▪️PAIN HAS A PURPOSE

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.

▪️COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE

Yoga experience or not, I was in

She had sent me a text mid February extending an invitation to an all day retreat at her home. A Yoga retreat. She lives not far from my home on a beautiful oasis that marries the uncommon combination of equestrian life nestled beneath an umbrella of palm trees. I wanted to be spoiled, but a full Saturday I did not have to give. This is the season of life that I should have my Saturdays to myself again – right now however, my life has taken an unexpected detour. My response was intentionally honest and needy.

“I don’t have a Saturday to give, please let me know when you host your next retreat.” I texted her. Not but a day or so later I watched in envy when her pics from the day showed up on my Facebook feed. I knew I had missed out.

That was until recently, when she invited me to a morning of Yoga at our local beach. Yoga experience or not, I was in.

The day was windy, unlike the weather just two days earlier on my regular morning beach walk. It’s a perfect illustration of the unpredictable nature of life.

To a novice Yogi (I googled it, it’s a word) getting it all wrong within the privacy of someone’s personal compound is one level of getting uncomfortable, to do it on a public beach, would undeniably require some courage.

You know me well enough by now, I’m committed to cultivating more courage, therefore it wasn’t even a decision to make. This was an everyday ordinary moment to put my commitment into practice.

Being flexible requires courage.

The more comfortable we become with being uncomfortable, the more flexible we will be. Flexibility reveals a certain inner storehouse of courage.

Fear governs our desire for control, it builds an invisible cage around our life and traps us in a belief that what we know is all there is to be known. This is a dangerous mindset, the reality is we know very little and have control over even less.

I am 43 and here is the expansive list of what I truly have control over; my thoughts, my attitude, and maybe my calorie intake for the day. Meanwhile, no sarcasm necessary, there is a list of what I cannot control; my schedule, how much love my husband shows me today, the choices my teenagers will make, if we will all eat a meal together today, if I will ever be a grandmother, who my kids will marry, if they marry, if I will see any of that come to pass, and so on…you get the point.

Flexible people live with an awareness that each day holds a bit of the unexpected; which leads me back to my morning of Yoga at the beach. I came for Yoga (and personal discomfort) and left with something completely unexpected.

It must have been a solid five minutes into deep breathing, aligning my heartbeat to the roll of the ocean, and cleaning my mind of all its mental sticky notes, when it happened.

God spoke.

Today I choose to end the story here for you with this bit of encouragement; practice this attribute as often as possible – make it not just a habit but a sacrament. If the all knowing, all creating, all loving God goes before us then we can expect to encounter Him as we stretch our life into the great unknown.

Be strong and courageous,