by Stephanie Angelique
It has taken me a long time to really and truly self analyze myself. For so long I have dealt with what is on the surface, and it has gotten me no where. So now on one of the biggest days of my life I decide to take a real good look at myself. I must be out of my mind. Danny is going to be crushed. But I say better crushed now than later when it is too late and innocent lives are negatively affected….Like mine was so long ago. I realized that I had no right to marry Danny because I was not the woman that I needed to be. I could not be the wife to him that the bible talks about. So better to walk away now than to make promises that I could not keep. I was in my car heading down I-95 and not sure of where I would end up. I just knew it was not going to be anywhere near a wedding. My wedding.
My cell phone was ringing off the hook. You would think that I would just turn it off. But as I sat in the traffic that was ridiculous, I checked the caller ID every time it rang. I must be a glutton for punishment. The first time it rang was at 2:00PM. I was driving through Howard Beach and it was my mother. Of course I knew what her message would say…"You know I don't believe you. Where are you? The Bridesmaids are here and you are no where to be found. I really don't believe you." That was her favorite statement when it came to me. I was so unbelievable it was a shame.
It rang again as I was going toward the Verranazanno Bridge. I checked it as I was approaching the toll booth. This time it was my Brother. Lord knows I did not want to hear his condescending message. I am sure he was calm cool and collected as he found a corner in the church to call me from. "Stephanie, it's 3 o'clock. Where are you? This is not a good thing to do. You should call someone and let them know where you are."
He was younger than me but you would never know it. He was given the roll of man of the house by mother and father the day my dad moved out. What the hell did he know about being a man of the house at 5 years old? Well he played his role to the T and it got on my nerves. I love my brother to death, but I will not tolerate the defamation of my character.
After my brother's call my phone was ringing every 15 minutes. There were 4 calls from the church, another two calls from my brother, and a call from my best friend's cell. I know she would be out done. "Stephanie where the hell are you? I can't believe you made me put on this dress and these shoes and you did not show up? Girl I hope all is well. Call me and I will come get you." She was always there to help me make my get aways. But this one I had to make on my own. I would call her and fill her in as soon as I got settled. I did not need to call her before hand because my family would grill her until she broke. I love the girl but she is weak. Since the age of 9 she could not keep a secret from our parents. We planned to run away once when we were 12. We hated living with our dictator mother's who were verbally abusive, in a loving way…lol. We agreed to meet at the subway at 4pm. Of course I made it to the subway, but I knew the jig was up when my mother pulled up at 5pm with her mother in the front seat and her in the back. We couldn't sit down for a week, and I knew from then that there were just some things you had to do alone.
By the time I got on the Garden State, I was seeing phone calls from my mother's house and even some from my house. Now I was wondering who was there calling me. I wanted to pick it up hoping it was Danny but, I feared it would not be him so I just let it ring. I felt so bad for Danny, but I knew that God would keep him. I knew that God would hold him up. I just didn't want him to think that I did not love him. Because I do. I just was not ready to let him down. Would he understand that? My prayer was that he would. Lord knows I didn't understand any of it.
I drove for hours and when I got tired I decided to stop. When I stopped I was in Maryland. Silver Springs to be exact. I found a Red Roof Inn, bought some bottled water, a sandwich with a bag of chips and a pint of Hagen Daz. That is when I knew it was bad. I hadn't eaten a meal like this since the day I got engaged 2 years ago. I was determined to loose the 125lbs for the wedding and I did just that. I went from a size 30-32 to a size 14. I vowed not to eat junk food anymore and I had stuck to my guns. My wedding day was my inspiration. But now the day was over and there was no wedding. Will Power and figure be damned. I ate the ice cream before I ate anything else. Yeah I was in a bad way.
It was around Midnight when my phone rang and the number that I had not seen all day came up in my phone. It was Danny. I need to answer this. I need to tell him how sorry I am. I need to tell him how much I love him and how much I don't deserve him. I need to tell him that it was me, and not him. But being an investigative Social worker, I decided to let it ring. I knew he was not alone. I knew my man enough to know he was upset. I knew that it would not be pretty. So I let it ring. I could not even begin to imagine the message being left on my phone. But I knew myself enough to know that I did not want to hear it. Danny only called me once for that night.
I woke up that morning to a ringing cell phone. This time it was my pastor's number that appeared. I decided to answer it this time. I was not in a mood to hear the ringing, nor battle with my mind trying to figure what kind of message was being left. So on the 4th ring at 7:30AM I answered.
"Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Stephanie…this is pastor. Are you ok?"
Her calm tone let me know that it was Holy Spirit talking through her. I wished that I had not answered now. This was a mighty woman of God and when she yields to the Holy Spirit be prepared.
