Planted Pain

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Personal Moment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In recent days I have discovered something about myself that disturbs me. It is something that has always lingered underneath the surface of my existence, but has never been exposed in full light until I had children… funny how that works.

It all started to come together for me a few weeks ago as my husband and I struggled intensely with our 3 year old about bed time. Each night for over a week our sweet little girl suddenly turned into a maniac; she screamed, threw herself against her bedroom door and stomped on the floor demanding to be allowed to stay up and play with us. As most parents can probably imagine, this pushed us to the brink of sanity. I shed many tears of frustration and spent much time begging God for this season to pass so that my tears could give way to joy once again. Little did I know that this attitude was my real problem; the mindset that my suffering is a roadblock to my joy, is not only incorrect but it is actually the thing that robs me of joy more than the suffering.

I did not come to truly grasp this until I listened to a sermon by Timothy Keller called “Praying Your Tears” which was recommended to me by a friend months ago. In the sermon he makes the point that tears to do not just give way to joy, they produce it (2 Corinthians 4:17). Keller states that we are to invest our suffering and tears into our prayers and that is what turns them into a harvest of joy. This idea affected me profoundly. I suddenly realized how much of my time I spend thinking “If I can just get through this then I will be ‘happy’.” I keep trying to get past my suffering and in many ways I feel guilty that I am suffering at all because it always seems that I should be stronger than that.

I now realize this attitude has cost me much joy, especially in my parenting. My struggles in life will never be pleasant otherwise they would not qualify as struggles, but holding the hand of my Savior as I walk through them will change me and produce a joy that runs deeper than mere happiness. Happiness must always be derived from something, like circumstances or a relationship. Joy is harvested from the investment of our heart, soul and tears. Happiness fades with the changing of circumstances, but joy is as steady as our Savior’s love.

So let’s face it, life is riddled with a wide variety of struggles and many tears, but these are not roadblocks for me to avoid. The struggles are meant to slowly remove the toxin of sin from my heart so that it can beat with a life born of the spirit; the tears are meant to wash away the worldly haze from my soul so that it can breathe the reality of Jesus. However, none of this can happen if I waste all my time trying to get around my pain instead of pouring it into my conversations with God. This means when my 3 year old is throwing a tantrum that could raise the dead, I can freely cry out to Him knowing that in that moment I am learning to trust and pain planted at the feet of Jesus is not wasted but will grow into a joy that surpasses all understanding.

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