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Recovering From a Broken Heart

So many of my friends are struggling with some aspect of brokenness. Some are dealing with a sadness so profound, it’s really a broken heart that they’re tending. And I’ve come to see that it’s a normal part of being human. What is not normal is to expect to be able to somehow cruise through lif…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

So many of my friends are struggling with some aspect of brokenness. Some are dealing with a sadness so profound, it’s really a broken heart that they’re tending.

And I’ve come to see that it’s a normal part of being human. What is not normal is to expect to be able to somehow cruise through life. Nobody gets out of here unscathed. “I’m shot,” says the soldier in Blackhawk Down.” The sergeant looks at him and says, “We’re all shot.”

And, in any given group of people who are willing to be transparent, you’ll find that’s true. My friend Allie Lousch just wrote about what it feels like. And she found that God was there in her mess:

A few weeks or days ago, I crawled to my knees and asked God again, “Why? I don’t think I can do another “Plan B”. I don’t have it in me and the humiliation of it all…” There were tears and sighs as I knelt in what was a child’s pose of prayer. And then there was quiet and in my heart a thought nudged through the sadness, “Allie, in me, it is always Plan A.

I’ve thought about this a lot in light of events, and stories from friends, and World Racer blogs, and a long highway towards “home.” Though I am not sure if I understand, I’ve come up with a few ideas of what “always Plan A” may look like in a world of war and weeping and God’s grace…in God’s economy.

The currency of God’s economy is love.

We are invited to “cast our cares on him because he cares for us.”

“Nothing can snatch us from (his) hand.”

We are assured that God never sleeps or slumbers and that he is always with us…that he knows the plans he has for us; plans for our “hope and future.”

If you read the really old Hebrew sacred stories, you’ll read where Moses convinced God to change his mind, Jeremiah appealed for a unique mercy, and even in Genesis, God sees the wretched condition of the hearts of men and women and is grieved that he had made them. He had second thoughts.

We see a young sinless man hung upon two pieces of rough hewn wood asking his dad to forgive the people who’s decisions put him there.

We see lepers healed, meals shared with the great unwashed, life extended, children listened to and loved; prostitutes embraced and received as family.

It doesn’t really all fit or make logical sense.

People die, wars rage, despair and evil unleash ungodly firepower on the innocent or unawares.

Children weep in the streets.

And we are asked to believe that God is love and in him is no sin or pettiness.

That what is impossible with humans is possible with God.

That forgiveness is the most trustworthy response to harm.

That “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

And those of us who love him – we pretty much suck at it.

Surely I am not the only one who’s broken heart weeps and whines, who skips out on best decisions, and who gets distracted from the better way of life and love.

Yet, God promises to give us his spirit as a deposit on our lives because he loves us so.

Our weak worship and petulant attempts at praise are not exchanges for his love and goodness and kindness.

He pours out his love and graces and everyday miracles anyhoo.

And somehow our “weeping is turned into dancing” and our monumental failure and mischief becomes the foundation of hope and life, the Petra of a community of people who believe.

So though I cannot say with any authority how heartbreak and the great failures and wounds of another become life abundant, I will believe, because I have seen how far my best efforts have moved myself and others to love.

It is written in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.”

And folks, I can tell you that asking for help to be joyful, to pray, and be thankful…and to forgive is not a waste of time. 

I am blindly scrabbling for a next step and I have been given such peace and grace and love and friends who will laugh with me and wait for the tears to finish…that even in this bewildering time of “what just happened,” I can sing and be thankful and be quiet in this season of not-knowing where it is always Plan A.

Comments (11)

  • I understand so well. My world has been shaken lately, not with any painful happening in it, but in God showing me that I have trying most of my life to deny and push under the pains of life to a place in my soul, which has caused me even more pain. I just wrote about these things on my blog the last 2 days. God has used this awakening for me to begin to connect with others pain, and to quite isolating and trying to hide my own. It’s a new day for me with the revelation He’s brought. Attached to my suppressing my pain, was a belief that if I had too much sadness and sorrow meant somehow I was less than a true Christian. But, thank God, He was a man of sorrows too, acquainted with our grief, and He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens.” In this way, authentic love and connection can happen in the Body of Christ.

  • Thanks Seth. Thank you Allie for this missive.

    As a totally immersed Catholic I am learning the power of quiet.

    That is where the wonder lingers.


  • Thanks for this. I needed it today. Earlier had spent some moments under the cover in fetal position crying. That has only happened about 2 other times in 50+ years of living (and you know the pain of the world I’ve exposed myself too), so yeah, you could say the pain of life was doing a number on me today. These thoughts today ministered to my hurting body and spirit. God is good even when life hurts. Thanks for the reminder.

  • This was so so good! Loved it, thanks for reposting. What really stuck out to me was:

    Forgiveness is the most trustworthy response to harm.

    Seems like milk but spoke me like solid meat. So good.

  • “…that even in this bewildering time of what just happened, I can sing and be thankful and be quiet in this season of not-knowing where it is always Plan A.”

    needed this one, seth. thank you.

  • Dear Patti, I have suffered shame (unneeded and undeserved) from being in a position of needing to receive the body to minister to me this past 7 months. I have been humbled more than I ever thought possible. I didn’t have any choice but to let others help me. There are seasons of giving and seasons (seasons can be short or long) of receiving from others. I am finding real love, genuine faith, real humans that actually want to give out of a heart that finds joy in helping another. Perhaps you might need to let someone else minister to you in your circumstance. It will bless someone else if you allow them that opportunity. If you would feel like chatting I’m available evenings. God bless you.

  • ihad always said i will never and can never forgive anyone but after the miracle God did in my life this morning,i have declared to worship him and trust him with my problems.forgiveness is really a virtue

  • Thank you so much for this post. It’s exactly what I needed to hear this morning and I am deeply grateful for the insights.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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