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The Confessions

January 22, 2010
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The former fiancé called earlier this week and asked if we could get together sometime over the weekend. Maybe grab some coffee or something and catch up. 

I don’t miss him.  Because I still see him.  I talk to him or see him a couple of times a month.  We sip coffee and debate over ministry principles, and share stories from our weeks prior.  Or we share a plate of French fries and work on our computers across from one another in a booth at Denny’s, pausing to comment on the familiarity of the group of college kids near by.  I know how to fix his coffee, and he knows to ask for extra honey mustard.  I make a bitter dig about him not marrying me, and he apologizes.  I tell myself I am just trying to make light of the situation.  But I think I am still working through the pain of being rejected.

I don’t miss him.  There is no need to.  And I don’t miss us.  Maybe it’s because I know he was right in calling it off.  Maybe it’s because in hindsight, we were much better friends than more.  And that is the hardest thing for me to say.

Confession 1: I was wrong.

One of the most difficult parts of the broken engagement was accepting that I was wrong.
I thought I found the love of my life.  I thought I made the right decision by saying yes. I thought we would live happily ever after. But I was wrong.

Sometimes, I hide behind the fact that he called it off. He is the one that changed his mind.  He is the one who was wrong when he got down on one knee that night in front of the art museum, going on about the blank canvas of our lives and the need for me to be in his painting. He is the one who lied to me when he said those things, sprinkling in the words forever and always. He is the one who was responsible.  He is the one who was wrong.  I hide behind that and play the victim.

Perhaps the worst of all, is that I don’t really do this aloud as much as I do it in my heart.  I build up the wall of “not my fault” and take refuge in the fact that I was wronged.

But I wasn’t wronged.  I was righted. I say all the time that he saved my life when he broke it off- allowing me to have the future that I am destined to have.  Not holding me to a marriage that wasn’t meant to be.  He did the right thing.  He was brave, and he did what needed to be done.  But as often as I say it out loud to people when they apologize with empathy for the broken engagement, type it out on this here blog, or remind myself everyday- I still hide.  Because I don’t want to admit that I was wrong.

I was wrong to think that we would make it forever.  I was wrong to ever think that we were meant to be.  I was wrong to think that things were different this time around, and that I was going to walk down the aisle and kiss the groom.  I was wrong to believe we made a good couple.  What we made is a great partnership in ministry. We made a great team, especially when we didn’t allow the ups and downs of our relationship interfere with what we were determined to accomplish.  We were a match made in ministry heaven.  And I know I allowed that to be the glue that made me think we were so “perfect together”. 

I don’t miss us.  Because we were not the perfect couple.  He was not made for me.  He is not my Prince Charming, or my Romeo, or my Steve Brady. 

I don’t miss who I was when I was with him.  Because I know that I am a much healthier, much happier version of myself now.  I know that our time together was not always blissful.  I know that I got angry.  I know that I was selfish.  I know that I wanted him to be who he wasn’t going to be.  I know that I was unreasonable and demanding and unfair.  Not all the time, but at times.  I know that I was not the best version of myself. And that was wrong of me.

I don’t miss him. I don’t miss us. I don’t miss who I was. 

Yet, I remain startled and stirred when  I come across something unexpected that reminds me of our relationship, or our wedding planning, or the promise of the future that never came to be.  When I hear the song that we were going to dance to- the one that contains both our names, or find his t-shirt tucked in the bottom of a box, or see someone with the same mannerisms as him. 

I opened a book this morning and found a post-it note I had written to him years ago – at the very beginning of our relationship.  It wasn’t mushy, or super meaningful – it was just a little intelligent note. It caught me by surprise and I lost my breath.  I don’t know where it went, but suddenly, I was standing there, without air, or words, or thought.  I felt empty and sad and numb all at the same time.  And I found myself slamming the book shut.  Trying to hide that note from myself. [I later realized this was stupid and that I will just come across the note again later and it will be worse- note removed.] 

