Did you know it’s possible to waste away from a broken heart? I had heard this before, but never thought it was in fact, possible.
I was wrong.
As much as I wish I wasn’t, I’m witnessing it happen to someone who I love dearly. She’s only a few miles away from me, but so far beyond my reach.
The pain and bitterness of a life that wasn’t has crept in and taken a hold on the heart that was. She desires to be better, to get well, but she can’t let go of her dreams that weren’t. The damage is profound.
She has lost faith in the things that were once significant to her. She is a shell of the person she used to be – hollowed by the ones who have hurt her deeply.
Can you relate?
Maybe it’s the person who cut you off in traffic this morning. Or possibly, it’s the one who made an offensive comment that severed a friendship. Or perhaps your pain goes deeper. Maybe it’s the husband who left one night, and didn’t come back. Or, it’s the father who missed too many dance recitals. Or, the mother who spoke one too many promises she couldn’t keep.
I encourage you to let it go.
People will disappoint you in this lifetime – they are not perfect. They cannot be, for there is only room for one perfect One. He asks us to forgive as He forgave us.
Will you listen before it’s too late?
Don’t let life’s disappointments consume you because they will. I know because I’ve seen her consumed.
The hurt and resentment build up and the wounds won’t heal. It is so hard to come back from this. I know because I’ve seen her try.
Go to Him and pray for a heart that forgives. You can change your outlook on life and your feelings toward people. I know because it happened to me. I know it can happen to her.
I pray for the one’s who have been let down by this life. There is hope for the hopeless, and I pray you run toward it in anticipation. Fall on your knees in prayer – pray for those who cut you off in traffic, for those who have said unkind words, for those who left and didn’t come back, and for those who couldn’t keep their promises. I pray you forgive them and know true peace – the peace that only HE can bring.
As far as she goes, it is my unrelenting prayer that she comes back. I have faith that she will – He has not given up on her, and never will.
By Julie ReesLeave a Comment
Julie, this is so amazingly timed. All week, God’s message for me has been: “Let go; let the past sleep, but arise and come to the next thing with me; come into the glorious future I have planned for you.” Wasting away in heartache? That’s what I’ve been doing for 2 years now. It wasn’t the best relationship for sure, and while I wanted to work things out, he did not see a future with me. I’ve spent so long in regret; I truly loved him but wasn’t exactly the best version of myself. But it’s a trust thing — at this point, do I trust God enough to give Him my past, my failures, and let myself stand with Him? Do I trust He can redeem my choices and my heartache and the years I’ve lost? He did it to Israel; I’m learning now He has the same in store for me 🙂 thankyou for this post today Julie 🙂
Linda Stoll says
Oh Julie, this is so true. I see this all the time in my work as a counselor to women. At the bottom of 90% of our conversations is the need to forgive. And the result of hauling all that pain around when we don’t do so is just plain toxic to our bodies, souls, relationships, lives.
Thankfully, God’s the One who enables us to take that long winding journey toward beginning to release another and wishing them well.
You have to get new dreams. I’m in a holding pattern now while my kids grow up a little more but I have to believe I’ll get a chance to soar again.
Julie,I will pray for your friend.God know her name. Prayer fo her to feel His comforting arms round her and His loving whispers in her ear.
Oh man this is so true. I’m witness to this right now and trying my best to lift, support and cheer this person onto the new improved woman that she will be but oh boy this is hard stuff.
Beth Williams says
Unforgiveness can wreck a life. Your whole demeanor is downcast & it weighs on your emotions and dealings with people.
I have found that seeing people through different eyes makes forgiveness possible. I pray for them also–asking God to help them in their situation. My eyes see an old worn out car, moms dealing with children, job stress, etc. Rather than staying mad I go to God to help & heal them!
Praying for a heart that forgives, this is well timed for me.
Maxine Gonzalez says
Oh this business of forgiving…. it is such a hard one, but we are COMMANDED by Christ to forgive! Someone once told me it only takes one to forgive… it will set you free even if the other person does not forgive you! You need to then pray and pray for them… and watch how our GOD works because nothing here is impossible for HIM! Thanks for this wonderful post!!
Bravo. Well said.
