God Can and Does Use Our Stories of Pain for a Purpose

Our stories matter. Not only the blessings, but also painful experiences. Shame or the fear of rejection can tell us not to talk about the hard parts. But other hurting souls need to hear them to feel less alone and more understood. And it’s the pain of the journey that makes God’s loving rescue and redemption shine even more gloriously.

“Carry one another’s burdens
and in this way you will fulfill
the requirements of the law of Christ
[that is, the law of Christian love].”
Galatians 6:2 AMP
“He consoles us as we endure the
pain and hardship of life so that
we may draw from His comfort and
share it with others in their own struggles.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 VOICE
Meaningful Quotes

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” (Brennan Manning) 

“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” (Brennan Manning)

“Our stories of pain, adversity and overcoming in Christ are meant to serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and power, evidence that God really can take what the devil meant for evil and use it for good.”  (Tracie Miles)

“Because God gave you your makeup and superintended every moment of your past, including all the hardship, pain, and struggles, He wants to use your words in a unique manner. No one else can speak through your vocal cords, and, equally important, no one else has your story.” (Charles R. Swindoll)

“Out of fear, we repress, reshape and retell our stories in a way that displays our highlight reel instead of our messy behind the scenes acts. Although this version might seem easier to tell and may be well accepted, we do ourselves and others a huge injustice. When we tell a “highlight” story, we actually dull the very weapon God has given us to conquer the enemy, set people free and empower others.” (Kaitlin Garrison)

Scars
by I Am They
“Waking up to a new sunrise
Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes
Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
‘Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use
So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars…”

September Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


I’m back to my monthly roundup of links, quotes, books, and more. 

🙂 I hope you will visit the growing pages listed above. 🙂


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommend
links, books, quotes, etc.

A Personal Story of Loss in the Opioid Epidemic

Angela Kennecke, a local news anchor here in Sioux Falls, lost her daughter from a drug overdose. Angela courageously shares their story, hoping it will help others. She says, “If just one person hears me, if just one person does one thing to save a life, then I don’t care about a million naysayers or a million people who don’t understand.” 

Emily’s Hope

In coping with the loss of their beautiful daughter and sister, Emily’s family has vowed to do everything possible to give others hope of recovery from addiction.

Emily’s Hope will help offset the cost of treatment and allow more people struggling with addiction to get the help they need. Removing financial barriers and getting people suffering from addiction into proper treatment is the first step toward restoration, not only of the addict, but of the addict’s entire family.

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added another verse for Jesus’ rescuing love.

❤  Rescuing Love 
“He has rescued us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

Colossians 1:13 HCSB

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee

“It’s time to get our control under control.
Jennifer Dukes Lee never thought she struggled with control. As long as everything went exactly the way she wanted it to, she was totally flexible.

But then Jennifer discovered what happens when you try to wrap your arms around everything, thinking it’s all on you: You get burned out on hustle. You toss and turn more at night, and you laugh less during the day. You’re so busy―caring, serving, working, and trying so hard―that you can’t even hear God’s voice anymore.

It’s All Under Control is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic. Join Jennifer on the journey of learning how to:

  • Overcome the anxieties and worries that burden your heart
  • Prioritize your busy life so you can make choices that align with God’s best for you
  • Find freedom through a new “Do, Delegate, or Dismiss” approach to your daily tasks
  • Let go of what God has not asked you to do, so you can shine at what he has

Discover a new way of living that will free you to be you, and finally experience the peace of knowing a God who truly has it all under control.”

(Amazon Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 Stop Minimizing Mental Illness: Worst Things to Say by Natasha Tracy – “Why is it that just because I see a psychiatrist and you see a neurologist your disease is real and mine is not? Why is it you assume I can will my disease away while you can’t? Why is it that you can expect me to bring you chicken soup when you get the flu but when I get sick I can’t even expect that you’ll stick around?

I do understand that people don’t know they are being hurtful. People are trying to help. I get it. But here’s the thing, my illness is just as real as anyone else’s. Please stop forcing me to convince you.

