3 Things I’ve Learned From Painful Seasons

PAIN.

Nobody embraces it.

We absolutely hate it with every fiber of our being.

We avoid it at all costs.

But because we live in a broken world, it is part of life on this earth…for now.

Broken relationships.

Faltering health.

Wounds from the past.

Horrible tragedies.

I’ve experienced what feels like unbearable pain. Seasons of life where I thought I’d never survive.

But because of God….

I did survive. I did get through. I found His light at the end of my dark tunnel.

I don’t know about you, but the more I look back on these seasons of my life, I can honestly see a purpose in those painful times.

You mean, there can actually be something good that comes from pain????

As crazy as it sounds, yes.

My painful seasons of life all have these common threads.

*Pain makes me desperate.

What’s so good about feeling desperate? Feeling desperate is not something we usually crave. It creates feelings of panic, worry, and anxiety. Like a weak swimmer who’s drowning in the deep end of the pool, we cry out for help because we’re going under.

I’ve been desperate in the midst of  broken relationships. A failed marriage left me feeling very desperate. With a newborn and an uncertain future, I lived in survival mode and swirled around in desperation quite a bit.

*Pain leads me to be more dependent on God.

When the familiar things of life suddenly become unfamiliar and I’m venturing out into the unknown, I’m always more ready to lean on God. And unfortunately, even the people we think will love us most will leave us disappointed and hurting at times. It’s in those times when I see how much others have failed me that I can truly depend on God’s unfailing love. In a strange way that is hard to describe, it’s during these painful seasons that my dependence on God is strengthened.

*Pain gives me deeper compassion for others.

Once I’ve trudged through a painful season of life, I always discover something I didn’t notice before.

I now possess a unique compassion for others who are in the midst of the same kind of pain!

Because of what I’ve gone through, I gain an understanding and perspective in the midst of my pain. I am then able to recognize this same pain in others. Or when I hear someone share the hurt they’re going through, my heart has an instant connection with them. And this is where the purpose comes in.

The wounds from my previous pain now become stepping-stones, allowing me to enter into someone else’s world. A world where they think there is no hope. A world where they feel trapped. A world where they think nobody could possibly understand.

Even if I’m still feeling the hurt from my painful experience, I can still offer words of hope. I can honestly tell them, “I know how you feel…I’ve been there.”

Part of my own healing from painful wounds comes when I walk alongside someone else who is hurting. The fragile threads of my life that unraveled in my soul are now knitted back together, forming a cord of hope that someone else can cling to.

Your pain is not ever wasted. It’s not in vain. It serves the purpose of becoming more intimate with your Savior and comforting others on the same path. Here’s a few that stand out to me…

My sister-in-law, Holly, has allowed God to do an amazing work in her life in this way. She’s a survivor of sexual abuse. She experienced heart wrenching pain that threatened to swallow her up and leave her bitter. Yet she cried out to God and He has healed her hurting heart. She tells her story often and reaches out to others who are caught up in the same kind of pain. God uses her pain for a purpose.

Dear friends of ours, Brian and Amanda, lost their 18-month old son in a tragic accident a few years ago. They experienced such horrific pain and their world was shaken to the core. But they surrendered their lives to God through the journey and now help encourage and comfort others who have lost young children. God uses their pain for a purpose. 

My friend, Stacy, lost her beautiful daughter who was born prematurely. She lived for about 3 weeks. She spent those days in the newborn intensive care unit, watching her baby hanging on for life. Although her heart shattered in pieces, Stacy has allowed God to do a beautiful thing through her pain. She quilts blankets for babies in the NICU. She reaches out to other families who are waiting to see if their babies are going to make it. She gives genuine comfort to others because she knows the pain they feel. God uses her pain for a purpose.

Be encouraged dear friends! No matter what pain you are experiencing, God is with you. He knows.

Allow your desperation to turn into a strong dependence on the one who rescues and redeems. And let Him do more than rescue and redeem just you. He longs to work through your life to bring comfort and encouragement to others.

Let Him use your pain for His purpose. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

Blessings to you!

Lisa

Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race

 

 

Your Pain is Not in Vain

Heartbreak. Anguish. Betrayal. Abandonment. Abuse. Tragedy. Sickness.

This is what you recall as the worst moments in your life.

The seasons you try to erase from your memory.

The pain that crushed you.

Maybe you’ve experienced victory and healing from these painful moments. Maybe your faith has grown by leaps and bounds. Perhaps you’ve gained a strength that only could have come from these past seasons.

For some of you, you are satisfied with what God has done in you. But this is as far as it goes.

In you.

But there’s more. Yes, He wants to do something through you.

I want to encourage you with this powerful truth:

The pain from your past can be a lifeline to someone else right now. A soothing balm for someone else’s heartache. 

I like how Paul puts this in 2 Corinthians 1:4:

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.

