Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
// Marianna Schmiesing //
When I was in fifth grade, I was in gym class playing kick ball. As I am only slightly more athletic than what I was at eleven years old, I was greatly scared of catching the dense, giant ball. There was a solid group of solid kids who had been playing all the sports since they were infants, and they approached gym class kickball with unnecessary ferocity.
Scene: I’m somewhere in the outfield. A commanding, curly-haired haired girl wallops the ball straight at me. In a moment of dazed courage, I try to catch the rubber meteor.
I’m not good at catching. The ball explodes on the pinkie finger of my right hand.
I was hoping that I would get a cast, but broken pinkie fingers don’t get a lot of attention. It was taped to my ring finger so it could set and heal.
It healed all right, but a bit crooked.
Broken bones need to be set quickly so that when the healing starts, the bones are straight. Sometimes, bones have to be re-broken because they didn’t set correctly. (Despite the crookedness, I am NOT considering re-breaking my finger to pursue a pin-straight phalange.)
Broken bones hurt like a butt.
But have you ever had a broken heart?
If you’ve never had a broken heart, don’t worry! You’ve still been hurt in many ways!
After a quick Google search of “Is the heart soft, like, really?” I found that the human heart is, in actually, made of soft tissue. However, with old age and damage, the heart can start to turn into bone. That’s not a good thing; heart tissue needs to stay soft and flexible so it can continue to pump blood to the far reaches of our cute little bodies.
The example I just used is about our literal, biological hearts, but as all things that exist in a writer’s brain, this material fact beautifully parallels an immaterial truth.
The emotional & spiritual heart can be trickier to understand than the biological heart, which can be exposed and examined through surgery, although that process isn’t easy for most people, but is (stay with me), probably slightly easier to dive into than the dark abyss of a wounded soul.
When we have a broken bone (or literal heart trouble), we know we have to go to a trained doctor. But when our hearts have been wounded emotionally, finding help is a little trickier, probably because we don’t even know what the heck is going on.
When I’ve been hurt, I will focus on the hurt and will do anything I can to get away from that hurt. Perhaps other people are more controlled than I am, but my natural reaction is to stop hurting. I don’t usually pay much attention to how I stop hurting.
I think, in my awkward ascent into emotional awareness that mimicked the first steps of a newborn giraffe, I may have conflated not hurting with healing. Hardening of heart and strength.
A hardened heart doesn’t hurt because it can’t feel. A hardened heart can walk through fire because it cannot be damaged anymore. But a hardened heart cannot encourage life.
Kelly Clarkson sang, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger,” but I’m currently working on a little ditty titled: “Practice Being Self-Aware and Acknowledge Feelings of Anger and Confusion so That You Can Properly Work Through Your Hurt and Don’t Turn Into a Bitter Person.”
I would squash down my anger and sadness, thinking that I just had to forgive. It didn’t matter what they had done. I can’t control that. I just have to forgive.
And yes, forgiveness is so important, and is the first step in healing, but don’t confuse a quick slap of, “I forgive you,” with healing. Because much later, when you think you’ve moved on, that hurt will creep back in, weighing on your heart like a bag of potatoes. It’ll feel like you’ve didn’t forgive at all. In fact, anger and resentment comes back much worse.
I am by no means an expert on this and am in no way qualified to tell you what your healing should look like, but I do know the effects of an ill-set heart. I may have to be re-broken, again and again, for my past wounds to heal correctly. Once healed correctly, strength returns.
Knowing this will not prevent me from being hurt in the future. And knowing this does not mean I will always handle being hurt well either. I am doing what I can here and now, but I don’t cling to control of the process. I can’t control how I feel, I can’t control what situations will come my way, and I can’t ensure perfection. I will have to be re-broken, re-focused.
But if I want a strong and healthy heart, a heart that steadily pumps life throughout my body, I will willingly undergo whatever needs to be done.
The goal remains clear: If I see my heart hardening and growing bitter, I need to seek out healing. I need a soft heart, a heart capable of understanding and empathy, a heart vulnerable enough to be hurt. I need a heart that does not hold back from anyone, even the ones who hurt me. I was made to love.