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  • Writer's pictureLisa Veteto

Joy.

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

To sit in or relive pain is often what we try to avoid. We will seek to fill our time with anything or - in some cases - everything that can transport us out of the situation. It is a natural response and a universal response. It is why we have doctors, counselors. It is why pain management tactics are at times abused. And, in many cases why our lives get so busy. We cope with a desperate search for relief or rescue.


I did this many times over the course of 2017.


When I suffered a knee injury, I turned to doctors, surgery, physical therapy and a temporary requirement of pain killers in order to avoid pain. All normal and necessary measures.


But if I am honest, I also turned to TV, to dull the silence and loneliness. Work, to hide the insecurity of being replaceable or erasable. I turned to anger, to translate my misery. I withdrew from others, to avoid acknowledging the situation or talk about it further.


In cases of physical, mental or emotional pain - there are normal and healthy ways to cope but there are also unhealthy ways we cope. If you take an honest look at a painful situation you are or have experienced, you too will identify both.


In October 2017 when we found out our little bundle of joy was lost, after all our family [I] had been through the previous 6 months, I found myself in a unchartered valley. A depth I truly had never know before. A place I had no words. No reasoning. No desires. No light. No hope. Nothing. Absolutely empty.

 

Emptiness.

A feeling we are not prone to embrace. We are taught to fill our emptiness. Right? But let me give you a different perspective of emptiness:


Blessed the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:3-4

The verses continue, but I want to share what I learned in this season about these two promises for provision. Verse 4 speaks for itself, but let me interject and account for the truth in God's comfort being nothing we can find from anyone or anything in the world. It is sweet and perfect.


But Poor in Spirit is where I was to park for a moment: Just a few days after, I learned in my quiet time, to be poor in spirit also meant: The end of one's self. Bankrupt in the sight of God. Empty and available for heavenly treasure.


To me, this was not just familiar - it was a description of the place I found myself. Empty of all options to bring myself out of this pain. Empty of ideas to resolve. Empty of my desires, my abilities, my logic or effort. I had reached the end of myself and it was here I realized what it was to truly trust, love, and follow the Almighty.


I was reminded that the world God created was "void" in the beginning. Empty. And yet look at what God created from empty. I ask that in awe at the beauty, detail and care he took with the creation of the world. But I can ask myself the same - Look what God created from emptiness with me!


Whether you come to God empty of your own free will or emptied by circumstances out of your control - to God, emptiness is emptiness - and it is beautiful and usable.

 

In this emptiness I knew full well none of my coping mechanisms were going to change anything about my circumstances. In all previous situations I could do something, push harder, fight, work... but this time... it was all out of my control. (*thankfully through my injury God had broken me of my need for control, so turning to Him came natural.)


So I turned to the one thing I knew to be a peaceful and stable place - worship.


For days, I would lay in my closet floor anytime I was not committed to doing something. I proceeded to play and replay songs over and over until joy returned. I would just cry, listen and rest in worship. I did not realize it until days later - but in that sweet time God was comforting my heart. He was cradling me in a warm embrace of love. He knew the bigger picture, I did not. He knew I needed to experience the pain to reach the next level of faith and relationship with Him. He knew this moment, even though excruciating, would grow me more than anything else could. I would grow in my dependency on Him, but also in my affection for Him.


During one worship video, as Amanda Cook was singing Our Breath Back, she began to speak:

I just have pictures of us in the middle of meltdowns, in the middle of breakdowns, in the middle of what we thought was the end but was really just an expansion, a new beginning. And He is the God who comes close. The God who gets in the dirt and says where are your accusers now. He comes in close, and He weeps. He did not bypass the process, He didn't fast-forward it. He dignified every single human emotion, every single one...I see Him coming in close tonight and giving us the realization of breath ... I see Him coming in close and revealing how close He has been all this time in the middle of everything. He is right here. We don't have to wait for the resolution. There is a hope that is beyond resolution - it is the presence, the person of Jesus Christ.

On that closet floor, I listened to these words on repeat and just felt truth rooting deep. Truth that God was with me, sustaining me, and HE was the true source of my hope. I do not know if I cried more in those days over our loss, or over the realization of my Father's love. The nearness. The comfort. The presence. It was overwhelming how held I felt, for lack of a better word.


There were a slew of songs that I listened to in those days on that closet floor, all for their own truth that the Holy Spirit spoke through them:


I am no Victim - He is provision and wisdom and his plans for me are good.

"He is my Father. I do not wonder if His plans for me are good...He is provision, and enough wisdom to usher in my brightest days and turn my mourning into praise."


It is Well - God has it under HIS control. I am secure in Him.

"Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You...Let go my soul, and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name. It is well with my soul."


Even If - I have to trust God in the pain and sorrow just as I do when life is good.

