Hello dear readers. The time has come for me to share something that holds a great deal of gravity. Before I begin though, I will be honest and say this–when you tell good news to people, the joy only grows and grows, and you seem to never get tired of being a “town crier”, waving down everyone on the streets to tell them that something wonderful has just happened or will soon take place. But when there is sad news, the more you tell it, the wearier you become. I have had to tell so many people from our community that I am now so weary of these words. So here it goes before I can’t say it anymore…
Levi and I are no longer engaged.
We ran into some difficulties in our relationship not long after the engagement began, and things just seemed to go down hill from there. Ultimately, both Levi and I realized that there had been some miscommunication regarding his life vision, and over the course of time Levi realized that his lifestyle would not be a good fit for me to be his helpmeet. There has been more heartbreak on my side than I ever let anyone know during the last few months, so if this comes as a surprise to you, just know that I have been working through these difficulties with Levi and my family for a long time now, and God was preparing my heart for the ending of our engagement a while ago. To move out of engagement and into a marriage with Levi was not the Lord’s plan in the end. Thank you for your prayers in all of this. Though you were praying for a different scenario, one prayer that was answered is “the Lord’s Will be done.” Your prayers helped me when things were not going well, and believe me, there were days when I didn’t want to get up out of bed to face another day; times when singing was impossible, and smiles and laughter seemed to elude my life altogether and became a thing of the past. But now, at this point in time, be assured our loving Heavenly Father is faithfully mending my heart. I won’t lie, it is still a process that will take a long while.
“There’s a dark and a troubled side of life, but there’s a bright and a sunny side too. Though you meet with the darkness and strife, the sunny side you also may view.”
A verse from one of my favorite Bluegrass songs, “Keep on the Sunny Side”
There is a sunny side! Really though? With all those storm clouds overhead? I just can’t find it. But there is. And I’ve found my sunshine. The two things that pull the corners of my mouth up into a smile is: 1) that I have been spared by the Lord’s mercy from a life less desirable than what I am willing to have, and 2) that all throughout the engagement, everything I did in my relationship with Levi, I did with my all, and then some. At first, I thought this was a terrible thing to have done–to give up your first love to someone who wasn’t meant for you in the end. That is what tore me up inside the most at first, until my Dad, and some very good friends, explained to me that giving up that part of yourself for a truly righteous and wonderful end goal, wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. Yes, I have given up my first love, and a first anything is very precious and so it is most painful to let go. I will have a scar where that wound is healing for the rest of my life. But that scar is to remind me that I did not fail. I actually succeeded… my family, with me, succeeded. How? We succeeded together because the mistakes we made in this relationship will never occur again. I succeeded because I gained a whole new perspective on the reality of love–what it is like to love, what it is like to be loved, what it is like to not be loved. Because of this relationship, I have shed the girlhood fancies and dreams I once had, and have been shown reality. Loving is hard work, and only the bravest of the brave can open themselves up in vulnerability to learn how to love and be loved by another. No. I can never return to being the naive girl I once was. I can never take the same path I have just left behind. The pain is too great to be so foolish.
The blow has indeed come. It has rocked me to my core. I have opened up, been turned away, and am being sewn back up by God’s careful hand. But, in all of this I truly believe He saved me from a life that could have potentially been very, very hard. And for those reasons, I am able to come out of this smiling, mostly happy, and mending. The best thing though is “Mr. Right” has yet to come knocking at my garden gate, AND… there is still a bright future ahead of me with my two gold-winning sisters and my rock-solid Dad and Mom.
Oh, my family… You all must know a little taste of who they have become to me in all of this. They have been my counselors. My understanding comforters. They have been ready with tissues and open arms for those kind of hugs that squeeze out the hurt for a while and fill my body and soul with warmth. They have been tenderhearted, and sacrificial. They have given gifts of love in various shapes and sizes (one came in the form of a tulip bouquet). They have let me walk in liberty to find my own feet throughout the relationship, but knew to not let go quite yet so that I could be reeled back in case something like this should happen… And I love them to death for all that they have been through with me on this journey. God gave me a family stronger than most, and He has proved their worth to me on this road of spiritual, mental and emotional complexities. Thank you LORD for such a testimony of your GREAT LOVE over my life.
