Sitting in the Middle of the Hard

Life is hard.

There. I’ve said it. I know this because I’ve lived much of the last decade in pain—debilitating physical pain caused by chronic illness, and the soul-crushing pain of having a precious child who is locked in a place of emotional trauma. Perhaps the deepest hurt of all is knowing that I cannot free her.

My husband and I adopted a baby girl twelve years ago. While mine is not an infertility story, every woman who aches for the family she has birthed in her heart is near and dear to my soul. We brought home our precious baby knowing full well she had experienced serious trauma in her first sixteen months of life. We did not understand the extent of the trauma or the life-altering repercussions, but even if we had known, we would do it all over again. We would still choose our daughter.

Fast forward several years. We now understand that our girl has severe PTSD. We have utilized every spiritual, financial, medical, and educational resource we can get our hands on to help her thrive. But I’ll be honest, many days we barely survive the complicated, permanent effects that early childhood trauma has left on our funny, intelligent, free-spirited daughter.

Did I mention I have Lyme disease? Because if functioning on two hours of sleep each night and managing the ups and downs of a child with PTSD isn’t enough, my body gave up on me in the middle of it all. I frequently experience inexplicable pain, fatigue, and loneliness. I think the loneliness is the worst.

So here I was, lonely, hurting, and scared—asking God what fruit could possibly be produced from my suffering. And He clearly and without question gave me a vision for a business that would minister to people in their darkest places, the ones people know about and the ones who suffer and grieve in secret. I started Bottle of Tears to equip people with meaningful gifts they can send to those who are hurting, but it is so much more. Bottle of Tears has opened a door and given me a platform to tell my story so that others know there’s a safe place to tell theirs. I read every letter, every email, every comment. And I pray for healing, protection, miracles, and for purpose.

Yes friend, the Lord has purpose for you. There may not be healing on this earth but there will be fruit. There is a deep longing in each to understand who we are and why we exist, and, for some of us, our suffering is the very vehicle to this understanding. Your purpose will look different than mine, but it will absolutely impact other people because God created us first for himself and then for each other.

So can we sit in the middle of the hard together? Can we talk about when we’ve prayed, but not been healed? Let’s face the pain of never getting to bring the baby home to the waiting crib. Let’s not pretend it’s okay when the job offer doesn’t come or the spouse walks out or the depression is so heavy we can’t get out of bed.

Let’s not hide our tears. Those things that leak out of our eyes when we’re happy, sad, angry, confused or overwhelmed are precious. They are so precious to God that he saves them—all of them—in bottles. 

L. Wheeler

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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