“Don’t Waste the Pain”

In blog posts past I’ve mentioned a brave young man named Ian Lyons who lived with cancer and fiercely fought this disease until Jesus called him home. I’ve been looking forward to reading the book written by Ian’s father and Aunt Linda, who herself has had cancer for almost a decade, and it arrived in my mailbox at church this week.

I devoured the book. In the midst of a very challenging time at work, 3 funerals within 10 days, hospital visits, and other moments of crisis, I felt myself reliving that time of prayer and struggle when Ian was sick. Some parts of the book contain passages from the online journal David published during Ian’s illness. I recalled reading them in the midst of our fervent prayers for Ian’s healing. It reminded me how we can not fully understand God’s ways but that we trust in God’s Character when we pray – that God is always working for Good because God is Love. This is a fantastic book for anyone who has lived through a painful experience in this life…and I think there are very few in this world who have not!

I want to bring to you a few words from my friend Lauren who moved in with the Lyons to help out when Ian was sick and who is now part of a new ministry launched with the publication of this book:

The basic target of the ministry is to help people who are in pain to grow from it.  The majority of people in the world have experienced or are experiencing pain of some sort, but not all of them are ready or willing to grow from that pain, not willing to see what God has for them in the pain, or able to get past the raw visceral response to recent pain.  These people are people who I entirely understand.  I’ve been there.

Looking backwards at this point, I find myself aware of the fact that there are large chunks of last year that I don’t remember.  Essentially anytime from April 27th when Ian died to somewhere around the end of August.  On a recent visit with my sister, I kept trying to take her places that she’d been already because I had completely forgotten she’d been there when she came for Ian’s funeral.  I know I did things last summer, but I just don’t have any memories that are stronger than the grief and overwhelming pain that I was experiencing.  People at that point just aren’t ready to really grow.  They’re just trying to survive and get through the day.

Then there is the question of being willing to see God’s purposes.  When you’re in the middle of pain, sometimes you’re just not ready to see the positive.  you just want to wallow in what you’re going through and hope the rest of the world will just let you sit and pout.  you may not actually think about it like that, but let’s face it.  that’s the reality 😉  it can be that you’re angry at God, or just find thinking about certain areas too painful to deal with.  I know for me, it took me months before I realized that I had been compartmentalizing God.  There was about 90% of God that I was willing to accept and understand and be able to talk about without huge issues raising their ugly heads.  which sounds great, 90% is fine, right?  well. apparently God wanted all 100% of me.  And wouldn’t let the 10% just sit there.   unfortunately, having to deal with that extra 10% mean that for a while, the 10% I didn’t like and didn’t want to believe in tainted the 90% that I did believe in and accept and understand.  Now THAT was a rough time.  you question yourself, you question God, you question everything around you.  I think I was actually legitimately angry once or twice!  (I don’t really get angry….seriously. it’s kind of odd..)  but the thing I wanted least at that point was to grow and see positive things out of my pain.  Truly it was actually what I wanted and needed, but you wouldn’t have gotten me to admit that then.

But, I think that my own personal experiences help me to understand the people who aren’t ready to really dig in deep like we’re encouraging in the Don’t Waste the Pain ministry.

However, my experiences have also helped me see the benefit of the ministry.

There are a few areas of the website that we’ve put together.  The first section is called the Cafe.  Essentially it’s a comfortable coffee shop where you can come in on your own and either choose to study and read on your own, or to engage with people around you.  there are blogs and testimonies over other people and their pain stories.  there are thoughts and encouragements for people in pain.  There are downloadable lessons that you can do on your own, either reading along with the book or separately.

These lessons are also an integral part of the second section of the site, called the Dining Room.  The Dining Room isn’t available yet, but we’re hoping to get it up and running by November.  It will give structured areas to join conversations about the lessons, the book, and pain. One section will be a set group of people traveling through the lessons together.  The other section will be more a la carte, with people doing the lessons on their own and then coming together to talk about the issues that have been brought up in those lessons and in their own hearts.

The Important Part 😉

So, last Wednesday, September 15th, the book was released by NavPress.  On that same day, we also launched the website.  Go check it out.

www.dontwastethepain.com

Right now it’s just the Cafe, but soon we’ll be getting up the Dining Room and we’ll be continuing to update the Cafe with blogs, testimonies.

And if you find yourself as someone who has been in pain, or is currently experiencing it, whether from an illness, grief, lost job, divorce, or anything that causes you pain,  join the conversation.  Don’t just sit and wallow.  Go somewhere.

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