He doesn’t just comfort us for our own healing. It says so that we can comfort others, too! As followers of Jesus, if we never walk in this truth, then we are missing out. And others are missing out on what we can offer them.

In the last several years of my faith journey, God has put people in my path who are struggling with things I have already experienced. Some of these experiences are from many years ago. Others are just in the recent past.

There’s an urgency in my soul to reach out and encourage them. A longing to lift someone up when they feel discouraged. An opportunity to inspire someone to keep going in spite of their horrible circumstances.

This is what we are called to do! It’s not an option.

I know the pain of divorce. God healed my broken spirit through that horrible journey.

But instead of keeping that experience to myself, I reach out to those who are in the midst of this pain right now. 

They need to know that they will get to the other side of the pain. They need to know that they are not alone. They need to see that this painful journey will not engulf them.

I understand the turmoil of anxiety and depression. God took my despair and turned it into a desperation for Him.

But instead of locking this into a room of my heart and labeling it “off-limits”, I choose to humbly share my struggle with those who feel like they will never be able to break free from these chains.

What about you? What part of your journey has God delivered you from? Where has He given you healing through your pain?

If you’ve never stepped out and shared that with anyone, then how about asking God to show you someone who needs to hear it? Sometimes God brings us people right smack in front of us. But other times we might have to go after them. Seek them out.

Your pain is not in vain. He wants to use it for His glory. That glory comes when we are able to pour comfort into others with the same comfort we received at some point before.

There is no better feeling than to share hope and peace with someone who is hurting in the same way you have hurt. You don’t even have to be WAY ahead of them, either. No, you don’t have to be completely over your pain before you can comfort others. You might just be a few steps ahead of them on the same journey.

Maybe that’s part of the healing for ourselves.

I challenge you today, dear friend. The pain of your past does not have to define you. Allow God to use it to bring healing to someone else. Let Him do something magnificent THROUGH you.

It’s what He does best.

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

If you were encouraged through this post, check out my book for more encouragement!

https://reststopforthesoul.com/my-book/

 

 

Who’s Behind You?

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Huffing and puffing to catch my breath, I came to a halt. Wiping sweat off my brow and looking at my watch, I felt a twinge of disappointment wash over me. My pace was slower than normal for our group’s weekly long run. Seven miles done. Trying to figure out what had slowed me down, I began walking toward my car.

Hey! Wait up!” I heard an unfamiliar voice calling out to me.

Turning around, a woman approached me with a smile on her face. “I was following you the whole time. You’ve got a pretty consistent pace.”

Huh? Someone was following me?

I’m training for my first half-marathon. I’m excited but very nervous too!”

After introductions, we struck up a conversation and I gave her some tips for training. With five half-marathons under my belt, I felt confident in guiding my new friend on her unfamiliar journey.

No matter what your pace is, there’s always going to be someone running behind you. Brand new runners venturing out for the very first time. Runners lacking confidence. Runners who don’t know what’s up ahead. Runners who are watching your every move to see how you’re running your race. These runners are in the same spot you used to be. Yes, there is someone always running behind you whether you notice them or not.

In our race of faith, there is someone running behind you, dear friend. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the pace of our own race that we forget to stop and turn around to help those running behind us. There are people watching us whether we realize it or not. People who are new Christians just starting out. People who are stuck in a rut and need some encouragement. People walking a path you’ve already navigated through. But do we ever slow down our pre-calculated pace long enough to help someone else? Do we slow down long enough to walk alongside someone who is hurting?

We often may think our pain and suffering is in vain. As genuine followers of Christ, we can testify that God carries us with strength and pours his comfort on us during hard times. He does a work IN us during these seasons. But it doesn’t stop there! He longs to do something THROUGH us. He desires for us to embrace those behind us and point them to Him. To lovingly comfort them. To assure them they’re going to make it. This is what the body of Christ is called to do.

So who’s behind you, dear friend? If you have children, they are watching you whether you realize it or not. What about that young mom with multiple children? You might be an empty-nester who could encourage her with your insight and wisdom. Is there someone at work or in your neighborhood struggling through a season of life you’ve already traveled through? I promise you that you won’t have to look very long. There will always be someone beginning to crawl onto a path you’ve just finished running. Ask God to show you. And don’t be surprised when they soak up your encouragement like a breath of fresh air.

READY? Do you find yourself too preoccupied with your own pace in life? Genuinely pray and ask God to show you who’s behind you at this season of life. What is the next step you can take to pour into that person? If you’re feeling anxious, ask God for his peace!

GET SET.  Romans 15:1 “We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves.”

GO!  Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of past times when you’ve comforted me through difficult seasons. I praise you for giving me strength. Help me come out of my comfort zone and show me the people you want me to help. Give me courage and wisdom. I long to point others to the power you’ve given me. Amen

whosbehindyou

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett