Pain, Life’s Teacher

I find life fascinating. The people in it and the various circumstances that I have found myself. Although I have suffered for most of my life, I still discover a beauty to the grand pageant of nature’s existence that caused me to gasp my breath.

I have always listened to the silence of solitude and have learned the lessons that it has taught me well. One of those teachings has been that life has not been the harbinger of doom that I used to believe that it was because I had been through so much pain and hardship. There is a class and dignity all their own that I would not have discovered had I not been through the sufferings I had endured. For with suffering comes a bridge of glory that only those who have been there comes to know.

When I allowed the pain to teach me instead of beat me, there emerged vitality and vigor within me that surprised me. There was more to me than I thought.

No matter what you are going through, life is still good. I’ve heard it said once that every day above ground is a good day and I hold to that tenet. Every day that we are blessed with another day alive is a blessing not to be squandered, but appreciated. Things may be difficult for you right now, but trust that you will get through it. Our trials and troubles come to pass, they don’t come to stay, although the wait for them to end may seem interminable. Hang in there. It’s going to get better. I know what I am talking about. When I was homeless on the streets of Montana, I was so frightened. But the Lord brought me through that period of my life and I can only thank Him for allowing me to go through it all because I learned many lessons and I gleaned most of all that I am a strong woman full of compassion. That time didn’t break me. It made me. And that is why I believe God allows us to go through hard times. To develop and strengthen our characters and for us to see what we are made of. For us to know that we are stronger,  smarter, and more resilient that we at first believed.

Pain is a perfect equalizer. It does not care about your station in life, or about your bank account. It does not care how many credentials you have. It is an equal opportunity teacher. Yes, I said that pain is a teacher. There is much that suffering and sorrow can train you for, if you will allow them to and do not allow self-defeating behavior like self-pity or bitterness to cloud your view to what suffering is trying to say. Because heartache has much speaking to do in your life if you will do what I do, and that is to embrace it instead of fighting against it. Don’t fight your suffering. Ask yourself and, more importantly, ask God what this particular situation has come to do for you. If you can get past the pain of suffering, you will find gems of wisdom and grace waiting to bless instead of curse. Of course, all suffering seems but a curse when we are experiencing it, but that is not true.

My suffering has made me wiser. It has made me more compassionate. It has taught me how to appreciate the beauty that is life and not to take anything for granted. Those things have made it all worth it. Because I would not have discovered them had I not been through the harrowing and hair-raising circumstances that I have been through. In retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would not have chosen to be homeless. I would not have picked for my husband to leave me after thirteen years of a grand love affair that would rival the greatest love stories ever told. I would not have signed up for the CFS that ravaged my body for four years, nor for the severe chronic pain that routinely kept me up screaming in torment. But you know what? I would not go back and alter any of those things because they made me the person I am today and that is a pretty fantastic person. And I wouldn’t be the kind of person that can take adversity and tribulation and use them to my advantage. Because I am able to help people who I never would have had the privilege of assisting if I had not had a message of hope.

Hope is what I have gotten the most of from my many years of sorrow and suffering. And hope is a commodity that is missing in this world. This age is filled with pessimistic people without hope, and to be without hope is to be without anything to live for. For it is through hope that we rise like a phoenix and fly another day.

If you have lost your hope, let me assure you that there IS hope. All you have to do is embrace what you are going through instead of complain about it or rail at the fates for bringing it into your life. Our hardships come for two reasons. One is because it is simply part of the pilgrimage of life. And the second reason is this: to make more of you than you ever thought or hoped you could be. So, instead of being angry at your circumstances, take a page out of my book and be grateful  instead. Believe me, if anyone has a reason to be bitter at the fates of life and a “right” to hold onto anguish and rage, it’s me. But that does not get you anywhere and I am of the mindset that I do not do things that waste my time or zap my energy or take away from my spirit. Anger and unforgiveness are two things that do just that. So, my very sage advice to you is to let go and let God.

Give the Lord God your pain. His shoulders are big enough to handle them and to hold onto you at the same time. He specializes in formulating victories where no victory is in sight. He is the God of the impossible. There is nothing He cannot and will not do for you, for He loves you immeasurably. As I’ve said before, I know what I am talking about. I have had a life of sheer hell and the Lord brought me through it all and all I can do is thank Him for it. If you give Him your hurts, you will be saying the same thing. Guaranteed.

Be encouraged

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.