Doubting When Life Gets Hard: Part 4 of When God Turns Out the Light
For the first time in my life, I felt completely alone. I had never been in this place before. I could be at the dinner table with my family or in the middle of church, yet I felt by myself. After we did a couple more ultrasounds, just to make sure, I had surgery. My body was not miscarrying on its own and I wanted it over. In my mind, if I could get it over with, then the loneliness would go away. I could move on. After all, I have had other hurts in the past and survived. Each time, I came through stronger and closer to God. The new plan was to have surgery to remove the emptiness of my womb and in doing so the emptiness in my soul would go with it.
It was an outpatient procedure. Easy in and easy out, right? I came home that day and slept. I just knew I would wake up with a new perspective. However, each day all I wanted to do was sleep. The joy I once had to clean my home, take care of my children, and love our church family was gone. The holidays were approaching, yet I did not care. You have to understand. I am one of Santa’s elves. I love all things Christmas to an obnoxious level. However, in the midst of “the most wonderful time of the year,” I had no joy. Everyone was great and encouraging…for a while. I am sure time is what they all thought I needed. Yet time marched on, but my anger did not. My sadness never left. I was in a place of complete despair. I went to God and prayed. I would look up at the ceiling and ask “Where are You?” Every prayer I uttered bounced back. Why wasn’t He there? I did everything I could think to do. I confessed sin. I confessed sin from 20 years prior, just in case it was still blocking the reception. Heaven was silent and I questioned if God was real. Did I just believe in a fairy tale? I would go to my pastor husband with my questions. He could not understand. His faith was solid. I didn't know if I wanted a God that would send such hurt my way.
I went from a person who cared too much about people to not caring at all. The ministry did keep me getting up on Sundays. I would rather go to church and fake a smile than deal with the questions later. I read my Bible, but I felt nothing. I searched for blogs and resources and reached out to a few friends who just had too much going on to deal with my craziness. I had to come to the point of believing God is real no matter my circumstances. I had to come face to face with the sovereignty of God.
I cannot explain it. I do not have a 5-point outline. All I know is that when I looked at my children I did not want them growing up without God. Though I was full of doubt and depression, I knew that I was nothing without Him. I would have to settle with loneliness and fear. I had to come to the point where I told God that if He never listened to my prayers and my joy never returned I would serve Him. I made a decision in this dark time that passing faith down to my children was more important than my comfort.
Reflection: I know because I was saved that the Holy Spirit never left me. Looking back, that feeling of commitment was from God. I viewed God’s goodness only came in blessings. I had to learn that God is good. Period! Final! That’s it! He is good because He is good not because I get my way. Going through it, I decided I would rather serve a silent God than none at all. That was my testing point. I think of Doubting Thomas in the Bible. In John 20: 24-29 Thomas would not believe Jesus rose from the dead until he touched the holes in His hands. Thomas needed proof. I find comfort that a man, who walked with Jesus in the flesh and saw Him do many miracles, still doubted. I was not alone. When you are saved as a child, you can be assured that, as an adult, your faith will be tested. You have to believe the God your family always talked about is your God. In my darkness, I decided no matter what, God is real and He was worth serving.
Response: If you are doubting your faith, I cannot fix that for you. Faith is very personal. Knowing God is God has to be your decision. My best advice is to have the character to do what is right. Go to church when you do not want to. Read your bible when it seems pointless. I cannot take for granted that I was saved. Though I was depressed and struggling, the Holy Spirit was there. If you are doubting God and have never experienced salvation, please reach out to me. Being saved did not keep me from my hurt but it did pull me out…eventually.
Resources: A Bible study that helped me was Becoming A Women Whose God is Enough by Cynthia Heald. I felt that study was right for me. I also listened to Revive our Hearts podcast. This is great encouragement to women. Lastly, I stayed faithful to habits I already developed. I went to church before my loss. I read my Bible everyday before the depression hit. I prayed to God before I felt alone. I cannot not plead with you enough to develop a walk with God before the trial. I did not give up on God in the valley even though I felt tempted. I had developed a walk with Him on the mountain. If you are not depressed today, WALK WITH HIM. If you are not saved today, let me help you. And if you are a believer and struggling, do not give up!!!!
Next week: We will look at how my depression and doubt affected my husband. My struggles were very real. Would I run away? Would my husband want to quit the ministry? I was not an island to myself. My battle hurt my best friend, the love of my life. My hopelessness put a wall in between yet another relationship…my marriage.
April Minnix, daughter of the King
Blessed is the man that endure the temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.