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Embracing the Broken: Giving God Your Whole Heart

Guest Blog By Lori Ann Wood


As my husband and I walk hand in hand along the ocean shoreline, stepping over broken shells, I’m thinking of a friend’s words from eight years ago:


“The heart is the only muscle in the body that can’t heal itself.”


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Embracing the Broekn

The day after being admitted into cardiac ICU, the respected surgeon visited me. Also a church elder, those words coming out of his mouth cut especially deep. I knew he wanted to relay a more hopeful prognosis almost as much as I needed to hear one.


In late 2015, after visiting my family doctor with what I thought was the flu, I spent 14 days in cardiac ICU at my local hospital. With no risk factors and no family history, I was suddenly diagnosed with end-stage heart failure from an unknown cause. My enlarged heart was functioning at just 6%. The most optimistic doctors gave me a five-year life expectancy; the more realistic ones—like my friend—were thinking closer to six months.


Now, long past the most optimistic prognosis, I am vacationing with my family in Mexico. Who would have thought?


And yet, that heart is still not healed.


Over the last several years, I’ve learned about the tricky business of holding faith in one hand, and an incurable disease in the other. The main lesson I’ve learned is that God needs all the pieces of your heart—especially when it’s broken.


In the early days of my diagnosis, I didn’t always believe God would show up. Most days, I doubted His presence. Those days I was silent with God, and moving further away from Him. But on my best days, I had just a glimmer of hope. The truth is, I didn’t do anything heroic, other than hang on and dare to keep talking to Him. Even when it was just sharp complaints and pointed questions. Over time, I found that these broken pieces kept me tethered to Him.


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By giving Christ all the messy...

As the waves crash, I notice that the beach glitters like diamonds in the morning sun. The broken shells together tell a story. Individually, they aren’t much, just a disappointing end to what could have been a beautiful souvenir. But together, they shimmer, and share a bigger narrative.


Scripture contains a compilation of poetry, story, song, and prayer. And at least a third of the psalms are made up of laments. Hard conversations with God.

Even Jesus Himself lamented on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, ESV).

A harrowing part of a beautiful plotline.


Similarly, all the pieces of our story, including the difficult ones, become part of what God is creating in a life. Like those shells, I still long to be whole. But the brilliant display I am seeing along the sand is made possible only by the breaking.


Eventually, the world shatters us all into pieces. Our wholeness is broken by living life in a warring, critical, cruel world. Those pieces can find meaning in Christ. His wholeness, His completeness, is a promise.


Not all of us have a literal broken heart. In fact, it’s likely your pieces are broken differently than mine. Fragmented storylines, shattered dreams, crushed plans. By giving Christ all the messy, jagged pieces of your heart— by not withholding the hard conversations, the questions and the complaints—the shoreline of your life can sparkle…in a new kind of wholeness.

About Lori Ann Wood:

Guest Writer
Lori Ann Wood

After discovering a serious heart condition almost too late, Lori Ann Wood became an award-winning author and speaker who encourages deep faith questions along the detours of life. Lori Ann’s first book, Divine Detour: The Path You’d Never Choose Can Lead to the Faith You’ve Always Wanted, is available on Amazon.


Get her free gift, When You Can’t Talk to God, at

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