From Brad Hambrick's blog

sharing the struggle 3: doubt

Do Christian’s doubt? Do they have dark days where they feel uncertain of God’s sovereignty and goodness? The answer is: absolutely yes.

Today was one of those days for this Christian. I originally blamed my mood on the impending doom of menstruation. I always reach a low point a few days before the crimson tide and so when I woke up feeling a little on edge, uncertain, and dissatisfied I was reassured by the grinding pain in my lower back and burning ache in my loins that it was purely hormonal. I read about the Proverbs 31 woman as part of my morning devotional and set my gaze upon success for the day. I tried to continue with my to-do list despite this flooding tide of negativity that was coming upon me. I felt inadequate and overwhelmed. I was getting depressed.

My husband came home from work and I asked him to help me decipher what was going on. I didn’t want to admit it, but I had a sneaking suspicion that this was about more than hormones. He guided me through a discussion of how I was feeling and where these feelings were coming from. I began to realize I was struggling with the same sense of nothing’s ever good enough from before. WHAT?! Come on God, hadn’t we worked through this? Why is this still an issue!?? I want to be happy. I want to be in your will! I want to rely on You! Why won’t you let me be perfect??? Why won’t you let me get this concept and move on!!

I began to feel hopeless. I began to get this very certain sense that God didn’t care about me and I was just this puppet on a string that he was manipulating for his amusement. I was not pleased. As I talked through this with Micah I admitted I doubted God loved me at all. This tore me apart. It felt like the thing I had invested all my happiness in didn’t even care about me and was using my trust in him against me. I started crying. No, I started bawling. I went inside my mind and cried like a child. I cried with fierce anger and frustration. “Show me God! Show me that you love me!! I want to trust you, but I have so many doubts! It doesn’t feel like you love me! Show me that you love me!!”

The little girl inside my brain became hysterical. I was screaming for God to show me a sign that he loved me and cared. The little girl fell to her knees, as her voice became hoarse with desperation and exhausted frustration “Show me you love me!!!”

All the while my husband held me tightly as he watched his wife cry silently.

“What are you feeling Tasha?” he asked.

“I feel like God doesn’t love me. I feel hopeless and alone. I want to believe, but He’s not answering me”

“You don’t feel like God loves you? Do you want me to remind you of times you felt certain and overwhelmed by His love?”

“Yes, I want to believe again” I replied weakly

“Would you believe it even if I reminded you?” he said with concern in his voice.

“Probably not”

“I want to pray for you first” And so he did. He prayed for me aloud as I prayed inside, the little girl’s fading voice prayed that God would show up.

As my husband opened his eyes after the prayer to look at me, he reminisced, “I remember when I was a boy I would get so angry at my parents for disciplining me. I would run to my room and slam the door and curse them. I was so angry and upset. I honestly felt like they didn’t love me and didn’t care. I thought that it would be better if they were dead. I would cry and resent them. But my parents were good to me and they did love me. They took care of me, fed me, bought me the things I needed and even a lot of the things I wanted. They loved me so much they wouldn’t let me sit in sin because they knew that the pain in my childhood would blossom into me becoming a mature, disciplined adult. Despite whatever that had happened that made me so angry with them, they didn’t stop loving me. In fact, they most definitely did it because they loved me very much. Their love for me hadn’t changed, it was my perspective that had changed.”

Fresh tears started to run down my face, “Thank you”

“For what?”

“I know now that God’s love for me hasn’t changed just because of how I feel or what I’ve done, it’s my perspective of God that has changed.”

“I’m glad you can see that Tasha. I know God loves you so much. I can see Him working in your life all the time. How do you feel now?”

“Better” I said as I hugged him tightly.

“Well, I think God just showed up”

I soaked up the moment, feeling relief and freedom from the dark burden of doubt, but something still lingered…

“I have to repent now, huh?” I asked childishly.

He smiled, “You don’t have to right now… but just like when you were a kid and got angry with your parents and yelled at them and said horrible things, it would feel weird to come back to God like nothing ever happened. It’s going to feel weird until you apologize. He’s forgiven you Tasha. He knows all of the awful things you said and thought and He has already forgiven you. All you have to do is turn to Him and apologize.”

I nodded. I knew he was right.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10

“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus…” Acts 3:19

I closed my eyes and found that little girl standing before the feet of God, looking up endlessly at her Father.

“I see now that you’ve loved me the whole time. I said awful things. My faith was weak and I doubted so quickly. I thought of You as a much smaller, pettier god than You really are. I’m so sincerely sorry.”

