Jess and meI had the wonderful opportunity to spend an evening with my little sister last week. She called me up a couple of months ago and asked if I would want to go with her to the last stop on the “Moxie Matters” tour in Austin with Jen Hatmaker and Nicole Nordeman. She paid for my ticket and told me it was a gift…no need to pay her back. Wow! What a treat and the evening will go down in my memory books for a lifetime.

The message Jen Hatmaker shared was on PAIN! Really Lord!?! I was tapped out of walking through pain. I really wanted an evening where things could be light and not so heavy. As it turns out, The Lord uses our moments of pain to transform us the most. Jen has always had a comedian style to her approach of sharing the good news. We all chuckled as she questioned why He couldn’t grow us through happiness or our vacations, I mean really couldn’t there be an easier way than pain?

She had us turn to the story of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Jesus is being questioned by an expert in the law. He wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. I love Jesus and his answers.  He knew the guy was an expert in the law, so he asked him what was written in it. The answer: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Jesus tells him that he has answered correctly and tells him to “Do this and you will live.” The expert has another question…”And who is my neighbor?”

This is where Jesus could have given him a straight answer instead he tells a story.  The very first sentence in the story rocked my world on this evening. I have read this story many times but for whatever reason this was the first time I allowed the pain of it to sink in. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dad.” Luke 10:30

Jesus starts the story with a man in PAIN! He was left naked, beaten and half dead. I have never experienced this kind of physical pain. Sadly there are those that have because of our broken world that we live in. I have experienced other forms of pain where I was left deeply emotionally scarred and bruised. We all can relate to the man who was left half dead can’t we?

Can we also relate to the ones that passed him by? The Priest…the Levite! They were religious and were thought of in high regards yet they passed by on the other side. They didn’t even want to walk by him on the same side of the road. They saw him suffering and did nothing. When we see our brothers and sisters suffering do we keep walking as if we don’t see they are struggling. I know I am guilty.

ElephantsHave you ever been the Samaritan? Have you ever stopped to go out of your way to help someone that was deeply wounded that needed help getting back up on their own two feet? Jen went on to share a beautiful story about this picture that you are seeing with the elephants. In the wild when a momma elephant is giving birth the other female elephants encircle her while she goes through the pain of bringing forth new life. They stomp and throw up dirt telling the predators that if they want to mess with their sister while she is vulnerable they will have to go through them first! You guys…this is where it got to me the most in the evening. Jen asked if there were ladies in the room that were in the middle of the circle…currently walking through the pain. She asked them to BE BRAVE and to stand where they were. Ladies popped up all around the room. You could hear a pin drop. Then she asked if you have a lady standing near you if you would be willing to go and encircle her and be a part of her tribe.  There was a precious lady standing directly behind me. I stood up and grabbed her hand.

As other ladies joined me in encircling her the tears began to fall.  She was able to let down her guard and simply be held in that moment. She was safe. She was loved and she was PRAYED for by a group of ladies that had never met her before. It was beautiful. This is what being a Samaritan looks like. This is what being a good neighbor IS!

This is what our world needs most right now. When we stand beside each other, support and love each other through the pain there is transformation and new life that can begin. I pray you have a mighty and fierce tribe that is willing to encircle you when you are vulnerable. I hope you are BRAVE enough to stand up and reach out for help.

These words are true: “When we deny our own pain we are denying our own transformation.” Jen Hatmaker

I don’t know about you but I don’t want my pain to be for nothing. I want to lean into it, and allow it to transform me into a better me.

On the contrary when we don’t this also is true: “People who don’t transform their pain transmit it on to others.” Jen Hatmaker

The last thing I want to do is bring pain to other people…especially the people I love the most. Be BRAVE! Lean IN! Deal with the pain and allow it to TRANSFORM YOU! There is new life waiting to begin when you do! #ARISE