Saturday, May 10, 2014

Absence and Disappointments

I haven't done a lot of writing lately. The last time I posted on this blog (about six weeks ago) I alluded to some things going on in my life that kept me busy, but also some things that were testing my faith.

I have written only a little in my personal journal. Friends on Facebook may have noticed that I don't write/post as often there either. The easy answer is to say that I have gotten out of the habit of writing. Truth. But I've also been struggling to put words to what's been going on inside of me lately.

Each time I think to myself that I should write, I procrastinate and avoid thinking about it. I busy myself with anything else. I suppose avoidance is the main reason I haven't been writing. 

Today I decided to go back to the beginning of this blog and read the first post. It reminded me why I started this blog. I felt as if God was leading me to share things that I was learning as I journeyed through my life. Writing was as much for my own benefit (therapy) as it was for anyone else. I had no idea whether anyone would ever read my blog anyway.

You see, when I started this blog I was recovering from a broken heart over a failed relationship. To maintain some privacy, I have never mentioned that fact before on this blog. I also didn't want my blog to be all about that. I chose to write in general enough terms so that anyone going through difficult circumstances could relate.

The broken heart from two years ago has healed--mostly. I still struggle at times. I won't go into what's happened in the past two years because you can read previous posts on this blog and figure that out. To sum it up it has been a time of waiting, of learning, of praying, of more waiting, and this cycle has continued. 

During these past two years my relationship with Jesus has grown exponentially. I once had a spiritual mentor ask me if I had known what was going to happen before I met this guy, would I still have gone through with it? The answer then was yes. The answer now is still yes. Pain and all, Jesus is still worth it and He's made use of everything I went through.

Two months ago marked the two year anniversary of when that relationship officially ended. Something else changed about that time. This guy, who I still considered a friend, completely disappeared from my life. I had limited contact with him and we did not live in the same city so we never saw each other. However, without any explanation, he suddenly cut off all contact with me. 

Why should I care? Trust me. This doesn't make any sense without all the back story. But, having that door finally and completely closed like that was like a mild earthquake in my life. Yes, earth-shattering describes it. You see, I did not get the closure that I desired, that I had sincerely hoped and prayed for.

Yes, I had fervently prayed for some closure with this man--to clear the air--and had hoped to see that come to fruition. We had been good friends and I wanted to see that friendship return. When that door closed--and God allowed it to be closed--it was upsetting. After pondering my feelings of why I was so upset, I finally came to realize that my feelings were hurt. Not just by this guy, but by God. The truth was that I was disappointed in God.

This disappointment caused me to emotionally shut down in God's presence. Oh, I still read my Bible, I continued to read devotionals and attend church. I even prayed...some. Frankly, I was demoralized. I had lost some confidence and hope in God. When I was believing in Him for something I thought was a good thing and the answer I wanted did not materialize, it shook my faith. 

When it came to praying and asking God for anything I had come to a place of thinking to myself, What's the point? Why should I pray? He'll just say no again.
It reminded me of the time I asked a simple favor of a supervisor and I fully expected a yes based on our relationship and the fact that I rarely asked for favors like this. However, this one time I got a no. It was surprising and disappointing. It made me rethink my relationship with that supervisor and fearful of asking for favors ever again.

Where this situation with God was concerned, in my head I knew that I wasn't thinking correctly. But, my heart was disappointed and confused. My relationship with Jesus had grown to a point of knowing what to expect of Him. So when I didn't get the answer I expected, it was very confusing. I began to question everything that I had been through the past two years and I questioned my intimate relationship with Jesus. It really has been a time of soul-searching.

Then one day a few weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook and happened to see a quote from an author that I follow. It said, "…the miracles in the authentic Gospels are about love, not power...Although Jesus’ miracles were far too selective to solve every human disappointment, they served as signs of his mission, previews of what God would someday do for all creation." The quote came from a book titled Disappointment With God by Philip Yancy

That was it! Seeing that quote and book title helped define what I'd been feeling for several weeks. I bought the e-book and have been reading it. I have found myself nodding in agreement over some of the things I'm reading. I've also found myself very convicted as I realize that this whole life isn't all about me. This has forced me to look at this world from God's perspective and imagine His disappointment with these people He created and how we always fall short. Imagine His disappointment with me! Wow. Talk about turning the tables on the situation!

I won't pretend that everything is "all better now." I am still working through all of these issues with God. I am still healing and learning and processing. And I have to remember to keep my hope in Christ and not in the outcome of a particular request. 

Keeping it real...


Kristi said...

Praying for complete healing for you. I went through a long season of being disappointed and angry with God even though I tried so hard not to be. God is so loving. He's always faithful, even through our doubts and anger and pain. He is with you and He listens to you cry, rant, rage, etc. He is with you when you're disappointed with Him or angry at Him. Let out your heart to Him. Be honest with Him. He can take it. And He's not angry that you're angry. And I think He's disappointed with you only if you turn away from Him. Otherwise, this great big God that has a grand plan for the world is also an extremely personal God, holding you tenderly in His arms. He's patiently waiting until you've let it all out, because then He can start showing you how He's loving you, healing you, and carrying you. Visiting from The Single Life linkup.

Kristi said...

Thank you for those kind and encouraging words, Anna.

Kristi said...

I am going to be part of your group on (in)couragers small groups this session. I'm so excited. I popped over here to say hello and read this post and couldn't believe how much your story put words to my own person struggles lately. I look forward to getting to know you sister and walking together with you in the Word. You ARE Loved.

Kristi said...

Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to getting to know you, too. It's truly amazing how God directs our paths, putting us in touch with someone who can identify with us and encourage us. See you at (in)joy!

Kristi said...

okay, so i'm not in your (in)courage group but it was one of two I was considering. thank you for being a voice (along with Misty) that we as woman have worth apart from being married and that the Lord will use us wherever we find ourselves. There is work to be done in the time he has given us now. I was refreshed to see your group there. Perhaps I will be able to join it as well. thank you for taking this time to feed into the lives of others. You ARE loved.

Kristi said...

Stop by any time! :-)

Kristi said...

So I am finally here reading this post. I have noticed that your social media presence has been less. Ahhhh those deep struggles. I love the book disappointment with God. It has often encouraged my heart. For me the hardest struggles in this life have been the deep doubts and discouragements about God. It has been the way of building deeper faith. I love your vulnerability here...very powerful, my friend.