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  • ckstubbswrites


Pain.


This is something that I have become somewhat of an expert on in the past two years of my life. We all know the sting of pain, whether it be emotional pain, or physical pain. If you’ve ever been injured or had to deal with an illness that causes physical pain, then you know how uncomfortable it is. You understand the frustration and the sadness that dealing with the pain oftentimes brings. In the same way, dealing with emotional pain can be just as difficult. Any sort of trauma like grief, depression, or even disappointment can spark a fire of emotional pain that can sometimes burn away at your peace of mind and sanity. The point I am trying to make is that pain is hard to bear, no matter what shape or form it comes in.


I’ve been thinking a lot about pain lately, and how God wants me to process it as a believer. In this season of my life, I am often prone to chronic physical pain that causes a lot of discomfort and frustration. The physical pain that I often deal with ultimately causes emotional pain, and I often find myself struggling to grapple with the intensity of it all. In moments like these, I attempt to negotiate why it is that a good God would allow such pain into my life? Why is it that I have to walk through something so difficult, when I know that He can bring healing to my body and my circumstances? Have you ever asked this question? I think, deep down, we all wrestle with questions like these, and that’s okay. Walking this journey has not been an easy one, but God has taught me, not to accept that the pain I feel will always be a part of my life, but to see it through a different perspective. When you’re walking through something hard, it’s easy to focus on the bad. It’s easy to meditate on everything that is wrong, or everything that can go wrong about the situation. We all do this at times, however, God has taught me that in moments of pain, instead of focusing on what’s wrong, I must look at the situation through the lens of scripture. What does God’s word say about it? What promises do I have access to as a child of God regarding my situation? Whenever I turn to God’s word amid my pain, my hope is renewed and I am reminded that despite how things may seem in my life right now, God’s word is true and once I continue to believe, the healing that I am praying and believing for will come.


In the midst of my pain, God has also taught me that instead of allowing pain to push me away from Him, it should make me pursue Him even more, because only He can truly provide the sort of comfort that I need in the midst of it. I know what it’s like to deal with painful situations that cause you to drift away from God. You become so disappointed and confused that the only thing you know to do is focus on things that distract you from your pain, and often, these things are not what God has in His plan for us. If that’s you, I understand—I’ve been there. However, in the midst of your pain, cling to Jesus. Cry out to Him, pray to Him, ask Him for the strength that you need to overcome it. Whenever I think about the importance of turning to Jesus in the midst of pain, I remember the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5. She had been suffering for twelve years, and experienced not only the physical pain of bleeding, but the emotional trauma of wasting all of her money visiting countless doctors who could not help her. If you ask me, this woman had all the right to turn away and stop believing, however, she didn’t allow her pain to plunge into hopelessness; instead, she pursued Jesus. She pushed through a crowd and fought until she could touch the hem of His garment, and in the end, she was freed from her suffering. In the midst of your pain, cling to Jesus. Do all that you can to remain close to Him. In Him is the healing and freedom that you desire.


There’s so much that walking through pain has taught me in life. The journey is definitely not an easy one, but I am always reminded that in the midst of it all, God has a plan, and it is for my good (Jeremiah 29:11). The same is true for you. Whatever pain it is that you may be walking through right now, whether it be physical or emotional, remember that peace of mind is available to you in the midst of it. Pain doesn’t have to control your life. Remain in God’s word and remain close to Him. It is only in Him that we can find true peace and the healing that we need.


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  • ckstubbswrites


Sadness.


I think we’ve all felt this emotion at some point in our lives. Many of us experience sadness for different reasons. Someone may feel sad because they lost an opportunity, while another person may feel sad because of unmet expectations. The list can go on and on in regards to the things that we often feel sad about in life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I handle my very own moments of sadness as a believer. When I first came to know Jesus, whenever I felt sad, I never confided in anyone about how I felt, especially God. I never felt free enough to express my sadness, because, truthfully, I felt ashamed. How can I let someone else know that I am struggling with sadness, when God calls me to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4)? How can I feel free enough to express my sadness to God when His Word says that the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)? These are the sort of questions that I often pondered in my moments of sadness. Whenever the feeling came, I did my best to tuck it away in the trenches of my heart, never to be acknowledged. As I grew in my walk with God however, I quickly learned that I was wrong. I learned that sadness is not an emotion to be ignored or pushed away; it is an emotion that we should acknowledge and take to God. I find that in the moments when I express my sadness to God, I not only find the peace that I desire, but He always reveals and reminds me of His truth in the midst of it. I have learned, and I am still learning, that there is an intimacy that is developed the more you welcome God into your broken places.


