Last weekend I attended a conference in Orange County. It was one of those that has lots of lights, energy, and different speakers on leadership during the day, but it was one line in a video that caught my attention. There was a story of a lady who was sickened 6 months after becoming a mom and the struggle she has gone through in being a mother. She said, “"Blessed to suffer at such a young age because we're able to live our lives knowing how to live.” This line got me thinking about our particular situation and from that moment I began to look deeper into what it means to receive the blessing of suffering.
Sometimes the heartaches of life come through decisions and choices that we have made that perpetuate brokenness in ourselves and in others. Other times our suffering comes not necessarily by our own choices. What does suffering do for us?
Suffering tends to awaken something within us about our humanity. I have seen rival gang members at Children’s Hospital able to share the same space because of something deeper happening within the lives of their kids.
Suffering provides invitations for a whole new way of looking at life. Opportunities tend to expose themselves in unique ways and provide for us the realities of how we perceive life and the people around us. There is nothing easy about this, but there is always to learn in it. It can even push us into relationships that are primed for growth merely because common denominators are shared and people lean into their vulnerabilities.
Joncee had a rough first night after chemo. His energy was good all day, he was tough through the process and at 12:30am the next morning is when it all hit. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t get the anti-nausea medicine in him in time and was pinned with guilt over the next 8 hours as I watched him struggle. Around 9am the next morning he was fine and has been ever since. I credit a lot of minimization of effect on the supplements we have him on to boost his immune system and keep his healthy cells a bit stronger. Credit also goes to the thousands of you around the globe that are in prayer over him during this season of our lives.
I’m asking for prayer for my daughter Kaizlee. I think she’s taking this the hardest out of all of us. There is a greater neediness with her and a strong sense of insecurity at times from her. We’ve tried to pay equal attention to her during this time and focus one on one time with her and validate how special she is in our family. I’m asking you to lift her by name so she won’t feel “pushed aside” or “less” because of this journey. Jayme has even written her name on one of Joncee’s bracelets because she’s asked what they say. (She’s a great mother)
One of my favorite people on leadership, Scott Cormode, uses this quote often: “I want to prevent my children from pain, but I also want my children to have the resilience that only comes from pain.” It’s quite powerful if you think of it, but as of right now, I’m seeking to receive this time as a gift knowing it gives us a unique perspective on life and invites us into deeper authenticity with God and others. The resilience of Joncee is inspiring to watch as he walks through this time with such grace and fortitude.
So no matter what you find in suffering today whether by your own choices or life has thrown something at you that seems out of your control, rest assured that God journeys with you and is present in the midst of that. These situations may have awakened something in your life for the first time or again. If you ever need to chat about those things, Jayme and I are more than willing to offer space in whatever capacity we can to come alongside you. Are your sufferings gifts to look at life differently?
You are loved.