Trusting God when your heart hurts.

Here’s the truth: Life sucks sometimes.
When it hurts so bad that you can’t go on…
life keeps moving on.
~Ben Rector

This week has been hard.
Monday around noon, I felt this huge pressure in my heart. I fell on the floor and cried out “it hurts so bad!” to the Lord. Over and over again, with tears flowing out of my eyes.

Seven hours later, I listened with a heavy, confused heart as the relationship I’ve been so excited about came to a close. I instantly went into self-preservation mode and got defensive and tried to make sense of it.

and I drove home without tears.
and I fell asleep without tears.
But then I woke up and remembered, and I cried out to the Lord again. I prayed for grace – grace for him, that even in my confusion and hurt I wouldn’t look on him without grace… grace FROM him, that he would offer me the same… and grace for myself, to evaluate mistakes I’d made not through a lens of regret but of grace.

A few days later, I decided to go to Target. I walked upstairs to change my clothes, and then I suddenly remembered. I felt the pressure again and I fell on the floor again and cried. and I was reminded that I needed to trust God.

and I said, “I trust God, but I can still be so sad.”

One of my favorite blog posts I’ve ever written is called “When Christ Wasn’t There.” It talks about how Jesus INTENTIONALLY didn’t go to Mary & Martha when Lazarus died. Jesus kept his distance from his mourning friends. Not because he didn’t care, but because I think sometimes we need to really feel sad to remember that Christ is our Healer.

Trusting God when your heart hurts

So these are the ways I’m trusting God even though my heart hurts:

  • Pray honestly.

    Listen, I’m not going to be able to truly pray right now that Ryan finds the girl of his dreams and gets married and lives happily ever after. I can’t pray that, because that’s a lie and we all know where liars go. But you know what I CAN pray? I can pray that he is always responsive to the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the motives of your prayers until you’ve been left with the truest prayer you can pray with your whole heart.

  • Cling to God’s promise to never leave.

    You know what I want to do with my hurting heart? I want to take it on a tour of all my friends and have all of my friends hug my hurting heart, give it a smooch and cover it with glitter. I want my friends to bear my burden with me. And there’s some reasonable expectation to that, but not at the caliber I need. I need Someone in my corner when my eyes pop open at 2 am and I remember suddenly that things have changed. and that Someone isn’t my friends who are probably sleeping. That Someone is God, who has been watching over me in the stillness of my room while I sleep. He is not scared of my sadness. He’s not going to get overwhelmed because of it and leave.

  • Cry.

    Scripture says that blessed are the poor in spirit and that God is close to the broken hearted. Tears are the economy of the broken-hearted kingdom, and I am making sure that every single one of them falls at the feet of my loving and compassionate God.

  • Let your friends hold your hands up.

    In Exodus 17:11&12, we read that in the battle against the Amalekites, as long as Moses held up his hand Israel would prevail, but eventually his hands grew weary. Aaron and Hur got him a rock to sit on and then Aaron and Hur each held up one of Moses’ hands so that his hands were steady for the rest of the day. Despite my trust in God and my certainty of his love for me, my hands keep getting tired. and I’ve been texting my friends in waves – two here and three a few hours later - because my hands and my heart keep getting weary and I need them to fill in the gap for me for a minute. They’re doing that with words of encouragement, with I love you’s and with declarations of prayer.

  • Avoid sin.

    Jesus said “in your anger, do not sin.” Don’t allow the tenderness of a hurting heart to be the soil for crippling sin. I am praying for grace and favor. I am refusing to speak unkind words, despite my confusion and hurt. Don’t. sin. Don’t let Satan get the glory of your broken heart. 

  • Encourage others.

    I know that today I am not the only person on the whole wide world whose heart is sad but surrendered. That’s why I’m writing this – I hope it finds someone else who is so very sad but is so very certain of a God who cares and hears. Sometimes it’s hard to be sad and full of joy at the same time, but from everything I’ve read in the Bible, it is hard but it is probably the best place to be because God is close by.

