Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Pain?

It's Monday morning and I am just getting around to writing! It's been a very busy last week! Yesterday our youngest daughter Christina and I threw a bridal shower for her best friend. Like most important celebrations, it took days to prepare everything and in what feels like an instant, it is behind us! What an honor to assist Christina in such a fun day for her best friend!

Another great thing took place yesterday. My husband Robert was the guest speaker in Bobby's church and it was the first time he had preached in the United States since last fall. The topic of his sermon was pain; an experience very familiar to him over the past year. As people on planet earth we cannot avoid pain: physical, mental, spiritual. The Bible and our faith doesn't' promise the absence of pain, in fact it teaches us just the opposite. Reading through the Sermon on The Mount Robert reminded us of Jesus' very important message regarding "the poor in spirit, those who morn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted." Many of the experiences that Jesus mentions in his most significant words ever shared refer to things that are painful to go through. His assurances of what happens to us as a result of getting through these rough times are what we need to focus on. During the reading of the scripture yesterday I pulled out the small pocket Bible that I carry in my purse. I admit that it was hard to follow along as the translation I carry with me is "The Message". Later in the day I read aloud to Robert the explanation that The Message translation gives the words in the Sermon On The Mount. I found them quite helpful in understanding in the vernacular what Jesus was saying in his day and to his culture. Here they are:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One who is most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are-no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full" you find yourself being cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that-count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-give a cheer-even! for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble." Matthew 5:3-11 (The Message)
Yes, two thousand years ago Jesus shared with us that pain and suffering is unavoidable. I guess the real issue is "what are we going to do with our pain?" Feel free to share and start some conversation here on this blog. Also, check with The Gathering blog in the next few days and you will be able to see Robert's sermon. Hopefully it will help you as you deal with the real and sometimes very painful experiences we all face in this life on earth. Here is his blog website:
Until next time. God is blessing you! Donna


  1. Great Donna that Robert finally got the opportunety to have a sermon in public again. I look forward having it on Bobby's blog!!! I can imagine that it certainly was painful to speak about pain. He certainly felt it very deep in his heart/soul. But speaking about can be very helpful. I'm always with him in my thoughts and prayers. - I have a kind of pain/grief with my dad at the moment. He is 84, my mum 82 and they should sell their house and soon move in their rented appartment. The house should be putted for sell in the internet and the move out should be organized. But everything is going so slow. My help is refussed, even my mum tells she is tiered from all the work. When we should put a text together for, internet, I help, my dad is shouting at me when I have not his opinion even I'm kind and compassionate. I shug my sholders. I have to go though. I told that to a good USA lady-friend and with her very kind and encouraging words she gave me courage to be strong and cope with my situation. I go in prayer to my heavenly father. That all helps a lot. I could as well burrow into my grief. But that would have caused sicknes. Is it worth this thing? No! If something is hurtful we must think we deserve better and chin up and make the best out of the situation. It's everyday a new chalange and soon instad of griefing we smile. - God is blessing you. - Rosemarie

  2. As you rightly said, Donna, "Like most important celebrations, it took days to prepare everything and in what feels like an instant, it is behind us! What an honor to assist Christina in such a fun day for her best friend!"

    I guess "The Journey" is as important as the destination! So wonderful that you and Christina could make her friend's day special.

    In a similar way, I am sure Robert's and your 'journey' to his sermon at The Gathering will have put new meaning to the words Robert would have preached! I know as I listen to his sermon I will not be able to entirely separate the setting, the sermon and the past year...but I was at his last sermon at Crystal Cathedral last year, so for me it will be very exciting to watch on The Gathering site as I will be reflecting on the last time a year ago.

    I, along with so many have been waiting to hear Robert's always well chosen words. Now we will have a chance to hear him this week! WOW!

    You must have almost cried as will I as I watch! It has been a long year and soon ALT with Robert on-line, I guess will be another life-line for us along with The Gathering,
    St Patrick Project and your ever-inspiring words and videos, Donna!

