4 Ways to Navigate A Painful Break-Up

Written By Hilary Charlet, USA

Heartbreak. Tears. A break-up you never saw coming.

Do you remember it? The moment your heart was shattered into a million pieces? The place you were at? The time of day? The weather outside?

It’s funny how sometimes we can remember such vivid details.

I was sitting in my car, waiting to meet my mother for coffee. The weather was partly cloudy—a brisk fall morning. Perfect for a coffee date at my favorite spot. While I was waiting, my boyfriend at the time asked if he could call me. I had just driven five hours home after spending the weekend with him. Everything was great, or so I thought. Until the call. “I can’t do this anymore,” he told me.

Wait, what?

I had been fine when I talked to my mom roughly 10 minutes ago, but by the time she arrived to meet me, I was a mess. My sudden change confused her. Well, surprise! I just had a break-up I never saw coming.

Break-ups can be hard. They can be messy. Picking up the pieces of what you thought could have been forever can be incredibly hard. Moving on seems impossible. I know. I’ve been there. Your heart feels empty.

But in the days after the break-up, I found comfort in Jeremiah 31:4. God tells the nation of Israel, “I will build you up again, and you . . . will be rebuilt.” God promised to rebuild Israel, to give her direction, hope, peace and love. Surely, He will watch over me the same way. Even if I feel like a wreck, God can fill those empty, lonely places in my heart. You know those pieces of our hearts lying on the floor, broken? God can build those pieces into something incredible. I know because I’ve been there.

But it takes time to recover. It doesn’t happen overnight. How do you muster up the strength to accept what is and move forward in the immediate aftermath? Here are four things that helped me on that journey.


1. Know your worth

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God created us in His own image, for His wonderful purposes (Ephesians 2:10). Though people around us might disrespect us or question our worth, we know that we are bought by the blood of Christ. Is there any greater comfort than knowing how very much God Himself values us?


2. Enjoy your own company

You don’t have to have someone to go out on dates with to be happy. Spend time with yourself, get to know yourself better. Go on road trips. Go out for coffee. Read. Journal. Find your passion and do more of that.

There is beauty in this season where you are not committed to someone else. You have a unique time to grow as an individual, and more importantly, in your relationship with Christ. There will perhaps be times you feel lonely and might yearn for a relationship. But remember, God is always there, and He can fill those spaces in our hearts with a love that’s greater than any we will experience on this earth.


3. Surround yourself with the right people

They say you become who you surround yourself with. Are you surrounding yourself with people who will ask you the right questions, encourage you in your journey, and support you as you walk this road? Friends need to know how to have fun together (ice skating, game nights, etc). But they also need to know how to challenge and grow one another. Be sure you’re aware of who you’re spending your time with and how it affects you.


4. Forgive and seek forgiveness

If someone hurt you, lied to you, cheated on you, or ghosted you, don’t stew on it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God has wonderful things in store for you, but you won’t see it if you’re too busy remembering past wrongs. If you have been hurt, ask God to give you the strength to forgive and move on.

On the flip side, what if it was my fault? What if I lied, I cheated, I hurt someone that cared deeply about me? Then pray and ask God for forgiveness. If appropriate, also ask forgiveness from the person you hurt. Even though they may or may not give it, we need to remember that ultimately, we are not accountable for other people’s actions. We are accountable for our own. Ask God to continue working in your life and bring about healing.


Break-ups hurt. And healing takes time. I won’t even admit to you how long it took me to realize that simple fact, because it was far too long. But in the long process of healing, we know that God is continually renewing us, day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). He is here. He is never leaving or forsaking us. He is filling the pieces in our hearts that grasp and yearn for something that only He can provide—His unconditional and unfailing love.

God’s love for us is so much better than we can ever imagine. He will walk with us as we recover from a break-up. His love will fill us, whether we end up single or married. Resting in His love, peace, and assurance is so much better than any “happily ever after” in the movies.

In this post-break-up season, I have struggled with pain, insecurities, and doubt. But the Lord has also taught me to lean on and depend on Him completely, to rest in the promise that He is good and that He is working everything together for my good, regardless of how messy it has been (Romans 8:28).

If you have ever experienced or are currently in the process of a break-up, I pray for God’s comfort and healing in your life. I know things are difficult now, but God is with you. I pray that, like me, you will come to experience how much we are loved by God, who died so that we could live. And that’s a love that is irreplaceable.

Finding Hope After A Bad Break-Up

Written By Lidia, Jakarta, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

I first started dating him in March, 2010. We met during some classes we shared in college. He grew up in a Christian family, so I thought that since we shared the same faith, we would surely be able to navigate the storms of life together.

