Reviving Your Heart With Hannah – Growing Forward

Coping with infertility is one of the most painful struggles in life. My husband and I are childless; we discovered we couldn’t have kids a few years after we married. It took a long time for me to fully accept the fact that I’ll never have a child.

It hurts, and sometimes I still feel pangs of sadness. It helps to know I’m not alone, though. I wrote Going Through Infertility With Sarah, and I also shared part of my story Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. In this article we’ll briefly explore what it means to revive your heart after it’s been broken by a disappointment or devastating loss.

This article—Renewing Your Heart With Hannah—goes hand-in-hand with the first chapter of my book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. In Chapter Seven (Reviving Your Heart with Hannah), I share how different types of broken hearts are revived. Every chapter of my book has five Blossom Tips to help readers move through loss. And, every chapter ends with Blossom Questions for journaling and discussion. I invite readers to come here, to my She Blossoms blog, and share their thoughts. Whether or not you have a copy of Growing Forward, you’re welcome to share your thoughts on reviving a broken heart below.

Instead of a haven, our Biblical sister Hannah’s home was a hive of pain, mockery, and disunity. Worse, as we read in 1 Samuel 1, she couldn’t get pregnant after years of trying1.

Childlessness wasn’t just heartbreaking for women in those days, it was also socially stigmatizing. Infertility was a sign of dishonor, worthlessness, and future economic instability. Hebrew women had nothing to fall back on—no education, meaningful work outside the home, or even the possibility of pursuing other life dreams or goals.

Even worse, Hannah had to share her home with Peninnah, who was her husband Elkanah’s second wife. Peninnah had her own sons and daughters, and often goaded and provoked Hannah to tears.

Reviving Your Heart With Hannah Growing Forward

Samuel Dedicated by Hannah at the Temple by Frank W.W. Topham

Perhaps Peninnah was jealous and hurt because Elkanah gave Hannah double portions of sacrificial meat. He wanted to make Hannah happy, not understanding that his gifts couldn’t fill the emptiness in her heart.

“Hannah, why are you weeping?” Elkanah asked. “Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Hannah reassured her husband that she loved him, but he couldn’t fill the emptiness in her spirit and soul.

Hannah was so depressed she couldn’t eat or stop crying. Nobody understood and nothing could comfort her. It was this suffering—Peninnah’s taunts, Elkannah’s inability to understand, and her own tormented heart—that drove Hannah to God. If her relationships were happy and her life perfect, she wouldn’t have collapsed at the Lord’s feet. And her heart wouldn’t have changed.

Hannah poured herself out to God, trusting that her cries would rise above the noisy din of grief, confusion, and fear. And you know what? God changed Hannah’s heart. I describe her experience in Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back – and I offer practical tips to help you experience the same type of change.

How My Heart Changed – Laurie’s Story

Our hearts aren’t always set on relationships or families. For instance, my heart was set on being a writer; my first book was a city guide called Unveiling Vancouver. I pitched it to a dozen publishers and received a book contract! But the deal fell through because I moved to a different province in Canada. My heart was crushed, my self-esteem shattered.

My second book was Traveling Teens, Rocky Roads but it didn’t get published. My third was See Jane Soar, a book of life lessons from famous women. Amelia Earhart! Wangari Maathai! Coco Chanel! A New York City literary agent offered to represent me, but he couldn’t sell it to the first few publishers he tried so he dropped me as a client. Alas, another season of sadness and disappointment. I abandoned all hope of getting published, deciding that writing blog posts was good enough for me.

But it wasn’t good enough for God.

Reviving Your Heart With Hannah – Growing Forward

Me at Bethany House Publishers

Ten years later on a California road trip with my husband and dogs, I found myself at a Christian writers conference.

I didn’t plan on meeting a literary agent, polishing my book proposal writing skills, or writing Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. Nor did I plan on signing a contract with a publishing house a couple of months later.

And yet, here we are. My first book is Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back.

When getting published stopped being about me—my dreams, goals, identity—my books blossomed. I happily signed a contract to write this book, but I would have just as happily continued writing articles for my She Blossoms blogs.

My heart changed, and that changed everything.

How is your heart? What was your heart set on, and how has it been broken? What new season are you walking into? Share your big or little thoughts in the comments section below! Writing is healthy, especially if you feel confused, sad, scared or lost. It can help you make sense of your experiences and untangle your emotions.

Questions From Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back

At the end of every chapter are Questions for Journaling and Discussion that are directly related to that chapter’s Blossom Tips. Readers are invited to come here and share their thoughts.

The questions in Hannah’s chapter:

  • Vegas: How have you experienced God in times of turmoil, confusion, or chaos? What does it feel like to find stillness in the storm?
  • Basket of Blossoms: If you have nobody to share a Basket of Blossoms with, recall a loved one. What memories would you include in their basket?
  • Praying in Color: How do you feel about praying by drawing, painting, or sketching? What it the most creative way you’ve prayed?
  • Memory Lane: When are you most likely to share memories with loved ones? Do you talk about good times, bad times, or both?
  • Under the “B”: What people, places or things keep creeping onto the throne of your heart? How do you feel about a regular practice of setting your heart on God?