My sister who was a college educated, intelligent physical therapist who excelled with the broken, needy children she treated. But when it came to having a normal, loving relationship with an adult human being, including family, she was terrible! After a relationship with a married doctor and the abortion that resulted, she went on to have three marriages ~ two were handicapped men, one was a weak man who let her “rule the roost” because she paid for everything and let him know it in no uncertain terms. She was the pretty one ~ dark brown hair and big blue eyes. I was the one born with such light features that you couldn’t see them. After learning to apply makeup to create a little order out of the chaos :), I married my high school sweetheart, we had four children, and were involved in ministry. Only one of our kids was tolerable to her who killed the only child she would ever have ~ the others happened to exhibit childishness, which, even after they were grown, she couldn’t forgive. Every time I spoke with her, she had some area of negativity in her eyes about one of our kids (although they were perceived by her and not reality). We had tried to have her for dinner, encourage her to attend church with us, and tried to include her in all our family holiday events ~ some she accepted, some she refused. We received horrid messages left on voicemail, and the last call I had with her was one in which she had to make a derogatory comment about our youngest son. That was it for me ~ after years of receiving hateful mail, torn up Christmas letter from us to her which she mailed back to us, and walking out of a holiday dinner after screaming at us because one of our sons had gone hunting and shot a deer which we tried to hide (can you say, PETA) but which she saw, I finally told her that I couldn’t talk with her any more if she was going to treat our kids the way she had. I never talked to her again. She passed away at the age of 65 ~ alone except for 14 cats and a house that was so filthy, I wouldn’t have let my dog live there!. It was so bad that hazmat suits and masks had to be worn to clean it out. My sister died of a heart that couldn’t forgive, couldn’t love anyone but herself and her cats, and who left God out of her life, even after having made a profession of faith. She was my only sibling. I pray that she is in Heaven when I get there ~ because if she is, she will be in the image of Jesus ~ I look forward to that day!
Forgiveness, I have found is not for others, especially, but more for me. When I can let go and forgive a wrong, it is so freeing. I become lighter and happier.
God used you to speak to me today! Well, I’m sure many many others too…
I have been struggling with a co-worker who wounded my heart when I was just finishing chemo. I was an open book – and my heart was out there and unprotected. I’m trying to figure out how to forgive her – because the toxicity of this is so heavy for me. I need to let it go, and it is so hard, because I am with her everyday. God is giving me a spiritual workout here, and I’m desperately trying to learn this.
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! Very wise words.
I agree with Kelly in that you need to get new dreams. I know I’ve had to do this. It can be difficult when the dreams you carried around for a long time have completely vanished.
But I don’t want my life to be wasted due to unforgiveness. I want the Lord to help me to not hang on to the wrongs done to me.
Thank you, Julie, for sharing this!
Elle A says
Yes, this is me. And this was my sister. I believe she died of a broken heart; a lifetime of disappointments, a marriage she wished she had been brave enough to stop before it became a reality, a child gone astray in lies and alcohol and leaving her own child to be raised by my sister while her adult child hopped from one bad relationship to another…that’s just the tip of the iceberg. She was a life-long Christian, born-again, such a wonderful mentor, teaching the ways of Christ and instrumental in leading a number of people to accepting Christ as their Savior. She prayed and prayed and I prayed along with her for her adult child that had gone astray. My sister kept asking why God wasn’t answering her prayers to help her grown child. I had no answer, I haven’t been getting answers to my prayers either. Forgiveness….yes, we have to forgive. The near impossible thing is forgetting and it’s near impossible to trust people again. I enjoyed your post today. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Gina Detweiler says
Our church is doing a series on healing and forgiveness right now, and we see it too. Unforgiveness causes such pain and even physical destruction. Forgiveness is the way to freedom.
