What do you say when in pain? Why words are mirrors & how you can be okay

I sat there at the doctor’s office tongue-tied, toes-curled, fingers fidgeting at the seams of my skirt.

If words are mirrors…

and if the tongue really only utters what the heart really only believes,

(and honestly — I couldn’t have looked or dressed the part that day),

then my own words had mirrored my soul that December day.

 They marked me; I’m marred.

“I’ve got pain that wakes me in the night, jabs me in my sleep…” I haltingly confessed.

I didn’t know that a wounded heart could feel so physical, or what do you say when you’re hurting deep within?

The doctor scribbled it on his note pad, my health assessment that day.

I could hear what my mouth was saying, yet my heart was desperate to believe another story.

Stories are significant. Alister McGrath wrote that they help us form our reality and find our place in it.

Words are narrative to the soul.

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They tell what we really believe deep down.

Or why things happened the way they did, or why we think we were parties to the crime.

But how do you walk to the light of day when you’ve stumbled all night?

My struggles were themed under one presenting issue.

There he scrawled it right clear: “episodes of grief following losses”.

I bit my lips.  

It had been a long two months and there was no way I could process it without feeling like the bottom was giving way.

What the doctor had written in ink, I didn’t have the power to rewrite, what he’d certified, I certainly didn’t want it to stick as a forever badge.  

Things can strip you thin and people can leave you cold, but the Word will make you full.

On the blank canvas of my inside, there lay another invitation.

I picked up my pen to write.

“I’m not lost — I’m just losing the things that previously had too much grip on me. In Christ I’m free.”

“I may be sad now, but I won’t be swallowed by grief. I may be broken down now, but God is building me up to break me forth.”

Sometimes it feels like a step of faith — saying things that we don’t feel were true at the time they were spoken.

But it’s true — things may have happened that was out of your control then, but there is still a future rebirthing from the unfurling of your own words now.

A veil is lifting, and I see how we can land our story on a different ending. 

Our story can take on His narrative instead, let it be what frame our perspective, seal our provision. 

I remember how CS Lewis beautifully painted this truth in the Chronicles of Narnia, the fact that our story isn’t the final story. There is a grander story at play through which we can view all the events of our lives. And when we are able to grasp this greater narrative, it will allow us to see our situation in a new and different light, in a sensible and meaningful way.

God’s story is a narrative whereby a perfect and all-powerful God longs to restore all of humanity to Himself. It’s a love story whereby every life matters and no situation is ever too hopeless or any person far beyond repair. It is a reality whereby the world’s brokenness can be swallowed by Christ’s completeness, and knowing that we aren’t accidental creatures in a meaningless cosmos is what infuses and interjects a painful situation with hope and purpose.

We can believe that there is a grand narrative and a Good narrator writing a better story through the space of our lives. And this Christian story can now become our story. A story that shows how we can win, how we will win.

And when we don’t have to nurse or curse or rehearse our past, we are liberated to immerse our story in the grand truth of His story, and reverse it for the redemptive nature that God has for it. (Benny Ho)

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