14 Aug BEAUTIFUL, BROKEN DREAMS
It’s been two years since I lost my wedding day.
An unexpected decision, about a month before my fiancé and I planned to get married, led me into a whirlwind of hurt, unending questions, and a lengthy depression. I want to share my story with you…but not out of blame, or accusation, or anger. I want to tell you about the mess that God turned into a miracle; about the gentle, all-knowing Father that He is, and how God has radically changed the way I view myself and Him. My prayer is that God will speak to you through my circumstances, as He did for me.
I moved to Florida in the late summer of 2015, excited and nervous to start my post grad life as a future wife, new nurse, and young adult. While I was eager to jump right in and get started, I was not truly ready for the transition. I quickly became very anxious and depressed; I was planning a wedding over the phone with my mom in Georgia, my first nursing job was way more stressful than I had expected, and I didn’t try very hard to find a community of friends in my new city. Looking back on it now, I can clearly see my biggest mistake: I had placed my identity – who I was, and how I saw myself – in my relationship with my fiancé, rather than in my relationship with Christ.
We had found the perfect venue, the invitations had been sent out, and my last dress fitting was quickly approaching. However, after spending that Thanksgiving with my family, I came back to Florida to a decision that was out of my control, a decision that absolutely wrecked the identity I had been building for the last two years. My fiancé had suddenly decided that we shouldn’t get married in the next month – that we should cancel the wedding, and that we needed at least six months with no communication in order to heal.
As you can imagine, this decision brought me a great deal of heartbreak. The pain I felt was something I had never experienced before. I felt betrayed. Unlovable. Rejected. Forgotten. Abandoned. I didn’t understand why he made this decision which only added to my hurt. My world and future had been flipped upside down, and for months I struggled with how to cope. I decided to quit my job, and my parents moved me back to Georgia over Christmas. My depression grew worse, and while I had a great support system of family and friends around me, I easily fell prey to Satan’s lies.
These lies cunningly worked to convince me of many things: that I would never find love again; that my behavior had gone past the point of redemption; that I was worthless, a failure, and destined to be tainted with the mark of rejection.
Satan will whisper anything into your ear to make you believe that there is no hope for you. And the devastating part is that, in this world we live in, it is so much easier to fall prey to the enemy’s lies than to listen to the truth of the Father. We are constantly bombarded with the pressure to be successful, to be the best of the best, to be the most beautiful, to be established and to be admired.
What a joy it is, then, to be able to open the living, breathing, true Word of God and learn that the world has it all wrong! That it is the poor, the meek, and the humble who will inherit the kingdom of God. That Jesus declared those who were willing to lose their lives for Him would find it. That we can store up treasures in heaven and be crowned with the crown of everlasting life.
I thought that losing my future husband and my dream wedding day would be the end of my chances at a happy and fulfilled life. I had placed my identity, my hopes and my dreams in a future with a man. But God, being ever faithful, gently reminded me just how sovereign He is. Just how truly good He is. On the night of my cancelled wedding, as I was weeping over my loss, mourning my broken dreams, and shaking my fist at my circumstances, He was holding me, smiling because He knew the blessing of a future He had for me.
I clearly remember sitting on my bed that night in Florida, teary eyed and frantic, pouring through the Bible, desperate for some hope or a sign that my fiancé would come back in the morning and tell me he changed his mind. But suddenly, out of nowhere, God gently whispered the words, “Wait and trust Me.” (Isaiah 64:4). I will never forget that moment. And He continued to whisper these words as I slept. Though I didn’t know it yet, these whispers were just the beginning of God working to unravel my heart, drawing me in to know Him more deeply.
I thought I had lost everything, but in reality I gained everything. I gained what I needed most: a renewed relationship, dependence and desire to be close to my heavenly Father, and a testimony to share.
“Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
From that point on, God worked quickly and very evidently to take care of my heart. Various people from different walks of my life started speaking the same exact scriptures over me – even in the same day! God blew me away when He used the song I had planned to walk down the aisle to, The Door in the Air from The Chronicles of Narnia, to encourage me to pursue and walk down the aisle towards Jesus, reminding me of my true identity as a daughter of the King (that’s a whole other story!). God gave my family the opportunity to host an event supporting a family who had been trying for adopt four girls from Haiti for years. God blessed the evening that would’ve been my wedding night, and now those girls are here at home in Georgia with their new family!
My healing process was slow and grueling, and, if I’m honest, it’s still evolving. I’m thankful for a great set of parents, trusted friends, and a fabulous counselor – all who have helped me tremendously over these last two years. God has taken a broken dream and made beauty from the ashes. He introduced me to my church community who have become my best friends, He has brought me to a job where I get to help bring babies into the world, and He helped me find and adopt the happiest cat I’ve ever met, Bingley.
My wedding never happened. The boxes of decorations were packed up, the guests were informed, the vendors were notified to cancel, and my dress was zipped away into a bag and hung in the back of my closet.
The wedding never was, but I serve a Saviour Who Ever Is.
He is sovereign. He is loving. He is victorious! He is MORE – He is abundantly more than any fleeting and temporary pleasure the world can offer. He is more than a broken relationship, more than an unfulfilled dream, more than comfortable circumstances, financial security and social acceptance. He is with us, He listens to us, and He shows us joy when we choose to wallow in sorrow. He truly does abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. He is satisfying, and enough, and perfect, and full of grace – despite our defiance.
If you have been through any type of heartbreak, my prayer for you is that you do not get caught up in a whimsical earthly romance and forget the true Romancer of your heart. Do not set expectations on another person that only our Heavenly Father can fulfill. Guard your heart as you enter into relationships, bring your desires to His feet and ask Him to guide you. Remember whose you are. Fight the temptation to desire comfortable circumstances over the desire to truly follow Jesus. No matter what you’ve lost, allow yourself to feel the pain, to grieve, and to sit on the bathroom floor and cry. Give yourself grace for the hard days that seem endless. And hold on to the hope that we are freely given through Christ.
He has already met our deepest need through the cross.
The beautiful thing is that this hope, joy, and freedom are always accessible to us. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; and while our circumstances may change, while suffering may grip us and make us feel hopeless, He is still standing right by our side, hand on our shoulder, smiling because He knows the answer to all mysteries, and He’s whispering, “Trust me.”