i believe all my anger at God started when i was twelve. when my dad was in the hospital with kidney cancer. everyone around me seemed to be feeling His presence, but i felt nothing. i didn't feel Him next to me. i didn't feel like He was hearing my prayers.
so when my parents came home from the hospital, and everything was going back to the way it used to be, the way of life i was comfortable with, i shut my heart off to God and told Him to stay away.
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i was a very angry girl back then.
i still believed in God, but, i don't think i trusted Him like everyone else in my life seemed to be. i walked around living my life feeling detached from Him. and in those days, i was barely hanging on. i just hoped that in a couple of years, i would find a guy who loved me. then he would make all the pain disappear. that's all i had anymore to cling to. the only thing i was living for.
all throughout middle school and into my freshman year, i was sad. and broken. and hurt. and as much as losing a friend killed me, i didn't completely believe that was all of the reason why i was in so much misery.
i had a longing for something else, but i didn't understand what.
around november of 2011 i think it was, Jesus decided to stick some great influences in my life to begin setting me free. and it worked.
i was able to look to those influences and see how free and loose and joyful they were. they inspired me to get back up on my feet and give life a second try.
and then, then i let Jesus back in. wholeheartedly. having those influences, i believe, helped to soften my heart. i think Jesus knew they would be very influential on a girl like me, who had a deep longing to feel freedom like that, but just couldn't find a way to do it.
they helped me to do it.
i was in a pit back then. and after a while of not seeing Jesus's face, i just resolved to staying in that pit. letting the world eat away at me.
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my point is, there are these times in life when we go bone dry. when we can't feel Jesus. or we feel like we are being pulled away from Him, and we don't feel all that big of a need to resist the pull.
i know the feeling.
it makes you feel like your life is getting taken away.
i call that the desert place.
because that's what it's like, a desert. you can't feel anything and nothing is happening and eventually, for me, it got to the point where i wanted to end my own life. i was so sick of it. not feeling anything from God anymore made me feel heartless. and i used to be the girl with so much heart.
but there is always a way out. i still can't believe there really was one for me, but there was. and if it was possible for me, it is possible for you.
you see, now that i can look back and see things through a different lens, i think that all along, Jesus was testing me. i think He wanted to see how strong my faith was. because back then, i had baby faith. but He has grown me so much through that time i spent in the desert.
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i recently had a heart to heart with a dear friend of mine. she's been feeling like she is doubting God, and she hates it. she hates the feeling. the feeling that she is sinning by questioning His existence.
i felt like that for a bit. there were days when i would question Him. doubt Him.
doubt Him because i felt like He was never there for me anymore. i remember thinking to myself, "why believe in someone who isn't even there for you when you need them?"
but i told my friend this: Jesus was testing her. i can't guarantee a lot of things, but after all of my junk, i can tell now when Jesus is testing. when He wants to see where our faith is. i told her she shouldn't feel ashamed or worried about the way she was feeling. because that is satan. he wants her to feel the shame and the guilt. not Jesus.
i also told her that this time would end. she just had to choose whether she wanted to end it trusting Jesus, or walking away from Him.
this girl has faith like iron and i believe she will be alright. but that desert place, i won't lie, it is hard. and Jesus isn't going to make it easy. it's not going to feel good. and if you've been there, then you know. because when you feel abandoned by Jesus, you feel like there's no one left. no matter how much family or how many friends you have, none of it matters when you are separated from God like that.
but none of it is because He has left you, either. on the contrary, He loves you so much He thinks you're worth saving. if you weren't, i don't think He'd bother testing you, do you?
He gave His life for you. so why would He abandon you?
He never will.
the point, i think, of being in that desert place is so that we will feel so dried out that we finally feel the need to come to Him.
and in the end, you will always find that He was there all along. He never left.
and He never will.