By Heather Arbuckle –
“It’s broken,” I said glumly as the X-ray revealed a clean break in my daughter Sofie‘s right leg. Though the doctor merely confirmed what I had suspected all along, my heart sank as I stared at the image in front of me.
Just hours before, my daughter was a carefree six year old jumping on a trampoline. Now, she was immobilized, awaiting a cast and some pain killer. Normally rambunctious and independent, Sofie was now confined to a wheel chair for the next eight weeks, unable to put any weight on her leg while it was mending. Completely dependent, she had to humbly rely on our family for help with even her most basic needs. Her broken leg left her with no choice but to rely on the love of others.
Today, her Sunday school teacher, Ms. Kathleen brightened her day with chicken-n-dumplings and a bag of goodies. Being the arms of Christ, this sweet woman restored Sofie’s smile with her love. As our guest left our home, she paused to offer some wise words of encouragement. “Take care of your mom while she takes care of you…and God takes care of BOTH of you,” she spoke gently.
Like my daughter’s leg, there have been times when I was broken and in need of spiritual TLC. Rather than reach out for understanding and support, I hid my brokenness in isolation. Though I worked tirelessly to change my circumstances, my strength failed, and the pieces of my heart remained hopelessly shattered. If not for Christ’s unconditional love, I would have remained broken and alone.
Thankfully, I have a faithful and loving God who refuses to leave my side, even when I am at my worst. When I submitted control to my Savior, Christ gently pieced me back together one layer at a time. All the while, God lavished me in His great love through loyal sisters in Christ. I grew stronger in companionship as God lovingly restored my soul.
We learn from Ruth and Naomi that faith is strengthened in the bonds of godly friendship. Though Naomi planned for self-sufficiency, we are told that Ruth stayed near proclaiming, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16 NIV)” Together, the two women endured hardship in love as God brought them to a new beginning.
Searching God’s Word we discover a simple truth. God made us for relationships. Heart to heart we experience healing as we share burdens, validate fears, and expose hidden lies. Yet, many of us are silently walking through life alone in our brokenness. Far too many of us live isolated in our pain, unable to disclose our hurts with others. We mistakenly convince ourselves that “surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. (Job 30:24 NIV)” Tragically, we keep our wounds locked within broken hearts while our enemy rejoices.
God’s children are made for relationships. When Christian women come together in prayer, study, and fellowship, we come to know ourselves and our Savior more completely. Lifting each other up to our Heavenly Father, sisters in Christ befriend one another in truth and love, while God cares for us all. For we are assured that “pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)”
Heather Arbuckle is a former educator who is now serving God as a writer. She lives in McKinney, Texas with her husband and college sweetheart, Marty. Together, they have three children. You can read more from Heather at her blog www.hearts-for-him.blogspot.com. She has no greater joy than to see God’s word accomplish its purpose in the lives of readers near and far.