Category Archives: Ramblings

A Few Good Men

Last night I stopped at my favorite Pho restaurant to pick up a late dinner.

Andrea first introduced the hidden gem to me a few years ago, and I have been a frequent customer ever since. When I walked through the door, the owner was happy to see me.  He flashed a big, crooked-tooth smile, patted my arm and took me aside.

“When you going to get a man?” His face showed genuine, deep concern.

I threw my head back and laughed, heartily.

“I really don’t know!”

His eyes narrowed.  “Why you have problem?”  He then waved his hand towards my figure.  “You look good enough.”

I smiled and shrugged.

“No dates,” I offered, truthfully.

“Aha!” He wagged his finger in my face. “You too picky!”


As I curled up on the couch with my hot pho and the next episode of “The Walking Dead” (I’m addicted!), I chuckled to myself.

It felt good to know my singlehood / lack of an active dating life was disconcerting to someone other than me.  At the same time, I wanted to protest and assure the Vietnamese restaurant owner I don’t need a man in order to be happy, fulfilled or whole. In fact, I ceremoniously quit online dating for my birthday, and life has been much more peaceful. I got tired of sorting through tacky, suggestive or grossly misspelled messages from men I didn’t find intellectually stimulating, or even the slightest bit physically attractive.

Over the past two years, I’ve been a member of eHarmony, and Ok Cupid! (My sisters and I prefer to call it “Stupid Cupid”.) I’ve met a handful of nice guys, but ultimately, I’m done with it all.  It just wasn’t working for me. Call me old-fashioned, but I much prefer meeting people in person.

I added extra Sriracha sauce to the salty broth and pondered the restaurant owner’s words.

What if I am too picky?  What if I do need a man in my life? I certainly wouldn’t complain if a good one came along, but the whole process of not trying to find one is exhausting.

The truth is, I’m probably trying too hard.  Admittedly, I think about it too much.  For crying out loud, I’m spending my Friday evening writing out my frustrations instead of making out with a hot date.  (Isn’t that what we all would rather be doing?)

And, yes, I’m picky, because I want to date good men; guys that I think are amazing.  Recently, however, the good men I find amazing don’t look at me twice.  It just is what it is.

So I keep convincing myself that I’m OK with all of this. Then, I go into “fix it” mode: I really should keep my mouth shut because I’m not going to attract the “right” person, or, worse: I’ll drive a good man away because I look and act like I don’t have it all together.  It’s bad enough having Divorce and Reckless Driving on my record.  Nobody wants a drama queen.

I know the negative thoughts are untrue, but sometimes I need an explanation as to why the good, available men are so scarce.

It’s disappointing.

My ex-boyfriend was absolutely amazing when he boldly pursued me.  I had no idea things could be that good, or easy, with a man.  He set the bar high in the relationship department until his fear of love, confusion and emotional withdrawal lead to the ultimate ending of our very brief relationship. Twice.

Besides a sprinkling of a few dates with my busy ex-boyfriend, I have been on one other date this year.  I met the guy on Stupid Cupid, and he immediately asked me out.  We enjoyed good conversation over beer a few Fridays ago. I liked him from the minute I met him. We laughed, flirted, exchanged semi-vulnerable stories and he seemed to genuinely have a good time.  Afterwards, he drove me home, kissed me on the cheek and said he’d call me.

He never did.

And that’s it. That is the extent of my dating experience this year.

I paused the television just as zombies violently began tearing into the flesh of an unfortunate, terrified new character.  I crossed my arms, sat in silence, and continued to process my situation. I was reminded of something my therapist recently told me.

“You’ll have to go through a few good men, Leslie, until you find one with whom you are most compatible,” she said, gently.

I have about six weeks left in Los Angeles, and then I will tour the United States with the Brian Setzer Orchestra until the end of 2012. I have never looked forward to anything more.  In a way, my leaving will serve as an escape from the blank canvas that is my love life. I will not have time to sit and wonder why no one has the balls to ask me on a date.  I will be too busy to think, or care, about any of it.

Yet, suddenly, I am encouraged.  There isn’t just one good man out there.  There can be a few.  Or even more.  I had a pretty serious relationship with one already. We didn’t work out, but I’m so glad I dated him. It was worth it.  He was a good man. And, I went on a first date with another good man.

I’m not giving up, just yet.  Surely there are a few good men in my future.

