Don't Let Your Pain Be in VainJun 22, 2022
A Word about this post:
Guest blog post today is from my daughter. I found what I'm sharing with you in a file on my computer while I was flying back from the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, CA. As I read this the words she'd written, my tears flowed.
I miss her so much.
She's deconstructed her faith--and would probably say she's deconverted. I'm not sure I understand deconversion enough to even explain what that means. So I'm just hoping that she's taking her spiritual journey with all its twists and turns, and that her passionate search for Truth will find Him.
But right now, she's embraced many New Age thoughts and followed some of those into other ancient philosophies and practices that are forbidden in the Bible, and closely linked with New Age teaching. I've discovered, ironically enough, that most New Agers advocate for every person to choose his or her own path--applauding people for living what they call "their truth," unless "their truth" is Christianity. The New Age is adamantly opposed to the doctrine of sin, and so any belief that relies on a Savior who came to deliver you from your sin is not tolerated.
New Ager's are proud of their eagerness to COEXIST--except with Christians. So the religious movement that's supposed to usher unconditional love and acceptance into the world today, paved the way for my daughter to dismiss me. While claiming to embrace all of humanity, New Age teaching and thought destroyed one of the most cherished relationships in my life. The beautiful, mutually-satisfying, soul-linking relationship I once shared with my daughter is no more.
And that is the source of my pain.
That is why this article ministered to me. She is a very good writer, and this article showcases two of the things I admire most about her: the depth of her understanding, and her eagerness to do something to alleviate suffering.
The rest of this post was written by my daughter Kaleigh Rhea McCoy--whose name is altogether different today.
Don’t ever let your heart’s pain be in vain.
I’m going to be honest with you: my heart is hurting.
And here’s the thing about pain.
It tells you something is wrong.
And it’s imploring you to DO something.
And arguably most importantly, it’s telling you that you’re alive. (I know I only just started medical school (Note to my readers: This must've been written in 2017), but I have learned that dead people don’t have a working nervous system and therefore feel absolutely no pain).
Now a hurting heart is not a weak heart.
I almost wanted to talk about my “broken heart,” but something that is broken, by definition, is not working properly, and truth be told, if a person can be aware of what goes on around the world and their heart NOT hurt, I think they may be the one with a broken heart, one that is not functioning correctly.
A hurting heart is strong.
And the truly resilient and brave hearts choose to endure the pain in order to grow even stronger and fight even harder.
It’s not easy to let your heart do and feel everything it’s designed to, but it is quite significant when you do. And once you experience the depths of compassion and love that accompany feeling your own pain and that of those around you, you happily embrace the pain, knowing that it will not be in vain.
I think much of our society suffers from an anesthetized heart.
We see what is going on in the world, but because at some point in our lives endured so much pain without knowing how to fix it, it became unbearable, we chose to let our heart grow numb. A numb heart is a result of a (false) belief in one’s own powerlessness and hopelessness.
Something distinctly sets our emotional/spiritual heart apart from our physical one: its resilience.
I believe that some hearts go years under anesthesia, only to wake up and experience life fully again. The trick is to always always always respond to our hearts’ pain.
For example, four years ago, I began reading about the Syrian civil war and the rise of Daesh (ISIS). I learned about the millions upon millions of people being forced from their homes by the horrors of war or imprisoned in their homes by an archaic and twisted ideology that is fueled by fear. My heart hurt desperately for these people. It would have been easy to fall into despair at my own seeming helplessness. And I’ll admit it was tempting at times. The fact that these atrocities were taking place in a world that I was a part of was not okay with me, and my heart was not having it.
So, first and foremost, I prayed. I asked God to bring some relief to these people’s suffering, to hear their hearts and to respond to their pain. I also asked for an opportunity for myself to do something, to bring some bit of relief to my (hardly comparable) desperation and indignation at this injustice.
So, in response to my heart’s pain, I raised awareness and a few thousand dollars in the winter of 2014-2015, and then again, hosting a documentary film screening in May 2016, another few thousand dollars was raised and a few more people had a picture of what this reality of life as a refugee is for so many people, even if they are on the other side of the world. In all honesty, I think the total of both fundraising efforts may have been $5,000 and that is hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the need, but it was something. And my heart is still beating, albeit still hurting, it is now filled with some joy, knowing that for a few people’s lives, my actions and my heart’s pain has made some difference and that pain is not wasted.
I want to tell you that story, not to brag, but to encourage you to respond to your own heart’s pain. We’re all so beautifully different.
If you hurt for homeless veterans, go serve and love them.
If you hurt for single moms, find a way to befriend and bless them.
It doesn’t matter what it is, but I am pleading with you not to let your heart’s pain ever be in vain. Yes, your heart will continue to hurt perhaps even more intensely than before, but it will also begin to be filled with a deep wonderfully satisfying joy, as they are hardly mutually exclusive sentiments. And in experiencing this pain and joy, you will become more alive. And the world will be a better place for it.
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