Lately I’ve been thinking of how our hearts and our perspectives are completely altered because of a painful season in our life. Whenever I have this thought it always goes hand in hand with how God has personally redeemed each and every painful journey I’ve been on.
In this life, I’ve experienced how God can take my biggest wrong turns and use them to teach me lessons, and to ultimately, point my feet in the right direction. In hindsight, I am not sure I could have learned those lessons any other way.
I’ve also experienced how God can take a devastating loss and allow me to comfort others going through similar losses. Pain has the power to open our eyes and soften our hearts toward others who are facing similar circumstances.
This is the strange beauty that can be discovered in the aftermath of pain. Sometimes our eyes and our hearts have a hard time recognizing it as beauty, but that’s exactly what it is.
Today, I cling tightly to this Truth. I know, without any doubts, there is healing power in being able to come alongside others who are hurting and comforting them with comfort we once desperately needed and received.
Our pain can one day become a candle of hope that lights the way for other travelers.
A few weeks ago I found out via Facebook that a girl I knew in high school was struggling with some serious life long health issues. I started praying for Carrie daily and looking for updates on Facebook posted by her family and her close friends.
On Friday, Carrie passed away. When I heard the news, I broke down in tears. Carrie and I had only reconnected a few years ago via Facebook. We were friends in high school but not close friends. I was shy in high school and making friends was a challenge for me. I am thankful for the couple of friendships I did develop. They made my high school years bearable.
The one thing I do remember about Carrie was that she was always nice to me. She would always greet me with a smile. I got the sense that, Carrie, could make friends with anyone, she had this radiating kindness and authenticity about her.
Over the last few days I’ve broken down in tears for Carrie’s son, a young man in his early twenties, who I have never met. Each time I think of Carrie my heart grieves for her son and each time I think of her son, I am prompted to pray again. I pray that God will wrap His arms around this young man, comfort him, and supply him with whatever he needs.
I know what’s it like to lose a parent prematurely. I’ve walked down that path. Anytime I hear about a child losing a parent, a piece of my heart aches deeply for their loss. And I do believe the ache is God’s way of reminding me to pray.
I’ve not been of Facebook much over the weekend so I was caught a little off guard this morning to find out that a blogging friend of mine named Rick had posted, on Saturday, a devastating update on some ongoing health issues, stage IV inoperable cancer. The news brought me to tears. It seems like everywhere I turn lately people are fighting for their lives. It’s a kick in the gut reminder of how powerless I feel sometimes to help. Even though I’ve experienced grief, I still have a hard time knowing how to best support others who are walking that road. My words of encouragement feel so very small. I pray that God can take my tiny offering and turn it into something beautiful and use-able.
A month ago when God placed the idea of reading Margaret Feinberg’s book Fight Back With Joy on my heart, I wondered how applicable it would be to my situation. I wasn’t currently going through any huge battles of my own. Come to find out, the book and the study are applicable to both the big battles and the small ones. No matter the size or duration of the battle, I’m discovering that joy is the most powerful weapon I can use to fight them all.
Like a baton in a relay race, I can pass that joy on to others. I can remind those folks in my life that there is an “eternal glory that far outweighs it all.” There are more good days than bad days ahead…beautiful days where the candle will always burn brightly and steadily.
I hold onto this Truth and I refuse to let it go.
This morning I thought about a part of Margaret’s journey with breast cancer and how she chose to fight back with joy even on the days when it was the absolute last thing she felt like doing. Margaret and her husband, Leif, chose to sing the praise song 10000 Reasons by Matt Redman in the car while driving to chemotherapy treatments.
I listened to that song this morning and, yes, it made me cry as I thought about a number of friends who are in battles where singing joyfully may be the last thing they feel like doing.
Today, I’m singing with each of you. I’m fighting back with joy. I’m saying big prayers to our Savior that He will blow you away with His ability to break through even the darkest of seasons.