Lessons from a High School Heartbreak

The year was 2009. I was senior in high school and I was in love. I had been dating my high school sweetheart for a year and I just knew with all of my 18 year-old heart that he was “the one.” He was popular and outgoing. He was attractive and was a good dresser. He came from a good family and seemed destined for success. What more could any girl ask for? I thought to myself,  “Guys like this are a rare breed.” (Little did I know that in a few months I would be right across the street from Morehouse College where 90% of the men would fit this description). But at the time I couldn’t see past the small horizon of my small town experiences and thought that this was the best life had to offer me. Over that year of dating him, I’d made him my world. Child, I lived and breathed for that boy. The least little thing he did effected me. I can still think back to the times I’d sit through class crying because he’d said or done something to break my little heart.

Well, it turns out, while I was writing his name with little hearts beside them and picking out china patterns for the wedding I just knew we would one day have, he was cheating on me. Oh, and his infidelity wasn’t a one time slip-up. I ended up discovering towards the tail-end of our relationship that he had begun cheating on me with his ex-girlfriend only two weeks into our relationship. Whomp whomp! The world that I made for him quickly crumbled and I was crushed when I found out what had been going on behind my back. I fell apart and my teenage heart broke into a million little pieces. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I cried almost everyday the entire summer before I went to college. It was a hot, Kleenex-filled, sad-love-song-singing, mess. I was the poster child for heart break.

I look back on the 18 year old me now with slight embarrassment but so much compassion. I wish I could have told her then what I know now. Boo thangs come and go and go…and go. That’s simply a part of life and growing up, but in knowing that, guard your heart above anything else. We often tell young women to guard their bodies and remain pure until marriage, but rarely tell them to protect their hearts and keep them pure. As I look back, I realize that I gave my high school sweetheart a part of my heart that was only meant for my husband. At the time I thought he was it, but clearly he wasn’t and I’m so fine with that now. When I was younger though, I didn’t understand that in the same way that it takes time for a man to earn the trust to get your body, it should take just as much time for him to earn all of your heart, mind and spirit. Oh, how I wish I could have told my younger self that. And I wish I could have told her how precious and beautiful she was. How much God adored her and wanted the best that life has to offer to her. For her to pick up her self, wipe her eyes and thank God for protecting her from what He didn’t purpose for her. I wish I could have told her that the pain was only temporary and that she’d move on one day and find new love again and again…and again. I wish I could have told her that the pain she went through held purpose. That she would learn and grow from her experience and that 6 years later she’d be writing about an experience she thought she’d never find the strength to get over.

However, I can’t rewind the hands of time and I wouldn’t even want to. The lessons I learned through that high school heartbreak showed me how resilient and strong I was, and it also showed me what a strong God I served. I got to see first hand, what a mighty heart-healer and lover of my soul that God is. I got to learn through experience that making ANYTHING other than God the center of your world is destined for failure. Boys cheat. Family betrays you. Friends talk about you. Jobs downsize. But God and His love never, ever fail. Like I said, I can’t go back and give my younger self this pep-talk, but I can tell you.

So little sister, if you’re reading this, know that your worth and value extend far beyond your relationship status. Take your time in every relationship and learn to place God 1st at a young age. God is always whispering to us through our wisdom and discernment and had I not been so drunk in love I would have been sober enough to hear His warnings. I would have saved myself a lot of the heart ache and disappointment and you can, too, if you follow Him when it comes to your relationships. Ask God to reveal people’s true intentions and character to you. People can look soooo good on the outside but they may not match up to that and still have growing to do on the inside. Trust your God-given intuition and know that it’s okay to leave whenever you feel you aren’t receiving what you should. You are a child of the King and always deserved to be treated as such. And baby girl, if you ever find yourself broken hearted from a relationship. Turn your heart over to God. Allow Him to love on you and mend your broken heart. Take the time to build a genuine relationship with Him and start making Him your world. I promise you, the younger you learn how to do this, the better off you’ll be. You’ll be able to have the strength and resilience to stand any breakup, setback or loss, because you will have the most solid foundation to stand on. Give your heart time to heal before moving on – I promise you it’s no rush and you have your whole life ahead of you to encounter “the one.” Forgive the ones who hurt you, understanding that it’s the key to truly being able to move forward and without bringing baggage into your next relationship (this is still a tough one for me at 24).

I’m telling you what I wished someone had told me when I was younger. It took me years of experience and learning the hard way to understand a lot of this, but you definitely don’t have to go the same route. Take a lesson from me, or any of the older women in your life who shares how they’ve been there and done that when it comes to relationships. You may be in high school and he may be the one (but he’s probably not *shrugs*). Either way know that when you keep God first and guard your heart, He will reveal it to you in His timing. Above all, know that you are absolutely beautiful from the inside-out and ALL of you, including your heart, is so precious and so worth the wait.

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Crazy Love and Obedience

God is the creator of the universe. He keeps the cosmos in order and all things in His perfect balance. He is the ruler of much but still knows the numbers of hairs on your head. In all that He is and all that He does, He still loves you enough to know all the intimate, insignificant, seemingly random details about your life.

Remember that.

Sit in awe of that.

Meditate on that.

The Creator of all things loves You enough to be involved with every detail of your life. He loves you enough to want to handcraft the plans of your life. He loves you enough to want to direct your path. Remember that whenever He speaks to You. Whether it’s through a word from someone else or through your own time in prayer and meditation. Sit in awe of the fact that the One who sits in charge of all creation cares enough about You to speak and pour into your life daily. Bask in the incomprehensible expanse of His love. Follow the directions that He has laid out for you. React to His amazing love with your complete obedience. Do His will, regardless of what your busy schedule, other people or your own selfish desires may say.

