What Suffering Has Taught Me

I was conversing with my sister today. We were speaking about what we had each collectively have been through in our lives. She reminded me that mine has been a life of much suffering and she did not know how I had been able to bear it. I, too, have wondered how I have born this life that the Lord has seen fit to allow me to experience. I can only say that it was by the grace of God that I got through my past and am now walking a life of victory and triumph. But, oh, God, how I suffered!

I find it difficult to think about my husband. He left me after thirteen beautiful years, because of us losing our jobs and our possessions and going homeless. I loved that man with everything in me and still carry a torch for him six and a half years later. There are no words to describe the pain and heartache that, in actuality, I endure. I have forgotten what his voice sounds like and can only vaguely elicit a mental picture of him. I do not often speak of him, for to talk about the love of my life who was taken away from me by a life of loss and pain is like slowly carving out a piece of my heart and laying the rest of it open to the elements. But he was one of the topics of conversation, so I sit here with a throbbing mass of anguish that will take time for me to obtain relief from.

We spoke of my son that my father took from me when he was ten years old through a year of court challenges and I did not see him for eight years when I drove two thousand miles to watch him graduate. I got to spend about three hours with him and then my husband and I had to drive back so that we could both go to work. The horror of being without my son and missing out on all of the childhood milestones fills me with sadness even to this day, many years later. Because no one will be able to give me back all of the time that I lost with my son. My child will be thirty years old in November. It is hard on me trying to establish a relationship with him. It is like trying to get to know a stranger. Only that stranger came out of my belly. That adds an element to the equation that is problematic.

My sister and I talked about many things. Things that brings tears to my eyes as I relive those moments. But I am grateful for those times that I experienced. Because had it not been for the suffering, I would not be who I am today. I discovered as I endured yet one more circumstance that I was stronger than I had perceived. I learned valuable lessons about people and the Lord God. I am able to grasp life with both hands and hold on for all that I am worth.

There are times when I question why I struggled through life instead of having one of ease. But that is not for me to know. It is only for me to trust in the God Who loves me enough to let me go through trying tests. For they strengthen and build character, and character is not something that can be purchased. It must be forged through pain and difficulty.

I am grateful that I did not have an easy life. I would have missed out on so much if I had been handed everything on a silver platter. I would much rather have suffered and gained the glory of God in my life than to have had an existence in the lap of luxury. My sister, the pastor, says that suffering is the bridge to glory and I believe that with everything that I am worth. Because I have been a partaker of that glory and it has made my suffering so worth the price that I have had to pay. The bible says that the present suffering that we endure are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

So much of life is a mystery. That is why I love it so. I love the paradoxes of life. Its uncertainties and its twists and turns. For that is what makes life worth living. It is in the various ups and downs that we go through that make us unique individuals. I guess you can say that that’s what makes this world go around. One thing is for certain. It surely isn’t boring!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

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He Set the Captive Free

I’ve suffered for most of my life. What one would call pain, I called hell. As I have stated in previous postings, I was homeless for two years, institutionalized, raped, molested, bullied, and a host of other afflictions that would make a body cringe in either sympathy or anguish.

I can identify with people who suffer. Because I have walked those same steps. I have been where you have been. And I have come out on the other side. How, you ask? Well, let me tell you. It was not easy. I had to fight my way out of depression, anxiety, and fear. I pushed myself until I was literally punching through walls of doubt and apprehension. I am now free, in my mind and in my spirit.

Jesus said that He came to set the captives free. He came in order that we might have life and have that life more abundantly, as it is stated in the word of God. I could give a lot of well-sounding and well-meaning anecdotes and formulas for freedom. But, in truth, the only freedom that one will ever find is in Jesus Christ. I found that out when I was writhing in pain and anguish and whilst I languished upon the bed of suffering during the eight months I was bedbound.

What good would it do to gain the whole world and still be in a prison in your mind? Jesus said it best. He said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and shall lose his  own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) What good would it do for me to give you all of the encouragement in the world that would empower your mind and yet you remain a captive of the enemy of your very soul, which is satan himself?

