Hot water pounds my shoulders. I reach to turn the temperature hotter, desperate for the heat to stop the shivering in my bones. Although I am completely alone, my arms hug my naked chest in a protective gesture. They attempt to hold the broken pieces of my heart together. They utterly fail.

The crumpling starts with my face before traveling down my vulnerable form. Dry sobs push up through my throat, contorting my mouth in a silent scream. There I stand completely alone, body raging against the guttural pain of grief, and unable to catch my breath before the next wave of tears push past my clenched eyes.

To say that losing a loved one is hard is like saying an erupting volcano causes landscaping inconveniences. The exit of one you love always leaves a hole. Others may make substitutions. Others may offer what they can. But just like the uniqueness of individual snowflakes, each person in our lives contributes a special touch that only their fingerprints can make.

We all know that life – no matter how vibrant and impactful – is always temporary. Each person is destined for eternity somewhere else. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. No one can live forever. That’s what each carved stone whispers to us from the cemetery. To dust we all return. No one is exempt.

Those are hard truths to accept yet accept we must.

As shower water runs down the drain intertwined with tears, I struggle against the emptiness that grows in the core of my being. The strangling effects of grief subside, leaving the residue of despair behind to begin its numbing effect on my soul. I don’t want to feel this way. But how does your heart heal, how do you continue to love well, how do you move on when the person you’re grieving – the person no longer present in your life – still lives?


Stop, drop, and roll. Remember those instructions taught in elementary school when the firefighters came riding in on their shiny trucks to give all the kids a special experience? The same instructions can be applied to matters of the heart for the Christian. Stop, drop to your knees, and pray!

My heart is broken. “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chron. 16:11)

What should I do? “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

I realize that I have sinned against this person. What should I do? “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24).

It is clear that I am innocent in this situation. I am the one who has been sinned against. What should I do? “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:15-17).

I have prayed. I have searched for sin issues, but none are there. I have tried to restore a healthy relationship, but the other person still refuses to be present in my life. They have still chosen to walk away and not look back. How do I move on?

Facts are facts

There are times we need to stare reality square in the face. We need to lock eyes with facts and refuse to blink first. We have to accept what is – not what we wish something would be. As painful as life can be, we need to trust our Heavenly Father who has ordained each step we take and has “plans for [our] welfare…to give [us] a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). We need to hold on to the creator of hope.

Burn your script

We all write stories in our minds for how life is supposed to be. Identify the areas where you are expecting others to fit into the script of your life. Find those places in which you are demanding someone to fit in based on your desired reality. There are myriads of reasons for why someone can’t be the person we wish them to be.

Sometimes strained relationships evolve because of our own covetous thoughts.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall  not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his mother-in-law who visits twice a year to watch her grandchildren so mom and dad can get a child-free vacation, or his father who regularly assists with home improvement projects, or his best friend who spontaneously treats him to birthday lunches whether it’s his birthday or not, or his children who always show up for every holiday to shower him with gifts, hugs, and general goodwill (Ex. 20:17, modern adaptations are all mine).

Let go of comparisons or self-generated standards, and burn your script.

God is refining you

Difficult circumstances and hardships make us more sensitive to other’s hurts, more eager to help those in need, and shape us into the image of Christ. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

One day Christ will make all things new. Whether or not we get absolution, pain in this lifetime is temporary. One day there will be no more “crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

That is the hope we can cling to when broken relationships leave us hurt or grieving. God is a good Father. He sees your pain and will one deal heal your hurts.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Heather Molendyk

Heather Molendyk holds a degree in elementary education from the University of Miami and is the author of Building Little Pillars and Lead Me to Zion. Although she loves working with children in classroom and summer camp settings, her greatest joy is introducing young children to God’s loving promises found in Scripture. Heather currently worships and serves with her husband and four children at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, NC. You can connect with Heather @heathermolendyk on Instagram.