I’m going to start with the cliché, but I promise I won’t stay here long: I was born and raised in a Christian home. As a child I loved going to church and one night after AWANA I came home to my parents and told them I wanted to accept Christ as my personal Savior. My dad led the discussion and even though I was young, I truly believe that I understood this decision and at that time fully gave my life to God.
As a teenager I was very involved in my youth group, the church drama club, and used every excuse to be at church. I loved participating in extra Bible Studies, mission projects, and especially retreats and summer camps. My faith was growing each and every day. I loved God and had a passion for serving Him.
In college my faith started growing stagnant. I became frustrated that I couldn’t keep my promises to God to spend more time with Him. I was still very involved in church, after all – my husband was the Youth Pastor, but my personal relationship with God was almost non-existent. After a few years of struggling in my relationship with God, I came to realize that instead of focusing on doing all the right things (not doing the wrong things was the easy part for me) that I needed to simply allow God to work in and through me. I realized that my relationship with God wasn’t dependent on what I did and didn’t do and that His love for me didn’t waver along with my actions. I knew the concept in my head, but it took me a long time for that to translate into my heart. Had I not learned these concepts at this time in my life, I would have never made it through the trial that was still to come.
In the summer of 2008, my faith was severely shaken when we miscarried our first child. We had already been trying to have a child for a few years and I did not understand how God in all of His power, would give me a child that He had no intention of growing…especially after we had waited so long to conceive. This was the beginning of a very dark valley in my life.
Almost a year later, we got our second positive pregnancy test. I went in for my first blood test and everything looked good, but I was nervous after our last experience. Through sobbing tears one night, I begged God to protect this child. Surely God would answer His child who had devoted her entire life to Him. How could he ignore my cries and take another child away from me? The next day our second blood test results were in – my HCG levels had not doubled and I would most likely miscarry in another few days. As the blood started to flow, my fury deepened.
Later that year we attended a fertility conference in our area. As we sat in the room with other couples experiencing the same things we were going through, my heart began to soften. I shed many tears that day as I begun to understand the full breadth of my hurt – I was not just sad over my lack of children or even my losses. I was angry and hurt that I had lost my best friend. I had loved and trusted God my entire life and now, at the time I needed him most, I felt abandoned. By faith I knew that He had all power to control life, to open and close wombs, and yet He chose not to intervene on my behalf. Why was I so unworthy of these great blessings?
As we returned home that night, God continued to work in my heart as I wrestled with these questions. Through what I can only describe as a prompting of the Holy Spirit, I was led to read Psalms 77. Around verses 11-15, I found the following note written in the margin of my Bible:
“When God seems so far away, I must remember all the great things He has done and get into His word. Actively decide to change my habit, because God didn’t move – I did. This is, along with a lot of prayer and trusting, the way to return to God.
Review evidence of God’s loving kindness. Our faith is nourished by developing a strong sense of God acting in the past so that we begin to count on Him to act consistently with His character in the future – again and again and again.”
I do not remember when I wrote this nor what context it was written in at the time, but it was what I needed to hear at the time I was ready to hear it. God was the same God that had loved and protected me my entire life. He was the same God who put me in a Christian family who loved me, the same God who protected me from most of life’s heartaches as a child, and the same God who led me to my husband who has been the most amazing picture of God’s love in my life. No, God did not change – He was still there, He still loved me, and He was never going to let me go.
Since this great revelation I would love to say that my heart was perfectly healed and I went from the darkest valley to the highest mountain top. But, such is life, there are no fairy tale endings. Even after the birth of our daughter in August 2010, I still struggle with my relationship with God. At best, I was at ‘break even’ again. But who wants to be at break even? Ok, fine, I was perfectly happy with being at break even at the time. Now almost two years (and another baby girl) later, I am no longer content with just surviving. I want more. I want my vibrant relationship with God to be restored. I want to be on that mountain. While I may not know how to get there again, I am officially ready and willing.