Tag Archives: heartbreak

Two hands on sunsut.

God’s Love: A Contemplative Prayer Meditation for Relational Healing


As I said in my previous post, your healing begins and ends with love. The things you believe about it will either hinder or help your healing. And at the core of love is GOD. For God is love.

Ponder these verses and quotes…

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
[1 John 4:8 ESV]

Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God.
[Guru Nanak]

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
[1 John 4:7 ESV]

But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God’s love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his own illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.
[Thomas Merton]

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
[Colossians 3:14-15 ESV]

Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away,but love stays with us. Love is God.
[Lew Wallace]

I experience religious dread whenever I find myself thinking that I know the limits of God’s grace, since I am utterly certain it exceeds any imagination a human being might have of it. God does, after all, so love the world.
[Marilynne Robinson]

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.
[Brennan Manning]

The God of the Universe loves you with an unending love. No matter what you’ve been through or what you’ve done, no matter what others have done to you, I want you to remember this truth:

You are LOVED.

Does this shock you? Surprise you? If you were honest with yourself,  do you even believe in love? I’d encourage you to begin exploring this concept of love. The concept that the universe begins and ends in love–and you CAN tap into that love and begin to live in it–is crucial to healing.

When we begin to dwell in love–in the Source of Love, which is God–that’s when we begin to heal. This is the foundation for healing.

As pain comes up, as you face yourself, as wounds from others surface–you must go back to the truth that you are LOVED. God is love. And God’s love is enough to get you through whatever life has thrown your way.

So how can you start living in this truth of God’s love? One of the most amazing ways to begin exploring truth and letting it sink into your soul is through meditation. I dare you to try the following contemplative prayer meditation. Do it several times a week in February. Do it every day. (In fact, it’s recommended that you dwell and meditate on a truth for 30-40 days for it to truly sink into your soul.)

Contemplative Prayer Meditation on the Love of God

In this meditation, we will focus on the phrases below:

God is love.
I am loved. 
God loves me. 

After you do this meditation, please think through the following questions. Write about the things you observed during the meditation. Observe the thoughts or memories or pains that surfaced in your heart. Jot down answers to these…

Do you believe that God is love?

Do you believe you are loved by God?
Do you believe that you are valuable?

Do you believe that you are worthy of love?

Why or why not?
(This question is crucial. Spend some time here. We will be exploring this more in depth in later weeks).

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
[1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV]

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Photo © Masson from Adobe Stock


When Your Heart is Breaking: 4 Years of Grief–Old & New

Four years ago, I woke up to frantic texts from my sister that something really bad had happened. Four years ago, I received one of those phone calls you always dread. On November 2nd, 2012, I found out that my dear Kindred Spirit was dead, mysteriously dying on October 30th, 2012. Not only was she dead, but she had died inside an abusive relationship and a cult, which shattered my entire perception of reality and left me wrestling with grief, faith, God, abuse, and so much more ever since.

Four years later, October is always a hard month as old grief and trauma resurface.


After Bethany died, I experienced the deepest darkness I have ever known. I would call it the night of the soul. Sometimes, it’s strange to look back on that time of my life and wonder how I ever survived. I was suicidal in many ways. I didn’t want to live or love again. Everything shut down in my heart in profound ways.

My heart was broken, and I wondered if I could ever recover.


A year after Bethany died, my roommates at the time surprised me with a Christmas present: a cat. They drove me to the animal shelter, and I picked her out. When I first saw Eilonwy, (her animal shelter name was “Christy,” which didn’t fit her at all), I knew she was the one. I was scared to commit to a pet. I was scared to love and open my heart. But looking at Eilonwy, I knew I had to love her. I fell into Love, and this small little creature touched my hardened heart.


Eilonwy was with me through the second year of grief over Bethany that I wrote about on my blog. As I struggled through intense anger and grief and despair, she sat by my side. She’d curl up on my lap every day and remind me that life could be beautiful, too. That love was worth it. Her steadfast love over the past few years taught me that opening one’s heart to something is always worth it. My heart was mended in some way through our friendship. (And we did have a true friendship. It was uncanny how we could communicate without words. Anyone who has had a deep connection with an animal knows what I’m talking about.)

Over a week ago, Eilonwy went missing.

She slipped out of the house one evening while I was out of town at a wedding, and I haven’t seen her since. I’ve looked and looked and looked. I’ve handed out fliers and put letters in mailboxes and posted all over social media and talked to neighbors. Still no sign.


My heart is broken all over again.

As I grieved Bethany in October, it began to hit me that I have to grieve this animal now, too. I had to grieve the living thing who taught me how to love after Beth’s death and who shone light into my darkened heart. Maybe Eilonwy is gone forever, missing the very same month my dear Beth died 4 years ago.


I’ll admit that 2016 has been a very rough year. I haven’t blogged at all about it, really. But I have faced death again of people I dearly loved, I have grieved deeply again. My health problems continue to cause issues, and I’ve been in multiple unhealthy, abusive situations this year that have drained me of vitality.

And now October. Now this. The one living creature who stuck by my side through everything, who was been a constant, daily source of comfort and joy, who I turned to for such emotional support…she’s gone. I didn’t realized how deeply I leaned on this small, seemingly insignificant creature until she’s now disappeared. Now her little animal absence clouds my entire heart, our entire home.

Life matters. Even the smallest life.


Sometimes, I just wonder if the world is playing is some cruel trick on us all. If the universe just laughs up there while we try to cope with one awful thing after another. I want to again cave into cynicism and despair and anger and darkness—just as I did 4 years again when my Kindred Spirit died. I want to believe that the world is only horrible, because it would justify me being only horrible and giving up and treating others however I damn well please.

