God wants to break your heart.
Yikes. Does that sound as appalling to you as it did to me when I first heard it? Sitting in the chapel, I began to squirm in my seat as the pastor continued with a prayer similar to this:
“Dear Lord, bring us hardship, bring us pain, bring us trials, and break our hearts.”
There are days that we label “The Worst Day of My Life. Ever.” Maybe you even have multiple days like that. I know I have a few from various points of my life. Looking back, some really weren’t that bad. Others were flat-out terrible:
- That day in Kindergarten when I was talking out of turn and had my name written on the board for the first time ever. A true tragedy for a teacher’s pet like me.
- That one day in middle school when I found out I was getting headgear AND braces AND that my dog had been put down.
- That Friday shortly before high school when my teacher had to break the distressing news that a former classmate committed suicide.
- That Monday, almost two months ago now, when my anxiety was spinning out of control and I had stopped eating or sleeping because I was broken hearted - the same day that the preacher pointed out that God wanted to break my heart.
Bad days come and they can be utterly awful.
Truthfully, that Monday back in January was only the beginning of a downright miserable week.:
Never have I questioned every single thing I said and did.
Never have I cried so much.
Never have I lost my appetite. - I mean, really, have you tried pizza? How could I not enjoy eating that?
Never have I seen God’s arms open so wide to me.
God didn’t allow me to simply sink into sorrow - instead, he called me to Him. I poured over his Word, I clung to the messages shared by ministers, and I prayed to my Comforter fervently.
When I prayed, I didn’t begin by asking Him for what I wanted. Over and over again, I prayed, “I will trust Your will. I will trust Your timing. I will trust Your plan.” Then, and only then, once I had acknowledged that all was in his control, did I continue with my petitions, with my wants. I pleaded:
“Lord, I really care for this man. He is your child, he makes me happy when I’m around him, and he makes me laugh harder than I ever have. I don’t know his feelings for me and I don’t know who You have designed for me to spend my life with, but I think this man could be good for me, that we could be good for each other. Guide my steps.”
I found myself praying to God constantly throughout the day. The more I prayed, the more I began to see Him actively working in my life. He sent me support in the form of family and friends who listened to my uncertain thoughts, who prayed with me and for me, and who held devotions with me. He made his message clear through the preacher that Monday: cling to God at all times and through all things, good and bad, joyful and sorrowful.
He even sent me comfort in the form of irony and humor. Several times during that miserable-no-good-dirty-rotten week, humorous moments happened while I was grumbling and complaining, reminding me that I needed to change my focus. For example, as I whined through my tears about lack of communication, my phone vibrated alerting me to a message from that boy. I couldn’t help but giggle through my tears.
My eyes were focused on the wrong things; I knew I needed to stop moping and grumbling and to start trusting God’s perfect timing. He nudged me towards my true comfort - the reassurance I find at the empty tomb. He began to fill the cracks in my heart with understanding of His will and acceptance of His plan. Maybe my life won’t always go as I imagine it will and maybe I will be hurt by sinful people, but I was comforted to know that my perfect God is the true owner of my imperfect heart. Through it all, He never stopped calling me daughter, and my love for Him grew.
And you know the truly amazing thing? He guides and directs your messy, stressful, and chaotic life, too!
“Fear the Lord and shun evil.” At my lowest point, when my heart felt like it was crumbling, my initial reactions were evil. I was angry, defiant, confused, and unaccepting of God’s will. I thought I knew what was best for me. I thought my life should have been going down a different path, down the path I thought looked safe, welcoming, and easy to maneuver.
I firmly believed that I could still go down that path, even if God was planning to close the gate to it. I thought I was in control.
However, that was not the case. Now that time has separated me from that treacherously awful week, I understand that the path I thought looked welcoming maybe wasn’t as inviting as it appeared. Maybe it wouldn’t have been the worst path, but it surely would not have been as lovely as the one I was directed to by God. What I deemed to be the best future for me simply wasn’t. Because I struggled and because my heart broke, my relationship with my Father grew as he comforted me.
The path he led me to, led me to Him.
Rather than focusing on an earthly relationship, I now focus on the most important relationship in my life - the one I have with my Savior. The Holy Spirit has spurred me on in my faith. I now devour His Word, speak with Him more often in prayer, and trust His plan more than I ever have before.
I can see that in growing in my relationship with Him, my relationship with myself has also changed. One of the worst days - worst weeks, really - of my life has been one of the best things that has happened to me. Through it, God has made me stronger, wiser, more patient, and more understanding. While a healthy, loving, and Christ-centered relationship with a man is one of God’s greatest gifts to us, it is not His only gift to us. Being single is a blessing, too.
Sisters, if you’re single, enjoy it. Embrace it. Rock it. Praise your heavenly Father with it. Pray for your future husband. Pray for patience to trust God’s timing. Serve your Savior with the position he has put you in right now - don’t wait for your future imperfect dreams.
Ladies, if you’re married, enjoy it. Embrace it. Rock it. Praise your heavenly Father with it. Pray for your husband. Pray for patience to trust God’s timing. Serve your Savior with your role. Be an example for other women of what God desires marriage to be - emulate that love abounds between you and your husband because Christ’s love is your foundation.
For all of God’s daughters, if you focus on your relationship with your Father first, your relationship with others will come naturally and at the right time. Purposefully meditate on God’s Word, call on Him in prayer, and praise Him with your life. Your love for your Creator will be obvious and that love will fuel the love you have for others here on this earth. In all things, trust His wisdom and allow Him to guide your steps.
God answered my prayer: “No.” He’s got something else, something better planned for me. The man I was after hasn’t spoken to me since, other than a quick “hello,” but I do see him around campus sometimes. Honestly, it’s still painful to see him. However, when I begin to feel my heart breaking, I now pray:
“Dear Lord, bring me hardship, bring me pain, bring me trials, and break my heart so that I may never lose my zeal for you. I will trust your will. I will trust your timing. I will trust your plan.”
And you know what? The pain always lessens right away because God’s timing, God’s plan, and God’s love are enough.