Jennifer’s post reminded me of something I’ve wanted to post about for awhile but never remember to do so. (Thank you Jennifer!). It’s long, but I hope you’ll stick with it.
I grew up in the church. My parents, Baptist to the core, took me to church in utero and every Sunday thereafter. It was just the thing you did. While it gave me a great biblical foundation, as well as any number of hymns stuck forever in my brain, it did not give me a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus. I knew about Him, believed He existed, but that can be said of the demons as well. It wasn’t until I was 17 that the light went on. I changed churches to one closer to my home that had a youth group and read…Oh My Word….the New International Version of the bible. Up until that time I had only seen/read/heard about the King James. While beautiful, it did not inspire me to read it in my leisure. If it works for you, that’s wonderful. It didn’t for me.
But the NIV!! Wow! I would take my handy-dandy highlighter and mark up PAGES at a time of what God was suddenly showing me. This bible thing was amazing! Cool! And you can actually apply it to you life outside of church! Whoa! Amazing!
That lasted for quite awhile. I eventually switched churches yet again to worship with Jim. He went to a non-denominational church, which was Quite. The. Change. They didn’t dress up. There was a guitar. And drums! And people raised their hands sometimes.
Pretty heady stuff for this Baptist girl.
Fast forward to 2001. My relationship with God weathered questions during the infertility stuff, which was Not. Fun. Then I got pregnant with quadruplets. Um, hello? Are You SURE You know what You’re doing up there, God? Ok…..if You say so!
Then premature birth at 25 weeks. And Connor dying. And Ethan being blind. And Laura and Ethan having Grade IV brain bleeds, and trying to care for three medically needy babies. And the answer “no.” from God again and again and again.
I turned away. Through necessity, we stopped attending church unless it was Christmas or Easter (having left our previous church for many and various reasons that don’t need to be said) because of the children. I got PREGNANT AGAIN. What in the World Was HE Thinking Bringing a Baby Into This Chaos??
I hate you, God.
Yes, I actually said those words. Out loud.
And God kept on loving me. And Jim, who, by the way, wasn’t on friendly terms with Him either.
And he kept nudging. And knocking. And loving. Four years ago he led us to a church with loving wonderful people who didn’t expect anything from us but to come when we could. That was pretty much the extent to which we could give at that point.
And God kept on whispering. Battering my heart. Letting me know that He was still there and He wasn’t ever going to give up.
And finally, at some point a few years ago, I put the “Why” question aside. I allowed my trust in God to overcome the questions. To let the belief that God is, indeed, GOOD. Despite my questions. Despite my experiences. In spite of my husband that continued at that point to question and not want to move forward in his personal journey. I allowed God in.
Am I saying that I never question? No. Would I love to have a miracle and wake up some morning to having Ethan be able to see? Yes. Do I believe that God COULD work that way? Yes, I guess I do. Do I think He will? No. If that’s lack of faith, then I guess God will have to deal with me on it. He’s pretty good at that, don’t you think?
8 years ago, deciding to take a break from the infertility treatments (to enjoy the holidays), I could never have thought what lay ahead for me and my faith. It was largely untested. I can’t look back and say that I came successfully through the fire. I opted to turn away from God instead of to Him. I chose to walk alone. And managed it, somehow. I know loads of people were praying for us. I’m guessing that had something to do with it. I’ll probably never know this side of heaven.
But in the end, the gold was purified. The faith, challenged, finally rose to the occasion. The trust was rebuilt. And the journey, itself, was important for the lessons learned.
(And yes, that whole paragraph was in passive voice.)