Written by Hilary Charlet, USA
No one likes going through tough times, right? Especially when they hit one after the other. For me, two falling outs occurred within weeks of each other, resulting in a dark season of hurt so deep that it had a way of molding me, shaping me, and staying with me to this very day—a weakness that drove me to my knees, to tears, and to a deeper relationship with God.
Nearly two years ago, I had convinced myself I’d potentially found, “the one.” The one that I just might spend my life with. The one that made me laugh, opened my car door, and called me whenever he was free. The one that went to church with me, took me on date nights, and that I felt comfortable talking about anything with. There was barely one day during the week when we didn’t see each other—at least at first.
As time went on, I fell harder, and as a result, fell hard flat on my face when everything ended. One night when I stopped by his house to say hello, he could barely look me in the eye. We only chatted for a few minutes before I headed home. As I crawled into bed, my phone lit up with a message from him. “I think we just need to be friends. I need some time and space for myself.”
After that night, all I felt was rejection that I couldn’t shake. There was never any face-to-face conversation, not even a phone call, nor any conversation at all after that message. It was over. I reached out a few months later to see how he was—no response.
The feelings of rejection intensified a few weeks later, when I attended my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding shower. I went over to talk to a close family member, but she would not even make eye contact with me. I was utterly confused and had no idea why she barely spoke two words to me, and wouldn’t even look at me. A few days later, word was circulating that I had stolen from her. A sweater of hers had gone missing, and she had convinced herself I was to blame. I was dumbfounded.
I felt utterly betrayed and rejected by two very different people that both meant more to me than I would ever admit. Why would she even think that of me? How did we care so much about each other, but so suddenly he wanted absolutely nothing to do with me?
I could not think of anything that explained the breakdown in either relationship, so I came up with explanations in my mind and convinced myself they were true—that I was unworthy, too weak, too broken.
The piercing feeling of distance, of being avoided, of lacking any explanation or understanding in either situation, kept it all replaying in my mind. Eventually, I convinced myself that I would never be worthy of real love, and not even a relationship with my family member.
The hours I slept became scarce, the food I consumed was little, and I felt weak on so many levels. Yet, I covered it up with a smile. You would’ve had no idea from the outside that I was struggling so hard. Yes, I’d lost some weight, and my aunt expressed concern to my mother about that, but I just chalked it up to “exercise and eating healthy.”
It was the long nights lying awake, hour after hour, tears streaming down my face, stomach in knots, feeling so empty and broken, yet crying out to the Lord, that He called me closer to Him. It was during those times He drew me in, and reminded me of who I was in Him.
I wasn’t broken; I was being shaped (Isaiah 64:8).
I wasn’t empty; I was being filled to the brim with what I needed rather than what I wanted (Philippians 4:19).
I wasn’t weak; I was finding new strength in the Lord and was going to soar (Isaiah 40:28-31).
For the first time, I knew how fiercely I was loved. I knew that even though humans might reject me, the Lord never will. I knew God was good, and as Romans 8:28 kept showing itself to me everywhere, I knew that He was working everything together for my good. It sure didn’t feel like it, but I clung to that promise.
Instead of picking up my phone hoping for a call, I started picking up my Bible, knowing God was already there to meet me and His promises would speak to me. The people in the Bible went through trial after trial, and yet He remained faithful and always came through. He wanted what was best for His people, even if it meant taking them through some difficult times, He would guide them to it and through it.
Instead of lying in bed making excuses for not driving to church on Sunday, I showed up to worship the Lord for His faithfulness. As I soaked up as much of His truth as my schedule would allow, my perspective slowly moved from feeling confused, sad, and broken, to whole, trusting, and excited.
Though nothing had changed with the situations, something had shifted inside of me.
I felt broken, but I knew He’d piece my heart back together, and His love and faithfulness would shine through the cracks to those around me.
I felt empty, but I learned I could find fullness in Him. The companionship I was yearning for in those relationships? He offered that to me daily. I didn’t have to be anyone but myself to Him. I could come to Him any time, day or night.
I felt weak, but I had Him behind me, holding me up, giving me strength. I wasn’t a lost cause.
To this day, I haven’t seen either of these people. I’ve attempted to mend one relationship, and it’s a process. We’ve chatted over the phone, and I can still feel the tension, but I’m not sure when I will muster up the courage to go visit. Whether there is restoration in our future or not, and whatever struggles come my way, I now know where my roots are. I have learned the truth about who I am in the Lord, and that nothing anyone says or does can change it.
In the valleys and on the mountaintops, I am a child of God. I am loved. I am worthy. I am whole. I am full. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am strong. I am able. I have a purpose.
And the same is true for you.