We All Break

RESTJune 2, 2015 by Kristin

I’m in a faith crisis.

I used to think life was working because I followed God. I went to Bible college and into ministry to make a difference in the world—I taught kids they can have eternal life through faith in Jesus and a better life here on earth doing things God’s way.

I’m still trying to follow God, but life isn’t working the way I thought it was supposed to.

I feel like a failure, because, when push comes to shove, I can’t live the Biblical truth I believed and taught to at-risk youth. I can’t get past my anger and sadness to the joy I thought he promised.

I asked Todd why I don’t feel God’s comfort.

“You’re swimming in the middle of an ocean asking what wet is,” Todd said. “You’re surrounded by the love of God, by his people, in his grace, but you don’t see it because you’ve never known anything else.” Todd knows how dark life can get because he wasn’t walking with Christ when he was in his twenties. He says our life isn’t dark.

Friends tell me I am doing fine considering our circumstances. Todd tells me I am doing a good job taking care of him and the kids.

“Why am I in a faith crisis?” I asked Todd.

“Because you’re in crisis,” he said.

I am connected through Facebook to other caregivers and many of us are hard on ourselves. We think we should be able to walk through suffering better. I wonder, would it really be suffering if it wasn’t hard? We are human. Even Jesus wept. Our Savior prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” One of the most encouraging things someone told me (Thanks, Pastor Steve) was “Of course, you’re having a hard time with this. You’re weak.”

We’re all weak.

Todd and I enjoy watching a spy TV series together. In one episode, a spy was captured by rogue agents. “Will he talk?” a young spy wondered if his teammate would break under the brutal torture techniques. “Everyone talks,” a veteran spy declared.

Some of us are more resilient than others, but we all break.

Victor Frankl poses a question to those who are suffering to help them gain perspective: What would you say to yourself when you are 80, lying on your death bed looking back on life?

The 80-year-old Kristin would say to herself, “You squeezed what happiness you could out of your time with Todd and the kids. Todd loved you. The kids love you. It was wonderful to be so loved. You invested in the kids. You stuck with Todd. You did the best you could. It was a long tough season, but you hung in there. It seemed like your grief would never end, but in the grand scheme of things, it was just a part of your story, and there was good in those difficult years. You grew in empathy and in love. You expected too much of yourself, but you did fine. You were mad at God, but all those kids you worked with before ALS and many people you met after Todd’s diagnosis got the short end of the stick, too. Everyone has to learn to deal with suffering.”

My 80-year-old self is kinder to me than my 37-year-old self. Maybe broken is an okay place to be. The Psalmist was broken. The Apostle Peter was broken. We eat the Lord’s Supper and remember Christ’s words: “This is my body, broken for you.”

My story is one in a long line of broken stories. It is a minuscule subplot of God’s great story of redemption.

As I have talked to others, I realized I am not the only one struggling to cope with the brokenness of this world. A friend and I decided to start REST, a Christian, 12-step support group for women who need recovery from the heartaches of life. Life can be brutal. It requires re-definition. It’s a hard process and we aren’t designed to go it alone. REST, Raw Emotion Support Time, will be meeting at Evangel the second and fourth Sunday evenings of each month, beginning June 14th and running through November.

Pray for us—or join us.

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