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Growing Pains

     Growing pains. I think I’m starting to understand why they are named that. As I sit on a plane and take the first minute to put the past month into words, I find myself face-to-face with the season I am experiencing: a season of growing pains. I think society, myself included, has glamorized growth as a success story and thus falsely proclaimed the narrative that if it’s not immediately something you can show off or announce or have all the answers for, it’s not truly growth. Having bought into this narrative, I’ve missed the reality that if growth is our final destination, growing pains are a continuous and necessary part of all journeys. I often want the end result but not the discomfort to get there. As society has bought into this lie, we now find ourselves in a predicament in which the final product of growth is praised, but the growing pains are forced into the shadows. I do not truly have words to cover all aspects of this past month; it was beautiful yet left me with eyes open to broken places in my heart. It was all things lovely but left me feeling a bit at loss of a foundation. It was undeniably everything I hoped it would be yet equally left me feeling untethered. 

      My two words for June: growing pains. I have experienced them before but not in the way I did this past month. This time, the growing pains were subtle but not subtle enough to go unnoticed. They were the space fillers of the beautiful, woven blanket that Jesus covered me in with new friends’ support and old friend’s kindness and new places’ energy. In speaking of new friends, a dear one shared Galatians 2:21 with me, a verse that speaks to where these growing pains have left me: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness was gained through the law, Christ would have died for nothing.” Growing pains bring me to grace. They force me to eventually pause and recognize the discomfort. They call me to sit and take inventory of where my heart and head are. They stick a reality in my face that I forget far too often: I need Jesus’ grace. Without grace, growing pains would be useless, futile. With grace, growing pains lead to the only kind of growth that holds eternal value, the growth of sanctification, the process of becoming more like Jesus. A few verses before in Galatians 2, it says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This growth, the process of dying to self and living through faith alone, transforms the discomfort of growing pains into an opportunity to lean into what God is teaching us even more. Therefore, I am brought to a realization that no matter how uncomfortable these growing pains are, they really are beautiful because without them, I would be far from where I pray to go. I just praise Jesus that He has grace for us every time we struggle and flop and feel untethered and caught up in the windstorm of growing pains. He has grace for us in our seasons of discomfort. Praise Him for that because without grace… we wouldn’t be able to journey towards the day where there is no more striving but instead only rest, the place above where growth is finished and eternity begins in the glory of our Father. To wrap this up, I hope to encourage you with this: if you find yourself in a season of growing places, the space between where you used to be and where you want to go, a time of discomfort, there is grace for you. Wherever you find yourself, His grace is there too. 

With love, C

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