How Pain So Often Blinds Us To The Truth

Aleo vera

(FreeImages.com/Sergio Roberto Bichara)

Yesterday while standing in my kitchen, I had that moment of unexpected revelation.  It was regarding a season that started almost 14 years ago now.

The season I was recalling lasted for at least seven years, though it varied in intensity at times.  It was a season of life that I would always call, “…a time of great pain and even darkness.”

There were times during that season that I felt I was suffocating — completely overwhelmed — though keeping a smile on my face at most times.

I remember the times though of feeling like I was screaming on the inside.

I remember asking God the question, “Where are you?”  I felt abandoned and left to myself to fend for myself — to hold it all together.  Yet, I knew that I was merely a thread away from losing it all together.

I remember the guilt too.  Afterall, I was a Christian, and “Christians are supposed to have it all together, right?”

Without spending too much time rehashing the old pain, I have always referred to that time as a time of darkness and pain.  Even the house in which I lived was dark and depressing in the winter and hot and suffocating in the summer.

Then entered the season that started seven years ago when God began to do a deep healing in my life (and continues to do so).

It took awhile to get there, but I remember when I finally had the courage to ask God where He was when I felt all alone.

I didn’t ask Him the question for awhile because I was too angry and even more so, too afraid of His answer.

I remember how when I finally asked, His answer came and began to heal so many splintered pieces of my heart.  Immediately after asking Him the question, the verse came flooding into my heart, “As a mother comforts her child so I will comfort you.”  He then showed me a picture of me sitting on a rocking chair holding my babies, but instead of it just being me and my babies, I saw that He was rocking us all.

Years passed, and I thought that I was completely healed from that painful season until yesterday…

Yesterday while standing in my kitchen, God suddenly spoke to my heart with such simplicity but profound clarity.  He told me that I was still afraid of that dark and painful season.

I was afraid of being overwhelmed like the past — of sometime, somehow feeling that same terror: of feeling all alone and completely incapable.  I was afraid of abandonment and failure.  Fear.  It was the biting jaws of fear still nipping at my heels that I feared.

The fear of the past indicated that there was still a string attached to my past and therefore, I could not completely walk free.

As soon as I recognized my fear, I cried out to God.  His response was spoken with such gentle authority.  He reminded me that I am not the same person.

Part of the pain of that season was because I did not know who I was.  I did not truly know Who He is.  Part of the pain was because of my wrong identities and the pressure I put on myself because of what I did not understand.

God then spoke healing words over me, letting me know that I will not go through that season again because I am not the same person.  

This morning, God then opened my eyes to even more truth, which ushered in more healing.

I had been comforted by the picture and words that Jesus was with me, but I remember struggling with why there were not tangible proofs of His presence with me during that season.

This morning, the memories came rushing in, and suddenly I was confronted with the tangible reminders of how God had helped me.  Because of those tangible ways, I never did lose it all together.

Suddenly this morning, my heart was flooded with gratefulness and even repentance for how I had been blinded to God’s provision.

I began to remember Miss Shirley who would find nice things in others trash and would wash and clean it up for my family: the brand-new coat and scarf that all my boys would wear, the brand-new shoes, the clothes for Jonathan and I, the household items and food…

I remembered Jean B. who bought two beautiful outfits for my third little boy.  I remember the beautiful outfit she bought my oldest so that he matched even her own grandson.  I remembered her love and acceptance and how she even watched our kids on occasion for doctor appointments.

I remembered Sean’s grandmother who bought Christmas gifts for our little boys.

I remembered Jessica who bought beautiful outfits for my second-born and who bought Christmas gifts for our boys at least one year.

I remembered Michelle who passed on clothes and shoes to me and who didn’t need to but exchanged babysitting with us so my husband and I could go on free dates.  I remember her friendship during a lonely time.

I remembered Danielle who came straight to my house after long days of teaching to watch my kids for half an hour so I could fix our house and pack to move.  She did this for several weeks even though she had three littles of her own.  That half hour was my sanity hour, and I felt that someone cared.