OH…how true this is. I thought I was a forgiving person until the one things happened to me that I always said I could never forgive: discovering on the eve of our 7th wedding anniversary that my husband was having an affair. 4 months after the birth of our 3rd child and 4 years after the birth of our first child, my life felt shattered. I was filled with an anger, hurt and confusion I had never known, and the life I always dreamed of having could no longer be mine even if the choice of what to do next was left up to me. As my husband ended the affair, found God, stopped drinking and begged to stay, I woke up every morning wondering if I could love him again. And, I looked in the face of my children and asked if I could live with myself if I tore our family apart by pursuing divorce. The anxiety of the choice, the pain of the dreams lost, the fear of the new beginning wreaked havoc on my health: under-weight, over stimulated and caffeine driven I was a mess for several months… Fast forward almost three years of reshaping dreams, redefining the meaning of marriage, and exploring what forgiveness is, I can say I have grown and strengthened. My relationship with my husband has improved in many ways, but still struggles in some. I have discovered forgiveness is a journey. It is not always reconciliation, but in my case I have chosen this as well. It is a slow process depending on the offense and the role the offender plays in your life. But every bit of forgiveness I find towards my husband creates a bit of space for hope, a bit of room for love, and bit of realization of a new dream and a new direction.
I pray for anyone caught in the grip and pain of an unforgiving heart, including myself as I am still continuing on my journey. It is truly crippling in mind, body and spirit. But, can be overcome with the strength of the One who calls us to forgiveness…
My story was similar, but a little worse. We reconciled each time, but I still harbored resentment. Then I realized how faithful God was even though I failed Him time and again. Get into the Word and consider how forgiving He has been, and how patient He is. My husband became very ill, and died at the age of 61, after depending on me almost totally for many years. He and I did not communicate concerning his faith because I was fearful of what he might say, but a few days before he died, our two daughters challenged him on the subject, and prayed with him, and both felt that his profession of faith was valid. Just before he left us, we forgave one another for whatever we had done to the other that was unkind.
I had tears in my eyes as read this. It got me thinking about my mother who is still suffering the wounds of a divorce years past. I will show her this and hope it gives her a new perspective. Thank you for your beautiful words.
I have been struggling with unforgiveness for about five years now. What damage it does to your health. My grandmother used to tell me about her sister who died of a broken heart after having to leave her country, her love and come to the US to marry an older man who she never loved and was so cruel to her. It always saddened my heart each time she would talk of her sister. But I never knew how true that could be until my broken heart. I know God longes for me to forgive but it just isn’t happening yet. I pray for my heart to change to understand that no one is perfect here but it keeps comimg back up in my head and the hurt and pain start all over again Oh how I long to know true forgiveness and come back to life again for the Lord and the rest of my family. Please pray with me that I will truly begin the prosess of forgiveness wilh the Lords help.
Is there anything in her life for which she is thankful? Start there. I did, and this week I will reach my first goal of 1,000 gifts. I started with people in my life who had been a good influence. I added the ones who were not so good, and what I learned. One of my sisters hated me, but she also taught me that rejection is not the end of the world.
Then I continued with the beautiful things God created for my enjoyment, from the tiniest flower to the most majestic trees, and all aspects of nature. In short, I got my mind off the negative and chose the positive. It wasn’t always easy to thank God for the passing of many of my family and friends, but I could thank Him for their lives, and for the fact that all but one were strong believers, and I trust God with that one.
Right how I am in the midst of putting my life story into writing, and am finding out more positive than negative!
God be with you as you work with and pray for your friend.
Forgiveness is never easy work, it’s a scouring, deep cleaning work, and for me I’ve realized that you need to do several things… Have a willing heart and mind to go to God for healing. Two, Accept your act. Three, be patient with yourself and, remember that whatever we aren’t doing, we are doing it to Jesus. I don’t believe we should always make pals with everyone that’s hurt you. But, definitely giving yourself step by step toward HE who not only understands our pain, but has the power to heal completely. Wonderful blog and message !
Jen Y says
Oh this is so true – yes you can waste away from a broken heart. It doesn’t have to be from the pain someone causes either – it can just be from the normal stages of life, always looking back & what was & never appreciating what is. Each stage of life has new joys. We leave behind old joys that we can cherish in memory but I have a friend that for 20 yrs has missed so many joys in the present because she’s always wishing for the joys of the past. She’s become a very bitter unhappy person & yes even physically ill because she’s moved her entire focus inward.
There is hope, there always a future & always peace. I pray each hurting person will choose joy.
