Monday, May 16, 2016

I Was Demetria (How My Heartbreak & Healing Inspired The Jilted Bride)

In The Jilted Bride: A Footnote to Cinderella's Happiness, Demetria is crushed after being left at the altar for Cinderella. Like most women, she struggles with anger toward Cinderella and Prince Caspar and wonders why the charming prince chose a servant over her. It's a story a lot of us can probably relate to. I know I definitely can. While there were no royals, servants, or weddings involved, I had a heartbreak that definitely influenced me while writing this book, and the On This Day app on Facebook reminded me of that inspiration yesterday.

Several years ago, I met a guy who was very much like Prince Caspar. He was good looking, charming, and sought after by quite a few women because while he wasn't a prince, he was the lead singer of a rock band. We actually met because he initiated a conversation with me while I was in line to buy merch for a band he was touring with. I thought he was cute and I'd liked his band's set, so we casually chatted for a little bit and then talked again a few nights later at another tour stop.

Many concerts later in the spring of 2012, I was fresh out of a six month relationship and he'd also recently broken up with his girlfriend. I'd always had a bit of a crush on him for the reasons listed above, so I decided to go for it and tell him at their upcoming show in Dallas. Much to my surprise, he was totally into it and asked me to go out the next night since they had a day off in Texas. Of course, I said yes and was on cloud nine. To make a long story short, I had a great time and we ended the night with a kiss  but on unsure footing because he still wan't over his ex. However, he still wanted to keep talking more so we could get to know each other better and figure out what was next.

After several days of talking and him checking in when he reached the next stop on tour, the communication ground to a screeching halt. No calls. No texts. Nada. I didn't quite know what to think about it until I logged on to Facebook and saw that he'd changed his relationship status to being in a relationship with another girl and all of the likes, comments, etc... that came with such an unforeseen announcement.

I was in shock, and I was livid.

Even though I wasn't in love with him by any stretch of the imagination and we weren't in a relationship, I'd expected more from him than a relationship status change and the cold shoulder since we'd been friends for a couple of years. Insecurity was a big struggle for me, so his rejection also triggered both anger and a stream of questions and comparisons. Was she prettier, cooler, or more interesting than I was? Had I done something wrong? Why wasn't I good enough?

At that point, I wasn't a Christian, so I hadn't been taught how to process through my pain well and to forgive, so that incident also left bitterness in my heart that didn't fully heal until I came to know Christ and realized that I needed to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to others since God in Christ had forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32). I'd been so hyperfocused on his part in our failed friendship that I couldn't see my own sin or forgive his.

Do I still have some regrets about that situation? Definitely. I wish that I'd been more rational, humble, gracious, and forgiving upfront instead of destroying our friendship by losing my temper and questioning how God created me, but I can't change the past. However, some of that initial pain and resentment I felt helped me write The Jilted Bride: A Footnote to Cinderella's Happiness. In the book, Demetria experiences heartbreak and embarrassment much greater than what I had to deal with, but she finds healing as I eventually did by focusing on something greater than her predicament.

As you read my Cinderella sequel and get to know Demetria, I invite you to think about your own past hurts and failed relationships. Are you holding onto bitterness? Are you letting a past rejection define how you view yourself? I know from personal experience that it can be hard to heal from heartbreak even when it's minor like mine was, but there is one person who can put you back together. Jesus.

He can help you not just forgive but love the people who have hurt you the most and fully, lovingly forgive you for how you've harmed others past, present, and future. While my latest book wouldn't be the same without my heartbreak, Demetria and I wouldn't have a happy ending without the restorative power of Christ. God sent Marianne into Demetria's life to help her with her heartbreak and countless faithful believers into mine to help me heal from the wrongs I'd committed and that others had committed against me. Jesus infinitely better than any fairy god mother, He's real, and He wants you to know Him and the perfect love He has to give.

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