The day when I had to choose between God and the girl

I stood in holy reverence, as the pastor poured a horn of oil over my head. I had prepared for this moment for over a year. Although, It was never in my trajectory to become an ordained minister, I had felt a tugging at my heart informing me that this is how God was inviting me to join Him in His mission.

Although I had spent the past two years living in Santa Fe, I was to return back to my hometown, of Las Cruces, to plant a church. I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to pan out. Nevertheless, I trusted that God would guide and direct me as I moved forward with the plan.

In spite of the uncertainty, I was completely confident that I wasn’t alone. I had plenty of family and friends that I could lean on for support. In addition, I was dating a young lady that I knew I could depend on. Although she lived in Santa Fe, she was originally from Las Cruces too. We had known each other for years, and since I could remember, she spoke of her desire to someday marry a pastor.

I was aware of her traumatic childhood. I was also aware of how it had impacted her life. Her father was extremely abusive to her mother and to the family. In fact, she bore a small scar near her eye from a brick that her father had flung at her when she was little. Her experiences caused her to be abrasive in her interactions at times. She could be distrusting of people and it took a while to gain her trust.  Although our relationship had a bit of a bumpy start, I found myself madly in love with her, and could not wait to make her my bride. She too spoke of her desire to marry me and support the church that I would plant. My twenty-three year old heart could not wait to see how everything would roll out.

Prior to my ordination, my pastor and I had talked about the ceremony. He had informed me that he was going to fill a “real bull’s horn” with oil and pour it over my head. I was explained that the prophet Samuel used a flask jar, to pour oil over Saul’s head, when he was anointed to be king. It appeared that Samuel did this because Saul was chosen by man. However, when he anointed David to be King, he used a horn of oil. He did this because David had been chosen by God. He went on to explain that a horn was a symbol of sacrifice. For us to use the horn of an animal, the animal would have to lose its life. He explained to me that the life of ministry would be a life of continual sacrifice. Little did I know that his explanation was foreshadowing what would take place that night. Before the night would end, a little part of me would die.

After the pastor finished his prayer, music started, and people came forward to express their love and their commitment to pray for me. As my friends and family came forward, I carefully scanned the room for my girlfriend. After a few glances, I spotted her walking towards the back of the church, where she paused for a moment, and the proceeded to step out the front door. At first, I assumed that she had gone to the restroom, or to make a phone call. After several minutes had passed, and when she hadn’t come back inside, I realized that something was very wrong.

The next few days were a blur. Through conversation with friends, and an eventual conversation by phone, I came to find out that she had come to the understanding that she didn’t want to be a pastor’s wife after all. Apparently, she realized this during my ordination. However, she still wanted to marry me. Nevertheless, I was given a choice, I could pursue her, or pursue the plan that God had for me. It was quite apparent that I could not do both.

I wish I could tell you that the story of our relationship had a smooth and amicable ending. However, it was far from it. Much to her disappointment, I made the choice to continue to pursue ministry. At first I was attacked with accusations of unfaithfulness, which where then followed by missiles of insults. Before I could put a stop to it, my heart and mind became a battlefield. Nevertheless, I remained committed to be the person that I was created to be. Sadly, I saw her transform from a quiet and timid lady, to a rambunctious and promiscuous party girl. My heart cried as I closed this chapter in my life.

This was very well one of the most difficult moments of my early twenties. However, I learned a few things from it.

It is unrealistic to believe that I will never be hurt by the people that I love.

One of the most trivial things about humanity, is what we are capable of doing. As human beings, we have the ability to create moments of greatness that are beyond belief. At the same time, we are completely capable of creating tsunamis of sadness. We, who are capable of such joy and travesty, ought to recognize that others hold the very same power and ability that we do. We must recognize that pain is inevitable, and preparation to forgive and move forward is imperative. We must understanding that every time that we extend love to someone, we are also taking a risk to be hurt. It’s up to us to embrace the fact that God is available to empower us and see us through.

Though the seasons change, God’s love always remains.

I have a confession to make…. I sometimes struggle with the fear of ending up alone.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that I haven’t always been able to count on others. But heck, the truth is that I haven’t always been able to count on myself either. Truth is that the largest source of pain, that I know of, is me. I am guilty of not treating my body right. I am guilty of entertaining unhealthy thoughts. I am guilty of making pretty stupid decisions sometimes. Nevertheless, I am never forsaken.

