Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter and Losing the Faith

The peach tree is blooming!

These always bloom around Easter weekend and here they are in full glory the last week of February and the first week of March!

I think its here to stay…. Spring. And, that means spending every waking moment knee deep in dirt- ahh gardening season!

Little G helped me decorate our home for Easter on one of those rare days when I am home with him. (I treasure those days since they help alleviate the immense guilt that I feel when I am at work.  I have yet to meet a working momma that does not have that same feeling.)

Little G did his best at eating every jelly bean he could while I was busy fluffing another part of the nest.

He finally asked me what Easter was about and if Jesus was being born that day too.
I guess you could say he was. I did my best to explain the real meaning of Easter. As a Christian, I know full well that the eggs and the bunny rabbits have more to do with  ancient stories of Eastre- a goddess- or the spring equinox celebration and an angry moment that turned a bird into rabbit (this is where the confused rabbit fills a nest with eggs?).
super cheap at the $1 store!
 I also know full well how the Christian movement used these symbols to help celebrate the resurrection. I related that for us the eggs are symbols of rebirth- just as chick leaves its egg, Jesus left the tomb when he resurrected- an almost rebirth. And, that the rabbit is simply a symbol of spring's arrival.
I found these three crocheted eggs that Little A and I completed a couple of years ago. I also found her embroidery handy work from Kindergarten…. lovely. And, I will always bring it out at this time of the year, even when she is in high school and it embarrasses her. 
Finally I put out a little plaque- as I call it-  that I made. These do it yourself tile coasters are allover the internet, but this one is not meant for a glass (although I think it will stand up to it well). It needs to stand up for these little lines have shaken my life and given me perspective. Here is why…

2011 was a very very difficult year. Paralysis and blindness, surgeries, job loss and even more health problems plagued my life. With illness comes fear. When you find out that your little girl has a heart condition while you are ill as well, the fear consumes you. With illness comes bills, high bills regardless of medical insurance and you wonder if you should pay the bill so that you can continue to get care or buy your medication so that you can get to your appointment in the first place.  With illness comes weakness physically and at times mentally. With illness your faith is shaken. With illness comes anger and I can go on and on about how difficult illness makes your life as it touches upon things that you believed to be strong in your life and are now shaken. 
I became angry, confused and lost; yet, I kept smiling through the pain and relying on God for strength as I have done many many times before. Afterall, if God has seen me through some very difficult times (I have been ill since I was little), God will see me through this one more time. I was in my mind, a graduated warrior. We have been through my DH's job loss before and made it through without a scratch thanks to savy money saving and God's mercy. We have made it through previous surgeries and made it through thanks to a sense of humor. We have made it through other issues and always came out on top with God's help and team work. 
Yet, this time it was different. I could not hear God, I could not see God. I could see God's wonderworks in my children's laughter, in the flower on my table, the smile and concerns from the circle of strength that surrounds me; Yet, God had somehow abandoned me. 
There I was: a child of God and bearing fruit and someone yanked me from the garden and threw me into the dessert and left me there and without my permission too might I add! Then I got more angry.
Those that love me, pitied me and did their best to encourage me but always mentioned that my strong faith would get me through it all. They continuously told me to have faith. And, the more they told me to have faith and rely on God, the more angry I became and the less faith I had. As they told me, "God has a purpose for everything", I would think "Can God let me in on it instead of just taking me for the ride?". There were no messages from God to my life. Sermons at church and other women's ministries were the same to me: Have Faith- Got it I would say. I have heard it a thousand times before… have faith. 
Songs that renewed my soul bored me. Biblical scriptures meant nothing to me. I would open my bible and find myself reading a Psalm and thinking, "Man, David was one depressed and bitter guy who really detested his enemies. This doesn't apply to me". My anger grew and my faith dwindled. 
I cried alone though and smiled publicly. My children only knew that I was ill but nothing in their lives had changed. 
I would not allow my illness to change them or concern them.  
I continued to be an on the go mom. I decided that a body in motion stays in motion and that this would apply to me regardless of what my body was doing. I slapped on a smile, continued to work, busied myself with too many dinner parties, did more craft fairs, baked one too many pastries, planned my future and kept going despite the internal turmoil I was having with faith. My husband tried to slow me down. I became angry at him too. 
I started to feel better. I started to feel stronger physically. I could see too. The husbter got his job back.  Things were looking a whole lot better. Except for the faith department. Anger had replaced my faith. After all, God had abandoned me. Of course I would NEVER tell anyone that was my thought on faith at the time. Oh no! Christians are supposed to be folks of faith, especially those raised in ministry. We are supposed to be women of grace, faith and positiveness. And, with what I do for a living, no one could ever find out that I was lost, confused and very very angry at God. What a hypocrite I was. 
Then it happened. I read something that gave me perspective.
The hubster or DH as I call him, knew something wasn't right. For my birthday he decided to take me for a weekend in a wonderfully historic little town lined with craft and gift shops, bakeries, wineries, antique shops, bookstores and restaurants-- my kind of town.  This was a bit of a splurge given that we were just getting back on our feet and I was losing sleep over the cost. Yet within days of planning it, birthday money came in to cover the cost! Oh yeah! I started to see a bit of God there!
On our last day, and after the DH patiently escorted me through all the shops in town I wanted to see, we stepped into what would be our last shop. I had by now, read a thousand sayings and verses in a thousand cute frames. Then, the DH pointed out one particular picture frame. "Read this, it applies to you". There it was, the saying below. Later I found out that this was scrawled on a wall in Cologne, Germany by someone hiding from the Nazi's. It is believed that a child could have written this. 
I took the verse home and made on of those tile coasters out of it, but I don't use it as a coaster.

