Perhaps it is because I consider my faith to be incredibly personal, or perhaps it is because I don’t have the right words to adequately express what it means to me. More likely, it is because I feel weak and unsure what it means to be a strong Christian.
I don’t share my prayers or say them aloud. They are silent conversations I have with my God.
Last night I lay in bed and I said my prayers, not for me, but for a handful of people who are occupying my heart. This is how my prayers have been for the past several years, not about me, but about others. As I silently prayed in the dark, for the first time in a long time I said a silent prayer for myself. “Lord, please wrap me up into your arms. Help me to not feel alone and to trust your plan for me. I am lost. Let the Holy Spirit fill me up and help me find my purpose.”
As I silently said these words the tears flowed down my cheeks, and my relationship with my God over the last few years was revealed. Flashes of my faith, my prayers and my pain appeared like movie scenes. The words came to my head and inspired me in a way I have not felt for months. I knew in that moment the Holy Spirit had given me my assignment.
Sit down tomorrow and write.
When I was younger I prayed for things such as, “Please don’t let my mom be mad at me” or “Please let there be a Cabbage Patch Kid under the Christmas tree.” When I was in sixth grade I remember praying that the mean, popular girl wouldn’t choose to ostracize me the following day. In high school I prayed my crush would return my feelings of adoration.
This was how my prayers were for many, many years, praying for what it is I wanted and felt I needed.
At some point in time, my relationship with my Lord changed. I realized it was not my plans for this life that mattered. It was His. I was a vehicle on this earth to serve His purpose, and I trusted Him for whatever that may be. There were scary, painful times when I wanted to dictate my plan, but I fought myself, learned to let go and trust more. A few months after my husband and I started dating, he was withdrawing from our relationship. I didn’t realize why at the time, but he needed to take a step back. I loved him deeply and I was afraid of losing him, but I remember sitting in the church pews on my knees and giving myself up. I told God I would trust He would show me if it was His plan for us to be together.
I felt strong in my relationship with my God. I surrendered. This was the basic premise of my prayers, trusting and letting go. This changed the night before my father passed away.
The doctors had told us for days our dad didn’t have much time left, but that specific night my dad’s numbers had improved. The doctor said there was a small chance he could maybe pull through. It would be a miracle, but even so, we stood in my dad’s hospital room and celebrated.
I went home that night and for the first time in a long time I didn’t tell Him I trusted His plan. I prayed for something I desperately needed.
The next morning I woke up to a text from my brother stating I needed to hurry to the hospital. My dad passed away a few short minutes before I arrived.
In those moments I didn’t acknowledge how I felt about my faith and how it changed. It wasn’t until last night I saw the truth of how our relationship had evolved.
My God betrayed me. I had trusted Him. I had stood before Him and asked for Him to answer my prayers. He rejected me.
Just like other Christians I tried to celebrate my daddy was in the Kingdom of Heaven and he was finally home. I said the words and I believed them in my heart. But I also stopped trusting my God. I no longer prayed for anything I needed. I no longer prayed for His guidance. I no longer said I trusted His plan. I choked on the silent words as I prayed for my loved ones. He had let me down and I was afraid He would continue to do so.
When God took my mom, I believed He was punishing me. My God was not all knowing. Otherwise, He would have known how much I needed my parents. My God was not all powerful or He would have stopped the cancer. My God was not all good or He would not have inflicted so much pain.
I have felt hurt. Just like any other relationship in my life that has caused me pain, I needed time.
I have spent the last several years trying to control my path, and not lean on anyone or anything that could let me down. I have tried to dictate my journey with no sense of direction. I have wanted to write and live with purpose, but I have felt uninspired and empty.
I stand before you naked and vulnerable to tell you, it has felt very hopeless and lonely to carry the weight of my worries all by myself. Last night as I prayed for my loved ones, I felt a sense of peace knowing I was not alone. It is an indescribable feeling to realize there is something bigger than you, who walks beside you, never leaves you and carries you when are too weak and weary.