Redemptive Side of Pain

 

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REVELATION

A once-chanced-upon scene between a father and daughter will forever be etched in my remembrance. It was a scene of pure fatherly love and beauty. A picture of a father’s heart. It was a literal, movielike scene where I could see a father’s heart displayed in motion toward his daughter. And it changed me.

I saw this spectacular scene a couple years ago as I was driving near our local elementary school. A middle-aged father was walking home with his 6 or 7-year-old daughter. I’d actually seen this particular family duo walking home many times before. But this time was different. This time the daughter left their usual sidewalk route and instead began to run on the nearby grass ahead of her father. She was giggling. My gaze shifted to her father, to see how he would respond, and I was shocked to see him accept the challenge, take up a leisurely jog and join her in the chase. It wasn’t the parental chase that I was much accustomed to from my own-parental journey—the “quick-grab-the-kid-before-they-run-into-the-street-or-disappear-into-the-crowd” chase. This was a joyful chase. The father could have taken a few long strides to grab his daughter’s arm if she had been in any danger. But this chase was fun. It was different than anything I’d experienced. This was play.

This was a father who decided to chase his daughter with joyful delight and laughter, enjoying every stride and moment for the frolic and play that it represented.

That day’s scene both elated and devastated me. It was one of those ambivalent moments in my life where I realized two things simultaneously: 1) how much my Heavenly Father loves me and 2) that I had a major (Type A) father wound in my life. Major. Because in that moment of beauty, in the depth of my gut, I felt sucker-punched. I’d never known that kind of love in a father relationship. I’d never had a father delight in me in such a wonderful way. How incredible that could have been. Ugh.

RESTORATION

Over time, I learned more about what that Ugh feeling was. At the time I didn’t know how to qualify it. But I’ve since learned about the difference between the Type A wounds and Type B wounds that we receive in our lives. Type A wounds are the absence of the good things that are needed for healthy child-to-adulthood development. Type B wounds are the bad things that happen to us that never should have happened. Usually, people end up with a mixture of both by the time they become adults. I know I sure did. What a cornucopia of pain.

Type A wounds are usually first noticed by the painful reaction a person feels when they see someone else receive the good thing that they themselves didn’t receive. Case in point: the father-daughter frolic I witnessed. I also experience those Ughs on an almost daily basis as I see my children receive wonderful time, attention, love, praise, and other expressions of fathering from my husband that I never received from my own father. And I have to admit I get annoyed with the entitlement that my children often exhibit as they ungratefully demand to receive what I could only dream of getting as a child. Don’t you know how good you have it?? Ugh.

Yet I experience joy and elation as well, as I realize that my husband and I are breaking family patterns and generational parenting modalities. We are doing things differently. It isn’t easy but we are doing it.

What are some of the things that we need growing up, in order to become healthy adults? Answer: safety, protection, love, provision, comfort, a listening ear, lots of healthy displays of affection, being celebrated for who we are, being cherished and doted on, being affirmed and praised—those are just a few.

Now that I’ve learned how to recognize them, I have these Type-A-wound revelations more frequently. I have no kind words for them. They cause me pain. But it’s through these revelations that I have moved onto receive some major healing in my life. God and community have begun to fill in these absent pieces that I was missing from the puzzle of my life. Yet the healing doesn’t happen arbitrarily. I’ve had to proactively seek out and acknowledge the specific things that I need. I’ve had to seek out and cultivate new relationships and risk interacting in new communities. Those actions have taken some serious hard work and sweat on my part. And vulnerability.

REDEMPTION

And now the self-revelation has progressed to an others-focused revelation and perspective on pain. I see people differently. I see people now not through the eyes of judgment but through the lens of pain. Where I used to hear a person complaining, I now hear a person crying out, “OW! I’m in pain! Why doesn’t anybody acknowledge this or see it?”

It feels a bit surreal, actually. Like when Superman arrives on Earth and has a difficult time functioning because he can hear everything around him—yet his supernatural gift to hear beyond others’ ability is actually meant to be a blessing. For me, I feel like I wear a pair of x-ray spyglasses that look normal on the outside but on the inside can actually see a pathway into a person’s pain.

I think this finally means I have begun to see with the eyes of my heart as Scripture talks about in Ephesians. I have begun to see with the eyes of my spirit. The eyes of my heart are being enlightened and I am seeing people from the inside out. I am seeing past outward exteriors.

Seeing with the eyes of my heart is an honor but yet also a responsibility. I recognize the weight of that responsibility. To whom much is given—much is also required.

And so I ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do with this newfound ability? How can I use this gifting you have entrusted me with to bring others into the love and healing that you have brought to me?”

Because that is the goal: REDEMPTION. It’s all about redemption. God is taking the pain and weaving a beautiful tapestry of His redemptive purposes throughout each one of our lives.

I’m not alone in this gifting to recognize pain. Many people who have journeyed through trauma, trials, or pain in their lives also develop this gifting. If they are able to move beyond the roadblocks of bitterness, victim mentality, entitlement, and reactivity—they usually cross over to the redemptive side of pain.

So that’s where I find myself now—on the redemptive side of pain. On the other side of broken. I’m a beautiful mess of process, as I both heal in my own life and seek to be life-giving to others. I’m God’s beautiful mess.

I spent years traversing through the landscape of trials and stumbling over many roadblocks of depression, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, PTSD, victim mentality, reactivity, and anger.

But I’ve crossed over, finally, to the redemptive side of pain. I have by no means arrived. I’m not completely healed. But I’m finally in the place where I’m ready and willing to let Him use my experience to help others find the same inner healing and freedom.

I pray YOU are strengthened to cross over your own sea of pain, to find the freedom and joy that awaits you on the other side—on the redemptive side of pain.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

{If you would like more information on Type A and Type B wounds, Check out the book: “Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You” (by Friesen, Wilder, Bierling, Koepcke, and Poole)}

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One thought on “Redemptive Side of Pain

  1. Pingback: To Belong

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