Not always EverFaith

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With a title like EverFaith, one might get the impression that I am faithful always.  But this is an electronic journal, of sorts, and I wouldn’t be honest if I only posted those th0ughts which were faithful and righteous.  That would be a lie — because I am not always faithful, and I am certainly not always righteous.

I’m up against a brick wall these days.  I am being pressed and am under some sort of spiritual attack, if my feelings are any indicator of such things. Several months ago, I felt a call to become a director of a local Classical Conversations community.  Stepping out into this role was an act of faith: I know nothing about running a business, much less running one successfully.  I am surrounded by women who have been homeschooling ever since homeschooling was illegal in Texas (years and years), and who have the benefit of having schooled multiple children.  Here I am, a woman with three years of homeschooling experience with just one child, setting out on a journey to direct the education of a community of moms and kids.  My husband supports me, but I found out today that my daughter does not.

I don’t think God called you to do this,”

she told me this morning while we were snuggling on the couch.

If he had, why are you so stressed out all the time?  You are a stay-at-home mom, not a business mom.”

Immediately my voice rang out like a whip as I reprimanded her (for speaking her mind?) and ordered her to go upstairs.  Then I retreated into my bedroom and closed — and locked — the door.  Next, I threw all the clothes out of my dresser in a frenzied effort to reclaim some semblance of order to the chaos (a task I’ve been putting off for months!), and my mind began exploring those God has called in the past who were unlikely leaders.

  • Moses — called to speak to Pharaoh even though he had a speaking impediment.
  • David — just a boy, called to defeat the nine foot Goliath
  • Mary — just a girl, called to be the mother of God’s own son
  • Rahab — a prostitute, called to protect the spies

But I’m beginning to doubt whether I could possibly be in the ranks among them.  There is no way.  I look at my soul, and I despair that God could possibly love a wretch like me.  I am riddled with fear and anxiety.  My husband is planning another overseas trip for the family, and once again, I am too anxious to go or to even think about going.  I lose my temper and my tongue says ugly things to those I love.  My life is consumed with staying in control: of myself, of my child’s education, of keeping out germs, even of my dog. Yet I am not in control.  God is.  And I can just see him shaking his head in despair over the ruined vessel I am.

How can I possibly lead a homeschool community when I am paralyzed with anxiety about stomach bugs?  When the act of hosting an info meeting wipes me out for two days afterward?  When the temptation to take things personally lays my heart out to bleed and brings on discouragement?  The only thing I have going for me is the passion He has given me for classical education and the model Classical Conversations provides…and that passion is slowly deflating as the enemy lobs painful jabs that come at me from unexpected places.  Like my daughter.

How do you know it was the LORD telling you to do CC, mom?  How do you know this is right for our family?

she asked me today.  I told her it was a feeling I had in my heart that came from the Holy Spirit.  Or so I thought.  Now I’m starting to doubt.  Did I delude myself into thinking this was the right path in some twisted way to gain some secret fame?  Did I become a director in order to “lord it over” others, to be in control?

Control is appealing to someone like me, but I think I did it because I believed in my heart that it was what God wanted of me.  But what if I was wrong?  What if I deluded myself into thinking it was what God wanted when what it really was, was me wanting to assert this program for my child without having to drive halfway across town? What if this is the wrong path for me?

I have given my requests to the Lord.  He knows what my community needs (child care, more families, etc).  But he operates on his own timeline…not mine.  Obviously.  Since I still don’t have someone available to provide childcare for our youngest children.  Since two families who were interested backed out.  I know He knows what is best.  Telling my mind that is easy.  Believing it isn’t.

I told my daughter that if I am even remotely successful at this, it will be proof of God working through me.  Because there is no way I am adequate standing on my own.  My faith reserves are low.  My passion is deflating.  I am tired and emotional, prone to tears at any moment.  A doctor would probably prescribe anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs to try to fix the mess in my head.  But…here’s the rub….I am too anxious about medications to take anything!  Seriously!  I am severely deficient in Vitamin D and was prescribed some horsepills to take.  But I won’t do it.  Why?  Because I don’t want an upset stomach.  I am a basket case.

Oh, if He would just show me what He wants from me!

I did not find relief from my daily Bible reading.  In 2Samuel, I read about David having a hard time forgiving his one son for killing the other (took him over 2 years to do so).  In Jeremiah, I read about God’s people turning their backs on Him over and over again (such a depressing book in the Bible).  And then in Romans 2, I read this:

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done.

Is His kindness intended to turn me away from anxiety?  How do I turn myself away from myself?  Is it stubborness that prevents me from going overseas with my family?  My own mother admits (from personal experience with me) that for me to go with them would be for EVERYONE to have a terrible time because my anxiety is that extreme.  Is anxiety a sin?  That’s fodder for a whole series of posts.  Maybe coming soon, if I can bring myself to write them.

4 thoughts on “Not always EverFaith

  1. Well, I could obviously write a book here about all the ways I understand! The shame, the fear, the overwhelming feeling of being unworthy, even the avoidance of medicine for the same exact reasons….

    But I want to tell you about something God revealed to me on Sunday.

    It was communion time, something I take very seriously. Every time we do it at church (once a month) I struggle with the trying to ‘get myself right’ before I take it. Once, I ran out of the sanctuary because I was such a mess that morning there was NO way I was ‘worthy’ of taking it…in my own mind, at least!

    Well anyway, Sunday morning all I could do was say ‘Lord, I’m such a big, fat mess, please, somehow, once again, cover me. Have mercy on me…’

    All of a sudden, I pictured this huge covering — like a blanket — and it was coming to cover my mess. My big, huge, disgusting mess. And you know what? Just the tip of one of the corners came and covered it all. Just one corner!

    I felt this internal peace — and dare I say it, joy — and felt like God was telling me that although I FEEL like my mess is so HUGE, so incredibly neverending that He must get so tired of stretching His covering over it…really, all it takes is a tiny measure of his grace and mercy to cover the whole ugly mess.

    We are not so broken that God can not use us. We are not so messed up that He is angry with us. Perhaps we are the most ‘usable’ people of all…so broken and weak that we can not possibly accomplish anything without His help!

    YOU CAN DO THIS. When you are weak, then HE is strong. You are more than a conqueror through CHRIST…not your own ability.

    Of course, as I type this I feel like such a hypocrite. I recently turned down an opportunity to co-lead my daughter’s girls group at church for the anxiety and fear reasons. So I am VASTLY unqualified to pass out advice to you right now! The thing is, if I let my own failings keep me from encouraging you, then I would be guilty of letting my own struggle keep me from what God wants to use me for…just like you are trying so hard not to do.

    Email me or call if you ever want to talk. You know I’m here!! Oh, and sorry I ended up writing a book afterall. 🙂

  2. Holly –
    I read your comment and immediately said Ha! How on earth could ANYTHING sprout from this weirdness that is in me?

    And then I got to thinking that this is precisely what I do need to be praying for. For me to produce fruit BECAUSE of this anxiety. Paul boasted in his weaknesses, right? So perhaps I should do the same. I am so weak and broken that any fruit that rises out of me comes not from me but from my Creator and Sustainer and Redeemer…my Christ.

    Missy –
    Thank you for your courage in opening up yourself to me. I know you know exactly what my battlefield looks like…and I appreciate your encouragement!

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