In light of the pain caused by others, can there be any positive? Oh, heck yes! It starts with remembering the cross. Jesus endured the greatest pain by others OF ALL TIMES. He was betrayed by his friends, ignored by his family, forsaken by his followers. And then He died. Now that would be a miserable end of the story. But that’s not the story. The story is that He rose. In the ultimate way, He came back from the pain caused by others. And you. can. too. One of the greatest joys in my life is Jesus bringing me back from pain caused by others and using that to help others in theirs. Our story can be used for God’s glory. You’ve been abused and healed? You’ve been betrayed and healed? You’ve been rejected and healed? You lost someone but have peace beyond understanding? You’ve raised a rebellious child and didn’t give up on him? Your spouse left you and you kept going? If Jesus helped us through our pain caused by others, we have a story to tell that others are desperate to hear. “Hide it under a bushel, no!” Let the power of God’s healing and let the story of your comeback, SHINE! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!! That is the good that can come from a bad. I hope this encourages someone today.
We don’t need sweet-nothing’s and pithy accolades to make it. But we do need encouragement. In Hebrews 3:13, the bible says: “You must encourage one another each day.” Did you catch that? EACH DAY. Raul and I are blessed to see this each day in Pastor David and Lisa. What does it look like? Imagine driving on a turnpike and getting a flat tire. And before you beckon for help, there are two people already waiting there with air to pump your tire and get you back on your way. That’s the power of encouragement–it’s turning a hole into a whole; something wobbly into something steady; something stuck on the side of the road into something that can return to the fast lane. That’s what pastors like David and Lisa have done for Raul and I. And it’s an eternally changing thing. Life is hard, God is good, and encouragement is its catalyst. Be an encourager. Let God use you to get others back on the road again. And side-note, if you are feeling DIScouraged, one way to counteract that is to ENcourage others. If you are discouraged that you are single, or jobless but you encourage someone who is dying of cancer or homeless-–in a way only God can maneuver, you’ll be encouraged, too. I hope this encourages someone today! 🙂
Sometimes, I’ll tweet this line, “Do your best even at your worst.” When we are at our worst–in a bad relationship, at a bad job, in a deep depression, battling a long addiction–we can still do our best. And I don’t arbitrarily tweet that. I tweet that from experiencing it. In the first year of our marriage, when we were at such a horrible point where divorce seemed imminent, I did my best by not letting divorce be an option. When I have battled the “south pole” of bipolarity, also known as depression, I am definitely at my worst. How do you do your best when you are in the pit of depression? Your best becomes your refusal to give up. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that many times I have been at my worst and did not do my best. But my heart’s desire has always been not to give up and to give it all I have. I don’t know where this post finds you today, but if you are at your worst–take heart–you can do your best.
Through conversations, comments and confessions, I’ve watched people’s addiction of pornography become a pervasive virus in both secular and spiritual spheres. @XXXChurch once tweeted, “Sex was never meant to be watched,” and long before they did, Jesus tweeted, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman (man) with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her (him) in his (her) heart.” I’m not a porn professional nor a porn struggler; but as a pastor’s wife, I’ve educated myself on it because of its viral effect. In no certain order, five considerations I’d offer:
4) CHRISTIAN COUNSELING
For a recommendation, email me at heather@wondHerful.com
There is nothing you can do that God can not undo. There is nowhere you can end up that God can not get to. Don’t give up. “The truth shall set you free.”
“How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” Psalm 119:103
Forgiving is a hard thing to do–that most of us (if not all) will have to do. A few years ago, I had to forgive. It didn’t quickly – it wasn’t an moment, it was a timeline. Now that I have, I wanted to share 5 things I did to get there:
1) Christian Counseling. Sometimes the pain is so big, deep and wide we need someone to help us manage it; and to simply be paid to unbiasedly listen.
2) Prayer. Pray daily for the people who hurt you, because a heart can’t coexist with the currents of prayer and hate running through it.
3) Read. “Choosing Forgiveness” “Exquisite Agony” “Total Forgiveness” and “Forgive and Forget” were very helpful books for my healing.
4) Set a goal. My goal (per the suggestion of my counselor) was to get my HEART to the point where it could say to my hurter, “I wish you well.” Forgiveness does not always mean restoring the relationship but it does mean restoring your heart!
5) Cry and Ask. I cried and asked God, “Why?” God became my closest friend during that time. I had a lot of tears and confusion. I learned there was nobody who could understand, handle and help me more than God. God lives in my heart – where betrayal and forgiveness takes place. You can’t get closer to me than in my heart. Many-a-day, I met Jesus there.
I hope this encourages someone today. If you are working through this, be happy to pray for you. Shoot me an email, email@example.com
Over the years, one thing I’ve been guilty of doing, tempted to do and seen others do, is use mental illness as an excuse to hurt others. I don’t like that I have done this. And when I bounced my behavior off God’s word, I don’t think God does either. In the bible, Paul wrote, “I was given a thorn in my flesh…” (2 Corinthians 12) From this chapter, I learned that Paul was tormented–like some of us are mentally tormented. However, what I learn from the subtext, is that Paul says HE has a thorn: he owns it, accepts it, and gives it to God. What Paul does not imply is that his “thorn” is mine, yours, ours. It’s HIS. Sometimes, I’ve been tempted to say, “But I can’t help it. It’s just the way my mind is.” Almost like I’m allowed to be mean or unloving. But that doesn’t line up with God’s word. The bible says that we take our thoughts captive. The bible says that we are to be transformed by the reNEWing of our minds. That means, a malign thought-life is not my excuse, if Jesus is my Savior. And if that doesn’t make a convincing case, the bible also says the greatest commandment is to love your neighbors…and your enemies. Love is not using our weakness to hurt others with it. By now, I hope you know that I know the mental struggle is real. But I also hope this honesty encourages someone to accept their thorn, but not use it as an excuse to hurt others with it.
Recently, at a medical facility, I saw this pic: “We want to do everything possible to manage your pain.” The word “manage” started spinning in my head like a rotiessiere chicken! Of all places, a medical facility like a hospital, urgent care or doctor’s complex should be able to eliminate pain, not just manage it! They have all the resources and tools one would need to eliminate it. And yet that’s not the promise they make. Which got me thinking about God. God has everything He needs to eleminate our pain. He has cures, miracles and remedies man could never dream of, much less perform. But why is it then, that like this sign, He sometimes “manages” our pain? I think Paul answered that for us in 2 Corinthians 10, when he said, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” The way I’m learning to see ongoing pain is, ironically, as a win-win! On one hand, if we walk with God we walk with the One who could give us a miracle or cure at any moment! Win #1! On the other hand, if we walk with God and He doesn’t give us a miracle or a cure, He will manage that pain for us, AND the lost ones we love around us, will see Him THROUGH it. Win #2! I know you might be constantly hurting, but I hope you are walking with the God. With him, we truly have the best pain management.