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Pastoral Pearls: Processing Emotions

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When I write my story down, it can take some of the pain away. ~Alice Hoffman

This is a quote from an audiobook I had been listening to, and I really resonated with it. Growing up, my way of processing my life – what was confusing, what was painful, what was challenging – was to write songs. Everything from break-ups, to hopeful love, to suicide, to challenges with my weight, to celebrating my wedding – all the ups and downs of life became fuller, more vibrant, more meaningful, and yes, even less painful when I wrote about it. The suffering I went through began to have less power over me, while the celebrations of things seemed to give me more power. I believe that was the Holy Spirit guiding my heart, and bringing the peace and comfort of God’s presence, throughout every little thing in my life. It can bring my attention more clearly to just how much God does for me in my life. It is a blessing.  But those sorrows and pains – ooooo – putting it down on paper – for music or not – really releases some of the pain - to the universe or to Jesus to carry it for me. That’s how I am better able to cope with all that life can dish out to me.

For some folks, writing does not come naturally. That’s ok. How about drawing, painting, photography, or any kind of creative work. Or song? Many of my songs were written while hiking or paddle boarding or in the car.  And recently I find a good outlet to be to do “Photo Reflections” – looking at one of my photos and writing a reflection on what that photo is saying to me about life. It is fun and freeing.  Whatever way we can release the emotions – it is ALL good. Sometimes it is even just speaking my story to someone who knows how to really listen. Each person knows what might be the right expression for them. I aways ever did what came naturally to me, or tried something new and knew whether that was right for me. How do you release your pain?

Loving God,

please guide my heart to find the best way to express my joys, my pain and suffering, my emotions, my struggle.

So I can release it from me, and dispel any power it may have had over me.

Thank you for offering so many ways to validate my story and help me to grow.  

~ Amen


On Saturday January 28, 8:30-11:30 a.m., I will be offering a Morning Retreat on one of the songs I have written. “I Give to You This Day.”  I am delighted to share this writing with you, though it’s not so much on pain and suffering, and I invite you to join me in breaking this song open with me, to find any “pearls.”  Watch for details, to find any “pearls” God might have hidden within.   ~MaryPat Potts


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