The Lord Is Near To The Brokenhearted
Dan and I met through mutual friends in high school. He became friends with my older brother and (future) brother-in-law, and so we began seeing a lot of each other. He attended my big family parties. We were playful with each other but never had an interest in one other. The summer after my senior year of high school, Dan and I were in my older sister’s wedding. Between the wedding itself, and the summer parties that ensued, Dan caught my eye. I guess I hadn’t noticed that he had such a quirky sense of humor, that he loved playing with my siblings, and that he was an incredibly hard worker. Apparently I had caught his eye too.
Dan and I dated for a year and a half. We were each other’s first serious relationship. We prayed together, attended church together, and volunteered together. Things were going well. But as our relationship developed, we began to realize that neither of us had the maturity necessary to be in a serious relationship. He was impatient. I was sensitive. Dan tended to be too critical. I tended to be too passive. He wasn’t in a good place mentally, and I wasn’t in a good place emotionally. The strain of these factors and Dan’s move away to begin medical school proved to be the breaking point.
Our (albeit mutual) breakup was incredibly painful. It hurt. A lot. But I learned that if the Lord is present in breakups, healing and growth are necessary results. After our break up, things were so confusing. But I learned, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33). My older sister Becca was a shelter for me during this time. She encouraged me in several different ways. Here are some of the things she showed me:
See the Good.
Just because your relationship ended does not negate the good that happened during a relationship. Reflect on that. Reflect on how God brought good out of the relationship. Reflect on how God used your Ex to affirm your talents and abilities. Thank the Lord for bringing that person into your life. Thank Him for letting the relationship happen. Thank Him for the inside jokes. Thank Him for the laughs. Thank Him for the struggles. And thank Him for him. God uses the people around us to help us become who we were made to be, and that’s more true the more intimately we know someone. God brought your Ex into your life for a reason. He had something to teach you, to show you. Don’t lose sight of that. Some people were not intended to end the journey with us, just push us on our way.
Seek God’s Perspective on Your Ex.
Don’t glorify or demonize your Ex. Don’t just think of his bad qualities. Well, he was moody sometimes, argumentative and communicated badly. But also don’t just think of his good qualities. He prayed for me everyday, loved my family, and worked so hard in school. There’s a tendency to put your Ex in a box as a way to cope… But fight that. Either you’ll never let go, or you’ll turn your emotions into anger or hate. God does not want you to go through life making enemies, especially out of good Christian men. Look at him as you would look at anyone else you know well. Ask for God’s perspective on your Ex. Ask the Lord to give you the ability to look at your Ex as a brother in Christ, and just a brother in Christ. Nothing more. The romantic emotions will gradually fade, but giving them to the Lord will expedite that process.
Let yourself grieve. Give yourself time and space to let go, which you need to do. It’s normal. It’s healthy. If you don’t grieve properly, you may not heal all the way. The Lord wants you to be whole. He wants you to completely receive His love. Let Him fill you. Let Him fill that new void in your life. Let Him be the only man in your life. And… turn to the Psalms! The writer of the Psalms definitely has good insight. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted” and Psalms 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Read the Word of God to see the witness of how the Lord works in times of trials.
Turn to Girlfriends.
Seek the advice and consultation of Godly women around you. My sister Becca was this person for me. She was a shelter for me. Proverbs 27:9 says, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” These women are here for you. They love you. They want to help you. Most people have experienced what you’re going through; let them share their experiences and listen to yours. This can be an amazing time to focus on your girlfriends more, and to bond.
Seek the LORD.
Turn to the Lord with your whole heart. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” He and only He can heal you. Sometimes it’s hard to pray when you feel broken. It can be difficult to pray when you’re in turmoil. But this is when you need Him most. Spend time with Him in prayer. His Mother is also another wonderful asset. She went through the terrible heartbreak of seeing her son crucified. I’m sure she understands what you’re going through. Lastly, pray for him. Ask the Lord to give your Ex peace, grace, and courage. He needs it. If your relationship was at all mutual, you’re not the only one left brokenhearted. Will his good and his happiness. The Lord is a beautiful author, and He can close this chapter of your life with grace and love.
Make New Memories.
When you walk away from a relationship, you will have numerous memories with your Ex. And inevitably, those memories will be connected to certain songs, specific locations, special spots in the park and favorite movies. The tendency is to avoid those things, so you don’t have to remember your Ex. But that leaves a huge part of your world untouchable, and things you love forgotten. And the longer you let those places and things hold importance, the more you will connect them to your Ex. As soon as you think you’re able, make new memories. With one of your girlfriends go to that cute breakfast place where you had your first date with your Ex. Take your niece and nephew to the park where you used to go with your Ex. Get coffee at that coffee shop where you broke up with your Ex. Do the things you used to do with your Ex, but with new friends. This will help you let go. Being able to let go of those memories is difficult, but healthy. And doing this will enable you to move on into a new future.
The world can easily convince you that past relationships were a waste of time. But as Christians, we know that not to be true. As Christian women, we can grow from these experience, and become more of who Christ made us to be. Moving on from Dan was hard, really hard. But seeing the good in my relationship with him, seeking God’s perspective on Dan, taking time, turning to girlfriends, seeking the Lord, and making new memories helped me heal and find peace. Before Dan and I broke up, I couldn’t see how I could ever be whole without him. After we broke up, I realized how God used that process to make me truly whole again. God is good and He wants good for you. Believe that!
Katie Perrotta is an Ann Arbor, MI, native and a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she studied Communications, Marketing, and Nonprofit Administration. She has been active since high school in youth ministry and pro-life outreach, and has recently joined the staff of i.d. 9:16. Katie has ten siblings, loves banana-headbands, kayaking, hammocks, and is obsessed with ferns.