That is, after all, how many live their lives. They become disillusioned and just give up, and Hate enters, slowly and subtlety destroying their hearts and the lives of countless others in their wake.


But then there’s Love.

I can’t deny that what Eilonwy and I had was Love. Maybe to some of you this sounds silly. To anyone who has shared a bond with an animal, you know. This pure, unconditional Love between two different species that breaks all boundaries and reminds us that differences don’t have to separate us. That just because something is small and furry and can’t speak with human words doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have things to teach us and show us.

Maybe the bond that can form with an animal shows us that Love can transcend anything. That the Different still have profound meaning. They are still part of creation and worthy of respect and love. They may speak in different ways, but their words are just as loud.

Eilonwy loved me. There have been multiple times this year where I felt so tired, so sad, so alone—and she would always climb into my lap and purr and make sure I knew that no matter what was going on in the world, I was Loved. She was a gift. Our friendship was a gift. She was God’s handprint on my aching heart.

Eilonwy taught me to listen, to hear, to be part of relationship in a whole new way. Because true Love is about listening. It’s learning how to see something from a whole other perspective, to respect a living being, and to find ways to transcend the Different and make a beautiful bond.

Our world needs more of that. We need to be able to see the Different and to embrace it, love it, and learn from it. Instead of seeing ourselves as superior, we must see ourselves as constantly learning from the Different—human and animal alike. How are we ever to find peace if we can’t learn to listen and respect the Different?

And this comes from Love. You can’t deny that no matter how awful the world is, that Love shines through. That it is Love that gets us through. That the greatest stories of peace, redemption, and healing are about Love. Difference. Transcendence.


Since Bethany’s death, I have made the long, arduous trek towards Love. I’ve begun to realize that Love is the only reason to keep existing in this world. I’ve realized that the only way to fight the evil and darkness so prevalent in this world is through Love.

Love is a gift. Opening one’s heart is a gift–even when one’s heart is later broken because of it.

Loss will come. This is the inevitable way of life. Anything we love will be lost someday. But Love is more powerful than loss. Love transcends time and space and species and the world. After all, the Different isn’t so different when Love is there.

So when your heart is breaking, please remember this:

Love is worth it. Again and again. No matter what.

Love never fails.



A Declaration On Love (Thoughts + a Poem on Love)

Last fall, I was in a relationship briefly, and the guy walked away after a few months. And it hurt. It hurt again (as it always does), because I cared a lot, and it was hard to realize he cared so little.

It was a blessing in disguise. The relationship was not headed in the best direction… And I’ve struggled with unhealthy relationships in the past. Men who didn’t cherish me or care that much at all. It’s a cycle I’ve repeated all so often in my past, but luckily this time I noticed it and was much more willing to let go and trust the process.

Still, it was a wake up call for me. I went back to counseling, and I’ve been sorting through some things since then.

The week after we broke up, I wrote this poem.

To See Me

I want someone to see me

No, not the outward me
Not the one the whole world sees
Not the me with an image and reputation
Not the me with a career and acclamation

I want someone to see me
Really see me

Eye-to-eye and
connecting through the inner heart
reveling in the hidden part

all my goodness and my imperfections
glittering through my shining soul

what has been cracked through the wounds of life
renewed in the deep wellspring of love’s gaze

I want someone to see me
and not run away


After that break up, I began to again wonder if love truly does exist, or if love is just a fantasy. For a brief time, I teetered on the edge of cynicism and bitterness (which has been my default setting for quite some time).

But I refused to cave into the hopelessness. I fought that urge like my life depended on it–because in many ways, it does.

One morning about a week or two after the break-up, I was praying and crying and pouring my heart out to God. And God reminded me how deeply I am loved, I am cherished. And that Love is the only answer. That a heart open and warm and alive is the only answer in this hard, cold world.

Even if that last boy didn’t love me, it doesn’t mean love isn’t out there.

I believe in love. And I refuse to cave into cynicism now, even when love still seems so far off.

I believe someone will see me someday, and that someone will want everything I have to offer.

Because true love is seeing someone’s soul and truly admiring them enough to invest in a life together.

True love is seeing a human being as irreplaceable, unique, special, and wanting to bear witness to that human being the rest of their lives.

True love sees someone with all their flaws and brokenness and wants to help them heal and become more whole and bright and alive.

True love walks alongside someone and supports them in their passions and pursuits.

That’s what love is. It isn’t superficial. It isn’t selfish. It’s true and deep and loyal and committed.

And you know why I know this? Because I have loved in this way, and I can see this love in my own heart. Yes, I’m flawed. Yes, I struggle. But love pours forth from me now, and I believe it can pour forth into another’s heart, too.

For anyone who knows my journey over the past few years, you should know that this truly is a miracle. That I believe in love again. After so much darkness, I believe in love.

I will find someone who loves in the same way OR I will be single the rest of my life.

Because let me be clear about something: 
I. Don’t. Need. A. Man.

I have love from so many people who dearly support me, pray for me, and uplift me. I have so many amazing friends who are truly fighting for my healing and who listen and care and want what’s best for me. I have friends and family that love me. And on top of all of that, God has this overwhelming love for me that is quite startling. It still takes my breath away sometimes.

No, I don’t need a man.

No one should need someone else to fulfill them. I’ve tried to do that and I know it’s useless. I’ve tried to put my identity in men, and I know where it leads. It leads to emptiness and depression and darkness. I’ve tried to quench my fire-filled heart just to be more placable for the tastes of selfish, cold-hearted people, and I’m done with it.

