A Redemption Story – Pursuing Purpose in the Midst of Pain

May 25, 2021

It has been my joy to get to know Michelle Williams and serve with her at our church. She is such a skilled, thoughtful writer! As you’ll see, her writing comes from a very deep place. I encourage you to follow her on Twitter @MichelleW_613 and Facebook @MichelleWilliams613. You can read more from Michelle at her FeedingTheShepherd.com blog. I am grateful that she would share with us her redemption story. Dave Rodriguez


Nine years ago this month, the most excruciating pain I’ve ever known tore through my life. In May 2012, my dad took his life, and I instantly felt like my own had been gutted. In that moment, I remember wondering if I would ever be able to recover. I certainly didn’t anticipate the possibility of a purpose growing out of such painful destruction.


Looking back today, I can clearly see that my life’s purpose sprouted in those devastating ruins. However, I wouldn’t be where I am now without some help and some healing. I’ll be eternally grateful to God for leading me to the place where I would find what I needed to process my grief, experience transformation, and bring purpose from my pain.


Let me just say that if Jesus teaches his disciples to fish for people, then Dave was the one casting the net that I swam into. God blessed me with the opportunity of learning from Dave before the world knew him as a destiny coach—and also at a crucial point in my life just prior to my head-on collision with purpose-making pain.


One thing I’ve learned in the past nine years, with the help of wise spiritual leaders and teachers like Dave, is that when suffering rips a hole in us, it leaves that empty space primed for something else to grow. If we’re willing, God will meet us in that space when our hearts are softened and we’re experiencing great need for His mercy. From my vantage point, I also see that a choice exists at the edge of this suffering. We can choose to let God resurrect us from our brokenness and lead us into developing a fruitful purpose, or we can let ourselves be distracted by worldly influences that promise to ease the pain.


In my experience, I teetered on that edge, struggling as my pain pulled me in different directions. I sensed a calling emerging for me, but I doubted my gifts and abilities. What made the difference for me was paying attention to the teachers God had placed in my life, hearing key truths in key moments. Your heart breaks for what breaks God’s heart, because you were made in His image. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. 


I imagine such a struggle exists with or without the presence of pain. What I know is that seeking and paying attention to the guidance of wise leaders can help us all stay on a path toward purpose, especially as we emerge from life’s piercing pains.


Having recently participated in a Large Group Destiny Workshop, I can attest to what a true gift this guidance is. In the nine years following my family’s tragedy, I followed through on many clues leading to my calling, and those efforts have been fruitful. But in the month following my completion of the destiny workshop, I feel equipped with more tools and resources than ever to guide me as I explore and discern God’s call on my life. Although it’s still in the formation process, I’ve gained incredible focus, clarity, and vision for my purpose of helping people experience a healing transformation of their pain through love.


If you are in the midst of suffering, first I pray that you experience God’s peace that passes all understanding and His healing that restores joy to your life. Then when the time is right, I pray that you will invite God to lead you in discovering how you, too, may bring purpose from your pain.


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