How to Survive a Broken Engagement

December 5th, 2013

I think the title of this blog alone may be a bit of an over share.

And yes, this is not design related.

Lately, I have a lot of single friends that are hurting and it’s been on my heart to share.

If you have a bad break-up, or find yourself in a stage of life you didn’t expect to be in, my heart hurts for you.  Chances are, I will come and talk to you, whether we have a close relationship or not.  If I don’t, know I am silently praying.

5 years ago, I had a broken engagement three weeks before the wedding.  A wedding that had 400 invitations, which quickly turned into 400 notes of “this wedding will not take place.”

Yikes.

Our relationship ended just as quickly as it began, and suddenly I went from being a successful young professional in Dallas, to living in my parent’s guest room in Colorado.  No friends, no job.

For a time, it was like groundhog day.  I would wake up and realize I was in Denver and quickly shut my eyes.  Thinking maybe if I closed them hard enough I would be back in my cute studio on Main Street.

Thankfully, God had a plan and I was smart enough to cling to that hope.

Here are a few things I learned and continue to remind myself:

1.  Cling to God and He will cling to you. 

The weekend of our breakup was the Democratic Convention in Denver.  I had flown back to Dallas from LA on a business trip, thinking I was going out to dinner for my birthday, only to be broken up with in the car.  My dad, my biggest hero, found a way to get me out of there. There were no flights to be had, but gracious hearts and one private plane later, I was out, knowing I would never come back.  I remember vividly, looking out the window at the Dallas skyline (a city I dearly loved) and thinking, “Okay God.  I’m going to hang on to you.  Please don’t let go.”

He didn’t.  It was the most alone I’d ever felt, and yet the closest I’ve ever been to God.  Here’s what I learned: God HAS to be important to you when things are easy.  If you don’t have that foundation, it won’t help when things are hard. Even if you don’t have that foundation, choose God.  You won’t be sorry.

2.  Don’t be too cool to go to counseling. 

This is another thing I’m probably too open about, but I had a year of intense counseling.  I had a bad experience with one person and it’s a miracle I gave the second counselor a try.  A comment from a girl at our church got me to see someone else, and it was life changing.  I think I operate better as a whole having gone through that.  Counseling is a positive resource, not an embarrassment.  Don’t be too cool to get real help.

3. Watch what you say to someone in crisis. 

We all want to say the perfect thing, but 90% of the time, we’re probably going to say something not helpful.  Words are not going to heal the situation.  It would be nice if they could.   So many times, people would say something unintentionally hurtful.  Or give me the prolonged hand grab and say, “No really, how are you?” Tell people you’re praying and be quiet.  Then go home and really pray.  It will help.

I really appreciated notes I got in the mail.  People barely send snail mail anymore, and the fact that someone took the time to write me an encouragement meant so much.  I saved every note.

4. Volunteer

This one was huge for me.  Since I had no job, I started volunteering at a local food pantry.  Denver has a large homeless population, and I spent my newly found time filling food bags and praying with the needy.  This did worlds more for me than the people I served.  Get in the trenches helping others and you will spend less time thinking about yourself.

5.  Love the singles in your church

Going to church as a single young professional is hard. REALLY hard.  For some reason, it tends to be a forgotten group.  Some people don’t want to be in that group, or find themselves there after life’s hardship.  Include them and make them valuable to your ministry.  Singles actually have more time to invest than most families.  Get talented ministers to work with them and make them an integral part.  Many people who have been Christians their whole lives leave after having a bad experience in the Singles group.

6.  Don’t forget to have fun as a single

There are some really fun aspects to single-hood.  You can decorate your home any way you want.  You can go to Anthropologie and drop a paycheck and none will be the wiser.   Don’t forget to celebrate your single-ness.  Take a yoga class, volunteer and spend that hard earned money on yourself sometimes.  Crank up Real Housewives with a Quarter Pounder combo on the sectional (not that I ever did that). You can (and should) be very selfish selective with your time. Live it up.  There will be a time when you will look back on it fondly.

Single ladies, I love you.  I’m praying for you and I’m here ANYTIME you need a pep talk.  Find your value in God.  We have to remember that’s where our value comes from.  Not from jobs, looks or a man.  From our Savior.

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26 Responses

  1. Stacy says:

    Thanks for sharing, great post!

  2. Leslie says:

    This is wonderful:) Love having great reminders that singleness is okay! 🙂 Very impressed with your courageousness to post this!

  3. Jennifer Hines says:

    That is a wonderfully written and inspiring post that can be used for so many situations in life! Thank you for having the courage to share it with others.

  4. Linda Giddens says:

    Ah, sweet Katy what a precious piece today. I know this will help lots of folks who are or have been in this situation. You hung onto God and look what that did!! A handsome Christian husband who is so much better than what you had, it’s not worth mentioning (but I guess I just did). God put a cherry on top too; his parents live in Hawaii!!!! Love you lots and thanks for opening your heart.

  5. Alli M says:

    Katy, thank you for sharing your truths with us, and for turning your pain into knowledge. I especially relate to #2 and have a hard time understanding the stigma around counseling. I actually think it’s kind of a luxury. Your courage is inspiring friend! Love to you!

  6. Mike M says:

    WOW! Katy—how courageous. Makes me admire you even more. This will help a ton of people.
    BLESSINGS!

  7. terry wallis says:

    great content, Katy. thanks.

  8. Peg B. says:

    Katy,

    You touched my heart. Once again I witness God using past pain to minister to others! He waste nothing! Thank you for sharing.

  9. Beth Cowart says:

    Sometimes a random post just tickles me, so here is one for you Katy! Wow! Thank you for your willingness to be raw, transparent, and tender with your experience. Above all things, thank you for praying for those that hurt. Our “silent prayers” are like anonymous givers. You will be greeted one day in the kingdom by those you prayed for. May the Lord continue to be your strength, your love, your life and your hope. I look forward to following you closer. Many blessings to you and your family! B 🙂

  10. Emily Park says:

    Thank you for writing and posting this!

  11. Raimone Roberts says:

    Great words sis! I appreciate and respect your transparency and geniuses. You are truly an example of a women of God. You rock!

  12. Donna Wallis says:

    Bravo, Katy. So very proud of you.

  13. […] did not share with many people at all that we were struggling.  Blame past experiences (like this one) but it is hard for me to trust or hear commentary at times.  It’s not always […]

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