Posts Tagged: pain

Pain Unwrapped

Patiently packaged within pain
is the gift of possibility.
Unopened or opened—content remains the same.
My future is secure in the gift-giver.
Oh Lord, help me tear away the wrapping of fear, bitterness, and despair
and gasp in awe at your glory.

My passion—tangible hope secreted within the gift of suffering.

Reframing our Suffering

Reframing Suffering

Turning My Page: Reframing Suffering

Reframing Suffering

The portrait slumped in the back corner of the attic.
Her head folded in resignation of neglect—abandoned.
“A beginner’s musings,” I guessed, ready to dismiss my discovery.
But something drew me to the forgotten girl. Her eyes
haunted me, pleaded for hope beneath the cobwebs of neglect.

“I reframed my heartache after considering eternity.
Didn’t stop feeling when the world tortured me and laughed, What’s the point, no one cares?
“I reframed my longings, surrendered them to eternity.
Didn’t stop reaching for my creator when the skeptic told me, There’s no such thing.
“I reframed my thoughts to illuminate eternity.
Didn’t stop holding each other up when despair screamed, No way out!

The girl reached out, tugged my heart
closer for respect, kindness—for some granule of
understanding her pain. Her hair fell like flames
around her face. Untamable
beauty.  Maybe with a little work …

Reframing Our Suffering

Pain Looks Different in Light of Eternity

I traded out her beaten frame for a new one,
brought the broken child out into the light. Displayed her as a priceless treasure.
Strange how the new light brushed her cheek and
shared a different story.
Her soul danced with hopes and dreams, passions, and compassion.
Did a hint of a smile appear on her lips?

And in that hope, our joy emerged as a masterpiece of possibility.

 

Turning Your Page: Reframing Pain

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

The world can be brutal to our mind, body, and spirit. Jesus stepped into humanity to teach us a new way of looking at our circumstances and responding with joy, rather than despair.  Jesus reveals we can withstand so much more than we think. Often we view ourselves through shortsighted glasses and it takes an outside perspective to jolt us to an eternal reality.

  • That jolt can come in the form of scripture, wise counsel from a friend, or the Holy Spirit trying to challenge your thinking? How are you responding to their love?
  • Spend some time walking around your life as if you are looking at them as a stranger. Describe the challenges. Have others shared a similar experience? How did they get through suffering? Who did they turn to for help?
  • What is one aspect of your circumstances you can work on allowing hope to illuminate possible outcomes? Spend time this week asking God to open your eyes to see the possibility for good things emerging out of difficulty.

Jesus, my heart is heavy with circumstances I have no control over. You set the joy of being with your Father in front of you! Help me to endure my cross and have joy because my eyes remain fixed on you. Amen

When the Betrayer Approaches Will I Accept God’s Will?

“‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’” (Luke 22:31=32).

All of us have a betrayer. A person who knows our inner workings and wounds us deeply. Jesus understands our wound of betrayal intimately.

He was surrounded by betrayers.

Pharisees held the prophecies of His coming in their hands but denied Jesus was the Son of God. Crowds of followers who witnessed miracle after miracle, raised their fists in hatred when it appeared Jesus lost favor. And his friends? There wasn’t a single disciple left in the garden to stand with Jesus as he was arrested.

I too am a betrayer of Jesus.

I knew as a little girl that he was real, walked the earth, was God in flesh, but I rejected Him because He did not meet my expectations. How could a good God allow me to be abused? How could a good God withhold solid friendships? How could a God who cared allow so much evil in the world?

Yet, knowing every last one of those who followed Jesus would betray him, Jesus chose them. Knowing his mother and brothers would laugh at him and reject the gospel he still chose to be born into a family. Jesus knew I would reject him, and yet he still called me, loved me, and never stopped being present in my life.

When I am lax in dying to self, which I have been over the past few months, I am tempted to turn away from God. Two weeks ago God placed a question squarely in my soul. My insomnia and pain were unbearable and I was tempted to throw in the towel on God. He asked, Will you betray me?

I confessed my bitterness, stopped playing the victim of humanity, and submitted to His will. In one desperate cry, my oppressive insomnia was shattered, my attitude was lighter, my whole household noted the transformation. Joy and peace entered our home.

Any person who supports us in ministry is susceptible to the same sinful nature that Peter, James, John and the rest of the disciples displayed. We are human, we are tempted to go our own way, fall asleep when others need us to keep watch and hurt each other with false beliefs. Are you prepared for your betrayer?

