The Struggle IS Real…

Confession:  Sometimes even mature Christians can feel distant from God or have times when they feel God is far away. I’ve struggled with this off and on for a bit. I’ve wondered why. I KNOW God personally!  I have walked so near to Him that I knew my very breath was coming from Him each second!  I could “feel” Him holding me up when I didn’t feel I could stand or get out of bed or have any desire to live.

My pain slowly began to give me some breaks. Little by little, I began to get my bearings. And, at some point, no matter how hard I tried or was seeking, I just didn’t feel Him to the same  degree like I had. I felt so unsteady and confused. Fears began to surface. Sometimes even fear of God. Not the healthy kind we are told to have, but rather the unhealthy kind. The kind that becomes scared He will allow something as painful as losing Clint to happen again or take another that I love. Fear that if I’m not “good enough”  I will “need another hard blow to learn a lesson”. Fear I will be left on this earth alone after having watched all the ones I love go on before me. Fear I would be taken and my children have to deal with the loss of another parent. Fear that Jorel could die and I will have to live through this again. FEAR!  I have desired more than anything to walk this loss/journey in a way that honors my King!  I have desired to not waste one ounce of this pain, because I desire to be all He wants me to be!  But, somewhere in all of it, He didn’t feel as near as He did right after Clint passed. Couple that with lack of energy; lack of a desire to pursue much else beyond loving and caring for my family and seeking Him became hard….or maybe different would be a better word to describe it.

The Bible says that our God is near to the broken-hearted!  I can attest to that!!  I will NEVER doubt His care and nearness after I experienced Him in the most profound way I ever have, after losing the love of my life!

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I’ve wondered if I have been like a small child. Babies are unable to walk. I look back on the beginning of my grief and see myself as nothing more than a baby. I was unable to function without His divine intervention!!  He HAD to carry me or I wouldn’t have made it. But as time has gone on, I have been able to walk more. Have I become the child who demands to be held but He desires me to put more effort in…to strengthen my wobbly legs?  Or did I get so accustomed to being spoon fed by His great all-encompassing love that I did not desire to work to put the spoon to my own mouth?  Or, maybe as the pain lessened, I felt more sure footed and “needed” Him less?  Or, had I been invited in to such a holy place in my time of need that the rest of life may never quite compare as it had during that time?  I recently experienced this when I came back from my delayed honeymoon. There is nothing like getting away with your beloved and then having to come back to reality. Had I been whisked away with my Beloved (the Lord) in my greatest time of need and now nothing “normal” will ever feel as close?  Maybe I’ll never know for sure.

Of course, the Christian answer is always, “try harder”. Just keep seeking. Keep chasing. But humanly, I have grown tired. I have lacked motivation for many things. I don’t have the energy I used to have. For a solid year I barely slept more than 3-4 hours a night!  I physically was exhausted!  Mentally, I was exhausted. I love reading but that even became overwhelming as it felt like it took too much brainpower. I still love Jesus with all my heart!  I still obey!  I still honor Him!  I still point others to Him!  But I have been tired and at times fearful of approaching His throne. Questions have sat in my mind unanswered. I have cried out to Him!  “Lord, I’m so thankful you love me!  I’m so thankful You understand me when I don’t understand myself!  Oh God, bring me back to a place of having the desire to seek You with everything!  Thank You for Your patience!  Help me when I feel unable to help myself!”

Admitting this feels downright scary!  Fear of judgement from others is a tactic of the enemy and over time has proven quite effective, I’m sure, in keeping many people quiet!  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity.”  I’ve thought about sharing my current struggle but have felt afraid to do so. But, it stops here!  The enemy will NOT keep me quiet!  I want to be open and honest to give hope to others that are struggling!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!  Our tendency is to isolate and hide when we struggle… especially when we might be mature Christians!!  We don’t want others to know we aren’t as perfect as they might think we are along with many other fears that we believe. But, I want to be openly broken!  I want to walk this out in the open so others can have courage with me to fight the tactics of the enemy!!

So, here’s what I’ve done today:  I decided to just sit and listen to worship music as a close friend suggested I do and write out my struggle. I’m a verbal processor. When I speak or write, God reveals to me what is going on. Things in my head and heart begin to come together in a way I can understand.

I decided to pop in my Tenth Avenue North “The Struggle” cd. The last song “Lamb of God” came on. Immediately, God came sooo near!  I was texting a friend about my struggle and the Lord began revealing to me, faster than I could write, what was happening in the unseen. I know, because the Bible tells me, that we are in a war, not of flesh and blood but of “rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” ~ Ephesians 6:12

Tonight the Lord revealed this to me:  21 months ago, I KNEW without one shred of doubt that a spiritual door had been flung open and me and my children had been thrown right out on the front lines of battle!  I never doubted it one time!  The searing pain in my chest wouldn’t allow me to forget!  21 months later, I am battle worn!  I’m tired. I’m thirsty. My muscles are weak and shaking. I needed to rest. Things seemed to settle down and I tapped out, so to speak. Spiritually, it was as if I looked around while “taking a rest” and realized I could still “hear” my commander, but I couldn’t see Him. His commands were audible but faint. I felt disoriented as I tried to locate His position but felt too tired to get up and find Him. I’ve cried out for Him to come get me or give me the energy to look for Him. I’ve tried not to “panic” at my weariness and lack of desire but to simply trust.

Tonight, He found me. I just quieted myself in my chair and turned on worship music. He has revealed to me that we did indeed find ourselves in a battle. But, the enemy has patiently waited to really bring on the attack!  I was aware and looking for it before. But as the pain lessened and weariness took over, I spiritually sat down. It was then that the enemy has attacked. I realized tonight that it was this place the enemy has patiently waited for!!  This is the place we as Christians are the most vulnerable!!  This is the place we need the most fellowship from other sisters (and brothers) in Christ!  It is in this place of weariness that he desires to crush us while we are down!

I am so grateful to a God that NEVER leaves me or forsakes me!  He does indeed come looking for me!  And, when I am too weak to stand, He WILL find me!  It DOES require our obedience!  As my friend suggested that I just sit and let worship music wash over me, I “obeyed”. I know that I have much work to do to combat all the fears the enemy has thrown at me!  I am talking to God about it!  I am reading books and talking about it with others! I refuse to hide and lay down and die!  I will not let this loss be my undoing!  And, most of all, I desire for others that are hurting to NOT feel alone!  Our God is good!  No matter what life has thrown your way, He is kind and loving and He fights for His children!

If you are feeling like you have fallen and can’t find your way, start by letting worship music just wash over you!  Find a godly friend that won’t judge you and will walk alongside you as you journey to find your way again.  Be honest with God about your struggle. He already knows anyway!  Ask Him to rescue you!  He will!  How do you process?  Do you process verbally?  Then talk to someone. Do you process internally?  Then write out all you are thinking and feeling.  I’m so thankful that “He has compassion on His children…He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” ~ Psalms 103:13-14. It’s REALLY scary to be vulnerable…I get it…I REALLY do, but DO IT ANYWAY!!  I don’t know what your struggle is, BUT keep talking!  Don’t hide!  Embrace the struggle!  And, NEVER give in!!  NEVER give up!  Be the WARRIOR you were called to be!

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