Friday, October 8, 2010
Strong Woman, Soft Hearts: Chapter 3
Pain: The Crossroads of the Heart
“Pain is experienced as a wave, and the question is: how will we ride it out so that we emerge in a stronger place, more grounded in God, more open to life, more wise?”
I don’t know about others out there, but more often than not (and more often than I care to admit too) my first instinct is to withdraw, protect my heart, keep whatever caused the pain at a distance.
And if I’m completely honest, too often I withdraw from God too.
I only wish that I was already strong enough to emerge from pain stronger, more grounded in God, more wise.
I think the biggest struggle in this area of overcoming pain for me is that I’m not really sure how to experience pain in such a way that I grow from it. Mostly I would rather just avoid it.
As I got thinking about all of this a woman came to mind, a woman who has walked a path of pain of the worst kind – the loss of a child.
I have never met her, may never meet her this side of heaven (even though I will admit to having prayed about meeting her! ;) )
Angie Smith – she chose to embrace the pain, to fully experience it, to be free in her expression of it. She allowed herself to feel pain fully. But she also chose to look past the pain, to see a bigger picture, to find moments of solace in God’s arms.
During a routine ultrasound for her fourth child, Angie and her husband Todd were told that their unborn daughter had too many complications with her little body that she would not live and the best course of action for them would be termination.
Devastated, but strong in the conviction that God is the only one who has the right to make the choice of life and death, Angie and Todd made the decision to carry little Audrey for as long as God would allow them to have her.
On her blog and in her book, Angie shares her deep struggle through this journey. She boldly bares her pain and shares how she at times she ranted at God, at times was so devastated she couldn’t get out of bed and how many times she prayed for a different outcome.
Yet throughout her blog posts, there is a resounding hope that lingers in her words. The hope of a woman who is aware that God is weaving a tapestry of her life, and that even in those moments of inexplicable pain He holds her world in the palm of His hands.
Despite her pain, Angie allowed God to use her to reach countless women. She allowed her heart to remain open, she didn’t withdraw and try to hide, and as such she has been able to be a tool in the Masters hands.
“...life happens. And none of it catches God by surprise.”
Nothing about the Smith’s journey caught God by surprise, and nothing that happens in my own life catches Him by surprise either.
This is a truth that I know in my head, but sometimes my heart can be a little slow to follow, a little slower to trust completely, even in my heavenly Father.
My prayer is that I might be a little more like Angie Smith. And of course more like my Saviour.
There is so much more in this chapter that I could write about, but this post would be incredibly long if I kept typing! So I will leave this post with a couple more thoughts.
“God often allows us to be wounded in the same location of an old wound. The pain – in his hands – has an antiseptic quality, with the potential to cleanse and make new.”
This little quote/idea of Paula’s really opened my eyes to some areas that I know I need some healing in, to allow God to cleanse and make new. And then hopefully, to use that pain for good.
On page 43 Paula makes this comment. “I had this mental image of how my life should be, a painting on the wall of my life. And try as I might, I could not get the reality to match the dream.”
That is a huge struggle that I have over and over again in my own life. I battle the mental images that I have carried about how my life will look at all these different ages and stages, every time these hoped for milestones pass without my expectations being met. Another area that I can feel God starting to work on in my heart – like I have previously said lining up my desires with His, with His will for my life.
There is so much good stuff in each of these chapters so far, I could just keep writing and writing about them! But I won’t, I’ll stop here!
Have a great day!
P.S. Angie Smith’s full story can be found on her blog at http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/