    God is blessing you and yours,
    Jan-Michael (Canada)

  3. Donna,
    I can't wait to see it. Please tell Robert thank you for allowing us to see and hear him preach again. Gosh I miss him and his messages so much. There are a handful of preachers in this world who are truly gifted and he is one of them. Mary Alvarez

  4. My 2nd comment on your words of this week Donna

    Certainly, I feel I was blessed through Muliple Sclerosis which took me and my doctor by surprise, 9 years ago, MS literally knocking me out! Let me explain:

    Although some see me as disabled now through Multiple Sclerosis, I look at it more that my overwhelming schedule before MS actually was disabling and eventually the MS has "enabled" me to be a more caring and spiritual person!

    Having lost for a few years, due to MS, most of my vision, my ability to use a pen, a computer and not jump at sudden sounds like a telephone ringing, I had to re-learn everything from how to brush my teeth and combing my hair, to walking and talking and it has been a blessing!!

    Slowly, I reconnected "all the dots" and in my prayer time I learned how I was missing many of the things I always wanted to do but had become so focused on working, which I saw as the way to ensure my family's well-being. I had forgotten that He takes care of us if we only stay focused on Him and His words and teachings through Jesus.

    Now, I have my physical problems but they are not dominating my life...I am happily reading Psalms and all The Scriptures and trying to share my possitive view on "disability opportunities" with newly diagnosed persons. I am glad to be on the right road again and surely He has blessed me!

    That phrase "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule" I guess is well said for me.

    God is blessing you.

    Jan-Michael (Toronto, Canada)

  5. First of all to Rosemarie, What a brave and wonderfully faithful daughter you are to the both of your parents. How patient and loving you are to your father when he treats you with less than kindness. You know that he must be feeling so sad with the loss of his home and needing to move on through another stage of life. " Thank you God for Rosemarie's continued service to her parents." Rosemarie, for your grief and your suffering I pray for you each day. I enjoyed having coffee with you when you were here a few months ago. You are a kind soul.
    To Jan-Michael, you continue to be an inspiration and support to both Robert and myself. What lessons you have learned from your MS and what wisdom you are able to bestow on others because of your trials. You have learned to truly listen to God and you have the gift of gratitude and inspiration. Thank you for your contributions to this blog.
    Thank you Mary Alvarez for your continued support also. I really like to read your encouraging comments. Donna

  6. P.S. Bobby and Hannah are moved in to their house so we are going to resume our video taping this Wednesday. Stand-by! Donna

  7. Donna thanks so very much for sharing with us. I am so looking forward to hearing Roberts sermon.

    Your message posted at a perfect time. I have been feeling down over the weekend and I think it is because I have not allowed myself any down time to dwell and work through some painful times in our family life. My father-n-law has been diagnosed with leukemia and this is hard for the family but especially for my husband. We live on the west coast and they live on the east coast in Virginia...he feels he should be there to help out with all the doctor appointments but also to help around the house. My father-n-law is 85 and my mother-n-law will be turning 80. Their home is in need of a lot of work and it drives us crazy to hear that my mother-n-law has been out in the heat mowing the lawn. My husband understands his first obligation is to us but it is not an easy time. Next we had to put our family and beloved pet to sleep. I blogged about this experience on our family blog and this kind of pain grabs you at the oddest moments. Next our daughter had a car accident and thank goodness God was watching over her and she is safe. The car hopefully can be fixed. Today was cloudy and rainy and it seems like everything came crashing in. At first I thought it was silly to be filled with pain and sadness but realized this is very normal.

    Jan-Michael thank you for sharing such insight into your MS. I have a dear, dear friend who was diagnosed about 2-3 years seemed to strike out of the day she was fine the next she could barely walk and when she did people thought she was drunk. I know that this has been a struggle but she has clung to God through all of this and her spirit is such a blessing. I'll pray for you!

    God is blessing all of us!

