Cut Open to be Healed: On Becoming “The One”

{Note: This is Week 2 of a series. If you have not read Week 1 you may do so here:
Waiting + Dating: a 7 Week Guide to Godly Relationships!}

To clarify: The first thing my husband noticed about me wasn’t the way I interacted with him… because he wouldn’t interact with me! I laugh at this sweet irony. More on that later, but for now a little backstory on how Clay and I even ended up in the same room as each another.

It was my first night at Foundry, the young adults group at our church. I looked across the room filled with people I didn’t know and, lo and behold, there he was–that cute guy I’d seen around. I’d seen him wheeling his grandmother out of the Sunday service. Who is that handsome saint? I’d wondered. And now here he was.

And what led me to this room where I would eventually get to know him? None other than a breakup.

As Semisonic sings–

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

I waited a long time to have a “real” boyfriend. I was 27 years old before I ever had a serious relationship. And so ten months in, when I found it coming to an end, I discovered that what they say is true–

“They say that breaking up is hard to do. Now I know, I know that it’s true.” – Neil Sedaka, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do 

I quote that song lightheartedly, but this season of my life felt anything but. I’d just gone through surgery for an umbilical hernia and in many ways it was the perfect metaphor for the breakup. For in both I was cut open to be healed.

You see, in my years of singleness I had a growing sense of entitlement in regard to a romantic relationship. I felt I’d been faithful to God and I deserved for Him to be faithful to me {by bringing me a handsome godly man already}. And yet what I ended up doing in time {as the waiting became more difficult} was not remaining faithful to the very promise God offers us through His relationship design. And, in turn, I ended up bringing upon myself a lot of pain and heartache.

That breakup–like the surgery–was an initial sacrifice for a longterm reward. It was a “heart surgery” that would heal me from the inside out. It was a beautiful new beginning that came from a broken ending.

For I set out on a path to discovering–or re-discovering–God’s heart and design for dating. I scoured Scripture, devoured Gary Thomas’ The Sacred Search, and realized that while the Bible doesn’t say much about dating specifically, there is much to be learned of God’s heart and design for romantic relationships.

From that search of knowledge came a renewed determination to date God’s way or not way at all. I would never settle for anyone less than His absolute best or for anything less than His good design.

As difficult as that season of my life was, I am overcome with gratitude for the gift that it was and continues to be. For I can see now that it was out of God’s grace and love for me that He allowed me to be cut open to be healed.


Ponder in Prayer

Spend some time asking God if He might be calling you to break up with:

  • a person {who is not His best for you} or
  • a part of yourself {a posture of your heart or a way of approaching relationships that is not in line with His will or design}

What are the places you need to give the Great Physician access to so that you might be cut open to be healed? Offer them up to His healing and loving hands today.

No matter what ending to which He may call you, praise Him for the beginning you know that it will be!


Knowledge of Truth

It starts with the heart. Our heart is the life source of everything we are and all we think, feel, say and do.

  • In Matthew 12:34 Jesus tells us, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
  • Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Above all else guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life.” Another version of that same verse refers to the heart as “the wellspring of life.”

Our heart is the place from which all other parts of our lives flow. It’s the place from which the parts of the life of your significant other flow. We must allow God to have our hearts–our whole hearts–in order to become “the one” He made us to be and by default “the one” our future spouse will long to be with.

God has the ability to change our hearts. Sometimes we need to undergo a little “heart surgery” to root out our brokenness and to heal us from the inside out. And there is such a beautiful promise that lies in what may feel like an initial sacrifice.

  • In Ezekiel 36:26 God says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
  • And 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come.”

Sometimes God can change and heal our hearts while we are in a relationship, but sometimes He needs to take us out of a relationship to do so. Sometimes He will need to bring your significant other out of the relationship in order to do so in their lives. No matter what ending you might face, He is making all things new.

We are living, breathing redemption stories! The Story God is telling is the ultimate Redemption Story–one in which He conquered the death itself through the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son in order to offer life to all.

