A struggling believer

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Amelit

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A struggling believer
« on: December 14, 2014, 05:38:06 PM »
Faith has never been my forte. I question everything (something that drives my PD husband crazy because I "never trust him"). I want to know the why's and what's and what-if's in practically everything I come in contact. I doubled majored in History and Psychology because I want to understand people, myself, society, religion, and read about natural sciences on the side. Basically, I was raised in a non-denominational Christian church, and found myself asking questions like, "How can we know that God exists?", and "How can the people who never heard the Gospel be sentenced to hell?" when I was in Jr. High School. Yet, I also think with my heart, and I understand that an absent (workaholic) father, split-up parents, and a PD husband colors my view of God. Despite it all, I have never lost faith in certain cores; that God's message is written on everyone's heart, and each of us has a chance to follow it no matter our upbringing, religion of inheritance, or life's challenges; that forgiveness and love (agape love) are the most important choices we have each day; and that all life should be respected. Also that commitment should be honored, promises kept, run away from adultery, and listening is better than knowing.

Yet, a relationship with an invisible God at times seems imaginary, sometimes desperate, other times comforting, and still other times curious, and other times I can remember the sense of communion I felt as a young girl in prayer and worship. Churches disappoint (basically kicking my family out due to my parents' separation), double standards (a divorced woman is not allowed to teach even children, but a divorced man can be a Deacon), fake righteousness, etc. Organized religion, as I call it, is something I have a hard time with personally. There are interpretations galore regarding the Bible, including even which books were originally chosen to be in the Canon were decided by men with arguably political motivations. Forgiveness, love, compassion are all things that appear in practically every religion; are these not the things God has written on the hearts of all "men" (mankind)?

In many ways I can see how my faith fell by the wayside, and my "doubts" took over, when I began my relationship with my PD husband. I was an insecure, overweight, sensitive girl, and my now-husband made me feel wanted like I never felt before. I quickly fell away from praying, reading, or other acts in relationship with my God. We have now been married 3 years, and I feel the heartache, disappointment and numbness of 8 years being together without seeking God's wisdom, which if I had sought 8 years ago, I would have probably been able to resist the temptation of following a man because he admired me. A lot of shame and regret follows this path of thoughts.

Now I am married, and committed before God and my family and a justice of the peace and the government that this man is my husband, in sickness and in health. He was raised Taoist, became Buddhist, spend a year soul searching in some denomination of Christianity (maybe Mormon), went back to Buddhism, and now doesn't really participate in anything (as he feels overwhelmed with life in general). Once in a great while I can get him to pray with me, but with no participation from him.

I pray frequently now, as his outbursts overwhelm me, financial woes consume me, worries from multiple fronts confound me, and I have few who can understand or help (and as a proud woman, find it difficult to ask for any kind of help). Anxiety consumes my 30 minutes drive home, wondering what I will find when I get home (or "who"), I find myself in prayer before my eyes open when my alarm goes off, and in whispered desperate pleas as I drift off to sleep. I want more out of faith, and out of life.... but my doubts linger, and true faith alludes me. Even I know that if I saw some premonition or vision from God, I would assume I was delusional and seek mental health help. Yet part of me feels God's watchful eye, as I can see my husband's anger getting more controlled, financial solutions showing themselves (though hard and responsibility still fully mine/ours, we will not be drowned by the outcomes), and my work continues to give me new opportunities (from insurance, to education opportunities, to promotions), so I know that despite my husband's complaints, we are being taken care of in unseen ways.

A relationship with God, though, feels as difficult as all my relationships. I wrongly tried to promise God things in return for a healing of my husband. There cannot be manipulation; only a full submission to God, raising up supplications in prayer. I cannot attend church yet, as not only my distaste from previous experience sours and my work and husband keep me occupied, and with my Christian friends I am not yet ready to open up to about my marriage of demons, I am seeking on this forum anyone who may have struggled as I have with faith. C.S. Lewis is one Christian writer I have been able to identify with, and plan to seek out copied of his works once again. For now, I am just trying to survive, while seeking a relationship with a God that perplexes me....

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OlderWiser

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2014, 11:46:28 PM »
I read your post and can respond that I feel my faith is what kept me alive through a childhood and adulthood where I was influenced by family members who were ill. 

I have never married and am over 50 before I knew what the illness was.  I still feel great hope.  I returned to church 6 months ago and it is wonderful.  The Catholic church I attend has the priest face the alter and the language is Latin.

The Catholic church of my youth was in English and the priest faced the people.  I would suggest you keep trying churches and maybe you will find support and love.  Divorce is ok in my eyes but I have never been married.


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DealingWithIt

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 11:01:49 AM »
Since faith is blind following, having doubts is normal.  I bet everyone has doubts in their lifetimes.  It sounds like you need to simply find your way to reconnect with God.  You need to keep searching for that way, through Bible study, online study, attending different churches, whatever.

