This piece originally appeared on the blog for The Refined Woman
Photo Credit: Brandon Obenour
Seasons: life’s defining chapters. They are how we refer to the changing times of the past. Right now my season is motherhood; abundantly joyful, humbling and chaotic… but my seasons haven’t always been so easy.
This is my story. This is the fire of my refinement.
Up until I married my husband, the men I dated defined my life’s seasons. In my early-twenties, I found myself dating a young man who seemed to fit my life perfectly. In true form, I dove head first into a relationship intending to let this guy be the one. For seven years he was – until the day I realized he actually wasn’t.
Merely eight days before we were to exchange vows, the freight train of my life came to a staggering halt. I walked away and lit a match to my world.
There are so many details surrounding the demise of my engagement. The only detail that matters anymore is that it simply wasn’t my story. I was not meant to marry him. I knew in the depths of my soul that I could not stand before God and spew empty promises. The fire of a broken engagement wouldn’t hold a match to the regret I would carry for marrying simply to save face.
When I ended our engagement I left a devastating wake of broken friendships. Everyone scrambled for answers and bystanders felt cheated. They were angry and hurt… and it was mostly aimed at me.
My decision affected every aspect of my life. He was all I had known for seven years, and two simple words washed it all away in seconds: I can’t.
I was suddenly infantile in my adulthood: relying on my parents for moral, spiritual, and emotional support. I felt guilty and confused. Even those closest to me weren’t sure what to say to the villain of her own story.
It didn’t take me long to realize I had lost my identity over the years with him. Faceless and silenced, I had become a wallflower; existing for the happiness of other people.
Lost in my own grief, I faced a choice: to exist in the ruins of a story that fell apart, or go forward with intention and grace. From that moment, struggling with the heat and pressure from world around me, I began to emerge as a diamond.
To those who were angry with me, I offered grace. In return, God granted me freedom from their wrath.
To those whose trust in me had faltered, I offered patience and permission to grieve the loss of that trust. In return, I was blessed with new friendships and second chances.
I prayed for forgiveness for the hurt I experienced by those wounded in the wreckage.
I prayed for inner peace.
I prayed for clarity.
I prayed to wake up one day feeling worthy of someone else’s love and commitment.
God granted me such clarity. I began to accept that I was responsible for someone else’s heart break; likely one that would shape the rest of his life.
I also began to address my own issues of self-worth. I took time to grieve the loss of lifelong friendships and found the courage to form new bonds.
I had to pull apart every facet of my character and, in the end, I learned to love myself. I was able to recognize the strengths in my character and the beauty in my soul.
When God allowed all of my layers to be pulled back, my heart was able to sing above the noise in this world.
Without living through the fire of a hundred broken hearts, I wouldn’t have emerged ready to love. I was refined by the fire of heartbreak and broken friendships, by the loneliness of starting over in a world that hadn’t changed.
God’s grace allowed me to blow away the ashes of my past and breathe new life into my future: a joyful life, full of courage and strength. It’s the very life I breathe into the hearts of my husband and daughters. For if they should ever face a fire, I want them to know that a diamond awaits.