Finding Hope with Deafening Pain

finding hope with deafening painSometimes the pain is deafening. As I sit in a prenatal appointment, preparing a young, healthy, expectant couple for their first child, my hips begin to scream. Working with earsplitting pain, I push it out of mind as I coach them on the ways of birth, what to expect, and how I can support them. I sit for hours teaching men & women about birth, excited to share new information, old information, and the various options they have for bringing their child into this world.

"Do you have any questions? Is there anything else I can do?" And I step out until our next meeting, which may be labor itself. I sit in the car and make the long drive home while my lower back, legs, and hips remind me that my body is actually attacking itself from within. The searing aches of this autoimmune disease scream impossibility to my sweet soul. And I drive home, praying for a healthy baby to enter to this world; praying for a baby that is not mine. Because that is my job and that is my heart.

It seems as though when the pain is at it's higher volumes, discouragement settles in. I fight the urge to give up hope; hope for my own Little, hope for a pain-free life, hope for less selfishness. The pain from diagnosis deafens my discouraged soul. The constant aches drown out other voices that attempt to bring hope, offer life. Instead, the aches bring loneliness and sorrow; pain sucks my soul dry, threatens barrenness.

And it makes me wonder: do you have/what is your own deafening pain?

Digestive brokenness is very common, but that doesn't negate it's real chronic pain. Maybe it's loss of a loved one, illness or disease, broken family and it's members. Bitterness and grudges, anger at all things is painful. Maybe you're exhausted and tired and weary from raising babies and doing laundry and watching the dishes pile high, threatening a never ending mound of rotten food .. The possibilities of pain are endless, they are not few. And work, life, responsibilities don't pause while pain moves in - everything else must go on; we must learn to live and work and breathe. The question looms, can we fully live instead of simply surviving?

It seems as though the pain and brokenness of this world has never been louder. It has never screamed as loud as it is screaming, searing our eardrums deaf. Pain brings loneliness, the fear that we are the only one experiencing this. Pain distracts us from the good that exists before our very eyes. It shatters our view of reality, as self survival becomes the focal point and sorrow comes crashing in. It doesn't knock, pain barges in, trampling any screening we may have in place. Pain and brokenness are distractingly deafening. And that is often where being in pain crosses the threshold into selfishness; when we allow it to defeat us into deafness, unable to hear or see anything around us. We are absorbed by it, swallowed whole, believing a lie that we are unable to escape it. It is like the sound waves have disappeared and everything is far away. Everything but pain.

But pain isn't my future. It doesn't have to be yours. Maybe here and maybe now; maybe while on this earth. Pan also doesn't have to control you; it isn't always easy but it's more than possible to be ruled by joy, love, Him. We have access to hope, hope for eternity. When I discipline (because it isn't easy but it is my choice...it's discipline) myself to look out and upward, rather than inward at my pain, I see that this life is just a vapor. It is quick, it is fleeting, it is short. And without Jesus, it is insignificant. I don't want to merely survive life, suffocated. I want to flourish, I want to sprint, I want to be radiantly beautiful, shining His face and His love to all men. When that happens...when I love Him with all I am, broken and misfit, imperfect and human, I am Beloved and I know it. I walk in freedom, I run with joy, I cling to a very real Hope. Do you?

In those deafening moments, we must find hope. We must be pulled out of this pit of prison, up and into joyous freedom that is tangibly offered. We must choose to do the things we love - sports, running, baking, writing - because they are gifts given, waiting to be accepted. Though it is easy to avoid the things we love because they hurt/wear us out/exhaust us physically, I am learning that I cannot forsake those gifts. I am learning to get up and go, to quiet the screams to sit still, and to let those endorphins release themselves. I am learning, once again, that we must give thanks for the small and minute, the little and seemingly insignificant ways of life. We must find Christ, in all things. Christ is hope. Christ is joy. And hope and joy heal the barren soul.

Do you know of this hope, this hope for eternity? This freedom of joy even with the accompanying pain?

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5

Finding Him in my brokenness,

Natalie