Many of us have heard and even used that cliche and truthful phrase, yet we fail to remind ourselves of it when we are in the midst of our own painful storm. We want to put blame on someone... we want to make it someone's fault that we are hurting...
Perhaps it IS someone's fault; perhaps that someone is God.
For those of you who know my back story... you know that I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and that I moved to South Carolina at the age of 9, two years after my sister was killed in a drunk driving accident. For those of you who didn't know that; now you do.
WELL... TODAY IS THE DAY
Today marks 34 years that my sister has been gone. 34 years is a very long time, yet the pain of this day always comes; perhaps in different stages of grief, but nevertheless, it still comes. This was once a day that I did not understand, a day that angered me, a day that caused me to turn my back on God... a day that kept me from believing He ever existed; that feeling continued for many, many years.
Although many painful memories have surrounded this day in the past, I feel a little differently as I tackle today. I have accepted that a triumph came out of a tragedy and that I was chosen to take that tragedy and turn it into a story... a story that would help others get through tough times; whatever those may be. I took what God has brought me through and tell the story of how I was led back to Him through lots of pain and failure.
I am supposed to share how I gained wisdom, empathy and understanding through all that was brought on by this very day. I am supposed to realize and share the things that happened throughout my life as they occurred and things that continue to occur; things that help me see that God's greatest gifts often involve painful experiences. I am supposed to share that what we do with that pain is what paints our eventual picture.
THE EASY ROAD IS NOT THE ONE
It is easy to stay swallowed up in the pain, it is easy to continue to suffer, to feel sorry for ourselves and not move from where we stand in the moment; that takes little to no effort. What takes effort is fighting... what takes effort is punching our way through the pain to come out victorious, to accept what God is giving us as a gift and be able to accept the gifts that will come after.Victory is what was meant for us; truly, it is. He will lead you to it... all you have to do is realize it when it is in your face, accept it and cherish it as the gift that it is.
I recall thinking to myself WHY??? Why would a faithful God who loves me DO THIS??? Why would He cause so much pain and hurt in my family? Especially when we were living by His word? Why would a teenager who had one too many drinks be burdened and pained for years and years knowing His bad decision caused my 16 year old sister to lose her life? It was this thought process that kept me stuck for so long. I was stuck in a tornado of emotion; pain, hurt, anger, sadness, self pity and doubt. WHY?? I thought.
AND THEN IT MADE SENSE
None of it made sense to me... until a few years ago when something good came from it; I wrote a book, and since have helped so many people with that transparent story. I also found that drunk driver through Facebook after writing that book and was able to let him know that I forgave him, lifting some of the weight he carried off of his shoulders for all those years. We have since emailed back and forth a few times and I was able to send him one of my books to read, which he did.
Through my pain and suffering I found my way back to God, back to the only arms that I know will always carry me, never fail or disappoint me. For that, I am so thankful, for it was a true gift. Without the pain, I would not have had the gain and without the faith I have now, I may not have been here to tell my story. I am not saying that I ever thought at any moment to end my life, however my path would certainly have been very different without what I went through and it is unlikely I'd be typing these words.
TEARS OF JOY
Today I will embrace my sister's memory... my tears will smile instead of cry as I recall childhood flash backs of me watching her put on makeup and I will say a prayer that God will continue to bless me with the pain I need to toughen me up for what is to come, to make me bulletproof, for the suffering that will cause me to seek Him more, because now, that is what I do. I cannot protect me.. only He can. He will bring to me things and people I need, not what I need to be protected from; I will trust in that and allow them to run the course.
It is hard for us to thank for things that hurt, that cause us tears, but it is only through these things and moments that we will be left with two choices... give up or give it to God.
If you give up, the victory he has waiting for you will never be enjoyed, so pass the baton and let Him take it; the finish line is waiting and it is everything that you've ever wanted; He promises that.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. The you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us." II Corinthians 1: 3-7
Today... I encourage you to give your pain to God, ask him to take it away, for you cannot handle this alone. Ask Him to surround you with those who will show you through their own stories how His grace can set you free, how it can bring smiles to your face and warmth into your heart even when you are in the midst of the storm.
Know that YOU ARE WORTHY of love... for the triumphs and victories that you are being led to. Don't deny yourself the joys that He brings to your life, lift your shameful head from the sand and allow yourself to be renewed and cleansed.
Until next time... be faithful
I HOPE THAT YOU WILL:
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