To those whose hearts are hurting,
My sweet friend, you are worthy of love. I see the bittersweet tears cascading down your cheeks and I have cried them, too. I know that ache in your chest all too well and I promise you this isn’t the end of you.
I know what it is like to open your heart and let someone in. You allow the walls surrounding such a tender thing to crumble, entrusting it to this person who is just as scared as you are. You notice his smile, you fall deeper in like with his character and the simple, mundane activities you do together, like washing dishes. You crave time with him, and feel as though there is never enough of it.
Before you know it, you have fallen. Hard.
It doesn’t matter how long it took- whether it was a few months or a year. The fact of the matter is, you can see yourself with this other human being for the rest of your life. You allow yourself to daydream, thinking of what an adventure it would be to endure life’s hardships together. Let’s face it, this life is messy! There would be arguments and misunderstanding, hurt feelings and confusion. There would be stress and frustration, but amidst the not-so good moments… there would be moments of bliss. Moments where you sit in a candlelit room together listening to instrumental music while reading. Moments where you poke fun at one another and laugh until you cry, then laugh some more. Moments where you find yourself staring at them as they light up about something they enjoy, and you can’t help thinking how much you adore them.
You have already thought about the “L” word, and when would be an appropriate time to finally say it aloud. Those darn butterflies flutter around in your stomach at the thought of being so vulnerable. You blush when you think of their reaction to the words…. and you absolutely do not want such a tender phrase to lose all meaning.
So you wait.
You continue getting to know this person, and as they slowly open themselves up to you, you feel the “L” word at the tip of your tongue even more often than before. You start to over think, wondering if they feel the same as you or if you’re the only one falling faster and faster as the hours tick by. You start to feel those doubts and nagging insecurities creep in… You try your hardest to ignore them, but it’s as if they’re screaming, “You’re not good enough! How could they ever love you!?”
So you wait.
Finally, something wonderful happens. This person, who seemed so closed off before, has a moment of vulnerability with you. He paces and distances himself from you as he speaks, unsure of how to properly articulate how he’s feeling. You wait patiently, understanding how difficult it is for him to be so open after being so hard and cold towards the possibility of a relationship. As you wait, he fills the air with words that tickle your ears and cause your cheeks to flush. Those words coat you in a dazzling warmth as they make their way to your heart. You hear him telling you, for the first time, how beautiful you are to him. He tells you how much he admires you, how proud he is of you for making it through so much turmoil in your life and still being who you are today. He tells you so many sweet things and it overwhelms you to the point of tears. He tells you he didn’t fall in love with you for your appearance but for your character…. you noticed he mentioned the “L” word and you can’t believe this is happening.
And then he really says it.
“I love you.”
Your heart skips a beat and you smile, feeling so giddy you could fly if you wanted to. He repeats himself and you embrace… surrounded by his warmth and reassurance, you finally feel safe enough to let him in completely. You know that once you say that phrase, you mean it. Once you say that phrase, you’re “all in” and don’t intend on giving up easily.
So, you take a deep breath… and you let him know that you love him, too.
In that moment, things seem to be going so well. You both finally reassured one another of your feelings. You’re both happy and are willing to figure the relationship out, one moment at a time.
He has met your parents, and they care deeply for him, whether he is aware of it or not. He asked them for permission to date you and they were beside themselves- no one had taken the time to do so before. They respect him, and expect him to take care of their daughter. Especially because he has talked of building a future with her, publicly and in private.
The day comes for you to meet his parents and you’re so nervous that you go all-out. You wake up early so you can get ready. You take a shower and primp. You pick out a lovely dress and heels to match. You take the time to put on makeup and do your hair just so. Your heart is beating a mile a minute, but you want to make the best first impression possible. His parents mean so much to him, and you want the evening to go smoothly. You look in the mirror and feel confident, ready to meet the most influential people in your boyfriend’s life.
The evening takes a turn in another direction, and you’re told that he is having doubts about your relationship. Your heart sinks and you begin to panic. You tell yourself to calm down, not wanting to ruin the work you did on your face. You try to reassure yourself that everything will be okay. You love each other, right?
You end up going home, dress and all. You’re shocked and don’t know what to do, and you’re hurting more than you let on. You start thinking about the worst possible scenarios. Your mind is reeling as you sit there in your dress, humiliated, explaining to your parents why you’re home early instead of meeting his parents.
Soon, you find yourself fighting against insecurities of your own. And it hurts that he doesn’t seem to understand, that he isn’t as patient with you as he said he would be. He even gets frustrated with you when you don’t immediately articulate what’s wrong. He distances himself and doesn’t comfort you when that’s exactly what you need.
