Tag Archives: pain

Witness Protection Program

Close your eyes and think of the most unthinkable thing you’ve been through.  Remember it.  Feel it.  Got it?

Tell me why it happened.  Can you? You never saw it coming, right? Never in a million years would you have even conceived the thought that it may happen…but it did.

I know from experience God can use anything – ANYTHING for His good.  After all, if we’ve professed our loyalty to Him it’s ultimately His goodness and character that are at stake – not just our reputations, feelings or plans.  Ultimately it’s His love for His child that you and those around you will see.  It isn’t always pretty or comfortable and certainly it’s not what we expect as His beloved!  We expect wonderful, good things – we’ve somehow convinced ourselves bad things shouldn’t happen to us because we’re His!

What if we changed our focus to try to see through the pain in a godly perspective?  What if what we’ve been through or going through has very little to do with us?  What if God CHOSE you to suffer just so you can show the lost ones around you that no matter what He’s good? He’s faithful?  He won’t abandon us when we’ve messed up, fallen short or been devastated by events we had nothing to do with?  What if there’s someone in our lives who needs to see someone they love and admire handle things with faith in Him when everything else has been torn away?

We’re called to be witnesses – not just to the corners of the world but right in our neighborhoods!  That’s our Jerusalem; that’s as real as it gets.  When we dare to swallow our pride, to stop worrying how we’ll be thought of or talked about and live out our faith, God will bless us. He’s the ultimate witness protection program – you’re being used to show Him and share Him with someone else.  If He allowed it to happen, how can there not be good come from it?

Maybe we’ve been selected to suffer for His glory. If so, we can believe He will protect, comfort and heal us all the way through it.  Do we dare trust Him that much?

 

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.” Isaiah 43:10

Advertisements

Is It Bad Enough Yet?

Some doctors wait to treat an ailment when the pain becomes so severe the patient can’t tolerate it anymore. If a patient comes in knowing something’s wrong but can carry out their normal activities of daily living, sleep uninterrupted they’re told to come back when they can’t bear the discomfort any more.  The tests prove there’s a problem but sometimes that’s not enough.  Some doctors choose no treatment until the pain literally changes a person’s life.

You would think the opposite would be true.  You go to a professional because you know something’s not right and you want something done to prevent the problem from disrupting your normal life and leave frustrated because you’re told your pain – your inability to function – is what will bring relief.  “Come back when you can’t stand it anymore.”  Wait.  Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?

Some doctors want to jump right in and fix a problem before it gets to the point of altering our lives and we’re hesitant to move forward.  We talk ourselves into living with it.  “It’s not that bad; I’ve had it this long, I can stand it until, well, I can’t stand it anymore”, and we leave in the same condition we came in.

We deal with something as long as we can then we ask for help (from God, friends, etc), sometimes wanting someone (or something) to relinquish us from what we know is going to happen – yet we find ourselves, sometimes for years, dealing with the same thing, day after day, year after year and nothing changes.  It’s manageable; it’s not perfect but it hasn’t killed me…yet.  So we muddle on sometimes grabbing for spontaneous relief for the moment until the next time…and the next…

Do things have to be ‘that bad’ before we deal with them?  No. More often than not, we try everything (and everyone) leaving God as our last resort.  Need produces necessary action; that alone is often the “why” of why it’s happening.

Is ‘it’ bad enough yet?  Are you sick of the pain, frustration, depression, inaction, nothing ever changing?  Situations beg the question – “is it bad enough to turn to God”? Like doctors, sometimes He allows us to get to that unbearable place of no relief before we turn to him.  Why?  Because He knows sometimes we’ll only look to Him when our feet are inches from the cliff.  We can submit any time – way sooner than we do – and relinquish our pain and burden to Him.  Is it bad enough yet to give it to God?  It doesn’t have to be.  Let’s do it.  Now.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

A Table in the Wilderness: The Invitation

Have you felt it?  That emptiness or perhaps a great need that we can’t even speak. If we could articulate, it would be ill-defined.  It may be masked in a physical lack but it stems from a spiritual one.

Perhaps some of our greatest blessings have produced the biggest heartaches.  We sometimes trust God and know we’re living and moving to please Him, yet pain creeps in, in ways we never expected.  We’ve fooled ourselves; we’ve listened to the wrong message.  The world has lied to us; it has let us down.  God allowed it, yes; but He never fails. So what’s the deal? Why are we feeling so defeated and discouraged?

Maybe it’s because we haven’t been to the table in a while.  What table you ask?  That one.

Meticulously set in the middle of our messes and our huts, it beckons us the way the burning bush did Moses. How could all that beauty and the pull of a sacred invitation even be here in all this ugliness, fear, heartbreak…how could HE be in the midst of all this madness?  Really…is it Him?

