Own Your Pain, You Will Survive It
BY: KENDRA CAGLE
I loathe conflict. I don't like people disliking me. I don't like to argue. I don't like to put myself in situations where I know I would be judged. I figure life has plenty of drama on its own—why seek it out? So, I dodge certain people in grocery aisles and delete typed responses to social media debates because I'm not about to march right under someone's microscope. I'm an introvert and an avoider, and I am fully aware of it.
What I wasn't aware of was how honesty and transparency can throw you into the line of fire even faster than a good ol' opinionated comment. I avoided the spotlight, but telling my everyday stories to supermarket clerks and new acquaintances made the focus burn twice as bright.
I've had a miscarriage. So many of us do. Why don't we talk about it more? Why don't we seek out sisterhood where we can be surrounded with love? Because it can be terrifying to tell the world that your body might not be able to do what comes easy to so many… so, we keep it to ourselves. Because we don't want to sadden or scare those around us, we stay lonely.
My son has special needs. Why can't I rejoice in his successes with everyone? Because they might blame me. Because they often pity us. Because of a thousand reasons, you refrain from going into the details of your daily, unique parenting struggles.
Some of the most difficult moments in life come from our willingness or lack of willingness to be ourselves—no matter the circumstance. The more I tell, the more I open up. The more I open up, the more I become subject to the opinions of others. Nevertheless, in being vulnerable, I see more purpose in the struggle. Talking about my miscarriage showed me I wasn't alone; and it gave me the opportunity to be a source of encouragement for others. Being open about dealing with the struggles and triumphs of parenting a special needs child, led me to friendships I had been praying for and the reassurance I needed.
Telling the world about your low points is intimidating, but God works everything together for good. Your sadness, your failures, and your disappointments are the things that link you to the rest of the body of Christ. The taboo subjects, the fresh emotional wounds, all of the areas we avoid showing to others, are the greatest assets we have. God will use your vulnerability to strengthen others. God will use your openness to bring you to the places and the people you are called to. Don't shy away from owning the pain, because God knew you would survive it—and it has made you even more equipped to positively influence this world.
So, let's talk about the sucky moments in life. Let's lay out our hearts in the knowledge that our courage might open the hearts of others. Don't let the dark moments remain shrouded in shame and fear. Use them to help, to grow, and begin to let the scope of your influence help you heal.
Kendra is a loving wife, tired mom, and lifelong preacher's kid. She currently resides with her family, 2 cats, and 1 dog in a little blue house in Oklahoma.