Braving Broken Relationships: How God Brings Beauty from the Ashes of Hurt

By Mary Rooney Armand

God's Brave Women - Mary's Story


Leaning on his car, my boyfriend looked across the calm water and casually delivered three devastating sentences.


“I want to break up. I don’t know what I want right now. I don’t want to cheat on you.”


What! How is he breaking up with me just like that? Why does he seem so distant and indifferent? My thoughts went crazy. Why did he choose this beautiful spot beside the lake to break my heart?


No eye contact. No warm embrace. No I am sorry. Nothing but awkward silence.


But wait a minute. We had discussed marriage; our wedding song and beautiful Caribbean honeymoon location were already chosen.


Looking at the still water, it was hard to reconcile its peacefulness with the desperation churning inside of my heart. The thought of breaking up was crushing, but the words 'cheating on me' meant there may be someone better than me.


A break up by definition is a separation and there is no easy way to pull two people apart who are connected. It just feels unnatural, even if breaking into separate pieces is best.


 

"A break up by definition is a separation and there is no easy way to pull two people apart who are connected. It just feels unnatural, even if breaking into separate pieces is best."

 

Tears involuntarily began to slide down my face as I tried to push down my shock and disappointment. Although disoriented and wanting to burst into tears, I tried to regain my composure while appearing to understand his reasoning. But deep sorrow was taking root as I realized the red flags that had been waving were finally dictating my future.


This otherwise average Sunday left me with shattered dreams and a broken heart; it was an unforgettable day and pivotal in changing the course of my life.


Meanwhile, good friends from college had repeatedly invited me to their young adult Bible study. Since I grew up going to church, I thought I knew what to expect and was not interested.


Unfortunately, I gave excuses for not attending. I didn’t have the need or the time. I had other things to do. My faith could wait.


Until that Sunday.


I felt lost, alone, confused and desperate, so on Monday morning I called my friends. They told me they hosted their group every Tuesday evening… perfect timing.


I couldn’t believe it when I said, “I’ll see you tomorrow”. Desperation leads us to new places.


My spirit was tired of running and hiding behind superficial masks.


 

"Desperation leads us to new places. My spirit was tired of running and hiding behind superficial masks."

 

On that Tuesday night in April, I remember walking into their home, the color of their living room, the brown pants I was wearing, and the warm glances that greeted me.


After two days of crying, and barely eating or sleeping it was like entering a soft, safe place. Everyone immediately welcomed and accepted me. Fighting the realization and pain of rejection, the warmth of a room full of joy and acceptance was a breath of fresh air for my soul.


The leader shared the message my weary soul needed, “We don’t have to change for God to love us. Jesus loves and accepts you just the way you are right now.”


On the way home, I thought about his words. When I walked into my house, I searched for my unused Bible and opened it for the first time in years. It was time to renew my connection with God.


My friends were devoted to planting seeds in my life by inviting and encouraging me, but it took a huge thunderstorm for those seeds to be watered and sprout in my heart.


“My work was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos’ work was to water it, but it was God, not we, who made the garden grow in your hearts. The person who does the planting or watering isn’t very important, but God is important because he is the one who makes things grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)


 

"My friends were devoted to planting seeds in my life by inviting and encouraging me, but it took a huge thunderstorm for those seeds to be watered and sprout in my heart."

 

I quickly began to discover a new source of life in Jesus by reading the Bible, praying, and embracing the love of my small group. As my wounds healed, my spiritual life blossomed and a new group of friends became part of my story.


Realizing there was more to life than having fun, landing a great job or a perfect husband, I was energized finding my Godly purpose. I still wanted those things but was not consumed by them. As the desires of my heart adjusted my relationship with God grew stronger.


 

"Realizing there was more to life than having fun, landing a great job or a perfect husband, I was energized finding my Godly purpose. I still wanted those things but was not consumed by them."

 

Several months later at the same small group that pulled me out of a dark pit, my future husband walked into the room.


Noticing his cute face, my curiosity was peaked, but I was ‘not looking or available’. My wounds were too fresh and I wasn’t sure another relationship was what I wanted.


But God and my husband had other plans!


With the help of time, friends and the Holy Spirit, my heart healed and a beautiful friendship developed. A year later he proposed and promised me a life of enduring love.


“God will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.” (Isaiah 61:3)


Jesus has definitely created beauty from the ashes of my decisions, mistakes and failures.


 

"Jesus has definitely created beauty from the ashes of my decisions, mistakes and failures."

 

After 27 years of marriage and four children, I share this story of redemption and transformation to encourage anyone who is feeling things are not turning out as they envisioned.


Believing God has chosen you and loves you extravagantly grows brave faith in His promise to lead you into His light. Keep trusting Him and you will see a flicker of hope, restored dreams, and a renewed purpose.


 

"Believing God has chosen you and loves you extravagantly grows brave faith in His promise to lead you into His light. Keep trusting Him and you will see a flicker of hope, restored dreams, and a renewed purpose."

 

“You have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story.

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Mary


Mary Rooney Armand is the creator and writer for the faith-based blog ButterflyLiving.org. She has also written a Christian book titled, Identity, Understanding and Accepting Who I

am in Christ® available on Amazon.


Mary teaches retreats and small groups of women, she directed Kids Hope USA (a mentoring program for children), worked in Marketing and Sales, and has led mission trips to Honduras. Mary is a life coach and has a Bachelor degree in Marketing and an MBA.


She and her wonderful husband Cory live in Louisiana with their 4 children and 2 dogs! You can connect with Mary on her website ButterflyLiving.org or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.