by Anne Demitre
There’s something about endings that are difficult to forget. Years later, I still remember how the air felt chilled and how everything seemed to switch to slow motion as I went through the motions of walking back to my house after the four-year long relationship with the man I planned to marry came crashing down around me.
I huddled in a little heap on the floor of my room. With my head propped up against the window frame, I could look out past the pine trees into the dark. It was cloudy that night. And all I could hear was the echo those words that ended everything –over and over and over again.
I just tried to breathe, to focus on something, anything. But the searing pain of my heart was too real to ignore. The one thing I hoped would never happen to me? It had just happened. My heart had been broken. I’d been replaced by someone else. And huddled there, all I could do was croak out a whispered “God–help.”
Our relationship hadn’t been perfect. We’d both made plenty of mistakes along the way. But I had a dress and we were talking dates. I thought it was the beginning of happily ever after.
One he said that he didn’t think that he cared anymore–not for me, and the next that maybe we could give it another chance. It only prolonged the pain as my heart, my dreams, what felt like my whole world, began to crumble before my eyes. And then I saw the other girl. I saw how he looked at her. And I knew then that it was really over. I finally found courage to say good bye. I walked away from what felt like everything I ever wanted.I did what I knew was right, what I had to do, for both of us.
And so we said goodbye. He married the other girl and I tried to let go of everything. I tried to forget. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. Heartbreak hurts. “So this is what it is like to have a broken heart…” I would tell myself when I couldn’t sleep at night.
I cried like I had never cried before. I thought when I looked at the piles of shattered dreams and broken pieces of my heart, that nothing would ever be the same. It never was. And I wished, with everything I had left, that I could go back and start again.
The days passed. The shock and searing pain in my heart became a heavy, overwhelming ache that settled in deep and didn’t want to go away. I felt numb, so very numb, and so afraid of the future.
My life had changed dramatically, but I just wanted it to be the way it had been before — before I knew him. Before it hurt so much. . My heart felt so broken anyway that I didn’t know if it would ever be able to try to love anyone ever again, or if it would ever even stop to throb so much.
Everything seemed dark those days. The sun I loved so much felt distant and cold. And I felt like the sun had been banished from shining on my heart, too. As day after aching day passed, I wondered if broken hearts ever healed. Some days, I almost believed they never would.
But one day, I realized that things were different. The sun felt warm again. My heart didn’t throb as much.
It didn’t happen all of a sudden. The shattering of dreams and the breaking of hearts will never be healed in a single moment. But they do heal.
The One Who had given me a heart to love, the desire to be loved, the ability to dream — He had to gently teach me how to let go of the broken pieces of the “use to be” days. I realized that I still clutching them tightly in my hands. I was afraid that if I let go, I wouldn’t have anything meaningful left to show for the last four years of my life.
But as time and distance began to fade the memories of the sharpest pain, God slowly built my heart and my dreams all over again, and began to give them back.
They weren’t the same dreams I had before — those had died forever. These were new and beautiful dreams that were far better than anything I could have dared to hope for.
Years have passed since the day my heart broke. If you are in the middle of it, it might not feel like the pain and the hurt and the confusion will ever go away. But today, I want you to know that there is hope and joy and a lot to live for on the otherside of even the worst kind of broken heart.
He Who created the World, Who made crippled legs to walk, and blind eyes to see, He makes good His promises. He can heal the heart that was broken, and bind up the deepest wounds. God never takes something away except to give us something better.
It wasn’t easy to come from broken heart to joy restored, but He was with me every single step of the long way. He promised that He would make all things beautiful in His time. Even though sometimes all I could feel was the pain in my heart, and all I could see was the broken pieces of every dream I had cherished, I believed Him. Through the roller coasters of emotions and the dark days and the confusion, I clung to what He had promised.
He did not fail me, or His promises. He taught me that even the darkest clouds have glimmers in them.
Some days those glimmers were all I could do to hold on. Other days I could almost forget how much it hurt. But every single day, I had to choose to trust God. I had to trust His promises, to trust that He does all things well. I had to choose to focus on the good things and His blessings, even when the ache was overwhelmingly present. And waiting alone in the darkness, I learned that I could still sing.
Maybe you are where I was, with a broken heart and broken dreams. Maybe you are afraid to hope that it will ever be better again, that your heart will ever stop hurting.
I want you to know that beyond the pain, there is hope for tomorrow — hope that even the darkest night cannot put out. This won’t last forever. You are not alone. You are not less loved or less beautiful because you have been broken. It doesn’t work like that.
I want you to know that it is okay to cry and to grieve. The tears help to wash away the sting and heal the broken places in our hearts. So let them flow. Let yourself feel and let it go.
But the most important thing is this. Don’t let the pain and the tears keep you from living. Don’t stop moving forward, even if you have to crawl. Don’t stop holding on to Him, no matter how hard it gets. Don’t stop trying to sing, even if some days all you can do is croak and whisper.
Someday, even if it is a long time from now, you will see things differently than you can right now. Looking back, you’ll be able to see that nothing is impossible with God. That all things do work for our good in the end. And that no heart is too broken for God to heal.
Even though it seems impossible now, God will take these confusing, shattered dreams, and all the broken pieces of your heart, and heal the wounds, give back dreams. One day, looking back, you will see that nothing was wasted.
Keep giving Him all the broken pieces. Let Him have all the shattered dreams, so that He can truly heal your heart. But never let go of the hope that one day He will restore your joy, one day He will give back your dreams. Because He will — I promise.
They won’t be the same exact dreams you had. Your heart will be a different heart than it was before. It needs new dreams. And The new dreams that God gives back will be perfect and beautiful, because that is how our God is.
I know all of this is true. I know that God is faithful and that He does make good on His promises. All of them. I know because this heart that was broken is a heart that He healed in His time.
All the pain and the tears have faded. Years later, there are little scars to remind me of where I have been, but there is no more pain. I have had dreams come true, and I’ve found new songs and a lot of joy.
And one day, when I least expected it, God gave me love again too. Better, more beautiful, and sweeter than I dared to hope for.
My heart was broken, but it’s not anymore. God put it back together. And He can do the same thing for you. Trust Him on this one.