You feel him pulling away. He told you he loved you, yet he is closing himself off to you. He told you he wanted to marry you, and you were perfectly fine with waiting for his debt to be taken care of. His goals were important to you, too. You wanted to see him succeed. You were excited to continue getting to know him as the months passed on. You were intent on being there to support him and love him through whatever trials and hardships came your way.
In the end…. your love wasn’t enough.
In the end, his goals were more important. You became a distraction. An obstacle. You were no longer a person, and your feelings no longer mattered. Somehow, in a matter of days, he took you from planning a future together to ending the relationship.
And you know what?
You, my friend, are going to be okay.
I know it doesn’t feel that way right now. You’re frustrated and hurting, and rightfully so! You poured yourself into another person only to find out that it wasn’t good enough that they were not ready for a relationship. They were not ready for someone with such a big heart and great capacity to love so much. This is NOT your fault.
You, sweet sister, are not broken. You are not unlovable. You are so full of life and joy that it might be intimidating to the weak of heart. God has a purpose for you, even amidst the pain you’re feeling in this moment. You are His beloved daughter. You are immaculate! You are so beautiful, inside and out. He designed you with His own hand, He looks at you and sees a flawless masterpiece. What you see in the mirror is a distorted view of what He sees. Why? Because we are our own worst critics. And we have the enemy pouring ideas into our minds that we are less than what we are.
When “I love you” isn’t enough for someone else, that is their loss. Not yours.
When your words of encouragement and support aren’t enough for someone else, they have no idea what they are missing out on.
When things like this happen, it is obvious to me that the other person has some growing to do. They have their own demons to fight, and until they sort themselves out on their own, you don’t need to be a part of it. The mental game that was played is toxic for your mind and heart. If you have to constantly be worried that they will pull away when things get tough, that is not healthy for YOU.
It is okay to think of your well-being! It is not selfish to protect your heart from further damage. You are allowed to lick your wounds and take time to heal. Allow yourself to mourn the loss of a potentially wonderful relationship, and thank God that He saved you from something you thought was for you when it obviously is not. Not right now, anyway.
Who knows what the future holds? God may work on the both of you and bring you back together in His timing. He may take you separate ways. Either way, He knows what’s best for you. He is on your side! He is FOR you, not against you.
Girlfriend, you have so much to offer this world. Don’t let one person determine your future. Don’t allow the pain from your past dictate how you will live in the present. The past mistakes and failures are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ- there is absolutely no need to keep looking over your shoulder!
You owe it to yourself to keep moving forward. Take this time to focus on your relationship with God. Spend time with Him daily and lean in to your community. God places people in our lives for a reason! He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Those people surrounding you? They each have a valuable role to play. Some will teach you hard lessons. Others will encourage you and lift you up. Be willing to accept the help that God has surrounded you with.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – 1 Peter 5:10
God will HIMSELF restore you. In this world, we will have pain and we will struggle. He reassures us many times throughout the Bible that He is with us. This verse reminds me that my struggles have a purpose. He allows me to go through them so I can grow, learn and ultimately lean on Him through it all. I have hope in HIM alone because I know He will never leave me broken or defeated. He HIMSELF will bring me back from the pain and I will be stronger for it.
“… Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of opposition, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.”
– Isaiah 43:1-3
He calls us by name. He is with us no matter what the circumstance. We have nothing to fear in this world. Not even heartache.
Ultimately, our worth and contentment should come from God. Not another human being. Why? Because we are all flawed. We all are broken in a way that only God can heal. Each of us make up a mosaic of pieces that have been shattered in one way or another. God is the glue that pieces us together to make something beautiful out of the broken mess that we are. He can see the completed image- we cannot since we are in the midst of the mess. That’s the point. We need to humble ourselves and realize who He is and who we are. We need Him.
When “I love you” isn’t enough….
God’s grace, mercy and sacrifice is. His love for you cannot be measured by time or space. He will never leave you brokenhearted and confused. He will never take advantage of you or lead you along. His love is pure and unhindered by selfish ambition. He just loves you as you are. He loves you right now, flaws and all. He doesn’t love some future version of who you could be. He accepts you in your mess, with that past you’re ashamed of… those insecurities and fears that control you? He can set you free from their grip. All you need to do is ask.
Chin up, darling.
You are cherished. You are beloved. You are desirable. You are wanted. You are talented. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautifully and wonderfully made.
God is not finished with your love story. He hasn’t given up on you. Don’t you dare give up on yourself.