My dear friend Ronnie pointed out it's been almost thirty days since my last blog.
I knew it had been a long time, but a full month took me by surprise, especially since writing my blog used to be such an important part of my day. It was a way for me to process the things God was revealing to me, a way to hopefully let anyone who read it know that they weren't alone. We're all going through something--being stretched, learning, growing.
And those processes are never simple or easy, are they?
Children learning their lesson usually do so with a pouty lip and eyebrows drawn together in a tight V. We aren't so different from our younger selves sometimes, I suppose.
Something happened to us months ago that really challenged my faith. It made me ask God a question I've never dared to ask before. "Where did you go?"
It wasn't a question followed by "I'm right here, Courtney, look up!"
It was only followed by more questions.
Why did you allow this to happen?
You said you were here for us.
We did what you told us.
And perhaps most painfully, What is WRONG with people?
People hurt each other, of course. I'm not naive enough to think otherwise. Somehow, I had gotten it in my head that we as Christians should act better than that. That's a false assumption. And one I should've already known to be so.
I think I was humiliated. Hurt. Embarrassed. Broken. Angry. And all of those things meant I couldn't come here, to this place where I'd pledged to be transparent. I couldn't really share these things. Couldn't share that maybe God really had forgotten us. How could I tell anyone to put their trust in what's unseen when I was wrestling with that very thing, wondering where He'd gone.
Because nothing had worked out according to the plan I thought He and I had agreed on.
There were dark, painful months. Adam and I navigated them together. Our shared pain knitting us, making us allies all over again, and reminding us that we weren't alone. On the days when he was broken, God gave me the grace to carry a sliver of hope in my pocket.
On my broken days, my husband would lift me up.
We started weighing what had happened to us against the promises we were clinging to. Promises God had whispered to us in the dark, confusing moments that filled our days.
God never leaves you. Then he must be here. God? Can you hear us? We need some help down here.
God will fight for you. But you let this terrible thing happen. Did you take a break from the front line? Get busy with something more important?
God loves you. Then why are we hurting so much?
We felt like we'd made a huge mistake. We felt like God had given up on us. Like people were not, as we'd originally believed, inherently good.
And in that searching, I realized there is now and never was a guarantee that our life would be easy just because we believe in God. And while nothing about our life made sense for several weeks, I had to hold on to the knowing that He had not left us, even though it felt like we'd been hopelessly abandoned.
Even though it felt like God had lifted his "hedge of protection" to use a Christianese term--and allowed an enemy attack.
God, we're taking fire over here. A little help?
Days, then weeks, then months passed. I stopped opening myself up here on my blog because somehow I felt hiding would be better. And God started to remind me that no one was benefiting from what I wasn't saying. And in our pledge to ride the high road, I'd stayed silent, because my feelings were still hurt and my heart was still broken.
And if I'm honest, I was still pretty angry. And angry isn't pretty on good, Christian girls.
But then, all at once, a different promise came rushing back. What the enemy intends for harm, God can use for good.
It was like I woke up on the other side of my pain and there it was. The knowledge something had been taken away from us...and God used it to give us something better.
It had to be ugly and painful for us to see the truth. He needed us broken so we would call out to Him, finally ready to get marching orders that required an extreme amount of faith.
And that is where our new chapter begins...