When the pain just won’t go away

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

{Pssst – I’ve been talking about connection all month long.  Read the first two posts here and here if you haven’t already!}

Connecting with God, self and others is at the heart of this recovery process both for husbands and for wives.  And to be clear, we need all three.  God created us for connection not just with Him but also with ourselves and with others.

And yet, the reality is, sometimes even this connection won’t take away the pain we experience.


Less than twenty-four hours ago, this is exactly where I was at.  I was feeling emotional pain and I knew I’d better buckle up because the work was about to begin.  I connected with Jason, I went on a run, I journaled.  These things no doubt helped but it didn’t take away the pain completely.

This morning, I woke up and although I felt lighter initially, it didn’t last.

So I knew I was in for the wait.

And in that wait, I knew I had choices to make.  I could ruin my entire day with the belly ache I’d be dealing with if I helped myself to heaps of my boys’ Halloween candy sitting in the pantry.  Another poor option: on-line cyber Monday shopping but I knew I’d deal with major regret if I chose to spend our hard earned money on things I don’t even need by shopping on-line.

Yes indeed, I have choices to make – and that in and of itself is a bit scary because my track record is certainly not pristine clean!

So I {for once} made a positive choice – I reached out to friends.  I then tried to connect with God by listening to two Flatirons podcasts that I missed recently.  I loved myself well by going on a run in the freezing wind and making myself warm soup and sourdough bread for lunch. (I’m giggling as I proof this – maybe I’ve been reading The Little Red Hen a bit much to my little lately but it might appear that I made soup and bread from scratch so just to be clear – canned soup and bread toasted in the toaster from the grocery store.)


And yet, the pain is still here.

So I wait.

It reminds me of Psalm 40:1 where David says,

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

In this passage, the Hebrew word for wait is qavah.  Qavah also means “to hope”, “to strengthen” and “to expect”.

So this waiting that we do – we want to do it well.  We want to continue to connect with God, ourselves and others.  We want to love ourselves well and do our best to make good choices.

And in this wait – we choose to have an expectant hope.  A hope that at some point, God will lift us out of the slimy pit and set our feet on a rock.  In the wait, He will refine us and we will be stronger for it on the other side.

That is our hope.

Do you know what this means?  It means we put a teeny tiny bit of faith in God.  We lean into trusting Him.  And this, my friends, can be oh-so-difficult.

Waiting is hard work.  It’s life work.


Come on girls, I know I’m so not alone in the wait I feel today.  Let’s do this together.  Let’s wait with hope.  Let’s expect God to lift us out of the slimy pit.  Let’s trust in Him.  Let’s believe that there is more strength in store for us on the other side.




13 thoughts on “When the pain just won’t go away

  1. Chelle

    November 29, 2016  |  01:48 pm

    Ok Shelley lets do this together !
    ❤️Qavah to hope, to strengthen and to expect
    I love it
    Thank you for sharing where you are
    This is life work , I’m trying to lean in to God more these days
    My girls in my call in group are Gods helpers to me they are the ” others ” I am connected with on this journey , they continue to remind me to breathe , wait , watch and pray and most of all to live!
    Your picture made me smile …
    God has gifted you with making us feel so heard and understood by sharing your pain and your hope ….your table of Gods food for your soul while you partake of food to sustain you made me feel warm inside …
    Hope your day is blessed

    • Shelley Martinkus

      November 29, 2016  |  01:55 pm

      Woohoo! Thank you Chelle! Grinning from ear to ear reading your comment. Thank you, thank you. xoxo

  2. Melinda

    November 30, 2016  |  03:17 pm

    THANK YOU … THANK YOU FOR THE REMINDER OF: Psalm 40:1 where David says,
    “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

    Thank you for your Us to God in helping so many walk this journey !!

  3. caroline

    November 30, 2016  |  06:58 pm

    Slimy pit, good imagery. Thank you David.

    The holidays can bring hard times for many reasons. I so agree with you Shelley, sometimes the pain is here for an extended stay. We’re better off hanging together and leaning into the lessons.

    I was having a rather down day on Monday. I stepped out into the still cold winter afternoon, and took a walk through the woods alone. I ended up sitting on an old log in front of my Dad’s cabin, singing old Celtic hymns, and reciting sad poetry to myself:

    What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore–
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over–
    like a syrupy sweet?
    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.
    Or does it explode?
    -Langston Hughes

    Daddy’s empty cabin can be a very sad, lonely, and painful place since he passed away. So many projects left undone, everything overgrown, the forest trying to take back the cleared land. Yet, I’m often drawn back there when I’m very sad. I can remember him more clearly there.

    My pain is still real, my sadness is real, but like most sorrows it’s not without a very real hope.

    My father’s life on this earth is over, but he was a believer, so he lives on. I will see him again one day. For now, his many plans on this earth that never materialized can be gathered up and held as precious lessons for me today:
    Do not pin your sacred hopes on any man or temporary worldly pursuit. Invest first in what will last eternal. Hold the day with a light hand. Be grateful. Love while you can.

  4. Emily Jackson

    December 1, 2016  |  06:59 am

    Wow, just what I needed to hear!! Wait, connect and trust! Thank you!

  5. Brianne Lanzendorfer

    December 3, 2016  |  04:59 pm

    Though this blog helped me initially, the next day I was pulled back down into my dark, condemning place. ” It’s my fault” Yes I know it’s not, but that voice is so strong and convincing. So what can I do? I

    • Shelley Martinkus

      December 5, 2016  |  12:28 pm

      Brianne, can you share more? What do you feel is your fault? I want to understand and try to help if I can. xo-Shelley

  6. Erin

    December 4, 2016  |  04:13 pm

    Hi Shelley,
    Yet another post that hits me right where I”m at. I truly appreciate your holistic approach and completely agree with it. Right now, for me, it’s the struggle to even want to want to. How mixed up does that sound?! I struggle lately with wanting to want to make a healthy choice. I read recently that the journey of healing from sexual betrayal can feel like driving in a foreign country at night without a map… drunk. LOL. What an image, eh? Well, I appreciate your voice which has been a beacon in the darkness, calling my/our hearts to beat, hope and even dream again. Praying God’s biggest blessings on you!

    • Shelley Martinkus

      December 5, 2016  |  12:27 pm

      Erin, My heart melted a bit when I read your comment yesterday. Thanks for being real and for sharing how you’re struggling to even want to want to! I know what you have shared will resonate with the other readers here. It’s so true – reminds me of the seasons I’ve had major trust issues with God. I struggled with wanting to want to even try to trust Him! I SO get it!! xoxo

  7. Brianne Lanzendorfer

    January 2, 2017  |  08:09 pm

    So sorry I did have a very long post that continued on but I can’t remember what I said lol…something to the sort I have to decide to stay in my dark place or choose to come out..it’s my decision. But it sounded alot better the first time. I seem to have alot of glitches when I post.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      January 2, 2017  |  09:45 pm

      oh no! I want the full post, not just the abbreviated version!!! Feel free to email me at Shelley@rlforwomen.com if you think something is going on with the site and I will have my web gal take a look. xo-Shelley

  8. Chelle

    January 4, 2017  |  01:59 pm

    Hey girl ,
    I needed this again so much today.
    The pain I hold so close , why can’t I hold tighter to the hope ,strength and expectation when my heart , spirit and value are pummeled by my husband ?

    Reading this again kept me from comforting myself with a cookie and I’m going to bundle up for a walk instead . Thanks friend ❤

  9. L

    March 19, 2019  |  05:03 pm

    Ugh, I’m just at the beginning of things. Does this mean that the pain is here to stay? I can hardly stomach that idea ….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.