"Stephanie are you there? Are you ok?"
The tears started to flow. I didn't even see or feel them coming until the first one fell off my cheek. God is too deep for me sometimes. Through the whimpering sobs I answered.
"No, not really. How is Danny?"
"He is ok. But I need to know how you are? Where are you baby?"
"I am in Maryland. I am fine physically. I know I made a mess right? Please tell Danny that I am sorry."
Then the dam that had been holding the tears had burst. I was crying and I couldn't stop myself. My pastor stayed on the phone with me and she consoled me. She asked me if I needed her and her husband to come get me. I told her no and that I had my car. We talked and she prayed. I can't say that I felt better but I felt more calm. After explaining to her that I found myself in a space that I was not ready for, and that I could not stand before God and man and make vows that I was not sure I could keep, she understood. I explained how I battled with it for weeks and was prepared to overlook how I felt and to just marry Danny, because I loved him so much. But when God asked me if I was ready, I couldn't lie. I was not. My pastor left me with a question that began to haunt me from the moment I hung up the phone with her.
"You know I can empathize with you about not being ready to be a wife. But this marriage is something that you felt in your heart. Something that you desired from God. Did you ever ask him to make you ready?…Don't answer it for me. Just think about it and then talk to God. I love you and I am here if you need me."
I spent the greater part of that day in the bed. Only coming out to pay the bill for two more nights, and to get more junk food. I only bought the Hagen Daz this time because I had not eaten the sandwich and chips from the night before. This time I didn't eat the ice cream first. I knew that I needed more than cream and sugar in my system. Not that white bread, processed meat & cheese, and fried potatoes were any better. But at least it would stick to my ribs. I found that my appetite was not responding, so I put the uneaten half of the sandwich in the garbage along with the potato chips. Thank you God that at least it had disgusted me. Later on that night the melted ice cream would turn my stomach just looking at it, and it went down the drain.
As I laid there in the bed I was flooded with so many emotions. I was angry at myself for letting it get this far. I was ashamed for embarrassing mine and Danny's family. I was sad because I had walked away from the love of my life. This man who I prayed for. Who God sent to my life. I had scarred him and had to live with that. All these emotions just brought on the diagnosis that I had thought I had been delivered from 2 years ago…depression.
It was such a long road that Danny and I had been on. When I first met him I knew I wanted to love him. Some people say that there is no such thing as love at first sight, but they are wrong. I loved him from the moment I met him. He was beautiful to me. He was the man that Stephanie's theory book says she would not date. But ohhhh theory be damned. I met this man and knew I wanted him. I tried to be cool that first meeting but I was like a kid who was star struck. I just looked at him and thought about how fine he was. Never thought that I could find love on the internet. Never thought that I could find love from the one they use to call Icebergslim. But I loved the Pseudo pimp…(smile).
I took the day and thought about all the good times that Danny and I had. The first time we kissed; The first time he told me that he loved me; The day he gave his life to Christ; The day he graduated with his MBA; The day we got engaged. There were so many good times. We made each other happy. But it was easy then because I could always retreat and regroup.
All these good memories were making me feel even worse. Making me feel like I had made a terrible mistake. My defense mechanisms started to kick in. I had to rationalize my decision. I had to remember why I decided not to get married.
I thought about the trials and tribulations that I went through with Danny. We had been engaged for 2 years but I had know him for 4 years. I thought about the conviction my spirit went through after ending an intimate relationship with him. I thought about all those nights my body longed for him and my heart desired him and he would not respond. I thought about the times we went through before he gave Christ his heart. All the times he had let me down, and stood me up; all the times he made me cry when he decided to move on with his life; all the times he kept me hanging on. See he wasn't that perfect. He had issues.
Of course the Holy Spirit who is ever present, had to remind me of the times when he redeemed himself after he asked for salvation. Ok then, it was not about him anymore, it was about me. Yes I was not ready to be a wife. I had been single too long. I too much baggage and it was not fair for him to have to deal with it. He didn't know who the real me was. And once he found out then what would he think. I could not be that woman in Proverbs 31. She was too perfect for me to even try to walk in he r shoes. So why even go there. So I had done the right thing. I had spared this man of God from an awful plight. Being married to me. That last thought made my head hurt. I slept not out of fatigue but out of escape.
It was 10PM when my cell phone rang. I picked up and tried to focus while my sleepy eyes adjusted to the light in the room. It was my best friend. I decided to answer it. Knowing that my mother may be standing right next to her. But that was a chance I had to take. "Hello?"
"Girl? Where are you at? You ok?" She talked so fast at times. I was still trying to wake up so I just couldn't answer as fast so I waited for the Questions to end.
