"Transitioning from having someone to talk to any time of day or night, about every little thing, defining your every moment...to suddenly being all alone again...IS SOME OF THE WORST PAIN I'VE EVER FELT."
A friend wrote me those words in a letter after my breakup. She'd been there and she knew the pain. Those of you who have experienced heartbreak probably agree wholeheartedly with the above sentiments.
Our great God cares deeply for us. He sees all of our pain and He is near to us. The Lord promises to make beauty from our ashes and He did exactly that for me.
From an early age I dreamed of being a Princess to my handsome Prince. He would win my heart and treat it with care and fidelity and we would grow old together. I even had an imaginary husband named Paul when I was around 8 years old who was actually a pole in the backyard (he was kind of skinny, but that was ok). He was the essence of all my dreams and hopes until my brother Jeremy caught me kissing "Paul The Pole" and I had to break things off with him because of how highly embarrassing it was for me. It's still a standing joke to this day and I don't think I'll ever live it down.
When a young man came along at 17 who I thought was my dream Prince, I gave my heart and trust away unreservedly because I was absolutely convinced I had met my future husband. I didn't think I was risking anything.
Needless to say, he wasn't my future husband, and my heart (and dreams along with it), broke into a million tiny bits. I had a gaping hole where once my heart had been and I was convinced it would never be new again.
One of the clearest thoughts after my breakup was a terrible, overwhelming sense of regret. I felt as if I had thrown away something very precious and I had no hope of recovering it. My "something precious" was my heart. But, dear one, the Lord is in the business of making the broken new and there is no hopeless with Him.
Whilst experiencing this deep, overwhelming pain it doesn't make any sense at all. It feels extremely wrong. I love how it is explained in an article entitled, "It's Not You, It's God: Nine Lessons For Breakups" on the site "Desiring God."
"...it’s not how it’s supposed to be. Hearts weren't built to be borrowed. God needs to show some of us the gravity of failed relationships because of what they wrongly suggest about Him and His love for the church..."
Marriage is an example of Christ's love for us, His church. And His love, as we know, is absolutely perfect. It does not "break up" with us and so, earthly marriage should be an example of that. However, too often, relationships don't always lead to matrimony and because of that, broken hearts and lives are the result. And even relationships that do end in marriage don't always stay in marriage which is also an imperfect example of our Heavenly marriage to Christ.
Despite this though, God restores and rebuilds.
I can attest to the truth of this verse. In an unexpectedly rapid way God began to rebuild my heart. It was like he flooded my heart with a drought of cool, clean water and it felt so new, clean and whole.
Do not ever doubt He will rebuild, restore and make your heart whole again.
Can I cry?
Some of you may be the kind that "stuff" their emotions. You don't talk about anything and try not to feel anything because, well, it's just easier.
A friend told me about her unhealthy way of responding to her breakup. Because of it, she dealt with the grief for a lot longer and more intensely than she may have otherwise.
Following the break up she shut off her emotions and pretended she didn't hurt or care. It felt so good to just carry on as if nothing had happened. But months later, a wave of overwhelming grief swept over her more immense because she had ignored the natural way of grieving for her loss.
I'm going to quote another excerpt from the article "It's Not You, It's God: Nine Lessons for Breakups" on the site "Desiring God."
"Sorrow in the midst of the severing is not only appropriate, but good. It’s nothing to hide or be ashamed of. God created you to enjoy and thrive in love that lasts, like Christ’s lasting love for his bride. So feel free to feel, and know that the pain points to something beautiful about your God and his undying love for you."
We should grieve because of the bad example of Christ's love for his church, but like it says above, it makes it so much clearer how beautifully and perfectly Christ loves us.
Maybe that word just evokes anger and a whole torrent of confused emotions from you. "You expect me to forgive that person after all the pain and wasted time they caused me?"
The first several months following my own breakup, I didn't struggle with anger or laying blame, (probably because I was hoping we'd make it work), but suddenly, all of the anger and bitterness broke loose. It felt right to be angry and to withhold forgiveness from that person.
I sought advice from a sweet friend in the midst of my struggle against bitterness and anger. She had this to say:
"I was really angry and bitter at him for awhile, but God gave me a desire to eventually forgive him, so I prayed about reaching that goal. I was really hurt, but a thought came to mind - the way he hurt me is how I hurt God every day when I sin. That might seem extreme, but it was a thought that helped me put forgiveness in perspective. I have sinned against God in many different ways, but He sent His Son to die for me and chose to call me to Himself and save me. God chose to forgive me, so how can I withhold forgiveness from my brother in Christ? We're called to forgive each other, especially brothers and sisters in Christ."
When I was 14, I struggled for a very long time with bitterness towards someone who I felt had done me wrong. That bitterness and anger defined my whole person. I walked around with it on my shoulders like a heavy burden. I was sullen, physically tired, I did not love others, I had no peace, I couldn't pray and I had zero joy.
At first, it felt very satisfying to be bitter and angry. I wanted to invoke hurt on that other person, but in truth I was hurting myself. It was a poison that corrupted every part of my being and my life.
Forgiveness comes down to one simple truth. We love because He first loved us. We forgive because He first forgave.
I knew in my head God had a reason but in my heart I was confused, angry, and again and again I asked Him "Why?" In the long days and nights I faced, this plan that God had didn't seem loving or caring. It seemed cruel, unfair and a slap in the face to all my hopes and dreams.
Though it is hard to grasp, and a lot of times trust, God does have a reason for everything. To the small and seemingly meaningless to every catastrophe that the world sits up and takes notice of. He does nothing that does not ultimately bring Himself glory and is not the best for us. We as humans are finite (we have limits and bounds) and we do not see what God sees.
It took me quite awhile to understand even a part of why the Lord had dealt such terrible pain in my young life. Now it brings tears to my eyes to be so loved as to experience His great mercy. To be loved by a God who works good from what we deem as hopeless devestation and brokenness. Slowly, even now, I am discovering everyday the beauty He has made from the ashes.
You can be healed, you can forgive, you can be made new and you can learn God's purposes for the darkest days and nights. You're not alone because our merciful Savior stands unwavering by your side.
This is part 2 to "Weathering A Break Up". Click here to view the first part.
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