I’ve been appropriately hemmed in between two messages of late. And much like the body weight needed to balance a seesaw, these two are also designed to bring me into alignment, they are pain and healing. When we’ve experienced both we are able to move throughout life with wisdom and strength. When we lack one or the other, we can remain juvenile and weak; for which there is no need for courage.

Here are a few things I was reminded over the past few weeks that I extend to you in an offering of love.

While visiting a church recently the preacher, popular Christian hip hop recording artist Lecrae, shared an excellent message with those in attendance. He talked about the different kinds of storms we will all experience in life, and how we need to respond to those storms. These storms are; those we bring upon ourselves as a result of poor choices, those others bring into our life as a result of their poor choices, and of course the those we all experience because we live in a fallen world. I am paraphrasing his outline here for brevity of course.

While all of the above are true, the storm summary was designed to lay a foundation for a deeper message that we can all relate to. A message about perspective. We all like to think our storms are bigger, harder, and well, more special than someone else’s. Even in our pain we want to feel “special.” As if it would help us feel better. That desire feeds our ability to make excuses to run away from our storms, rather than face them.

The storms we face; are the opportunities for us to experience pain and suffering. That’s what we are avoiding… PAIN.

In his talk, Lecrae, was able to relate in the most human way to the listeners when he said, “you’re right, I’ve never experienced your exact same circumstances, just like I’ve never experienced the circumstances that Joseph faced, or David faced, your right; the circumstances are different but guess what – SAME GOD.” Don’t miss that; different storms but SAME GOD.

We all want someone to go through our pain with us; but no one can do that, they can’t ever feel exactly how we feel, that’s why we can be so thankful that Jesus can walk through our pain with us. Because the God who redeemed all things did it by facing His own pain. Once we learn to lean on Him for courage to face our pain we can get through to the other side and experience healing.

While reading, The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith, book one in a spiritual formation series that I have returned to on many occasions, I came to this passage.

“All of us have to face pain and difficulty, sometimes even tragedy. As we come to know and draw close to the God Jesus knows, we find a new kind of strength to deal with our struggles. If we do not know God as our Abba Father, then we will never have the courage to face our problems. But as we come to know the Good and beautiful God that Jesus knows, our struggles take on a whole new meaning. If God is truly good and looking out for our good, then we can come to him with complete honesty. We can practice honesty when we pray – bearing our soul and confronting those hurts that make us doubt God’s goodness by handing them over to him for healing.” (pg. 64)

When we allow healing to take place we can see God’s redemptive work in our lives. If we’ve never experienced pain there would be nothing to redeem. If we never allow the process of healing to take place we block God’s desire to show us His redemptive work in our lives.

When we are open to receive God’s healing in our lives we are courageously suffering so that our pain has a purpose. Wether the pain is physical or emotional the same truth applies.

I was once told that even broken bones when healed properly can become stronger than they were before the break. This means that healed brokenness can make us stronger. I offer you this tough truth as a companion, whose no stranger to seeing God redeem both physical and emotional pain through the healing process. I can also share that this is an excessively hard road to travel, and requires much courage.

Quite possibly this is why I share a reflection on courage with you regularly, because life is hard, my life is hard, and we all need encouragement to take the courageous way with Jesus. So, this week I leave you with this somber but powerful reminder; Jesus redeemed more through 3 days of pain, than He did in 3 years of ministry, with 3 decades of preparation.

Let us not forget that to follow the Jesus way you must be strong and courageous my friend,


It’s time to realign and push the pain out of my life.

Last night while I should have been soundly asleep, instead I was deciding, “I’ve got to deal with this pain.” The acute cutting pain I’ve allowed to hang around for the last two years. Yes, you read it correctly, TWO YEARS. I wonder how many wrinkles I’ve added to my face by carrying this pain with me unnecessarily? Pain has the remarkable ability to wear us out, down, and into the ground if we don’t deal with it. Pain is a problem. And like all other problems, the only way to solve it is to work through it until we reach its source, and change something.

Pain is a boisterous indicator that something needs to change. For the last two years I have been holding a screaming pain in my right shoulder. My mobility has drastically diminished. With every lift of my arm I wince, hence the new wrinkles. Because I’ve dealt with chronic pain for most of my adult life – I let it move in, when I assumed it was just visiting like the pain I’d experienced in the past.

I wonder how often we assume our problems are visitors when they have every intention of moving in, taking ground, and lording over us? It’s a good thing I had no idea how long “this” problem would hang around, that in itself has been a necessary grace. I’m not oblivious to the fact that it seems I human in a different order than the vast majority of my peers.

