Recently, I’ve been sharing about my journey with infertility. The illness. The surgery. All the decisions. The hope and peace and joy that God brings. My identity that is found securely in Him and not in a title. The blessed fullness of my household. The many, many children I’ve been able to love.
Probably the most common response I’ve had to these thoughts is this:
“I’m so glad that God has taken away your pain.”
I think I understand what’s behind this comment, but let me be clear.
And I’m thankful that He hasn’t.
Recognizing your blessed path, your fulfillment in Christ alone, your unique abilities and gifts… Recognizing those things doesn’t eliminate pain. Even though I believe that God has given me special grace for my special path, I do still experience pain. And I want to be honest about that.
I want to be honest about that because I believe it gives God the glory. Anyone can be joyful when there is an absence of pain, but only God gives joy in the midst of pain. Peace in sorrow. Beauty from ashes. I don’t believe that hiding pain or discounting it gives God the kind of glory He deserves.
And so, I want to share pain. But my goal here is not to focus on my pain. It’s to focus on how much healing, peace, joy…how perfectly beautiful it is when I experience pain as a child of God. I don’t feel pain every single day. In fact, weeks can go by without that pain stirring in my heart or spilling in tears down my cheeks. I am so secure in the position that I believe God has placed me in, that those moments of pain almost catch me off guard. But they do come. And they do hurt.
I tell you these things not so you will feel sorry for me or feel the need to walk on eggshells around me. Please don’t. I might cry sometimes, I might not. But either way, my God is good.
I think that as believers, sometimes we downplay the pain. We tell others of God’s goodness and the greatness of His plan and we don’t acknowledge the depth of our pain. As a woman who has experienced pain, I believe that pain is a precious, precious gift from God. Acknowledging the depth of my pain at the same time as proclaiming the goodness of God showcases His thoughts that are higher than my thoughts. His ways that are higher than my ways. It tells of Him. His glory. His greatness.
Because only He could turn mourning into joy.
And so, I want to tell you that I feel pain. I weep. I sob. I ask God “why.” But I also want to tell you that I am thankful for those moments.
I’m thankful that pain doesn’t go away. That, even though it changes, it remains. Because those moments of pain help me to love others. Even if my pain doesn’t fit in the same “club” as another’s pain, I know that God has given me the sharpness of my pain so that I can genuinely, empathetically grieve when others grieve.
I’m thankful that pain reminds me that I’m not home. That justice has not yet been poured out on this broken world. That one day everything will be made right. That one day I will understand. That one day, God will wipe the tears from my eyes and set everything back to the perfect joy that it should be.
I’m thankful that these moments bring me to my knees in an emotional outpouring that I cannot hide. That I must bring before my Savior. This is something I cannot carry on my own. Something I must cry out because of. This pain keeps me before my God. In need of Him.
I’m thankful that God provided me a Savior who wept on His knees in overwhelming pain and suffering so that when I kneel. When I weep. I know that I am seeing just a little more of what Jesus Christ poured out on the cross for me.
So, I believe it’s “ok” to feel pain. It’s ok to weep. To feel the brokenness. It’s ok because that pain and brokenness turns us to God in a way that causes us to love Him more, and then turn around and love others like He loved us. That’s awesome. That’s not how I would make it work. But it’s beautiful and it’s perfect. And only a God as great as ours could use pain and sorrow in that beautiful way.