Adapted from Beyond the White Picket Fence: What to Do When Your Life Is Dismantled by Sheri Rose Shepherd
God help me to rise up, redeem, and rebuild from the ruins of my life.
When you are in the middle of crippling emotional pain, it’s hard to believe you will ever breathe again. If someone you love betrays you, whether it’s a grown child, a parent, or a spouse, the heartbreak is excruciating. When I was going through a five-year crisis from my 25-year marriage ending to a terminal cancer diagnosis, I stepped off the stage and stopped speaking and writing to give myself time to heal. I had to remember, and I want you to remember this as well: God loves you, and He wants to take care of you. He wants to heal you, and He wants to help you through this. I know it’s hard to push through pain, but it’s even harder to know that you wasted it.
GIVE YOURSELF FREEDOM TO BE REAL AND HEAL
The Bible refers to God’s emotions 2,000 times, and you are created in His image. If you don’t let yourself process your feelings, you will get stuck in your story of the betrayal. Make a list and identify everything you’re feeling. Next go to the Word and look up those feelings. I’d also encourage you to process your feelings with a trustworthy friend who loves you, knows the Word, and will give you freedom to feel.
Keep in mind that even Scripture can be used as a Band-Aid. You don’t want to put a Band-Aid over a bleeding soul wound. The wound needs to air out by processing your feelings with a good friend or counselor. It’s one thing for someone to tell you a scripture, but it’s another thing for someone to use it as a healing balm for your hurting soul. This is not the time to be around people who speak “Christianese” but don’t know how to be compassionate. With that said, let me offer a bit of caution: you want to walk with people who have wisdom and let you have what I call “freak-out grace” but also won’t let you do anything you’ll regret after you’re healed.
PROCESS WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
It’s very important that, during a healing time, you disconnect from negative people or insensitive people, or those who do not have empathy for where you are in that moment. Even those with good intentions who love you can hinder your healing. It’s okay to tell them you don’t want to talk about something. It’s also okay to get help from those who can actually help heal you. Honestly, when you’re in the middle of an emotional or relational crisis, you really need people who will just listen and serve silently.
During your healing season, pay close attention to how you feel after people leave. Do you feel closer to God? Do you feel stronger? Do you feel comforted? When I was going through my four-year healing crisis, I learned it was better for me to be alone with the Lord than to be with the wrong people. Remember that some people don’t mean any harm and don’t mean to hurt you while you’re already hurting—they’ve just never been where you’ve been, and they have no idea how to handle your heart. But whatever the reason, this is your season to get healed.
EXCHANGE BITTERNESS FOR A BETTER OUTCOME
True healing for the heart only comes by extraordinary acts of love and forgiveness. Honestly, when you’re hurting it’s not easy—“Revenge feels good for a moment, but a right reaction brings redemption that lasts a lifetime.” Do not let emotions direct your decisions. When you make faith more important than your feelings, you get to see the amazing fruits of the obedient choice.
My friend Marie had every reason to never talk to her ex-husband again after he abandoned their family for another woman. But when Kevin received a fatal diagnosis and his new wife abandoned him, Marie made the hard decision to let go of her feelings and to look at the bigger picture of the legacy she wanted her children to see: She chose to love Kevin most when he deserved it the least for the sake of God being glorified. Marie deactivated the devil’s work her husband’s sin had brought into their family. She was determined not to waste the devastation and today her family is able to live free of regret, anger, and bitterness.
HIS LOVE LETTER TO YOU
I see you when you are in the garden of grief, My princess. I hear your cry for help in the dark hours of the night. I Myself cried out in the garden the night I was betrayed. In My suffering, I asked My Father for another way—a less painful way. Yet I trusted His will and purpose for My life. I knew the ultimate victory was at the cross. Just as olives must be crushed to make oil, I poured out My life as a love offering for you. Don’t ever doubt that I am with you and that I long to take you to a place of comfort, peace, and victory. Even when you cannot see Me from where you are, I am working on your behalf. Give to Me the crushing weight of your circumstances, and come to Me in prayer. When it is time to leave the garden, I will walk with you across the valley and straight to the cross—where your trials will be transformed into triumph.
Love, Your Savior who loves you with His life!
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
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For the past 30 years, Sheri Rose Shepherd has been in full-time ministry as a best-selling author, speaker to tens of thousands each year, and the founder of His Princess Ministries. Learn more at SheriRoseShepherd.podia.com
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