The darkest, quietness of night
In stillness as you lay;
The only sound or rhythm heard
Are words your mouth can’t say.
The tears that burn your sleepy eyes
A fist in anger clenched;
The cry to ask “Why me, Oh Lord?”
The soul, in anguish drenched.
And though it can’t be verbalized
Into a single word;
A whisper’s heard, with every beat
Your heart is being heard.
Have you ever pondered the capabilities of the human heart? For an organ the size of your fist, it is one of the most remarkable organs in the human body. It works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year non-stop; pumping blood through our bodies and delivering oxygen to our vital organs and cells. The human heart, yours and mine, will beat an estimated 42,075,904 beats per year and a whopping three billions times throughout our entire lifetime. It pumps 2.4 ounces of blood per heartbeat with 72 beats per minute, averaging 1.3 gallons per minute. That equals 1,900 gallons per day, almost 700,000 gallons per year, or 48 million gallons by the time the average person reaches 70 years old. That's not too bad for a little ten ounce pump!
But, think about this for a minute; do you think our hearts exist only for the single purpose of keeping our physical bodies alive? Do you think it is possible there could be another purpose, unknown to modern medicine that our hearts were created for? Is it possible, in the intricate design of our hearts, a higher purpose exists and God is waiting for each one of us to discover it? Would it surprise you to know that I believe it’s not only possible, but is true? I believe the heart is capable of more than pumping blood to keep us alive. I believe it serves a higher purpose for mankind. I not only believe it issues life to our physical bodies, but it is the place where the issues of life are lived out. I also believe the heart has the astounding ability to communicate with its Creator, and we don’t have to say a word.
A few years ago, as I was driving down the road, the radio station featured a report regarding this phenomenon called the heart. I had already begun writing this book, and figured I would get some good insight into the emotional aspect of the heart, and maybe use some of it in the book. I turned the radio up, not wanting to miss a thing, but the more I listened, the more evident it became the report was based on scientific research and did little to touch on the emotional and spiritual intricacies associated with this magnificent organ. The researcher stated, quite emphatically that the heart isn’t capable of feeling any emotion whatsoever. He stated that what we feel, and where we think these emotions are originating from, is actually in the brain. He went on to explain that the brain responds to external stimuli by sending chemicals into our bloodstream. Those chemicals, in turn produce the physical feelings of euphoria, pain, etc that are then registered in the brain. Therefore, the brain itself, and not the heart, is where the physical body experiences true feeling. Now, while that may be scientifically true, I would still argue the point… No matter how it happens, the feeling of emotion is in our chest, right where our heart is located.
The creativity of God is far more complex than our minds can imagine, so to believe the heart is capable of more than simply pumping blood, really isn’t too difficult at all to believe. The spiritual purpose of the human heart exceeds the amazing physical abilities I mentioned earlier and just as it is vitally important to maintain the physical health of our heart, it is just as important to maintain its spiritual health. Neglecting our hearts physically or spiritually can, and will affect us, both in the physical, and in the spiritual. It is my personal belief that God created the human race to respond to stimuli, in such a manner that our hearts would feel the impact, whether good, or bad.
The heart is the center of our physical and spiritual man. It is the place where many emotions and spiritual truths are incubated, and fertilized, for maturity. The center of the heart is the soul; the place where the real you, and the real me, reside. It is from this place that life (or the way we perceive life to be-the issues of life) is lived. In this place we build trust and relationships from the way we perceive life. We express ourselves with words from the heart, drawn from life as we have perceived it. Our faith in God is planted in this place and watered by how we perceive life. Here, in this place of the heart, our deepest love is born and our deepest wounds are felt. It is this place of the heart, where we become what we hold inside. If we have placed our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, we become as He is. But, if in this place of the heart we hold disappointments, disillusionments, hurt, pain, and suffering, we become as it is. Our lives are a reflection of what we hold in our heart.
