Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

person to person

In a comment to the post Nothing is a Feeling Too, below, Deb wrote:

that was so needed something drew me to this web site tonight ive listened to your station forever. my life and family have been going throug so much the past few years and ive been finding myself wondering why? i stopped praying for awhile because it only depressed me more when praying was only a reminderof how awful things have become. then i felt detached not only from my life, but from God. that is when i realized just how much God has been there step by step keeping me from going insane. I have 6 kids and 2 stepdaughters yes total of 8. My husband turns out to not be as much of a Christian as he made out to be 6 years ago. so there is sucha struggle. To makea long story short thank you for letting me feel like its okay to feel whatever and He wont leave me

I’m posting this open response because Deb wrote anonymously, so I can’t respond to her directly.

But maybe she’ll come back and see this. And if she does, I want her to know how grateful I am that she wrote and shared a bit of her life with us. As I read her note, my heart was breaking for her, and at the same time I was so grateful that she found a bit of relief and solace in the words she found here. How often do we all need just a bit of peace in difficult situations? A moment when the wolves are held at bay so we can catch our breath and find strength to move out once more.

Deb, yes, it is perfectly okay to feel whatever you’re feeling right now–with all the pressures and responsibilities in your life, with all the faces in your home that look to you for so much–there is so little time for anything but the daily necessities. And though just about every line in your message could generate an entire book in response, I do want to emphasize just one thing right now: that you’re not alone, even when it feels that way. That God really is there in the silence or the loneliness or the craziness of our households. And you’re also not alone because there are so many of us out here going through the same thing, feeling the same disconnect at times, and then finding new ways to understand our relationships with God and each other that weren’t necessarily taught in Sunday school.

Here’s a prayer from Thomas Merton that has helped me immensely over the years:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

You’re in a very difficult situation right now, Deb, but your desire to please God, your desire to be a good mother for all your children, to be a good wife, a good person is, in itself, so incredibly pleasing to God that you can’t even imagine his pleasure in you and how he loves you. No matter how you may be feeling about the job you’re doing or the results you see, God sees your desire and is one proud papa.

Start there, Deb. Plant a stake in the ground at the place of God’s love for you, and let everything else in you life revolve around that point. Don’t let that stake move. Let it convince you all over again of God’s love and pleasure in you. As Merton says, we can’t always see it, or how it will work itself out, but God’s love will never leave us, and everything really will be alright. And here’s the kicker, we don’t have to wait for heaven for this to happen, because once we really begin to understand and see how we are loved, heaven comes to us. Right here and now. Even if our circumstances don’t change right away, we can begin to see them in a different way, with less fear, that allows a way through with the awareness of God’s presence in every moment.

I don’t know if this helps any further or if you’re even reading this, Deb, but just know I’m praying for you to begin seeing yourself the way God sees you–because that’s what it really means to be born again.

Pastor Dave

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