By Brittany Allen
Originally published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 3.
In the wee hours of the morning, I gazed with tear-stained eyes at the ring on my little finger. I was shocked but at the same time had known all along it would play out that way. He had broken up with me so many times I’d lost count. I don’t know why I thought it would be different once marriage was on the table, but I wanted to believe it would be. Pain gripped my heart as memories flooded my mind of saying yes to the dress and flipping through bridal magazines. Plans were made and a date was set.
However pathetic, I begged him to change his mind as we spoke over the phone past midnight. After he’d dropped such a bomb on my heart, I couldn’t let him hang up. “Please don’t hang up. This hurts so bad. How could you do this to me?!” I wanted him to feel an ounce of pity. Pity for the last year and a half he put me through. For the cheating and broken promises. But I received none. My heart continued to shatter with each word he said. By the time he hung up, I was so consumed with heartache my will to live was dwindling away.
By God’s grace, I fell asleep that night. I remember the moment clearly as my head laid on the pillow. The tears slowly dried as I finally felt the Lord’s peace calm my mind, giving me a chance to forget the nightmare I was living. Morning came and as I opened my eyes, I felt the crippling pain of reality wring out every bit of strength in my body. I needed to go to work, but I couldn’t move. I will never forget what happened next. I got up. I got ready. And I went to work. Numerous times throughout the day, I asked myself “How am I doing this?” as I smiled and assisted customers. I can’t find the words to help you understand what happened that day. All I know is I am 100% certain that the Lord himself carried me through. I didn’t muster up the strength, and he didn’t just give me a push. His grace poured over me like a wave that carried me to shore.
Idols and Heart Wars
Since 16, I had never been the girl who stayed single for very long. Always trying to fill the void, I’d jump into a new relationship almost immediately. But now, I was a new Christian, and I knew those days were behind me. What I didn’t know was how to be alone, nor could I stand the thought of it. I believed I needed a man in order to be happy or to feel I had any worth.
Over the course of about 2 1/2 years, the Lord took me on a journey of deep healing.
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24 ESV)
For years, I was blinded to the fact that I idolized men. I worshiped how they made me feel, the attention they gave me, the comfort they sometimes provided. This is why I found myself walking the road of promiscuity. Because it was there that I found all that my sinful heart craved. I was a broken girl who often felt rejected by my father, so I searched for acceptance by sacrificing my purity on the altar of boys.
It only took a couple weeks without my
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)
Allowing God To Become My All
Clearing my heart of this idol was a process. There was pressing temptation to fall into old sin. There was deep sorrow as I watched the man who broke me marry before me. There were nights of crying alone
I’ll always remember the moment I truly felt
Happily Ever After
My “happy ending” was not that I found a husband. My “happy ending” was finding everything I needed in Christ and Christ alone. He became my soul’s greatest desire, and that brought more freedom than I had ever dreamed.
For the sake of those who are curious, yes, God did bring a husband my direction. A wonderful, godly man who loves me so well. But as amazing as it is to be married, I will always miss the beauty of my season of singleness where all my affection went to the Lord.
I’m beyond thankful for what God taught me and how he molded me during that season. Had he not pointed out the false refuge in my life, I would not be the wife I am today. I would still believe men are the answer to all my problems. Many women do believe they need a man to be happy, and when their husband fails them, they look elsewhere. I have no doubt that I would have become one of those poor women, deceived into thinking I needed to marry a different man to find happiness. But God was merciful to bring to the surface sin I was unaware of. He has saved me from much heartache by allowing my heart to ache so that he could change me. That’s why my broken engagement was God’s best gift to me. He is faithful. He is good.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)