When Your Heart Is Sick.

Green covered the canvas of earth, breaking forth in hesitant bursts as spring awakened.  This was new life, a new beginning, and it was clear and evident and vibrant.  And for weeks, my heart had cracked itself wide open to allow hope to enter and I felt sunshine tickling my skin and dirt wiggle into my fingerprints and I smiled because surely a new season would spill over in my life as well.

Then something shifted.  It readjusted itself and my world tilted and I cried myself to sleep.  I haven't cried that hard since I was broken, and what do you do with tears like that?  With the loud gasps and the muffled sobs and the soaked whimpers?  What do you do when life is beginning outside your window, but the clock seems stuck in your life?

A few weeks later and I tape it up tight, three strips securing the closed folds.  A sigh escapes as I open the marker and scribble Court's Hope Chest across cardboard.  The contents of this box will soon find themselves tucked away in a storage unit because I have no room for them here.

I have no room for hope.  This chest is filled, and so I am packing hope away and marking the box so I can find it later.  And I want to sob because my chest is filled with hope, filled to the brim, and it seems I am always packing away hopes and dreams to use at a later date if at all.  But I don't sob.  I can't even muster a tear.  So I stare at the box, listening to the spin of the ceiling fan as it rotates in rhythm with the dull ache in my heart.

And the enemy whispers that a God who makes me box up my hopes is neither good nor faithful, that He is gone if He was ever on this journey to begin with.  That I've followed some romantic dream instead of divine direction and He is silent now because He is done with me.  That I'm lost, and I have lost, and I might as well just shrivel up and die because I'm drowning in this deep end of faith.

And he is convincing and I blink as I listen.  Isn't it much easier to believe lies when things don't look the way you thought they would?  When hopes are being taped up and dreams are being packed away and the reality of what's left leaves our hearts bleeding discouragement and hurt?

Proverbs 13:12 says that hope deferred (delayed, postponed) makes the heart sick.  And I think that in this place, with you, I can be honest and tell you that my heart is sick.
Some of you know.  Some of you have hope tucked away, too.  Maybe in cardboard boxes or plastic totes.  Handmade clothes and blankets for a baby who has not yet entered the womb, or journals filled with letters to a future spouse who still hasn't appeared, or certificates of accomplishment that still haven't earned the job you wanted.  And maybe your hopes don't fill boxes, but corners of your heart.  Hopes that are too personal, too deep, for others to even imagine.  

Oh, friends.  How I wish I had the right words, the perfect words, the best words to ease this season.  I wish I could tell you when or how things will turn out just fine for you.  I wish I could walk to whatever dark corner your boxed up hopes and dreams occupy and share a smile with you as we rip open the tape and bring them out into the light of day once again.

I can't give you answers.  I'm not capable of giving you The Plan.  I'm not here to tell you this is easy.  This unknown surrender is rough.  Physically, I'm taping up boxes of inconsequential objects and shipping them off to a storage unit.  Spiritually, I'm bundling my hopes together and handing them to Christ while tears rest in my eyes.  I don't know what He will do with these hopes once I hand them to Him.  

But I do know one thing when I know nothing else, and that is the fact that my God is a good God.  And He cares about every hope and every dream we've packed away.  He cares about our sick hearts, the ones sagging under the weight of unrealized desires.  And He cares about us far too much to ever leave us hopeless.

May that one significant truth settle over us as we wrestle this flesh so we can grab hold of the holy hope Christ offers.  


  1. Courtney, You are such a blessing. I hope you don't mind, but I have shared this with our ladies circle at church. God is using you in such a way. God bless you my young friend. Love you!

    1. I definitely don't mind! I love that. Thanks so much for sharing and for your kind words of encouragement. :)