I love a good horror movie, which is funny because I am the world’s biggest scaredy-cat. I was the kid growing up who went to their parent’s room every night because I was afraid that Jim Carey playing The Mask was in my room. My parents decided to lock their door at night, so next up was my sister’s room. I had no shame. I was not about to sleep in a room with the boogie man in it.
There are a few rules I have with a horror movie:
- NEVER watch one alone
- Watch 70% of the movie with your hands over your face
- Stay close to another person while watching
- Have your phone near you, so you can scroll through Instagram when you’re getting too scared
- Run a few laps around your dining room table when the suspense is too much to handle (I do this every time, I dart off the couch and sprint. My adrenaline is too high to be sitting there watching a bad guy prevail.)
Why do I watch them you ask? The only answer I have come up with is it’s the closest I will get to riding a motorcycle on the highway. It gives me a rush. Let me also set the record straight: I do NOT like horror movies with pointless gore and blood. I like a thickening plot thriller of a movie. M. Night Shyamalan is my fave (The Sixth Sense, Split, Signs). He always has a redeeming ending, and most of the time you can go to bed without keeping all of the lights on! Anyways, I’ll keep my nerd talk to myself.
Recently, I watched the movie “The Boy”. This movie is about a young girl who is fleeing her ex-boyfriend and moves to the UK to be a nanny. Upon arriving to the UK, she finds out she is babysitting a porcelain doll named after an older couple’s dead son, Brahms. Seems creepy, and I sure as heck know that I did not just sell you on watching it either. Stay with me here… I watched the movie, and I loved it. I was scared senseless, but the best part is this movie had, in my opinion, a great ending. It was one of those “ahhhh the person I loved most didn’t die, and the bad guy isn’t in my house right now”. Comforting, I know. Naturally, I became a huge advocate for this film. I told all my friends to watch it, and I convinced my best friend and her mom to watch it, too! Except… I had to watch it again with them, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. Besides, I liked the movie, I knew when the scary parts would happen, and I knew the ending. I was the perfect person to watch that movie with because the whole time I was able to say, “Trust me, keep watching, it’s so so so good!” or “You won’t be disappointed!” or “Pay attention here, this matters later in the movie”. It is ALWAYS better to watch a suspenseful movie with someone who has already seen it. There is something very comforting about having someone next to you who has experienced the unknown before you have. Much like Jesus in our lives, right?
Did I really just go there? Oh yes, I did boo boo.
You see, I am at the tail end of a chapter right now. I graduate in just 4 short months, I have no freaking clue where I am moving to, I have no idea who will hire me, and I’m nervous. Before any moms or old folks try to throw this line at me “It’s okay honey, God has a plan”, it doesn’t work. I wish it did. I wish simple one liners tricked my brain into believing life is going to be okay. While it encourages me, and I appreciate everyone who invests in my life, it’s just not enough. My heart needs more. Perhaps you feel the same way. Perhaps there is something in your life that scares the crap out of you, and words like “I am praying for you” don’t suffice. Personally, the only words that satisfy my heart’s cry is “I died for you” and “It’s finished”.
Back in the day, Moses (the kid who floated in a basket) wrote to Joshua (the kid who actually led the Israelites into the Promise Land) “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8). You see, this is the same God who goes before YOU. He came and lived a life here on earth, so that He can walk along side of you and say “Hey, I know this seems scary and unsettling, but I know the ending! I’ve seen it all. You will not be disappointed”. I absolutely love that after Jesus ascended into Heaven after the resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit down to walk through life with us and to comfort us (John 14). The One to battle the scary parts and the unknown with us.
Encouragement: As one of God’s children, He will not allow you to be alone. The unknowns in your life are NOT a surprise to your Heavenly Father.
One of my favorite passages in Hebrews talks about this very idea I am trying to convey:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16). Take heart in this.