I will be my passionate, untamed, poetic self and I don’t care if men look at it and don’t know what to do with me.

I don’t need a man.

BUT what I AM saying is that I will wait for romantic love. If love is to be mine, it will be beautiful and honest and true, and if I never find it on this planet, I don’t care.

Because I know what love is, and I won’t settle for anything less.

I know what love is, and it courses through my veins.

I know what love is, and I would rather die alone than let someone sap and slow me down when I could be running, running, running along in the freedom and joy that is LOVE.

So until you see me–really see me–then don’t mess around with me. Sorry. It’s not what I’m looking for. I’m not looking for a game or a snack or a one-night-stand.

I’m looking for an ocean that is deep and adventurous and holy and wild and wonderful.

Because love should reflect God, and God’s love is like an ocean. And because I’ve swam in those waters, I won’t settle for the shallows any longer. I won’t let others quell and contain and misuse and abuse.

Do you understand? This is my declaration.

I’m not looking for love (I’ve already found it).

The love is inside me.

(And if someone who also has the love inside them finds me, then we will hold hands, face the world, and EMBRACE all the wonders together.)



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Announcing the Healing Hearts Workshop

I have an amazing announcement to make!

Abby of Flourishing Hearts Yoga and I are so stoked to announce that we are in the stages of planning an online workshop called “Healing Hearts: A Creative Journey Through Art & Movement.”

This online workshop will be a one-day, self-guided retreat that you can do alone or with others (it doesn’t have to take one day, if you want to spread it out).

Science again and again is proving that artistic expression and physical movement are essential to the heart’s journey towards wholeness and hope after any kind of loss or grief. This workshop is intended to empower people towards a greater understanding of connections between healing and expression in all its forms, supplying simple and effective tools to get people started on a road to deeper wholeness.

We shot the first footage this past weekend for “Healing Hearts” and are so excited to share this with you soon!

Look for a sneak peek to be available in the next couple of weeks!

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A Look At 2014: Love is Worth It

It’s been quiet here on the blog lately. A lot has been happening, and I need to catch everyone up to speed. I wanted to write a couple posts looking back over 2014 and into 2015. Today, I’ll focus on 2014.


At the beginning of last year, I picked a word for 2014 – LOVE – and asked God to make this word the theme of the year. I’d never done something like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Unsurprisingly, He did just what I asked (only in ways I never expected).

2014 was incredibly hard. I dated for a few months and quickly realized how closed off my heart was to relationships. The wounds from grief, heartbreak, and betrayals were much deeper than I had even anticipated. My heart was cold. Lifeless. Hardened. This difficult truth catapulted me into the summer, where I faced the painful task of changing the course of my heart. I was on the way to becoming an angry, bitter, selfish person who had no real joy or love left to give to a world that had broken her heart. I was hiding behind my “success” as a viral online blogger, but the real Teryn was slowly suffocating. I needed space to heal and process and grieve.

So the summer was a time where I stepped away from blogging, from the online world, and focused inward. I wrote a lot of poetry, which highlighted the up and down emotions I was feeling during this season (check my poems out here). I spent a lot of time crying out to God for healing. I deeply grieved the wounds of the past and cleansed them from my heart. I spent a lot of time forgiving and re-learning to love.

The first real choice to love was going to Thailand to help document human trafficking and organizations working to stop such things. This was truly a life-changing experience, and so much healing came out of this trip. I walked in and out of that trip a different person. Thailand was a blazing catalyst God used to change the course of my life. I’m still processing the things I learned during the trip, but to sum it all up: In Thailand, I began to finally accept that I am loved. God loves me. People love me. I should open my heart to give and receive love.

Love is worth it.

After Thailand, I began pouring into relationships here in Colorado and suddenly found I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was. I was surrounded by people who cared deeply about me—both new and old. With God’s help, I could change my life to live in love. It is never too late. It just takes the choice to heal, to thrive, and to change. It takes bravery to fight for one’s heart.


In 2014, I learned to love. I learned what love truly looks like, what to avoid, and what to look for in love. I learned that love never fails, and every choice we make to truly love is a step toward healing in our hearts and the world. I learned that sometimes, love means letting go of friendships or relationships that aren’t the best for us. Love means loving oneself, because it’s only when we truly accept God’s love for ourselves that we can love others in the deep, powerful way that changes the world.

Part of learning to love myself and accept love in 2014 was taking the steps toward physical healing. I’ve struggled with Lyme’s Disease for almost ten years, and in 2014 I finally committed to dealing with it. To fight it with everything I have in the hopes that I can live a healthier life in the future. I’m not good at taking care of myself. I often will pour out myself to others, but I rarely take care of myself or let others truly be there for me. For a long time, part of me believed I didn’t deserve it help or love.

2014 proved me wrong. Over the last two months or so of the year (and into 2015), I’ve had so many people step up and help me through a rough transition into Lyme’s Disease treatment. A kind older woman offered to let me live with her rent-free so I can afford my medications and appointments. One of my sisters drove me back to Colorado after Christmas when I couldn’t do it alone. Friends helped move me when I was too weak to do it all—well, pretty much any of it—myself. Friends are praying for me and helping in whatever way necessary—whether that means shopping with me, decorating my new place, cleaning or cooking, or just listening and praying with me during this tough time.

Maybe through being truly sick, I’m learning to ask for help and accept love from others. No, it’s not fun. But it’s helped me realize that no one can do it all on their own. We all need a little help now and then. It’s okay to ask for help, and to ask for love, and to let others show up. It’s okay to fall apart and pick up the pieces, because we’re all on a journey towards healing.


