What do you do with your one broken heart?
It’s a question Ann Voskamp asks in her latest book, The Broken Way — a book that’s blessed me and challenged me.
I had wanted to answer the question before the New Year took off running because I don’t want to live another year with a broken heart and not know.
When I picked up the book, I thought the answer was just to give your broken heart to Jesus and allow Him to heal you up. After all, that’s been my lifelong quest — to keep giving my broken heart to Jesus and praying and waiting for the day when I’m healed up and can be all that I was created to be.
That’s what I thought but in recent years, I’ve begun despairing because try as I might to give my heart to God, the full healing always seems to evade me. As God heals me in one area of my life, something else breaks and I realize there are deeper wounds.
Even as this New Year started, I could feel my heart “bleeding” — physical pain in my chest. God has given me three beautiful children and I love them with all my heart but as they grow older, I find that loving them can hurt deeply.
Ann writes about her teen daughter who struggles with cutting as she did and my mouth hangs open. Yes, knowing Ann’s story, I can understand why she would cut, but her daughter — born into such a loving family, where mom and dad love Jesus, why would she …
And even before I finish the question, I know — at least I think I do. My sweet, fearless daughter who in kindergarten went around with Scripture verses and handed them out to complete strangers because she wanted them to know about Jesus, suddenly tells me, “Mom, I don’t believe in God anymore. I’m not a Christian….”
And I feel my little heart shattering to pieces. Her Daddy and I love Jesus. Did we not do our best to teach her to love Him too? Yet at 12, my sweet, audacious, bodacious pumpkin tells me she’s turning away from her faith.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18
All I know to do is to give those pieces to Him. Had I known things would go this way, I would have tried harder to teach her God’s love. I’m reminded of the stories I’ve heard about missionaries leading many to Jesus but losing their own children. I had not wanted to be one of them.
How can I share the Gospel, when I’ve failed with my own child?
Yet, I hear my Maker calling me to fly, to soar in this New Year and even before week two comes to an end, I wonder if it’s really possible to fly with a broken heart?
“It’s the broken hearts that find the haunting loveliness of a new beat — it’s the broken hearts that live a song that echoes God’s,” writes Ann.
And as Ann so beautifully captures in her book, the only way to really fly is to give your broken heart not only to Jesus but to give it away to a broken world. And I have renewed hope not only for me but for my daughter. Her story is not over nor is mine.