"Yes I am alright, I am in Maryland "
"Maryland? What you doing there? Who are you with?"
"I am not with anyone. How is Danny?"
"Girl, why didn't you tell me that you wanted to take a road trip. We could have been like Thelma and Louise"
I knew she was avoiding my question about Danny. She was never happy about me being with Danny, but it was more about me not having time for her, than he not being a good man. I did not feel like joking and I let her know.
"Listen, please don't compare with no suicidal white women. How is Danny? Tell me"
"Well girl, you did leave him at the altar. I guess he is alright. He was a little shook up when he realized that you were not coming. But I think your momma is going to kill you."
"What's new" I had to laugh at that one. My mother was upset because she was embarrassed. When would she learn that everything that I did was not about her or directed at her?
"Well girl I'm glad to see that you are alright. You want me to meet you there?"
"No I don't want you to meet me, and you can tell my momma that I am fine"
"What are you talking about?"
" I know that she is calling you on the hour. So check in and tell her that I am fine. I will talk to you when I get home."
I hung up before she could say anything. I loved her, but I needed to focus on Danny. Why wasn't anyone giving me any concrete answers? They were so concerned about me, that no one was worried about the wounded party. My Danny. I guess it was my job to find out for myself. I wanted to call the moment I got in the car towards the highway yesterday, but just as I was then I was now…afraid. But it had to be done. I would call and take my licks. I would call him and let him curse me out and tell me how much of a bitch I was for leaving him. I deserved that much.
I picked up my cell phone and I looked at it for a few minutes. Then I took a deep breath and I dialed his number. With every ring my heart stopped and started. When I finally got the voice mail I was at a loss for words. I breathed for 30 seconds then I spoke as the tears fell.
"Danny…This is Steph, Stephanie. I am so, so, so, sorry about yesterday. I didn't mean for it to be like this, but I found myself suffocating and drowning at the same time and feared that I would take you down with me……………………. Please know that this is my issue alone, and that I did and still do love you. Please know that. I hope that some day you will be able to forgive me for the pain that I have caused you……………..bye."
I cried myself to sleep that night.
"I can't hold on any longer!!!! I am going to fall. Please God, help me!!!!!" As I looked down from the 6th floor balcony I was hanging from, the fright had encamped my whole being? I found myself on the balcony at one moment looking down. Each time I looked down I felt like I was closer to the edge. By the time I looked down for the 3rd time I found myself hanging over. How did I get here?
"Help me God!!!!! I can't hold on any longer!!!!!! Please God!!!!! I am going to fall!!!!"
The sweat was running down my face as well as filling my hands which made holding on all the more harder. I couldn't do it any longer. I felt like I had been hanging on forever. My arms were weary. My eyes were filled with tears as well as perspiration. I was ready to let go. Is this how Jesus felt when he gave up the ghost? I took a deep breath which I knew would be one of my last. Then I let go. I waited to feel the sensation of falling but it never came. My arms were numb so it took a few sec onds to feel the strong arm holding me up. I couldn't see his face at first because as he pulled me up he kept moving back, as if he was being pulled. Like he was the rope and he was attached to an anchor.
When he finally got me on top of the roof, I wiped the sweat and tears from my eyes and looked up. It was Danny who pulled me up and when I looked behind him, I saw that Jesus was his anchor…It was then that I woke up. The pillow as well as my tee shirt were filled with sweat. I wiped my eyes in disbelief. I could not believe that was just a dream. It was so real. I was ready to give up and Danny was going to save me with the help of Jesus. I wept. I got up out of the bed and fell to my knees. And I wept more. Then I heard a voice say…"Stephanie, What are you doing here?" I cried even more.
The voice asked me again…"Stephanie, what are you doing here?"
I felt like Elijah in the cave. I could do nothing but tell the Lord the truth. "Lord I am so afraid. I fear that I will not be the woman that I need to be. I am afraid that I will not be the wife that I need to be and he will leave me. I am afraid that he will stop loving me." I had not cried this much since I was a child. They were uninhibited tears. They flowed from deep places. I thought about the day my father left me at the door of my house after moving out. How could he leave me alone? Wh o would protect me from the bullets from my mother's tongue? Who would be there to kiss my wounds and hug me when she made me feel no good?
The memories didn't end there. Would he walk away from me because I was too strong? Because I was too independent like my father did to my mother? Would he protect me and love me? Or would I have to learn how to get over him being gone? Would he choose death over being there for me like my father did? And if any of those things happened would I survive? "Oh God please help me!" I was so afraid. All I could hear the Lord saying to me was "Stephanie, What are you doing here?…Stephanie, What are you doing here?"
