No More Drowning in Sorrows

by Kenlie Tiggeman on April 23, 2014

This is one of those posts that’s for me, not you. If you don’t want to read about my love life or God, come back another day.

Have you ever fallen in love with someone only to watch him  walk away when it starts getting real? This is the latest story in the uninteresting love life of Kenlie.

I fell for someone last fall when I was trying to focus on other things. He came into my life and complemented it. He’s a family man, and he provided a lot of stability in my life…until he didn’t anymore.

If you asked him, he would tell you that I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was amazing in my not-quite-relationship with him. His kids adore me. They started blooming when I came into their lives. Their grades went up, they started getting closer to God, and they all had someone with whom they could trust to share their feelings.

Life was good for all of us. He was happier at the mention of my name than his family had ever seen him. Even his ex-wife was happy for him, and that was an odd, yet lovely feeling.

At one point several weeks ago (immediately following one of the happiest evenings I’ve ever had with him) he said, “Kenlie, when are we going to stop pretending that we’re not a couple?”

I giggled and said, “when you stop pretending. That’s your issue, not mine.”

He didn’t laugh though. Instead I spent the evening on talking with him on his sofa. We held hands, giggled, flirted and talked for hours about his “need for clarity.” He has issues/fears about getting remarried, and I reminded him that I was in no rush for that. I explained that I would need time to develop an exclusive relationship with him (even though I had been un-dating him for months.)

He said that he knew me well enough to know that he wanted to marry me. He spent nearly everyday with me for months. He knows my family and friends (many of whom are mutual.) He knows every lie I’ve ever told (the little ones and big ones.) He knows all of the mistakes that I’ve made and my imperfections, and still, he said that he knew enough to want to marry me. Sadly, he believes that God wouldn’t like it.

He’s a black and white kind of guy, and while that can be great at times, it can also screw things up when he becomes closed-minded. He believes certain things that I won’t share in detail here, except to say that those beliefs are based on pride, fear of moving on and religion. That’s a deadly combination.

Religion is the arch enemy of Jesus. The rules that religion have dictated on this man’s life leave me oscillating between anger and uncertainty. If Jesus walked into the fundamentalist church that he walked out of, He wouldn’t be welcome, yet those rules (which are based on ungodly, religion garbage) have given him reason to hang on to the past and to walk away from a woman who makes him happier and more balanced than he’s been in a long time, maybe ever.

There are few things that I hate in the world, but religion Is one of them. I love God, and I’m so thankful for the aggressive grace that Jesus pours out on me. I just wish that this man could truly experience and understand that grace too.

He knows and loves God, but he is so wrapped up in religion that I don’t know what to think. Did he lie to me about his feelings? Was he just humoring me because he didn’t want to hurt me?

It has been weeks since he ended our quasi-relationship. He still calls, and I still see him at my church (a place that I hope he continues to go so that he can truly collide with the love of Jesus someday.)

His kids miss me like crazy, but not as much as I miss them. He seems to be fine without me though – just not as happy or at ease or loving. It makes me wonder if he ever had feelings for me.

I’ve asked a few times since that night if I’m crazy…if I misread his feelings, and he says that I absolutely did not misunderstand. He says he felt everything that I felt and that he can’t be with me for the ridiculous, religious reasons that I can’t mention here.

I know him, and I believe that he’s clinging to religion instead of God because he doesn’t understand the difference. I also believe that he’s a good man who’s just dealing with unresolved issues.

He called me last night, and the things that he said (though not directed at me in any way) made me wonder what happened to the man I met and fell for.  He’s different. When did he revert back to being religious and judgmental and self-righteous?

I absolutely know that I did not misunderstand his feelings. I know that the man I met was humble, and I believed that he valued me. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe I was there and better to talk to than no one. Maybe the days upon days we spent together were because he had nothing else to do. Maybe the hours we spent on the phone were because talking about everything from religion to politics to painting me a picture of his work environment was more fun than sleeping. Maybe he never cared about me at all.

I don’t exactly believe the last part, but it certainly was easy for him to turn off his feelings. It seems that it was easy for him to forget the elated, quiet moments that were captured on his daughter’s camera phone when we weren’t paying attention to anything or anyone except each other. It has also been easy for him to forget how we laughed so hard that our faces hurt regularly just because we were using chopsticks or discussing the Council on Foreign Relations.

It has been easy for him to pretend that none of it ever happened, but it’s been impossible for me. I spent the first few weeks drowning in misery, sobbing everyday and hoping that he would get back to normal. After that, I started ignoring his calls. When he asked why, I explained that I loved it when he called me, but I was better off if he didn’t.

I told him that he either needed to stop calling, or we needed to talk with my (our) pastor because I needed to heal. He reluctantly agreed, but he said that if I need him to do that to know that he does care, then he’d do it.

We haven’t had the opportunity to do it yet because of our schedules, but it meant a lot to me that he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me. Talking to your pastor is a big deal when you’re hyper-religious. Thankfully, my pastor is a cool dude who wears jeans when he preaches and loves all of the people that more traditional churches reject. Jesus would be welcome at my church if he showed up in old clothes and worn out sandals.