The Lord freed me from every fear that I have ever had and delivered me from every affliction and illness that I have ever had. It was God who did it. It was not some feel good or positive thinking. It was the Lord. And He is here to free YOU. You need only to ask Him.

God is here for you. I know that many of you do not believe in Him and that you would prefer to go your own way and find your own path. But any pathway away from the Lord only leads to destruction.

I could write a blog full of encouragements that would make you feel good for the moment and even inspire you to make positive changes in your life, which would benefit you. But only for a short while if that change did not include Jesus Christ.

I have mentioned a few times that I have suffered. To say that I have suffered is an understatement. I have lived the kind of life that would make one cringe and wonder why my mind did not shatter far before it actually did. That would make one question why one is still alive. I can only say that it was the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ that kept my mind and healed my body. He gave me the peace that passeth understanding, as it said in God’s word. (And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7)

I am more than my pain. I am more than what happened to me. I am so much more than my sufferings. I am a born-again woman who has taken much from life and continues to give back as good as I get. I take a lickin’ and come back kickin’. I am more than a conqueror through Him that loves me, as God says in Romans chapter 8.

My life is wonderful. I am at peace in my heart and I have no inner conflict in my mind or soul and that says much. But that is only because of the Lord. Only in God can true peace be found. So, I would be remiss in simply giving you a formula for happiness without telling you where the only true and lasting happiness can be found.

If you do not know Jesus Christ, I encourage you to ask Him into your life. He will take that life and fill it with peace and love. And a joy that is difficult to describe. He will take your twisted circumstances and make them straight. He will make your life new. Do you want true success in life? Then I urge you to try God. Without Him, life is meaningless. But with Him, life is the most beautiful thing there is. The choice is yours.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Happiness Snuck Up on Me

The Lord is good. He is better than good. He has snuck up on me again and has left happiness in His wake. I had not thought that I would know what happiness would feel like for a very long time, but here I am, filled with it to my heart’s rafters.

I was laying in bed and felt complete peace and a warmth that encompassed my entire being. I felt at one with my world and the inhabitants in it.

I have been seeking God more and the subsequent episodes of happiness and peace have been a by-product of that search. The Lord said that we would find Him if we searched for Him with all of our hearts.” And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Je.29:13). So, I have gone on a manhunt, if you will. Only I haven’t been hunting for man. I have been hunting for God like someone seeking out great treasure. And I have been finding the treasures of God and His word. I have been as giddy as a school girl in love with her first beau.

I am aware that there are many people in this world who do not believe that God is real. But I am here to tell you that my life is proof-positive that He not only exists, but He is brilliant. For He has orchestrated the happenstances of my life in such a way that I can only shake my head in wonder of it all. If you would have told me that I would go from homelessness to a state of utter bliss and contentment, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. But that is where I find myself now. I am totally content with my life and would not change a thing in it. Oh, sure, there are certain things that I would not mind having, but they are not things that are paramount to my living a contented life.

Content. Not a word that I would have associated with my existence several years ago. Life was truly difficult and there were times when I wanted that existence to come to an end. But God had plans for me. He had jobs for me to do and this blog is one of those jobs. Only I did not know that then. Back then, I only felt pain. Pain in my body, pain in my soul, and pain in my spirit. The Lord was good to me and took all of that pain and replaced it with peace and love.

My life has been one of great suffering. Most of my life has been suffering personified. I have lost  everything that I held dear in life. I have endured excruciating pain in my body that lasted 24 hours a day for five years. I lived with a debilitating illness that left me bedridden 23 hours per day for eight months. That illness lasted for four years until God gave me a miracle and healed me and brought me off of that bedridden state. The list of my life’s suffering is long and agonizing. However, as I have stated in a previous posting, I am so much more than my suffering. I am a woman who has taken a lickin’ and come back kickin’. There is so much more to life than sorrow. In between the strands of heartache are moments of beauty so touching that it stirs the soul.

In this blog, I will be sharing both the suffering and the beauty with you. For both have made me who and what I am. The dichotomy between the two have given me the ability to help others through their own hardships. So, follow me. Follow me as I tell you about the loss of the greatest love I have ever known. The kind of love that is the gist of fairytales. See me as I show you great worth that comes from sorrow and suffering, two of the greatest companions that I have ever known. You will discover your own worth as you walk with me. I guarantee it. So, see me.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Here I am again…choking on the cup of suffering. I find myself searching within to find out why and have come to some rather unpleasant, but life-changing realizations.

