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moments of healing

Several months into our relationship, there had been several key moments of healing for me as David was able to provide some of the affirmation I needed, and for him as he saw how positively I responded to him when he gave of himself.  Our weekly 4-6 hour phone dates had proven more precious than originally anticipated.  The ‘curse’ of being long-distance turned into a blessing, as we were free from having to work out too many logistics (where should we eat?  what should I wear?).  We could just ‘go there’ and delve into deep issues of the heart, as well as simply sharing about our weeks, during our times together.  Getting to know each other deeply was truly awesome and laid a foundation for our future life together.  We had also met in person several times, and there was no doubt that we enjoyed each other’s company, and got along with one another’s friends and family.  We certainly enjoyed eating together!  We had also had our share of constructive conflict resolution, and had worked through some difficulties, clarified expectations, and both apologized a lot for our respective shortcomings and immaturities.

We were at the point in our relationship where it seemed like we were ready to move forward a step closer towards possible marriage.  We decided to seek counsel from our former pastor from college, who we both loved and respected very much.  He had been the second person David opened up to after me back in the day, so he knew our basic story.  He graciously agreed to meet us despite his busy schedule.

I anxiously awaited our meeting because I really really needed to speak alone with our pastor.  He was the only one I could turn to completely honestly because he was the only one who I personally knew and trusted who already knew David’s story.  To this point I had not shared our secret of his ‘orientation’ with any of my girlfriends (to protect David, since he did not know them well enough to feel comfortable with them knowing).  So all my other sharing (of my insecurities, etc. in the relationship) were met rather blankly because my girlfriends simply didn’t understand the depth of what I was going through.  One perceptive friend did observe I seemed to protect David a lot when talking about him, always defending his position when she would question something about our relationship, even if I was wallowing in a lot of pain over the very thing she was observing.  I still felt ugly and unloveable still in so many ways, but had not been able to share this in its raw depth with a trusted friend.

Our pastor first met with both of us, then excused me as he met with David privately.  I was so grateful he initiated meeting with us individually because I may have been too nervous to ask for one-on-one time myself.  Not too long afterwards, David came out and I went in.  I was so nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen in the conversation.  Would he say I’m crazy and I needed to get out of this relationship as fast as I could?  Would he tell me I have serious issues and we were just not ready for this?  I didn’t know what to expect, or exactly how to put into words the questions in my heart.  As we began talking, he was most encouraging and as gracious as could be.  These many years later, I don’t remember too much of our conversation, but two things that set me off on the right course.  First, I needed to share David’s story with one girlfriend so I would not have to struggle alone. Afterwards, David quickly gave his blessing to this, which brought me a great measure of relief.  I did not have to struggle alone.

Secondly, and even more powerfully, a little hole in my heart was healed that day when he said in his typical understated way, “Oh, and if you’re wondering if there’s anything wrong with you, you are perfectly fine.”  I don’t think these were his exact words, but it conveys the gist, including his conservative Asian way of communicating.  If I may take the liberty to fill out what he meant by that, what I would tell a woman in my shoes at that time would go something more like this: “I want to affirm that you are beautiful, and there is nothing about your appearance that makes you inherently unattractive or unloveable.  Your boyfriend’s struggles in this area are completely unrelated to your inherent feminitity or womanhood, and I encourage you to look to God and His Word to affirm your inner beauty and let God love on you and fill your needs in this area.  You are God’s beloved, and His desire is for you.  The more you can take in this truth and walk confidently in it, the more true beauty will emanate from the inside out.  And regarding your boyfriend, be patient as he grows in his ability to feel and demonstrate physical attraction to you.”

photo by DKFrost

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