I believe the only thing He's placed on our hearts is a yearning to know Him.  Humans have come up with all sorts of ways to do that, thus the various religious beliefs.  I believe that most fall far short of the goal.

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Amelit

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 04:09:45 PM »
I think it's very true that the eternal truth written on peoples' hearts is to know God.
I have been reading Matthew. Some of the parables leave me quite puzzled, others echo in my mind as truths I need to adapt into my life. "Which one of you can add a single day onto your life by worrying...."

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Bloomie

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 11:14:39 AM »
Amelit - I absolutely love the openness of your post! Thank you! I believe you describe a natural, understandable, very human struggle. I also see moments of great faith in the journey you describe and someone who has taken in the most profound message of The Bible, God's love (agape) for humankind.

There is a story in Matthew 8:23-27 that I thought of as I as reading your post, because I can relate to so much of what you have written, and this story has spoken to me so deeply in my life. The story is where Jesus is in a boat with his friends and he is asleep and a raging storm comes up and his friends are so afraid and they go to him and find him asleep (!) beseech him to help them and he asks them why they are afraid and I always imagine a kind of loving humor in that question and gentle, almost tender rebuke before he calms the storm.

So often I am the one up on the deck eyes to the horizon, worrying, fearful, my eyes on the waves, the thunder, drenched from the rain and the whole time Jesus is right there, His very presence protecting me. For me, I have had to turn myself from the storm and turn to Jesus and keep my eyes on Him and trust Him to quiet the storm and to rest in Him. I am not talking fairy tales and happy thoughts here. I don't think anyone on this forum believes in those, I am talking about surrendering and trusting when it makes absolutely no sense and resting your weary soul in Jesus who will not fail you. People will always fail you. You may always have questions. That is alright! That is how you were created! But, for now... is it possible to set aside all of it and just rest for awhile?  :bighug:

"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

Bloomie 🌸

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Amelit

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 03:50:11 PM »
Thank you Bloomie. I struggle every day with letting go and trusting in God. It's like a battle from the moment my alarm goes off and even before I open my eyes. I lay in bed praying and trying to let my emotions rest. I remember that story clearly, and I'm very similar. I'm always trying to see out into the future and predict everything that can go wrong, and try to prevent it from happening, especially anger outbursts from my husband. I will keep praying and seeking God. Thank you for sharing.

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istherehope1

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2014, 07:08:26 PM »
You are brave for posting and brave for searching for God.  God honors those who seek Him.  I encourage you to allow such thoughts and allow God to reveal Himself to you.  Personally, when I find myself seeking Him I often discover He's seeking me.  C.S. Lewis is a great Christian author.  Mere Christianity and the Problem of Pain have helped me immensely.  For me, faith is not blind but reasonable.  When looking at the probability of the cause of everything we see and experience, I believe it is more reasonable to believe in a superior being with great power, creativity, and wisdom than to believe in blind science.  Perhaps the promise of God's abiding presence found in the birth of Jesus will offer you hope and peace this holiday season.

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holymanna

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 12:22:45 AM »
Bloomie
That is a great post.  Thank you

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Is This Normal

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2015, 07:42:16 PM »
Amelit,

I think you are in very good company here. And your questioning is I believe not a sign of lack of faith but a sign of your native intelligence. I do believe in a Higher Power, which I sometimes call God, sometimes Spirit, Universe, etc. And I believe our intelligence and ability to question and analyze are gifts of that God.

I have long believed in God, but didn't really develop a relationsip, and a positive one, until I got into. a 12-step recovery program about 10 years ago. My original concept of God was very stern, remote, capricious, and vengeful. No wonder I didn't want to get any closer! The Good I have come to know as a result of the recovery process is completely the opposite. He/She/It is near, ever-present, kind, gentle, all-knowing and all-seeing yet unconditionally loving. God has become for me the parent I never had. And I know that no matter how badly I screw up, how angry, irriable, selfish, or blind I am, I am always embraced with unsurpassing love. I really don't know where I'd be without this relationship. I'm glad I don't have to find out.
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It sounds like you're in whaat folks in recovery sometimes call the "acting as if" stage. You want to believe, you think you just might believe, but you just aren't sure. And yet you're taking action as if you for sure believe. Well, if your experience is anything like mine, you will get answers and enter a new state of being that you might not have even been able to imagine.


Just keep doing what you're doing, putting one foot in front of the other and asking for your Highe

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Is This Normal

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Re: A struggling believer
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2015, 07:45:31 PM »
Ok, I am having some seriously ungodly thoughts about my phone! All I was tryna say is keep doing what you're doing, and more will be revealed. Best of luck to you on your spiritual journey!

-ITN- Signing off for real this time!