Yes, beloved.  It’s Him.  He’s right there amongst the disorder to bring order.  In our hurts, He longs to bring healing.  Jesus awaits His most prized possession:  you – and time with you. He embodies everything we’re looking for and so much more. He’s sitting there, waiting for a one-on-one moment with you.  Yes, you.

Do you accept His invitation?  How? Only one thing is required…come.

The Other Side of Terrible

After my last blog, I felt “nudged” to add an addendum.  Just because terrible visits, doesn’t mean it has to be a permanent guest.

I’m here to tell you wonderful and beautiful things come out of the worst times in one’s life.  Sometimes they’re glaringly obvious; other times we must search for them with the same passion we look for our lost keys or cellphones.

With all the loss and pain, God has more than proven Himself true to His word about recreating beauty, solidifying His love for me, giving me brand-new relationships with people to the extent that I no longer mourn over what and who is gone.  Sure, there’s a season for that – a time when we grieve and hurt, but as promised if we’ll “let go and let God” I assure you, healing and refreshing will come.  Loss can’t compare to the joy of healing, believe it.

Pain sometimes becomes our best friend because if we stay in it, nothing’s required of us.  It’s easier to dwell because climbing out requires a lot of effort and even more faith.

Choose with me to believe He’s working on our behalf in ways we can’t even think of.  Choose to focus on Him and His goodness; His promises that if we’re reading this (or typing it, as the case may be) He has lots of lessons and even more love, personal touches and provision for our future; we’ve survived the past.  We choose to learn from it and seek Him through it all, and He’s working it all out for our good.  For our GOOD…no matter how terrible it’s been, there WILL be good in it all and we will see it.  When we see it, then we will KNOW differently than we did before His great love, grace and mercy for us and we’ll actually be thankful we suffered!

It may be a stretch to believe like that if you’re “in it” right now but if you hang on and hang in, trust me, you will.  At this point in my life, my faith in Jesus is more solid than it was nine years ago…more solid than it was a year ago.  I KNOW HIM…and want to know Him more than I did even an hour ago.  No longer can I be made to doubt – even in the worst times – that He has a glorious plan for my life.  I can’t even make myself doubt what a wonderful, loving, personally faithful and providing Father-God I have.  So.  Hang on and believe.  Anticipate what beautiful things will come from the ashes. It’s coming, I promise.

Access: DENIED

 

I’ve let you in before thinking I was strong enough and all would be fine and I’d live happily ever after. I’ve seen you through rose coloured glasses and convinced myself I was wrong; you couldn’t be “that bad”…to my regret.

I’ve been in the position where I had to consort with you to survive and to keep those I loved safe. I played along thinking I would get through it unscathed and no harm would be done. I thought I would be ultimately untouched because I was just…playing; playing the game I had to play to live through it. I thought I manipulated the great manipulator to my advantage. Perhaps I did, I don’t know.  But I do know I survived.

Turns out, I was wrong. The wounds oozed nasty things like bitterness, hate, resentment, depression, regret…for a long, long time. My success in surviving a lifetime of pain was almost my failure. The pain and memories, for a time, were relentless and haunting.

I thought I had to stay wounded; stay pitiful; stay a victim. I don’t think that any more.

We will dance no more.

Your access to my life…any part of me…(unless allowed by God Himself)…is denied.

I deny you access into my mind. I deny you access to touch my now-healing wounds. I deny your presence in any area of my life. I am no longer your victim; I am His victor.

He protects, strengthens and renews me and if He’s the door you must go through to have any access at all to any part of me, my life, my family you can’t get through. Many times a day I may have to seek His protection and when I do that door you walked through before is no longer opened. Access denied. Anger…access denied.  Depression…access denied…hopelessness…access denied…any way you think you can get in…any way you might have gotten in before, is denied.

I have to ask Him to be all those things in all possible ways of entry and I serve you warning:  I have.

He is.

So, access denied.

Reflections of Grace

No meeting is by chance.  If I never believed that before, I certainly believe that today.

I was in the store buying cold medicine for my son when a young lady and I began a conversation.  I’m apparently one of those people who others find easy to talk to.  She started crying telling me about her life and when she did, something inside of me quivered.  Everything she said that had happened sounded a lot like my life.  She started with her childhood in painful, familiar detail, how she had been treated differently than her other siblings ultimately being robbed of her birthright as the oldest child, having a sick child with very little family support, divorced, financial issues, church hurts…I mean everything she said paralleled me.  Anger and resentment oozed from every word.  I could feel her pain.  Listening to her started a rewind of everything I have been through and the pain associated with it.

This woman had anger and bitterness all over her.  It was palpable. Her countenance shouted it and her tone of voice certainly did.  She smelled of alcohol, pupils dilated.  I asked her if she used to which she quickly, almost proudly confessed that was the only way she could live with her “stuff” adding she would have killed herself long ago had it not been for her children.  With those words, I got it.

