How A Breakup Can Be The Biggest Blessing

“We need to break up,” I said as I looked at him longingly across the table. We were seated in a Starbucks, I had just come from a shoot and he had just come from work. We had really just come from a fight a day and a half prior to our meeting.

After one whole day of not talking to me and me allowing him time, he was finally ready to fix things. And so was I. The only sensible thing to do was to break it off. He would probably be confused as I had been messaging him the entire day of silence to please talk to me, but it was what God told me to do.

 

That’s not how it happened.

He apologized for his wrong actions and I broke down. The truth is, I couldn’t break up with him. I needed to give it one more shot. And so we went to visit our friend at the hospital wherein a short while after upon leaving, we got into another fight.

 

“I think it’s time we went our separate ways,” I said as I was sitting right next to him in the car. He had just told me exactly what my conflict was. “You’re confused between your love for God and your love for me.” He was right in every sense of the statement. I was praying the entire time we were there.

 

I didn’t do it. Again.

I looked over at him and forced a smile. “Let’s talk about this another time. Good night. I love you.”

 

 

“We can’t be together anymore, and I’m sorry.” I was walking a little ahead, I saw the park bench and we both sat down. We had had one of our first crucial memories here. Both drunk, we decided to keep drinking in the lawn next to the bars of Capitol Commons. It was around 2:00 a.m. and the caretaker let us stay. I knew then I was in love with him, and he looked at me differently that night. He felt the same way.

What better place to end things cordially, with maybe just a hint of that forlorn memory? But I couldn’t.

I kept walking past the park into the bar we frequented. After excusing myself to go to the bathroom where I pleaded with God to give me one more chance, and I knew I had none, I came back to the table. I stopped a few feet away and studied his face. I wasn’t going to break his heart.

Sitting down beside him, I grabbed the menu. “What are you getting? A beer?” I ordered and swallowed the tears I had been choking back. God was merciful, He’d give me time.

 

Three times. It should have happened. Three perfect moments to end what I considered my most beautiful relationship to date. My partner-in-crime, my twin, the Deadpool to my Vanessa, the crazy that matched my crazy.

See, it’s not every day that you find the male version of yourself. And it’s not every day that the entire universe agrees. We were twins. We came in a package. You buy him, you gotta buy me. Inseparable. Invincible. Impossible to break.

Well, look at that irony.

How we really broke up? In respect to what we had, I will never share online. Those details will not be misconstrued by my lack of judgment and understanding, till now. And I still care about him. Why else would I have delayed writing this?

So let’s get to the point. How does seemingly the hardest thing to do in life (a breakup) end up becoming the biggest blessing of your life?

That was the question I pondered on as I looked out over the ocean with a blanket wrapped around me. My hair still rain-soaked, my eyes bloodshot and swollen, my tongue and throat dry, my stomach grumbling from hunger, I was a wreck. The images of the night before kept flashing before my eyes. Him walking out the door, the last time I’d ever see him. He was gone. He had really left me.

The night before we broke up, we fought and I ran out. I stood at the same shoreline crying to God in desperation, and I still remember clearly my very loud prayer. “YOU DO IT, GOD, I CAN’T DO IT, I CAN’T BREAK UP WITH HIM, SO YOU DO IT.” A few minutes later, a dog was about to lick the side of my face when I felt arms lift me up and hug me, “We’re going to be okay.”

Man would have I rather believed him.

I’ll tell you what a relationship is like when you become a believer and the other person isn’t. It feels like being in prison during visitation hours. First, you think you’re the visitor, trying to get through to the other person despite the glass between you two. He sees you and maybe something different about you but he doesn’t really understand.

He has questions, you don’t have answers, but he’s just astounded every time he listens to you as you go on and on about this Jesus because you look so happy, so he just stops asking.

You’re there constantly trying to make contact. Trying to apply what you just read in the Bible in a subtle manner, secretly praying while you’re together (even laying hands when he’s not looking), putting on a worship song when it’s your turn to Spotify (yes, I did this). And even bringing him to church in HOPES the pastor would say SOMETHING that would affect him.

And no, no, no, no. No matter how hard I tried, he just wouldn’t get it.

And that’s when you realize: this whole time you thought you were the visitor, trying to miraculously somehow connect him to God, all this time, YOU were the prisoner.

