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Jan 26

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Shocked by Suffering

Not sure how to start this blog on suffering. It’s been a while since I’ve written. The unexpected happened in our family during the holidays. It doesn’t matter how much you intellectually know that we all experience suffering in life…it still catches you off guard and knocks you flat out! Trust me…I hear suffering all day…it’s part of my job…I’ve studied it…I’ve walked through some of my own…I am not unaware of the reality…and yet when it hits close to home….it’s tough.
God's Presence in SufferingSudden suffering has a way of knocking the wind out of us. We struggle for air, shaken, not sure we can get back up.
Despite everything, I can say in the midst of sudden suffering the following things are tangibly real:
  • God’s presence is so much stronger and clearer during times of suffering and struggle.IMG_4070
  • God’s peace really is amazing and completely incomprehensible.
  • God’s people SHOW UP!
  • God’s plan is better than mine (that’s a hard one…but it is, I know it).
  • God is good despite my suffering.
  • Our world is sooooo broken.
  • I long even more for God to make all things new.
Sudden suffering looks different for all of us. It could be a serious illness, tragic accident, natural disaster, recurrence of depression, extreme panic or anxiety, or anything that knocks you down. Whatever it is, let me say this…
You are not alone.
You can walk this road.
You are stronger than you think.
You are brave to get back up.
You just have to take it one step at a time.
I don’t by any stretch have all the answers…but I feel compelled to share what I have learned (and am still learning) about walking in suffering…mainly so I can go back and read it later…hopefully it helps you on your journey too.
First, take the time you need. I mean if you need to go be with family, if you need to be alone, whatever it is you need…make sure you give yourself that time. Our schedules and daily demands can all be put on hold. It’s not selfish to take the time you need.

IMG_4064

Second, know what replenishes your cup. In counseling we call this self-care. Know how to take care of you, how to rest, and what you can do to keep going. Is it remembering to eat, giving yourself permission to sleep, time alone, time with others, whatever it is….make it a priority now more than ever.
Third, tell others what to do. Everyone wants to help in a time of crisis…they feel powerless and they love you. So when they say, “let me know what I can do”….they mean it. I get it, you don’t know what you need…but when you do…share the need. We don’t frequently because “we don’t want to bother people”. It’s okay to ask even for help with small things.
Fourth, you will feel all kinds of things at all different times and that is okay. Take time to feel what you feel.
Fifth, gather close your support system. I’ve found there are people I can be with that let me process and deal. Those are the ones I want around me. Those are the ones I ask the most for help. Those people are the ones that can help you identify what you need, will let you process, and can help you organize everyone else that wants to help.
Sixth, don’t struggle alone. Burdens are so much easier to bear in community. If you don’t have an existing support community, find a good support group or a counselor.
Remember….
You are not alone. You can walk this road. You are stronger than you think. Click To Tweet
You are brave to get back up. You just have to take it one step at a time. Click To Tweet

 

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