Tag Archives: grief

Addressing My Broken Heart

Over the years I have continually run into the problem of my broken heart.  I won’t deny that my own sin has contributed to my heart wounds.  But that is not what this post is about.  I have spent plenty of time and effort testifying to my own sin and as a result God has washed me with waves of healing.  He is merciful.

What I want to discuss is how God has helped me address the pain other people have caused me.  My heart has been pierced by many people in my lifetime.  I have done all kinds of things to deal with my heartache and still the battle rages on.    As time passes I feel less pain from traumatic experiences, but for a long time I wrestled with the same old wound resurfacing.  Inevitably, something will come up that triggers memories of the original trauma and in a heartbeat I am right back in the victims quarters.  It’s a terrible feeling when something threatens to break open an  old wound.  I get irritated when I’ve forgiven an offense, taken steps to move past an issue, and it rears its ugly head.

I’ve had to ask myself and God,

“Why? Why am  having I having to deal with this all over again?”

The book of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything under the sun and that includes a time to heal.  I’m so thankful that I can count on God. He has appointed a time to heal me.  Sometimes the hurt that keeps rising up is God. He has to reach into my heart and remove all that doesn’t belong there.

I have gone through seasons of desperately trying to medicate my pain. As well as the genuine effort to “fix” myself.  I’ve tried ignoring my pain, and unfortunately, I’ve developed quite a tolerance.  Pain must eventually be confronted. Confrontation is a little bit like working out. I don’t like confrontation, but I can do it. I don’t want to do it, but I know I have to.  A broken heart must be addressed.  If I don’t do it or can’t do it, I can count on God to address it.

“Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.” Ecclesiastes 3:15

I have some safe people in my life.  These safe people are approachable, they don’t spew toxic poison when I bring up a problem in the relationship.   In those relationships I have been able to successfully engage in healthy conversations that get to the root of an issue.  Although these conversations can be difficult and even uncomfortable, they are ultimately very rewarding.   Having these conversations has proven in my experience to lessen the distance between me and whomever I’ve had a conflict with.     Having a difficult conversation with a safe person can and most often brings a new level of intimacy and can even resolve a matter entirely.

As a believer in Jesus, I am called to forgive any and all people who offend me.  Reconciliation on the other hand requires the person I forgave to do something.  I have no control over this other person.  I can only do my part.  I’ve forgiven people who are no longer in my life, not because I had to but for my own healing.  Some of the people I’ve forgiven have died and there is no opportunity for reconciliation.  Then there is this other group of people who are toxic. Toxic people are proud and arrogant.  They never admit when they are wrong.  They are not approachable and will avoid working on problems.  Toxic people shame and blame, instead of owning their owning their part.  Also, toxic people will lie to you when telling the truth is hard.

I’m getting better at forgiving the toxic people and keeping myself safe.  I try my best to forgive those toxic people and leave that time bomb and all the shrapnel that goes with it in God’s hands.  It’s incredible, but I’ve had to learn to stay away from unsafe people.

Henry Cloud wrote in a post, Time Actually Doesn’t Heal All Wounds

  “If someone breaks your heart, and you don’t do anything to address the emotional trauma that person has created within you, sure, over time, you might not think about it as much. But it will never be too far from the surface. Those emotional wounds will be ready to rip right open again at the slightest suggestion of any kind of similar trouble.”

I used to believe that pain rising up again was because I hadn’t fully forgiven.  It seemed I could only get so far and I was never completely healed.  The wall that I kept running into was not my need to forgive.  The wall I have repeatedly run into has been the hard, unrepentant heart of an offender.

Rebuke a mocker and they will hate you.   I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Too bad for me I didn’t learn it the first time. I have received verbal beatings as well as physical.  Silence doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with a person.  Sometimes it means that I know raising my opinion, however gentle I may be, is not safe.

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, Proverbs22:24

One day when I was running into the same old wall, feeling that familiar ache in my heart, it hit me.  A light went on and everything became so clear.  I knew  beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was in fact right and the offender was in fact wrong.  I also knew that my only hope for justice and healing would have to come from God.