I know, take a breath, that sounds harsh but it’s true. Especially if you both entered the relationship lost. You start noticing that he’s pulling you back and able to control your emotions. I’m not saying he doesn’t care, I mean he’s happy for you but he seriously thinks he doesn’t need salvation, you do. You’re the one who needed help, you’re the one who needed Jesus.

 

Truth bomb: You can’t save anyone. No matter how on fire you are for God, or even how long you’ve been walking in Christ…only God can save a man. And only God will. It’s just not your job. And the longer you stay in a relationship that is for lack of a more modern term, unequally yoked, sometimes you have to just let go and give that person to God, FULLY. No leftovers or crumbs.

But can I just say, that the second he walked out of the room…Jesus walked in. I remember clearly hearing Him whisper, “Do you see now how much I love you?” And that morning alone, by myself, the sun had finally come out. My Prince of Peace was standing right beside me as I continued to pray.

 

2 Corinthians 6 says it all. And again, it’s not to be mean, but hearts will be broken. Healing will come. And you always have to ask yourself, who’s more important, this person or Christ?

Now that I can safely say and only by God’s amazing grace, I have healed and am moving on, one thing is for sure: No man beats Jesus. In the end, whoever I even marry has to accept the fact that Jesus will always come first because He’ll always be the perfect man no matter my season ( I wrote Dating The Perfect Man two weeks after this break-up, just for your reference.)

My pastor said he knew it was going to happen. I asked him why. He said because I was falling in love with Jesus faster than I could even break up with my boyfriend.

And if I ever doubted that God answers prayers in the snap of a finger (like the very next night), I don’t doubt that now. Despite how tough the answer is or how much it really hurts, He’s got your back.

So for anyone reading this, please be encouraged that a break-up is not the end of the world. If anything, it’s the start of a new life. A new beginning, a new chapter. And even though your thoughts and dreams may drift to that person constantly, it’s always your chance to lift him or her up in prayer and know that God is moving in their life too. He loves them just like he loves you.

And you too, will one day, love again.

Please Stop Putting God On A Prescription Bottle

“Hey, good for you man! Whatever works for you.”

Man, this line started getting to me. There I was, sharing my story of salvation to a friend or a friend of a friend (when asked), and I would get this huge smile in return (which I totally appreciated) and that line.

I started to wonder: Do people think God is needed only by people like me? Was I one of those cases that just couldn’t stand up on her own two feet, thus Jesus?

It’s funny how whenever we’re listening to someone speak, and suddenly their thought process gets really dark, we think to ourselves: She needs Jesus. Or we see some dude acting WAY out of line and we’re like, he needs Jesus.

As if God, were a case-to-case basis. As if God, were some kind of prescription of medicine we could just take to get better and not feel bad anymore.

By all means, I DO think God is the source of us getting better. But not for the select few. For all.

See the thing is after we hear that person talk about how dark her thoughts were on say, her family and how she hates them and wishes they would just die…we go home, and truth be told, we barely talk to our own family. Or after we saw that person commit a heinous crime of stabbing someone, we sit on our phones, and gossip about someone we know or scroll through Facebook, judging, judging. As if that wasn’t stabbing someone in the back. As if not even trying to communicate with our family wasn’t some sort of open wound in the house.

Let me quote the most widely recognized verse in the Bible:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.

Keyword: WORLD.

Not just the drug addict. Not just the unfaithful wife. Not just the bully in school. Not just the boy in and out of rehab. Not just the lonely man sitting in the corner. Not just the woman so full of herself, trampling over others. ALL of us.

And the only thing stopping us from admitting that to ourselves is because we’ve been sitting so long on a moral high horse of our own, we haven’t even looked down to see our feet scraping the bottom. What’s usually the excuse?

“I’m a good person. I don’t hurt anyone.” “My life is fine, I have everything I need.” “Hmmm…I don’t think Christianity really applies to my way of things.”

I will not try to debunk those statements because I believe many of us still to some degree (even Christians) fool ourselves thinking these things. But in the few months I’ve gotten to know God, I’ve learned enough to know this.

