One Layer At A Time

I’ve been processing pain. Tearing it apart, sifting through, attempting to reach its depths so I can dismantle the pieces and unearth some understanding.

Like peeling an onion, the first layers are the toughest – they protect the sensitive core. You have to crack through the outside to get to the heart. It’s a little like the first stings of pain that expose questions, disbelief, wonder, and shock.


You peel off those outer layers with weariness and overall ache. Your mind joins in and you watch the playback reel over and over trying to pinpoint when it all went wrong. Your trust is shattered and doubt sets in. You don’t understand why people could move and act in ways that seem so contrary. Words don’t match claims and hearts are disregarded.

You carve into the tenderness. These are the layers of the onion that bring tears. Grief, loss, more hurt, frustration mingled with anger, and still no understanding. You are wounded and defeated.

One layer at a time, you dissect the hurt, hoping that beneath the next layer are your answers. You seek, you search – you want the cause. I want the reasons, the explanations. Let’s just fix this and then we can move on, right?

Have you ever tried putting an onion back together? Good luck.

I’ve moved the slices around, stacked them, shifted the top to the bottom and vice versa. I’ve questioned, pondered, virtually gnawed through the layers. I’ve stood a teary eyed mess, the pieces of my hurt set out before me, peeled away one layer at a time, my heart exposed and raw.


Let’s call it what it is – I’ve wrestled with this pain.

God and I have had conversations. I’ve told him I don’t get it. I’ve asked Him to make sense of it. It defies all logic. Why? How? This pain – these people – they should know better. I know I’m no expert, but on the scale of right and wrong, this is just all wrong. Don’t you see it, Lord? It’s just all wrong.

He wrote these words on my heart: I know a thing or two about pain.

That marked the end of our conversation. Enough said.

He gets it. He understands. There isn’t a single layer I’m peeling away that He hasn’t already seen. More so, there isn’t a single remnant of my pain that this High Priest of mine has not intimately known, TEN FOLD. He sees the pain. He knows the battle.

He promises victory – if I get out of His way.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I live in the flesh, I now live by faith in the Son of God,
Who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

He said, “Die.” Lay it down. Your flesh that wars, trying to piece together a puzzle that isn’t yours to solve, needs to die. Let it go. Relinquish your right to understand. My ways are so much higher. This is so much bigger than you. It is not your fight.

But the pain? It won’t return void. Just wait. There is purpose in it and it will not be wasted. It will bring comfort to others that walk the same shattered path. It will serve as a reminder to lead with grace and spare others the same pain. It will be a marker, a white flag on the plains of this life, where God forged iron in my soul and forgave me of the sin of self.

And the people? It can be hard to forgive others of wrongs when you feel stripped of your rights. It’s even harder when you know, they know, the same Jesus you do. But…God knows that difficulty too. It breaks His heart to watch us, prone to wander and sin time and time again. Yet, He forgives with relentless abandon. People don’t belong on pedestals. We all fall. This sinner can forgive their sins, the same way mine have been forgiven. Easy? No. Obedient? Yes.

Surrendering the pain is an exercise in freedom. It’s a promise to trust. To believe that in laying down flesh, I gain life. I pick up my cross and I follow after Him. He leads me, restoring and strengthening this pain weary heart.

If we could shove aside the pain and get a glimpse behind, we would see God’s hand.

He is working and weaving these momentary afflictions into a future glory. Victory over our pain was won on His cross. There is no wound that the shed blood of Jesus cannot bind. Fighting on our own is a battle waged in vain, an act of rebellion. We have an all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful God. Justice is His and His alone. He is our reward.

Don’t believe the lie that your past, your sin, your harbored hurt cannot be overcome. He will redeem, He will forgive, He will heal. He counts you worthy of His rescue.

Will you let Him save you from your pain?

Shed those layers. Lay them down. Don’t give the pain your power.
Throw up the white flag. He is ever able to fight on your behalf.
He did. He does. He always will.


** If you do not know this God who rescues and redeems, you can. Pray this prayer: Jesus, I have a past and I’ve done things I wish I wouldn’t have. I’ve sinned. I have hurt and pain that I can’t overcome alone. You gave Your life for mine, to make me brand new. I’ll give you my past for the promise of a future with you. Make me Yours. In Jesus Name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, I’d be overjoyed to pray for you. If you have questions and want to know more, please ask. Comment below or use the contact link above to send me a private message.

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9 thoughts on “One Layer At A Time

  1. The LORD used the onion analogy with me, as well. It is also the inspiration behind a song I am writing right now, called, “Layer by Layer”. May God continue to comfort you as each layer is revealed…He is there in the midst with you.

  2. The onion analogy really is beautiful! So well thought out and touching. God really does understand all we go through, and what a comfort that is. Beautiful post, Tiffany ☺

  3. Love the onion analogy! We are SO onions! I love that God continues to tolerate my “stink” and refine me into the recipe He is making with my heart and life! :) jenn

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