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No Pain, No Gain

When I think of the term “victory”, I think of a battle.

Victory in this regard is complete and final.  In the Christian’s life, however, it is far from complete. This lack of completion is somewhat frustrating to me but accepting it is life altering indeed. We are constantly being created by God to be who He wants us to be. We just need to be open to following and trusting God.  No small feat.

I remember a young friend saying over coffee, quite clearly, how she longed for suffering; the spiritual growth it would give her, and the closeness to Jesus that it would reward her with. I simply thought, you nutter, who truly wishes for suffering? My husband left me just a couple of weeks later and I learned the truth of her words.

This little sloth, who loved Jesus, but was rather more like St. Augustine in saying change me God, just not yet…or not too much, learned how to shine for Jesus.

I’m ashamed of my cowardice then, and if I’m honest, even now. In those early painful days, I walked around in a daze with a gaping wound, I was so unbelievably raw and hurt. I was, however, completely open with friends and strangers. God used this vulnerability to heal me.  I pleaded with God not to take away my suffering, but rather to help me bear it and not become bitter.  I was most worried about the latter.  It was my deepest prayer that I would not become transformed by the dreaded character of bitterness. What I had not even dreamed was that God would not only love me through this hard time, but he would transform my hurt and pain into JOY!

Vulnerability is not always easy, but it became as natural as breathing to me during that time, and has stayed with me since, perhaps not to quite the same rawness!

I believe vulnerability allows us to live authentically, and to build true and honest relationships with all people in our lives, strangers and friends alike. I know now that God truly is close to the broken hearted, as I have experienced it.  My wounds have mercifully healed with so much love and hope.  When God grants so much grace and love, there’s no room for bitterness, only deep deep joy and thankfulness.

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Shona Terrell

Shona is a British single mama to four wonderful American children. She feels closest to God outside, or when enjoying a beautiful art form such as ballet, art, or music. She fell in love with, and converted to, the Catholic church 13 years ago. God has been very good to her.

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