"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.

2.17.2014

In the midst of confusion, doubt and pain...

I want to share an incredible resource with you.

"What do you say to Christians who:

study the Bible and pray regularly but still fight bouts of sadness they can't explain?
feel distant or resentful toward God when things go wrong?
feel guilty because even though they have " the answer" in Christ, that answer doesn't seem to work for them?

These empty valleys of the Christian life can become dark nights of the soul where we wonder if God can still see us. Many times, however, God breaks open the depths of these valleys into wide open spaces in which we can discover that knowing Christ amounts to much more than attending church, having friends from church, reading a devotional book and listening to Christian music. These moments of truth reveal parts of ourselves no one has ever seen. We show them to Christ, fearing He may not be pleased, but instead He takes our hand and walks with us through a time of examining ourselves in light of God's grace and mercy."

This is an excerpt from the book Healing Hurts that Sabotage the Soul, by Curt Grayson and Jan Johnson.  You can download it for free on Jan's website, janjohnson.org.

I have experienced all of the above and those feelings may creep back in from time to time.  Being a believer in Christ does not make it all better...we still struggle...sometimes it's seems even harder because parts of us begin to wake up that once were numb and asleep...and if someone tells you otherwise they are lying.  

There are many, myself included that have faith, but if we are honest with ourselves there are more times than we like to admit where we wonder why we struggle with so much junk and why life is not looking like we expected. 

We may wonder at times if this faith thing is even real. We wrestle with God on many occasions and in doing so our faith is often strengthened, but there are also times we get stuck and have a hard time moving forward. Just because our faith is not working in the moment or the way we expect does not mean it is not real. Sometimes our sight gets blurred.  

Jan has published many insightful books and her website has tons of resources, many free. 

I also wanted to share this from Healing Hurts: 

"A special note to anyone who has quit attending church: we were both on the verge of joining those ranks when we began this process. We were burned out Christians, tired church leaders who believed the church was no longer helping us get our spiritual needs met. We had misunderstood God and were worn out from trying to understand Him. We pray that if you feel this way, you will allow God to re-ignite your faith in Him and help you find safe places to heal your hurts."


15 comments:

Rebecca said...

Mary - thank you for sharing this. So timely.

cathy parmelee said...

thank you, thank you. i needed this....

Mary said...

Rebecca and Cathy you are welcome...I need it too!

Bren Graham Thebeau said...

Truth, absolute truth, thanks Mar

Nancy said...

I love Jan Johnson. Her books have helped me so much....
I think this post is one that bears repeating from time to time because most of us struggle with our faith at one time or another if we are honest.....

Dear friend, you are such an encourager to so many....

Love ya,
Nanie

Miss Marple said...

I love your way of journaling, I am glad I stumbled over your blog! - Irma

Sarah Anderson said...

It's always good to hear you're not only in inexplicable sadness; thanks for sharing this.
I also found that, having been through a very dark valley, it meant I could talk to others who were going through it, or just listen with understanding!

Sarah said...

Wow. God's timing is impeccable. I have been asking these exact questions for the last week or so. It's a struggle that I think is not really talked about a lot. Like you said, we're supposed to have the answers in Christ, but sometimes it doesn't feel like we do. As if something is wrong with us because we should be joyful & peace-filled in Christ. But something is missing. I would love to talk with you more about this topic! Feel free to drop me an email!

Thank you Mary!

Ophelia said...

I honestly think you wrote this just for me.....yes, so very timely and just what I needed!! Thanks Mary, as always!!

Geraldine said...

Absolutely amazing! I found a home when I found this blog! My heart is leaping!!! Thanking God for you!

Mary Brack said...

Mary, thanks for sharing this. I am a Jan Johnson fan but somehow missed this book. The timing, however, is "perfect". As always, I so appreciate how you share the depths of your heart. :)

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

So true Mary and beautifully said and such an encouragement and reminder that God does care and understands and loves us even in those times we don't think he would want to or could or would. We put so many extra pressures and limits on ourselves and in the ways we believe God must think of us. I'm so thankful for you and your blog and the way you are so real. You have such a gift Mary for writing out what your true heart is saying and it speaks so well. God uses you! ♥

If you have time will you stop by my blog. I'm so slow at getting post up it seems anymore, but I finally put one up today.

Thank you for sharing this truth today about our darker times and how God never leaves us even when we assume he should.

Love you friend!
Lee Ann

Jennifer Richardson said...

one of my favorite scriptures,
the one you poured out
in your art
which always amazes me
with it's crystal clear song.
thanks for this vivid heartshare,
Mary....I believe restoration is coming to all of the bruised reeds and disenchanted believers.
we've all been jaded...it's so hard to live in a brokendown world when our shepherd isn't wearing any skin anymore.
loving that I get to journey along with you,
Jennifer

the turquoise paintbrush said...

oh, these words.
thank you.

xo

Creative Nana said...

Thank you for your transparency. I needed this. God bless you.