Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
Four and a half years ago, as I entered a tough season, the Lord reminded me of all the work He did to make me whole. His pruning shears cut away the hard shell around my heart, and His masterful hand removed the bitterness from it. The process was difficult for me, but the Lord has a very tender touch. Unlike some craftsmen, He does no damage while He repairs what is broken. After His sweet reminders, He gave me a word, “Keep an open (pure and loving) heart.” In other words, after all the hard work, I shouldn’t allow temptation to fill my heart up with what He removed. I committed to that, and He made it possible for me to stand. From the moment I received that word, hearts became a special symbol in my small corner of the world. Sometimes I’ll see one while I’m out and about, like the beautiful gold and white heart cup mentioned in my earlier blog, A Tale of Two Cups. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it for those who are struggling with choices. It may help you choose well. Another time my pastor’s wife, Tammy, blessed me with a small, red glass heart and a tile that said “believe”. She is a faithful woman with a sensitive spirit. Her gift came at just the right moment during my 2016 storm. Tammy was God’s voice reminding me that He was still the Author of my story.
I have since given hearts, and the words, "keep and open heart." to some of my friends as they walked through their own difficult seasons, and placed one beside the names I write on notes or greeting cards. What the Lord gives to us in our time of need we are told to pass on. (1 Corinthians 1:4) A year ago, while searching through an old treasure box, the Lord unearthed half of a Murano glass heart I kept from the mid- 2000’s. It was a treasure from my time investing in homeless women through ministry. At an annual event, the ministry gave 200(+) Murano hearts as gifts to the homeless women who attended. As my team and I unpacked the hearts, halfway through we found one perfectly split down the center. We were concerned that we wouldn’t have enough hearts to give as gifts to the ladies, so we prayerfully sorted them by table, and found there was one extra. The one split in half, in the colors gold and white (that I love), I believe the Lord intended for me all along. I used it in my talk that day to remind our guests that, although their hearts may be broken and lives appear wrecked at the moment, the Lord is the God who heals and repairs. After they were instructed to open their gifts, I showed them one half of the broken heart we discovered earlier. I shared its story. During the journey to us, the heart was somehow beat up to the point of being split in half. It was no less beautiful, but in need of someone to treasure it. I shared that we were delighted to find that even with the split heart, there were just enough for each of them. I shared that I too, at one time, had been broken, but God met me in my need, guided my footsteps and made me whole. They heard that He could do the same for them. It was no accident that the heart in my hand arrived broken, and that it was no accident that they were our guests. I told them that rather than discard the heart I was holding, I would keep it as a reminder to pray for them. What a blessing it was for the team and me to see the faces of our guests as they placed their gifts around their necks. Each heart was a little different, the impact was clear. The women were more hopeful as they boarded their busses to return to the shelters. There are also times when hearts come to me in unexpected ways, and these, I believe, are God’s serendipitous reminders that He sees me, and is still working all things out for my favor. (Romans 8:28) To name just a few of God’s serendipitous blessings to me, my sweet Great Dane puppy, Redemption, has two hearts on his harlequin coat. I’ve found hearts hidden in nature while hiking and in cloud formations during a hard day. One morning, as I contemplated the devastation that Covid-19 wreaked on my treasured boutique, my sweet daughter left me a note, and finished it with a heart.
The most recent serendipitous heart appeared this morning. After I stirred my coffee, I walked away to gather my Bible, devotional and pens. While I was doing this, them the cream layer for my latte settled into a heart. It brought a smile to my face and peace to spirit.
You see, God is still on His throne in the midst of the turbulent times we find ourselves in. Those who put their trust in Him can safely say, “It is well with my soul.”
How is your perspective today? Are you filled with anxiety over anything? Do you believe that God does not hear or see? Do you think the trouble you face is too big to solve? Perhaps He has sent you a serendipitous clue, and you’ve missed it because your eyes were on your circumstance, and not on the One who can work it out. Give God His rightful place in your heart, and you will find your heart, the wellspring of your life, filled with hope!