WHY I NEVER WORE MY WEDDING DRESS by Natalie Jenkins
Three years ago, I was the happiest I’ve ever been. I had just graduated college, I had a decent job and the absolute highlight was being engaged to my Fiancé, Jason. We had been together for a little over a year and he popped the question at my family Christmas party dressed as Santa Clause.
I was so excited. The day I had waited my whole life for was finally within sight. I was finally getting married. It felt surreal. It’s honestly hard to put into words how happy I felt during that time. We had two dogs, and a house that we were remodeling. The two of us always joked that we’d never paint anything again, though there we were, painting rooms again. A couple days after Jason proposed to me, we had taken my ring back to the jewelry store to get it resized. It was beautiful and being separated from it was hard. I was counting down the days until I was able to get it back.
Two weeks later, I went and picked out my wedding dress. All of my family went and all of Jason’s family was there as well. It was a huge celebration as I picked the perfect dress that day. It was gorgeous. I came home and spent the rest of the day with him as he begged me to see pictures of my dress, and naturally, I wouldn’t let him. That night, at 11:30, I was going to drive to pick up things from my parents while he was going to spend the night at the fire department. I went out to my car, it was four degrees that January night, and because my car was cold natured, it wouldn’t start.
I tried a couple times before going inside to get Jason to jump my car. Instead, he offered to drive me because he was heading that way anyway. So I agreed, he changed out of his pajamas and we went that way, planning our future on the way there, especially about having children.
We pulled into the driveway, gave me a hug and kiss as I told him I loved him. Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever say that to him. When he pulled out, he went the opposite way of the fire department, which I thought was strange, but I just thought he forgot something. Exactly 10 minutes later, I got a phone call from his brother in tears, telling me that Jason had been in an accident and it wasn’t good.
I jumped up, and ran out of the house as fast as I could, with my mother, to get to the scene as fast as I could. At first, they wouldn’t let me around him. I knew then something was horribly wrong. Eventually, I was allowed to see him. By the time I got to him he was gray, barely breathing and was in a very gruesome state. I watched him take his last breaths. I knew he was gone, but I refused to accept it, though he wasn’t pronounced dead at the scene. They tried to save him by airlifting him to a nearby trauma center.
On the way there, I received a phone call that he was gone. My world stopped right then and there. Devastated is an understatement to how I felt at that moment. I lost everything. A house, a man I loved, a marriage and my peace of mind.
After Jason’s death, I completely abandoned my faith in God. I didn’t even believe there was a God for a while. Jason was also a preacher and for God to take his life and not the other person’s, didn’t make sense to me. So I stopped believing. I wanted nothing to do with Jesus, though I was raised in church and saved at 19. I distanced myself from Jesus, Church and anything to do with it.
I fell into a deep depression. I was suicidal because I had no reason to live anymore, all on top of my medical diagnosis of PTSD. On the bright side, I started healing, though slowly. I wrote two books during my healing process about my trauma and just speaking about it made me feel better.
Slowly, but surely, I was regaining my faith again. I started going back to church, strengthened my relationship with Christ and was in a very good place. I was ready to start dating again, so I did. I met a man from Ohio. He seemed like a nice guy, he understood my trauma and was okay with what I had been through. He made me feel very special. It was the happiest I had been in years. For the first time, I didn’t feel like a failure or less than everyone else. I was no longer defined by Jason or his death.
Our relationship was great, or so I thought. Just three short months into our relationship he broke it off with me, through text message, without giving me a reason. Though I begged for one, he refused to give me one, addressing me by first name like a small child and making me feel stupid just for asking why. The ending of this relationship opened up all of those old wounds. It tore me up so bad that I was hospitalized because my heart condition worsened from that and all the stress that was going on around me at the time.
This isn’t some happy “feel good” testimony. I wish I could say that God has blessed me with a spouse for my trials and tribulations, but God blessed me in another way. The Lord taught me some very valuable lessons through losing Jason and my recent breakup. I learned that not everything is as it seems, always use discernment. I also learned about forgiveness and how forgiving my recent ex has set me free from the bondage of anger. I didn’t forgive him because he deserves my forgiveness, I forgave him because it was eating me alive everyday and that was the only way to relieve it. I don’t hate him anymore. Though we’ve yet to make amends, it’s okay.
Though I am not able to say I have a spouse, or a partner, I am able to say that I’m blessed, I’m happy and I’ve been restored. God is good and has put my whole life back together in just a few months! The Lord is so incredible and I can’t thank him enough for everything that he has done for me. I’m finally in a good place, I see my God for who he truly is and I can honestly say that I’m happy.