Life is a sweet journey – for the most part! I’ve been amazingly graced with a really great life.
But, what do you do when life hands you pain? As a believer in the sovereign plan of God and also the fact that God does all things good and for our good – this year has been a tough year to stand firm on that.
This past year has handed me a lot of pain. We are just a year out from one of the most hurtful conversations in my life. In each of these hurtful conversations I took away good and hard lessons.
Of the hardest conversations in my life, one of those conversations earned distrust. One of those conversations earned freedom. And the last of these conversations earned seclusion and doubt and tears.
So, how do you work with pain in your life?
1. First, I couldn’t blog about it. Blogging is one way I think through what is in my head. But, when I know others read my blog – there are some things that I can’t talk about on it. Instead, I chose basically two people in my life to pour out everything to: a pastor’s wife that I knew faced similiar pain in ministry and the other one was my husband. Both of these people shared wisdom with me and hours, whether on the phone or laying on the couch. My husband was a champ during the months that followed this initial conversation and the tears each night for literally months on end that would stream down my face.
2. Know where your trust is? I used to be a very trusting person. That was until people in my life that I trusted let me down. Then, I don’t trust as much. I really think i’ve come to know that God is the only person I can trust 100% of the time. He is the only person who has never sinned and can’t sin – so that means he can’t let me down. And God will never let me down. At some point, every single person in your life will let you down. Its a fact of sin nature. You will let others down. I will let others down. But, God stands.
3. My introvert self became more introverted. Some people would never mark me as an introvert – but I truly am. I thrive on quiet time during the day, on my boys taking their naps, on my panera time each week, on my laying in bed with a book or social media time. I need to recharge. And part of that being an introvert is usually yourself can’t hurt you. But, others hurt me. (and believe me I know I’ve hurt other people). I’d rather stick with the friends I have who are tremendous and leave it at that.
4. I’ve let go of things that we must agree on to be friends. There are only a few BIG things in life that are worth battling over – those mountains you might say. Don’t let battles rage and hurt fly over the little things. Really. You may not see eye to eye with someone and its ok. Love anyway.
5. Learning to love. Reading Ryken’s book this past year and now going through Goff’s Love Does has been a tremendous thought process for me. Loving is hard. It took MONTHS to even be able to look some people in the eye after this recent hurt. Loving others is one of the hardest things to do. Oh, its easy to love people when they are lovable. But, grace and mercy and a generous love is needed when people are not lovable.
6. I know some of you who many know me think I always take everything even keeled and am pretty much a laid back person. But, as my husband will tell you, I am an emotional and passionate person. Tears flow with friends as they share news of hurt with me. After last summer, I didn’t think I would ever be able to cry any more tears.
“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” – Psalm 56.8 It gives great comfort to know that the Psalmist was not a stranger to tears. We see him often bringing his heartfelt and tearful please to the Lord. This give me great confidence in knowing that I can do the same thing with the same Savior!
7. But, more tears will come. This year has been one of one hurt after another. And I know that pain is a part of life…so we will start the cycle over again.
How do you handle the pain that life deals you? How do you let God work on your heart with the hope of the Gospel?