It is difficult to know where to begin telling about this heartbreak and loss of a relationship. This relationship was extremely important in my life. You see, if I knew the reason for the loss, I doubt I would feel such devastation. (I am going to change the names of the folks involved for privacy sake)
The relationship was with a young woman that was closer than a daughter was. There was no doubt in the mind of anyone that knew us…pastors, other ministry folks, both our families, etc…that it was the Lord that caused her and I to cross paths.
She was in her early 20’s and aimless in life. I had just returned from overseas. I was in a city not far from my home. She overheard me talking to my (now ‘ex’) husband regarding Romania. Her eyes were as big as saucers. She came over to talk to me…and proceeded with a barrage of questions. So excited she became, I began to laugh. Her enthusiasm for knowledge was infectious.
Our hearts were knit together as I had not experienced in the past. This surprised me in other ways, too. You see, I was a minister and had many younger folks that I had mentored, taught and watched to begin ‘flying’ in ministries of their own.
Soon it became apparent that I needed to return to Romania. Naturally, I spoke at length about this to my new young “daughter”. She began telling me about all the dreams she’d had about the fear of being in a communist country. She also told me that she’d had dreams of being on a train with communist soldiers. This caused tremendous fear in her.
I remember it being near my birthday and we were on the phone. With not premeditation on my part, I asked if she would like to accompany me back to Romania. There was an immediate and emphatic “YES!”
From the time I met her, until this point I was more than a mentor. She was also enrolled in some Bible courses. She was like an eager baby bird…taking in each morsel of the knowledge of the Lord and His ways. Her spiritual life was as if it had wings of its own.
Although she was an adult, I knew if her parents were not in agreement with this I would not take her with me. You see, there was still much turmoil in that nation. I was well aware of the dangers and knew if she was unsure of herself…that it could spell big trouble. She needed to know, too, that she had the full support of her parents.
I spent much time with her folks letting them know exactly what I had been doing. I spelled out all the pro’s and con’s. I also let them know that there were areas we would be traveling that could be potential problems. They asked me many questions. It only took a short while before they knew they could trust me with making sure we both got in and out of Romania safely.
That first time she accompanied me to Romania….was like watching a newborn take their first steps! The broad boulevards in Bucharest, the chaotic way they drove was unlike anything she had seen. Mesmerized is the only word I can think of that comes close to describing the way it was for her. I had to literally hold her hand as we crossed those broad streets due to the fact she was looking at all the buildings and different types of architecture. She was paying no attention to the traffic.
We had an apartment…that was nothing like here in the USA. There was no hot water and only cold water for a few hours of the day. Much time there was no gas for cooking. The differences between the USA and Romania at that time were polar opposites. Much of the infrastructure that had been damaged during WW2 had never been repaired. The subsequent earthquake only worsened the situation.
Now, I’m going to ‘jump’ through several years. She was my constant traveling companion. She also traveled with me here in the USA when I had ministry engagements. She would go to the auditorium or conference room and make sure everything was set up properly for me before I began to minister to the people. Her actions were invaluable. The closeness we shared, truly, was like a mother and daughter.
Again, I had to return to Romania. This time she met the young man, that was like a son to me. I had met him the first time I was in Romania. He was like a guide and translator for me until I began to gain some ‘footing’ in that nation. I knew his entire extended family.
Due to the fact there were many areas of the nation I had to travel…he went with me. This led to him meeting many of my “contacts”. New friendships were formed between him and the others I was there to serve in ministry and in the medical field.
By now, my young daughter and I were like one person…even to the point of finishing each other’s sentences. When my young ‘daughter’ and ‘son’ met, you could see they were interested in one another. Again, ‘jump’ with me through a few years….
There was a dinner that he invited her and I to with his family in attendance. It was to be at the home of his parents. We had been here many times, but this time it felt different. During the course of the meal, he became very serious and said he wanted to ask ME a question. I told him to go ahead and ask.
He said, “Since you are Marie’s “Spiritual Mother” I want to ask if I can have her hand in marriage?” I already knew that they most likely would marry at some point. Yet, I must say I was not thinking he would ask me!
The two of them looked at one another….then quickly looked at me. I was in tears, since I recognized this as a union made in heaven. Yes, yes, yes….was my answer. Everyone at the table exploded in laughter and tears.
The next question would be “when” would the marriage take place. Again, I want to remind you that things in Romania did not work as they do here (and since this time, things have vastly improved). There were “hoops” we needed to jump through…including bribery. The two of them wanted me to perform the ceremony. This was an impossibility as my ministry credentials were not recognized in Romania.
Needless to say, the marriage was certainly not going to take place while here at this time. Planning and precision made me feel like a spy. In fact, my young ‘son’ always referred to me as a “Spy for God”.
