Outside of the pain I can see lovely things. I see two beautiful healthy boys so full of life. An amazing husband who works harder than anyone I know. That same man is a wonderful daddy to those two amazing little boys. I see family that will never give up on us. I see God's unending, unconditional love for me. I see a story of strength given, difficulties overcome, and eyes reopened to grace and provision.
Inside of the pain these wonderful things became so cloudy that I lost sight of them. I couldn't see a day in front of me. My mind was so overwhelmed with darkness that any joy felt so out of reach. As hard as I tried to see it as God's perfect plan and timing, I struggled; struggled hard.
It was a fight to get outside the pain. Overcoming my doubt that something was really wrong and seeking help. And putting in a conscience effort to focus on the positive things in my life once I was on the road to recovery.
As I wrote this, one of my best friends was in the hospital. I hurt for her and prayed every hour that God would heal her body. I found myself going back to asking God why. I didn't understand it. I knew she didn't. I can remember the helplessness of being stuck and not knowing why I was there. Wishing it would end and crying each day begging God that He could do that for me. I have no answer for why I went through postpartum depression. I don't have an answer for why Joni had to deal with her sickness. But I do know I made it through. And she did too. I remember telling her often that she would make it, and believing for her when she didn't have the strength to do that herself. Knowing God had brought me through something so awful and painful I knew He would do it for her too. And that's what I needed to know in the dark months I went through. I needed to hear that other people had been through the same thing and made it to the other side. The scriptures and prayers did help, but it was knowing others had been there before and were okay that gave me strength. What I couldn't see in the worst of it was real life again. I really thought I was going to be stuck there forever. I needed to be reminded, that in fact I wouldn't.
Outside of the pain I see the real me. An over comer. I see beauty in the strength that was made in me. I have a greater love for God. I know a greater trust in God. I'm living these truths while there are some in my life going through hard things. I have to take myself back to that place and realize what they need. What I needed. I needed to know it wasn't forever. I needed to know I was in their thoughts. I didn't need answers, just ears to listen. And sometimes I literally just wanted a warm body in the room while I cried. No words. Just warm tears and a friend that understood that them just being there was healing for me. It was painfully hard for me to reach out. The majority of the time I needed friends to come to me. Knowing that I was hurting, but not having the strength to tell them I needed it. No judgement of why I wasn't myself, I needed grace and love. I want to be that for other people. To get outside my selfishness and show others God's love when they can't find it for themselves. Pray for them when they can't find the faith to believe. In the midst of their why's and emotional draining they need one of us to be there for them. We can't get so consumed with our own life that we forget other people have pain too. And let's stop assuming someone else will do it.
I have a handful of faithful friends who consistently reach out when I'm going through a rough time. I'm so grateful for them. I want to be like them. Bring yourself back to a place where you needed it. Be aware of what is going on in others lives and do what you can. Don't wait. Those in pain don't always know how to ask. I didn't.
Three years ago I was unable see beyond the pain. In that situation where my mind was not right, the pain seemed forever. Pain I've gone through since then has been different. I've battled to pray God's word and remember He is faithful. Just as Proverbs 31:15 says "she rises while it is yet night...", I want to continue to strive to do just that. In the midst of hardship and pain I want to rise above the negative thoughts and doubt, and praise God through it remembering He is faithful and true to His word. And I want to be that friend who will stand in the gap for those who can't see beyond their pain to believe God will bring them through it.