Before I jump into this post, I encourage anyone who has not read “The Broken Heart, Part 1” to check it out here. It is the story of my own “broken heart” experience, the reason I am writing this post. I truly hope that this will help you find healing for your own wounds, whether they were inflicted in the same manner as mine or some way completely different.
I would like to begin Part 2 by saying the following: Whether we know it or not, we all have a wound, a broken heart. Some wounds may have just one source, but I believe it is more likely that most wounds have multiple sources. My own wound has had several sources, but there are three in particular that did the most damage. Believe it or not, only one of those was of a somewhat “romantic” nature. When you talk about a “broken heart”, I think a lot of people tend to associate that with girlfriend/boyfriend breakups. But that’s not the only thing that causes heartbreak. Many, many people in this world get their first taste of that as children looking to be loved by their mothers and fathers. It can come by a good friend, or someone you really look up to. A broken heart does not just come from a failed dating relationship.
Some of you might have what you feel is a gaping, irreparable gash, and some of you may have what you feel is a miniscule bruise or scrape. Whatever the “size” of your wound, it is there and God wants to heal it. It’s the very reason Jesus came!
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath appointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
Those are the very words of Jesus before He even came to the earth! He was stating His mission before He was even in the flesh! There is a short portion of “Captivating” which speaks about this very passage of Scripture, and I would like to share it with you:
“This is the passage that Jesus pointed to when he began his ministry here on earth. Of all the Scriptures he could have chosen, this is the one he picked on the day he first publicly announced his mission. It must be important to him. It must be central. What does it mean? It’s supposed to be really good news, that’s clear. It has something to do with healing hearts, setting someone free. Let me try and state it in words more familiar to us.
God has sent me on a mission. I have some great news for you. God has sent me to restore and release something. And that something is you. I am here to give you back your heart and set you free. I am furious at the Enemy who did this to you, and I will fight against him. Let me comfort you. For, dear one, I will bestow beauty upon you where you have only known devastation. Joy, in the places of your deep sorrow. And I will robe your heart in thankful praise in exchange for your resignation and despair.
Now that is an offer worth considering. What if it were true? I mean, what if Jesus really could and would do this for your broken heart…? Read it again, and ask him, Jesus–is this true for me? Would you do this for me? He can, and he will…if you’ll let him.”
That last sentence leads to what you’ve been waiting for: the steps to healing.
Step One: Surrender
Just writing that, just reading those words, makes me cringe a little. Surrendering is a simple task…but it’s daunting. It takes courage, and trust, and faith, and a lot of the time we feel like we’re running thin on those. But healing cannot come without it, and God will go to great measures to bring us to the end of ourselves and our wills, for it is at the end of the rope, against a wall, that we realize He alone can rescue us.
“Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake then; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them…” (Hosea 2:6, 7).
We can do all that we can think of to try and heal our wounds and find validation (a sense of being needed, of purpose), but we will never find that healing in anything that we do. It is Jesus that came to seek and save, and for that reason, He often has to thwart our plans, shatter our dreams, and seemingly “hedge us in” on every side. We must find ourselves broken and trapped, unable to save ourselves, that we might finally turn our eyes to Him, the only One who can bring us out and raise us up.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her” (Hosea 2:14).
We have to turn from those things we thought might heal us and save us, and we have to place our hope in Christ. And not just our hope. Our every dream, our every desire, our every need, our very lives. Jesus Christ calls Himself our Bridegroom. He loves us so tenderly and boundlessly. With that knowledge, don’t you think you can trust Him to be with you always, to always be working everything out for your good even if all seems to be falling apart? Won’t you give yourself to Him?