  8. Donna, certainly it's not easy to leave their house. They have it since 1981 and let it bild of their own imagination. But my father was always like that, if something don't go his way he is unfriedly and punish the others for their attitude. Manly mum and me. I stopted fighting with him about peanuts. I just show him kindness and compassion. That's the right way for both sides. Hate against hate evoke war in the world or in my case a wee war with my mum and dad. No good! If friends/colleagues do not treat me right I show compassion too. But if we do not come to get to the point I part from them in peace. Again better for both sides. Or if people are negative thinkers I tell them it's better to think positive. I never let me drag down. - My thoughts and prayers are with you lovely Donna and Robert. - Rosemarie

  9. Thank you so much Donna for what
    you say. I am so pleased that
    Robert preached at Bobby's service. Yes Robert certainly knew about his topic of Pain.
    I am looking forward to looking at the blog for the Gathering
    God bless you all, help, guide
    and guard you
    Barbie M from Brisbane, Aust

  10. Thanks for your kind words Donna. I enjoy your inspirational blog so much! Jan-Michael you are a very brave person. My eyes got teary when I read your post. You are a Godly example of how we should handle our trials and tribulations. You handle yours with dignity, gratitude and class. God is so proud of you. I am too! You motivate me to be grateful for difficulties and to look for the blessings within the challenges.
    Rosemarie, You are obeying Gods commandment to "Honor Thy Mother and Thy Father". It's wonderful that you are such a mature Christian. By overlooking your fathers unkind comments, you show him by example the love of God.

  11. Dear Dana,
    I am sure it is very difficult for your husband as his father is so ill and he is so far away. It is important to him that you are such a understanding and supportive wife. It is good that he can count on you as so much in life is unpredictable. Yes, I read about your beloved dog and I know first hand how difficult it is to lose a pet. The year before the whole church "thing" came crashing down our daughter, Christina was hospitalized three times and in the middle of her illness my grandmother died and then our dog disappeared. I was overwhelmed with grief and stress and some days I just cried and cried. I thought I would never stop crying. Then just as I was coming out of all of that the problems with the church were escalating. Some days I thought I would self-combust!! Now looking back I see that once again I have been forged and made stronger and grown closer to God. I had to lean on Him harder than ever to get me through the two years of really difficult situations. Dana, never ignore your pain and suffering. It is there for a reason. Embrace it and accept it. It is very real. Go with it, pray about it, lean on God, and suffer for a season. You are in my prayers.
    Barbie, I know that you too are a brave soul. First your breast cancer and now your dear husband Len and his stroke. You have survived many recent trials. You have been "tested and you have come through as gold"

  12. Donna, you really suffered a lot of pains and went through a very hard time. You are not forgotten. Craying is good. I wish I could easier cray. - I love you and you are in my prayers and all here who need a prayer too. - Blessings Rosemarie

  13. Donna, Rosemarie, Mary, Barbie, Dana and
    Jan- Michael,
    Thank you for these comments. I have been sitting here feeling sorry for myself as I have a virus that is lasting a little bit too long, also it is too hot here and my husband and I as well as our family are struggling financially as we are in the Real Estate and Construction industry and have been hit very hard. But when I read how all of you cope and have such faith I say to myself "it's okay if you feel this way that through prayer and
    faith in God things will be better".
    Jan-Michael I read lots of your comments and you are such an inspiration and Rosemarie I believe I was reading your on One Community.
    Donna, I am so excited about Robert and can't wait to hear him on the Gathering blog.
    Blessings to all of you.

  14. Hi Patty,
    Thanks for commenting. God is blessing you too, even through all of your struggles with the real estate market, your virus, and any and everything else. Sometimes it's just hard to see it but the sun always appears after the storm. Donna

  15. Patty I just wanted to send you a note of encouragement with one of my favorite quotes...Prayer creates a path where there is none and turns your stumbling blocks into building blocks...I will add you and your family to my prayer list because I know this must be a very difficult time for all of you but I have faith that the blessings you will reap will be wonderful.

    Like you I find this blog and all who share their comments to be such an inspiration. I find myself striving and working to become a better person and I get goosebumps when I see Gods work in progress.