  • In Revelation 21:5 God says, “Behold, I am making all things new!” The book of Revelation contains the ultimate fulfillment to come when we will be reunited in perfectly restored relationship with God. After sin entered into the Story in Genesis, God immediately began restoring that which had been broken. The entire Old Testament is a giant foreshadowing of the redemption to come through Jesus!
  • The entire reason Jesus died for us was that we might have life. In John 10:10 He tell us, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Jesus did not give His life simply that we might have life after we die; He gave His life that we would have life here, life now, and life to the fullest potential. If He brings us to an ending in our lives, it’s only to make way for a better beginning.
  • The prophet Isaiah foretold the very words Jesus would eventually speak at the start of His ministry in Luke 4. Isaiah 61:3 paints such a beautiful picture of the redemption God offers to us through His Son who made the way for us to receive “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Our God is the God who brings beauty from ashes, light from darkness, healing from brokenness, restoration from despair, and ministry from trials. He brings the most beautiful new beginnings from the most broken of endings. Would we cling tightly to His promise of restoration, healing, and life to the full that He is bringing as we are cut open to be healed.


Walking in Wisdom

Replace the lies with the Truth. Satan would have us believe that our ending is the ending. But Satan is “the father of lies” {John 8:44}. I’m reminded of the scene in the movie Elf when Will Ferrell’s character, Buddy, exclaims in horror, “You sit on a throne of lies!” Satan literally does. Let God’s Voice of Truth be louder than Satan’s scheming lies.

  1. Write down every fear you have about letting go of a relationship or a way you’ve been approaching relationships.
  2. Now write out a verse that combats this lie with God’s Truth.
  3. Then take a big black Sharpie and cross out the lie. You can let go of it now. You’ve now taken hold of God’s unfailing Truth. And there’s no room left for Satan’s lies in your life.

Recall God’s faithfulness. Evidence of God’s faithfulness in the past fills us with peace in our present and hope for our future.

  1. Write down all the evidence of God’s faithfulness in your life. Write down all the ways He has provided for you and all the ways He has been good and kind to you.
  2. Next go to the Bible and begin writing down all the times God made promises and then fulfilled them. {Hint: the very first promise He made and fulfilled was that of a spouse–or “suitable helper”–for Adam.}
  3. Cling tightly to this evidence of God’s faithfulness. Take hold of this proof of His goodness.

May these examples be reminders to you that this God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow {Hebrews 13:8} will continue to remain faithful in and bestow goodness upon your life. May they be fuel that renews your strength, will and determination throughout the journey of waiting + dating.

In the wake of that breakup I decided I needed some more Christian community and a midweek connection with God, and so the very next Tuesday I got into my car–careful not to agitate my healing stomach muscles, drove up to my church, and walked through the doors of Foundry for the very first time… which, of course, is where I ended up meeting Clay.

It would be some time before our story would unfold. {And by some time I mean quite some time.} But during that time God continued to grow me closer to becoming “the one” Clay would one day choose.

Paul writes in Philippians 1:12–

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

We will never be the perfect one our future spouse deserves, but as we press on toward the goal of deeper relationship with Christ, we grow, by default, a little closer to becoming “the one” they will choose.

Sometimes first, through, we must be cut open to be healed.

Endings can be difficult. But in the hands of our God they are simply opportunities for new beginnings. And oh, the wonderful gifts that await us on the road ahead.

May the words of Isaiah 43:19 be a whisper of hope to our broken hearts as we embark upon all the new beginnings that our healing is bringing:

“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”


Week 3. How to Wait for “The One” With Grace

Week 4. The Great Fairy Tale Hoax: on “choosing love” over “falling in love”

Week 5. Striving for Purity in a World Where Sex Sells

Week 6. On Finding “The One”: Where to Start, Where to Look

Week 7. A Dim Reflection: Why Marriage isn’t the Happy Ending.

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