Honestly, I had this post outlined and I came across the photograph below – it said more to me than any words I could write down… If I could capture an image of what divorce does to a heart, this would be it.
The vibrant colors that once filled this space are faded. The paint that gave it character has been covered. The old still seeps through in some places but the majority is hidden by something that was supposed to make it better.That cover is now peeling away piece by piece. The brick that was once the foundation is partially exposed. The foundation appears unharmed if you could only get to it through the mess that lays over it. All the plaster and shallow fillers are crumbling around the brick. An open chair that was once occupied by so many. Now there isn’t a human being that would really understand the mess that surrounds that seat. The very floor where everyone walked is rotten. No longer able to provide a sturdy surface for anyone or anything. I feel like I could go on for days about this space. Seriously – this is what my heart felt like when the storm of my divorce passed and I sat down long enough to catch a glimpse of myself – ABANDONED…
Divorce creates tons of abandoned places in our hearts. They are like little doors that we shut-off from the world and even ourselves. All of our hopes and dreams for our marriage. Our ideas for our future together. Our plans for our children. All abandoned. The little quirky things that made us laugh, the annoying habits of the other, the things we did for one another. ABANDONED. No matter what shape your marriage was in when it was over, at some point that relationship brought joy to you. At some point you left behind that “me” mindset and it became a “we”. Whatever adjustments, sacrifices, and compromises you made to make that marriage work now feel like festering wounds in your heart. Our fleshly nature is to abandon those places in our heart. Close them up and seal them off….
But y’all, our God is SOOOOOOO good and so mighty! I’m gonna start with the foundation in this photograph and work outward from there. First, I want to point out that divorce is spiritual in nature. It’s not about you or breaking just your marriage – it’s about the enemy keeping division alive and manifesting ungodly brokenness in a whole generation of people. It’s about keeping you, your ex, your children, and your entire family from experiencing the joy God intended for all of us to live in!
I hope you noted in the photograph that the foundation -THE BRICK- remains unharmed. THAT MEANS THE WORK GOD STARTED IN YOUR HEART, YOUR PURPOSE, IS NOT BROKEN! No mistake or past decision you’ve made can keep you from the promises God has for each of us. Proverbs 21:30 says, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord”. Now, there are certainly earthly consequences for our actions but those consequences do NOT have to define our future.
That’s a big deal! It’s a REAL BIG PROMISE – one that changes EVERYTHING! The plan that Satan had to destroy us can become the thing that God uses to BUILD us. I had someone tell me just this week, “God is using your ashes to help me”. And I believe to my very core – that is TRUE! But I believe He can use all of our ashes to help light the way for another, not just mine! WE (that means YOU) all have a purpose in this battle!
No matter where you came from or what your past looks like, your FOUNDATION is in Christ. He is your CREATOR. I know many of you look around and think, “I don’t even have a solid foundation” or “my foundation is cracked”. That is a lie from the enemy! Our God didn’t create us broken – We are fearfully and wonderfully made in his image – Psalm 139:14. We have a LOVING Father. Some of you may not have experienced the same in your earthly fathers, but again, OUR FOUNDATION IS IN CHRIST. No matter who you are or who you were.
He loved us enough to create us, to create this world. Our Father is the Holy Trinity. He is three in one! Our God functions as our Father, He functions as Jesus the son of God, and He functions as the Holy Spirit. Our Father in Heaven is our Creator. He sent his son Jesus to earth to die for us. Jesus walked and talked in the same way we do. He experienced pain, suffering, loss, betrayal , and more hurt than we can imagine. The Holy Spirit is the third part of that Trinity – the Holy Spirit is God, it’s not some spooky figure or crazy religion. The Holy Spirit is God here on earth. God functions on earth through the Holy Spirit. Don’t wait to allow the Holy Spirit to fill you – we won’t need the Holy Spirit when we get to Heaven – we need Him NOW. We need the Holy Spirit while we are here on earth, it’s how God flows through us!
We are not going to see our foundations change and improve by our own natural abilities – but by the Holy Spirit.
Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit”. Take a minute and pray. Right here. Right now. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your life, your home, your office, your relationships, and anything you come in contact with!! Connecting with the Holy Spirit is how we repair our foundations. It’s how God restores us! He renews His Spirit within us! Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”.
Seeing that vibrant pink paint peek through on the wall reminds me of that perky, trusting, and giggling girl I was before I even acknowledged love in the way I do now. That heart that had not yet been broken, that hand that had not been held by anyone in “that way”, and those ears that had never heard words whispered in such a manner. When we think back on our innocence (I’m not only referring to sexual purity but our emotional innocence), we often think we can never have that again. WRONG – that’s the enemy talking.
Much like that wall, our hearts will never look exactly like they did. There will always be streaks of the mess we tried to cover it up with. BUT we can choose to peel back those layers and restore the beauty our Creator put within us or we can choose to allow those streaks to remain and hold us back from purpose we’ve been given.
The project-loving artist inside of me wants nothing more than to grab a scraper and have my way with that wall! I wanna get rid of the peeling paint and crumbling plaster and reveal the beauty that lies behind it. I do it with my hands frequently – I so love to restore furniture and antique pieces. Sometimes I restore them to their initial purpose or beauty, but usually I restore them to function for a current purpose in a completely new light….