No one is a good person. Even that person you consider a saint, would never volunteer to have his or her thoughts read for just one day. Sure, you may never have hurt someone physically or directly, but even unaware of it, you probably have hurt someone by something you said or worse, didn’t say. You’re a hard worker, you do what it takes to get the job done, your standard of success is all or nothing…and that’s why you’ve never given yourself a break. You say I spend this much money, then I’ll make more money. I can provide. I can do anything I set my mind to. But where is your mind? You’re so focused on the next thing in your life, your kids have been sitting at home. Your mom waits up for you all night.  But it’s okay, you provide for them anyway right? You love her anyway, right?

Christianity couldn’t fit into your already well-rounded, fully scheduled life because you personally don’t need God. He could be there for back-up, say when you’re dying or really sick, but just not now, you’re okay. You know you’re going to be okay. Everything’s good, you’re having fun, if something goes wrong, you’ll fix it. You got this. If you get tired, you just need to sleep it off. You’ll be fine.

Isn’t it sad that to be honest, we’ve all thought and lived this way until we’ve been driven to our lowest point? And even then, some of us still don’t want to take God? He’s for the weak. He’s for the sinners.

By golly then, He must be there for you and me.

I think we need to realize our “goodness”, no matter how we applaud it or say it’s good enough, will never measure up to God’s goodness. That’s why we need Grace. I think we all need to realize that our own moral compass is going to falter at some point, no matter how hard we justify another person’s actions as wrong or even try to put the blame on ourselves. That’s why we need Mercy.

The thing is, when you take a little God every day, you see less of the flaws of everyone around you, and more of the flaws of yourself. Is that awareness what you’re scared of? The more God you take every day, you start to change and it’s so weird because you thought you were fine before and how come all of a sudden, you feel even better? A little more patient. A little more forgiving and understanding. A little more loving. Is that change what you’re scared of?

Pride. Man, I have learned to hate pride with a passion. Most especially, in myself.

I’ll leave you with this. A good friend from fellowship (a Bible study I go to) said people are walking around on this Earth, with a cross-shaped hole in them. Sometimes, they have no idea what that is, but they’ll justify why they don’t need it to be filled. Until their justification points their own fingers to the mirror.

I’m still figuring this out guys, I’m far from(and never will get to) the point of knowing all of this down pat.

But of this alone I am sure, my God is love. Not the human love that gives up when it’s been wronged or it’s tired. Not the human love that cares to listen but never to help. Not the human love that is happy for someone getting better, but fails to see what that person could potentially make them realize one day. So whatever you believe in, I again, will respect that. Put please do not slap my God onto a prescription that “works for me.” The truth is, we all need Jesus.

Romans 3:23-24

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

The Nth Chance: My Personal Testimony

It was January 23. I remember it so well because I could only feel one thing. Rather, I felt nothing. I only had one word to describe it: empty.

The night before, I had come from drinking and in an act of desperation, went to see my boyfriend then and his friends. That led to insecurity and for some reason, anger. Never had I felt so low, so worthless, and as if none of this, none of it, had a point.

I’m sure many of you have felt this way too. When you look around, and it really just looks like one big lie. Well, let me tell you this…it kind of is.

I knew something felt off with me about two years ago. Mornings started to become a nightmare. I would force myself to wake up, “one more day, just one more day”. I’d take a deep breath, or two, and do it all over again. I’d pretend everything was okay, I’d tell myself something might just happen today, I’d pretend that I was happy. Living, honestly, had gotten so tiring. It was always a battle between me and my demons. And most of the time, I’d just let them win. My best friend even brought me to a doctor who told me, my problem was, I never had any real security in my life, thus depression. It really started to disturb me how much I thought about killing myself, it went from being on a weekly basis to a daily basis. It was a constant mental and spiritual war.

I had tried turning my life back to Christ before. I was fed up with trying to, for lack of a better term, keep up, with my own life. There were so many goals I wanted to accomplish, so many people I wanted to please, so many things I think I, out of anyone, felt was the most justified or qualified to say. And it all broke me, it just wore me down. I wrote about it on my blog then entitled “A Letter to Myself” which was written in five parts. I thought it helped to express it, just let it out, and for a time, it did.

But then I went back to what I knew, I let my “life” take over my life again. I fell in love with another guy, struggled through that relationship; I distracted myself with work and socializing, always going home thinking, is this it? I’d keep going back to it; it filled whatever void I needed it to at the time. But in the back of my head was a little voice saying, “Why don’t you just stop already?”

