Why You Can’t Rush the Healing of a Broken Heart

Today is a quiet day. Everything I had planned on my agenda, God wiped away and left me with a clutter free day. This Monday was supposed to be full with a car oil change, holding my sweet granddaughter and a salon appointment. One by one circumstances changed and the cancellations came in. My heart took notice and as I was sitting, resting and watching the softness in the sky of a cloudy day, God surprised me. I clicked on a link to hear a song, Clean by Natalie Grant. It’s a new song about being made clean by the maker of our heart and soul. I listened to it probably 10 times and let the truth of the lyrics take hold.

I’ve spent the last two weekends sharing with hundreds of women part of my healing journey and restoration the past few years. Those close in my world, know that my marriage was in serious trouble several years ago and I thought we weren’t going to make it. I was broken, shattered and couldn’t see any hope in the storm.

But as I shared with a crowd of women on Saturday,

Hope isn’t just an expectation, it is a person, Jesus.

He is the healer of all things broken, all things shattered when life is messy and it doesn’t make sense.

When the pain breaks you to the point of despair it’s hard to believe in the moment that you will ever be whole again.

That you will ever dream again.

That life will ever smile on you again.

I had many weeks, days and even months feeling like that. But as I chose to ride out the storm in the boat with a heart broken and shattered, Jesus made a way and gave me peace. It was hard, it was complicated, it was messy and sometimes ugly. I struggled with believing, I struggled surrendering my feelings, but out of desperation I obeyed that small still voice that said, “Trust me.” Sometimes I had to do it several times a day, hour by hour and minute by minute.

It’s so ridiculously easy to slap a spiritual bandaid on our pain, trying to move on and pretend everything is okay when inside we are unraveling. We pressure ourselves to put that mask on especially it seems in the church. And to put a Romans 8:28 (All things work together for good…) anecdote on our pain instead of just letting our reality match God’s truth without pretense.

It’s much easier to try and fake it and not deal with crushing realization of a life that isn’t working. Why do we do that as people who confess to love Jesus? Why? Honestly, it can drive me to insanity, and I know I have been a guilty party. It limits how I grieve, how I heal, how I relate, how I process and move through the pain.

I believe you can’t rush the process of healing.

I wanted to.

I wanted badly to move forward.

Others wanted me to, begged me to and I wanted with all my might to wake up and be all better right now, but I wasn’t! God gently reminded me AGAIN, Trust me, trust the process. I still want to, and yet there are remnants and pieces that are healing and I’ve come to terms, that it is okay. I can’t rush the process of what my heart is whispering to me.

This brilliant song by Natalie Grant reminded me today that the beauty of healing comes piece by piece. Not in one beautiful miraculous chunk, although I am sure God is quite capable of doing that. But I think he prefers to do it piece by piece and in His good, loving timing. Why? So I will trust him intimately with new depth in my soul.

I resonate with the line in the song, I am coming alive with joy and destiny, because you are restoring me piece by piece. That is why you can’t rush healing, it isn’t in our control, it comes in pieces. There is a purpose in the pain you and I have experienced and unless I submit to walking through it all the way piece by piece, I will miss the journey. I will miss Jesus making me fully whole and fully alive in Him.

Psalm 84:5 is one of my most treasured verses for the longest time. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains!

When I was a kid I loved to jump in rain puddles. That is the point. There are no puddles, no pools without the rain, without the rainy, nasty thunder storm there is no pool of blessing. If you are wrestling today with where you are at and feel like it’s taking so long to get through the storm, remember as Natalie Grant sings in her song that he is restoring you piece by piece because that is God’s way of making us whole because He loves us
completely.

 

Do You Think They Will Notice?

photo 1 photo 2I have a tray that sits on top of my fridge. It’s a favorite of mine to use in the summer on the deck. It’s a stark black and white print. During the off season my husband uses it with a placemat on top when he is alone to eat his dinner and watch the news or sports in front of the TV. He’s converted my favorite tray into a portable TV tray. Remember those? (Only for those of us old enough when they were invented)

The other night when I opened the fridge it slightly fell over the opening of the fridge, so I had to catch it before it hit me squarely in the face.

I noticed some extra decorating on my favorite tray.

DUCT TAPE!!

Which was nicely covered up by the placemat. Did he think I wouldn’t notice? It had obviously been involved in some sort of an accident, although not sure how it happened, so now it was cracked and my sweet man tried to repair it. When I asked him (nicely of course) about it, (at least I tried to ask nicely) he said, “No, he wasn’t trying to keep it from me, but that it just happened” and he fixed it for me. SIGH…..How do you get mad at that answer? He was trying to fix it for me!

I found myself thinking as I removed the placemat how in my own life I try to cover up my brokenness and wounds sometimes.