It has almost been ten years since all the pain started: health, heartbreak, depression, unhealthy relationships, betrayal, grief, bitterness, coldness of heart… Ten years is long enough. I want the next ten years to be different. I want the past to be the past, and I want to move forward into a future with life, love, and hope. 2014 was the beginning of a beautiful transformation in me that will continue as I move forward into 2015.

New things are coming, and I’ll keep you updated! Thanks for sharing the journey with me on this blog. I hope and pray that whoever reads this can find the hope and strength that healing can come. Never give up. Fight for your heart. Love is the only hope we have in this world.


Becoming Aware of Triggers in Grief

For the grieving person who has lost someone (to death or other reasons), there is a lot of unknown in the grieving process. For a while, everything makes you want to cry or react in anger. As the months progress, though, you probably aren’t crying every day. Oftentimes, there are triggers that set off grief. These triggers can come at unexpected moments, probably because there are so much emotion and memories involved.

Some triggers for grief seem obvious (holidays, birthdays, anniversaries). Yet some are not so obvious.

Let me take a moment to share some triggers I’ve experienced as I’ve process the alleged murder of my Kindred Spirit, *Becca.



1. One of the strangest triggers is the way I react to movies and TV shows. America really likes crime shows. I couldn’t stomach them for months after Becca was allegedly murdered. I’d get so angry at the way entertainment so lightly passes over the victims who are usually murdered in brutal ways and everything is easily settled in an hour of television. Crime solved, detective is victorious, everyone goes on with their lives! Tell that to a victim’s family, who have to deal with the crime the rest of their lives. Even putting someone behind bars doesn’t solve the pain of the loss. I still don’t like crime shows or movies, and I try to avoid them. I can now be more okay watching them, but I still sometimes react in startling ways to entertainment that involves flippant violence or murder. I sometimes have to walk away from the TV set if my roommates are watching something that triggers memories. Once you’ve had something tragic happen to you, murder, crimes, and tragedy really isn’t entertaining anymore.

2. Another thing that is a trigger for me is weddings. I know this is weird, but the last time I saw my friend alive was at her wedding. It was a horrible wedding. I already could sense something was really wrong, but hadn’t yet put the clues together. She was allegedly murdered by a guy who was in the wedding party two short months later (at the alleged order of her husband). I went to a wedding about a year after Becca had died, and I was having flashbacks the entire time about Becca’s wedding. It’s not something I could control, and I tried very hard to enjoy my time at that wedding. Still, it was really hard.
The last eye contact I ever made with my best friend was when she tossed the bouquet at her wedding, and I caught it. I knew she’d throw it too hard, and it’d end up in the back. So I stayed in the back and got the bouquet. She looked at me, and I looked at her. One last true look. Just a few days ago, I saw a picture on Facebook of a bouquet toss, and I began to feel so much pain in the pit of my stomach. It took me a while to figure out why I was feeling such things about a simple picture that should evoke joy. And then I remembered…

3. Christmas break is another thing that really triggers pain. It’s not so much other holidays, but Christmas is hard. Becca wasn’t family, but she was like an older sister and mentor to me. We grew up in high school together, and when we both left for college, Christmas was most usually a time we got to see each other when we were both home. I made a concerted effort to see her often during the holidays. I was even planning a visit to see her again in December 2013, but she was murdered that October. It’s painful for me to know that I will never see her again during Christmas. Not just during Christmas break, but any time.

4. When I need prayer, it’s a trigger. When I need advice, it’s a trigger. When I need someone to look up to, it’s a trigger.  When I want to feel completely understood, it’s a trigger. Becca was one of the most influential friendships/almost-sister/Kindred Spirits I’ll ever have. There are often times when I would’ve called her for advice and pour out my heart to her, knowing she’d be there for me and understand completely. We were Kindred Spirits, made of the same stuff, and we could just look at each other sometimes and know things. I don’t have another friend quite like her in my life. I’m not sure I’ll ever have one again. The hole in my heart will always be there.

5. Triggers happen in small ways every day of every month of every year. Sometimes, when I go through my phone book to choose whom to send texts to, I will still almost instinctively click on her name. I haven’t deleted her number yet. I just can’t. For a moment, I will pause and look at her name, and it will hit me like a bullet in my chest that I can’t ever send her a text or a phone call again. That no one will ever understand me like she did.


Triggers, my friends, happen often in grief. I write this simply to help others think about things that might trigger grief for themselves. I also write this to help those who know people who are grieving. To help them understand why a griever reacts strangely sometimes to seemingly unrelated events.

ADVICE FOR the NON-GRIEVER: When someone loses someone they loved, every part of their life is forever changed, altered, warped. Whether it’s simple things like sending out a text or big things like holiday plans, it’s something they have to live with the rest of their lives. Sometimes, their emotions seem to make little sense–especially after time has passed–but dig a little deeper, and it usually will make sense. Remember that when you interact with a griever.

ADVICE FOR THE GRIEVER: It takes time to figure out what could be triggers for you personally as you grieve, and to give yourself space and time to process these triggers when they happen. Take care of yourself and learn to become more self-aware. When you feel pain unexpectedly, try to stop and think and figure out why. Go back to the memories. Seek counseling if you need to. It will help you heal and process. If you don’t face the triggers, they will eat away at you unawares and may effect your life and relationships in negative ways.

So think about it.

What are your triggers?

*Name changed for privacy.


PDF of 15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief!

