We can get so busy doing life we overlook what is really needing our attention….
As I was recently studying Psalm 51 the familiar lament of King David after his affair with Bathsheba I was struck by something new. Right in between David pouring out his heart before God he begins singing a new song. A song filled with hope…a song asking God to do something powerful inside his damaged heart.
I wonder how many of us allow ourselves the space to get past our sin enough to ask God to recreate our brokenness within us?
How many times instead do we get knee high stuck in mud recounting our failure filled with shame…feeling unworthy of God’s restoration?
Yet past our struggles and sin lies a sacred place where brave songs get penned.
It was here in this space that David knew there was hope beyond his pain.
What hard thing are you walking through right now that keeps tripping you up day after day, week after week?
I know what it was for me – it was unmet hurt.
In the summer of 1987, I was a northern girl who found herself in the Inner City of Philadelphia when I first met him. He was a Youth Minister from the Midwest who brought his students to the Inner City to serve. We were from completely different parts of the country and upbringings yet something drew us together.
How has it been 31 years already?
I was so young and shattered in the secret places, where do I even begin?
It is in beauty-filled moments like these that grace alone is responsible for what happened.
When love brought us together I thought it alone would be enough…..I thought marriage would somehow soothe my aching heart.
But there were nights when pain had its raid on my fractured heart and I let it make a mess of things.
Pain is a marker that brokenness exists.
We promised to love and to like one another forever but my struggle was turning my stomach and causing him hurt. My love was evident but my twisted pain was a miscommunication of dislike. My hurt morphed into a defective shell I hid behind. We have a broken way of being critical when we’re aching deep within.
A critical Spirit is an indicator of a broken heart.
In the earlier days of marriage Joe often told me divorce wasn’t an option for us. He’s had to tell me that more than once, because sometimes all I wanted to do was run and hide.
I remember the day I drew a line in the sand and stood beside him in this commitment…I had to decide I wanted my husband beside me more than I wanted to hold onto my brokenness alone….
I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of those moments that stops you in your tracks and causes you to look over your life and wonder how you’re still struggling with the same ol’ junk almost 30 plus years later.
I’ve struggled with what to do with my pain so many times.
I always thought my problem had more to do with anger or the anxiety that would grip my chest but as I chiseled down deep within my soul, I found it was my wounded spirit that needed healing.
You see when I looked in the mirror I saw my anger left to itself was leading me into sin and was harming our relationship.
I deeply desired to heal and find a better way of dealing but it seemed no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t figure it out.
Unbridled words seemed to fling carelessly from my lips when all I wanted to do was cry and show someone the pain my heart was holding. I prayed and begged God to help me reel in some self-control while my heart ached quietly within. Never putting the two things together and realizing both were linked together keeping me bound in unhealthiness.
And even though I’d grown in many ways throughout the years, I still felt quite stuck in my struggle.
One year ago this week I decided to explore what was really at the root of my brokenness….I wanted healing on the other side where I could grow. Pain became my invitation to find healing.
So I sat down with my Bible, a note book and a work book on resolving conflict and began journaling about my feelings of hurt that seemed to be continually encircling my heart.
Doing inventory on the shelves of our hearts always exposes what we’re needing.
And as I began uncovering my hurts I found feelings of being pushed aside and overlooked were at the root of my pain.
These feelings were twisted with years where I told myself lies, messages that I was unwanted and unloved, even forgetting what it felt like to be chosen. These lies settled themselves within the hidden crevices of my chest walls convincing me to the core that I was unwanted.
Even as much as Joe would tell me and show me his love for me I struggled to receive it. My broken heart was too shattered to be able to receive love in its fullest…the hurt had created a vast emptiness within me.
I knew God’s love was the only thing that could heal my unmet needs.
I resonated with the woman at the well who Jesus met and breathed life into her lungs and gave her life value, the only one out of a whole town He chose to speak to that day.
I too needed Jesus to breathe His truth telling love into me.
When I quit wishing Joe would fill my emptiness and let God heal my brokenness something happened…I was able to receive his kind words for what he spoke them to be… less distance found its way between us at night and love seemed to have a way with me…when I stopped wishing he’d be more I found he wasn’t made to fill my vacant spaces.
I chose to pursue permanent relief for my pain rather than a temporary quick fix.
A year full of reading 8 verses a day (1 Cor.13.1-8) was the prescription my broken heart needed all these years.
For better and for worse my man had swept me up and loved-me-all-the-same. In the ugly & unlovable state he had a way of reminding me of my beauty.
What I thought was wrong within him, was really brokenness within me.
The times he could have wounded me more instead he chose to love me more….
Love is a powerful healer!
….Night comes now with me able to feel his loving arms around me as my brokenness is healing. 29 years of bringing our stuff to God every night and He’s never once turned us away-what a gracious and loving Father He is!
No burden nor pain too small to offer.
His heart meets mine as we lie down at night both weary from the day’s burdens.
He shares his long days of doing God’s work while he patiently listens as I retell the small and big details of my day, both sharing until the moon tucks us in.
Living love together isn’t always pretty in-fact so much of it can be hard & holy moments, but as long as we are fighting in the same fight, God’s got us!
When what seems impossible gets traded in for God’s grace, it finds healing.
Two lives become whole when they go to the same place to lay their stuff down…there’s something sacred about laying it down together. Somehow you quit keeping track and just help the other person carry their stuff to the altar too.
Last night as I scrummaged through a forgotten drawer tucked inside it was a card that said…’I love the life we have together….I love you more every day!’
It’s funny how God can let someone get so close to us that even what should be seen as ugly is seen as beautiful when the Father’s holding our hearts.
The same God who likes and loves us to death is the One who can heal our hearts so they can hold enough love for another.
As life brings us changes one after another these days it’s comforting to know I have someone who loves me like God does….someone who sees past my broken heart and finds wholeness and healing inside it.
As the pain has subsided I’m finding life is beating within it again. And by the grace of God I’ve been able to encircle and give my heart over to God for Him to gently mend its’ holes. It’s been beautiful to gain some distance between my wounds and to freely be able to love and be loved as God intended for me to be.
When our brokenness gets embraced by the loving kindness of God we begin to heal and find our shelter to run away to when hurt and pain come our way…
This verse has really been comforting me these days may it bring you peace too.