My heart is breaking.
My son is hurting. He’s only eight years old and the many things that are not quite right in the frontal lobe area of his brain are bringing new challenges. Yesterday I received some news from his psychiatrist that was devastating for me to hear.
I think of other moms I know who are hurting this week: the one whose son has a heart broken by bad choices, the one whose son has a body sprinkled with cancer, the one whose son is fighting to repair his life broken from addiction, the one whose infant son is sleeping in another family’s crib.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
I read this in the Bible, and I call out to Him: What do we do, God, when our hearts are breaking? And, reflecting on my last week, I see He has been teaching me these things:
1. Draw near to the Lord. When we go to Him in our desperate moments, He WILL guide us.
In the hallway last night, I let a few tears fall. Just a few. I needed to join my son in his room for our nightly four-hour battle to stop his brain from racing so he could rest. It was the sixth night of only 3-5 hours of sleep and our whole family was on edge and exhausted. In the hallway, as I let a few tears fall, I prayed in desperation: Fix his brain, Lord. Please fix his messed up brain. The answer was not what I wanted because it held no clarity for the future. But it brought peace, because He knows what I need even when I do not. He told me: I didn’t ask you to fix him. I asked you to love him. I was able to go back into my son’s bedroom after that message. I was able to continue the battle because I knew I was held up by the One who holds up the universe. He gave me a job to do—to love my son—and that is something I knew I could do easily.
2. Ask godly friends to pray for you. When we pray to God for His help, He WILL help us.
My friend prayed through her despair one night recently as her son spent the night in prison. She feared for his safety. Over and over she prayed for the Lord to protect him, to send an angel to watch over him. When her son was released, he told her that the first night in prison his body was ravaged from withdrawal of the drugs that had filled his body the previous months. He was unable to protect himself as his body rid itself of all within it. A fellow prisoner, an older man, watched over him, protecting him from others who might harm him. My friend knew God had heard her pleas for help. He had used another prisoner to protect her son through the night.
3. Walk the one step He gives you today. When we take the step He gives us, He WILL be with us.
I didn’t realize how stressed out I was because I filled every moment of my day with doing doing doing. For most of last year, the Lord had been telling me: Stop. Be still. Listen for My voice. But instead I fought off my anxiety with busyness. When God finally broke through my resistance, I took the one small step He gave me. For days afterward, I heard His voice more clearly. He put in my mind this verse: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 3:15) I realized how afraid I had been to hear His voice because I wasn’t sure where He was leading me and I feared it would be painful to go there. But I focused on the fact that the one step I had taken was a good step and not as hard as it seemed before I took it. It wasn’t long before He gave me the next step to take, and this time it was one that made sense to me from the new place I was standing. One small step made a giant difference in my perspective and began a new journey for me. I began to trust myself to hear His voice, and I began to trust Him to lead me.
Our hearts break. And they will break again. But we are not alone. We can draw on the presence and wisdom of our God. And we can trust Him. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)