WHO WERE YOU BEFORE THE HURT? Have you ever wondered who you were before whatever happened, happened. You know, that person or thing that hurt you enough to change who you were?
Listening to the car radio the other day, Gilbert O’Sullivan was singing Alone Again, Naturally. It’s about a guy who gets jilted at the altar, then his parents die. First his dad, then his mom. And so the name of the song. But there’s this line: “To think that only yesterday I was cheerful, bright and gay.” Listening to those lyrics it became clear that’s what I thought I was like before I allowed hurt to change me.
Contributing to this blog gives me opportunity to sift through the experiences of my life. Some memories have been good and some have not, but all of them have taught me a lesson. Who was I before the hurt? At first I wanted to write about how much better (cheerful, bright and gay) I was before pain and disappointment entered my life. How the sun always shone brightly and there were never any cloudy days.
But the truth is, I have been in some valleys. And there was always value in the valley. Some were of my own choosing like staying in toxic relationships longer than necessary. And some were thrust on me, like infertility or the deaths of loved ones. Either way, there was a valley. Sometimes I chose to languish in the muck and mire of those valleys and sing the Hee Haw song. You know the one, “Gloom, despair and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery…”
And then there are the times that I recognize the approach of the valley and determine to learn the lessons while there. Maybe next time it could be avoided or at the very least shorten my stay. And here’s what I discovered. Each and every valley of hurt, disappointment and pain eventually brought me to my face before the Lord. He uses them as a training ground for my character. And when the lessons aren’t learned, they’re taught again at a more intense level.
These days, God is having a difficult time getting the trust and obey lesson to stick with me. Every time it seems like we won’t have that discussion again, I fail a test. But the difference now is that I can accept defeat and not be defeated. I can keep getting up and trying again. And He will never stop loving me or calling me his child and his friend.
Pain can make us bitter and negative if we allow it. Or we can choose to let the hurt take us deeper still with the One who wins in the end. Maybe we’ll never welcome pain with open arms but let’s purpose in our hearts to learn all we can from it. John 16:33 tells us that in this life we will have trouble. Might as well use it for our ultimate good! Selah… Andrea
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Your turn: What lessons have you learned in the valleys of your life? What helps you avoid your valleys? Share your thoughts in the comment section. ~ Breath on Paper