When a Thief Steals Your Heart

When a Thief Steals Your Heart

April 23, 2014

“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” Titus 2:14 (NLT)

Melissa was walking home from the bus stop and stopped to talk to the friendly neighbor who always sat in his driveway. He waved her over and invited her to follow him into his garage for a piece of candy.

She walked into the garage an innocent, trusting girl, but she walked out broken.

As she grew up, Melissa spent many years trying to heal herself. Over time she perfected the art of wearing a mask, while on the inside she felt unworthy of any good thing. She often wondered if she’d ever be whole.

Perhaps, like Melissa, a thief stole a piece of your heart. You might have even wondered if God cared that it happened. God does care and to prove it, Titus 2:14 tells us Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice: “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”

In this verse, the apostle Paul describes the death of Jesus as an offering. It was given for those who couldn’t make it themselves. Jesus gave His life willingly and to free us from every kind of sin.

We often give thanks for His sacrifice that removed the debt of our sin. But there is more. Jesus took our sins, but that same act freed us from the effect of others’ sins upon our hearts and lives.

Let that soak into the wounded places for a moment.

A thief may have tried to steal away your heart, but you aren’t destined to be marked by that person’s sin. Hurtful touch no longer defines you, for Jesus’ touch brings you from death to life. From old to new.

Because of His sacrifice, this becomes your truth, your new legacy:

You are beautiful, not because of what you have to give, but because of whose you are.

You have value, not because of what someone wants from you, but because of what has always been inside of you.

You are in the process of restoration, and you have purpose because of Christ’s love.

Healing is a transformative process, peeling away one layer at a time. That process begins as we accept that Jesus boldly walked into the den of a thief on our behalf and reclaimed what was His own. That act took the damage inflicted on your soul and carried the burden you were never intended to bear.

And what happened to that little girl, Melissa? After years of trying to fix herself and hiding her hurt, she asked Jesus to touch the broken places. Today Melissa Taylor is a mom, a wife and a woman who finds joy in pouring out God’s hope to others.

She leads thousands of women across the world in online Bible studies through Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you were to ask Melissa who she is, she would say she doesn’t see herself as a woman marked by a thief, but a woman reclaimed and restored by her Savior.

Father, You see who I am, ready to burst forth because of Your sacrifice. Thank You for touching my heart and my thoughts in a way that is holy and restorative. Thank You for taking away the mark of others’ sins upon my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Suzie Eller’s latest book speaks to this topic of healing. Click here to order your copy of The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places.

Visit Suzie’s blog for a giveaway of her book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places. Also on her blog are an online study and the first chapter of The Mended Heart.

Would you like to bring Suzie Eller to your church? Click here to find out more about considering Suzie as your next retreat/keynote speaker.

Reflect and Respond:
Read Isaiah 64:8.

Jesus never saw a single person as too damaged or broken. How do you believe God, the One who created you, sees you? What might His vision for you be?

Power Verses:
Matthew 20:28, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)

Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (NIV)

© 2014 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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  1. I can honestly say that Jesus doesn’t see me as the least bit broken. He sees me s complete. Although I have a disability, God doesn’t see that. He only sees what is on the in…side of me. Like God, my husband, Ron Smith only looks at what is inside me. Inner beauty is what God definitely sees in each one of us. “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” Titus 2:14 (NLT)
    What a very powerful way of looking at who we are! God may see us as whole, even though we may have blemmishes on the outside. Though we may not always see what God sees, He is going to help us see things through His very eyes.
    He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”~Titus 2:14
    Like Melissa in the story, my husband had thought he could trust his older brother when he was growing up. Unfortunately, hving abuse done to him made him see his siblings differently. He and his younger sister were no longer close, and it now seems like his family wants absolutely nothingto do with him as a young man. Is it siply because he has a disability? The little blindboy that no one wants to be around because they’re afraid the disability is contageous, and they may end up catching it like a cold? “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”~Suzie Eller
    What a very inspirational prayer for tonight! God freed us all from what sins we have previously committd. He now wants to make us complete and whole. I think this can only happen if we allow Him into those places, where we’re really hurting. This is something my husband shouldn’t be afraid to do.
    Matthew 20:28, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)
    What a beautiful verse! Jesus came to us, so that we may serve Him. He put up His own life as ransom, s that we may have a whole life without being punished for the bad thins we’ve done. Jesus took it upon himself to buy our freedom fo a big price.
    Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (NIV)
    Jesus i our way to salvation. He intercedes for us, as He wants to pave the way for us to be with God. Just like Jesus, intercedes for us, my husband’s regularly interceding for me. Ultimately, I know he cares for me agret deal. See More

