Suffering is Necessary

Blood dripped and flowed from multiple places on his body.

My sandal once caught on the rim of a step and caused me to fall head-first into the corner bead of a wall. Blood spurted and oozed down my entire forehead and cheek , covering half my face by the time I got to the bathroom mirror to asses the damage: a one inch slice to my skin.

So, I imagine…

Blood dripped and flowed from multiple places on his body as HE hung there by three spiked nails. I wonder how much clean, untainted flesh was left during those last hours, if there was any at all.

My pain was localized and gave me a headache for a few hours even after I was cleaned up, stitched up, and sent home.

I cannot fathom the pain he suffered after being up all night and beaten and dragged and whipped and slung onto the wood and nailed and hauled up for all to see as he heaved each breath of air.

THAT.

That is the epitome of suffering.

And WHY?

That’s the question I have asked myself many times during trials of suffering.

Suffering, upon suffering, upon suffering.

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Was birthing a stillborn baby not enough?

Was having colorectal cancer not enough?

Was losing a young adult son to drug overdose not enough?

And now I have breast cancer…. is this enough? My experience tells me, no. There will be more suffering to come.

Why all this suffering in my life? Why all the suffering in your life?

Pondering this for years, I have an answer – maybe not the only answer, but I think its a pretty good answer.

The answer begins with a question:

Why did Jesus suffer to die on the cross?

Anyone who has attended Sunday School or church for a season knows the answer: Jesus died for us, for our sins, so we can go to heaven. This is exactly what I told my children as I raised them in the Way.

How quickly, in our own suffering, it is to forget that and cry, why Lord, am I suffering?

If we are to emulate Jesus in all we do, it clearly follows logically, that if Jesus suffered for the benefit of others then our suffering just might be for the benefit of others. And, because Jesus knows suffering, He authentically pours out compassion on us during our sufferings.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

I lost a baby and I was later able to comfort three young moms who lost babies too.

I had cancer and I was able to publish a book on the survival of that and share my testimony of hope.

I mourn a son who died from a drug overdose and have been able to write and speak publicly about that tragedy, offering heartfelt comfort to others.

The been-there-I-know-club is necessary for authentic compassion; Jesus is the King of that club!

I am currently halfway through breast cancer treatments and I know that God has at least one somebody He will soon put in my path for me to encourage in this kind of fight.

Yes. Suffering is necessary.

I am no savior by any means. But Jesus is my Savior, your Savior, if you choose Him.

Jesus’ suffering work on the cross is finished; one day His work through each of us will be finished as well, but until that day comes, I encourage you to keep your eyes focused on Him who knows it all and be ready to wrap your arms around someone else’s shoulders and offer authentic compassion from your been-there-I-know heart.

Doing What my School Teacher Said

So,

I am just doing what my school teacher said.

She led us all outisde on a warm spirng day and said,

close your eyes and listen…

what do you hear?

I believe we were studying the five senses at the time and so I closed my eyes and listened.

Decades later here I am, laying on my porch deck in the sunshine, closing my eyes and listening.

I hear the birds chirping, the wind gently breezing by, rustling the dry foliage…

I hear the backyard chicken clucking and a dog in the distance making a stance… for a moment I hear nothing

and just feel,

the sun tingling my winter-skin making me feel warm.

I feel connected to a bigger realm.

I hear:

I see you,

you are mine,

enjoy this day.

I began these writings nearly three years ago in response to my son’s death of an overdose and titled this site:

In the Battle – because,

well,

I felt like I had been in a raging battle as I fought hard to save my son into long lasting recovery.

I continued to daily battle trying to make sense of how to live my life without my son.

I knew my son lived a daily battle for most of his life, fighting to find reason, purpose, and peace in his life; since nine years old, he fought for ten years, and maybe even more if we count the silent years before that.

I know some reading right now are fighting hard too, whether you are yourself caught by addiction, or emotional turmoil’s, or illness of some sort of another – physically or mentally…

Or whether you are a mom, or dad, or sister, or brother, or grandma, or uncle, or friend watching your loved one suffer in the daily battle…

I write for you,

for me…

and I wonder if it matters…yet I continue on because somehow it grounds me in my battles to put thoughts to words on a screen.

Battles are a part of life – I don’t think anyone is battle-free.

In fact, I think most people are in a battle every single day – remember that when you decide how to treat others in word, or deed.

Today I think of a fellow-grieving mom – Sharon, you know who you are…

And I hope she is enduring the battle strong, although today no doubt makes her feel weak… as memories overwhelm her heart.

Aren’t we all yearning for connection to the bigger realm?

As my son struggled daily, I know he ached for understanding and to make reason out of all his pain…

…watching him, I know I did.

Another bird offers a new song and I am stirred to remain still and listen…

I lay on my deck knowing that this bigger realm is held and sustained by the Creator who knew all things before any part of this earthly life came to be. Humbled I lay, as if in His hands, and find calm in my heart.

I do not know the answers of why we each have the battles we have.

But I do know, I am seen, and I am His, and I am given the gift to enjoy this day if I choose.

Today, I do choose to enjoy.

I hope you can too dear warrior friend…

I urge you to take a moment to do as my school teacher said…

close your eyes and listen…

in the whirlwind of life, we as a people do not heed this very often – quiet can be scary, especially when you are thick in the battles.

close your eyes and listen…

I believe, you can hear more than the sounds of nature if you stay long enough and listen…

you will hear,

I see you,

you are mine,

enjoy this day.

It is my belief, that everyone on earth is a child of the Creator, whether they understand or acknowledge it, or not. And this Creator, God the Father, knows you, sees you, and loves you.

Bottom line:

In the Battle, you are not alone… God is with you.

The Battle belongs to HIM.

If you ever want to know more; contact me, I am more than happy to chat.

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