  16. I love Van Hulle Family's comment that you get goosebumps when you see God's work in progress. I do too. God is very much a part of Donna's blog and bringing people together to share their hurts and to heal from them. I believe God has chosen Donna to lead us all. Thanks Donna, for taking the time to help everyone who comes to this blog, whether they post or just read. You have had alot of issues in your own life recently and the fact that you care enough to continue posting inspirational videos and blogs demomstrates why God chose you. You are a special person and I respect you so much. I appreciate the fact that during the hard times(when you were at CC and had major family issures),you and Robert carried on for God and for your fellow man. God bless you and Robert.

  17. Dear Mary A. I just want to say
    how much agree with what you say
    in your comments regarding Donna
    and Robert. GOOD ON YOU
    God bless from Australia
    Barbie M

  18. It's so comforting to know this blog is here and has all you wonderful people.
    Thank You

  19. Living with you through the troubled times there; far from you in The Netherlands.We all have that times of sorrow, pain and lose. But the comfort of the Holy Spirit will come over you when in distress, lose or pain. The name of God: 'I am!' gives us that security. Hope and pray you will find the right ways to go. The love of God will guide you always.

  20. Donna,
    Where is Jim Poitt and how is he and his family doing? Mary

  21. Jim Poit recently accepted a senior pastor position at a church outside of Phoenix, Arizona. His oldest son will attend a University here in Northern California and his wife and three younger children all moved with him just a couple of weeks ago. We were so glad to see that he will be a senior pastor as he has amazing credentials, experience, and most of all a love for people. I am sure they will be very happy. Nice of you to ask.

  22. By the way I noticed that Bobby now has his last two sermons on The Gathering blog site so Robert's is next from last Sunday. He explained to me that it isn't a lot of work to post but it takes up to eight hours for each sermon to load on the site he uses before posting on his blog. He was two weeks behind because of his double move (out of his office and also his home!) He has many messages archived so please look at and listen them when you have time...they are very good.

  23. Yes Donna, the 2 latest videos are really excellent from Bobby! I am enjoying his ability to explain the scriptures with fresh words and his educated understanding of the those words, as used by the Hebrews!

    The addition of the music at the beginning and end of the latest videos is great as well.

    I am finding that listening on iTunes, then watching the video makes a meaningful service even better! I guess closing my eyes and just listening one day followed by the video which usually comes out a few days later on the a great way to really let the sermon sink in!

    The sound is always best on the video too so another reason to watch and listen to the video even if I have heard the sermon part as part of the full Sunday service on iTunes. podcast!

    Blessings and Love to all
    Jan-Micharl (Canada)

  24. Great Jan-Michael! Bobby and I met yesterday and I did two video blogs s I will be out of town for 10 days the 19th-29th. I know I will not have a computer the second half of the trip so even though I will try to write something the weekend of the 22nd but it might be difficult so we are covered for a while!! Thank you again for all of your great insight in your writings and for sharing yourself so honestly with all of us. Donna
    PS will you be coming to OC any time soon?

  25. Happy to hear the news about Jim. He is the best and was always so friendly to everyone before the services at CC. He also preached some great sermoms.

  26. Hi Donna.
    What a great message you put here Donna!!
    And thanks everyone for your comments.
    I have had a bad virus infection for a couple of weeks. Wasn't able to do much. But I feel a bit better now and the first thing I did was going to my computer to read your blog.
    During the days I was sick I became
    very, very upset and angry, I just cried and cried. I missed my mom, my sisters and brother so much. Not a visit from them no phone calls, just nothing, but silence.All my relatives passed away and it feels soooo empty and you experience this the most when you're not feeling so good.
    Your "food for thought" Donna is a great comfort for me at this very moment.
    I know God is a God of Love and that He loves each and every one of us. I guess I was just feeling sorry for myself.
    You know Donna, your blog IS A BLESSING.
    Thanks be to God for Donna and Robert, I can´t wait to hear his ´first´ sermon!!
    What a great moment that will be.

