Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Faith Journey Storybook

The last time I asked my husband to pick up my books on hold at the library, he brought home one from an author I had been long-curious about, but had never read. The book is called Firstlight, and the author is Sue Monk Kidd.

As I plunge into her words, right away I see her writing is different, because its end is not to simply entertain, but to cause one to search within themselves, to find their inner story.

She tells about how she once was asked to lead a group, and gave an assignment: For each person to tell a story from their faith-journey. She explains how many could not do this, instead they would recite dogmas and creeds, tell what they believed. But they did not know how to tell their stories.

So that is what I want to do today. I want to tell you a story from my faith journey.

I want the story to shape itself in your mind, without the distraction of pictures.

There is a hindering vulnerability, the thought that you (my readers) are not interested in my personal life. That if my story takes too long, you will lose interest. Yet I know God makes these impressions on each of our hearts, making moments stand out in our lives, that we might grow, change, remember, and share.

So here is one of the many stories in my faith journey.


My life was in the shambles.

I was 20 years old. I had a beautiful toddler and I loved being a mother. But I was utterly incapable of seeing good in my life. I was devastated.

I had recently had a late-term miscarriage. I lost my precious baby at 17 weeks. I had to undergo surgery, and had nearly hemorrhaged to death. I had been on iron supplements for months.

My loss was nearly suffocating.

My husband and I were struggling. He had been sad when I lost our baby, but had never connected to her like I did, and didn't grieve. We did not communicate well. I felt appallingly alone.

Pregnant women seemed to come out of the wood work. I could not go anywhere without being bombarded with images of newborns, pregnant women. I knew I was withdrawing, becoming bitter. I hated that but did not know what to do to prevent it.

My marriage was in a very fragile place. My husband and I married very young. We were both eighteen when we said I do, having no earthly idea how hard marriage would be under normal circumstances, let alone being employed by the army. I hardly got to see him during the first year we lived in Texas, and it was the first time I had ever been away from home.

I missed familiar places. I missed my family.



My mother paid for me and Andrew, my toddler, to fly home to visit while Trever would be away on field training. Andrew could still fly free, being under two years old. I was excited to visit home, but missed my husband.

Being back in California made me oddly uncomfortable. I kept thinking about my apartment in Texas. Was that my home now? Why did I miss it so much? Trever had gotten to come home for a night, and I had talked to him on the phone. And I was frustrated that I couldn't be home with him while he was off work. I also felt strangely insecure, wondering where he would go and who he would spend his time with. I knew he wasn't happy, but didn't know how to make anything right.

Bombarding him with questions only caused him to retreat, angry and annoyed. As I hung up the phone, crushed and fragile, I fell apart. I began to cry. And then I found I could not stop.

When I finally could, I was exhausted. I felt like a hollow shell.

Andrew was napping, and I decided to soak in the bath tub.

I ran the water and waited, dazed, for it to fill. I knew my eyes looked hollow, glazed over, and I was glad I had a couple hours to pull myself together before my mom came home from work. I climbed into the hot water and sunk down. The house was eerily quiet.

I tried to summon the strength to snap back, to find some source of life, vitality, determination inside me. Something that would carry me through.

I felt nothing. I didn't even have the strength to cry again.

I slouched down, deep into the water, leaving only my nose and eyes uncovered. My ears were immersed. I could hear my blood rushing through my body, and nothing else.

And I prayed. "God? Where are You? Why can't I hear You? I pray and pray and pray and I hear nothing. Nothing."

I don't know how long I stayed there like that. All I know is once the water started to feel cold, and I pulled my head out of the water, I heard something loud and clear: Andrew was screaming at the door.

The sound of his scream was so loud it was almost deafening. My heart leaped into my throat as I scrambled out of the tub, quickly grabbing a towel, and opened the door. Thankfully he was fine, likely just panicked that he woke up and couldn't find his mama.

I got him calmed down, got myself calmed down, and then got dressed.

And then I began to think. Poor Andrew! He had been screaming his little heart out at the door and I couldn't hear because my head was under the water. He was banging on the door for all he worth and I was oblivious.

What I heard next was not quite audible, but almost. It was that real, that clear, that tangible. God spoke. My spirit heard Him.

"That is how it is with you, Amy. I have been speaking, trying to get your attention. But you were submerged in your grief, your despair, your desperation. Like Andrew at the door, you could not hear Me. But I am here. I am speaking."

C.S. Lewis says joy is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ. All of my problems did not disappear in that moment. I still grieved the precious baby I would never again hold. I still had strain in my marriage. (In fact, shortly after this, we went through a separation and the most difficult time in our relationship.) I still had to deal with bitterness, insecurity and loss.

But something had changed forever.

I knew He was with me.

And I always have, ever since, every crazy place I have found myself to this day. That day stands out so clear because it changed me. I know I am never alone. And I know He is always speaking, if I will only find a way to hear.



