Looking pain in the eye


It was time to confront her.

I suspected it would be one of the hardest–and weirdest–conversations I would ever have.

I was right.

Knocking on the door of pain is hard. I don’t like to. It’s easier to keep eyes closed.

The woman wouldn’t be expecting me. As I stood outside her front door, I was afraid but convicted. There was a question I had to ask. Only she held the answer. To get it, I had to look eye to eye into pain.

She opened the door, surprised. She welcomed me in. We sat in her living room and began to talk.

We dwelled little on the past. What I needed to know was the future: Was she finished inflicting pain or not?

That’s often the most difficult question of pain.
“Okay, you’ve hurt me, you’re still hurting me, but now what?
Are you done or is there more?”

Rarely does pain respond definitively.

She did answer: I’m done.

Could I trust her?

No. But I wanted to. We want pain to tell us, “I’ll let up now; the worst is over.”

That gives us hope.

But can we trust it?

No. We can only trust God, not to end all our pain, but to stick with us in it until it finally is gone.

His presence is our hope.

Not skirting around the pain, pretending it’s not there.
Not trying to alleviate it at all costs, as if it’s our enemy.

Our hope is in knowing he’ll hold our hand as we look pain in the eye to see what it has to say, and trust him to show us where to go from there.

After I left the woman’s house, I sought advice from family and friends. I decided to trust one more time.

But in the end, it still didn’t work out.

However, I have no regrets about the day I sat with pain in her house. It was hard. But it was healing.

Not because of her words. Not because of mine. Not because the pain ended.

But because God proved his presence mattered. He’d motivated me to go, strengthened me to confront, then advised me well on how to deal with the pain.

He gave me hope, and eventually gave me healing.
And that’s always the answer I need.

* * *

What pain are you dealing with today, physical or emotional? How have you been given hope in it?

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28 thoughts on “Looking pain in the eye

  1. Dianna

    Lisa, thank you for opening your heart here. I truly can relate and it is never easy to face the other person …the one who is causing our pain. But I learned from my painful experience that He does go with us through it. Hugs to you, my friend. And congratulations for starting your own page on facebook!

    1. Lisa notes...

      I know you can relate. I can imagine this would be even harder when it’s within the family like I know you’ve had to confront. Thankfully I haven’t had to deal with that aspect of it. But if I ever have to, I’ll come running to you for advice!

  2. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    I have learned through my journey with Fm/CFS to look into my own eyes so deep that I only our beloved Lord Jesus who lives in me and then to draw even closer into Him. That makes my heart fly on the wings of the wind and I at times feel quite separated from my pain.
    Blessings XX

    1. Lisa notes...

      Your journey with pain continues to encourage me, Mia. It’s obvious that you’ve let God use it to draw you closer and closer to him. That then helps others of us do the same. You inspire me.

  3. floyd

    Running from our fear only makes it stronger and us weaker. I’m glad you had the strength to do just that. God is honored when it’s done with the right heart. Good encouragement and reminder, Lisa. Thanks.

    1. Lisa notes...

      It’s been quite a few years since this incident happened, but when I think about pain, it still pops up in my head. So I did what we do…write about it, right? It’s amazing how God uses the pen (well, keyboard) to help us continue to clarify our own thoughts. Thanks, Floyd.

  4. Kim Adams Morgan

    Lisa, I cannot imagine the strength and courage it took to do this. God is with us in the most amazing ways. His mercy, grace and forgiveness allows us to move forward, even in the most difficult circumstances. Blessings to you. Stopping in from Playdates.

