Two years ago, the writer behind gospel hits like Passion’s “One Thing Remains” lost her baby, Goldie. She was born with a rare and fatal genetic disease known as anencephaly, which prevented the normal development of her brain and the bones of her skull.
“In that moment, my heart naturally shattered into a million pieces,” says Christa Black Gifford. “In most of Western Christian culture, we try to get other people out of their pain because we aren’t comfortable with our own. We have all these phrases like ‘God is good all the time’ or ‘Consider it pure joy.’ But God never would have given us a Comforter if He never meant (for us) to mourn.”
After embracing and processing her pain, Black Gifford chronicles how Comforter, the name by which she calls the Holy Spirit, restored her soul in her new book, Heart Made Whole.
“Unhealed pain will become your greatest enemy if it isn’t taken to a Healer,” says Black Gifford. As she sees it, fear of pain and anger is not necessarily a negative, sinful emotion. The trouble is negative feelings haunt believers when they fail to give them over to the Holy Spirit. Contrary to Isaiah 61’s messianic prophecy, faith-filled people often focus on freedom without first dealing with their broken hearts.
“Calling Him ‘the Comforter’ feels distant and abstract,” Black Gifford says. “But when Comforter, the personification of Comforter, comes up and puts a big down blanket around you, it feels so good.”
The answer to ease the pain of a broken heart lies not within the pursuit of joy alone. Rather, we must take all our emotions, even those typically considered negative, and place them at the feet of Jesus.
Through her music and her writing, Black Gifford’s goal is to connect believers with their own hearts, which will connect them to Father God.
“(We say,) ‘God, I can’t hear You, I can’t feel You,’ but we avoid ourselves to avoid pain. He lives in the middle of pain and broken hearts,” Black Gifford says. “The best way to find the voice of God is to connect with your own heart because that’s where He made His home.” —Jessilyn Justice