By: Jenni Taylor
I’ve never had an easy time staying away from extremes, or the a + b = c method. If killing living things is evil, and ants are alive, then isn’t killing ants evil? If Christians believe the bible, and the bible says sell all your possessions, then aren’t you lying if you say you are a Christian and you’re rich? If God is love, and we are loved by God, why the hell is there pain and agony in the world?
Common questions, at least, I hope I’m not the only one that ever questioned the morality of destroying an anthill. I was taught to ignore these questions, or look for answers later, when I was older. But how can you ignore what is right in front of you?
I’m a daddy’s girl, and my dad is the best man on earth. If you’ve met him, you know what I mean. Once upon a time my dad was a pastor, the best. But then all of a sudden he wasn’t, and then he was a truck driver, and sometimes a roofer with broken red hands, and then he was sad for eight years.
Every day he would pace and pray in our basement. The rest of the family would go about our day, still sneaking down to do laundry in the corner, or grab something from the freezer, trying our best not to interrupt. The more I saw him pray, the angrier I became.
If God wasn’t listening to my dad’s prayers, he sure as hell wasn’t going to listen to mine. I was taught all my life to love God. Not anymore. Not when it was pretty clear that he doesn’t actually love us back.
So I stopped loving God.
But not really.
Because if I really had stopped, it wouldn’t have hurt so much. I wouldn’t have felt so betrayed. I would have gotten over it.
But I didn’t get over it, and it was ripping me up. I couldn’t stop crying, because after all this time it still hurt like hell to know that everything I believed wholeheartedly was a lie. God left, closed up shop, went home. He wasn’t listening.
I had lost something, and it hurt in places I never knew could hurt before. It took leaving everything and moving to the middle of the jungle for me to even begin to work through my anger.
Sometimes it feels silly to even talk about this loss of faith when so many people experienced real loss- the loss of family, of love, of a parent, of a child. Standing up for a round two in the fight to win back my faith was so hard, and brought up so much pain. Why didn’t I just quit? Was it even really that important?
Yeah. To me it was.
Looking at it now, it’s not a loss anymore. I thought my dad had lost something, but he hadn’t. It took a long time, but his life is finally exploding in incredible ways. He never doubted the faithfulness of God, and now it’s my turn to give that type of faith a shot. Instead being lost, my faith has a whole new beginning now. I can really say it was worth it. My boxing match with the universe now feels more like holding hands and keeping my eyes open wide enough to listen and learn.
Combining the loss, the anger, the betrayal, the search, and the peace slowly creeping into my soul I’ve gained a weird sort of patience. I might be so bold as to call it gaining a little wisdom.
ahhhh jenni~ I love you and your honesty so much! i read your blog yesterday and just cried… i cried because i can see your daddy pacing back and forth in the basement of your house and i know the pain that he went through, and i ache for the pain that you and your whole family has gone through.
I cried because you are such an amazing woman! You and your brothers had such an unconventional childhood and yet I’m so thankful that you did because God allowed me to have you in my life when you were little. And, had you not had that childhood you would not have the heart for the world that you do today. You did not have a ‘safe’ childhood but because of that, you have the courage, determination and drive to make this world a better place.
I pray that as you continue to contend for your faith, that the God of all creation who loves you and has thoughts of you that out number the sands on the seashore would pursue you relentlessly, and wrap his arms around you and fill you with love, peace and joy.
Steph, thank you. That means so much, because you had a front seat view of everything that was going on. I am so blessed to grow up the way I did with the family I have, and I am so glad that you were part of that family, too! Thank you for always being an inspiration to me. Love you so much ❤
I loved this. You had mentioned your loss of faith a bit, but this was the first I had really heard more of the story. I feel like some of the greatest moments come from when we’re broken and doubting. Sometimes that’s the only way we learn and grow. Especially when we are surrounded by the Word and prayer and everything SO MUCH, it can be overwhelming. Then when things happen that don’t seem to fit what we think we know, sometimes it’s like we need to start over again. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it does in my head. lol
Thanks Em. And I totally agree, it’s only when things get hard does the real growing begin.
Jenni, what a gift God has given you! To be able to articulate your thoughts and feelings so well. Even right now, so much is in my heart, so much admiration for you, for how God made you, for your honest look at God, yourself and life, that makes you come full circle back to Him, yet I don’t have that gift to articulate all that is in my heart on paper. Just please want you to know how much I love you, and admire you. I have prayed for you since you were tiny ( you still are ) *smile*, and I will never stop. Thank you for your honest post.
Thank you so much, Sharon. You are such a role model for me and this means so much. Love you always and forever!
Sharon posted this today…thought I’d just copy “as is” for this blog, as it’s such a great analogy and something I totally believe! Love you so much, Jenni!
Dan Swearengin (Not sure who he is but that was part of the post)
Sometimes we wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why God, did you do this to me?”
Here is a wonderful explanation: A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she’s failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, “Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.” Her Mother offers, “Here, have some cooking oil,” “Yuck”, says her daughter. “How about a couple raw eggs?” “Gross, Mom!” “Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?” “Mom, those are all ridiculously yucky!” To which the mother replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!”
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But He knows that when He puts these all things in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and A sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, yet He chose your heart.
love it 🙂 thank you, it means so much when you read my stuff. Love you!
What a great thought…”God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and A sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, yet He chose your heart.”
Pingback: Faith, Hope and Loss | Searching Sophia's Pockets