    • What a champion you are for your husband. We don’t always get to choose our biological family, but we do get to choose who we wrap around our heart, and your husband has chosen well. What a beautiful example of love. <3

  2. Mrs Chola Joyce Chibuye says:

    Awesome just awesome. I had just finished talking/shouting to/at my daughter about some of the things she does that upset me, mainly keeping her room neat, time management as she is always rushing to go to work, church, shopping, airport. I felt really out of control because I have spoken about the same things so many times. She is old enough to do these things without being told. The passage on parenting has given me a whole new approach to this issue. Not that I was never praying for my children but that I should try something different, not being a perfect parent. Awesome and thank you very much

  3. I am in need of prayer. I know what the word says, but I feel as if God has abandoned me and my situations. I have recently been on a roller coaster of life experiences. I want to get off. I am hurting.

    • Jeanette says:

      Marlisa, I can hear your pain. I don’t know your situation, but I have been through what you describe. Please believe you are not abandoned by God! I’m praying for you right now, for strength and for a measure of peace even as you walk through such a turbulent time. Sometimes it’s just getting through each day, sometimes just each minute, but God will walk you through this one step at a time. You are not alone!

    • jean ann says:

      Father, I lift up my sister Marlisa. I pray that she would feel your comforting hand upon her life, that you would be in the midst of her circumstances and that she would see you working things according to your sovereign will. I pray that you would send kind and loving influences into her life, to support and encourage her. I pray for Marlisa’s healing and wholeness that only Jesus can bring. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

    • Dear Lord, Please bless Marlisa with peace as you walk with her through her current circumstance. Help her to know that you are with are always. Let her feel your love no matter what she must deal with.

      • Father, please let Marlisa feel the power of Your presence, Your peace and Your protection. I praise and glorify Your name, and know without a doubt that nothing can separate us from Your love. Father, Thank You for Marlisa – and Thank You for loving her through her situation. We claim the victory! In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen!

    • Father, Marlisa has lifted up her heart and her life with open hands for prayer. Today we look away from the words of an accuser or liar (satan) to focus on the truth contained in your word for Marlisa. She is loved. You sing over her to calm her fears. She is made in your image. Her name is etched on the palm of your hand. May she sense today as a new day. A day to hold on to that truth until it soaks into her being. A day to look past the past to embrace all that you have for her. Lord, you never looked at brokenness and said, “Sorry, too far gone,” but rather looked into the heart of the one standing in front of you and saw healing, wholeness, joy, life. . . with Your help. Today we come to You and stand with our friend and thank you for healing. In the powerful and beautiful name of Jesus, amen.

    • Mickey Drake says:

      Father, I know You are with Marlissa, even though she can’t see, hear, feel or touch You. You have promised to NEVER leave us nor forsake us. Help her to stand upon the promises found in Your Word, and not the ‘feelings’ that are so temporal. Faith is reaching for that which is NOT seen. Fill her with THAT kind of faith, Lord. Help her stretch out her hand and CLAIM the promises in Your Word. She is STRONG, because YOU are her strength. Help her to truly practice trusting in You, Father. Help her to hide herself in the bosom of the Most High God. To nestle under Your wings, taking comfort in the feathers and the downy warmth of Your love. Not the ‘feelings’ of it, but the FACT. Lord, give her what she needs to make it through one more moment. Strengthen her boundaries and borders Lord, be her strong tower. Read psalm 91 Marlissa, and personalize it for yourself. God is WITH you. And if God be FOR you, who (dares) to stand against you? 🙂 You WILL become victorious in the midst of this trial. You are NOT alone. NEVER alone. In Jesus’ name. <3 HUGS

  4. I need prayer this year everything goes wrong in my life it feels I have no where to go it feels if the LORD dont hear my prayers

    • I’m praying for you right now Anna. God does hear and he does answer just not always the way we want. Trust him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. Trust Trust and more Trust.

    • Lord, thank you for Anna. Thank you that prayers are powerful and effective. We may not see Your work before us, but we rest in the truth that You desire the best for Anna. Your best. Peace. Healing. Protection. Joy. Today we pray for those to settle into Anna’s heart and take root. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  5. Melvina Kammies says:

    While reading this message, I thought to myself. Wow this sounds awe fully familiar… having to deal with and suffer through, emotional brokenness and trying to shake off feelings that only impacted me negatively.

