This Christmas has been the most wonderful–and most painful–one I can remember. Last night consisted of misery and fitful sleep, and when I woke at 5am, my body and spirit ached. But by the time two more hours had passed, the aching had turned to tears of joy. I’m gagging a bit on the mushiness of all this, but it’s true. Like a refining process, the hurt brought forth a gleaming truth, resplendent and pure. In fact, I’m convinced that without the pain, this truth would have remained buried.
I discovered that I can imitate the Father in how He takes what the enemy means for evil and uses it for good. How introspective my pain has been! I’ve been so intently focused on the agony that threatens to shatter me to pieces…how can I help anyone else in the face of that pain, what do I have to give? It’s all I can do to keep my head above water, and even still I’m swallowing mouthfuls of it. But what I realized is that it’s precisely because of the pain that I have everything to give. I understand what it’s like to be torn apart by turmoil, to hurt so much you don’t think you can take another second. Of course, I can never fully comprehend someone else’s pain and I certainly can’t fix it for them. But I do know because of my experience that most often a person in anguish just needs someone to love on them, to wrap them in a bear hug, to listen without offering advice. And that I can do for you.
The best news is that I don’t have to wait for my own pain to disappear before I can help you with yours. As I blogged yesterday in Peekaboo, we are secure in the One who sees us. That means I can freely focus on comforting you, all the while knowing that the One who sees me is intent on comforting me. It’s that whole “glass is half full/empty” line of thinking…pain happens and it sucks, granted. But what I do with that painful season is completely under my control. Do I wallow in the pain or do I see it as an opportunity to be made aware of others’ pain and what they most need while going through it? I’m thinking seeing pain as an opportunity is both more beneficial and rewarding. What a blessing to be able to bolster one another!
This Christmas will leave scars. What I realized, however, is that those scars don’t have to be reminders of the pain. Instead, they can be the markers of a new perspective and a fresh start. Those are the kinds of battle scars I can roll with…