I think most of us have, probably multiple times for different reasons. When our expectations aren't met and promises are broken, we are left without a purpose, wondering what we did to get to where we are.
Often when something breaks we don't think twice; we sweep up the pieces and throw the shards away.
This happens with our hearts, too. When our hearts break, we don't want anyone to know how broken we are. We sweep up what's wrong and hide away our brokenness. For some reason we feel broken things have less value. We believe if we ignore and hide our broken hearts, no one will know we are broken.
Maybe you feel your heart has been broken so many times that you don't have a whole heart anymore. I have felt that way. But I am here to tell you there is hope.
From my experience, I've learned how to find healing, value and even beauty from a broken but mended heart.
A broken heart
During my marriage, it happened early on. I had hopes my husband would always love me, that I would be the princess and we would live happily ever after.
But soon my dreams started to die. My husband took my glass heart and threw it on the pavement.
When our hearts shatter, little shards can go flying in all directions. If we're not careful, we lose pieces that are too small to find. We madly run around, collecting what we can find so we can carefully glue the pieces back together. We try to hide all the cracks so no one knows how broken we are.
I did this and as I handed my glued heart back to my husband, I felt a little less loveable, as if the lost pieces made my heart worth less. Each time my heart broke I would use a stronger glue to avoid losing any additional pieces.
Hopes and dreams became disappointment and fear. After years of following the same pattern, I grew timid, closed my eyes, held my breath, gritted my teeth and handed my heart over cautiously. I pleaded with him not to break it again, hoping this time the outcome would be different.
My once unbroken, clear heart had been broken so many times that the glass was uneven and not beautiful anymore. You could no longer see through it; the cracks and glue distorted its shape and image.
Little do we know that each time our hearts break like this, we leave more shards out as we try to mend the pieces, shards that are dangerous, shards that can bring pain to others. These shards become anger, resentment, hate and bitterness. Your world loses its color. Senses became numb and the daily pain sweeps away hope, joy and love.
A mended heart
Through counseling and healing, however, you recognize that your pain and anger don't have be the end to your heart and soul. You can make different choices. You don't have to hide away your brokenness.
Chose to forgive others and to let God heal you. Every once and awhile you will find a painful shard - trauma, triggers, loss or pain - that sneaks in and tries to steal your peace. Left unchecked, those shards can hurt those you love and your new, healed life.
I know these shards are painful, but they have to be looked at. When you ignore them, they become festering wounds that are even more painful. You have to turn them over to God. You have to give your heart, whole or broken, to Him.
As I found shards and slivers and handed them over to God, I began to understand that for the entire time of my first marriage, I was handing my heart to the wrong person. I was handing my heart to a human man who has his own struggles, sorrow and hardships to bear. He was not capable of being a good keeper of my heart. Nor was I a good keeper of his. We both needed to hand our hearts to God.
A whole but cracked heart
There is a beautiful 15th-century Japanese art called Kintsugi that repairs broken pottery. Rather than trying to disguise breaks as if they never existed, the art form uses them to reflect the history of the object.
Our hearts are works in progress, but God makes us whole. As we heal, He fills in our cracks with a beautiful gold lacquer, leaving all the damage visible. In time we see we are more beautiful and valuable that way.
Norma Zaugg has an MA Degree in Education from Boise State University. She is the author of rootstoholdme.com, a faith-based blog about her healing from infidelity, codependence, and divorce. website: www.rootstoholdme.com Email: rootstoholdme