Last week, my friend and I were talking about being refined by fire. Some of the most heart-wrenching experiences in life have gifted us with the greatest lessons. Anyone who's felt loss or pain has a greater appreciation and empathy and knowingness that resulted from those times.
If you asked them, most would willingly walk through that fire again because it made them who they are today. Out of all the various friendships in my life, these individuals are the most beautiful humans. They have found purpose in their pain. They now seek out opportunities to guide someone else climbing those same hills, wondering when it's going to end, curious what's around the bend, anxious for a respite. They are a trusted authority because they have lived that same story. Advice is real, raw, and true from these people.
My friend describes the depth of pain from her divorce as "enough for ten women's lifetimes." She is intentional about using her past pain for a bigger, greater purpose. Hurting people seek her out. She is the one they call when they're suicidal and can't fathom living another day. She speaks life and hope back into them, and gets them climbing again.
Even if there was once shame in our stories, there is so much power in sharing them with those who can benefit from our journeys. By deciding to do this, we are harnessing the stronghold they once had on us, and using that power now for good. There is always purpose in our pain, and it's up to us to find it. Lives may depend on it.