A couple of years ago, my sister and I were bonding over girl talk and long car rides. We were both going through various situations, and we just needed time to vent. I was upset over some of the choices I had made, and she was telling me how she was able to move on from similar situations.

After that conversation, I remember telling myself (and posting on social media because that’s what millennials often do), “Everything, whether disguised as a blessing or a mistake, is a lesson worth learning. You never know who you’ll end up helping.”

To this day, I truly believe that. The reason I bring this up now is because I was scrolling through Instagram yesterday, and a friend of mine posted a meme. It said, “Focus on the purpose not the pain. God has a purpose for every trial.”

Whether you believe in a higher being or not doesn’t matter. Just understand that no matter what we face, there is a reason for it. Unfortunately, that reason does not always make itself known right away. A lot of times, we are blinded by confusion, pain and frustration from the heat of the moment. However, it is so imperative that we take a step back to think about why something is happening.

It may be a lot easier said than done, but when you are going through a difficult time, look for the purpose in the pain. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? How can I use this experience to help or relate to others?”

Trust me when I say that I understand the struggle. Sometimes, I just want to sulk and be left alone. For example, a very dear family-friend passed away from a massive heart attack in March 2012. She was like another mother to me, and I was devastated. In August of the same year, I went on a mission trip to Haiti with my church. During that time, we were required to teach a lesson to a family summer camp. I felt like I had nothing of relevance or importance to say because I came from a working-class, suburban town in New Jersey, while the people I was speaking to lost EVERYTHING during Haiti’s massive earthquake in 2010. I had to speak though, so I spoke on losing loved ones and finding forgiveness and joy through it all. I briefly mentioned the loss of this woman. After I finished talking, one of the young men I had become friends with came over to me. He was in tears. He started talking to me about how his mom had died after the earthquake. He said he struggled with dealing with it. We talked and connected. I may never fully understand why this woman that I looked up to had to die so suddenly when she had an incredible life ahead of her, but I do know one thing. This young girl from a middle-class town in New Jersey was able to relate to a young man from one of the poorest countries in the world. Sometimes, life hurts, but there is a reason for it, and it is our job to find that purpose.

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