Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here I am, once again, sharing my struggles.

It's no secret that I have struggled with the issues of faith since Joshua died.

At first, I struggled publicly, through my blog- posting my most deep and personal thoughts. Thoughts that scared me. Feelings and struggles with faith that, we, as Christians, aren't "supposed to" have.

I wrote honestly and from my heart about being angry at God. Often times using extreme words of anger and distrust.

I have somewhat shied away from writing what has truly been on my heart in an effort to really work on my thoughts and my faith. It's not been because I was worried what others might think. It was because I felt like I truly needed to examine who God is to me and take a deep look into my faith and figure out what is really important to me.

While it has been a good time of reflection for me, I would be lying to you if I didn't admit honestly that my soul is (still) weary.

I would be lying to you if I told you that finding a new church home and family is a first priority to me right now. It isn't.

I would even be lying to you if I told you that I was reading God's word every day. I'm not.

Gasp. Awkward Silence. Deep Breathe. Yeah. I'm going there with you and I'm not going to lie.

So here I am. Once again, sharing my struggles, openly and honestly. This doesn't mean that my faith is weak. It means that I'm dealing with some real issues that I think most believers deal with at some point in our spiritual journeys, but are too afraid to talk about. You know, because "Christians don't feel or think any of this because it would make God angry and prove that we aren't as strong as we say we are."

By admitting these things, it shows others that the world doesn't become all butterflies and rainbows after we accept Jesus' into our hearts. It shows that faith is often times hard work and extremely messy- something we don't like to think about.

But to be totally honest, there is a tension and a battle going on between my mind and my soul. This tension has become a thorn in my side, and I feel like if I don't do something to get rid of it, it's going to fester and become infected, causing greater damage in the long run.

My soul longs to love God- to trust Him with my past, present, and future. My heart loves Him with  it's every fiber. My heart wants to praise Him for everything that He has done for our family- for the ways that He has brought me closer to Him, for the love that He has shown to me, even when I don't deserve it (which, since Joshua's death has become more and more frequent.), and for never abandoning me. My heart longs to feel Him near.

But I can't get my mind to listen. My mind tells me that I am hurt, that I miss my baby boy, and that it would be SO. MUCH. EASIER. if I would just blame God and forget about it all. My mind tells me that I have felt abandoned and alone, left to pick up the pieces of my life without anyone to help. My mind tells me that because I am thinking these things, that I'm really not worthy of God's love anyways.

It seems that lately, I struggle with the "petty-ness" of others problems.

I struggle with the "fairness" and feel nothing but bitterness about the single mom of 3 (healthy) children, all from 3 different fathers, who just doesn't seem to care for or even like her children at all.

I struggle with the words that have been said to me by those that I thought were there for the long run- "You don't have 3 children anymore- you only have 2." "You aren't grieving well." "You aren't healthy." "You need to be over this by now." "My perspective is so much clearer than yours, you need to stop questioning God."

I struggle with feeling abandoned in my greatest time of spiritual need- those around me too scared of getting dirty with the mess of my life. All the while, I don't want to be a "debbie downer" or a spiritual drain on anyone else.

I struggle with paralyzing fear that I am not in control. That any of my children or my husband could be taken from me at any time, and there isn't a darn thing I can do about it.

But here is the thing: My mind is a liar, but I just can't figure out how to get out of this slump. I can't find my desire to dig into God's word and truly let Him wash over me. I can't figure out a way to make my mind believe my heart. (even though I know my heart will win- I do TRULY love God.) I know deep down inside that God is still good. I know deep down that He deserves my praises. I know deep down that His plans are to prosper and never for harm- but how do I get past this mental road block?

I see God working in my life. He is bringing people into my life who truly love me and will walk, step by step, side by side, to help me figure this stuff out. I know that God loves me, despite my struggles and that His grace covers me. I know I will continue to move towards Him- He is rooted deeply in my soul and I AM NOT walking away. I just need to get past this road block.

As I continue working through it all, I covet your prayers and I thank you for sticking with me. 


Ausmerican Housewife said...

Joining you in the struggle momma Jill.

Lis said...

I understand that. Though I never held my two babies and its been nearly 6 years, I understand. I get furious when I see an uncaring and in my mind undeserving mother of, as you put it, "3 healthy children with 3 different daddies who doesn't care". Yeah...I get that...Listen, if you're interested, I'd like to sent you a free pdf of my book. The chapters are 2-3 pages long and its in total 77 or 78 pages...but its all about a walk with the Lord through my own personal struggles and for some reason, I feel it might help you? I'll throw the ball in your court..Let me know if you'd like it and I'll give you my email...God Bless and may you have a less struggle-some day today :)

Mina said...

I can't believe the things some people say. Sometimes I feel like my faith in God isn't the only thing shaken, but my faith in fellow man. "You know, raising a healthy child is already heard enough and expensive enough - maybe it was just for the best." Are you KIDDING me? The road we are walking stinks, and it is nothing but normal to be struggling as you are. We have good days; we have bad days; our boys will NEVER leave our side...and neither will God. We'll probably grieve until we see them again, there's no right or wrong. Know you're loved, know you're constantly prayed for, every single day.

M said...

Someone commented on one of your posts a couple days ago, about Noah and the rainbow.

I can't tell you how much I've thought about that since I read it. In regards to you; in regards to myself.