  5. ~ linda

    WOW! This has hit me right at the heart of hearts. Being able to confront pain as you did is a powerful message and one that is so good for I know. I have been hurt. I did it in a different way as the person I needed to confront lives 1500 miles away so eye-to-eye would not work. After several years of pain, I prayed that God would give me a heart filled with love for this immediate family member. He did! Hallelujah! I slowly was able to write a note, call and talk surface life, and one day she ended the call with a brief, quick, very quick, “I love you.” Very quick!! But I heard it and responded back. That was all for then, but as we talked now and again, the calls would end with an “I love you” beginning with either one of us. I still do not trust her completely, but as you did, Lisa, I trust God and He is the One Who brought this healing process to our lives. It continues but it is good. Thank you for sharing this as I feel a bit lighter from just writing this.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh my. Your story brings tears to my eyes, Linda. Aren’t you glad you didn’t throw in the towel and write off this family member as a lost cause? It took a lot of courage on your part to put yourself out there, risking even more pain by making yourself vulnerable. You had to have a lot of patience as well. And of course faith above all. Thank you for sharing this. I pray it will encourage anyone else who reads it to never give up. So thankful God never gives up on us!

  6. tcavey

    Your post reminds me of something I heard a preacher say once- we can’t go around the storms in life, we have to go through them.
    we can’t avoid the pain or side step it. We have to go through it, trusting in God and knowing there will be an end to it. He loves us. We don’t always understand, but we can still trust that God has plan and purpose for our pain/storm.
    Thank you for trusting God, for putting yourself out there and for sharing. Very encouraging post.

    1. Lisa notes...

      Our posts are mixing together nicely. Just read your “He designed your prison” which is tough to accept.

      We do first have to accept our pain before we can even make the decision to go through it with God. Thanks for adding your thoughts here. I agree with you and the preacher you heard.

  7. Marty

    Such a lovely and thoughtful post. Sometimes the issue isn’t resolved and forgiveness isn’t asked for but that doesn’t mean that healing won’t come. Thankful that He is sufficient in all things.

  8. Lyli @3-D Lessons for Life

    This is one incredible post. God does tell us to go to our brother if they have sinned against us, but so few people handle things Scripturallly these days. Thanks for challenging me to do the hard thing — which is the best thing.

    1. Lisa notes...

      Thanks, Lyli. You’re right that we often want to skip over the scriptures that tell us to go to our brother when there’s conflict. And I won’t pretend I had totally pure motives of obedience when I went either; I mainly wanted some answers.

      But nonetheless, I’m thankful how God can work with us in our imperfections (it’s all he’s got with us anyway, right?) and turn things out better than we can imagine.

    1. Lisa notes...

      But oh, I’m SO not brave, Laura. I often have to force myself through things, begging with God all along to find another way for me. Thankfully he’s much stronger than me because I might be tempted to arm wrestle him out of a few things otherwise. 🙂

  9. Nancy Sturm

    When He asks us to go, we must follow, even when it is difficult. How difficult that encounter must have been. You are right about letting the writing help with the healing. A friend of mine prays that when she writes her hurts the page will hold them for her. Thanks, Lisa for sharing how you followed God’s call and dealt with your pain.

    1. Lisa notes...

      It was definitely a hard encounter and a situation that I pray I never have to deal with again. I like your friend’s prayer to let the page hold her hurts. God is so good to provide different outlets for each of us that help us heal. Thanks for your words here, Nancy.

  10. Mindy

    Thankful for God’s grace in helping us deal with pain and people who cause it. You were obedient and even though the situation didn’t change I can see your heart did as God brought healing from the pain.

    1. Lisa notes...

      Yes, his grace is what gets us through. And I was reminded while reading your comment that it’s also his grace that gets us through when WE are the ones who cause the pain and people come to us for reconciliation. Not sure which end is harder! Grace, all grace. Glad you stopped by, Mindy.

  11. rachel lee

    are you done, or is there more?

    holy. yes. those words echo in me far more than i’d like to admit. are you done hurting me, or is there more? my heart wants the answer. i’m still waiting.

    1. Lisa notes...

      Yes. We still wait. Even when we know the answer for the end is the pain is over. But in the meantime…

      You are a beautiful writer, Rachel. You have things to say. Thank you for sharing them.

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