January 2, 2008
A Heart More Beautiful
By Sharon Sloan, She Speaks Graduate
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 (NIV)
The condition of my heart matched the weather conditions outside as I drove my children home from school through the steady rain and dreary clouds. Bringing my children to and from school each day is precious, almost sacred, time to me as we enjoy captured moments together to talk, listen, sing and pray. This day, however, my heart ached with fresh wounds. I silently cried out to the Lord while Joshua and Gabrielle munched on a snack and conversed contently between themselves.
Years ago God had taught me a valuable lesson: if someone says something in a critical spirit and not in love, still take that to Him and ask Him if there is any truth in it. “Is there something offensive in my heart You want to change, Lord?” I wondered after receiving criticism from an unexpected place. My heart lay bare and broken before the Lord.
As we pulled into the garage, my sweet five-year-old daughter, Gabrielle asked if she could put her rain boots on and go jump in the puddles. As my heart admired her enthusiasm, we worked together to dress her in her rainy weather finery. She gave me an extra tight squeeze declaring her appreciation. I then went about my regular after-school-unloading-and-reorganizing tasks as my silent conversation with God continued. “Lord, the pain seems unnecessary and the criticism seems unfounded. You know I want to serve you with abandon and show Your mighty works for Your glory. Please let me see Your faithfulness and purpose in this pain.”
A few minutes later, Gabrielle was in the kitchen excitedly handing me a paper heart she had made for me instead of going outside to jump in puddles. Gabrielle’s caring heart and artistic gifts are always a delight. On this rainy day, this hand-made gift served an even greater purpose.
As her precious hand lifted the paper heart up to mine, I noticed the heart had scissor cuts all through it, and I thought to myself that it didn’t look very pretty that way. Graciously taking the heart from her and kissing her head in thanks, I met my eyes with hers and she said, “Mommy, I made this heart for you. I put cuts in the heart because I thought the heart would be more beautiful that way.” Immediately, tears rolled down my face. I felt the Lord quiet my heart with His love and say to me, “
Noticing my tears of amazement, Gabrielle asked why I started to cry, and I told her that it was because God just told me that He loved me through the heart she made. My child’s delight in the promise of fresh rain and the beauty of a broken heart had ministered His love to me.
Dear Lord, through your grace let my heart abide in You always. Keep my heart teachable and humble before You. Give me the willingness to trust You through the pain, knowing that you are doing a beautiful work in my heart. Hold fast to me, My refuge and strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Pray and ask God to reveal any dirt in your heart. Also ask Him to send you a reminder that you are loved by Him.
Have you received criticism lately? Have you asked God whether or not it was founded?
Is your heart wounded? Have you asked God to mend it?
“He will quiet you with His love.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there Is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 02 January 2008.