    I found Jesus to be the answer and healer of my downcast soul.
    I am deeply moved and encouraged by this powerful testimony and message 🙂

    May Our heavenly father continue to bless you and use you in a mighty way, in proclaiming that Christ Jesus is the answer for this broken world today*** 🙂

  6. B Chervinka says:

    Wow, I never thought about that “We often give thanks for His sacrifice that removed the debt of our sin. But there is more. Jesus took our sins, but that same act freed us from the effect of others’ sins upon our hearts and lives.”
    Thanks for that insight.

    – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/when-a-thief-steals-your-heart/#respond

  7. M. Mathilda Akaba says:

    God bless you Melissa, May He continue to empower you as you intercede and use your resources and who God transform you to be a blessing to others including me. I recently joined your vision and looking forward to the next online bible study which starts in May. I need further clarification on how I can enroll in the class of May 2014.
    Your daily inspirational words backed by the Bible loosen my soul and gives me encouragement to look unto God for better days. God bless u.

  8. I love this, thank you for this today. It’s amazing how much a life trauma like Melissa’s can affect a person’s life and sense of identity. I have a similar experience not with being rapped but one in which I believed I was unworthy and just not as good as other people. I am happy to say that God worked a miracle in my life and washed those feelings away. God is good!

  9. Kelli R. says:

    I’m reading through the above posts and my heart breaks for these women who are struggling. I have been there too. Going through a valley and praying for comfort, thinking your alone and that no one can help this sense of dread washing over you. Try to remember that you aren’t alone! God is with you in the good times and the bad. Heavenly father, I pray that you will be with these women who are hurting. That they would feel your arms around them and know that you are there no matter what they are going through and no matter the outcome of the situation. Please give them a peace that only you can give. We love you Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

    • Kelli, one of the things that I love best about healing is that it allows us to come alongside others and say, “I get it. I just want you to know that you’re going to be okay.” You did that today, and it’s powerful. Thank you.

  10. Life may chip us but we are still precious to the Potter who made us.

  11. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this one. Never heard it out this way. Helps woth the healing.

  12. Thank you so much for this perspective. I am indeed thankful and my burdens are lifted!

  13. This was really beneficial to me today. I think many times during our Christian journey we are hurt and broken with the thought that we need to try to work through issues ourselves. I am so glad and thankful that God cares for each one of us, lets us know that we aren’t alone in life’s journey and that he helps to fix and mend our broken places.

    • It’s why He came.
      To heal.
      To loose.
      To set free.
      To fill up.
      To reclaim.
      We can rest in that. We partner with God in our healing, but we don’t have to do it alone. Thank God, right? <3

  14. I can so relate to this. I’ve often felt like it was my fault because of what happened to me as a little girl and wondered why God didn’t protect me or even stop it from happening. Not only has it affected my relationship with my husband but in other areas of my life as well.

    • Kathi, my friend Mary DeMuth has written a book titled Not Marked, and it has both her perspective as someone who was abused, and her husband’s perspective as he walked through healing with her. It’s honest and beautiful.

  15. Praise God and bless you for this devotional today. It really touched my heart.

  16. Dear, precious Lord
    I lift Marlisa and Anna up to you for your comfort and guidance!! I struggle daily with my own self worth issues, but I feel so blessed and know that you love me more than I can comprehend!! Please be with these struggling individuals!! I pray they feel your love and strength. Faith can move mountains!! Thank you all for sharing!! Now go forth and know that he is with us!!

  17. Adeola Salami says:

    I am teamed up against, betrayed, abandoned by people i love and claim to love me. And this makes me cry everyday. Today i am healed and tomorrow i am broken. It is like i will never come out of it and this is affecting my spiritual life.

    • Adeola,
      May I pray with you today? Lord, thank you for Adeola. Thank you that you see her. That you hear her. That she’s tired of the roller coaster of feeling healed, and feeling broken, of being hurt by people. Thank you for this safe place to say that out loud. Father, I pray with Adeola that you’ll fill those places that feel broken. That you’ll assure her that you came for her. That you are bigger than the effect of people or the past. Today, we ask for healing to begin and for assurance that even on the days when she feels that she has nothing to offer, that as she holds up even her emptiness, that this becomes something beautiful in your hands. Adeola matters to you. She’s of great worth to you. She can hold fast to these truths as she grows and finds wholeness. We ask that she sense you each day, that she senses that you are sufficient in her weakness, and that she rests in the fact that she is loved right where she is by you. In the powerful name of our Savior, amen.

