About the Author

Amy von Borstel is a passionate follower of Christ, a wife and mother of two—one grown child and one teen. She attributes her twenty-nine year marriage and happy home to the love of God and living a life of faith-filled prayer. She’s been a writer since she was a little...

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  1. Thank you for this….
    As if it was written just for me. I have been in a season of need….a “drought” with my daughter asking me if we are going to have to be “Hobos” under the bridge downtown because daddy can’t get a job! It has brought me to an all time dependence on the Lord and I have been keeping a detailed list of how God is providing during our need. It has been amazing. And the trial has changed my outlook on others in need. My compassion has grown because I personally understand what it feels like to be humbled through your needs.

    • Thank you, Kerry, for sharing your heart. I love hearing how deeply your dependence on the Lord is growing and how you’re keeping a detailed list of how God is providing. I pray that Christ will keep encouraging you and that He’ll blow your socks off with His provision. I will be praying for you and trusting Christ to lead your family to many new beginnings. Please let me know if there is anything I can do other than pray.

  2. “Compassion is the fuel that drives us to help the ones God allows to cross our paths…”

    And, “There is a divine purpose to our pain.”

    So true. Thank you so much for sharing your heart today. 🙂

  3. All my life I have said I was tired of God “developing character” in me: my crazy, dysfunctional upbringing, my husband’s depression, loosing his job twice, our alcoholic mothers, giving birth to a child with special needs, my own anxieties, fears, and feelings of never ever being good enough.
    The last month has been FULL of developing character. Every situation we carefully cultivate for our daughter with special needs next steps has been torn down. My inflammatory disease flares up. We have ants. We have termites. I fall helping said daughter when she loses control of a bike and I’m waiting to see if I have broken my shoulder or torn the rotator cuff. We have had IEP’s, visited schools I don’t like and are ending up where I never, EVER EVER thought we would be.

    All that to say, last night at Bible Study, I was asked if it would be o.k. to lay hands on my shoulder and pray for healing. I thought, sure. Why not? As people were praying, I had my hands open. Open to the God who heals, and realized it’s not my shoulder he wants to heal. It goes way, way deeper than that. THROUGH my shoulder, He wants to heal those last broken parts of my heart. The parts that tell me I can’t, that time has passed me by, that I have been forgotten and no matter what I do, it will never be enough.

    Was I a little disappointed that I couldn’t move my shoulder after prayer? Not really. If I’m super honest, it’s because I was afraid to be released from where I am. I am dependent, I am slow. I am humbled daily by others doing for me and loving me. I am brought to thoughts of serving other women who are riddled with the lie of not being enough. I am the disabled one and my daughter is serving me. I have no other place to rush to, except to the present moment.

    Thank you for this space to jar my thinking and then to write out thoughts. It’s much appreciated.

    • Thank you, Lynn, for sharing the deep places of your heart. I am empathizing with you over the hardships in your life and at the same time I am blessed to read that you feel as though God wants to heal the last broken parts of your heart. Christ truly does want to completely heal your heart and I trust that He will. As I read your words I thought about how Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” It is the enemy of our souls that causes pain, but Christ then takes it and uses it for our good and uses it to bring glory to His name. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Here’s a prayer: Lord, I thank You for the love Lynn has for You. I ask You to fill her up with hope and expectation as she waits for the miracles You have for her life. I ask You to blow fresh wind into her soul and turn the trials in her life into triumphant victories. Show her Your love every day in tangible ways and let her know that You do indeed have great things in store for her life. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

    • Lynn, your reply has brought me to tears. I have felt the same way and feel that God is trying to heal me also. How I need to look around my sometimes overwhelming circumstances to see he is there, has been all along.
      Thank you for sharing and encouraging me in my journey also.

    • Lynn,

      After I responded to your comment yesterday, the Lord brought you to my mind in prayer. God reminded me that those with the greatest hardships are the ones He can use the most powerfully. In other words, the greater the trial is, the greater the testimony will be used for God’s glory. I’m praying that a new season will be birthed for you and you’ll begin seeing the desires of your heart—especially your desire to serve other women—come to fruition. I will keep praying that you will be released to take steps in a direction you’ve never embarked upon before now. You have such a heart for Jesus, so I am confident He will use you mightily.

  4. When we “sit” with our seasons of pain and suffering, we can learn a lot about ourselves and life. We can see with new eyes having been transformed by and in Christ. I am currently moving through a tough season of suffering but am grateful for what it is teaching me. I am listening to the still small voice of the holy spirit. And yes, compassion is usually a sweet fruit of suffering. May you all find peace and an awareness of your “purpose to your pain”. Blessings.