I don’t miss him, or us, or who I was.  But I miss the hope of a future.  And I miss the feeling wanted, and loved, and cherished.  I miss feeling like I was the luckiest girl in the world. I miss ENJOYING hearing that song.  And I miss leaving notes for him to find long after I’d left his presence, and making him dinner, and feeling part of a couple.  I miss being able to count on him.  And I miss forehead kisses. 

Confession 2: I’m crying.

Confession 3: I’ve pushed myself away from Church and in turn, Jesus.
Last night I opened my Bible, on my own, for the first time since July. I’ve been avoiding it.  I know that. I know that I’ve pushed daily time with the scriptures away for a variety of reasons. 

I’ve gone to church twice since the broken engagement.  Once at a different church, and once at the church we joined together, in which he now works.  I thought I was strong. I thought I could handle it. I thought I could attend the same service as he was on stage, and not be affected.  I didn’t take into account how everyone else would handle it.  Not just me, or him – but all the other people in the congregation who came and made me feel sorry for myself.  They hugged me hard and said nice things and continued to mention how good it was to see me there after all that had happened. That I must be doing really well with everything.  That I was being so strong.  It wasn’t the kind of encouragement I needed.  And I left feeling awkward and allowed myself to be offended, when all these generous souls wanted for me was to feel loved. I left and I knew I could never go back. 

I can’t go back because I know I will never feel the freedom that Christ gave me through the cross if I am in that service.  I will care what everyone is thinking, and I will care what everyone is saying, and I will care about how I appear. My mind will not be focused on the things of God.  My mind will be held in bondage by worry and dread and fear.

I can’t go back because I know that he will not be able to move forward with me lurking in the shadows.  Not because I’m “all that” or that he is in love with me [quite the opposite, really] but because he is a “good guy who feels bad.”  He will be so concerned with my heart, and my healing, and my wellbeing that he won’t be focused on the new woman in his life, when that does happen, and giving her the respect and honor and attention she needs and deserves will be difficult with me there. 

I can’t go back because the irrational part of me blames the church for my feeling pain.  [let’s call this confession #4] I know that it’s stupid, but I also know that I am doing it, even though I’m pretending not to, and that I need to face that. I blame the ministry for us ever getting together, and I blame the church for splitting us up.  As I type this, I roll my eyes at myself.  I am fighting the urge to back space with every bit of willpower I have.  I know this is stupid.  But it’s what I do, what I fall into, what I allow to protect my ego from feeling bruised.  I feel like a 12 year old- “if I never would have started working in the ministry, I never would have met him, never would have fallen for him, never would have gone through all that and in the end, felt this rejection.” 

I feel rejected every day.  That’s the part that’s hardest these days.  I still feel that sting.  And I need someone to blame, because I don’t want to sound desperate and emo and ridiculously immature and say, “I was not enough, and that is why he left.”

That’s the thing about this break up.  I can’t get my head and my heart to agree.  I KNOW that it’s right to not have married him. Yet, I still find myself crying about it sometimes.  I KNOW that it’s not the churches fault.  Yet, I blame and I hide.  I KNOW that I am enough.  Yet, I struggle with these stupid lies that creep into my being and try to squish my joy. 

Instead of seeking Christ to find my identity, I have run away. So much of the identity of our relationship was rooted in Christ, or at least in ministry.  And knowing this caused me to push it all away.  I want to separate myself from all things “then” and focus on “now”.  I want to figure out who I was being FOR him and who I was being for ME.

Confession 5: I’m still sifting through my doctrinal beliefs. 

Some I picked up before I met my former fiancé.  Some I started believing throughout our relationship.  I fear that some of the things I started to hold on to as truths were really just an effort to agree with him.  To be the perfect woman for him or to be on his level.  To be attractive to him.   [the pit in my stomach for admitting this to myself, and to all of you, including my parents, my Christian friends, and my former students who are no doubt reading this,  has reached an all time high.  I am ashamed and embarrassed.] In realizing this, and knowing the weight of wrongness this has in my life, I took a step back.  To re-evaluate and search and seek and come clean to myself, and to the Lord, that I don’t know WHAT to believe anymore.  I know that I believe in Jesus.  I know that I believe love wins. I know that Jesus was love, and gave love, and that I should do the same. The core of my beliefs is the skeleton of understanding and truth I had accepted when I was at Louisiana College.  Everything since then, on the other hand, leaves me questioning.

