The last time I wrote on this blog was in April. It's not the last time I wrote altogether. I've written in my notebook, in my heart, in my mind.
I keep thinking I need to have something profound to share.
But, here it is. I'm in a dry place. I've been in a dry place this year.
Actually, that's not entirely true. There have been moments of clarity and growth.
But, there's also been discouragement, weightiness, struggle, failure.
I was watching the Kara Tippetts story again tonight. It's my second attempt at watching the documentary that brings us face to face with her and her family as they prepare for her death, as they learn to say goodbye.
And, I keep getting stuck right about halfway through. I'm not sure why. Is it too raw? too real?
Does it raise questions I'm not prepared to answer?
I'm struck over and over at the incredible peace and grace that exudes from her and her family in the midst of very great suffering.
May I be honest? It's a reminder of how deeply I fail. How I fail to remain peaceful, gentle, and full of faith in the midst of my own minor sufferings.
What can I call suffering? Certainly nothing like what so many around me are enduring. Sickness, death, divorce.
Certainly not anything as devastating and life altering as those things.
Yet why do I feel devastated? Why do I feel so completely shattered at my absolute lack of control over my life? Why do I feel like it's all too much?
What has left me so crushed?
We have been having one of the most difficult years we have ever had. That's for sure. Leaving a family business. Feeling the hurt and loss associated with that. Starting a new direction for John's career. Financial stress. More financial stress. Did I mention financial stress?
Struggling to know which direction we are meant to go. Wondering... questioning if we heard God correctly in choosing to leave everything that was comfortable and secure.
Change after change after change.
And it's more than I can handle. So much more.
Yet, I know God's hand is on us. We've seen his provision so many different times.
And still I question and wrestle and fear and worry.
When I see God's hand at work I feel good... reassured. When God seems to be silent, I lash out. Angry. Are we being punished for choosing wrong? Are we on the wrong path?
Will God punish me for not being grateful enough?
I mean, my initial response is 'no'. But, isn't that what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness when they worried and complained? When they lacked faith in what God had promised them? Weren't they punished?
How am I any different?
I long for answers. For encouragement. For a balm to soothe me in the deepest places. I long for peace.
And, can I be honest? I'm not finding that at church. Instead it feels like.... Performances. Striving. Emotional gymnastics. Promises for prosperity when in reality I just feel drained. It feels like this is modern day American Christianity across the board.
Does that sound harsh? Negative? Does that sound like I need a little more faith? Like I need to adjust my attitude?
I don't want to mock. I truly don't.
But, why are we so afraid to walk through the hard times and acknowledge that they are a very real part of our Christian walk?
Why can't we hold each other's hand?
I need my fellow Christians to assure me that even in the darkness..and there WILL be darkness....God is still there. That nothing....NOTHING that can separate me from the love of God.
It's not that I need to try harder. To be better.
God meets me...meets us....regardless. He knows we are but dust. And, still He loves us. He chooses to work in and through our lives. Our messes.
Even when we don't understand what He's doing.
Even when He feels distant.
He is there.
There is no where I can go from his Presence. No where I can go from His Spirit.
I don't need to work myself into a frenzy trying to have an 'encounter' with God.
Every day is an encounter as we see Him in our joy, in our sadness, in our fear, in our anger. He meets us in all those places.
He is reminding us of His Goodness, His Sovereignty, His Love. In everything.
Even now I am reminded.
And to this I cling....
He is enough.