I’ve been clinging to a few songs this week, and I decided to share a few of them with you. The first is a beautiful arrangement by my friend Phil Laeger of an old hymn called “I’m In His Hands,” and the second is a song we’ve sung with the kids before, “He Knows My Name.” I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at the piano singing these songs, so I thought I’d share that with all of you. <3



Linking up with Good Morning Mondays,


  1. April 10, 2015 / 8:10 am

    I love this. Such a great reminder that we need to hurt in our lives in order to really see how Christ heals. I’m sorry you are hurting, but I’m so glad that you have a Savior to lean on! <3

    • April 13, 2015 / 8:06 pm

      thanks jayme! it’s definitely hard. and the hurt is deep, but not deeper than the love of Christ… which is what is getting me through <3

  2. Juliann Evans
    April 10, 2015 / 10:50 am

    I absolutely love the “we need to really feel sad to remember that Christ is our healer.” It’s so true. I’m in a similarish situation and I was just talking with the Lord yesterday about trusting in Him but still feeling sad and how that’s ok. I think a lot of times we forget it’s ok to feel. We know we need to choose joy and trust in God and that tends to make us think we can’t feel sad, or hurt, or whatever. But that’s not the truth. Thanks for sharing part of your story, it was encouraging to me!

    • April 13, 2015 / 8:07 pm

      oh amen!!! it’s totally okay to feel. i think the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, etc… aren’t feelings. they’re not things you FEEL, they are TRUTH that you KNOW, DESPITE what you feel, you know? feel free to shoot me an e-mail ANYTIME if you want to talk. <3

  3. Emily Grace
    April 10, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    Beautiful! I love you, soul sister. Keep playing, praying, and singing those songs. Thinking of you constantly! <3

    • April 13, 2015 / 8:07 pm

      i love you i love you i love you <3

  4. April 10, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    i love that you pointed out we can trust in God AND still be sad. that is so true & something that a lot of people don’t get! when thomas was losing his job & we were going through that… people would ask me about it and i would just start crying from all of the stress & a few personal things. and i would constantly hear “you just need to trust God… He is faithful” and i know they probably meant well… but it made it seem like they were saying i didn’t trust God. which i did… but it was still scary… mostly because i knew that God is faithful but that doesn’t mean that Thomas would necessarily get a job right away… God would still be faithful even if Thomas was out of work for a year… and that is scary so it is okay to just be scared!

    i have got to stop writing such long comments…. but what i’m saying is you are allowed to be sad & cry through trusting God! 🙂

    • April 13, 2015 / 8:08 pm

      yes – GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL! even if we don’t see the results we want or think we need or that we desire. GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL! <3

  5. Lindsey Smallwood
    April 10, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Stephanie – good for you for being BRAVE and going to exactly the right place when it hurts. Hard work, so so hard. Thanks for sharing your good reminders.

    I found you on The Peony Project, would love for you to pop over to and say hi. I have a post up today about dissapointment and plans changing and God’s faithfulness, a different story from ours, but the same too and I hope it will encourage you.


    • April 13, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      <3 thank you lindsey. i'm trying to remember that it's a beautiful thing to be honest and vulnerable, especially right now when i feel as if it's the very last thing i'd ever want to do in my whole entire life.

  6. Laura
    April 10, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    One of my first thoughts was ‘yes! Exactly!’ I am coming out of a time of sadness and frustration (due to health problems) and the only reason I am doing better lately is because I have been leaning on Him more and getting into His word! I normally don’t leave links to my blog in comments like this, but one post is about having hope even in these hard times of life.

    • April 13, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      laura – THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing! i’m going to check out that blog post. we definitely need to encourage each other in our hurts because satan is just waiting to pounce and to exploit our tender bits, you know? <3

      • Laura
        April 24, 2015 / 12:01 pm

        That I know too well lately! How gracious is our loving Father, to surround us with His love – and that is what I’m clinging to today!

  7. Donna Parkinson
    April 11, 2015 / 11:02 pm

    I miss seeing/hearing you worship… So beautiful.

    • April 13, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      thanks donna <3 i was thinking of making videos more often.

  8. April 17, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    I like that you said that you are determined not to say mean things out of your anger. Based on this post, it seems like the guy did something hurtful that required an ended relationship, and I am so sorry if that was the case. But I am so glad you are trying to remain godly towards him.
    I found you through Simple Moments Stick (and I am in the Peony Project).
    My blog is-

    • August 4, 2015 / 10:28 pm

      ahhhh sorry it took me FOREVER to respond!!! it’s so crazy to look back and think of how far God has brought me already, and i know he’s going to continue to seek out every last ounce of hurt i might be carrying around and redeem the heck out of it. <3

  9. July 30, 2015 / 5:10 am

    so glad you back-linked this into your dead ends post–this video is BEAUTIFUL. your voice is so pretty and i love the piano. what a worship leader!!

