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Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

Close to the Brokenhearted - Encouragement for Today - February 5, 2018

Mike Berry

February 5, 2018
Close to the Brokenhearted
MIKE BERRY

“The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:17-18 (NLT)

Have you ever envisioned something a certain way only to have it turn out differently than you planned?

How did you feel about that?

Happy? Probably not. Disappointed? That’s more likely. Maybe you even felt disillusioned?

That’s the way I felt in 1999 when my wife suggested we adopt all our kids. I adamantly resisted and even flat-out said “No!” Not that I was against adoption or caring for children who weren’t biologically ours. I just didn’t fully understand how adoption works. I had grown up in a family that did things the old-fashioned way. Everyone came in to our family biologically.

But adoption was a big part of my wife’s family story. Thus, her heart was passionate about it. And soon enough, my heart changed too. I have God to thank for that. He woke me up and brought me out of shallow thinking and a rather self-centered existence.

To be honest, the foster and adoptive journey has tested us over the past 13 years like nothing else. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying — we love the precious children we’ve been blessed with and have been called to parent. But some of our children suffer from special needs, a result of past trauma, that has made this very hard; at times it feels completely defeating.

While we wouldn’t trade a moment, or a child, we’ve found ourselves on the brink of complete exhaustion. Beyond that, our hearts have been broken — broken for our children and the past trauma they’ve endured, broken for birth parents and their deep sense of loss and pain, but most of all brokenhearted for a world in which innocent children long for a forever home.

That’s when the words in Psalm 34:17-18 envelop us like a warm blanket, in spite of the cold world in which we live: “The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

God allows us to experience seasons that are heartbreaking, but character-molding and spirit-enriching, and then He faithfully draws us near and heals our brokenness.

I may have resisted the adoption and foster care journey in the beginning, but the tragedy and heartbreak of it was exactly what I needed to understand the depth of my heart and the healing power of my Heavenly Father.

The life I’m living is the furthest thing from the story I originally scripted for myself. But it’s a more beautiful and powerful story than I could have imagined. It’s penned by the Creator of the world. And it’s making me the best possible version of myself!

Heavenly Father, I ask You to reveal the depths of my heart. Lead me into situations, circumstances and experiences that break me, but mold me into a better version of myself. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, may I say “yes.” May I not resist. And may I faithfully trust that You are leading me every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 40:28-31, “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Mike Berry’s book, Confessions of an Adoptive Parent, offers insights, help and hope from the trenches of foster care and adoption.

CONNECT:
On their blog, Mike and Kristin Berry and their team share weekly encouragement, insights and resources to help foster, adoptive and special-needs parents.

Enter to WIN a copy of Confessions of an Adoptive Parent by Mike Berry. In celebration of this book, Harvest House Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, February 12, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is God leading you toward that may be heartbreaking and tragic? Be specific with your answer.

Why have you resisted this potentially heartbreaking circumstance? How will faithfully saying “yes” make you a better person?

© 2018 by Mike Berry. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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