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Jennifer Maggio Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Maggio

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others. 

19 Ways to Heal from Brokenheartedness

  • 2024May 22

Many of us have been there - the ache in your chest that just doesn’t seem to fade, the struggle to get out of bed in the morning, fighting back tears at the grocery store, struggling to breathe in a crowd. Many of us have experienced the overwhelming feeling of a heartbreak that leaves your chest physically aching and your cheeks stained with tears. Whether it is born of trauma, betrayal, or adversity, most people have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a broken heart. It can be incredibly isolating and often leave you licking wounds alone and afraid that you’ll never mend. At its height, it can feel hopeless. It is important to remember you are never alone. Not only have millions of other people gone through this life experience, our faith teaches us that God never leaves us. We are nursing this broken heart with the Great Physician, who heals all wounds. It’s only a matter of when. And the question becomes, what can you do along the way to help facilitate your healing?  

To be clear, this article isn’t a fix all. It’s not a quick-step guide to feeling better overnight. In fact, not one of these steps, standing on its own, will probably do much good. However, you will be able to get some ideas for healthy coping skills, and comprehensively, these steps will take you on your healing journey, as God holds your hand through the process. Wipe your tears, friend, and read on. We have nineteen steps to begin healing a broken heart waiting just for you!  

  1. Learn to sit with the pain. Ugh, we’re starting out of the gate with no fun. Don’t rush through the recovery process too quickly (or attempt to), or you’ll likely find yourself back at square one. It takes time to heal, and a half-healed wound will always reopen. It is easy to find yourself rushing through the recovery process, focused on the next “task” to be completed; especially because healing is uncomfortable. Discomfort often breeds revelation, so sit in the discomfort of the pain for a little while. Take the time necessary to evaluate the pain, understand what happened, and how the pain could be avoided in the future, or what can be learned as a result of it. It’s especially important to recognize that all pain can be given purpose. Maybe this pain was necessary for a life lesson for your next season, or maybe this pain was necessary so that in the future, you can help someone going through a similar experience.    

  2. Avoid significant decisions. Too often the weight of a broken heart leaves us looking for a change.  We must “fix” it immediately. Although it is important to evaluate the next steps and how to better your situation and grow, it is very important to be steady and patient. Pursuing a major move, jumping into a new relationship, making a major purchase, or changing jobs may be a false substitute that only provides temporary comfort. Avoid making these large decisions hastily, when you aren’t thinking clearly, or you may find yourself with more heart break.   

  3. Think about what you’re thinking about. When we are experiencing a heart break, it’s easy for our thoughts to get away from us. I’m a bad person. I’m never going to find the one. No one will ever want to be with me. I don’t deserve happiness. Philippians 4:8 says “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  What are you spending time thinking about?  Is it true? Is it praise-worthy? Is it honorable? In order to move on and heal from heart break, you must begin to fix your thoughts on what is true, not what you are feeling. Feelings lie and fleet. Truth remains. 

  4. Relinquish the guilt. Let’s face it. Sometimes broken hearts are a direct result of a decision we made. Perhaps we did something unethical and lost the dream job. Maybe we lost our marriage due to an affair. Perhaps we lost our business due to a poor financial decision. There are many instances where a broken heart is a direct result of our actions. (Obviously, there are many instances when this isn’t the case, as well). If this is the case, ask for forgiveness when needed. Repent if needed and move on. Allowing guilt to permeate our futures only hinders the healing process.  

  5. Embrace anger for a season. It sounds crazy to “embrace” anger, but acknowledging the anger you feel is a necessary step in healing a broken heart. Maybe your broken heart is because cancer stole a loved one’s life. Your broken heart could be due to a betrayal or dishonesty. It’s okay to be angry. It’s a natural response to pain. But don’t camp out there too long. Anger, when held onto for too long, can turn into bitterness. Bitterness will always lead to more wounds and heart break. Acknowledge your anger, embrace it for a brief season, and then work through it.    

  6. Ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it most, and when you are going through a heart break… help is necessary! Seek guidance from a pastor, counselor, Bible study teacher, or trusted friend. Seek the wise counsel of a loved one.  Don’t pretend it’s okay. Don’t drown when a life raft is available.  Too often we get caught up in the need to appear “perfect” and want to hide our broken pieces from others.  But it’s important to grieve loss. It’s important to allow others in, to show them our broken pieces, to walk through it with a friend, and to seek a professional’s help, when needed.  