One of those realizations is that I have forgotten how to live. Having been hampered by my former illness for so long, along with the dignity-destroying experience of homelessness, topped off with the recent death of my mother (she died on Christmas day) have made life difficult for me, if not impossible, to manage. I am not sure how to go about this thing called life anymore.

I have suffered through so many things in my short life that I scarcely know where or how to begin. I don’t know whether to start with my present circumstances, go back into the past, or combine the two for a more complete glimpse into my life. One thing I do know is this: I am a writer. A very good one. I can promise a blog filled with emotion and vision. I only require an audience. Whether that audience be one or one hundred, I very much want my life to be one that will teach people how to live, how to love, and how to suffer pain without that suffering altering one’s personality to the point of non-recognition. This is almost a laugh to me, as this post is one in which I find myself changed by the sufferings and pains that I have endured in my 48 years of life.

48 years. Wow. That is a number that I never thought that I would see quite so soon. It came upon me so fast that it took my breath away. I had believed that I would remain forever young, or at least not gallop upon the age of 50 so darned quickly. I still remember the days of my youth. My days of being twenty and then my thirties, which were the happiest years of my life. (I know that the word “happiness” would not seem to be one that would apply to my life considering all that I have been through, but that third decade was one filled with some of the most serene and downright happy moments of my life. As I write in this blog, the reasons for my bliss will become clear. Until then, I will stick with what has brought me to this particular posting. And that is a profound sadness and regrets.

I had always thought that I would not be one who would live a life wherein resided regret, but as my existence has unfolded, especially in these past few months, regret has accounted for a rather large portion of my mind’s interior. Especially with the passing of my mother. My last months with her were riddled with regrets, with resentment, with fear, with longing for the closeness that a mother-daughter should bring, with exhaustion at having to care for her in her declining years and ill health. Just so many things to regret and to fear, and through it all, God has been there.

That is the caveat, folks. The existence and the presence of God in a life encompassed by sorrow and suffering, the likes of which brings one to tears and threatens to toss a body straight into the very pit of despair itself, but the saving grace of it all is a heavenly Father Who loves me and has used the very suffering that has brought such misery to set me free. So, I say to sorrow, “Come.” I say to suffering, “Welcome.” For it is those things, along with a host of feelings and emotions that have run the gamut from fears to tears that have caused my life to have meaning, even within a meaningless life. Because the essence of me has lacked purpose and passion throughout these past nine months since I had come to live with and care for my mother. My life was swallowed up in hers and I did not make a move or have a thought that did not include her welfare in it. And now she’s gone. She’s gone and I will never see her again, nor be subjected to her temper or her pushing me away. I will never again have to live the thankless life as a caregiver. Never suffer the exhaustion of arising at the crack of dawn to prepare my mother for her dialysis appointments. So many never agains. Oh, what will I do without the life that I have led for the past nine months! Those months overshadowed my previous life and became the only life that I had, miserable as my existence became. Now I find myself wondering what I will do without the pain. Though my heart is filled with the pain my mother’s death brings to my soul.

I am torn. Torn between two worlds. Both worlds of pain and loss. If I had to choose one life over another, I would hesitate to make a choice, for those two worlds hold unbearable selections. Let me lay my two lives out for your inspection. In Life One: the endless burden of caring for a soul who made life miserable because she was no longer able to care for herself or Life Two: life without the one who has made the misery a daily existence. I cannot choose, for I do not want either life, yet I walk the tightrope of both with wobbly feet on a high-wire hundreds of feet in the air. Both lives are mine. And this is my endless dilemma. Do I continue to walk the wire, or do I allow myself to tumble to the ground with no safety net to embrace me? I can only come to one inescapable conclusion and that is the inconsolable fact that my mother is dead. Will I ever be able to accept her death or will this unshakeable disbelief forever crowd out the new life that cries within me to be released. May the God of heaven help me.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

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