A Mended Heart

Wow…what a weekend I had last week! Busy, highly emotional, and rewarding all in one. I don’t have a furniture or home project to share today but I do have a ‘heart’ project.

Last week I received news that the son of some old friends who was also the grandson of another set of old friends had ended his life. He was a gifted and much loved young man. He is now free of all suffering and I know that all who loved him are happy about that. However, the pain of their loss is going to last quite awhile. Although I had not known him since he was a little boy, I have known his family members and friends of the family for years. When I heard the news my heart sank and my prayers went out to them immediately. What to do? I wanted so much to touch them somehow with an encouraging word but it seemed pointless at that moment. I was led to write something about my belief regarding the healing power of God. So, that’s what I did. I forwarded it to a few people who were involved as well as to a few other people whom I knew had lost someone they loved. Here it is……

A Mended Heart
I’ve been thinking about broken hearts today; and also about mended hearts.
I have sewn all my life, at least since I was 11, and so mending is something I understand. It’s important to get the pieces back together just so before you begin the repairs. You also need to cut away the damaged or stained edges so that the new edges have a better ability to fit and be secured. Traditionally, you choose a thread that matches so the mend is not noticeable. But, there is also the option of using a contrasting color and even decorating the area with fancy stitches. These will show but have a ‘newness’ about them that draws attention to the area instead of hiding it. It is almost as though it has been improved somewhat.
I have always been fascinated by language….written or spoken. It is so intriguing the way God has used words in the Bible to teach us and we use those very same words in everyday language but without thinking about the comparison. The comparison is what fascinates me. The omniscient God has used simple words which make it easy for us to understand His meaning even though we are so far below His intelligence and have such a limited understanding of all His ways. He has chosen what He wants us to handle and what He wants to handle himself….like the perfect Father he is. The word ‘mend’ is not used much in the Bible….once or twice, that I could find. But, the word ‘heal’ (which is God’s mending) is used so many times I stopped counting….over 100….to give you an idea.
Now, the naïve may assume that if God is doing the healing, then whatever He is healing will become perfect once again. Nothing could be further from the truth. The scars we acquire as we move through this fleeting life He has given us are badges of strength and heroism. Our hearts become scarred and broken repeatedly and God sews those pieces back together so we can continue to live. I like to believe that my heart is covered with God’s beautiful embroidery of all the things I love….green leaves, flowers, vines, bees, butterflies….like Eden once was. Why doesn’t God protect us from hurts if He loves us? Many of us want it both ways…..free will to make decisions for ourselves but ultimate protection so we don’t get hurt. Sorry about that…….no go. I for one don’t want the perfect, intact heart that I started out with….how boring! I want the beautifully embroidered heart that, if seen by others, would elicit “ooo and ahhh” .
I want God’s heart, with all its beauty. If it has to be broken occasionally, then so be it. I know God will give me the strength to get through the mending time. He’ll have to cut away the damaged part, that hurts, and then sew it back together, more hurt, and then embroider the beautiful repair, the final hurt.  Finally, just like a scar on my physical body, I am left with just the memory of the injury. But, like the physical  scar, I can go back and ‘touch’ the place…..remembering. The memory will always be there and that’s as it should be.
Lorraine Finkbeiner   2011
Copyrighted material 

The day after I sent this off, I was inspired to create a tangible illustration of this writing. So I created a handmade “mended heart” piece, framed it and attached the writing to the back adding in the name and dates of the young man. The whole time I worked on the hearts, I was remembering the pain and loss these parents had suffered. I was very pleased with the result, BUT at that point I became filled with self-doubt. Originally, I had planned to go to the funeral and give one to each of his parents at the reception scheduled to follow. I began hearing in my head, “this is not appropriate, I mean, after all, I don’t know them that well….etc, etc”. Was this overstepping my bounds? Who was I to feel I could address this very significant pain with something so physical and minor as a framed piece of fabric? I have never lost a child. When I voiced these thoughts, my husband assured me it looked very nice and that he thought they would be very pleased and that I worry too much. Since he thinks everything I do is just great (isn’t that wonderful?), I wasn’t sure if he was the best judge of this decision. So, still filled with doubt but bolstered by his encouragement, I went.

I cannot tell you how much God had to continue to nudge me along ALL DAY! After the funeral I was ready to just take my “mended heart” and go home. Still, I was compelled to go to the gravesite. While there I again thought “I’m leaving”. No, once again I was compelled to go to the reception. Finally, with a dry mouth, I approached the Dad with my gift. He was overwhelmed and truly seemed to receive it with joy. My heart lifted and I felt that I had done the right thing. Now, make sure you understand that this is not about me or my gift, but about the joy I felt when I heard “this is so special, I will treasure it” and knew that I had followed the One who had compelled me to go forward with the writing, the creating and the giving and it had been a blessing not only to me but to someone else.

So, there are lessons here for us. Follow your heart’s leading, banish ( or plow through) the fear that keeps you from stepping forward, find peace knowing that your gift (whatever it may be) is given in love and a desire to help and do not be concerned if it is misunderstood by anyone. It is the obedient heart that is important. Past experiences have frozen me before and stopped me from freedom of expression for too many years. I am continuing to grow in this area and (if it is a problem for you) I hope you can too.

I wanted to share with you a picture of the “mended heart” I created.

The heart is cut from velvet, cut apart into pieces and reassembled before mounting on shredded osnaburg fabric. Then I hand embroider the “repairs”. Each heart takes several hours to complete. Here is a final, framed example.

On the back I attached a copy of “A Mended Heart” .

Perhaps today, you can pause a moment and remember anyone you know who has had their heart mended by God.


  1. This was beautiful Lorraine and I know that his parents will treasure your gift. We have all had our hearts broken during this time and continue to feel the loss of one of God’s special children

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