Crisis of Faith…Are you there God? It’s Me Jenni.

I woke up at sunrise.  While it was still quiet, with coffee in hand,  I slipped out onto the deck of a friend’s beach home.  I have set aside this time each morning for the past 20 years.  It has become habit.  The sound of the raging waves was intoxicating.  Rhythmic.  The beach, the ocean IS my happy place.

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I sat and looked out over the the depths.  So vast.  All emcompassing.

I searched the waves (as I always do) looking for something.  I am always looking for dolphins.  They inhabit my happy place and bring more happy.

This morning I search, certain to see nothing, just as in my heart I feel nothing.

Who am I kidding?  I have felt much over the past 18 months.  Hope, joy, confusion, anger, sadness, pain.  Devastation.  To be honest, my strongest feelings toward God have been pretty angry feelings.  Having told so many for so long to be honest with God because, “He can handle it;”  I have unleashed some pretty potent tirades over the past 9 months.

Part of my contention with God is that He has chosen to be silent at such a crucial time.  A time when I have longed to have Him weigh in on the matters of my heart.  A time when I have felt most confused and have longed to be comforted.  He has been quiet…eerily quiet.    I have not stayed angry.  At times, I have wept before God with humble tears and requests for a touch…an intimate touch…just so I don’t lose faith.  Crickets.

It has been months moving through these motions…9 months to be exact.    Life is created in 9 months.  My spiritual life has been in question and faltering for the same amount of time.

So many mornings I would enter in to the quiet.  I would open His Word.  I am not perfect but pretty consistent…searching for His voice, His truth, but really just HIM.   I would pray the same prayers as forefathers who walked difficult roads of faith.  I found most solidarity with those forsaken…alone.  I might stumble upon a miracle and be reminded.   But more often than not I left that morning moment feeling lonelier than when I started.  Is this how God treats His kids?  Do I want to associate myself with this God?  He is real…but is He good?   (More heartfelt, faith- wrenching questions in my next blog.)

Back to the sea.

My eyes searched the waters.  Begging to see signs of the playful creatures I love most.  Then I see them.  Way out.  So far out I squint to be certain my eyes are not deceiving me.  Two dorsal fins gracefully rising and falling.  We have seen several dolphins at this beach over the years and even yesterday they were so close it felt as if you could effortlessly swim out and touch them.   Our family watched them playfully slap the water with their tail fins as they jumped out of the water as if in a Sea World production.

Today was different.  The world stood still as I strained my eyes to see what my heart hoped was real.

In that moment, as I held my breath, I heard these words:

“I am here.  I have not left you, and I will not forsake you.” 

My hands gripped my chair.  Was that the voice of God?

To be clear, the “voice” I “heard” was not audible.  It was somewhat like words forming in my head…Words that aren’t mine…Words I could not contrive.  Words that have “spoken” to me over the years…but as of late…were silent.

I would have LOVED to have “heard” or dreamt up those words over the past 9 months.   It has been QUIET.  Lose your faith–“God’s a jerk”–QUIET.    Why abandon your kid when she was doing what you asked her to do?  Why show her things, heart-breaking raw things, and give her no options?   BAD public relations for God–things.  Silence.

Redirect.  This rant is for another day.

I sat stunned at what had been a fulfillment of a longing.  It happened.  I “heard” His voice.  He was there.  For so long He felt miles away–with oceans between us.  Today His “voice” was familiar. Close.  Comforting.

I saw Chris shift in bed.  He sat up and I smiled.  He slid open the glass door that separated us–curious of my warm reception.  He knew my morning ritual.  He knew I had been fervently seeking a God that had been hiding.  He knew this was not my warmest hour of the day.

Tears followed as I recounted the story.

“Good news Chris, your wife is not going to be a bitter agnostic after all!”

I laughed as I choked on the words.  Words filled with truth…words that felt closer than I realized.

Today was not faith-found.  Today was intimacy reignited.  Something I have requested over and over to no avail.  I have held unswervingly to a hope that I profess…but have not “felt” for a long time.

I still have some pretty powerful punches to throw.  Some pretty confusing questions.  I would still consider my current status:  A Crisis of Faith.

And yet…

Today the silence was broken.  Today reminded me why I wake up and share a quiet moment with God.  And encourage my children to trust Him.   Today the ocean broke His silence.

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May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Real,

Jenni

 

 

6 thoughts on “Crisis of Faith…Are you there God? It’s Me Jenni.

  1. I think I have been in that “shaking-fist-at-God” phase for a couple of years, at least. Begging for a return to the child-like faith I had. Belief with out question, unfailing belief in my bestest friend, secure in the knowledge that He would always be there. Trusting, without hesitation or thought, that there was reason and purpose in all troubles. <–That allowed me to continue through the dark parts with my eyes forward, excitedly expecting to see what comes next.

    Now, not so much. Like you, professing, but not "feeling" it. Makes it really hard to keep up what feels like an "act" for the little ones. How do you come out of it?!!!!

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    1. To be clear…I am NOT out of it. I so appreciated your first paragraph as you described what I know to be the beautiful faith-filled life–sans deep heart-ache and pain. Or enduring only the tremors of what becomes a more fierce earth-shaking, life-altering circumstance that puts all faith in question. Then it moves from beautiful to ugly. You know the sweetest part of your question for me is that I am having to dig deep to respond and answer…and that is confirming my faith is far–but not lost. (So thank you–CK.) Far from specifics or practical answers I think my best response to the question of “coming out of it” is the commitment to showing up. Showing up looks like for me…showing up with eyes wide open to see God in others…or even in my children. Not be a doom-ist but even thinking of what life could be, had He not taken a more active role in my life? Scary to think of the things He has protected me from that I am not even aware. More importantly I show up by finding others words in God’s word and use THEIR faith and prayers instead of trying to create my own. David is so raw and real and I often borrow his words to journal or put on paper when I’ve got nothing. I show up by reading loads and loads of books from others who love Jesus…even when I don’t feel like it. I also show up by looking for Him in nature. The world and creatures in it really speak to me…and somehow He “woos” me a bit in the midst of the beauty…despite the pain. I hope and pray none of this comes off as easy–it took a LONG time to write this down. I am only beginning to truly navigate these deep waters and wonder what it will look like to come out on the other side. But I do think these are the things keeping me afloat. Blessings dear one.

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