Broken Relationships: Learning To Walk Into The Beauty
We hope this glimpse into Hannah's journey of surrender, forgiveness and relationship with Her Father inspires you and teaches you more about Him. Make some time today to read this..
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4: 31-32)
Forgiveness and surrender have got to be two of the toughest choices God calls us to make. Particularly when it comes to broken relationships. But they're choices that are vital to our freedom. I am in no way an expert, but still figuring out how to do this. However what follows is my most recent journey of forgiveness and surrender, and learning to walk into all the beauty God has for me.
Last summer I was in a relationship with a great man of God. In the short time that we were together I learnt a lot about what I want from a relationship. We were intentional about how we invested in the relationship, praying and reading the Bible together. He was my best friend and it was a brief glimpse of the beauty to be found in a Christ-centred relationship. But then it ended, for reasons that need not be discussed. It wasn't so much the ending, but the aftermath of emotions that floored me.
I think every girl can agree with me when I say guys drive us crazy. Although I'd like to suggest that it isn't so much the guys who drive us crazy, but ourselves. We get so caught up in analysing what went wrong. Our deepest insecurities surface as we're suddenly plagued with questions; 'Why wasn't I good enough?' 'Did he ever really like me?' 'Am I beautiful?' 'Will I ever find a husband?' It all becomes very dramatic. We self-pity, offload on friends and eat lots of chocolate. Then in the quiet place we scream our questions at God.
God can handle your screaming, no matter how insignificant the questions may seem. If it's hurting you, then He wants to hear from you. As we scream we come close to God, and He in turn comes close to us. (James 4:8). It's in our screaming that our healing begins.
Initially I needed to scream. I'm generally not one for crying. Instead I get frustrated and angry. So I screamed my questions at God. Meanwhile He whispered His promises to me, reminding me of His goodness and faithfulness. God surrounded me with incredible friends who'd also speak His truth into my life when I was too stubborn to listen to Him directly. People who would encourage and affirm me in my brokenness.
I thought I was doing well and that I had everything under control. God was reclaiming my wholeness. And then he whispered into the depths:
'You still need to forgive and surrender it all to Me.'
I didn't want to forgive because I knew that in forgiving I was giving up my right to be offended and the right to know the answers to my endless questions. But I knew that I had to forgive. I had to stop cradling my hurts and hand it over to God. I had to lay down my rights and surrender it all.
You will rarely feel like forgiving. The flesh wants to hold a grudge. We want the other person to know what they’ve done, how they’ve caused pain. We want God to teach them a harsh lesson. But forgiveness isn’t about them; Forgiveness is for you. Unforgiveness brings out the worst in us. We’re called to love and unforgiveness is unloving. You might not feel like forgiveness but it’s not about how you feel. It’s about what you choose.
Forgiveness begins and ends in prayer.
My battle was in the quiet place, on my knees, in humble surrender. Prayer shifts things. It shifts our heart's attitude. You cannot spend time with God and not be changed. If you don’t want to forgive, pray that God will move you toward that desire. Pray for the person you need to forgive. And when you pray for them, pray blessings into their life. Pray blessings into their relationship with God. Pray that they’ll know God’s favour in all of their endeavours. Pray that they will succeed in the things they put their hands to. And then pray for God’s blessing in their future relationships. That last one, without a doubt, is one of the hardest prayers you will ever pray.
Praying for God’s favour and blessing in my ex’s future relationships was tough, but it moved me into total forgiveness and surrender. In praying that prayer I was choosing to trust God. That if I wasn’t with that person it was because God had other plans. Initially when I prayed these prayers I didn’t really mean it. But I wanted to be sincere, I longed to desire God’s best both for me and for the other person. It doesn’t happen overnight, but as I persevered in these prayers my heart did shift.
One song in particular spoke volumes to me in this season - Nothing I Hold Onto (linked at the end of the post):
“I give it all to You God,
trusting that You’ll make something beautiful out of Me.”
The song is a heartcry of surrender. Worship is vital in expressing our surrender. In worship we proclaim that He really is Lord of our lives. As we worship and pray walls crumble and we are healed, restored and redeemed. We loosen the grips of our need to control. All the hurts and insecurities fall away. We no longer need to know the answers to X, Y and Z. We can’t help but be hopeful for the future and that hope extends to our ex. Our hearts align with His and we see things from a Kingdom perspective.
If you’re in the middle of this season of confusion and pain I promise you there is an end to it.
God speaks to the storms raging inside and brings the chaos into order.
When you’re in the middle of the emotional rollercoaster it can be difficult to see how you’ve progressed. I’d really encourage you to keep a journal. Write down all the crazy feelings you’re having and then write down the victories. When you come out the other end you’ll be able to look back over it all and see how you’ve grown. I came out of this past year or so thinking I hadn’t grown at all. I thought I’d wasted so much spiritual and emotional energy, but then I read back over my journals and can see how God has been shaping me. Always be on the lookout for what God’s doing.
Finally, keep your focus on your Saviour. Run as fast as you can towards Him. When your mind wanders off into daydreams, choose instead to focus on the Ultimate Lover. Don’t allow yourself to go over scenarios in your head. They just aren’t helpful. When you find your mind preoccupied with what could have been, choose to focus on what is. God has you right where He wants you, so look for the purpose in that.
Your longing for relationship is an echo of your longing for intimacy. And true intimacy is found in God.
Choose to forgive and live a life of surrender to God; Pursue Him and walk into all the beautiful freedom He intended for you.
Hannah is a 22 year old girl from Belfast. She studied for her PGCE in primary teaching at Durham University. She now teaches literacy, part-time, to underachieving kids from one of the most socially deprived areas of Belfast. The rest of her time is spent as the Young Adults and Discipleship Pastor at Willowfield Church. Talk about living the dream?! The rest of her time is spent drinking lattes