Step Two: Let Him in
You might be thinking, “Isn’t letting Him in the same as surrendering?” In a way, it is, but there is so much more to it. A person can surrender simply out of obedience. They can give their lives to God and take on everything that comes their way simply out of obedience. They can live their entire life simply out of obedience. But what is the greatest commandment in the Bible? To love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might! Oh, how He loves us! And He wants us to be able to experience that love to the fullest. He doesn’t want us to go through the motions, obedient yet gritting our teeth. He wants us to invite Him to share the load, to walk with us on the path.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
This verse is commonly associated with the unsaved, and rightly so! God is knocking upon their hearts, asking to be let in. But He also still knocks upon the hearts of His children. He desires us to simply let Him love us, to bask in His great and wonderful love, to allow Him to heal us. Yes, He is awesome and powerful. He could storm into our hearts and force us to allow healing…but He doesn’t want to do that. He gives us the choice to allow Him in or to go our own way. He will find those hurting places if you allow Him in, and it will hurt to have it exposed, but you know how after a certain amount of time you take the band-aid off a wound to give it air and promote faster healing? It may hurt a little at first, but it won’t take long for it to seal up and feel brand new. And so it is with our own wounds of the heart. We must bare our hurt to Jesus and allow Him to come in and do what only He can do: heal.
Step Three: Grieve
This is exactly what it sounds like. Let the tears flow. Let out all that bitterness, all that anger, all that sorrow, all that brokenness. Too often we feel that we must keep it all in and bottle it up tight, and if we just keep it hidden long enough, it will eventually all fade away into nothingness. But that is not true. Keeping all that in wrecks a person from the inside out, it tears you apart and creates even more negative emotions that build up and build up until one day you unintentionally explode.
Yeah, it’s a little scary to think about letting it out, especially if you have a lot to let out. You might think it will overwhelm you and send you into a downward spiral of deep depression, and it would…if you chose to focus on it time and time again. But when you cry out from the depths of your heart, releasing all your sorrows and cares to God, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7), it aids the healing process. Oh, how it can hurt in the moment, but what a relief when it is finished, when you’ve let it out! It’s tiring in my opinion, but you feel as if a tremendous weight has been lifted off your back and you can truly rest. Even Jesus, my friends, was a man of sorrows. Even Jesus grieved from time to time (Isaiah 53:3; John 11:35). So let it out, let it go, and feel the healing begin.
Step Four: Forgive
I don’t know what’s harder, surrendering or forgiving. Both require a giving of self, and they both take sacrifice. It’s not easy to look at a person who so deeply wounded you and just say, “I forgive you.” Honestly, I believe it’s completely against our nature as fallen humans. But without forgiveness, all of that anger and bitterness that built up before will come to haunt you again, taking root in your heart and holding you captive. And not only can it affect you, but also it can affect those around you, reaching out with wicked tendrils of hate and destruction (Ephesians 4:31; Hebrews 12:15).
What makes forgiveness so difficult is that it is not a feeling. At least, not with most people. It’s a choice. More than likely, you will not say you forgive someone and then immediately feel completely free from any negative feelings toward them. That takes time and the constant help of Jesus. As Neil Anderson wrote, “Don’t wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving. You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made.”
One thing that helps when forgiving someone, is to remember that they too have a wound deep inside that needs healing. They too have broken hearts that need Jesus’ touch. They too have broken lives that need Jesus’ guidance. Though they are not innocent of their choices, it still must be remembered that they are just as broken as we are, that they too have been mercilessly assaulted by Satan and his minions.
