Monday, November 9, 2009

The Saddest Sweater/I'm Having Problems with Faith

The Saddest Sweater

I have a lot of old pictures of my family. I have a few photos of people who I have never met. Some are beautiful, some are cute, some make you feel like you are looking at an issue of Life magazine.

This one is of a girl I don't know and my mom (the little one). I love this photo because in addition to my mom being so darn cute, check out that sweater! One side is longer than the other, the button holes are not lines up with the buttons; this may be the saddest sweater that ever lived.
I'm Having Problems with Faith

I've been feeling very contemplative lately. In keeping with the "authentic self" discussion, I've been trying to answer questions like "what defines me," and "what do I strive for." I realized that had I asked these questions of myself a few years ago, the answers would be completely different. As a family, we have gone through several years that I can only describe as incredibly difficult, surreal, and life-changing. We have gone from moderately financially well off to food stamp recipients, my husband has sustained a disability that has left him unable to work. 3 of my grandparents died. I have faced legal issues that have tried my sanity. You know, stuff happened and it seemed to happen all at once and it all made absolutely no sense. Oh, and just so you know, last week was BAD for me. I was yelling at everyone, touchy and jumpy, I didn't know what the bejeebers was going on with me (and no, it was not PMS).

Today, I took Brenda Dayne's advice and got my free audio book from It took me a while to decide on a title, but I finally chose Phillip Yancey's Disappointment With God. I consider his What's So Amazing About Grace one of my top ten books - he writes about difficult topics in a refreshing, real way. I have been talking to trusted people in my church about the fact that I'm just not feeling anything anymore when I go to church, participate in church activities, etc. My husband has pointed out to me, and I would have to agree, that God has met our every need. Money has come from places that we didn't expect, we have never wanted for food or other necessities, and we have parents who have made sure that we are clothed and have a little fun.


When this all started, I'd be the first to pray for someone, volunteer for a church activity, or help a neighbor in need. But when our lives took a serious and rapid u-turn, I prayed and prayed and got no answers. I felt alone. I knew there was a God, I just didn't think he cared about me. There was a huge part of me that felt like I had spent my entire life trying to emulate Jesus, to do the right thing, and I had given myself wholly to Him. If that was the case, why did we have to go through such difficult times? My friends started calling me Jobess and said that they hoped I wouldn't become infected with boils. Seriously (they are a little twisted). I stopped going to church for a while, but I missed the people. When I went back, I found that I felt nothing. The experience seemed empty. I felt dull in a way that I never had.

It is getting better. But I would lie if I still didn't find myself silently screaming to God "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" Why can't I feel him anymore? Why do the songs that meant so much to me feel hollow?


I've been told that this all will pass. That if I just keep with it and go through the motions that some of those old feelings will creep in. But this answer just seems too simple and trite for me. So I'm hoping that Yancey will help me to understand what I'm dealing with a little better.

I only write about these things because I know that many others suffer with the same thoughts, the same feelings. I've talked to countless Christians who have told me that they either have had a period like this in their life or they, too, were experiencing this. It always helps me to know that I am not alone.

O.K. So that's enough of the serious for today. I'm starting a new hat for Will; I'll tell you about it in my next post.


Iron Needles said...

I am very touched by your post. I have had different, yet similar experiences with regards to my faith. I have found some truth in two phrases that I would share with you.

God is in control and loves me utterly.

How would I act/feel today if I knew all was working out exactly like it needed to?

Take what you like. Just my two cents.

Erin Wallace said...

Thanks for the comment and thanks for the phrases. The second one really intrigues me and I'm going to meditate on it. Maybe I'll write about it. I was leery about writing this post as it deals with a touchy subject, but in the end, I decided to do it. So I appreciate the comment greatly.

Moon Mommy said...

Hi Erin,
I wish I couldn't relate to this post, but I truly can. I've never felt "abandoned" by God before like I do these days. I have stopped going to church, and I hate that. I have a really bad attitude and even my prayers feel forced and empty. My take on why I feel He isn't listening is that I am trying to use him for my will. I haven't bothered to ask what He would have me do.

Have you heard of this book, Lord Change My Attitude Before it's too Late by James McDonald?
Persevere Erin, keep crying out for Him. He knows what He's doing.

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