My Brain and Heart Fail Me

A couple of weeks ago, we received word that the DNA was back and that it verified Sugar Ray had a grandmother in Washington. As you can imagine, we had a flood of thoughts and emotions running through our minds and hearts. It's been a hard two weeks.

With that in mind, I had the chance to get away to a conference by myself for the last couple of days. - oh yeah! I'm not sure I've done that in a really long time. I knew I needed it when I left and now as that time comes to a close, I really know I needed it. I'm an outward processor by nature so being with others helps me to think and pray through things, and is good for my soul. It's also good for me to have times when all that processing happens inside me and between God and me.

I came into this conference with a lot of things swirling in my brain and heart. I came hoping for some clarity and some peace in general but mainly in what to do with this information we've been given.

One of the first sessions I sat in on was with Dr. Brene Brown. She is amazing and offers so much insight into keeping ourselves vulnerable. In this session, she talked about the stories that we create in our minds - true or false. And this, oh boy, this hit home. She told us that our brains are not wired to deal with uncertainty at all. So when we are faced with something difficult, our brain shuts down until it can come up with a story that ties up all the loose ends. This make-up of ourselves would be why we want to explain away everything bad that happens to us. Our brains need that kind of explanation and our body actually rewards us with a healthy chemical response when we have a narrative to follow.

Sounds good, right? Here's the danger: our brain will reward us even if the story we have told it is false. So, if we don't fact check our own brains - we will find ourselves believing and living a lie. Whoa - let's just let that stew for a minute. And ask ourselves, "What is the story I am telling myself in this moment? Is it true?"

So, what is the story I have told myself the past couple of weeks? There's no way Sugar Ray's grandmother will be able to raise him. She will never be able to love him like we do. She may be his family but he has a family here too. Our family is better for him. What will we do without him? Will Grant and Isabel ever get over it? Will we?

Here are the facts: Sugar Ray has never really been ours to begin with. He has always had two families and a very large extended family. She has just as much a right to love him as we do. I have no idea if she is equipped to raise him. I don't really know her. We will all survive and be okay. It may be hard, but we will be okay. Sugar Ray will be okay.

Half of my first version of the story is unnecessary drama. Because that's what we do when things are hard and we aren't sure what will happen or how God wants us to respond with what we've been given.

So, for the past two week in many ways my brain has failed me. And honestly, that's not a big surprise - it seems my brain fails me quite often! Thank you, Brene Brown, for the insight.

Imagine my surprise then this morning when I open my devotional reading and it takes me to Psalm 40:13-14. "Innumerable troubles have crowded upon me, my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see: they are more in number than the hairs on my head, and my heart fails me."

My heart fails me...

First my brain and now my heart?! Seriously?!

Well, it's true.

Each time I try to correct the narrative in my head, my heart can't handle it. It hurts deeply. It hurts in a way that confusion and uncertainty always does. It hurts our ego and our pride. It hurts our sense of self-sufficiency and security. It hurts because it's hard and raw. It just hurts.

My brain and my heart have failed me and they will every time. It's only the hand of God that will never fail. His hand has been on our Sugar Ray from the moment he was conceived, throughout this first 14 months of his life, and it will forever.

As for me, I am drawn to the reminder to "Be still, and know that I am God." Maybe that's the narrative that will bring peace to both my head and my heart. That's the story to believe - the story of truth.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10


  1. Good message, Aimee. God has been bringing that verse, Psalm 46:10, to the forefront of my mind lately too.


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