Where Tragedy, Pain, Service and Love Intersect

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…Let not your heart be troubled. ~ John 14:27

….some pain, some heartbreak and some loss you can’t even begin to fathom or create a space for.  You won’t have a place to put it.  There’s no explanation, no reason for it. You’re not prepped, taught or prepared for it. You can only go through it and pray it gets better over time.

Everything that is to happen in life is not going to be pleasant.  Enter my 36 years of living and beating around our globe and I can assure you there will be things that are so inexplicable, so horrifying and tragic that well, you won’t be able to rest.  It’ll have you tossing around and your nerves bad.  You will have to look for answers.  You’ll ask God.  You won’t be able to wrap your brain around all of it.  It’s just not possible.  There won’t be answers for all of it.

I pray as you read this, as you even think of this, and tell you that this too shall pass.

With that said, I have to say these events – when they happen to us or even when they are happening around us and not to us, can alter the direction and the trajectory of our lives.  Although we may be the toughest of the tough, there will be some things that are sure to break us down, lay us flat on the floor.  They will cause that kind of silent scream you see people in the movies make.  Where their mouth is open and no sound comes out.  And when it does, there’s nothing but the sound of a wounded animal.  I have been there.   In fact, I was there earlier this week.  Let me confess, my floor and I are well acquainted.

Sometimes this means there will be times of great and inexplicable loss.  Once again, you are allowed to be devastated and you are allowed to be sorrowful and grieve.  I don’t care who you are, you are allowed your feelings.  It may be anger or confusion.  It may be frustration.  It may be you and God having a Come to Jesus meeting.  These things may even stretch you out for some time.

Definition of “to stretch out” (verb)

Where something you hear, learned or has happened to you or someone else you know and love causes you to have a fit, cry, flail around your floor.  You may not eat,  you may miss work, you may lay out in your floor and cry and scream and people are generally even concerned for your well-being because you just don’t seem to be the person they thought they knew.  Please note – this is not a common phenomenon for all.  There are only a handful of people who are that sensitive to the world.  Consider yourself lucky if you do not suffer from having this style of compassionate heart. 

I am one of those people who sometimes gets stretched out in the floor by what she has heard, found out, or learned.  In this way, I am super emotional. I can’t stop the process.  I don’t really try to stop it any more.  There may be a delay in it for me, but it’s coming one way or another.  Prolonging the process makes it even more devastating and that much worse.   Trust me.  If you try to hide from your devastation – it will seek and destroy you.

But once you can manage and it could be days, months or years (I pray not years) – I ask you to still remain open to love and to be of service. If we are to believe that all of our troubles will one day be over, if we are to believe that we will be reunited with our loved ones, if we are to believe it all works together for those that love God, it makes it crucial to have faith in God and pick yourself up, dust yourself off once you’ve rolled around and then be of service elsewhere.  Isn’t that the point?

Ok – so, y’all may be tired of me mentioning the Bible, but I already warned you in the “About Me” section that I talk a lot about God.  I have my reasons and I will not apologize.  I digress.  I have to make a point here….

Look, if you’ve ever read Job (and if you never have, please read it…the New King James version or NIV version should hook you right up. I also have a Life Applications Study Bible and it really explains a lot of the story and breaks down study points), even a section of Job, you know God goes in on this man! He loses everything – wives, children, livestock, health.  The only thing God didn’t allow for the devil to touch was his actual life – He forbade the devil to kill him.  I will have to talk more about this later.  Go read it.

Pulling from the intro to Job in the Life Study Applications Bible (referred to as LSAB from here on), “But in the end what broke Job’s patience was not the suffering, but not knowing why he suffered…When God finally spoke He didn’t offer Job an answer.  Instead, He drove home the point that it is better to know God than to know answers.”

The LSAB goes on to mention, “Sometimes, suffering shapes us for special service to others.  Sometimes suffering is an attack by Satan on our lives.  And sometimes we don’t know why we suffer.  At those times, are we willing to trust God in spite of unanswered questions?”

I mean, I really think Job has to be the greatest Come to Jesus meeting I’ve ever read or really that has ever been written.  He really gets Job together.  And here’s the thing – God ALLOWED  for all of the tragedy that took place in Job’s life.  He didn’t cause it.  He wasn’t the author of it.  He just allowed for it to happen.  So if Job can lose everything and not curse God, so can you and me.  Job definitely questioned God’s reasoning behind it and I think God appreciated it.  He still had to get him (Job) straight though.  Seriously.  That book originates the Come to Jesus meeting!!!  And then guess what, after Job lost it all – I mean EVERYTHING, and God has this loooonnnngggg talk with him (42 chapters of going in on him) – God restored him.

“After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.”  Job 42:10

Then, it goes on to add:
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.  He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.  And he also had seven sons and three daughters.  The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.  Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.  After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years, he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.  And so he died, old and full of years.  Job 42: 12-16

Don’t allow the hatred and vitriol (one of my favorite grown up words), the mayhem and the tragedies take what is inherently an open and loving person and shrink you down to a bitter,shriveled up, treacherous  Gollum.  It will reduce the quality of your life and lessen your effectiveness at service to others. By the way, others doesn’t have to mean the world – it means YOUR world.  Those you can directly touch.

Over the years, from embarassment, tragedy, crazy decisions, I have hidden from many people and allowed certain events to dim my level of service, my willingness to put myself out there.  I have allowed these things to “shelve” me so to speak.  Where I sit at home and resign myself to the bad decisions or the tragedies.

