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  • Writer's picture Denise-Marie Martin

The Painful Path to Growth

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

~St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)



If I’m honest, I have to admit that I am happier when everything in life goes smoothly. The rocks in the road: an illness in my loved ones or myself, putting up with loud, needy people ready to take what I didn’t want to give, the tragedy of death—I’d choose none of it. But eventually, the bumps in the road catch up with all of us, don't they?


I recognize a pattern in myself. After a period of internal struggle and rebelling against the rough ride, I settle down and let the jostling do its sanctifying work. And in that pain of acceptance and submission of the inevitable hardships of life lies emotional and spiritual growth.


After a period of internal struggle and rebelling against the rough terrain, I settle down and let the jostling do its sanctifying work.

Given how much work it takes to whip my body into shape, why should I expect the polishing and filing to extract less pain as I take a baby step toward the image of Christ? No matter how old I get, each day mirrors another prickly, offensive outcropping to sand down.


As a Christian, I know that I am not alone in my struggles, and I am thankful for the gift of grace in its many forms. Lately, grace has manifested itself in the outpouring of love and support from close friends. Mind you, these are not newly acquired friends. No, these are rare characters that I’ve known since first grade. They know me and my sins as well as my confessor. And yet they still love me. With grace, we can taste a bit of heaven on earth ... even on the bumpiest of roads.


With grace, we can taste a bit of heaven on earth ... even on the bumpiest of roads.

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