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Turning Point

We have all been touched by sorrow.  Whether it is drug addiction, death, financial struggles, relationship strain, eating disorders, depression, anxiety (the list goes on and on), every single one of us has had hard enter our lives at one point or another.  Pain is a unifying factor of humanity.

Have you ever wondered what makes some people give to others out of the very place they have been wounded themselves? A drug dealer working in rehab...a prostitute helping women get off the anorexic leading eating disorder groups...a childless mother reaching out to the barren...a survivor holding the hearts of those walking through trauma and death…  These people are no different than you and me; they have just found their turning point.  

Turning point:  The point where you take your sorrow and turn it into someone’s tomorrow.

This concept of giving out of our places of woundedness is actually very biblical.  (See 2 Cor. 1:3-4 below)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (TPT) says,

3 “All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.[a] 4 He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.”

We were created to be comforters to those around us who are struggling.  It is easy to get caught up in our own pain, feeling very overwhelmed by the engulfing passion of grief.  It would be easy to just cover our ears and crawl underneath a blanket, fully immersed in our own feelings.  And rightly so! Life in this world is hard, isn’t it? But the turning point comes when you can begin to crawl out of your cocoon to see where the world needs you.  Because I can promise you this: you are not the only one hurting. You are not the only one who feels alone in their struggles. You are not the only one wondering if life is really worth it.  You are not even the only one who sometimes wonders if God is real.

And I can also promise you this.  The world does need you. There is a need in the world that only you can fill.  You were created to give from right where you are! Yes, even if that is from a big puddle of tears…

Where is your turning point?  Where are those places of pain you have walked through or you are currently walking through?  Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the hurting people around you--those who hurt in the very places you have hurt.  Ask him to show you how to give out of your own pain. Ask him to show you your turning point that you may take your sorrow and turn it into hope for those around you.  

HOPE in grief

Last night I wanted to paint my grief.  I wanted to brush long, soaking wet strokes up and down my paper and drip deep, dark colors into the wash.  I needed to place the thicket that was engulfing my heart onto something outside of my body.  The thorns, the strangling vines...they just felt like too much.  When we lose our parents, the very people who gave us life, it feels much like losing every childhood memory and every ounce of security they provided.  It feels like everything we have ever known may just be a maybe it really didn’t  happen.  When it happens, there is no one left to validate reality in a way that is tangible and real.  No matter how old we are, we always long to be a son or a daughter and to bask in the unconditional love they bring.

But today, after a very long night hearing things I didn’t want to hear, seeing things I didn’t want to see and experiencing the deep sorrow of death, His mercies are new.  I can see through the thicket.  Although I am struggling to see the beauty that God has told me is right inside the pain, I know it is coming.  He longs to show me his kindness and his power and his gentle hand.  He can’t wait to sit with me and lift the curtain that has been blocking my view and watch my eyes light up when I can see the truth.  It is there.  Even when we cant see it for ourselves, the truth is there--the truth that death holds like a secret whispered into the night...I can hear it...barely...but I can hear:  Death, as real as it feels and as big and aweful and engulfing as it seems to be, has nothing on the promises of God.  Death is smaller than HOPE.  Death is smaller than Life.  Death is smaller than joy.  HOPE, life and joy win every time because of the grace of our Father in Heaven.

I have hope today because i know that God is changing me.  I am excited about the pictures he will show me.  He is patient with my heart but I know he longs for me to see the beauty of the redemption of this pain.  He can’t wait for me to see all the places he sat in the hospital and all the people he spoke through.  He can’t wait for the peace that will flood my heart as I see what he was doing as my dad took his last breath.  And because he has done this for me once before, I know he will show me again.  For what I have not seen, He will show me.  And I am excited and expectant.  It is coming.  He was there.  He was there in the kindness of strangers and in the opportunities he gave me to minister.  He was there in our last communion as a family.  He was there in the deepening of the calling on my heart for the hurting.  He was there in the strength and love of my husband.  He was there in the hearts and hands of my friends.  He was there in the strengthening of the bonds of my family.  He was there in the witness of HOPE to my children.  He was there.  

And now praise be to God for the life of an amazing man who taught me what it looks like to turn toward Jesus in deep pain.  Praise be to God for the HOPE we have in him when life hurts.  Praise be to God for the beauty that can only be found through pain.  Praise be to God for being good and faithful and kind.  And praise be to God for never, ever leaving our side, even when it is oh so dark.  


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