Three Points of Pain

Pain changes all of us, at some point we all experience it. No matter how much we try to out run it, hide from it, or even walk into it. It finds us…

Here is three points I think our pain serves us instead of devouring us:

I. Your Pain Is Proof

The proof is in the pudding! The pain you have experienced in your life is proof that there is a war! It is proof that no matter what is or was thrown at you, God will sustain you. Think about it? If you look back on to some of your fiercest battles in life, you should be destroyed? Right? Some of us have walked through abuse, some addiction, some cancer, some disorder and destruction, some horrible financial crisis that should have brought bankruptcy. My point is that it should and very well could have taken you out, BUT… you are reading this? You are proof, that no matter what came. God sustained you; that doesn’t mean that you were correct, or prayed perfect prayers. It proves that it rains on the just and the unjust, but God is the same in the past, present, and future. You are a walking, talking testament that no matter how hard it rains, you remain because He is faithful!

Present Suffering and Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 
21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 
23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 
24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?
25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 
27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

II.) Your Pain Has Purpose

Your pain is not in vain! The uniqueness of your pain is so that your pain could provide comfort to someone else. Think about it, how many times have you went through something so painful that you thought I am not going to come out of this! Only six months after the pain you are sitting next to a beautiful soul going through exactly the same thing! If you will choose to see your pain in a different way, God will send you people to comfort and pray for. Your pain has a purpose, it isn’t a coincidence what you have been through. God let the pain happen for a purpose. God saw way down the line, He saw you! He knew that diagnoses was cancer, He knew that your pregnancy would not carry to full term, He knew that job was going to end and leave you with a pile of debt. Here is the amazing thing, He knows, He doesn’t stop it, He purposes our pain to provide for one another. If you think about it for a second it is actually a smack to the enemies face. The enemy will use people and places for inflicting pain, but God uses pain to provide a way for the gospel. Think about the gospel story, Jesus, fully God and man. Chooses to be born of a virgin, in swaddling clothes. He grows up, only to be highly persecuted by his own community, schemed against, gossiped about, run out of town, threatened to be thrown off cliffs, Invited to suppers only to be mocked even more. Nothing Jesus endured on this earth was without pain. Then you have injustice, a mock trial, trumped-up crowds screaming crucify! Beaten, and killed on a cross. Humiliated and shamed as He hung there. Even after His death the mockery still ensued. Put in a borrowed tomb. Sounds to me like a whole life of pain, but look at what God did with His own son’s pain? He saved the world!


For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21 ESV

If we are in Christ we are called to pain for a purpose, that is to use the pain of this life to testify to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t think your pain was all in vain, it wasn’t, it was meant to glorify God.

III.) Your Pain is Preparation

The painful things that come in this life have will, or are making way for you to handle the next hurdle. Look back on things that you have been through in the past. I can remember a time where I was dealing with two harrowing things at the same time. I remember dealing with the death of my best friend, and that same afternoon I walked in from the funeral my husband looked at me and said well: ” They decided to shut down the mill indefinitely.” What was incredibly painful was not just the loss, but the months that led up to the failure! We fought so hard! Fought hard for Chris’s job to be saved on our knees and get her help! We stayed camped out in ICU rooms and the endless tests and procedures, medications, only to bury her at thirty-three years old. Then to come home to more loss, but you want to know the good news, I am standing here four years later, and I can see that God purposed my pain. He allowed us to go through the pain to help people that are dealing with total financial loss, He has allowed me to hold the hands of families living with addicts; He has allowed me to love on those families knowing the sting of their pain: the endless prayers, the tear-filled pillows, and bible pages. To give them comfort even when the ending is bitter and hard to swallow, not every story ends happily ever after and I have learned to rest in that — knowing that the pain I face today is prepping me for my purpose in Christ. Making room for my gifts and talents to glorify Him. Looking back there are so many stories of excruciating things I have personally walked through, but just glancing back long enough to see God’s hand prepping me for where I am standing today. He has done the same for you and in the hidden place is working all things out.

