I stared uncomprehendingly across the table as he repeated his previous sentence, “I just don’t know if I can be faithful to you for the rest of our lives.” Suddenly, I felt an unfamiliar feeling. Instead of being drawn to this man, my first love and fiancé, I felt the need to flee. My ears heard my mouth form the words, “Then I guess I can’t marry you,” as I stood and walked out of the student union.
In the exhaustion of hours of mid-finals study, my tired mind and thudding heart could hardly grasp what had just happened. Not only had I allowed myself to love deeply and completely, but I was convinced that marrying this man was God’s plan for me. I was smitten with the way he had let me into his world when so many others were excluded. I loved that he was a musician who expressed his feelings with the notes from his fingers and the sound of his song. I couldn’t believe that I was the one that he had chosen, and I felt utterly connected to him.
Until that moment.
When it all shattered.
Where once I felt loved, I now felt rejected. Where once I felt secure, I felt rocked. Where once I felt sure of my happy future, the future seemed bleak and unlit.
I suffered alone in misery, believing that this set-back was temporary and that he’d come around. Finally, one night at mid-night, after the realization of the finality set in, I called my parents wordlessly sobbing. My panicked father finally calmed me enough to hear the story, and he gently asked, “Amy, are you ok? Are you going to hurt yourself?”
I responded, “I’m not going to hurt myself, but I wouldn’t get out of the way of a speeding bus either.”
That despair lasted for months. The fog just wouldn’t seem to lift. I kept trying to reach out to fix things, but the relationship was too broken. There was nothing to do but move on, and I just couldn’t seem to do it. I continued through exams and my activities with a plastic smile covering a broken heart. I even went to church, going through the spiritual motions, but instead of turning to God for healing, I withdrew inside.
One night, alone in my apartment, I felt God drawing me. At first I resisted. Finally, with a sense of needing to get the worst over (I was convinced that God was angry with me for pushing Him away), I laid flat on the rug of my bedroom with my face to the floor. I waited for God’s wrath but what I experienced, in a way that I’ve never felt before or since, was the overwhelming, physical presence of God’s Love. He surrounded me, enveloped me, comforted me and began healing me.
Twenty-five years later, I think back to those devastating days with a wry smile. That younger version of myself, rejected by her first love, thought that things couldn’t get better. Today I know that God rescued me from myself. He saved me from a decision to join my life with someone who was shattered himself and would have left my life in pieces behind him.
The future that seemed so bleak all those years ago has turned out to be bright—not perfect, but definitely joyful. Jesus was there through every painful step of those early days of break-up. As my friend Tracie Miles says in her beautiful book, Your Life Still Counts, “God wants to use our past for a specific purpose.” He truly used a heartbreak to do good things in me. In the place of a sorrowful heart, He gave a heart of compassion for those who have felt rejection and hurt. He has given me a devoted, loving husband, two amazing boys, and purpose in my ministry work. Although I couldn’t see it then, God’s goodness was there cupping His loving hands around my broken heart and shaping something beautiful.
If you’ve got a piece of your past that makes your feel disqualified or know someone who does, please ENTER TO WIN a copy of Your Life Still Counts. You can leave a comment, or if you’re running out to finish your Christmas shopping, just comment “My life still counts!”
This post is part of Tracie Miles’ Your Life Still Counts blog tour and I am excited to be a part of spreading this powerful message that God can use all things to His glory and turn our past into our purpose. I’m just one of many awesome bloggers participating in this tour, so if you want to join in on the blog tour, CLICK HERE for all the info!
Additional Note: Congratulations, Lisa Wine (11/27/14 4:49 am)! You’re the winner of the Thanksgiving package from last week! Thanks to everyone who left a comment. You brought tears to my eyes, and my heart overflowed reading your thanks. <3