Friday, February 1, 2008

to know what it's like...

I think lately I have a new perspective on suffering and pain. Throughout my life, times of trial and storms have shaped me and marked a time in my life of change and growth. It never happens in an instant–for character and growth take time. In processing my thoughts in the last few months about struggles and painful trials, I know for me, I often search for someone who has truly been through what I may be going through–someone who can say, "I know exactly what you're going through." For some reason, at least for me, it validates my pain, making it easier to manage.

Recently, I've been reading a couple blogs by two families walking through some major suffering. One family, the Stanford family just posted this video documenting the first and last moments they shared with their son, Maddox, who suffered from Spina Bifida and Trisomy 18. Another family just gave birth to their first child, Gwyneth, very prematurely because Tricia, the mother, has Cystic Fibrosis and is in great need of a lung transplant. Her husband, Nate, has been faithfully posting on their family's blog with photos and updates of Tricia and tiny Gwyneth. As I'm writing this, I checked Nate's most recent post and it has pictures of him holding his daughter for the first time. One of the most remarkable things he said, however, was his reason for blogging and documenting this time in his life. Here's what he said:

"I have always believed that, if we allow Him, God never wastes a hurt, and that He will always use a painful experience to bless others going through similar experiences...Tricia and I feel that it would be incredibly selfish for us to have gone through this journey, no matter the final outcome, without, at least, offering to share our experiences with others."

I know for me, my pain in past trials becomes so much more meaningful–so much sweeter–when I can say to someone in a similar situation, "I KNOW what this feels like and I'm here with you." Even now, as I'm walking through troubles of my own, although not nearly as life-altering as those of Nate and Tricia or the Stanford family, knowing that someday I can say to someone hurting the same way, "I understand completely, " gives me pride in my hurting–the good pride that helps you push through with confidence. I can stop asking, "what should I be learning?" or, "why am I going through this?" and look around me at the answers to those questions...the ones watching me walk through it.

To God be the glory.

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." –I Peter 4:12-13


Carrie said...

Did you read his post the other day about his journey? I was so excited to see him holding Gwyneth today!

Katy said...

Sometimes the only answer we get from God when we are going through a painful trial is, "Because." Since we know He loves us, we can trust that "because" and know He never makes mistakes. I liked what Nate said,"..God never wastes a hurt.." He's right - we can trust Him! I love you, Katie! Mom