I didn’t stop. Opportunities came, as they do, to distract me from the pain I should have dealt with head-on. I went back to keeping up, I went back to pleasing, I went back to expecting way too much from the world, I went back to counting every little bit of acknowledgment thrown my way…I went back to being absolutely and inevitably, miserable. I, in fact, learned to hate myself.

Fast forward after months of drinking myself stupid, blacking out every night (I would scream at the guards at my apartment) I had had enough. After months of locking myself in the bathroom, punching my face so hard, and cutting my thighs and wrists, standing on the ledge of the 29th floor, thinking to myself the whole time, “It could all end right now.” All that pain, all that senselessness, all that disappointment. All of it.

I never jumped. But I wanted to. I never cut too deep. But I wanted to. I never overdosed. But I really, really wanted to. Something kept pulling me back. A little voice at the back of my head saying, “Stay.”

I ignored it and on that night, my boyfriend (this is the first one I mentioned at the beginning, yes love addiction) drove me home. I had screamed at a gas attendant. I had screamed at the guard. I had screamed and hurt, really hurt, Sam. It was going to end that night, I was sure of it. I just needed a little push and  I got it. I asked for it and I got it. But let me tell you something, at the pit of my stomach, something was stirring, and that thing stirring just felt wrong, it felt evil.

I went upstairs, took out the medicine box, opened the windows, grabbed the Baygon on the counter (I was desperate to go). If it wasn’t going to happen one way, it was going to happen another. I took all the medicine, kept drinking the alcohol left in the refrigerator and went about cutting my left upper thigh. Boy, it felt good to feel nothing. I sprayed the Baygon onto a towel and sucked it in. I kept going on and on and on and on…

Then I woke up. My first thought was, “Why in the world is there Baygon on the table? And a knife?” I smelled the towel. Oh. I saw my leg. Oh. I closed the medicine box and window. What happened last night? Something must have come over me because when I checked my phone, yup. I had broken up with my boyfriend…again.

I rushed to his place and in a mess of myself, apologized and tried to explain as best I could. I can practically memorize it by now, my little script for people who “don’t understand me”:

I’m tired.

It’s just a wave.

I had an attack.

I had learned to belittle my mental health so perfectly already and at the same time make it the biggest excuse as to why I was mean, or why I said or did something, or why I reacted that way.

Truth be told though, I was very tired that day. I wasn’t thinking about killing myself, but I was so tired. I went with Sam to his basketball game and on the way, we passed by Every Nation. There it was again, that little voice again, “Come to me.” I had gone there a couple of times before, but for the life of me, I could not see the point of really becoming a Christian. In my head, I was way past a solution. But I wanted to go.

I didn’t. But I really wanted to.

Instead, on the way home, I was quiet. There was no wave. It wasn’t an attack. But there it was, in the pit of my stomach, at the core of my being: Emptiness. I cried and Sam didn’t know what to say or do, he too, was helpless. How many times had I done this to him? To everyone? Of course. I told him I just needed to be alone and that I’d be okay.

I got out of the car and went up to my apartment. My dad just happened to be out of town. The minute I walked in and closed the door, I let go. I fell down on my knees. I was so tired and I had had enough. I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore, I didn’t want to hurt the ones I loved anymore, I didn’t want to hurt anymore, period. Through my sobbing, I managed to whisper, “God, I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know how to pray. But I need your help. Please God, please God, please God…”

Let me tell you, I was desperate for a solution.

I reached out to the only pastor I had really liked, pastor Robert of Victory, who is now in San Diego.

I told him about what I had been dealing with, and how I needed his help. I needed to read something. Anything. I needed God. I waited for his answer and listened to one song all night till I could fall asleep. All I Need Is You by Hillsong.

He directed me to Psalm 103.

I had thought I needed all these other things to keep me happy. A relationship. Validation from people. I thought I needed to constantly be “pretty” or “perfect” in the sight of others. To be the smartest in a conversation. To be the loudest in a party. I was just constantly lying to myself. Let me tell you something, there is nothing this world can really offer. I realized that night, God is the biggest truth anyone can ever tell. And only He can really heal. Jesus heals the broken-hearted. He binds their wounds. This was my story, this was my Jesus.

And that’s just it.

