Monday, June 20, 2011

Now What?

Having never felt so completely abandoned by God before, I didn't quite know what to do.  I don't quite know how to describe the feeling.  It wasn't so much pain, it was more confusion.  I was seeking, but I could not find Him.  I was asking, but no answer was to be had.  Have you ever read the book, "Ten Prayers God Always Answers"? I thought that I was praying those kinds of prayers, but no answer seemed to be forthcoming.  Never had my faith felt so precarious, and I didn't know where that left us.  If He was so far away, I didn't know how to follow Him anymore.  This felt like less emotional turmoil and more like an intellectual question.  If He's not there, then how do I follow?

Lots of questions, but not many answers.  Until one day it came down to one question:

Where does this leave our relationship?

Now that is one question that I could answer, and didn't really have to contemplate long.

He is my Beloved, and I am His.

The thinking ran something like this: Even if He has left me, I can't live without Him.  Even if I were suddenly to get everything I ever wanted, the husband, the children, the home, the purpose in life, it would all be meaningless without Him.  Somehow, in a way that I cannot begin to explain, it is still better to be in this strange limbo life with Him doing who knows what, than without Him.

Those are my thoughts.  In reality, they are proof that though He continues to feel far away, He has never left.  I could never come to such a decision (and certainly not so easily) if He had really left.  

As far as the thought that He gives us more than we can handle? He does.  He really, really does give us more than we can handle.  Don't kid yourself, He will break you.  But He will also heal you.  In some ways, it feels that He has yet to answer my prayers.  In others, I can see that He has answered, but I am only now beginning to be able to see it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

He Left

I give up, trying to figure Him out.  It always was an impossible task anyway.  His ways are bigger than ours, His thoughts above ours, all of that.

I'm done with all the cliches.

God's timing is perfect.

He has a plan for your life.

Or, my personal favorite:

God will never give you more than you can handle.

I'm not sure that I can put much stock in those first sayings, and the last one is just a load of bull.  The first ones assume sort of a calvinistic approach to life in that God is carefully orchestrating everything.  Personally, since we have free will, I'm not sure how much of that is true.  I believe that nothing can happen without Him allowing it to happen, but I'm not sure that He purposely makes it a part of His plan.  If everything is part of His direct action, then He is responsible for the earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, etc.  Not only that, but it is somehow His direct will for all the murders, rapes and other sins to occur as well.  So I don't buy that everything that happens is directly the cause of His will.

If He is responsible for everything, then He not only allowed, but purposely made it so that I would be single so long that something inside would go numb and die.  And that is why the last of those statements is such a load of crap.  Now, mind you, I have a lot less to deal with than a lot of people.  Don't think that I'm not counting my blessings.  But I'm also a lot weaker than some, so this particular thing is too much for me, and has been for several years.  Those have been some long, long years, y'all.

If He didn't allow us more than we could handle, He could have kept that from happening.  Much of me is the same as it ever was.  Part of me is twisted up, shriveled, and possibly past saving.  I don't want to be the bitter single person, but a part of me is.  Hope at some point becomes something of a four letter word.  When it is crushed so many times, you begin to think that you'd be better off without it.  The phrase that "hope springs eternal" is all too true.  I wish it would stop springing.

I was a happy single person once.  I didn't necessarily want to be single, but I was all for making the most of my time and living life to the fullest in that moment.  Even when it started to become very, very difficult, there was still good in it.  There was still purpose to it.  And now, there's not.

There is something that you need to understand.  I have felt a very strong call to marriage.  I have felt like that is where my true purpose lies. I have asked for God to bring that to fulfillment more times than I can count, but I have also asked that if that is not His will, to bring about whatever His will is.  Instead, nothing.  He has left me alone, and I can't find Him.  I understand that He is not my personal genie, and that He is not going to make some man appear out of nowhere just because I ask.  I understand that His will might not be "marriage" or "not marriage" but rather that I just wait in this limbo.  That is what it is.  But why did He leave?  Why did He let the numbness take over?  It's true that the pain's not as bad, but at least pain means there's life.  The worst is that the good stuff is not that terribly exciting either.

And there you have it.  Sometimes God does give you more than you can handle.  At least, in my opinion He does.

***Disclaimer #1: It is so hard to write about one aspect of your thoughts in a post like this. In fact, this is how I've been feeling for months, and sometimes I write something about it, but I often find myself avoiding the topic because then I just come off as depressed and depressing.  I'm really not depressed, there are a lot of wonderful things in my life. And this is certainly not an intellectual or theological discussion.  This is about one part of my feelings that are currently going on.  If I only write about the fun climbing and stuff, then you all can just think about how lucky I am to be single and have a little disposable income.  True, it has its perks.  On the other hand, spiritually, this is what I'm wrestling with right now.  I know I'm not the only one that has to struggle with figuring out where God is and where this leaves us as people living life and trying to fulfill a call. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Should Be Cleaning...

