Purpose For The Pain

I met someone over the weekend; not the kind of someone you think 🙂

The kind of person who puts plenty into perspective. Meaning is found for queries long unanswered. This particular one was a girl in high school. We were at their school all weekend and I had missed students’ ministry. We had just finished facilitating a session for all the girls who wanted to become lawyers. She followed me as we walked out. I didn’t mind; as a matter of fact, I absolutely love those one-on-one conversations.

I initially assumed it was a career related issue since that’s what we were discussing. Wrong. Turns out, while we were winding up, I mentioned how my coming this far sincerely took God and hinted at the crazy health drama I’ve had. That’s the part that got her attention.

She begins to speak and I it feels like she stole the script from the story of my life. She sounds kinda like me and our personalities are too similar; but this wasn’t it yet. She starts to explain all the health issues she’s had. No way! She’s literally stating all the areas of my body that I’ve had trouble with. I listen to her almost speechless. This is more than unbelievable! She’s in tears and I’m almost following suit but I hold them back.

I can’t recall most of what I told her afterwards but I narrated my issues as well and we exchanged experiences that had left us emotionally drained, mentally overwhelmed and on the verge of despair. Things that people around us probably never get. The relief! Seeing that in this world, it’s possible to have someone who truly understands the very lengths, breadths and heights of your pain. Needless to say, we hit it off and became friends.

As I was reflecting on this later, I got thinking that if this was all the purpose to my pain, then it was worth it. Sharing my story with someone who was living it as well and encouraging her to not give up because I too was making it through. Being there to remind each other that all the dark days and all the tears, were not for nothing.

We might never fully see the purpose our tears, break downs, valleys and unbearable moments accomplished; but rest in this darling: it wasn’t pointless. God never wastes our pain. Someone somewhere will survive what you’re going through just because of your story. Hold on, fight through; it sure is worth it.

Tears For Breakfast

Table is set

Heavy thoughts line it up well,

Despair provides a lovely cover.

The appetizer first

Pretty pink and white pill,

More thoughts to wash it down.

Frustration, heartache, despondence

Make a balanced diet.

Pop out those flavours

A dash of salt will do

Yes, salt in fluid form.

Drown that with music

As you nibble on tea and bread.

But that’s just the cover up

In reality it is evident

Tears were your breakfast.

A Letter to You

Hi,

You with the wounds; deep or shallow. You who’s clothed with despair. You whose heart is tired. You who’s hoped and hoped and been disappointed one too many times. You who’s been looking at other people flourishing in their happiness and wondering when your turn will come. You who’s been hurt severely or mildly. You on the verge of giving up. You who always comes so close but the happiness you chase keeps being elusive.

Your pain is legit, your despair is understandable, your fears are founded and you are worth grieving over. Don’t let anyone belittle what you feel; not even your own self. Allow yourself to feel all this at this moment.

However, down in those ashes of despair is not where you belong; that pit of pain isn’t your abode; that dark cell where you’re covering your wounds is not your permanent place. After the dark night, day dawns; don’t miss your sunrise.

You, right in the place you are, are loved. You are worth caring about. You may be knocked down but you’re not out. Take His hand, let Him gently pull you out of the pit. Lay your heart bare, let His love wash over your wounds and be your healing. Move away from that cell’s door; His rays of hope want to burst in and flush out despair.

You are loved; your wounds are legit but they can be healed. You are loved; yes your hope was genuinely lost but it’s a new day. You are loved; you feel rejected you but what they didn’t give you, they can’t take away; your acceptance was from Him. You are loved; broken as you are, He makes you whole. You are loved; disappointments of the past are not a forecast of the future. You are loved; nothing can take that away

Allow yourself to be loved and embrace the truth of that love until you live it fully.

The Impossible

​Friday 25th November 2016:

Spent most of the day in bed on the edge of depression. Sometimes it felt like I’d climb down that cliff a little, then climb right back to the edge. Teeter tottering.

Something akin to a panic attack would creep in then leave me be.

