Have you ever heard something and you know without a shadow of a doubt that you were supposed to hear it? That happened today and I felt like God was talking to me out of a loudspeaker that was cleverly disguised as our preacher, Rusty Tugman. It's a pretty well known fact that we have had bad things happen to our family. I know that every family suffers, it just gets to me sometimes because I feel like we have suffered a whole lot. And, honestly, it isn't fair. (please imagine that being said in a five year old whiny voice)
But as we know life isn't fair.
After Stephen's Mom, Grandma and Aunt were taken from us so brutally, I was the one who carried on. I was the strong one. I knew that it would all work out. That is what I had to do. I never once doubted that we were going to be okay. It was horrible and not easy, but I never doubted. And I prayed for strength.
Then Stephen started having medical problems. I carried on. I was the strong one. I knew it would be okay. It was heart wrenching and hard, but I never doubted. And I prayed for healing.
Then God blessed us with our greatest gift, Olive and I knew without a doubt, we were going to be okay. I never doubted his goodness. And I prayed prayers of gratitude!
Then we went through a triple murder trial. I was the strong one. I knew it would be okay. I never doubted that the jury would do what was right, and they did. And I prayed prayers of thanksgiving!
Then my Papa passed away. I was strong. I knew he was in a better place. I never doubted. I prayed for peace for all of us who miss him.
Then we had 3 people pass away and my Granny was diagnosed with breast cancer all in the same week. And I lost the ability to pray. I would try, but I couldn't do it. I would pray prayers of gratitude for Olive. But I was unable to ask God for anything because I really felt like it didn't matter what I asked for, he would do his will. I couldn't pray for his will, because I didn't mean it. This was the worst feeling I have ever had. DOUBT? ME? My whole life was based on my faith and for me to doubt that God had our best in mind was not acceptable for me to think. I guilted myself, I tried to pretend I didn't think that way. But I did. I cried gallons of tears out of guilt that I was not being faithful, that I wasn't trusting the God who had already brought us through so much. I would try to pray and no words would come. I would pray with Olive on the way to school every day and that was all I could bring myself to do. "Dear Jesus, Please help Olive to have a good attitude and be kind to her friends. We love you Jesus. Amen" everyday. This got us through for a while.
Then my Dad was diagnosed with leukemia. And the doubt reared it's ugly head again. Only this time it came in the form of why would God do this to us? Doesn't he know we have already been through enough? Is he punishing me for not being able to pray? Is he punishing me for having doubt? This is my fault. If only I had the kind of faith I was supposed to, this wouldn't happen. So what do I do now? I forced myself to pray for very specific things for my Dad. That he would have strength, that he wouldn't feel sick, that he would have kind nurses and doctors. And this helped a little. I thought if I didn't ask God for too much, maybe we would be okay.
The bottom line is, I was doubting he would listen to me. This internal battle has been being fought everyday since January 17. And I couldn't feel worse about myself. I was a terrible Christian who doubted God's power. And then God let me know that it is okay. Rusty's sermon today was titled "Is Doubt Good?" You can listen to the whole thing here http://www.alamedacofc.org/node/819, but I promise if you listen to it, you will be changed. He left us with this "twitter" version of the sermon "If I am certain that God is good, then I don't doubt that God can bring forth good from my doubt."
Thank you God for being a God who forgives us not only our sins, but our doubts and who carries us through even the toughest of circumstances!