  18. Candice Mitchell says:

    I want to see myself the way God sees me, and I want to believe Him for healing but it seems that i can only receive those truths for everyone else but not for myself . I’ve been plagued with self doubt and insecurity for such a long time, I’m not really sure how to find my identity in Christ. Where do i begin?

    • Candice, what an honest question. For me, as I was learning who I was as a child of God, I soaked in God’s word. I wrote down passages like this:
      For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
      And I put my name in them.
      For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate Candace from the love of God . . .
      I did this for a long time and then one day it went from reading it to knowing it. That knowledge changed me as His divine influence changed the way I thought, the way I viewed others, and who I knew I was.
      The Word of God is powerful, sis, and I pray today it will begin to be truth and Light for you.
      You are loved.
      You are His.
      Nothing can separate you from His love.

  19. Although I am often asking for strength to forgive those hurt me, sometimes over and over again, I cling to they may have hurt me, but I don’t want them to control my life any longer. It doesn’t mean the hurt and damage go away instantly, and I am still struggling… And sometimes I feel like God isn’t hearing my pleading, but I KNOW He does.

  20. Thank you for bringing this topic to the table! I do get it, and He has brought me to a space of seeing the good that came from the evil done to me and in turn, I did to others. Coming alongside others is such a privilege and an honor, especially when you have been similarly marked. My husband is a saint for having journeyed with me to wholeness. God redeems! Believe it, sisters!! Lord, heal those hurting, and thank You for those of us you continue to heal from the marks left by other’s sins against us. Thank you for Suzie, P31, and a community of women willing to be real and come alongside one another in prayer. In Jesus name…Amen!!!

  21. Sonya McTillman says:

    Thank you to Melissa for offering hope to those you have suffered such a travesty. I am going to use your testimony at my church Sunday as we close out National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This Sunday is National Blue Sunday and congregations across the country will be praying for abused children and those of us that work to prevent abuse and/or care for abused children. Thank you for your testimony!~Sonya McTillman,
    Million March Against Child Abuse-National Planning Committee, Erin’s Law for NC-Lead Advocate, Darkness to Light-Stewards of Children-Facilitator

  22. Sometimes the pain doesn’t allow beauty to grow. You are not beautiful nor do you feel that way. You are broken and in need of repair but you won’t allow that because your ability to trust anyone is so damaged. A simple quiet pray never ignored is to ask for Gods grace and for him. To open your heart to receive it when it shows up. Not receiving it is pride. It is saying God is not powerful enough or mighty enough to do as His word says. He alone knows your need and how/what to heal if you allow his word to soak up in your heart.

  23. Katherine says:

    When I was little I had been molested by the 12 year son of our babysitter. As I grew older I struggled. I found peace in God, but it was after many years and through help. Today I am a happy wife to a wonderful husband. I thank God for being with me, and helping me grow strong in faith. I never once blamed God. He is always there. Even at your lowest, when you hardly feel anything in your soul. When you wonder if God hears you, just know that he does and that he loves you.

  24. After the shadow in my dreams had a face I had a hard time forgiving, but I did and I was freed. After I read this devotion I wrote in my journal: “Yes a thief stole my heart and left me broken, for years I just wasn’t sure why I was broken and last year the shadow in my dreams took on a face, and since my heart belongs to Jesus, He touched my broken places and I was able to forgive. The shadow that once haunted me is gone and I am reclaimed and restored by my Savior” THank you Suzie

  25. As I read the verse from today,God spoke to my heart even before I read your devotional.He gave
    His life not only for the sins that we commit,but also for the sins committed against us. Wow I never saw that before..I don’t need to carry around all the hurt that is dumped on me. I AM FREE,THANK YOU JESUS.Thank you for this.If I hadn’t read your devotional I would have missed this Well God Bless I am off to do my Bible study ..Living So That….

  26. Reading this gave me the chills! I hits home, for me too. Healing was a long process. Forgiving a little longer. However, once you forgive, you start feeling better. I still find myself having to forgive, again, as something triggers a memory, or the hurt.

  27. What a powerful perspective shift: to recall that His death and resurrection sets us free from the power of all sin… mine and that of others. Praying this would sink deep into my heart, and into my daughter’s.

  28. Sandra Richards says:

    Wow her story is so like mine. I was so broken because of hurtful touch and someone elses sin against me. God has restored and transformed my life. I know what redemption feels like. A friend of mine kept telling the cross has to be enough. I didn’t get it for a while. It is more than the forgiveness of sin but the healing of the sins against us.

