Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Growing Through Stress

I’ve been reading my old journals and recently came across some notes I took in 2003 from a book called Growing Through Stress by Kath Donovan. I could remember how these notes encouraged me with the difficult time I was going through eight years ago, and they were fresh reminders of what God has been teaching me over the past few months (see post “Carried By Grace”) I hope they will encourage you too!

"Pain and difficulties can bring out our best.”

"Growth happens through right responses to the hard things in life.”

"All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-9)

"Paul, through his pain, discovered God to be the source of all compassion and the God of all comfort in an ever-deepening way. His sufferings had so overwhelmed him that they were like a river breaking out of its banks and flowing all over the countryside. Paul is saying that just as floodwaters overwhelm every part of the land, so pain can fill very nook and cranny of our lives. However, God’s comfort can more than match that pain.”

"I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us. He will rescue us because you are helping us by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)

"Deliverance does not mean removal from the painful situation, but deliverance in it, being equipped with all the resources to endure the ordeal of suffering. Paul and his friends (in the above passage) also learned that God is trustworthy.”

"Trust removes the need for explanations because we know and love the one we trust.”

"Overflow ministry does not take away the pain, but gives meaning to it. It is meaningless pain that can’t be endured. Trust believes that there is a meaning even though it is impossible to see what that is. All we know for sure is that now is our “time of grief.” (John 16:22)

"Most coping strategies are directed at removing, getting around, or going over the “mountains” that represent the hard things in our lives. Creative coping, however, is directed toward engaging them.”

"There is a time for simply hiding under God’s wings, as David did, until the worst of the pain has eased. (Psalm 57:1)”

"Creative coping is for a time when I have strength enough to look back and gather up what has been given.”

"Creative coping is hard, slow, and painful because it does not come naturally to us. It requires a work of grace in us.”

"If all I have to give is my pain, and the result is something enriching and glorifying to God, that is a miracle.”

"The key to an ever-enlarging coping capacity is an ever-deepening devotion to God.”

"God longs to change me. He will change me. But I have to put myself—and keep on putting myself—in the way of being changed.”

"My growth as a result of pain depends not on my refusing, but receiving what God has in it for me.”

"Since what we share is molded out of what we ourselves are and have, it is authentic and powerful. This sharing is the making available of our wounds to others.” (Henry Nouwen)

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