Monday, April 18, 2011

Wandering in the Wilderness

I have been living in Texas now for 4 years. 4 years! That is crazy to me. It feels like yesterday that Patrick and I left behind our little Yorba Linda townhouse and trekked through the desert to our new home. Yet, the 4 years here has been so full of stuff that it seems like decades that we have been here. Strange how that happens. Much like my dad's death feels like a hundred years ago, but at the same time it feels like I just spoke to him yesterday. These 4 years in some ways have been excruciatingly long. The number 1 place I have felt the drain of time has been in my walk with Christ. Moving here was definitely something that God had planned for us. Neither Patrick nor I have doubted for 1 second that God called us here. The month before we left Patrick was offered the position he had dreamed about. He was offered to work with and under the man he admired more than any other person in the world, for a place that felt like home, and with people that he considered family. He was offered the position that he had left Colorado in the hopes of one day achieving. At the same time, he was offered a position at a company that had treated him unfairly, with people he did not know, in an area that was one of the worst in the country for his department. We prayed and prayed and prayed some more. But it was clear - we were being called to Texas. We were being called out of and away from the people we loved in California, and the ministry we both felt called to. We were nervous and sad as we left behind our biggest hopes for the future, but so excited to see what God was calling us to in Texas. I mean, we had given up our hearts desire, so God must be replacing that with something completely amazing, right? Well... it didn't appear so. After 4 years in Texas we are still wondering why we are here. After 4 years at the same church, we still don't feel like we belong. After 4 years of putting ourselves out there we have no real friends. I have no one I know in Texas that I have ever called to have a conversation with. No one. Now I don't want to sound ungrateful or not take time to show all the good things that have come here - my entire family now lives here (which is the biggest blessing on earth), we bought a house, had 4 babies (2 here, 1 in heaven, and 1 still cooking), and have met some incredible people that we dearly love and admire. But it still feels in many ways like we're just passing through. Perhaps the absolute worst part of all of it is that in the entire time I have lived here I have felt very distant from God. I have prayed, fasted, read my Bible daily, gone to Bible study - done all of the stuff. Yet He seems silent. I feel like I am the only one talking, and He has grown weary of listening. In my head, I know this is totally untrue. I know that He cares for me, and loves me and listens to me, and is for me not against me. I see the ways He has provided for me, even in miraculous ways. I know all of this... in my head. But my heart, well my heart feels abandoned. My heart feels like God lead me out here and left me to fend for myself. I feel lost. I work everyday to try to do the things I feel He has laid on my heart, but I feel like I hit walls at every turn. I know that we have an enemy and that he is real and working to ruin and thwart every thing God is doing in our lives. I know that the world is not my true home and that things here are going to be bad and unfair at times. I know all of that... in my head. Yet my heart looks at my time here and recalls over 6 months of depression that I endured without a single person noticing I was struggling. My heart recalls losing my dad and watching my mom continue to mourn and struggle. My heart recalls laying on a hospital bed crying uncontrollably after losing my child. My heart recalls praying for Isaac to be born alive and then holding his beautiful lifeless body, and watching my sister have her heart torn out as she grieved her child. My heart recalls Patrick losing the job he had due to people lying and cheating, and causing us financial hardship. My heart sees all of the struggle we have every single day with finances, no matter how much we tithe, how many hours Patrick works, or how much I cut back and take on to save money. My heart sees us striving to be obedient and diligent and grateful, yet still not feeling God anywhere in the room. I know that God is real. I know that God is with me. I have met Him face to face. I have felt His hand on my shoulder as I cried, and I have no doubt that He is sovereign and I will continue to praise Him and follow Him even if I never feel Him again. I have never been angry with Him over losing my dad or Sprout or Isaac. I have trusted Him with all of that, and I know that they are in His hands. I don't want to sound like I'm doubting Him or walking away. That is the farthest thing from what I am doing. I am simply trying to convey with words the way my heart feels. I am trying to press in and grow closer to Him, and feel His presence in the midst of the storm. Yet I feel like a person in a dark room, with my hands stretched out trying to grasp for anything and finding nothing. I know He's there. I can hear Him breathing. But right now, I can't find Him. And I know that He has allowed this for a purpose, a good purpose. I know that He is using this time in my own desert to teach me to be patient, and trust Him, and follow Him unconditionally. I know that... in my head. But my heart yearns to feel my daddy turn and hold me tight and stroke my hair and tell me that He is here to chase away the monsters, and that has it all under control.

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