It’s like that song says, “Breaking up is hard to do.” So many times in church we learn how to date God’s way, but we never really talk about breaking up. And It’s probably one of the most hurtful things we can walk through in the human life. The level of rejection that exists in a break-up can be heart breaking. To have someone say I choose you, I want you, and then to say never mind. We can try to let not the rejection rock us at our core all we want, but the truth is, break-ups are hard and hurtful. BUT GOD…..can make any bad break-up work for our good.
A few years ago I met a guy, we grew in love, he proposed, I said yes, and then it all fell apart. I won’t get into the details because I’m not writing this to share his story, I’m writing this to share mine. Long story short, he ended it and took the ring back. I was once in my best friend’s house planning my wedding and talking fun details about marriage and life, and now I was on her couch in her arms unable to move paralyzed in my grief. My heart was broken and shattered. And please don’t think I handled this perfectly, I definitely had that typical girl period of time where I ate hardly anything that wasn’t pure chocolate, lived on my friends and parents couch for a few days and wore the same sweatshirt for a week. It’s ok to mourn, but you weren’t meant to stay there.
I had never experienced paralyzing emotional pain like this before, and I knew who could redeem it, but I also knew it was my choice and my choice alone to let Him. Most days I shoved my feelings down and pretended I was all better. I didn’t want to deal with it, I didn’t want to admit I was the girl whose fiancé choose to walk out on her. I said I wanted God’s unfailing love but not all my actions showed it. There were days I just didn’t let God in. But HE is faithful!
I know this might be getting a little long….but trust me….it’s worth it.
Looking back on this season of my life I can see gods unfailing love all over my life. The word unfailing love comes from the Hebrew word Chessed. Biblical scholars have actually said that this word is so hard to translate into English because there is no precise equivalent word. Isn’t it amazing how the things of God are too great for us to put into human words.
The word chessed means loving kindness, steadfast love, never changing and, always available. It’s the most perfect form of love. This word can be found in the story of Ruth. In the first chapters of Ruth we find that she went through her own broken heart, she was living in a famine and she lost her husband. And Ruth is faced with a decision, move forward and head to Bethlehem or stay with what she always knew, stay in comfort. In the midst of crisis or grief we are faced with the same decision, stay on the couch with our tub of Ben & Jerrys, or get up and keep moving forward.
I love how Ruth responds because there’s such passion and declaration behind her words Ruth 1:16-17 says, But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” It’s almost like Ruth is saying, I will follow the plan God has for my life till death, even if it forces me to be uncomfortable, even if everything around me is crumbling, even if my heart is shattered, I will chase him till death. There’s some things we can learn from Ruth’s life when it comes to a broken heart and choosing unfailing love.
Ruth kept moving forward. The first thing we need to do in a time of grief is to keep moving forward. Ruth was determined to not look backwards at what was, but to keep moving forward into what God had for her. So often we find ourselves in a time of grief wanting everything to freeze so we can regain our grasp, but we can’t stay there. You can eat your Ben and Jerry’s for a moment, trust me I did, but you can’t stay there long. We were designed and destined to keep moving forward.
I remember the day after the break-up like it was yesterday. See I have a list of dreams in my bible, and the very first one says “rescue one from trafficking.” The day after my fiancé left me, I found myself in downtown San Jose passing out cards for missing girls who we suspected were trafficked into the area for the Super Bowl. I was living out little steps towards my dream. And maybe just maybe we would get to rescue a girl. I remember that night before we got to the event I was crying in the car with my best friend, I remember she prayed over me before we got out of the car. I was so broken that night and moving forward felt impossible, I really just wanted to curl up in bed and sleep for a week, but I did it. And boy did God answer my dream! See the girl I passed out cards for that night, was rescued a few months later because of the work we did that night. On the darkest day, God checked off my deepest dream. He’s good like that.
The next thing we need to do, is keep working. See Ruth kept working. Ruth 2:2 says, “One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it” Ruth didn’t just keep moving forward, she kept working. She got back in the field and harvested. Every one of us has a calling, and in the midst of grief it’s easy to lose sight of that calling. Don’t let Satan get a hold of your depression and kill your calling. Keep working. It’s amazing to me that in the darkest season of my life, I have accomplished and grown more than ever before. There were so many times I would go home and just want to give up. But I kept working. If I would have stopped working and dreaming God would never have been able to use me on our public middle school campus the way He has. More doors have FLOWN open this past year than ever!
The last thing Ruth did was she allowed herself to be redeemed. Ruth had a choice. She could have said no Naomi I’m not ready for this, not yet, I don’t think this is a good idea, I’m not ready to be redeemed yet. But she didn’t. She allowed herself to be redeemed. She choose it. We have to choose unfailing love. It’s available all the time, it’s steadfast, but we have to grab it. And let me just say this, you can’t grab God’s unfailing love when your hands are full controlling the situation yourself. It wasn’t always easy, and I wasn’t perfect at it. Ultimately I choose to allow myself to be redeemed by God. I choose to allow his unfailing love to completely wrap itself up in every area of my life. And I know one day soon I’ll walk into that promise. I’ll walk into the dream of becoming a wife and I’ll get a man like Boaz who pursues me in the purest form. I’ll let God redeem what man broke.
There’s a wedding dress that sits in my mother’s closet. And there’s a beautiful rose gold ring my Aunt bought me after the break-up that sits on my finger. Both are a reminder to me to let God redeem me. To accept his unfailing love. One day I’ll walk down an isle in that beautiful dress, and I’ll take off this ring that sits on my finger and replace it with a better one. One of God’s completed promise.
Ruth choose to be redeemed, and because she did check out what happens in Matthew 1:5, “Solman was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed, WHOSE MOTHER WAS RUTH.” Her redemption is a part of our redemption. If Ruth had not chosen to be redeemed by Boaz, she wouldn’t have been a part of my story. You’re redemption can bring other’s redemption. He will redeem your shattered heart and use the broken pieces for good.
Maybe this is something you’re currently walking through and you don’t know who to talk to. Please feel free to email me, I’d love to chat and pray with you! Elisenicolehall@gmail.com