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Let The Pain Make Your Love Bigger!

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

One of my favorite writers Glennon Doyle scripted “pain is a traveling professor and when pain knocks on the door-wise ones breathe deep and say: ‘Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.” As Christians we hear there is purpose in pain, and our trials produce perseverance. I’m beginning to think maybe the processing of our pain never truly ends, and our purpose in this life is the process of making meaning from our stories. Yes we can heal, move on, find peace with our stories, but the soul carries it with us waiting to be used for connection and purpose.

It always amazes me how there are seasons in our faith when the flashes of realization, redemption and purpose in the weaving of our stories can feel so palpable, strong, and real in the everyday; and then seasons where understanding has gone to a whisper or even silent. When I reflect on my life thus far, the moments I felt God and his purpose in my life the most tangible was in the midst of pain or making meaning from pain. It is only now after breaking free, that the meaning in the pain is becoming more clear. Maybe pieces won’t fully be clear for years to come, because the meaning making in those pieces require a connection, a divine appointment, a clarifying answer that God doesn’t have for me yet. Just like we make meaning about our purpose, our stories and who we are from a relationship with our God, making meaning of our broken pieces and stories is going to require relationship and connection too in this life.

I find myself in a season of incredible power and intensity in meaning unfolding before me. Seeing my daughter find her voice alongside her mom coming back to hers, seeing both my kids flourish, thrive, and step into who they are in new ways that would not have developed if it wasn’t for change. Feeling God at work in my role at school with my students, and Him so perfectly weaving my pain with others stories for us to help each other make meaning. He is weaving stories one weary but hopeful heart, recognizing another weary but hopeful heart at a time. We always hear God weaves our journey and paths, but I believe God weaves our pain for a connecting purpose too. And our longing for healing, wholeness and peace draws us near each other and to Him. The beauty is in the pain. Life is in the pain. Without pain there is no life. If you aren’t hurting or know what it is to hurt, maybe you are not doing life as open and full hearted as you think. Because to feel pain is to have loved. To feel pain is to have birthed something. To feel pain is to have felt the joy. To feel pain is to know you have shown up. To be searching for the meaning in our pain is to be awake and aware of our story. Searching and leaning in. Maybe we don’t ever fully make complete meaning of our pain, or see how our pain truly impacts the people around us until even the other side of heaven. So maybe these flashes of clarity and seasons of intense connecting the dots are Gods way of showing us we are on the right path, following his lead, doing the right work. So hold tight to them, even when they feel messy and unbearably vulnerable.

At one of the hardest and defining moments last year , that lead up to what I needed to do next in our lives, my daughter wrote a poem I opened at Christmas. One line read “I am from the coyotes smiling at me in the Arizona sun.” At the time I had asked her why did you pick that line or write that line because I wondered what the meaning was for her. She had said "I don’t really know mom I just liked it." Well, now almost 9 months later she is literally a “Coyote” at her school, where I am a teacher and "Coyote" as well. We are finding new life, friendships, connections, growth, learning, community, meaning and purpose and life at our school as proud Coyotes. My role everyday with my students, colleagues, and our stories have been woven together to make meaning from and for each other and spur each other on towards amazing things! My daughter is stepping into who she is, her faith, finding her independence, and growing so much each day into truly owning who she is. She is finding her voice, like a howling coyote, during these winds of change and we find ourselves surrounded with many smiling "coyotes" everyday, bringing us joy, purpose and relationship. Coincidence? Or a sweet hint of purpose and clarity from a God that allows pain and change because he ultimately loves us?

I never would be the mom, teacher, friend, woman I am without that pain, and that poem would never have taken on a deeper meaning without our pain and how it led us to this new chapter and place. It was already written by Him, and in my daughters words on that page before I saw that meaning come to life. I think God gives us those unexplainable connection points to remind us…He goes before us, He is in it , and He is working even far before we know and realize it. I don’t know if I have needed my students more or if they have needed me more. Our stories have been woven together for meaning and purpose. That job opening waited for me until the perfect timing of us moving here for a purpose. I met another dear teacher coping with grief at my morning duty for a purpose. My son played football in our church's program for our stories to be woven to others and new friends for a purpose. We moved closer to our family for a purpose. I have been blessed with new people being woven into my journey for a purpose, and old friends riding the storm with me for a purpose and coming back into my life for a purpose.

My pain and journey has a life and purpose bigger than me so when I catch myself asking God why he lets the hard things come in, and seem to keep happening, I try to remember His ways are not my ways. The purpose and meaning in our pain is revealed at just the right time and when those moments come, I want to be heart open, even if it means being raw and vulnerable to more pain along the way. The process of making meaning in our pain is almost the purpose of our lives in itself, and we get blessed with these moments of clarity from Him. Embraces and moments that seem to tenderly say… I won’t’ waste any of it I promise. Be brave to hold onto it enough to refine you, but don't you dare let it harden you.

Share your pain, don’t’ hide from it, let it move through you, let it change you, let it soften you, let it shed the weight you don’t need, let it refine you, let it polish you, let it push you and grow you, but most of all LET THE PAIN MAKE YOUR LOVE BIGGER. Let it expand your heart instead of shrink it, because someone out there needs to know about a God who will make beauty, purpose and light from every ounce of it if you let Him. Let Him be the balm to your heart, let your pain and journey weave you to someone else who needs to hear your heart's journey of faith in it. Let our pain remind us of who loves us. Let us show our kids, our friends, our family that pain can mean an opportunity for connection, not something to hide from, because they have a God who wants to use it. He is counting on us to step into it so He can use it.

I don’t know what you are carrying today, but God is moving in our pain and it is palpable every day. I want to have arms and eyes wide open to see and feel how He is moving. I am never going to see it and feel it closed off. I have to be vulnerable. Others need to know they can face theirs too. The pulse and aching of pain is what can lean us in towards one another. Pain is what is giving us all meaning and connecting us. Don't be afraid to try and believe again. Let the pain make your love bigger!


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