Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Heartbreak Warfare

“You are not the one.”

My boyfriend held me in his arms, looked deep into my eyes and said that to me. WHAT? This was the beginning of THE END for us. Unfortunately, we did not have a clean break up. It was filled with a lot of tears and the spiral of emotions that accompany a broken heart.  We intentionally wounded one another and ended all communication. We both ended up losing a friend.

We need help when the emotional aftermath of post break-up overtakes our lives. I want to share with you The Break-Up Guide, which was derived by my househould sisters. We have come up with some ways to help cope with the initial post break-up stage.  This consists of the 3 day period right after someone has broken your heart. This also applies if you are the one who has done the heart-breaking.

 (We will look at this from a female perspective.)

During these 3 days you are allowed to wallow in the pain from your broken heart, the dream of the life you envisioned getting ripped from you, and the storm cloud that continually looms above.

These days may include ugly tears, chocolate and junk food, remembering all the cutsie Facebook/Instagram photos, obsessively analyzing all of your old texts to see where exactly things went wrong, not showering for days because you don’t care enough to function, and avoiding the real world because you do not want to see your ex anytime soon (or ever again.)

On the 4th post break-up day you must begin to get your life in order:
 a.       Shower.
 b.      Don’t stay in your pj’s all day- Get dressed in the morning, it will make you feel a little better. 
c.       Apply make-up, looking great will help you feel great.
d.      Stop posting melancholy Coldplay song lyrics onto social media. (We all know who you are talking about and that you are hurting from him.)
e.       Clean up your room/apartment because you know you have an overflow of tissues and crummy pizza boxes by the trash can.
f.        Don’t obsess and stalk him on social media.
g.       Go to class/work.
h.      Resume your normal favorite activities.
i.        Don’t resort to self- destructive behavior such as excess drinking, smoking, drugs, picking up men for a one-night stand, or self- harm. 
j.        Communicate with others who have been wondering why you dropped off the face of the earth.
k.      Delete your ex’s old texting conversations so that you no longer live in the past dream that is not going to come true. 
l.        Possibly delete your ex’s number entirely to help with him not being a part of your life anymore.
m.    Spend time in prayer surrendering your pain to God and allowing Him to comfort you.
n.      Remember who you are. You are an independent person who doesn’t need another person to know they are valued and worthy of true love.

Here are some additional thoughts to keep in mind during this time:

1.      Having good girlfriends to support you helps. Vent to the person(s) who you know well, love, and trust to just be a good listener. It is ok to be selfish with your time right now, as your heart is healing. Try to avoid spending time with people who might drain you and bring you down instead of building you up. At this time you are going through your whole relationship ‘play by play’ so you will repeat the story multiple times. Even if you don’t realize it now, you will ‘word vomit’ a lot and will most likely be very annoying, so pick your friend who will listen wisely.

2.     Recognize that everyone goes through this stage of the raw post break-up differently. Ever heard that song about how “the heart does not break even?” It is true.  So be patient if you know someone who is in this stage and simply be there for them.

3.      While the hard and fast rule is 3 days… you may adjust the number of wallowing days according to the length of the relationship. For example: 1 month dating you only require 1 day for wallowing. Or 2 years dating, it is ok to take a week or so to be consumed with the sadness. The important thing is to just give yourself a cut off day when you will get out of bed, dry your tears, and begin to move on with your life.

4.      Just because you have gone through this process does not mean you will never think of your ex again, but it is a good idea to get to a place of thanksgiving for what you have learned when he crosses your mind. This way you do not dwell on him, just move on in your thoughts. 

These are the things I have adopted in my life when it comes to break-ups; they have been very effective! It may seem difficult to put these suggestions into practice. However, sometimes when we don’t take extra steps for our hearts to heal in the aftermath of a break-up we could end up creating a larger wound. I know every break-up has its unique wounds, but trust the Lord to guide you in healing your heart fully in His time.

Happy healing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Too Scandalous for Hollywood

You could categorize me as: the girl with Dad wounds. This has affected a lot more of my life then I usually care to express. I've never been very emotional; there wasn't time for that when I was a kid. I had to be the strong one, the adult at a very young age. I needed to take care of my siblings when our mom was gone for work and dad decided to let addiction lead him down a destructive path.