Perhaps good men are like flesh-eating zombies.  They’re everywhere, coming for you (although some drag their feet), and you’ll never know what hit you until they find you.

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While I’m Waiting

I’m impatient with my impatience.

I know better.  I really do.  Yet it still doesn’t stop me from (a) being angry, (b) feeling sorry for myself, (c) crying pathetic tears into my pillow at night, (d) trying to take things into my own hands (ONLINE DATING IS HEINOUS!) and (e) wanting to give up, altogether.

I’m embarrassed at my fickle heart.  I go from being extremely happy with my life “as is”, to completely devastated that I’m not where I want to be.

Yesterday morning I dressed myself for church, feeling obligatory, pudgy and tired, with touch of low-grade frustration.  I arrived a few minutes late and picked a new place to sit, alone.  I’ve been attending church alone for over three years now. I’m quite used to it.  I’m okay sitting by myself.  In fact, I’m getting so good at doing things alone, I sometimes forget what it is like to have a companion.

My problem is that I’m okay with all of this.  I have told myself I have to be. For the most part, I’m just fine being single.  I’m fine with not getting asked out on dates.  It’s totally understandable, because it’s not the right time, or the “right” guys aren’t asking, or whatever other stupid-ass reason. It’s okay that I have to suppress my raging sex drive (I write about this a lot, don’t I?!), because I know better.  I want to have sex when it’s right, with the right person: one who will not just use me, empty me of my full, capable heart, and then leave.

Side note:  When you’ve gone from having a very regular, healthy (except in the end) sex life to NOTHING — ?!?!?!


F   R   U   S   T   R   A   T   I   O   N.


Of course, it’s not just about sex.  I long for relationship.

So, I’m waiting.  Hoping.  At the same time, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be held, desired, caressed; loved – specifically, by a man.  And in those recurring moments of despair I know the answer is to turn to God for help.  Except that I feel stupid, selfish and silly, because I should be stronger than this. 

The truth is, I’m not strong at all.

I’m sick of this “single” bullshit, and pretending that it’s okay. It’s not. It sucks.

And so, a few minutes after I slipped into my seat and greeted the friendly, churchy-hipster faces around me, Joseph began his sermon.

It was about “the meantime.”  Waiting.

Oh, come on, God.  I don’t feel like listening to this today.  I know I have a bad attitude, and I’ll try to fix it.  I don’t want anything to apply to me, personally. I want to be left alone. Can’t Joseph give some illustration about somebody else?  An update on the Kenyan mission team, or maybe a typical four-pointer on how to love my neighbor, all beginning with the letter “L”?  I just feel like checking out today. 

Alas.  His intro was really good, so I decided to cast aside a little bit of my negativity.  I pulled out my journal and pen, and began taking notes.

The “meantime” is the time between wanting something and having it, I wrote, almost as quickly as it left Joseph’s lips.  We equate waiting with wasted time. If we have any hope, the meantime can bring up negative feelings.  We begin to distrust, disobey and despair. 

Sigh.  It’s so true.  I am chief of the triple D’s.

We need to wait…for the RIGHT thing.

How many times have I heard this??  Yet, I can’t poo poo it, because I know it’s truth.

I then started to think about all of the warm bodies in the room, and for what each person might be waiting; hoping; longing.

I know a few couples who are waiting to get pregnant.  They’re trying everything they possibly can, all while praying, hoping and believing that God will answer those prayers.  It just hasn’t happened yet.  Time is running out.

I know families who are waiting to hear news – good or bad – about their loved one’s illness.  What an agonizing place to be: wondering if your child/husband/brother/mother is going to suffer and die, and soon.

I know a woman who is waiting for her husband to “come around” – to see her for who she truly is, and to love her deeply; intimately.  He’s just not capable of it right now.  She still believes in the potential of the man he can become, and is waiting.  It’s caused a lot of pain and confusion in her life.

I thought about my own journey, and how I’m waiting for God to answer all of my prayers.  I’ve been praying about moving back to New York since July 2009, even when I was still married.  I’ve been praying for my dad, step-mom and sisters to plunge into a deep relationship with God.  I want to spend eternity in heaven with them.  I’ve wondered and prayed about a second husband. I actually started writing to him — whoever he is — two years ago.  It feels so cheesy.

And dare I even pray and ask for a career and children?  I do.