So why not do that with our heart??
If we want to restore our hearts to their former beauty, we simply need to start by asking Christ to help us.
God loves to hear all the good and He loves us when we are at our best. But we need him MOST in the areas where we are our worst. And He’s that kind of God! He’s the kind of God that loves YOU AND ALL OF YOUR FLAWS. He wants to hear about what hurts so bad and He wants to you to invite him into that place in your heart that has kept you from trusting, He only wants us to ask! Just like that paint and plaster isn’t just going to jump off that wall, our past hurts and wounds aren’t just going to jump out of our hearts. We have to use our actions to set things in motion for our desired result. Wounds don’t just go away… but we can replace those wounds with scripture and with the promises God gave us. I literally sat down with a pen paper not too long after I rededicated my life to Christ. I made a list of every hurt I could remember. Anything from my childhood all the way through my divorce. Over the next several months – and yes it took MONTHS (because my list was several pages, front and back) – I sat down every night and replaced each hurt with a scripture. I would read it enough to memorize each one and then I’d cross that hurt off my list. The scripture didn’t have to directly pertain to the hurt, it was pretty hard to find a scripture directly linked to my feelings being hurt about who I bunked with at church camp in 1991. But in my heart I let go of that and replaced it. Looking back, I’m amazed that I walked around with pages of baggage weighing me down. I can’t believe how much unforgiveness covered the beauty our God had given me!!!
We once had a space in our heart where our spouse sat. They filled that chair. But now it sits empty. ABANDONED. Not suitable for anyone. Two things come to mind here.
One – in my first marriage I allowed my spouse to sit in that seat. I looked to him to do things for me only God could do. I ran to him with my emotions and my every need. I took a seat that should have belonged to the Holy Spirit and I gave it to my husband. Our spouses have a seat in our hearts but their seat isn’t before Christ.
Two- that picture of that chair seriously depicts an emptiness I had in my heart better than I could ever describe! See, we spend our whole lives imagining what our future will be like and building our plans. Making that seat in our hearts for our spouse just the way we want it. The way television and social media tell us it should be.
Someone actually took time with that chair. They picked out the fabric it would be covered in and they strategically placed it where it would best suit their needs.
We do this with our hearts. When we are hurt, we pray and ask God to change the offender. We pray that He will fix them. But if this were your chair in your heart would you allow someone else to decide where and how it would best fit your needs??
Look at that abandoned place in your heart where your spouse used to sit. Do you need them to be fixed to make life easier for you?? Nope! The enemy creates that illusion. Before we see situations around us change we have to see our spirit change. No matter how many people you sit in that chair, it will sit the same in your heart unless you change the chair!! Let me say that again, NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU SIT IN THAT CHAIR IT WILL SIT THE SAME UNLESS YOU MOVE THE CHAIR OR CHANGE IT!
We ask God to change our ex, but how many times do we ask Him to change us?? The truth is, even if God changes our ex – if we don’t change our own perspective, we won’t know they’ve changed!
That chair is empty now but it doesn’t have to be abandoned! We can start restoring it today! We can move it, replace it, recover it, start preparing it for whatever occupant God has planned for it – I mean it may be your ex if reconciliation is in your future. It may be someone new. It may be a purpose outside of marriage that God has planned for you. Whatever it is, we don’t want it sitting in the same messy chair that’s been left abandoned and exposed to the elements. We want it to be new, fresh, moved to the place that best serves its purpose currently and most of all, WE WANT IT COVERED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT!
I know it seems like we should’ve addressed the floor before the chair and maybe even before the wall. But to me, the floor is our access to every part of this space. We must first walk across the floor to get to the chair or the wall. The foundation holds the floor up like it does everything else. So I guess in my mind, the floor protrudes out further than anything in this space.
What a mess we see on the floor. It’s where all the broken parts fall. It catches everything. Except the parts that are rotten and now allowing anything and everything in.
God can use the floor to be a boundary, a filter sort of. Everything that comes in has to walk across the floor but everything that walks across the floor doesn’t have to be allowed to touch the chair or the walls and it certainly cannot break the foundation. The floor may crack, it may fall. It will likely let us down in some ways. But the floor is REPLACEABLE. God can build it anew. Ephesians 2:22 says, “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit”. Let God build that floor back with His Word. Read the scriptures and let God reveal what He needs you to hear from them. Let the Holy Spirit be the floor that must be walked across. Let Him be the filter for who and what gets to enter those parts of your heart that were previously abandoned.
Don’t keep any part of your heart closed off or abandoned. That allows the enemy to use it and create worries and scenarios in our minds that are likely never going to come into fruition. Open all the abandoned places in your heart. Allow God to fill those voids and create new places in you.
And before I close this out I want to give a shout out to https://www.instagram.com/bowtizbeard – Go check out some of the amazing work he has captured! This is not a paid shoutout – Haha! Really, he and his wife are friends from childhood and I just happen to run across some of his photography work recently. I haven’t seen either of them in close to twenty years… I am in awe of the gift he has and think you all would enjoy it as well!
Please comment below on some the abandoned places you found in your heart – your ashes can be a light for someone else!