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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: When You Have Cried
By Gina Fifo
09/08/10


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If all things work for the good of them that love the Lord, then I think that my sorrows, my suffering, my broken heart should also serve a purpose that brings glory to God. Of course, well-meaning ministers, psychologists and friends would say that these things build character, make us stronger, wiser . . . and perhaps they do. But this life isnít supposed to be about us; itís supposed to be about what we can do to serve the Lord.

Until you have cried, you cannot dry anotherís tears. Oh, you can say, ďIt must be a terrible thing to go to bed hungry . . . I will pray for you.Ē But when you have experienced gut-wrenching hunger yourself, then you donít have to imagine how feels. You know first-hand the growling, aching pain of an empty stomach. Your compassion will stir you to do more than pray. You will do everything in your power to get that person some food.

Iíve cried a lot of tears in my life. From the time I was a very young child, Iíve known the pain of rejection. Iíve felt the sting of physical and verbal cruelty and the humiliation of sexual abuse. ďStick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt meĒ is an old adage that is wrong, wrong, wrong. Name calling breaks the heart, destroys self-esteem and creates scars that people spend a lifetime trying to conceal.

Growing up I attended a Catholic school where I was taught that God was all knowing, all powerful, merciful and loving. If that was the case then I could only conclude that God had abandoned me.

But that wasnít true. When I finally allowed God to pluck me from the rubble of my childhood, I realized that He had been there all along. He couldnít prevent the evil that people chose to do, the pain they chose to inflict upon me. But He could and He did protect me. He kept me from falling victim to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. He protected my heart so that when He sent me a wonderful man I was able to trust and love.

Through the years, God had my path cross with those to whom I could witness. Not in a preachy way. Thatís not my style and itís not what people want to hear when they are struggling, when they already believe that God has deserted them.

A dear friend of mine discovered that the child she had yearned for would be born with Downs Syndrome. Her marriage was failing and she could not fathom raising a special needs child alone. She decided on an open adoption, where she would choose the parents. She knew that as a 17 year-old unwed mother, I was forced to give my daughter up. Still, when we met for lunch on a regular basis, she inevitably asked me what I thought. I hesitated to push her in one direction or the other, but finally I said, ďYou prayed for a child and God gave you this one. I do not know what your life will be like if you choose to raise your son, but I do know first-hand what your life will be like if you choose not to. You will live with regret if you give him up, but I donít think you will ever regret keeping him.Ē I prayed for God to give her wisdom and she prayed likewise. Now, when I see her with her son, she glows with happiness and talks about how blessed she is.

Iíve been blessed to lead a father to forgive and support his pregnant teenager. Iíve encouraged a woman who cried with the frustration of being frigid and unable to love due to sexual abuse. Iím not a trained counselor, but we donít need to be. We only need to be willing to share our experiences and stand witness to the fact that God carried us through each struggle. Reach out with love and compassion to those who are willing to share their pain and their tears; God will take care of the rest.

I share how God plucked me from the pit of despair and into His loving arms. I tell those who are hurting that God feels their pain and hears their cries. If I can offer hope, encouragement and insight to Godís great love . . . then my own tears were not in vain.


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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/10/10
This is written beautifully and it is so true that the tears we shed today might change someone's life tomorrow. This is a wonderful message.
Ruth Brown 09/14/10
This is an excellent piece. You have been blessed to learn and to share from your life experiences. I'd say you are right where the Father wanted you. Beautiful job. Love, Ruth