The funny thing about pain.

On Friday I saw the man who has been counseling me for the past two and a half years. Kevin and I have a rich history of me coming into his office and prefacing everything with, “I’m a mess.” In his calm and humorous way he assures me that I’m not as screwed up as I think I am.

Kevin and I were processing through a lot. I think the last few months have finally caught up to me and by Thursday I felt like I didn’t have my feet on solid ground. Even though I don’t come out of those times with answers or solutions, I usually come out feeling a little more grounded.

He speaks gentle but firm truth into my circling brain and usually calls me out on the things I say that reveal places my heart is at that I don’t even realize. In the middle of a spiral I tearfully admitted, “I still don’t believe the LORD’s heart for me is good in this situation. Because all I hear are those whispers, you’ll never be enough. why didn’t you expect this? he’s withholding. he’s not trust worthy. And I know those things aren’t true but they feel true. I just don’t want to live out of my emotion anymore.”

Kevin smiled and said, “Rachel, there is someone who is madly in love with you. ”

And it stopped me dead in my tracks. I’ve heard those things before and I’ve sought God as Lover but for some reason in this moment it rocked me. Madly in love? Someone is madly in love with me? Papa? He’s madly in love? Like fairy tale romance love?

Yes.

As we walked through several different things I started to uncover and mourn areas of my life I kept locked up. Kevin gave me the permission to grieve and acknowledge them. To acknowledge that they hurt. And they suck. And they are real. Because so often we numb or ignore the emotions. Or in my case, try to discount them. I’m the girl who feels too much and it’s my fault for getting into the xyz scenarios.

You see, the funny thing about pain is that it creeps around. It lurks in the shadows until you see something that reminded you of that conversation or that moment or that smile and it’s like a sucker punch to the gut. It takes your breath away and you do everything you can to cover up the agony that slices your soul into pieces. It’s when you dread falling asleep because you know when you wake up you’ll have forgotten the hurt for a split second until it comes crashing down around you like a tidal wave.

Pain magnifies and minimizes everything in your life.

But I’m learning that pain means you’re living. That you can’t experience love and vulnerability and creativity and joy and deep connection without the possibility of pain. That the beautiful part of living comes with deep soul scorching pain.

Kevin reminded me of a Ted talk done by a woman named Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability. I had watched it before but as he started sharing quotes from her, my eyes widened and my spirit awakened.

Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

Did you get that?

Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

Kevin looked at me and said, “Rachel. That is who you are. That is what you do. You tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. You have the courage to be imperfect.”

It all came together while I was sitting in that chair with tears streaming down my face.

I am not too much.
I am not too emotional.
I am not too dramatic.
I am not too much.

I tell the story of who I am, of who God has created me to be, with my whole heart. And that means risking it all. It means taking a chance on something that has no guarantee because I don’t know any other way to live.

I think the LORD knew that there would be people like me who live out our whole stories for the world to witness. Because this morning as I grabbed my Bible and desperately cried out for Papa, this is what fell open.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. O people of Zion who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.

As I sat in my bed with tears streaming down my face, I cried out for Papa. I knew He was there. I knew He had been near because my best friend held me while I cried the night before. And the night before that, my roommate sat on the floor while I cried. And tonight? If I need to cry, He’ll be sitting there holding me again.

Because as soon as He hears, He WILL answer.

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4 thoughts on “The funny thing about pain.

  1. And I don’t want the world to see me,
    Cause I don’t think that they’d understand.
    When everything’s made to be broken,
    I just want you to know who I am.

    And you cant fight the tears that ain’t coming,
    Or the moment of the truth in your lies.
    When everything feels like the movies,
    Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive.

    From “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls

  2. Rachel, are you a fan of John and Staci Eldredge? Some things you said in this post remind me of their book “Captivating.” It’s one I would recommend. Great blog btw.

      • Ah ha, I had a feeling. I’ve read (or listened to) several of Eldredge’s books and they are all fantastic. After being blind-sided by a divorce 3 years ago, Wild At Heart became a huge part of my healing; and a huge part in my coming to understand that, if I’m going to find that amazing relationship I desire, I first need to know myself AND love myself. It’s so true. A good relationship has healthy people in it; people that have been introspective enough to realize that they have deep wounds and that they need healing and restoration for those wounds.

        I really like the way you think. Keep up the great posts!

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