Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trouble with Faith

These past couple months, since the news of a 90% reduction in Ethiopia's international adoptions, have challenged every area of my life.  Socially, I withdrew.  Emotionally, I weakened.  And spiritually, well, spiritually I tanked.  I mean, I really, REALLY tanked.

As of late, I realize that my perception of God is completely warped.  I do not feel different toward my heavenly Father than I do my toward earthly relationships.  How do I know this?  My response to God is the same as my response to people.

I expect people to let me down.  I enter relationships with trepidation and my guard up.  I don't trust many people with my real feelings and I don't open up with others until I feel completely safe.  I have a hard time respecting myself when I'm "out there."   This way, when people let me down, I tell myself I expected that.  And I use it for an excuse to further seclude and protect myself.

This time, I feel it is God who let me down.  He led us toward the path of adoption from Ethiopia.  He gave us hope that we would start our family soon.  And he took it away, or so it seems.  I know that this is all for a reason and that God sees more than I ever possibly can.  Yet, I still feel let down.  Abandoned.  Led on and dropped.

So, of course, what do I do?  I tell myself I expected that.  I stop praying.  Stop seeking Him out.  After all, He hurt me.  He led me down a path He knew would lead to disappointment.  Why make myself vulnerable again?  To this end, I  seclude and protect myself.  I leave it up to Ty to review adoption paperwork.  I read emails from CHI and YWAM, but with a guarded heart and skepticism. 

This is hurting me.  Obviously, it is hurting my relationship with God.  Also, it is hurting my relationships with others and the grace I allow myself to give others.  It is hurting my marriage.  My sweet husband, ever the optimist, deserves a better side of me. 

I long to relate to God above others.  I want to know him as sovereign, faithful and trustworthy.  I just don't know how to get from here to there.  I do not want to rely on external circumstances to fuel my faith in God, but internally, the engine has died.  How does one renew faith?  Where does one start when it feels so forced, so fake, so false to pray?  Who do I turn to when the One I know can save me, I am so angry with?


  1. Hi. Fellow YWAM adoptive parent here. I just wanted to send you some words of encouragement. A few weeks ago you wrote something that touched me deeply.

    "Individually, I am doing all right. I can definitely feel the prayers of others. A little more peace comes each day; my thoughts are not consumed by the issue and I can laugh...and mean it. The area I am struggling the most in is feeling misunderstood. I typically don't dwell too much on what others think of me, but I really fear I am misunderstood right now.
    Several people have said to me, "You just need to have faith in God. You need to be patient and trust His timing. He knows what is best." I believe those words. I really do. But, they carry an implication that I do not have faith. That I'm not patient. That I don't trust God's timing. At least that is what my sensitive soul tells me.
    I am trying to listen to Him right now. We are trying to be patient by waiting for Him to reveal the next step we should take."

    I sent those words to a dear friend of mine who lost her mother completely unexpectedly the week prior to your writing them. Understandably, she was struggling with her feelings and she was wrestling with how she felt about God. Your words ministered to her in a way I couldn't because I wasn't the one hearing a constant stream of pithy advice on faith and patience in the midst of the greatest test of her faith she has ever faced.

    I really want to encourage you to look back on your own words of wisdom. And then ask God to speak to you again through His Word. Truth revealed to you from the Living Word of the KING of the Universe WILL restore your faith. Read the Psalms of David and you will understand how to cry out to THE God you feel has abandoned you. He's not shocked. He's heard it all before.

    Read your Bible. How's that for pithy advice?

    I want you to know I respect you for "putting it all out there" for strangers to judge you, because truthfully we all have struggled in this arena at least once or twice. But God...is so faithful. He will restore what the locusts have destroyed.

  2. Ohhh Rachel... I can't make this better, but I can say I have been there -- wrestling with those same feelings of doubt, despair, and near-hopelessness. Any chance you'd wanna grab coffee sometime? I don't think we live very far apart... email me haleyballast (at) gmail (dot) com. :)

  3. Oh friend, you know that I get it...your post is all things that I have thought or said over the last few years. There is nothing I can say that will make it all better, but know I am here for you. To listen, to hug, to just be with. I feel you pulling away, but I am here waiting when you are ready.