    • August 4, 2015 / 10:28 pm

      AHHH thanks julie <3 playing/singing is what i do when i'm at my wits end and i love when i'm able to share it, which isn't usually often… though now i get to do it every sunday which is awesome.

  10. Angel
    July 21, 2017 / 4:27 am

    I can’t thank you enough..words can’t describe my pain…I know God loves me but I just want to scream, “Why Lord???” Thank you for your openess and transparency!

    • July 21, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      <3 <3 <3 i hope it gets better for you, angel. it took awhile but it got much better for me. <3 <3 <3

  11. Kathy
    November 11, 2018 / 11:44 am

    Thank you. It’s been nearly five years and I still hurt and grieve. I don’t understand, but I know God does. I needed these words today. Thank you for trusting God and sharing your heart.

    • January 23, 2019 / 8:11 pm

      hey kathy!
      i’m glad these words found you at just the right moment. i don’t think grief ever fully goes away, which is so hard. hopefully you’re finding hope and glimpses of what lies beyond in the midst of your hurt <3

  12. Imani
    November 11, 2018 / 11:45 am

    I needed this and I’m so glad God gave you these words to share

  13. Sarah Fischbuch
    November 11, 2018 / 11:45 am

    Thank you Stephanie !! I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I love what you shared here. Especially, „Sometimes we need to really feel sad to remember that Christ is our Healer.“ That is true. Thank you for letting your light shine!! -Sarah

  14. Miss LynRel
    December 2, 2018 / 8:27 am

    I have gotten to the point where I have given up on prayer and God. Having prayers repeatedly unanswered leaves a person’s mental, emotional, and even physical well-being in shambles. The fact that people who have zero belief in god continue to receive the blessings you have prayed for year after year…in front of your face…seems like nothing short of cruel, and I see no reason to have faith and hope anymore when I am constantly ignored. And people always say “god’s perfect timing”…well here on earth we are limited by time. I prayed to god to be married and have a family, these should be good things right…except I am left with nothing…and whether we like to believe it or not…we aren’t have babies at age 90 so if “god’s timing” doesn’t match up with the reality of our time, then clearly his timing isn’t perfect. His “plan” for my life stinks, and i have just given up on the fact that having any relationship with god and praying matters because it doesn’t. I’m also sure to be thankful for the things I do have, yet he doesn’t even seem to be happy that I acknowledge that when many do not. God seems to play favorites and I didn’t make the list.

    • J
      May 16, 2019 / 10:25 am

      LynRel, in your heart you know that’s not true. If it were, then you would not have felt prompted to share this hurt and do so in many words. In a way this is you praying. You know that God is watchful over you and is aware of what you have typed. He hasn’t forsaken or forgotten you. But you are being stubborn and refusing to talk to Him in the ways that we have been taught to. I hope your life has gotten better in the past 5months since you wrote this. But if not, know this is a trial period and it was for your good.

  15. ben lau
    June 26, 2019 / 4:39 am

    It is all well & good to see the bible stories of say Joseph, Job, Moses etc where we see God can turn around a supposedly impossible or hopeless situation into somthing so awesome later on. dont forget in Lukes Gospel the story of Lazarus & the rich man.(isnt it ironic that Lazarus means God Helps?) In that parable Lazarus didnt get restored in his life. Neither did he live to use his experience to comfort others in his situation etc. I mean to say God Helps died unrestored, poor & dogs most probly licking his sores still. But he was in the bosom of Abraham when he died. So I feel that we shld also look at the possibility of God’s will/curse/wrath/pain to remain & our hearts finally restored only after death & not in the here & now. I find it quite useless being reminded of Joseph & Job when my life is just unending pain, financial loss & shattered dreams. Theres really nothing left for me to fwd to in this life for my retirement apart from heaven. My longing to have a house of my own now becomes “In my Fathers house there are many rooms”. I cant wait for this life to end & go & finally enjoy my house in heaven & enjoy all my compensations & restorations. If my Job season is God’s way of showing me the emptiness & hollowness of the world, He has done an excellant job! I want out & flee to heaven!

    • Rachel Nichols
      September 20, 2019 / 11:14 am

      My condolences Ben.
      Life really beats up on some people.

  16. Melissa Hillsman
    October 31, 2019 / 7:37 pm

    Thank you for writing this, it helped me a lot tonight and you did a beautiful job playing and signing those song. May God bless you wherever you’re at in your journey.

  17. AMANDA
    November 17, 2019 / 4:59 am

    Many thanks for your sharing and encouragement which is exactly something I need right now. Thank you.

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