Nov 17 2013
When God Seems Far Away: A Young Wife and Mom Asks an Honest Question

 

Hi Brant,

 

I grew up in the church, that's all I have really ever known. When i was 17 i gave my life to the Lord and the next few years were really a blessing, I grew in my relationship with him and started to see him in a way i had never before. Now, I'm 23, a wife and a mom and I love it, but the past three years have been hard on my relationship with God.

 

I have started to wonder about my faith. It's hard to see the point. I wonder why do I pray? I know that God is going to do what he will and me praying won't change it. People tell me pray to be close to God but i feel like im talking to the wall. I'm in a very empty place in my walk with God.

 

Sorry to bother you but i just thoght maybe you would have some advice for me. 

 

Thanks so much!

Lindsay

 

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Great question!

 

Lindsay, I almost always feel like I'm talking to the wall when I pray. I've gotten used to it. 

 

I don't prefer it. I wish I felt more. But this used to bother me a LOT when I was your age (In fact, I, too, was about 20 when I started asking people about this feeling that God has left the building.)

 

The bad news is, I'm still "there". Things haven't changed much, in terms of feelings. And I'm old, compared to you. It's been a long time.

 

The good news is: God is still there, too. 

 

I can't look back and say, "Yep, God left me when my feelings left," because of the way my life has unfolded. It's not likeHis blessings stopped. It's not like His protection stopped. It's not like He stopped using me.

 

So I keep praying, anyway. And, in a few occasions - not lots, but a few - I've seen immediate, hard-to-explain-otherwise answers to prayer. 

 

God doesn't come and go with our feelings. Truth is, you've gone through HUGE changes in your life, stressful ones, and you're a different person than you were as a teenager. Your focus is different, your daily goals are different, and, being amom, your body chemistry is even different.

 

Consider this possibility: God gives us certain "spiritual feelings" for a season, like a dad holding up his toddler… and then we learn to walk.

 

Why pray?  A few reasons:

 

Jesus prayed. And I'm told to do it. It's obedience. And, like other things I'm told to do, I need a childlike trust that it's best for me to do it.

 

Second: It changes me. Especially when I'm praying for others, it softens my heart toward them. It brings me in line with God's heart for people. 

 

Third: It becomes a refuge, a quiet place. You've likely noticed by now that the world makes no sense. It's bluster andnoise and signs and commercials and chatter and headlines and hype. But prayer, especially the kind where we put down the iPhone, gives us a break.

 

And the best reason: I'm convinced your presupposition that "God is going to do what He will and my prayer won't change it" isn't true.

 

Lindsay, you've embarked on a relationship, just like with your husband. And you're not relating to Siri. You're relating to a Person. There are examples of people in the Bible openly BARGAINING with God, like Abraham. Or wrestling with Him, like Jacob. 

 

Jesus tells us we can relate to God like a widow who was seeking justice from a judge. She just kept pestering him, until he gave her what she wanted. If God is a computer, all binary code and inevitability, prayer is way less interesting. 

 

But He's not.

 

Jesus tells us to ask the Father for what we need. It matters. And, it makes sense, too: God DOES have a desire for the right things to be done, but He allows us the freedom to do it, or not. Just like with feeding the hungry: He wants them fed, but allows us to play a role in it, and waits for us to at. Prayer may be very similar. Maybe things go wrong, sometimes, because we didn't ask. 

 

I think prayer is taking action.

 

I don't have all this figured out, but I'm confident on that last part. If God is our Father, and we are His adopted children, He is waiting to be asked. 

 

So I ask, feelings or no. Don't wait for the feelings to come back, because you'll miss out. Use prayer as a break from your daily life, and ask God for eyes to see meaning and beauty amidst the routines of motherhood.

 

And - I keep telling people this - relax. It's not only not about your feelings, or your performance, it's not about you, at all. We're in HIS story, and the weight of the world, and the weight of your "rightness" with God, needn't rest on your already-tired mommy shoulders. 

 

He's good that way.

 

Nov 14 2013
And, Sometimes, Things Work Out Beautifully (A Short Story in Pictures)

Angeliz is almost four years old, and she doesn't know anything about radio contests, certainly not "pledge drives", and probably doesn't think much about miracles.

And yet...

Victoria and Isaiah won a contest. They couldn't believe it - literally. They thought it was a time-share deal, or something, when someone from Air1 called to tell them they'd won a trip with Compassion International. They didn't really know what Compassion was. They'd just given during an Air1 pledge drive, and didn't know about the random drawing.

After getting answers to a few questions, like, say, "Where are we going?", they found babysitting for their two little girls, and headed off to Peru with us.

They learned that Compassion develops children, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, and they do it in the name of Christ. They love children, through local churches, and meet their needs through child sponsorship. 

They heard children talk about their sponsors, and how having a sponsor changes everything. They heard a grown woman, now graduating college, talk about poverty, and hopelessness... and how God used her Compassion sponsor to save her life.

And so they went through a list of names, and picked a child. They chose a little girl, the age of their own oldest, and - you guessed it - that girl was named Angeliz.

Angeliz, as you'll remember, is a little girl who probably doesn't think much about miracles.

But she is one.

And the Air1 listeners, Victoria and Isaiah, who happened to win a trip to Peru, her country, and happened to visit her project, a project with 230 children... picked her.

They picked Angeliz.

 

They met her, and hugged her, and she kissed them, and walked with them. But the hills are steep, and the walk is long from the project to her home, especially for tiny legs. Isaiah, though, is strong. Strong enough to care not only for his family, his little girls, but for at least one more.

 

Angeliz lives in a tiny, dark structure on the side of a steep hill, with her great-grandmother. She does not live with her daddy, because he left her and her mommy. And she does not live with her mommy, because her mommy soon left her, too. 

In other words, Angeliz, a forgotten little sparrow, high up in a dark nest in a sprawling hillside... is exactly the kind of girl God has His eye on.

 

Victoria and Isaiah know this God, and they now have their eyes on her, too.