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“Pain invites us to grow. I hated how I felt. I chose to change. It can be done. You don’t have to rush. It will happen exactly as it is supposed to.” // Nanette Stein 

“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.” // Romans 8:28

This month, we will be focusing on the reality and possibility of blessings being birthed from pain. Many of us have come face to face with terrifying and halting tragedy in our lives.  Tragedy can bring with it a myriad of reactions: shock, denial, arrested breath, fond and forgotten memories, appreciation and gratitude, anger, regret, sleeplessness, weeping, re-prioritizing, depression, new perspective, and hope.
I will not pretend to be an expert on this, but have collected some real and meaningful words from a friend- from one who remained steadfast in her pursuit after God when the unthinkable happened in her life. These are the writings of a woman who depends fully on God for strength and seeks to glorify Him with her every word. She decided not to become stuck, immovable, or to become rooted in the “valley of the shadow of death.” She knows that this a not a forever place, and chose to explore and exploit the journey through it in a raw and beautiful way.

In her blog, “To Make It Worth The Pain,” [http://tomakeitworththepain.blogspot.com/] Gail explains the journey of a mom working through the pain of losing her 20 year old son in a climbing accident and choosing to allow God to use it for His glory. She writes, “My quest was to journal how ALL things were going to work together for good if I chose to continue to love Him in my pain.  He has shown me many, many things and I have personally grown immensely.  But I will be honest, I still would not have chosen to have Ryan leave us to find these things; but my trust in God for the outcome has not wavered.  The mystery will always be there, but my commitment of offering my pain to Jesus and trusting His purpose is steadfast.” Gail asks important and tough questions like, “Do I really believe that any good can come from my son’s death?” and “What could possibly be worth my son leaving this earth?” Thank you, Gail, for sharing your heart and for allowing all of us to learn and grow through your experience.

Here are some important thoughts and questions to reflect on as you learn discover how God can and will transform agonizing loss and pain into joyful hope:
“I can seem calm and stoic and quickly move into deep grieving pain and tears and then fall into laughter.  This pendulum of emotion is a ride I’ve never taken before.  But I am allowing the pendulum to take place as I know it is part of the process.”

“This grieving mother has asked to see the purpose of her son’s death, and God is granting her desire.  Not because I deserve it…but because I am wanting Ryan’s death to glorify God’s name.  Because if it didn’t glorify His name, what an utter waste.”

“How we choose to live out our laughter, our sorrow, our anger, our joy, all ripples into the world making impact.”

“Some of you are asking how I could be praising the Lord when he took my son.  I can and I did and I will…. Why would I do that?  Because, what is the alternative? Depression, giving up, sinking, despair…..these are all words I want as little part of as possible.  I cannot manufacture the kind of strength this journey is going to require of me.  So no way would I rely on myself to get me through.  Why not allow myself to be shored up and strengthened…. I am confident I can grieve and feel strengthened at the same time.”

“His words will not return void in your life.  Choosing to maintain your own control, and create your own path….THAT is what will return void.”

“Pretending the pain isn’t there isn’t what God is calling us to.  But rather, allowing Him to be our comfort and strength during those times.”

“With all the chaos spinning around me in the last two months there has been one thought that has continued to swarm through my mind, “….the peace that surpasses ALL understanding is just waiting for me.”  How does one obtain or maintain that kind of peace amongst the storms of life?  Finding that kind of peace brings real freedom; freedom from needing to control all that spins around me.”

“I’m beginning to be able to allow the pain to be a part of who I am without allowing it to thwart what I can become through Jesus.  Sorrow and Joy are learning to play along side each other creating an entirely new symphony within me.”