you are more than your broken heart

Dear sweet girl,

There’s a chapter in your life, a chapter that’s found its way into many girls’ stories. You fell deeply for a man who promised you dreams and full moons and laughter in the middle of washing dishes. And you believed it all (and rightly so). You opened your heart, you handed him the key, until one day he returned it. You discovered the man who held you while you cried, grabbed your hand to pray – he wasn’t who you thought he was, and now you’ve got this key you’re holding so tightly, and the empty words nestled at your feet.

The thing is, though, you have this opportunity to build something with them. They don’t have to stay there, staring up at you, reminding you of the heartbreak and the ending and the feelings of deception. You get to take them and make them into something beautiful. You get to tell the story of having loved and lost and how it didn’t destroy you. You’re still standing. You’re still breathing. You’re still putting one foot in front of the other.

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You get to choose to listen to the Words of your Father who calls you

loved

cherished

seen.

You get to take that story and wear your scars proudly, reminding the world around you that one person’s actions do not define you.

Always be proud that your words are true. Always be sure your love leaves people changed. Always let your scars be a reminder to handle another’s heart gently, surely, carefully, truly.

You are more than your broken heart. You are more than empty promises. You are one who is loved beyond measure. One who is cherished. One who is seen.

Do not let the key in your hand convince you to hold it closer. But truly believe it was never meant for him to hold after all. There will be one who will hold it, who will speak words and mean them,

who will never hand it back to you.

You are far braver than you can imagine. The brave are the ones who get in the arena,

fall,

and get back up again.

Always yours,

a.

Broken Cracks

To the one who feels left behind – 

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I sit in the old wooden pew, the stained glass reaching up to the sky above me. It’s dreary outside – rain softly making its way into swirling puddles below. The umbrella shields us from the rain, but the humidity clings to us in dampened shirts and unruly curls.

It’s silent in the old church. Tall, echoing, we make our way into the old pew. I lean forward and I pray for you. Tears in my eyes, I feel the weight of the burden so deeply upon my heart I can’t help but fold hands as an offer of surrender. I wish words were enough to take away the sting of your hurt. I wish I could tell you, in the most simplistic of ways, you’ll be okay. You’ll walk through the heartache and you’ll cry and it isn’t fair. Oh, how it isn’t fair and words will never take away the unfairness of it all.

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The protective part of me wants to reach forward and take that hurt away from you. I want to take it on me. I want to be the one that is stinging from his rejection, from his back, from his words. I don’t want you to be wrestling with it. 

I want it to be mine.

And yet, in the old church, lit candles that flickering as we walk past – it is all so clear that I cannot take the pain from you.

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And if I keep reaching, keep begging you to lay it on me – I’d miss the point.

It’s supposed to change you. But don’t let it make you bitter. Let it push you to be the one who you were created to be – the one that doesn’t follow in his footsteps. The one that stands taller. The one who lets pain wash over them and break knowing that in a moment, you’ll be healed. Broken cracks are there to let light in. Let line shine in the cracks.

Let light shine in.

I can’t offer you more than that. I can offer you my tears, and I can offer you my prayers, and I can offer you a promise – I’ll be with you every step of the way. I believe in you. You aren’t forgotten and you aren’t left behind.

As we sit there in the pew, I pull out the bound blue book. I assume it to be a book of Common Prayer in the old Anglican cathedral, but it’s not. It’s a Book of Common Praise.

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And I sift through the pages until I come to one of the hymns that I know, Be Thou My Vision. And I wonder why words of praise are in front of me, as tears dry on my cheeks – and I remember – the light. The only way we’ll ever find hope in the midst of broken cracks is to let some of the light in. And so I read the words over and over again – a prayer –

a search for the Light. The Goodness that’s found in all things.

I pray you find some of that light today – in the broken cracks – in the rain filled puddles – in the way a tear makes its way down your face. It’s there.

I promise.