A few days ago, I felt really sad. There were circumstances in my life that made me feel very disappointed, and this disappointment led to sadness. I remember sitting on the floor of my room, and allowing the tears to flow. I felt tired and broken. In the moment, I remember opening my Bible and reading the Psalms. Through my tears, I poured over the cries and the petitions of the Psalmists, and in the midst of reading, I made my own petitions to God. As I prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that my sadness and my tears doesn’t offend Him. He reminded me that letting Him know that I feel sad in no way takes away from who I am to Him or how He views me. My sadness isn’t a reflection of my lack of faith, it is an emotion that I am sometimes subject to as a human. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I love this verse because it reminds me that God isn’t looking down from heaven shaking His head in disapproval when we are sad. His word says that He is close to us. If He never expected us to feel emotions like sadness, then why would He promise to be close to the brokenhearted or save those crushed in spirit? One of my favorite authors writes, “Part of really living is being willing to face sadness. Not wallowing in my pain and refusing to be comforted, but honestly and openly telling God where I am and asking him to show me truth.” (Quote from, "The Scars that Have Shaped Me" by Vaneetha Rendall Risner) I resonate with this quote so much, because I believe that it is an accurate picture of how we should handle the sadness that we feel. We should be honest and open about telling God how we feel, and most importantly, we should allow Him to show us truth in the midst of the sadness.


I pray that if you feel sad today, you’re reminded that God isn’t offended by it. He invites you to acknowledge the sadness that you feel and bring it to Him. He wants you to welcome Him into your broken places, not try to hide them from Him. In His presence is the peace and the joy that you need. One of the things I love about Jesus is that He allows us to feel. He allows me to feel. I wish I could share with you all of the moments when I cried out to Jesus in my sadness and He comforted me, embraced me, and reminded me that weeping may endure for the night, but joy is coming (Psalm 30:5). If you’re wrestling with sadness, I want to leave with the truth of Psalm 34:18 with you: God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit. Welcome Jesus into your sad place, and allow Him to envelop you in His presence and save you, like He promised.







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  • ckstubbswrites

Updated: Jul 6, 2021



It’s raining outside this morning.


Whenever it rains, I like to sit next to the window and look out. This morning, as I look out at the overcast sky, I can’t help but think about my emotions. I find myself thinking about how much my emotions drive my life in certain seasons. For the past couple of months, I feel like I have been up and down emotionally. One day, I can wake up feeling joyful and ready to take on the world, but then, there are days like this one, where I wake up feeling pretty dismal and down. If you’re anything like me, when you find yourself up and down emotionally, you have a tendency to beat yourself up. I know that Jesus calls us to walk in joy and peace (Philippians 4:4; John 14:27), so the days when I struggle emotionally, and I don’t feel joyful or peaceful, I often feel like I’m doing something wrong—I feel like I’m letting Jesus down.


Recently, however, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me that there will be days when I don’t feel happy or joyful or even hopeful, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus condemns me or is shaking His head at me in disappointment or shame. God is teaching me that when I find myself in these moments, I can turn to Him. I can look to Him for the help that I need to overcome my emotional turmoil and allow Him to not only soothe my downcast heart on days when I feel down, but to show me how not to be controlled by my emotions. I am writing this blog for those of you who struggle emotionally and fully understand my experience. In this day and age when emotional and mental health is being discussed more frequently, I think that it is so important to also talk about it as believers. How do we cope with emotional uncertainty and turmoil? How do we negotiate the sadness that we sometimes feel alongside the command that God gives us to rejoice in the Lord, always? How do we handle emotions like sadness and pain, or betrayal and bitterness as believers? These are some questions that I have been grappling with in this season of my life. For a long time, I felt like I had to sort through questions like this alone, and then go to God when I felt emotionally secure. However, the more time that I spend in the word, specifically the book of Psalms, I’m realizing that expressing our emotions and being honest about how we feel is not a bad thing. I’m learning that Jesus wants us to talk about how we feel honestly, with Him, and with people that we trust.


In Psalm 42:3 (NIV), the Psalmist says that his tears have been his food all day long. I always gravitate to this verse whenever I feel sadness or pain, because I feel like it is an accurate interpretation of how I feel in these moments. The Psalmist is brutally honest with God, and He expresses his sadness without fear or condemnation. I especially love that in this chapter, although the Psalmist is struggling with discouragement, he is commanding his soul to hope in God. He didn’t ignore his sadness and forced himself to hope; he instead embraced the sadness that he felt but then reminded his soul to hope. I find myself following this same pattern whenever my spirit is grieved and I believe that God wants us to do the same. We can allow ourselves to feel what we feel, whether it be sadness, uncertainty, betrayal, pain, or any other negative emotion; yet, we don’t allow these emotions to overtake us. We instead command our souls to hope in God. We remind ourselves that God is faithful and that although we are struggling emotionally, we are not without help (Psalm 46:1).


I pray that as you read this blog, and the blogs to come in this series, you will not only learn to embrace your emotions, but that you will understand that Jesus wants to be a part of the process. He wants us to come to Him with how we feel. He wants us to be brutally honest like the Psalmist.


He wants us to know that yes, we may struggle with our emotions, but we are never without help.


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