I am hesitant to write this story. It’s my own story. It’s also a story that involves someone else and with that comes a hesitation as another heart is involved. I value people’s journeys, their story, their heart and I never want to “use” them to support my story. He and I had a story together but the one I share with you today is my story on the other side of our story. I asked him if I could share, as some of him overlaps into what I will write, and he said, “Of course, please share as it will help someone else.”

I can still say to this day that the relationship was one of the best things that’s happened to me. After all the pain & tears that came with the break-up, I can look back and say, “I am better, more whole, more alive because of him being in my life”. I am not going to write about the break up but more will I entertain you with the words of the struggle vs. hope after an ending to a relationship where you were in love.

I have always been the one to encourage my friends after they have parted ways with the one they loved. I was the girl that didn’t date a whole lot, for various reasons: upbringing, being fearful, being in control, not wanting to make a mistake, wondering if he was “the one” before I had even had coffee with him, seeing heartbreak and not wanting to experience any more of it. The list goes on. We can all relate! I had the perfect plan, meet the best guy, fall in love and live happily ever after. I had read all the blogs about “the one” not existing and it coming down to choice and whom you choose. Who you choose, he becomes “the one”. I read it and I sort of believed it; but then I met him and we fell in love and it was a beautiful, lovely year. So what happens when it comes to an end?

The Breaking. Heartbreak. Tears. Pain. Questions. Etc. I was now the one where my friends would say to me, “It’s ok, you will get through this”, or “You haven’t seen God’s best yet for your life, it’s coming, hold on” or “He wasn’t good enough for you.” But he was. He was the best.

So you grieve, you fight to hold on to hope; most have to battle the false hope that just maybe you will get back together but then that slowly fades away and you are then fighting for the glimpse of hope that God isn’t finished with your life.

How to get from the shock that your life is dark and broken to the place where you know your life is still going and there is much more ahead? Well it took me awhile and it’s been a very deep, arduous, life giving and strengthening journey I have ever been on. I can say that with confidence because I am writing this with a heart that is content with where I am at and excited for what tomorrow holds.

My favorite preacher said, “You will go through valleys. The key word is ‘through’. Don’t ever stop in that valley of life, keep going.” I have held onto that phrase and it was the whisper in my heart through the loud, noisy, dark moments.

So here is a little about the tension I walked through. You have a choice. We all do. I chose to walk forward. Sometimes I chose to be angry, that was ok. I chose to hate, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to hate forever. I chose to cry, a lot. I chose to fake happiness. I chose to grab hold of hope and fake it till I make it! I think you have to allow yourself to do all of the above. That’s the process; that’s the healing. Don’t be “perfect” in your grieving. (Something I had to fight all the time) BUT…only allow yourself the day, the moment, not the lifetime of it. Don’t, please don’t let bitterness, hate, anger take root in you; it will be detrimental to your life.

Saying goodbye to him, to the relationship, the hope that it held, the dream, the feeling and the memories, well that was a step that had to be taken. Saying goodbye to such a wonderful guy who was in my life, my thoughts 24-7 was something I did not know how to do, but had to do it. I would look forward to sleep because I could escape reality but then reality would flood my dreams or my hopes would sneak into the dreams making me not want to wake up from them. Every day I would fight the battle of living in my memories and enjoying the peace they brought, to having to say goodbye to the memories that would now only be memories. I had to say hello to the day I was in and face the hard truth of my season. I had to. I had no other choice. If I wanted to walk forward I couldn’t be holding onto the past. As Dr. Brené Brown puts it, “Rumble with your emotions.”

The whole time on this journeying I was conscious of the fact that I could choose joy and be thankful for the really tough situation I was in. I am not trying to be overly spiritual but I knew that I had the power to cave into my negative emotions and have them be my identity, or I had the power to see it from a bigger perspective and see the whole picture, each puzzle piece. I had the chance to write my story. I think trust is another key ingredient to walking a trial out. How can I have joy in a trial if I don’t have trust that everything will work out? I have to have faith/trust that it’s going to be ok. I read an amazing quote the other day by Bill Johnson, “Great faith doesn’t come out of great effort, but out of great surrender”?” You have to give up asking “why” a situation didn’t work out as the questions will hold you down, you have to fall into trust and move with the knowledge that He has your back.

