Twenty-two years and seven months ago I surrendered my life to Christ. I was an emotional wreck, my marriage was a mess, I had a 3 year old daughter and was 9 months pregnant with my son. I was in crisis and, for the next twenty years or so, I remained in crisis. My marriage went from bad to worse to dead, while at the same time my daughter went spiraling out of control into self-destructive darkness.
In the midst of all of that, I discovered God. He taught me how to fight, and how to run for cover behind Him while the enemy assaulted my family relentlessly. I came to know His faithfulness, His power, and His own relentlessness to protect and defend that which is His. I came to know my all powerful, ever faithful God through a very long time of crisis. And now, my marriage is restored, and both of my kids are living lives sold out for Jesus. The dust has settled, and God stands victorious over the enemy who sought so hard to destroy a family. So for the past two years I have been trying to figure out what this nagging feeling deep inside of me is about. Why do I feel like I am wandering aimlessly around, looking for something I cannot define? This morning I figured it out. Actually, God figured it out and then told me about it.
I don’t know how to do relationship with God without a crisis.
For two years I have blamed this emptiness, this total dissatisfaction inside of me on everything from empty-nest syndrome to menopause, and my latest one…depression. All of those things are true in my life, but they are simply words to describe my behavior. They don’t explain the ache deep inside of me that co-exists with complete numbness. My empty nest isn’t the real reason that I feel more lost than found, or why the scriptures that gave me life all those years now look like just words on a page. This is me, being real. Because I can’t be anything else right now. I don’t have the strength for it.
But at least I know what it is now. I feel as though God just wrote it in the dust on my dining room table (because depressed, menopausal women who live in empty nests don’t dust very often), and He and I just are staring at the truth in that dust. Now what? Do I introduce myself to this omnipotent Being who just pulled my family from the wreckage of hell, as we both stand here in the after-the-war silence? What do I say, when shouting and declaring His promises over my family seems out of place now?
It was the voice of my daughter that God used to write the truth in that dust. We had a conversation this morning…her in Africa, me here in this very quiet house in Illinois. As I told her a little bit of my “empty-nest” woes, she matter of factly said this, in so many words:
“Being a wife and mother is a gift God gave to you, but it is not why He created you. You were made for relationship with Him, so maybe that’s what you need to concentrate on now.”
That’s what I heard my daughter saying to me. But what I saw God writing in the dust was, “You don’t know how to be in relationship with Me outside of a crisis”.
So, here’s the deal. I love God. I love His Word. I know His faithfulness and His power to heal and restore the most broken things. I know Him as a victorious God that puts the enemy to flight, chases after prodigals until they chase Him back, and turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. I know Him in the rage, chaos and deafening sounds of battle. I know my place and my purpose in the war.
I’m just unsure of what to do in green pastures, beside quiet waters.
Standing across from Him, staring at the truth, I could think of only one thing…
“My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Ps. 27:8)