I know the truth, or at least the bits and pieces that come to me through the fog of loneliness and unbelonging and self pity.
I lost my ability to trust God.
The most shameful part is maybe that it happened with no real reason, just evolved out of the aftermath of a couple moves across the country.
As I moved and attempted to fit into new cultures, I slipped off of the sure foundation of faith and family and heritage and belonging. I floated adrift, free to be who I wish to be with nobody to see or care. My faith shifted, and I asked more questions than I had ever asked before. Everything was up for grabs.
And then the last year happened, a year of the highest highs and the lowest lows of my life. I got married to my wonderful husband who has spent more time away than here in the first year of our marriage. I struggled to belong in a church that had always been more his than mine. I struggled to find my way through the pain of broken familial relationships and the strains that put on our marriage. I struggled to hold onto piety and even faith in a God who was so silent when I desperately cried out to him again and again during one of the darkest weeks of my life.
One thing led to another and I was making the painful decision to begin again, even with only six months left here. I couldn't bear to be simply "Justin's wife," and hear empty offers of help should I "ever need it."
I needed help long ago and help simply wasn't there.
I prayed and prayed and begged and begged and God was (and is) largely silent. They all said "God would have me do this" and "God would have me do that" and I didn't believe them. Not a bit. Especially when it had to do with dating and breaking up. Especially then.
It is hard to trust the God of a people from whom I could not feel more estranged.
I have been praying more recently. This past Sunday I drove an hour to get to church... This farm girl needs an urban setting, I guess. I consider myself fairly desperate for God at this juncture. Desperate for hope, more accurately. What, after all, does "desperate for God" even mean? I am desperate for reconciliation, desperate for justice, desperate for answers, desperate for peace, desperate for faith. I have to believe God is the source of those things. I have to. But as I drove, my prayer was more simple. I prayed that God would show up at church.
I need him. I am so aware of it, and so unaware of how to find him. Because the darkness is still here. It keeps coming back. It won't let up for more than a day.
If God can be said to be present in this world, he had to have been present in that movie theatre church on Sunday morning. He had to be present in the raw honesty of the pastor, in the vulnerability displayed when we shared around our tables with perfect strangers why we were in need of God this past week. I will cling to that. For that hour and a half I wasn't alone. I was among family and they cared though they were perfect strangers. For a few hours that evening God was there when I fellowshipped with some of my closest friends in my town, when they accepted me among them even after I left their church.
He is here among us as we serve and love one another. And he hasn't left us alone, He sent a Helper. I will cling to that when the body of Christ is absent. He is here. I will trust that even when I have no faith, even when the darkness keeps coming back, even when I feel alone. I will believe.