I chose to look at it from above. I chose to look at my life from a bird’s eye view and see that season of my life with him as a time where my hurts (from long ago) were exposed, my mindsets/way of thinking were revealed, and my fears came to the surface. I was so afraid to risk in life for fear of pain that could come if it didn’t work out. So I stayed frozen, not feeling, not experiencing, not living, not being vulnerable, pretty much being in control of all. Then I met him in the time of my life where I was fed up of not living. Believe me, if you are a person that is so in control of your life you will probably hit that wall where you decide to just go with the flow and risk. I look back and say, “It was about time”! I knew what I needed to deal with, what was hiding, what was really holding me back and keeping me in prison. So that is why I can say, “This relationship was one of the best things that happened to me!” All of the “junk” that was hiding in my life came to the surface while I was with him, and I am thankful because I have had to process, change and welcome healing. The silver lining to all of it is, God knew he was such a kind soul and I as well, that we did not have the ability to “wound” each other but we were able to expose the hurts and wounds that were deep inside of us, because he had them as well (we all do). We were safe people that somehow through love exposed each other’s hurts and wounds. There is beauty in that.

So I embraced the hurt and the pain as a beautiful journey to wholeness. The pain was strong, the hurt deep, the rejection loud, and the hug of unworthiness that tried to hold me tight, were what I had to run to instead of running away and blockading myself from feeling again. I am tired of not feeling. I want to feel. I want to feel joy, love, happiness and peace; but at the same time I know it is a risk, for I may have to feel the pain of an ending, sadness, turmoil or confusion. God is close to the brokenhearted; I never allowed myself to feel a broken heart therefore robbing myself of the experience to know a God that is close to the brokenhearted. It says God heals the hurt, I recognized my hurt, and therefore I came to know the God that heals hurt. I lost hope, but God is a God of hope, therefore in my hopeless state I came to know the God of hope. If we run from pain, from hurt, from our broken hearts, we run from the ability to see God and know God in a way a perfect life with no pain or hurt would steal from us. And knowing God and what He thinks of us is the ultimate healing. (The book by Sara Hagerty, “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”, helped me with this revelation. I highly recommend this book.)

I know I am on the other side of it now, however to be completely honest, there are still tough days. There are days when I miss him. But I no longer feel bad or full of shame for missing him. I own it! I own the feelings I have, for they are real. I “rumble” with them, I analyze them, process them and then wait for them to slowly fade away, the whole while walking forward. And guess what? It’s ok to miss those that aren’t in your life anymore. We have this idea that to be completely free of the situation is to be free of EVERY emotion attached to it, but I believe that is unrealistic. Allow yourself grace to feel, to process as sometimes it takes a very long time for all the emotions to fade away.

My encouragement to you, whether you are in a breakup season or a trial, is to ask yourself what you need in this time. If it is healing, ask Him to show you Himself as healer. If it is joy, ask Him to show you His joy. If it is hope, ask Him to show you Himself as the God of Hope. This is your time to see Him in a way you would never have the opportunity to see Him if you did not walk through this valley. What a beautiful, astounding thought.

So you know when I said I didn’t want to risk my heart in fear that I would have it broken therefore I stayed frozen? Well the beauty of it all is that I am ok to risk now, I am not afraid. I now know that I am willing to risk because I have seen that I can heal. I will be ok! I am no longer motionless in my own story.

Dr. Brené Brown says it so well, “We are willing to fall because we have learned to rise.”

I am confident his story is good and will be one that is full of wonder. He has a kind, generous and loving heart. Those are ingredients for a beautiful journey. I am thankful God let our stories intertwine for a season because that intersection made my life richer. I am beyond THANKFUL for that chance meeting and the story we both shared for a while. It will always be a highlight in my story.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the biggest most powerful choice you will HAVE to make in your difficult journey and that is to FORGIVE. (It’s ok if it takes you time to get to that place. Some stories are different and more painful).  At the end of the day, “…faith, hope, love…but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13