Listen to Him.

Truly listen to Him in all of the love and awe that He’s placed inside of you. Listen to the One who is in charge of every star, every solar system, every galaxy in the cosmos, yet listens to every prayer, hears every cry and cares enough to want to give you the desires of your heart. And He does it all just because He loves you. Can you do the same and love Him with all your heart, mind and soul? Can you give up your tiny and insignificant plans for your life to listen whenever He speaks, hear when He cries out to you to serve Him, and care just enough to live out the life He desires you to have? Can you lay down the life you think you should have for the life that He’s planned out for you to have since He cradled the universe in His arms in its infancy? Can you trust that the ruler of all things would never misguide you or lead you astray? That His plans and thoughts are truly higher than yours? Can you decrease so that He may increase?

Well, can you?

Sit with that this week. Meditate and pray on it. Ask God to keep you in awe of all that He is, especially when it come to decisions about your life. Ask that you be reminded of His infinite power, yet infinite concern about your wellbeing whenever you are tempted to abandon his perfectly crafted will for your life for your own reckless and insignificant plans. Ask that He brings to remembrance the incomprehensible expanse of who He is anytime you are tempted to place the fallible and short-sighted advice of others over His all-knowing direction. This week I pray that you are in absolute and complete awe of Him and that through that awe you fall into absolute and complete obedience.

Perhaps…

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Perhaps you were born for such a time as this. Perhaps your life is meant to show God’s love in radical ways. Perhaps you were created to look out for the poor, the lonely and the oppressed, rather than the rich, the popular and the powerful. Perhaps you’ve been called to live out the Gospel in ways that challenge the status quo and make people uncomfortable. Perhaps you were created to change the business-as-usual practices in the world and in the church. Perhaps…

Do It Anyway

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“For we are not given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”- 2Timothy 1:7

Throwback Thursday: One Thing Changes Everything

 

(I wrote this in 2011 and posted it on Facebook.)

*Note: Sorry if I’m all over the place, but it’s finals week and you know how that goes*

About a year ago, a man, who I’d never seen before, came up to me after my PaPa’s funeral. I’d spoken at the service so people were coming up to me left and right telling me that I’d done a good job and was such strong person. All of those faces and the words they said all blurred together. All of them, except this one man. He came up to me and told me that he could tell how close I was to my granddad and that he had been very close to his too. Then he said something that will probably stick with me forever, “My granddad died in 1976 and there has never been a day that I haven’t thought about him. Just know that you’ll never go a day without thinking about him because the love you have for him will never let you forget him. It’s not always going to be painful and sad, but trust me you’re going to think about him every day for the rest of your life.”

Something about his words jolted me back into the reality that my tears and sadness had been keeping me from. Even after he walked away, I kept replaying the words he’d just said over and over in my mind. They were so comforting yet they scared me. Comforting, in the sense that his words reassured me that I wasn’t alone in my pain-everyone that loses someone feels this way. But every day is what scared me. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of someone no longer in your life sliding into you consciousness every single day. I thought to myself “I mean I’m bound to get a break. I’m sure I’ll go a couple of days or weeks and not think of him because after all life moves on.”

But then I quickly changed my mind because he spoke with a sense of confidence that only a person who knew an eternal truth could speak. You know, like the sky is blue, the sun rises and sets without fail, and now I could add never going a day with out thinking about my PaPa to that list. I almost didn’t want to believe him, but something in me told me that he was right.

And now as I stand here a little over a year later, I know he was right. There has yet to be a day when I haven’t thought about the man that raised me. Sometimes the thoughts of him leave me with a smile on my face or pure joy in my heart, but more times then I’d like to admit, it leaves me with a tear-stained face and deep sorrow in my heart. Now life does move on. I’ve had more than my fair share of problems since then-family issues, my house burning down, a tornado hitting my hometown, and dealing with the usual heartbreaks and disappointments that come with friendships and relationships. The funny thing is that all those things still pale in comparison to losing him. None of those things has changed my life more than losing him. Nothing. I’ve noticed that I want to practice law one day because of losing him. I’ve noticed that I cling tighter, and sometimes too tight, to the ones I care about because of losing him. I’ve noticed that I’ve learned to love others, even my enemies, with more fervor because of losing him. I’ve noticed that I’ve grown to have a deeper relationship with God because of losing him.

So I guess I said all of that to say this, one thing can change everything and make a new rule for your reality. One thing can change for you and transform you for the rest of your life. Just as the sky is blue and the sun rises and sets without fail, you can lose someone you love and never go a day without thinking about them. It’s simply another eternal truth of your reality. You can choose to wallow in that and wish that things could return to the way that they once were, or you can accept your new reality and build your life within it. As you can guess, I choose to go with the latter, and I’ve found a peculiar beauty in that choice. Even when the worst possible thing occurs and changes your reality, there’s still a quiet hope that awaits you. There’s still the little reminders from God that let you know that His love, peace, and blessings are the ultimate eternal truth and exist no matter what reality you find yourself facing. Yes,there will be tears and there will be changes, but God’s eternal truth of His endless love will always bring you through. Yes the sky is blue, the sun rises and sets without fail, and you never go a day without thinking about losing someone you love. But you can add God’s comforting and endless love to that list of eternal truths too.