Place of prayer and Adoration
Portiuncula Replica at
 Franciscan University of Steubenville 
When I was a freshman in college my parents were finalizing the long awaited divorce and one night I received some heartbreaking news. I felt like no one would understand. I didn't know what to do. After my tears ducts stopped leaking I literally ran (in my pj’s) to the chapel for prayer and Adoration. I broke, in the soothing presence of the Lord.

One moment I was eye to eye with the Monstrance, the next I was resting in the peace of the Spirit with Jesus. I was looking around, no longer in the chapel, but on a sandy beach. The Lord gives us the desires of our hearts, and I was just beginning to realize this truth, for I love the beach. I’m basically a sunshine child.

As I looked around this beach scene I was startled by beauty. The fall seasonal, crisp, salty wind (my favorite season) was blowing the waves in to crest perfectly, and the greenest grass I had ever seen blew just so. I still had no idea why Jesus wanted to show me this place, so I looked for some sign of a lesson I could learn or take comfort in.

After a moment of seeking, I saw a man and rushed towards him because my heart knew him before I could fully make out who he was, my Beloved, Jesus. Overwhelmingly, joy burst through my soul, by being in the physical presence of the Lord. He just held me in his arms for what felt like forever. We walked along and explored the beach, as the waves sang a lullaby of peace, putting to rest all my worries, helping me to trust in the Lord who was leading me.

I shared my experience with a priest friend of mine because, yes, I know, this seemed crazy. I promise you it is real, so stay with me. He just smiled and said, “Ah! You two have a place.” What a delight it was to go to my place with Jesus and talk. Not every prayer time would lead me to rest in the Spirit and go to this place, but sometimes I was given the gift of being with him there.

Fast forward a few months… I went on a retreat to grow in becoming the Beloved’s through a deeper understanding of womanhood. Sitting in Adoration, my place with Jesus kept coming to mind. I had to figure out why. As we walked beyond the beach to an archway that seemed to have no end, outlined by dozens of trees, I asked Jesus. On one look I could tell these trees had been there for a very long time. They had a shade of soft, blush pink leaves that covered the whole sky forming a tunnel of beauty like I had never seen. My favorite color is pink.

As I starred in awe at these trees, Jesus got down on one knee, took my hand into his own, and looked right at me. He said, “Chloe, I love you. I am yours and you are mine… Will you let me be enough for you?” This was his proposal to me as my Beloved, of course I said yes! Then we danced. I stink at dancing, yet love to be a part of the intimacy of a dance; somehow Jesus was the perfect teacher.

In the midst of dancing he whispered, “Chloe, this place, our place- the fall air, the beach with the peaceful waves, the wonderful aged pink leaf trees- where you can always find my presence, is the beauty of your soul. I cried as I realized how the Lord really knows my heart better than I know myself and how he took the time to romance me exactly how I needed to be healed of past wounds.

If it is true that our hearts and soul are made for God, then we starve for beauty.
I heard in a homily once that we are not defined by our own wounds but by the wounds of Christ. This stuck with me as a lot of times in my past, out of anger; I let my wounds define me, but no longer. Just to remind myself of this I even sign my letters/emails with “In His Wounds, Chloe.” I am the Lord’s and I will remain hidden, taking comfort in his wounds rather being crushed by the weight of my own. He makes me whole, new, and beautiful. The things that have broken my heart are actually the ways God shows my unique beauty.

We are all made in His image and likeness, yet our own sin twists and distorts our view of ourselves and others making it difficult to see one another truly in the light of Christ.  But this is something we so deeply need to recall in the presence of each human person.

Know that God is revealing himself more and more to you through your daily lives and how wonderfully perfect he is guiding you to discover yourself anew. You are, right now, just as he desires you to be. Hold onto the truth that he has not created a flaw in you, he never leaves you.

People ask me all the time about why I work in the ministry field. My experience lit a fire in me to help others notice just how lovely the Lord sees them. Honestly, I am so drawn to the beauty of the broken souls, through sin, we are all broken souls. At the same time I stand in awe of the healing hand of the Lord in our lives. I love the broken, in that I strive to see Jesus in each of you, and to respond in kind. If I can share and show the loving mercy of God to one person I encounter on this earth; that is when I am doing his will. We all have to keep a stubborn, tenacious faith in the mercy of God; which if we let ourselves, we often see through others around us.

Our calling as authentic men and women is to be beautiful from our souls, reflect the Lord, so that others may know him.

P.S. A common question I have received upon telling this particular story of my faith journey is: are you going to enter the religious life? No, I have discerned, with the Lord, that I am called to the vocation of marriage!