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Positively Painful

My kids and I went grocery shopping this weekend, gathering food for their school lunches. We were seeking new foods, trying to escape the “lunch box rut” of sandwiches every day. Noah wanted to try some soups and granola bars. However, as we read the labels on each item, we found hidden sources of gluten.

Noah was diagnosed with Celiac Disease this past year, meaning he’s allergic to gluten and had to drastically change his diet. He looked defeated by the end of our shopping trip, “It’s not fair - I can’t eat anything I like any more!”

I knew this day was coming. He’s been a trooper the past year, accepting his new lifestyle with a positive attitude. Up to this point his desire to grow and get healthy overrode any frustration. But now he was feeling reality.

“Don’t worry about it buddy. That food is all junk anyway. Look at all the stuff we have that you can eat.”

There was truth in these words but later that day I regretted them. It hit me that I was ignoring what my son was feeling and therefore, teaching him to ignore his pain instead of dealing with it. I was passing on an unhealthy survival technique that I often follow.

Painful circumstances hit us all. But when we continually push hurtful moments down, numbing their existence, we end up having to dig deeper later in order to get to the root cause of pain.

I don’t want Noah to wallow in his pain but I don’t want him to discount it either. Pain can warn, guide and strengthen us.

I ignored the pain in my knee for years that only caused more damage and scar tissue. Two knee surgeries later; I wish I had dealt with it earlier, wondering what early intervention would have saved me

Positive thinking and a thankful heart will take us far but there are lessons and power God can show and give us only when we address our pain.

All throughout the New Testament, Jesus met people in the midst of their pain. It was in these moments they sensed his love and felt his power. Memories were made and branded into their hearts forever. Without the pain, they would have missed that moment with Him.

Later that afternoon I went to Noah and asked him how he felt about having to live gluten free. His eyes teared-up, “It’s hard some times because I miss so many different foods.”

We cried together and we bonded – and he was able to move on in a healthy manner.

How do you deal with pain? Do you avoid it or deal with it?


Pain and sufferings cannot be avoided. Sometimes, it struck us at times we least expect. However, having to recover from pain and survive from it, is the best thing that we can achieve. - Mallory Fleming

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Laurie is author of I Love Him, I Love Him Not, I Finally Love Him. She asks hard questions, and shares transparent, sometimes funny and sometimes embarrassing, stories all while seeking to find Jesus in daily life.