There’s nothing that I can do to make the waiting easier, not even with a good attitude.  I just have to sit, and wait, in the meantime.  I know I do a horrible job at it, but I also know that God is in control.  I get frustrated with myself at how small and petty my complaints seem to be, but they’re real, and I know they don’t go unnoticed.  I know God cares, and I know He’s not going to forsake me.  He hasn’t done so thus far.

My mind drifted back to the sermon, and I continued taking notes.  I started to tear up a bit when Joseph pointed out, “As long as we are breathing, God is not done with us.”

Okay, God.  I surrender.  You got me. And I KNOW You’re not done with me yet.  

As if that weren’t enough, Joseph “landed the plane” (hilarious pastoral terminology for wrapping up a sermon) with a 5-minute film. The lights dimmed, and a beautiful, blind teenager named Alyssa was projected onto the screen.  She’s been blind since birth.

Great.  I feel even more like an ass.  My life is good, and this poor girl is blind.  She wins.  I suck at being a Christian.

“If I could see,” Alyssa said, “I don’t think my faith would be as strong.”

The camera then cut to her walking onstage and sitting down at the piano, and Alyssa played and sang – like an angel — an inspiring, beautiful song that she had written.

I started to cry harder at this point, and heard a few other people sniffling around me.  The woman sitting one seat away from me dug in her purse for several tissues.

“I have so much joy and so much anticipation,” Alyssa’s voiceover soothed the congregation, “because I know the first face I’m ever going to see is Jesus, and that means the world to me.”


I realized something at that point:  Alyssa will never see.  Not in this earthly life, at least.  She is waiting for something that you and I take for granted, daily.  Her whole life is a “meantime”.

Yet she still has hope.  She still has joy.  She still has an impact on — and purpose in — this life.  She literally walks by faith, not by sight.

I have struggled with this post simply because it doesn’t feel poignant or special.  I have no “plane to land”; no physical evidence of my hope and faith, or even my prayers being answered.

Yet I still hope.  I wait.  I trust.  I believe.

Over two years ago, a friend of mine made me a CD to help encourage me as I endured the real-time pain of my divorce.  I never used to listen to Christian music (I was way too cool for it).  Now that the scars have begun to fade, certain songs pop into my head.  Today, “While I’m Waiting” is on replay in my mind.

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord,
and I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You

While I’m waiting
I will worship

While I’m waiting
I will not faint

I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait.

It’s hard to wait.  The meantime can really suck.  But may we keep moving forward, with boldness and confidence; may we keep running with endurance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1), and hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).


It’s my birthday this month.

I love my birthday.  I really, truly do.  On that blessed day, I make a point to excitedly scream at every single person I encounter, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAAAAAAYYYYY!”

I advertise my birthday by wearing T-shirts, banners, crowns, pieces of flair – whatever I can do to get the most attention. It’s totally obnoxious, but come on.


This year, however, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.  My birthday will land on a Thursday.  I’m not planning a party.  (I actually think it’s gross to plan your own birthday party.) Most everyone is out of town for Labor Day weekend, anyway.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not feeling sorry for myself (okay, maybe a little). The truth is, I just don’t think I’m all that excited.

I’m going to be thirty-five.

I’m not at all where I thought I’d be.  If life had gone as I planned/fantasized, I’d already have a Tony award, TV series, a budding film career, a couple of albums and books out, a devastatingly handsome and devoted husband, and be pushing out my second baby – all by the age of 35.

I know.  Laugh it up with me.

The career stuff is not to be bemoaned.  I am talented, and I am successful, even if I haven’t completely “made it” yet.  I still believe that we never, truly “arrive”, else we’d be terribly bored. The nature of my career affords me the luxury of not being time-sensitive.  With the help of perspective (and therapy), I’ve really learned to calm down and enjoy the ride.  I can do a whole bunch of things.  I write.  I sing.  I act.  I direct.  I teach.  I design.  I perform.  I lead.  I play.  Surely I can make a living with at least one of the talents God has graciously bestowed upon me.

The truth of the matter is, my body is a time-sensitive machine, and the desire for sex (oh, LORD have mercy!) and babies is at an all-time high.

I can’t help it.  It’s how I was made.

I want to have a baby.  Or two.  Or several.

But I can’t.  I have no husband, and I would never choose to be a single mother just to fulfill some biological or egotistical reproductive desire.  So, in twenty-six days I will turn 35, and officially be labeled “high risk” in the childbearing department.

It just is what it is.

