Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Trusting through disbelief

Last week I wrote about an incredibly untangled, unfrizzy realization God had given me.

Today, I want to write about something I've been ignoring for a long time.  This might be a little long, stick with me.

South Dakota was not an easy place for Mr. Curly and I.  We were dropped there to plant a church without knowing a soul.  Our closest friends and family were 6 plus hours away, and we had a new baby (Curly Girl was just 3 months old).

In the beginning, it was tough, which was to be expected.

It never got easier.  Which was not to be expected.

Lots of things happened to lead up to the night when I denied there was a God.


I sat on the couch with Mr. Curly, both of us in tears with frustration and anger at the way our life was going, and emphatically declared "Well then, there is no God.  Because he certainly isn't here with us now."
And at the moment I uttered it, I meant it wholeheartedly.  We had lost 2 congregations in trying to start the church, we were on government assistance (a blow to my husband's pride), the church planting money was gone (which meant Mr. Curly had been volunteering as a pastor for about a year), I had lost a job which put us behind financially, and though I had found a new one, I was pretty miserable there too. We had 2 children, a growing credit card debt (something we never had until beginning church planting), no savings, no checking account either really, and I'm sure the weather outside was awful.

Where was God?!  He had called us to begin a church - everything had been perfectly clear, the tests passed, the praying earnest, we were supposed to be there.  And yet, things were worse than we could've ever imagined them being.

What hurt me the most was how much the whole experience was damaging my husband.  The on-fire, passionate young preacher who had moved his family to a brand new world was gone.  In his place was a depressed, struggling, young man who had nothing to share with the few people who did come to our Sunday services.
I honestly felt that God had only led us to South Dakota to destroy my husband.  And it didn't really matter what happened to me, and my kids were young enough I knew they'd recover, but I was downright angry, and feeling a lot of hatred towards God, for what was happening to Mr. Curly.

So there was no God.

I went to bed that night with no hope.  There was no hope of recovery for Mr. Curly, no hope of moving to where there was family, because there was no money, no hope of a better life, ever.
What I don't remember is how long I stayed in that feeling of hopelessness.

What I don't remember is when we decided to leave South Dakota.  Was that declaration the beginning of the end?

I do know we kept on with Sunday services.  I do know I kept singing hymns to my kids and praying with them at meals and nighttime.  Just because I didn't believe didn't mean I was to make their lives hopeless as well.  Because I knew God had worked for some people, but he sure wasn't working for us.  I suppose I wanted to give my kids a good shot at it.

Mr. Curly put out resumes for an established church - he was done with church planting.  We got a call for Iowa.
We interviewed the same month I became pregnant with Curly Baby.
We began travelling over the weekends in October to a small church to preach.  6 weeks before Curly Baby was born, I quit my job and we officially moved.

I don't know how it happened, but slowly, from the time of the interview on, God began to heal me.  By the time Curly Baby was born, I was no longer denying God.  I was still leery, but the hope was beginning to blossom, the trust was starting to grow.
After a year of preaching in our little church, I could see the change in Mr. Curly.  His healing had begun, he was excited to preach to people each week.

We've officially lived in Iowa for almost 2 years, we've been ministering here slightly  more than that.
And God has renewed our trust.
We still have remnants of issues to deal with (credit card debt, what was the point of SD?), but my trust in God has been restored.

So when you're in despair, and you talk to me about it, and I say "trust more," please know this isn't a cliche answer.  I'm not being glib.  I've been there.  I understand. 
When you're in despair, and I say "trust more" know that it is ok to tell God you're not sure He exists, that you don't know what you believe, but that you desperately need hope and love and something good in your life.  I've prayed that prayer - a lot.
When you're in despair, and I say "trust more" know that I am praying for you daily, because I know that hopelessness, and I don't wish it on anyone.

I wish I could remember more about how my heart healed.  I don't know how God did it (probably through a lot of people praying for me), but he did. He healed my heart. He healed my relationship with my husband, with my kids, and with Himself.

Because God doesn't want any of us to live a life of hopelessness or a life with no love.  It isn't what he wants.  And I wish I could explain why things go wrong and why bad things happen, but I'm only human, and I will never have all the answers.

But I know, that even in our darkest times, even when we emphatically declare that God does not exist, somewhere outside that darkness, He is there.  And if we trust through our disbelief, even if it is just going through the motions, we will see Him again.

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