Love for Your Wounded Heart
I've written a book for abandoned wives, which I do believe is sadly needed, but a mentor friend suggested I broaden the audience. As I considered making changes, I was asked by the women's ministry at my church to lead a Bible study online this summer. I thought about what I have to offer, and I realize that Finding Love: Prayers of an Abandoned Wife could easily minister to all women if I changed it to Finding Love: Prayers of a Wounded Heart.
We've all been wounded. We can all relate to this pain. My story involves divorce, but as I asked for my Facebook friends to share their stories, I heard about all kinds of relationship disappointments from friends to parents to siblings. These women tried so hard and don't know what they did wrong, but for whatever reason, when they asked for love, they were denied.
In my experience, my wounded heart felt like it had been punctured so many times that it turned into a colander or sieve. I wanted to fill it up with love so badly, but any love that poured in immediately drained back out. In that time, I became a taker. Desperate for more attention, affection, and adoration.
I wanted to be filled up to overflowing so I had love to offer others, but I couldn't do that until my wounds healed up enough to be able to hold the love I was given. If those wounds never healed, then no amount of love would ever be enough. I might accept bad love and even push good love away out of fear of being let down again.
I was reminded of this when at my parent's house last weekend. They have a wall with an image of a tree on which they've hung frames from family members. They had all my siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents on that tree, but they didn't have a photo of me. Because I have a good relationship with them, I knew they didn't purposely leave me off the tree. They were probably looking for the perfect pic or in need of new ink for their printer. I laughed and considered drawing a crayon stick figure family to hang up there as a surprise for them. Then I remembered my husband's experience with not being on the wall at his dad's house.
Jim had felt like the redheaded stepchild in his father's home. He moved out before he graduated high school because he felt unwanted. At one point as an adult, his brother and cousins convinced him to reach out. Jim went to his dad's house with tickets for a rivalry football game between their two alma maters. He and his dad both played football, and he thought this might be something they could connect over. His dad responded with, "Why would I want to go to a Boise State game?" That was also the time when he pointed at a wall of photographs and said, "Anybody who means anything to me is on that wall." Jim wasn't on it.
Jim and I were both left off the wall, but Jim's experience was much different than mine. I'd like to think his dad didn't realize Jim wasn't on the wall when he said what he said. But Jim can't see it that way because his heart was already wounded.
This makes me think about the research that was done on happy marriages. It wasn't that happy couples didn't disappoint each other and make mistakes. It was that they believed the best about each other even when let down. If their photo had been left off the wall, they had assurance the other person simply ran out of printer ink. They were able to love each other better because their hearts were whole. This doesn't mean they hadn't been wounded in the past. It means they'd done the work to heal.
The goal of my new book and BIble study will be to pinpoint 30 areas of our lives that can be affected by the wounds. In each area, we'll study scripture for wisdom and pray for healing. These include areas like truth, mercy, trust and thanksgiving.
This won't be an easy study, but if we don't each do the work to heal our wounds, then we'll be unable to give love to others and end up wounding more people. And there's already enough heartache in the world.
Yesterday, as we took communion at church, I thought about my analogy of a wounded heart leaking love, and the representation of the blood of Christ took on a whole new meaning. By His stripes we are healed. It's only His blood that can fill us to overflowing.
If you can relate to such wounds, this blog is for you. I know it hurts. And I hurt for you. I don't have the answers, but I know Who does.
Consider yourself invited to join my upcoming study. I'll share more info when I have it. (If you relate specifically to the divorced part, I will be speaking online at a free conference in April, so watch for that too.)
Also, if you have a story you want to share, either just with me personally or with the possibility of being used in my book, I invite you to message me. I have a contact page on my website, and I care about you. Sometimes just opening up about the pain will help you let it go.
There's love out there waiting. I want to help you find it.