💞 Truths About Faith and Mental Health by Emma Scrivener – “Having ‘faith’ doesn’t mean going it alone.  Yes, you need prayer, community and the bible.  But you can also use medication, counselling and therapy. If we can use doctors for our bodies, we can use doctors for our brains. When Saul was stressed, David played him soothing music.  When Elijah was close to breakdown, God told him to sleep and eat. So let’s not be ashamed of using the resources we have been given.” (#1 of 8)

💞 Thirteen Reasons for Hope by Lesley – Lesley has a compassion and empathy for those who feel hopeless. I love these thirteen reasons for hope based on God’s Word.

Nature Retreat

“Look at the birds of the air,
that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they?”
Matthew 6:26

Here are some of the beautiful bird photos my brother from Arizona shared with me this summer. Thank you, John! 🙂 (My brother kindly gives me permission to share his photos out of his desire to share the joy of nature with others, but as with all photos, I ask that you please do remember copyright laws.)

Phainopepia
Grosbeak
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pyrrhuloxia
Scarlet Tanager
Mexican Jay
Black Vulture
Painted Redstart

🐾 Rosyfinch Ramblings: Finding Birds and Beauty Close to Home – A retired couple, who are avid birders, share beautiful photos on their blog.

🐾 Chasing Bugs: Because Bugs Are Awesome – Danae Wolfe loves to capture the beauty of bugs in her macro photography. Check out her blog and galleries for her spectacular macro photos. Danae is passionate about photography, bugs, conservation, and education.

🐾 Little Big Econ State Forest – A video of beautiful photos of nature and wildlife along with soothing music.

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Compassion.

❤ “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” – Henri Nouwen

❤ “Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.” – Amish Proverb

❤ “It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion toward our fellow creatures.” – Mohandas Gandhi

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Longing For a Heart of Love Like Jesus

“All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?”

Brandon Heath sings and asks himself this as he breathes in the confusion and chaos of people in this world and as he longs to have the eyes and heart of Jesus.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own problems, isn’t it? To become blind or passive about the pain of others? Or perhaps numb, because we can’t bear to think of all the pain in this world?

I long to really see each and every person I meet, whether in person or online. I want to listen to the brokenness behind their pasted-on smiles and I’ve-got-it-altogether words. I want to care what is happening to them behind the scenes. I want to remember that each one carries a cross, sometimes hidden from the rest of the world, and to place their burdens in the hands of God who knows and cares.

There may be times when we hesitate to pray for some people.  Perhaps it’s someone who hasn’t treated us very well in the past?  Someone who has spread rumors or believed in the slander of our person?  Someone who has abused us in some way?

Personally, I find it hard to pray for someone who has hurt me. And even harder to pray for someone who has hurt my loved ones or defenseless children and adults. I confess that sometimes I don’t even want God to care about their souls. I hang my head in sadness and plead that I will become more like Jesus.

It’s not always easy, is it? Especially when the pain runs so deep. I’ve asked God – “How can I ask You to bless this person, Lord?” I feel in my heart that God hurts for me and understands why it’s so hard, and He is so patient with me as He helps me through this long and continuous healing process. Through His grace, I will eventually heal deeper and be able to see every person like Jesus sees them.

Oh, to have the eyes of Jesus! When He was suffering excruciating pain on the cross to save us from death and agony, He still looked at the people around Him with compassion. People who hated Him with a passion. Who drove in the nails and mocked Him. Who stripped Him of His dignity. And yet His first words were, “Father, forgive them…”

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,
for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34a

He could have said, “Father, consume them. They don’t deserve Your love or forgiveness.” But no, He didn’t. His love for sinful mankind is far beyond what we can ever fathom.

We have just as much a part in crucifying Jesus as the ones who physically drove in those nails, and in disgracing Him to the lowest of the lowest.  And yet He still looks directly into our eyes and hearts with love and compassion. While His blood was pouring out to cleanse us. So there will always be hope for us. In spite of who we are or what we have done or not done, He prays for us and longs to redeem us.

Oh, to have a heart of love like Jesus!  A deep, true love for humanity!

“Give Me Your Eyes”
by Brandon Heath

“Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see…”