By Amelia Brennan

To the One with a Hurting Heart,

Our hearts are interesting things. As humans we have the ability to love and be loved as no other created being can. But we are not perfect, so how could we ever perfectly love? We are fallen, and so we experience sadness, brokenness and heartbreak. And that heartbreak can come from a breakup, the loss of friend, a broken family, or anything that hurts our hearts and breaks a little piece of it. Whatever it may be, we have all experienced heartbreak.

I remember when I experienced one of the biggest heartbreaks coming out of a relationship. Around this same time I was also experiencing the heartache of family and friend troubles. I thought that my heartbreak showed how weak I was, but I soon learned the reality that in my weakness Christ is strong.

I learned that heartbreak reveals where we need Jesus the most. I realized that I did not know my own self-worth. I had placed it in other human beings, and I had given more of myself than I should have. I did not “guard my heart” as I was always told to. But I also learned good things about myself, like that I am passionate and I love hard.

I learned that in times of heartbreak there is heartache and healing. In experiencing heartbreak, our heartache is revealed, and where we ache, we need Christ to come heal us. I learned that sometimes Jesus allows our hearts of stone to break, and He teaches us how to love, and how to love well.

Heartbreak coming out of a relationship is difficult, unlike any other. We place our trust in another human and we feel safe. And when we are rejected, or we lose another person, we feel empty. Here, we can begin to learn that Jesus is the only one who satisfies.

So we see how God brings good even out of heartbreak. But just as importantly, we must affirm that it is not easy. We must ask ourselves what we learned from tough times, rather than harboring a grudge or feeling sorry for ourselves, and at the same time, we must allow ourselves time to grieve. 

So how do you deal with heartbreak? Here are some things I have found helpful: 

Prayer

Even when you don’t feel like it—return to the First Lover of your soul. Let him reveal Himself to you. Let him reveal your own brokenness to you. You will find Him in these broken places too. Often we want to keep busy to distract ourselves from the state of our hearts, but in prayer we can simply be still as Christ asks us, “How is your heart today?”

Joy

We should try to not let heartbreak affect our other relationships negatively. When we experience hurt, we should take on the mindset of never wanting anyone to feel that way. We should love even harder and even more perfectly. 

Perseverance

Do not be caught up in the future, but know there is something more. There is always something greater. As the Rev. David Pivonka, President of Franciscan University of Steubenville, once said in a homily: “Whenever God says ‘no,’ it is because he is giving a greater ‘yes.’”

Discernment

After experiencing heartbreak, I recognized the need to reevaluate the way I spend my time with people. I began to learn that the purpose of every relationship is to discern if God wants us with a particular person. And so, if we really trust Him and He says “no,” then we must willingly run with Him. But if He says “yes,” then we give Him our own “yes.” His will be done when falling in love and in love and in heartbreak.

I was talking to my friend once about the importance of regularly evaluating every relationship you have. She was saying that every couple months she likes to sit down and ask herself whether or not the people she is surrounding herself with fill her up or leave her feeling empty. In other words, are these friends and is this significant other helping me get to Heaven? Or are they hindering me from achieving my ultimate goal? 

Learning to Love Like Christ

Jesus tells us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Sometimes in order to do this, Jesus allows our hearts to be broken so that we can love Him more fully.

The Lord does not desire to break us; He is chipping away at our hearts so that they may become more like His. He is a trained craftsmen who is molding a slab of stone (our hearts) to look like a masterpiece (His own heart). He wants our hearts to love like His own and to abide in Him. So, every little and big heartbreak teaches us to love more like He does.

I experienced the healing of Christ in the sacrament of confession a couple years ago when I was dealing with heartbreak. I learned that a man should be worthy of me. I learned that true love is a love like Christ’s love. Jesus taught me that I can love a person in a new way when they break my heart. Whether that’s a family member or boyfriend—Jesus taught me how to love. 

The point of heartbreak is not to make us feel unloved. Its purpose is to teach us how to love—to love well and to love without limits the people it is hardest to love. And whenever you become discouraged, take comfort in the fact that Christ too experienced heartbreak, and He still loved fiercely those who hurt Him, even if that was from afar and only in prayer.

Remember that you belong to Him and He loves you. Isaiah 43 speaks truth into any lie that claims we are not loved. Read it and picture the Lord speaking it straight to your heart.