You might think that the following blog post is extremely similar to blog posts I’ve posted in the past. You would be right. 100% correct.
I wasn’t going to do this one.
And then I read three different things by three different people all along the same vein; your greatest ministry comes out of your greatest hurt. Whatever God brings you through. He makes you a minister to.
I guess while I still have words of hope, maybe even words to help, words words words, I won’t stop.
I have three amazing boys. Son A looks very much like my better half. So much so we still laugh about the time when my husband took a very young son A to the supermarket, the check-out chick remarked ‘how kind it was for him to take his little brother out with him’.
Somehow the years have passed (we really gotta stop blinking) and Son A is now a teenager…… my husband is no longer as baby-faced looking as he was when Son A was a baby. But they still look alike.
Sons B and C don’t look very similar to Son A, but they do look very alike to each other. We can see both myself and my Spunky Hunk in them. Its funny how that works. You can definitely tell they are brothers.
A couple of days ago a little girl came in to where I work. I looked at her and in an instant I saw features in her face that were very similar to all three of my sons. It blew me away. It is the weirdest thing to explain, but I saw this amazing mix of Sons A, B and C in her, and at that same instant the thought flew through my head, ‘she looks like what might have been’.
My ‘what might have been’ hasn’t been for a very long time now. And I can say quite honestly that that’s ok. ‘What might have been’ is a part of my story and perhaps you have a similar story. And that’s ok. And while I’m not dwelling on the past, I’m taking this as a reminder and I’m grateful for it, that by golly we need to be so careful when we’re talking to people who are walking through the deepest of valleys.
While I know I don’t have any formal education on theological issues (I’ve got some friends who are and I’m sure they will correct me if I’m way off track), I’m clued up enough to know there are some warped ideas out there regarding where God is when people hurt and how best to treat people in crisis. And I’m sick and tired of seeing and hearing platitudes regarding the end result of or the reason why people have to endure hard things.
Quite honestly it hurts my heart that someone told my friend who was sitting in an ER with a very sick husband, that his chemo and his cancer was going to make them better people.
It hurts my heart that a fellow Mum at school will be having a mastectomy tomorrow which will then be followed by radiation treatment. I would hope that no-one in her circle would say to her that God will make her even more beautiful. Yes I fully agree that beauty can come in and from ashes, but she was beautiful to start with.
It hurts my heart that some of my own extended family members lost a precious little boy after only six weeks of life outside of the womb. I don’t think its a helpful thing to tell someone who is grieving that they need to focus on all the blessings they do have in their life.
I’m on a journey to be more of a support to people, whatever they are facing, but my own experiences of grief and loss and those I’ve had the privilege of being close to, those experiences tell me…….gently gently gently. Softly softly softly.
You’re not necessarily a better person for having gone through something huge and horrible, because of the experience. You may further develop some characteristics that you already had, but you were already a person who was worthy of being loved. Unconditionally. You were already ‘better’.
I’d say to someone going through a hard time that ‘you’re already beautiful’. And you will get through this. And you can take all the time in the world. I’m sorry that this is a part of your story. You didn’t need this. But what I do know is this – that no matter what happens, no matter how hard things get, we are promised the assurance of God’s presence with us. And this presence gives us Hope. And this presence gives us Peace. And this presence gives us reassurance when all around us is sinking.
Those are the things I would say.
I don’t have answers for when times are tough, but I do have hope. And we need to be passing on the torch of hope.
I know I need these reminders from time to time.