  29. I feel empowered by the image of Christ boldly reclaiming what is rightfully His.

    I have struggled with resentment towards one of my parents for not standing up for me when I needed it. However, where family has failed me, the Lord has remained faithful.

    Thank you for the encouragement.

  30. Christina says:

    This was so encouraging to read. My biological father was the “thief” in my childhood. It took years of trying on my own to work through the bitterness, and darkness until I realized I needed a savior! As a survivor you can be free and victorious through Christ. However dark moments can creep in as it is with such trauma and having sisters in Christ for those times is a tremendous blessing. Thank you for sharing and giving me that boost of encouragement I needed.

  31. Susan Glant says:

    So … How am I supposed to heal and move forward when the abuse continues? My boss is dishonest and abusive, lying about me and destroying my reputation. It seems impossible to leave because I need my job. I am a single mom with no other form of income. I am begging God for a better job. And I want to leave so I have a chance to forgive. I am becoming so depressed and bitter, losing hope daily. I want to believe proverbs 3: 5 & 6, but this has been going on for such a long time. How do I cope? How do I keep hanging on?

    • Susan, I’m sorry. What a hard situation.

      Lord, your words says that we if need wisdom we can ask for it and you will gladly give it. In scripture, Joseph experienced very much what Susan is experiencing. He was a good man who you loved, and yet he was betrayed and forgotten by those in authority over him. But even in that jail, you saw him and there was favor on his life. You brought him through those hard experiences and placed his feet in a place where you always intended, but somehow the hard places were also part of it. I don’t fully understand that, but what I find in this is that you are not unaware, that you have a plan for Susan, and that there is favor over her life, even in the hardest of places.

      Encourage her. Give her wisdom. Pour out supernatural strength and insight and lead her one day at a time. Provide for her. Protect her. Speak to her, and give her what she needs in the midst of this hard place. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

  32. ….how do you know if you need counseling or is it really as simple as focusing on His word? Did you (Suzie or Melissa) also have any professional counseling?

    • Sam, I don’t know about Melissa, but my counsel was years of walking with God, forgiving, growing. BUT I am the wife of a licensed Christian counselor, and I so believe that a counselor can offer tools and insight to help overcome the hurt of abuse. Many times that is a tool that becomes the “hands and feet” of Christ as you blend professional counseling with spiritual healing and help from a God who loves you so much.

  33. I am a Melissa! For years I have tried to be strong, to overcome the damage and the hurt that was done to me. No one wanted to hear what had happened to me and at one point It was said it was my fault. I had moments of great anger and just wanting to lash out, other times I had moments go great sadness and grief and no shoulder to cry on. I asked the question I imagine many in my situation ask….Why? Why me? What did I do wrong? Why could I not be normal like other women? I have started seeing a counselor at a woman’s crisis agency. I wish she was a Christian counselor, but she is a nice lady. I am glad I looked into this website. God bless you all!

  34. Suzette Pitter says:

    I read all the comments and I too struggle and wonder when will God come through for me. Please pray for me that God will show me favour as I job hunt.

  35. I have a past much worse than Melissa’s but in that same way. Most of the time, I know God loves me and accepts just as I am. But then there are days like Wednesday and Thursday when my doctor called and said after looking at earlier test results, she felt it was time to do an endometrial biopsy. Then she scheduled it for the very next day and on that day she called and moved it up two hours. I know God was with me because the procedure went so easily. But once again, I felt that brokenness. She is testing for cancer which I keep coonecting to the abuse I suffered. I feel like this is punishment for what happened. I feel abandoned by everyone. I know that’s not true, but it is how I feel. I need Gods love and strength.

  36. Rebecca Perkins says:

    I have been in a situation where the theft took my heart not by one man but three. So when men were in authority over me I felt like I was very small and didn’t know anything. I still have some problems with some pastors. So these scriptures help. Please pray for me that I will get a total healing. Thank you for sharing this with me.

  37. Thank you so much for the prayers:)

  38. Natalie says:

    I would love prayers also

  39. As with I’m sure many other people this hits home. For over 40 years I have carried that secret and I hated that person for taking my childhood ideals away. I could never look at a man without thinking he wanted something, even well into adulthood. Thank you Suzie for helping me to see this in a different light/perspective. I read this blog last month & have reread it numerous times. and pray for healing for myself and others who have been through this.

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