"I know you're able, I know you can. [but] Even if you don't, my hope is You alone."


You're Gonna Be OK - Rather than feeling stuck & defeated, I looked to God in my grief.

"You'll get through this. Just follow the light in the darkness. You're gonna be okay."


Our Breath Back - He is present and breathing life into me when I feel hopeless and alone.

"You're giving us our breath back, we don't have to wait for the outcome to breathe."


Perfect Peace - His love and peace is what will anchor me through the pain.

"The waves may not stop but You're holding me steady."


Good Good Father - I can trust Him.

"'Cause you know just what we need, before we say a word."


In Over my Head - I can't define the "goodness" of God, I just have to surrender and trust.

"Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in. Let love come teach me who You are again. Take me back to the place where my heart was only about You. And all I wanted was just to be with You."


Hold On to Me - My strength is not my own. Embrace my weakness and see His strength.

"Hold on to me. I am weak without you. I can't breathe without you But I can make it through. If you hold on to me. When my life is broken. Still your arms are open. Your love can make me new."


To Be Honest - Validated the place I found myself, but reminded me my anchor was reliable.

"To be honest, I don't feel like singing. To be honest, I don't hear your voice. To be honest, you're not all my heart desires. I know you love me, but it doesn't feel that way. It feels like Im drowning...No matter what the storm, our anchor holds. No matter what may come, you're people press on."

Even When it Hurts - God is worthy of my praise, regardless of my circumstances.

"Even when my strength is lost. I'll praise you. Even when I have no song. I'll praise you. Even when it's hard to find the words. Louder then, I'll sing your praise. Even when the fight seems lost. I'll praise you. Even when it hurts like hell. I'll praise you. Even when it makes no sense to sing. Louder then, I'll sing your praise."


Take Courage - I had to muster courage to wait and hold onto hope in God's faithfulness.

"Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting. Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing, He’s never failing."



In those still & broken moments, I did not need theology - I did not need sympathy. I needed the basic truths. [I am here, You are loved, I have a plan. I'm not done.]


In this battle, fighting many things, praise became my weapon (more on this later). Worship led me straight into the arms of my Father. And from that loss - I enlisted my pain. Adrian Rodgers gave three ways you can pray when you are hurting:

  • Pray to escape pain - seeing it as your enemy

  • Pray to endure pain - seeing it as your master

  • Pray to enlist pain - seeing it as your servant

I chose to enlisted my pain. And once I was able to hear and my heart could accept the truth of what happened, God gave me a sweet treasure - he met me in my pain and showed me a piece of Himself, His heart. A part of his love I had known (🧠 ) but not known (❤️).


Every quote, every thought, every Pinterest pin (because others could put words to my grief when I had none) - God showed me His heart in them. While journaling on November 2, 2017 - these words were impressed upon my heart and I wrote them down:

In this grief I am living, I feel connected to the grief God has for His children. The children He created, whom He loves completely, but they turn from Him. Because He gave us the freedom to choose Him, He has no control of their choice, yet He deeply grieves for the loss.

I read and reread this statement. Baffled. Convicted. Enlightened. I cannot even fathom the grief God has for the loss of those who never accept His gift of salvation, but that loss seems familiar in Miscarriage. I can see, feel and sense His love, loss and sorrow.


Then I went back and started reading those quotes and pins:



I can feel his grief when I read these statements. Being omniscient, when God gave us freedom He knew some of us would not accept him! And yet, knowing this, He is still paid their debt. He still chose to love them. He still did everything for the lost soul that He did for mine...that is love unfathomable.


From this place, God gave me a love for the lost and an incredible appreciation of His relentless pursuit of my heart and affection. I gained passion. I earned strength. And I captured the love of my Father. All these things produced an undeniable faith.


Charles Spurgeon once said:

FAITH goes up the stairs that LOVE has made and looks out the window which HOPE has opened.

By allowing the Holy Spirit to heal my brokenness, rather that coping with the world's options, I was blessed with a sweet moment of time. A relationship with my Heavenly Father.


And for that --- my littlest love...your life was not in vain. Your life & death brought truth - that He has good GOOD plans even before we are formed in our mother's womb. His plans for you, sweet one, were good. Psalm 139 states a verse we as Christian's know well, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. BUT, vs 16 took on a new meaning in 2017.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God had a precious purpose in your life. And in your life, that some would not credit to be life, God knew your days. God knew. And those days, though not lived in my arms, each one was lived in my heart. God counts them and had a great purpose for them.


In believing that - how could I not have hope and joy?


God is good. He is faithful. Trustworthy and all we need. Each day brings more to face - but just as new struggles arise - God also raises a new measure of Strength to enable us to grow.


Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. Psalm 126:5

Peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives.

Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27


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