I’ve been much happier over the last few weeks, realizing that my life would change a lot if he and I were together. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want to change it for someone who wouldn’t be willing to do the same for me.

As I go to sleep and as I wake up, I ask God to eliminate the feelings that I have for this man if I can’t be with him. It’s the only thing I know to do, and I’m counting on Him to fulfill me because He’s God. I’m also counting on Him to heal the man who broke my heart someday regardless of whether I’m around to see it or not.

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One Year Later…

by Kenlie Tiggeman on April 9, 2014

It has been just over a year since I walked into NOLA Church for the first time, and I cannot believe how different my life and point of view are now.

I have friends who love me without judgment, and I’ve built relationships with people who know everything about me – my deepest regrets and fears and joys – and love me in spite of those imperfections.

My church isn’t perfect.  It is filled with flawed people who are searching for acceptance, seeking to have their questions answered.  We have issues, but I like that.  Jesus spent time with people who needed Him, and we need Him.  I need Him.

I’ve discovered God’s immeasurable grace and unconditional forgiveness, and I have a relationship with Him that I didn’t realize that someone like me – so flawed and imperfect and horrible – could ever have.

My life is different.  I’m different.

I remember writing a post about my feelings on church, the reasons that I was skeptical about going and the reasons that it just wasn’t for me.  I remember wishing that I could have faith in someone that I couldn’t see, and I remember being terrified of being hurt by the church again.

I needed peace and assurance that everything would be okay, but I didn’t find that. Instead I faced gossip, judgment and condescension.  The meanest, most judgmental people I knew were from the church, and I decided that if that’s what church was about, I didn’t want any part of it.

You can read the whole post here.

Now I love Jesus.  Sometimes people find my love for Him obnoxious, but I’m so thankful that I can’t imagine not talking about it.  It defines so much of who I am now, and I don’t want that to change.

Last week I wrote a post that some of you didn’t like.  Someone called me preachy, and another person called me an idiot.  Someone else called me naive.

I get it.  Some people think I’m ridiculous or full of crap for talking about Jesus here.  I understand that you don’t all love Him or believe in Him or have faith in Him, but it’s who I am now.  I still have a lot of other loves and interests, but He’s part of me now.  I’m happier and more at peace than I’ve ever been so it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

I didn’t write about forgiveness recently because I was trying to preach to anyone; I wrote it because I’ve been working through my feelings on forgiveness lately.  As I look back at my past, I’m forced to think about things that I’ve tried to forget for years.

In my late teens and early 20′s, I was an insecure, suicidal, dishonest person who desperately wanted to feel loved and accepted.  I didn’t think it was possible that I could forgive those who hurt me, and I didn’t care who I hurt because I was in so much pain.  I lived crippled by that pain for years, and now I’m free from it.

It’s by God’s grace that I’m not dead.  It’s because of His love that I get to live in freedom now.  I’m loved.  I’m forgiven.  I’m His.  End of story. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s just the beginning…

 

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I Weigh More Than I Should, But…

April 3, 2014

There’s actually no “but” to follow.  I still have an incredible amount of weight to lose, and every time I think about how big the numbers are I feel like throwing in the towel.  I don’t feel as energetic and awesome as I did when I weighed 50 pounds less, but I realize that I […]

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Five Years Ago Today

April 2, 2014

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since I made the decision to change my life.  I’m still overweight – duh.  This journey hasn’t been as flawless for me as it has been for others, but I’m still here.  I exercise, I eat fruits and vegetables, and I love myself more than I […]

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Forgiveness

April 1, 2014

I’ve been thinking about forgiveness and and how powerful it can be.   I don’t spend much time judging people like I used to, and I don’t hold grudges very long because I want others to forgive me when I mess up.  None of us are perfect, and there are parts of my past that […]

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Reclaiming Healthy Habits

March 31, 2014

I’ve been trying to reestablish some healthy habits, and one of those habits is eating at home.  I don’t really enjoy food in the mornings so I’ve gotten back into the habit of starting each day with a smoothie. Last week, I tried a few new flavors, and I liked the results. I made a […]

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And Then I Remembered…Life is Awesome…

March 21, 2014

I was looking for something specific on Facebook this morning, and I came across the first status that I ever posted (circa 2008,) and it simply said, “So. Freaking. Thankful.” I’ve been in a pretty dark place over the last few weeks, but I woke up happy again this morning.  I smiled all day.  I […]

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Mixed Feelings

March 19, 2014

It has been almost a month since I posted here, and I have mixed feelings about that.  I love all of the positive aspects of blogging – the people, the inspiring stories, the community, but I no longer think that it’s healthy to subject myself to judgments from strangers and/or people who are just hoping […]

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Friend Makin’ Mondays: Changes

February 24, 2014

One thing that I love about blogging is the community of people who come together as a result of it, and Friend Makin’ Mondays is an incredible example of that. I’ve hosted it for years, but lately I’ve been off the blog scene.  I have been “distracted” by the events of my life – school, […]

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Love, or Something Like It

February 13, 2014

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and while no one will be giving me flowers or chocolates this year, love is on my mind… There’s a man in my life, and I have feelings for him. I mentioned him for the first time here in September, and I’ve mentioned him once or twice since then. In some […]

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