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For the next few weeks, I will be sharing a glimpse into my life in the aftermath of my broken marriage. Once again, forgive me when the details are vague. While I know God desires me to write about this time in my life, I never want to write from a spirit of bitterness. The past is forgiven. Always.

In this series, I will be sharing some things that I’ve learned in this heartbreaking, yet beautiful journey. God never wastes pain, and I pray if you are facing heartache of any kind today, you will be encouraged by these words.

Part One: It’s okay to protect your wounds so you can heal.

Sometimes I think we as Christians believe we have to be tough.

Even if our hearts are breaking, we must hide the tears, square our shoulders, and keep marching.

No matter how badly it hurts, just keep going. Don’t stop, don’t cry, don’t ever show weakness.

And don’t shy away from what’s hurting you.

In my journey of healing, I learned an important lesson:

It’s very unwise to keep causing yourself pain when you are in a journey of healing.

There are some things that are just too painful to handle while you are healing, and that’s okay.

This makes sense to us when we think about it in reference to physical healing.

Let’s say you tripped on the front steps to your house, arms loaded with groceries. You fell, scraping your arm badly on the cement stairs. You carefully bandaged the long, red wound on your arm.

But then a few hours later, you ripped the bandage off. Scabs were just starting to form, but of course they came off with the bandage and the bleeding resumed.

So you wrapped it up again. A little while later, the pain was lessening, so once more you tore off the bandage. But again, the bleeding started. Now the searing pain was worse than when you first fell.

I know it’s a crazy story, but it makes a good point. We understand that to heal physically, we must protect the wound. To heal emotionally, the same is true.

Now, I’m not suggesting you hide from your pain and pretend it doesn’t exist. What I am saying is to make wise choices in what you will allow into your life during your time of healing.

After I lost my marriage, my heart was extremely fragile. My journey of healing was long—much longer than I desired. And along that journey, I had to make choices to protect my heart.

For a few years, I changed my listening, reading, and viewing habits. I love a good Hallmark movie, Christian romantic suspense books, and old love songs. But during this time, my heart couldn’t handle any of these things. It was like jarring a broken bone or ripping off a bandage.

So I put them away for quite some time. I focused on things that would help, not hurt me—time with my boys, my family, my church. I immersed myself in the Word of God, learning anew of His eternal, unconditional love for me. I sought comfort in knowing that Jesus would never leave me or forsake me.

A couple years passed, and I was again able to enjoy the books, movies, and music that I had enjoyed previously.

But it took time.

My friend, if you are in a journey of grief right now, give yourself permission to protect your heart. There is nothing wrong with that. If someone has told you differently, I would encourage you to read the Psalms.

Over and over, David pours out his grief to God. Over and over, he asks God to protect him, shelter him, and be his refuge.

You are allowed to do the same thing. You can run to your Heavenly Father and find refuge from what is hurting you.

You don’t have to keep ripping the bandage off.

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” (Psalm 57:1)