It has been no secret that the last six weeks or so have been very difficult for me. I haven’t hidden my struggle from anyone, though I haven’t really shouted it from the rooftops either. I am not sure if I have it in me to shout anything at the moment, it would simply require too much energy.
There have been many, many times during this particular storm when I’ve found myself wanting to just give up, give in, throw up my hands and admit defeat. I’ve cried more this past month than all the rest of the months of this year put together. I’ve fought to keep a smile on my face and often I have failed.
I’ve distanced myself from many people, not answered messages or phone calls, but still made it a point to get out of the house to see my favorite bands and a few select friends in a small attempt to retain some sort of normalcy.
I don’t hide my emotions well, and honestly, I’ve been on quite a roller coaster with them. I have snapped at people who didn’t deserve it. I’ve been unresponsive to people who have shown concern. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate it, I just get sick of hearing myself speak of ‘problems’ and hearing the same response – ‘I don’t know what to say’. A lot of people only want to know what is going on in my life to satisfy their own curiosity, too. And, right now, I’m tired of talking about it.
I am lucky enough to have a small number of very amazing and trustworthy and patient friends who have encouraged me and allowed me to vent privately, but I have still felt very much alone. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just the fact of not knowing anyone who has gone through what I am going through or who can relate in any way shape or form.
My situation is different. And that’s ok. It is hard, but it will be ok. At least I keep telling myself that and I believe it to be true. Most of the time.
My oldest daughter gets feeling down and says things like, “I don’t think God likes us very much.”, but I know He loves us. I know that all of this is because of our own humanity; our own free will. I don’t blame God at all. But, I can understand why she would feel that way. At her age and with her lack of life experience, she doesn’t get it yet. She is the one who has seen my tears, even though I’ve tried very hard to hide them, and so she is confused.
She gets frustrated with my faith. She doesn’t understand how I can hurt so deeply and yet have so much love for my God who is seeing all of this and appears to be doing nothing. She doesn’t realize yet how deceiving appearances can be and that there are so many things happening that we have no knowledge of yet. Things that we might never know about. It’s confusing, I understand that.
It can be confusing even for me. I get it.
As a Christian, I find that people expect me to be a certain way, react a certain way, have done things a certain way. But, being Christian doesn’t make you not human. Being a Christian does not make you perfect and able to handle everything that life throws at you with dignity and grace. Perhaps some can. I try, but I fail a lot. Because I am still just human, after all. Just like you.
Being a Christian does not guarantee a life that is storm free. It just guarantees me that God will never leave me or forsake me during those storms – or ever. I am not ashamed of my struggles. I’m not ashamed for people to know that I struggle. I don’t like it, but I’m not ashamed of it.
Through this all, I am actually thankful sometimes that it is ME who is going through this instead of someone else. Weird, I know. But, I have been through so much that I know that this will not be the end of me. It won’t defeat me. Even when I feel like it will. And trust me, I have felt that way often.
Even as I write this, I am having a hard time. What my head knows and what I ‘FEEL’ are two different things. I have been fighting to align them.. but I’ve been failing. I still want to cry. All the time. Right now.
I don’t need to go into all the details of what the circumstances are, it would take too long. Suffice it to say that in the last six weeks I have not had one break, the waves of this storm have simply continued to crash over me, never allowing me to fully regain my balance before the next one slammed me back down under the water again. It’s exhausting. It’s overwhelming. It’s painful.
But, I’m still here. I haven’t given up. I haven’t lost hope. I still have faith. My God still loves me.
I have a Bible verse that has stuck with me through all the difficult times of my life, since the very first time I heard it. It can be found in 2 Corinthians Chapter 1.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.…
Do you understand it?
God comforts me in my afflictions so that I will be able to comfort others who face the same kinds of troubles that I have gone through.
Do you have any idea how many people I am able to comfort because I can relate to what their struggles are? Because of my VAST experience of pain and affliction, I am able to help more people than most.
I consider this a blessing.
My struggles and my experiences with so many different hardships allow me to be a comfort to hurting people all over the world.
My transparency during the worst storms of my life allow you to see what God can do because I don’t pretend that my life is perfect just because I am a Christian. I hurt just like you do, I doubt just like you do, I cry just like you do, I get angry just like you do, I make mistakes just like you do, I get lonely and heartbroken just like YOU do.
Do I enjoy these storms? Oh, no. No, not at all. I wish that I didn’t ever have to go through them. But, if they can HELP someone else…. I guess that makes them worth it. And it eases the pain just a smidgen.
I love God. He loves me. He built me tough, but He also shows me just how weak I can be. He gave us all free will and people use that free will to hurt me and my family. God cannot be blamed for that. WE do that. As humans.
Having faith and a personal relationship with Jesus sets me apart in the fact that I am able to cling to Him when I have nothing left BUT Him. And that makes all the difference.
I am tired, though. So tired.
And yet, I will praise Him in this storm. And in all the storms that follow. And I will never be ashamed of the struggle.
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