We’re starting a new season together — and there would be no “we” without you! I’m so glad you’re here, especially if you feel empty of heart and alone at home.
I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I know the pain of breakups and divorce. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one, grieve, and let go. I know what it’s like to struggle with loneliness, abandonment, rejection. And I have good news! I learned how to fill emptiness in my heart and life…and if I healed and blossomed, so will you.
For the next few weeks I’ll be sharing snippets from Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. I wrote this book to help women walk through loss into the new season God has planned. This short excerpt and Blossom Tip is from Chapter One: Recreating and Replanting With Eve.
My sister and often I joked about getting old together, sitting in our rocking chairs on the front porch reliving our childhood and remembering our favorite foster parents. Keith was the “Dairy King”! When he made sundaes, we were allowed as much ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and sprinkles as we wanted. Foster mom Barb only had one arm, yet she baked bread, planted a vegetable garden, and probably decorated a real tree at Christmas. I never found out. We didn’t live with them that long.
When my sister unexpectedly cut me out of her life—without telling me why or what I had done wrong—I was blindsided. We’d been through so much together! Letting her go was horrible because I wasn’t just losing a sister. I was losing part of myself, my identity, my past, and my future. I couldn’t imagine a world without her. And what did it say about me, that my own sister didn’t want me in her life anymore? I struggled with confusion, guilt, self-condemnation.
It took years to work through my insecurity and shame, to let go of who I thought I was and receive a new identity. It was an uphill battle because I fought alone. I refused to accept a new self-image from God because I didn’t want to let go of my sister or the past. I thought letting go of her meant I would lose me.
And then, when I was finally ready to walk into a new season of life, I didn’t know how.
Fill-in-the-Blanks – A “Brain Blossom” Tip
Let’s do a thought experiment with Eve’s last words in the Bible. In Genesis 4:25 she said, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” If we erase certain words, we can fill in the blanks with our own experience. Here’s Eve’s sentence when it’s empty: “_________ has granted me _____________ in place of _____________, since _____________.”
Now let’s fill in the blanks with our own thoughts. Here’s mine: “God has granted me a new self-identity based on His love and grace in place of my old self-image of unworthiness and shame, since my sister chose to leave our relationship.”
This helps me see what I learned and even gained from my loss. I’m honest about what happened, and grateful for my new identity. Here’s another example from my life: “God has granted me time, energy, and finances in place of children, since my husband and I can’t have kids because of infertility.”
How to fill the emptiness in your heart
Write your version of this sentence: “_________ has granted me _____________ in place of _____________, since _____________.”
What has come out of your loss? You can fill in the blanks however you like; there are no right or wrong answers. This is your life, your losses and gains. Listen for God’s still small voice, and know He never subtracts without adding – although sometimes He requires you to wait on His timing!
See and accept God’s blessing even if it’s not the person, possession or future you expected. Don’t overlook or underestimate even the smallest joys or faintest glimmers of hope. Those are the seeds and sprouts of new life.
Do this exercise five times, with different losses and blessings. Or, you might choose to describe the same loss in various ways. Remember that death can bring unexpected life and fresh growth.
What benefits have emerged from your loss? Maybe it’s too soon to think about how you might grow and even gain after what happened…but don’t stop believing that you WILL come through this. You will heal and move forward. You won’t always feel sad and alone – especially if you dig into the promises of Jesus. He loves you deeply and knows your pain. He won’t erase the past, but He can heal your heart and lift your spirit higher than you can ever imagine.
How do you feel? What do you think of Eve’s example of filling her empty heart and arms in a new season of life? Share your thoughts with me on Recreating and Replanting with Eve – Growing Forward.
With His love,
P.S. If you already have a copy of Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back – please tell others what you think! Go to Amazon or GoodReads (or even your own Facebook page or group), and share your thoughts.
Your feedback is important! It’ll help other readers decide if Growing Forward is the right book for them.
New on She Blossoms
What to Remember When Someone You Love Says “I Hate You” – It hurts to be rejected by a friend or coworker; it’s devastating when someone you love says they hate you! Here’s what to remember when someone you love stops loving you or even starts hating you.
3 Powerful Ways to Accept Your Family for Who They Are – You love your family, but they drive you nuts! Learning how to accept your family for who they are will help you live in peace with both them and yourself. If you can’t accept your family, you’ll have a hard time accepting yourself. If you can’t accept yourself, you’ll have an even harder time accepting and loving others. Healthy family relationships give us the foundation of happiness, joy and peace in other areas of our life.
3 Signs God Hasn’t Forgotten You – When you feel lonely, sad, or anxious you may ask “Did God forget about me?” Maybe you’ve been looking for signs God still loves you, but all you see is proof you’re alone. I’ve been there, believe me. Many times I’ve fallen into the trap of believing God forgot me.