Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Trading Pain for Purpose and Trials for Testimonies


Last week I had the privilege of speaking to a group of women who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. A group of women affiliated with the Hope Mommies West Texas Chapter came together last Friday evening for dinner, fellowship, and connection. It was a beautiful evening. One not without pain or tears, but one not void of joy, hope, and encouragement. 


When I first received the invitation to speak, I was told the theme of the weekend would be Psalm 91:1-4. You guys. I about lost it. Remember this post? Public speaking is not my comfort zone, but God was making this decision real loud and clear. Thanks, God. 

So Brandon and I drove to Abilene, Texas last Friday. During the event I watched Hope Mom after Hope Mom proudly speak their baby's name and share stories and give hugs to those more fresh in their grief. 

Maybe you haven't experienced pregnancy or infant loss, but you have most likely walked through pain of some kind. Maybe a pain from years before or maybe you are walking through something more recent. None of us are immune to trials. Trials of some kind will come for all of us as long as we are living and breathing on this earth. How I wish this wasn't the case. 


Below is a small portion of words I shared with the women of Hope Mommies. I pray it encourages your soul today, regardless of the pain or trail you are facing. 

. . . 

I don’t love the phrase “Everything happens for a reason,” but I do believe that purpose can be found in everything that happens to us. Because if not, what’s the point? What’s the other option? To forever remain bitter and a martyr and forever identified by our particular losses? That is not how I want to live.

I choose purpose. 

Purpose can look like a million different things. For me? It’s this . . .

I think of Chance every single day. When I think of my son I think of the promise of heaven and when I think of heaven I think of my Savior Jesus. Chance’s life renewed my focus on the only one I actually need - Jesus. When I think of Chance I’m reminded to keep looking up, instead of side-to-side, knowing that anything I will ever need was given to me when Jesus gave Himself on the cross. So thanks to my son, my mind is pointed to Jesus daily, sometimes even hourly. That’s purpose. 

Losing Chance has also given me the courage to continually share the truth of the gospel because I know life doesn’t end with death and if I know such a secret, how can I not share it? That’s purpose. 

Losing Chance has given me credibility with a hurting world. Struggling souls hear our stories and see our lives as we demonstrate to them God’s sufficiency to meet our needs. Our babies’ lives and stories open the door for connection and offer light to another’s darkness. We have loved and lost, but we have not lost hope. We still have joy. We do not despair. This speaks volumes to those who, in their pain, do not know the Lord. God has blessed our lives through our babies so that we can be a blessing to others. That’s purpose. 
Losing Chance heightened my awareness to all the gifts in my life. I became more in-tune to all the good, all the blessings. All the things that, had I not lost my son, I would more easily take for granted: The roof over my head - food on my table - water in my faucet - my living children - my husband who works endlessly to support my family - The pink rose bush that sits outside my front window. Now, when I ponder these blessings, my mind turns to praise. My son reminded me that there is so much good, so much to be grateful for, and that it is important to stop and worship the Lord in thankfulness. That’s purpose. 
Losing Chance and getting to the other side has renewed my faith in God’s faithfulness. I know hard times will come again, that’s a guarantee, yet by remembering God’s grace and faithfulness in carrying my family through the loss of Chance, I will more clearly be able to face the next hurdle, challenge, or loss. This is the pattern with which God uses to grow and stretch me and renew my faith. I look back to look ahead and remember and remind myself that his faithfulness has indeed been my shield and rampart. He has brought me through so much already and He will continue to bring me through. He’s walked with me through an eating disorder, a (very short, compared to many) season of infertility, the diagnosis of my oldest daughter and the daily ups and downs that come with parenting a child with severe intellectual disability. I look back to remember these times to reassure myself that He will continue to pull me through again and again and again. That’s purpose. 
Purpose can also look like viewing Psalm 91 through a fresh, post grief, set of eyes. Eyes that have grieved and cried buckets of tears for our babies gone too soon, but eyes that continually trust and experience refuge and the peace of our Savior. Eyes that have seen God’s faithfulness in their darkest hours. Eyes that choose to see beyond circumstances, and thus minds able to dwell well and experience rest, despite devastating loss. That's purpose. 



So while I don’t believe God wanted Chance to die, I do believe He allowed it to happen for His good and His glory. His greater purposes. For the pointing back to His Son, Jesus Christ and while this belief does not remove suffering or instantly heal the hurt, it does redeem it. 

One of my favorite books is Choose Joy by Sarah Frankyl and Mary Carver. Sarah Frankyl struggled from a terminal disease that kept her homebound, but that didn’t stop her from living. She was a blogger/writer and blogged the lessons she learned while she struggled with chronic pain and while she was dying. Choose Joy is written in Frankyl’s own words yet sewn together in book form by her friend Mary Carver. 

One of my favorite quotes from the book is the following:

"I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but I trust that everything that comes from God is good. I trust that everything that comes from God is an already answered prayer. I trust that everything that will come from God is exactly what I need. Even if it’s hard. Because He sees what I can’t. So I count it all a gift. And I thank Him—not for the pain and the difficulty—but for the faithfulness He gives during it all. That is how I have learned to praise. Even in my weakest places, even in my hardest moments, even in the depths of pain and sickness, I thank Him for what I know for sure is true—beyond the distraction of the hard, within the hard. I praise Him for Him." - Sarah Frankyl 

Friends, God takes our pain and gives it purpose and He takes our trials and turns them into testimonies. He is so so faithful to do so. We have a testimony of God’s incredible faithfulness. We have seen Him work before. And we know He will continue to fulfill His purposes in us and around us and through us.

He is faithfully writing your story into history, and you can trust Him. 

So my prayer for you, for us, is that God graces you with purpose in your story. That He takes your trials and turns them into testimonies. And that like Sarah Frankyl you can boldly proclaim that everything that comes from God is good and exactly what you need. My prayer is that we can count it all a gift, even the hard parts of our story. 

. . . 

Your turn. . . How is God trading your pain for purpose? 

2 comments

  1. So proud of you! After my miscarriage, I took great comfort in realizing that God had put me in a position to help others going through something similar. I would not have been able to empathize with those moms in the same way if I had not gone through it, and that really made the load easier to bear at the time!

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