Then the Holy Spirit showed me the faithfulness of God. The Holy spirit showed me how the Lord had honored my request for someone to love. He showed me things about my mother and father and that their issues did not have to be mine. He showed me that I went through those things so that I would be a better woman and that I could minister to his people as the social worker and preacher that he called me to be.
God showed me that every thing that I had been through was to fulfill his purposes for my life. Then he showed me that Danny was my husband and it was just for me to accept him as the gift that God gave to me. He showed me that I was there when Danny gave his life to Christ and I was there when God delivered him from his own demon's and now I needed to let Danny be there for me. I wept and I worshiped. I was prostrate before the Lord for hours.
At about dusk God told me to get up and clean myself up. I did just that. I took a long shower and I cried out of relief. God was just so awesome. I thought about Danny, and I prayed for God to keep him. I loved that man and I just did not realize how much. I felt convicted about what I had done. I just had to make it right. As I was putting on my clean tee shirt and pants my cell phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID and saw it was Danny. I answered right away.
"Hello Danny?…I am so sorry baby. I made…"
"Stephanie, babe, I know, I know…listen…I am in Maryland. Pastor called me and told me you were in Maryland and I got on a bus to come and look for you. I am in Baltimore."
"Baby ok I will be there to get you." Before I could do another thing I started to cry.
"Awww baby don't cry. I love you baby. Just come get me."
I dried my eyes and put my shoes on, packed my bags and checked out. God was too deep. This man came, to get me. This could only be of God.
When I got to the bus depot in Baltimore there he was. The man I loved. He saw the car and walked up to the driver's side. He opened the door helped me out and waited with outstretched arms. His arms felt so safe. The tears just flowed. I didn't know I had that much water in my body. We hugged for so long that the police had to tell us to get out of the middle of the street. He told me that he wanted to drive. I was glad because I could not see anyway.
We drove back towards NY, But this time we went towards New England thruway. I didn't ask any questions. I just was glad to be with my man. My God sent man. As he drove he talked to me about how he felt when I did not show up. He explained the anger and the hurt he felt and he even told me about the message he left me on our wedding night. He said he called to curse me out, but when he got the voice mail all he could say was…"Why, baby why? I love you. Why are you doing this to me? Why are you doin g this to us?"
He talked to me about how his boys offered him weed and liquor and how he almost fell back. But God was with him. He said that the next day he just prayed and prayed. He was hurt. Then he went to sleep and had a dream. In the dream he saw me falling off a building. Then he heard God say go to her. He woke up from the dream and the phone rang. It was the pastor telling him that I was in Maryland and that he need to go get me. Confirmation.
I thought that I would never stop crying at this point. God was with us. Just as God sent me to him 4 years ago now He sent him to me. I told him about my dream. He stopped the car and we just had to pray. We had to acknowledge that God was definitely more than in the midst, but he was in control. We had to acknowledge that he was the strength of our lives and the source of our strength. And we had to submit to his will.
We drove some more and stopped in the Poconos. I asked him what we were doing here. He told me that we were getting married. I was a little confused. He pulled up in front of this little house that had a sign in front of it that read…Justice of the peace. We got out the car and a little old man greeted us.
"Ahhhh, you must be Mr. Roberts. Is this your bride to be?"
"Yes Rev. Smith. This is my Bride."
"Did you bring the marriage licensee?"
"Yup I got it right here."
I was in blissful shock. I was getting married in a Sweat suit and sneakers. The Rev.'s wife came out and gave me a Red rose. She smiled at me and told me that I was glowing.
Surely I was. I was getting married and I was glad about it.
As we said our vows I just internally thanked God for this day; For this man; For this love; For this deliverance. When the preacher said "you may kiss your bride", I looked in my husbands face and saw the tears come down. He kissed me and I knew that this was love. Real, true, good, ordained love. The love I waited 35 years for.
That night as we laid together in each other's arms, my husband looked in my eyes and I saw them fill with tears. I wanted to wipe them away but I did not want to let him go. He looked at me and started to talk.
" Stephanie. Please don't ever leave me like you did. Please promise me that you will always talk to me. That you will always trust me with your heart. Too many people have left me in my life and I need to know that you are not going to be added to the list. We are in this together baby. Let me love you as much as you love me baby."
Now we were crying together. Another promise to make. This time I was sure that I could make it. I had never made such a promise before. I never wanted to or thought that I could. But now I was sure. I was confident, I was the woman that was loosed!
"Danny, I do promise to never leave you. I promise to come to you and I promise to trust you with my heart and I will let you love me."
This was the beginning of the destiny that God had planned for our lives from the beginning of time. All for your Glory Lord!!!!