I plea with you not to give up. Remember, a lot of times comfort is most felt when someone has been through what you have been through and conquered it. Jesus conquered it all, and He is with you whispering, “Just wait, I promise you, I know what happens next. I go before you”.
One last verse to encourage you with. My mom put this verse on my bedroom door after one of my scaredy-cat episodes, and I’ve been dwelling on it ever since.
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and discipline”.(2 Timothy 1:7)
Don’t be afraid, He is with you!
I am in a season of life where I am learning to walk welcomed. The Lord has been gracing me with a reoccurring lesson, and I can hear His voice saying: You have a seat at the table, my dear. Like literally no joke, the softness of His voice and presence is instilling in me the fact that He has a feast prepared for me. Now before I lose you, I want to tell you up front the point I am getting at here. You have a purpose and God has a plan for you.
We ALL go through life searching for our purpose or for “God’s plan”. We preach Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” If you’re like me, you read that and think “Oh thank God! He cares about my future and I’ll be prosperous and hopeful and have happiness drape my entire life”. Then the unexpected hits, am I right? You lose a job, you switch your major (talking to myself here, by the grace of God I’ll finally graduate in the Spring), your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you, your parents decide to move to a different state, your spouse cheats on you, your kids go wayward, you get the point. Then you’re like okay, what’s the freaking deal here? I thought His plan for me was to prosper me, not harm me?? Or maybe it isn’t disastrous at all. For me personally it’s about taking the next step after I graduate. Will I get a job in TV? Will I get married? Will I write a book? Will I be a bartender forever (God bless…)? Will I be a missionary?
So, before I try a sloppy attempt at telling you what God’s personal plan for your life is, I am going to tell you a silly story that your homegirl Brooke Maratta was the main character of. It starts off with my inability to know the difference between two restaurants…
One night, my friends invited me to dinner at Olive Garden. I don’t really know how or why or what the heck is wrong with me, but I showed up at Red Lobster…. To give myself some credit here, they are across the street from each other in my hometown, so I am not that dumb. I must’ve been so busy that day that I wasn’t really paying attention to the dinner plans. I am sure that has happened to more people than just me… right??? You know when you are so busy and someone is trying to make plans with you in advance, so you politely agree but at the forefront of your mind is a complete different task or agenda? That’s what happened to me that night. I got to the restaurant and told the hostess that I was meeting a party of 4 and that they should already be here by now. I told her the name and she says “Ma’am, I’m sorry we don’t have that name on the list”. Okay… I work in a restaurant, so I instantly think “this chick doesn’t know what she’s doing… I know my friends are here!” So, I took matters into my own hands and searched each section of the restaurant. Un- freakin-believable. My friends must’ve ditched me because I could NOT find them anywhere in the restaurant. Maybe the time changed? Maybe they already ate? Maybe they cancelled and didn’t have the courtesy to tell me? So, I texted my friends and asked them “What the heck is going on?? I am at Red Lobster and you aren’t here!”. “Lol” they replied, “Brookie… we are at Olive Garden, not Red Lobster. No one ever said Red Lobster.” It’s funny now, but in the moment, I am like how the heck did I miss that? Did I make it up? I must’ve been half checked in the conversation when we made plans and jumped to conclusions. I never actually verified or checked in with my friends about the plans.
When I got to Olive Garden, I told the hostess my name, she escorted me to my friend’s table, and my friends had a seat saved and ready for me! We laughed about my silly mishap, we talked about how awkward I was walking into Red Lobster like a complete noob, and we had a wonderful Italian meal full of laughter and fun!
Some of you may already know where I am going with this… hang tight… this applies to you.