    Much Christian love from Ria
    The Netherlands

  27. Watching the video of Robert A. Schuller!

    Wow, the video of RAS at The Gathering is so great, even after listening to the Podcast ! The video adds to the inspiring message in the setting of The Gathering and seeing the ease with which RAS just steps in to help Bobby, who was otherwise unable to preach that Sunday, was comforting to watch.

    I know many are so happy to see the way things just keep getting better for all and the video is something I have been patiently longing for. To see Robert looking relaxed, inspired and delivering a great sermon, one of his best, I think, is a blessing!

    With Love and a prayer of appreciation to He who has brought us through a difficult time with blessings,

    Jan-Michael ( Toronto, Canada )

  28. Dear Ria,
    I trust you are feeling better now. It sounds like you are in touch with the fact that physical illness and pain is one thing and emotional is another. I believe it is helpful to feel the comfort of another loved-one when we are "under the weather". How difficult for you to feel so alone since your loved-ones have all passed away. I hear your pain from your message above. Crying is good for the heart and soul. It is part of the healing process as you go through the difficult times. Keep connected to your feelings and keep leaning on God. He loves you and is there for you. So are all of us! You are blessed, you are a blessing, and you are loved, Donna

  29. Everyone, I will be out of town from early morning of the 19th until late the 29th! Please hold one another up in prayer. I will be in touch when I return. God is blessing you, Donna

  30. Hi Donna and everyone here,

    I listened to the pain video just now. I am deeply moved by the level of love, grace, and trust here and the sharing. I'd like to share a little bit of my journey if I may.
    Presently, I am my mother's (aged 82) caregiver. She has dementia/alzheimers that is just getting more serious by the day. This fall her doctors are saying assisted living or nursing home care will be needed. Its taken awhile, and my brother getting tired of my pleading and crying, but mom may be moving up to Virginia to be near him. I have been with mom almost 24/7 for 3 years and I am so tired and burned out. God knows how I cry about this, feel guilty and somehow defective as a daughter. I have truly done my best with her even when the days were so trying and both our nerves were frazzled.
    A little family dysfunction mother was, and I guess still is, an alcoholic. My father died many years ago but was a classic enabler. I was the dutiful, "good" daughter trying to be ever so perfect. What upsets me most with mom's illness is that she has very little memory left so she doesn't remember all the crazy things we went through. Maybe thats God's mercy but I find myself feeling bitter and resentful sometimes. I am always tender and kind because I am her sole help right now. Inside, my emotions are a mess.
    I know mom will be gone in a little while. She has other heart issues too. I have no idea how I will handle it.. right now I'm numb.
    I love my mom and brothers. Don't misunderstand me. Its just hard to act as if nothing dysfunctional ever happened in the family. My brothers just expect me to "pull myself together and "suck it up."

    please pray for mom (Sarah) and me. My name is Marci. I would love the prayers of the brethren so much here.

    God bless you love you!

  31. Dear Marci,
    I was going through some of the comments of my past blogs and noticed that I had never read yours. You must have posted after the next one was up. Well, you certainly have your hands full and yes, you are a great daughter! How difficult it must be to care for your mother the way you do. What a suitcase full of old painful memories that you are sorting through. Your brothers telling you to "suck it up" is just their way of dealing with the pain. They can't or don't want to. Better to be honest with yourself and then continually ask God to lead you and guide you. Ask him to give you patience and relief and he will. He loves you and knows that you are going through a lot. You are a blessing, Donna

  32. Hi Donna,

    Thanks for the prayers and reply. I do know how busy you are. (I have been too.) I just married the love of my life last week. :) (posted on facebook) Bob is so good with my mom and so very gentle with me about it. He loves the Lord with all his heart.

    Mom had some issues with us getting married. We are working through them with the family though. I felt I needed some kind of normal life too. Right now Bob is going missions work in Morehead City with guys with substance abuse problems and I am still with mom til we get her moved into assisted living up in VA. That should be in a month or two.

    I love your blog and The Gathering. Also your awesome hubby! How great to hear his sermons again :)

    love in Jesus,


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D