Monday, March 3, 2014

After a Loss or Breakup: Transforming Your Heart and Finding Joy Again

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19
After a loss of significance, after a relationship breakup or divorce, after all the pain and sadness, better days return. Isn’t it good to know that day always follows night? That winter’s icy blasts always give way to the freshness of spring?  

Joy comes after sorrow. 

Healing is coming and bit by bit. Even the shape of your life is changing. The physician-poet Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”  I believe the same is true of love—all kinds of love:  

The heart, once expanded to encompass the breadth of love, is never the same again.  

You have changed. And, like re-growth comes after a forest fire, restoration comes after a loss or breakup. Ruin can be restored. As you walk forward by faith, you discover new companions, like inner strength and unexpected joy. Hope arises. Things start to get better.  

Surprisingly, the human heart is quite flexible and resilient; it has the ability to bounce back from difficulties. But you’re really not bouncing “back,” you’re bouncing forward—from darkness to light, deadness to life, brokenness to greater wholeness, fear to courage, and so much more.   

God is all about transformation. “I will guide you,” He says Isaiah 42:16, “I will turn darkness into light before you and make the rough places smooth.”  

Sure, maybe someone has done you wrong. Or, you are astonished that you are still single after all these years. But no matter what your situation, God is still sovereign. He has not forgotten about you.   

Focus forward, read and absorb God’s truths.  As you do, you experience new aspects of God’s character. Faith increases and, over time, you begin to find victory; you are less fearful and more confident. You believe that God has the power to handle your pain and help you make wiser choices. 

Love extravagantly. Love bravely. Love courageously. God’s commandments to love one another are not reserved for just a special man or woman in your life—not just romantic love. No matter what your marital status, you can share the love you have with everyone, and experience all kinds of love in your life.   

Change is coming, and has come. You may not see it, but often others do; they see a difference in your countenance as you get farther from the land of loss and deeper into the delight of a new day. You begin to have a lighter heart, and a sunnier countenance. You seem happier. So celebrate all He has done for you in this journey.  

Enjoy God. Enjoy your life. 


Excerpted from When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty by Jackie M. Johnson

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