Most of us know what ‘no pain, no gain’ means in the athletic arena. But we also hear the phrase ‘don’t waste your pain’ among Christians. Emotional and physical pain, mental, social or spiritual distress….they all can hurt us deeply! One or two of them spills over into another; it can snowball if we let it.
So when yesterday began much the same as the past three days had, I was determined not to waste it! What? Well, honestly, that wasn’t my first thought. First was fear due to weariness. Am I getting worse again…or is this still the results of an extremely busy weekend and eating all the foods that usually affect me? In small quantities and, on occasion, I can now eat things I had not eaten in four years! (food allergies can be cleared, yes!) Well, this past weekend included occasions – graduation and birthday parties with cakes I just could not pass up! Zero will power.
But chronic and acute pain, with no reprieve, does at times cause panic or anxiety. So I cried…out to God. Okay, yeah, I also….just cried real big tears. My favorite translation of Psalm 56:8 (NLT) says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Wow! If God doesn’t waste our tears, our pain…why should we? Let’s DO something with it! ‘Let’s’ was both God and me! In your case, my dear friend, it’s God and you!
So cool….that every time I truly cry out for help, answers do come in really amazing, but simple, ways that only He could have orchestrated. No coincidence in what I pick up to read that I meant to weeks or months ago, but today a book calls out loud to me from the shelf or nightstand. There it is! A reminder of something needful, but had forgotten or put aside, distracted by something else. Thank you, God! Recently it was a small, old copy of a book with herbal remedies that I had studied in my course and knew these were huge answers to getting well. God used one of my best friends….the day Jeannette picked up and read that small book, she immediately thought of me since I had shared much of its content with her more than a year ago. But the timing of it all is what gets me excited to be ‘in the loop’ when God is talking, while He’s wiping my tears and gently placing them in His bottle with my name on it. Pain turned to gain.
Okay, one more story of how my pain has caused me to gain! No, no, not weight! That’s what you thought for a second though, right? Especially us women….the word gain automatically conjures up images of standing on a scale, with a scowl, ha ha. Today while sorting laundry for my husband to carry and load, I was thinking of how humbling it is to be in this much physical pain. I had just carried the empty laundry basket from the other room and it was not easy and my hands and arms will pay more just for doing it. When I can get up and go out to the kitchen and fix myself a drink or some lunch, it is huge to me…and my family I’m sure. I really don’t enjoy having to ask for help just lifting something out of the fridge or cutting up an apple. If you’re a woman, mom or housewife reading this, you can get a picture of how little housework I can do at this point in my life, right? You probably even know where I’m going with this, you may know what I’ve gained! Was a time in my life when my home had to be immaculate, every day. I liked it that way and wanted to be known for having a clean and clutter-free home. Those days are gone, but the new (and older, he he) and different me can now look around and say ‘it’s ok…that can wait’. Because my two teenage boys still at home, Jordan and Jesse, are a tremendous help already. They are responsible for the kitchen daily, vacuum a couple times a week, and sometimes go to the store and prepare the main meal. Then my wonderful husband, Kevin, does most of the shopping and cooking dinner while he works more than full time!
The key is that people are always coming and going from our home and at least twice a week there are get-together’s of some sort here. Some days I do insist there has to be more cleaned than the usual. I have some incredible girlfriends who have put me in my place enough times that I don’t wince anymore when they come over….hey, it’s me they’re coming to see anyway, not my house! (When Helaine almost insisted on cleaning my toilet one day awhile back, wanting to help and bless me….I didn’t let her because I’m the type who would want to clean it first before I allowed her in there to clean it! That, my friends, is NOT a gain!) They’ve taught me some things. It is now a joy and a comfort, surprisingly, when I sit and watch them all prepare food and clean up during these parties….they’ve come to ‘know’ my kitchen as well if not better than me (Stephanie knows our cookware, he he)! That joy and comfort, my friends, is a gain!
It’s my prayer and hope that someone smiled while reading this. Through the pain I’ve been blessed with family and friends with great senses of humor. Laughter truly is the best medicine….maybe cause it keeps your mind off the pain? 🙂