Not any more.  Each of these things that’s happened or I played some role in have shaped me to the very person I am.  It’s meant to be shared and hopefully help others.  In fact, with each thing that happens, I’ve realized service and a heart to serve is even more important than I believed it had been before.

Note to self & other readers: Getting up off the floor doesn’t mean you like what happened or are even ready to accept it in its entirety, but it does mean you will move forward with your own life. It’s possible with these sorts of events that what was now your straight line has this indelible mark on it.  A fixed point of tragedy I like to call it.  It may change your course just one degree but the one degree can change the course of your life.  It can be for the better or it can be for the worst.   That is your choice.  Choose to make it for the better.

Today, based upon this year’s events, this month’s events alone, I know the trajectory of my life has been forever changed.   It’s for the better.  I pretty much suspect all of this was in the plan anyway.  It will be for the better because I make a conscious and open choice to allow God to work in and through me.  I make a conscious choice to place a smile on my face and greet the day with hope and with love.  I choose to forgive.  I have to admit, when reading Job it gives me hope that these next 36 years and beyond will be more blessed than the first.  That in itself is reason enough for me to have hope that can carry me.

It is in these times that God breaks us wide open.  These things make us weed out what’s important and what’s not. They make us re-evaluate.  Re-assess.  This to me is where tragedy, pain, service and love intersect.  It’s in these moments we must remember our purpose on this planet – which is love and ultimately – service.

You will only regret not loving someone more or serving more.  You will only regret not spending enough time with loved ones or reaching back to help someone when they asked you for assistance.  It doesn’t mean you’re a door mat.  It doesn’t mean the word “no” shouldn’t come out of your mouth.  It means that you’re open and available and that you can choose to make a difference in a few people’s lives.  Those are the things you will be glad about:that you loved, helped, nurtured, cared for, assisted and forgave.  And that you repeated these all throughout your life.

I love y’all.  Really, I do.  Each and every one of you who reads this blog, comments, sends me emails and tweets.  All of my friends.  All of my family.  I wish you  restoration, more hope, love and the ability and desire to serve.

Love,
Rae

P.S. A lil video love for you…because we gotta get up

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9 thoughts on “Where Tragedy, Pain, Service and Love Intersect

  1. Very inspirational, I definitely had moments like this last year where I felt like I was running from devastation- but it doesn’t make it go away. It just prolongs the process. Thanks for the reminder and for the encouragement you offer here to seek God because truly no momentary piece of advice from anybody can compare to God’s peace and our understanding that we are not alone in our pain.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and commenting. I had truly had some moments last year where that theory was really tried. Hopefully, I passed that series of tests. This year it’s really hit me that I need to rely on God more to do more. He’s really the one that hands out the blessings so He’s who I should be following and paying attention to….

      I really love your blog too!!!

  2. Pingback: Does This Ever Happen To You? « Joy In The Sorrow

  3. Today is my first day crossing your blog….and it really is a sign from God. I can’t even begin to break down and explain to you….
    It’s amazing that each day, as I am going through immense struggle and pain….when I am at my “break down on the floor and cry for hours” moments….God will send a random person into my life and say something to me. At first I didn’t understand it. I was very defensive. I couldn’t understand. But now I see. God uses people as his voice to speak things.

    This, reading what you wrote, today….has given me exactly what I needed. I have never read Job. But I’m about to read this story (and the wild thing….I don’t even know WHAT you are talking about. The only thing I thought Job did was sit in a whale….oh wait, that’s Jonah. Nevermind – lol)

    But I want to say thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    On this day, and your days to come, I pray earnestly that God will continue to bless you. I rebuke the devil from touching you, God’s child. I bid him to stay below us where he belongs. I pray that the Lord sees what a faithful and true servant you are.

    God has truly blessed you. I can see it. It’s so evident. It’s so wonderful. God is love THRU you.

    I don’t know the many many ways I can say thank you, but thank you so much. Thank you.

    • Jill I don’t even know what to say. Thank you so much for your blessings and prayers. I need every last one of them!!! And sister, just keep on living. It has to get better. Or at least that’s what I tell myself all the time. I stay with the idea that the glass is half full you know? You had me cracking up about Jonah!!! LOLOLOL…that made my morning. Seriously though, just hang in there. I was reading your blog as well and really enjoyed your posts. It seems like a lot of our situations – others are going through the same or similar things so we have to help each other out. Many blessings to you love and make sure you continue to follow God. He doesn’t disappoint. Much love, Rae

  4. Wow, a very thought provoking post. Even though, I’m not a Christian, but I can relate very well to your posts. I have lost 3-4 friends in 2 years and have personally overlooked the funeral of 1 of my friend this September and that seemed to be the final straw for me. I couldn’t really function properly, couldn’t finish my assignment which resulted into me failing one unit in school and I just can’t concentrate. Everything was horrible. I stayed in bed for 1 week straight. I did not know how to function again.

    But slowly, I began to rise up and I realized that the world really does not stop for your grief. I think it’s imperative that people mourn and cry but also realize that when its going on longer than usual, there’s a problem.

    Keep on writing dear, because some of us really needed to see our situations translated in words.

    • Yes, I truly understand and I am so sorry for your loss. And you know, you’re exactly right – the world doesn’t stop for your grief. I never thought about it like that, but it’s so true. Thank you so much for your encouragement and stopping through to read the blog!! Much love, Rae

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