#Transformingloveministries, TLM Blog Posts, TLM Encouragement, Transforming Love Ministries

PAIN: WHERE DO I BEGIN?

Reposted from Transforming Love Ministries / By Elaine A. Lankford / Article Written by Stacha Ashburn @transformingloveministries.org

Do I take it from a physical perspective? I have had pins in my right hip since I was thirteen years old. After the pin placement, I shattered my hip. The healing process caused my right leg to be shorter than my left leg. This in turn has caused back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, and knee pain that I still manage through today.

Do I take it from a mental perspective? I have been verbally assaulted all my life.

Do I take it from an emotional perspective? Thirty years I was hiding behind a mask, presenting what I assumed everyone wanted to receive. I was too broken to reveal the real me, so I created fantasies to keep from killing myself.

Do I take it from a social perspective? For so long, I couldn’t root myself into any community because I didn’t know how to push through the pain that comes with any authentic relationship, so I ran.

Do I take it from a financial perspective? My entire life I have never wanted for anything. I wore my heart on my sleeve and gave to folks until I couldn’t give no more. I have always had A-1 credit until one day I went to swipe, and I couldn’t swipe no more. The realization of being in over $100,000 of credit card debt alone grieved me!

Do I take it from a sexual perspective? I have had the unimaginable happen to me. I have stepped outside the covenant of my marriage in my space of dysfunction.

Or do I take it from a spiritual perspective? I assumed coming to Christ was going to be rainbows and kittens! That in my spiritual journey, I wouldn’t be caught up in conflict. I wouldn’t be hurt. That I would present myself to Christ and to HIS church and all the pain and negativity I had ever went through, I would never go through again. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus Christ is a healer and every one of us needs to be connected to a local body of the Church. With that said, connection itself is not enough. It’s a process! Father God restores us all through different processes.

What I see now, on the other side of all the pain I have been through and still function through, is He will use it all for His good.

God isn’t in the business of wasting one single tear. His Word promises us in Psalm 56:8 that He has kept track of all our wandering and weeping. That He has stored up all our many tears in His bottle. Not one will be lost. For every tear is recorded in God’s book of remembrance.

We so often avoid working through the pain instead of growing through it. We want to be like Job’s wife. We simply want the pain to be over. What if, instead, we would PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens) through the pain to meet its purpose on the other side.

I wonder at what point Job realized that his tragedy wasn’t going to be over very quickly. That he was going to have to settle in for a long period of suffering. Yet his faith did not waver.

I believe that there’s a way to find joy in the suffering. It’s all in how we respond. We don’t control the cards life deals us, but we do control how we choose to play them. Attitude is everything in the pain management world. It can have a profound effect on how quickly we recover.

In Matthew 26:33-35, Peter is confident that he won’t be offended by Jesus even when Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him. In the King James Version, it reads, “though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” Pain often causes us to feel offended by God. That’s why we all need an “eternal perspective” adjustment at times, so we can see the good in discomfort. In every circumstance, the disciples would return to Christ, leaving any offense behind. Yet, sometimes as Christians, we don’t realize this is part of the spiritual battle we face, and we can be angry at God for years.

Questioning God is not the problem, but stumbling, falling away, and staying away are. God calls us to get in the ring and wrestle with Him. When we are going through pain at any level, He wants us to present our real selves to Him. We are not “always” blessed and highly favored. There are times we are ticked off and tired of feeling like everyone and everything is messing with us. If that is where you are, then meet God there.

During these times, not only is it important to come to God in authentic posture, but it’s important that you realize who you are doing life with, your inner circle is so vital. Having people around you that will pray with you, stay with you, and lock arms with you through the storms of life matters. The enemy wants to silo us or keep us in a circle of toxic people that birth death. Everything touches everything!

If you are someone who finds yourself isolated: Heavenly Father, I pray that You will lead my sister to someone, or lead someone to her, that is led by Your light, Your way, and Your truth, to do life in community with.

If you are in a toxic circle right now: Jesus Christ, we come to You and ask You to wash this circle in Your blood. Clean and purify them. If those in the circle won’t adhere to the mandate of true repentance and turn from their broken ways, reveal them to our sister and help her to release them. Help my sister to find restoration regarding whatever hurt she has in her life that is causing her to stew in such a dangerous space.

If you are thriving in a healthy circle of life-giving friends: Lord, we say thank you! Keep us thriving, not just surviving, and help us to remain in a space of wellness despite our circumstances. In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen!

Written by Stacha Ashburn

Challenge, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Journey, Love

Cultivate Relationships

Encouragement Today & Motivation Monday

2AC6723D-4080-4B1D-B5E3-C54F3DA0E309Do you have family and friends who mean everything to you?

Most people do, now think about what you do to keep them close? Do you invest your time, effort, imagination, and energy into them?

“Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.” Jim Rohn 

Do you shop for them? Text them? Call them? Show them how much you love and care for them?

Most people would say yes because that is how we maintain our relationships.

Ok, how about this twist, do you have a relationship that is struggling? Do you have a spouse, family member, or a close friend that is in your life and you are struggling to maintain a relationship with them?

I am going to present a challenge to you. Thoughtfully and prayerfully consider what they like and what they hold that is meaningful to them then consider doing an act of love for them today.

This act should not be done to receive any form of recognition back. It should be done to show them for no specific reason that you love them and still care about them.

Things to consider can be sending flowers. Write a note and deliver or mail it to just say, “I love you or I was thinking about you today.” Consider if you work with them or live with them of buying their favorite drink or snack and leave it on their desk or on the table with a simple note that says I care about you. Consider if you live with them to make their favorite food.

It can be simple, but it has to come from your heart. 

It is amazing how fragile and damaged relationships stem a lot from the feeling of abandonment or damaged feelings. They don’t feel loved or cared about any more.

Now, I can hear many of you thinking, but I am the one who has been damaged and hurt. They ruined our relationship and I am hurt.

My friend, I am there with you. I know that hurt feeling and how deep it runs, but it doesn’t dismiss us from still doing what is right.

I am feeling in my heart this note of encouragement was designed for many of you who are hurt by someone. I feel God is wanting me to encourage all of you to do this random act of love because He is already working on their hearts. He is healing their hearts, but He needs your help by sharing just a simple moment of your time with a simple gesture of love to encourage the healing in their hearts.

Now, be mindful, this one random act of love by itself isn’t enough, however every act of healing has to begin with taking one step forward. I, by no means, am stating this will heal all relationships, but I am stating if you go out on this limb then God will guide you from there.

My challenge is designed to encourage you to take that first difficult step forward and I am trusting God will do the rest for you.

When I give you these challenges I take them seriously as well. While I was writing this I had two people come to mind that I will be doing my simple gestures for.

Now, My Friend, how about you? Will you consider doing this for someone God puts on your heart?

If you do, feel free to leave a simple comment below stating I will accept your challenge.