Open Heart Season

Open Heart Season: Broken Pieces

 “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].”

Psalm 147:3 (AMP)

Broken Pieces of the Past

I am so glad you’ve decided to join me again this week. Last week we talked about currents that are found underneath the surface and how important it is for us to trust God in order to have an open heart. I briefly explained how these currents feel as if they are pulling us under and how frustration can creep up on us during those intense seasons, often making us feel like giving up. For this week I want to encourage you by sharing with you how seasons of brokenness can come together to create a beautiful story.

Growing up I had a really tough time believing in God, not because I didn’t believe he existed, but because I wasn’t convinced he was particularly interested in me. My life seemed to be composed of a million broken pieces.

Brokenness seemed to be a way of life for my family. My father suffered from alcoholism. When my father was not intoxicated, he was a very peaceful man; though not very affectionate, he was a brilliant man of few words who learned many trades and provided for our family. Yet, every couple of years his addiction would get the best of him and he would begin to drink incessantly.

When he was under the influence he was very violent towards my mother, his few words turned into a flurry of destructive punches both emotionally and physically, and he often wiped us clean of any earnings he and my mother had accumulated. The older I got, the more my dreams of having a normal family and life shattered.

Shattered Dreams

Eventually, my father’s addiction got to the point where he lost all control. He drank non-stop for over a decade, when I was 17 years old my mother could no longer withstand the abuse and he became homeless. Six months later he was deported back to his home country, and when I was 21 he passed away.

I felt as if my father didn’t love me and as if my mother loved him more than she loved us and even herself at times. As a child it was hard for me to completely grasp what this meant for me.

I translated these feelings of “unloved” and “unworthy” from my father to God. I prayed every night for God to do something and every day I would wake up to the same situation, in retrospect at least I woke up. I interpreted God’s silence as his lack of love for me and I became calloused. My heart was closed to anything related to God or to relationships for a very long time.

I always prayed though… I felt as if I didn’t have anywhere else to turn so I prayed. Ironically, I would talk to a God I didn’t trust, which is how this was tied to my inability to open up my heart to Him. I talked to him, but deep down inside I didn’t believe that he cared enough to do something about my situation. It was an erroneous view of God because God is love (1 John 4:8). It pains him to see his children suffer, but as a child, if my earthly father hurt me though he said he loved me, God couldn’t have been any different.

For years I lived in fear. I feared that my father would harm us. I remember hiding under the bed, not for a game of hide-and-seek, but trying to protect my mom. I would hope that my father wouldn’t find me under the bed or my sisters hiding in the closet because then he’d force us to tell him where my mom was hiding.

As you can imagine, these types of experiences left many broken pieces in my life. Trust was hard because I never knew who could turn on me at any moment, building relationships was difficult because what would people think if they found out about my broken family? And though I desperately longed to make intimate relationships with friends and family… it just wasn’t easy.

My dreams of having a normal family were shattered. My dreams for healthy relationships seemed almost impossible. My dreams of having a normal life seemed so fragmented that I didn’t even know where to begin. For instance, how would I attend college and make something of myself when my parent’s didn’t have any money? My mother made it out of that abusive relationship alive, but it really took a toll on her health (she suffered 5 strokes and lived to tell the story!), but that meant that I assumed the role of “provider” for my family. What would this mean for my future?

God the Artist

Today, I am 27 years old. I am still dealing with some of the broken fragments of the past, but I am seeing how God is taking those broken pieces and turning them into a piece of art.

I live near the Wynwood area, which is Miami’s Art district, and I often see some pretty cool abstract art from artists that use broken pieces, scraps, and things you would find in the trash to make some extraordinary works of art.

I’ve learned to see God as an artist because where we see broken pieces God sees a masterpiece.

I’ve learned to see God as an artist because where we see broken pieces God sees a masterpiece.

King David said, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].” I am not going to lie to you and tell you that this happens overnight. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve shed many tears, screamed, fought, given up and picked right up again.

You might be wondering how God turned my broken pieces into a masterpiece. First, he’s done this be turning real pain, into real hope (Psalm 103:2-4; Psalm 107:19-21; Isaiah 40:31). I’ve felt his love fill in the emptiness left behind by the absence of a father figure (John 3:16; Romans 8:15-16; Romans 8:37-39). I’ve seen him use people to help me learn to love again. People who’ve encouraged me and helped me overcome my fears of pain and disappointment. He’s restored some of my broken relationships, primarily with my mother. We had some tough years, but God’s love reached us and helped us forgive and move past our mistakes. We have a beautiful relationship now. I’ve also seen him open doors for me to pursue my dreams for an education (Jeremiah 29:11). With no money for college due to my father’s addiction and my mother’s health issues HE has opened doors for me. I now have two degree’s (a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration). I know that with all the odds stacked up against me, only a miracle could make these dreams come true and I am sure there’s more to come. He’s given me the strength when I thought I had none (Isaiah 40:29-31; Matthew 11:28). All of these are promises in his word and I’ve seen him keep his promises.

I am sharing these dark moments with you because I believe that part of God turning my broken pieces into a masterpiece is by allowing me to encourage other people. I am not superhuman. I am a simple girl with a simple heart. I am still dealing with some of these broken pieces and from time to time I get cut when trying to pick one up. I’ve made many mistakes with relationships and I am sure I will continue to make mistakes. But, as I continue to learn to cope and deal with my past, I want to share hope with you. In spite of the pain from my past I know that God loves me and that truth has kept me alive, he has protected me and if I am alive today it is to make every day count. I want to share that love with you. I don’t want you to give up. I don’t want you to let your past dictate your future, I want you find the courage to keep fighting past the pain and to trust that God still loves you.

I am not sure what your broken pieces look like, but whatever the state or condition of the mess, God can turn those broken pieces into a masterpiece if we open up our hearts to Him and let him in.

This Weeks Prayer

Father God, it’s me again. I am hurting. There is pain in my heart. It seems as if all of the broken pieces are just scattered all over and I can’t see how you will turn this mess into a masterpiece, but I trust that you can and you will. I give you my brokenness. I give you the things that I am too ashamed to confront. I give you my heart. Take it and turn it into a masterpiece. I thank you for your love for me. I thank you for keeping me alive all this time and I look forward to what the future will look like for us. Amen.

Special Upcoming Post

On a later post I will talk about the cycle of domestic violence from a psychological perspective and what you can do to help someone break out of that cycle or break that cycle in your life. I will also talk about how domestic violence survivors often require grace, not just to forgive their abusers, but also themselves. Society tends to blame victims for staying in these situations, but this is a multi-layered situation that is often misunderstood. I hope my experiences can bring light to some of the reasons why the domestic violence cycle is so pervasive to break out off, but not impossible.

This Weeks Blooming Heart Journal Questions

  1. Identify some of the broken pieces in your life and write them down. Do you feel that you’ve healed from these experiences? If you haven’t there’s hope. Present these broken pieces to God through prayer.
  2. Think about the little works of art that God has already created in your life, write them down, and thank God for them.
  3. Do you believe that God heals the brokenhearted? How have you experienced His healing in your life?

 This Weeks “Blooming Heart” Challenge

This week I challenge you to identify the masterpieces in your life and share that with someone. You never know who will be inspired by your story. Pray so that God can guide you to the right person or people who may need to hear your story. Your story itself may encourage them to believe in a brighter tomorrow.

For the busy bees here is the audio for this weeks message. Enjoy!

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