My experience with forgiveness has been what it only could be. Difficult…but a necessary step and a freeing choice. At first, I was so hurt. And not just hurt, I was bitter, and jealous, and oh so angry with Tate (mentioned in my last post) for doing what he did. Why forgive him? Sure, he didn’t do it purposefully to cause me pain, but why should he have my forgiveness? Did it really matter to him whether I held a grudge or not? Whether I hated him or not? I came dangerously close to that, feeling a bitter hatred toward him. But God has this way of letting you see things through His eyes sometimes. And you know what I saw? A broken soul desperately in need of Jesus. A lost soul I had prayed for for what felt like forever. A weary soul struggling to find purpose and a sense of truly being needed. A restless soul in search of the truth. A wounded soul dying without a healing touch. Oh, it brought tears to my eyes, still does. Sometimes I still fight against those negative feelings, that wicked bitterness threatening to rear its poisonous head, but then I go back to thinking on that soul and something shifts in me, breaks in me, cries out in me, “Lord Jesus, please save Him!” Because if I, Nellye, such a wicked sinner as I am, could be lovingly redeemed by the holy and spotless Lamb, reconciled to a perfect and almighty God, filled with a strong and compassionate Spirit, why shouldn’t he have that too? None of us deserves that gift of grace given us by Jesus Christ and the shedding of His pure blood, but God wants it for us, He longs for it, because He loves us (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
After breaking off a relationship, I hear a lot of people say things like “Oh, he was just too clingy” or “She was so emotional.” I can’t do that. I don’t mean to make myself sound like some great saint for that, it’s just, honestly, the reason I began to care for Tate the way I did was because of his heart, the way he cared for people, the way he looked out for me. He had his negative aspects, but so do I. And as for the choices he’s made that have hurt me, well, he may have very freely made them, but he made them with a broken heart in need of healing. And so I cannot tell people “He was just too [fill in the blank].” The only thing I want to tell people is that he is a soul in search of the only One who can fill the void in his life, who can relieve the ache in his heart, who can satisfy his deepest desires, and he hasn’t found Him yet. He’s just “in the wrong place tryin’ to make it right” (Come Home, One Republic). If you would, dear friends, please pray for him. He needs it.
With that said…let go. Be freed. Let your chains of bitterness be broken by Jesus Christ. Forgive.
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another…even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13).
Now that I’ve talked about the steps to healing, I’d like to give you one final excerpt from the book “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge:
“God went back and got the shaking little girl that was hiding under the bed and convinced her to come out. He unclenched her little fists and took her hand and placed it in his and answered her question. He told her it was OK for her not to be tough. He would protect her. She didn’t have to be strong. He told her she wasn’t a rock but a child. An innocent child. His child. He didn’t condemn her for anything but instead understood her and loved her! He told her she was special…like no other and that she had special gifts like no other. She knew his voice and trusted him. She could hear the pleasure he had for her in his voice and felt his delight in her as he talked. He was so gentle and loving she couldn’t help but melt in his arms.”
Healing does not take strength or being tough. In fact, it takes almost the opposite. It takes complete surrender, baring your heart with all its wounds, being vulnerable with the great Healer, trusting Him with everything you have. It’s wrapping your bloody, broken, frail, scarred heart in tattered ribbons and offering it to the King as a gift, a sacrifice, having no idea what He has in store, knowing only that it is good.
Healing takes also a warrior spirit, for when you decide to ask Jesus for healing, and give yourself to Him with abandon, the Enemy moves in, his forces of darkness churning and striking, seeking to devour you and tear you down (1 Peter 5:8, 9), whispering destructive lies in your ears (you are not enough, you’ll never make it, you will always be wounded, you’ll never amount to anything, God has nothing good in store for you, etc.). This is an unseen battle, and invisible war of the spiritual realm (Ephesians 6:10-18). You must fight back! It may sound terrifying, but remember that you are on the side of the Lord of the battle! The mighty Warrior King! He will never fail you or forsake you, and He has already given us the victory through Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 31:6; 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58)!
If you are interested in reading “Wild at Heart” or “Captivating” (I highly recommend that you do!), or if you would like to just check out John and Stasi’s website, you can find the links below! God has really changed my life through these resources, and you want to know when I made the decision to allow Jesus to heal my wound? A little less than a week ago. I know I have a ton of things to learn still, and I don’t wish to feel superior to anyone by writing a blog post about healing when I’ve hardly begun healing myself, I just sincerely want anyone who needs healing to be able to find it, just as I have. I may only be in the process, but I can tell you with all my heart that I know I will never regret the decision to allow Jesus into the broken places of my heart, to be my Healer.
John and Stasi’s website:
Wild at Heart:
Wild at Heart (PAPERBACK)