The Wrong Restaurant Syndrome: (I completely made this phrase up. When it reaches Wikipedia, make sure you define it as “coined by Brooke Maratta”)
When it comes to God’s plan in your life, perhaps you are in the “wrong restaurant”. In the wrong restaurant, you search everywhere for your people, your reservation, your seat, your date, your table… then you get frustrated. You say to yourself “un-freakin-believable” some friends they are… or some God He is… I thought He was going to prosper me. But the moment you realize you were in the wrong restaurant and you enter the right one, you cue a sigh of relief. You are almost treated like royalty am I right? You walk in, the hostess greets you (they actually know what they are doing), and they escort you right to your table, but not only to your table but to your seat. For me personally, I just got out of a season of life where I was like, “okay God, this is what I want. I think this would be great, and I know You love me, so You want my plans to succeed!” To put it plainly… I was in the wrong flipping restaurant. I didn’t check in with Him, I just assumed. I assumed that this is what He had planned for my life, and when I found out it wasn’t I was left feeling unloved and upset. Surely this can’t be the God that loves me, I am depressed and left feeling empty. Did plans change and He didn’t have the courtesy to tell me? Did He forget about me? Did I miss God’s plan??
I’ve come to realize that God doesn’t switch up plans last minute, He doesn’t trick you, or disinvite you because you aren’t qualified, He isn’t out to harm you or frustrate you. He isn’t out to get you. Perhaps, it is us. We aren’t checking in with Him, listening to His voice, asking Him what the plans are. If he is taking you out to dinner wouldn’t you trust that He is going to take care of the reservation, the seating arrangements, and not to mention the bill? I am learning that when you are where you need to be, like truly where you need to be, because you asked Him and asked what He has for you… Jeremiah 29:11 swings into full effect. I am in a season of life where I am timidly approaching my seat at the table. I am embarrassed that I was at the “wrong restaurant”, I am nervous to sit down next to Him, I am worried I am overdressed or underdressed, I am worried if I’ll have enough money to pay for my food, and I am worried that He is upset with me for not listening. Are there enough seats? Should I have just gone home and hid?
No, no, no my love. I have set apart this feast for you. I see your heart, and I know your appetite. I know your likes and your dislikes. Order what you want, I have everything you could ever need or want. And don’t worry about the bill, I already paid that in full. You have a seat at the table. It’s not anyone else’s, I didn’t merely squeeze you in. It’s your seat. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy every delight set before you.
I want to leave you with this, your Holy and Heavenly Father does not want you lost in the wrong story, He doesn’t want you searching around for your seat at the table, and He doesn’t want you to feel abandoned. He loves you, and He waits patiently for you at the table He has set before you! Don’t get lost in the wrong restaurant, check in with Him and see where He is at! He’s a gentleman; He won’t cancel on you.
Jeremiah wrote to the people of Judah about his struggle (same guy who told us about God’s great plans for us in Jeremiah 29:11):
“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So, it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.”
At first, I did not want to write on the topic of heartbreak, like at all… mainly because I felt like I didn’t have enough insight or good advice for it… But over the past few months, so many of my friends have come to me telling me about their breakups and how it has left them feeling worthless and hopeless.
This past week at my Community Group (fancy way of saying Bible Study), we discussed different seasons of life and why the valleys of life seem so permanent. Maybe you just went through a major break up and are suffering from depression, and this season doesn’t seem like it has an end. Or perhaps you think this hurt will last forever. Now, before you think I am just gonna say, “Jesus is your only hope, and He will heal your broken heart”, you’re wrong… I mean you’re right… that is my message to you, but there is so much more beauty involved. So, I am going to share some of my thoughts…
To start, I think it is best to address the advice we get when heartache hits. Here are some prominent ones:
- “Forget him (or her), you deserve way better”
- “God has a plan for you, and he (or she) isn’t in that plan”
- “God won’t give you something you can’t handle”
- “When you meet your soul mate this will all make sense”
- “Time will heal this, you will wake up one day and it won’t hurt anymore”
I am not bashing any of these responses to heart ache, nor am I saying that I’ve never used them, but what I am saying is this: these are quick attempts at putting a Band-Aid over a wound that really needs a surgeon. I had a friend tell me recently that her boyfriend was cheating on her… ouch. I’ve cried alongside friends who feel absolutely worthless now that their significant other decided to leave their lives… horrible! I sit there and try to muster up the right words to say. “Jesus loves you, He will redeem this, He will heal you, He is your defender” … seriously all of these things are so true, but how come we can’t just say it once and then be done?
