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IMG_1244Sometimes my kids drive me crazy, but there are plenty of sweet times when they challenge my faith, make me suck in my breath, and take a closer look at my heart. Here are some things my kids have said lately to make this mommy take a time-out.

“I practiced living with ‘open-hand generosity’ tonight at AWANA, Mom. One of my friends only had 4 AWANA bucks, so I gave her one of mine so she could have 5.”

“Mom, when we get our new dishwasher, could we give our old one to someone in Africa? I’d really like to pass on our stuff to someone who would be blessed by it.”

“I saved half of my chicken nuggets so that I can give them to that homeless man.”

Me: “You missed all the fun of watching the repairman install our new dishwasher. Where have you been?”
Son: “Well, at least I was spending time with God. I’ve been reading my Bible.”

“I really think God wants me to go on a mission trip.”

Yeah…I told you these would make your heart stop. (or maybe they didn’t and I’m just biased 🙂 )

These moments make time freeze for me and I know that, if you’re a parent, you have sweet moments just like these. What I love about these times is that I get to peek straight into their hearts and see what’s inside. Parenting is tough, no doubt about it, and there are so many times where we feel like throwing in the towel, giving up, and that whatever we are doing just isn’t going to cut it in the end.

But then we see what Jesus is doing in their hearts!

My husband and I aren’t always as intentional in our parenting as we want to be, but we do take our responsibility pretty seriously and one of our goals is that our kids’ hearts would break over the things that break God’s heart.

Broken hearts are pretty common in our world, but the reasons they break are varied. There may seem like a lot of reasons, but I think they can all be categorized into two groups. Hearts are broken because they hurt for others or because others (or themselves) have hurt their hearts.

Hearts that hurt for others are the kinds of hearts my husband and I want to foster in our children and what we beg God to grow in us as well. We want to ache over the things that burden others. We want to see the need and then be filled with a broken heart for them so much so that Jesus’ love reaches from us straight to them.

We want our kids to see the lonely kid and ask him to play.
I want to see the struggling mom in Target with a screaming toddler, and smile with an encouraging word instead of give a condemning look.
My husband wants to reach out and engage with the man who feels like cheating on his wife and walk with him as he challenges him to stay faithful.

We want to be a family that is available and ready to engage so that others can see the love Jesus has given to us. We join with countless others who are brokenhearted for the lost and hurting.

The other group of people with broken hearts are experiencing brokenness because they were hurt by others or they have hurt themselves through the consequences of their choices.

They were abused.
They were abandoned.
They lost a loved one.
Their dreams were shattered.
They lost their job.
They are facing financial loss.
They are addicted to drugs.
They are homeless.
They live in a marriage that screams hopeless.
They are physically handicapped.
They were betrayed.
They are lonely.

These people are hurting!  Their hurts run incredibly deep and the corridors of their hearts echo with the seemingly bottomless pit of perpetual pain.

The two groups are certainly not mutually exclusive. To be in one doesn’t mean you haven’t been in the other or still don’t struggle with the weight of the other group. I’m proof of that. But what I can also testify to is that if you’re in the second group of broken hearts, Jesus died to redeem your heart so that you can live freely and fully.

Not painlessly, but freely.
We don’t have to be tied to our brokenness.
It doesn’t have to own the power to define us.

Only Jesus has the power to redeem hearts and lives and turn them around. When you give your heart to Christ, He transforms your brokenness into a heart that breaks for what breaks His own heart. Through His redemption there is healing, hope, and a freedom that moves us to love others the way Jesus loves us.

When God redeems your heart, He heals your brokenness in such a way that it actually catapults you towards loving others more deeply.
Not in spite of your hurts, but because of them.
That’s incredible redemption!

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put my Spirit within you.

Ezekial 36:26-27

If you’d like to know more about Jesus’ love for you and what redemption means, send me an email or comment below. I’d love to get to know you and hear your story! Maybe you’ve already given your heart to Christ and you’re walking through a brokenhearted time, take courage in the fact that He will redeem this time of brokenness and bring you through it more beautiful than when you entered.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3