When it comes to doctrine and certain disputable areas of dominations in Christianity, I don’t know what I believed because it was true, and what I believed to win a boys affection. I am THAT girl.  The girl who says she loves baseball yet thinks the game consists of goals and penalty shots. Only this is so much more demeaning to myself, because the subject manor is what I built so much of my life around.  Even more so, its what I taught. To young woman who were looking for a leader.  I taught what I may have believed for the wrong reasons.  I am left heart broken over this.

But I haven’t moved forward.  I stripped it all away, yet I didn’t pursue any kind of knowledge.  I left my Bibles on my shelf. I didn’t attend weekly services, or studies, or small groups.  I didn’t ask for prayer, or advice, or accountability.  I sat, stagnant in the pain and brokenness.  I failed to nurture my relationship with Christ, even to the most simple of beliefs.  And I know that it is wrong.  That I am wrong.  And that I must move forward. 

I still listen to a Mars Hill Bible Church podcast each week. And some weeks a Relevant podcast, too.  I occasionally give advice filled with scriptures to former students and friends who are believers.  I am reading Christian Non-fiction books.  I pray.

Confession 6: But I know there is more.  And I know I should want more. And I know that I do, want more. 

Confession 7: I have a phobia of Weddings; I’m a bad friend.

I have ignored every single wedding invitation I’ve received since July.  [six total] Even from one of my former bridesmaids.  Even from a former groomsman, one of my very best friends of over a decade, who helped me through the rough parts this fall.  I have replied “no” and not looked back.  Because I am terrified of how I will react in a wedding ceremony.  I am terrified it won’t be pretty, or even bearable.  I am terrified it will be pathetic and sad.

I am a horrible friend.  I didn’t travel to Texas in November.  I didn’t travel to Kansas in December.  I didn’t explain myself, either.  I just replied no, and continued on in silence.  No letter of apology, no phone call of congratulations and explanation, no email other than to say, “I won’t be able to make it.”  I have avoided the confrontation of explanation of my fear.  And I haven’t even sent a gift, yet.  Because I keep telling myself I will call, and apologize and explain myself first, but I don’t want to explain myself.  I want to hide.  I want to hide from weddings.  All weddings. [just rolled my eyes at myself again.]

Confession 8:  I am a mess. Clearly. And wordy.  I am a wordy mess.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 3:27 pm

    Con 1: In hindsght (as you already see) it really is the best thing that could have possibly happened to you. I don’t think you were necessarily ‘wrong.’ Perhaps just living on a dream of what you always wanted? It doesn’t make you wrong. it makes faithful.

    Con 2: Let’s skip this one.

    Con 3: I had NO IDEA you were going through this. I had no idea your faith was struggling. Know why? Because you are such a warm, wonderful person and your faith shines through. I go to church every Sunday, but I don’t believe that not going turns us away. I think it is best that you are dealing with your struggles now – and it is perfectly normal. You can always go back and are always forgiven.

    Con 4: Let it out, girl! It’s ok to feel that way. Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are.

    Con 5: I don’t think this is anything to be ashamed of. I’ve always been taught that it is natural and normal to question your faith. It makes it stronger. Someday it will all be clear to you.

    Con 6: You ARE very wordy. And I love it. 🙂

    Con 7: You are absolutely NOT a horrible friend. But now that you’ve acknowledged it, maybe it is time to send a gift and go to future weddings? Jumping in is the hardest part, but after the 1st one, you will get stronger. And maybe have some booze. It might help.

    Con 8: The last thing I would ever consider you is a mess.

  2. January 22, 2010 3:31 pm

    i don’t think you are a mess. or wordy. i think you are a very thoughtful, well-spoken (written?) young woman going through a terrible ordeal with an air of grace that is to be admired.

