December 14, 2011

Written for the Wounded Heart

(from the archives; originally published September 4, 2006. You can tell my writing style has changed.)

To All Wounded Hearts,

Besides those blessed with Christ-centered, happy marriages, the rest of us live most of our days in the raw awareness of our loneliness. Seeing as how we can't stop ourselves from aging, nor do live in a vacuum, emotional wounds and scars accumulate over time just as wrinkles and age spots one day appear and remain. It is only logical that the longer you live, especially the longer you live as a single person, the more life experiences you have to stack the deck against the idea of love. You naturally develop a survival-of-the-fittest philosophy that converts relationships into The Great Enemy.

A vow against future pain requires the constant resuscitation of past pain. Is the old pain actually less hurtful than the risk of new pain? Why opt for the former over the later? The former is guaranteed devastation and the later has some chance of a hope and a future. We sabotage ourselves by reducing our love lives to spending our days licking our wounds.

A wounded heart is the heaviest of all burdens. It drains you, steals your joy, depletes your energy. It cramps your personality, causing you to retreat in mind and emotion. And yet, it is a parasite we permit. It only exists because we choose to fuel it by reliving the memories and making current decisions rooted in a sense of retaliation against the past. The truth is you will never be compensated for your past agony. Embracing the repetitive question "What might have been?" is the greatest deception you can ever buy into in the realms of love. Relishing the sentiment in songs like Rascal Flats' "These Days" or "What Hurts Most" is SO counterproductive! The truth is what should have been, was. There was no better alternative. God knows the future. God intervened and rescued you. If you were praying and seeking the Lord and He denied your requests, then you were spared.

My main point for this blog is that we can not despise the pain. I repeat, we can not despise the pain. The pain is purposeful. I was recently told by a dear family member who has endured more pain than I can ever imagine tell me, "Dana, when the pain is so immense, and you can not understand it no matter how hard you try, it is then that you really know it is purposeful. Because God loves you and would never permit so much pain without purpose. And that may be all you ever know, but it is enough."

Let us wear our past pain with a sense of victory, like a badge proclaiming, "I Survived Hurricane Hugo" or "I am a Cancer Survivor." Can't you see the sense of pride in living beyond extreme pain? You are probably thinking that I am speaking in ignorance and can not possibly imagine how bad you had it. It would shock most of you to be privy to some of my private journals. I am an entire line graph of emotions. I once sought out the perfect word for how I felt after months of agony and found it. The word was eviscerated; gutted like a fish. That is the best I can describe it.

Do you feel as if your heart has been beaten with a meat tenderizer almost beyond recognition? Why would you toss it in the freezer after so much preparation for blessing? Only when you truly know pain, can you truly know joy. When you cauterize the artery to your heart, you think you are sparing yourself from pain, but you are only eliminating any possibility of life. And a hard heart is pervasive throughout all of you. It cripples your ability to love and be loved. It desensitizes you to the pain of others. It limits your Christian ministry.

And so, I suggest that you do what you have to do to recover from heartbreak without sinning. Spend time with people who lift you up, spend time alone with God, be bitter or be angry, but do what you must do for a season as a prerogative to recovery. And when you find healing, give that former pain no future triumph. Take away its power. Say, "I survived. I learned. I am sensitive. I can hurt, but my God, I can love, and that's more than most people are capable of."

God is love and He makes all things new. But He only restores that which you allow Him to do in you. He will not restore you to a healthy state of mind unless you surrender to His divine prescription. And that prescription is the hope of a perfectly designed, biblical marriage. That is the only remedy God grants. He doesn't dish out less.

The only reason your heart was broken last time, was because who you desired was less than what God desired for you. So, do not despise the pain. The pain was essential for any future blessing. Just as you will not regret one day of struggle on earth when you experience Heaven, nor will you regret one moment of heartbreak when you finally experience God's definition of love and marriage. It will be worth all the pain, because the pain will be behind you and all blessing will be before you. But you will only get there by being completely vulnerable to God's heavy and yet tender hand. The pain has a purpose and we must learn to treasure it instead of resenting it.

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