I want to talk about broken hearts today.
Not in the romantic sense of a broken heart, but what feels like happens to your heart when you live different places and do life with many people.
For me it all started when I left home in 2008. My whole world was in Mississippi and Alabama. Most of my life experiences. All of my family and friends. Pretty much everything.
But I had this feeling in me. I’d even go so far as to say it was whispered in my ear for many years. The life that I was living wasn’t satisfying me, and I just knew in my depths that there had to be more to my life than what I was currently doing with it.
After much prayer I quit my job and a new chapter began. I moved to the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Colorado and fell in love with a sleepy little mountain town called Lake City.
I found people that loved me, and I loved them back. My eyes were opened to so many things that I’d never seen before. I had many new experiences. My world-view was shifted and expanded in ways that I never expected.
It was also one of the hardest times of my life and one of the most intense seasons of growth for me. It was a crazy mixture of pain, peace and joy.
I did not know that the decision to move would position for me for many more moves over the next 6 years. Each one would be significant and seem unconnected, but it was all a part of the Master’s plan for my life.
As I’ve moved from state to state and country to country I feel that I’ve left at least a small piece of my heart that I will never get back.
I ache for people and places that I may never see again. I long to reminisce with friends that will probably never be altogether in the same place again.
It’s a bittersweet thing to be honest. My heart feels like it’s been broken to pieces and scattered across the globe, and I truly don’t know how to handle these feelings and emotions sometimes.
Because you see, there’s a piece of my heart in Chicago. There’s a piece in the jungle in Honduras. Part of it’s in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. A large piece is in Delhi, New York. Another big chunk is in Mississippi and Alabama with my family and grandparents. What about the piece in Georgia? Then there are all the other little pieces in the different countries in East Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe and the U.S.
I don’t feel like I’ll ever get those pieces back…and I don’t think that I really want to.
Even though the heartache is hard to take at times I believe it’s a result of love between people, investments made, things experienced together and lots of pain and growth along the way.
Sometimes I’m tempted to put up walls and keep people at a distance, debating whether or not it’s going to be worth the effort and the risk. The pain of loving and then leaving is a familiar one. The longing to be in 15 different places is strange and something that can never be satisfied.
The only common denominator in the memories and people and places is my Father and I. No one else seems to fully get it. So sometimes I feel left feeling alone and very unknown by those around me even though I love them very much.
Even though I feel all these crazy emotions and can’t make sense of it all in my head I’m learning a lot in the process. I mean I haven’t figured it out yet, but I have learned a few things so far.
I’ve tasted and seen that Lord is good, and there’s no turning back. I’ve been marked by His love and His creation. In the midst of my heart being broken I believe that it is also being enlarged.
If I had to do it all over again, I would, and I desire to continue to live my life in a way that will keep growing me.
Now this means risk and pain and stepping into the unknown, but with this comes great reward.
I’ve experienced love in ways that I never dreamed existed though travel and people and places. It has caused me to be dependent on Him to a depth that I’ve never known until now.
The truth is that my life is turning out pretty much completely nothing like I had planned. If you would’ve told me at 18 that a couple of weeks before my 28th birthday I’d still be single as ever and living in Malaysia as a missionary while partnering with a house of prayer I pretty much would’ve freaked out.
But looking back at the journey so far, the friends made, the experiences – both hard and easy – the failures and successes, I wouldn’t trade it.
You see, it’s all boiling down to this one thing.
It’s worth it.
He is worth it.
I don’t feel that I’ve “arrived” in any sort of way. I feel like this is still very much a journey that I’m on. I don’t know if this broken feeling will ever go away, but it reminds me of where I’ve been and who I’m becoming as it causes me to continue to trust my Father for whatever’s ahead.
There is joy in pouring out and investing. There is a harvest and much fruit that comes from giving your love away.
Loving is risky business as we all know. We’ve all been hurt by people. We’ve all given parts of our heart away that we can never get back. We’ve all experienced rejection. Things haven’t worked out like we hoped. Sometimes we feel left with absolutely nothing in return for opening up our hearts, and it leaves us wounded and scarred and wanting to self-protect.
So what do we do with our broken hearts? Do we build higher walls to keep us isolated and others out in order to avoid any pain that might come?
I think not. I mean, you can if you want, but I don’t think that you will find true life there.
I think that we need to keep pressing in. We must keep loving and risking and investing.
The greatest things in life will come from risk. Yeah, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but if you’re trusting in the One who created you then you can know that in the end it’s going to be worth it.
Through the pain and the love and the heartache I’ve been transformed by His love.
I know I’m not the only one that’s experiencing this. It’s very hard to put into words and summarize, and I know I don’t have all the answers.
But here’s what I suggest we do with our broken hearts today and in the days to come as we keep learning.
Let’s decide to keep on loving. Let’s continue treasuring the memories while moving forward. Let’s decide to keep risking. Let’s be teachable through the ups and the downs instead of becoming bitter.
The joy and hope and love and peace that we’ve found far outweigh the heartache.
We know that it is worth it.
He is worth it all, and that’s all that really matters.