I’ve had a lot of people contact me and ask if they can use this piece and pass it out, etc. I was going to design a PDF within the next week or so. Honestly, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the response to my blog over the last few days, and I’m just tired (I’m still dealing with my own grief), so even making one was making me more overwhelmed. But I wanted to do it, because I know it is needed. It was just going to take a little while…

Today, I was emailed by a man who’d already designed a piece that people can print off. This PDF looks amazing. I was going to design something almost exactly like it. I really just see God in this, because this is such a blessing. I’m just so happy to pass this onto anyone who needs it TODAY. May it help many, many people.

So thanks, John Nyborg. I really am so grateful for this.

You can download the PDF here.

Edit 11-29-13: I have compiled many of the comments into a post entitled “Advice & Thoughts on Grief.” Read it here.



The Girl, The Heart, & The Tower (A Poem)

I’m sharing one final poem to help wrap up my series on “Boys, The Good & The Bad.”

In college, I began writing longer poems that were more narrative in nature. I have several written at various time for various reasons. It was a way to express myself in a free-running manner while still telling a story of some sort.

This is one I wrote towards the end of my senior year at college (read Part III of my series). This was a painful year, a year I began to shut down emotionally, really deal with some intense stuff, etc. So I wrote this poem as I tried to process my own heartbreak, my own story of healing and renewal.

I didn’t finish this poem until this summer, though. So it’s a poem that has spanned several years.

It’s a story. A fairy tale. A tale of healing and redemption.


(I also apologize for some of the formatting in this. WordPress is silly, and so it looked better in Word. Oh well).


The Girl, The Heart, & The Tower

Once Upon A Time,

there was girl who did not know what love was.

To her, love was what was portrayed in magazines and movies:

You gave your whole heart, your worth, your happiness

to a person.

One person.

And life was supposed to be lived happily ever after.

Then she grew a little.

And she fell in love with a boy.

Oh, how she loved him!

She took her heart completely out of her chest

and gave it all to this boy.

Her whole heart, her worth, her happiness

to that one person.

Because that is what love is, right?

But the boy she fell in love with did not return her affections.

He took her heart,

—her heart that was now completely out of her chest,

throbbing with hope and eagerness to love and be loved—

and he abused it.

He took her heart and crushed it,

pressing and beating and pounding it into a bruised mess.

And then he threw it on the ground,

and he left.

He walked away,

leaving her heart on the sidewalk,

alone and helpless,

still bleeding from all those wounds.

The girl had never known that so much pain could exist.

She looked with shock at her heart lying there

on the pavement.

And she knew that life would never, ever be the same.

The aching hole in her chest began to throb and throb.

Desperately, she tried to put her heart back into her chest,

but she couldn’t do it!

Try as she might, it was too heavy now with sorrow

and she couldn’t even lift it.

And it was so tender now.

It hurt so badly because of the bruises, the wounds,

It was a mess of emotions and feelings

Lying on the pavement helplessly.

The girl didn’t know what to do.

So she started to cry.

She just sat on the pavement by her heart,

and she cried often when no one was around.

She felt so alone and helpless.

After a while, though, she knew she must get up and try and fix it.

She was tired of lying there like victim.

But she still couldn’t repair it on her own.

It was too big of a task.

“Will someone please help me repair this heart?” she asked.

“I can’t do it on my own!”


Other boys came.

They would handle her heart,

and they would throw it again on the sidewalk.

And the mess grew larger and larger.

Some took one look at her and ran.

Others stayed for a while,

admiring her from a distance,

but once they realized she was asking them to truly help,

to come alongside her and repair the mess of a heart

with deep emotions alongside it,

they quickly ran, too, out of fear.

“Just fix it!” she began to cry more and more.

Desperation began to sink in.

“Someone, please help me fix this!

Please be a man and protect my heart,

and help me overcome this.

And don’t be afraid of my sorrow.

If someone would just come and stay and not leave,

then I would recover.”

No one would help.

No one would come.

And still her heart lay there,

unprotected and vulnerable to everything in its path.


So finally,

she began to realize that no one would come.

There would be no knight in shining armor.

Because fairy tales are for books,

and real life has no redemption in it.

Boys would be boys,

they would handle hearts carelessly

and play with emotions

and not care at all if her heart was injured more in the process.

“Fine,” she said.

“I don’t need them.”

And that deep desire for protection and safety

from a man died in her.

“I can do this on my own,” she said.

“I always seem to make the same mistakes.

Guys can’t be trusted,

and I can’t be trusted.

Therefore, I give up that hope.

Hope and trust are for silly romantics who have not yet tasted pain. ”

So she began building the Tower.

She collected bricks and stones,

raising up a fortress of bitterness.

The mortar that held everything together was fear:

Fear of vulnerability,

fear of pain and hurt,

fear of relationships,

fear of mistakes and failures,

fear of  being left again and again.

She began constructing a tower around her and her heart:

It was a tower of dreams

that had nothing to do with men.

Her ideals shifted to that of independence

and aloneness and careers.

She did not need a man.

She did not need people.

Her heart was safe in her Tower—

and she breathed a sigh of relief.

For at least her heart would not be trampled upon

or thrown on the ground anymore.

Still, in her quiet moments,

she felt very sad.

And for some reason she could not decide why.

The girl would sometimes open up the window to her Tower,

and peer out and interact a little.

But fear always drove her back in,

slamming the windows shut.


And in the Tower she began to suffocate.

Fear was all around her now.

Darkness entrenched her.

The Tower blocked out

the sun,

the breezes,

the birds,

the rain.