I hope you are beginning to understand your heart plays an important role on your spiritual well being. In case you didn’t know, we are spiritual beings wrapped in a body of flesh that experiences pain on several levels. What I hope to show you is what we do with the external (physical) stimuli, directly affects the internal (spiritual), attitude that is displayed, or lived out, in our daily lives.
Proverbs 23:7 “For as a man thinks in his heart; so he is.” (NKJ)
You’ve heard the saying “You are what you think”? Scripturally, that is a correct statement. What you think you are, or how you perceive yourself to be (in your heart), so you are. The heart and the mind are intertwined together, even though your shoulders and neck separate them on a physical aspect. Spiritually, they are defined as one. What you believe in your heart, you think with your mind. In other words, if you believe in your heart you are a success, you will think and act like a success, and probably become a success despite the struggles or failures along the way. On the other hand, if you believe in your heart you are a failure, you will think and act like a failure, and because of the struggles and subsequent failures you will encounter, you will believe you are a failure, and think you are a failure, and continue to act like a failure.
Now let me pause here for a moment to say this. Life happens. Each and every day, the circumstances of life happen all around the world. Some circumstances are good and wonderful, but all you have to do is watch the evening news to find out bad things do happen to good people every day. Some people can roll with the punches, recover and then move on. However, anyone who has been sexually abused does not look at the circumstances of life in the same manner as one who has never been abused. One of the hardest things a victim has to overcome is the belief of the lie (reasons for abuse) itself. The lie has many aspects, but could be as childlike as “I’m not worthy, I’m dirty, or I’m ugly.” As life happens to an abuse victim, the circumstances become the affirmation to the lie. “See, I’m not worthy enough to be loved, that’s why my husband beats me.” Or, “I don’t deserve to be loved because I’m -------.” You fill in the blank.
Life is viewed through the pain and anguish of the past. This tunnel vision allows the circumstances to dictate the purpose and position the abuse victim holds in life. She may see herself as unworthy of a good man and finds herself drawn toward those who control and abuse. It isn’t because she’s mentally unstable and desires to be treated badly, but rather, it is what her heart believes to be her purpose and position in life; a victim of abuse. From those circumstances (the abuse), the conclusion her heart accepted as the truth, was a lie about who she is and what her purpose is. At a young age, her heart was duped into believing the lie based on the circumstances of her life. Ultimately, she became what she believed was true in her heart.
Satan was there when God created man. He understands the spiritual, emotional and physical attributes the heart is capable of, and he uses them to his advantage to confuse and distort the truth. His attacks come on a physical, emotional and spiritual level, and he uses any means possible to plant the seed of doubt in your heart. He knows that once doubt has been sown in your heart (that place in the heart where life is perceived to be) your thought life and actions will validate the doubt, and that doubt will build a wall of separation between you and God. If he can not have you in hell with him, separation from God is the next best thing.
Proverbs 4: 23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (NKJ)
There’s a reason God included this verse in the bible. What we allow to take up residence in our hearts has a direct impact on our lives. We must watch over our hearts against the schemes of our enemy. Keeping our hearts includes keeping a diligent spiritual guard over the things we allow to penetrate our minds; bearing in mind the heart and mind are “one.” We need to remain on guard for those events that can affect us spiritually and release them to God. Our main objective is to realize we cannot accomplish this feat on our own. God’s Spirit must dwell inside of us, and work through us to do our part, which is a conscious effort to “stand” against those things that would try to take up permanent residence in our hearts.
Look at the people you meet closely; their eyes, their actions, and their words will be a reflection of what is in their hearts. It cannot help but flow out. Unfortunately, what flows out can and does flow onto those around us (spouse, children, siblings, etc.) and those we come in contact with.
Human beings are funny creatures. Each one of us lives life from what we believe, and hold onto (in the heart), as perceived truth. Watch someone who believes something is true, and they present a good argument for their belief. They believe it to be true, so they act upon it. Just as it is true in the natural realm to stand up for what you believe, it is true in the spiritual realm that we will stand up for what we believe. God warns us to keep our hearts with all diligence, so the life flowing from us (and onto those around us) produces that which is good, pure, and righteous. Satan, on the other hand, wants us to live life from the issues of hurt, rejection, pain, and anguish, so the life that flows from us is a life that produces pain and/or suffering to those around us. Maintaining good spiritual health is a major issue for anyone, and the battle for your heart is one that will not go away.
