Sunday, June 29, 2008

Heartbreak, Heartache, and Restoration

Hearts. Not the thing that pumps blood. The thing inside us, that is who we are. They can feel so much joy. So much peace.

Or so much pain.

Life so often hurts. I've heard people say that their heart is broken. I've been there. Broken hearted. Heartbreak goes beyond hurt. Heartbreak is when you've had so much hurt, and you're still in the middle of everything painful, and you don't feel anymore. I've been there. It's awful.

I've also had heartache. Heartache - that pain inside that is physical. It goes beyond sorrow and it goes beyond desperation. It can bring you down, and affect every decision and action.

I look back at my life... there's been a lot of heartache. I've been abandoned. I've been abused. I've been violated. All before the age of 6. I've been depressed. I've seen hope deferred. I've been the only child of a single parent with an illness of unknown origin. I've been afraid I was dying. I've been hurt. I've been suicidal. I've walked so far from God that I didn't know if I could go back. I've had the person who I depended on most ripped away by death. I've blamed myself for that. I've blamed others for it. I've stopped caring. I've inadvertantly broken relationships. I've deliberately broken them.

And in all this? God has provided. I look around me, and there was always, always someone there for me. I've never truly been without. My parents loved me. They always have. I know that. But my family was broken all the same. That's hard on a kid. There were things that happened that I kept from them, even at such a young age. It was a big burden, but easier that way. And yet, although I didn't share it with anybody else, God sent others to help. As I grew older, and things started to matter more, I noticed that people just cared so much. There's nobody I know who hasn't let me down at one time or another - because they are like me. Human. And capable of error. Imperfect. But they were there. There's a lot of them... when I was younger, they were mostly men. My daddy, for one. Alan, for another. But those were expected. And as strange as it sounds, it's the unexpected that really stands out... my martial arts instructor, who never looked at me as though I was crazy, and took the time to really get to know who I am. My other martial arts instructor, who was an outside influence, a mentor, believed in me, believed I would make it when nobody else did, and was a true friend. Yet another martial arts instructor who saw potential and took the time to remind me that there is always space for compassion. A doctor from Pennsylvania who finally helped me see that the connection between soul, spirit, and body is unbreakable. And that if I didn't take care of the first two, the third would break down. A deacon in a new church who opened his house and family to me if ever it was needed. A Pastor who knew my "darkest deeds" and looked me in the eyes and told me I was wanted, and that there was a place for me in "his" church. Friends I didn't know were friends. A husband who somehow, through the craziness of the last almost 3 years, has never wavered in his affection. Who somehow still sees me as an amazing, beautiful person. And those are just the ones that pop into my mind quickly.

I know people who are lonely. I know that there are those who feel like they've got nobody. And I know how that feels. Because in the midst of all those people who cared, I was alone. Nobody knew my secrets. Nobody knew the depths of the pain I felt. At least that's how it seemed. Today, on the other side of much of that, I can see God. I see His face in the smiles of the people I listed above. I can feel His touch in their hands and hear His voice in their words. And I know now that even in my darkest, deepest moment of despair, He was there. And His love is unconditional. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that one. I know my failures, my shortcomings. I know my deliberate sins and the tendencies I have. And I know that sometimes, I feel totally unlovable. And yet, His word says that His love endures forever.

This is the restoration part. The part where I look to heaven and see my King. The part where I am broken on my knees, and He whispers to my heart that He was always there, he's never left me and He never will. The part where I finally begin to see that He truly does love me without merit. And to see that I'll never, ever be able to stop Him from loving me. That's the part the restores me.

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1 comment:

Ken Herschell said...

Hi Jenn and Derek, How encouraged i was today to read your Blog which I stumbled onto when I was showing another Bible Teacher how to start a blog. I have written a book of Esther and My Lives. I will send you a copy of "Adventures with god in Outback Africa," if you send me your mailing address. I live in 10 Fossickers Crt Gympie Queensland 4570 Australia. We have been retired since 2001.
Have you read any of my other blogs I guess i could add you to my circles.
Actually my name is Derrick Kenneth Herschell.
Baaba means 'Father' in fulani language and Kennet is short for Kenneth
This was my name, BaabaKennet, in Pita, Fouta Djallon Guinee West Africa.

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Baaba Kennet