Why Getting Dumped Made Me Climb Mountains

Moving forward has felt, at times, unbearable.

There have been days and nights I’ve curled up in bed and cried out for the life I had planned and dreamed of and hoped for. I lay with my head on the pillow as the tears course down my face matting my hair into tangles. I replay the good moments, the bad moments, the in-between moments looking for clues and answers and maybe a chance to re-do. I beg my heart to tell me he loved me, that this wasn’t all for nothing.

But then morning comes. I stare at my reflection in the mirror finding traces of the girl I was and the woman I’ve become. I wipe away the sorrow and take a deep breath. These moments where I’m afraid I can’t breathe become less and less with each passing day. They still exist and they might for awhile, but it doesn’t make me afraid. It doesn’t make me want the life I had. It only makes me know that my heart is mending and healing and it works. It longs to love again. It doesn’t want him, it wants what it was able to do when I was with him, what it was created to do — to love.

At first I couldn’t imagine getting through days and nights without him. It felt impossible, insurmountable, inconceivable. Like climbing a mountain. A mountain I had failed to climb before and no desire to try. But the beauty of time is that it gives you clarity. The days become a little less fuzzy and the pain slightly less all-consuming. You laugh again and make plans again. You turn a face of hope towards the rising sun instead of wishing for the night.

And then one day you wake up and find you’ve climbed the mountain.  The one that seemed so daunting and unattainable. You don’t know it but every time you laughed and dreamed and hoped and planned, you took a step up the mountain. If you had looked down at how far you could fall or how high you had yet to climb it would have deterred you, made you turn around and give up. But by Papa’s goodness, He kept your eyes fixed on the trail, looking for little markers to keep you certain of your path. Reminding you that yes, this is terrible and you can’t breath and sometimes it takes awhile to find the next marker but inevitably you see it and climb towards it.

So when I woke up and realized I had climbed the mountain I knew it was time to take on a few more mountains. This time I was choosing to climb them. And this time I was climbing them for me. Because I needed to be strong. Because that’s what you are when you stand at the top of a mountain with your legs burning and your face chapped by the wind and your lungs gasping for air. You. are. strong.

Right after my first summit.

Right after my first summit.

Last week I decided I needed to climb 10 mountains before the end of the year. I decided to share the mountains with you all because you helped me climb the first one. You might have to help me climb these ones but I’m willing to let you. I’m hoping you’ll let me help you climb mountains too.

Here they are:

10) This one is sort of a secret because you might be the recipient. But let’s just say it involves me learning not to be selfish with things the Lord has given me.

9) Run a 5k or a 10k. (Tentatively planned for Thanksgiving Day. Want to join? Let me know!)

8) Cook at home four times a week.

7) Set up an account for voiceover websites. Many of you know I do voiceover work for churches and nonprofits. I’ve had several people tell me I need to put together a demo reel and put it up online. So I’ve decided to do it. Eek.

6) Blog more consistently. I know I know. I make this promise often. And I’ll keep making it until I don’t have to make it anymore.

5) Date. I don’t know if that means a new relationship or just going on dates, but I can’t let myself be afraid of love. Because Love is Worth It. So, know any nice men that want to go on a date? ;)

4) Finish my book proposal.

3) Get back on the Low Carb train. If you need more info on why I do that, read this.

2) Discipline my finances. I won’t go into much detail on this but my goal in the year is to have a certain amount in savings and a certain amount paid towards debt.

1) Summit a fourteener. You may recall I attempted one last year and tore my knee in the process. This year, with a little help from a knee brace and three friends, I climbed a mountain and let my feet dangle off the edge of the world. If you want to read more about our adventure check out my friend Jackie’s blog. We’ve known each other since FIRST grade! Whoa right?

See that arrow? That is where the car is parked. Where we started and ended.

See that arrow? That is where the car is parked. Where we started and ended.

These are the mountains Papa has set before me. Mountains I need to climb. I thought I would climb some of those mountains with him but on Saturday Papa showed me I needed to climb them on my own. Because I am strong. He has made me strong.

If you’re interested in climbing mountains with me until the end of the year use the hashtag #climbingmountains on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’ll be blogging, picture-ing, and tweeting when I climb mountains and I would love to be part of yours.

 

So what do you say? Want to Climb Mountains with me?

