This post was written by Marta Cortez, a member of the INCM Blog team.
All of us have pain in our lives.
As children’s ministry leaders, some of us avoid dealing with our own pain because there is so much other pain that we see that needs to be healed.
We might feel we don’t have the time or energy to deal with the pain.
Maybe we feel hopeless thinking that nothing can take away the pain that we experience from our childhoods, family members, or the world.
Additionally, there are always people who are in need under our care, whether the kids in our ministries, the parents or caretakers of those children, or others we interact with each week as ministry leaders.
However, as followers of Jesus dealing with our pain vulnerably and asking Jesus to heal it is an important part of our leadership journey.
Not one of us has mastered our bodies, minds, emotions, or relationships, and being in need of healing doesn’t make us a failed leader.
It is only through our own persistence in asking God for our own healing that can we empathize with those we are seeking to help.
And it’s only through paying attention to our pain that we can see God working in it to heal us or use us.
My Own Experience with Pain
A few years ago, I underwent surgery to repair damage caused to my shoulder by an accidental fall.
The surgery was not something I anticipated with joy, but I had come to a point where 9 months of physical therapy was not achieving the healing I needed.
If I wanted to get well, surgery was inevitable.
Two months after the surgery, twinges of pain remained.
Although the surgery was successful and it repaired and corrected the initial injury, there is still pain.
After the recovery period, which was painful enough, I experienced pain caused by a new round of physical therapy.
This new pain was necessary to condition and stretch the tendons and surrounding ligaments affected by the injury.
It is an integral part of the healing process.
Pain Has Purpose
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like pain.
Who does, right?
Nevertheless, I find that pain is often a vehicle that is used to bring about a correction or change.
My shoulder needed painful surgery to correct the injury.
It now needs the pain of physical therapy to continue strengthening the muscles and tendons.
It will be worth it to experience the pain to get to the healing.
My physical therapist uses pressure points in the shoulder to help the healing.
This therapy of pressing hard against the painful sections in the arm and shoulder brings blood flow to the damaged region for improved recovery.
Pain in Perspective
As I look over my own life, I can see many painful and stressful times when God allowed me to endure and walk through painful circumstances to shape and strengthen who He wants me to be.
I can see where the hand of the Holy Spirit was putting just enough pressure on the pain to bring about the healing and growth that He desired, and that I needed.
He was lovingly working in the pain so that He could strengthen and shape me to be both a better reflection of His Fatherly character and a more dependent, trusting daughter.
Redemption through Pain
When we walk through this journey called life, we will encounter pain.
No one is exempt from it.
You are either in a painful or stressful moment, coming out of one, about to enter one, or someone close to you is in pain.
What will you do when you are standing at the cusp of a painful and stressful circumstance?
Will you ask God what growth He has for you in this pain?
Will you surrender to what He is doing through it?
Will you resist the Holy Spirit’s healing pressure on your pain?
Remember that nothing comes to the lives of His children that is not filtered through his sovereign, love-filled will (Romans 8).
James 1:4 reminds us to “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
God has a glorious history of working redemption through pain.
What will you do?
Will you choose to surrender to His process?
Will you allow Him to take your injury, pain, and stressful circumstances to use them to deepen your trust in His character and wisdom?
Or will you struggle and resist Him, delaying or denying the good work He wants to do in you through your pain?
I can confidently say, from my own experience, that it is anything but easy.
But I can promise you that it is worth it in the end.
So I encourage you today, if God is revealing some pain that needs to be dealt with, don’t wait on taking care of it.
Listen to what God is asking you to do to find healing and act.
You never know how God will use your pain to heal others as you lead.
Marta Cortez is an innovative leader with a passion for family ministry. She is dedicated to equipping leaders and seeing kids come to know Christ. She has served in many roles across her ministry career. Serving in churches of various sizes, including a megachurch, has developed her management skills and ability to tailor programs and leadership models to accommodate ministry needs. Marta has been married for nearly 40 years and has two beautiful daughters. In her spare time, Marta loves baking, good coffee, and trips to the beach. You can reach out to her at kid[email protected].