Seriously. What do you think of when someone asks about your highlight reel? For most of us, memories of life’s best moments come to mind.
Maybe it’s your wedding day, the day your children were born, getting the job of your dreams, writing a best-seller, winning a big game or reaching a level of financial success. Undoubtedly, your highlight reel would include your most joyful days of answered prayers and dreams come true.
But what about the painful experiences when life doesn't work out as planned? When we suffer loss, heartbreak or disappointment? When dreams don't come true?
Would I put those experiences on the "highlight" reel of my life, too? Actually, yes, I would.
Am I delirious? Not in the least.
How can this be? How can something horrible and unwanted be on a highlight reel?
Certainly not from the experience itself, but from what can come from the experience.
Scripture promises that "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28)
Everything? Yes, everything.
Lilies really can grow in the valley and positive things really can come from our deepest pain.
Over the last 18 months, as I've been in a season of emotional healing, I’ve been working on a book for women facing widowhood. The book combines many lessons learned (often the hard way) from my own widow's journey, coupled with spiritual encouragement and humor.
Maybe it's the quirky way my mind works, but I often imagine a cartoon about a difficult situation as I'm in the midst of it as a way to laugh at myself and cope with the tension. Humor truly helps the healing process and I wanted to share that perspective with others.
The book is entitled Good Grief! Hope, Help and a little Humor for your Journey from Wife to Widow. The cartoon above accompanies Chapter 1, entitled “Jody Grows Up.” There is an original illustration for each chapter, all done by the wonderfully talented Alejo Porras.
The book will be released on February 1st on Amazon. I hope you'll get a copy and share it with someone who might benefit! My prayer is that this book will be a fresh, uplifting resource for women facing the unwanted, often isolating season of widowhood.
But what about you? What about the times of suffering in your own life? Do you prefer to ignore them or stuff them in your emotional bottom drawer?
Have you ever asked Almighty God, whom I like to call “The Great Recycler,” to take your trash and create something beautiful? If not, I challenge you to pray that brave prayer. I think you'll be amazed at how He answers.
Yes, you might have to drop a veneer of perfection. But I can guarantee that your authenticity will help others 100x more than pretending. There really can be purpose in our pain if we’re willing.
Maybe you won't feel called to write a book or begin a speaking career. But you can open up and share your story with one person who is similarly suffering. Your transparency with explaining what you've learned can provide comfort and encouragement to another. Don't waste your pain. Please use it to help someone else!
"He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us."
2 Corinthians 1:4, The Message