Am I alone in this? Have you had doubts about God’s love and providence? What do you do when you doubt?

sharing the struggle 2: nothing’s good enough

“If you want to guarantee that your life becomes a tragedy – become the hero of your own story” G.K. Chesterton

My life recently was becoming a tragedy. Everything was less than expected, sad, wrong, or imperfect. At first it just looked like I was disappointed with a thing or two each day. Then each day seemed to be full of let-downs. Life began to seem lack luster. I couldn’t be generally as happy as I used to be. Why? Why did little things like the dishes not getting done, or not having time to complete a craft destroy my mood for the rest day? Nothing was ever good enough anymore. I couldn’t enjoy the good things in my life because I let the little things bother me so much. And even after I saw that and pulled up my bootstraps and ‘decided’ to let go of the little things, I couldn’t. I didn’t change. I couldn’t change myself. Was I doomed to consider life miserable despite how blessed I truly was?

YES! I was relying on my standard and expectations to measure what was good and bad. But who am I?? I don’t have the whole world in my hand. I don’t have control over the universe. Yet I acted like I did by thinking that my plans HAD to work or else everything else was out of order and unfair. Thinking like this doomed me to be dissatisfied for the rest of my life. Not only that but it made God and his plan very very small.

“Oh, how much larger your life would be that you would become smaller in it” Pastor Tullian Tchividjian

I was essentially saying to God “I know you are the all-knowing, all-powerful God who loves me and designed me from the beginning of time with a plan for all my days, BUT i have a plan and if it doesn’t happen that way, I’m going to through a little temper tantrum about it” How’s that for a thank you to God for loving and creating me? God knows what I need better than I do and yet I get upset when I don’t get what I want.

It was only a couple weeks ago that I confessed this to God, repented and asked him to change my heart to seek his plan and be content knowing it’s better than my own. But already my view on life has improved dramatically. I am so much more resilient to changes in my day. I still make plans and lists, but I know that they are only a guide as God has the reigns. Which actually is a huge burden lifted off of me.

I once heard a friend tell me a bit about dog psychiatry (thanks T ;). She said that dogs need an Alfa dog in their pack to feel certain of what to do, where to go, and that they are taken care of. If the humans in their house do not demonstrate that they are the Alfa dog, then the dog feels the need to take control. But how can a dog take control in a human world? It’s very confusing and stressful for the dog. Have you seen those dogs that try to control their masters, are high strung and full of anxiety? That was me. I was running around frantically trying to make plans, trying to do things, and trying to be in control of a world I am most definitely not in control of, and God was still going about his plan! How wonderful it is to NOT be the Alfa dog and know that the Alfa dog has control, knows what I need, and it taking care of me!

I am still not prefect and I still try to act like the Alfa dog sometimes, but God is working on me everyday!

Can you relate?


sharing the struggle: the beginning

I once heard Katy Perry on the Ellen Show promoting her video documentary. She said that she sensed this would be a significant year of her life that would be full of big changes so she wanted it all documented. Well I’ve had that feeling since I was first introduced to the idea of becoming a missionary midwife a few years ago. I started blogging about it and then started a whole new blog just for this aspect of my life. 3 blogs, 2 twitter accounts and 1 Facebook re-activation later, I have still failed to share the real story. Why have I held back?

Look around you. Everywhere you look you see people telling you via tv, blogs, facebook, instagram, pinterest, and tumblr how wonderful their lives are, how creative they are, how much fun they are having, the great food they’re eating, the amazing places they’ve seen and the ways you can be/do the same. That’s what sells and that’s what people think they want to read about and see. But all it does is make you compare yourself to someone else’s life. Not even their actual life, but the sugar coated version they choose to share with you through a filter. I don’t know about you, but this has only made me feel like my life is lack luster and not as good as it could be. What I had hoped would inspire me has actually made me feel like a failure. Not all the time, but more than it should. Am I alone in this?

My husband has watched me struggle with this. I started with an honorable hope to inspire and educate others with what I am learning through this journey to become a missionary midwife but I have felt so intimidated by everyone else’s “life” that I have filtered mine until it was not the complete story. I started trying to people please, writing only what I thought people wanted to hear. This left me weighed down and uninspired. I have to go back to my roots and be true to why I am doing this.

God has this amazing story. And He has been gracious enough to make me a small part of it. God is doing amazing things in my life to complete His story and I want to share that with others. This means that my life is hard. I struggle. And this struggle can be burdensome, frustrating, and overwhelming if I look at it the wrong way. When I remember how much God loves me and that I struggle because He is pursuing me and developing me into a better person for His story, I truly feel blessed. He is not watching me struggle alone or forgetting about me. He is my Father, holding onto the back of my seat while I struggle to ride my bike without the training wheels. He won’t let go until I’m ready, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like He is holding on. But He is! And how wonderful it is to look beside me when I feel scared, anxious and uncertain and see Him stabilizing my life and smiling at me with encouragement! I want everyone to know that feeling. I want you to hear about my struggles and watch me forget God is there and then remember again. And I want you to be able to reflect on your own struggles (because we all have them) and be reminded to look beside you at the Comforter, the Father, the amazing personal God, guiding and loving us all. I hope you will join me on this series as I repent of the self centered use of my blog to get adoration and approval from people and let God redeem it to help others.