There’s absolutely no tidy pattern as to gets pain and who gets peace. How had I not seen that the brokenness of this world is so all-encompassing that it encompasses all of us?
. . .
This is the deal we all get: guaranteed suffering. It is coming, unstoppable, like time.
There are graves coming, there is dark coming, there is heartbreak coming. We are not in control, and we never were. One moment you’re picking up balls of crusty, dirty socks strewn across the bedroom floor, and the next moment you’re picking up the pieces of your shattered life;
How do you live with a broken heart?
. . .
How does the interior of your soul live with broken things, through broken things?
Jesus died crying.
Jesus died of a broken heart.
. . .
There is this truth: Blessed – lucky – are those who cry. Blessed are those who are sad, who mourn, who feel the loss of what they love – because they will be held by the One who loves them. There is a strange and aching happiness only the hurting know – for they shall be held.
And, by God, we’re the hurting beggars begging; Be close to the brokenhearted. Save the crushed in spirit. Somehow make suffering turn this evil against itself, so that a greater life rises from the dark, God, somehow.
— The Way Of Abundance, Ann Voskamp, P. 20 – 21
While having a high pain moment and getting upset for a few minutes is nothing out of the ordinary, yesterday I was really distressed for a bit.
With worry about this wound and so much extra body pain and added concerns and stresses with IV antibiotic therapy and MANY doctors appointments and just. . .LIFE. . . and it all caught up to me – and, so, a good cry was in order.
In the previous 36 hours, I had rested and done much sleeping – and I had gone through five changes of clothes, having woken up drenched from head to toe each time I laid down, one of my indicators that I’m flaring for sure.
This after a huge storm system has just come through sending my pain to some pretty breathtaking heights.
It just got rough for a bit.
Yet I have gathered myself and I’m good now.
This is a part of it too.
I accept that.
And I started thinking on finding purpose – God’s purpose – in suffering.
The above quote was actually part of my devotional reading from that fabulous Ann Voskamp book I found at the used book store last week – and it was perfect. . .
“There is absolutely no tidy pattern as to who gets pain and who gets peace. How had I not seen that the brokenness of this world is so all-encompassing that it encompasses us all?”
We all have suffering in some way or another, even the most together person you know.
(Heck, perhaps, even more so the most “together” person you know. I find sweet relief in being an honest mess myself. Appearances are exhausting.)
So, especially when the pain is SO pronounced at times, what is it for? Does it have purpose? If I am to endure so damn much pain, please, God, let it matter for something.
And I believe it does.
I believe, as Ann wrote in the above quote, that our suffering does bring us closer to God.
Through my illness, I’ve learned to depend on Him completely, I’ve learned that I have no control over this situation, and I’ve learned that He WILL and HAS walked me through some of the darkest and most frightening moments of my life, through times I was afraid I might not even see the other side.
I also know that suffering gives us a deeper sense of compassion and empathy for the grief and pain of others, whatever form it may come in. We can sit with them in their most difficult times because we know the darkest places ourselves.
Also, God often uses seeing the struggles – and successes – of one person to strengthen another to face life’s hardships . As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Too, He can use our suffering and painful conditions to change specific things in our lives – or to point us in a different direction. Recently even, I’ve witnessed this in my own life – and would honestly endure it all again for His guidance and the immeasurable gifts it brought me.
Still, at the height of pain, it is hard – and sometimes feels impossible – to see a light at the end of if. With my primary condition at this point, CRPS, when I’m in a full Stage 1 flare, it literally feels like the extremity – or, God help me, organ – is on fire. It’s difficult to even breathe while this is happening and nothing will touch the pain.
When this happens, all I can do is cling to my faith and remind myself that it WILL end, cry, pray, and hold on for dear life.
And He always sees me through.
Finally, especially for those of us who do live with chronic pain or persistent illness, it is so important to remember that there is purpose in our suffering – but that isn’t all our lives are about.
There is still great beauty to be found in our lives, apart from our struggles.
As I was making a few notes for this post while I was sitting in the car waiting on Sara, I looked at my rearview mirror hangings and just doing that reminded me of: a wonderful walk around Ave Maria Grotto with my husband (my rosary), a road trip with my Sara Bug to Georgia to see Heather Mae (my little festival doll), late night Supernatural marathons (my tiny Dean) , playing our favorite “find the tackiest souvenir” truck stop game with my both of my girls on the way to see my bestie in Tennessee (the funniest tiny license plate you ever saw) . . .
So many good things.
Despite the rough stuff, it’s a beautiful life, y’all. ❤
Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Grace and Blessings.