It’s Okay to Feel Pain

Missy Stone’s burden for abolishing abortion has involved her in the pro-life movement for over a decade. She previously attended school at Hillsong in Australia, and worked for Students for Life of America.With SFLA, she traveled nationally speaking to and engaging young people on the topic of abortion (including speaking on national television). Missy now serves as a board member for Choice’s Women’s Center and on the worship team for Spotswood Baptist Church. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Missy lives in Fredericksburg, VA, with her husband, Aaron, who is a worship pastor at Spotswood.

 


 

One of the greatest mysteries of our faith; how is God still good in the midst of devastating loss?

We bend and break our minds trying to make sense of our grief in this world while trying to keep a smile on our faces and appear like our faith hasn’t been shaken. But, sometimes it is. And that’s okay.

On Christmas Day, my dear husband and I experienced our greatest loss so far and were confronted head-on with this very question. In the most unexpected yet violent way, we lost our first child. Our sweet little son left this world and was taken into the heavenly realm. But we are still here, leaving the hospital empty-handed after agonizing labor.

Missy and her husband, Aaron.

I want to tell you that through this devastating experience, we persevered unaffected in our faith; that we trusted the Lord perfectly and found peace in our suffering, but it’s not that simple. We hurt… and it still hurts. We can’t make sense of what feels like a senseless loss. We grieve and we ask ourselves; how can God be good when our innocent child is dead?

The days following, I was so sick. My body was desperately trying to catch up to the fact that I was no longer pregnant. I was sitting in front of our fireplace, watching the wood burn, physically ill, emotionally drained, and just so tired. I simply told the Lord, “This hurts… “ And He responded so kindly, “It’s okay to feel pain, but you can’t be overcome by it.”

I think for many of us Christ-followers, in our effort to try and “stay true” to our faith, we forget that it’s okay to feel pained. It’s okay to have doubts, to not understand, to struggle through the tears and the heartache. I want to go as far to say that it’s not only okay- it’s important.

Our culture is so afraid of emotional pain. We ignore it, numb it, or push it down so that we don’t have to grapple with the debilitating disappointment. We put a band-aid on a gaping wound and pretend that’s enough. But it just bleeds into every aspect of our lives. If we don’t take time to feel, our wounds won’t heal properly. We move on too quickly or we’re afraid of being vulnerable about our true emotions. We never truly face the devastation that just came crashing into our lives. We need to look pain in the face and call it what it is… it’s hard, it’s messy, and it just sucks. And it’s okay to feel that way

There are whole Psalms (10, 42, 44, 74, for example) in the scriptures that mourn and question and stare right at the most lonely and awful pains of life. The authors of these passages look these abominations right in the eye and call them what they are; godforsaken. These things can only possibly exist in a corner of existence where God does not. How can a good God and such an evil thing coexist? In these passages where the pains seem most present the answers are often not.

But in the midst of heartache, even the grief of losing a child, we cannot be overcome. We may not have arrived at the easy answer but we can choose, again and again, every day, not to be overwhelmed.

Psalm 42 says, “My soul is cast down within me, therefore I remember You.”

How do we heal our gaping wounds when we hold a godforsaken thing in one hand and the hand of the resurrected King Jesus in the other? Maybe we can’t put our hands together but we can’t let go. We remind ourselves of our God and His promises. That there may be years between the promise and the fulfillment.

So, I preach to myself, “Therefore, we do not lose heart…” I sing songs about God’s goodness through my tears, even though I don’t feel that right now. I keep yelling the lyrics, “You’re never gonna let me down.” I’m going to say it, sing it, and scream it until my heart starts believing it again. And that’s all I can do. Sometimes that’s all anyone can do. And that’s okay.

That’s what faith is- to sing and speak of the beautiful things we cannot yet see in the dark. It’s the beginning of the journey to healing, maybe the smallest step I can muster but I can’t stay here and I won’t stand still.