Journeying with the Brokenhearted

November 9, 2021

About four years ago, I experienced heartbreak.

It was not an easy time. I remember staying in bed for a week, not wanting to get up or go out. A friend went out of her way to visit me, listening as I sobbed my eyes out. She didn’t say anything but communicated her care through her eyes and her hugs. She made sure I ate and her comforting presence gave me hope that things will get better.

To have your heart broken means you are human with a good, loving, and caring heart.

A broken heart can be a blessing. You have been cracked wide open–wide enough to feel deep and hard. And it hurts, yes. But from that hurt, a profound connection with the Holy Trinity, yourself, and others can be formed. 

Helping others through their pain over the years has taught me some profound lessons. The biggest being that any feeling, thought, or emotion you're going through–someone else has gone through it. And that connects us all.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He took in all of our sin, all of our moral sickness, all of our grief and pain, all of our brokenness, all of our depression, and all of the abuses we have suffered at the hands of others. He paid the price for our healing. We have to access it by faith. But this is next to impossible apart from someone who would journey with you.

Here are some things we can do to help share the burden of a brokenhearted friend:

1. Listen.

Assure them that you are willing to listen; Frequently, people who experience heartbreak need someone to listen to them, even if they feel like they were just there to vent. There is no need to try to solve the problem. Your presence is enough.

2. Encourage grieving.

Most of the time, we tend to neglect that in this journey of life, we will need to grieve at some point. No one could ever be prepared enough for it, yet by God’s grace, it can be a bittersweet experience that no one else can go through for you. And yet, this is one of those moments when you can draw closest to the Lord and truly experience how He never leaves nor forsakes you.

3. Urge them to write a letter.

This tip is from my counselor, and it works. Getting your thoughts down on paper is a safe and rather effective way to look at what happened and to let go of the past. What have they learned from the experience? 

When we write things down, many things shrink in size on paper. Whereas if you hold it in your head, it tends to blow itself out of proportion, mainly when our imaginations run wild. Think about it. When I write, I don't use a filter. I just keep writing. The relief one can get from this activity is fantastic. 

4. Allow them to embrace change and encourage them to build a routine.

Change is always an invitation to get to know ourselves better–our strengths and also our brokenness, especially the root of our pain. A hurting friend must spot their patterns and acknowledge their brokenness in relating with God and with others. It might help them handle things, see things differently, and be more aware of where they are. 

Remind them to go back to the simple routines, like making themselves coffee. Urge them to form a routine around the most ordinary tasks that can help them cope and feel normal again.

5. Connect them to a community

Let your friends know that they still have friends and family while going through a tough time. Feel free to tell them how you can help them. 

This may also be your cue to invite them to build with the church community–people who will encourage them and remind them of who they are in Christ.

6. Pursue their interests and introduce them to new

Now is an excellent time to do something with your friend that you’ve always meant to do, but didn't have the time to.

Give their living room a makeover. Declutter your friend's closet. Volunteer for an advocacy. Sign up for a course online. Start a fitness routine.

Sometimes, giving all you've got to a relationship, a dream, or a season can be pretty overwhelming. When you lose that, it makes you feel vulnerable. But it can also be a time for deeper things–a deeper understanding of God and of yourself. It can also be a time for new things–a fresh perspective, new connections, new dreams, and new experiences. 

7. Encourage them to consider counseling

Suppose your friend is still feeling miserable after time passes from the loss of the relationship, don't hesitate to encourage them to seek professional help. It helps to analyze what is bothering them and get to the bottom of it, so that change can happen to their behavior and their response to the whole situation.

As we draw near to Jesus and as we listen to His voice, He binds up our broken hearts and all the things that have caused us distress and heartbreaks in our lives. He wants to come and heal us because He is a healing God.

Whether in this life or in the next, one thing is certain, wholeness and complete healing will come. Heartbreak is not the end of your story. 

"There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still." —Corrie Ten Boom

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