It sounds crazy. Who would look at pain as a gift. Who would want it. Who would be grateful for it.
Our hearts, our emotions, our memories, our thoughts, our body, our loved ones.
and that is GOOD, very, very GOOD.
October of 2007 –We have a child that doesn’t feel pain. Half of her body is numb from nerve damage of Spina Bifida. She can’t feel her legs. As a result she can’t move her muscles. Because nerves that feel, tell your muscles- hey move!
When we first moved into our old house in CT there was radiant heaters on the base board areas of the rooms. One day Jamie was playing with pretend food sitting right next to one. Other kids did it. THey loved to warm their toes on the baseboards. Sooner or later you move your foot. It gets hot. Jamie didn’t. Time passed. Kids played happily. The house was new to us so we didn’t know yet where a problem lie waiting. She crawled away to another area of the room and I saw her back. Her shirt bloody and oozing. I lifted up her shirt to find a massive burn. She didn’t feel it. Not one bit. Later as she was healing up she would complain about an “Itchy pain” in her shoulder. But the burn was down way low near her waist. We found out that pain was shooting up her nerves in her back!!!
January of 2011- On the day of her birth our dear Jocelyn died. We were blindsided by this mack truck of pain & sorrow. We dug deep searching for reason and purpose in what seemed like a huge hole in our hearts. By God’s grace we found that reason and purpose. We saw a greater value and worth in her short little life than we could have ever imagined. We saw the impact she had on healing so many peoples hearts that were wounded from loss in the past. But that initial mack truck of pain was beautifully hard and retchedly awesome. WHY? Because it was sooo BIG and SOOO PAINFUL that we HAD to face it. We HAD dig it out. We HAD to beg God to open our eyes to understanding greater than our humanity could see. If it didn’t hurt, if the pain had been minor, we, in time, would have “moved on”. OH HOW GRATEFUL I AM THAT WE NEVER “MOVED ON” AND THAT WE HAD DEEP, DEEP PAIN!!!! Because we clung together with our children, we grew closer to them, we sought the Lord more than ever, we shared to Truths of Scripture with confidence and no shame or worry of appropriateness. And we will NEVER NEVER NEVER forget. She is a permanent part of our hearts and minds not just because she is our daughter (of course that is true) but because the pain was SOOO immense we will never forget. We can’t.
July of 2013- In the daily routines of parenting, we catch a glimpse, and it stops us in our tracts. Jamie looked at us with only one eye while the other stared into the distance. We knew right away. Shunt failure. Sean swooped her up and took her to children’s hospital ER. At first, they didn’t think it was shunt failure. We insisted. They pushed back. No it’s not. Shunt failure is sooooooo painful. The migraines alone or so intense that it causes one to vomit. And look at her- she’s happy as a clam. And she was. Now, we had had some behavior issues. But that’s it. 24 hours later she ended up in surgery with nuero getting a new shunt on her brain.
Nothing. Nothing at all. Came home with NO pain meds. NO PAIN MEDS!!! after they had literally just drilled a new hole in her skull, placed a shunt in and had two very large sets of stitches on her head (with some of her hair shaved off). NOTHING. She wakes up the next day. I look at my daughter all stitched up on her brain, missing hair, and I shake my head in amazement of God’s timing and causing us to see her eye problem quickly. I am “wowed” by God causing us to look at her in a such a way that we “happened” to catch her eye not moving. Had she gone to sleep that night she may not have woken up. God is AMAZING. We do not believe in coincidence. It is not of our own accord by any stretch of the imagination. God’s timing was impeccable. I shake my head again as I look at her and say good morning. She says “mom, my head is kinda itchy”. I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud. I picked her up and showed her her head in the mirror and said “yes honey, thats where they cut into your head for your new shunt. It’ll probably be itchy for a while as it heals” ”oh, ok” she says and “MOVES ON”. She did what I am glad that I can NOT do so easily- she MOVED ON. She had NO pain. So, she didn’t care. It didn’t matter.
I could list a 1000 more examples God has given us through our children with special needs. From jumping out of trees and belly flopping on hard ground only to brush off the grass and MOVE ON, to ripping braces off your teeth with your bare hands because they were annoying, or ripping all your toenails off (yes and the flesh too) while in bed one night because they were “too long”, or maybe something even more hair raising than toenails- like twisting out 3 teeth in one night (with your bare hands) that we NOT EVEN AT ALL loose so that you could have teeth come out like a sibling did!!!
and so on…….
next time somethings hurts
next time something wrenches your gut in pain and sorrow
next time pain blindsides you
next time pain slowly etches away at your mind, emotions, and memories……
it may take you time, but don’t “MOVE ON” and be “tough”
there’s no great godly glory in “toughness”
dig deep, keep your eyes open even when you want to look away
beg the Lord for wisdom and discernment, for perspective to see what God sees and not what you see
you WILL NOT be diminishing the event of pain, nor will you “MOVE ON” quickly
you will heal and find you have within yourself a great capacity to care
(and less and less of an ability to “move on”)
And THAT is a VERY good gift that pain will give you.