The brave soul has been a place where I have chosen to be terrifyingly honest about my journey with God. And as tempted as I am to wait and tell this story in hindsight *to ensure a good and happy ending* I am choosing to tell it in the middle.
In the middle – in the middle of the process, in the middle of the valley – when my kids are even noticing and asking the questions – where is God? why isn’t He coming?
I have been in seasons where God has showed up abundantly – miraculously – with an overflow, but this has not been one of those seasons. The past two years have not been a fun adventure – more like wandering in a scorching hot desert – where our family has been contending for His promises without reprieve. It has been a constant struggle to put one foot in front of the other. It’s not even about the money anymore, or the healing, or even getting our “breakthrough” of what we want/need – we just want Him to come.
Back when I was in college I felt prompted to go on a mission trip to Africa. I was months late in joining, and therefore thousands of dollars behind in the fundraising. But the moment I said a radical yes, money just poured in. It was as if every dollar happily shouted god is with you and blessing this decision!. In a short time, I was able to raise all of the money plus an extra $500 that I gave away while there. It was exciting to see God show up with abundant provision and I didn’t even have to do a thing.
Fast forward to this month and I am planning to go to the same country with my son. We have been raising funds all year and even though I have had many more months to raise half the amount – I was short $500 dollars up until the very last moment. I tried so hard; asking, seeking, knocking, waiting – and I was at a loss. I knew I that I supposed to go, but there hadn’t been favor or confirmation or “proof”. (The money actually came in the process of writing this post)
But that is just a snippet of how life has felt in this past season.
And the truth is – I feel pretty sad about it. We live in an environment where God is showing up all around us – but not here. We are watching Him move mountains, miraculously providing and healing the people right next door to us, yet He remains silent in our little world. Sometimes it can feel like salt being rubbed in a wound. And when you live in the house that it seems as though God passes over – you can wonder what you’re doing wrong.
It can feel like He is withholding himself from me. To be in relationship with someone who is holding back their goodness and potential from you can be painful. I know what He is capable of, I have seen His Goodness with my own eyes, but I don’t understand why He is silent this time and I wrestle with the disappointment.
But there is something inside of me that refuses to give up. I am fighting to believe that He still is who He says He is – even when I am not experiencing it. It is easier for me to praise Him when he shows up in abundant ways, but the sacrifice of praise goes deep. It activates a faith inside of me that ironically produces a real connection with God. When I press into Him no matter what I get out of it – I actually find His heart.
I am so tempted to make my faith about what He is/or isn’t doing for me rather than who He is. And there is no other time where I am challenged with that more than when I am facing lack and hardship and struggles. In my insecurities I can immediately assume that He is withholding from me on purpose – that maybe He is not pleased with me anymore.
For some reason when He is silent, I become a victim. And I begin asking the question of betrayal where are you?! rather than responding as a Daughter saying – I can’t see You, but I am still here.
Because sometimes when God is silent, it is my turn to speak.
Even though my present circumstances taunt me to think He has abandoned me – this is the moment to activate my voice. The most difficult time to speak Truth aloud is when it is the most heavily opposed. When it is unpolished, raw, and vulnerable faith. It is the pain that keeps me circling the lies that are loaded with “proof” to keep me silent. The resistance that is stacked against me can trigger old wounds telling me we’ve been here before – give up.
But the most powerful weapon I have been given is my mouth because it has the ability to unlock the kingdom of heaven into my present reality. The way that I activate my faith is through my voice. All of the attempts to silence my voice have been to hinder this great reality. Pain can alter my voice to speak doubt, fear, frustration and to complain out loud. But even my smallest praise in the middle of a storm, can move mountains.
Just because He is quiet, doesn’t mean He isn’t listening.
Life is busy. I spend most of my time in the car driving kids around and the way that I activate my voice (even when I don’t understand) is by blessing out loud the very things that feel under attack. Alone in my car, I speak life to the things that are the hardest for me to believe, and I come back into alignment with His heart toward me.
I begin by blessing my own heart, mind, body, and spirit because sometimes I just need help reminding myself of the lens that I want to see life and others through – and that gives me a fresh perspective to speak out of. Then I bless my husband and our marriage, and each of my kids by name – and their present challenges, and then our finances. I speak life over our home, over our dreams, over our future. Even though it may look bleak – I choose to use my mouth to partner with heaven and navigate us out of this storm.
Even though it has been a painful process, I am finding that maybe it is an honor that he would entrust me with seasons of silence. In the relationships where we feel the most safe and known, we take turns speaking to one another and sitting to listen. Maybe he wants to hear what we have to say – what’s actually in our hearts.
Instead of being offended and mistrusting His intentions, this has been a season of putting my big girl pants on and saying I will show up with you. He is building a capacity inside of me – empowering me. He used to do it all for me, but now it’s my turn to respond. I trust you God. I know you’re good. You don’t have to prove it to me anymore. You are worth the wait.