I feel like I don’t have the right to complain.  I had the opportunity to have children in my marriage, and I chose not to.  In fact, I was terrified.  I did everything possible to prevent pregnancy.  I used birth control and condoms.  Part of it was due to my own immaturity and selfishness, but deep down, I never felt safe enough to have a baby with X.  Even though I wanted kids, I just couldn’t do it, and I’m so glad I didn’t.  My divorce would have been much more painful; involved; devastating, and I’d be tied to X and his family forever.

God is good.

As much as I rejoice in my newfound identity, and the perspective, wisdom and humility I’ve gained throughout this journey, I’m still turning 35 in a few weeks.  I have no prospect of even a date in sight, much less a boyfriend/husband/child.

I find myself in a common predicament.  There are many amazing, 30-something, successful single women in the city who want exactly what I do: a stable husband and family, and a career.

Having been married, I know that life isn’t “complete” when we find a partner.  Yes, those first stages of courtship and romance are blissful; exciting, and you can’t even breathe when the other person is out of your arms.  I long for the day when my heart and stomach flutters in the presence of a man.  I ache to feel lovesick again.  It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

But real love quickly grows out of its infancy of “feeling”, and becomes complete in maturity, and the constancy  — almost the difficulty — of it, is what makes it so special.

I can’t wait for the day when a man chooses to love me, no matter what.

Yet I can.  I’m willing to wait.  There’s no rush.  I want it to be right.  I do not want to get divorced again.  Oh, HELL to the no.  (And, please, no more Sister Wives.  They’re amusing, but ultimately tiresome.)

At the same time, I don’t have a lot of time.  I would like the opportunity to physically bear children.  I also do not want to be in my 40s when this potential arises.  This is obviously completely out of my control, and, as the clock continues to tick, I am accepting of the very real possibility that I may never have children.

Per usual, my casual musings invite the following commentary:

Most Sensible, Cliché and Inarguable Statement:  “I don’t understand why someone as beautiful, talented and smart as you could be having such a hard time finding a date. Don’t worry.  You’ll meet “The One” when you least expect it.  He’s out there, somewhere.  And you have plenty of time to have a baby.  Enjoy your life as it is right now!”

Smug Marrieds with Smug Babies: “I’m too busy posting Instagram photos of my amazing, happy life to bother with your sad, single one – AREN’T MY HUSBAND AND KIDS THE BEST IN THE WORLD??! — but if you want my input, refer to the aforementioned. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish these cupcakes – I found the perfect Pinterest recipe! —  for my MOPS meeting.”

Smug Pregnant People:  “Ohhh, my goodness, I can’t wait to get this baby out.  One last date night with the ‘hubs’ before Junior arrives!  Did you get the invitation to my baby shower yet?  Make sure you check the registry: we want the bathtime Sophie the Giraffe, and organic nipple cream.”

Tired Marrieds:  “I am so living vicariously through you.  Take.  Your.  Time.  There are plenty of good men out there, whose vas deferens are still functioning. Plus, kids are expensive.”

People Who Overspiritualize and Ignore the Reality of the Situation, But Are Also Inarguable Because They Pray for You:  “God will give you the desires of your heart.  I’m praying for a husband to come your way. I’ll pray for your future children.”

Random Male Advice“Invest in a new vibrator and be glad your boobs aren’t leaking.”

Divorced People With Kids:  “I’m just so glad I can focus on me now.  I have all the time in the world to find the right relationship, especially since my ex has the kids half the time.”

Other Divorced People With Kids: “God, if I didn’t have my kids, I don’t know what I’d do.”

Single 30-something Friends“If I have to go to one more wedding or baby shower, I’m going to vomit.  I wish I could experience the joy of a happy life, with a family.  What is wrong with me; why won’t anyone choose me?  I have so much to offer, but I’m all alone.”

Other Single 30-something Friends“Here’s the deal: when we hit 40, I’ve got dibs on a Chinese baby girl, and you adopt an Ethiopian one.  Else we’re headed to the sperm bank with our frozen eggs.”

Actually Helpful and Accurate Statement From a Real Married with Real Babies“The grass is always greener.  You want what I have, and I want what you have.  So often we look at each other’s life and imagine the other’s blessings for ourselves, completely overlooking that in our own hands, we are in possession of answered prayers.”

Here’s the truth: I am actually very happy with my life, as is.

I also want more.

