A woman carry a light heart

How God Helped Me Move On From a Past Relationship

Written by Linnie, Vietnam


We were in a relationship for seven years—a relationship that was more than friendship but never really a full-fledged one, all because I had a big fear of being in a relationship. It ended when I told him that between relationship and career, I would certainly choose career.

I spent the next couple of years focusing on my career and trying to meet other people, which only made me realise that he was truly an important person in my life.

So, three years after our relationship ended, I got in touch with him again, hoping we could get back together. When we resumed talking, I was relieved that we were able to share life stories without awkwardness. But when I finally gathered my courage and was about to confess, he told me he had met someone. They had been dating for six months, and he was planning to propose to her.

I was too late. For seven days, all I did was cry and reread all our past messages.

Four months after our last conversation, they got married. I knew that was coming, and I thought I would be prepared for it, but I was wrong. I did my best to put up a brave front, but feelings of bitterness and worthlessness ate away at me inside.

I could not accept feeling so depressed and weak because of this one person. So for the next two months, I tried to make myself recover as quickly as possible. I worked overtime, went out and met new people, and spent a lot of time meditating on all the Bible verses that had helped me through tough times before.

I would read Psalm 121 to remind myself that the Lord was close by and listening to me, or John 16:33, where Jesus said I would have peace in Him because He has overcome the world. I kept praying for peace, asking God to help me forget that person—my memories with him, my mistakes, my feelings.

But no matter what I did, I could not forget, and it hurt deeply. Amid my sorrow and resentment, God faithfully guided me and slowly revealed to me the life lessons that I needed.


When I finally stopped trying to run away

Around that time, our pastor was doing a series on Genesis, beginning with the story of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and went into hiding, God called them and asked, “Where are you?”

When I heard that, I felt like the question was also for me. Where was I in this journey of healing? Was I hiding from God and trying to fix things by myself?

While it seemed like I was doing everything right by reading the Bible and meditating, instead of honestly confessing my struggles, I had been demanding God to heal me immediately and using His words to suppress my feelings. I had hoped that constantly reciting those verses would help me forget all the negative feelings sooner.

I decided it was time to be vulnerable and honest with God. I admitted to Him that I was wrong for leaning on my own strength to overcome heartbreak.

Looking back, I had wanted to recover quickly mainly because I was afraid others would judge me for being depressed and heartbroken. I felt foolish, lingering on a past relationship for so long. I was afraid that others would think that I’m weak, instead of seeing me as tough, rational, and independent.

So I surrendered these fears and my brokenness to God, and confessed that I believed His grace was still sufficient for me, and His strength would be made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). After confessing to God, I finally began to feel at peace.


Facing the root of my pain

Over time, God enabled me to face my failed relationship and learn from the pain I had experienced. Through the insights of people who knew me well, self-reflection, and after reading a lot of articles about coping with family violence, I was able to identify my toxic thought process.

I had always been an insecure girl. Growing up in an oppressive and violent environment, I had to learn to hide my emotions. I did not really know how to express love, because I didn’t think I deserved to love and to be loved. So even when I knew I had a special feeling for that person, fear was always there, holding me back, and the relationship could not progress.

I decided to open up to one of the pastors I trusted, who listened to my stories without judgment. He told me it was normal to have such feelings—to want to love and be loved, because our Heavenly Father is love (1 John 4:8) and He first loved us (1 John 4:19). My pastor encouraged me to focus on my relationship with God, because it is His perfect love that will free me from fear and give me the courage to receive and give love (1 John 4:18).

With my pastor’s encouragement, I continued seeking God in healing through His word and prayer, not only for the heartache from that relationship but also for my childhood trauma. I started journalling to keep track of my emotions, thought processes, struggles, and things for which I was thankful. Doing this helped me know what to pray for.

I also encountered Psalm 139 when I had Bible study with my small group at church, and on that same week, a sister in Christ sent me the same passage to encourage me. Verses 13 and 14 in particular gave me comfort and assurance.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Knowing that God created me in a unique way replaced my feeling of worthlessness with love. Instead of worrying about what others might think of me, my past, and my failure, I can focus on God and His will for my life.


Let God’s love transform my life

I asked God to renew my life, to give me joy to be content, just as described in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

In time, God replaced the resentment and worthlessness in my heart with thankfulness. Instead of continuing to feel bitter, I learned to thank God for allowing me to meet this guy. He was the one who prayed for me and encouraged me to pursue my dream career in the U.S. He also taught me to write to strengthen young Christians and inspired me to serve the Lord through music. Thanks to him, I was able to grow closer to God.

With the joy and peace that God gave me, I began to pray for him and his wife, for their marriage and their journey with the Lord.

It has been over two years since I received the news about his marriage, and it’s amazing that I’m now able to smile when I think about my journey. Because of the heartbreak, I learned how to be honest about my feelings with God. It also led me to uncover the root of my pain and witness how God patiently walked with me through it all, speaking to me through His Word and the community He’s given me.

I’m happy that I can be content in this season of singleness, trusting that God will continue to walk with me and guide me in my faith journey.


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