Heartbreak is a feeling like no other. No matter how we try to recover from it, it has a way of leaving its mark on us. What was your first heartbreaking experience? Do you feel as if it is still affecting you today? I experienced mine at the tender age of six. The day is still very vivid in my mind. My grandmother and I went to the grocery store together to gather items for her to complete dinner. My grandmother and I shared a special relationship. She just had a way of making me feel like the most important person in the world. She was aware of the neglect and abuse that was going on in my home life and took every opportunity that she could to “rescue me” from my torment. So, my visits with her were not only exhilarating for me but also necessary for my survival and mental well-being. Although I was six years old, and by the opinion of most people, to old to ride in the grocery cart, my grandmother would drive me around the store in the cart and allow me a few minutes to forget about all the heaviness of my home life. As excited as I was when she came to visit, I was equally as sad when it was time for her to go. As we returned home on this day, we encountered four vehicles with the State of Michigan Child Protective Services logos located on the side. I saw the worry on my grandmother’s face as we approached our house. Immediately, I was taken away by a protective service worker who informed me that my siblings and myself were being taken into custody. I saw my mother running out, screaming, and crying as my siblings were being put into separate cars. I began to cry. My reaction made my siblings cry as well. I recall the social service worker telling me that I had to be brave for my sisters and brothers. Sadly, those same words would be rehearsed within my spirit for many years to come. My heart was so broken that day. From that day forward, I vowed to never love anyone again as strongly as I loved my mother and siblings. The pain of that loss was too much to bear.
Have you ever experienced a pain so deep that it made you want to protect your heart at all costs? When we look at Proverbs 4:23, it tells us to, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life“. We are informed in this Proverb to keep or guard our hearts with all diligence. Diligence can be defined as careful and persistent work or effort. This is a familiar scripture and one that is often quoted or taken out of its scriptural context. When we look at the passage of scripture before this verse, we can gain a better insight into what the scripture means. Proverbs 4: 20-23 gives us a more complete thought concerning this scripture, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Here we see that the instruction is not just to guard our hearts, but to guard the godly instructions within our hearts. We are also told that God’s instructions are our lives. His words are are life to those that find them. The heart in Hebrew refers to one’s emotions. Proverbs 12:25 says, “ Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad”. More often, however, it speaks to intellect- such as understanding. Proverbs 10:8 states, “The wise in heart will receive commandments, but a prating fool shall fall”. It also speaks to discernment as in Proverbs 15:14, “The heart of him that has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feedeth on foolishness”. When the heart is referenced, it is dealing with more than our mental or emotional capacity. Our very character is defined by our actions that flow from the condition of our hearts. Luke 6:45 reads, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil, for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh”. To truly guard our hearts, we must fill it with God’s word. Proverbs 4:20-22 say , “My son be attentive to my words, incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them and healing to all their flesh“. It takes the word of God to help heal us from our brokenness.
When it comes to dealing with matters of the heart, we must put them into God’s hands as only His hands can heal and make us whole. Psalm 51:10 explains it best, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me“. These scriptures have not only healed me from the hurt of my past, but they are still an encouragement to my soul. Likewise, I hope an encouragement to yours as well.