I understand that we don’t always get what we want, when we want it.  And as far as God fulfilling the desires of my heart?   Well, I now know that His desires for me astoundingly surpass anything I imagine, dream, or want for myself.

So, as my 35th birthday rounds the corner, I rejoice in the fact that I am, indeed, in possession of answered prayers.  I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.  What is more, God has done incredible things for me.  It took me losing everything to gain a real life, and I trust that life will be nothing short of amazing, no matter what.

Judging By Its Cover

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.

First of all, I’m pretty sure that I have found the ending to my book.  I am excited to write about it. And, of course I can’t give it away here.  You’ll have to buy the book (wink, wink)!

I have had a lot to process recently.  Whereas before, I might have been stricken with grief or pain for weeks upon end, questioning God; fairness; my purpose or path — simply questioning the meaning of it all – I found myself digesting the circumstances, and thanking God that He allows me to live such an amazingly blessed life.

I thank God for my freedom.  I am beyond blessed.

I feel like I’m on standing confidently upon neutral, solid ground.  I’m open.  I’m expectant.  I’m hopeful.  I’m happy.  Holy shit, I got to sing Jason Robert Brown‘s new musical with Jason, himself, and Tony Danza two nights ago (!!!)  So many blessings are being handed to me —  so lovingly — by the Creator of the Universe, and I am grateful to receive them.  And, in writing this, I feel like I’m turning into that Precious Moments-loving, Sunday School-teaching, scrapbooking, squeaky-clean Jesus lover that can’t stop the Christianese talk.  Even the “shit” is holy!

Crank up the Christian radio station, pop open the Martinelli’s and let’s PARTY!

The truth is, God is so good.  He is good, all the time.  And what I’ve learned from the past three years of sheer hell is that He has never forsaken me.  My husband may have left me a long time ago, but God never has, and He never will.  He has been so gentle and loving; slow to anger; quick to forgive, and extends me way more grace than I ever do, myself.

My prayer is that I am growing, transforming and learning to become more like Him.


Amidst the roller coaster of the past few days, I received an email from a friend of mine.

She opened with saying that she was proud of me for not allowing my divorce to define me, and for not having turned my back on God, despite my circumstances.

I knew it was coming – the “but”.  I continued reading.

My friend told me that she was not, at this time, able to “like” my blog’s Facebook page.  She had thought and prayed about it, and even sought counsel from people whom she trusts.  And, whereas she understands my deep love for Jesus, even despite my “rough” language, she was afraid that others may not.

She apologized, and reminded me that she is the wife of a pastor to — in my opinion — majorly conservative and ignorant people, which means she is being watched; open for criticism.  In addition, she and her husband really feel like they are called to be missionaries to those people.  She was sure that if they read even just the title of my blog – bookThe Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce, they would immediately judge us both.

She hoped I would understand, and assured me that she would support me as much as anyone, if she could.

My heart was pumping furiously in my chest when I read my sweet friend’s message, but I immediately responded in kind. Of course I understand.  In fact, I am a recovering “rules and regulations” Christian, myself.  I grew up thinking that if I abstained from premarital sex, my marriage would be stronger and more blessed than those who had put out, or shacked up, beforehand.

Seriously.  Ugh.

I went to a college that placed strict rules against drinking, smoking, dancing and sex (of any kind).  I believed that if I used “rough” language, I’d be a horrifically bad example of Jesus’ love to others, or that what I had to say would immediately be negated because of my foul mouth.  People simply wouldn’t know that I was a Christian if — or when —  I drank, said “crap” (or something much worse), gyrated my pelvis to music, or went “in dark places with boys” (thanks, Mom, for that one).

I have watched couples, whom I have sat down and chastised for engaging in premarital sex, go on to have amazing, strong and loving marriages, and produce healthy, beautiful children. Once, X and I grumbled about and almost refused to go to a couple’s wedding. X was even the Best Man! Together, we believed their marriage wasn’t going to last.  What horrible thinking, and how deliciously ironic!  I have since apologized, and the couple quickly forgave me. Obviously, the old me was extremely ignorant and hurtful, all under the banner of Christ.

Well, look at me now!  I’m divorced.  I’ve been in jail.  I even performed in a “strip show” on Broadway.  I’ve made out with men: in private, in public, and even on an airplane.  I say “fuck” sometimes.  Loudly.  (FUCKITY FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!!)

And I love and believe in Jesus more than I ever have in my entire life.

