Monday, December 22, 2008

Leaning Into Pain - the way to heal and get stronger

The pictures today are all of Vinnie being horsey to his kids and grand kids...the tradition carried on for many years!

The bible verse for today on my blog site is from Micah chapter 5 verse 2. it reads: "You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Once again, God has proved how cool He is and that the Holy Spirit does live in those who believe and live for Him. I've been prayerfully thinking about what I should write about next on my blog. This morning, after completely another day's study I am doing, it dawned on me what I need to write about - what God is teaching me now. Then I got on my site to work on it and the Bible verse for the days fits right into the theme of today's post! That is just like God - another one of His fingerprints!

My Vinnie, as strong as he was, as big a man as he was, did not like pain. If he got a splinter in his hand, he would rather have left it in than have someone dig it out. The reason for this crazy approach? He didn't like the pain of digging out the splinter! Of course, you know why it's already hurts and it will hurt worse if it's not taken care of! And since he couldn't deal with the pain of removing it, I'd have to insist that I tend to the wound, cut the skin a little, remove the splinter, get anti-biotics on it, and wait for the healing to begin. In order for this happen, he'd have to admit he had a problem, allow me to go in and fix it, clean it up so it would not get infected, and admit he was a weakling and could not do it himself. He had to become small enough to get some work done on him.

What I love about this verse in Micah is that God is speaking to Bethlehem and telling them that the "One who will be ruler over Isreal", Jesus, is going to come out of this little town, the "smallest among the clans of Judah". My theme for today is that God uses the small, meek, humble and weak to fulfill His plan. If we want to be lifted up by God, we have bend down first, not only confess our weakness and desperation for Him, but acknowledge and embrace it first.

I have been attending a GriefShare program for the past 13 weeks. I am told that I am doing well and healing quickly in the program and will be training over the next 13 weeks to facilitate a discussion group. I am excited to know that it is possible to heal quickly from the grief of so many losses my family and I have had this year. Some people grieve for years. I know a lady lives a hidden life tucked away in a dark corner of the world because she never dealt with her grief in a healthy way of about 27 years ago! If you met her she might appear strong but when if you were to discuss issues with her that surround the grief, the resentment, anger, bitterness, and other emotions would clearly be seen lurking behind a self made wall of strength. On one of the video sessions at GriefShare, a man tells of his experience in another type of program for those grieving the loss of a loved one. He describes a couple who starts telling the story of their daughter's murder. The man listens intently, sad for this couple whose emotions are raw and painful. He later learned that the murder happened something like 14 or 17 years ago! He decided right then that somehow he was going to face his grief and move forward, dreading the idea of living in this much pain for that long. Like the splinter in the finger, if it's not taken care of it becomes a huge mess!

Maybe because I came to the GriefShare program so freshly hurting the loss of my Vinnie, I started two weeks after he died, and found it to be a safe place to grieve, that has given me what perhaps some haven't had. I hadn't had time to find my 'own way' of dealing with the pain (or as some do - ignore it and face something else). I've followed the experts advice pretty much from the beginning. I think one's 'own way' comes when one doesn't know what to do with the pain and just doesn't want to feel it anymore. It is afterall, quite painful and we don't want to go there. Television commercials are geared toward what we think we want and there are plenty of commercials advertising drugs to help eliminate pain of some kind. I am not saying there's anything wrong with medications, but when I hear what kinds of possible side effects can occur by taking them, I have to wonder what is worse, the original pain or the new ones? It reminds me of Vinnie's splinters. One way or another, one has to face the pain! The couple mentioned in the video faced their anger about the murder but they never faced the pain of losing their daughter. See the difference?

Facing pain is hard, whether it is pain of a loss of a loved one, pain because your spouse has abandoned you, your child is wayward and rebellious, or any number of things. Here's the point I am trying to get at...God's promise to "use all things for the good of those that love Him" (Romans 8:28) is just as true, even more so in my personal opinion, when it comes to God using grief. Grief, sorrow, sadness, desperation, you name it, my experience has proven that these emotions are meant to be like radar, signals that tell us we need God! So many feel like God abandoned them when their loved one dies when in fact, a sinful world brings death - it's a 100% death rate in the world, remember? But when death comes, God comes to comfort those left behind. He does! He loves to. He wants us to know we need Him but it takes a humble person, like Vinnie with a splinter in his finger, to admit we need help. God wants to use grief and all the other painful emotions to draw us closer to Him. Oh, if only I could stand on a mountain top and shout this out to a hurting world. Are you listening world?!!!!

If the world could hear me, there'd be few to listen, I'm afraid. Not that what I have to say is great, but what God's taught me is great and He doesn't want just a few to experience it either. So here's what I ask of you, the reader of this little blog...if you are grieving, lean into it. Don't be afraid to be small and wounded. Let God, the great healer, make you see the pain differently, from His perspective. Now it is not up to you to say how long it should take, in fact, if it's an amputation that is needed, it may always hurt, but your pain will always remind you to go to the One who will make you able to live with it, experiencing joy right along side the pain. In this case, the pain will never go away so why not go where there can also be joy too! If you are not grieving and you are reading this, I ask that you look around. If you see those who are hurting, tell them that it is a built in radar device God gives us to tell us it's time to tune into the Healer. He wants us to know Him and the more desperate we are the more we will lean on Him and know Him. If it's a person that has had a loved one die, tell them about GriefShare. It's Christ centered and Biblically based on the Gospel and Truth. He is after all, the only source of Hope any of us can ever have. Any other source of supposed stregth else will eventually crumble under our feet.

No comments: