Fail to put God at the head. I grew up in a Jesus-loving household and I’ve always had a relationship with the Lord. But ask me if I ever, even one time, lifted up a prayer to ask the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit if I was with the right dude. I just knew what I wanted and pretty much expected God to fall in line with that and oh, by the way, bless the relationship. No wonder that thing failed. Not only was my man my top priority—another fail on my part—but he wasn’t even the right man, which I might’ve known had I invited Jesus into our twosome.
Lose my mind being jealous or insecure. Man, I was a handful back then. I even had an issue with the guy watching porn because I felt so un-fabulous about myself, I didn’t want him to have ready material to compare me to. As if, in our daily back and forth on a college campus that was about five girls to every one guy, he didn’t have enough to work with just going to the café to get a bite to eat. If Janelle now could talk to Janelle then, I’d say get some couch time, get a self-help book, and get over it.
Wait (and wait and wait) on a ring. I learned this one from the next boyfriend, who would’ve made the perfect husband—except he just wouldn’t drop down to that knee and pull that little sparkly piece of finger candy out. We had a ball together and he was a wonderful father figure to my daughter. But after eight years (oh yes, I said eight) I learned the hard way that a guy doesn’t always tell you he’s afraid of marriage. Sometimes he just shows you.
There’s a happy ending to all this hard-knock love lesson learning. My man now is beautiful and kind, and he knows what I’ve been through and appreciates me for the woman my experiences have helped shape me into. But even more important than that, I appreciate me for the woman my experiences have helped shape me into. Janelle 13 years ago wasn’t nearly as thoughtful and fearless as Janelle today is. That’s because, after you’ve survived a broken heart—if you know like I do—you know you can survive just about anything. And win.