[Guest Post by Laura – I appreciate how brave Laura is! This is the second time she has shared her story of rape on DevotionalDiva.com, and I love seeing how far she has come and how her story continues to encourage others. If you struggle with a bruised, broken, or shattered heart — be encouraged today!]
Bruised. I bruise easily.
Bruises seem to appear randomly on my knees or shins, and I can’t remember bumping into anything. To make matters worse, I can be a little klutzy. On the bright side, I’ve never broken a bone. But I’m fairly sure that a broken bone hurts exponentially more than a bruise. And just like bones and knees, our hearts can end up broken and bruised throughout our lives.
Perhaps it was naiveté, but I always thought that meeting someone, falling in love and getting married wouldn’t leave me bruised.
Maybe it was the relationship books that I read in high school and college, the ones that made it seem like if you followed God, everything would end up fairly wonderful, and the process would lack confusion and chaos. It didn’t take too long after college for me to realize that those books weren’t accurate.
But I still wanted it to be my story – a relationship without a bruised heart, no klutzy steps, no confusing words or actions. It would be my fairy tale.
Part of that fairy tale disappeared one night in South Africa when I was raped during a home invasion.
And a piece of my heart broke then as well. Suddenly the fairy tale seemed incredibly distant. Who would want to be in a relationship with me? Who would want to marry me? Eventually I reached a point where I could look in the mirror and tell myself that someone would, that I wasn’t too broken.
I still wanted the rest of my fairy tale to be perfect, however. So I was careful with my heart. Balancing hope and risk with reality and guardedness.
But I think I managed fairly well. It helped that I was living overseas, that there weren’t any guys interested in me.
And then there was a message.
Followed by a flurry of messages and flirting.
A few phone calls.
Then fewer messages.
No phone calls.
Followed by confusion and impatience.
Throughout the entire time there was lots of prayer. I was honest and brave. And while my heart wasn’t broken, it definitely came out bruised.
Once I admitted to myself and to God that I was bruised, that I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was, I felt relief. Relief in knowing that it was okay to be bruised, that it was okay to be hurt, that it was okay to not have a fairy tale ending. And now I focus on being open again, on not putting up walls, on trusting God’s plan.
I never wanted a bruised heart. I wanted the fairy tale. And I’m sure that many women would say the same thing.
But this bruise to my heart, which faded and eventually vanished, taught me a lot. About how sometimes the bruises in my life are more about the lessons learned and less about the bruise. About how I am partly responsible for how deep the bruise becomes and how long it lasts. About how important patience and waiting are when there is the potential for a relationship. About how I still struggle with high expectations. About how God doesn’t always answers my prayers the way I want Him to.
About how trusting God is far more important than seeking my own desires.
Question: What have your bruises taught you about God or about yourself?
God has given Laura a heart for teen and young adult girls, as well as a love for drinking coffee and living overseas, and she loves when all three of these come together. She currently lives in Ireland and writes regularly about life, ministry and healing on her blog http://chattingaboutlife.wordpress.com.