The following year they were married in Romania. It was most definitely the Hand of the Lord that worked out all the details. However, it also meant that when I returned to the USA, I would be going alone. Marie being married to a Romanian had a mountain of paper work to be filled out allowing him an exit visa. It was like being in a spy movie to watch as all of this unfolded. It took several months…but they both made it safely back to the USA. He is now a citizen of the USA!
A few years later, they had a beautiful son. Although, I do not live in the same city as they do, we could at least talk on the phone and emailed almost every day.
Most of you that have been following this site know that I had been in an abusive marriage for 25 years. It took the action of the police to help me get out of that situation. However, the years of abuse had finally taken a toll on my health. I have struggled with significant health issues since 2005. Rarely am I even able to leave the house at this point.
I have had two major surgeries. Then the discovery of brain lesions and now another issue has reared it’s ugly head. Most of you know, too, that I am now remarried to the most amazing guy on the planet. Finally, I feel safe for the first time in a quarter century.
Unless one has suffered chronic illness and pain, it is difficult to explain how it affects you. You see, Marie knew of the abuse, too. She had witnessed it, and at times would try to come to my defense. All this did was cause my abuser greater outrage when she would leave our home.
Again, I need you to ‘jump’ through a bit of time with me. I never told my young ‘daughter’ to the extent of my physical limitations. However, I told her enough that she understood it was very serious.
Last year she had told me about a doctor that was into ‘alternative’ medicine. She even set it up for us to talk on the phone. They things he recommended to me, I relayed to my own doctor. Due to the severity of one of my physical problems…if I had followed the advice of this other doctor, it could have killed me. You see, one of the physical issues that were found was a heredity defect and needed to be surgically corrected.
In the mean time, Marie and I continued to talk and email almost constantly. Then three days in a row, there was no communication at all. This was odd. I wondered if something was wrong with her, her husband or the baby. I began to panic. Then I thought to email him at his office…still no response. Getting no reply from him was unheard of…until now.
I made the decision to call her parents. Her mother answered the phone and told me that they were fine. We chit chatted for a few minutes and hung up. I asked her to give Marie the message that I had contacted them, as I was worried about her. She agreed.
Now weeks had passed and still no contact. By this time, I learned that I was going to be having yet another surgery that was quite significant. I thought I would call her mother again to let her know I was going to be in the hospital and what the surgery involved. This time there was a noticeable “coolness” in her voice. I just chalked it up to her possibly having had a difficult day.
When I came home from the hospital, there was still no contact. I reread through dozens of emails. Nothing was out of the ordinary in any of them. Literally, from one day to the next…all communication from her had stopped. This made no sense, but the heartbreak I felt was beyond what I have words to express. It felt as if someone had cut out my heart.
The only thing I could possibly think of was that she was angry that I did not follow up with the doctor involved in “alternative” medicine. I know this is a stretch, but there was absolutely nothing else I could think of.
Since the surgery I had was so serious, I decided to contact her mother again. I thought, surely, she would have wondered if I came through OK. I decided to call her mother one more time. When she answered the phone, I let her know that since I still had not heard from Marie, I asked if she would let her know that I was home and the surgery was successful.
These were her mother’s exact words to me…”She’s a grown woman and lives in her own house!” That’s it…nothing else. Keep in mind, that both her parents were people that I had gotten to know well over the years. This created great stress and heartbreak…, as I had no clue as to what was going on.
Prior to all this, Marie had asked me if I had duplicates of certain items from Romania that she could have. She was making a memory book for their son. I told her that I was unsure and if I did, these items would most likely be in our storage area.
I eventually found all the items she had asked about and mailed them to her with a letter. These items were very important to her. Yet, in the letter, I poured out my heart, letting her know that I do not even know why she broke off all communication. I ended it by letting her know that I will always love her…after all, she was the ‘daughter’ that the Lord had given me. I know that she received the items I mailed…but still no contact from her to this day.
There are people that the Lord will put into our lives for but a “season”. However, I know this was relationship was not one of them. This one was for life. Tears, tears, tears…when will they end? Will the pain in my heart ever diminish?
Many times, I thought about writing about this situation, yet, it was so painful I could not bring myself to put it all down for anyone else to read. Simply put…it hurt too much. However, now there has been a bit more time between now and then. The heartbreak and pain is still there, but now I can at least think of it and not feel so grief stricken. I must confess, though, there is a crack in my heart that feels it will never heal.
I am still struggling with significant health issues and I need to focus on regaining my health. At the end of this post, I am deciding to put this whole thing “on the shelf” for now…since emotionally I do not have the strength to deal with it. Maybe at a later date…
Although I have reached the end of this post, I need you to know there is so much more to this. The absolute joy and growth in her that I witnessed was a remarkable sight. I’m sure there are many of you that have experienced a broken relationship such as this. How did you survive it?