I have a tendency to process life in a different order than most of my peers.First I emotion, second I analyze, third I deal with the matter, literally the physical matter. I spend so much time on the interior of things that I sometimes never quite get the surface to look the way it should. Humans love what’s on the surface, that’s what they see. The reality is, the problem is both on the surface and in the deep. Working through a problem all the way is exhausting. No matter which end you start with. It’s taken so long to work through this problem and now I’m exhausted. This is what I’ve learned. No one is courageous when they’re exhausted.

Last night however, I decided it’s time to deal with my physical pain. Since I have scoliosis I have a good idea where and how to get some relief. Even though the pain is in my shoulder area, I’m likely feeling the end of a pinched nerve. The source of the pain – like most pain – it is buried deep within my body, near my spine. The stress of my trial had tightened all my muscles. Their constriction pulling my spine out of alignment allowing it to rest on a nerve.

When life hits you hard you can get knocked clear out of alignment. When that happens you may just find an exposed nerve somewhere down deep at the source of your pain. I’ve felt – and healed – I’ve analyzed – and accepted… now it’s time to realign and push the pain out of my life.

If you’re in pain…emotional, physical, or even mental – don’t let it move in and take over, courageously discover what it’s screaming at you and take steps to live healed, however that looks to you. Take a courageous baby step.

I know it’s hard, but you can do it,


I was flat out done waiting for Him to move

The outcome could not have been more the opposite of my prayer, of ALL the prayers. There was a lingering temptation to be confused. Person after person inquired if what I had been praying for had come to pass. Which each “no” I passed out, I felt more and more, like I was a disappointment. I told myself as a reminder, “I am not the miracle worker, He is.” He is also, the great Physician, the I Am, my Provider, my Shepherd, and the lover of my soul. As He is ALL those things, He is also the all knowing, wise, King of the Universe; who was I to be calling the shots?

That’s what my prayer was really about any way, calling the shots. I had released the outcome to Him, but not the waiting. Not the timing. I was flat out done waiting for Him to move, for the outcome I wanted, and for the pain to pass. That’s what my prayer was all about – being done with the pain.

It takes courage to feel your pain.

While the words may have seemed courageous on paper, they were actually cowardice. Week after week I enlisted others to petition with me, to join my cry for help. I didn’t know this was cowardice at the time, it wasn’t premeditated. Once the fog of confusion had dissipated, enlightenment breezed in. What I really wanted was the pain of waiting to be over. I was done with the pain.

More than having the desire for the outcome I had carefully crafted in my own handwriting, I wanted out of the pain. God knew, way before I did. How do I know you ask? He responded to my petitions. Instead of numbing my current pain, He soothed me with a healing elixir for my aching heart. If my request would have been answered my entire life would have been turned upside down, and while the current pain would have subsided who knows what other ailments I would have contracted. He didn’t answer my prayer. Instead, He blessed me with what I really needed.

The visit we enjoyed with the people we loved was nothing short of perfection for those few days, that’s how I knew it was from Him.

God knows what will heal our hearts. We can’t write our own prescriptions even though often times that’s what we try to do. We must wait and let pain serve it’s purpose. The next time you’re in pain ask Him for healing, but don’t try to anesthetize the feeling. This will take some courage my friend. For you and me both.

We need the work He will do in us as we wait. This is one of my least favorite lessons in cultivating courage, waiting. It seems to play on repeat for me. I’ve actually developed a name for it, I call it “the stretch zone.” Just at the moment where I think I cannot bear the waiting any longer – He stretches me just a little more.

Are you waiting for something friend? Are you begging to get out of the pain you’re feeling? In order for pain to serve a purpose, we need to allow it to change us for the better, whatever that better might be. I can only think of one thing worse than living in the pain for one more day. It would be worse to live a lifetime without knowing its purpose.

What is your pain teaching you today friend? I hope it’s to be strong and courageous.


Relying on the boy who’s bottom I used to clean

My husband said I looked like a pro athlete limping off the field as he watched me shuttle through our front door. I was in pain.

First the pain was physical, as days then weeks unfolded it was the emotional pain that swept in like a tidal wave.

I’ve had fits and spurts of exercise habits. In this particular season it was roller blading that was keeping my body in motion. I had been chastised more than a handful of times for not wearing ALL of the protective garb.

Helmet check.

Knee pads check.

Wrist guards…well there was my demise.

I knew it was bad even before my eyes connected to where I had braced my fall. It’s an incredible truth that our instinct to protect ourselves takes action without the direction of a thought from our minds. Human nature is real.

