This week we’re supposed to be talking about how we connect with God when we feel most distant from him. The topic is timely for me, because man…have I felt abandoned by God in the last two months.
I know I’m not the first woman to throw my arms into the air and yell into the heavens, “God? WHERE ARE YOU???” or “WHY?!?!” but the staggering silence that hits back sure does deliver quite a sting. It’s easy to feel a complete lack of faith when times are hardest. Especially when God seems to have abandoned us. At times like that, it’s easy to lose all hope and to find no meaning to anything anymore.
But that’s when we have to turn inward, listen to the hums of our own heart, and remember that we really are here for a reason…even when it makes no sense. God never promised us an easy journey. And he never promised answers. What he promised is that if we just keep walking…through the shadow of the valley of death…we can overcome our fears. As a dear friend recently reminded me, we weren’t advised to lie down and cry, or to sit still and feel sorry for ourselves, or to quit moving completely and just wait for someone to come carry us the rest of the way. Psalm 23:4 clearly says…WALK through the valley.
I know it sounds a little cliché to quote that familiar Psalms, but I have been in the darkest depths of despair this summer, down into places I never thought I’d be dragged, trying to will myself to hold on, breathe, and just make it through another day. Despite the pain, I have been trying hard to believe this life is worth the effort, and that the hurt won’t last forever, and that maybe…just maybe I am of some minor sliver of worth…even if the one I love most in this world does not believe that at all.
All I have really wanted to do was crawl under the covers and never get out of bed, but instead I have forced myself to get up, get dressed, and head for the fields. There, I have walked through the Mississippi corn rows alone for hours a day, crying so hard I sometimes cannot catch my breath. Surrounded only by sturdy stalks. “God?” I have asked. “Why?” No answer. “What now?” I’ve begged. Searching for a sign. Only receiving silence in return. “Just let it end. Take me now. Please. Stop this pain. I can’t take it anymore. How much can one person take?”
These are not words I ever thought I would pray. Never. I have always been a happy spirit. Grateful for every moment of every day. Determined that I could always be content by just doing for others, by giving love even if it wasn’t returned. I didn’t expect much from others. Hardly anything at all. But this…well, this was the one thing I always knew I couldn’t take.
The thing is, sometimes God gives us hard lessons, and sometimes they come with an abrupt awakening. I have had many choices to make since the horrific day of May 6 when life as I knew it exploded, but the main one has been…to be, or not to be. To live through it? Or to quit?
If you have ever felt such suffering, I understand. I am thankful you survived it. And I am sorry you ever had to know such sorrow. I also hope you never sink that low again. And I hope it helps you to know you are not alone.
Thankfully, I am still here today for three reasons…my two children and my mother (all of whom I love more than I hate my pain). But I am also here because I believe in something bigger than myself. I believe we must keep moving…we have to walk through the valley. And with faith, someday, somehow, we will get to the other side. In the meantime, I will take one step at a time and keep reminding myself that there is some greater purpose to this journey. I will also hold out hope that God will go a little easier on me very soon, or at least show up to comfort me.
Now…for better news (you should know by now I can’t end on a low note)…THANK you to all who requested a free advanced copy of my upcoming novel, When Mountains Move. I plan to mail out 100 books before Friday. I have worked my way through the comments, emails, and facebook messages, but some of you commented without sending me your address. The first 100 are already addressed to influencers, and if you already provided your address you should be receiving your book next week. If you did NOT provide your mailing address, please email it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see if my publisher happens to have any extra copies for y’all.
Peace be with you!