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Dear Future Husband: I Got it all Wrong

Hi love,

I’m sorry I’ve been quiet for a few months. To be honest, this is a hard letter to write. It feels vulnerable and scary and reckless. I stopped writing to you because I thought I had found you. I thought I knew your name and face and story. I didn’t want to write to you when I thought I knew all these things. It felt awkward and presumptuous. Because I thought our story had finally begun, I wanted to tell you the things I was thinking instead of writing them.

But my love, I got it all wrong.

I know we will each get it wrong so many times before we get it right. The one time it needs to be right, we’ll get it right. But getting it wrong can hurt so badly.

I made memories with this man. We left our footprints all over the city and pieces of our hearts in secret places. I started to memorize the way his hand felt in mine. I knew his favorite color and the songs that made his face light up. He told me his hopes and fears. I let him break down my walls.

I thought he was you.

I wanted him to be you.

I treated him like he was you.

But you know what I am grateful for? I got it wrong with him and not you.

I was so afraid to lose him, lose the love I desired for so long, that I think I tried to fit an oval shape in a round hole. It wasn’t quite different enough to be frustrating, but it was just different enough to not fit. I didn’t see it at the time. I didn’t know he was an oval when I needed a circle. I thought the disconnect and arguments, slightly parallel but ultimately perpendicular paths, and off-handed comments were all part of choosing to love. I thought they were the hard parts you have to work through to get to the best parts.  And maybe they could have been. Maybe in a different world he was you. But in this world he chose not to be.

So love, I have to confess that I let my priorities get out of order. I let myself begin to chase him more than Papa. I let myself put my hopes and dreams in his hand, only to reveal the fullness of my idolatry when things began to end. I wanted Papa’s best for him to be what Papa’s best for me is. I wanted our dreams and desires to be the same.

I was not always the woman I hope to be.

I won’t own what is his to own but I will own what is mine.

But here’s the hope in all of this. I saw it first hand a few days ago when I watched two beloved friends commit their lives together in front of their family and community. I heard their vows to Papa and each other. I heard them say they will always put Him first and each other second. Tears rolled down my face at the holiness of this moment. Tears rolled down my face in longing for the things I hoped this other relationship had for me. Tears rolled down my face for the hope He gave me that you will one day make a similar promise. To love Papa first and us second.

I wish I didn’t have any wrongs, and I wish you didn’t either but I am not sorry for the process sharpening me into the woman you deserve.

The thing I am certain of in all of this though, is how beautiful Papa’s redemption of our stories will be. Sure, we’ll both have a suitcase or two of the past. You’ll have names and I will too. But I believe Papa will take those names and give us new names. Give us the names of each other. The last names we’ll ever have to know. The old will be gone and the new will come.

My love, I got it all wrong…. with the wrong one. But with you, I will get it right. By His grace, we’ll both get it right.

until then, I’ll be here.

 

I’m Gonna Find Another You

It’s been a month now. Exactly a month, to the day, today. I’ve survived 4 Friday nights, 4 Sundays, and countless tiny moments that he was supposed to exist in. My heart was closing the door but it just couldn’t shut it. Until last week.

Last week it closed, locked, bolted, and entered a new home.

You are not the best woman I will ever know was enough for my heart to sit up straight, dust itself off, and walk away. For good. I’ve hit a new stage of this process, some of the anger. It’s the kind of anger that plays angry breakup songs, shouts on the phone to girlfriends, but is only surface level. The kind that realizes it isn’t even worth it to bring up. The kind that has to happen to die.

The kind that sings along with John Mayer when he says

if I’m forced to find another
i hope he looks like you
yeah and he’s nicer too

i’m gonna find another you

My brain tells me I’m not ready, that I couldn’t be ready, that it would be foolish to think I’m ready but my heart tells me another story. My heart tells me that you don’t hang on to counterfeit love. You don’t stop your life because you loved wrong. You rejoice in the fact that you got it wrong with the wrong one and you didn’t get it wrong with the right one. My heart tells me its time to wake.

Now hear me out, I think dating is the worst. Going on dates and casual hangouts makes me groan. And I want to roll my eyes and resist until I fall over dead.

But love, love is worth it. Love is worth the risk even when you get it wrong. Love is work the risk even when it doesn’t work out. Love is worth the risk when its a mess and you’re a disaster and it breaks your heart.

Love is worth the risk.

Appropriately so, my heart and head began to shut down the possibility of another when I belonged to someone. There were no options, no “what if’s”, no “I wonder’s” that existed in my life. I stopped looking and admiring and feeling and thinking. I turned towards one and recklessly fell in deep.

