Where is God now?

How could I ever look at anything and ask, “Where’s God?!” All I have to do is look out my window. I can see God everywhere, in everything.
But I have been in that place. More than once. Spiritual desolation where God is nowhere to be found. That corner of hell with gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair.

That place where a young mother is diagnosed with cancer and dies less than a year later leaving a husband and two young children that she worked so hard to have.

The place where baby’s who are “incompatible with life” are carried full-term, the mother’s belly sliced open to give baby life and after a few short days out of the womb the mother is left with memories, photos and a wound far greater than the one from the blade of the scalpel.

The place where ends don’t meet.

There’s no happily ever after.

Where regret is a constant companion and depression is the norm.

Where one begins to doubt heaven and the existence of a God at all.

What kind of God would take the life of a 17-year-old girl with all the promise in the world, one beautiful day after a small town football game? Her mother recalls her saying, “It’s the most beautiful day! I don’t remember a day quite like it?” That was one of the last things she heard her daughter say.

Who wants to know a God that watches two small children lay flowers on their mother’s grave and ask their daddy night after night, “Where’s mommy?”

If God is so good wouldn’t he grant the wish of the young wife who has cried herself to sleep for the last 5 years when the pregnancy test is negative…again.

What about the children who are sold into a world of sex and abuse. Being promised to the dirtiest of men who use them up and throw them away when they’re finished. Surely God doesn’t see or hear their whimper for help. How could he and not do anything about it?!

I don’t know the answer. What I do know, without a doubt in my mind, is that God is good…all the time…even when it doesn’t feel like it. I have crouched, head in hands, digging nails into my scalp, hoping the pain would cure my numbness.

I have been in my corner of self-inflicted hell with seemingly no way out while making promise after promise to my Creator of what I would abstain from if only he would get me out of the current circumstances and save me from myself.I have committed heinous acts thought to push me far beyond forgiveness.

Here is what I know. The same God who calmed the sea when he told Peter to walk out on the water to him, calms my heart when I don’t understand his plan. Just like Peter, when I take my eyes off of him, I sink into the very thing I think capable of overtaking me.

I want to have faith. I do. I want to see every situation through the eyes of a just and loving God with a plan far greater than my own…but more times than not, I don’t. Half the time I shake my fist to the heavens while the other half I lay face down on the floor, arms out, palms open, “Thy will be done, Lord. Not my will, but thine.

I don’t understand his ways. Why should I? I was never promised full disclosure. If I were granted understanding, would there be a need for faith? What would it really change?

He is a God who gives and takes away.

His love endures forever and ever.

I believe.

The only other option is the opposite of hope. A life of uncertainty, waiting for the next “thing” to happen. Asking myself when atrocities occur what I could have done to prevent it, when none of it is within the realm of my control, nor would I want it to be.

God is God and I am not.
All knowing.
All seeing.
All wise.
Infinite.
Immortal.
Unchanging.
The same yesterday, today and forever.

There is one thing I do have control over.
The choices I make.
In this moment,
I choose faith.
I choose not knowing the whole story, but trusting that it will play out as it should.
I choose joy.
I choose grace and mercy.
I choose to see people as God with skin on.
I choose life.
I choose Christ.
I choose freedom.
I choose trust.
I choose forgiveness.

I choose to go out on my back porch, take in beauty that is far too majestic to capture, inhale cleansing breaths through my nose and into every cell in my body, all that is good, all that is well, all that is pure and healing. While exhaling the “what if?” “Why me?” “Why them?” “Why now?” I choose the something far greater awaiting me, if I choose to believe.

Sweet Embrace: A Letter to Elliot

Dear Elliot,

I was browsing through one of my favorite shops in a small North Carolina town when I saw this sculpture. I picked it up and read the description from the artist. This is what it said;
Thankfully I know the owners of the store because I could not hold back the tears that were imminent. While holding the artwork tightly in both hands I was able to tell them about you, your life and your legacy. That makes two more people who know how incredible you are and what a difference you are making in the lives of others.

Mary carefully packed the figure in brown paper to ensure a smooth trip home. That was three months ago. I put the bag in my closet and looked at it several times a day, but left the statue securely wrapped.
I finally sat down and slowly pulled the pieces of tape away from the brown paper. As the image began to appear I was overcome with emotion. It sounds silly, right?

Like certain music, art has the ability to move us from where we are, right back to a moment in time.

I wanted a place where, not only would I see it throughout the day, but others could as well and ask about its meaning.

