Paper hearts

DollsI am up early. My husband had left the night before on a business trip to Scotland. Normally, I receive a text or email from him when his flight lands. This morning—nothing! I cook scrambled eggs for my twin boys and urge their sleepy bodies to leave the comfort of warm beds to get ready for school. Sleep on an overnight flight is not as comfortable. In between the flurry of morning activities I have a little time to be worried. I keep worst-case scenario thoughts at bay, for now at least. But, I do keep wondering if my traveler has arrived safely.

It is a dull and dank morning. Rain turns to snow—the first of the season. With the change in weather, I make a last minute decision to drive my boys to school, instead of their usual cycling. From there, I can continue on to the fields and fitness path for my prayer and workout. However, just before we walk out the door, I decide to call my husband’s cell phone. It rings for a while and then is answered. Hi, says a surprised and familiar voice. He has arrived! Oh, I say, you’re there! Relief floods over me, but annoyance quickly follows. I can sense that he is not alone so although I want to yell you could have called me, I resist. The boys are hovering at the door so I blurt out a hurried excuse and press END CALL. Inside, I am fuming.

Having a girlfriend, sister or mother to talk to at times like this is great, but God is a better best friend. For one, everything we tell him is completely confidential. For another, he knows the situation and us better than we know it or ourselves. He is familiar with all our ways, says Psalm 139. A friend might know you well, and be able to anticipate what you are going to say, but God has knowledge of your words before you speak. He perceives the things that churn away in our minds and hearts, like my thoughts this morning.

I begin to walk and pray. I’m annoyed because I was made to worry unnecessarily. I’m upset by the lack of communication. I want to lash out and say: fine, you treat me like this then I’ll treat you in the same way and see how you like it? I probably have done something similar in the past. I should let the incident pass. But, I don’t listen to common sense. Instead, all sorts of gripes and grievances begin to fill my mind. It is like mud being stirred up at the bottom of a pond, except this is grime from the bottom of my heart. God gets an earful of my complaints.

None of us really want a heart that is angry and hurting. We often think that putting up barriers is the way to protect ourselves from things that upset us. Wouldn’t it be better if we could cut out our damaged heart, like on a paper doll, and put it to one side? 

A heart-shaped hole is exactly what God can fill—with his Spirit of love and peace

This morning, I leave my stiff paper heart behind on the fitness path. In its place, God gives me a healthy heart of flesh pumping softly and calmly.

I check my cell phone—three missed calls and four text messages from my husband!

 

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