20th October 2015, Prismacolor pencils on A3 cartridge paper
When I was struggling through a painful year, a moment of epiphany helped me stop struggling.
I was listening to a podcast and the speaker said that when something painful or difficult happens, we shouldn’t ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ Instead we should ask, ‘How should I respond?
It made me realise I’d been asking the first question which was causing me misery and frustration. By shifting perspective and asking the second question, the misery and frustration disappeared even if the pain and difficulty didn’t. This showed me that I don’t need pain and difficulty to go away. I can sit with it and respond well.
I learnt that pain doesn’t mean we’ve done something wrong and God is punishing us. But pain is a way God grows us and strengthens our faith. This was a huge turning point for me because before this I could only see how horrible pain was and wanted God to take it away. Now I was thankful for the pain because I realised that if I want to grow, then I need to go through painful times
I’ve lived a pain-free life for the most part. Either that or I’ve ignored the pain. So having a year of pain where I felt it so deeply for so long was a shock. I was like, ‘What is this pain?’ I didn’t understand it. I thought it was bad, but then I saw the good that came from it. God started saturating me with lesson after lesson about pain. I couldn’t keep up. It showed me: the greater the pain, the greater the growth.
I drew this picture to show how I felt like I was in pieces when the year of pain broke me. It felt like I was in a prison, in a desert, in chains, in a storm, in a war, and I had so many questions because none of it made sense. But with the epiphany, I realised God was with me in all these pieces and, because of that, everything was okay. The pain was worth it because His Spirit was growing me.