Let God Take Your Pain and Turn It Into Passion
In my son’s homeschool preschool class, we decided it would be a great idea to teach the kids about Noah’s ark. I had always remembered this story fondly. I mean, what’s not to love--a really old man named Noah builds a HUGE flotation device and brings aboard two of every animal to survive a ginormous flood. So as I excitedly sat down to read my son the story of Noah, you could imagine my surprise when my innocent little 4 year old looked up at me and said, “Mommy, what happened to all the people and animals who didn’t get to go in the ark?” GULP. Why had I never thought of that? As I swallowed my uncertainty, I responded, “Well, they died.” “Why?” asked my son. All of a sudden, my happy Sunday school memories of learning about this tale disintegrated before my very eyes. I scrambled for an adequate answer that would comfort not only my son, but this cloud of discomfort that was now floating around in my own head.
God why did you do that?
I opened my bible, then sat and read this story for the first time in its true form. I wish I could tell you I walked away with great resolve, having more of an understanding of God’s character… but, to be honest, the opposite was true. The cloud of discomfort grew larger, the questions multiplied, and the uneasiness felt painful.
Have you ever had a moment feel so uncomfortable that all you wanted to do was close it up and put it on a self? That’s exactly how I felt. I wanted to jump to the New Testament and pretend the Old Testament wasn’t real; I wasn’t going to read that part of the bible. Just give me Jesus and I’m alright; but God--the God of the old testament—well, He makes me feel uncomfortable.
Do you know what I learned in that moment? I had two choices: One was to pretend I never had these questions, pretend I never read that story, pretend my son never opened up a can of worms that brought discomfort to my life. Or, I could choose to push through the pain to get to a place of understanding.
I decided to push through, and I had to make this choice multiple times as I kept coming upon painful answers that left me with more questions… Questions that, truthfully, people have left the church over, questions that shatter people’s faith.
Although I sit here typing this today, still with many questions, I no longer am in a place of discomfort, but in a place of pursuit. God has taken my pain and turned it into passion.
You see, God cannot shake us while we sit in our comfort zone; we cannot inspire ourselves in our comfort zone, let alone inspire someone else.
One thing I love about God’s plan is that he uses all of our story, he doesn’t let any piece go to waste. I love that he takes discomfort and pain and he uses it for his glory. He uses it to spark change.
God has taken this discomfort in my life and has turned it into passion.
I have spent countless hours reading about Old Testament writings, I have had great, meaningful conversations on the very matter. Instead of my nightly Facebook scrolling and T.V. watching rituals, I have been bible reading and sermon listening. God has taken this pain and allowed it to sharpen me, to bring knowledge, understanding and wisdom to his name. I love that God uses every part of our story.
One of the questions I asked when I started this journey was, “God, why is the bible so confusing? Why does it have so many holes? So many ways to interpret something?”
One of the answers is obvious: there are major language barriers--things get lost in translation. The second answer, that I believe God put on my heart, is this: it is written that way so we are in constant pursuit for wisdom and spiritual maturity. Wisdom and maturity do not occur through laziness. It takes effort, study, discussion, and ownership.
I love how all things worth achieving require a good fight. If we really want to do or have God’s best for our lives, we will have to fight and we will have to push through. I don’t know what that looks like for you… maybe you’re in your comfort zone at your job and it’s time to get uncomfortable and push through to something more fulfilling; maybe your marriage is needing you to fight the good fight and push through; maybe your relationship with your child feels hard and painful… you need to push through, my friend.
I love Taryn’s story. The pain of seeing your children struggle is heartbreaking for a mother. Watching your kids go through pain is excruciating. I can only imagine the feeling of frustration, confusion, and desperation to make it better. I love that Taryn didn’t choose to medicate her girls and put a band aid on the problem; I love that she pushed through and found the deep rooted issue to her daughters’ eczema. I bet there were a lot of days she wanted to give up, a lot of days that felt hopeless, a lot of moments that were challenging. I bet that band aid looked pretty darn good some days. But Taryn pushed through the pain and it has now become passion.
I love when people take ownership for their discomfort and vow to make it into a positive. God has taken something that is so uncomfortable for their family and turned it into a gift that Taryn can now give to others, the gift of healing and knowledge.
If you were to tell any of my high school teachers that Kirista Wasilenko now has a passion for writing and communicating--they would be in disbelief. English was painful for me; I hated reading, I hated writing, and my C- grade reflected that. So, now ten years later, I find it amazing that in the last 5 months I’ve read 5 books, written several blog posts, and studied biblical theology (willingly!)
I used to feel as though I had no gifts or talents. I always felt a little useless and like God didn’t give me any gifts to give back to the world. Sometimes because we aren’t amazing singers, dancers, artists, students, models etc. we can feel like we don’t have strengths or talents.
God is showing me that each of us has a purpose. Some will learn theirs early in life, some won’t learn it until later. In God’s timing, with a willing heart, he will start to chip away at that diamond in the rough. Only God can take our weaknesses and turn them into strengths. He doesn’t promise an easy road; you will have to push through, get uncomfortable, and walk in blind faith. But take heart my friends, Jesus will be on the other side… and it will be better then you ever could have imagined.