  7. Rejoice in God’s comfort. Sure, a broken heart is horrible and no fun, to say the least, but our Father is waiting to heal every wound. God is near the broken-hearted. This is an opportunity for you to experience His comforting presence, and to rejoice in His unfailing love and faithfulness. He wants to comfort you.  You only have to let Him in and embrace His presence. Having the unconditional love of the Father is something to rejoice in, no matter how we feel in that moment. There is an intimacy with the Lord that comes in the depths of a broken heart. 

  8. Take care of your physical body. The pain of a broken heart can move us into not eating, eating too much, becoming bed-ridden with depression, or failing to exercise, among many others. It is easy to avoid taking care of yourself when you’re hurting so much that you can barely function. Make the conscious effort to take care of yourself. If your schedule is really demanding, commit one night a week to taking a hot bath and relaxing. Make yourself walk for 15 minutes a day. Listen to your favorite music on full volume. Schedule time to eat and meal-prep to ensure it’s nutrient-rich. Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to practice self-care. That’s okay. Just make sure you are committed to actively taking care of yourself, even when you don’t feel like it. You will be surprised at how much better you feel after a night of self-care.  

  9. Leave the house. Dealing with a broken heart often leaves us with the desire to stay locked away in the solace of our homes. We don’t want to leave the comfort of our bed, but staying cooped up inside day in and day out is a recipe for disaster. Force yourself to get out of the house, even on the days when it feels impossible. Maybe getting out of the house looks like taking a brief walk outdoors, or something as simple as sitting outside in the sun. Instead of ordering your groceries for pick up, go to the grocery store yourself and peruse the aisles. Or maybe take a trip to the park with your kiddos and watch the joy on their faces as they play on the playground. Go out and grab your favorite ice cream and enjoy it outdoors. Whatever it looks like to you—be sure you are getting out of the house.  

  10. Exercise. Exercise is an important part of living a balanced and healthy life. When we are suffering from a heartbreak, getting into the gym is usually the last thing on our minds. In fact, it can even seem dreadful to break a sweat when you are struggling to simply keep your head above water. Exercise comes with a plethora of benefits both physically and mentally. Exercise doesn’t have to be a two-hour ordeal complete with weightlifting and heavy cardio. Simply taking a walk around the neighborhood is a great way to get your exercise in for the day. You will be shocked how much better you feel after working out, and it’s a great way to get your mind off of your current situation.  

  11. Spend time with loved ones. Isolation is a common side effect of dealing with a broken heart. If you are going to move from heartbroken to healed, it is going to require some effort on your part. Instead of giving in to the temptation to isolate and ignore the texts from your loved ones, force yourself to respond. Go even further and schedule a time to hang out with those closest to you. Have your friends come over for a movie night or go out to grab lunch or coffee. Maybe you visit a family member you haven’t seen in a while or reconnect with an old friend. When appropriate, you can even share your current struggles with them and allow them to help you through it. Whatever it looks like for you, commit to spending more time with loved ones when you are struggling with a broken heart. Good company can be healing.  

  12. Journal. When struggling with a broken heart, our feelings can often become jumbled, and our judgement can be cloudy. It seems cliché but writing down your feelings can be incredibly therapeutic and a good way to “unjumble” your thoughts. Find a notebook in your house and commit to writing down your emotions for at least five to ten minutes each day. If you have a difficult time sitting with your feelings, set a timer to ensure you stick with it. Journaling doesn’t have to be formal. No one else is going to read your writing, so allow it to flow from the heart. There are tons of journal prompts for those of you that struggle knowing where to start, here is an example of good journal prompts for dealing with heartache. After you have spent a few minutes writing down your feelings, close the journal and put it away. If you do this each day, you will eventually create a habit of journaling. It is also incredibly rewarding to look back at your journal entries and see the progress you’ve made in your healing. Think of it as a book, documenting your entire journey.  

  13. Take care of your surroundings. This sounds like a no brainer, but anyone who has truly suffered from a broken heart knows how difficult it can be to do even the most basic of tasks. Often the laundry and dishes pile up, the beds go unmade, and clutter creeps in and turns into a full-blown mess. Believe it or not, we are affected by our surroundings and that includes our home environment. Too often our environment is a reflection of the turmoil going on inside of our hearts and minds. Commit to cleaning up and taking care of your surroundings every day. If it feels like too big of a task in the beginning, set a twenty-minute timer each day and clean for the entire twenty minutes. You will be shocked to see how much you can get accomplished in under twenty-minutes. Cleaning each day will not only make the task itself more manageable, but it will leave you with a better environment.  

