by Darla Lauterbach-Reeves—
Have you been walked away from? Ghosted? Not committed to? Replaced? Even when our kids leave, as is the natural way of life, there is a tremendous amount of pain. It’s a ripping—a tearing away at our heart. I have experienced all of the above. I’ll bet you have too, and if not yet, you may. I want to help you see a positive in the pain.
After my divorce, I boldly asked God to remove anyone not meant for me from my life. I meant that request but never thought it would take so many “tries” to find the right person. It takes a lot of courage to try again with anyone after such a blow as a divorce. It is even harder to stick your neck out when you have kids—and when you’re in public. I had no desire to date “in the dark” or without intention, so I continued in prayer, worked on my weaknesses, gave them to God, and asked Him for help. My deepest desire is to grow closer and closer to God with my partner and show His love to others. I promised myself to take the attitude that if that scares anyone off, so be it. I hate to lose people—I love people—but He comes first.
Sometimes I thought me “being me” was the problem. I did a lot of inner work and crying out to God. Still, in my heartbreak and bewilderment, I trusted God’s heart in the pain and the questions. What was going on in my life? Why? Even my truest friends didn’t understand why any of this had to be part of my story. I prayed, they prayed. I loved, they loved.
Rejection is one of the most excruciating things on this planet. I have not only been rejected, but I have also done the rejecting. That’s hard too, but I knew it was best for me and my girls. I’ll just go ahead and assume the guys who rejected me felt the same way, and I wish them the very best. I’ve learned from each relationship, even through the hurt, and I truly appreciate the way dating the “wrong” people pushed me closer to God. I became a fighter, a learner, a stronger person. These relationships helped me dig deep for healing and to find my truest Lover and Corrector. But I can say now that I fully trust God’s heart in each painful experience—and would do so again. I trust that He wants what’s best for me. And I trust that anyone He chooses to remove from my life would ultimately distract me from my first love, which is Him. Either that, or I would distract them from Him.
Now I realize that the lessons I’ve learned have given me a ministry. I wouldn’t have the lessons without the story. I’ve always loved to write, but I wouldn’t have the content without the story. It’s been in the confusion and rejection that I found my beloved Jesus and a way to use the gift He’s given me. He’s the One who never turns His back on me—or leaves for college or draws a final breath. Rather, He holds me closer than ever. Each time I’ve experienced loss, this has been confirmed and has deepened our relationship.
I pray that this helps me understand and sympathize with my daughters’ dating experiences better than before. I also hope that I can help others heal from their childhoods or divorces, and that maybe they can even gain insights from their past relationships if they choose to date again. I pray that sharing my experiences helps others not only stay married but have a better marriage. I pray it helps others find worth in Christ and not in those who walk away or put them down. I pray it helps women to find their beauty in their Creator and men to recognize that both sexes have the same Creator and Father. I pray it helps us all remember and recognize that we are accountable to Him for carrying out the tasks He has put us here to achieve. What has He asked you to do?
The enemy messes with me. He discourages me and tries to silence me. But I continue to pray that my lips and fingers never stop praising my faithful God—the One who lovingly turned His back only to protect us from His Glory (Exodus 33:23). The One who will return and never have to leave again. The One who welcomes the prodigal sons and daughters home. The One who asks me to share my heart. The One who craves His time with me. The One who teaches me.
May each rejection, loss, and season of sadness push you closer to His heart. That is His will for all of us.
Darla Lauterbach-Reeves was raised in the church, but it wasn’t until her marriage fell apart that she came to truly know her Greatest Love—Jesus—in whom she found the relationship she had always craved. She is the author of the book available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.