Normally my posts are about things that stir my heart, or something I’ve struggled with and overcome with God, etc.
I normally don’t blame God for anything.
10 days ago was a pretty different story.
For the first time as being a Christian, I gave up on God. I didn’t stop believing that He exists. I didn’t doubt the great things that He has done. I did, however, decide that praying for the things closest to my heart did not work.
It wasn’t a crisis of faith, Per Se. More a crisis of prayer. Maybe that’s really one and the same.
A few weeks ago I went to our PCC Young Adults group (my last time, not because of what happened after that night but just because I work later now, and I’m just moving on – it’s time, in a good way). I don’t really remember what the topic was (I’m going to use the excuse that I got there late, due to the fact that I was working, so that’s the reason I don’t know what it was specifically we were talking about………..erm.)
At the end of the discussion a few people shared some names of who we’d like to pray for in our lives. We prayed for those people and went on our way. The names of those that we’d all shared to pray for were then shared on our webpage in order to keep those names in our minds.
Thus started one of the worst weeks for my family.
Mostly all of you know that no one else in my family is a Christian. It’s always on my heart that they will find a way to God. And will be saved for eternity, because let’s face it, the main reason we really want our loved ones to find God is so that we can then spend the rest of time in heaven with them and don’t have to be separated from those we care about the most.
The desire to have my family have a relationship with Christ is always in my heart. It’s there like that shadow of grey that can hang over you on the sunniest of days. It keeps me at 99% rather than 100%. It’s carried. It’s a burden (but not in the unwelcome sense). I pray about it, but sometimes it just becomes a pray in the prayer list. It’s tough when it starts to become years of praying for the same thing and nothing changes at all.
I did say that it became the worst week…so I’ll get back to that.
SO prayers were shared, prayers were posted. We prayed. (At least I did, I assume the rest of the Young Adults group put these names into their prayers).
And Satan must have been pretty rankled by this incessant prayer. I imagine that when we pray for something deep in our hearts that it must sound like white noise from the tv on it’s highest volume to the ears of satan, which might be why he rears his ugly head in such an angry fashion.
So as the prayers continued for the week, my family entered quite likely our most unhappy, unpleasant week together. After a few days of misery, I gave up. By giving up, I threw a temper tantrum like an unruly two year old at God. I stomped my feet, I cried, I wailed. And then I crossed my arms, stuck out my tongue, and sat in the corner and refused to speak. And probably kicked a few innocent cats that walked by.
The week in question was leading up to Mother’s Day and my mum’s 50th birthday. So it was an important week in my family. And I was mad. I was mad that I had not thought ahead and had chosen this week to start my prayer crusade for my family. My internal dialogue went something like this:
“What a stupid week to ask for prayer, you know satan doesn’t like it and that he’d try to make a stand against you, so why would you do this to your family this week of all weeks”
“You’ve been praying for them for years, why would you step it up on this week? Do you have a desire to really destroy your family?”
“This is always happens when you pray for something, it gets messy and it SUCKS”
“What did you think was really going to happen? Did you actually think that somehow this week your family would start picking up a bible and want to go to church? of course not, so why pick this week?”
And on and on it went.
You’ll notice quite immediately that my self-dialogue did not include God. In fact, as things were getting messy and the arguments were happening (about things that were completely unrelated to faith) I stopped talking to God altogether. And I didn’t even notice that I’d stopped.
Until the Saturday afternoon of that week. I quit. To quote my self. “I quit everything”. I was quitting praying, my family, my life…whatever it was that I could quit I was going to quit. So take that God. I’m not doing this anymore.
And after that moment things got better. There were some “I’m sorry”‘s exchanged within the family. Plans were re-made. We drew a line under some stuff and decide to re-group as a family and continue on with our plans.
And for Saturday, Sunday and Monday my family spent more time together than we had probably spent in a long time. And it was good. It still had some of the awkwardness from the week before hanging over the time…but in the true British fashion we smiled and kept our stiff upperlip in place until the feelings subsided and we could believe in our choice to let it all go. After all we are family, and blood is thicker than water, and at the end of the day we all do love each other.
I chose not to go to church at all on that Sunday. It was the 3rd Sunday I’d missed since becoming a Christian. And because of my temper tantrum heart at that time, it felt good to not go.
A few days later, it clicked to what had happened. I gave it all to God. On that previous Saturday when I thought I was sticking my tongue out to God, what I’d really done was tell him to deal with it because I’d given up.
I should have given him the control a few days earlier and saved myself and everyone else the heartache. But at the time in the emotions of what was going on I couldn’t find the light. I was trying to control everything was going on around me. Instead of speaking to God (which I’d thought I was doing) I was trying to tell him what to do.
The biggest thing that happened on that Saturday was that I had had my first moment where I was so angry with God that I couldn’t speak anymore. It scared me. It hurt me. I have no idea how he felt about it.
The two friends I’d talked to at the time (which wasn’t intended, they’d just both happened to message at the peak of my temper tantrum….thanks friends!) told me to keep on praying. I wrote to them that I wasn’t going to pray for my family ever again. And immediately after those statements – they both said, in complete disregard to what I’d written that I needed to “keep on praying”. I was a little mad at what they’d said, but I didn’t tell them that.
A week later and I’m really doing ok now. We’re talking again….or rather I am listening again. And life continues. No one in my family is picking up a bible….but I’m still praying for it. I’m praying for a lot of other things too.
Sometimes it takes giving up in order to carry on.