She couldn’t feel,

or see

or smell

or taste Life.

Real Life had ceased.

Her heart was in a vacuum of senselessness.

And in panic, she realized she had shut herself off

to feeling, to love.

Self-protection had led to alienation.

She had shut out everyone.

She was truly alone.

It was dead inside that Tower.

But she was trapped inside now.

And all she could do was shake in fear.

And cry.


But then, He came.

At first, there was only a faint sound of His steps,

coming nearer and nearer.

The girl looked out of the Tower

and saw His approach from far away.

She had seen His likeness before,

in pictures, in stained glass windows, on wooden crosses.

But in reality, He was so different than any of those images.

He approached with the determination of a general at war,

riding on a white horse,

a sword glimmering at his side,

and His eyes were like the lightning.

And she cowered in her Tower,

for the very sight of Him in all His realness

struck fear and trembling into her very bones.

“He cannot see me like this!” she thought.

“I am ugly, worthless, ashamed.

This is all my doing.

I’m trapped, and I deserve to be left here

in my own sins.”

The first words He said were,

“Do not fear,”

gently, just like He were talking to small child.

He surveyed her Tower,

and instead of dark judgment in His eyes,

or disgust,

there was compassion instead.

“Do you wish to be free?” He asked.

She nodded and could not speak.

So He began to walk around her Tower.

And as He walked in slow circles

with steady steps,

He began to speak.

“You are loved,” gently.

“I am loved?” she asked with quavering doubt.

“Yes, you are loved,” He said.

“I am loved,” she repeated.

And all at once, His words began to sink in.

“I am loved!” she said louder.

“I am loved!” again with exceeding joy.

And He began walking around, destroying her Tower.

One by one,

the bricks of fear and bitterness and anger began to fall away.

It took much longer than she thought it would.

Each brick falling away was painful,

because the girl was not used to the sun and the beauty anymore.

And she stumbled upright and looked at Him in awe,

blinking in wonder.

Her heart still lay on the ground.

He reached towards her heart,

and He picked it up in His great hands.

The heart was enveloped in His strong fingers.

His hands covered it completely and deeply.

He held it tenderly.

He rubbed it and massaged it

so that it began to truly live once more.

It began to beat again.

The beatings of the heart were painful at first.

The girl writhed a little.

It hurt—it hurt to feel things again.

Sorrow, joy, love, care…

“It’s too much,” she said.

“I don’t want a heart anymore.

Pain will come again.”

“To love is to see pain,” He said.

“But to live is to love. Real Life is made of love.

Will you sit in death forever?”

Her eyes welled with tears.

Because she knew it was worth it.

To have an alive heart was worth it.

And He placed her heart back in her chest,

and she felt the embrace of His hands holding her heart safely,

a protection and a love enveloping her heart like never before.

She knew that now,

her heart was hers and His.

It was safely where it should be.

He kissed her on the forehead.

And He showed her the vast, open world before her,

spread out in green rolls of earth,

the horizon melting into the distance,

great mountains soaring overhead like marching sentinels.

And He said,

“Go Live.”

And so she did.

She ran through the fields.

She climbed the misty mountains.

She drank from the rippling streams.

The wind blew through her hair,

and it carried her away on its currents.

She was free at last.

And she lived Real Life.

Spring 2011, Summer 2013


Boys, The Good & The Bad – Part II: Senior Year in High School & Beyond

Here is Part II of my four part series on Boys, The Good & The Bad. Read Part I here. This series is a look back on my life and my interactions with boys. There have been many painful experiences, but many joyful ones. My purpose for this series is to show both the pain and the encouragement that males can bring to females. It’s to explore the ugliness and beauty of relationships with the opposite gender. It’s a complicated issue, but so many us of struggle with our identity when it comes to the opposite gender. We have a profound impact on each others’ lives, for good or for ill. I’ll be exploring that as the series progresses more.



I’m a senior in high school. My Kindred Spirit leaves for college, and that alone is harder than I ever thought it’d be. I miss her a lot.

And then Boy One enters the picture. The first boy I ever really, really like. Yes, I’ve had inconsequential crushes a few times. But this…this is different. I like him immediately. We become good friends. We have a lot in common, and we have fun together. I’m hoping it’ll work out.

But a few months down the road of our friendship, he tells one of my friends, “I don’t like her, we’re just friends. There’s not a lot of chemistry between us.”

I’m devastated. No chemistry? Does he really find me that unattractive? Now I know what it means to be “Just Friends.”


Yet I know I have to hide my feelings and be just friends, because that’s what he wants. So I hide my feelings. I don’t want to destroy our friendship, because it means a lot to me.

The more I get to know him, the more I see how broken and wounded he is. My heart reaches out to him. I want to help him. I want to heal him with my love. I want to be the girl who rescues him. I’ll do ANYTHING to help him. It seems so romantic.

“I’ve done some really wrong things,” he tells me. “I can never forgive myself. God can never forgive me.”

He cuts himself, and he does other things.

I send him verses, and I pray for him, and I try and talk to him, and I am just there whenever he needs it.

“You’re the only one I can trust,” he tells me. “No one else listens to me like you do. I can only trust you and my youth pastor.”

I am equated with a youth pastor in his mind.

For some reason, this binds me to him in even stronger ways in my mind. I have to be strong for him. I’m the only one he can trust. I’m the only one that’s really there for him. In a way, I begin to equate my love = God’s love for him. I begin to believe that God wants me to stick this out and love this guy because no one else will.

My love will save him.

So I must stay. I must show him love. I must show God’s love, no matter what happens. God is telling me to love him.

