Is all well with my soul?

[Horatio] Spafford was one of many people—authors, pastors, poets—lined up across my timeline whose stories carried the scent of an alluring, an intimacy with God beyond circumstances. Each breathed a connection to a God who was foreign to me but resonated with something deep inside me. It was as if I were an adopted child meeting a biological sibling who introduced me to our Father for the first time. He was familiar, we were connected, yet I didn’t know Him like they did. I wanted to have the deep  parts of me find the deep parts of Him.   Pg 72

God comes in the mundane and shifts us, slightly and subtly. Suddenly and slowly, it is following Him in the unseen that feels most normal.  Pg 73  Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

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What is this hunger God has stirred in me? Is it to be free from doubt, from fear, from distrust of Him Who Created me?  Yes, it is all that and more – much, much more. This is a hunger, a desire, that goes so deep into my being that I weep for the pain of it, for the loneliness of it, for the overwhelming nature of it. It is a hunger I am only beginning to understand is God-created and therefore the only thing that will satiate it is God.

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak; O Lord; heal me; for my bones are vexed.
My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long? …
I am weary with my groaning; all the night I make my bed to swim; I water my couch  with my tears.
Psalm 6:2, 3, 6 – KJV

Wait, search, hope

 I had lived buttoned up, tided, for years. Now what had been so laboriously stuffed inside of me was coming out . . ..The gaps in my understanding of God finally formed themselves into real-life questions. I’d been asking them all along, but I was so disconnected from my heart that I didn’t realize my life wasn’t a declaration about God; it was, instead, a question of Him. ~~ Sara Hagerty

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I used to be heavily involved in ministry – those early years after ‘conversion’ I went street preaching to win souls, served on prison and youth ministries, taught Sunday School, signed up for times in the Prayer Room, visited the ill – so busy, busy, busy. That was back when I had tons of energy and was ‘on fire for God’. Now however, age, weight and worrisome burdens have taken their toll on me, as well as an underlying bitterness to all things church have sapped me of the energy I once felt, drained me of enthusiasm and joy for God – if it was ever really there to begin with.

My inability to reach my standard of religious perfection brought on anger and depression toward myself, toward God and toward the Body of Christ as a whole. I spent years searching through alternate faiths to achieve some semblance of soul peace to no avail. Now I alternate between periods of acting/feeling/being close to God and whole days without giving Him much thought. This is not what I wanted my walk with God to be like.

Ultimately what I want is to love and be loved. To accept in faith and to be accepted by Him. To know He accepts me – not just in words, not just by faith, not just by human standards. Perhaps I am looking for His Grace. A physical manifestation of an spiritual occurrence. I have searched for that for years – ever since the first time I ever prayed those words back when I was 13 years old and ask to see a sign of His love for me and I didn’t receive it. My disappointment in Him and myself started then and has continued ever since, sometimes deeply buried, other times lying on the surface.

And still I wait. And search. And hope. And remain in disappointment.

Faith good, feelings bad

“These were supposed to be the happiest days of my life, and I was too tired, dazed, lost to receive them. What had been starved on the inside to produce this exhaustion?

“I had a growing sense that the problem was me. It wasn’t that God was the hard driver. It was that I was driving myself and calling it God. There was a disconnect between who He really is and who I’d made Him out to be, and all the activity kept me from acknowledging that disconnect.”   ~~Sara Hagerty

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 Everyday has the potential of being the happiest day of my life. Then why, like Ms Hagerty says, am I too tired, dazed and lost to receive the happiness of each day. Where is my joy? Where did I lay it down, if I ever even had it at all? Where is the feeling of love for God? Faith I have, feelings I have, too. But feelings of doubt and worry and fear and anger. Not a joyous note among it all.

In my black and white world I tend to lean toward faith good, feelings bad. But why can’t it be a combination of both? After all God did bestow feelings on His creations; so why do I discount mine? My earthly father had no regard for my feelings and here I am 55+ years of age and still struggling with the imprinting of a uncaring, unfeeling male parental unit. At this point I have to interject here – Parents! Be careful what you teach your children – they will live with those lessons the rest of their lives!

So, in this black and white, faith or feelings, yes or no, world of mine, is there room for grey? For faith and feelings? For maybe?

I’ve haven’t been enthusiastic about anything since maybe I was a child. I’ve always remained neutral (even if on the outside I acted like I was passionate about something). I remain calm, reasonable, middle of the road about everything from politics, to crafts, to celebrity, to everything. For me that is normal even if I’ve occasionally wondered if something was wrong with me. Why can’t I get excited about anything? A sports team? A political candidate? An author? An artistic pursuit?  God? Now I am beginning to suspect it is because I threw the proverbial baby out with the bath water – meaning – when I learned faith good, feelings bad, I tamped down all my feelings under layers and layers of garbage and except for the occasional outburst – there is nothing. If you don’t feel, you don’t get hurt.

And bringing these thoughts full circle, each day has potential for joy and happiness in it – but only if I would be willing to feel it.