  14. Remember this is not permanent. It can be easy to slip into the mindset that you will never feel better when you are healing from a broken heart. Especially because it is something that takes time. Remind yourself that this is only temporary, and these feelings will eventually subside. Think back to another time in your life when you thought things would never get better and reflect on how you overcame it and the feelings eventually lifted. Hold on to the hope that this is merely a season that will pass. Reflect on the scripture, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time do build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance…” Remember: to everything there is a season.  

  15.  Enjoy your family. When we are in the midst of dealing with a broken heart, it is hard to enjoy anything. But remember, God gave you the precious gift of family. If you are in a season of parenting, we can't let being a parent fall to the wayside because we are struggling with heart break. In fact, you can learn a lot from your children in this season. Take a moment to appreciate your familiy's love and wonder, it is truly awe inspiring. Plan a fun family game night or order some pizza in for a fun dinner. Laugh with your family. Dance and sing with them. You will find that you almost forget all about your pain when you are enjoying sweet moments with sweet people.  

  16. Create a gratitude list. Sure, you may not feel grateful in the midst of a heart break… who does? But that doesn’t mean you have nothing to be grateful for. Make a list of all of the blessings in your life and reflect on all the miracles God has already done for you. This will shift your perspective from an attitude of lack to an attitude of gratitude. It will also remind you that God is in the miracle making business, and he will rescue you again just as He has in the past.  

  17. Get off social media. Everyone loves connecting with old friends or making new friends through social media. And who doesn’t love a good meme? However, the mindless scrolling through hours of media, senselessly comparing our lives to that of complete strangers has to stop. The absorption of 24-hour news coverage and the bombardment of everything that is wrong with the world does not give us life more abundantly. Social media can be draining, and when healing from a heart break we don’t need anything to drain us. Get off of social media for a season until you begin to feel some of the weight lift. Even then, be careful when going back to social media as it opens the door for comparison.  

  18. Pray. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He wipes every tear. When you feel like you have lost all hope, and your heartbreak is too heavy to bear… pray! Cry out to the Lord and He will be there for you. Too often we fall out of the habit of praying when we are struggling with something, and that is when we need it most! Commit to praying several times each day, especially when you are feeling the pain of a broken heart. Not only will it shift your focus, but it will draw you closer to the Lord. Remember: He is our strength! 

  19. Join a small group or class. When you are heartbroken and feeling alone, there is something powerful about gathering with a group of people who have been through something similar. Small groups are a great way to get connected and find hope in the hardship. Be careful not to treat small group like a therapy session, and instead treat it as an opportunity to spend time with a group of peers who have had similar experiences. Find a small group in your area here. As well as, there are online websites allowing you to take self-enrichment courses consisting of managing finaces, health and wellness, parenting, etc.

 

Friends, we know how difficult it is for those of you in the middle of broken heartedness. But we also know there is an “other” side. We know what it is like to spend hours on the bathroom floor, unable to physically get up because of the emotional pain you feel. We also know that our God is a miracle worker and promise keeper. He is a healer and a deliverer. Healing is possible. It is important to know before you embark on your healing journey—healing is not easy. It requires hard work and a level of discomfort. Healing from a broken heart can be a long and difficult process, but the reward of healing is immeasurable. It is important to remember that healing will not be linear, and it is not something that can be rushed. What is even more important to know is that full and complete healing cannot take place on its own, and you need to allow God to mend your heart in order to experience complete freedom. These tips are simply a way to get you started on your healing journey.  

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others. 

25 Ways to Serve a Single Mom This Mother's Day

  • 2024May 08

With 15 million single mothers in the United States today, it is likely that you know a single mom. Maybe you were raised by one and saw how hard she worked to make ends meet and effectively balance the demands on her time. Many of the single mothers in our lives are juggling carpool, daycare, two jobs, or maybe career and secondary education. The lists of demands are endless. We implore the body of Christ to actively look for ways to invest in single mothers and their children. Impact a single mom. Impact her children. Impact a nation. With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, it is important to recognize that the single moms in our lives often do not have someone to create a special day of celebration for them, particularly if they have small children. 

That said, how can we, as loving, compassionate, members of the global body of Christ, reach out and show love to single mothers this Mother’s Day? Maybe the single parents in your life seem like they have it all together. There are some amazingly strong single mothers today, and many are achieving success parentally and emotionally while finding great freedom in their walk with the Lord. But even those strong, amazing single moms could use an occasional helping hand and an extra special show of love during this holiday season. 

