Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: broken-hearted

The Heart That Heals

The Heart that Heals by Patsy Burnette is a Bible study guide written out of Patsy’s pain and heartache over losing her teenage sister Ginger. It is a very gentle, non-threatening study that can be used as a journal (as I did) and is split into three parts, looking at emotions, burdens, and growing in Christ. Each chapter opens with a beautifully hand-drawn design with a Bible verse for the reader to colour in.

As soon as I heard of The Heart that Heals being launched, I was desperate to read and use it. It is written by a woman who knows how it feels to be broken and wonder if anything will ever be ‘okay’ again. This book is a good, safe read for anyone who is broken and raw. Patsy’s style is very gentle. She knows about broken souls.

I think it is a book where the reader will get as much or as little out of it depending on his or herself. Each chapter closes with three questions aimed at helping the reader think through what he or she has just read and note down any changes they will make as a result.

At times, I found the book bordering on being a little shallow – as if truths were being skimmed over. I felt there were places where the book could easily have gone deeper. It also sometimes felt slightly repetitive.

But, I also found it thought-provoking and urging me into action. After completing the study on the importance of bearing one another’s burdens, I sent a thank you card to a faithful friend who prays for me every day.

The book reminded me of who God is, what His character is like, and what He thinks of me. I needed that. It helped me get back into the Bible again, and that can only be a good thing!

Here is a quote from The Heart that Heals that blessed me.

Sometimes we think that turning to God and relying on His mercy, grace and comfort will make our brokenness disappear.
No, not necessarily. Relief from our brokenness may not always be the best thing for us.
Relief is not always in His plan, but peace is.

I was privileged to be chosen to be part of Patsy’s online launch team and to have received Kindle and printed copies of the book to provide an unbiased review. I have given it 4* on Amazon.

Keziah’s Diary: Heal

The strangest thing happened yesterday . I’m still reeling from it. Did I imagine it? No, I feel different, I look different. Oh wow, this is amazing.

I went to work as usual. I hoped I’d get customers quickly so I could buy food and go home. There was nothing in the cupboards. I should probably plan better but my head is all over the place and it’s hard to get into a routine. I say ‘is’. I think all that is going to change now….

Business was slow. I stood patiently in the hot sun on my usual corner, I like this spot because there’s an olive tree that provides a bit of shade. And I eat the olives when they’re ripe, probably shouldn’t, but there we are.

Late afternoon I saw this group of men heading towards me. I patted my hair tidy and struck an alluring pose. 

They looked an odd bunch to be friends: some were clearly manual labourers judging from their muscles, one had the despicable air of a tax collector and I recognised one as a terrorist. But their leader, he was something else altogether. One look at him and I knew he’d never take part in my kind of business.

I pulled my robe tighter around me and turned away. I wished the ground would open up and cover me. I felt so ashamed and dirty. I was worthless, less than nothing. I wished I’d never been born. My life was pointless: how many times have I been used and not paid, or abused? Because the men I deal with think they can do what they like and get away with it.

But he came closer until he was standing right in front of me.

‘What do you want me to do for you?’

The words were so gentle and gave me the tiniest bit of hope. Such a simple question, yet coming from him it broke down the barriers I’d erected.

I longed for peace more than anything. To be able to sleep at night like a baby. For relief from these terrible, jagged, emotional wounds that cracked and bled at the slightest provocation.

‘Peace,’ I whispered.

‘I give you My peace. Don’t be troubled or afraid. I am giving you life. This is why I came: to bind up your broken heart and heal your wounds.’

At once I felt different, lighter, as if a very heavy load had been lifted. I raised my head and smiled at him. He beamed back. ‘I’m Jesus. What’s your name?’

‘Keziah.’

He squeezed my hand.

What a Man! He didn’t want anything from me, but gave hope, and peace, and life. Wow. I love this Man.

And guess what, last night I slept like a baby.

  

 

Gather

Rethinkchurch has suggested a photo challenge for each day of Lent, using set words as prompts. Some of my Facebook friends and I thought it would be fun to adapt this and use the word prompts to write reflective posts. The first word prompt is GATHER.

Last summer, my friend Elizabeth and I planned a holiday together. We were excited at the prospect of having a few days without home and work commitments to talk non-stop, chill out and pray. The times we share with God are vibrant and thrilling, and we were giddy at the prospect of unhurried time with Him.

We thought we had planned that holiday and we were the ones inviting Jesus to join us.

Right.

Think again.

Sea ThistlesAlmost before we’d finished breakfast on the first morning, the presence of God fell in the room and we had to race to the loo so as to be ready for whatever He wanted to do. We realised that Jesus was the one who’d planned that holiday and He was the One inviting us to join Him.

When Jesus died, He did so willingly because of the joyful outcome He was anticipating. He is a God who gathers people to Himself and makes us His friends. A tiny part of that joy He was looking forward to was being able to invite Elizabeth and me to gather to Him for a few days in a chalet on the Norfolk coast.

 

The Lord builds up and raises us high above our status;
He gathers the outcasts –
the ones picked last for netball and hockey,
the lonely and invisible,
those addicted to social media or alcohol or drugs,
the prostitutes and trafficked,
the pimps, brothel-owners and traffickers –
Daddy God heals the broken-hearted
and bandages their wounds.
He calls us by name and brings the outcasts into His family.

My adaptation based on Psalm 147:2-6

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