I hope you will understand that no matter what you have endured, God has the capability, and the power, to change your life so you will know and believe who He is, who you are in Him, and what your purpose is on this earth.
My Story: when you think about your childhood, what images do you see? For the better part of my life “Normal” was the word that always came to mind. But, whenever I tried to envision certain years of my childhood, my mind drew a blank. Quite literally, blank darkness. My brother’s and sister’s could recall certain events of our childhood, but my mind refused to conjure up those same images during a certain time frame. Whenever I tried, unpleasant thoughts and feelings were associated with my inability to remember, as if something was seriously wrong with me, or something sinister was lurking in the darkness of my mind. It wasn’t until 1989 that I began to see just what that darkness held.
The question “What kind of childhood did you have?” was asked of me by the counselor. I had gone to him to find the courage to leave an abusive husband. At 28 years old, with two small boys and one on the way, I didn’t want them growing up in a house where they were taught to abuse the women in their lives. My gut reaction to the counselor’s question was “Normal” but this time, the words barely passed my lips when I knew that wasn’t right. Normal was far from the truth.
In less time than it took to write this sentence, the memories of my childhood surfaced and for the first time in my adult life, I re-lived the horrors of my heart. From the time I was 8 years old, until I reached 15, I had been raped and molested several times over. Even as I write these words, years after the fact, the memories are still as fresh, as if it happened yesterday. That was 16 years ago at this writing. To this day, even though I have dealt with many of the issues from my past, there are still issues that remain.
As I look back upon my life, I can say most of it was lived from the issues of abuse. What I thought about myself and what I thought about God and how He viewed me was seen through the eyes of the wounded child inside. My thought life, personal life, and social life were all affected by the trauma of my childhood, and what I held in my heart flowed through my actions.
No one in my family seemed to understand, why I wasn’t able to cope with something that had happened so long ago. They gave me what they thought was valuable advice, but I couldn’t seem to “just get over it” or pretend it didn’t matter. It did matter. It dramatically affected my entire life, and stripped me of certain, absolute rights every child should have; the right to be an innocent kid. It did matter and I desperately wanted someone to tell me it mattered to them too.
Over the months and years to follow, I had an empty ache in my heart that wouldn’t go away. When I went to bed, and every morning when I awoke, it was there. I was constantly depressed and felt like an old worn out piece of luggage that no one needed anymore; used, unlovable, unworthy, dirty and ashamed, but more than that, I was angry. Talk about issues; oh boy did I have issues!
Since 1989 God has brought me through some pretty rough, emotional times. Step by step, He has led me into some of the most horrifying memories, which produced some powerful, physical emotions and every time, God has given me the insight to the spiritual and emotional aspects of those events, which have affected me spiritually, and flowed out of me physically.
I believe there is a purpose for where I’ve been, and part of that purpose is reaching out to you. Sharing the insight I’ve been given with those who are wounded in the same manner as me. I identify with the pain you have. It’s real and it hurts. I understand the emotional battle, and I am here to tell you, you can learn to overcome it. Part of learning to overcome is understanding the pattern of heart attitude and issue living.
What I had been taught growing up, as to who I am and what my purpose is was so ingrained in my heart, it was the only truth I knew. Everything revolved around my childhood. I reacted to life’s circumstances through the pain I held in my heart and each day the struggle to simply survive was more than I could bear. But, given the choice between the day and its pain, or the night and its terror, I would have chosen the day. I knew what to expect, and I was prepared for what it had to offer. I had more control over the daylight hours, but the dark; I hated the dark, just as I did when I was a kid. The night, and its darkness, offered only terror for which I had no control. My sisters teased me, well into my adult years, for sleeping with a light on. (I was 40 years old when I stopped sleeping with a light.) They called me a baby, and a sissy during my teens and I would make up an excuse about falling asleep before I had a chance to turn out the light, or something along those lines. As an adult, their teasing continued. I never told anyone why I needed the light in order to sleep; I didn’t think they would understand.