I remembered Tracy who thought I was an amazing mother and how her belief in me somehow comforted me even though I felt unworthy of it.

I remembered my mom who helped as much as she could though we lived a distance from each other for a portion of that dark season.

My heart began to overflow as I suddenly saw how God had been there all along.  The pain in my heart had allowed lies to enter, and as a result, I was blinded to the truth all along.

The truth is that I was a good mommy, though hurting and broken.  The truth is that God had brought people all along to help — people who offered just the hand we needed at the moment we needed it to keep me from completely breaking.

The truth is my belief in God was not anchored in a fairy tale.  The truth is my belief in God was right all along.  He hadn’t let me down.

It was my fears and the lies that had let me down.

God then began to show me that even my precious children were a constant reminder of the truth.  My oldest son’s name means protector.  Every time, I looked into his face, I was to be reminded that God is my protector.

My child that came at a season when I felt weak and insufficient has a name that means “strength.”  He was a reminder that God will send strength to me in my time of need.

My child that came in a season of great pain and darkness to me has a name that means “light-bringer and healer.”  God was reminding me that He had sent light and healing into my darkness and pain.

My child that came towards the tail end of that dark season has a name that means peace, fellowship, and grace.  God was telling me that the peace I craved, the fellowship that I was missing, and the grace that I didn’t understand because it was a mere theory to me was something that He was getting ready to explode within in my life.

A new season of healing was ushered into my life about the same time as the conception and then birth of my final child. His name means “Strong man of God.”  He is named after the one who proclaimed that God had come as “Immanuel” — that God had come to dwell among us.  It was that season where I finally understood the love of God and encountered His love personally in such a way that I am completely changed, even today. 

God indeed is my God, and He indeed dwells with me in love and fellowship… in peace and grace… in strength… in light… with healing… and I am who I am because He is Who He is.

What I Love!

I love babies who wave at bushes weaving in the breeze.

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I love boys who whisper in my ear that I am the best mom ever.

I love boys who make up their own Easter egg hunt, while sharing their own toys, stickers, and money with each other.

I love sisters to laugh with and be silly with.

I love nieces to take shopping and enjoy girlie stuff with.

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I love having a baby to cuddle in the night when she awakes screaming.

I love yellow tulips from my Secret Prayer Sister.

I love chocolate candy from her as well.

I love spring grass, so green!

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I love sunny days and white fluffy clouds.

I love trees and bushes and plants decked in their most fragrant and colorful dresses for spring.

I love brothers who read to each other and wrap their arms around each other.

I love wet boy smooches.

I love warm, husband hugs.

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I love boys who love to match me and each other in dress.

I love boys who beg to help me cook.

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I love pudgy hands and thighs on my baby girl.

I love friends who visit and laugh with us over broken vacuum cleaners, clogged drains, and rabid raccoons, because life is too crazy to not laugh.

I love boys who bring me piles of carrots that they dug up from last year’s garden.

I love making soup from our carrots and very own onions.

I love even boys who yell and argue and kick — not because of bad behavior but because they remind me of God’s great grace to me.

I love dreams that are sad but make me awaken to realize how blessed I am to have a loving husband and four precious children!

 

I love that I am loved — loved beyond my wildest imagination from a God powerful and yet tender!

Today’s Moments of Grace

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Here are all the moments of grace that I recorded for today:

