I had someone tell me a few months ago, that my life was an “amusing train wreck.” Well, that someone had a lot to say about things in my life, the way we are raising our kids, but that one stuck out the most. Needless to say, my jaw dropped, my heart sunk, and tears came to my eyes.
How could someone speak so flippantly, so HURTFULLY over the death of my marriage and life as I knew it?
I thought and prayed about it for several weeks before I was able to let it go, and make my peace with it. Then, in my quiet time, a blog post came to me. This one.
The purpose of this post is NOT to throw this person under the bus, or shame them in any way…..the purpose of this post is a bigger one.
How many times do WE, believers, stand back and sum up another persons life, or tragedy in a one sentence blurb, all from the outside looking in? All without taking account that these are REAL people with real life hurts and heartaches?
Train Wrecks happen. It’s a sad reality, but part of the fallen world we live in. Even Christians have Train Wrecks. We are not immune to them…..
Too bad, right!?
The difference, is how we are called to deal with them. How we are called to help others deal with theirs.
Imagine a train station, bustling with people, trains coming and going, each train representing a family, a group of lives, when suddenly…
A train wrecks as it comes into the station, spilling the family inside, and rubble, all over the tracks down below the platform.
They are broken, sobbing, lying in a heap amidst the pieces of their beautiful life, forever changed. The people on the platform, gasp in shock, then began to murmur at the horror of it all.
As they talk about this tragedy, they began to separate into groups:
Group 1 giggles behind cupped hands and points, gossiping about the poor, poor family on the tracks. What a mess they are! Surely they deserved this fate for such and such a reason.
Group 2 stands and calls down to the family, “We will pray for you….” but decide it’s safer to stay up on the platform.
Group 3 is different, they view others lives with empathy; they jump right down there on the train tracks, and began to wipe bleeding knees, and bruised elbows. Helping to dig through the rubble to find the pieces that remain, hugging and praying with the family members, offering comfort.
Have you noticed, that once you have endured a certain tragedy in your life, you are given opportunities to connect to others going through the same or similar circumstances?
When I was going through our season of miscarriages, I was given the opportunity to pray with many mothers going through the same heartache, to share a verse near and dear to my heart, or provide a shoulder to cry on.
When we finally made it through our year of financial discipline, we were able to help several other families walking that path, by simply offering some groceries, or a bill paid. We offered it, because we had been through it, we KNEW how they felt!
It occurs all the time now that we have Survived Infidelity, in fact a dear friend told me the other day, we should say that we are THRIVING in spite of Infidelity.
I liked that…..Thriving.
We won against all odds, because we fell on Jesus. Now, we are called to help those going through similar crisis. God never wastes a hurt, and there is not a week that goes by, that I don’t have an inbox full of tearful husbands and wives thanking us for being transparent for the world to see. They found comfort and similarities in our stories of heartache. They found HOPE in the God who makes all things new.
You may think my dirty laundry stinks, but they find it a breath of fresh air……..
“Thank you, thank you. Your heart-wrenching “Surviving Infidelity” posts couldn’t have been more of a godsend for me, a rope of grace thrown down in our pit.
The honesty you trusted utter strangers with is amazing . . . the raw, real beautiful mess . . . your tender testimony is a gift. God be glorified. Many of your words literally seemed to be lifted from my heart and taken from my own mouth. Yet, you also offered words of forgiveness and restoration that speak of a promised land we are looking to with hope.
Thank you for being so transparent and letting God speak through your brokenness. May He continue to hold you both as you walk forward, choosing to fall together and not apart.” ~A blog reader
We serve a God who makes Himself known even in the darkest, most terrifying moments of our lives. We should SHOUT to the world about Hope Reborn! About the process of dying to the old, and being born anew.
Dale gets a daily email from an Encounter Mentor, and it goes perfectly with this line of thought:
God promises to bring something good out of even our darkest moments.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
One key way this takes place is when we share the comfort He offered us with those who are now going through trials.
As Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, we are comforted by a Savior who knows our suffering, and we honor Him when we pass His comfort on to still others.
Look how many times comfort is mentioned…..
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
9 times in 4 short verses!
God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
May we never leave someone to suffer alone. If we know and recognize the difficult path another is on, God will help us to guide that person to His presence—the surest comfort of all.
Go read Isaiah 61, we took the whole chapter as “ours” during our rough patch, talking about new life, roots going down deep, even bride references. Listen to how it starts….
”….the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come….he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”
Simple enough, Dale and my calling in life, is to comfort those going through similar trials, whether it’s through a speaking engagement, a controversial blog series, or meeting with broken couples in our living room after the kids go to bed.
Amusing train wreck or no, our calling is clear! Our job is to share the comfort God HIMSELF gave us through our fiery trial. What purpose that gives our hurt……what a mission to have in life!
A ministry opportunity. A marriage saving one, too.
It always makes tears flow down my cheeks, and drip on to the keyboard when people send me pictures of their beautiful families, all those sweet, happy faces looking into the lens, having no idea mommy & daddy’s world just fell apart:
“Your story helped save my family. Thank you. I ripped up divorce papers tonight after reading your blog, and we are moving forward into a new in Christ marriage.”
Do you see what is happening here?
My hurt; my horrible, ugly, gut wrenching, life shattering tragedy….HAS A PURPOSE. Praise be to God! He NEVER EVER wastes a hurt!
Ann Volskamp always has the most beautiful, God-given words, she says:
“It’s the hurting and wounded who are always the ones called to be medics — to administer lavish grace, to cast the messy in the best, merciful light.
The best way to tend to your open wounds is to open your arms.
Let the broken choose it: When you’re most wounded by words, run to the only Word that always brings healing.
Let the broken see it: When you’re wounded and need dressing, look in the mirror, touch your face, and see how He clothes you in righteousness, wraps you in promises, swathes you in a Savior — who saves.
When you have Jesus on the inside, you’re never on the outside.
Let the broken say it: When you’re bruised by lies, believe truth and whisper it louder: I am my Beloved’s.
When Love’s got hold of you, there isn’t a lie in the universe that can pull you apart.
Let the broken trust it: Giving the benefit of the doubt — is what benefits the people of the Faith.
Doesn’t love always believe the best, not the worst?
And may that wind the brokenhearted daughter faces, may it fly her hair like a glory flag,
And may the hills that rise before her be but an exhilaration,
And may all her trials be but a trail, all the stones on the way be but grace stairs to God.
In the name of Jesus who broke His heart to heal ours…”
My train wreck isn’t mine, it’s HIS. Thank you, Jesus.