Saturday, October 6, 2007

Twist of Lemon with That?

I wish I could say that I am the quintessential pastor's wife who is full of wisdom and grace and able to singlehandedly create - and lead - amazing ministries out of the miry clay. The truth lately is that I spend more time in the miry clay than I do outside of it.

I'm not gonna lie to you, my faith is on the rocks. Too bad "faith on the rocks" does not contain alcohol because at least that would numb my senses. It's not because of the miscarriage - I actually felt this way before that happened, although experiencing that loss did not help. Depression, compounded by grief, compounded by the relentless pressures of the church plant, compounded by emotional unhealth: in case you were wanting the recipe for the drink. If you mix it correctly it should come out in a perfect Barbie doll pink.

Basically my spiritual life isn't amazingly great and I don't want a bunch of moronic Christianese cliches as to how to "get back on track". I'm not off the track. I still think God is real but I am extremely frustrated with all of this crap and the feeling that I am missing something spiritually. The cliches only serve to infuriate me anyway. If there was a punching bag that spouted cliches I would have pulverized it by now.
(If I were really honest I would include all the expletives that are involved in the alternate conversation in my head.)

"God is in control" *POW*
"This is all part of God's perfect plan." *WHAMMO*
"Let go and let God." *BLAM-BLAM-BLAM"

Yeah, whatever. None of those things mean anything to me. All the rotten things that happen in this world aren't part of God's plan. Why the hell would God's perfect plan include murder, rape, mutilation, abuse, war, AIDS, starvation, disease, and all the other hard or heinous things in this world? It's just bad theology to suggest such a thing. GOD IS GOOD NOT EVIL. God doesn't inflict evil things upon us to "teach us a lesson" or "build our character" - if He did that He would be abusive, not loving. People make choices to participate in some of these heinous acts and God is not in control of that; He allows humans to choose whatever they will. God is sovereign but that is another matter.

So what is my problem? I'm tired. I want to go live in a cabin in the woods for a month where I can be still and know that God is God. I often hear of others who go on pilgrimages to Buddhist monasteries or Ashrams and this seems like a good idea to me. (I know that I said hiding out in a monastery is cowardly in a previous blog. I am not contradicting myself. I am suggesting the value of going there for restoration purposes rather than to hide from life's problems for an indefinite amount of time like Sister Maria tried in The Sound of Music.) The closest thing we have in Christendom is a Catholic monastery; however, I am not Catholic and some of our beliefs would differ. Many churches host so-called retreats; I have yet to find any rest or restoration on one of these seminar-filled, activity-packed venues. Going to a cabin in the woods sounds more realistic since there ain't much else to choose from. Many Christians don't seem to value mystery or mystics much; a jam-packed seminar will keep our little minds off the greater mysteries of our existence. However, these mysteries have become a deafening part of my existence and there is no drowning them out. As I say to my husband, "I'm not a typical pastor's wife - I am the kooky-mystic-writer person who doesn't fit the profile and doesn't do any of the expected pastor's wife things." (This may be why I feel like a crazy person. What's with those perfect go-getters?!)

Jesus specifically talks about doing the impossible with God's power. How does that work exactly? And if my faith is too small will God make it bigger? I really want to know the answer to this question and my heart hurts for the not knowing. What about seeing people healed? What about my own healing? I have so many questions for God and some of them need answers here on earth, not just in the hereafter. There have been human beings who knew God on a whole other plane than the one that I am currently on and I need to be where they were in their understanding of God and in their relationship with Him.
What I really long for is restoration. I long to have a clear picture of the health vs. the unhealth in my life so that I can make better decisions. I am weary of making bad decisions based on guilt or pride or just plain pigheadedness and then hating my life because of it. Right now I am helping co-lead children's ministry. For anyone who knows me well, you know that this is neither a gift nor a passion area for me. I have never dreamed of doing this. I have never wanted to do this. I have dreaded doing this. So, basically, I am an idiot right now that I am even doing this and then wailing, "But if I don't do it who will?!" Doesn't exactly sound like a decision made by a healthy person, right? Maybe what's on the rocks is all of this cliched, guilt-inducing, perfect-pastor's wife nonsense that is ruining my life, not my faith. I dunno. It's hard to differentiate.

When life hands you lemons...
slice them up and garnish your drink with them.
Instead of the little umbrellas, serve with a Barbie head on a swizzler stick.


Jamey Clayberg said...

The "Saint's Club" can be as phony as the world, amen to that. My trick (when it works) is to accept that because of my unwillingness to join I will never be seen as a full member, but in exchange for that I get to keep an actual relationship with God. Not so easy to maintain however when you (or spouse) are employed by the club.

Aubrey said...

You may not know, but I read your words often. In these moments since Bethany Baptist Church, your words are the only ones I truely understand.

CGA said...

Sometimes I think I am nuts to be this honest... I mean,

what will people think?!

That's the question that screw us up to begin with.

God takes me where I am, not where He wishes that I was - I guess that's the difference between how He sees me and how others might see me. His opinion is oh-so-much more valuable to me.