Here are a few practical ways to brighten a single mom’s holiday: 

1. Babysit for free and do it often! Single mothers often work many hours per week and do not want to ask for help. They may even work a second or third job or may be attending a local college, too. Babysitting can be expensive. Encourage single mothers in your life to take the night off. Even if a single mom has adequate childcare during the day, while she works, it is very unlikely that she is ever taking a night off to do something special for herself (or simply sleep)! Make an offer to babysit her children for an afternoon or evening so that she can get a few things done around the house.  (It is always recommended that a strong relationship exist prior to making an offer to babysit one’s children).  

2. Offer to grocery shop for her. Shopping is a simple task, but shopping alone with three children hanging from the buggy can seem overwhelming. The simple task of collecting groceries for the week may not seem like much, but this act of kindness can alleviate stress from a single mom’s regular routine and save her time that can be devoted to other things.  

3. Give her some girl time. Sometimes the best way to serve a single mom is to invite her for coffee for some adult conversation. The Lord created us for fellowship. We know how important Godly friends in our lives are to our ability to grow, fellowship, and enjoy life.  Unfortunately, when times are busy, and the demands of a schedule take over, friend time is often the first thing to go. Get to know a single mom in your church or community. Give her a listening ear. Give her the opportunity to talk about something meaningful – her hopes and dreams. Let her know that you see her and that she is not alone.  

4. Bake a single mom a treat. Surprise a single mom this Mother’s Day with a special cake, cookies, meal, or other treat. It’s especially meaningful, when you can get her kiddos involved in the surprise!   

5. Wash & fold clothes. Let’s face it. Who really ENJOYS washing and folding clothes? If you do, you are among the previous few! Taking some time to do a practical, yet necessary chore, can be one way to serve a mom this Mother’s Day!  

6. Buy a single mom a free car wash or oil change. Any car maintenance or repair can be expensive, so whether it is an oil change, tire rotation, tire balance, new windshield wipers, oil change, or other, this can be a helpful, pracical way to serve a mom. 

7. Create a homemade gift that has an encouraging Scripture on it. Or use several Scriptures and write them on notecards or index cards that she can strategically place throughout her home, employment, and car, as a reminder of her Heavenly Father’s love for her.  

8. Rent a movie and provide popcorn for a movie night.  Movie nights are a great way to provide entertainment for both single moms and their children, while also providing an opportunity to get to know her better.  

9. Offer to do some yard work. Whether she’s a homeowner or renter, many single moms have the pressure of keeping their yard manicured.  Perhaps it is even an extra expense for her already-tight budget.  Offering to cut the yard for her on occasion is a great way to show the love of Christ.  

10. Perform carpentry, home repairs, and odd & end jobs.  Married women often have what is referred to as a “honey-do list” for their spouses to perform on the weekend.  Maybe a single mom has a leaky sink, stubborn faucet, or some other light home repairs. For the handyman, this could be a practical way to serve.  (NOTE: We recommend that all men serve in groups of 3 or more. For more details on how men can serve single mothers and widows, visit New Commandment Men’s Ministries).  

11. Clean her house or apartment. A little toilet bowl cleaner and window cleaner can go a long way to show the love of Christ to a worn-out single mother.  

12. Buy her lunch. This is a creative way to not only save a single mom a few dollars but bless her with some adult company while doing so.  

13. Write a handwritten, personal note to a single mom in your life. Let her know how much she is loved and cared for, how valuable she is to her children and community, and highlight Scriptures of encouragement.  

14. Provide gas money or groceries

15. Save your travel-sized toiletries from hotel rooms and donate them to her. Toiletries can be expensive, and many hotels offer high-quality toiletries, free-of-charge that are often thrown away when a guest checks out.   

16. Cook a meal, or even help plan meals for the week. A slow-cooker meal requires almost no time to prepare but can mean a great deal to a mom who is struggling to keep food on the table for her children.  Helping to plan meals for the week may be another way to remove the burden from her shoulder.  

17. Start a running or walking group where single moms can bring their kids for exercise & girl-time. This can become a great time of community fellowship that can also double as a great way for the kids to get exercise.  

18. Give a single mom a rose. In some cases, it could have been months or years since a single mother has received fresh flowers. Discount stores and grocery stores often sell a dozen roses for $10.99 or less. What a beautiful gesture.  

19. Bring cookies & baked goods to her home with an encouraging note. Or offer to bake cookies with her children while she takes a nap.  

20. Bring a gift basket full of goodies. Some ideas could include cleaning supplies, toiletries, great women’s devotionals, candy, bottled waters, hair products, smelling lotions, or something similar.  

