Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why can't I feel God.....


Pololu Vallay Lookout, originally uploaded by pieceofheaven.
As Christians many times it seems that our relationship with God is a roller coaster ride....We have wonderful highs where we see His beauty in everything around us. We are at peace and continuously feel his guidance in our life. A term that is often used is that you are enjoying a "Mountaintop Experience".......And then there are the times in our lives where we feel alone and abandoned. And at times even question His existence. That we are just "going through the motions." These times can be referred to as "being in the valley."

I have been a follower of Christ for most of my life so I have experienced the whole gamete of emotions that come with this relationship. This morning I received an email from a dear friend who is "walking in a valley." For the last year or so she just can't seem to find God anywhere. She misses those feelings that she use to have. The times where she would Sing and Dance and feel engulfed in His Love. But as we all know life gets busy and we get preoccupied and difficulties surround us. Next thing we know we try to find those "feelings" that we had with God and they aren't there. So we try to do the things we were doing before - hoping - praying - that we will feel Him once again. We sing the same songs. We go sit in the same places. We read the same verses. And then when we come up empty we feel abandoned. We start to question ourselves. What am I doing wrong? Why can't I get close to Him? Did I ever even feel Him before or is this just all a big game?......

Personally, the best way for me to think of my relationship with God is to relate it to my marriage.

When I first met Rob we couldn't spend enough time together. We would stay up late talking, learning about each other. I told Everyone about him. I wrote his name on my books..(I was still in High School...lol) And then we got married.....bu bu buuuummm.....And then you enter the “real world”. The times of gazing into each other’s eyes are long gone. There are bills to pay and children to raise and life gets crazy!!....
When I first moved to Wisconsin we had just started our business and I never saw Rob. He would leave the house at 5:30am and get home at 10:00pm to eat supper, sleep and do it all over again the next day….7 days a week…No cell phones, no way to keep connected….I was ALONE! Rob will admit that I basically raised both our children by myself. I was separated from my family by 1200 miles and none of our friends had children. We had "friends". But there was no one to talk to about the things that I was going through. Those years were hard...I remember thinking...What happened? I remember what life use to be like back in Texas. The man that I married was home at 4:30pm and we would sit on the couch and watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. We would go to the movies and out to supper. And now I just don't feel what I felt then… It wasn't that I didn't love Rob or that he didn't love me - that was never in question.. It was just that it didn't look the same or feel the same.....Those were definitely valley years for me and for Rob – and for our marriage...Many of you have heard me say...I cried for 6 years and I am not exaggerating..

Fast forward many years....at this point in our marriage I will say we are blessed tobe on a mountaintop...when I stand up here I can see things clearly, for what they really are. It was for the very best that I left Texas and came here. I found out who I am. I am stronger than I ever could have been if I would have stayed. I don’t believe I would have been the parent I am if we would have stayed. If I would have other mom’s around me to talk to maybe I wouldn’t have trusted myself enough and invested so much of me into making sure they were well rounded, responsible, loving and respectful children….now young adults…

Does it mean that we get to stay here on the mountain?...You might think it's crazy but honestly - I hope not...You see in the past 22 years Rob and I have have had many mountaintop experiences. But today when I look at them they are tiny hills. But we had to go through those to get to where we are now. Anyone who believes that Rob and I are the couple we are out of luck or because we choose to avoid things and just pretend to be happy on the outside have no idea at the work that we have done along the way...together. We will face new challenges. Maybe it will be our business or our health or any number of things... In fact - I will be honest with you - we both know that we are headed off our mountaintop soon. There are challenges that lie ahead but at least we know this one is coming, unlike the times you feel like someone just pushed you off a cliff. So we grab each other by the hand and vow to be a team in the valley. To remember the mountaintop and know that another one will be ahead but no guarantees as to how far. In the valley we have to make "us" a priority. We have to have dates even if they are talking about the kids or the business. And we know that sometimes it will feel like we are just “going through the motions.” But we HAVE to do it. Sadly there are times when we are in the valley that I whine and complain, “why can't I have now what I had then – it was better back there....I don't want to go any farther...I was satisfied with what we had”....WHY CAN'T I LEARN??????

God never promised us that a relationship with Him would be easy. Just like I was never promised marriage would be. In fact he assures us that it will be just the opposite. But He wants us to understand that those trials that we go through are good for us. We need those difficulties for our relationship to grow deeper. I would be disappointed if my relationship with Rob looked like it did when we first met. At that point there was no way of knowing that marriage could be like this. No one could have ever explained it to me. But to get here we had to go through the work, the tears, the arguments, the all night conversations. That is the way it is with my relationship with God. What if I would have thought that quoting scriptures and knowing every hymn in the red hymn book that set beside my bed was as deep as it got. I was Happy then. I honestly was. But then when I wasn't content with that I began to search for more and at times thinking that I lost Him because nothing felt the same. But then on the next mountaintop it was always better than the last....

 We all get discouraged in the valley. We all get lost and feel alone. Just don’t give up. It is through the valleys we learn the lessons we need to be able to move forward. And then with each mountain top you get closer and closer to Him.

Today I dream for you........I know that you want me to say mountaintops....I know you really do....so okay - I dream for you mountaintops....but not to stay forever - just long enough to get your bearings....to look around at where you came from..to be proud of the rugged terrain that you had to cross. To sit for a time and breath and think clearly. But then to know that there are other valleys that are ahead. And to give thanks for the small mountaintops that brought you higher each step of your journey.....

Have a beautiful beautiful day friend....

And now to share with you my very favorite verse in the Bible is James 1:2-7

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

8 comments:

staci said...

Thanks Linda.. You are such an amazing woman. I so need this. I feel like I've been pushed off the side of the mountaintop a few too many times lately. Just when I start to feel like I'm getting back up I get pushed, or maybe pulled back down. The mountaintop seems way too high, but I know we must press on. Thanks for the encouragement...

Sue said...

I love when we can look back and see how we have grown from our failures and struggles!! I just love it! We definitely can't just sit around and wait for things to happen...because nothing will. Keep pushing ahead no matter what. life does get better with knowledge we just have to remember to use it.

Anonymous said...

You know, I never looked at it that way...when you are at a "mountain" in your life you should be PROUD of what you have accomplished and done and how you SURVIVED the trip even though in that valley you didn't think it would happen! It doesn't matter where you are in your relationship w/ GOD, Spouse, Friendship, that is great advise. Thanks again for your wisdom and for putting things in to perspective!! Tessa S

Anonymous said...

Linda, So well said. The assurance that we are never alone, is what helps to make it through those valleys. It feels so much better to know that I am not the only one who has, does and will have those feelings.

kholley said...

I love how you write. I love how you always have a way of taking a tough lesson and making it real by sharing your life. I appreciate the words you shared about you and Rob. You two have always been such a big piece of my life and I appreciate you continuing to share through you words. As I grow older and begin to figure out life, you and Rob and the kids are continuing to help me even from so far away. I love you

Anonymous said...

That was just beautiful! It gives me so much hope. Thank you Linda!!
-Amanda F.

Linda Jo said...

I am just so happy that these words encouraged all of you wonderful ladies. What makes this life doable is that when we are in the valleys to have friends encouraging us to keep going while they are headed up the mountain. I am so thankful to have each of you to be doing this life with!!

SoCal Mama said...

That is beautifully well said and something I learned this year through the 23rd Psalm. We go through seasons through the valleys and mountain tops. Jesus promises us that He guides us with His rod and staff! Thank you!