  3. January 22, 2010 3:33 pm

    Thank you for being so open. I think a lot of women have compromised parts of themselves to be with a man, I know I have. It’s hard not to lose yourself when you think your in love. It sounds like you made the choice that was right for you and that’s all that matters. You can’t live your life for someone else, it’s just not fair. Things will get easier with time. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Keep your head up, you are beautiful and deserve to be loved for YOU!

  4. January 22, 2010 3:37 pm

    you are who you were always made to be.

    Everything you count flawed, everything that you cringe to think about, everything that breaks your heart…

    Everything. You are everything.

    You are power. power to forgive yourself for all the things you feel the need to “confess”. you are beauty. beauty in all of the nicks and bruises that color your life with bright reds and blues. you are truth. truth in seeing what is real and what we make ourselves believe about life and our paths. you are whole.

    you hear me heather? you’re whole. nothing missing. not one thing. you may be misshapen, or bulging in areas while concave in others, but you are solid. whole. complete.

    I know you’re on the cusp of forfeiting an impossible quest for a missing piece of a puzzle that is already put together.

    all my love,
    k

  5. January 22, 2010 4:18 pm

    I compromised who I was in my first and longest relationship. I was young and impressionable and thought that’s what you were supposed to do in a relationship. I bottled up my emotions because the only emotion I was allowed to show was happiness. This led to me being very unhappy and in turn was mean to my ex. Our relationship wasn’t the healthiest but it took us breaking up for me to see this.
    I like who I am now much better than who I was back then.

  6. January 22, 2010 4:50 pm

    Hugs. You will come through on the other side and stronger. I’m praying for you. It took me [literally] years to get over my ex, and sometimes I still doubt my decision, although I know it was the right one. We were different people and not meant to be together anymore. It’s just SO HARD, but keep trusting in God. The right one will come along.

  7. January 22, 2010 4:51 pm

    This was one of the most beautiful, honest, vulnerable posts I have ever read. If you read your post over again, you will see how much you have gone through but you will also see how much you have discovered about yourself. You are definintely not a mess or wordy, you are beautiful and write beautifully. What does not kill us, only makes us stronger – you have learned so much about yourself and your inner strength at such a young age – healing is a journey and it takes time – be patient with yourself and be good to yourself and I know there are SO many good things to come in your future 🙂
    xoxo
    P.S. I think this is the first time I have commented, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to comment 🙂

  8. January 22, 2010 5:00 pm

    Wow. Love the honesty in this post. I think it’s so great that you are working through all of this. There is SO MUCH here in this post so I don’t even know where to start. I think it’s amazing that you can be friends with your ex. I think it’s amazing that you don’t miss him, and you trust that this really was the right decision, even though it wasn’t fun. I think it’s amazing that you aren’t just ignoring all of this (maybe from the outside, but you aren’t ignoring it in your heart, judging from this post).
    You WILL get through this. You have to work through these emotions. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to cry weeks later, months later, and even years later over everything that you lost and how you feel. And it’s ok to question what you currently believe.
    Like I said, you will get through this. But please don’t ignore your friends. As someone who just got married, I’d be more hurt by a simple “no” from a friend than a quick “Can’t handle weddings right now” or “Can’t make it- I’m trying to work my way back into the wedding circuit.” If they invited you to their weddings, it’s because they consider you a friend. And a friend would understand. Remember, they all got engaged at one point, so all it would take is for them to think about being in your shoes for 1 second. You can’t turn back time, but a simple note along with a small gift would be INSANELY appreciated by most people. I think you underestimate how understanding friends would be, AND how healing it might be for you to admit your feelings to others, so you can begin to work through them.

    As for future weddings, perhaps you can reply yes, and for the first one, just show up for the reception. The bride and groom won’t know you didn’t make it to the ceremony. And then try to make it to the ceremony for the second wedding you go to… it might be easier than you think.

    BIG HUGS… I truly believe that we are not given more than we can handle… and you CAN handle this. You will come out the other end stronger. In fact, you already are!!!!