Christian or not — we are all covered in God’s amazing, loving, tender grace.  Obviously that isn’t an invitation to live carelessly, but we don’t have to be afraid of strict judgment from the only One who truly has the right to judge us.

And so, the more I thought about my friend’s email, the more frustrated I became. I want her to not care what people might think.  Of course I would never want to do or say anything to jeopardize our friendship, and I certainly don’t think that defending my flippant, hilarious, yet real use of foul language is worth the battle.  Sadly, I do understand my friend’s position, even though I would have never known if she “liked” my blog page or not.  I’m not keeping tabs, but maybe I should start. (Kidding.)

I realize that The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce is not for everybody.  Perhaps the title is offensive, or misleading.  Perhaps it alienates readers who are not Christians, or simply those who aren’t interested in reading about divorce.  Most certainly the subject matter is provocative, but it is definitely not limited to Christians.

My book just might get judged for its cover, alone.


Divorce is a taboo topic, especially in the Christian community.  Nobody really talks about it, except for the standard, “God hates it.”   Additionally, any books out there on divorce are either ways to avoid or recover from it; extensive psychological analysis of why/how it happened; or success stories of how people patched their marriages back together because they were both willing to do the hard work.

Although I am sure those books are helpful, some of them make me want to vomit.  What about the relationships that don’t survive?  Can those people end up happy?  How do they get through it, in a real way?   Furthermore, I guarantee that anyone who has been through a marital crisis, a breakup, or a loss of any sort, has dropped an F-bomb here or there.  And what about grace?  Where are those stories?  Where is the reality; the true expression of humanity?  Those of us who are separated, divorced or going through a divorce — regardless of fault or blame —  need to know we are not lepers; outcasts; alone.  Especially in Christian culture.

I am quite sure that we didn’t ask, or plan, to be in the position we are in.  Some are victims of cruelty, abuse, abandonment, addictions or infidelity.  Some just got married too young.  Some, like X, don’t know who they are or what they want, but don’t want to be alone.  Some bear the weight of the scarlet letter, and don’t want to be reminded of their mistakes.  Others are miserable in dead-end marriages, and just want out.

God’s grace covers us all.  Nothing is irreparable.  Nothing can separate us from Him.  God offers reconciliation and redemption, for each individual person. How do I know this?  I’ve experienced it.

I understand my friend’s feelings about her and her husband’s ministry.  I am not a pastor or a theologian, but, guess what?!  I have a ministry, too.

It’s called The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce.

My prayer for this blog-turned-book is that people will see Jesus, even through my self-proclaimed bad behavior and language; even through my own judgment of myself and, at times, — gasp!! — other people.  (Did you read the paragraph about scrapbooking and Martinelli’s? That one is sending me straight to hell.)

I realize that I will face criticism or judgment no matter what I say or do, but I’m OK with that.  I’m real. I’m human. I make mistakes.  My “good behavior” or glossy Christian appearance isn’t going to save me from anything.  It certainly didn’t save my marriage.  Clinging to God, who so fiercely loves me, is the only answer.  Keeping my eyes focused on Him, and my heart aligned with His, keeps me moving forward and growing into the woman who He created me to be. That is my belief, and I will proclaim it loudly, using the voice that He has uniquely given me.

God is the only reason I have survived divorce, and divorce is but a tiny hiccup in this amazing adventure called life.


Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.  ~Mother Teresa

Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named, not good.  ~ John Milton

The next chapter in The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce is all about Paris.  Don’t worry.  We’ll get there.  For the moment, I am choosing to reflect upon the present.

Hey, this is a blog.  It’s my story, and I can do what I want, including time travel.


The past two weeks have been harrowing.  Mind-numbingly difficult.  I have struggled with wicked emotions, fear, grief, and, mostly, loneliness.

At first, I was quick to blame my emotions on a new birth control pill.  After four days of nonstop crying for no (and every) reason, I decided that it was pointless to ingest birth control when I have not even the prospect of accidentally getting pregnant in the first place.

I felt a little better.

But the crying kept on.

Monday morning, I showed up at my therapist’s office with my eyes practically swollen shut from sobbing myself to sleep the night before.  I was frustrated.  Hadn’t I moved past this phase?  It was embarrassing.

“You’re depressed, Leslie,” she offered, gently, yet matter-of-factly.