21. Offer a day of window shopping, coffee, and a ride through town. It seems like a small act of kindness, but many of the single mothers we’ve worked with say that their lives consist of home, work, home, work, home, work, and they often feel they are “losing themselves” in the day-to-day grind of parenting and working.   

22. Visit a single mom! Make regular visits part of your weekly or monthly routine. Maybe the single mom lost her husband unexpectedly to an illness, and she’s grieving. Maybe she has never actively been in a local church and isn’t comfortable trying it out yet.  Whatever the reason, make it a point to visit a single mom regularly. It just may save her life! 

23. Commit to praying for a single mom regularly. Whether she knows it or not, make her (and her children) part of your regular prayer time. Pray for her children, as you would pray for your own. Pray for financial provision, wisdom, favor with her employer, protection of her lives, healing for a wounded heart, and rest.  Commit to lifting her up to the Lord. She needs it. 

24. Offer tutoring or homework services for her children. When a mom has worked an 8-10 hour day and then has to come home to prepare dinner, wash the clothes for the evening, clean the house, and do homework, it can be exhausting.  Maybe one night a week, offer to do homework with her children. (This is especially helpful if you have children that are similar in age who may be taking similar classes).  

25. Surprise her with a special gift.  Gifts don’t require lots of money. They require thought.  The most beautiful gifts given are those who have a meaningful purpose.  You can visit any dollar store or discount store and find beautiful journals for less than $5. Years may have passed since this single mom has received a special just-because gift.  

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others. 

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist Parent

  • 2024Apr 24

The first fourteen years of my kids’ lives were pretty easy – not in the sense that we faced no challenges because there were plenty. Rather, I felt in control of my children’s lives on most days. Sure, there was the occasional temper tantrum, dirty room, or smart mouth, through the years. But I don’t know if anything could have adequately prepared me for the journey I would take through those teen years. What happened to my sweet, obedient little angels? It seemed that almost overnight, my son developed a mind of his own – complete with his own ideas and thoughts about life. (Yes, I know that’s what is supposed to happen, but annoying nonetheless!) 

One afternoon, I received a call from my son’s school that he had gotten in trouble for cheating on a test. It was devastating. I was mad, hurt, embarrassed, and so much more. They were contemplating what punishment he would receive. As I hung up the phone, I began to cry. I prayed fervently that God would fix this situation. Secretly, I wanted God to rescue my son rather than have him face the consequences. It was in those moments that I felt strongly that God was whispering this thought into my heart, “If I constantly fix things for him, how does he learn to depend on me?” Ouch. The truth was, I wanted to control it all and for my son to make the right choices, because I said so, not because he chose to. 

You see, I had this idea in my mind of what the perfect life was like. I’m sure you can relate. I would have children who always obeyed, earned straight A’s, and had great influences for friends. My children would graduate college, become doctors, own successful practices, marry great spouses, serve the Lord, and live happily ever after. And as I’m sure you guessed; life doesn’t always turn out that way. There are twists and turns and ups and downs. There are right choices and wrong ones. Ultimately, my son turned out just fine. But as I struggled to put words around how I was feeling through those tough high school years, this is what I came up with. I simply wanted to “fix” my kids. I had experienced the devastation that poor choices can bring in my own life, and I never wanted my kids to go through that. 

The same has been true in other areas of my life, too. As God began to radically transform my heart and pull me up from some of the darkest circumstances, I became more and more passionate about wanting others to serve my God. This is a beautiful thing. It’s what we are on the Earth to do. However, the problem comes when we think that bringing others to Christ has more to do with “fixing” them than loving them. You see, I had been an impoverished, severely abused, single mom who lived in sexual immorality. I knew how hard that life was. So, when I had the opportunity to minister to single moms, I thought I had to show them Christ and… Pow! Boom! They would magically transform into perfect little angels. (That’s exactly how it worked in my life. Yeah, right!) 

As moms, wives, co-workers, friends, ministry leaders, and pretty much any other category on the planet, our job as Christians isn’t to fix people, however well-meaning it may be. In fact, we can’t fix people. I know this will shock some of you, but here goes. For every person you are desperate to “fix,” there is another person desperate to fix you! We aren’t perfect. None of us have it all together. It’s true that some are further along on their Christian path than others, and we absolutely can use that to invest wisdom in our sisters in Christ. But our primary job is to love one another. Our job is to administer tons of compassion and grace to show mercy and friendship to others. 

I can’t say that I’ve entirely accepted the fact that I can’t fix my kiddos or others around me. But I can say that I am committed to trying! Will you join me in stepping back and letting the Holy Spirit do the job of fixing others? 

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others.