While admiring it when first getting up this morning, memories began flooding in. Sleepovers with singalongs on our hairbrush microphones and talent shows from the school’s cafeteria stage. Tennis matches in the heat and humidity we had grown accustomed to in the south and seemingly never-ending miles on the church van. It reminded me of the long days of summer and the childlike anticipation of Christmas. A time that was good and innocent. A time when divorce had not been intrusive, cancer wasn’t personal and we were unaware of how incredibly cruel the world can be. I had to smile.

I am quite certain that each time I look at it another memory or emotion will surface. I’m okay with that. I don’t think chance is what took me into the store on that particular day, I think it was God.

Wyatt is celebrating his 7th birthday today. He is so grown up! I love seeing the pictures that Chris posts on your Facebook page. It’s amazing the difference a year makes between six and seven.

El, I still haven’t written those letters. I don’t know how. I don’t know what to say and yet there is so much I want to say. I have things for them that, just like the figurine, remain in a bag, undisturbed. Do you think I will ever have the courage to put my thoughts on paper and stop worrying about whether it’s worded perfectly?

The children are beautiful, Elliot. I know that you are so proud. And Chris is doing a wonderful job. It is evident how much he loves and misses you. We all miss you.

Love and Light,


Related Post:

Oh my soul

To see more sculptures by Cindy Burden click here

Weekly Photo Challenge: HaPpY

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Yay! How much do I LOVE this week’s photo challenge?! A LOT! It was tough for me to choose only a few, but I have done it! Are you ready? Here we go. Strings of lights hung above a walkway. … Continue reading

Perspective and Grace

It’s early. The stillness is calming as I look out on the water that looks like glass, the sun is just starting to peek through the layer of clouds spread across the sky. Last night my dreams were filled with random and stressful things. I was running through most of it. Physically running.

Is that what I’m doing? Running? I have sat down staring at this white page on the computer screen a dozen times in the last week. Nothing. There are millions of things swirling around in my mind. Good things. Bad things. Meaningful things. They just won’t come together to form a sentence.

Last night I spent some time on my good friend, Leanne Penny‘s blog. Her latest entry is about seasons of life. It hit me. Why am I struggling so much? Why do I keep trying to force words into a post? Why am I looking at my stats? I know myself well enough to know that if I had 5,000 “followers” I would be asking myself why I didn’t have 10,000. When really, that’s not at all what this is about. I have to remind myself why I started.

It was to share my experience, strength and hope with others as a way of giving back. A way of saying, “Thank you.” to the God who could have left me in the gutter. A way of spreading hope and healing for broken dreams.

I am a living, breathing example that you can have a plan for exactly how your life is going to go, but for the majority of us it will not look at all like we planned. If my life had gone the way I “planned” I would have been a published author by the age of 30, after I had grown tired of being a successful actress, model and Broadway singer. You laugh, but that is what I was aspiring to.

And then something went wrong and I turned into a wretched depiction of my former self. The more I self medicated, the more hollow I became. I was far from home and completely disconnected from all that had ever been good in my life.

It took an undercover cop, a u-haul, some garbage bags filled with my things and a trip across several state lines before I could begin at zero and build from there. I look back at that scared, emaciated, ego driven, 18-year-old girl and it doesn’t make me sad or regretful anymore. It makes me smile. To think of how far one can go to escape God and everything one has ever known only to find a better understanding than she ever would have had otherwise.

I am the face of redemption. I am cleansed and restored. I have been put back together. I am found. Never to be lost again. I am People of the Second Chance.

 

1-Minute Meditation: Today

I read this earlier on Anita Esch Montgomery‘s facebook page. It is quite fitting for many of us and the conversations we have been having lately. I hope that you too will find that it meets you right where you are…today.


Today Is Your Best Day

In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. Psalm 44:8

Here are four reasons why today is your best day.
– Today is your best day because you are here. God has placed you in this moment of time for a purpose, and the things that happen to you today will be an unfolding of that purpose.
– What happened to you yesterday, however easy or difficult, was used by God to help prepare you for what He has for you today.
– God will use what happens today to prepare you for what He has for you in future days.
God has used your past and worked it all together for the good, and He will use this day to add to the good that He has already worked in your behalf.

~ Roy Lessin, Today is Your Best Day.

Red lippy kisses

“Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.” 
~Pearl S. Buck

…and some mothers wear red lippy so that their kisses last longer and cannot be easily wiped off with a cotton sleeve.