Embrace The Pain. Walk Away In Gain.

Our world is saturated with coping mechanisms because we’re engraved to feel shame from setbacks. We suppress our suffering and project a false sense of perfection. A projected perfection that social media craves to entice you to believe is the only thing people would accept to see… if they really knew the truth…they’d reject me.

It’s easy to want to sacrifice just about anything to run from our pain in desperate hope an outlet will just make it all disappear.

Addiction. Idolatry. Busyness. Substance Abuse. Relationships.

Fill in the blank.

Do you have an outlet you’re running to? What pain are you trying to hide that’s burning inside of you?

Let’s talk about fire. I don’t know about you but I love candles. One day, I randomly felt this nudge to research the science of a flame as I was lighting my candle.

According to “Explain That Stuff“, this is what I learned:

Perhaps surprisingly, the brightest part of the flame is not the hottest. The blazing part of the flame gives off three quarters of its energy as light and only a quarter as heat…The hottest parts of a candle flame are actually the blue, almost invisible area near the base.

After reading this, I recognized how our pain in life is relatable to the process of lighting a candle. When we go through loss, heartache, hardship – you name it – initally, we are all-consumed with the infliction of our wicks burning from the fire. But…I couldn’t help but notice that if only “25%” of the flame’s energy is given off as “heat”, and “75%” of the flame’s energy is given off as “light”…could we possibly find hope that we have a greater light to gain from our burning pain on the other side?

I also came across an interesting fact from Darling Candles – did you know that “large, untrimmed wicks make hotter and larger flames”? This “means your candle is burning up faster and turing your dollars into soot and smoke. We recommend trimming your candle wicks before each burn to 1/4 inch to maintain a healthy candle.”

I’m here to tell you not to forget we’re always faced with a choice.

Do we continue to surpress or wallow in our pain and allow ourselves to fuel the magnitude of the heat? Or do we surrender by trimming back the wick to let Jesus take over and come in to become healthy, and choose to live again?

The story in the bible that immediately came to mind is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel Chapter 3. I encourage you to read the entire chapter for full context, but below I will just share the portion that really spoke to me.

“…but if you do not worship, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand…’If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Magesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you set up.’ Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.” Daniel 3:15-19 (NIV)

Nebuchadnezzar was trying to force the nation to bow down to his idol of gold or they would be thrown into fire as punishment. Enduring Word commentary states that Nebuchadnezzar’s intent of creating the idol was “to say that the day of his regin and authority would never end – in contradiction to God’s declared plan.”

Fully aware that being thrown into a fire, logically, would inflict a serious amount of pain, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed in faith God would save them; whether that meant physically or, “IF NOT”… He would still be good…because they would get to be with Him for eternity. This friends is what our mindset needs to be focused on – eternity. He may not take away your current circumstance inflicting the pain. Whether or not He does, there is still something for you to gain.

Let’s continue:

“‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certaintly, Your Majesty.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed , and the fourth looks like the son of the gods.’…Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire…They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies…Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anthing against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

Daniel 3:26-29 (NIV)

Remember that flame I mentioned above? “The hottest parts of the candle flame…are almost invisible near the end of the base.” You may not see physically what He is doing or working in you in the midst of the hottest part of the pain; but God is already with you in that place.

Just maybe it is of no coincidence that science tells us the brighest part of the flame is not the hottest. I believe it’s because the light we shine once we’ve overcome our season of pain cannot compare to the beauty brought back to The Kingdom as gain. We have to be willing to walk through seasons of painful ignition in order to become the result of a light that shines in someone else’s darkness.

One of the most influentional mentors in my life, Tammy Park, shared a deeper context to Psalm 23:4 with me back in July of 2018, and it is something I will not and cannot ever forget.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me” (NIV)

She said, “Rhianna, even in the darkness you are sill walking which means you are moving and you’re not stuck. This will pass.”

The reason this remider is so profound is because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were “WALKING” in the fire INTENDED to KILL THEM! They had NO idea that their faith in embracing whatever pain was about to come their way would have brought such a massive Kingdom gain. Their trust in The Lord ended up convicting this King consumed in darkness to proclaim God as the true King, and further empowered the rest of his nation to repent and do the same.

What do you think…are you ready to turn your pain into gain?