How come they don’t convince us out of heart ache and depression? How come we still wake up every morning crying? How come we lose our appetite? How come when we are in a conversation with someone about toothpaste or the weather the name of the one we lost is running in the background like a virus on a computer? How come the fun memories seem so much closer than the heartbreak that was inflicted on us? Why does it hurt us if we know it was for the best that the relationship ended? After all, Jesus loves us and God has a plan, right??
It is important to understand that there is no timetable to healing. Healing is awkward, frustrating, hurtful, and laborious. I’ve met people who have been divorced for 20 plus years and are still dealing with insecurities and depression from that chapter of their lives. It is absolutely heart wrenching to hear. Some of my gal pals say to me “Brooke, I have tried getting over this. I pray every day about it and my heart still hurts. I want to trust that God has a plan, but I feel like my world is caving in on me”. If this is how you feel right now, there is a solution. It’s better than merely straightening up your life and going to church, it’s better than losing hair over it, it’s better than crying yourself to sleep, it’s better than popping anti-depressants, it’s better than smoking yourself into a trance, it’s better than drinking your long nights away, and it’s better than reading one Bible verse and expecting God to take the stinger out of your heart. We need to understand that we were created by love and for love, and when something that provided us with love is stripped from us, we feel unlovable and like true love doesn’t exist. You thought you had it and now you don’t. Our hearts then have these unfillable holes where someone once was and we are left sitting in the middle of our hurt alone.
BUT here is how you begin healing from your heartbreak: cling to the truth that
The king of this universe loves you.
That’s it. Boom heart ache gone, right?
Alright lemme get to my point. One more side note: I’ve also heard that it is easier to get over someone if another person comes along and starts pursuing you and “shows you what real love is supposed to feel like” … that sounds nice… lol.
When you are in a relationship, you start to self-identify with that person, you pick up their mannerisms, you enjoy the same things, you laugh together, travel together, heck people even sleep together, and there you go intimacy is created and you are bonded with that person forever. The problem lies within the fact that when those things are stripped from you it leaves you in complete shambles.
It’s almost like you need someone to come pursue you and show you what real love feels like.
There is only one intimacy, one relationship, one love that will never leave you. And that is Jesus. He’s the Healer. When worth is seemingly pried from you, you must remember that your Father in Heaven knew that sin, selfishness, cheating, depression, sex, death, drugs, gossip, abandonment would hit you and would hit hard. He didn’t inflict this pain upon you. If we are going to truly believe in Romans 8:28 that “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” Then we MUST trust that He is inherently good. And I know this sucks to hear, but that does not mean “oh God doesn’t want me sad and everything works together for the good of those who love Him, and well I love Him, so I know he/or she will walk back into my life because what we had was ‘good’…and God is ‘good’”.
C’mon guys that is cheap. That is a small appetite. He is a God of abundance, not just quick fixes. He is a God of truth that sets us free, not a lie that confuses us of His plan for our lives.
That break-up you are going through, His son, Jesus conquered the pits of hell for it. It broke His heart. It breaks His heart. Jesus hung on a cross and made eye contact with your very soul, and said “It is finished”. He said “yeah… I don’t want her feeling like that.” “I don’t want him dealing with depression alone when his girlfriend leaves.” “I love you.” He declared that the disparities of this life would have no grip on you. The best thing to do when dealing with a perpetuating heartbreak would be to remind yourself of those truths. I don’t think it does us much good to try and figure out God’s master plan for our lives when it comes to this hurt. Sure, it could be to marry someone later in life who equips you better for spreading God’s love and the Kingdom, but that isn’t a matter we are supposed to be involved in, and thank God for that. His plans for us don’t make sense to us at times, that is why He reveals little glimpses in His timing to keep us trusting in Him and reliant on Him.
