Each time, I told myself that I would not allow my heart to be broken again.
And then...it was broken, again and again and again.
That’s the thing with heartbreak...it can happen often and in every area of our personal lives, our work lives, and yes, even in our church lives.
At least, it has happened that way with me. The moment that my grandmother’s heart failed, and she died unexpectedly; my heart was broken. The pain felt when my best friend decided we weren’t friends anymore; my heart was broken. The miscarriage of our first child after Tim and I were married; my heart was broken.
The people who seemed to “love” our church would “leave” our church without explanation; my heart was broken. Terminal illnesses of people in our church family whom we adored; my heart was broken.
I wondered if I would always experience these heartbreaking moments? Was there a way to be protected from feeling that gut-wrenching pain imbedded deep within my hurting heart? Especially being a pastor who was supposed to lead others THROUGH their own heartache?
The answer hit me like a ton of bricks. I found it in the bible in the lives of Jesus and Paul and Sarah and David and the woman at the well and so many more in scripture. These historic people in the bible, just like you and me, ALL experienced heartbreak. Over and over again.
Through their example, I reframed the question.
It was no longer, will I experience heartbreak ever again? The question was now, how will I get through the heartbreak?
Maybe you have asked this question a time or two.
Here are 3 ways to help you get through when your heart is broken:
1 - Grieve the hurt.
It’s okay. Give yourself permission to “feel” those emotions when you’re heartbroken.
Jesus wept when His friend, Lazarus, died. David became angry with those who betrayed him. And Mary was in anguish as she watched her Son being nailed to a cross. I can’t even imagine that pain.
Our heartbreak hurts, and it is real. So it’s important not to ignore it and push it under the rug but to work through the hurt to eventually be able to move on from it.
I cried and cried when our baby miscarried because my heart hurt so deeply. Eventually, through the process of time, I was able to think and talk about the miscarriage differently than when it happened, knowing that I was healing as I was grieving. I love what Psalm 147:3 says, “He (God) heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
It is sometimes in the process of going through our deepest pain where we can see the presence and strength and love of God the most. So take time needed to grieve the hurt knowing that it’s okay not to be okay as long as you’re on your way to being okay.
2 - Gravitate toward God.
It’s so easy to pull away from everyone and everything when we hurt. But you have to be careful not to build a wall to separate yourself so that no one will be able to hurt you, because behind that wall, no one will be able to help you either.
“Heartbreak” means to be crushed with sorrow or grief. And when our hearts are crushed, we can become distant, especially from God. But some of our most intimate moments with God happen in the midst of our darkest moments of heartbreak and intense pain.
Psalm 34:18 says this, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Did you see that?! God is close to the brokenhearted, and he wants to rescue you. He sees your hurt. He knows your pain. He understands your heartache. And when you are drowning in despair, He throws out a life raft. You just have to reach for it and hold on tight to get your head above the water so that you can start to breathe deep again. And keeping your head above water takes perseverance and stamina. So don’t give up, and don't stop reaching.
Stay reminded that God, who created your heart, is the same God who will heal it.
3 - Ground yourself in the Truth.
Our best defense in dealing with a broken heart is to have a good offense. And knowing God’s word is the key to doing that. It gives us foundational truths, provides a source of strength, encouragement, and helps us to clarify any confusion in our thoughts.
In the moments when I’ve been so hurt and so broken and literally wanted to give up and give in, I reflect on a verse such as, Isaiah 43:2 that says, “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you,” and I am reminded of God’s power in my life and how I can get through this, and it empowers me! Isn’t that so good?!
While God’s word will not keep you from being heartbroken, it will help you stay strong when you are heartbroken. In your deepest pain, God will be your healer, and in your sadness, He will be your comforter.
So in your lowest moments, ask God to show you the truth in His word and lead you and teach you in the midst of the heartbreak. He truly wants to give you the answers because His desire is for you to end up stronger than you were (Psalm 25:5).