As for me – I initially couldn’t imagine wanting to process the deep tretcherous pain of being abandoned in marriage. Could I really handle anymore? Instead of running to the outlets the world could’ve offered me, I surrended, embraced it, and laid it before Jesus’ feet — and in time gained a beautiful transformation and a testimony to which nothing could compete.

In transparency, I was absolutely terrified of sharing my testimony. Many moments I wrestled with fear. Fear of the potential that the result would only open a multitude of doors of judgement, shame, or even blame. Then one day The Lord convicted me. Just what if I have the opportunity to be a light that empowers someone else to embrace their pain — so they too can seek hope and find purpose in the light of their flame?

“For at one time you were in darkness, but now you are a light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8

I encountered 7 people in JUST the first year after I shared my story. People who were also intially afaid of embarking on a similar journey to mine. I then went on to step out in faith and publish a book, and today those numbers continue to grow. In due time, I was finally able to see what The Lord was speaking over me as I continue to watch some of those people to this day pass forth their story of pain — igniting empowerment in others to do the same.

Friend, I encourage you to embrace your pain. Because with Jesus you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

“I have made you a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47

The Vanity in Victimization

Very few people have learned my story of being physically and sexually abused in the past. In extreme transparency I open up about the dangers of falling into the trap of living in a state of victimization, and how powerfully Christ can redeem trauma by transformation.

Vanity manifests from victimization because your focus is only on YOU.

Your pain. Your burdens. Your unfairness.

Victimization breeds bitterness, resentment, a constant state of suffering, and completely prevents you from healing.

It becomes all consuming, exhausting, and isolating.

Instead of dealing with my trauma, I chose to repress it.

As a result this is what happened to me:

  • I longed for control in any area of my life because at one point it was robbed from me
  • I struggled to cope when things didn’t go as planned because I couldn’t function when control was taken from me
  • I built up walls that were once seen as “protection” that lead to defensiveness and victimization
  • I couldn’t sit still or have any “free time” in my life because it served as my outlet to compensate for actually processing my pain
  • There was little room for grace because any pain inflicted upon me convinced me to believe that person had to automatically be against me
  • When I was abandoned in my marriage, I had the prime opportunity to feed that deeply engraved victim role. Instead, God took hold of my heart and told me, “I’m going to use your pain as a trajectory”.

    See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” Isaiah 48:10-11

    I realized there was something rooted within me that allowed me to always feel like the victim, and as if the world was falling apart every time control was ripped from me.

    I prayed for The Lord to reveal everything to me. In turn, through my dreams, He replayed my traumatic events before me that I fought for so long to run from. I finally had understanding.

    Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

    I decided I was going to be done with being the victim, and choose to take the stand as a victor. I could stand confident as a victor because Christ already declared it into existence before me.

    I was a survivor. I was rescued. I was healed. All because I allowed Jesus to reveal the hidden root, and with open palms welcomed redemption to begin.

    Are you going to be the person who points the finger? Or are you going to fight to be the person who draws the circle? The circle that says, let me step back and examine ME.

    Develop an acceptance and awareness that each and every one of us is fallen and broken because of sin. We are not perfect, and that’s completely okay.

    What’s not okay is to blame someone else or the circumstances you’ve faced in your life for the state you choose to live in.

    Yes, I said choose. Because it’s our choice.

    People and situations are not responsible for how you respond.

    Tragedy can become a trajectory because of the power behind Christ’s mighty love for you.

    We can either be free and believe the truth that Christ will heal me, or succumb to the lie and blame the people or places around me.

    Our circumstances don’t define us when Christ defied our circumstances by His sacrifice on the cross.

    Stop living in the blame, and instead ask God to reveal how He can utilize you through your pain to bring glory back to HIS name!

    Yes, the trauma or pain you have endured be so dang difficult to fight through. Friends, remember there’s absolutely nothing you can’t do with Christ walking alongside you.

    Your pain will NEVER go to waste. Your pain has purpose.

    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

    Once you shift the “why me?” to the “how can you use me?”, you will see freedom and healing and transform that victim into victory.

    Surrender before our mighty defender, and expectantly watch your beautiful transformation unfold right in front of you.

    Raw + Real

    Being a Christian isn’t about pretty, put-together, prayers.

    It’s raw. It’s real.

    Sometimes, if not most times, filled with the honest gut-wrenching tears.

    We live in this false pretense that it gets easier when you decide to become a believer.

    It’s easy to pull scripture + pour out truth when you’re not the one desperately grasping for an ounce of a breakthrough.