Throughout my ups and downs, whether caused by others, or myself, God’s love is always constant. In spite of not always having the answers that I’d like to have. In spite of confusion and lack of understanding.  God’s peace surrounds me. Truth is, His peace absolutely surpasses any understanding that I could ever hope to have. I’m gratefully learning to trust His peace more, and more, every day.

God always surrounds me with the people I need for my current season in life.

She wasn’t the first person who walked out of my life. She wasn’t the last either. As much as it hurts me to say this, most people have a certain shelf life when it comes to being part of yours. I’m not saying this to scorn those who are no longer with me. Rather, I say it as a realistic way to accept that some people are not meant to remain by our side forever.
I have come to the point where I am beyond grateful for the time that people chose to walk beside me. I soak myself in gratitude when I reminisce on the memories of the joy that they brought to me. In those moments I also ask God to bless them. However, I have come to trust that my heavenly Father, who is the giver of good things, will always provide the right people to walk with me during any given season of life.

He is all knowing. He all powerful. So I trust him with my heart and my life, even when I don’t understand the process.

Unapologetically yours,

John Eli Garay

John Eli is a transformational life coach who has spent over 15 years mentoring individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. His resume includes pastoral care, behavioral health, and higher-education advising. From an early age, John recognized that God created him to bring hope, healing and encouragement to others. He is currently walking out his purpose by helping others confront, and work through, any negative self-talk that keeps them from living life to the fullest. His ministry includes blogging, speaking, and personal development coaching. He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, mini-schnauzer and an antique piano whom he calls, “Betty.”

To schedule a coaching session with John Eli click here.

Published by John Eli

I am a self-awareness coach (coach for humans), life strategist, blogger and speaker. I’ve spent over 21 years mentoring individuals in life skills, career transitions, relationships, and life recovery. My resume includes pastoral care, behavioral health, and higher education. From an early age, I realized that God created me to bring hope, healing and encouragement to others. I am currently living out my purpose by creating a space where people can rediscover and become all that they were created to be. I currently live in the beautiful state of Arizona with my wife, two dogs, and an antique piano whom I call, “Betty.”

32 thoughts on “The day when I had to choose between God and the girl

  1. I really like this post. It is so real. After I became a Christian, a lot of my friends distanced themselves from me. No more invitations to parties, etc. Now, I look back at the trajectory of their life compared to mine, and I am satisfied with my choice. Many of them came to the Lord, but it took many years to get there. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All of our experiences are part of a journey that lead us closer to God. I’m very grateful for those who God has placed in my life, whether it’s been for a season, or whether they are lifetime friends. God knows what is best, and we can trust Him.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve come to recognize that if I knew the shelf-life of everyone that comes my way, then I wouldn’t enjoy the moments that I’ve been given with them…. When it all boils down, I have had some amazing moments with some wonderful people that were only in my life for a brief season. However, I’m grateful for those moments…. at the same time I’m a realist and have to face the fact that some people have caused me much pain… In those moments, I have to forgive and sever ties…. Nevertheless, I keep my heart open for whoever else is placed before me.


      1. You are right in your assessment. Keeping one’s heart open is the hard part, knowing pain might be coming. I am grateful that Jesus gives us the strength to forgive. And the strength to sever ties too. Thank you for your messages.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John, that was quite the post, open, honest and a fair amount of where the rubber hits the road. Hard choices but good choices that time has a habit of shining light on. God bless you brother John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bruce. It definitely wasn’t an easy season of life. Everything surrounding that church launch seemed like a disaster…. But it ended up being such a joy once it got rolling…. and at the end of it, I married the first person that I ever baptized in that church plant….. God has a funny way of working all things together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this article because it is a testimony to how making the right choices may not leave us feeling good in the beginning but we learn to Thank God and Trust Him with each test because He shows us the sovereignty in every situation. We cannot deny His wisdom when we allow him to operate and direct our lives!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is an intense story. Praise God for the work He did in you to know what to do. For the joy set before you, you endured a cross for sure. Great testimony of victory and sorry that happened to you at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a horrible experience. Yet, it gave me time to grow in my walk with Jesus…. and I’m so glad that I found the one who eventually became my wife. She’s pretty great if you ask me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Talk about a painful time in my life. However, I’m glad that I didn’t continue to pursue that relationship…. and I’m super glad that God gave me Yvonne. She’s the best.


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