You don’t have to keep up. You don’t have to please others. When you try to, I’m sorry but you’re going to lose, over and over again. Life is so precious. And when I surrendered mine to Jesus, and I mean fully surrendered, I fell into His arms of LOVE. And this LOVE just covered me that in this lifetime, I will never be able to describe in words how that feels. To know, yes people love you, your family loves you, your friends care for you, yes, but no one will love you like Jesus does. No one cares like Jesus cares. The day I fell down on my knees was the day I fell into His arms. It was my nth chance, but it was the chance I was going to take forever. Do I feel bad for making Him my last solution? Yes. Was I glad it finally happened, though? YES.

I found hope, guys. I found security. Where? Believe me now or believe me never, but it’s only in Jesus. It’s only in the chances HE gives to run back to Him.

Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy name

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion

who satisfies your desires with good things

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s

Dating The Perfect Man

I wake up in the morning and roll over. He kisses me on the forehead and says, “It’s time to get up. We have a whole day to knock out together.” I ask, “Five more minutes?” He smiles and lets me sleep a little more.

At the table, we’re having breakfast. He’s stirring his coffee while I open the Bible to Matthew. He asks me, “Which part are we reading today?” I reply, “Chapter 8, the part where Jesus calms the storm.” He smiles and says, “Ahhh, that’s my favorite part.” I laugh and exclaim, “You say that about every chapter!” We read and pray together, and our day begins.

In the shower, I start to cry because I think of how much pain I’m still in. He’s sitting on top of the toilet, and he asks, “What is it?” I try to muster the words, “It’s my fault. He left me. What did I do wrong?” Gently, he whispers, “It’s not all your fault. But he’s in your past now, and I’m here. I’m never going to leave you.” I cry and through my tears, say, “They all said that. They all made that promise.” He says, “But you know Jules that I never break my promises. I love you.”

I dress up and while doing so; a song blasts in the background, “This Is Amazing Grace.” I’m dancing along, and so is he. He says, “I really like this song, it’s so catchy, and it’s so true!” I couldn’t agree more.

On the way out, he smiles to the guard and I smile at him too. On my way into work, he tells me to smile to the other guard, gently pressing my hand. He tells me to smile at all the people at the office. He even tells me to ask a few how their day has been and gives me words of comfort to those who seem a little stressed out.

At lunch, he sits right across from me. “How’s your day been so far, Jules?” “Really good,” I reply, “but I can’t do it without you. Could you please stay with me? It’s starting to hurt again.” He nods and with all assurance says, “Yes. I’m not going anywhere.”

I try to finish my work, but my draft of an article does not save, and I completely lose it. In frustration, I slam the laptop down. He pats my back, “Hey, just start over again. You can always start over again.” I take a deep breath and finish my work, this time liking it better than the last. “Thanks,” I say, “It was actually good I got to do a second draft.”

As the day ends, we ride in a taxi together, and he encourages me to ask the driver how his day has been, what his family is like, etc. The driver waves us goodbye as we get out and go home.

This is my favorite part of the day. I sit down with my guitar and start strumming while humming a melody to myself. He sits on the floor next to me. I ask him, “What kind of love song do you want me to write for you?” He replies, “Write about how much I love you.” After a few hours of going through the song, he says, “I think that’s my favorite so far out of everything you’ve written.” I think to myself, “You say that about every song.”

I get ready for bed and bend down on my knees. Another day has gone by smoothly, despite its little obstacles. I thank God for the miracle of living another day and getting through it with the perfect partner. I look over at him and ask, “Why me? Why did you choose me?” He stares deep into my eyes and says, “Because you are so special to me, and I want to heal you…” Someone interrupts him from afar, “You don’t mean that. She’s guilty. She isn’t worthy of someone like you. She doesn’t have that much talent, and you’re not going to stay—”

“Be quiet,” my partner rebukes, “She is beautiful, and she is mine.”

I cry and hug him, “Thank you,” I whisper, “I hate when he does that.”

“It’s a lie. I am the truth. You have me. One can never love you as I have loved you, but that’s why you will always have me. I am always with you. Forever.”

He lays me down to sleep and sings me a lullaby. “Don’t go,” I say, “It’s scary at this point. The dreams, they haunt me.” “Shhh,” he tenderly brushes my hair, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be with you in your dreams and right here again when you wake up.”

Before finally falling asleep, I tell him with my whole heart, “I am so in love with you, Jesus.” He smiles, and He is the face I see before the sleep sinks in.