A Heart Once Captured Will Never Let Go

by Andy Wood on May 23, 2011

in Five LV Laws, Hoarders, Life Currency, Love, LV Alter-egos, LV Stories, Principle of Freedom

You wouldn’t have known from meeting Martha the first time that her life had been a sinking ship.  Rewind from the near-poverty this single mother of two sons lived to the day she walked away from her “covering” – an abusive, controlling religious system.  Go back a bit further to the time her minister husband left her for another woman.  If you dare, rewind a bit more to the night she and her husband came home to find their third son, Matthew, dead in his crib from SIDS.

Life had not been kind.  But you wouldn’t know it from the courageous smile, the ox-like willingness to work, and the radiant joy she had in her relationship with Jesus Christ.  Sure, Martha had her moments, and could cry with the worst of ‘em.  But a heart so captured by the grace of God will cling to it, even when everything else seems lost.

I once asked her why she didn’t just walk away, since loving and serving God had been so costly.  I don’t remember any words – just the look on her face that let me know I had just asked the most absurd question possible.

A heart once captured will never let go.

Memos From the Cell

Talk about a captured heart!  A man writes from prison to friends in another town where he’d been arrested, beaten, and imprisoned.  He was 60-plus years old and his life had seen what he described elsewhere as “troubles, hardships, difficulties, beaten, jailed, and mobbed.”  Why was he still so joyful?  Let Paul answer that question himself:

I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself (Philippians 3:12, GNT).

Paul had more than a bull-headed determination or a narrow-minded obsession.  He had a captured heart, and an unquenchable love.  And a heart so captured would never let go.

A Winter Soul-stice?

There will always be a reason to close the door on your heart…

-Your dreams are exhausted by time…

-Your faith is challenged by the distance you still have to travel…

-Your vision is blurred by fear or loneliness…

-Your passion is seared by grief or soured by disappointment…

Live long enough, and sooner or later you will encounter that moment when nobody – nobody – would blame you for icing down your heart and settling in for winter soul-stice.  After all, that’s the easy thing to do…

-Just assume nobody really sees you.

-Just decide nobody actually feels what you feel.

-Just resign yourself to a world where the distance between you and your dreams are impossibly long, and the spaces in the heart for love and peace are reserved for somebody else.

After all, isn’t all that – the love, the peace, the fulfillment, the understanding – isn’t all that supposed to be effortless?

Hardly.  But sometimes it’s just easier not to get your hopes up, and to retreat to the safety of life in an emotional closet.

But see, here’s the deal… Wherever you are, even in your self-imposed closet, the Captor of your heart can find you.  Reveal Himself to you.  Gently restore your capacity to feel something other than pain.  Reel in the imagined distance between you.  Touch your heart with first love again.  Reveal truth that transcends the “facts.”    Calm your fears with the steadfast wonder of His presence.  Open the door of your heart again.  And give you love-borne strength to carry on – sometimes with new dreams, new connections, new ideas and new possibilities.

The Triumphant Thaw

If your journey has been torpedoed and your heart feels like ice, or someone you care about has retreated to an emotional closet, know this:  He who gave you the capacity to feel has given you also the capacity to heal.  And He who bore your griefs and carried your sorrows still delights in thawing hearts imprisoned by pain.

I’ve seen it.

I’ve lived it.

A heart once captured will never let go.

I last saw Martha nearly 30 years ago.  But I did read about her recently… in her obituary and life tributes.  I learned that she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in religion, and was a chaplain, I think in a hospital – using her love for Jesus to help others in crisis and pain.

I’d like to tell you that life had been kinder and gentler in the last 30 years.  But Martha had lived long enough to bury her other two sons.  And the last five years of her life she waged a faith war against the cancer that relentlessly attacked her body.

Her body lost.  But her fearless, captured heart was gloriously triumphant.  It lives on in lives she touched… and in the presence of the One who never – ever – let go.

Ivy May 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

Thank you for sharing this Andy. Amen. I can’t help but think of the hymn, “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go”

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