I was raised in a two-parent family — consisting of my mother and my grandmother. When I was 6, my mom and I moved away from extended family to start over. That was one of the best decisions she ever made for me, yet neither of us knew it at the time. It took bravery and willingness to leave everything familiar so she and I could have a better life.
But even though my mom and I had a new beginning, the generational curses of addiction, dysfunction and brokenness were already in place to lead me on a path headed towards heartbreak.
I grew up knowing women were strong creatures who could make anything they put their minds to happen. But I also grew up believing men were weak, or I wondered why they were simply not around at all. My lack of male attention and affirmation ran its course, and as a teenager I collided with the thing I wanted most — love from a man.
I swiftly fell head over heels and gave my all that man, even turning my back on a family I no longer felt loved by. I held on tightly to the one I loved and thought I needed. And God, in His mercy, let me.
Until the time came to let go.
By that time, I was a junior in college. I had a firm foundation of faith but suddenly my world turned upside down. I learned my fiancé had been cheating on me and was dumping me. The love from a man I wanted for so long turned out to be immature and misguided. Even still, the breakup devastated me.
My whole life had been centered on one person, and I did not know I was emotionally unhealthy. I had an extraordinarily unbalanced dependency on my fiancé and our relationship. Facing a breakup is always hard, but it’s even harder and more painful when you have defined yourself by that relationship and considered yourself complete because of it. That’s what I had done.
It was painful to realize the truth: No person can possibly fill the void we believe we have, and no one person should ever try to meet our every need. Any relationship that has that type of foundation is a heartbreak time bomb waiting to explode.
Thankfully, the foundation of faith my mother and grandmother built for my life gave me the strength to push forward through the heartbreak and not allow the devastation to pull me under. In fact, it was that devastation that propelled me deeper into an even more intimate relationship with Jesus. With Jesus, I learned how to overcome heartbreak.
For a long time I had lived my life in need. I wanted to be loved. I wanted a relationship that would validate my value. I did not know I already was loved — that Jesus was so in love with me that, even if I were the only person on the face of the planet, He would have still gone to the cross just for me.
In my personal relationship with Jesus, I am discovering what the psalmist understood so long ago: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).
Heartbreak and Hindsight
Looking back now, I can see God’s perfect timing. He allowed me to have a period of time to build my faith in Him before facing heartbreak, and I believe if I had not had that time of intimacy with Jesus and increase in faith, I would have been suicidal at the betrayal and break up. But God in His mercy, turned my ashes into beauty.
In time, I wrote a book from my heartbreak experience, “How to Overcome Heartbreak: Recovering From Misguided Love.” And in time, I healed from the pain of that breakup.
I wish I could say I learned my lesson after that first experience with heartbreak and that writing the book was proof I was the picture of emotional health. But the truth is, I unknowingly repeated the pattern of codependency all over again. And, of course, the result was more heartbreak. More trauma. More pain.
The truth is, I am still healing. I am still in recovery from the insecurities that led me to misguided love. I am still learning to value myself and what healthy relationships look like and what it means to be an emotionally healthy person. I am learning wholeness and how to be complete in Jesus, not in a boyfriend.
Singleness — the gift I never wanted or understood the value of — is giving me time to experience true completion in Jesus.
I am learning this life journey is a step-by-step process of understanding the love of God for His children. He will use every setback and heartbreak we experience as a stepping stone to give us victory through His love.
Follow Nicole Miller at her blog, His Love Is Better Than Wine.