Although I love the holiday season, it can be a truly painful time when relationships are strained. In those seasons, it’s comforting to know that God often uses our hard places to build our empathy and give us a passion for stepping up and speaking out.
I’m excited to introduce my dear friend, Tracie Miles. She has been bravely speaking up about a painful circumstance in her life, and she’s been learning lots of important lessons along the way. We all have so much to learn from her, and I can’t wait for you to read what she has to share today. Please welcome Tracie!
When something painful happens to us, it is only natural to think we’re the only people struggling to cope or recover. We feel alone. We think nobody understands. Our wounds are invisible yet the internal pain feels unbearable. We believe nobody can relate to what we’re going through.
Then when God mends our hearts and we feel a prompting to share our experiences to help others, the enemy slithers in to try to prevent us from doing so. We become crippled by the fear of being judged, misunderstood, excluded or mistreated. We’re afraid of being transparent with others; of allowing people to see behind the closed doors of our lives and peek over the walls we’ve erected around our hearts. We’re tempted to listen to lies like …. nobody wants to hear our story much less would anyone be interested. No one could benefit from hearing about what we’ve been through, how God healed our hearts or turned our pain into purpose. God could never use us or our story for anything good.
Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth. We are all called to share our stories with others with the goal of impacting their lives for the better and even drawing them to Christ as they see evidence, through us and our experiences, of what He is capable of doing. Evidence of His power to restore and redeem in even the worst and most hopeless feeling circumstances.
This is a lesson I’ve learned over many years of speaking and writing. Our pain is exactly what God calls us to share, just as we read in Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT).
God never allows pain without a purpose, but purpose can’t come to fruition if we aren’t willing to step up and speak out – not simply about our experience, but how God worked in them and changed us through them. It is our faith fueled vulnerability which God uses to reach the hearts of those who desperately need to know they are not alone in their struggles.
I’ve shared many painful experiences in my ministry endeavors over the years, with the most painful being the devastation I experienced after becoming divorced from my husband of twenty-five years. I thought I would never recover; never make it through; never feel happy again; never feel safe and secure. And most certainly, never would I be able to use this crushing pain to help others see the love, power, happiness and peace we can in Christ have even during the worst of days.
Yet I was so wrong.
It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen overnight, but my happiness and hope did return. God held my hand during the entire journey to healing, and then called me to vulnerably and courageously speak out and share that hope of recovery from divorce with others. When I finally did, nothing but love poured in – from my family and personal friends, from online friends, from all my social media and blog followers, from total strangers. This leap of faith helped me realize how much people struggling through separation and divorce needed to know they were not the only ones, and it also birthed a new confidence to minister those who were walking this path. Out of my pain, purpose was born.
You see, friend, we are the vessels God uses to reach the hearts of those who need His hope and peace the most. Throughout scripture we are encouraged to speak out about what God has done in our lives which serves as tangible, living proof of His goodness, faithfulness and supernatural ability to turn smoldering ashes into beauty again.
We are called to be living proof of the power of a holy, living God, and we do that by stepping up and speaking out with a bold confidence that can only from Him. Your story could be the one thing that opens someone eyes to the power of God and their need for him. It could be the one story that brings healing and ushers peace into the shattered pieces of their broken hearts. The one story that helps them restore hope for their present and their future, and maybe, in their God.
Might it be time to take that leap of faith, follow that little nudge in your spirit, and speak up and speak out?
Tracie Miles is the Director of COMPEL Training at Proverbs 31 Ministries as well as the author of six best-selling books. She is the founder of the Living Unbroken Divorce Recovery Program, a small group study which will be hosted in homes and churches across the nation. It’s designed to offer support for women who feel they don’t have a place in the church due to divorce or separation. Connect with Tracie on her blog at www.traciemiles.com and her popular Surviving After Divorce Facebook group.
More About Finding Hope in Divorce from Tracie
Before we talked to Tracie in this week’s episode, Cheri and I had never had a Grit ‘n’ Grace episode dedicated to divorce before. It’s an issue that affects all of us, either us directly or someone we love, so we were so please to host her.