Why wouldn’t that judgment just come quickly? What if the judge didn’t rule in our favour and come Monday, we’d still do those exams? Maybe suing the Council of Legal Education wasn’t the best idea; maybe we should have simply focused on reading for those Bar exams and gave up on seeking justice.
By the time I realised we weren’t going to win, I felt BETRAYED! How on earth would God give me so much peace yet He knew all hell was about to break loose? Why didn’t He intervene? He knew how much I’d been through and how reading had been almost impossible. Why wouldn’t He make a way and have the exams at least postponed for even two weeks? He knew there was absolutely no way I’d sit for those exams because I had nothing to write.
By evening, I was glad my friend had planned for us to have coffee on this day. This would be a much needed distraction; at least God knew what He was doing when He allowed me to agree to this, days before I knew how badly I’d need it.
Got myself to town and had one of the longest coffee dates I’ve ever been out on with any friend. By the time I was done, I felt encouraged and with a new resolve to make use of the weekend and not to defer my exams. Maybe I can do this.
Then God reminded me of the previous day: Thursday was nothing short of a miracle! I’d gotten a job in a way I couldn’t explain and after an interview I’d never anticipated. It was relaxed and brief. Before I knew it, I had a job and had not been asked anything people normally get answered. In fact it felt like a meet and greet: getting to see the person who you’d picked for the job. I was in awe of God! 
The God of Thursday was still the God of Friday.
Long story short, Monday came and the two weeks of exams were probably the hardest two weeks of my life! Clearly, I hadn’t seen anything yet when I thought that all hell had already broken loose. I was sick on each day and every morning and evening, I would quit, cry and be on the verge of depression again. I even got food poisoning on each week, which was crazy since I only had food poisoning once, 14 years ago! Each day I’d cry and tell God how impossible it was and that He was demanding of me something I couldn’t do. 
But every morning without fail, God would pick me up and hold me in His arms each night. In every paper He’d flood me with peace that didn’t make sense. Each day He’d remind me that my battle was in showing up, not in what I wrote on that paper. Then to ensure I had no room to quit, He put people who would call or text me morning and at night. 
From yesterday, I’ve been hearing more stories of people God had burdened to pray for me during those two weeks. People who didn’t have to but they still remembered me when they talked to God. Different people in different places who God used to set up what I have come to see as my biggest miracle this far. 

This exact Latitude and Longitude


I came across this statement while listening to Margaret Feinberg  a lady who God has used to encourage me severally. The question she asked God was this: “has anyone praised you at this very latitude and longitude?”. At that moment she was under an MRI machine getting a scan. This was right in the middle of her battle with cancer.

How do you even get to thanking or praising God in the midst of your darkest moments? I’ve always been amazed by Job when I read about his reaction immediately after he lost everything. I imagined I’d also be inspired to do the same. Well, let’s just say that when you’re the one on the spot, that’s easier said than done.

This past week wasn’t easy at all. I had been busy trying to come to terms with a diagnosis the doctor gave me. There were numerous changes to be made and that alone was overwhelming me. Then the drugs came with their own side effects until I got to a point where taking them would almost depress me.

Speaking of which, as the week started, anxiety and depression kept threatening. Spent almost two days locked up in the house and mostly in bed. I cried enough during that time. The symptoms of whatever I was diagnosed with were taking a toll on me. It was all too much to bear. Now to add salt to the injury, I had exams to prepare for! How on earth would I even study in the midst of all this?

Well, one day at a time, that’s what I decided to do. Then I made it for midweek bible study and I came back all fired up and having my faith revived. I was determined to trust God no matter how things looked. I had just learnt how faith is a journey to God not a journey to results. I was going to believe in God whether I saw results or not.

That was until I got back only to discover some other health complication had arisen. The next morning I woke up feeling like I couldn’t take it anymore. How is one person supposed to handle all that? After plenty of conversations with God, I somehow got the strength to even go for a meeting across town. Things were finally looking up and I had such a great time.

The next day, I was back to square one. Feeling quite dejected, I figured I might as well defer my exams and do them next year. I didn’t have the energy or grace to handle health issues and their drama as well as manage to study for the Bar exams. Thankfully, by the end of that day, I’d gotten enough encouragement to change my mind.

So today, my main question to God as the day started was, how does faith look like in this current situation? How would He want my faith to look like? Secondly, how do I genuinely praise you when no part of me feels like it? I wanted to know how I could practically do that.

I realised that sometimes, all it takes is getting out of bed. Other times, it’s that feeble ‘thank you’ to God because you are down but not out. Sometimes it’s a tearful prayer accompanied by sobs or even flowing tears when words won’t come. It could be listening to that playlist that explains best how you feel or the one that God uses to get you out of despair. Maybe even dragging yourself around and doing what needs to be done in spite of everything. Most of all, it means taking your eyes off the circumstances threatening you and fixing your gaze on He who has power over everything.

Therefore, in this latitude where I can’t even eat onions or garlic (goodness, how’s food to taste without those!), I’m grateful I can still use tomatoes and carrots. In this longitude where the future seems bleak, I’m glad I still have this present moment and an assurance that He’ll never leave me nor forsake me. In this exact place, I thank God that inasmuch as I don’t comprehend (or like) any of this; He promises that it will work out for my good. 

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. So when storms rise up, be happy. This pain, loss, sickness, heartache or whatever hurt; not only will it pass eventually, but you’ll be stronger because of it.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)

Unfeeling

Have you ever felt numb yet it wasn’t because you lacked something to feel? When your heart is torn, pain comes flooding back and it feels all too familiar. You’ve been through such pain severally and you do not have the strength to go through it again.

So when it comes, you realise it’s happening again yet you were certain you’d never be here one more time. Tears threaten to fall but your friend is sitting right across you and the last thing you want to do is to break down in front of him. You shove all emotions aside until he leaves.

You go and throw yourself on your bed, select the playlist that’s usually appropriate for such moments and suddenly all the tears start flowing freely. Pain returns and you ask God a couple of why’s.

Before you can have a good cry session, your dad calls you. You hate the timing but being an obedient daughter, you wipe your tears and appear with a fake smile. You pull an act that would earn you an Oscar, no one would suspect a thing.

In no time your friends appear for bible study and you ask yourself why on earth you agreed to host them since all you want to do is to be alone in bed crying your heart out. You’ve mustered the act of faking normalcy therefore, no one suspects but tears threaten to open their floodgates more than once. Luckily you have tea to make so you have an excuse to keep leaving. You make it through the session and even have enough fun to temporarily forget your pain.

However, when family devotion begins, numbness starts creeping in. You can’t afford to let yourself feel anything. Everyone is talking and you have moments you want to chip in but the numbness tells you it’s pointless. You can’t wait to go away and you barely hear what they prayed for since all you were thinking about is brushing your teeth and how to write this post.

You’re done writing and wonder why you used too many words yet you haven’t got a clue why you’re writing. Either way, you’ll get up, brush your teeth and hope to cry it all out in your room as you ask God why and what next.

When Pain Seems Unbearable

Pain is no joke! And I know that because as I write this I feel like a wreck. The tears won’t stop flowing, my heart feels shattered, I’m sobbing and the pain is unbearable.

Music is playing in the background and all the words I hear are supposed to be greatly comforting but I’m not sure I want comfort now; I just want to cry till I run out of tears; till I’m exhausted and fall asleep.

During painful times, people try to comfort us with words saying how things will get better or how it’s not as bad as it seems when we compare it with what others are going through… but the truth is, in the midst of pain and a future that seems bleak, encouragement feels surreal because hope is an abstract concept at that point.. and yes, my situation isn’t half as bad as someone else’s but pain is still pain. I’d love to trivialize what I’m feeling when I think of what others go through but that wouldn’t take away my pain. I just want to cry it out without feeling guilty because it’s small in comparison to other’s.

The past year has been crazy and I’ve never been through anything like this. Somehow every time I felt like I’d reached the very end, God would somehow get me past that. When my strength ran out and I had no grace for even an extra day, somehow He’d get me through an extra month, then a second one and now it’s over a year.

God puts in us some capacity to handle pain, that is far beyond what we’d imagine. We may get stretched until we feel like it’s past our limits but it probably is nowhere near what we can handle.

Right now I have a feeling God may still be stretching me but I’m terrified because I am at the end of my rope. I may not want further building of my capacity; I just want to laugh again and to see brighter days… but if God needs me to hold on a little longer, I’ll simply comply because He knows my true potential.

Things might seem unbearable but I guess we’ll never truly know how much we can bear until we’re forced to bear more than we can handle.