Pain.

It can make us better, or it can make us bitter.

But it’s our choice.

The pain of life sometimes will take us down to a place where we can’t function for a season, and in those times, it is ok to let the Father heal you. Seasons of healing where the focus is on you, is healthy, but you can’t stay there, or it will become unhealthy. 

Life, like the weather in most of middle America, happens in seasons. There is a time for everything, including a focus on healing, but taking a step outside of your comfort zone to help others will often be very helpful for you in putting one foot in front of the other. Otherwise, self-pity will have you wiping your tears and affirming that thought that says, Poor me. Why me? And trust me, I know how it goes; I lived there for a long time. 

During my healing season and what I lovingly refer to as my training ground in the basement of Dave and Debbie’s house, I found myself all alone one week with no one to bare my soul too, no one to make me laugh, and no one to take care of. 

Dave and Debbie had gone to Germany, and my daughter was on a six-week trip. 

What was I going to do with myself? I wondered. 

One day, as I was praying for God to take all the junk and poison out of my soul…

I screamed, “Jesus, hug me!” 

I felt His embrace and then saw a picture in my mind’s eye of a little three-year-old girl in a pink dress. 

I sensed He was saying, “Andrea, if you want the pain to stop, you need to stop dwelling on it and rehearsing it over and over again.” 

I had endured six months of crying every single night. Could I just stop? I didn’t know. 

I was thinking, How, God? How do I just stop? 

Then the thought popped into my head that at church they were asking for volunteers. I didn’t want to do it, I could care less, I had only been there for two months, but I forced myself to go. I had nothing else to do, and this was something that didn’t cost any money. 

Here is the thing, you don’t have to be excited about every- thing, you just have to be willing. 

As I walked into the church dragging my issues like a back- woods-hike backpack, I suddenly felt such peace. And to my utter surprise, I ended up having a lot of fun. I probably wasn’t the most fun to be around, but I made some friends that night. 

What I didn’t know (but God did) was that I needed to walk into an environment that was the opposite of the environment inside me, which was pure and unbridled chaos. I started to engage in conversation, meet new people, and get out of my head, and I felt lighter than I had in months. I no longer felt like a had a ton of heavy textbooks on my back. I started to laugh for the first time in six months. I got outside of myself and became part of what was happening. 

He knew I was going to have a good night, and it was the first time in six months I didn’t cry myself to sleep. I was engaging in my new reality and it was the most basic thing. Simple, yet profound. A couple of hours made a world of difference. 

It’s not easy to make that first step to healing, but it is necessary. 

What is that first step you need to take? You may know, or you may have to ask God to reveal that to you. 

Know you are never alone in your journey. God promised to never leave us or forsake us. 

And He always keeps his promises. 

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