A Collection of Essays

The Engagement Story…

Dear Reader,

I am going to shift gears a bit today and tell you another story from my life but before I do, I want to say something: Mark is not a bad person.

I genuinely believe he loves Jesus. But I also see that he has hurt people – myself being one of them. I also recognize though, that Mark may look different to other people. My experience of him and someone else’s experience may look completely different.

AND that is ok.

It does not mean my experience was any less real just because Mark did not show up the same way for someone else. It just means that sometimes certain people do not get along. Their personalities or various qualities collide. And who someone is to one person may look different to another.

There was a great deal I learned from this experience. One being that not all experiences are the same. Before I was often judgmental about these things – I judged another’s experience through the lens of my experience. It made me lack compassion. I did not get where they were coming from so, I often dismissed it.

I see now (still working through this) that we would do far better to listen to one another – share our experiences and let people just be people. It is not easy especially when we really do not understand where someone is coming from BUT I think this world be a far better place if we stopped judging and started listening.

So, here is more of my story.

In the spring of 2005, I was engaged to my high school sweetheart. We had gotten engaged the fall before and were set to be married in August of that year. 

I want you to know I wanted to marry him. I had literally badgered that poor man to ask me to marry him MONTHS leading up to our engagement.

I genuinely loved him with all I knew how to as a young twenty-year-old woman.

There is just SO much life you do not know at that time.

As we got closer to our wedding day my anxiety kept getting more intense. It was so hard for me to understand because I wanted to marry him. WHY was I experiencing this?

It went on for months like this and finally I just came to the conclusion I was not ready. I was not ready to be married. I was so convinced I was going to be terrible at it. I also remember thinking that I should NOT be anxious about something like marriage. The only emotion I SHOULD be feeling was excitement.

Looking back, I realize now that it was ok to be anxious about a really BIG decision.

It was around May of 2005 when I told Scott. I remember sitting on my bed and just crying. We both cried. I was ending something with very little warning, and I am sure he felt blindsided. I just felt relieved.

The relief lasted for a few months. I even dated someone briefly during this time – I did know that rebounds were a thing until this moment.

I think me dating someone so quickly just added salt to the wound.  I am sure it just compounded the hurt upon more hurt. But my relationship ended with the “rebound” and I found myself gravitating back toward Scott.

I remember thinking I had made a horrible mistake. I wanted him back. AND this went on for months upon months. We did this whole back and forth dance that just ended up hurting us both more. We ultimately ended when I came back from vacation and he was with another woman.

I shared with you a few weeks back that I drank a lot during this time AND I really did. I was so crushed, hurt and a little lost that the booze just took the edge off. It made me forget BUT looking back it ultimately stunted my healing.

I met my husband Trevor about a year and half after the vacation incident. I was not healed by any stretch of the imagination from what happened with Scott, but I fell for Trevor anyway. I often tell him I showed up to him with a very broken heart.

I shoved that broken heart down for years. Then, at some point it turned into shame. I felt ashamed that there were pieces of me that were still broken from another man even though I was married. Scott and I had never talked about what happened between us and it always felt like so many words just HUNG in the air.

I am also not very good at removing people out of my life that I care deeply for. I am the type of person that has a few deep relationships but not many shallow ones. If I care about you I kind of care about you forever.

AND this vicious cycle continued on for years. Unresolved issues would come to the surface – I would shove them down because they felt shameful and then that cycle would just continue over and over again.  

But a few years back I finally got the courage to talk to Scott about what happened between us. It was awkward at times but LONG overdue. I see from that conversation that I hurt him as much as he hurt me. I also see that when we ignore what hurt us it festers. I needed that have that conversation with him about twelve years ago – I laugh now that it was about ten years overdue.

I also see that this world does not give us a lot of space to work through things like this. We often like to equate unresolved issue with love. Like somehow because something still hurt or bothered us, and we never spoke about it, it must mean we still love that person. I think even the thought of this kept in me the same shame pattern.

There were various reasons why Scott and I did not work out. Some of which will remain private. BUT I can say with certainty now that I am thankful for this time in my life and I am thankful for the person Scott was to me then. He really did show me what it was like to love another person.

Despite all the hurt attached this time of my life, I can look back with gratitude for that. I can also look at this story and see that it is sooo important to deal with our crap. Get it out there. Work through it and not let it fester.

Festering does a WHOLE lot of strange things to people.

I know it did to me.

It is my firm belief that we are often held back by things we refuse to deal with. I refused to deal with this, and it held me back.

I also allowed shame to keep me stuck. I kept telling myself this should not bother me BUT the truth is it did. I had to acknowledge that and then, do something about it.

My something about it was talking to him. That was important to me. BUT not everyone’s “something” will look like that.

So, my encouragement for you today is do not feel ashamed for those things that you are still holding on to. Acknowledge them and figure out what it looks like for you to move past them.

BUT whatever you do – don’t stay there. Heal and become the person you were created to be.

Until next time,

Kara Jess

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