Trading Heartache for Heartburn (A November to Remember — 11.12.2014)
Today’s Scripture — 11.12.2014
“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” ~ Luke 24:32
Trading Heartache for Heartburn
I had this huge smile on my face, big enough to hide an avalanche of pain underneath.
The smile was legit. I swear it. I still remember how happy I was to be making my inaugural journey to the Laity Lodge retreat center in Texas. My joy was genuine. I had forged friendships online with writers in Canada and Indiana and Nebraska and West Virginia, and now we’d be together for the first time ever. It was the fall of 2010.
When that picture was taken, we were driving in the river. Yes, in it. That’s the only way in to Laity Lodge — through the river.
And it was ridiculously fun.
So, yeah, my smile stretched wide and real.
But the smile didn’t tell the whole story.
Underneath, there were layers of heartache, loss, and stress. My smile cloaked grief, dangling from the architecture of my heart. The smile also didn’t reveal how a treasured friend had begun to drift, or how a conflict in ministry was causing us great heartache.
So I took both my heartache and my smile to Laity Lodge that year, but I took great care in which part I’d reveal.
But then Ashley started singing.
She sang hymns, smoky and soulful. This was the voice of a woman who’d felt pain and gone hunting for peace, to find it.
Her voice came at me like a freight train, or a freedom train — I didn’t know which yet. I sank deeper into the couch, while her songs opened me up. I felt raw, excavated, and vulnerable. I also felt a nearness to Jesus. In some way, I could see the hem of His garment, as he picked up the gazillion shattered pieces of my heart, like so many bread crumbs.
My reluctant heart went fluid, straight out my eyes. I came unhinged. It was messy, except for the fact that Jesus was in the room, so that made it beautiful. I could feel him close, like a fire inside of me. Like I’d been busted open by the Gospel.
Ashley sat down next to me on the couch after her last song. And she didn’t act like she knew what a happy wreck I was. Not at first. So I thought I’d gotten away with something. But then she turned toward me. Her eyes studied mine.
“Sorry,” I sniffled. “Can’t stop crying.”
“The Holy Spirit,” she said, unblinking and matter-of-fact, like she was a doctor delivering the best possible diagnosis.
I must have looked surprised.
“That’s what’s going on in you,” Ashley said. “It’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is thick in this place.”
I was never happier to be found out, to be affirmed in my vulnerability, and to hear confirming words that God was at work, even in me. I was a mess, but I was a holy mess.
Later, we took a picture together, and when I look back, I see two things in my face:
1) A genuine smile.
2) Eyes that had been crying.
In that retreat center, I had experienced a “Holy Heartburn moment.”
My heart had burned. I had let myself be true. I felt held. I felt attended to by Jesus.
Maybe it’s the way those travelers felt on their way to Emmaus. They were dejected and downtrodden, but then another traveler joined him. They didn’t know it yet, but that traveler was Jesus.
I had come to Jesus, by way of a river. They had come to Jesus, by way of a dusty road.
We both found the Holy Spirit when we got to where we were going.
Look — We’re all busted up. We’re all dealing with something. But He’s got a table, and a loaf, and a seat for you.
Put your hand against your chest, and feel it — your heart, beating.
We all have heartache. And Jesus wants to trade it for His heartburn.
He wants to walk with you, drive through the river, and break bread at the end of the road. You’ll look back on how far you’ve come, and then maybe you’ll turn to a friend to say it:
“Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way …”
That’s the kind of heartburn I want. Chronic, Holy Heartburn. I want a heart that beats like this:
Jesus … Jesus … Jesus.
Some of us have been walking a dusty road, and life has been plain hard.
Keep walking. Lift your eyes from the dusty path, to see Him walking with you. And on the inside, may you feel that burn. Your own Emmaus heartburn with Jesus…
Chronic. Fiery. Holy.
This post is part of our month-long series, “A November to Remember: Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.
How You Can Be a Part of This Movement:
1 – Print out the Scripture sheets. (Click here for printable versions.) Each of the 30 daily Scriptures are quoted in Love Idol, and each one ties back in some way to our identity in Christ. (You don’t have to read the book to participate in this study. But of course, you’re welcome to!)
2 – Find the passage assigned for today’s date.
3 – Consider how God is speaking to you. How does the verse help you remember who you really are, outside of all the cultural noise?
5 – Share your insights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or your blog, to add more soul to your scroll. #MoreSoulLessScrollTag me, so I can find you. (Or feel free to follow along silently! No social-media presence required.)
I’ll post my own response here on the blog every morning at 5 a.m. Sometimes, you’ll find a story, maybe a few short words, maybe a series of photos. That will happen every day, for all of November, God-willing.
If you want to follow along, visit us here every day. Consider subscribing to my blog by clicking here to get these reflections in your email inbox.
(Download for printing from Google Drive)
Let this be the November that we remember who we really are: Loved. Preapproved. His.
Find all the posts in the November to Remember series by clicking here.
Have you come by for the #TellHisStory linkup? Find it here: