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Today’s Truth

He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.

Isaiah 40:29

Friend to Friend
I love a great movie! To me, a movie is great when good wins over evil, the right guy gets the right girl, nobody gets hurt and everyone lives happily ever after. A bit naive, I know. But I have decided that there is enough harsh reality ripping through daily life without paying to see more on a movie screen.

With these criteria in mind, I went to see the movie “Sea Biscuit.” There I was; popcorn in hand, minding my own business and enjoying my brief respite, when his words slammed into my soul, yanking me back to the tenacious essence and interminable power of truth.

“You don’t throw a whole life away just because it’s banged up a little.”

I was done.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the movie, those words linger still because it seemed they were written just for me.

The reality is that we are all “banged up a little.” In “A Farewell to Arms” Ernest Hemingway writes, “The world breaks everyone and many are strong at the broken places.”

We all have hidden scars, fresh wounds and broken places. The good news is that God is drawn to broken people. In fact, He accomplishes His greatest work through those who are most broken.

Isaiah 45:3 (NIV) “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

God has gone before us and in every trial and painful circumstance has buried a treasure or stored rich secrets that can only be found by going through that darkness. The most powerful truths are revealed in the darkest times. In fact, pain intensifies our need for God and can be counted as a blessing.

I struggle with clinical depression. The darkness has been an all too familiar companion for most of my life. Over the years, I tried just about everything to soothe the pain – things like success in ministry, the approval of others, perfectionism, doing good things, food and … you get the idea.

In 1995 my carefully constructed world fell apart and I spent two long years at the bottom of a dark pit of depression. I had no idea how to handle the pain and hurt. I cried out to God. He heard my cry and led me to a passage of Scripture that continually heals me and helps me handle hurt.

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”

I don’t know what your particular pit is.

But I know what you are feeling.

You may be desperately clinging to the broken and mismatched remnants of your life, wondering how you can go on.

Whispers of the enemy creep into your heart, soul and mind, taunting you with the lie that you are just too dirty and broken for God to love or use.

It seems as if nothing and no one can change that reality, so you might as well give up, throwing your life away.

Stop!

Nothing could be further from the truth, girlfriend. Hurt may be inevitable, but misery is optional. How we respond to pits and pain is our choice.

We can surrender to the darkness and create an identity that feels at home in a pit or we can embrace the pain and learn from it.

We can settle for a life defined by pain or we can harness the power of our pain and use it for good.

We can try to ignore the pain and hope it all goes away or we can face it and let God heal the broken places.

Those are not just words, girlfriend. They are choices that you and I can and must make every single day. God knows. God hears. God will breathe life into the right choices that we make. And today He is asking, “Daughter, what will you do with your pain?”

Let’s Pray

Father, my heart is broken and I don’t understand what You are doing in my life. The darkness is very real and filled with more questions than answers. And I don’t like it! But I love You, Lord, so I choose trust over fear and faith over doubt. Lord, please fill each broken place in my heart with Your peace and love. Today, I choose You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

  • Pour out your heart to your God in prayer, asking Him to uncover the hurt in your life. In your journal, record each one in simple, honest words. Every day this week, read aloud Psalm 40:1-3 and claim it as a certain hope from God’s heart to yours.
  • How has hurt impacted your life?
  • What has been your typical response to hurt? Does that response line up with the truths of Psalm 40:1-3?
  • Do you really believe that if you cry out to God He will hear your cry? What does that mean to you?
  • Are you willing to face and deal with the hurt in your life?

More from the Girlfriends

Mary Southerland seemed to have it all until clinical depression brought her world crashing down. She found herself paralyzed and unable to function at home or in ministry. Experience Mary’s story of deliverance through this powerful and practical message, Coming Out of the Dark, available in MP3 download or CD or book form, Hope in Midst of Depression.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

9 Responses to “What Will You Do With Your Pain?”

  1. Mrs A says:

    Thank you for this devotional. This phrase really got me ” hurt is inevitable, misery is optional. Thankful for the word and his promises. Life can be tough but knowing that God is always with me gives me hope. In all circumstances I choose joy!

  2. Kathy says:

    Thank you for this devotional and for your transparency. I, too, have suffered from depression off and on for several years; by God’s grace, it is much better. His word always seems to lift me out of that pit!! My deepest depressive episode occurred several years ago when our 18-year old son was killed in a car accident. Looking back, I see how I have grown exponentially in my faith and spiritual life through his death. God doesn’t waste anything and uses all things for His glory and our good! Recently, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer; prognosis is not promising. However, I know that our God can work great miracles if it’s part of His plan. If He chooses to take me home instead, I’m ready! It’s a win-win situation. I didn’t always feel like this about my diagnosis; but remaining in His word puts everything into perspective and gives me hope. I just want you and my other “girlfriends” to know how much I appreciate your daily devotionals! 🙂

    • Betsy says:

      Dear Kathy, All I could muster to respond after reading this is “WOW”. I only wish all of us could be this rooted in Gods love & faith. You are an inspiration ! 🙂 I know God has just the best in store for you… Stay blessed !!!

      Betsy

  3. Thank you for this devotional today. It comes to my email but somehow it got deleted. I’m glad I remembered that I have you on Facebook. I definitely needed this devotional! I might not like where God has taken certain parts of my life but I definitely trust in Him and have faith that he will always take care of me.

  4. Marilyn says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how God uses broken vessels (think “broken leaky pots that would normally be thrown away”) to hold and share His deepest, most healing and life-giving truths with us. Thank you Mary. We think of perfection as being the most beautiful. God sees the scarred and broken as the most exquisite and valuable. I am grateful, as I’m sure most GIGs are, to be one of His precious “broken vessels”. Like Kathy (above) said, because of these truths, and our ever-deepening faith in God, we can see situations like hers as “win-win”. We’ll be praying for you Kathy!! God bless you!!

  5. Tee says:

    I just read this. Last night was rough, very rough and I turned to alcohol to take the edge off. I’m a lightweight so it doesn’t take much. I woke up this morning and rolled over. When I did get out of bed I was going to go get donuts. I stopped. I prayed. I put on my workout clothes and I got back into the game. I am just coming out of the darkest period of my life and just starting to see the light again. This hit home. Thank you. Confirmation I’m on the right track.

  6. Joyce says:

    Yesterday was a very bad day. I cried off and on all day. I have been praying more than I have ever prayed before and this is what God did for me: I tuned into a tv sermon yesterday, Sunday, morning and listened to a sermon about God’s plan for our lives. I’ve never listened to a tv sermon! Then a friend felt moved to call me and check on me and I poured out my heart to her and felt better. Third thing he did was guide me to a post on face book about never letting a man cause you to question your worth. And now today I find this site. I know these things are not coincidences. They are directly for me from God almighty and I am so moved and awed by His love for me.

  7. Dee Rigney says:

    As always, God has used Mary to show me the way through a very rough and rugged time. I so very much appreciate GIG’s and all of their devotions. This one really hit home as I feel so frustrated with many aspects of my life right now. But in midst of it all, I know God is in it and He is working for the betterment of me and my husband!! I thank the women who have replied before me and will be praying for them as well. Kathy, I do not know what you are going through, but I do know that God can sustain you in all things!! And Tee, no matter how many times you “take a step backwards” always, always know God can and will lift you out of that pit!! Thank you Mary for doing the Lord’s work so well!!

  8. Paula says:

    Bless you for during about your expression. We seem to think at times we re the only ones hurting or not like the soccer mom down the street. Jogging every day happy as can be. But God has shown me everyone has hurts, mine is yes autoimmune , Neuropothy. Leg pain everyday. But its Christ who nudges me out of bed, loves on me and shows me how today we will do this together. I am a baseball mom. No I might not make it to every game but my son knows whether I’m home or there, I’m cheering for him. And I know God is cheering for me!

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