I always refer to the day before Good Friday as Lousy Thursday. No, it's not the same thing as Maundy Thursday.
Lousy Thursday is the day my husband dumped me.
Brandon and I met in a Sunday morning small group at church in Akron. After our first conversation, I called my dad and said, "Dad, I met the guy I'm going to marry." He said, "We'll see about that, Rachel Anne."
We will, indeed.
I pursued Brandon for six months or so while he was completely uninterested in me. I got the "just friends" speech and everything. He was pursuing another girl, but it just never seemed to work out for the two of them. Brandon and I kind of became best friends as he spilled his guts to me over this girl.
What I recall from Lent that year was how I poured my heart into my prayer journal. I don't think I've ever been so dedicated to prayer as I was during that Lenten period. I prayed—over and over again---that God would either take away the feelings I had for Brandon or please let him love me. Either way, I just wanted him to be happy and what was best for both of us. I just wanted God to move it either way so I didn't feel so heartbroken all the time.
I wrote in that prayer journal every day. I prayed those prayers until I ran out of paper.
Then a few weeks before Easter, that girl (who became my friend and is now married to a wonderful man) gave him the ol' heave-ho. It never got serious or anything—they really only had a few dates. So after a few weeks, he finally decided to date me. I was overjoyed! I was ecstatic!
I was dumped in less than a week!
You have to understand that when we started dating, we hadn't so much as sat on the same couch together because I was so hesitant to push the envelope with the man of my dreams. All of a sudden we were crazy lovey-dovey and it was—weird. So I can't say I blame him for what happened next.
The evening before Good Friday, we went for coffee. I remember there was some polka band playing at our coffee shop. I wish I could tell you I was remembering that wrong. B and I decided to go for a walk, and he told me, "I guess I didn't like you the way I thought I liked you."
The sound of my heart breaking had to have been audible.
We decided to keep our plans for the next day, Good Friday, in the best interest of our friendship. It involved going to East Cleveland to the art museum and out to eat. So we went.
And, to this day, my husband will say it's the best date we've ever had. And we weren't even dating. Didn't even hold hands.
Until we got back to my house. We sat in the driveway and talked for almost two hours. We held hands after a while. He told me he couldn't picture his life without me, and that was scary. He told me that I'd be the first person after college that he could see seriously dating, and when you date people after college, you might marry them. Also scary. He wasn't sure he was ready for that.
We ended our friendship on Easter Sunday after I had him over for a lamb dinner (that I prepared just for us). We didn't talk for two weeks after that because it was too painful for me to try to be his friend. We didn't try dating again for a couple of months—May? June? Somewhere in there. But when we did, it was perfect. It was natural.
We were engaged that September.
We were married the following May.
And he's still the man of my dreams. It's clear God crafted us specifically for one another. He knew just what each of us needed and wanted in a partner.
Sometimes stuff in our lives hurts more than we can possibly comprehend. Whether it's heartbreak or illness or losing someone (which can happen in a lot of ways), life is full of junk we'd rather skip. Pain we'd rather not have to go through. And the Sunday school answer is, "Well, God has a plan." Sometimes we don't like the Sunday school answer. It feels trite and awful.
But you know what? Sometimes I just need the Sunday school answer. I need to believe God has a plan, or I don't know how else I'd get through things. He's shown me on more than one occasion how he answers prayers in his own time but in my best interest. Even when stuff hurts, even when I can't see for years and years how he plans to use the pain in my life, I know he's working behind the scenes, doing more than I can possibly think or imagine.
Who knows? Maybe I had that devoted patience and that heartbreak because someone reading this blog seven years after the fact needs to know that God is listening and working and caring even when he feels a million miles away. I mean, he couldn't possibly understand the pain you're feeling or the things you're going through.
Even though he watched his son die a horrible, violent death on a cross. No, God couldn't possibly understand pain.
He has feelings. Sometimes we forget that. We were made in his image and we have feelings, so God does, too. He feels pain. He feels loss. And we can't forget that he has a plan. Trust that. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says:
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'"
People remember the first part of those verses, but not the second. Yes, God has a plan. But when you're scared or unsure, you need to go to him—pray to him. He will listen. If you go looking for God, you'll find him. He never moves away from us—it's always us moving away from him.
What plans do you need to trust God with today? What heartbreak will you allow him to work on?
He can handle it, I assure you.