find out.

  5. Wow that is awesome news. DENA. You have once again given me hope that God does have that someone special for me out there as well. Blessings

  6. I’m so happy to read this! You’ve been on my heart and in my prayers….I’m so glad to see this great blessing arrive for you during such a difficult year.

  7. Hello! Dena,I thank God for your life . Continue to trust him and he will guide youforever . Congratulations !!!!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  8. Dena, Thank you for sharing your “secret”. I can’t tell you the number of times my heart has cried for you and your children as I have lived and I am personally living through much of the same pain. You are right. God’s timing is perfect. You have encouraged me as I have laughed and cried for you. I am now praising God for his sovereignty, mercy and compassion toward you. He has always been working on the other side of the mountain and now you see. What great and happy news my sweet sister. I will continue to pray for you as you walk this journey. God Bless You, Melinda ❤️🙏🏻👍🏻💙💕

    Sent from my iPad

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  9. Hi Dena! I praise God for his absolute favour on your life! This is your season as God has planned. I wish God’s amazing blessing upon you and your new partner. Continue to be obedient to Him and God will do the rest! Thank you for sharing this intimate part of your life, you have given my something to look forward to!!

  10. I am deliriously happy for you. I have the biggest smile on my face because your story offers hope and reinforces my belief that God will and can restore what we’ve lost and so much more. Enjoy this moment and know that you and the ‘new’ gentlemen will be lifted in prayer daily.

  11. WoW!!! SO happy for you !!!!! God is awesome but you know that as I know it ! You are a beautifully created masterpiece of the Almighty, your devotionals hit right to the heart and give me so much peace and alot of times I cry because I can feel your pain through your writing, you truly are an amazing writer all for His glory.. You are a great blessing to so many ! God’s many blessings to you and this new relationship that He has brought into your life!

  12. So VERY Happy for you Dena!! You have been thrown so many curve balls yet have remained Faithful & True to God our Father. Can’t wait to see the continued healing & growth in this new found relationship for you & Thank You for sharing!!!

  13. The eternal God who sees us, hears us, knows us, loves us! Let us magnify the Lord, for He is good! I love how He gives what we have longed for when we’re not expecting it. It was 25 years after my divorce that I received my gift, Tom, from Him. We will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this year. He is never late in answering our prayers. His answer and timing is perfect! He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I am thankful I trusted Him and waited patiently for His answer. Blessing upon blessing is my prayer for you! 🙂

  14. Whoooo hooooo!!! Thank you Lord for the Blessing of new beginnings and redeemed, resurrected hearts. Great news. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I am so happy for you!!! You deserve all the happiness, what a testimony! May God guide both of you in this. Journey and may it be one that glorifies his name. In such a short time your blog has had such a big impact on my life and my walk with God. God bless you and your family.

  16. Deana
    God is never late, always on time to fulfill that desire in our heart. As a newly divorced woman, I am struggling to navigate this new path. This spring brought darkness as the enemy put guilt, shame and regret to my life and I believed his lies. But my God is so faithful – He is faithful to the faithless as He can not be anything other than who He is! He has restored my hope and joy and I believe now the best days are ahead for me. Thanks for sharing! ❤️❤️❤️

  17. Hi Dena,

    It’s been 9 months since my christian wife said “I’m done, I want a divorce” She has moved out since than and is struggling to find a job and get her feet back on the ground! In the mean time she had a friend who is a lawyer write Up a propose divorce degree which I have countered several times! I cant really afford to pay her alimony which she wants and monies from my retirement. She has finally compromise and giving me the house but want some cash before she signs her name off. Both of us dont have the funds to pay a lawyer to go to court and battle it out, which i think its a good thing. But just use them as advisors. She has a boyfriend which she claim is her soul mate. We have been married 17 years and both of us this is our 2nd marriage with already adult children out of the home. So I’m just praying that I make the right decision, she is still my wife, and not act with bitterness or being resentful to her and her lover!

    The stress of both of us taking care of elderly parents on both sides and her trying to finish college and recovering from bariactric surgery , which she went from 200lb to 110lb within about a year I think took a heavy toll on her emotionally! It’s difficult because I’ve tried to support her in every way I could. Even giving her the choice to remain home and not work so she can find her passion in life in a career, home business or going back to college! I know its not all my fault but I’m open for correction and which I did see a christian counselor. I’ve not regretted being married to her for all that years for she taught me a lot about myself and she has lived and supported me the best she could. I even shared with her when she asked for a divorce that we both with God together had conquered difficult high mountains in our parental relationships, in financial hardships, health issues and with our adult daughters and if we both could have victory over this NEXT MOUNTAIN our marriage would even more cemented and bonded with HIS GRACE AND MERCY! But I’m not giving up hope and living the moment each day! Being still before God and a continued fellowship with HIM and my christian friends and family. All for HIS GLORY

    1. I’m so sorry for your pain. You are very wise to know God is able. He is able to do all things, and He can heal even the most deeply troubled marriage, deeply troubled life. Please know you are in my prayers, that God will give you peace, wisdom, and direction in the days to come.

  18. I read your posts on FB but this is the first time l have replied. Our stories are very similar. I signed divorce papers in mediation 3 days ago, after 21 years of marriage. Your “little secret” gives me hope for my future.👍😊💕

  19. I’m so very happy for you!!😊 You life is so very much like my life has been for the last 6 years. From the cheating to divorce, to no money and hardships, one after another. The loneliness and hopelessness has been overwhelming. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there for me. But thank God that the nice girl didn’t finish last. All the best to the two of you and your family. May the blessings keep raining on you.
    Georgia

  20. So happy for you Dena. God always keeps His promises; I am waiting for mine too. God is always working even when we can’t see it. We need to walk by faith and not by sight. Thank you for sharing your secret.

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