How God Turns Pain Into Healing
September 26, 2021

Have you ever tried to build a sandcastle? Throughout my life and worldly travels, I’ve touched many grains of sand. I built castles on the black sands of the Azores Islands and with the white, crystal shore of the Pacific Ocean. I tried with hard and soft sand, dry and wet alike, but to no avail. The remnants stuck together like cement, or the fragments slipped through my fingers. Alas, my sandcastles never lasted. 

There was a season of my life where I lived in great darkness, as the proverbial church says. I found myself navigating years of abuse and past trauma. Pain passed through my hands like sand.  I tried to cling to hope, but everything in my grasp failed to soothe my soul. In those moments, I found one simple, yet complex truth which captured my heart:   

God walked with me through every moment of my life.

Let that sink in for a minute. God is the only being who knows all my stories. Not my abusers, not my husband, my children, my parents, nor my friends. Only God knows every story. He knows every moment of heartache and pain, every deep well of regret and shame. And only God remains.  That truth, once I learned it, changed my life. It changed the way I saw my faith. It changed the way I saw my reality and my future. Not only that, but it changed the way I saw my past. I started to wonder if God walked with me through every moment of darkness, then didn’t light also exist in those same places? 

In her book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark”, Barbara Brown Taylor asks: “Who would stick around to wrestle a dark angel all night long if there were any chance of escape? Someone in deep need of blessing; someone willing to limp forever for the blessing that follows the wound.”  

After reading that statement, I asked, “Did I miss the light, hidden by my memories of darkness?” 

My human brain is flawed. It doesn’t always remember things exactly the way they happened. 

Scientists have done a lot of research on the science of memories. Every time you recall a memory, you apply another piece of data to your memory. Over time, our memories change with new information. That’s why, we can recall a memory or think about something that happened in the past and not feel as much pain.  

I can look back now on the abuse at the hands of those I loved and see how they were hurting. I can see now, how much they did love me, but were struggling through their own addictions and pain. So, now, each time I recall certain memories, they don’t hurt as much. 

I also allowed God’s grace into my memories. In his book, Boundaries for Leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud explains that “we get what we allow”. That’s true for us, as leaders and as Christians. We choose to allow grace to shape our memories and heart. We choose to forgive someone who never said they’re sorry. We choose daily. Those are the sandcastles that last, so to speak.  

And why would we do that? Why does it matter?  

So we can become the person God called and created us to be. 

We don’t do it in our own strength. We do it reliant upon the supernatural one, true God. We surrender all that we have and are into His arms. We ask God to show us His light hidden inside the darkness, so we can love and forgive. That’s hope. That’s what we leave this world.  Nothing else, other than the love and sacrifice of God, ever really matters.  

So today, I invite you to share this prayer with me:  

Lord, I trust you. I don’t understand your ways, but I trust you. I know that you sent your son, to become man, so that he could become the sacrifice for me. For that, I am grateful. Please help me to reshape the pain of my past. Please help me to walk with you today, looking back into the darkness and seeing your light instead of the great pain that I see. 

All my love,



Brown, B. (2015) Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because God Often Shows Up at Night


Cloud, H. (2013) Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships and Ridiculously In Charge