If you’re hurting this New Year, I feel for you. And I am sorry about what you’re going through. I can relate to what it feels like when everyone around you is excited and making New Year resolutions and you just feel stuck in the same hurt you were in last year. The experiences that I will share may be different than yours, but I’ll ask you to hear me out. In this post let’s have a heart to heart conversation, and then at the end I’ll share ways I learned to overcome emotional pain in the New Year.
When Evans and I began our relationship, a lot of people didn’t understand why we were even starting a long distance courtship. It was hard, and emotionally taxing to have our hearts divided between two places, and the people who knew me the best could not relate with the difficulty I was going through. I felt lonely, but I continued to isolate myself, because I didn’t want to deal with negative comments. It was a vicious cycle, and sadness felt like it was going to swallow me up. If you feel this way, take heart, and do not lose hope.
I thought about ending the relationship for my mental and emotional health, but every time I asked God what to do, I felt Him saying that it was His will for me to continue with the relationship. At the time, it felt like God was sending me mixed signals, because every time we believed that we would see one another in person, the door would be slammed in our faces. Evans would pay the $200 U.S. dollars for the interview application fee, he would complete the legal documents necessary, we’d wait in anticipation for weeks leading up to his visa interview date, and then he would go for his visa interview (required for him to come to visit me in the U.S.) and every time we would be denied.
The fourth time that we were denied a visa, I was devastated. At that time I started thinking, “what is the point in having the relationship if it was going to be spent hurting so deeply?” We hadn’t seen each other in person for two years, and I was hurting because God told me that it was His will for me to be in the relationship. It was paradoxical…God wanted us to be together…but not physically at that time, because our visas kept getting denied. I was so confused and I became angry at God for putting me through the situation. Through that pain, I realized that it was okay to be vulnerable with the Lord and to tell him my feelings (even the anger I felt towards Him) because He could heal my broken heart. Now, I am able to look back at that time period of visa denials as God’s protection, and as an opportunity to grow in my faith. Nonetheless, at the time, it didn’t seem that way. 2013 and 2014 were two dark years for me. I held it together on the outside, but deep down inside I knew that I could not make it without God giving me something to help me hold on; in the fall of 2013, that something, was actually someone.
That fall, I met a young woman who changed the trajectory of my life by simply sharing her story with me and helping me regain my hope again. She was from Slovakia, and was engaged to a young man from Angola, and their wedding was a few months away. She too had dated her fiancé (now husband) long distance for four years. She was the first person I’d ever met who was in a cross-cultural, long distance relationship like me; and we just clicked. She understood the hardships and pain of the distance. She related with my highs and my lows, she loved me with the love of Christ, and she helped me breathe again. The hurt I was feeling became bearable because God allowed us to meet. She helped me to cope by being willing to give her time, share her story, and just listen to me. Our story would not be the story that it is, without God bringing her into my life.
I believe human beings were made to live in community, although everyone is not going to understand what you are going through, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share. If you are hurting today, don’t give up on people. Isolating myself caused me to fall into deeper and deeper depression. Keep reaching out, even when it hurts. God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you through the pain, and he will give you exactly what you need to help you hold on. Most of all, never…ever lose hope.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”(Romans 12:12).
In order to overcome emotional hurt in the New Year I encourage you to:
1.) Keep trusting God even when it seems like He’s the one hurting you. He is actually the one who will heal you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew11:28).
2.) Write your about your pain in a journal and pray through the pain you’re feeling.
3.) Find a support group, or a person who has been through a similar situation to the one you are dealing with and share with them.
4.) Find “go-to” scriptures that will encourage you throughout the process, and speak those scriptures continuously over yourself.
5.) Find scriptures about God’s good plans for your life.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)
6.) Most of all, be vulnerable with the Lord about how you feel. Even if you are mad at Him. I didn’t want to be mad with God, but I was… and when I finally told Him I was disappointed and angry with Him, He started speaking to those areas of pain, and He healed me slowly through His Word.
I really hope this helps someone out there. You are going to make it through this season. Keep the faith and continue to hope in the Lord. Feel free to comment below and let me know the positive ways that you have coped with hardships, and how you’d like for me to pray for you.
I love you, and God loves you so much more,