Dear sweet girl

Dear sweet girl,

The other night you came up to me, leaned against the brick wall as I bent over for a drink from the water fountain. You asked me how my love life was and as I responded, you bemoaned the fact that you were single, while everyone around you had a boyfriend.

I told you, “Don’t be afraid to wait. Wait for the one who’s worth getting your heart broken over.”

I told you to wait. Avoid the heartache. I told you to do the very thing I hated that everyone told me.

And I’m sorry.

The thing is, you’ll learn, my girl. The world will hand you tools to build up the walls. The world will tell you to run from heartache, and it will tell you not to risk until you’re sure. Until you feel it in your gut that he’s the one for you, until the stars align and spell out his name across the sky.

Because heartbreak hurts and it’s hard. There’s nothing that quite compares to not being chosen. Because to put it simply, that’s what heartbreak is: not being chosen. 

And we hate that feeling, and so we run from it, and we build little walls and safety nets around our hearts so we avoid it at all cost.

But what I should have told you, that night next to the fountain, is this: you always have the power to choose you. To pick you. The thing is, my girl: if you believe in yourself, you’ll show up for yourself. 

The world needs a lot more people that show up. Show up for others, yes – but also, show up for ourselves.

We need to speak the words to the mirror that no one else does somedays: you are beautiful, you are whole, and you are an image no one else in the world carries. And I’ll keep choosing me. I’ll keep showing up. I’ll keep dreaming and believing that I’ll get there.

You don’t need to run from the possibility of heartache, love. I’m sorry for telling you to minimize the risk and avoid the pain. You don’t need to take the tools that the world hands you to build up those walls so high.

But what you can do, is choose you. Show up. Love hard and risk and jump and be proud that you did. Heartbreak will break you but it won’t destroy you.

I promise.

Tell him you like him. And let him hold your hand. Let your eyes find his in the crowd, even if it’s scary. Laugh when he makes you laugh, so that you feel it all the way to your toes. Take risks, and don’t wait to do it. You’ll learn when you fall.

And you’ll pick yourself up again,

look in the mirror,

and even when the rest of the world is silent,

you’ll whisper: ‘I choose you. On the darkest days, when life seems safer under the blankets, I choose you. I’ll show up. I’ll believe in you even when you’re bruised. I promise –

you’re broken, 

but whole.

and chosen.’

Love always,

a.

Standing Under the Clouds

Oh, friend.

I need to tell you something tonight. Bundled up in that thick duvet, a Kleenex box and Bible your companions for the night, I need to tell you something that you need to hear but probably don’t want to:

You need to stop letting fear tell you stories.

You know, the ones that you think you write the ending to. The ones where hope is lost, hearts are broken, and tears ensue.

Yeah, you know the ones. You think somehow, based on the past or your version of it, you can climb into the future and pick the disaster that is waiting for you. You need to learn to hope for yourself, friend. You need to hope. And believe. And stop letting fear take the pen to write those endings.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself here.

When you let fear take the pen, you let a whole host of other unwelcome friends visit: anxiety. High walls to keep vulnerability out. Words that tear you down instead of building yourself up.

And the truth is – when you hand fear that pen – you become your own worst enemy.

You need to let Love be your friend first. That’s the only way to stop listening to those stories fear tells you. You need to listen to the louder Voice: the one that hopes, that believes, that’s patient, that rejoices. Those might be pretty words friend, and you might wince at them because you’re still thinking fear makes more sense. But it’s just because you’re used to listening to his voice instead. Trust me. 

Stop going back. Stop listening. I know it’s second nature to you, and I know right now that voice seems loudest. But you haven’t given the others a chance. You haven’t let love speak louder, you’ve covered your ears. You haven’t given hope the chance to shine its face on you because you’ve been too busy standing under the clouds.

Stop standing under the clouds. Stop handing fear the pen. Stop writing the ends to stories you were never meant to touch. Some stories are written for you, friend. You are just meant to live them.

Yours,

a.