My First Big Breakup

My first time “hearing” God’s voice was at the end of an embarrasing period in my life. If you ever doubt that you can hear God’s voice in the midst of sin, fear not! He says He is close to the brokenhearted, and that’s usually where sin leaves you sooner or later.

I’d had a tumultuous relationship with that special guy in my life for about nine months. We’d known each other for years, had spent my summers at home from college roaming around my hometown together, and had a lot of good times. He was talented and hilarious! He was also hopelessly selfish and, well, SHADY. As much as I was reluctant to admit it at the time, he was a terrible boyfriend to me. To be fair, he probably did as well as he was able, and I certainly should have known better. But our relationship existed because I chose to overlook breakup-worthy incident after breakup-worthy incident. Shame on me.Regardless, it was in our ninth month together, just after my 23rd birthday, when he took a work trip to Charlotte for a few days. We talked on the phone Sunday night, and he monologued about his trip, but when I tried to tell him about my day, he cut me off. I hung up without returning his I love you.Then the next two nights I called and left messages on the hotel phone (this was before EVERYONE had a cell phone). No reply.

On Wednesday night, I dutifuly called again. No answer.

The night wore on.

No reply.

I obsessively called that hotel phone over and over and over again every few minutes.

In those hours, my mind played tricks on me: I had multiple voices running through my mind. One that said I needed to play it cool, one that said he was trying to tell me he didn’t want to be with me, one that said there was a reasonable explanation, one that said that I had done something wrong. Looking back, I’m certain this state was partially induced by some raging hormones that forced the crisis, but however I got there, this was the result: I cried out to GOD. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK RIGHT NOW. YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO, AND I NEED TO HEAR IT ABOVE ALL THESE OTHER VOICES!

This crying out, this desperation, hormoneinduced or not, was real in that moment, and my thoughts immediately stilled. In my mind I saw a blank computer screen.

Then the words scrolling by like an old screen saver:  You have to break up with him.

To anyone besides me, this would have been an obvious move, but it had not crossed my mind until that time. I was shocked, but I could not believe anything except that God had spoken–not audibly but undeniably.

And so I put on my biggirl panties and made one more call to his hotel phone, telling myself that if he still didn’t pick up, I would just leave a message.

And so that is how I broke up with my first real boyfriend over the hotel phone answering machine.

He did call later that night, and emotions ran high. But it was done! I don’t know why it had to go down that way. It’s entirely possible that I would not have had the courage to do it in person or even over the phone, weak as I was. James’ words (1:5) should be an encouragement to anyone who doubts that God might speak to them about their circumstance:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,

who gives generously to all without reproach,

and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Amen! His word is good, ladies. Try it!


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IMG_7616Joni Butler has called the ‘Ham home since 2012. Officially, she’s here for employment but has found a home here at Breath. Though an avid diarist for years, this is her first writing gig. Jesus is her best friend and she loves pursuing Him passionately.  You can read more about Joni in her Breath Bio. 

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