I think it’s important to share that I did not want to write this article. I literally tried twice to disqualify myself to Candice and to myself numerous times. But Papa (Christ Jesus) continuously tugged at my heart to do it.
Why was I so resistant? I narrowed it down to one reason.
Why was I afraid?
1. How do you write something on a topic so deeply personal like a hard break-up with care and consideration for the other party involved when you were hurt by their actions?
2. How do you help others with forgiveness when you are not fully healed?
I prayed for days on these two questions and got wise counsel from close friends. In the end, the answer was simple. Truth and grace.
The truth is sometimes God will give you exactly what you want so that He can show you what you really need. This is biblically accurate. He gave the Israelites a king when they begged Him for it. He even told them all the horrible things a king would do yet they still wanted it. And guess what? They got exactly what they wanted, and the king did exactly what God said he would do (1 SAMUEL 8: 1-21).
How does this parallel with me, or us as a culture?
Well, for me I’ve always been a romantic and a movie nerd. I’ve always loved films about the underdog making good and getting the girl. Rocky, The Notebook, The Outsiders … basically, every eighties teen movie ever made. Which makes sense considering I grew up in a trailer, was overweight all my life, and never had the nicest anything. So, I always felt not enough. So of course, I loved the idea of being the man who gets it all in the end!
To add to this mindset, I have the disease of addiction. It started with food and like most of my kind, turned to drugs and alcohol at about fifteen and that consumed my life for the next thirteen years.
Fast forward – I got sober at twenty-seven and began my walk with Christ at thirty-one which is when I met my ex.
I had decided to get baptized and let me tell you something happened in that water! I got a vision to pastor and lead people to Christ.
Something else also happened. I met the girl I believed God wanted me to marry who was also being baptized. A week later she invited me to serve with her at a shelter and we became close. Two baby Christ-followers texting bible verses to flirt.
That’s right, you can flirt biblically if you’re clever.
We spent the whole summer together encouraging each other’s walk. At the same time, I was pursuing her. She was not so sure about me and when it came time to make a choice she chose not to engage further in a relationship with me. I had set boundaries for myself that we just couldn’t be friends.
We spent the next nine months in community treating each other like ghosts, never really knowing what to say. At the same time, I was discovering God-given gifts, being encouraged, and taught how to lead. I was becoming more physically fit and had found a great job. Then she reached out and boom we were stuck on each other.
I wish this is where I said we lived happily ever after, but this was not the case. You take two people from two different backgrounds, two different upbringings, two people who were not healed or whole and you are just asking for disaster.
On one side you have me, recovering addict which is a whole bag of responsibilities, and someone who still doesn’t feel worthy for anyone but has learned to mask it with fake confidence. And on the other side another person with well … let’s just say in the end we both fought against culture, against disapproving parents, against social media, against wavering attraction, and in the end, we lost the battle and we fought hard! And with that loss, we both made poor hurtful choices publicly.
By now you might be saying to yourself, “Charlie, that’s a real bummer of a love story and I’m sorry that happened but what does this have to do with the Israelites? Or your vision from God?”
To that my answer is everything.
You see when the Israelites at that time were such a broken people living in such a broken culture, and living so fully in their humanity that they thought a king would heal their brokenness and give them what they thought they needed to be whole and victorious.
So, God in His infinite wisdom gave the Israelites a king setting off a chain of events that would eventually lead to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the King of Kings, and the only real cure for all our brokenness.
I believe God did the exact same thing for me and so many of us. He gave me exactly what I thought would make me whole knowing that I would overlook any and everything in the pursuit to be my own king–a true underdog story of the loser from the other side of the tracks who makes good and gets the girl.
He did all of this so that I could have a deeper relationship with Him. He did all of this so I could see for good and all that I wasn’t the underdog. That I was His dearly loved son who brings Him great joy.
He did all of this so He could show me an old, deep wound that I wasn’t even aware of so that He could begin healing it and ultimately use the scars that I tried to hide as a platform for His love, grace, and mercy.
As far as my vision is concerned, I believe that in the Christian culture we hear and use the word, ‘vision,’ most often as an absolute from God. In my opinion, this is foolish because we are filtering it through the lens of our brokenness and our humanity.
I think it is much healthier to view ‘vision’ as a glimpse of what GOD could do. I believe when we take this stance on vision when we peruse it, we’re more open to changes so that when it does or does not work out exactly the way we hoped or often expected, we are not resentful with our Father but are brought to a deeper relationship with Him. Which is ultimately His goal for all of us.
So, if you are reading this and are in a season of heartbreak from a loss of relationship whether it be from a significant other, failed business relationship, family member. Here are some things that I have learned that may help you on your journey.
- Pray for those who hurt you. If you are like me and in the beginning praying for those who hurt, you experience a mental spiral, then pray for God to heal you enough so that you can pray for them.
- Learn to love your scars. We live in a time where we cover everything up or filter it. The truth is we fought hard weather in obedience or disobedience to get those wounds and Jesus died so they could be healed. So love the scars left behind because that is where God will be glorified, and others can be helped.
- Your journey is not everyone’s business. Choose a small trusted group to help you through the dark times and to encourage you while you are walking through this. Choose carefully because not everyone you think and often expect will be the right choice.
- Set healthy boundaries for yourself and others through this healing process.
- Healing and forgiveness are not mutually exclusive they say time heals all wounds. I disagree, I believe effort and time spent perusing a deeper relationship with Christ heals all wounds.
- Give yourself a break. We make mistakes but that is where His Grace is glorified.
In the end, I’m not sure who Papa wanted me to write this for more, myself or the reader. This is what I do know, that in Romans 8:28 it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
This is so true because God gave me exactly what I wanted, and because I went through all the highs and lows of that situation, I am now more equipped to love others in unlovable situations, to forgive when forgiveness is not warranted or asked for and the BIG ONE, to love myself deeply and fully just as He created me, because He loves me deeply and fully just has, He created me.
The exciting part is that when you look at those lessons, they seem much more in line with my glimpse than anything else I could have ever asked for or imagined
By Charlie Louthen:
I once was lost but now I’m found.