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Unlocking Hearts

"Open your hearts to the love God instills . . . God loves you tenderly. What He gives you is not to be kept under lock and key, but to be shared." - St. Teresa of Calcutta

One cold Sunday morning, I was wrapped up in my blanket, praying. After some time, my daughter knocked on my door. “Mom, you should look outside. You might want to get some pictures. There’s frost everywhere!”

My heart filled with excitement. I looked out the window and sure enough, it was a winter wonderland! I quickly gathered my gear and warm clothes.

Cold, Locked Hearts

Paul and I both noticed it at the same time. A lock coated in a thick layer of frost. It told a powerful story. While I was composing the shot, I was thinking about how often our hearts are locked and frozen to God’s love. When our hearts are locked, we actually miss the beauty that’s all around us, like on this cold winter day.

Funny, I never dreamt that I would post this photo on Valentine’s Day as I celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Project Emmaus!!

However, the more I thought about it, the more this image kept calling me. Perhaps, because I’m in the midst of reading a very convicting book that I highly recommend, The Art of Living by Edward Sri. The book looks at each of the virtues and I’m finding how locked my heart truly is. It has forced me to look deeper into my heart. It's been painful to truly be honest with myself and see the reality of how I struggle with many of the virtues.

However, it was when I took the time to honestly look into my heart that I found a real freedom. I was able to seek forgiveness and be intentional in my prayers asking for God's grace and help as I continue to practice these virtues in family life. And, boy, does family life give us LOTS of practice!! I'm grateful for this self awareness as it helps me to see when I start to go down the wrong path and I need to reframe.

There are so many things (past hurts, fear, sinfulness, shame, misaligned priorities, etc.) that get in the way of truly opening our hearts to God. It’s discovering what those things are that allow us to take steps to unlock our hearts. And, when we do, God is right there eagerly awaiting us!

Blog stories from the year

My annual anniversary post is my favorite because I love looking back at all the blessings. When I reflect on this past year and the stories from people who have experienced God's love, it’s awesome to see how God’s beauty has unlocked frozen hearts.

  • Jim was mourning his daughter and experienced a lot of anger. It was when he said "yes" to attend a retreat that He experienced the beauty of community and God’s healing love. Read story here.

  • When Maleia faced the anniversary day of when her son had passed away, she was filled with grief. God gifted her with a brilliant rainbow on a sunny, clear day. It filled Maleia’s heart with much joy. Read story here.

  • Going on a Colorado retreat and hiking the majestic mountains, unlocked Anna’s heart and freed her of anxiety, fear and control so she could better trust in God. Read story here.

  • During a difficult time and questioning God’s plan, Patrick received a meaningful and beautiful sign that brought him peace as he experienced God’s faithfulness. Read story here.

  • This year also brought to reality the Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards! God certainly pierced my heart in many ways during this journey. Read more here.


There is so much to celebrate when looking back at all of these beautiful blessings! In honor of the 3rd anniversary of Project Emmaus, you'll receive $3 OFF the Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards until Feb. 21!

If you haven’t experienced the prayer cards, what are you waiting for? God is waiting to pierce your heart! They also make for a meaningful gift whether for a birthday or for someone who is looking to spice up their prayer routine for Lent.

My prayer and greatest hope with these prayer cards is that the beauty of God’s creation, His Word and the stories of those who have experienced Christ’s love will pierce your hearts. That your heart may be unlocked so you can receive God’s love, mercy, and peace that only He can offer.

Happy Valentine's Day! I pray that you can open your hearts to the tender love God holds for you. Thank you all for your love and support!

Reflection Questions

1. How has God’s beauty pierced your heart?

2. What areas or parts of your life do you keep to yourself, locked away from what Jesus might be calling you to change?

About the Author

Darcie Tallman is a child of God, a daughter of loving parents, a wife to an amazing husband and a mom to four precious souls. She has a passion for prayer, photography and being surrounded by God's beauty. With God's help and guidance, she created Sacred Beauty Prayer Cards, a prayer resource that incorporates photography, Scripture and storytelling.

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