Tag Archives: pain

Suffering on the Side of the Road

picjumbo.com_HNCK06251 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

I dropped my boys off at school, as I do every morning. Headed home to start my day, my mind was going in a thousand different directions. What I saw next happened so quickly and literally took my breath away. Near an exit on the side of the freeway I saw a woman. She was wearing a loose white shirt. The morning sun reflected off of her golden blonde hair. And she was kneeling at a cross near the exit. She wasn’t trying to hide her pain, but was visibly mourning the loss of someone right there, on the side of the freeway, for all those passing by to witness. Although I only caught a glimpse, I could see the anguish and pain in her face. For a brief moment I shared in this stranger’s pain.

We walk around on this earth and we encounter many things that bring us to our knees. There are many of us who stand upright on the outside but on the inside are kneeled, crouched low, in fetal position, aching for something… someone. It’s what we do. We suffer loss, but we have to carry on- for ourselves, for our children, and for our loved ones. But every now and then, most likely in the privacy of our own homes, we like the woman, kneel in a place of brokenness and pain. And we cry out for what is lost and what is unseen and the unknown. Because we don’t know. And not knowing is scary. And not knowing hurts. And sometimes we smile because the world is moving on and we feel like we need to smile. People are getting promotions and celebrating holidays and having birthdays…  but we ache inside because it still hurts. It hurts to watch the world move on when we don’t feel like moving on. We don’t feel like celebrating sometimes. Sometimes feel like we’re lost in the sea of people and we can’t quite find our place, we can’t seem to get a grip on our new normal, because it’s not exactly what we want.

What I want to say to this woman and what I want to say to you is that He sees. He sees you when you are inwardly wrapped in the fetal position and everyone around you is smiling and laughing. He sees your loneliness and how quiet and sometimes cold it feels in the inner chambers of your heart. He knows when you’re at a social gathering because you know you should be there and it takes everything you have to engage because honestly, all you want to do is run and get away. You despise the small talk and want to shout, “Doesn’t anyone see me, doesn’t anyone know I’m hurting.” And they might but they find their own comfort in the smallness of the moment and the small talk that surrounds them.

No one teaches us how to gather together and talk about the things that hurt, the things that weigh heavy on our hearts. And we tend to even feel selfish for bringing it up. “This is an awesome lunch, by the way I’m having a really hard day and don’t really feel like being here today.” How does one do that without feeling guilty for feeling like they’ve brought everyone else down?

We are definitely progressing on being authentic and real, but still have miles to go. The reality is this- whether you are the woman on the side of the road who is openly suffering or, like many of us, the one who silently just has some really hard days but smiles because everyone else seems to be smiling- God sees and hears and He gets us. He knows those things that keep us awake at night. He knows the ones that fight privately with their spouse but show up at every event smiling and together, because it’s what you do. I mean, how would we respond if we said to a couple in passing, “How are you guys?” and have them reply, “Honestly, we are not doing good. We’ve been fighting really bad lately.”  And so we keep moving on, pressing forward, some of us, quietly in our pain.

The Lord sees every single tear that’s fallen from your face. Many suffer quietly. The Lord sees every broken place. Sometimes we’re so wound up that we have trouble just letting Him in and we fight Him until it is all that we can do to drop to our knees. And when we do that, He tenderly and gently rocks us… back and forth, knowing we just need a good cry and His loving arms around us.

Because when no one else knows or understands- He does. And those secret things we think we’re so good at hiding, He sees. And although I don’t have all the answers for you today, there is one thing I am certain of- He can be trusted with our hearts. When no one else feels safe enough to let in to the deepest places of our soul, He is that safe place.

He is our refuge.

People are not always going to know how to comfort or have all the right things to say. That is okay because there is someone who does have answers and He knows exactly how to calm our anxious thoughts and heal our broken places.

Lord, we are believing, trusting, and praying that through the brokenness and the struggles and the pain and uncertainty for what lies ahead, that You will show yourself and bring healing and that through these things that we walk through, that it would only cause us to grow closer to You. Thank You that Your mercies are new every. single. morning. In Jesus name. Amen.

Here are some scriptures to bring hope and comfort. I’ve underlined the action verbs that reveal what He does. He redeems, He lifts, He is aware, He carries, He saves, He sees, He listens, He hears, He encourages, He comforts, and He is not only aware of our sufferings, but He preserves our life and wants to set us free.