This came at absolute perfect time. I’m going through this exact thing where I’ve let disappointment and bitterness in for too long and now I’m struggling to find my joy. God is speaking to me to Love and Forgive… It’s going to be tough but your passage has helped more than you know.
ELANGWE CHRISTINA says
Thank you very much for such a timely article. I really needed it at this time. I have undergone terrible things just these past days and I was sorely tempted to retaliate. This would have caused many problems indeed. Your article reminds me to let go and go on with life if I don’t want to be destroyed by resentment and bitterness. Thanks very much indeed for sharing
Wow.I know many such people. Some,my siblings and one I fell in love with. Not so long ago,it was me. I pray for her. I pray for them always because I know how toxic that position is but I also know healing is possible because it has happened to me.
Oh Julie. How timely I feel just like the woman you are talking about. I have been reading books on forgiveness & I wake up everyday saying I forgive praying blessings on the ones who have hurt & abandoned me (siblings, church friends) for the last 1 1/2 years since my Mom died (my best friend, girlfriend ) & I thank God for InCourage emails daily they get me through my days for I am home, been through a lot bad accident 2yrs ago this week also so don’t drive much either. What a big change in life. Thank God for my wonderful husband of 28 yrs. Thank you for your message of encouragement. I pray God heal our relationships. We will all see each other in the end.
Julie Rees says
Thank you all for your kind words. This was difficult to write, simply because it involves someone who means so much to me. For those of you in similar situations; know that I am praying for you. If it’s someone you know who is suffering, I encourage you to lift them up in prayer and never lose hope. Our God is a mighty God, and nothing is impossible, not even the restoration of a heart shattered into a million pieces. God bless each of you.
colleen @ thegiftofmondays says
as i was reading this God reminded me of a post i wrote last year. http://www.thegiftofmondays.com/2012/01/ive-been-gone.html
i’m not sure why i’m sharing it. i just know God has asked me to and so i am. i’ve long ago learned to not question…because He knows, and He sees and He has the plan. and i’m saying an extra prayer for the broken hearted today…because i know all too well how that feels.
Forgiveness is the right thing to do. Yet I often get it tangled up with the idea that if you forgive then, this very act of forgiveness can be interpreted as meaning – what they did to hurt you is okay. I also have the residual pain of the initial hurt that did not disappear because I forgave the person. So here I am with a willing heart but reminders of the loss. It takes me a little time to process how badly I am wounded. It also takes me a little time to ask God to come into that sore spot and make it okay. At the same time my guard is up to protect me from further injury until I feel okay again. I attended a church once that taught that not only could you forgive but the previous relationship could be restored to what it had been before the hurt occured. I think they meant well but rushed the healing process. For me it was too soon to be in close proximity to the hurtful person. I felt like I was living a lie. So I kept praying and told God how I felt I was lying when I asked him to have mercy on people like my ex-husband. Well that took some time but I can honestly say that God brought me to the point where I and my ex-husband can have a reasonable and painless conversation about the care of our child. It took some time and for our child’s sake it was worth it.
Margaret Polino Nicholas says
I am praying for your friend. I will pray that her heart can handle what God puts on it. I think sometimes yes, one can feel like they are dying from a broken heart. But this too will pass with all of us praying for this friend in need.
Karen Charles says
So, true. I have watched similar destruction in one of my loved ones, and tried to learn from it to let go and forgive. She would not think of herself as unforgiving, but as hurt, and it is sooo tempting to cling to our very real hurts, and never know healing from them.
Thank you for the thoughtful reminder that we are forgiven and called to forgiveness.
LaVon Baker says
We are all given, at one point or another in our lives, usually more than just once, the opportunity to forgive. It is an opportunity, a gift. Doesn’t feel like a gift, but it is and God has trusted me all my life with opportunities to forgive. Back in July, I wrote about my heartache and pray that it will speak to someone else:
You have written beautifully and it spoke to me. We are not perfect. We are all flawed but oh so graciously valued by our Creator and this is STILL the day He has made.
I personally find it easy to forgive others. The burden of unforgiveness is too heavy to carry. Unconditional love is a means to an end. Now I continue to pray for the forgiven so they will have a happy life and those around them will have a chance to be happy as well.