17 Aug The One He Called “Honey”
So let’s get back to our Honey story, shall we?
In case you missed us, we’re seated somewhere at a cozy cottage in Lukenya, enjoying animated chit chat after a fabulous dinner. We’re fifteen ladies – mostly in our thirties and forties – and have been invited here to help keep my niece, who’s just turning eighteen, from falling for the lies of the devil, that old fox.
So we’re candidly swapping war stories from our early twenties, those years when fox-holes are all over the place, hidden slyly in plain sight. We’ve reminisced over our misguided dalliance with foxes of every sort – contraband inhalants, shameless Casanovas, misleading pals – everything.
But this last story, my friends, takes the cake.
Haya. Vuteni stool.
“I dated this guy for three years,“ Pastor Terry, our hostess for the evening shares, when her turn comes. “And then one day, he flew out of the country, bought an engagement ring – a beautiful, princess-cut, solitaire diamond ring that we had seen together – and engaged someone else.”
Pastor Terry is elegant and beautiful in her mid-forties, and her big brown eyes, warm demeanor and ready laugh draws us right in.
“I was heartbroken,” she continues, “but then, on the day he flew back, he immediately sent me a text:”
“Honey, I’m home..”
As if nothing had happened.
We’re all riveted at this point, and can’t wait to hear more. And Pastor Terry delivers. But later, I take out my recorder, request a sit-down with her, and ask if she would be okay with sharing her story with others. This story needs telling.
“Of course,” she says with a warm smile. And we begin.
As a young lady just out of her teens, she tells me, she was fortunate enough to travel abroad for a degree in Special Ed, and then stay on for a few years, pursuing her career.
But one day, while at work, this man called. She was working as a technician, and he needed some tech support.
“After we spoke for a while,” she says, “he asked for my personal number.”
Though scandalized at first – “what nerve!” she had thought – she eventually gave in and gave it to him.
“From your voice, I can tell you’re beautiful and have a good heart,” he told her on that first call, a short while later. “Where are you? I’ll be there in one and a half hours..”
And just like that, he got into his sports car, drove across state lines, showed up at her doorstep, and took her out to dinner. It was an excellent date, she shares, and they talked way into the night and had a really good time.
“You’re going to be my wife,” he announced.
“But we’ve got nothing in common..” she protested. “I’m Kenyan and you’re South African!”
“Exactly,” he said. And the pursuit began.
“It started off very emotional,” she tells me. “He made me feel important, valued. My love-language is affirmation, and he affirmed me.”
Terry was not only a Christian at the time, but was also serving in ministry – singing in the worship team and mentoring others.
So of course I ask if they were intimate.
“Yes,” she nods.
“From when?” I prod.
“Oh from ‘hello’ she says thoughtfully. “From ‘hello’. And it became a tie that bound.”
She pauses, as if gaining clarity.
“That’s how come he could tell me later that nobody could make me feel the way he did. There was such a deep spiritual tie, and he knew he had the ability to hold me captive.”
“Was he also a Christian?” I ask, intrigued.
She nods. He, too, was leading worship, though at another church.
“But he would tell me that God understood. That He knew we had needs and expected us to fulfill them for each other.”
So she began to live a double life, she admits.
“My roommate was my accountability partner, so my boyfriend and I began to meet somewhere one and a half hours’ drive away. We would each drive that far, just to meet.”
It was one and a half hours each way, mark you, a three hour project. I ask what motivated her at this point.
“Part of it was the fact that I could do it without anyone knowing,” she replies, shaking her head at the folly of it all. “It became a habit, and it became ok.”
“Did you feel convicted?” I ask.
“Oh yes, I was feeling convicted. So in church I’d be crying loudly, asking God to forgive me. But then my boyfriend would call and say ‘You are God’s answer to my life’. And all of a sudden I would forget everything I prayed in tongues about and go back.”
“Was he getting convicted?” I ask.
“No, I don’t think he had any conviction,” she replies. “He was even an elder in his church.”
Eish, I’m thinking.
“It was such a dangerous relationship,” she reflects. “Very dangerous.”
“So how did he come to engage someone else?” I ask.
“He travelled out of the country one time,” she begins, “on a work trip.”
“Babe,” he had said to her, “I’m travelling for three weeks on a work assignment. Please pray for me.”
And of course she had.
“When he got to his destination in Europe,” she continues, “he let me know what was happening, kept me informed. He was an amazing communicator. And then one day he said; ‘Guess who I bumped into? Somebody I was in high school with in SA!’”
“He told me her name, said she hadn’t changed much and so on. We laughed about it and I thought nothing of it.”
“Then he continued: ‘You know what Babe I’ve missed you. I can’t wait to come home and hold you’, all those nice things.”
“Then he said: ‘Is it ok if I ask her out to dinner? I’d like to catch up with her.’ ”
And of course Pastor Terry slid right into his hole.
“Oh please, feel free,” she said.
So the man took his former school mate out to dinner that night, and then sent pictures back to Terry.
“We went to this place,” he texted her, “but guess what, I really miss you.”
And she was like Aawww.. how sweet..
“The next time he was to travel back to Europe,” she tells me now, “he said to me, ‘by the way I plan to see her because I’ll be in a foreign land and she’ll make me South African food, and so on..’”
“I thought ‘how cute’. I even told him to say hi.”
Because he was constantly updating her, she tells me, she felt so secure that she didn’t even think twice.
But then, on his third trip to Europe, he sent Pastor Terry an MMS, a few days after he arrived there. It was a picture of ring.