    It’s easy to say, “trust God” when you’re not the one hanging by the thread of only having “just God”.

    It’s easy to say, “I’m doing okay” to fight off the pride in humbly saying, “I honestly don’t know how to make it through another day”.

    But amidst the brutal, honest, tears, you end up being met by the God who knows exactly how to calm your fears.

    “Cast your cares on The Lord and he will sustain you; he will not let the righteous fall” Psalm 55:22

      The God who hears you.
      The God who sees you.
      The God who believes in you.

    Maybe right now you’re not okay.

    Maybe right now you need to hear it’s okay if you’re really not okay.

    But I will FIGHT to tell you, God with his goodness, mercy, and faithful heart never intends for you to stay that way.

    There will be a day your tears of mourning radically become transformed into tears of rejoicing and those that are adorning.

    Some days + nights you may find yourself clenching your Bible, and earnestly seeking a place to rest your head.

    My beautiful friend, it’s completely okay because it’s in the midst of the raw, real, dependence, you become a witness to experiencing His fulfillment of promises.

    “I have heard your prayers and seen your tears. I WILL heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5

    ————————————————————

    Many days + nights this was me.

    In full transparency, it still can be me.

    Your growth in The Lord shouldn’t make you more confident in self, but drive deeper the roots in dependence on God himself.

    I’m okay with this every once in a while being me, but Lord how I PRAISE YOU and THANK YOU for knowing you’ve set this captive 100% free.

    My prayer for you too, my friend, is to rejoice in the gift of freedom – freely gifted upon you, to heal you.

    Rock Bottom. The Brunt of Brokenness.

    When you hear the phrase “hit rock bottom” it’s fair to assume the context is one of negative connotation.

    Darkness. The lowest point. Excruciatingly painful. The end.

    In dealing with family, friends, or relationships where a loved one has strayed into a prodigal, it’s incredibly common you hear,

    “they’ll have to hit rock bottom at some point”

    But why?

    It’s a hopeful cry of desperation that they’ll come back around. Come back around as the old self they once were, or a completely new self – exceedingly better than before.

    Maybe at one point you were, or currently are, that prodigal.

    Is it not in our moments of desperation, where we literally have no deeper to fall, that we finally look up and cry out to Jesus that we need him, “now more than ever”? When you’re in a moment, or season, of hitting rock bottom it’s so easy to feel defeated.

    There’s no hope.
    No reason to carry on.
    You’ve finally messed up too much this time.
    There’s no way you can possibly redeem yourself.
    You’re unforgivable.
    You’re not worthy.
    You’re completely alone.

    What I find so fascinating about the term “rock bottom” is specifically the word, rock .

    Think about it – who is our ultimate rock? Jesus.

    It’s not surprising then when we hear testimonies of people who finally came to the end of themselves at rock bottom. In turn, they became completely transformed by Jesus.

    You have to believe, understand, and receive this truth: there is nothing you could do to destroy God’s plan for you. Jesus wants nothing more than to open his arms up to you, and welcome you home with merciful unending love and grace.

    “…but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘ father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be your son’. But the father said to his servants, ‘quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet…for this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”  – Luke 14: 20-24

    Jesus eagerly anticipates the day you choose to look up in hope + truth instead of remain face down in the lie that your life is nothing but destitute.

    Rock bottom is finally putting an end to wrestling God, and creating a beginning of surrendering to God. What appears to be the end, in return, is an opportunity of a brand new beginning.

    ———————————————————————–

    Are you at rock bottom, friend?

    I’ll say this.

    I find freedom in rock bottom. While you may be in the brunt of your brokenness, you can fully trust that Jesus is going to fight to help you overcome + conquer this.

    Your brokenness, it doesn’t define you; it’s an opportunity to powerfully refine you.

    To heal you. To free you. To redeem you.

    “…I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” – 2 Kings 20:5

    The lies the enemy has tried so hard to use to entangle you, have already been freely broken + defeated by the mighty Savior who died for you.

    I don’t know about you, but there’s no other solid ground I’d rather completely fall to my knees to – that of Jesus.

    My rock, my fortress, my defense.
    “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2

    It’s on that rock, whether on your knees or on your face…

    You will rise. You will stand. It’s only the beginning, not even near the end.

    You have a story God will use 100% for HIS glory. Choose to humbly submit. I promise you’ll be blessed by your testament.

    “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18