Anyone who knows my husband knows what an easy going, gentle man he is -- which is why I was surprised, in the middle of my peaceful night's sleep, to wake up to him kicking me over and over. I have the bruises to prove it. (Disclaimer: He recalls the incident, but only enough to know that someone was chasing him, and he was trying to save his own life; when I awakened him, we both laughed...)
I wonder how many people with whom we come in contact daily have bruises we can't see. Their husband isn't gentle with his words. A self-proclaimed best friend betrays them. A mother-in-law criticizes how they are raising their kids. An ex- husband tries to turn their children against their ex-wife or vise versa. Their adult children ignore them. They live in a drab house, yet long to turn it into a home.
The bruises are hidden. Hidden behind a smile, hidden behind shyness, hidden by wrapping their arms around themselves in self-preservation. I find them in the requests that come in for our card ministry project. I find them in stores where making eye contact unleashes requests for prayer. I find them in churches where they are ignored by those who profess to be like Christ.
How can we help those with hidden bruises?
1. Be Alert: Too often I am too busy with my writing, my ministry, my family, or my friends that I fail to really look into the eyes of those around me. When I do, I can see their emotional pain. When I'm living in the moment, I am more aware of those around me.
2. Be Kind: Speak kindly. The bruised of heart have been berated over and over. They long for a kind word. Is there something you can compliment them for -- a pretty smile, a job well done, or an insightful comment?
3. Be Helpful: Is there something you can do to help? Send a card, listen, suggest professional help. Take her to the hardware store to pick out paint -- then help her paint a room. Buy some flowers and other "pretties" to give her a spot of beauty in the drabness -- the beginning of an inviting home.
4. Be a Friend: How do we treat our friends? We text, call, or meet for coffee. We watch their kids and meet at the park. We make Christmas cookies together. We share our books, and we are real. We lose our own fake smile and share our days when we dropped the eggs and spoke too sharply to our husband. We don't treat them like a "project," but treasure the blessing they are.
5. Be a Pray-er: Take your friend to God every. single. day. Leave her in God's hands. Don't let her seep into your conversations with others. Be faithful to pray. Be faithful to praise. Let her know you are praying for her needs.
So there you have it -- 5 Ways to Reach Out to Bruised Hearts. You'll find gems if you allow God to help you heal hearts.