PREPARED, not paranoid. Looking for people to hurt us requires distance, fear, and overthinking every action of another person. Preparing for letdowns in relationships requires love, sacrifice, keeping no record of wrongs fasting, praying, surrendering to God’s will, and discernment. This dying to self is nothing short of physical death. Jesus almost died before the cross. He really needed the support of his friends.

There was no one willing to walk into the garden, stay awake, and die on a cross with him. In my 44 years of living, I have observed pastors, deacons, lay leaders and children all fall away from following Christ. There is not a single one of us that is not vulnerable to this temptation given the right environment. Cheat or lose your job. Commit adultery or stay in a loveless marriage. Harden my heart after losing my son, or stand firm, knowing Christ will use my sorrow to save others. We all have betrayal moments.

God made a way for us to turn like Simon, confess our betrayal and love each other as he loved us first. Stronger, more resilient because we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the forgiveness, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord!

Grander Views in the Middle of Pain

Jeremiah 15:18 Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.

 

Daniel has been in more pain over the last few weeks. His vertigo and sensitivity to any kind of car motion has ended up in several episodes of throwing up. So our trip to Cedar Point (roller coaster capital of the world) was up in the air as to whether he would enjoy.

Much to my surprise and delight, Daniel worked within his limitations and enjoyed his time. But I questioned the wisdom of one chosen ride. Spinning 300 feet in the air at 30 miles an hour didn’t exactly sound vertigo friendly. He wanted to try anyway. He did fine as we went up, but as soon as the swings began to circle around the nausea began. I held his hand and told him to look forward. Vision better focused he could now take in the scenery and exclaimed. “It is beautiful! God is so creative! Wow, is this all one lake?”

Oh, what a glorious view I received as a parent! I breathed in my son’s joy and suddenly my own heartache diminished. Daniel could see God’s glory, even though his own physical struggles felt overwhelming.

We all need grand view reminders, so that when life is at its hardest we see God is bigger and so capable of bringing us through. But, we can’t have them if we have boarded up the windows, locked ourselves in pain, and wait for death to take us. We can only have them if we step out, take a risk, and look outside our problems. Where will you go for your grander view?

 

Love Always,

 

Karisa

 

 

Emptying the Ex-Box

Zechariah 7: 9“Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; 10 and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’

Some of are still holding onto the Ex box. The Ex box is anything from our past, our old life that we do not let go of, or give over completely to God. It can be photos, notes, an object and ultimately it can be held tightly in our thoughts. I am pausing from sorting through Jonathan’s box of things to tell you I just threw away a bad memory I gripped tightly. Jonathan had many harsh realities to deal with, and he had some choice words he wrote down on paper about someone who was hurting him. Why keep such a note?

  • Because it feeds my own wounds
  • Because I’m angry
  • Because there has not been satisfactory justice
  • Because it vindicates me

These are the reasons I have held onto this sheet of paper. And even as I read it, I felt my heartache stirred. But, I declared out loud, “THIS DOES NOT HELP ME!” And, in a decisive move I balled it up and tossed the note in the trash.

  • Trust God’s justice
  • Acknowledge that God saw Jonathan’s pain
  • God alone is judge
  • Forgiveness frees me, and offers hope to the wrong doer

What do you have in your box? Is there one thing you can give to God that you desperately want solved, fixed, or don’t understand? Declare out loud the truth over the object and release it. Embrace the far better future God has for us and let go of the Ex.

My prayers are with you!

Testimony Tuesday: Favoring Our Wounds is Getting in the Way of Healing

2 Samuel 19: 4 The king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Are you favoring your wounds?

Today I began physical therapy and as the therapist began checking my range of motion she noted that my right leg was very stiff because I was favoring it. I didn’t want to feel the pain in my hip (excruciating), so I had been shying away from triggers. Muscle weakness was setting in, which only makes the problem worse. My muscles must be retrained and the goal is to reduce my pain. Strange, I thought that was my goal in babying it.

What are you avoiding because you have been deeply hurt? You feel the slightest pain reoccurring in your relationships, so you avoid them. You lost the job to a boss you trusted to promote you, but the promoted someone else, so you no longer give work your all. And maybe the deepest wound of all is from God. You trusted him to protect your child and now they are dead . . . So, I insulate myself from the pain and pull my little ones closer to do what God did not do. But, I testify that none of these things work. It is in putting ourselves out there, in doing the work, and stretching sore muscles that we grow stronger. It is likely I am feeling more pain in my hip because I have not pushed my muscles to improve. I am causing myself more pain by practicing avoidance!

