Desire to Inspire #37: Pain and Peace

Pain and Peace

I look back through my journal, broken words I’ve written in a feeble attempt to chronicle my wrestling with God, and I barely recognize the words that I penned with my own hands more than a year ago. Flipping through that tear-stained journal is painful. I see the heartache and recount the anger and resentment. I remember the despair and agony, and on some level I suppose I was so bitter with God that I was unwilling to allow His comfort and peace to fill me.

And now I stand on a battlefield not quite deserted, but quiet and empty, evidence of a wildly raging war all around me. And I realize that somehow, through grace and glory and the powerful prayers of many of you, my burden is lifted. The pain is still there, but now it is married to peace. A beautiful partnership of two emotions that for so long were at odds with each other.

The pain is the lesser emotion, slowly submitting to grace and peace. And peace – that sweet quietness of spirit that rests in knowing that He is with me, that emptying of self and trusting His good and gracious plan – it grows stronger.

Peace was frail and fleeting at firstMaybe it was nourished by courage – the courage to wrestle – or maybe it was nurtured by the prayers of countless others. But fragile as it was, the seed that was planted without my realizing sprouted and took root. And the roots are growing deep, beautifully entwined in the soil of my heart, growing strong and brave.

There was a shift last fall. A crushing of my will and the realization that His will is perfect. Perfect and painful. The pursuing of my heart was brutal and ugly, and I rebelled and refused His sweet pursuit. But then, in one quiet moment, alone and silent and lost in thought, a revelation so brilliant and heart-stopping that I felt uninvited tears fill my eyes.

My expectation of God’s faithfulness had shifted. 

No longer did I expect that this journey would end with a diligently prayed for baby. No longer did I expect God to show up in a mighty, miraculous, earth-shattering way. No longer did I expect Him to do for me what seems impossible.

A shift.

A sudden change of heart, most certainly the gracious moving of the hand of God reaching down and somehow redirecting my expectations. Now I expect to be made more like His Son. I expect Him to conquer my restless and wayward heart. I expect to fall so blindly and hopelessly in love with Jesus that my life could be no more fulfilled by the joys and responsibilities of motherhood. I expect my every delight to be in Who God is, not in what He does for me.

He loves the broken. Because the broken cannot put themselves together again, and must, instead, rely on grace and glory to be made whole.

He loves the ugly. The ugly cannot make themselves beautiful without the hand of God painting brush strokes of loveliness across their life canvas.

He loves the empty. Because the empty cannot fill themselves, and must rely on divinely-given joy and peace and passion.

He loves the hurting. The hurting cannot heal their sorrows, but must run into the arms of Jesus – the arms that stretched out on that ugly, wretched sinner’s tree – to find the beautiful comfort of His presence.

And this shifting of my expectation resulted in a new heart-creed. A true and honest desire to be:

…broken – so He can recreate me.

…ugly – so He can make my messy life a testimony of glory and grace.

…empty, so He can fill me with supernatural joy that He pours in me out of His great love for me.

…hurting, so that He can embrace me and offer healing, real spirit and soul healing as He wraps me in resplendent love.

And so, the two feelings live in a state of irony: juxtaposed to each other, yet working in tandem to draw me to Him: pain and peace.

Are you ready to be an inspiration? (To find out the purpose of the Desire to Inspire community, please read this post.)

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  1. Ruthie Hart (@ruthiehart1) says

    Amanda this is so convicting and exactly what so many of us need to hear. We often feel like we deserve answered prayers when we believe in God’s faithfulness but like you said, our expectation of His faithfulness needs to shift in the ultimate end result being more like Jesus. You are a women with a wise head and a strong heart… I admire you friend and your steadfast prayers

  2. says

    This was really lovely. I think back to the times between my miscarriages. In my (now) 37 year old life wisdom I see the error in it- but in my young 20’s, I did believe in God To provide me with a baby. My faith was in God providing me with a sweet little, healthy baby. After my hysterectomy (at 24) I still believed that, but saw it through the miracle of adoption.
    I never got a baby. Instead I unexpectedly got a 10 year old, an 11 year old and a 4 year old. I wouldn’t trade them for a dozen babies. it was huge for me to see the error in my faith and to learn that God knew what I needed/was best for me beyond what my heart ached and begged for…

  3. says

    We have such a similar testimony, different circumstances, but similar surrendering process. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing His redemption in your life. Love, Rachael @ Inking the heart

  4. says

    I haven’t commented much here, but I’ve read so many of your posts. I’m so glad to see how God is working in your life. Trusting that He will continue to bless you and do His work in your heart, while still asking Him to give you the desires of your heart.

  5. says

    I appreciate these words. :) We moved last year and I’ve been mourning the loss of many things, but I experienced a similar “shift” this Spring. I’m so thankful that God is not only our Savior, but also our Redeemer. He takes the broken mess and creates something even more beautiful out of the pieces. Thanks for hosting and for sharing!
    Jen :)

  6. says

    This is a beautiful post Amanda.

    Have you ever read Hinds’ Feet on High Places? – this post reminded me so much of that book which was a great help to me during my struggles.

  7. says

    Amanda, your words could easily be my own. The cry of our hearts is the same. I am so privileged to walk this journey alongside you and to watch you open your heart and your life to Him. Thanks for being so honest and so transparent in this post and so truly inspiring!


  1. […] there, and sometimes I’m still there. I think this journey is one where we see two roads, peace and pain, parallel and sometimes cross each other. And sometimes we feel that peace and we don’t know […]

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