What the hell?  No way.  Nope.  Not me.  I am not depressed.  Depression is for sad, lonely, crazy people.  I am happy.  I am hopeful.  I am excited about life. I have first-world problems, like, how do I negotiate the book deal I was recently offered (!!!), which screenwriter’s pitch do I accept to make a movie based on my blog (!!!), and which week in May is better to travel to Paris and the south of France?

As I clutched my coffee cup and talked about the reasons why I had been so sad lately, it all started to make sense.  I think.

My mind drifted to the brief relationship that I recently ended, and the sweet, dynamic, amazing times we shared together.  It baffles me how wonderful relationships can be in the beginning, in that “infatuation” stage.  And when things start to crumble a bit and then it all comes crashing down on you, you can’t even begin to deal with thinking about couples.  Romance is off the table.  Other people’s happiness is, all of a sudden, an encroachment upon your personal space.  It magnifies your pain.

I have spent so much time working through and healing from the pain of my broken marriage.  I did not expect this broken dating relationship to hurt almost as equally.

Perhaps it was because it was my first experience post-divorce?  Perhaps I am ultra-sensitive?  Perhaps it was my first attempt at doing things differently?  Dating the “right” type of person?  Perhaps it’s because I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable again, and freely fall in love with someone?  Perhaps.

Maybe it’s too soon, maybe I can’t be in any relationship.

I still miss him, even despite the things that didn’t feel — or maybe weren’t at all —  right.

And, of course, everyone has an answer.

People Who Offer Free, Bad/Annoying Advice: “You were married a long time, and now you’re divorced.  You have a long road ahead of you. It could be years before you meet the right person.”

Smug Marrieds: “I seriously couldn’t date these days.  I don’t know how you do it. But don’t worry!  You’re going to meet the most amaaaazing guy.”

Tired Marrieds: “I am so living vicariously through you.   Take.  Your.  Time.  There are plenty of good men out there.  Enjoy being single.”

Divorced People with Kids:  “Be glad you don’t have kids.  You’re free!  You can go anywhere; do anything you want.”

Other Divorced People with Kids: “God, if I didn’t have my kids, I don’t know what I’d do.”

Pregnant People:  “You have plenty of time to have a baby.  You can have a baby into your 40’s!”

Recently Met the Love of their Life: “I had totally given up.  I lost faith that it would ever happen, and, wham!  When I wasn’t looking, he just fell into my lap.  I’m sooooo happy.”

Single Person Who is in Denial: “I’m so happy right now. I really am happy being single.”

Single Person Who has Given Up: “I believe in love, just not for myself.  It’s never going to happen for me.”

I seriously want to strangle all of you.

Of course, re-living the experience of my broken marriage in such a public forum does not mask any sort of growing pains that I have experienced.  I am proud of “putting myself out there” after such a long time.  I’m doing a pretty damn good job navigating this new life, as a Single.

What is more, I haven’t lost faith in God, or even men.

I don’t even know the point of this blog post.  I don’t know why I have felt so paralyzed over the past week, not having had any motivation to write, or move forward, past this phase of loneliness.  The crying has subsided for now, but the ache and hollow in my chest still threatens to well up and spill out.

It’s Palm Sunday, and it’s a beautiful, glorious, sunny, clear day.  I’m sitting a block away from the ocean, in a coffee shop.  I have been writing for about two hours.  I daresay it’s just rambling, not writing.  In 41 minutes, my computer battery will die, and I will walk back to my car, alone. I will drive home, alone.  And I will sit for the remainder of the evening, and try to entertain myself, all by myself.

I’m not unhappy.  I’m just lonely.

And in my loneliness, I am most alone.

And, yes, I know that I am not entirely alone.  I have Jesus.  I’m so grateful for Jesus.  But Jesus can’t physically spoon me at night, or hold me the way I so long to be held by a man.

At the same time, I welcome this loneliness.  I am choosing to sit in it.  I have to endure this part of the journey, and I will, because I know that it’s beautiful.   I know, somehow, deep down, that this growing pain of loneliness is going to be so fruitful.

I am a mass of calm and calamity, confusion and strength.  I know to not allow my emotions to guide my future.  I have faith in the God of the Universe that, in addition to many other dreams, He is leading me to that one man who will love me for who I am, exactly as I am.  Broken, imperfect, divorced, potty-mouthed, frighteningly honest.  That’s me.

Until then, I will wait.

