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Lesson 9: Mending A Broken Heart

MENDING A BROKEN HEART

My daughter posed a question to me one day that got me thinking.

She asked,  “Does your heart ever fully heal when you lose a child?”

I didn’t have a quick response, but here’s what I came up with in time.

 

When you lose a child, your heart is ripped apart, shredded, and it feels like it will never mend.  The feelings you have are extremely painful and sometimes destructive. As you heal, the shredded pieces of your heart start to mend. The negative feelings turn to more positive ones, sometimes slowly, but given time they heal completely. However, there is always that one piece of your heart that is tender to your child.

 

The idea of this exercise is to put those negative feelings into the spaces on one side of the heart provided.  And, put the opposite positive feelings on the matching backside.

 

What are some of those feelings?  (Do you have any others to add?)

Negative                                                      Positive

Emptiness                                                   Fulfillment

Confusion                                                    Clarity

Anger                                                            Love

Pessimism                                                  Optimism

Sadness                                                        Happiness

Mistrust/Fear                                           Trust

Despair                                                        Hope

Sorrow                                                         Joy

Guilt                                                              Forgiveness

Depression                                                 Elation

Selfishness                                                  Caring/Sharing

Too much knowledge                             Innocence

 

*Hardness of heart                                  Tenderness

Compassion

Sympathetic

Warm-hearted

 

To heal, it is necessary to walk through your grief. It is so painful and takes time, but you MUST walk through it to get to the other side.  Save one section of the heart and write your baby’s name on it or just “Baby.” On the backside of each section of this heart write down the feeling that is the opposite of the negative one on the other side.  Then cut the heart apart. That is your shredded heart!

 

As you heal, each section of the heart should eventually turn over to the positive.  Some sections turn easier and quicker than others.  Other sections take time to “turn over.” Don’t give up.  Don’t let your heart get hard.  *The words on the positive list that are opposite “hardness of heart” are characteristics we all can develop after we have grieved the loss of a child.  Here are their definitions:

 

Tenderness – implies a softness or gentleness in one’s relationships with others that is expressive of warm affection and concern

 

Compassion – applies to one who is easily affected by another’s troubles or pains and is quick to show pity or mercy

 

Sympathy – implies the ability to enter into another’s mental state or emotions and thus share sorrows, joys, and desires

 

Warm-heartedness – suggests a sympathetic interest or affection characterized by cordiality, generosity, etc.

 

When your heart is fully “turned over” to the positive side, then I would say you are fully healed.  You have a new perspective on life and others.

 

However, there is one last thing to know.  A fully healed heart also has the piece marked “baby” in it.  That part is always tender and sensitive to the loss that you suffered; so, although your heart has mended around it, you will have times when you miss your little one or wonder what they would be like if still with us.  Know that it’s ok to miss them and be sensitive to that feeling.  Give yourself permission to feel sad or cry, knowing that the rest of your heart is there to support you as it has mended around your “baby.”