How to Handle Your First Real Heartbreak
“Bethany, you’ve got to come to Bible study with me. I met this super cool guy, and I think he might ask me out soon! Oh, and his best friend is awesome too. Maybe you could get to know him (wink wink).”
I was nineteen years old, carefree, and enjoying my post-high-school freedom. A serious relationship wasn’t really on my mind at this point. I wasn’t interested in going to meet a guy for me, but I decided to go for my friend. If one of my close girl friends was interested in a guy, I wanted to see what the dude was all about.
First Serious Love
I remember walking through the church doors, spotting my friend, and grabbing a seat next to her. I didn’t see the two guys she had texted me about but assumed we’d meet them afterwards.
As soon as the Bible study ended, Jordan and Bryan came right over. My friend introduced me to her possibly-soon-to-be-boyfriend Jordan, and then to his friend Bryan.
The next year and a half of my life felt like a blur. Bryan and I instantly connected and became fast friends. He was cute, hilarious, and clicked with my personality like no one had before. We could laugh like crazy, talk for hours, hang out with my siblings, have Bible study together, and just enjoy each other’s presence.
I remember the day that I found out he actually liked me. Like really liked me. I was ecstatic. He called my dad and asked if he could pursue a serious relationship with me. It wasn’t long until Bryan and I were official and totally in love. Our relationship had its normal ups and downs, long discussions, and working out differences, but I really liked this guy. The thought of it not working out honestly never crossed my mind. I was young and in love for the first time. I assumed we would most likely get married one day in the future.
A few months into our relationship I left town with my family for a vacation. I had no idea that during my time away everything would change.
It was the last day of my vacation when I asked Bryan, “Is everything okay?” Everything was not okay. Bryan said that he was having serious doubts about our relationship and needed to talk to me as soon as we got back.
In my heart I knew that it was over.
The last day of our vacation was the most tragic, heart-wrenching time of my life. I couldn’t imagine life without Bryan and felt like my insides were dying.
The drive home was long. I immediately met up with Bryan, and he confirmed what I was feeling. He told me that after doing some serious thinking he felt like our convictions and lifestyles wouldn’t work long term.
We talked through the differences, and I agreed with him. I wasn’t willing to “loosen up,” and he wasn’t willing to “tighten up.” We were done. He broke off the relationship, and we both moved on in separate directions.
The days and weeks that followed our break up felt like my heart was literally broken and dying. I cried and cried and cried. I sobbed at night into my pillow asking God, “Why did you bring him into my life if you knew he wouldn’t stay?”
I had never experienced pain like this in my life. I had lost my best friend and the man I thought I was going to marry. I cried a river of tears.
Although the hardships were very real, I knew I couldn’t live in a depressed and broken state forever. I had to focus my mind on the truth and listen to the wise counsel around me.
I spent hours and hours poring my mind over Scripture. I read incredible books. I talked with my parents and other wise women around me. I continued living life and kept busy.
As one month turned into two and then two into three, I slowly cried less and less. I slowly saw how God was using this broken relationship to stretch me and grow me. I saw how He was teaching me to fully rely on Him. I saw Him teaching me what true love was all about. I saw how He was using this situation for my good and for His glory. Ultimately, I was able to thank God for the heartbreak.
For those of you who have been through a heartbreak, I understand your hurt. I’ve been through two, and they were both extremely painful.
I can honestly say this and mean it with all my heart. I wouldn’t take back either of my heartbreaks. It was during those two relationships that God drew me closer to Himself in ways I’d never experienced before.
If you are willing to follow God, trust in His perfect plan, cling to His Word, pour out your heart to Him, He can use your heartbreak for good as well.
4 Truths to Help You Handle Heartbreak
1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Never stop trusting in the Lord. The moment you doubt God’s goodness in your life is the moment you give the Enemy an opening into your life. God is your refuge (Psalm 18:2). Pour your heart out to Him, and trust that His ways truly are the best.
2. Surround yourself with godly wisdom.
Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t surround yourself with only peers. In the midst of your heartbreak, you need godly men and women to speak truth into your life (Titus 2:3–5). You need wisdom to help you focus on the truth.
3. Fill your mind with truth.
Spend hours and hours and hours in God’s Word. It will renew your heart in ways that nothing else can. It will feel like fresh water being poured over a dry dessert (Ps. 23:3). I personally spent a ton of time in the Psalms and Proverbs. I read through passage after passage and reminded myself of who God is. It was healing.
4. Keep Busy
Isolation will only deepen the pain. Force yourself to be around people. Force yourself to get involved in a ministry or serving opportunity. After my breakup I started volunteering at a Pro-Life Crisis Pregnancy Center. It was so helpful getting my mind on others problems and not my own. I still had plenty of time to deal with my heartbreak, but keeping busy was a lifesaver.
Questions to Consider
- Have you ever been through a heartbreak?
- Do you believe that God can use your heartbreak for good?
- How can you grow closer to Jesus through your heartbreak?
- Which of the four points resonated with you? Why?
Written by Bethany Baird
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