But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
~ Psalms 86:15 (ESV)
This is a story of a heart that was as hard as stone, turned into a heart of love. If anyone deserved to have a hardened heart, it was Bartilia.
Life was hard for her from the very beginning. Born in a poor family in Honduras, Bartilia only attended school until second grade. After that she was made a worker on a farm. Every morning at 3 a.m. she would wake to do her work. She first had to feed the many animals. She then would work on making tortillas from scratch, starting with rolling the corn to break it down to flour consistency. She was so small, they fashioned a stool so she would be tall enough to do her work. At lunch, she would dish up the food for all the workers. This little 8 year-old girl didn’t get to play with dolls and toys. She was busy working.
After her mother died, when she was only 10, her father sold her into slavery. It was then that things got much worse. She was used in every way possible, even for the sexual desires of men. When she worked, if she made a mistake, they beat her, or make her kneel naked in the scorching Central America sun, holding a heavy rock over her head. If she allowed the rock to rest on her head, she was beaten.
Eventually one kind lady helped her to escape. At only age 14, she fled to Nicaragua. Eventually, she came to America. It was here she gained not only freedom, but the true freedom that Christ had to offer.
Through her many trials, Bartilia’s heart had grown as hard as possible, molded that way from a child. Bartilia wanted nothing to do with God. She did not even want to hear the name Jesus, but one day at her brother’s funeral she was forced to sit and listen.
God spoke directly to her. He wanted her to accept the love that she so lacked as a child. He was calling, because Bartilia needed His love. She never received love from her earthly father, but her heavenly Father had a love that was like none other. He spoke in gentle tones, never forcing Himself as men had in the past. She heard the message, and it did begin to penetrate her hard heart.
When Bartilia gave in to the Lord’s bidding it was like dynamite had broken her concrete heart into pieces. The flood gate of tears, poured out from her. She had found the Lord, even though He was already there. Jesus came in and replaced her heart of stone, with His heart of love. He healed her from all the hurts of the past.
Dear Savior, Come into my heart and give me that love you have to offer. I accept your gift. Thank you. Amen
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Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Devotion shared by Jenny Calvert.
This is a story of a heart that was as hard as stone, turned into a heart of love.