In the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Pip, a young blacksmith apprentice is summoned to a large manor house by the great lady who lives there. When he enters the house, everything is covered in dust and cobwebs. The lady is dressed in a bridal gown once white, but now yellowed with age and tattered. She is missing a bridal slipper on one foot, and she has a dusty, shredded bridal veil in her hair. On the dressing table is a bridal bouquet and a prayer book, never again used. This is Miss Havisham, a character who has haunted readers for the last 150 years. Later in the story, the two walk into a dining room and Pip is surprised by the sight of a wedding breakfast feast, years old, complete with a wedding cake in the center of the table, now covered with mold and cobwebs and with mice and spiders scurrying around and in it. Miss Havisham says to Pip:
“On this day of the year, long before you were born, this heap of decay was brought here. It and I have worn away together. The mice have gnawed at it, and sharper teeth than teeth of mice have gnawed at me.”
The key to Miss Havisham’s pitiable yet creepy existence lies in the fact that on her wedding day, mere minutes from leaving for the church, her fiancé had a note delivered where he cruelly admitted that he had never loved her, had taken all the money that he could from her, and that he had left her forever.
So betrayed by a man that she deeply loved, Miss Havisham’s very soul had turned to decay. Her heart became hardened, and she poisoned even the very house she lived in and the people around her.
We women will get hurt. We get hurt by the people around us. Sometimes the hurt is heart-breakingly intentional, and sometimes, it’s just because people don’t know what we are sensitive about. We can be betrayed by a friend, our mothers may forget our birthdays, our desires go unnoticed by a husband, we can be made to feel ugly by others, we may be physically abused until we are afraid, and it just goes on. We are all the walking wounded, left at the altar, emotionally speaking. But the tragedy is that we allow our hearts to harden like the fallen, forgotten crab-apples that landed on the grass underneath my grandma’s tree. Over time, they can shrivel until they don’t resemble anything soft and fleshy at all. They are hearts that in turn wound others, like we have been wounded. Or, we hide our hearts away until they are covered with dust. We don’t know the joy of relationships that are alive and real. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:13. Miss Havisham did both.
Oh, my beautiful friends, God wants so much more for us! He wants us to grow in our wounds! I know how impossible that sounds when you are in the middle of bitterness. But please, please don’t wrap up your heart and hide it away. Don’t nurture pain and allow that heart to grow hard and cold either!
The huge reason we have hard hearts and hidden hearts is that we don’t think to let God minister to and love us! We do not let that love in. We are scared of being hurt again, of being left at the altar. He will never leave us standing there, our bridal bouquets in our hands, our bridal veil in our hair, that white lace covering our beautiful, vulnerable, fleshy bleeding hearts. He is the faithful Bridegroom. Unfailing, undying, unending love He has for you, His beautiful bride! “…and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19. Oh, how he wants our hearts to be soft for Him and for others. That is where joy lies.
When was the last time you confessed to God that you needed to just bliss out in His love for you before you can love others? Unless he fills us with love, we will never be able to love others. Open your beautiful heart to Him. Keep you heart alive and tender. We at The Heart of a Woman continue to pray for you. We wish you love, peace, comfort and hope.