It was a sunny day, and I walked into The Dove’s Nest, a Christian book store in Kerrville.

“Hi Kathleen,” said the clerk. 

She was a lady who went to my church and was a friend. About that time, she wrapped her arms around me and gave me one of the biggest bear hugs I had ever had. 

I froze as she hugged me. This was a kind gesture, and I knew the hug was genuine; however, for some reason, I had a hard time receiving it.

“It is good to see you,” I stated, as I pulled away. We visited, I shopped and then left.

As I drove away, I pondered my response to her hug.

“Why did I respond that way, God?” I whispered.

In the days ahead, I felt God show me that I had a hard time receiving love because of past hurts and rejection from others. I also felt He showed me that I had erected walls around my heart to protect myself. These walls kept me from getting close to others and being vulnerable. They also kept me from receiving love from people who loved me.

Days later, I humbled myself and went back to the store. I told my friend I had a hard time receiving her hugs, but it had nothing to do with her, it was my problem receiving love.

She smiled and said, “I know, and it is OK, Kathleen.”

I asked God to take down the walls and opened my heart to receive His love. I had an intelligential understanding of God’s love, but somehow, I needed that move into my heart. 

A series of events happened, and those walls I had around me for years came down. It was not an easy time, but I am someone forever changed for opening my heart to God’s great love for me and opening my heart to those around me.

Psalms 145:8-9 (NIV) says, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” 

Each of us is loved by God because He is love. Oftentimes, in our performance-oriented society, it is challenging to realize we are not loved for what we do or do not do; we are simply loved.

Do you realize that He really loves you just the way you are? He is compassionate to what is going on in your life. Ask Him to show you His love and open your eyes to His compassion for you. You are precious to Him and He cares about you.

Maybe your heart has been broken. Psalms 147:3 (NIV) says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” 

Can you give your broken heart to God? He is the healer of broken hearts. Isaiah 61:1 also tells us that Jesus was sent to bind up the brokenhearted.

In the days and years that followed my late husband’s death, I continually gave God my broken heart and asked Him to heal me. My healing did not come overnight or as quickly as I would have liked, but God was faithful. Whatever heartache you have, continually give it to God, as He is the only one who can truly heal broken hearts. 

Ask God to show you more of His love for you and remove any walls you have erected around your heart. Give Him your broken heart, let Him fix it and enjoy the fact that God takes great delight in you.

Kathleen is a Hill Country native, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She leads a community Bible study related to articles she writes from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesdays at The Kroc Center. To register for “The Gathering: Bringing God into Everyday Life,” email kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or call 830-377-8061. There is no charge for the class.

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