I think my heart has opened up quickly enough. My head is taking a little bit longer. My head still reels at the idea of doing it all over again. My head is cautious. My head still thinks it needs to be his.

My head thinks love isn’t possible again, that this counterfeit was my only shot. “Look how long it took you to find him! It will never happen again. You really messed this one up.” How my head relishes the hopelessness.

So I force my head to meet my heart.

Because my heart believes there is still love. My heart knows there is Hope. My heart knows who is Hope. My heart believes what my head can’t understand.

This wasn’t my one shot at love, and if you’re going through something similar or have, it wasn’t your one shot. It isn’t over, unless you decide love isn’t worth the risk.

 

Besides, maybe I’m not the best woman he’ll ever know. But someday, I’ll be somebody’s.

The Risk of Loving and Losing in Front of the World.

It was a brutal five hours as we came to the understanding that this thing we had invested in was coming to a close. Neither one of us thought the conversation would take this turn. There was no fighting, no harsh words, no dramatic accusations, no “well you never” or “I always” or “there is someone else.” It was not the way I had always envisioned a break-up would happen. When we started to talk about the future and the desires we had for it, we saw differences but nothing to sink the ship.

We had spent a fun day together, brunch and a movie and cuddling on my bed. He had traced my thumb with his and kissed my forehead. He knew he was going to tell me something that was going to be a big deal to me but he didn’t know it was going to start the end that night. The further we got into the conversation, the more I tried to fight for us and the more he said goodbye. I laid in his arms and stared into his face. I whispered a desperate attempt to convince him we were fixable. We were enough, I was enough. His red-rimmed eyes told me everything I didn’t want to hear but everything I could sense was coming.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” His broken words rumbled in my ears.

“No. I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready to live in a world that you aren’t with me. I’m not ready.” I protested. I was clinging for anything that might buy me more time, give us a chance to figure out if it was really over.

As I knew his heart had left me, I rolled over and started to sob. He clung tighter. Everything within me was at war. I wanted to push him away but I knew that when I told him to leave, I was shutting the door on forever. I was shutting out my love, my best friend, my hopes and dreams. How do you make the decision to do that? When feels like the “right time” to tell someone to go?

He wrapped me in his arms and let me kiss him one last time. I gave him his t-shirt, a book, and a cookbook he had given me. Telling him it would hurt me too much to see it. He nodded and walked out the door, head down, eyes swollen. He left.

I pulled out my phone and called my mom, knowing the late hour would worry her.

“I need you to come here. I need you.” She got in the car and started driving the twenty minutes to my house.

Numb and in shock I grabbed my bag and walked out the door. I sat on the curb with shaking hands and frantically opened my phone.

I launched Facebook and quickly changed my relationship status. I changed my picture. I deleted posts about him. Satisfied that I had eliminated most of it, I deleted the instagram pictures of him and us and things that reminded me of him. I went through my phone and deleted his number, his text messages, his calendar. And then I had to open my pictures and delete the ones of us. The memories of being in love for the first time and the happiest months I ever had experienced.

All I wanted to do was erase every trace of him. Because if I took those things away maybe it would make me not hurt as much.

The problem was not only did I have to erase him from my real life, I had to erase him from my digital life. And those footprints are much bigger. There are alot of benefits to living the majority of my story openly. You are able to celebrate with me, laugh with me, joke with me, enjoy my awkward moments and quirky thoughts. You’ve been there with me through death and loss and moving and hard transition. You rejoiced with me when he came into my life.

But there is a con — I wrote our story into other chapters of my life. I gave him a face and a name and a relationship status. I wore my heart on the outside. So when everything changed, I desperately wanted to cross his name out of the other places it was written. Because it hurt. But it wasn’t just my sadness and my brokenness. It was yours too.

You have given me your precious stories, your words of encouragement, your love, your support, your hope. You have given me yourself.

There are times I regret letting my heart be open. Times I wish I kept things to myself. But all I need to do is scroll through the hundreds of messages to see that our stories are meant to be lived with each other, together. I took a risk for love. Risking to love a man and risking to live it in front of you. I knew it might end this way and truthfully, I don’t think I would have known how to walk forward if it hadn’t been for you. So that’s why risking it all for love in the digital age is worth it — because you live joy and sorrow, hope and disappointment, love and pain, in ways that bring life with a community of people who desperately love you. The power in that, the power of healing and transformation, is something the enemy doesn’t want to see. So he holds our hearts captive in shame and embarrassment.

But not this time.