“Your pain is not a death sentence its a resurrection story.”

You are Lazarus, Jesus’ dear friend, who he weeps for, but calls forth out of the grave into life and life abundantly in Him. God does not take pain lightly, He identifies with it and purposes it for the furthering of the kingdom. Will you let Him use all your pieces? Even the broken ones?

God is really good at using the most painful things…

20 Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross. 21 You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got.22 But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. 23 You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message – just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message. 24 I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world – the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering.25 When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God’s way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. 26 This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. 27 God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery, in a nutshell, is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. 28 We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. 29 That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.

Colossians 1:20-29 MSG

14 God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!

Jeremiah 17:14

Get up, Sister!

Get up! Sister…

We need you to rise and take hold of who you are in Christ. We need you! We need your voice; we need your words, we need your personality. We need your hands and feet to proclaim Jesus. We need you to realize who you are in Christ. You are not a mistake, a joke, a failure. You were purposed to be a solution in our world. Your life and the events that have happened were not so you could roll around in ashes, NO, you were created to overcome the ashes for beauty.

You have not been through it all in vain, you have been through it all and have remained. You are still intact not with a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and sound judgment. You are not defeated, Get up! Sister

Rise and take hold of what God has put before you. Do not back down now! You are not weak-willed you have been trained and sustained so that you can stand with confidence. You chose to endure when no one saw; you chose Jesus when everything in you wanted to jump ship. You chose the good portion, and it will not be taken away from you, just like Mary at Bethany. At the feet of Jesus trusting and believing, listening and learning. Instead of busyness, you chose Him.

You filled your lanterns with oil, trimming the wick so the flame would not go out. Yes, maybe at times the flame has waned, but it has never gone out. Get up! Sister. There is still more oil to store. There is a wick that needs trimming so the flame can burn bright once again.

Get up! Sister and read your Bible out-loud when the enemy whispers His lies. Fight him with the word of God and he will flee. There is no other way!

Get up! Sister and dismiss the voices of others who do not have any oil for this time. Dismiss the Martha’s who are bitter because they chose to be busy when Jesus was inviting them to sit and learn. We need you, girl! We need you standing full of confidence in Jesus with us; there is plenty of room, we saved you a seat. Take it!

Get up! Sister and find your identity in Christ for yourself. Fill your vessels with oil, the word of God. We need you, we are waiting for you to rise up.

Your First Ingredient is Brokenness

broken woman

We must be broken in order to be made whole.

A Sociologist named Brene Brown said, “We are ‘those people.’” The truth is… most people in our world are one paycheck, one divorce, one addiction, one mental health diagnosis, one serious illness, one hurt, or one bad choice from becoming “those people”— the ones we don’t trust, the ones we pity, the ones we don’t let our children play with, the ones we don’t want living next door, the ones we know deep down need our love and God’s love more than anyone, but we can’t approach “those people.”

Our minds are so sensitive to the quiet voices telling us to keep up appearances, keep ourselves busy if we don’t think about it; it’s not really there, it will eventually get better.

Our generation has become artists of illusion, masters at covering pain, self-medicators, slaves to their finances, and lost in loneliness even when we are surrounded by those we love. All because we can’t seem to realize that the only solution for being broken is… brokenness.

We can never truly be whole until we’ve been broken. Those in this world that can make the most significant difference have not only risen to the top but have also fallen to the bottom.

Jesus makes the broken whole again. He takes the overlooked, the undervalued, the left out, the written off, the damaged and devastated, and then He does what only He can do.

I know this may not sound like it makes much sense, but brokenness is the first ingredient in a miraculous transformation. I am living breathing proof of that. The fact that I am alive, sober, full of peace and joy, and madly in love with Jesus Christ is all the proof I need. But in order for God to build me up and bring me this far, I first had to be broken down. Through loss, pain, anger, doubt, and tears I was not only broken…I was shattered, fractured and in pieces.

