If you’re visiting my blog today from my Proverbs 31 devotion, Healing from Divorce that Stole the Life You Once Knew, welcome! Be sure to subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive the Living Unbroken Battle Plan for free!
A few years ago, I had an experience that taught me an interesting lesson about healing and restoration. An experience with my gardenia bushes, which I thought were dead for sure.
Twenty years ago, I planted four Gardenia bushes against the back wall of my house because I had always loved the dainty, white petals and their sweet, clean fragrance. But I never imagined those tiny bushes in one gallon pots would one day be bigger around than my arms could stretch and as tall as me. And I definitely never imagined that every spring and summer we would be blessed with hundreds of gardenia flowers for weeks.
Over the years, my children learned to share in my excitement of looking forward to April when tiny little buds would begin peeking out amongst the lush green leaves. Then we would anxiously await the months of May and June when all four bushes would explode with beautiful white blossoms. I would cut blossoms off the bushes every day and tuck them into a vase on my kitchen table, enjoying the scent which permeated my home.
But then, it happened.
Last year, I hired someone to trim the bushes back due to their enormous size. A few months later when they looked like stacks of chopped off scraggly sticks, I became worried. Then this past spring, my fears became reality. It was then that I learned it hadn’t been the right time of year for a bush trim. Who knew.
April rolled around. No gardenias. Then May. No Gardenias. When June came and went and there were still no Gardenias, I gave up hope. I had killed them. They were dead forever. Never to be alive, thriving and beautiful again. Heavy sigh. Sniff.
But lo and behold, in July, one gorgeous little bloom suddenly popped out. I got so excited I took a picture of it and texted it to my kids, then plucked that one little fragrant flower and put it in a tiny vase. Over the next week, a few more buds appeared, and within a couple weeks each bush had several blossoms, although not near as many as in years past.
My daughter Kaitlyn, who had shared in my justified despair over our beloved flower bushes, came home and saw the scattered blooms tucked in the sparse foliage. Her face lit up and she excitedly exclaimed, “See mom! I told you they weren’t dead. They just needed time to recover and heal.”
I stopped and thought about that simple yet profound statement. And a smile crept across my face. As I walked back into the house holding my little bouquet of freshly cut Gardenias, today’s key verse came to mind, Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”
In this verse, we are first reminded that even when we feel alone in our brokenness, we are not alone at all. God is always with those who are hurting and He sees their broken hearts. Then the verse says He ‘bandages’ their wounds and other translations say He “binds” their wounds. It takes time for wounds to heal, especially emotional ones, but it also takes the intervention of a Savior who will tenderly nurse our wounds until healing has taken place.
Over the past several years, my heart has been broken in ways I didn’t know it could break. For many months, I thought I would never feel alive, thriving or beautiful ever again. Although my heart is not completely healed yet, God has been close by my side during the journey to recovery and I know that without Him, no amount of time could heal the wounds only He can see. But now, my heart has slowly begun to blossom again, much like my gardenia bushes as they struggle to come back to life.
Maybe today you’re wondering if your heart can ever heal from the hurt that other people, circumstances or loss have inflicted upon it. If so, allow yourself to believe God sees you, hears you and loves you. He knows you can’t do it on your own and He wants you to know He is there to help you begin feeling alive, thriving and beautiful again too.
Anytime we are wounded, it takes time to recover and heal. Our bodies heal on their own because that’s the way we were created, but when our hearts are broken, it takes much more than time – it takes Jesus.
If separation and divorce have left you reeling with emotions and fears and you need to hear from someone who understands, I hope you’ll check out my new Living Unbroken Divorce Recovery Workbook which releases on March 1st. My prayer is that this book will spur churches around the nation to begin recovery programs for divorced women who feel unseen, unheard and unaccepted in churches today. (The workbook can also be done as an individual study.) Click here to order your copy today!
If you pre-order before February 28th, you can receive Session One of the Workbook, a free small group Leaders Guide and access to the first video of the 7 session video series that goes with the workbook.