I watched her grow up. Our families were in the same church. She was a rebel at heart; strong-headed and fiercely loyal – always in some sort of trouble I had to get her out of through the years. I was her leader, her best friend, her hero.

She wasn’t the girl I’d had in mind at first – there was someone else I was praying about. But when that door closed and we started spending more time together, I thought: Maybe this is God’s open door for me.

We were the perfect couple. Same friends, same ministry, same God. I thought we’d spend the rest of our lives together. Until real life started taking us further apart – and suddenly it wasn’t so easy anymore.

Like any couple, we had our differences and difficulties. Different schools. Difficult schedules. I should have known then how my constant absence would’ve hurt hurt her, and by our sixth year, the emptiness between us could no longer be ignored.

I was growing up. She was growing up. But we never grew at quite the same speed.

Whenever we met, it was always the same old things. Church talk. Complaints. Compromise. We were doing things we shouldn’t have been doing as Christians. There wasn’t much else going in our relationship. We became two separate people leading two separate lives.

We were in trouble.

After six years together, the world as I knew it fell apart when we broke up. Who was I without her? What we had together wasn’t perfect – we’d made mistakes, failed each other as partners … But wasn’t she the one I was going to marry?

With a broken heart, I prayed and fasted, hoping that God would bring her back. But she was adamant she didn’t want this anymore, not after the pain I’d put her through. Our pastor even told us it was for the better that we went our separate ways.

Give yourself six months, a mentor told me. Don’t let it rule the rest of your life. When it was clear she’d moved on without me, I knew it was time to let go. I still didn’t quite understand why – what was so broken about us that God couldn’t fix?

A few days later, a friend asked if I was interested in getting to know someone new. Deciding to finally open my mind and heart to other possibilities, I agreed. This year, I’ll be getting married to the amazing woman I’ve come to know and love dearly.

So often we think that when we let go of things, they never come back. But in letting go, we open our hands for God to place much better things in them.

He never fails.

This is one in three stories of our short film, Love Lost, Love Found. Read the other two, “How I walked away from the perfect person” and “I made a mess out of love”.

The author’s name has been changed for confidentiality.