Over the last two years I have experienced suffering like I’ve never experience before.
Heart breaking, life changing, unexpected suffering that has challenged me on every level. It challenged my mind, body and faith – even to the point of wanting to end my life.
Those who knew me well knew something was wrong just by seeing me, but few knew what to do. I don’t blame them at all. I didn’t know what to do either.
Your pain will certainly be different to mine. Everyone’s pain is different, but valid. My pain originated from betrayal, a miscarriage, break-ups, unrequited love, the death of a family member and also a close friend, rape, change in jobs, change in city, depression, coming to terms with my own brokenness, and challenges in setting up a new life while dealing with all these things.
All this after living a relatively ‘charmed’, successful and ‘good’ Christian life. Everyone’s experience is different, and we will feel pain differently. Some will try to tell you that your pain isn’t justified – that others suffer worse than you.
However, pain is pain and should be acknowledged for what it is. And, it should be treated seriously. Treated badly it can lead to much greater pain, or even loss of life.
So, as I sit here today I wanted to take the time to reflect on the lessons I have learned through this suffering. A year ago I wrote the lessons I had learned after one year of suffering. All these lessons remain to be true today.
However, after another year of searching my understanding of suffering, and myself, has grown even further.
These are the lessons I learned. While I know often these lessons can only be learned through experience, my hope and prayer is that they might be helpful for those who are suffering.
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