**Disclaimer: I am sharing my story in the hopes that others won’t make the same mistakes and will heed the warning signs God sends us all the time.
February 7, 2017 started like any other day. Early that morning, I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, casually reading through some of the comments of some of the groups I am a part of. One particular post caught my attention from Fox5 about a MD woman who was victimized by a serial con artist, deemed the “Criminal Casanova“.
It seemed like deja vu as something pulled my eyes back to the picture again where I looked a little closer. The guy had on shades so I couldn’t really see his face, but as I looked harder, that face looked mistakenly familiar.
I jokingly said to my friend that I was talking to on the phone, “The guy in this article looks like my ex”, as I clicked to open up the link and read the story. Less than 5 minutes later, I received a text from my best friend, confirming what I suspected was true.
Still in shock that others had fallen prey to his schemes, 10 years later, I pulled up the article again and read it more thoroughly, shaking my head in disbelief.
My mind began traveling back to a Sunday evening at the end of September 2007, sitting on my couch with the TV on, half watching, and surfing the Internet.
Bored out of my mind.
At that time in my life, I was 25 and had recently come to terms with the fact that I was depressed. I had just started counseling. I was at a job I dreaded going to every day. My finances were in disarray. I was burned out from ministry, tired all the time and in the midst of strained family relationships and friendships. To say I was a mess was an understatement.
This was also the year my church had deemed as the year of wholeness. Ha! What a joke that was. Almost every area of my life was the complete opposite-broken.
The one hopeful thing I had to cling to was that the month before, the Lord had given me a two page description of His vision for my life (a small portion of my purpose I would later find out) along with instructions of what to do next. I was nearing the end of a 40 day fast because I had some major decisions to make concerning the direction of my life and I just needed to hear from the Lord.
Still here I was that evening surfing through the Internet and happened upon a dating site I can’t recall the name of right now. Truly an idle mind is the devil’s playground. What I had deemed as something that was so harmless ended up being the very thing that sent me in a downward spiral and deeper into a pit.
I would like to say looking back now that I wish I had not gone on that site or that I had turned off the TV and opened my Word. To say that wouldn’t be entirely true and I will tell you why here.
So here I was entering into dangerous territory in a very vulnerable state and what would be some of the 5 worst months of my life.
Enter stage left was Trevor, who had reached out to me on the site. Initially, I didn’t respond to his message. I checked out his profile and decided what’s the harm. I was just looking for something to do to pass the time, right? Clearly, I had no idea he had an agenda that I was not privy to.
He sent me a message and we began conversing back and forth for a little while and then eventually ended up on the phone that same night. He seemed like a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders, but again I had convinced myself that it was just a conversation and I wasn’t interested in anything more. I was still a bit skeptical. After all, I had a purpose to pursue now and no time to waste!
Yet, we stayed on the phone until the wee hours of the morning talking about any and everything. This went on for several days, as I felt myself becoming more and more interested. A week and a half later, he began telling me how much he liked me and wanted to come up to Atlanta to meet me (he lived in Tampa at the time). He told me he could really see himself being in a relationship with me.
Now let me remind you, I was still on my fast and it didn’t end for another week. The time I was supposed to be spending with the Lord was now being divided up between this new guy and the Lord. Sadly, the Lord was getting the short end of the stick. He said all the right things and I was eating it up. I was still so very vulnerable and broken, desperately trying to fill a void for love, attention and affection that only the Lord could fill.
I threw caution to the wind, ignoring the sense of urgency of him wanting to meet me so soon. I was flattered that he was willing to driving almost 7 hours to come see me. I had not been in an official relationship in 3 years at the time and that last one was a train wreck.
This guy seemed different, however, more attentive and “into me”, or so I thought.
First warning sign
There were many red flags as you probably noted if you’ve read this far, but the first major one was when I remember the Lord saying to me on two different occasions the same week I began talking to Trevor:
Do not make any decisions until after the fast.
I knew exactly what He meant because I had been speaking to Trevor multiple times a day each day and almost every time, he kept asking me about being in a relationship with him. He had even told me he loved me after 2 weeks! Everything was happening so fast and I didn’t allow myself enough time to stop, sit and really process things.
Needless to say, I ignored the first warning sign, even though I knew the state I was in emotionally. I ignored God’s direction and my hesitancy. I ignored his manipulative ways-him giving me an ultimatum that it didn’t make sense for him to come to Atlanta to see me if I wasn’t sure about him.
Second warning sign
A guy from my past who I had been good friends with for several years and casually dated called me that same weekend I was supposed to give Trevor an answer. I had not spoken to my friend in several years because his number changed so much. He always ended up reaching out to me eventually a couple of times a year just to check in and catch up. I had tried for several months with the last numbers I had for him and finally sent him a message on BlackPlanet (remember that, lol) which he never checked. I figured it was a last resort, but it was worth a try. It was not a mere coincidence that he called that very day, while I was on the phone with Trevor, and said he decided to check his account where he saw my message from several months back. I hung up with Trevor, even though he was suspicious (another red flag I ignored), to catch up with my friend. I began telling my friend about Trevor. He flat out told me he didn’t trust him. I laughed it off and told him he didn’t even know him to which he responded, “Neither do you”. I thought he was just saying that because I knew he still liked me. It was never the right time for us to date because one of us was always seeing/talking to someone else. We continued to catch up with each other. He told me again at the end of our conversation that my new friend seemed a bit suspect, and again, I laughed it off. I decided I would give Trevor a chance.
Big, big mistake…
Or was it? Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the story.
Talk to me.
Have you been in a situation like this or one where it was clear that to follow your own path was direct disobedience from God?
Have you ignored the warning signs God showed you over and over in favor of your own needs and desires, because you didn’t want to wait?