Love Story (Courtney's version): Part Two
This past weekend, I was surrounded by beautiful people celebrating my upcoming marriage. It was very emotional for me as I felt like everything had come full circle. I saw people in the room who were praying for me when I was feeling lost and unsure. People who had supported me and encouraged me through a time when I did not know what the future held. I couldn't believe I was standing there when, at one time, I couldn't see my way.
I never wanted things to end with Damien, even though I knew that our relationship had reached a dead end. It was like we kept hitting a brick wall. I felt like the Lord was prompting me to break things off, but I did not want to at all. I loved this person and in my heart I truly believed that we were meant to be together. That feeling, that prompting gnawed at me for months. We discussed it and just couldn't go through with it, until that day in December. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I hadn't started the day thinking it would be the day, but it was indeed. He tried to talk me out of it, but I held my ground, even though I did not want to do it. I just felt like we needed to close the chapter we were in because we seemed to be at a standstill. After many tears, the conversation was over and I was beyond devastated. I thought that because I was doing what I felt led to do, I would feel better. I didn't feel better at all.
I cried for weeks. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I felt sad and empty and I didn't understand why God would have me do something only for me to feel awful afterward. Damien and I struggled to break contact. It was hard losing my boyfriend and my best friend in the same swoop. However, after going back and forth, we decided not to speak to each other to give us time and space to heal. It was another blow for me. My mother would check on me every day and I would just cry.
She would tell me to pray and try to understand what God was doing in all of what was happening. I continued to attend counseling while I prayed and asked the Lord for direction and, most of all, for comfort. It was over a month that we did not communicate at all. In that time, I had to talk about and process the fact that - as much as I was praying that we would come back together and as much my heart was telling me that we would - it could be that my life may not include Damien in the way that I wanted it to.
My counselor asked me if I was prepared to entertain that idea and I said no. She told me that my job was to be get used to the idea because I just didn't know. I cried all the way home after that session and shook my fist at heaven (I really did this) in total confusion. I did not understand God or His ways and was quite frankly frustrated with Him and ready to shut Him out.
I continued to pray and hold on to the truth that God always has a plan. I would be okay for a few days and then I wouldn't be okay for more than a few days. It felt like an endless cycle of pain and I could not get out of the hamster wheel. I felt like a zombie, but I got up every day and went to work and lived my life (or some semblance of it). One weekend, close to 4 months post breakup, I was on a girls' trip. I couldn't sleep one night and broke down ... again. I pulled out my phone and emailed Damien.
I basically poured my heart out to him - about how much I missed him and what I had been going through since we parted ways. I had no idea if he would even answer, but I had to get it out of my system. The next day, I felt a lot lighter in my heart. I had finally said what I wanted to say and I was prepared to not hear from him again. But, I did. A few days later, he responded to my email. I answered back. Then, shortly after, he would answer back and that is how the coming back together began.
I can't tell you what it was or how it even happened. I just know that we started off talking through emails and then it was on the phone. Finally, after a few weeks, we saw each other again. We knew something was still there and we also knew something was different. We started off slow. It was like the first time, even though it wasn't. We took our time. We learned about each other again. I learned that we both had done some growing and some self-exploration. I noticed that things were much easier this time around. It was effortless and fun. The things that used to trip us up were not a part of the equation anymore. We had grown and it was evident.
After a full year since breaking up, we officially decided to get back together. Three months later, COVID-19 sent us all into quarantine. During that time, we spent every single Sunday together as a way to build our relationship even more and it worked. We had talks, made plans, and just spent time together. 5 months later, we were in pre-marital counseling and 3 months later we were engaged.
To say I'm ecstatic is an understatement and to say I knew we would come back together is a lie. I had no idea. I just knew that God led me down this road and He brought Damien back to me. I know that this is supposed to be happening because we ended up back together, but I didn't know that this would be how the story would unfold. I learned that obedience always pays off and that God really can be trusted. He showed me that He is more than enough and that, even if I had to live without the person I loved, I would be okay.
I'm so thankful that I am going to marry Damien and I can say that my story ended how I wanted it to end. However, there have been plenty of times when things didn't go how I wanted them to go and I had to learn to live with it. Either way, at the end of the day, I could see that God knew what He was doing and, ultimately, had something in store for me. I want you to know that even stories with happy endings have hiccups and hard times. Just because we are here now doesn't mean that we didn't have large and high hills to climb up and over. I had to follow God even without knowing the next steps.
He guided me and comforted me and reassured me that everything would be okay. I learned that God is truly what I needed and that surrendering to Him will bring a kind of freedom that only He can provide. As I close in on the beginning of my marriage, I carry this love story with me because I know that no matter what I face, the Lord will always lead me to the right place and that your heart always knows the way, even if the detours are a must.
If you're at a crossroads or in a place where you cannot see your way, keep going to God in prayer and seeking direction. Keep believing that He always knows what is best. Remember that He is always working behind the scenes, even when it feels like the exact opposite is happening. Also, know you're not alone and that so many can attest to this kind of pain -- they can also attest to seeing the other side of it.
Take good care of yourselves, friends,