I teared up when I first read this. My hair stood on end. There in that shop my life did a turn around. Here I am a grown women with over 30 years in a relationship with God and I am doubting. Here this person, perhaps even a child, was certain to die and yet this person, this child, still believed!  I was ashamed. I looked back and saw everything that God has allowed me to do inspite of everything that life has thrown my way. I looked back and counted my blessings and finally opened up about what I was going through with my husband. He knew all along but didn't want to push me. Once I opened up with him, I could be honest with others. The DH was quick to point out that there still was faith in me and the evidence was this internal struggle I was going through. A light bulb turned on with that one. I understood that it was ok to be angry and confused. I read Psalms again and found an angry and confused David who constantly asked, "hey God, where are you?'. I realized that it was ok to be real. David wasn't the only believer that had permission to be angry and lost. It was ok to be a Christian, Godly women and be real!! It was ok to show those that rely on you daily that you aren't so strong after all. It was ok to show those that you have helped in the past know that you are weak at times too. What a relief! My faith started to grow as I brought to memory all God has done for me and continued to be honest with God and those around me.
Now that I think about it, how dumb of me.  I know scripture fairly well and it troubles me that I was blinded by my anger to see what was in front of me.
The bible says it clearly that we should "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV. Yet, there I was trying to walk it alone. Once I shared my burden, it became a whole lot lighter. God was silent because I had folks around me that were added to my life for a purpose. God was coming to the rescue through those around me but I was not letting them in. I was not being real with them. How were they to know how to help me, if I didn't let them in? God was silent, because I was silent with those He has put in my life.

I would read Psalms and ignore this completely before

1. Let my whole being[a] bless the LORD! 
   Let everything inside me 
   bless his holy name! 
2 Let my whole being bless the LORD 
   and never forget all his good deeds: 
 3 how God forgives all your sins, 
   heals all your sickness, Psalms 103: 1-4

How could I be so blind and not see everything that God has done for me!
Thank God for his mercies and patience with me. As I counted my blessings my faith grew and my anger dwindled.

Today, I continue to be real although I find that I am much stronger physically and faith wise as well. I know that, regardless of what life throws my way, my future will always be a.o.k. I know that it is ok to let others in to help carry your burden even if you are usually the one who carries others' burdens. I know that it is ok to not be everything to everyone all the time. Yes, I am starting to practice what I tell others to do. I ask for help when I need it and I bring to memory all the good in my life during the difficult times. Most importantly, I know God is there even when He is silent.


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