Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Purposed Pain

As we approach the holiday in which Christians celebrate Easter, or the day that Jesus rose from the dead, many may be focusing on their best Easter outfits. Still, others are planning the perfect Easter feast for the host of friends and family who may come to their homes to fellowship. In the midst of making all of these plans, often the true reason for the holiday is forgotten. Just to rehearse a little, in Christianity, it is stated that Jesus Christ died for everyone’s sins so that humanity had a chance to be redeemed. Jesus was crucified and buried, and on the third day, Jesus rose again from the grave. The celebration, on Easter, is about the fact that Jesus rose. As we approach this day, I revel in the journey that is revealed. Whether you believe in Jesus or the Easter story, the story is still one to glean from. Here, we have a man who chose to unselfishly sacrifice himself to redeem mankind. The process was undeniably painful. The appreciation from others may have seemed dismal. Yet, this man pressed through the pain into what he was purposed to do. Again, whether you believe it or not, this is amazing to behold.

Imagine if we had a purpose so necessary and pressing, that despite what it felt and looked like, we still did the things that were painful to do. What would happen if we were so committed to the purpose of our lives, that despite obstacles, despite people not believing, in spite of us sometimes doubting ourselves, and even us wanting to let the “cup” pass from us, we persevered? What would happen? This world is filled with people who have lost their passion because of life and the many struggles they have endured. The pain has brought many to the point of being numb to their purpose, so they settle for a life of just having and being good enough. What would happen if we acknowledged the pain, but pressed towards our purpose? No, the ending may not seem worth it. You may not want to be everything for everyone. You may not even want to deal with the “craziness” it takes to walk out who you are, but there really is purpose in the pain. There is a reason for your specific journey. Just as Christians celebrate Jesus’ purposed pain, we too should celebrate that we are well able to endure whatever it is we have to deal with to get to our “place”. Don’t allow the process to get you off track, but instead use the process as a catapult to purpose. You were built for this.

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Just Keep Running

So, this weekend, I called myself making up for the times when I have been slacking in my personal workout routine. I had been teaching my fitness classes all week, but I had not been weight lifting like I used to, so I agreed to workout with my husband on this past Saturday. Now, why in the world did I agree to that?! My husband’s nickname is “the hulk”. He loves weight lifting and is amazing at it. I enjoy weight lifting, but nowhere near on his level. So, I decided to be crazy enough to join him. It felt great while we were working out. I remembered my love for weight lifting, and it was awesome just being in the gym with him, but I forgot the after effects of a grueling workout. That next day, my body was tight in places I had forgotten existed. I was shuffling along and sore, and I tried my best not to move too much because everything hurt. EVERYTHING! Sunday night, hubby was talking about running the next morning. Before I knew it, I had blurted out that I would join him. Again, what was I thinking?! So, the next morning at 5:30 we headed out for the run. Now, I had just BARELY rolled out of bed because it felt like my entire body had locked up, but I was determined to run. As I stretched, I second-guessed my entire life in that moment, and visions of me falling face first on to the pavement flashed through my head. Yet I pressed on. As we began to run, I slowly shuffled along behind him, just content to at least follow his lead. My legs groaned. My muscles tried to lock up and rebel, but in my mind I was telling myself I could do it. Step-by-step I grunted, groaned, sweat began to pour profusely down my face and back, but I kept going. I realized along the way that my body did not hurt as much anymore, so I picked up the pace. As we ran, things became easier. I still felt a throbbing ache in some areas, but I figured I had gone too far to quit. Before I knew it, we were headed back home. As we came up the final hill towards our house, I felt such a huge sigh of relief. That’s when hubby decided we would run PAST our house to the end of the road, and then turn around and come back. I stared at the back of his head without saying a word, but I kept going. Then, it was over. All of the pain, the heavy breathing, the moments when I thought I would pass out…it was all over. I had made it to my final destination. It may have hurt. Things may not have felt good along the way, but I picked up momentum, and eventually the pain could not stop me from racing towards my goal.

