by Romi Pierce
I remember my last breakup before I met my husband. It was terrible. It was the kind of breakup where it felt like the world had ended and the future was a blank. The hope I had inside, died. I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. And I stopped caring. I was–for the first time in my life–grieving.
I had believed with all my heart that this person who had come into my life was going to be my one. We had so many of life’s big details in common. We both loved music, food and laughter. He loved church and had a voice like an angel. I couldn’t believe we had found each other.
And then things started to change.
After a few months, I started to see cracks in our relationship. I even started to question our relationship, saying to myself that it all felt too perfect, just too perfect. That was about the time I realized that I wasn’t being myself. I was becoming someone else and none of it felt right anymore.
Even as I began to acknowledge this, I refused to accept it. I held onto the relationship until it fell apart. And it was in the falling apart that I found my way back to myself and to a new beginning in Christ.
Not long after the breakup, I found myself reading the Bible. I stumbled upon Jeremiah 29:11: “For surely I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
This verse woke me out of my fog.
You mean God had plans for me, plans to prosper and not harm, plans to give me hope and a future, I said to myself, if God let this relationship unravel as it had? God must have been saving me from something for something. It was at that moment that I said “enough” and I leaned into God. I’m glad I did.
As I picked up the pieces, I saw myself in broken mirrors and realized I’d been looking for love, as the song says, in all the wrong places. If I didn’t start working on clearing up the reasons why I’d been choosing the same kind of partner over and over, I was never going to be able to lead my best life, the life that God had planned for me.
As time went on, as the breakup dwindled in my rear-view mirror, I found that the next phase of my journey–working on myself–was just as hard. I was filled with more tears and more anger, but before long I started to see glimmers of my future. I started to smile and laugh again.
As I put my best foot forward in my new life and worked every day to put more trust in God, things started to come into focus. The path became clearer and fog slipped away.
I went back to school and earned my graduate degree. Along the way I met the man I later married and I learned what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. I also learned that it takes two committed partners to work together every day on their love. And I found that my love of and trust in God’s faithful hand was stronger.
Looking back on that horrible breakup, all I can think now is that God gave me a gift. I now have a loving marriage, a satisfying career and ever-deeper faith – but without that breakup, I wouldn’t have come to become my best and truest self. And while I acknowledge the gift (and once was enough!), I know now that not only can I live through something like that, I know that God has greater plans for me than I can ever imagine.
Romi Pierce lives in Oakland, California with her husband. She works as a neighborhood collaborative manager to advance resident health and well-being. Romi is a board member for the World Day of Prayer and a member of Women of the ELCA’s Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality, anti-racism education network. In her spare time, she loves to travel, cook and considers herself a foodie.