“I Just Want to Heal”

It was extremely difficult to forgive myself after my night in jail.  As I had predicted, I beat myself up constantly.  At the same time, life had to go on.  I worked, and I hid.  Very few people knew about my arrest.  Those who did were extremely supportive, loving and encouraging.  Still, I worried.  It was hard to put the fear of the unknown out of my mind.

I hired a lawyer to help me with my court case.  I was done doing things on my own. My “do it yourself” divorce was emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausting.  I knew I needed help to get through the misdemeanor as smartly as possible.  I owed it to myself, and my new life, to treat myself right.

I hoped and prayed for a reduced sentence, but all I could do was wait for my court date in May.

In the meantime, I spent a lot of time alone.  I poured out my pain and brokenness as I started to process my divorce.  It was finally final, yet I felt more confused than ever.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sunday morning and I’m hiding.  Why am I hiding?  I’m afraid.  Why am I afraid?  What is happening?  I think (I’m feeling) the brevity of the divorce, working, my mistakes, my infractions, hopes, curiosities, deep desires…why do I constantly look at all men’s left hands?  Seemingly, all the good ones are taken.  Why do I feel like I’m never going to get married or have a baby?  Like I missed my chance?

My pride is in the way.  Pride and fear.  Pride, fear and shame.  Forgive me, Lord.  I am such a big piece of crap, and without You I am not even worthy of being a thought of crap.

I am tired.  Weary.  Spent.  Don’t have energy.  Need rest.  Need You desperately.  May You be blessed by my heart and worship, O Lord.

(I feel like) my obsession with wanting someone has become idolatry.  Wanting this “perfect” relationship because my marriage to X was so hard in the end.  And that there is this mythical, perfect person out there.

Wrong answer.

Why am I OK being alone?  Because I am protecting myself from hurt and pain.  I don’t want to be hurt again.  Terrified of a broken heart.

If I have feelings for someone then it all goes to pot. I end up rejected, or not treated very well.  So, I’m hiding.  I’m hiding and I will continue to isolate myself.  I feel crazy.  Lord, I need help.  I acknowledge my desperate need for You; for grace and redemption.  I confess my jealousy of people who have strong marriages and beautiful children; who have people other than themselves for which to live.

Got a message from an online dating guy who thanked me for my honesty and “thoroughness”.  He acknowledged me as a woman of God.  Oh, Lord, would that be so.  I can’t think of a greater compliment.

I am divorced.  I am divorced.  I am divorced.

Who am I kidding?  How on earth will I overcome a divorce, relationship issues, desires, how?  You will carry me.  How will I get through next weekend?  The rest of tax season?  Court?


God, I’m sorry that I keep looking to see Your blessings and cease to recognize You, the Giver.  I should be seeking You with all my heart.  Am I doing this?  Am I just expecting results instead of waiting for You?

I confuse myself.

I am struggling, Lord.  I’m trying to get up and do all this on my own.  “Look at me, Jesus!  Look what I can do!”  But the truth is, I can’t do ANYTHING.  Nothing.  I can’t even open my mouth to speak or sing without You.

You have given me gifts because of Your abundant grace.

PAIN.  Pain in my heart.  New healing, new awareness of who I am and who God is.

Later —

Happiness is not found in another person; a circumstance; an opportunity.  Completeness is found in Christ alone.

Why does it take me sinking to the floor of the valley to realize this; to rest in it?  At the same time, it is OK to long for — or even be afraid of — a relationship.  It has been a year since I left X.  And healing has come but I am sure there is much further to go.  I don’t want to hear people tell me I’m not ready because I so much want to be.

But my heart knows.  I have to heal. 

I’m so unworthy of You, Lord.  I hide my face in shame.  How can I even begin to grasp the breadth and depth of Your grace?  OH, GOD, I am restless.  So very restless.  I don’t know how to be content.

What can I do, but thank You?

What can I do, but give my life to You?

I long to be pursued, I long for a man to know me.  I long to have that moment – “did I just meet you?”

I am so broken.  So broken.  I hurt, I grieve, I ache.  I cannot find purpose.  I need You.  I just want to heal.

Learning to live day-to-day is probably the singular, most difficult thing I have done yet.  I am trying not to worry about upcoming events; trying not to plan or control my future.  I can’t do it.  I cannot live on my own, without Your grace and mercy; without Your blessing.  How can I even get out of bed in the morning without Your grace?

With You, I can face anything.