The Healing Journey: Wisdom To Know The Difference
I read a beautiful book this week, “Finishing Well My Daughter’s Journey Home” written by my friend Janice Pitchford. Janice shares the story of her daughter Dawn and her battle against terminal illness, how she faced adversity with grace and faith. The story is beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time. As I read, what I noticed most was the tremendous love and fierce protection that Janice and her husband had for their daughter.
I was surprised to find myself a little emotional, wishing my parents had demonstrated that level of protection and example of faith for me. I simply cannot understand how a father could not only fail to protect his daughter but be the instrument for harm done to her. How could things become so twisted and wrong to cause a father to even consider incest with his daughter? Even as I wrote my book, Ria’s Story From Ashes To Beauty, last year, I continued to look for an answer, a reason, a WHY. Why me? Why such pain? Why did I have to go through years of emotional and sexual abuse? Why do I have to carry those memories for the rest of my life? Why couldn’t I have a “normal” family?
The Serenity Prayer is familiar to most of us. Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, the verses resonate with truth: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…”
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…..to me, that means accepting the things in life that I cannot change with grace, peace, and understanding that God uses all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
Courage to change the things I can change….to me, that means having courage to change my attitude when it needs it. Courage to give up what’s comfortable and follow where God leads me. Courage to help someone, even when, especially when, it comes at a cost for me.
Wisdom to know the difference…to me, that means knowing what I can and should change and knowing what I need to let go of. Charles Spurgeon said, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge.”
Most of us learn early life isn’t fair. Some of us learn it better or earlier than others, but we all face it sooner or later. There will be, or may already have been, times in your life when you are facing pain, illness, loss, and the search for your own answer to “WHY?” The temptation might be there to question God and why He allows pain and suffering. In those times, I remember the words of Jesus, predicting his own death: “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27 NKJV)
“What you focus on expands.” (Oprah Winfrey) That’s another way of saying that our thoughts control our feelings and our feelings control our actions. I could spend the rest of my life focusing on what I didn’t have in my family. That would expand into bitterness or even hate. Or, I could spend the rest of my life focusing on the good and helping someone else realize that attitude is a choice. Serenity is a choice. Courage is a choice. Wisdom is making the right choice.