Posted by on Jan 3, 2011 in Encouragement, Faith, Personal | 11 comments

wedding & engagement ring and eternity band {Please read the beginning of The New year's Eve Miracle if you haven't; if gives the rest of the story a much richer context.}

 

A rush of emotion filled me.

No, that's not right.  

It overflowed.

Had you been standing nearby in that moment, you would have felt the forcefield outside my body, a second-hand lightning strike infused with light and energy and power.

Somehow, inexplicably, this was about more
than finding my ring.

 

* * * * * * *

It's hard to describe but there are two people who live within me:  the Believer and the Doubter (try not to think of this in strictly religious terms).  These opposites shade my world, the inner and the outer.  Dark and light can't coexist, but the Believer and Doubter can.  Sometimes they argue over the significant but sometimes they'll surface in trivial matters….

The Believer thinks I'm an above average writer who has something of value to offer through the written word, but the Doubter stands me alongside others– published authors, successful bloggers–and tells me I'm wasting my time…and yours.

The Believer sees my wonderful life and realizes I have a devoted husband who loves me, healthy children who are turning into amazing young adults, and materially well beyond our needs; the Doubter…

  • blinds me to reality and reflects a distorted view of marriage that lasers on imperfection
  • seeds suspicion about my kids' private worlds and the choices they make outside my view
  • tightens my grip on things with no lasting value.

The Believer knows God but the Doubter won't even admit he exists.

The Believer knew one day I'd find my ring but the Doubter made me feel stupid for believing that.  

The Believer whispers loudly, but sometimes it's the Doubter's voice I hear most clearly.

I hate the Doubter.

 

* * * * * * *

The life of Christian faith is one of struggle; open a Bible to any book and it won't take long to discover this.  In my 30s, I was certain about Truth; I had so many answers.  I had worked at my church for almost 10 years.  I had been active in ministry and served whole-heartedly.  I had lead and taken part in countless Bible studies, and Beth Moore and I were BFFs (she just didn't seem to know it).  

Then, I turned 40, moved to a new state, and eventually sank so low I didn't even know if I believed in God anymore.  I felt like a fraud, that all those years of ministry and service were a farce.  I finally admitted this to my husband one day and he replied he sure hadn't seen me looking for God lately.  I figured Christianity was certainly a moral way to raise your children, but…

I couldn't conjure belief where it didn't exist.  

I remember sitting at my kitchen table praying after that. Mechanically.  It was a day I hated my unbelief and I silently yelled at God and told him if he was real I needed him to prove it.  

I needed…

him…

to prove it.

That afternoon I received a hand-written note in my mailbox from a lady from our hometown church who been a volunteer in my ministry area for years.  She shared how I had impacted her life, how much my encouragement and leadership meant to her, how thankful she was for my service.  I didn't know it at the time, but she had brain cancer and would die within months of writing that note.

I wrote her back to thank her but I never knew if she understood she was an answer to my prayer.  She was the very voice of God breathing hope-oxygen into my lungs.

 

* * * * * * * *

Eventually, I learned how to ask questions; it was spiritual awakening.  Instead of being unsettled with my lack of answers, this fueled a desire to know God, really know him, and transformed how I saw people.  For a season, I saw great opportunity in circumstance to love the unlovely, to care about others for no other reason than they were created in the image of God.  

 

* * * * * * * 

My church has been without a pastor for over four years.  It's taken its toll on me. Because many of my friends attend our church and read my blog, that's all I'll say about that….

 

* * * * * * *  

When I was a young adult, I thought life would get easier when I was older.  As I sit here typing those words, I'm not even certain what that means, but I know I thought it.  

It doesn't.

Things don't necessarily turn out the way you thought they would.  Family isn't the idyllic Norman Rockwell you imagined. The economy demands more of you than you ever thought you'd have to give.  Marriage isn't a honeymoon forever.  

Don't get me wrong–life can still be good, great even–just not the picture you pre-emptively mind-painted.  

It's possible to forget who you are…to forget whose you are…without even realizing it.

 

To be continued, a g a i n!  I hope you'll check back–
THIS is not where the story ends… :)

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