My heart begins to break, slowly, gradually, deeply.


Have you ever fallen in love?

Because falling is the right word.

You’re walking along living a normal life, minding your own business.

And then you trip, and you fall off a precipice into a yawning abyss.

You spin and you lose control.

You don’t know what’s up or down, right or left.

The clear blue sky grows smaller and smaller above you.

And the darkness grows stronger and stronger.

And you keep falling, falling, falling.

You wonder if you’re insane.

You forget yourself and everything you used to know.

Because love feels a lot like insanity, especially when the person you love could care less.

You’re not falling in love, then.

You’re simply falling into darkness.

No one is there is catch you.


For two years, senior year and the year after high school (I take a year off before I head to college), I love him. I silently, secretly love him.

Why? Because he needs me. And because God told me to. And God told me I’d heal him with love.

He never loves me. In fact, he likes every girl in our circle of friends except me. It’s torturous, as he tells me who he likes this month, and I just nod my head and grin fakely.

“What is wrong with me?” I ask myself all that time. I look in the mirror at myself and think, “What can I change about me? What do I do differently?”

Yet I must love him. God told me to. I read my Bible more, I pray harder, I plead with God to change him. I take Scripture out of context, I twist it to mean things it doesn’t mean. I convince myself that God has made me a promise that I will be with this guy, that he will change, that he will love me. And nothing changes. Nothing. “God, don’t you care at all about me?” I shout. “Don’t you see what I want? Why don’t You answer?”

No matter how hard I believe, I’m met with nothing but silence from God.

The more I try to control God, the more insane I feel.


I’m crushed and despairing. I begin thinking horrible thoughts about myself.

He’s rubbing off on me. All his self-loathing and abusive tendencies become part of me. I don’t know where I end and he begins. I feel everything he feels.

I stop eating. There are days I just want to punish myself, to make myself pay for the ways I’ve screwed up. If I had just done everything right, if I had just been who he wanted, then he would love me.

God told me to love him. God promised that He’d heal him through my love.

And it hasn’t happened yet.

Which means I just need to try harder. Love is about sacrifice, I tell myself. Love is about dying to self and being there for the man you love no matter what. Love is about denying oneself. If I can only do this more, then my love will change him.

And it doesn’t.

So I feel like a failure.


Once, I have a dream. In the dream, we are in a dark house and all of Boy One’s ghosts are in the house. There are hundreds of white, ghastly figures walking around. They overwhelm him. I keep trying to help, to get him away, but they start overwhelming me, too. We are surrounded by these haunted figures who start tearing us apart. I’m suffocating, I’m dying. The ghosts move in closer, and I’m about to be run over by them…

I wake up sweating. The dream is a perfect description of how I feel.

Yet I love him so much. I just want to help him. I can’t stop loving him. It’s this addiction. This life-sucking addiction that I can’t ever get out of.

I’ve fallen into darkness.

So I love him.


As year two of my love begins to come to a close, I meet with him.

“I want you to know that God loves you,” I tell him. “God can forgive whatever you’ve done. He’s just waiting for you to come back to Him.”

“Teryn, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you the last two years,” he says. “Thank you.”

“I’m just trying to be a good friend,” I say, although my heart is hurting so deeply it feels like a knife is stabbing me repeatedly.

I love you, can’t you see? I think. Can’t you see that all this is because I love you?

After that, things seem to unravel more. He pushes me away. Then he needs me. Then he pushes me away.

Then he dates another girl and doesn’t tell me for weeks. I find out through a mutual friend. “He doesn’t even like her,” my friend informs me. “She really likes him, though.”

The pattern of his life.


Do any of you know what it is to love and to not have that love returned?

To know that one of the most precious and beautiful of feelings is not shared by the person you love?

To know that no matter what you do, or what you say, or how much you care, they don’t give a shit.

Like I’ve said before. It’s a Game.

And I was never good at playing The Game.


Boy One gets worse and worse. He ignores me more and more. He uses me. He lies to me. He pretends not to know what’s going on with me.

He doesn’t even come to my going away party when I leave for college. He says he’s coming, and then he chooses to work the night of the party. He says he’ll come see me to say goodbye, and then he never does.
He says a lot of things, and I always hope, and the hope is always crushed.

When I leave for college, it’s like my heart is torn into a million pieces.

I am shattered.

God, why did You tell me to love him? I ask again and again. Why did my love not heal him? Why is my heart so broken? Why wasn’t I good enough?


It takes me many years before I realize how weirdly abusive the whole situation was. How manipulative it was. How I let him use me because I had no idea how I should be treated in a relationship. My identity was in him, and I was almost destroyed because of it.

I also realize how God DID NOT tell me to love him and to lose myself in him. How I tried so badly to control the situation of this broken, messed up guy with Scripture and prayer and love. How God said, “NO, NO, NO,” time and time again. I over-spiritualized everything because I was in love.

Feelings are fickle, the heart is deceitful, and spiritual language can be used so beautifully for what WE want. My own depravity got in the way of God’s voice in many, many ways.

Half the blame can be put on me. I should’ve walked away long before it got so crazy. (And I do walk away, actually. My freshman year at college, he starts contacting me on Facebook and tells me he wants to see me during Christmas break. I tell him I can’t. I tell him it’s too painful, and I can’t see him again. It’s the hardest thing I ever do).

But some of it was NOT my fault. People reject love, even when it’s well-intentioned. You can’t control another person no matter how hard you love them. They will either respond, or they won’t. They will either use that love to their advantage, or they will love back. And it takes wisdom and discernment to know the difference.

