Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Little Salve for the Broken Hearted

Not only so, but we also glory (or rejoice) in our sufferings,
 because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
 And hope does not put us to shame (disappoint us),
 because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
 through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV, emphasis mine)

I am thankful that I can no longer feel the pain but I vividly remember the feeling. A feeling that most human beings have felt yet no actual description can truly capture the magnitude of the effect. Unfortunately, I have experienced it a couple of times in my life and I can honestly say it felt like a piece of me died. What - you say am I rambling about? Well, it's a broken heart! 

Webster's defines it simply as "overcome by sorrow." Succinct yes but also all encompassing as those of us who have experienced this type of sorrow know exactly what that means. Just to hear the word, elicits thoughts to times, hopefully long ago, in which we experienced some significant loss. Typically, (or maybe just my case) it is associated with broken deep personal relationships or with the loss of a loved one. 

I often hear people say "that breaks my heart" or "I'm heart broken over...." But, I feel it has become a phrase we say when things are bad and we don't really know what to say. HOLD ON!! -I'm not saying people don't feel bad or have a deep level of compassion/empathy/sympathy for said situation but in reality to experience a broken heart, it's a first person emotional experience. Everyone has to take their own journey and go through the process of healing in their own way. 

These periods of "deep sorrow" leave an imprint on our lives in which we can usually remember minute details that when recounted had absolutely nothing to do with the event. For example, when I was 7 years old, my father walked out of my parent's bedroom after an extremely violent tirade against my mother. He then walked over to my brothers and me and told us he was leaving. Immediately,  I felt my world crash around me because as crazy and dysfunctional as our home life was, it was all I knew. To me, that's how everyone lived. But as tears streamed down my face and my brothers and I said our good-byes, the thing that stands out to me along with the feeling was the fact that I was sitting on the coffee table and Planet of Apes was on TV.  Funny what we recount.

As for those broken relationships, the effect seemed more significant to me from a feeling stand-point. Maybe it was the fact that I was older or that I had allowed myself to trust someone or it caused me to relive some of the earlier abandonment issues that started as a kiddo. Whatever the reason, the pain was unbearable. I am not sure how I made it from one day to the next but I do know that somehow it got easier and easier. I can still remember the way I felt as the door closed literally and figuratively -- that slumping, caving, gut-wrenching feeling that I had lost a necessary part of me...something vital for sustaining life and taking my next breath. Of course, that feeling was just that, a feeling and it wasn't the end of me. I must say there are some serious physical repercussions and manifestations of going through this sort of emotional trauma. I had to make some choices, changes and ask for help and because of that I turned out okay. To be honest, it is easier to look back and say I am better off because of those turn of events. However, when you're going through it, you don't think that way.

Currently, I have several special people in my life I am watching go through their own broken heart season. It truly saddens me and makes me feel extremely helpless that I can't do anything to take away their pain. I can only pray for them and be there as an ear to listen and try not "fix" it because only time will heal the wounds. 

The Lord Jesus Christ felt this very same pain when He knelt to pray just prior to the upcoming betrayal by one of His very own. The Bible tells us that He cried out to the Lord,
 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
 yet not my will, but yours be done.”
...And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly,
 and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."
 Luke 22:42, 44 (NIV, emphasis mine)
 During His brief time in human form, He experienced the same visceral and emotional encounters we still go through today. He was abandoned, rejected, lied to, betrayed (by many including those He called brother and friend), falsely accused, imprisoned, mocked, forced out, and so on. You name it, He faced it. But what strikes me is that He still continued on the path set before die for those same people who caused Him the pain. He was in such torment for what must be done that I wonder if the blood was already being shed for the sins that very night as He prayed? He shed blood for us even as the pawns were in place to carry out the prophecy of His death and subsequent resurrection. (Isaiah)

I say all of this to say this, we are not alone no matter how alone we feel. I know first hand what it is to have loved and lost, both by decision and death. I can't begin to imagine what many of you are going through out there. But, we all have our stories and those stories are what make us who we are. Let the Lord use your experiences to reach others, bring comfort and glorify His Kingdom.

For those in the midst of the struggle, I know it may not seem like it now, but there can be healing and calmness, if you trust in the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) He says,
 "Peace I leave with you; 
my peace I give you.
 I do not give to you as the world gives
. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." 
John 14:27 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Furthermore we are promised, 
"Be strong and courageous.
 Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
 for the LORD your God goes with you;
 he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
Deut 31:6 (NIV, emphasis mine)

So, take it one day at a time, one breath at a time and keep close to the Lord and He will see you through. He did it for me and He will be there for you as well. Just ask Him.. He stands at the door and knocks...(Rev 3:20) Just ask Him in and let the healing begin....

Dear Heavenly Father - I pray for my fellow comrades in the midst of dealing with a broken heart. I pray that You bring them comfort and peace. Give them the strength to make it one more day and make life easier with each breath they take. I thank You for being with me during those dark days in my life. I thank You that You have been able to use those experiences and have used them to shape me into the person I am today. I thank You that what was meant for evil, You intend for good, just as Your word promises. In the blessed name of Jesus - AMEN


  • Have you had a season of "deep sorrow?" If so, did you grow from it? 
  • Think about how your life has changed and evolved since the loss. Jot down a list of the good that has come from that experience. 
  • If you are currently in the midst of the struggle, I encourage you to pray. To seek godly council and to stay in the Word.  Check out Jerimiah 29:11 and my personal favorite Romans 5:3-5.
  • Pray for one another!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

A new post! Yay you! Thanks girl that was awesome. The heartbreaks make us who we are and I am glad that you are you. ((hugs))