Unexpected Restoration from Uninvited Pain

In some ways, it doesn’t matter what exactly happened that day. But it was the day my heart broke wide. As it broke, out tumbled a backlog of confusion and wounding, spilling from my heart to my feet, making a mess in all of the places I walked.

I needed healing.

In those early numb weeks, as “normal” life droned along, I made the lunches and scrubbed the dishes and drove boys to soccer, while also desperately carving out as much time as I could to be with Jesus and talk with my counselor and seek wise counsel.

Perhaps those small windows of time were all my heart could handle. In those snatches of slow processing, He offered gentle sentences of peace, one at a time, in small bites that I could chew and digest. It took months, but slowly I began to understand. Like after the wave crashes, then sinks back into the ocean leaving the sand smooth, my mind began to clear. Those angry scratches on the pages of my journal softened, replaced with hopeful verses of truth.

From this uninvited pain, something good began.

At the time, all I knew to do was to hold the pieces up to Him. The pile of pieces was all I could see, so I stood by the heap and said, “Jesus, here’s the broken. What now?”

First, He told me that He knew this kind of pain. Then, He took the pieces.

He didn’t fix what had happened. He didn’t resolve the circumstances. As I write this, there still isn’t a shiny bow.

But He did something bigger.

That day of heartbreak began a forced journey of healing I didn’t even know I needed.

He took those small, sharp slivers I offered and showed me the larger shards they were part of — places I didn’t even know were there. What broke that day linked back to shatterings and jagged edges that long lay dormant, tucked away in attempts to smooth and placate.

When God heals hearts, His healing will reach deeper than the wounds we offer Him.

Because every time we offer up our hurting places, His deep meets our deep: “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me,” (Psalm 42:7 ESV). His promise of comfort reaches low. In the depths, healing waits.

It was in those depths that His words rearranged and rewired and reset the broken places.

It was in those depths that He whispered so clearly, with such love: You are my daughter. You are my friend.

It was in those depths that His presence and comfort restored my heart, His truth confirmed my identity, His power strengthened my spirit, and His hand established my place (1 Peter 5:10).

And it was in those depths that He covered my shame with love and softened my grief into the most unlikely of outcomes: gratitude.

He took the uninvited pain and turned it into the unexpected restoration of a heart that was unaware of what it even needed.

That season was hard. I’m not sure I’m finished yet. But my heart is healing. That day unlocked the beginning of inviting Him to heal wound upon wound upon wound. When we offer Him our wounds, He will not leave us in our confusion and hurt.

He will heal beyond what we even know.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you,” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).

Marnie Hammar writes to encourage women that freedom isn’t found in perfectly completed checklists, but in knowing God deeper and hearing Him louder. She is also the curator for the Hear Him Louder Essay Series, a series that invites God’s daughters to listen for Him in their everyday. Wife for 27 years and boy mama (17, 15, & 11), Marnie’s non-writing life revolves around taming the stinky, scraping off the sticky, and delivering boys to the places they go in suburban Cincinnati. Her favorites are cheering for her boys from soccer sidelines, settling in for family movie night, and laughing with her friends. Loudly. With some cackling. 

Subscribe at her website to receive a free resource, A Listening Guide + Prayer Map, to help you learn to listen for His voice and capture your prayer time in a new way. Marnie also hangs out on Instagram and Facebook.

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