My dears, I want to share this with you not because I covet your prayers, not because I want to join the ranks of bloggers whose relationships failed, not to put a sign out there to say “Don’t try this at home!”, but to encourage you all that even when you think you’re on the right track, that you’ve done your very best, know that the high and wonderful goal of marriage might never be met with the person you think you’re going to marry. God’s ways are not our own. Only He can tear relationships apart, put the two people back together, all the the while teaching them how to do better for the journey ahead. And I did make several mistakes. The three that weigh on me the most are these: 1) I was impatient, and didn’t let time pass in order for key things to manifest themselves–such as allowing a better friendship with Levi to grow before moving into an engagement. 2) I was too trusting in love, and too careless with the things that could have made, but eventually broke up, our relationship–such as giving Levi the benefit of the doubt concerning how he planned to represent Christ to me, and then being okay with other things that were less than satisfactory, giving him the impression that that was how I wanted things to be handled, or how I wanted to be treated, when in fact that was not true. 3) I gave up too many things that made up who I was as a person, which was misleading for Levi, and very dangerous for myself, making me very unhappy. These are mistakes that I am willing to live with as my past, not because I am proud of them, not for any such reason. I am willing to live with them, because it was I, and not Brigid or Charlotte who went through such a trial first. I can actually thank the Lord that he ordained that I go through this instead of them. Being the eldest takes great responsibility, but I never would have thought it would mean my going first into a relationship that broke in the end. But I would not wish it on anyone. Not for all the roses in the world. For I know if it had been one of my sisters, things might have been a lot worse, and so I am happy to take this “first time” for their sakes, so that they won’t have to make the same mistakes I made.
Now, I could say that I failed in those areas I listed above, but here’s the real truth (and believe me, I have to pinch myself to remember this just to keep from falling apart and crying): You will only fail if you are like the dog in the book of Proverbs who goes back to his own vomit, but in the case of a man or woman you decide to go back to making the same mistake. We all shall succeed if we turn away from our errors, or our sin, turning our backs on them all and moving forward towards righteousness. This is what I plan to do moving forward, and this is what I am so thankful for–a second chance to do things right.
I’ll be the first to admit that it hurts greatly when we spend so much time storing up hopes and dreams that we, for the first time, really believe we are going to watch become reality. But. He is faithful to turn us around in a loving and gentle way. Yes, heartbreak is inevitable. It is the worst kind of hurt you could possibly imagine. I still cry about this. I still weep over the lost hopes and dreams I saved up for my life with Levi. But I have to let those go in order to move forward.
Here is another bit I have learned–there is no joy like that which is found in realizing who you have become by overcoming the pain and sorrow of a circumstance that effects the heart so keenly. For now, as I look back on the distance I have come, I feel as if God allowed me to find myself; to really understand better my boundaries I have and really need to keep me walking upright in my life. He has changed my character and brought growth and strength to my faith that I never knew was possible. And as for loving Him more, well… He has won me over a thousand times in ways far greater than any other situation could have. I rejoice in that. I can even smile at the future because of this great work of sanctification He has wrought in me through this time. He is good, and very faithful!
Psalm 33 is quite appropriate to end this post, and I would encourage you all to read it as soon as you are through here. I won’t put it up, because I know that reading scripture from your own Bible is as good as hearing it come from the Lord’s very mouth. This Psalm of David though has filled my Spirit with good things to ponder. I hope it will prove to do the same for all of you.
Do not worry for me. I am healing in the hope of a new and wonderful journey ahead. I think sticking close to my family right now is the thing to dwell on. There’s nothing better I could ask for. 🙂
Soli Deo Gloria!
Jessica Boyer, the Eldest Sister & Singer