King David was a man after God’s own heart, but he made some hugely poor choices with his children. David lost so much in his relationship with his children because of sinful choices. There’s and his. But when his son Absalom begged to see his father in an effort to reconcile, David refused to even see him.  Thus, Absalom turned on David and ultimately lost his life. And now, David mourns. He didn’t avoid the pain, he made it worse!

Joab warns David that he will lose his kingdom if he does not make his broken relationships right with his supporters. He can keep mourning Absalom, or the king can restore and be restored to his kingdom. Sigh, this is such a difficult lesson for any of us. It is much easier to keep spiraling downward, but Jesus came that we may have life to the fullest. Take a look at all the men and women he helped to change course. Peter, Matthew, Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the outcasts of society, his own family, and the thief on the cross. This means at any point we can turn, stop mourning past sin, past loss, and past hurts and gain the glorious future God has for us.

I need to let go of operating in this life with a “perfect” body, and allow God to teach me to nurture care for and heal the one I have. I have spent forty years abusing my body. I can’t undo that. God is faithful in my weakness and he has promised healing.

What do you need to let go of today?

Testimony Tuesday: Let Pain Sing

When

I unlatch

the cage around

my heart,and pull out the throbbing

pain within, I am surprised to find a small

trembling bird, waiting for the

strength of release.

Thankful Thursdays: Taking a Praise Shower on Friday

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

This morning I was an explosion waiting to happen. Just light the fuse and shrapnel everywhere! Yet another night of pain and not sleeping. The cortisone shot doesn’t seem to be working. I had intended on recording my thankfulness yesterday, but felt it all stopped up by the struggle and pain of functioning. As I read my Unglued devotional this morning the thankfulness began washing over me!

So Lord, I praise you this morning!

  • What great music you are playing for me on the radio! (Air 1)
  • My husband and I laughed this morning
  • I get to bundle up and go watch a high school football game tonight!
  • My in-laws have my kids for the weekend
  • I didn’t come unglued, instead I acknowledged my anger and released it
  • Dishes are complete!
  • I get to write!
  • The cardinal that landed on my deck
  • That I don’t have to rely on my own strength
  • Your daily love notes in scripture: Today meditating on Psalm 73:26
  • Friends

What can you praise God for this morning?

Testimony Tuesday: The Relationship between Pain and our Spiritual Health

In a previous post on perseverance I spoke about pain as a necessity so that we pay attention, change, and care for our bodies. Some of us, have pain that goes above and beyond the norm.

I just found out that my discs are deteriorating and my hip sockets were not formed right so my cartilage is wearing away. The orthopedist called me a “tween” I am in the teenage years of hip replacement. Right now the goal is pain management but I have surgery in my future. Daunting prospects, because I’ve cared for patients who have the level of pain I currently have and watched their spirits deteriorate along with their body. But, I’ve also watched spirits increase and abound in other patients who chose to open themselves up to Christ being enough in their pain. So how do we meet pain with the balm of spiritual discipline?

1. Acknowledge the pain and our needs

2. Put it in right context: believe

3. Repent of any sin contributing to our health

4. Surround ourselves with a cloud of witnesses

5. Act on the opportunities given for health and wholeness

6. Bless others who are suffering

 

I know I’m only scratching the surface today, but I’m working through this as I go. We’ll talk more as

I journey through.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on 2 Chronicles 21;12-20, a rather gruesome prophecy given to King Jehoram, but unheeded, is contrasted with  very good news for those who believe even while they suffer.

Good men may be afflicted with diseases; but to them they are fatherly chastisements, and by the support of Divine consolations the soul may dwell at ease, even when the body lies in pain. To be sick and poor, sick and solitary, but especially to be sick and in sin, sick and under the curse of God, sick and without grace to bear it, is a most deplorable case. Wickedness and profaneness make men despicable, even in the eyes of those who have but little religion.

 

 

I Write Because . . .

. . .Sand should be squished between toes
and the ocean caught in cockle shells.
. . .Children’s laughter begs even the soberest of lips to curl into a smile.
. . .Pain digs into my heart
And I refuse to hold it in.
. . .God tickles my ears with
whispered clues to life’s mysteries.
. . .Pop-sickles melt loud summer days
into cool splashes of flavor.
. . .Treasures are found in the cracks of chairs that bring back memories we lose.
. . .I want the sugar I harvest
to sweeten someone else’s black coffee.

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