Michelle McKinney Hammond
The relationship and the dream has ended. You have had your cry,
vented to anyone who will listen, and gone to embarrassingly,
desperate measures like calling your ex and then hanging up...
so WHAT is a girl to do? How do you end the drama and move on?
As a Christian, where is God in the midst of your grief?
Relationship expert and author Michelle McKinney
Hammond walks readers through the pain of lost relationships to
a place of wholeness in her new book, Release the Pain, Embrace
the Joy: Help for the Hurting Heart. For anyone trying to
find healing for their broken heart Hammond says, "Today's
the day to pick up the pieces." The following is an excerpt
from her book.
We’ve all been disappointed at some time in our lives.
We’ve been misled, purposely or unconsciously. We have all
stood staring in disbelief at the remains of discarded promises
that were made but never kept. The struggle to begin again is
a real one when you don’t know where to drop your anchor.
The heart has a million questions, each one defying your desire
to continue on. Love again? Forget it! Why try again? Why believe
again when it’s been proven you have no guarantees? Why
risk your heart’s safety once more? Yet it is in daring
to leap out in faith that the things we desire are gained.
Where to put our trust becomes the great question. How do we
know that we will heal? Live? Love again? Finally be loved in
return, the way we’ve always wanted to be loved? Should
the promises of a man be taken to heart? How can they be when
the record of failure has been so devastating?
Perhaps this is where the adjustment should be made. The focus
of faith has everything to do with where we go from here. Will
man be our focus, or God? It always comes down to the same sobering
The only place our heart is safe is in the hand of God. The only
One we can really believe in is the only One who cannot lie. His
promises are yea and amen. He doesn’t change His mind. He
stands in the gap, making up for all the promises that men have
broken. He exchanges those discarded vows with His own assurances.
And when He speaks, what He says He will surely do. Believe it.
They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took
Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.
Dinah made her way hastily through the streets of Shechem to
meet her friends. It was a day like every other. After facing
the uncertainty of her family’s city of destination, it
was refreshing to settle into her new surroundings and establish
a routine of sameness. The only girl among a household of male
siblings, Dinah longed for the company of women her age. Though
she enjoyed her brothers’ banter and steadfast protection,
her heart always lifted when she could escape their watch and
exercise some independence. Perhaps she should not have wandered
off alone, but aren’t these thoughts always clearer in hindsight?
She felt his eyes long before she met them. From the time her
family had moved to Shechem settling on land purchased from Hamor,
his son, Shechem, had watched her silently. Dinah had kept her
distance, knowing he was not a consideration for her future. These
people, though friendly, were different from her family, having
different customs and serving different gods. Although she longed
to be married, she knew that he would be an unacceptable candidate.
But there was no avoiding him today as he stood boldly before
her. Usually quite comfortable in the presence of males, she now
found herself at a loss for words, feeling quite discomfited by
his intense gaze. In his eyes was reflected not the loving consideration
of a brother, but a deeper, darker passion with which she was
Her emotions ran the gamut, from anguish as he raped her to unbelief
at his attempt to comfort her afterward with words of love. She
wept bitterly as she thought of her future, which was now hopelessly
ruined forever. All that was ahead of her now were years of living
alone and in disgrace. She was now unworthy of marriage, having
been robbed of the most precious part of her dowry—her virginity.
She fought off the waves of despair that threatened to consume
her. But Shechem claimed he loved her, and sought to redeem what
could have been construed as a tragic event.
His father in tow, Shechem asked Dinah’s father, Jacob,
for her hand in marriage. She marveled at the calm reaction of
her brothers as they set about creating the terms of agreement
for their union. All the men of the region would be circumcised,
making them acceptable for intermarrying with Jacob’s people.
Later, as Dinah made the journey to Shechem’s house, she
wondered why she felt so unsettled. The looks in her brothers’
eyes did not match their smiles as they shook hands with Shechem
and his father. What could they be up to? She soon found out.
As all the men of the city of Shechem recuperated from the agreed-upon
circumcision, chaos broke out. Her brothers arrived, killing,
pillaging and looting those now unable to defend themselves. Her
cries of protest were ignored as with deadly vengeance they killed
her new husband and father-in-law and carried her away, back to
her father’s house. Dinah numbly moved through the flurry
of activity that ensued as they hastily packed and fled to avoid
How could things have gone so wrong? This was not the life Dinah
had planned for herself. She pinched herself to awake from this
horrid dream, but as her tears blurred the road before her, she
realized she was indeed awake. Her life would become as endlessly
dry and desolate as the scenery that stretched like a long yawn
before her. Her brothers seemed self-satisfied that their honor
was now intact, won by their act of revenge. But honor meant nothing
to her. Honor could not repair an innocent girl’s shattered
dreams of fulfilled womanhood ....
Sometimes life doesn’t happen the way that we have imagined
it. Things reel out of control. Surprise twists and turns in the
journey of life cause us to feel violated, robbed of our own good
intentions. Our chance at love is snatched prematurely from our
hands, due either to our own choices—or someone else’s.
Regret can leave us despairing, stripped of our joy and our peace,
feeling unending despondency. Hopes for a better tomorrow are
wrenched from our hearts as others rationalize why we should be
able to move on. Those responsible for our paralysis continue
on without a backward glance, never realizing the depths of the
pain they’ve caused.
Matters of the heart cannot be compartmentalized or tucked into
neat little theories. The heart, shaped in the image of the One
who loves us most, feels what it feels in spite of itself and
forces us to reconcile our longings by placing them in the hands
of the only One who can redeem them.
Dear heavenly Father, somehow my life has gotten beyond my
reach, and my dreams have been scattered to the wind. I despair
over the lost pieces of my heart. I struggle to repair my shattered
spirit. There are so many fragments, some too small to find. It
seems impossible to put it all back together.
I need your help. I am confused by the voices of others.
I struggle to hear You as I am being pulled between the opposing
counsel of my own heart and the well-meaning advice of the loved
ones who surround me. My pain overwhelms me.
Who could really know the extent of my suffering? Who can
read between the lines of my tears and answer me? Only You. And
so with heavy hands I bring all the broken pieces of my heart
to You and lay them at your feet, awaiting Your restoration. Grant
me Your peace, restore my joy and make me whole again, in Jesus’
Excerpted from Release
the Pain, Embrace the Joy by Michelle McKinney Hammond,
© Regal Books. Used by permission.
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