“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
Like many with chronic invisible illnesses I’ve been carefully protecting my heart! Sometimes it’s easier to put myself in a “glass case.”
I first heard this term when my Mum (Aussie spelling) was nursing my Dad with motor neuron disease. To protect herself she put herself in a “glass case”–blocking off the emotions of feeling so distraught, devastated, and helpless with his rapid decline.
When in this “glass case” people can see in, but they can’t get close enough to touch the heart and really feel what is going on. It’s a protection that’s often needed simply to cope with the pain and grief of a traumatic situation, including our illnesses.
I’ve recently realized that I’ve put myself in a “glass case” for much of the past few years, while dealing with a myriad of family illnesses. It was easier to protect myself a little extra, so that the awful hurt didn’t cut so deeply. I suspect it’s why I’ve coped as well as I have.
The hard part of this is that it cut myself off from others emotionally. Yes, it’s a protection–and it’s also a barrier between myself and others. And it is a barrier between myself and my relationship with God.
Recently my “glass case” was smashed to pieces. As I let one particularly wonderful emotional situation in, it cracked the “glass case,” which crumbled at my feet.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
It hasn’t been particularly comfortable, as I’ve cried enough tears to fill a lake! One happy situation softened my heart causing buried griefs to suddenly surface.
It hasn’t been easy, but it has been healing as I’ve realized how much those tears needed to be released. God has gently caressed my heart with His loving care, as each wound has been tended to.
Psalm 147:3 tells us, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
I’ve been noticing myself trying to piece back together my “glass case” to protect myself again. This makes me question, which is most beneficial?
I can see how God uses both situations for our best care. Each has its place.
Times of protection to guard our hearts and other times with a soft heart that is unprotected. God can reach right in and care deeply for us, either way . . . as long as we don’t block Him out!
Prayer: Lord, help me to always stay open to You. Come now and reach right into my heart to bind up the wounds. Caress my heart with Your gentle touch. Guide me to the times when I need to protect my heart and the times that I need to be vulnerable. Amen.
About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for two of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.
Where is your heart right now? Is your heart protected in a “glass case,” during a particularly rough time, or are you in a soft-hearted time of deep healing? How does God bind up your wounded heart?
This is a soft, sweet-sounding worship song with Kristian Stanfill singing “Always.” The lyrics sing about how God will always be there, He will always come through for us, He will always give us the hope that we need. We can count on Him. Always. -Lisa