"Our pain has purpose."Part of the hope of the gospel that we hold out to the world is that our pain has purpose. We don't go through hurt and trials and sorrow for nothing. God, in his infinite goodness, doesn't just erase our heartaches so they never happened, but turns them into something used for our good and for his glory.
Our deepest pain becomes something beautiful. That's redemption.
1. "Women have told me that they seek out support groups away from their churches because they can't bear to risk exposing their pain inside their churches" (page 159).
If anything, the church should be a place where we feel safe to share our hurts, knowing that we will find comfort and encouragement among God's people. Each one of us can help make our churches a safe place as we are courageous to go first.
In a small group, the first person to answer a question often sets the tone for the conversation that follows. If we respond glibly, at a surface level, others will most likely follow the example we've set.
It can be scary to go first. To answer honestly when someone asks, "How are you?" To not say we're fine when the truth is that we're anything but fine.
We need wisdom to do this well. Because it's not always the time or place to dive deep. But in those situations where it is the time and place, how can you commit to being honest and real in your relationships with other women at church? How can you foster vulnerability and safety to hurting women around you?
2. The women at the cross give us a good example of the power of presence. They didn't have the right words, didn't have a handy solution. "But they were there...[they] stayed to the end" (page 162).
Do you have an example in your own life about the power of presence?
3. Hunt offers practical steps to developing comforting skills beginning on page 163. Study. Speak. Stick.
How can you begin to develop these skills even this next week? Is there someone in your life who needs comfort? How can these steps help guide you in comforting her?
4. Anything else to add?