    • Thank you, Lisa, for adding these beautiful words to the conversation about pain and suffering. I especially love what you wrote about being grateful. I believe it is keeping a grateful heart that enables us to break through the darkness and live in the light of Christ.

  5. I was just studying the verses from James last night with my Bible study group and they left me so in awe of how much He cares about us. Beutiful post.

  6. “Trials are necessary in this life. Without them, we wouldn’t grow more compassionate. ”

    This right here is the highlight of this whole message. Trials are necessary. Jesus never informs us we won’t encounter trials as we follow The Holy Spirit’s lead…in fact, we’re told we will endure various trials in His name! What a wild responsibility and blessing we have to embrace as His children…to be able to endure trials! It’s crazy, almost mind boggling…but therein lies the element of our faith called to be exercised. ☺️ I know trials, I believe we all do – it’s only a matter of Who we let ourselves fall into when we stumble over the trials, not how we get through it. He’s got the how all figured out, all we need to do…is trust Him.

    This post is a beautiful painting of that trust in action. Thank you for sharing this beautiful reminder.

    • Thank you, Marni. I loved reading your beautiful words about the responsibility and blessing of trials. It’s refreshing to hear how you and the other women on the (in)courage site are living out your faith amidst the challenges of life.

  7. Dear Amy: how about a word of (en)couragement for you? I absolutely howled with laughter when you told Kerry (above) that you hoped the Holy Spirit would “blow her sox off”! I’ve been saying that to people for years: some raise an eyebrow, and others roll on the floor laughing! I always think, okay, you have no idea what I’m talking about. If you did, you’d give me a simple, sincere ‘thank you’, and go on your way. That’s exactly why I chose my email ‘name’. Do you remember that “Barnabas” in the book of Acts was translated as “son of encouragement”? “Bar” in Hebrew means “son” (or, son of…). In Hebrew, “Bat” is one word that is translated “daughter” (or, daughter of…). It sounds like you are a batnabas every day. Thank you for encouraging me.

    • Thank you, Carol. Your words certainly have blessed me! I loved reading and learning that Barnabas means, “son of encouragement.” I will always remember this and I pray that I will always live as a batnabas. I can see that you are most definitely living as a Barnabas (batnabas) as you’re spreading encouragement on this site.

  8. Yes! Yes! Yes! As I was reading through this, I was saying, “Exactly!” “Right?” “I could have said that very thing!” Thank you for expressing what the Lord has been teaching me…through the pain…through the joy. The Lord amazes me in how he weaves everything together for good to make a beautiful tapestry. And it’s those dark, painful moments that give His masterpiece its depth and greatest beauty.

  9. Amy,

    God never said we would have an easy life. These trials almost always bring us closer to Him and help build character. They help us empathize with others and bear their burdens.

    Prayers for everyone here! May God heal you and slowly turn your trials into triumphs!

  10. Pain teaches us and it is the glue that binds up the broken- hearted.. It matters
    that we need stitches to rebuild. For many years I put off the pain I felt thinking it wasn’t there, and if I numbed it by smiling anyway, one day it would be Ok. That’s a patch! I’m well into my life years and I know sharing begins the strength we all need. In(Courage) has become a cross-patch, an insight Where we can pretty well discuss where pain hurts. I’m not sure why it used to be a closed book, why we were suppose to be strong on our own
    when it’s just not possible. Strength is from the Lord, he shared his life so we could come to Him, so healing could occur, so
    Insight was a real AH ha . Now I see.
    Age is not a factor we all are beautiful in his sight, just beginning life, or single, or an empty- nester, our experiences are real
    and it’s a revelation to share our heart.
    Im wanting a new home again, to begin again, and I clipped a picture of a big two story home from a magazine and the caption was: Character Buliding.. It is well
    said, that character begins within, thank all of the women in In(Courage) who have courage to rebuild!

  11. Hi Amy, I just discovered (In)Courage through Pinterest and as I believe there are no coincidences – everything happens for a reason, it doesn’t surprise me the topic is “God fulfills His purposes through our pain”. I have been going through season after season of pain for the past four years. With each painful event, my faith is strengthened. I never doubted God but I did have moments of anger and the “why me?’s”. I am past those moments because my faith grows stronger than the pain. I am still going through a very difficult situation however, I learned it’s God’s fight to fight. I gave Him my burden, He gave me His peace. I’m still (patiently) waiting for God to reveal His plan for me and that’s okay. His timing is perfect.