(And I add this button at the bottom, because sharing my story is one way I am learning to walk with HIM)
holy experience


One final thought: One of the amazing things I have learned in my faith journey is that HE is enough. My husband and I have grown leaps and bounds since the times these memories were fresh, but one thing was learned the hard way... My marriage can not substitute for my relationship to HIM. It is freeing to my husband to not have to be my all in all. I can love Trever better because I love my Jesus. Pursuing HIM, instead of forcing change upon Trever, is one of the ways that brought about change, healing, and wholeness in our marriage.

24 comments:

  1. My eyes are full of tears! Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. You captivated my heart!

    Love you!

    Traci


    PS: Thanks for following and visiting Ordinary Inspirations! I'm a follower your blog now :-)

    Visit anytime.

    Hugs,
    Traci

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  2. Darling
    Thank you for sharing this. I remember those times and I am thankful for where the Lord has brought us. I love you and I am thankful for the opportunity to grow with you.

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  3. I love this book. And your story so beautiful. I have been in that place too not hearing. Immersed in grief.
    Thank you for being so real.
    {hugs}
    J.

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  4. Thank you for this post.
    Its so easy to let troubles drown Him out

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  5. powerful. thank you for being so vulnerable. bless you.

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  6. Wow, are thoughts are similar today! What freedom for our mates to not have to be our All in All!

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  7. Thank you for your testimony! It is so awesome to reflect back and look at the most painful times of our lives and see how God carried us through, not our strength but HIs. I pray God richly blesses your precious family!

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  8. I loved reading Firstlight. Sue Monk Kidd had so many insights that I needed to hear. I’m glad she inspired you to write this faith story. It’s excellent and so true.

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  9. Hoe precious that the LORD has brought you on this journey and taught you much of HIMSELF through it all! HE is our all in all as you aptly point out...once we realise this we can become the person HE has called us to be...IN HIM! May the LORD bless this day...thank you for sharing part of your story with us...it is a beautiful testimony of HIS goodness!

    Blessings,
    Camille

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  10. sorry...typo should read "How"...

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  11. Thank you for taking the time to share an honest and powerful story. I'm sure you'll bring comfort and hope to many.

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  12. Wow. I've been processing through my story too. It is good to hear that you are overcoming and continuing walking...

    amy in peru

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  13. I am visiting from iFellowship. Thank you for sharing your testimony. It was beautiful. I am your newest follower.
    ~Theresa

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  14. Coming from iFellowship...

    Meghan
    www.thetuckerstaketennessee.com

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  15. What a beautiful testimony! I'm your newest follower from iFellowship.
    Blessings to you,
    Sue :)

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  16. Oh my eyes are full with tears!
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    We lost a baby too, at fourteen weeks pregnancy.
    Thank you for your brave transparency and your beautiful spirit.
    You are a blessing!

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  17. I love people's stories--everyone's matters. Thanks so much for sharing yours. And thanks for the book recommendation--need to add it to my summer reading list. Blessings.

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  18. Amy, I came through Ann Voskamp's blog. As you can see, there are few men blogging about marriage. As a husband, I am saddened by your story, because I believe husbands have a duty to represent Christ well to their wives. Jesus says "Come unto Me you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." As husbands, we should be strength to our wives when they are weary or heavy laden and provide rest. But, I know that many times I simply add to my wife's burdens by being unable to provide spiritual strength for her. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know it must have been hard to write about it. Blessings!

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  19. @Kim- Perhaps I did not express myself very well. I was trying to communicate that the gaping hole in my heart could NOT have been filled by my husband. Certainly, he was far from perfect back then, but even if he had been, I still needed Jesus, not Trever. Because that was the main point of my story, I did not mention that at this point my dear husband was not yet a Christian. (He is now, praise the Lord!!)

    I also think it is pretty common for men to grieve a loss differently than women. I have read several stories of loss and heard many, many testimonies, and that seems to be a common thread.

    As for you, be encouraged! I think one of the ways men represent Christ is by realizing their enormous responsibilty in leadership and at the same time their inability to perform it without Him. Being all you can be as a husband can also include pointing your sweet wife to the only One who can truly strengthen her, with love and as much support as possible.

    You can do all things through Christ, brother. <><

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  20. Really great post! I love bath-tub revelations. He is everywhere!

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  21. Oh Amy Danielle, just stopping by under your so kind invitation, and I'm muchly glad I did. I've had a litle weep over the painful places where our stories have onverlapped, and I go to bed amazed at this room between worlds where bloggistes can enjoy brief respite and calm fellowship. Blessings and peace!

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  22. Beautiful post Amy Danielle, God really meets us everywhere doesn't He? Your story is touched by God's paintbrush as is all of ours. Our story is the most powerful testimony of all, thank you for sharing part of yours! Lori

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  23. Thank you for a beautiful post. God truly is amazing, isn't he!?!

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  24. Haven't read this book, but this has inspired me to...thanks for sharing your heart.

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