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Hi Friends! Welcome to Episode Seven of the Reaching Hurting Women Podcast: A Contemplative Path of Recovery where we are learning new ways of coping with our daily struggles. My name is Tamara and I’ll be your host.
With the healing power of the Holy Spirit as our guide, we are integrating the traditional 12 Step Recovery principles with Benedictine Spirituality and other contemplative practices which we will be learning and discussing. It’s my hope to have a new podcast each Monday to discuss our theme of the week on ReachingHurtingWomen.com
This week our theme topic is: Suffering
We all experience suffering and we all handle it differently. Suffering has many levels and can be expressed in various emotions and behaviors. It can be painful, even destructive especially to our relationships.
What is suffering for you may not be suffering for me. What is suffering for me today may not be suffering for me tomorrow.But most suffering is a result of our lack of acceptance. When we can’t control life we suffer. Whatever it is, if we don’t like it and can’t change it, it is going to cause us suffering. Until we surrender to what we cannot control we will continue to suffer.
The degree to which we surrender to our suffering is the degree that we will grow stronger spiritually.
I have to say after 37 years of marriage this particular season of life, especially the last 2.5 years has been one of non-stop suffering for my husband and me. Without going into the details about our personal life we’ve had several moves, each with a job transition, health, legal, financial and family issues. It seems we’re getting hammered from every side. Then throw in trying to stay sober in the midst of all that… and you have suffering!
The book of James tells us:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. ~ James 1:2
I don’t know about you, but I’m not jumping up and down for joy in the midst of my suffering.
As I was preparing for this podcast I found many great blog columns on Christians and suffering, the purposes of our suffering, why God allows us to suffer, truths about suffering and so on. I’d like to share some insights I gathered from my readings. Here are just a few:
7 Purposes of Suffering:
- Suffering increases our awareness of God’s power.
In our moments of suffering we are most aware of God’s omnipotent power.
- Suffering refines and strengthen us.
Usually when we get on the other side of suffering we have learned a lesson and are stronger for it.
- Suffering teaches us humility.
It’s pretty difficult to stay in pride and suffer. Not always, but usually suffering has a way of bringing us to our knees.
- Suffering teaches us to number our days.
We may be counting the days for the wrong reason, but at least we‘re counting them.
- Suffering equips us to minister to others.
After we have made it through our season of suffering, we are able to help others that struggle with the same thing we did.
- Suffering allows God to manifest His care.
If we are in a community of Christians God will use them to care for our needs if we will make our needs known.
- Suffering makes us dependent on God.
In times of suffering sometimes God is all we have.
During These Days of Suffering The 12 Steps Are Top of Mind:
- I’m aware of my powerlessness more than ever because I can’t do anything without God’s help.
- I need God to keep me sane, otherwise I’d be pulling my hair out.
- I have to turn my will over daily, because following my will can get me into trouble.
- I am reminded of my character defects, almost every morning. When I get out of bed physical pain reminds me of the bad food choices I made yesterday.
- I’m asking God daily for the knowledge of His will and the ability to carry it out. Without His help I surely won’t be able to do it.
- And to help me process my personal struggles, God has provided this podcast and website. This is where I contemplate on the lessons God is trying to teach me and pass them on to you.
That’s not all 12 of the Steps, but those are the ones that stick out most today.
As a recovering addict, I’m usually trying to avoid pain at all cost. But I’m finally learning the more I fight the pain and suffering, the more I try to run from it, to avoid it, to remove it… the worse it gets and the longer it may last.
If I can find my way to accepting this moment and its lesson for me, trusting that there is something better on the other side of the suffering, I will be closer to God’s peace. When I surrender to what this moment brings me, I am accepting God’s providence and by trusting Him, I am loving Him.
Before we close I want to circle back around to the verse I shared at the beginning from the book of James and read the whole verse:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1:2
Friends we are all in this together. Our struggles are not a waste. God is using them to grow us into something wonderful. Our struggles are what we bring to God; it is His job to deliver us.
I know many of you are suffering in some way today. You may not be physically suffering, but you may be going through a relationship or financial difficulty.
I pray that you will take some time and go to ReachingHurtingWomen.com and check out the different resources on Suffering that will be posting each day this week. Also you will find category tabs above each blog post where you can find more helpful content. As always I look forward to hearing from you. Please post your comments below the show notes on today’s column.
Thanks for joining me today on The Reaching Hurting Women Podcast: A Contemplative Path of Recovery where we are learning new and healthy ways of coping with our daily struggles.
Until next time, may the grace and peace of God be yours…