I walked into my apartment confused. Everyone seemed to be against Zoe. My mom, Bill, the Brodersens who had become an incredible mentor family for me—all thought I was nuts for even considering such a woman. But why? Sure she was young in her faith and had bouts with lying, but she loved everyone. She was kind and generous with people. She was trying, and she shared her faith openly and—she was beautiful. But deep down I knew something wasn’t right. I went to my apartment buried my face into my couch and prayed.
“Dear God,” I started, “please give me wisdom here. I know something isn’t right, but I love this girl. I love her with every ounce of my being and I know it’s crazy. Something inside me says there is something that isn’t right. Every godly counsel You have ever given me is not for this, but I can’t break it off with her if You don’t speak to me clearly. I need You.”
I prayed that over and over for what seemed to be an hour. I had frequented the First Baptist Prayer Tower in downtown Dallas many times waiting for God to respond. But the only thing I heard from God concerning her was “run.” I decided that that couldn’t be God, cause—well, I loved her and that didn’t sound very loving.
After praying I walked over to my laptop and typed Zoe’s full name into Google. References to her being an actress popped up, but then there was a strange reference to her name and another guy. It listed her name next to a wedding date. My RPMs redlined as I clicked on the link. I saw her in a Wedding Gown. I didn’t want to believe it. I saw her kissing another man. I saw her wedding cake with the date of a month ago. Everything inside me melted.
My thoughts spun and I kept walking to the couch and then picking up my phone to call her. I put the phone down. I texted her. It was over. I hit the floor in the fetal and wept. My mom called and I picked it up. She asked what was wrong and I tried to explain, but the emotion kept choking me. Within an hour my mom came and just held me like I was 5 and had just skinned my knee. Eventually the tears stopped and mom went home. Moms just know how to be there.
I had never had my heart broken like that. I had never been hurt so deeply, but there was nothing I could do now. It was over. I walked over to the window and watched the naked trees wave. I cried to the Lord to take the pain. I prayed that this pain would not be for nothing. That somehow the Lord could use this.
I put in a 24 DVD and let Jack Bauer save the world for a straight 24 hours. My phone rang over and over again. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to hear the “I told you so” I didn’t want to die that painful death again and relive it. I just wanted to fast forward life.
Then Don called and for some reason I answered it. My voice was still shaky and I knew Don could tell, but something about Don made me not care that I was a mess.
“Hey Don,” I said.
“What’s wrong, Chris? You sound terrible.”
“It’s over,” I said.
“What are you talking about? Zoe?”
“Yeah, she married someone else.” I said.
“****, Chris, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
“No, I’m not okay. I know God is in this, but right now I am not okay. God answered my prayer, it just wasn’t the answer I wanted and I am feeling the consequences of not listening to him.”
“Well ****, Chris, love is tricky thing. It’s like a fog you walk into and then all of a sudden you are in a relationship.”
“I just don’t get why, Don. Why? Why would she lie like that. I know I wasn’t perfect, I know that I sinned against her in various ways, but she never stopped lying.”
And then something inside me erupted and I couldn’t stop crying. What can break an Airborne Ranger who has seen the horrors of combat and come out fairly unscathed—a woman.
“I’m coming over.”
“Okay,” I said.
In twenty minutes Don was at my apartment. His footsteps sounded like the cavalry coming to my rescue and I hugged him hard. I just kind of fell into his arms and just cried. I didn’t care for a moment that Don’s theology was completely screwed up. I didn’t care that he was living in sin. My own sins had brought me to a place of utter destruction that I had been warned about and warned about from the Lord and others and I knew it. After being beaten down about how Zoe was not God’s best for me, I had hidden the fact that I was still seeing her—except from Don. Maybe it was because I needed to be around someone who had screwed up worse than I had, I don’t know. I felt like a complete ministry failure. I felt like a complete life failure. Emotions whirled about in my heart and mind—I had reaped what I had sowed.
It was like experiencing a death, only it wasn’t a death, it was worse—it was betrayal.
Death is a clean cut. There is loss, but it is a dull ache that eventually fades. Betrayal is a jagged cut that heals and reopens over and over as the wondering if it can be made right somehow go through your mind.
I don’t know why Don was the only one I wanted to see at the moment. I don’t know why he had become like a best friend to me. I don’t know how that happened, I just knew that he had. I think it was here, crying into his shoulder that Don stopped being a project and fully stepped into friendship—a deep friendship.