“We had been talking marriage for a long time by then,” she says, “so when he sent the picture, I was so touched, I had tears in my eyes. I was thinking ‘the Tiffany’s ring!’ “
Whenever they had visited a mall, she explains, they would look at different rings and she would always gush over a particular type – a princess-cut, solitaire diamond engagement ring.
“So I was thinking he was so thoughtful, that he actually remembered the ring we had talked about. So I sent back a ‘wow’ with an exclamation mark.”
“It’s amazing, fabulous, beautiful, I love it!” she texted.
“I’m so glad you approve of it. This means a lot to me,” he replied. “Because I plan to ask her to marry me.”
Those were his words.
“I died. I shook. I shook,” she tells me. “I had to read that text several times and ask someone else to read it, in case I had seen wrong.”
“But do you know what I told myself?” she continues “I need to work harder. Maybe when he comes back home, he’ll see that he made a mistake. That it’s me he loves. That it’s me he’ll have babies with.”
She was quite insecure, she tells me. And she kept thinking – “what if he’s the only man who will ever love me, make me feel this way?”
So the man engaged his home girl, flew back home, dusted off his sheepskin and sent Pastor Terry that text:
“Honey, I’m home. I’m back. I missed you..”
And, despite her heartbreak and confusion, she went right back.
Later, when she tearfully asked him why he had engaged someone else, his answer was as absurd as his text: “You don’t understand Terry, I have to marry someone from my home country, or there will be issues. But you are my wife. Do you need a title?”
“You and I know the connection we have is special,” he said.
So they continued. And all the while Pastor Terry kept telling herself that she needed to work harder. To be better. But finally the dreaded time came, and the man traveled to his home country for his lobola – traditional South African wedding.
But again, when he came back, despite Pastor Terry’s pain, their relationship continued. The official wedding had been set for the summer, six months away – he would soon come round, she kept telling herself.
But the six months came, and sure enough the wedding happened. And the wolf sent her a password to view his photo album online.
“I cried. I cried a lot,” she tells me. “My roommate would look at me and say ‘What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see this man has voted with his feet? Can’t you see it?’ “
“And I’d say he can’t. It’s me he loves. He’ll get back to his senses.” And life went on.
“His wife couldn’t come to the US after the wedding,” she continues, “because her papers hadn’t been processed. And when he came back from the wedding, our relationship continued. This time, I told myself that she would never get a visa. She would never come to the States.”
“But it is during that time,” she says, “that I realized I had become the other woman. His wife was the one who had got the ring. She was the one who had worn the dress. She was the one – not me. “
“And I realized that he didn’t value me enough.”
She ended the relationship.
“When we broke up, he told me that I didn’t know what I had lost, that I would go right back to him,” she says. “But I told him that I was not going back.”
It took her a long time to move on though, she says. At least a year or two, because everything in her life was associated with him. And because she was still working for a telecoms company she could see all his calls – who he spoke to all day long, where they were, and for how long they spoke. And she realized that he had been living a double life.
“He still kept calling me,” she adds, “but I had to completely disconnect from him. Stop picking his calls, block his emails, all that.”
“Funny thing is, when I look back, I can’t remember him buying me anything during the relationship,” she continues. “I can’t remember a single gift. And I never visited his home.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“There was someone there, I think,” she replies.
Sometimes when she called, she would hear sounds in the background and ask who was there.
“Oh, just some people who have come for Bible study,” he would reply.
“So when you think about it,” I ask, “was he really a Christian? Or perhaps he was a Christian with issues?”
“I think he was a Christian with issues,” she replies after some thought. “And I think he understood that I was insecure, because of some childhood issues.”
When she was younger, she explains, her parents had gone through divorce and there had been another woman involved. So Pastor Terry had developed deep father wounds, which the fox learnt to manipulate.
“He milked it,” she says.
But because of her relationship with him, she realized just how easy it was to slip into being the other woman. And she didn’t like it.
Listening to her now, I sense that it was partly her distaste for such relationships that gave her the strength to crawl out of his trap.
“His wife finally came to the states,” she continues, “they became husband and wife, built a home and began living the American dream.”
“Did he tell her about you?” I ask, curious.
“I don’t think so’” she replies. “He told me something ridiculous, something like he wanted to ‘preserve’ her.”
She chuckles at this now.
“I had wanted to let her know, but didn’t. She was just a young girl, naïve.”
So she let it go, she tells me.
She was very disillusioned though, and felt cheated and worthless. But during this time, Pastor Terry also came to the realization that she had been flirting dangerously with sin, and had not been truthful in her relationship with God.
And so she began a journey towards making things right with Him.
“One thing the Lord spoke to me about at this time,” she says, “was that I needed healing from my father wounds. And that I needed to connect back to Him and have fullness in Him, because no man could provide that healing.”
So she began working on the areas of her life that needed healing, and prayed that the Lord would help her to never again go as low as she had.
She established a right relationship with God, went back fully into ministry, and in due time became an Associate Pastor.
But because of all the pain and distress she had been through, she considered remaining single for the rest of her life.
But do you know the God we serve?
Four years later, she met a dignified, prayerful gentleman, had one single date with him – chaperoned by her sister I might add – fell deeply in love and accepted to become his wife, a short while later. They have been happily married for ten years.
When Pastor Terry loves, I conclude, she loves.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1.
*Pastor Terry’s name has been changed, to protect the identity of parties mentioned in her story.