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A Shield in Front of my Heart

Do you keep a shield in front of your heart?  I know I do!  And I have been cautious who I let behind my shield, which often leaves me alone.  Maybe you can relate.

I remember when a previous pastor and his wife moved away.  The day they pulled out of their driveway I vowed I would never love a pastor’s wife again.  I intended to carry that rule out.  Fast forward to a new pastor and his wife, let’s say despite her best effort I had closed my heart.  I was protecting my heart from potential pain!  As a matter of fact, I have since heard the statement from that pastor’s wife that she didn’t know why she couldn’t reach me but evidently, she wasn’t supposed to reach me because she had tried numerous times.  The problem wasn’t her reaching me; the problem was my shield of protection I erected to protect myself from possible pain.

Just recently, my youngest daughter said, “I want to TRY to explain something to you.  I feel like I have a shield in front of my heart.  Some people are behind that shield.  And when they leave, and I think about them it makes me cry.”  Oh, sweet child, I assured her, “I understand!”  She looked at me so surprised and said, “You do?”  Yes, yes I do!

What do we do with the pain we experience behind our shield?  How are we good stewards of that pain?  How can we not make our shields bigger and stronger to prevent pain?

The answer is easy but allowing the answer to penetrate our hearts is difficult.  If we do not steward that pain well, then the next time a potentially hurtful situation comes to us, we erect our shield of protection.  That’s what happened between myself and a pastor’s wife.  This is not the best answer but, it feels the safest.  However,

a shield in front of our heart does not propel us forward; rather, it holds us back in our muck.

a shield in front of our

As I explained to my daughter, those tears she experiences are a result of pain!  Those tears scream I’m hurting!  In the most straightforward expressions, I shared with her what we needed to do with those tears and that pain.

5 Ways to be a Good Steward of our Pain

A Shield in Front of your


Feel your feelings.

I would prefer not to feel sad, angry, lonely, etc.  I want to pretend my faith is strong and all is good.  And sometimes that is true.  However even amidst a strong faith, we can not deny emotions.  Feeling your feelings sounds like it should be so simple.  However, in reality, this is a hard thing for me to do.  How grateful I was for Krisann’s simple explanation of feeling her feelings.  “When I think about them being gone, I cry.”  If you need permission to cry, cry!  Feel your feelings.

Share your feelings.

I am also one to not want to share my tender feelings with others.  I hold them close to me.  I’m glad to share my excitement, my happiness, my success with others, but those tender emotions I will hang onto them.  If I can convince you of anything, it is important to find ones to trust your heart with.  It doesn’t have to be a long list of people, just one or two is all you need.  My lists of friends have changed, and that has been a struggle for me.  I want a trusted one or two forever.  However, I have to learn that God sends trusted ones into our hearts for seasons.

Instead of holding on to who was, I need to reach out for who is to come.

Trusted friends with whom you can share are vital to being a good steward of your pain.

Receive comfort.

There is that dreaded word receive.  It’s awkward to receive.  Those trusted friends cannot fix your pain; they cannot make it go away.  They merely get to say phrases such as:  I’m so sad you are walking through this, I wish I could take it away, this is so big I understand why you’re so sad or mad or angry, I’m here for you, and I love you, I will walk with you through this pain.  These are great sentences to use when comforting others.  These phrases aren’t a magic fix to your problem or pain.  They offer a bit of healing in your heart.  Your job is to allow these phrases to sink into your heart and make a difference.  My trusted friends can say all the right phrases; however, if I allow the expressions go in one ear and out the other, then it does my heart no good.

Dwell on the comfort.

Soak it in.  Think about it.  Let it begin to change your thinking process and your heart attitude.  Instead of spending all your time focusing on the pain, spend some time thinking about the comfort your friend has given.

Add an addendum.

Now, your mind doesn’t only think about how hurtful this situation is, but your thinking now adds an addendum.  This situation is so painful, but my trusted friend has assured me that she will walk with me, she will listen to me, she will let me cry when I’m sad, etc. 

After we have done these five things, we have appropriately cared for our pain and soon will experience the healing that comes when we steward our pain well.  The sad part for me, it might take more than one time of feeling, sharing, receiving, dwelling, and adding an addendum for complete healing to take place.  ARGHHH!!  The truth is, we need to repeat this process each time pain arises.

I’m so thankful that my daughter, without any training, knew she felt deep emotions and I’m grateful I’ve had the training to be able to identify what is going on in her heart and give her comfort and add to her thinking when those tears arise in her eyes!

Now…sigh…if it was just as easy for me to follow these steps as it was for her.


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Alynda Long

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and life with us here in this space. We are often so pain adverse that we miss so many blessings out of that fear. What a gift you’ve given to her, yourself, and us, your readers! Blessings to you, Karen!

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