When Ex-Boyfriends Come Back

Well, I certainly never saw this one coming.

About 6 weeks ago I flippantly made a comment to someone, “we will NEVER get back together.” And instantly I felt conviction. I felt the Spirit tell me that I shouldn’t dare make all knowing statements. It was weird. It felt off. But I repented of my wrong and brushed it off.

On a Friday afternoon a phone number popped up that I didn’t recognize until the second ring.

It was him.

Because I’m a worst case scenario girl I immediately thought someone died or there had been some tragic accident. So I answered and his chipper voice asked how I was. Confused I tried to sort through to the root of the reason for the call. And he said the words I never expected to hear in a million years. “I was wrong. I screwed up. Can we talk about it?”

And talk we did. About the things I had learned, he had learned, the ways we failed each other, the ways we failed the Lord, the things we were called to and the things we knew to be true. After seeking Papa’s heart and asking a few people, I felt ready to try again. Knowing the stakes were higher than ever. Either this meant marriage or forever over.

We launched into a month of re-learning and trying and fighting for us. Sometimes picking up exactly where we left off, as easy as it ever was, sometimes finding the tension that had existed had grown. Choosing each other but knowing there was work to be done. I mostly stayed silent about this reintroduction because we needed to figure out who we were as people and friends and partners. Knowing there would be a time to shout it from the rooftops, I kept things quiet in the interim.

So recently we found that what we had hoped, the growth we had done apart from each other to bring us back together, turned out not to be the case. The initial conversation was hurtful and angry and ugly. It left me mad and wounded in a way I had never experienced the first time around. I knew words were thrown at me to push me away and help me deal but I don’t deal with anger. Anger isn’t an emotion I know how to process through, at least, not anger at someone.

I spent time thinking and praying and processing. Frustrated that the place I had gotten to, the place of neutral ground, seemed to be lost and I was in a new territory of anger. My heart yearned to forgive. It yearned to be free. Because I had my doubts too. But the anger squelched the relief. I hadn’t told anyone but I had questioned and re-thought wondering if I made the right decision. I saw old behaviors long destroyed brought to the surface when I was with him that gave me pause.

Another conversation was had. One with less emotion and tension. One where no one was fighting for the other person but for closure on a sweet memory. To be released from captivity I had to release my captor of responsibility. I heard my Papa say that to be in right relationship with Him, I needed to be in right relationship with others. And letting go didn’t mean trying was wrong or sinful or bad, it simply meant that the finality of us was fully realized.

We are an almost.

We’re right for each other and great and better together in about 75% of things. But that 25% becomes glaringly obvious when it’s not enough. It brings us to a stopping point. It’s just enough that it made me want to fight for it and give it a second go. But it’s not enough that it is right. We’re on the right side of the puzzle but we’re not the right puzzle pieces.

I started to realize that as I grew when I was alone, I grew more into the heart of my Papa. I grew out of the girl I had been and into the girl I’ve become. And he grew too. He grew into a new self. There’s just enough about me that is the same that his heart recognized mine and found it and there’s just enough of him that is the same that my heart recognize him and found it. The things that had changed, that shifted, that grew, that died and came to life, those things became a chasm despite our best intentions and desires, we couldn’t cross. I finally realized I’m not the girl that fell in love with him a year ago. I desperately wanted to be her but I’m not. And trying to be her was like taking the old and putting it over the new. It caused tension and strife and it just didn’t work.

But what I learned is that we all deserve a second chance. We should all offer a second chance. We all need a second chance. Love and lessons and freedom and closure and finality come at the cost of forgiveness. Of letting go, of remembering my own desperation for those very things from the One who offers and absolves all.

There is a healthy amount of grief that comes from sadness and loss and disappointment. The kind of grief that feels like an aching bruise whose angry dark colors fade with each passing day. There is a nostalgia for the beautiful moments. And there is a relief at not trying to be the old me.

So I whisper goodbye to a piece of my heart given to a sweet man who came into my life at the very right moment and left my life at the very right moment to show me that I need to bury myself deep in the heart of my Papa. My Papa who is the Giver of all Good Things. I will always be grateful to this man, for his understanding and patience, his strong-willed personality and his gentleness, the way he challenged me and inspired me to grow, the times he made me talk about the things I was uncomfortable with, and the new experiences he showed me. I will always smile at the memory of the moments I made him laugh deeply. I will always hope the best for him.

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