Ask Eve, Sarah, Mary Magdalene, Naomi, or Hannah how to heal a broken heart, and you’ll discover oceans of comfort and healing. These women of the Bible share tips for healing broken hearts, letting go of loved ones, and stepping into a new season of life. Here’s how to get through your pain and heal: know that you are not alone. Trust that you aren’t the only one struggling with grief, and that God really does love you deeply.
Healing a broken heart is hard, exhausting work. According to the American Psychological Association, coping with the death of a close friend or family member is one of the hardest challenges we face. We know loss is part of life, but we’re overcome by shock and confusion when it actually happens. It’s easy to search for tips how to heal a broken heart…but actually feeling healed, free, and happy is a whole different thing, isn’t it?
Grief because of a broken heart can lead to extended periods of sadness or severe depression. Even “less stressful” (but still life-changing events) such as divorce, job loss, family estrangements, and physical and mental illness feel impossible to overcome. Those losses really do break our hearts. Even women of the Bible experienced them – which I why I wanted to share a glimpse of their lives here!
10 Tips for Healing a Broken Heart From Women of the Bible
Before we meet our Biblical women – and learn their tips for healing a broken heart – know that you’re not alone. The experience of loss and grief is on the rise. In 2015, a total of 2,712,630 deaths were registered in the United States, which is 86,212 more than in 2014. From 2014 to 2015, the age-adjusted death rate for the total population increased 1.2%, and life expectancy at birth decreased by 0.1%. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate for the total population rose significantly for the first time since 1999.
Talk about broken hearts…over 2.4 million spouses, family members, friends and companions die every year; more than a million are sudden deaths. Every day 2,600 Americans expect to be alive tomorrow…but they’re not. And, according to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. More than 595,600 people will die from the disease in 2016.
Learning how to move on from a broken heart takes time…but you are not alone.
1. Let Go of the Garden of Eden — Eve
Eve was the first woman in the Bible to grieve the death of a child, the first woman to leave the comfort and safety of her home, and the first woman to feel the emptiness and desperation of life without God. Eve also had to let go of her close, trusting relationship with her husband, Adam. This first woman of the Bible had to pick up the pieces of her broken heart in different ways — just like you have to. She had to let go of her Garden of Eden and step into a new season of life.
2. Surrender to a New Season — Sarah
Sarah left her family and friends to make the long journey from Haran to Canaan. Not only did she leave her home, she had to learn new cultural norms and customs. She abandoned her dream of having a family with Abraham, and surrendered her pride by giving Hagar to her husband. She was a strong, assertive, confident woman of the Bible — and she shows us that when nothing goes as planned, we need to trust that God is working together all things for our good. He’s in the business of healing broken hearts and reviving sad spirits.
3. Rest and Receive What You Need — Hagar
A woman without freedom of choice, dreams or goals that she could actually pursue, Hagar had no right to her body or time. This woman of the Bible was a powerless maidservant who was used for her womb. To make matters worse, she was banished to wander in the wilderness and resigned to losing her son, Ishmael. But she learned how to recognize God’s resources and rely on His provision when she thought all was lost – and I don’t even recall her praying a powerful prayer for healing a broken heart. We can gain hope, strength, and courage from Hagar’s humility and childlike trust.
4. Ask God to Show You a New Way — Naomi
What didn’t Naomi have to let go of? Home, husband, sons, daughters-in-law, hope for her future. She and Elimelek left their home and moved to a foreign land. Her two sons married Moab women, and Naomi dreamed of being a grandmother and retiring in peace…until her husband died. Then her sons both died and she lost the life she worked so hard to build. This woman of the Bible offers tips for healing a broken heart by showing us how to take action and step forward, even when we’re sad and scared.
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5. Plant Boldly a New Seed — Ruth
Ruth was married for 10 years when her husband died — and her dreams of having children in her homeland died with him. Ruth had to let go of her culture, family, and friends to travel with and care for her older mother-in-law, Naomi. She was one of the most adaptable Biblical women, and she adjusted to a new home and customs with grace and love. Naomi humbly release her expectations of what her life “should” be like. Miraculously, she became a crucial part of Jesus’ family history! Are you struggling to heal your broken heart? Practice surrendering to a new call on their hearts and lives, make important life decisions, and risk everything to step out in faith.
And, remember the importance of time for healing a broken heart.
6. Behold, Do You Not See It? — Mary and Martha
Mary and Martha were women of the Bible who struggled with their expectations of each other, of their good friend Jesus, and of their brother Lazarus…until Jesus raised him from death. Then they saw life in a whole new way. These sisters are a powerful example of not just healing broken hearts but letting go and allowing God to reveal new ways of living. Mary and Martha showed us how to interact with people and be in the world. These Biblical women encourage us to examine our expectations of God, life, and relationships — our expectations of ourselves.
7. Tend Your Tangled Garden of Wildflowers — Hannah
A long journey through infertility, difficult family relationships, and a kind but misunderstanding husband were Hannah’s primary struggles…until this woman of the Bible promised to dedicate her long-awaited firstborn son Samuel to the Lord. Talk about surrendering and letting go of someone you love! And yet, let go she did. Hannah teaches us how to stay faithful to God despite our feelings and circumstances, and allow His love to heal our broken hearts when a new season is calling.
8. Blossom Into Who God Created You to Be — Esther
“Maybe you were made Queen for such a time as this,” said Mordecai.
Indeed, Esther’s life was a series of risky leaps and Blossoms! This famous woman of the Bible was whisked away from her life, she lost her given name Hadassah, and she was transformed into a new woman. Like it or not, Esther had to hide who she was and accept a completely new identity after becoming queen. And yet, she owned her role as liberator and heroine! We’re encouraged by Esther’s leadership and strength, as well as her willingness to Blossom into who God created her to be.
9. Stay Rooted in Jesus — Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was sick before she met Jesus. Really sick. She was so sick that people avoided her, probably gossiped about her, and definitely looked down on her. After Jesus healed her, she learned to let go of her negative self-perception and the opinions of others — even when men publicly criticized and judged her. Mary Magdalene lived out her faith extravagantly and generously! This Biblical woman healed her broken heart God’s way, and teaches us how to trust Him to wipe away the past and create a fresh new future filled with light, hope, healing, and joy.
10. Let Go of Someone You Love — Mary, Mother of Jesus
“Let everything you’ve said happen to me,” said Mary. She said yes and got out of God’s way — no matter what He asked! And boy, did He ask a lot. Mary said yes to a scandalous new season in her life: pregnant, unmarried, poor. She said yes to the possibility of losing her fiancé Joseph and being a single mom to the Messiah. Mary even said yes while watching her beloved son die a horrible and painful death…and she said yes when she laid Him to rest in a cold tomb.
This woman of the Bible — Jesus’ own mother — meant it when she said, “Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” Mary teaches us how to say yes to God with humility and grace, love and surrender. She reveals the freedom, joy, and peace of obeying God — even when He says it’s time to leave the Garden of Eden and step into a new season of life.
If you need a dose of faith and trust, read How to Find God and Heal Your Broken Heart.
What about you…are you struggling to find healing for your broken heart? Feel free to comment below. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your story.