I've been thinking about a broken heart…

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

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I stared at my broken *Lladro figurine. It was a gift from the women in the enrichment hour I facilitated in the 1990’s at Scottsdale Bible Church. A cleaning lady had accidentally broken it while dusting my curio cabinet. I tried gluing it, but it was unrepairable. My heart felt like that figurine—broken—over the loss of a sentimental treasure from a sacrificial season of ministry.

My purpose in starting the class was to create an environment where women alone at church—single, separated divorced, widowed—or married but unable to attend with their husbands—could gather together in a safe community. The class met a need and it eventually expanded to both Sunday mornings and evenings.

After five years it became clear it was time for new leadership and I stepped aside. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was how difficult it was to watch the class move on without me. After reflecting, I realized this ministry had become my home. Until then I had been a church widow—not in reality—but in practice. I was married but my husband was tied up on Sundays, leaving me wandering around trying to find a place to fit in—the very same need that birthed the class in the first place.

The recent broken figurine experience became an opportunity to reframe my perspective on a painful part of my past. Many women in those classes were in all stages of betrayal, pain and grief. Regrettably, I realize now I did not have the depth to empathize with how they felt. God’s purpose in allowing me to experience heart break over the loss of that ministry was so He could expand my heart and instill in me greater empathy!

I heard a message recently about friendship. The deepest relationships include loyalty, honesty and empathy. I am grateful that I am a better friend today because of the heartbreak I experienced. I have always appreciated loyalty and honesty but today I value empathy just as highly. This is what I was meant to learn from a broken figurine—and a broken heart.

*Lladro is a Spanish brand of porcelain art which is designed and manufactured at a factory in Tavernes Blanques, Spain.