Well My Lovelies…it’s over. 2015 is gone never to return again…and it’s with a happy heart that I breathe a sigh of relief. 2015 was a rough year for me…
Many of you have followed along from the beginning and continued to follow along as I’ve journeyed through the crazy waters of being a single twenty-something girl. You cried with me, you cheered me on, and you sent me emails and happy mail when you knew I was struggling.
A lot of what I experienced last year was deeply personal and painful. Some of it I felt I couldn’t share and I love you for understanding that…but sometimes the written word contains healing…so let me catch you up!
Graduate school continued to be an ongoing challenge for me :) You guys were the best! Your constant encouragement helped me tackle and conquer that challenge! (With all A’s and B’s last year I might add!)
You were excited when Matt entered the picture in January :) You sent me great date ideas and Pinterest suggestions. And I finally thought…I might have met my Prince Charming.
In April, a few of you noticed that something was going on, and I didn’t feel that I could share the hurt I was experiencing…
Late on April 4th, Matt and I were at the movies. We’d spent the day at his mom and dad’s having fun with his family and saw the love between his parents. It was the kind of love I’ve always craved for my own future marriage. We’d grilled, played volleyball and soccer, and just had the best day being a part of the family. We caught a movie with a few friends on the way home, and I had turned off my phone. When I turned it back on after the movie, I immediately became concerned. I had multiple voice-mails from my brother which usually means there’s an emergency.
When the only thing a voicemail says is: Call me back now (in his harsh voice)…it’s bad. My parents had gotten into an argument and my brother stepped in. He and my mom left. They didn’t tell me where they were, I had no idea if my mom was okay. The only thing I knew was that they were safe.
In the middle of the parking lot at the movies I collapsed. I remember Matt picking me up and holding me. I cried….so hard I couldn’t breath. Matt loaded me into the truck and took me home. I remember coming into the house and crying for hours. He never left my side. Finally, I was calmed down enough that he wiped my tears, kissed my head and went home.
The next morning my dad came over to “talk”. It didn’t go well. I was thankful Matt walked in on that discussion and ended it.
It was hard…realizing that your unit was now two units…having to plan holidays around parents…my parents had split up after 31 years of marriage. That is something no one prepares you for. I can’t explain the emotional journey I have been on…
There was a lot of pain, anger, hate, judgement, and hard decisions that I had to make. I’ve always been the mediator in our family, but this was one situation where I couldn’t…I felt isolated, I withdrew, I didn’t care about myself, I didn’t enjoy life, and I pushed Matt away as hard as I could.
There was no fixing the brokenness, no stitching the seams back together. There was only pain.
So much pain.
And more pain. My parents filed for a divorce. It’s a word you hate to hear…even more so when you’re told over the phone.
Then there was Matt. I finally thought that I might have stumbled upon the elusive “one”. A guy that held me while I cried. A guy that opened doors. A guy that brought me flowers. A guy that saw the deepest parts of me and loved them. A guy that brought his A game. A guy that promised he wasn’t going to leave.
And then, on a rainy Sunday night in July he left.
And all of those feelings of abandonment came rushing back in.
I picked up the stones that had come crashing down and rebuilt the wall around my heart on stone at a time.
I cried. I cried a lot. More than I think I’ve ever cried in my whole life. Because as much as I hurt, I knew I had hurt him and I’ve never wanted to hurt anyone in my entire life.
No one knew what to say. Nothing seemed to help. So I became a robot. Simply going through the motions of going to work, going to church, not caring about myself or my appearance.
I no longer wanted to go on the trip to Ireland I had planned with Matt. It only made me think of what wasn’t happening in my life. It was supposed to be an amazing trip. He had planned to propose…but it was the thought of that that made me realize something wasn’t quite right. In my heart, I wasn’t 100% sure I should say yes. I knew I was going through a lot and that my parents situation was impacting me. So I asked Matt for a break to process. A week later, he ended our relationship. It was hard. Every place in town had some memory we had made….