    This is long. Guess I’m wordy too! 🙂

  9. January 22, 2010 5:04 pm

    Wow! Is it okay to admit I got teary eyed reading this?

    My head has so many thoughts on this post that I don’t even know what to write. What I do know from the brief time I’ve been reading your blog, is that your a fantastic individual, warm, and genuine. I can tell you’re healing with this post. This post was huge… Each day will get better and better 🙂

  10. January 22, 2010 5:25 pm

    Thank you for the verse today, I always keep my Bible in my desk for times like those. You are such a beautiful person and it can be hard at times to move on. I haven’t known you too long but I see a ”Strong” women of God, when I look at you. Remember to always look to God for answers and he will give you strength in all things. love ya 🙂

  11. January 22, 2010 5:27 pm

    As I have said in the past, it’s these kinds of posts that are my favorite. And after our conversation yesterday on gchat I am SO glad you posted this. Everyone that has commented here is right – this post is huge. It’s monumental. It’s vulnerable. It’s HUMAN. It’s not, “here’s what I ate today and here’s what I did at the gym,” it’s, “here is what my heart is going through and here’s how life can take us to places and realizations we never knew existed.”

    Personally, I truly enjoy getting to know more about you and your story through posts like these. I find your experiences to be inspirational and the way you handle them and conduct yourself to be admirable. I’m overjoyed to know you’re taking what happened and looking at it thoroughly. I can see how strong it’s made you already. What a powerful story you’ll have to tell!!

    Keep rockin’
    xoxo

  12. January 22, 2010 5:47 pm

    This is honest and candid. Have you learned a lot from this- of course. And at the end of the day all that matters is that you are doing what is the best thing for you. It is your decision and experience, no one else. They may be mad, annoyed, sad, happy whatever but they will forgive and move on because the love you for who you are (even if you are still finding it)

  13. January 22, 2010 6:55 pm

    I have to say that I have been waiting all day to read this post. Now that I have read it I have teary eyes and a heavy heart. My heart is heavy, but not in a bad way. My heart is heavy because it is filled with hope…for you. It is over flowing with hope because reading your words lets me know that you ARE an amazing person with beautiful words and a lovely spirit. You WILL move on and you WILL find your Steve Brady – I know in my heavy heart that he is out there looking for you as well. He will be everything you need and everything he is supposed to be. You just keep being the best version of yourself (or figuring out who that is if you’re like me) and you will be just fine…you will be perfect! 🙂

  14. Danielle permalink
    January 22, 2010 7:32 pm

    You are not a mess. You are wonderful. You just have some things you are working on/through right now. But who doesn’t?

    I am always amazed by how honestly you write on here. It’s really incredible.

  15. abbynormally permalink
    January 22, 2010 7:52 pm

    You’re not a mess, you’re hurt. I want to come give you a big hug! You are a stronger woman than I will ever be. You are AMAZING. Don’t ever forget it. I love you, lady!

  16. January 22, 2010 10:57 pm

    What a deeply introspective ,yet brutally honest post.
    You are a fearless female for baring your soul in such a public manner,no matter how fearful you think you are.
    But hold on to precious friendhips,if they are worth it to you send them your congrats on their weddings/engagements etc.If they are close to your heart,let them know you are happy and wish them much joy.If they are friends that don’t mean something to your soul,that is a different story-some friendships are meant to fade.
    It is hard,I so want a baby I am often jealous at those close to me who have kids or are expecting.But that is something I must work on …

    I personally would take another look at these meetups with the ex-for me that would break my soul down a little every time no matter how much I knew it was not meant to be.Remember you are not superhuman and in that friendship/former relationship YOUR heart is the one to tend to.Sometimes exes need years before they ever if ever renew freindships.Is it really doing a good thing for you?Are you better off for these meetups?I certainly would need a good full year or two before I could do that,even though I would wish him a happy life.

    It’s time for you to set sail on your new paths and adventures in life.No doubt there will be emotional patches and ups and downs to face,but you have stood tall so far and have helped many others with your words and honesty.