This boy didn’t know what love was. He only knew what hurt was. He’d been hurt, so he hurt me in return. He was shattered, and so he shattered me. It’s the cycle of hurt and abuse that, unless truly give to God and truly broken, perpetuates throughout generations. Hurt begets hurt, abuse begets abuse, unlove begets unlove.

And I, in my innocence and romanticism, got caught up in a something that was too strong for me to handle. I was wounded.

I fell into darkness.

God caught me at the lowest point.


Because you see, during this time in my life was when my relationship with God became real and raw. I was humbled, I realized how stupid I could be, and I realized how deeply I needed God. I learned so much about God’s love, what it is and what it isn’t. Even though I made mistakes, I also experienced God’s love in amazing ways. He is rejected all the time by a world that hates Him, and yet He loves. He loves us all with this deep love that aches to be reconciled to us. He aches to heal us. He aches to change us and free us.

I saw this boy with this Love, and I saw him through God’s eyes. He didn’t respond to such a love, and that wasn’t my job. But God’s love is powerful, and it is painful, it is beautiful, and it is utterly beyond comprehension.

God gradually lifted me out of those dark places. He patiently waited for me to come back to Him, for me to acknowledge my own depravity and my need for control. He saved me from myself. He loved me, He never left me, and He deepened me through this whole time in my life.

Tune in next week for Boys, The Good and The Bad – Part III: College Years

*Names changed for privacy.


Two Poems About Heartbreak

heartbreakIt’s Tuesday, and I’m posting a poem. Two, actually! The poems I’m posting tonight are tied into the blog series I’m currently doing in the month of July called “Boys, The Good & The Bad.” Part II of my series will go up on Thursday evening. In that post, I will be talking about falling in love for the first time.

It was not a pleasant experience. I loved this guy, and he didn’t love me. He was a broken guy who dragged me into this mess. And I, who truly believed I could love him into change and healing, tried in every way to help him. It didn’t work.

The first poem, entitled “Afterthought,” is actually a song I wrote during a time when this guy I loved liked another girl who didn’t like him. Oh, the drama. I felt very much like an afterthought, always. I tried so hard to be there for him, and yet he always had eyes for another.

The second poem is a poem I wrote expressing the pain I saw in him and how much I wanted to help him heal. I was so hopeful that through my love, he would find hope. I was convinced God was going to do miracles in him and free him.

It didn’t happen.

(I was such a romantic back then, which was wrung out of me quite thoroughly).


I truly loved this guy. It’s painful to go back and think about it, but I learned so much through the whole experience. I honestly don’t want to share these poems, because they show this broken, little girl side of me that just wanted love and would put up with anything to get it.

I don’t like to think about that side of me anymore.



(Verse 1) She and I walk down the hall,

And I see him standing there.

My heart starts beating hurriedly,

And in vain I wish to hide.

My head goes down,

I don’t want to blush,

Then I glance up hopefully.

And there he stands, watching only her

with an expectant little gaze.

Angry, I chide myself,

My heart sighs with lost hope.

Because I care too much—

My heart is rent—

Although I know

I should’ve known better


(Chorus) Because I’m just an afterthought.

An afterthought, an afterthought.

He didn’t give me a glance—

His look was all for her.

Because I’m just an afterthought,

And that’s all I’ll ever be.


(Verse 2) Oblivious, she chatters on,

Thinking they are only friends.

Forgotten, I stand quietly there

While my mind keeps wondering:

Why did I come?

Why can’t she see?

These secrets are too much for me.

For as he gazes at her, his eyes are sad

Although he tries to mask his pain.

And I see, reflected in his face,

The loneliness that reigns in me.

And he cares too much—

His heart is rent—

Although he knows

He should’ve known better.


(Chorus 2) Because he’s just an afterthought.

An afterthought, an afterthought.

She doesn’t give him a glance—

She is just his friend.

That’s all he’ll ever be.

Because he’s just an afterthought,

And that’s all he’ll ever be.



And yes, I feel lonely,

And so do they.

And why can’t it all

Just end happily?

But the thought comes to me

That God has a plan

Although we haven’t seen it yet

And yes, it’s all confused now

But we’ll endure ‘til it’s time

For the right love to come along


(Chorus 3) Because none of us are afterthoughts

Are afterthoughts, are afterthoughts

He loved me before time—

He wrote my love story

And that’s comfort enough for me

Yes, I’m not an afterthought,



I might feel like it now—

But the time will come

for true love to begin.


Your Eyes

Ever since I became your friend,

I can read what you’re really feeling:

Even if you lie or smile vacantly,

Your eyes tell me the dark truth.

I have seen deep sorrow and regret

Reflected like wells in your eyes–

All the sins and pain of yesterday,

Your eyes tell me the vague story.


How I wish I could change

The sadness in your eyes,

Replace the self-condemnation

And give your eyes radiant joy.


I wish I could dispel the darkness

That dwells in your eyes.

I wish I could shout and sing

Until your eyes shone with redemptive melodies.


And oh—how I love your eyes!

Even when they fill with un-spilled tears,

Mirroring your self-deprecation,

Even then, oh—how I love your eyes!


And I cry to myself when I am alone

Because I can’t heal your eyes.

And I hurt and ache inside

Because your eyes have no peace.


All I can do is pray and wait

For the God of heaven to heal,

So that your eyes can truly smile at me.

Oh, how I long for that day!


When you have forgiven yourself,

When you have surrendered all,

And made sense of yourself, your past, your future—

Then I will see His light in your eyes…