I’ve been thinking about heartbreak lately, not for any specific reason.
Maybe it was the news of Kate Spade’s death or the fact that a friend confided in me that she wants to end her life.
Whatever the reason, I’ve been pondering the reality of a broken heart.
I know that not all of us will wrestle with feelings of suicide, but all of us will experience heartbreak in some fashion.
Heartbreak comes packaged in all shapes and sizes at different seasons of life.
There is the heartbreak of loss, betrayal, rejection, empty promises, loneliness, sin, and countless other ways we experience brokenness. I don’t know what heartbreak you’ve experienced or what heartbreak lies ahead of you, but this is what I know; heartbreak happens to each of us. While none of us escape life without heartbreak, I am confident that there is hope on the other side and mercy in the midst.
The reality is that not all of us will find hope or recognize His mercy in our seasons of brokenness.
Maybe that’s because we fall captive to the fables of a broken heart, or the weight of loneliness, or perhaps it’s because we fail to see the purpose and beauty that brokenness reveals.
Myths of a broken heart
- It’s my fault.
- Time will fix it.
- If I were stronger, it wouldn’t hurt so bad.
It’s my fault.
If I had just done “insert whatever lies you tell yourself” or if I were simply better at “insert next lie” There are a thousand lies that try to creep into our thoughts when we face heartbreak, it’s so important that we learn to take captive all thoughts that are contrary to the word of God. This myth is devastating, and it’s not just our thoughts we battle against, we have to battle the negative thoughts of others. “Helpful friends” who try to reason and make sense of hardships often like to point out what we’ve done wrong.
Let me stop right there.
Friends, bad things don’t just happen to bad people. Job knew this better than most of us will ever know. The very first words written about Job were how he was perfect and upright, he feared the Lord and rejected evil. His story goes on to share about brokenness, sorrow, and trials; none of what he experienced were the result of his failures.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had countless times in my life where something was challenging as a result of my personal choices. I reap what I sow, just like you do.
Galatians 6: 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ga 6:7). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
At the same time, there have been countless times that I’ve experienced the depth of heartbreak, and it had nothing at all to do with my wrongdoing, sin, or failures.
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Mt 5:45). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Time will heal your broken heart.
No, no it won’t. Only God can heal our brokenness, and yes that process can take time, but time alone will not heal my broken heart or yours.
Good intentions or not, it’s vain for us to suggest that time will heal a broken heart.
Time doesn’t heal anything.
For some, time may do nothing more than ferment bitterness. For others, it may grow an abundance of gratitude. Time is a tool that God uses as He completes the good work He has begun in each of us, but no, time won’t heal our broken hearts.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Php 1:6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
If I were stronger, it wouldn’t hurt so bad.
Maybe you’ve thought these thoughts before:
“I should be stronger than this.”
“If I was stronger like (insert whoever you compare yourself with) I would be able to deal with this.”
The truth is, you don’t have to be strong enough for your trials.
I distinctly remember the moment I accepted the freedom to be weak.
Sobbing on my bathroom floor, I folded the pile of red towels I had just dropped.
Silently I prayed, “Lord. I quit, I can’t do it anymore.” It could have been a dozen things that brought me to my knees, but like most things in life, it was the straw that had broken the camel’s back.
Through my tears, I gasped for breath when the verse from 2 Corinthians came to mind.
2 Corinthians 12: 9-11 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., 2 Co 12:9–10). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Whenever God changes us, it becomes life-changing. No matter how many years pass, we remember what we were doing and where we were at. This moment was no different- It was life-changing for me. I began to embrace my weakness and my inabilities; praising HIm for His strengths and His perfection instead of worrying about my weakness and shortcomings.
I believe that once we get over those myths, we can move forward to finding mercy in the midst of brokenness and hope on the other side.
Responding to Heartbreak
Brokenness isn’t something we get to choose. There are times when we can see brokeness approaching and other times brokeness takes us by surprise. In either situation, we must prayerfully choose how to respond instead of reacting.
My first response to anyone who asks me how to get through a challenging situation is,
“Spend time in the Word like your eternity depends upon it.”
Actually, that’s how we should face every single day. Spending time in the Word helps us respond purposefully, with grace, and courage. This is much better than reacting in our flesh that gets scared, overwhelmed, and doubts.
As I went through my devotions this morning, I was encouraged by David’s example to praise God as a response in His brokenness.
Psalm 34: 1-4
I will bless the Lord at all times:
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord:
The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; And saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 34:1–4). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Purpose of Brokenness
Sometimes it can feel that the only purpose of brokenness is to destroy us. We don’t see any beauty that can possibly come out of the pain and yet that’s exactly what God does. I know there have been seasons I thought I would never dance again, and yet He traded my sorrow for gladness.
The Lord is merciful to us through the heartbreak.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing:
Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 30:11–12). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Friends, take heart. There is hope on the other side of heartache. There’s also mercy in the midst of it.
If you feel like your life is a mess of shattered fragments and that nothing good can come out of it, let me encourage you that God makes mosaics out of messes. He brings beauty out of ashes.
He’s done it for me, and I’m confident He will do it for you. God’s not like man, He doesn’t pick favorites. The Scriptures tell us that He is no respecter of persons.
For there is no respect of persons with God
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 2:11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
With much love,