How horrible that flood must have been to watch and survive. It wasn't the fluffy clouds and wooden ark cut outs we see now. It was Katrina all over the entire world. It was living with the fact that somehow his family was good enough and everyone else they had ever loved was not.

And Noah must have struggled. Deeply. Yet there, at the end, was the promise that nothing would ever be that bad again.

Part of that promise has to lie in what you have expressed many times: How could anything ever matter in comparison? You have experiences the worst.

But I think part of the promise also lies in God's purpose. God was not trying to punish Noah through the flood. He had a purpose for it and the was executing a plan, working towards that purpose.

God has purpose in Joshua too. And his purpose was not to destroy you or crush you or to have you feel anything negative at all. Of course he knew you would and do. But He is still there. He is still the same God you knew and loved before, even if the way you know Him has changed.

I think what we have to remember, though, is that God's purpose works outside of our emotions. This is not new and therefore, does not change his love for us. This is hard to accept, though, because human love doesn't work that way; as humans, we see so much less. So we love on an earthy level, and that often does work very closely to emotions and very often produces good feelings.

I am not saying that God's love never does. But I do believe it is different.

Christ suffered.

Christ knew what he would go through before it happened; I cannot imagine the anguish of that. He begged his Father for an out. God's own son. Begging him before hand to please spare him. But God had a purpose, and the plan continued.

I wish that all people that have been through trauma were given a rainbow with a booming voice, expressing a promise that we will never again be in that place or suffer those things. We are on Earth, though. It is a scarier place than most of us want to admit.

But I do believe in God's protection, and I do see God's blessings poured on people that have suffered for His plan. I believe His love is strong and good. I believe He provides, sometimes in surprising ways.

M said...

Oh crud, I lost the rest of the comment. :( It was good too. But I guess cutting about 2,000 words out, it basically said I love you. And I am so thankful God brought us together.

You are such a good friend to me. I don't even know what I'd do without you anymore. I love you!


Beth said...

Sister, you know how to reach me ANYTIME. Unless things fall through, Josh will be gone all next week on business so I am available if you want to meet up. You know I'll get "messy" with you. Love you and am praying for you...

E said...

Praying for you. Faith is a journey. There is no "perfect" relationship. This is about you and Him and no one else. There is not a right way to grieve (or a pretty way, I'm convinced). He is there pursuing you...He wants you close to Him even more than you want to be close. I cling to Psalm 73:25-26. God remains.

Beverley said...

I am trying to learn about grief, as soon enough my daughter will be go Home. One thing I have read, is that grief is personal and processed differently and may actually never go away....it changes over time and become less in the fore front of our experiences.

I wonder for me (and you)...if we 'stop' grieving does that mean have stopped loving the child we lost? I hope not, I hope it means we have embraced life as it is today...learning from the past and eager for the future.

All easy for me to say, as it is all theoretical still...one day it will be real for me....you are an inspiration, not because you are perfect but because you are real, a loved child of God.

BlessedMommy said...

Your light is still burning. I hope the courage it took to post today will be rewarded with the perfect words or actions to soothe your weary soul.

Hugs, Jill.

Jaime said...

Jill, I've never commented before, but I've been reading your blog since Joshua was born. I lost my daughter Sydney to preterm labor at 20 weeks. It has been 2 years since she died.

When I was in the hospital, a beautiful chaplain sat with me off and on throughout the day Sydney died. She told me that I have the right to be angry and that God can handle it. I've tried hard to remember that in my darkest moments, when I've raged against Him and questioned Him harshly. I've come to believe that faith would be pointless if the road was all sunshine and roses. I don't think He minds if we struggle with our faith, question him, and even stray from him. It's a journey and in the end, you'll find your way back to Him. He still loves you and will wait for you.

Hugs and prayers for you, Jill.

Anonymous said...

I struggled with a lot of CRAP in the Christian church, and just wanted to lend you a cyber-shoulder. I almost know how you feel. I say let go, don't even worry about "letting God", and in the right time, answers will come.

Heather Best said...

Thank you for your honesty. One of the hardest things about being a Christian is knowing that you can't force God's hand. Sometimes I feel like I need something from God so badly. A sign or some encouragement or ... something! I mean He is God. He can make amazing things happen by just speaking them, so why do we so often get so much silence?

But as surely as we sit in the middle of the night, surrounded by our fears, the day is also on it's way. If we could just remember in that dark that it has never lasted, that there has ALWAYS been a sunrise if we just wait a little longer... And the day doesn't just boom on the scene like we want it too. It comes on slowly, a faint glimmer, then we see the outline of our surroundings, get our bearrings. Then the beauty arises and we can see so much more clearly than before. And the hope and joy builds and we know that we are not forgotten.

And while our heart may always ache, (a sure sign that we are still human, still earthbound), we can find joy knowing that our sorrow is not in vain. It has purpose and meaning and has been redeemed.

Never be afraid to ask God the hard questions. never be afraid to pursue their answers until you are satisfied. If God is the God I believe He is, then not only will He be glad that you brought your questions to Him, but He will have worthwhile answers.

I am so sorry for your family's loss. Joshua is a beautiful boy and I look forward to meeting him in Heaven some day. I've kept up with many of the heart blogs and one day there is going to be one heck of a reunion!!

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