Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Roses Among Thorns

“To possess true beauty, we must be willing to suffer . . . if Christ Himself was perfected through His sufferings, why would I believe that God would not do the same with me? Women who are stunningly beautiful are women who have had their hearts enlarged by suffering.”

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge

The women gathered, as they do every week, to study the Bible together and bond with like-minded friends. The lesson was on bowing your pain to God, giving yourself up to His plan no matter how it might hurt personally.

One by one, women shared hurtful experiences of their pasts. Tears welled, words choked, hearts tugged.

And yet all who participated said they could see how it made them better. Through cracking voices and sniffling noses they expressed sincere thanks for the end result.

Obviously God's work left its mark, making them brave enough to mention their trials, instilling in them a desire to show how He redeemed the suffering and used it for their growth. I was empathetic, but I did not feel sorry for them. They were already reaping the rewards of a job well done pressing on in the midst of difficult circumstances.

I was blessed to be sitting among them, inspired by their softness and ability to feel the pain, yet move beyond it. Their tenderness drew me in. The glimmer of gold shining through their tears made me catch my breath. I smiled to see a glimpse of Christ's love and perseverance. I soaked in the beauty of God at work in a group of women willing to go through anything to be used by Him.

They remind me no pain is wasted. Nothing is a mistake. God uses it all to transform us to His image. Suffering buffs the rough edges, polishing us, making us more beautiful than ever.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11

Join Nina at Mama's Little Treasures to read more impressions of this quote.


Esthermay said...

The reminder that no pain is wasted should be written on post-it note's all over our lives. Nothing is a mistake in God sovereign plan. Nicely put.

The difficulty in this quote is that the two words, "beauty" and "suffering" are SO NOT synonomous in our American English. I does take spiritual eyes to make the connection and you're recall this tender scene does it beautifully.

Laurie Ann said...

That last paragraph had me bawling! You are so right.

Brenda said...

Sounds like a tough but meaningful study. "I soaked in the beauty of God at work in a group of women willing to go through anything to be used by Him." Very touching.

Named Alicia said...

Thank you for sharing such a great post. May we all remember that no trial is wasted by God. Thank you for the reminder.

MiPa said...

I love being in the midst of women who are allowing God to shine in circumstances; who are able to feel the hurt without wearing it and trust in the hope without being jaded. You are so right that no pain is ever wasted in God's economy. Thanks for the reminder. And thank you for your kind words at my place today. You encourage me and I'm so glad to be your FRIEND.

Jaime said...

I hated it that I missed this study!!! Funny thing is that in the Circle group, we just read the unveiling the beauty chapter too. Thank you for the wonderful reminder of how God uses our pain and it is not wasted!

Susan said...

Hey Tami,

We had one of kind of meetings today as we concluded Breaking Free.

Oh, isn't the Lord just wonderful?

He can make something so BEAUTIFUL out of our trials, if we allow Him.

No wood, hey or stumble, just pure gold comes through the fire.

Blessings my sweet friend♥

Annette said...

Sometimes we don't know why God brings us through the things he does until years later we see a part of his purpose. Though there are many times in my life I would have liked to have a do over...God has used every one to shape me into the woman I am today. Love you Tami.