  • Isaiah 63:9- In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
  • Exodus 3:7- The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.
  • Isaiah 49:15- Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
  • Psalms 10:17- You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.
  • Psalms 118:5- In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.
  • Psalms 22:24- For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
  • Psalms 119:50- My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
  • Romans 8:18- I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be joy revealed in us.
  • 2 Cor. 1:5- For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

 

Seeing God in Pain

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In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me– Hosea 5:15b

I’m taking toe-jam to a whole new level. Last week I was moving some sports equipment and there was this heavy-duty dartboard hanging from the side of the container. I was wearing flip-flops, because Brownsville, and the dartboard came crashing down on my big toe. I need you to know something about me- I have a very high pain tolerance. Blame it on my jaded past, but pain I can handle. But this… oh, this. This was pain like I had never felt before. And it was on an area of my body that affects everything. Moving, cycling, running… walking and driving! That first night I basically moaned and whimpered, unable to fully fall asleep. I hobbled my way through the rest of the week. Each night prayed for sleep and each morning I inspected my toe to see if it was healed yet. And here I type this seven days later… still pain. And it looks worse, although the pain has subsided from a 12 to about a 5. Today as we hung out for my boy’s chess tournament, a few people said they thought the toenail was going to fall off. Two friends said I should stick a small needle through the shell of the nail, or the side of the skin where it’s puffy and drain it, because it would relieve the pressure. I said I’d think about it. But the thought of it makes me shudder. Just stick a need in it?!

And throughout this week I’ve wondered why I wasn’t healing faster. Truth? Ain’t nobody got time for this! This is toe-tally (get it.. toe…tally…) inconvenient!

Want to know a little secret? I have always struggled with my eyebrows, or lack there of. For some reason, as I’ve gotten older, my eyebrows just faded away. It’s strange. And for years I’ve purchased liquids, and powders, and stencils. You name it- if it started with eyebrow I was trying it! And for all of my photos throughout the years, I’ve noticed my uneven attempt at an eyebrow.

I know what you’re thinking. Where I she going with this? First the toe, now the eyebrow. I had looked into getting my eyebrows tattooed. I was terrified that the lady would do it and make me look like a scary clown. One day I just decided that I have had enough of trying to get my eyebrows on and even. My friend told me of a place and I went in for a consultation. Before I knew it, I was making the appointment. I went in without telling anyone (okay, I told one friend, but only because we both wanted to have this done). I didn’t want any more delays or anyone to talk me out of it. And I spent over 2 hours on a Monday morning having my eyebrows tattooed. It was painful, but again, pain tolerance is not usually a problem.

She told me my eyebrows would heal in about a week, and a layer would just scab off. I was to put ointment on them every morning and every night. I was also supposed to stay out of the sun and heat or they could sweat and heal wrong, and become blotchy. I didn’t realize this was going to make me look like Chewbacca (except his fur was soft, mine was oily). By about day four I was getting worried. It didn’t look like I thought it should. Honestly, I looked a little creepy. I ran in to the salon and the lady didn’t seem as concerned as I was. She said it usually takes a week and she kind of chuckled at me because she could tell that I was visibly worried. I went home and went back into the salon on day six, because it just wasn’t healing like I thought it should or as fast as I thought it would. She looked me over and let me know that even though ‘most’ people heal up around day 6, that it takes some people about ten days depending on their skin. Apparently I have the ten-day skin.

And every morning I would wake up and run to the mirror. “Why isn’t it healing?” “It should be all healed up by now!” And that was in August. I wished it were over a couple of weeks where I could have just hid in my house and not seen anyone- But I couldn’t. It was actually a rather busy ten days. On day seven we did a kids camp in 100-degree temperatures, outside. When I welcomed the kids as they were arriving you would think I had a frog on my head… oh, the looks. But I carried on, trying not to let the drippy, oily eyebrows affect my life.

Here I sit in October not even thinking much about my eyebrows, which is why I love them so! I wake up and they’re there, I swim and they’re there… it’s fabulous! But that time when I thought the healing would never happen… I just woke up one day and didn’t think about it. I can’t tell you a date or a time exactly, it was just as I continued putting one foot in front of the other that it happened.

I see God at work in our healing. Sometimes we feel like it is taking forever to heal this broken heart, or to heal this pain that throbs like a pulsing toe that’s just been slammed with a dartboard. We don’t see God in the onset of the pain, or in the waiting to be healed. I wish I could just wake up and have my toe be normal again, but I believe God can teach me something through the pain.

I know this sounds strange, but I see God in my pain. I see Him showing me that He’s healing even when I don’t see anything happening.

He’s showing Himself to me in the moments where I had little patience, “Please Lord, just bring about healing!” And He allows me to see Him when I look back- He is the One who helped me, gave me strength, and brought me through. And as much as my toe is a pain (literally) I see Him as I ask Him to reveal Himself to me in my wait.

Have you ever had something happen that was traumatic and/or painful? Did you wonder why it felt like it was (or is) taking so long to heal? Did you almost feel God silent? If you look back on some of those things, can you see where He was with you during the pain, or He sent someone to be His hands & feet? Do you remember feeling impatient for the healing to happen, but now see how He worked everything out and brought glimpses of Himself through it?  I encourage you to look for Him, even in the pain. Whatever you’re going through, trust Him to build you up through it and make you stronger!

1 Peter 4:19- Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Romans 5:3-5- Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.