The One Way to A Whole Heart Is A Broken One (The Whole Heart of Christmas)

It feels like a whole other lifetime since then — the hour my husband confessed his moment of infidelity.

A split second can change your life forever, but what you ultimately uncover can change your future for the better.


Six years after marrying, I fell in love with Jesus.

Fifteen years I prayed and complained, waited and caved, succeeded and failed at being the 1 Peter 3 wife: trustworthy, tongue-controlled, God-fearing — so my husband would turn and receive, bow, and believe.

Then one day the phone rang, “Jo! I was blind, and now I see! I can see!

The 40-year-old booming entrepreneur went door to door seeking clemency for his laundry list of wrongs he’d committed since boyhood.

I sat, watching in awe, as the one who once walked over everyone, humbled himself to the Holy One — healing his broken heart one apology at a time.

Nothing helps us become more like a child quite like The Child who became a man.


I never saw my husband coming. Never imagined my name on his long list of wrongs. Here we were 21 years into marriage — finally praising God together facing our cheating hearts for the first time.

But I couldn’t see mine before forgiving his.

The morning he crumbled to the floor — tears came down his face like razors. The boy I married, full of fight and hellfire, wept against the wall a full-blown man of God.

F O R G I V E was written across my stunned skull, big and bold like a billboard from heaven. Against everything I knew to be just, “I forgive you,” flowed off my blistering tongue.

It surprises me, even today, remembering it this way, but it’s true; I felt relief.

Because confession unhitches us from a future none of us can carry.

That day, somewhere in my acuity, a fuse was blown. What comes next? Do we hold hands? Hug?

Wires leading to feeling, anything, were crossed.

Gathering ourselves together, we brushed each other off like we’d just tunneled an escape from Alcatraz — just left the only people we’ve known for the last twenty years.

His faced completely healed, like he just beheld a burning bush. I was still squinting, unable to find my feet.

The suffering truth? Sometimes you serve time for someone else’s crime. Sometimes the whip of betrayal lashes all your happy memories and you’re left begging the One who bore it all, O Lord — how long?

Some time…we have our heart torn out to make room for God’s whole heart for us. 

Concealing the bleeding, I ran for the woods and fell to pieces, “God when will You end the visions inside my head?” — because this side of heaven can look like hell.

The God of sharp, shearing questions spoke softly in my soul, How long have you known Me?

Sobbing stopped at the fear of His inquiry. “Fifteen years, Lord. I’ve known You 15 years,” I answered out loud.

That’s when I heard the rooster crow…

And how many times have you been unfaithful to Me? Questioned He who formed my inward parts.

My husbands’ need to come clean uncovered my 15-year history of adultery. The One who forgave to the brutal end  now extending forgiveness for all the lovers I’d crawled into bed with in the shadows of my own heart. 

Like a cruel spouse, I left Him for friends, family, food, dogs, clothes, tennis, fitness.

 Only in the darkness of our own heart will we see the star of His coming.  


When Jesus came everything changed. When the Holy Spirit comes, you’re never the same. 

God with us.

Jesus…for us. That’s the deal. The Light of the world for the lies of the world. Not only the lies we use to cover up in front of others, but more deceptively, the ones we hiss to ourselves: God understands I’m busy. I’ll break for Him on Sunday. I know everything the Bible has to say — but realistically — life doesn’t work that way.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

The one way to a whole heart is a broken one. God came to take broken and sincere hearts and graft in His heart of goodness, of righteousness, of truthof wholeness.

Because people and families don’t survive this weary world without the Savior’s birth.

His merciful incarceration and resurrection for our long awaited liberation.

Jesus replaces the heart of misery and saves from Satan’s tyranny. The whole heart of Christmas is deliverance! The singing and ringing, wrapping and clapping, the joy of our hearts feasting on Jesus!

A helpless babe born in Bethlehem for this uncontrollable humanity that cannot stop the goodness of God.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

16 thoughts on “The One Way to A Whole Heart Is A Broken One (The Whole Heart of Christmas)

  1. Thank You God, for using the broken pieces in David and JoAnn’s lives to bring light into the dark places of our lives . We love You, and, we love JoAnn and David!


    1. Thanking our glorious God and Father with you Vickie! He is all the Heart we need. SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU AND OUR CHURCH FAMILY!
      Love you, madly


  2. What a blessing you have given me in this peek into your heart and your marriage. The busyness of life and all the distractions really do pull me away from Jesus. Thank you for voicing the struggle and reminding me I am not the only one struggling.


    1. Oh, Wendy, no — not the only one! We are in this together! Christmas, Christ is for broken hearts like ours. Grateful for you, genuine one.


    1. I so appreciate those words, Sister: ALL GLORY TO GOD. It’s too easy to fall on Jesus and take credit when He picks you back up. Thank you, faithful Friend.


    1. Your name! How I cherish seeing your name! Ronni, your words here almost feel like a long awaited hug. I miss you. I love you. I wish you a holy, blessed, hymn hollering Christmas! Thank you for sharing you. (kiss, hug)


  3. He mends. He washes our stuff away. We can breathe and our eyes are open. Beautiful, Jo Ann. You elude calmness and clarity. Thank you for your gift.


    1. So thankful for His redeeming love, Laurie!
      Glad to know you hear His voice through our story.
      Peace over you and yours, Friend 🌟❤️💚


  4. Sweet JoAnn you’re beautiful compassionate caring heart. So many things in this you wrote touched my heart. None of us are perfect and how we look to God to forgive us. God forgives us but yet there are so many that can’t find forgiveness in their heart. We know in the long run the one that hurts the most is ourself. How very true “ The one way to a whole heart is a broken one.” The worst thing in my life that broke my heart and seem like the worst day of my life ended up bringing me back to God and ended up being the best day of my life. Thank you for your transparency and always really touching me with your words


    1. Joni, So grateful you hear God’s voice through our story.
      Yes, oh yes how we all need His forgiveness spilling over and reaching others!
      Thank you for sharing your witness of God using your WORST DAY for His REDEEMING DAY!
      What a joy to hear again and again how our Father is generous with our brokenness—granting us far more blessing in the end!
      My love to you, Dear One.


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