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Purpose In Pain

Think back when you were a child.

Did you view your family the same way as you view your family now?

I knew how I felt about my family when I was young – a strong sense of embarrassment that I didn’t have a dad. That feeling lingered for many years and unknowingly, this greatly affected my identity. I remember the feeling but I certainly did not understand our family dynamics when I was young. To be honest, it’s taken years for me to settle into the truth of my upbringing – and that “settling” is the result of running to Jesus to receive His deep healing, for which I am so thankful.

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.  Psalm 131.2

What do we really know when we are young?

When I was a child, “I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child” (1 Cor. 13.11)  I had very limited understanding of how my alcoholic mother and my absentee father affected my development. I knew that my family was different than my friends’ families because they all had two parents but emotionally, I had no idea what was missing.

I had never heard the word, “dysfunctional” until well into my 20’s and I didn’t actually recognize and admit the dysfunction in my family until years later.

I finally grew up.

Now I see the holes. I feel the unmet longings. I understand the patterns. I appreciated the good moments and I am committed to process, rather than suppress the not-so-good memories. This is an ongoing journey but by the grace of God, there is progress. And tears. And love. And frustration. And peace. And hope.

Without question, there is purpose in processing pain with Jesus. There is peace beyond the seasons of feeling stuck, unfocussed, anxious, disappointed and hopeless.

But we have to grow up to embrace the realities of how we grew up.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.   1 Corinthians 13.11

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