Author Melinda Means
This book is packed with powerful examples of “Hope while you’re hurting.” Very easy to read with open, raw emotions of everyday women just like you that are dealing with Invisible Wounds.
Women resting in their faith to get them through some difficult times will refresh your tired, discouraged heart.
When you deal with a chronic illness, sickness or experience that you are not sharing or have not shared with anyone it can weigh you down and steal your life away from you in an instant. These women share what helped them through, verses of encouragement and well….HOPE.
While I was reading her book I was thinking of a few people that would benefit from it. I know you will likely do the same!
Here is an Interview Melinda graciously shared with me:
Questions & Answers with Melinda Means
Author of Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting
- What do you mean by Invisible Wounds?
So many of us walk around looking fine. We look content, confident and “put together.” Looks can be deceiving, can’t they? Often, behind the confident, happy facade, we are nursing physical, emotional or spiritual wounds. We have private doubts about God and His goodness. We need support. We crave answers. Fear and shame keeps us quiet. We live alone with our invisible wounds.
- Why did you write the book?
This book was inspired by my long, lonely journey with chronic pain and illness—not only my own, but my son’s. We both look fine. Pretty good, even. We’ve both been very private about our pain. Only those closest to us knew about our struggles. We’ve never wanted it to be our identity. Personally, I believed that maybe I just was weak. I figured everyone has his or her own problems. But over this last year, due to a series of painful events, God brought me to my knees. I had to ask for help. I couldn’t remain isolated anymore. Although he hasn’t healed me, He has gradually brought me to a place of hope and healing.
When I shared my story at a conference last fall, so many women responded with their own “invisible wounds” stories. Many asked me if that was going to be my next book. I knew other women to hear about the hope I’ve found — even as I’m (still) hurting.
- There is so much suffering in the world? How can we reconcile this with a God that is supposed to love us? ?
The questions, “Does God really love me?” and “Is God really good?” demand satisfactory answers. I’ve wrestled with them in this book. The world, as it is, is not how God created it to be. He wanted us to choose to love Him, so He gave us free will. We chose rebellion. Our sin corrupted the order He created. People have used their free will to do horrible things. Suffering and pain are a natural result of the sin and corruption that entered the world through Adam and Eve.
Honestly, I’ll never be able to explain why God allows suffering in a way that addresses all situations and removes all doubt. We can learn about the goodness of God intellectually. It’s important for us to continually seek Him and build a solid foundation of truth that we find in His Word. However, these questions can’t be fully settled in the mind. A rock-solid trust and assurance of God’s goodness is found most powerfully when our growing knowledge of God is confirmed in our experience—when He meets us powerfully and sweetly in the midst of our suffering.
And He does. I’m living proof of that.
- In the book, you talk about the “hard road that leads to hope.” What do you mean by that??
I want to experience hope when everything is going well! But the Bible tells us that hope that is seen is not really hope at all. (Rom. 8:24) No. The hard truth is that it’s in the hard places that God reveals the hope we have in Him.
As we’re walking this hard road, we encounter a crisis of faith—one so deep and difficult that it makes us question everything we’ve believed about the nature of God. St. John of the Cross, in his writing, termed this crisis “the dark night of the soul.” We wonder, Where is He? What is He doing? Does He even see me in my pain?
Just like the travelers on the road to Emmaus, Jesus is walking our road of pain and heartache with us. We just may not always recognize Him.
- You encourage readers to “embrace the race we’ve been given”? How do we do that?
It’s not easy! In the Bible, the apostle Paul asked God three times to remove his thorn in the flesh. After the third time, God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In other words, this is your race, Paul. I will give you the strength and grace to run it.
Ultimately, we all have the same choice Paul had: We can spend our time fighting our reality and wishing we had someone else’s or we can run the race set before us. The first option leaves us exhausted and leads us nowhere. The second is beyond difficult at times, but is full of God’s sweetness amidst the sorrow and His provision, power, and purpose along the path.
- When we’re in pain, it’s difficult to see how God is moving. We just want relief! What are some good things God has brought out of your pain?
Just like the pain of childbirth gives way to a beautiful child, God can bring beautiful circumstances from pain. It is sometimes a long process. It has taken years for me to give birth to a chronic illness ministry at my church, my online and writing ministry to hurting women, an ever-deepening sense of compassion for others in pain, and most importantly, a sweeter relationship and dependence on God. As brutal as it may seem, we have to pay the price to recognize and appreciate the reward.
When we doubt that anyone understands our pain, when we don’t see how any good can come from our suffering, we can remember our ultimate example of beauty in the brokenness. Jesus endured suffering and sacrifice beyond our comprehension. And it gave birth to the most beautiful redemption story ever told.
- In the book, you write that you didn’t begin sharing your story of pain and struggle. When did you know it was time to do that?
This past year has been one of the most brutal stretches of pain I’ve ever experienced. I realized I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I finally began to share openly about my chronic pain battle—and the emotional and spiritual struggles that stemmed from it—when I made this decision: My pain is not going to be wasted. I have to know something good is coming to come from this. I have to know God is going to use this to help someone else. I had no idea what a huge role it would play in my own healing.
- Why is it so important to share our stories??
Revelation 12:11 tells us that our testimony—our story—is one of two things that defeats the enemy: “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” It shatters the loneliness and defeat of isolation. We feel hopeful and empowered. It inspires and empowers others. It makes it safe for others share their stories and express their doubts, fears, and discouragement. We then have the opportunity to encourage, pray, and speak truth into each other’s lives. That is what Satan fears.
- What would you say to the woman who wants to reach out to others, but fears being rejected or misunderstood??
Vulnerability is risky. Not everyone will understand our pain. If they haven’t gone through it, they can’t relate. They might say we need stronger faith. They may not understand that healing from grief, pain, or loss is not a linear process. Most people know what to do to help in crisis, but long-term wounds make people uncomfortable. They can’t fix it. For the most part, people don’t mean to say the wrong things. The benefit of reaching out is worth the risk.
I’d tell her to share her story as God leads her. However, it’s important to find a trusted few with whom to share our deepest emotions. I think of Jesus. He shared the testimony God had given Him with the masses, but He shared much more deeply and intimately with the twelve disciples. Even among them, His closest confidantes were reduced to just three, His inner circle: Peter, James and John. I’d encourage her to look for people who are vulnerable about their struggles, too. “Safe” people are those who don’t judge our feelings and don’t try to give us pat answers for complex problems. They’ve known hardship themselves and are better for it. Pray for discernment. Then take the risk to reach out to them.
- What’s the biggest takeaway you hope hurting women will receive from reading your book??
For years, I looked for an outcome—I wanted healing. Desperately. I tried everything I could think of to make it happen. Doctors. Diets. Medicine. Supplements. Ultimately, I realized that God was my only hope. I clung to Him. And I discovered a hope and healing that went so much deeper than the physical. My greatest desire is to see women seek the Healer instead of the healing. In the process, they will find both—it just may look different than what they envisioned.
CONTACT: Melinda Means
EMAIL: melindameansauthor @ gmail (dot) com
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