I consider myself fairly authentic but there are times I want to camouflage with duct tape, hoping no one will notice.

It doesn’t work very well because the fact is, we are all broken.

We have scars, we have wounds, we have trauma, anxiety, hurts and difficult challenges. Such is life. I once heard a song years ago, Life is Hard, but God is Good. Yes, God is always good but the fact remains, life is just plain hard and that’s why we need Him.

This weekend I am heading out to engage with a few hundred women and hopefully bring them a message of hope and remind them that our influence is powerful and strong in Jesus. But I will have to lift off the placemat in places of my life and expose the brokenness and wounds in order to be an effective leader and teacher this weekend.

I am riveting with excitement this morning as I have prepared for weeks and months and believe this is my God assignment. But I have struggled this week in wanting to keep the placemat of my life on that tray and give a little too perfect appearance. I didn’t even notice it creeping in. It was subtle, it was sly, slithering in and around the message God has put on my heart from His Word. It crept in, my anxiety, insecurity and the lie that God can’t use me fully unless I appear to have it all together. No duct tape, just a lovely black and white tray to serve others with.

As I’m typing, I just realized, my favorite tray can’t serve anyone unless it is carried. It doesn’t serve itself.

Thank you Jesus, it is you who carries my imperfect life and offers the heart of your message to serve others.

Where do you need to have God carry you today? I am reminding both of us what the writer in 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 says when he was asking God to take away his weakness,

My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness. So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on. I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.

So go ahead! Ask me to remove that placemat on the tray of my life, because I want to bless and serve others today and everyday and I believe you do too!

When the Waiting Room and Faith Collide

surgerywaitingroomA few weeks back I sat in the surgical waiting room at a hospital in San Diego waiting for news about my Dad.

I came prepared to wait.

I had my books and computer, a mini office of sorts.

As hour after hour went by, I watched as people waited, some chatting quietly, others watching mindless shows on the overhead television flatscreen and others staring numbly wondering what the next moments would bring for their loved ones. Then a doctor would come in searching for the family, usher them gently out into the hallway and deliver their news either good or bad. It was sobering to say the least.

We had just recently found out that my Dad had a large cancerous melanoma tumor and the initial report prepared us to expect the worst. So I waited for weeks before the surgery holding my breath and then in the waiting room while my Mom sat by my Dad’s side as they prepped him for surgery.

We were one of the those later in the day who received good news from the surgeon that gave us hope but we still had to wait for the pathology report. I think that wait was more difficult than waiting in the waiting room. Days went by and then on the plane ride home, after I couldn’t stand it any longer, I bought 30 minutes of internet to tap into the outside world.

I received the text. “100% clean, no cancer, no further treatment.”

I cried.

Weeks of holding my breath let loose a dam of pent up emotions.

It wasn’t what we were told by the surgeon at first. We were bracing ourselves for the worst. As I got off the plane and called my husband and my sister and friends telling them the good news, my words came half broken through relief of tears and emotion.

I realize as I write this that not everyone gets this kind of report after waiting and pounding the doors of heaven. My heart grieves with those that get slammed with hard news and it is frightening. As my Dad went into his surgery, he had said earlier that he knew he had lived a good long life and was ready, but he was still scared. Of course, who wouldn’t be! I pleaded with God and begged to have at least five more good years with the first man I have ever loved.

God answered. He always answers, maybe not in the way that we hope for. This time He answered and spared my Dad from further surgery and treatment. Why? I don’t know because life doesn’t always make sense and I don’t have the mind of God. I heard people say after we shared the good news, “God is so faithful and so good to have answered.” But then I think, He doesn’t change, He is always good and always faithful even when the outcome isn’t what we hope for.

One of the sweetest moments came the next day when my Dad shared with me how he had prayed and prayed for strength and courage. He let me know that the morning of the surgery he woke up and felt such an overwhelming presence like God was right next to Him, reassuring him he would be okay. I remember my Dad saying to me timidly, that I might find that weird. I told him, of course not! God can reveal Himself in anyway He chooses to us, even giving us a tangible physical sense of closeness when we are afraid.

My father has a pure faith and I believe that because of his faithfulness that God revealed Himself to him in this way because he truly asked for it with shaking faith, but he asked and made a choice to believe. 2 Samuel 22:26 says, To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless. Not matter the outcome that day, God showed Himself faithful. Either way, no matter the news, my Dad knew that He was not alone.

There are other areas of my life that I pound heaven’s door for, and I am still waiting for a hopeful answer. There are areas of silence and I am still pleading and waiting. That’s hard to grasp when life gets hard. But today, I choose to trust and believe that, The word of the LORD is right and true: he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4.

So I will keep pounding, I will keep asking, I will keep waiting on a God that doesn’t disappoint and who demonstrates Himself to ALWAYS be faithful.