1.  Plump pillows

2. Warm blankets

3. Soft mattress

4. Smiling baby, happy to see me

5. Milk to fill her tummy … the ability to nurse, to nourish

6. Cuddling kids

7. Children dressed for the day and beds made — without my reminders

8. Breakfast prepared by loving, little hands

9. Peaceful mornings

10. A floor freshly mopped last night

11. Soft words dispelling disagreements

12. Husbands’ fleece hoodie, pulled on for warmth

13. A child who asks for a verse on anger to memorize

14. Smooth wooden table … the grain beautifully seen

15. Clean counters

16. Freshly washed window panes

17. Eyes, the color of the skies, gazing out the window in infant innocence as I rock her

18. Rocking chair, cradling my baby and I

19. Boys quietly working on school papers

20. Surrounded by my boys as I read several books to them

21. Hearing the words “please” , unprompted

22. A 7-month old who looks up from her play to wave in delight at me

23. A mug of creamy ice cream … mint and chocolate brownie

24. Beautiful bindings of books to read, filling library shelves

25. Rice cereal smeared on Baby’s face

26. A big brother lovingly feeding her

27. Five hours of uninterrupted sleep

28. Quiet contentment

29. School completed for the day

30. Children cheerful and playing kindly

31. Flag waving in the breeze

32. Patches of blue sky through the puffy clouds

33. Parks for my rambunctious boys to play

34. Soft leather of my journal that my fingers gently caress as I open its pages

35. Words replete with meaning … the ability to write

36. Boys with strong legs that propel them across the playground and up the ladders of the slides

37. An invitation to chase my son

38. Fluffy towels to dry off after my shower

39. Silky conditioner, fragrant wash, creamy shampoo, pampering me

40. Boys with great imaginations, designing Star Wars characters and snowmen from styrofoam cups

41. The wind blowing, speaking of things unseen yet present

42. Tulips and daffodils poking their leafy stalks from the confines of Earth … reminders that life always follows death to self

43. Laughter and squeals of delight as I race up the ladders and down the slides with my kids … child-like joy and abandonment of adult cares

44. Sleeping baby resting in her warm car-seat

45. Strong arms to twirl my children in the air

46. The pounding of feet across mulch as the chase is on

47. Cold children with rosy cheeks and noses

48. Creative children, imagining they’re pirates or fighting them … the beginnings of manhood — this desire to conquer, to succeed, to protect, to explore, to create

49. Cold children returning to their Mama for warmth and comfort

50. Cups of hot tea, warming my insides and steaming my windows

51. Hard, cold kernels heated and popped open.  Fluffy, white insides revealed, warmed with drizzled butter … a tasty treat on a cold afternoon

52. Little toy cars flying across my kitchen floor, reminding me that there is life here — young life

53. Crimson, velvet petals … sweet fragrance … roses reposing on my table … gift from my husband just because, a few days ago

54. Husband arrives home from work … greeted with a kiss

55. Kiss … full lips, soft, firm, pliant, receptive, cherished!

56. Aromas of homemade garlic Alfredo sauce, simmering on my stove … tender pasta, shrimp, vegetables

57. Baby giggles as Daddy holds her while chasing older brothers around the house … wild squeals of delight

58. Classical music serenading … preparing for dinner … soothing music for our digestion, preparing my soul to receive its own nourishment

59. Matches waiting to strike … candles waiting to be lit

60. Warm glow of candle-light … that which was hard and dark now alight, glowing, melting, flickering, warming … Set me aflame as well, Lord, with your presence, melting warming, alighting that which was not

61. Table set by a little boy’s hands, helping, loving

62. Valentines designed by creative sons … their own initiative … paper hearts representing hearts beating with life … representatives and manifestations of love — God’s love, pulsating with love and joy in beholding life: that which comes from Him

63. Four children snuggled around us while Daddy reads God’s Word, a devotional book, and a story

64. Soft, pink boots held in Baby’s pudgy hands … a gift from Daddy to daughter

65. Children tucked under covers

66. Husband studying late into the evening

67. House quiet … only sounds within are from radiators, pouring forth their heat

68. Full glass of water, sparkling, awaiting my parched lips to take a sip … reminding me of another kind of water offered to quench my spiritual thirst, to loose the dried up/empty parts of my soul and to restore and reinvigorate them.  This glass of water, this taste of Divine refreshment, this fountain of joy … none other than grace … flowing from His presence, nourishing, replenishing my soul … restoring joy to that which was parched but is now re-energized/refreshed!