Then came more hurt. There are some things a best friend hates to tell you, but I am very thankful I have one who values a relationship built on honesty. She held my hand, she let me dirty cry on her shoulder, she listened, she gave counsel and she loved me enough to tell me when hurtful rumors about me were spread. Things that hurt to hear and were painful to swallow. How could this man who I loved do this to me I wondered?
And in the quiet of the night, I poured out my heart and my tears to the one who always listens…my Heavenly Father. In the stillness of the night, he whispered that what I thought was love might not be His idea of love.
He took me back to the word..and showed me Boaz. Quietly and gently, he held me while I cried and showed me His definition of a godly man. (btw…we started studying Ruth at church shortly after which was amazing!!)
In the middle of all this pain and parents pulling me in two different directions…siblings taking sides…hurtful words flying back and forth…I felt lost again. How had I been so blind? How had I been so stupid?
But I realized that I hadn’t been blind. For the first time in my life, I had done something for me. I made a decision to end a relationship because I knew it wasn’t right. I had finally paid attention to the warning flags of the Holy Spirit instead of trudging along unhappy. Did it hurt? Yes. Was it the best thing for me? Yes. Did I have doubts? Yes.
I was finally choosing to do things that made me happy instead of trying to please everyone else. What excited me even more was that I could hear God speaking again.
I felt a burden begin to lift. I sought counsel from a godly couple whose opinions I value deeply and we prayed over my parents, my life, my hurt. I prayed for wisdom on how to navigate, I prayed that God would break my family down and build it back up, and I prayed that God would love me despite my anger. They taught me how to set healthy boundaries, how to say no, and how to hold firm.
I can’t say that it’s been an easy road. The end of our relationship took a toll on me and on Matt. I’ve watched the sweet wonderful man I loved turn into someone I no longer recognize. His old lifestyle has drawn him back in and I can’t bear to watch how it will end.
I drew some hard boundary lines with my dad. We didn’t speak for several months last year. I felt hurt by my mom, my sister, and my brother. I endured a lot of hurtful words from my family. I spoke out of anger….a lot.
It was hard to be happy and cheerful….when all I wanted to do was scream and yell.
After being on auto-pilot for so long, I finally began to emerge from my depression and angry state. It always amazes me when God orchestrates our lives. I don’t believe in coincidences…I believe that God gives us incidents that reveal Himself to us…we just aren’t always paying attention :)
I’d been praying that God would bring a collective of young believers into my life. I needed Him and fellowship desperately. I’d been on my knees crying out to Him in desperation and asking Him why this was happening to me. In August, this amazing couple at church opened up their home to the young career kiddos and my life forever changed. Finally, I had the fellowship and Bible study I’d been craving.
As we dug into the word week after week, my anger and bitterness began to melt away. It was if God was saying…”Hey…I’m here. It’s okay”. I asked God to break me, to take my anger away, to take my hate and to take the ugly that had crept into my heart. And He did.
For the first time in my life, I felt like I could breathe. I wasn’t living in fear…I was freely living.
God brought a sweet friend into my life in August. While her mom is sad that LB moved from Chicago to SC…I wish I could hug her and tell her how much I need LB in my life right now :) She has been a constant source of encouragement, a listening ear, and such a blessing in my life.
Over the fall, God restored my relationship with my sister piece by piece. My brother moved in with me and we’ve been building our relationship back piece by piece.
My family is still broken, but God has slowly been doing a work. In November, my parents decided to reconcile and work on their marriage. There’s still a lot of anger and a lot of pain that we as a family need to move through, but I continue to pray that God will move us into a healthy family unit.
So my lovelies, it’s with joy that I share this with you. I am excited to start off 2016 :) It’s going to be a year of growth for me, a year of healing, and a year of adventure!
I hope you tag along :)
One Joyful Lemon