Not all people are safe.  I know God wants me to try to reconcile with other people, but try as I might there are times when this just can’t happen.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”  Psalm 34:14

When it is obvious that I am getting a child’s response from someone who looks like an adult, I try to retreat.  “The wise person sees danger and takes precautions, the fool keeps on going and suffers for it.” Proverbs 27:12  Sure, I have to be humble and that is hard, especially when I feel I’ve been wronged.  It takes strength to forgive a person who isn’t even sorry.  I know God can handle the situation.  He lifts up the humble and He brings the prideful down low.

““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”” Matthew 11:28-30

When You’re Sad on Mother’s Day

Isaiah 30:15

Today is Mother’s Day. I remember when this holiday was a jumble of emotions and the work that it took to contain them all. First, there was the grief of my mother’s death. I thought that pain would never subside. By the time I had children of my own, the world was less than kind towards the ache I felt in my heart.  As if I should have been over it long ago.  I was given the message that Mother’s Day was only for happiness and joy. So I wrestled to keep my emotions in check.

I tried to focus on the positives, like the fact that I got to be a mother. And being a mother has given me tremendous joy! I love, love, LOVE being a Mom!

The second grief was unknown to most of the world. It was my secret that I kept locked up in my heart. God tells us in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  But my wellspring was muddied by the secrecy of the abortions I had gone through when I was 17.

I kept these secrets hidden in my heart and I didn’t let anyone in for fear they would discover what I had done. Mother’s Day was a warfare for me because it attacked my identity in Christ.

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The Bible says to confess your sins to one another and pray for each other do that you can be healed.

I had to get over two main stumbling blocks to get to a place of peace and joy on Mother’s Day and in life.

  1. Truly grieve the loss of my mother.
  2. Truly grieve the loss of my first two children.

I was in a Mothers of Teens class several years ago and the teacher recognized & called me out on my unprocessed grief from my mother’s death. I didn’t see it coming, nor did I appreciate when she pointed it out to me in front of the whole class. I had made some remarks and in the process mentioned that my Mom had died when I was nine.

It was not long after that experience that I spent an entire summer paying $125/hr to sit and cry in a counselor’s office. I cried and grieved my mother’s death and all that went with it. It was difficult work. I had not known how freeing it would be to face the pain, resolve it in my heart, and be able to stand up and move forward.

God truly heals broken hearts! I know because He did that work in mine.

The second stumbling block for me was the grief wrapped up in the loss of my first two children. This was hard in a way that I can’t find words fitting to express.  I had to come to terms with the truth of what I was capable of and what I had done. I had aborted my first two children.

I went to a place called Carenet and they walked me through a Bible study called Forgiven and Set Free, by Linda Cochrane. The study lasted eight weeks. Each week there was homework for me to complete. Every time I sat down to do my homework I was met with grief.  It came out in anger and deep sobbing groans and moans. When I finished my homework I would wipe my tears, take a deep breath and put on a fresh face. The important part is that I allowed myself space to grieve.

This season began a new kind of warfare for me. There are many (way to many) people who share the same secret. Those people rose up against me. They made all sorts of excuses about why abortion isn’t so bad in certain circumstances. Honestly, I believe  my coming out threatened some of them. Whenever we see another person overcome adversity, it silently speaks to us suggesting that we too could overcome adversities.

The very thought of overcoming overwhelming odds and circumstances in and of itself can be a threat. It gives rise to the resisting and negative thoughts that tell us we’ll always be stuck and wounded.

The Bible says there is a season and a time for every activity under the sun. If you discover that Mother’s Day brings up a jumble of emotions for you, ask yourself if you have any unprocessed grief to work through.

This is my story. Each of us walks our own path.  There are so many reasons why a holiday like Mother’s Day might not be a joyful celebration. It could be that you no longer have a mother, never knew your mother or have a bad relationship with her.  Perhaps it’s not about your mother.  Many people walk down the path of infertility or the loss of a child that died. There are so many reasons people may be sad or mad or find they want to avoid the holiday altogether.

My take away point is that healing is possible. The Lord heals in many ways. God heals with His Word. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:20  God heals when we confess our sins and pray for each other.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Healing is a process that usually takes place over time.  For me it took a long time. This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15

Ecclesiastes 3New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8