Later that year, I found out that I had tumors in both my breasts. I was only 20 at that time, and the news really shook me. I told my boyfriend the news without sugar-coating it. He told me that he understood and would be supportive.

However, he called me a few days before I underwent surgery. He said his mom immediately asked him to break up with me after finding out that I had tumors. His mom worried that if I eventually married him, I might get cancer and squander her son’s money.

I cried when I heard that. I also became angry. How could his mother even think of that?

I didn’t argue with him about it. I kept it all sealed shut inside myself. I didn’t even tell my parents. My thoughts were a mess as I faced surgery.

God was gracious, and in spite of my confused emotional state, the surgery went well. When I regained consciousness afterwards, however, I cried bitterly. His mom’s words still hurt. He did come to the hospital to see me, but he called on the following day, saying that he couldn’t come anymore. His mother had forbidden him from seeing me.


Staying in an Uncertain Relationship

Although forbidden by his mother, my boyfriend and I still hung out a lot. I knew the relationship wasn’t a healthy one anymore. But at the time, I didn’t have a good idea of what a healthy relationship looked like. For three years, we kept our relationship a secret.

I knew that the future of our relationship was uncertain, but I was stuck in a dilemma. On the one hand, I was bitter and hurt by his mom’s words; but on the other, I didn’t want to lose him. I thought that if I broke up with him, there would be no one who would accept me with my breasts removed. I also didn’t want to tell anyone else about my condition—my friends already teased me for eating healthy. I was afraid that other people would say the same things my boyfriend’s mom did.

My boyfriend was indecisive as well. He didn’t agree with everything his mother said, and wanted to keep on dating me. But he didn’t want to disrespect his parents either.

In the end, I told my parents about our dilemma. They listened with empathy, but shared their view that my boyfriend’s mom wanted what was best for her son, and was not being entirely unreasonable. My parents then advised me to just break up with him.

My relationship with God also suffered as a result. I felt detached from Him and could not feel at peace. Although I still prayed, I didn’t feel His presence in my life. There was something inside me that urged me to make a decision about this relationship. But I was insistent that this uncertain relationship with my boyfriend must be preserved, no matter how many fights we had.


How God Healed My Broken Heart

One day, my boyfriend told me that he was seeing someone else. He and the other person were out of town at the time—only the two of them. And so our relationship ended.

I drowned myself in sorrow and tears. I felt worthless and felt like I was about to lose my mind. I reached out to my Christian friends, and for the first time, told them everything. That night, I cried before the Lord, and I truly requested His help.

As I brought everything before God, I was reminded of Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I felt like God was speaking to me through that verse, asking me, “My daughter, don’t you trust Me? I am the Lord Almighty, and I have authority over all things.”

To be honest, this was not the first time I sensed God speaking to me in that way. But before that, I was afraid of obeying Him and losing my boyfriend. Now I completely surrendered myself to God. I realized that in this world, anyone could leave us. There is only One we can trust in and rely on—the Lord Jesus.

The following week, however, I was still struggling to move on with my life. I felt broken, not only because of the break up, but also because I felt that I was worthless, that other men would be afraid of a woman like me. The words of my ex’s mom still haunted me. Sadness would still overwhelm me when I was alone at work, and I would cry in the middle of the day.

But God continued strengthening me. When I prayed to Him, I would feel peace. Perhaps He gave me strength to forgive all the hurtful words that I obsessed over. My feelings were less and less affected by the hurts I experienced. Day by day, God helped me let go of my sadness, forgive the people who had hurt me, and trust Him wholeheartedly.

Because of the peace and joy God granted me, I no longer worried over what other people might think about me. Instead, I choose to focus on what God might want me to do, and I am learning to ignore all destructive comments.

I have tasted how good God has been to me. This isn’t because everything in my life has gone smoothly, but because God has always been there for me. Through this experience, God has helped me grow as a person. He has taught me not to focus on gaining human love, but on loving Him. He has helped me forgive people around me by realizing that God has forgiven my sins. He has taught me to pray when things don’t go smoothly. Not only did God help me when I was struggling with my ex, but He also continues to help me in my daily life and the work that I do.

I have also learned that no matter how far I stray from God, He never leaves me nor forsakes me (Hebrews 13:5). He always accepts me whenever I come to Him and ask for forgiveness for the sins I have committed.

Only God can supply true joy—not just the temporary pleasure that comes today and leaves tomorrow. Whatever our struggles are, whatever hurts or rejection we have experienced in the past, we can come to Jesus and pray to Him. We can trust Him with our future. Even if things don’t turn out how we want them to, we can continue to place our hope in Him. When we dwell in Him, our lives lack nothing.