In the split second that it took my eyes to lock onto the elephant sized bulge that was once my wrist, the shock had already sedated my pain.

There are baskets full of moments that I collected from this pain that still continue to teach me various lessons. It was a season where I felt I lived outside of time, each painful turn of the saga seemed to last an eternity. What was the story being told? If you’ve experienced acute pain of any kind, physical or emotional, I hope you’ve found its purpose. A pragmatic acceptance of pain will keep you in kindergarten.

It takes courage to glean life lessons from our pain.

One of those lessons for me was humility. It’s an interesting exercise to survey the definition of humility from those you know. I was of the camp that humility was the absence of pride at the time, that was until I gleaned from the classroom of life.

Now having incapacitated my right arm from my fingers to elbow, daily chores had me in tears. I loathed my need for help. That was until I really needed it.

I can’t recall the circumstances exactly that put me in this bind, what I do recall was the need for a bath and washing of my hair. I must have been in dyer need for a good scrub to ask for his help. And by his I’m referring to my son who was 12 years old at the time. I thought I could do it myself, only to find out midway that I needed some help. So there I was, in all of my naked frailty, relying on the boy, who’s bottom I used to clean, to help me wash my hair.

Now I possess a new definition of humility. An experienced definition.

I define humility as our humanness exposed with dignity. A human who’s suffering is wrapped with dignity is humble. Humility is our strength controlled for meaning and purpose.

Suffering is a part of life, why not winnow our suffering for courage and allow our pain to have purpose?

For those of you who are in pain, don’t let it go to waste.

Be strong and courageous.


Pain is a great teacher

Not again.

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed there it was, another “I did it” post. It’s a double edged sword. They’re excited to share their success and want to encourage the “others” who have yet to win a BIG victory.

Unfortunately, in the process their win can be discouraging.

When you’re just getting started and you haven’t achieved the big MO…momentum, you are emotionally fragile. Fragile is a gentle word. What would the word be exactly for something suspended in such a volatile state that it could easily rupture like a bubble? Maybe that’s the right word, volatile?

I wasn’t planning on writing about this today, yet it’s truth caught up with me – or did I find it while I was getting caught up on Facebook?

When we get all caught up in our negative emotions, death creeps in. Our small wins become losses. Our potential gets starved. Our dreams die.

In case you didn’t know the death of a dream can be as emotionally painful for a human as the death of a real person in their life. The loss is real. 💔

Our emotions are strong and unruly and if we don’t keep them in check they can do a devastating amount of damage to our lives. I say this from experience as I’ve looked over my shoulder and personally surveyed their destructive remnants.

My Facebook discouragement is legit. My emotions have a well rehearsed response when someone obtains something that I have yet to possess. We are possessive by nature. God is possessive. We’re made in His image.

My brain says abundance. My emotions say scarcity.

My brain says they’ve been working at it longer. My emotions say I’ll never get there.

My brain speaks words of truth. My emotions pour out a cocktail of lies.

Why do we have emotions anyway if they can reek havoc on us? Jealousy, envy, anger, why are they necessary?

Is it possible that they’re the mirror we must gaze at to discover who we really are and what we really want? I say, yes. More so than any book, podcast, webinar or personality profile, it has been my emotions that have informed me about who God made me to be and the purpose He has for me.

The jealousy and envy reveal to me – that’s what you want. Well then I say…go ahead. Put effort in that same direction.

The anger discloses – you’re not in control of the outcome. Hold everything with an open hand…do your part and let God do His and trust that He has your best interest at heart.

Pain is a great teacher of our hearts.

I don’t need to explain to myself what’s going on when my emotions are positive because my brain and my heart have aligned. Like a slot machine signaling JACKPOT with blinking lights and blaring sirens, my emotions are affirming the YES! YES! YES!

It’s not so with negative emotions. It’s not so with emotional pain.

I do believe God uses the pain to help us on our journey, it serves a purpose. All we have to do is discover that purpose. Physical pain and emotional pain are both opportunities for self discovery. Pain can change us for the better.

Taking the journey toward our pain takes courage.

It’s this deep dive into our emotions where we can find the desires of hearts, hold them carefully in all their fragility as we carry them to surface of our lives.

It takes oxygen to make this journey. Breathe.

I intended to write today about a recent reflection I’d had while getting a therapeutic message. However, today’s pain was real enough to share, I’ll get to that story another time. Just keepin it real friends.


This is our conversation starter for this week.

Where’s your pain point? Share what you’ve learned from pain with us – you’ll encourage someone along the way.

As always, be strong and courageous,