I’ve learned when unusual things happen like this to look for what I call “the God-side”.  I believe everything happens – including those we meet – is for a reason.  I prayed a quick silent prayer for Him to show me and don’t let me miss it.  This woman was me; I would have been her had God not saved me. For a brief moment, God let me see who I would have been had it not been for the intervention of His grace.

Admittedly, there are days when the hurt over what has happened in my life captures me.  Who doesn’t have those days? I shed a few tears and remember…but I don’t stay there long.  I choose not to.  Is it easy?  No. It would be easier to wallow and stay mad, hurt and disappointed.  It’s work to get up when you fall isn’t it?  You have to defy gravity and make a physical effort to get back on your feet.  The choice is yours.  You can stay down, because you know it won’t feel good getting up, or you can prepare yourself and make the effort to stand.

After she finished speaking I offered to talk with her more if she wanted to, and I took her down the road for coffee and a bite to eat.  When we got settled it was my turn to share.  I told her how literally everything she said was pretty much what I had been through, too.  Her eyes widened and she asked what I had waited to hear.  “How then, if all that has happened to you, are you so happy and positive?”  There it was…the reason for the encounter.  She needed someone who identified with her, her life, her pain one on one to tell her about The Difference Maker and I needed to remember why I wasn’t consumed with anger and regret.

This being a Christian…this faith we so freely shout about is hard work sometimes.  Life is painful and extremely unfair.  Those we are supposed to be the safest with often turn out to be our greatest betrayers.  Our circumstances can suck the very will to live right out of us if we let it.  I’m learning daily that perspective is everything.  How we look at things…and looking for God and HIS will and perspective while going through something can discourage us OR it can make us want to believe there is actually something bigger, something good that can be found in our pain.  I believe that’s part of the “work” of our salvation.

After our talk she had lightened up a little, and actually smiling and laughing.  I prayed with her and told her God was on her side and with her not against her.  I told her everything that had happened in my life and hers, I believe, is to bring us to saving faith in Jesus and getting closer to Him.  Once we understand that everything here is temporary and He is eternal and all of it is used to draw us closer to Him, it makes what we go through less devastating and gives it purpose.  The human-ness in us begs for a reason. He is the difference in our lives, only He brings good out of the bad and I wouldn’t want to live without Him – it just wouldn’t be worth it.  She said I had given her something to think about, that if that were true it would all be worth it.

Exactly.

The more I think about that woman, the more profound that encounter becomes.  I got to see who I would be, what I would be had I not been saved.  God allowed me to see reflections of grace in my life…how He had really changed my heart, my attitude, my countenance.  I could have been her in every way because that’s where I was headed.

I would say there are many people around all of us that are living riddled with anger, bitterness and brokenness.  They need our compassion but they also need to know the difference God has made in us.  Tell them and be sure you pay attention to the reflection you see.  That could have been you.

 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16  (NASB).

Reminders

I recently fell and scraped up my knee. Every time I bend my knee – which is often – I’m reminded I fell because it hurts! I don’t need a reminder; I remember without the pain. I don’t need pain to remind me when I mess up, make a mistake and fall. Why can’t pain just be an initial consequence rather than a constant reminder? Wouldn’t that be nice, to hurt for just a minute and after that, though the scar remains, the hurt is gone. I’d like that.

We don’t like pain. We spend lots of effort to avoid it, including not dealing with, doing something about whatever causes it. Sometimes we prolong our agony by putting it off. Sometimes those little twinges of reminders cause us to do something about what’s ailing us. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do.

Reminders of even pain, I suppose serve their purpose. Sometimes they hurt more than help. What do you do about a knee? Have you ever paid attention to how many times your knee is used? I didn’t think about it until I hurt it. Now I know how important knees are because it hurts every time I move!

The enemy of the soul loves to keep us mindful of every mess-up we’ve made. If he keeps you in rewind you can’t go forward. Regret/shame/anger/depression/resentment keeps us immobile. He loves that. Every time you stay in the pain place you let him win.

Have you done what you can do for the pain? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you taken responsibility for your part and dealt with the consequences as best you can? If you have, then every time the pain invades making you feel like you can’t recover or things will never get better, tell him and yourself that’s a lie. If you’re not healed completely every time you choose to believe the truth of what God says over how you feel you’ve taken another step toward wholeness. Don’t even believe yourself (we sometimes are our own worst enemies); we tend to keep punishing ourselves over and over again.

Pain and recovery from the same are part of the process. Some heal faster than others. Believe and breathe. Thank God you can still feel. Do what you can, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Do what you can to ease your pain and leave the rest to God. Don’t whine and constantly think about the pain. Soon you’ll be walking along and realize the pain is gone. Healing has come. Looking forward to that with this knee. 😉