Bleeding heart

A heart is a very inconvenient thing.   Especially when it bleeds for stuff that it cannot change.  In my case it is kids, mostly.

Kids around the world who for reasons beyond my understanding will never have the love of a family.   Who will be orphans forever.  How can that be right?

Kids who make their way to a family but still bear scars from the time when they were bereft, when that which was sacred to them was torn away. Why were those scars allowed?

Kids who have made it all the way to adulthood but who still bleed every day from the wounds inflicted upon them as children. Why can’t their scars heal?

Last week I posted a link to a new favorite song of mine, “Always Been Faithful” by Sara Groves. (lyrics below) When I’m struggling with tough times, things beyond my understanding, it is hugely comforting to me to remember the things God has led me through in the past, and the ways He has redeemed difficulty to grow me and enrich my life.

Yet I am always conscious that my life has been so danged easy.

Yes, I had the usual miserable boyfriend breakups in high school.  Yes, my dad died suddenly and tragically when I was barely an adult.  Yes, children of mine have brought me great challenge, and at times great sadness.  My life has had a share of tears.

And yet I have always had my needs met by the loved ones around me.  Had people who loved and cared and supported.  I’ve never been alone, either in the human sense or the spiritual sense.  I’ve spent my entire conscious life knowing that God loves me.

And so even as I listen to the words of the song that bring me so much comfort, I wonder if those words would mean as much, would feel as valid, if I’d had times in life where I was entirely bereft.   Is there any way that I in my privilege can minister to someone who has lived through true misery?  Can my feeble words resonate truly and lovingly in the core of a person who has been deeply scarred?

I feel this lack acutely when I am ministering to some of my own, most wounded children.  I feel this lack when I am reaching out to friends who are hurting. I am so, so sad that my offerings to their wounded hearts are so paltry, so trite, so lacking.

Deep inside me, there is an idiotically, stupidly grandiose person that wants to take away the hurt of everyone around me.  And when my best attempts fail, I want to scream.  Cry.   Rail against God for allowing the hurt to happen to my loved ones, to my acquaintances, even to the little kid crying on the other side of the world whose face I only see in my dreams.

That’s when I have to get back to the truth. Jesus is the Healer, not me.  My only place of power is resting in Him.  My bleeding heart and I need to stay right there. Secure that He who began a good work — in all of us –will remain faithful.


Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I’m in need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me

I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I’m in need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me

This is my anthem, this is my song

The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I’m in need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me

(Youtube video)

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  1. It’s as if you are expressing what’s in my heart right now. Hearts are such vulnerable things…..mine is oh so heavy right now for a great many people.

  2. Hope you are okay right now. I also deal with wounded children and, like everyone, there are people in my life who are hurting that I cannot fix. When it is someone outside of the family, it is a little easier to release the burden of responsibility, but when it is our kids, who have wounds that we cannot stitch, it can be so painful. I always figure we are giving them as much as we can, more than they would have had in their past, and, at this point, that is the best we can do. Take care and don’t burden too much.

  3. multi-taskingmom says:

    It is the faces in my dreams that make my heart bleed mostly. The ones who will never know more than hunger, and sadness and pain.

  4. I love, love, love that song! It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

  5. My heart bleeds for children, too. I always say that if you want to ruin your own life, that’s one thing. But when the choices you make affect a child’s life – that’s unacceptable. It breaks my heart to see children, even in our own country, and the way they’re treated by their own parents.

  6. I just wanted to say thank you for expressing in words what I have struggled with my whole life without really understanding how to express it. I only get to check in on your blog occasionally, but what you do is inspiring.

  7. sooo well put…as always. thank you mary. you are such an amazing writer.

  8. “…I wonder if those words would mean as much, would feel as valid, if I’d had times in life where I was entirely bereft.”

    My husband and I are 18 months into our first adoption process. We have two biological children. This sentence exactly expresses what scares me the most about our adoption – will the gospel really resonate with them? I will admit that I even fear doubting my faith when I come up close and personal with just how sad life can be. Can my faith – which has easily sustained me through my relatively trouble-free life – really truly speak to the pain our children (not to mention their poor biological parents!) will have experienced?

    I know your blog will continue to encourage me as we complete this adoption process and begin the (much more difficult) parenting process.

  9. Today- stank. Completely. And this was bookmarked for me to read. I wasn’t ready when you posted it. I wanted to not be ready or willing. Now? I’m softening. Still raging against things beyond my control, but I’m trying. Thanks, sweet friend. Yes, you can speak words of comfort, even from where you are …