Feel free to answer these questions in the comments section below. Or, share anything that’s on your mind, about anything you’d like! It’s your space.


About Growing Forward

Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back offers a fresh, practical perspective on moving through loss. I share stories of contemporary and biblical women who transcended extraordinary pain and grief. I weave in my own experiences of growing up with a single schizophrenic mother, living in foster care, and then coping with infertility.

Growing Forward She Blossoms Laurie PawlikEvery chapter includes five Blossom Tips, to help you:

  • Accept—and even embrace—a new season of life.
  • Take small steps forward in practical, creative, delightful ways.
  • Weave faith, trust, and hope into your heart, thoughts, and daily lives.

At the end you’ll have 50 Blossom Tips for moving forward after a loss. Each activity highlights a different aspect of who we are: spirit, heart, soul, body, and brain. This holistic approach ensures the whole self is addressed by incorporating spiritual, emotional, creative, physical, and intellectual growth.

Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back is a comforting, encouraging book for women walking into a new season of life…which also makes it a great gift for women coping with death, divorce, or a difficult diagnosis.

In peace and passion,


P.S. Here’s the full list of Growing Forward articles here on “She Blossoms.” These aren’t the actual chapters of the book, they’re just our meeting places.

  1. Recreating and Replanting With Eve
  2. Sprouting With Sarah
  3. Digging Deeper With Hagar
  4. Uprooting With Naomi
  5. Starting Fresh With Ruth
  6. Growing Roots With Martha and Mary
  7. Reviving Your Heart With Hannah
  8. Renewing Your Purpose With Esther
  9. Growing Forward With Mary Magdalene
  10. Blossoming Into Life With Mary


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “Reviving Your Heart With Hannah – Growing Forward”

  1. I wanted D to love me, to want to be a couple, bonded and united. 25 years later i know it will never happen. He enjoys putting me down not making me feel loved.
    Have I wasted my life? That part of it but not the rest.
    I am thinking about myself now because I will die if I don’t. My blood pressure went up and I put on weight. I took anti depressants to manage the frustration and sadness. But I don’t want to die, I want to live. He has all the capital in his name, wants to control me and give me no rights. I am leaving. It’s hard and I am scared and scarred but I am moving forward every day.
    Sometimes I don’t trust God.
    But I think there is a part of me that can take care of me if I let it. I am going to let it.
    Wish me luck. I am going to seek out women and men who understand me and who I can enjoy being with in my new home. So glad I am free at last.

  2. I too struggled with infertility. Better known as secondary infertility bc I was able to get pregnant twice. My first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, which in itself was traumatizing. People would say ” but u already have one, ure lucky we don’t even have one” Even in the infertile community, I was somewhat ostracized. It’s a very lonely place, filled with do’s and donts.
    So, we tried again and it took us 2 years to get pregnant with my now 27 year old!!!
    We were thrilled, even though my pregnancy was high risk throughout. and resulted in a C section.
    so a couple of years later we decided to try again, and again and again. Nothing.
    my son was now 4!!!
    Until age 6 we tried and then went to ask for a checkup. Turns out I have endometriosis. I was refered to a specialist- yeah right!! Thank goodness for my work insurance as well as my husband’s. Thousands. What a terrible heartbreaking journey. We tried for 2 years and then jnvetro was the last call but even then my chances of conceiving were very low. So we stopped. What a heart break. Bad news month after month, emotions all over the place, the physical and emotional rollercoaster.
    As a couple or more myself, I decided that if by age 40 I was unable to conceive that we would stop trying.
    Along the way, we talked about adoption and off we went.
    I felt like I was being LED to try this route. We were on lists for children for years. It’s hard to ” choose” children and ” match” them. It’s horrible but has to be done. By 40, we did not find a match or so I thought. I turned 40 in April 2004 and then in late August a new social worker sent me a picture of this angelic child. Through the screen my heart melted. We went to her office to discuss this child obviously believing it would result in another disappointment. We left that office ready to meet this child. Within 1 month, my angelic child Michael slept in my home. As simple as that. God led us to him and him to us.
    He is now 15 and so loved.
    Such turmoil but God knew what we needed and he gave us a try!!!
    And now, I am dealing with the death of my husband. almost 9 months in.
    My son Michael was so bonded with him that he is grieving him immensely.
    Once again, I need God’s guidance .

    1. Thank you for sharing, Antonella, it’s so great to hear your story. What a life, what a family God brought together!

      I’m sorry you lost your husband. It is so hard for both you and your son…I can’t imagine the depth of the grief. You and he went through so much together, and now you and your son are saying goodbye to a huge part of your life.

      I’ll keep you in my prayers, my friend. May you find hope and healing, love and comfort in unexpected places. May your son Michael be comforted by his friends and other supporters…and may you and he become closer than ever. Know that your husband is watching over you, misses you, and is loving you from afar. Your spirits will be forever intertwined.

      With sympathy and warmth,