    Who knows what amazing things you will see,do and feel over the next few years? The worldis your oyster and you are definitely a pearl that deserves time to nurture herself and enjoy her twenties as time to grow and live . Look out world cause Heather’s got some awesome life exploring aheas-woo hoo!
    All the best!!!! a newish lurker

  17. January 23, 2010 12:55 am

    Maybe I will be as strong as you are one day – even if you are an adorable wordy mess – you are strong. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

  18. See-ster permalink
    January 23, 2010 1:22 am

    Sis,

    You are not at all a mess. You might feel a little messy (which is a-okay, think about my room from ages 5-17), but you yourself are not a mess. You are a wonderful, beautiful, grand, forgiven, admired sister, friend, and woman. We need to talk soon (I know that our schedules don’t exactly match up), but I miss you and have some things to chat about.

    Love you,
    See-ster

  19. January 23, 2010 2:00 am

    This post made me cry. You are not a mess. You are going through a tough spot in your life. I can’t say when it will get better. But it will. Everyone has doubts if their enough but doubts are just doubts. Their not facts. You need to do what you need to do. And if it means questioning things and not going places, it makes sense.

    Have you ever thought about maybe some distance? I’m not saying you and your ex can’t be friends, some people are much better friends than in a relationship. But maybe some distance to heal?

  20. January 23, 2010 2:58 pm

    It takes guts to move on, no matter how long it takes you. As so many have said, you’re not a mess. And you’re right, he saved your life by breaking it off, and you’re acknowledging that. You see that maybe you were headed down the path of being “THAT girl,” and ending things with him is a blessing in that you have the opportunity to find yourself now and to seek your own answers. I can’t help but think of my own break-up history when I read this, though none of my relationships got as far as engagement. At the time, your world is crumbling and crashing down, and your whole frame of reference for looking at the world changes. Though now you get the opportunity to build your own. (I’d say “you get your life back” but that sounds a tad cynical…haha)

    I’m not commenting to try to make you feel better, because I’m not going to insult you by saying that anyone or anything could make you feel better. You’re doing that yourself, and you’re doing a damned good job of it. There’s no specific time frame for cleaning up your “mess” (which you’re still not), and you’re having to rebuild your sense of self, so it’s going to take awhile, and that’s ok. Few people go through what you’ve been through, so hopefully your newly-wedded friends understand, or at least “get” your predicament about attending weddings. You don’t owe anyone an apology or explanation because you’re finding yourself, and you have to put yourself first.

    And it’s pretty darned clear that you are. And you’re amazing for that. 🙂

  21. Sweet and Fit permalink
    January 24, 2010 10:29 am

    just like all of your posts – this is so thorough and well thought out. I admire our maturity and attitude – I just don’t know if i would be strong enough to ever see him again – you are so strong!

  22. Kati permalink
    January 25, 2010 1:02 am

    I do believe you have just voiced a whole lot of feelings I had about falling away from God from the first time I had a broken heart. Except I wasn’t strong enough to confess and take responsibility for those feelings and as a result, I haven’t found my faith again. I haven’t been to church in years or opened my Bible or prayed. I too felt the same way about weddings. Two of my best friends got engaged shortly before Guy Who Broke Heart #1 dumped me. You are not alone in any of these feelings.

  23. Kayla J permalink
    January 25, 2010 2:26 pm

    I often read your posts and don’t know what to say in response. I don’t want to be a broken record, repeating what everyone before me has said, and I don’t want my words to be empty, or me trying to sound wiser than my years or experience would suggest.

    All I can tell you is that I love you. an incredible amount. and every time I read something you’ve written, I’m amazed at how authentic you are, and I always relate on some level, even if it’s a very small connection.

    I also often wish I could speak to you in person again. I miss that. It didn’t happen very many times in truth, while you were still deep in the heart of Texas, but I treasure those memories of when it did. and I know that God will bring us back together somehow when it’s time.

    Keep your chin up, and keeping praying, beautiful girl. As they say on Hairspray, you’ve come so far, and you’ve still got so far to go. As we all do, with our respective messes.

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