Life is like this. Sometimes things just hurt. Sometimes you cannot believe that you can take one more step and move forward. Maybe the “hill” seems insurmountable. Maybe that thing they did to you made you hard-hearted and unrecognizable. Maybe life has beaten you up so bad that it seems whenever you move, it is with more difficulty, and sometimes it’s just easier to roll over and “sleep” rather than face the world. I get it.. I have moments when I don’t want to put one step in front of the other, when it seems easier to ignore what is going on that facing the problems head on. Sometimes my own doubts and fears get the best of me, but there is more to life than this. Maybe, in those moments, we need to get so focused on the end goal that we press through the pain. Maybe we need to remember to keep running forward because if we just keep running, we can make it where we need to go. Maybe…I just know I learned something about myself that day. In the midst of my hurt and pain, I kept pressing. Yes, that was on a physical level, and I know that emotional pain sometimes goes much deeper, but if we can apply this principle to our physical pain, it only makes sense to make it work for our mental/emotional as well.

So, I challenge you to keep running. Push through. Finish Strong.


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Birthing Pains

Infertility. That word alone inspires fear and doubt. It changes lives. It disrupts plans. I know it did for me. I remember years ago when I first got diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I remember the doctors telling me that something had to be wrong for me to not have been pregnant yet. But, I pushed that aside, and I went on in life as if nothing was wrong. It bothered me subconsciously, but I put on a brave front. I continued encouraging others. Life went on. Recently, I went to a new doctor, and she again talked about my PCOS. She was incredulous at the fact that almost nine years into my marriage, I had still not conceived. She brought up that curse word again: Infertility. This time though, the word gave me more grief. I began to automatically think about the fact that maybe I would never conceive. I immediately wondered what I had done wrong for my body to betray me in such a way. Maybe I did something I should not have. Maybe something was wrong with me. Maybe I was not good enough…fertile enough…woman enough. Woman enough…yeah, that one hurt. You see, I thought that being able to conceive makes one a “real woman”.

As others around me conceived, some of them not even wanting to, I found myself drawing deeper and deeper within myself. I cowered behind my pain, but I put on a mask of happiness and joy, and made everyone think that life was perfect. But it wasn’t. I wanted so bad to have a child. Well meaning friends and associates would often tell me that my time was coming, and I was “next”. They asked randomly if I was pregnant, or if I had tried all I should to conceive. Unbeknownst to them, each question/well-meaning inquiry reinforced my belief that I was not woman enough. What woman cannot conceive on her own? Not a real one, I answered myself. Negative pregnancy test after test, let down after let down, and ¬†every menstrual cycle that decided to show up, I began to question God more and more until I got to a place of being angry with God. This one thing so greatly desired, I had been denied. “Why God?”, I cried. I thought that life was really just unfair.

But somewhere along the way, things shifted in me. I don’t even know when the shift occurred. I just know that one day, the hurt was not as deep, and I was actually looking forward to my life as being an amazing wife to my amazing husband–even if it were just he and I for the rest of our lives. I began to look forward to my “freedom” and to learning more about myself, as well as exploring all else I had not tapped in to. While the desire is still present, and the hurt is still there, I learned to live in the midst of the “birthing pains”, as I came to call them. The hurt has now become just a dull thud in the corner of my heart. In this place on my journey, God reminded me to live. I remembered that there is more to me than having a baby. I have a purpose. I have people to touch. I have a life to lead outside of being a mother. Life can still be fully lived, and I remembered again that I am “woman enough”. I am not broken because I have not conceived. I am not less than anyone else because I have not been blessed in that way. My path has just been different. Maybe one day God will see fit to allow me to be a mother, but even if He does not, my life will be full and happy, and lived well.

I don’t know what you’re dealing with that you haven’t told anyone. Maybe you’re hurting in a place that you believe you will never recover from. Maybe even your close friends do not realize the extent of your hurt, but know that God knows all. If you don’t believe in God, I hope to convince you otherwise :-), but know that life is not over because of that one thing you may not have. Every obstacle, every pain, every setback, and every moment of frustration is all a part of the “birthing pains” to your purpose. You never know the lives you will touch because of your experience. So when you are ready, remember that it is time for you to live again. Don’t allow life to make you settle for “just good enough” because you cannot have your greatest desire. Live in expectancy of greatness. Love, laugh, live fully. There is really more to you than this moment…