On one occasion, after my mother asked me yet again, why I slept with the light on, I replied, “If I open my eyes, I want to be able to see “Who” or “What” is in my room.” I wasn’t able to tell her, or anyone for that matter, what took place in the darkness. All I knew was, in the darkest, quietness of night, when everyone else was asleep, that’s when evil came to visit and I was powerless against it. Many nights I would crawl into bed exhausted, praying for sleep so I didn’t have to feel, I wouldn’t have to be afraid.
Sleep was my escape from the nightmare. Usually I would lay there for hours, my eyes squeezed shut, listening to the sound of my own breathing and there it was, like a huge bolder sitting on my chest, threatening to choke the life out of me. My mind would race a million miles a minute, thinking of anything and everything, but why I couldn’t sleep, why I was so afraid, and why my heart hurt so much. The devil literally had a field day with me during those nights. He used my fear of the dark as the catapult for hours of terror; I was afraid of every sound I heard; afraid something, or someone, was there to get me.
The fear was just as real as the pain. Spine tingling, hair raising, electrifying, and physically paralyzing, fear of something unseen-that I could not control-coming after me. When I did manage to fall asleep, the nightmare came to me in the form of terrifying, tormenting, demonic dreams; which was the prelude to even more hours of torment after I was awake. I hated this and most every night was the same. I would lay my head on the pillow and the nightmare would begin all over again.
The weight of my life was on me. I knew what had taken place in my childhood and I knew how it had shaped me into what I had become. And as strange as this may sound, I believed because of what had taken place in my childhood, I was not allowed to live a life of happiness. I believed I must have been so bad that even God couldn’t look at me without disgust. At times, the weight became too much for me to bear, and lying in bed I would break. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I would cry so hard it felt like I was suffocating. My mouth would open in a silent scream, with my hands covering my heart. It hurt so much; a real, deep, physical pain in my chest, right where my heart was located. I despised the way I felt; afraid, alone, and without hope. I knew I didn’t want to be like this, I wanted to be a woman who was worthy of Gods love, not the woman He ignored. I didn’t know why I was so different and why God didn’t love me enough to make it stop. At times, the anger would rise up and I would clench my fist, shaking it in the air, daring God to kill me and end this miserable thing called my life.
There were no words to explain what I felt in my heart, and there was no explanation for the agony of life I lived. Silent screams and tears were the only way I had to verbalize the intensity of the pain that consumed me.
It was during the intense emotional seasons that the voice of my heart picked up, where the words of my mouth couldn’t. My heart spoke volumes to God. Even when the hurt turned to anger and I didn’t understand why, or what I was feeling, God knew and understood. My heart spoke of the atrocities it had suffered, the lies it believed to be true, and the life it so desperately wanted to be a part of. God allowed it all. The anger and the tears, and all the while, the heart of Father God whispered back to the heart of a broken child. In the darkest, quietness of night, as I mourned the loss of the life I never had, Father God whispered His love to me, with the life I was born to have. And when the pain of my heart overshadowed His love, God still whispered.
You see, the human heart is capable of so much more than simply beating and pumping blood every day of the year, but each and every day, throughout your entire lifetime, your heart has the ability to communicate. When words fail; when they aren’t enough to explain the what, when, where, how, and why, the heart speaks more than the words of your lips, and the One who created your heart knows, and understands what is being said. There is no need to speak out loud; God speaks the language of the heart. And, in ways we do not understand, the communication between our hearts and God is unmistakably natural within the spiritual realm.
Yes God placed an incredible thing within the chest of men and women. A human, organ of flesh designed to communicate with Him, and desire His voice to be heard within its chambers. The human heart; your heart and mine, yearns to hear the voice of its Creator, whisper words that make life worth the living.