...but instead I'll post some pictures from one of my favorite hikes out here.  I've dragged a number of people up that hike, and it's one of the few short hikes that I will gladly do over and over.

Hanging Lake

Spouting Rock 

Behind the falls

From the other side

Friday, June 3, 2011

For Tonight

Tonight my feet are propped on the wall and my back is wedged against my mattress and box springs.  The mattress is naked, stripped of bedding, and the box springs are on the floor.  There is not much else in the room besides the lonely internet modem.  And that's okay, because tonight that's about all I need.

I had a melt down earlier this evening.  It's been a crazy week, and it finally all got to me.  Moving makes me a little crazy, even if it's a short move from one apartment to another.  I've been doing this move piecemeal, doing what I can by myself, because heaven forbid that I should ask for help.  Actually, I haven't even had to ask, people have been great about offering.  Unfortunately, I'm not organized enough to take them up on their offer, except for the big stuff.  One person who had said he could help with the big stuff helped me get everything but the mattress.  We were going to get the mattress, but ran out of time.  Now I'm not sure he can help finish up, so I have to make other arrangements for that.

So that's one little thing.  Another little thing is that my internet service can't get switched until Tuesday, so I kept my modem in the old apartment, figuring I might use it while I'm trying to take care of cleaning.

One big thing is that I'm not sure that I can live in my new apartment.  It reeks of cigarette smoke.  I have a sensitivity to cigarette smoke, so not only do I not like the smell, but it gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.  (Is that really a sensitivity, or is that how most people feel?)  Air filters, febreeze, and scented plug ins don't seem to be helping much.  I really don't know what's going to happen. I just talked to management, but I don't think they really understood how much of a problem it is (I didn't either, when I told them, because I hadn't tried to spend much time there).  They put in a service request, but how will that help?  I can't figure out the source, and I cannot fathom how they can fix it.

All day today I've been exhausted.  Besides moving making me tired, last night I took a break from moving... and went rock climbing.  Yeah, because that really helped me rest and get ready for the final moving push (okay, while not restful, it was really fun).  Anyway, when I got home tonight, too tired to do anything, I was greeted by the overwhelming smell of the smoke.  That immediately depressed me, because all I can think about is that I'm going to have to move again because there's no possible way I can live here for 12 months, and how am I going to get all this stuff moved again, and why, oh, why do I have to be alone and deal with all this stuff by myself.  And that's when the melt down happened.  All I could think about was how the heck was I going to make it through the night with the bad air, and feeling totally cut off from the outside world with no internet connection.

I have to admit that I didn't pray about the situation. I didn't really want to.  God has felt so far away for months now, and He certainly wasn't close tonight.  I mean, I get that He's not some fairy godmother that's going to wave a magic wand and make everything hunky dory.  There are far too many people suffering for me to believe that I should have my way paved smooth.  But seriously, let it all fall apart and then stand at a distance?

But then there was a whisper.  A whisper that I would have really preferred to ignore, because I was too busy pouting at the One who whispered.  No, I don't hear voices.  It was more the realization that because my bed didn't get moved, I had a bed waiting for me at another apartment, an apartment that didn't give me a headache.  A whisper that not only was there a bed, but also a magical internet connection, and therefore a connection with the outside world.

And at that, I immediately jumped up and felt better about everything and thanked God for His blessings...

Okay, not really.  My first response to that thought was, "So? I still don't have a place to live after Monday besides the one that makes me sick, and I'm still alone dealing with this problem, when I'd rather be married, living in a house rather than renting an apartment that costs way to much for what I'm getting.  How on earth will it help me to just leave for tonight?"

Ah, belligerence. But God doesn't really argue back.  He didn't really respond at all.  He just waited.  Waited for me to realize that while it didn't fix everything, it was enough for tonight.  Waited for me to realize that I could thank Him for His provision tonight and trust Him to take care of tomorrow when it needed to be taken care of... Tomorrow.

And so it is that I sit in a room with a bare mattress (I brought a sleeping bag and a pillow) and a modem (and of course my computer) and it is enough.  The air smells wonderfully of nothing, and the time spent with emails and blogs made me feel not so alone and helped me to remember that there are others that I can pray for and offer my small problems for.  And I can ask you for prayers, and be thankful that we're not alone, even if our stories are not quite the same and we may feel alone sometimes.

And now, good night.  I am going to bed and I am going to sleep until I can't sleep anymore.  Then I can get up and deal with the rest.