Stop trying to self soothe.
Think of it this way. Have you ever tried putting a baby to sleep? You place them in the crib, make their rooms dark, and put on the sound maker with waves crashing in the background. Then you watch them on the nifty baby cam and see that they are crying and fussing, having a full-blown panic attack. They try sucking their thumbs, they spit their passies out, they change positions, I’ve seen a baby attempt to throw themselves out of their crib onto the wood floor. I’m like “this baby is freakin’ nuts and needs some NyQuil…” But as soon as you walk in there and pick them up, what happens? It’s like automatic stillness. Immediately, when being rocked in your arms listening to your voice whisper them songs and encouraging tones: “it’s okay baby, it’s okay. I am here. Shhh. It’s okay” they fall asleep. It’s so insane, it’s instant. The sound, the touch, the motion, and the security of someone else is what relieves them of their impending fear of being alone.
Now picture your life and your mess of a heartbreak. You talk about it, you stress about it, you stalk his or hers Facebook, you read a Psalms, you go to Church, you hit up a new boo in the DM’s, you post a selfie, you text them your thoughts, you sit in your abandonment from a divorce 20 years ago, you vent to your kids about their mom/or dad that left, you cuss, you cry, you try to throw yourself out of the crib onto the hardwood floor.
What if you knew, I mean truly knew that your Savior is on the other side of your hurt ready to hold you, rock you, and embrace you.
These silly attempts at self-soothing may be necessary and natural at first, but when you hear His tender whisper and fix your eyes on the cross, and rest in His unending grace and love for you, the other tactics begin to fade and you begin to experience true rest and healing. One of the best things about this secure love is, He doesn’t grow weary or tired of hearing your same insecurities. He doesn’t care if it’s been 5 minutes since the initial heartbreak or 50 years… He is the God of Israel who spent 450 years listening to the Israelites complaints and doubts about His providential rescue (Acts 13:17-22). He is the God of the Psalmists who crafted 150 chapters worth of brutal honesty and opinions of their enemies. He is the God of Joseph who spent years in slavery, dealt with accusations, and confusion of being forgotten (Genesis 37). And He is the God of you and me. He is the God who sees how much this heartbreak affects you. He is the God who literally catches your tears. He is the God who is fighting on your behalf and says be still (Exodus 14:14). He is the God who guards and defends you in Heavenly Realms (Psalm 34:7).
That is true love.
True love doesn’t cheat, confuse, or abandon. True love makes every other form of love pale in comparison. I get it: you still naturally crave for that person to be back in your life, you listen to a song that reminds you of the good times, you see them for the first time in months, and it hurts. You dwell on the should’ve could’ve would’ves. You wish for your heart to feel whole again, but you know if by some magical chance they’ve changed and you get back together that it would never be the same. It would just be an attempt to ignore the cracks of a broken relationship to “feel something again”. But let me tell you my dear friend, God has a plan for you. He longs for you to feel His unending love in every moment and every hour of the day to bring glory to His name. The cross was His plan of rescue, and His rescue rings true today even in the midst of your heartbreak. He will use this. He will redeem this. And He will embrace you as you waltz into eternity. This type of love is real. It is full of action, might, grace, and tenacity.
This type of love allows the cheating, the lying, the feeling of worthlessness and doubt from an earthly relationship grow insignificant. So, my dear friends, as you heal and as you hurt, as you laugh and as you cry, as you cuss and as you pray, please remember that God’s intention isn’t for you to just merely feels scraps of love here on earth but to experience His eternal-sustaining love that was set in motion long before you existed. What a beautiful exchange.
He hears you. He is healing you. He loves you.
Psalm 55:4-8; 16-19a
“My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.
How quickly I would escape- far from this wild storm of hatred.
But I will call on God, and The Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.
He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me,
Though many still oppose me. God who has ruled forever will hear me…”