It was in that darkness that Christ’s light shone the brightest — illuminating each piece, gracefully fitting them together to form a new creation. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Not only that but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence.” Colossians 1:20-23 (The Message)

The best part of all, the part I still can’t believe most days, is that time after time God chooses to use the broken things. The ones that when asked how they have made such a miraculous transformation, they can only point to Him. That is why I am thankful for every tear, every heartache, every circumstance that broke me.

Woman-praising-in-sunshine-ss_159078203-e1425484730774

“If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use

It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside”

Broken Things – Matthew West

It Took a Broken Foot to Run For God

My pastor recently gave a message describing how Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him. Jesus is that loving protector and caretaker for His flock. Jesus, the good shepherd’s purpose, is to give life and protect from destruction.  And although this next imagery may make those of us animal lovers shudder, it helps to confirm that sometimes love is shown in ways we don’t always like.  A shepherd would often break the leg(s) of his sheep to prevent them from running off into danger.  He would then carry that sheep over his shoulders down the path each day until its injuries healed.  While being held, the sheep grew to love and rely on the shepherd like never before.

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Oddly enough, I believe Jesus did this very thing to me.

Five years.   I had been living in this small town in Western Kentucky for five years and had yet to make any meaningful relationships.  I not only avoided bonding with the people; I also lacked a REAL one on one relationship with God.  I was, what I like to call, a “baby Christian” who had a history of anger and atheism, with little to no guidance and the life choices to prove it.  I had always been very independent and didn’t really care about having friends because I didn’t trust people.

Feeling convicted about not being a part of a church family, my husband and I began visiting some in the area and knew we had been led to the one we now call home.  After just a few weeks of attending, the Lord brought several women into my life that completely changed my heart.  My relationship with them grew stronger and stronger as I began to experience what can come from real love and encouragement.

One Sunday morning, one of those women invited me to a Run for God class. I wish I could illustrate the facial expression I made. You see, my words say one thing, but my face speaks from the heart. I laughed and said, “The only time I run is if something is chasing me.” With persistence from my friend and growing pant size, I conceded.  The way I understood it was that it was basically a couch to 5K training program with a devotional.   Little did I know that God was putting something into motion that would altogether transform my life.

I showed up for class each Saturday morning, bright and early (also outside of my character).  With each devotional and time spent running with God, it finally clicked. I can run because I am doing it for God.  I can make real friends because I am doing it for GodWhat would happen if I did everything in life, FOR GOD?

Ten weeks into the class, we all registered for a 5K in our town that promoted to suicide awareness.  As my first race ever, I had zero expectations for my outcome.  I just wanted to finish.  As they were calling out awards for age groups, they called my name as the third place winner.  It took me by surprise, but it didn’t take long for my pride and competitiveness to kick into overdrive.  I was already plotting the demise of the two women who beat me for first and second place.  Just as the Lord revealed what life could be like when you do it all for Him, He let me know very quickly what can happen when you begin to do it for yourself.

The very next day, I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my foot.  I would not be able to complete the 5K for our Run for God group.  Even though I was discouraged, I continued to go to class.  While others ran, I sat.  I sat and encouraged them as they struggled13237875_10208110454498173_1769253948085201728_n through the long runs. I SAT and read the Word.  I SAT and prayed.  I SAT, growing closer to God every day.

While still in what I called “the dreaded boot,” I sat and cheered as all of my new friends ran past me to complete their race.  My heart was full.   God had set me on a different track.  A race towards Him and onto the path He had planned for me.

We quickly started a second class, and I was asked to help instruct.  Still unable to run, I knew God meant for me to focus on the “God” portion of Run for God. To show others that training to run successfully mirrors training ourselves to walk successfully with Christ.  It takes work, commitment, sacrifice, discipline, and occasionally a boot.

Learning to put God first and dedicate all I do to Him, the ability to stand before a group and teach due to the confidence I gained through the Spirit, the forever friendships that I have made, are just a glimpse into how God transformed me…. all through a broken foot.

John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

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